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Old 04-23-2010, 12:41 PM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

In a lot of years in the martial-arts, I've often watched the discussion about training methodologies get diverted to the *implication* that often comes out as meaning, "Well, I know my method is best because I can kick your butt". I always think about why Mohammed Ali bothered to keep Angelo Dundee as a coach when it was obvious that Ali could kick Dundee's butt. In other words, people too often mix the subject of training with "I'm bad".

But what I remember most is a sort of funny story that happened a few years back when someone asked me if I wanted to push hands. I'd seen what the guy did when he "pushed hands" and basically it was just some kind of grab'em and try to wrassle sort of stuff, so I didn't pay much attention to him and declined. He always remembered the slight and one time on the internet he publicly challenged me to come to NYC and he'd show me that his "internal strength" was better than mine. In other words, he wanted to prove that he had internal strength and he figured the way to do it would be to somehow defeat me with his mongrel version of "push hands".

Well, I had no particular interest in going to New York from Colorado just to see what I already knew to be true, but in the interests of showing how ludicrous the reasoning of "I know I have good internal strength 'cause I can whip your butt" is, I got in touch with a guy I knew (via the internet and rec.martial-arts) in New York City named John Carlo. Now some of you may know about John Carlo's fight record and martial arts.... it's pretty extensive and IIRC, John could bench 500 pounds at the time.

So I suggested to the guy who was challenging me that he simply take on John (John agreed to do it) and then we'd have an interesting situation. According to the idea that if someone kicked my butt it was because of "internal strength" or "Tai Chi" or whatever, then if John kicked my challenger's butt then John must have superior I.S., Tai Chi, or whatever. Yet John would be the first to say that he would never make a silly claim like that. Naturally, in the interests of not getting pounded into the ground, my challenger backed off of the idea of having a contest to prove whose I.S., etc., is best. In other words, as long as he thought he could win, a challenge seemed like a good idea; when he could see that he'd definitely get his butt handed to him, he backed off. Hmmmmmm.... what kind of person does that?

Anyway, I've always thought it was a funny story that highlighted why discussions of internal strength, Tai Chi, Aikido, etc., etc., shouldn't be mixed in with who can kick whose butt. They're two different topics.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:03 PM   #2
Marc Abrams
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Mike:

Pure separation sounds great.... Do you see a value in seeing if the internal skills can remain functional in a more realistic fighting scenario (eg. kumite, push-hands...)?

If you do see a value, how do you integrate that potential stage when you train your students?

I struggle with trying to find a balance between finding and developing internal skills with the ability to be able to utilize them effectively in more realistic scenarios. Have you also faced such a dilemna? If so, how have you addressed them?

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:09 PM   #3
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Mike,

Why do you think the guy challenged you? Was he seriously that confident of his ability to defeat someone that he'd never met and never seen?
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:36 PM   #4
Mike Sigman
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Mike:

Pure separation sounds great.... Do you see a value in seeing if the internal skills can remain functional in a more realistic fighting scenario (eg. kumite, push-hands...)?

If you do see a value, how do you integrate that potential stage when you train your students?

I struggle with trying to find a balance between finding and developing internal skills with the ability to be able to utilize them effectively in more realistic scenarios. Have you also faced such a dilemna? If so, how have you addressed them?
Marc, I'm over six feet tall and I weigh 230 pounds. I have a history of damaging people in a number of situations and I've been damaged in some encounters, too. I recognize the "fightin'" BS for exactly what it is.... nothing more, nothing less. When you have guys trying to put someone down by talking about "martial" when the topic is internal strength, there's obvious reasons for it. I.s. skills are a bona fide separate topic.

Should someone with I.S. skills be able to fight? If they want to fight or do a martial-art with I.S. a traditionally basic skill they should be able to fight eventually. But there are also a lot of people who don't want to be able to fight per se and who are interested in the skills, the attendant health aspects, and so on, so I tend to avoid making fightin' and wrasslin' prerequisites to having good I.S. skills. I'll leave that for the "Look at Me!" crowd.

My general interest is more the "how" of doing these skills and that tends to be what I discuss with people; they can use the skills as they see fit (although, to be accurate, I have to say that I also teach a few things that are applicable to martial-arts, but it's not my main focus).

I did an interesting thing last year where I showed some students of a teacher who has definite I.S. skills but difficulty explaining them, how to do what he was doing and the logic of the training/approach. I enjoyed the role. Hopefully it will help in their study of their martial art, but I can offer no help with the particular martial-art they do.... that's what their teacher is doing.

Your teacher Ushiro once reportedly said "no kokyu, no Aikido". I agree with that. Of course I'm safe in agreeing with that because it's also a very famous commentary about the Asian martial-arts, in regard to the idea that if you don't have I.S. skills, all you have is the shell of the art. Most people only practice the shell of the Asian martial arts and that's been long recognized (and yes, I know that most people assure you that they're "already doing that").

The point I'm getting to is that I.S. skills, when done correctly (there are a LOT of half-assed approaches to I.S. skills out there) leads to a basic skill set that actually helps a lot in "real-life" situations. I personally think that as someone begins to get real skills and some sort of idea of intra-personal encounter (say, via real push-hands using real I.S. skills), then they can benefit from I.S. training in realistic situations. Of course, if you want to learn to fight, you have to train fighting... it doesn't work by osmosis, I.S. or not.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:37 PM   #5
Mike Sigman
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Mike,

Why do you think the guy challenged you? Was he seriously that confident of his ability to defeat someone that he'd never met and never seen?
Mary, I've known you for a long, long time and I'm not going to insult your intelligence by telling you, of all people, how many nut jobs are in the martial-arts. I've seen you handle a number of them on RMA.

Mike
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:51 PM   #6
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Oh God, I remember this story! It was hilarious as it was unfolding, and it is still hilarious now! Thanks for the memories...

Best,
Ron (John Carlo was an animal!)

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
In a lot of years in the martial-arts, I've often watched the discussion about training methodologies get diverted to the *implication* that often comes out as meaning, "Well, I know my method is best because I can kick your butt". I always think about why Mohammed Ali bothered to keep Angelo Dundee as a coach when it was obvious that Ali could kick Dundee's butt. In other words, people too often mix the subject of training with "I'm bad".

But what I remember most is a sort of funny story that happened a few years back when someone asked me if I wanted to push hands. I'd seen what the guy did when he "pushed hands" and basically it was just some kind of grab'em and try to wrassle sort of stuff, so I didn't pay much attention to him and declined. He always remembered the slight and one time on the internet he publicly challenged me to come to NYC and he'd show me that his "internal strength" was better than mine. In other words, he wanted to prove that he had internal strength and he figured the way to do it would be to somehow defeat me with his mongrel version of "push hands".

Well, I had no particular interest in going to New York from Colorado just to see what I already knew to be true, but in the interests of showing how ludicrous the reasoning of "I know I have good internal strength 'cause I can whip your butt" is, I got in touch with a guy I knew (via the internet and rec.martial-arts) in New York City named John Carlo. Now some of you may know about John Carlo's fight record and martial arts.... it's pretty extensive and IIRC, John could bench 500 pounds at the time.

So I suggested to the guy who was challenging me that he simply take on John (John agreed to do it) and then we'd have an interesting situation. According to the idea that if someone kicked my butt it was because of "internal strength" or "Tai Chi" or whatever, then if John kicked my challenger's butt then John must have superior I.S., Tai Chi, or whatever. Yet John would be the first to say that he would never make a silly claim like that. Naturally, in the interests of not getting pounded into the ground, my challenger backed off of the idea of having a contest to prove whose I.S., etc., is best. In other words, as long as he thought he could win, a challenge seemed like a good idea; when he could see that he'd definitely get his butt handed to him, he backed off. Hmmmmmm.... what kind of person does that?

Anyway, I've always thought it was a funny story that highlighted why discussions of internal strength, Tai Chi, Aikido, etc., etc., shouldn't be mixed in with who can kick whose butt. They're two different topics.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:52 PM   #7
Marc Abrams
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Marc, I'm over six feet tall and I weigh 230 pounds. I have a history of damaging people in a number of situations and I've been damaged in some encounters, too. I recognize the "fightin'" BS for exactly what it is.... nothing more, nothing less. When you have guys trying to put someone down by talking about "martial" when the topic is internal strength, there's obvious reasons for it. I.s. skills are a bona fide separate topic.

Should someone with I.S. skills be able to fight? If they want to fight or do a martial-art with I.S. a traditionally basic skill they should be able to fight eventually. But there are also a lot of people who don't want to be able to fight per se and who are interested in the skills, the attendant health aspects, and so on, so I tend to avoid making fightin' and wrasslin' prerequisites to having good I.S. skills. I'll leave that for the "Look at Me!" crowd.

My general interest is more the "how" of doing these skills and that tends to be what I discuss with people; they can use the skills as they see fit (although, to be accurate, I have to say that I also teach a few things that are applicable to martial-arts, but it's not my main focus).

I did an interesting thing last year where I showed some students of a teacher who has definite I.S. skills but difficulty explaining them, how to do what he was doing and the logic of the training/approach. I enjoyed the role. Hopefully it will help in their study of their martial art, but I can offer no help with the particular martial-art they do.... that's what their teacher is doing.

Your teacher Ushiro once reportedly said "no kokyu, no Aikido". I agree with that. Of course I'm safe in agreeing with that because it's also a very famous commentary about the Asian martial-arts, in regard to the idea that if you don't have I.S. skills, all you have is the shell of the art. Most people only practice the shell of the Asian martial arts and that's been long recognized (and yes, I know that most people assure you that they're "already doing that").

The point I'm getting to is that I.S. skills, when done correctly (there are a LOT of half-assed approaches to I.S. skills out there) leads to a basic skill set that actually helps a lot in "real-life" situations. I personally think that as someone begins to get real skills and some sort of idea of intra-personal encounter (say, via real push-hands using real I.S. skills), then they can benefit from I.S. training in realistic situations. Of course, if you want to learn to fight, you have to train fighting... it doesn't work by osmosis, I.S. or not.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
Mike:

I came from a background of simply fighting. Short-term gains in self-esteem were outweighed by damage to body and the simple fact that I did not like who I became when I used what I had learned. That is what lead me to first become interested in Aikido and more importantly, learning directly from Imaizumi Sensei. I have added to whom I learn from to learn better what my teacher is doing but not as effective in directly teaching me.

I have no personal need to engage in fighting per se. I am interested in seeing if the internal skills can be used within more realistic paradigms successfully. So far, so good. I always balance this with the over-arching goal, which is to continue to develop into a nicer and more peaceful person, while influencing those around me to do the same. This is never done at the expense of having to draw certain proverbial lines to maintain peace.

Ushiro Sensei has pointed out on many occasions that some of the best peace makers are those that have developed truly awesome martial skills and use that realization to create and sustain peace, rather than conflict and discord. Just as impressive as his internal skills is his constant effort towards working outside of the martial arts world in promoting world peace. Imaizumi Sensei and Ushiro Sensei are remarkable models for who we should strive to be as people in our daily lives. To me, a teacher should have more that just skills to teach.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-23-2010, 01:55 PM   #8
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Oh, and yeah Mary, from what I remember of the discussions, the guy was pretty seriously deluded.

But hey, I never said that...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:05 PM   #9
Mike Sigman
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Mike:

I came from a background of simply fighting. Short-term gains in self-esteem were outweighed by damage to body and the simple fact that I did not like who I became when I used what I had learned. That is what lead me to first become interested in Aikido and more importantly, learning directly from Imaizumi Sensei. I have added to whom I learn from to learn better what my teacher is doing but not as effective in directly teaching me.

I have no personal need to engage in fighting per se. I am interested in seeing if the internal skills can be used within more realistic paradigms successfully. So far, so good. I always balance this with the over-arching goal, which is to continue to develop into a nicer and more peaceful person, while influencing those around me to do the same. This is never done at the expense of having to draw certain proverbial lines to maintain peace.

Ushiro Sensei has pointed out on many occasions that some of the best peace makers are those that have developed truly awesome martial skills and use that realization to create and sustain peace, rather than conflict and discord. Just as impressive as his internal skills is his constant effort towards working outside of the martial arts world in promoting world peace. Imaizumi Sensei and Ushiro Sensei are remarkable models for who we should strive to be as people in our daily lives. To me, a teacher should have more that just skills to teach.
I appreciate your perspective, Marc, but I tend to not go into the personality/philosophy stuff; I prefer to discuss I.S. and the technicalities of how it's done, and so on. In my many years of experience, the martial-arts (and life in general) is full of people who either pretend be someone that they really aren't or they're sure that they're someone that they really are not. Hence, I avoid the topic.

From a logical-discourse perspective, subjective topics really don't go anywhere, either. But that's a nice segue back into the topic of "fightin" and Internal Strength.... even though there is a valid relationship between fighting and I.S. and between personal-development and I.S. at some points of issue that merit discussion, I don't see a desirable reason for trying to interject them at these basic levels.

But each to his own. I hope you see my perspective as well as I see yours.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:02 PM   #10
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Mary, I've known you for a long, long time and I'm not going to insult your intelligence by telling you, of all people, how many nut jobs are in the martial-arts. I've seen you handle a number of them on RMA.
I guess I'm slow on the uptake today...obvi, the guy "challenges" you, you don't accept for the very sensible reason of not wanting to travel cross-country at your own expense for this foolishness...the way it was supposed to go down was you'd say no and he'd say, "Neener neener you weenie". Saying, "Can't make it, but there's a guy I know out your way" was not part of the script.

I miss the days when the crazy ratio on rec.ma was low enough to be amusing. Those were some fun days.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:29 PM   #11
ashe
 
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

i think we can find out what we need to know by answering a few questions.

"how can this person play on touch?"

if the person can ONLY play soft, even if they can talk in depth about what they are doing it probably doesn't have much to do with martial arts.

if the person can ONLY play hard on touch, then they probably don't have much in the way of a discreet skill set outside of their own natural talents and or habits built through training, which most likely they can't teach that to you.

we can disregard both of these people.

if the person can play BOTH hard and soft on touch, the next question is;

"can they discuss clearly and in depth what they are doing?"

if the answer is yes, then;

"what type of jin did they display, ming, an or hua (obvious, hidden or "mysterious")?"

if their skill on touch seemed mysterious to you and they can tell you HOW they achieved that result then you've found someone you can really learn from.

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Old 04-24-2010, 04:22 AM   #12
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

oops. typo. that should be discrete.

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Old 04-24-2010, 05:33 AM   #13
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

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Ashe Higgs wrote: View Post
i think we can find out what we need to know by answering a few questions.

"how can this person play on touch?"

if the person can ONLY play soft, even if they can talk in depth about what they are doing it probably doesn't have much to do with martial arts.

if the person can ONLY play hard on touch, then they probably don't have much in the way of a discreet skill set outside of their own natural talents and or habits built through training, which most likely they can't teach that to you.

we can disregard both of these people.

if the person can play BOTH hard and soft on touch, the next question is;

"can they discuss clearly and in depth what they are doing?"

if the answer is yes, then;

"what type of jin did they display, ming, an or hua (obvious, hidden or "mysterious")?"

if their skill on touch seemed mysterious to you and they can tell you HOW they achieved that result then you've found someone you can really learn from.
To me, hard/soft...doesn't matter. Frankly I am not smart enough to really understand the difference.

I have certain "tactical" things I am looking for when I work with someone...it is obvious to me if they have the experience or not (martially) from the moment you watch them or work with them. From there, I am looking simply for the VALUE in what they are demonstrating and if I can learn anything from it.

Seems to me alot of time/effort is wasted on trying to quantify this stuff as a scholarly pursuit or to separate out things technically in order to say simply I am "better" than you because of X.

That only seems to draw the knuckle draggers like my self out of the wood work to say...okay, well show me the practical applications of X then we will talk.

However, if you can demonstrate how X in applied and can be replicated under various conditions...that you may not control all the cards in...unlike what we see over and over again in "Seminar Fu". Then you have my attention.

Other than that to me, it is like reading Playboy when you are 14 then going out and talking to your friends about how "experienced" you are and how much they are not.

Not saying that anyone here is in that category, so don't read between the lines.

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Old 04-24-2010, 05:46 AM   #14
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Couple of more thoughts to better articulate.

When I got with Mike Sigman, for example, I didn't need to fight him or get into long discussion about stuff, nor did I really have the capacity to understand exactly what he was talking about.

It was not necessary. Just by working with him and watching him move and feeling him, I could make an assessment about how useful or un-useful I felt what he was teaching might be to me.

that is, I had something to take away from the encounter.

Does that mean that I can tell you how "good" Mike is or isn't? No...not really sure what that means to be honest.

It only means that Mike could clearly articulate what he had to teach and he had a method for transmitting it and communicating it as a teacher, and I found application for it.

For me, I can't tell you the difference between Jin/Kokyu...hard or soft...it simply does not matter to me, nor do I find it necessary to figure this out at this time.

Maybe if I were attempting to be an Internal Expert or I found it incredibly fascinating to understand this topic at a very indepth level of study.

No, for me, as a layman, I am simply looking for the application of how it helps me do the things that are important to me.

Now, if you tell me you can use this stuff and fight...well I am also all ears and I want to experience it in the way that you say you can use it in and show me how you do that....yea...it would require you to demonstrate your ability to fight and you'd probably have to kick my ass to do it...sorry I am just like that.

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Old 04-24-2010, 06:30 AM   #15
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Of course you can talk your way around things and make yourself feel good. Another possibility is if you have demonstrated Internal power to real experts, and whether you go out to test it with strangers. Fighting with IP/Aikido does NOT feel like normal fighting. As one recent fellow...with an interesting fight record of his own stated.."What the hell is that? I've never felt anything like that"
So, an interesting question arises. Can you play with internal people and they recognize IP in you?
Can you actually fight, and men who fight recognize they are...in one, and that you feel and move differently.
All of which defies winning and losing as validation points as well as bravado, and defines a quality of movement and application in the encounter.
The question of whether or not anyone... can... fight isn't the issue now. It is a question of can you use IP/Aiki in a fight and have the aiki recognized as feeling unusual....instantly.

I think there is a lot of obfuscating on very simple points with some internal people sounding just like Aikido people who cannot deliver their arts aiki, cleanly ...under pressure. SSDD.
Most grapplers have no issues with winning and losiing on any given day. it's all part of the game. Many TMA people have an attachment to needing to win to validate something or other...or avoiding real pressure out of fear.
Dan
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:15 AM   #16
Marc Abrams
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Of course you can talk your way around things and make yourself feel good. Another possibility is if you have demonstrated Internal power to real experts, and whether you go out to test it with strangers. Fighting with IP/Aikido does NOT feel like normal fighting. As one recent fellow...with an interesting fight record of his own stated.."What the hell is that? I've never felt anything like that"
So, an interesting question arises. Can you play with internal people and they recognize IP in you?
Can you actually fight, and men who fight recognize they are...in one, and that you feel and move differently.
All of which defies winning and losing as validation points as well as bravado, and defines a quality of movement and application in the encounter.
The question of whether or not anyone... can... fight isn't the issue now. It is a question of can you use IP/Aiki in a fight and have the aiki recognized as feeling unusual....instantly.

I think there is a lot of obfuscating on very simple points with some internal people sounding just like Aikido people who cannot deliver their arts aiki, cleanly ...under pressure. SSDD.
Most grapplers have no issues with winning and losiing on any given day. it's all part of the game. Many TMA people have an attachment to needing to win to validate something or other...or avoiding real pressure out of fear.
Dan
Dan:

You pointed out the larger issue of separating the ego associated with winning and losing from what the encounter should be about. I think it is simply too difficult for most of us "common folks" to understand the proper feelings inside ourselves with solo work, let alone testing these skills under more realistic conditions. We are presented with two "sides." One which is not really interested in testing out these skills within a kumite like setting and the other side which says that it is necessary to really see if the skills are genuinely applicable. I frankly have found you to do an excellent job in allowing me to feel what I should be beginning to feel and balance that with the feelings associated with falling back on the non-ip stuff when pushed. As an old wrastler, I do enjoy seeing where my sh*t works and fails to try and better understand and control what happens inside of me during encounters with others. The solo work is critical. I think that the difficult aspect is in the transition to more realistic testing environments. Do you have a set progression with people in this area? Or, is it more individualized, based upon what you see in the person you are working with?

Regards,

marc abrams
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:41 AM   #17
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

They problem is there is no universal standard for Internal arts.

For example, you don't see this in boxing/bjj/judo/etc. Because we look at it differently. I didn't pick my judo coach because he was a bad ass (the man was 70 years old). I picked him because he had shown that he consistently produces good judoka who win competitions and themselves have produced good judoka.

I think any bjj guy would know who to pick when given the choice between a coach that has all his students winning every competition they go to, and a coach who is himself physically bad ass, but his students never win anything.

In short, I don't care about the combat level of my teachers. I care about the level of students they produce consistently. Anyone can get a tough guy in his class and take credit. But if everyone is consistently good, then you have a good teacher or at least teaching method.

So they way to settle it would be for each teacher to get a random sampling of first time students and train them for 1 year. They they would be forced to fight. The winning team has better training methods.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:06 AM   #18
Mike Sigman
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
When I got with Mike Sigman, for example, I didn't need to fight him or get into long discussion about stuff, nor did I really have the capacity to understand exactly what he was talking about.

It was not necessary. Just by working with him and watching him move and feeling him, I could make an assessment about how useful or un-useful I felt what he was teaching might be to me.

that is, I had something to take away from the encounter.
One comment I'd make again is that few people actually can move well, doing martial-techniques while using internal-strength skills. Most people have a few jin tricks at best and the rest, when you stop them in the middle of a movement and show them, will turn out to be maybe a little jin and a lot of arm/shoulder. That's why when people go quickly to talking about how they're using I.S. in martial applications I know (from a lot of experience) that most of it's going to be mongrel-method posing as "Internal Strength".

I say that, Kevin, mainly to caution that it's difficult to go to a beginning workshop and think that represents anything other than basics of how-to on I.S.. The more-finished product may be something different *OR* it may represent a higher level... in the sense that you may get something of an idea about boxing by watching some young amateurs, but when you see someone like Mike Tyson actually *hit*, you see a very different potential.

Here's a video of some platform fighting (san da = free fighting), but with a lot of limiting rules so that no one really gets hurt. The contestants are wearing body-armor under their jackets in order to prevent broken bones during the body hits (watch red/white's eyes when he takes an elbow in about the 3rd set). Both of these guys are in the "good" category, but Chen Ziqiang (in the dark outfit) is very good. Watch the power of the hits to get an idea of my Mike Tyson analogy.

(match starts around 2:20 into vid)
http://bugu.cntv.cn/sports/other/wul...0/101111.shtml


FWIW

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 04-24-2010 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:44 AM   #19
Mike Sigman
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Oh, yeah.... I should have made it clear that both of those guys do Chen-style Taiji (Tai Chi) and that would be a reasonable approximation of the in-close style of fighting that is normally done in Tai Chi. Problem is that unless you feel the amount of power these guys can generate, you miss most of the effect.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-24-2010, 11:08 AM   #20
Mike Sigman
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I guess I'm slow on the uptake today...obvi, the guy "challenges" you, you don't accept for the very sensible reason of not wanting to travel cross-country at your own expense for this foolishness...the way it was supposed to go down was you'd say no and he'd say, "Neener neener you weenie". Saying, "Can't make it, but there's a guy I know out your way" was not part of the script.
Hi Mary:

Yeah, he didn't think of that wrinkle. But worse yet, he never fully considered the fact that if he was going to use "I can kick butt... I'm *martial*!" as the criterion which validates his I.S. skills, then he'd better be able to beat everyone. Because if you're saying "martial" validates your I.S. skills, then the logical implication is that any Tom, Dick, or Harry who kicks your butt knows more about I.S. than you do.

The real essence of what deteriorated much of western Taiji into B.S. was that the so-called "experts" in the U.S. and the U.K, etc., didn't really know beans about the art so they started discovering their own ideas about what the "secrets" were and it turned out they were really going down the road of "If I can kick your butt in wrassle/scrabble push-hands, my Tai Chi must be good". If you look at most tournaments with Taiji competitions, you can see that that's where they wound up. A lot of other arts (go to a typical 'karate tournament') wind up down that road, too.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:59 PM   #21
Aikibu
Dojo: West Wind Dojo Santa Monica California
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Re: Training/sparring versus who can kick butt

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Mike:

I came from a background of simply fighting. Short-term gains in self-esteem were outweighed by damage to body and the simple fact that I did not like who I became when I used what I had learned. That is what lead me to first become interested in Aikido and more importantly, learning directly from Imaizumi Sensei. I have added to whom I learn from to learn better what my teacher is doing but not as effective in directly teaching me.

I have no personal need to engage in fighting per se. I am interested in seeing if the internal skills can be used within more realistic paradigms successfully. So far, so good. I always balance this with the over-arching goal, which is to continue to develop into a nicer and more peaceful person, while influencing those around me to do the same. This is never done at the expense of having to draw certain proverbial lines to maintain peace.

Ushiro Sensei has pointed out on many occasions that some of the best peace makers are those that have developed truly awesome martial skills and use that realization to create and sustain peace, rather than conflict and discord. Just as impressive as his internal skills is his constant effort towards working outside of the martial arts world in promoting world peace. Imaizumi Sensei and Ushiro Sensei are remarkable models for who we should strive to be as people in our daily lives. To me, a teacher should have more that just skills to teach.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
Spot On and I completely concur. Thanks Marc.

William Hazen
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