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Old 11-28-2010, 03:07 PM   #1
Dave Plaza
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Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Hi folks,

I'm looking for ways to develop my centre... This for me seems to be the most difficult thing to grasp, and it almost seems like the holy grail, if you can develop how to hold your centre then, it seems, you become good at Aikido.

I would like to know if they're any exercises that you think would aid in this process... Do, for example, the rowing exercises (can't remember the name) help?

Many thanks

Dave
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Old 11-28-2010, 04:18 PM   #2
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
Hi folks,

I'm looking for ways to develop my centre... This for me seems to be the most difficult thing to grasp, and it almost seems like the holy grail, if you can develop how to hold your centre then, it seems, you become good at Aikido.

I would like to know if they're any exercises that you think would aid in this process... Do, for example, the rowing exercises (can't remember the name) help?

Many thanks

Dave
That seems to depend on who you ask, but I think a major theme to recent conversations is that whatever the exercise, the important thing is to have a good teacher to guide your practice. I believe furitama and tori fune undo ("tama shaking" and "bird rowing exercise" respectively) can help. I know a couple of the major principles Tohei Sensei articulated was to be relaxed and think of the center in all our actions. I know that when I do this, I tend to be more stable in my actions and I notice at least something about how it might affect some movements.
...Not that I'm very aware of my center, though. Hopefully the folks with more experience will chime in.
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-28-2010, 04:31 PM   #3
Benjamin Mehner
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

I meditate while using the mudra shown in the video that appears in the link provided below. I learned it from a guy that was really into studying ki, and I think it has helped me. It may just be that I am gaining the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

http://www.theaikidojourney.com/uncategorized/133

Let silence be my mantra.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:29 PM   #4
Abasan
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

The rowing exercise or funakogi undo is a favourite exercise of mine that does not only cultivate good center and shisei but extension and intent as well. You do need to have uke grab you and test every once in awhile. Dynamic and static testing. I'm assuming you know the various ki tests.

Having said that, it would be better for you to think 'center' in every movement you make in daily life and training instead of trying to 'cultivate' it via specific exercises. The more you ingrain it in everything you do the better your development of center would be. IMHO...

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:11 AM   #5
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
That seems to depend on who you ask, but I think a major theme to recent conversations is that whatever the exercise, the important thing is to have a good teacher to guide your practice.
very true...

Two exercises you might try. Hopefully I am able to describe them clearly enough for you to understand.

First the rowing exercise. Do this with a partner holding your hands ryote dori with his feet next to each other. You do the rowing exercise and he allows himself to be pushed and pulled when you move back and forth. You quickly find the exercise gets much more 'content'. Focus is *not* to use your arms, but your centre.

Another exercise is where your partner holds your shoulders (kata dori; stationary; go-tai exercise) and you turn your body left and right (without stepping to either side!) and make your partner move along with you. Obviously you cannot use your arms, since he grasps your shoulders. All movement must come from your centre. Again, there is a rithm much similar to the rowing exercise to be found.

Let me know how that goes...

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:41 AM   #6
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Get a bokken, do 100 shomen uchi a day backwards and forwards, to start....also do the same while performing tai no henko and any tai sabaki as you get the hang of it.....
When you reach 500 a day or every other day for a couple of months you should get the jist of it.......
Happy centre searching....
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:04 AM   #7
Larry Feldman
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

The Ki Society does a variety of 'Ki Exercises' including the rowing exercise to help you develop your center.

I haven't looked at the new Tohei video from the Aikido Journal, but suspect some of the execises may be on there. C.S. Shifflet (who studied with the Ki Society) has authored 2 books on the subject.
Aikido Exercises....or something like that, which might provide some additional information.

If there is a Ki Society dojo near you - it might be helpful to get some actula instruction first, in lieu of that video and the books may be enough. Most importantly make sure you keep your balance as you do the exercises.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:34 AM   #8
dps
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Here is a website with the Ki exercises.
http://www.bodymindandmodem.com/KiEx/KiEx.html

Do these while also doing the four basic principals,

1. Keep one-point.
2. Relax completely.
3. Keep weight underside.
4. Extend Ki.

this will develop your center.


dps

Last edited by dps : 11-29-2010 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:34 AM   #9
gregstec
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
Ahmad Abas wrote: View Post

Having said that, it would be better for you to think 'center' in every movement you make in daily life and training instead of trying to 'cultivate' it via specific exercises. The more you ingrain it in everything you do the better your development of center would be. IMHO...
I am with Ahmad here - IMO, it all starts with intent - cultivate your intent first and the body will follow.

Greg
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:22 PM   #10
PhillyKiAikido
 
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

David,

IMHO, all the exercises mentioned by other replies help your center development only if they're done in the right way. A good teacher's instruction is for sure the best help. As others did, I'd suggest you to check out some Ki Society dojos or seminars since the Ki Society curriculum emphasizes on the Ki/Whole body/Center training. Some ASU senseis' seminars (such as Hiroshi Ikeda sensei) are also very helpful.

If that's not feasible to you, my personal experence is to do the Jo and Bokken exercises over 30 minutes per day in a very relaxed way (Tohei sensei said "relax completely") is very helpful to build your correct posture (center).

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:38 PM   #11
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
Benjamin Mehner wrote: View Post
I meditate while using the mudra shown in the video that appears in the link provided below. I learned it from a guy that was really into studying ki, and I think it has helped me. It may just be that I am gaining the benefits of mindfulness meditation.
I really like this Mudra, it works on a number of levels, not the least physically the interlocked fingers help the arms form a bridge so that the arms can be relaxed and not ache too much during a sitting.

Also I once heard the you can use crossing of the thumbs in the mudra as preparation for future scenarios. e.g. do hours (insert appropriate time in here) of the mudra while meditating. Then in the midst of battle, randoori or a time of need in everyday life just cross one thumb across the other to remind you body/mind of the feeling/ calmness/ centeredness you got from meditating in an instant.

dan

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Old 11-30-2010, 06:46 AM   #12
phitruong
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
Hi folks,

I'm looking for ways to develop my centre... This for me seems to be the most difficult thing to grasp, and it almost seems like the holy grail, if you can develop how to hold your centre then, it seems, you become good at Aikido.

I would like to know if they're any exercises that you think would aid in this process... Do, for example, the rowing exercises (can't remember the name) help?

Dave
first, have you read the book "Hidden in Plain Sight: Tracing the Roots of Ueshiba Morihei's Power." by Ellis Amdur? if you have not, then read it. another book "Center: The Power of Aikido" by Ron Myer and Mark Reeder (pay attention to some of the references).

after the reading those two books, look up these names: Akuzawa Minoru, Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, Howard Popkin, Wang Hai Jun, Chen Bing. attend their seminar/workshop.

be warn, it's a terrible road to travel, filled with pain, frustration, and few results. it's not for everyone. my advice is to stick with aikido, whatever aikido that most folks are doing and not walk down the above road.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:52 AM   #13
phitruong
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
Benjamin Mehner wrote: View Post
I meditate while using the mudra shown in the video that appears in the link provided below. I learned it from a guy that was really into studying ki, and I think it has helped me. It may just be that I am gaining the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

http://www.theaikidojourney.com/uncategorized/133
whoa! sitting meditation in the snow! how do i get my nipples from freeze off? not to mention my manhood from disappearing? so after my nipples and manhood fall off from frostbite, would that make me more center?
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:18 AM   #14
Dave Plaza
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Wow, what a wealth of info, thanks to all... I'm gonna try some of these techniques, read those books etc.

Thank you all so much

Dave
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:42 AM   #15
Dazzler
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
first, have you read the book "Hidden in Plain Sight: Tracing the Roots of Ueshiba Morihei's Power." by Ellis Amdur? if you have not, then read it. another book "Center: The Power of Aikido" by Ron Myer and Mark Reeder (pay attention to some of the references).

after the reading those two books, look up these names: Akuzawa Minoru, Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, Howard Popkin, Wang Hai Jun, Chen Bing. attend their seminar/workshop.

be warn, it's a terrible road to travel, filled with pain, frustration, and few results. it's not for everyone. my advice is to stick with aikido, whatever aikido that most folks are doing and not walk down the above road.
Read both books, found the Myer / Reeder one a bit easier to follow (but I am a simple soul).

Followed with interest all the threads by the notables mentioned and even have the introductory DVD of Akuzawa Minoru.

In theory its all interesting stuff but you really have to do it and incorporate this stuff into your training.

This is the hard bit.

Don't expect too many revelations though - lots of the exercises are already practiced throughout many Aikido dojos- perhaps just not valued enough or understood enough though.

From personal experience I remember training on teachers courses with Pierre Chassang of France where the first hour of his lesson was a series of exercises which were all about centre or seika tanden.

The exercises always included those in the 2nd book above

He also explained at length how Tadashi Abe / Matsuharu Nakazono insisted on similar practice and how Master Shirata practiced Tai No Henka for 2 hours solid at Aikikai Tokyo.

In his book he talks of Arikawa suggesting exercises to develop the power of the belly and berates the world of french Aikido for not listening.

Unfortunately as Phi Truong points out it is hard work - and I don't think I really listened either.

I used to long for the end of these exercises so we could throw each other about.

When Pierre was in Tokyo someone left the mat "because they hadn't travelled 10,000 kilometres to do Tai No Henka".

I found the work a bit boring - thinking of it just as a physical warm up...but now I realise these things are so necessary to develop the centre which will allow Aikido practice to be Aikido rather than Aikido techniques practiced with a jujutsu body.

So my challenge is to re-introduce them to my own students without boring them.

Perhaps this is wrong and I should use them to weed out those that lack the discipline to do them...but in doing so I'd have to weed myself out too.

They are still hard work today.

So for me I'm doing it gradually but this means any centre i do have is only growing slowly..I'm not in a rush.

Anyway, yes, read the books, look for common ground with your own training and train harder.

I'll try same.

Cheers

D

Last edited by Dazzler : 11-30-2010 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:43 AM   #16
MM
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

The questions that run through my mind ...

1. How many people throughout the world have done the Aikido warmup exercises (rowing, furitama, etc) for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

2. How many people throughout the world have done bokken swinging for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

3. How many people throughout the world have meditated for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

4. How many people throughout the world have done the Ki Exercises for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

5. How many people throughout the world have done Aikido techniques for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

6. Why is it that Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc studied for 5-10 years and were very good?

7. What is the famous quote (attributed to Albert Einstein) for insanity?
(A: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)

8. After looking around at the Aikido world, its teachers, and current skill levels, why do you think that doing 20-40 years of what everyone else is doing will let you gain, or even surpass, Ueshiba Morihei's skills and abilities when even the Japanese shihan who studied under Ueshiba say they aren't close to what he could do?

The answers? I only know one for sure -- #7. Finding the rest of the answers, IMO, requires stepping outside Modern Aikido's exercises and techniques. They've all been done to death, for 40+ years and produced ... ? (A: Insert person who has achieved Ueshiba Morihei's skills and abilities).

Otherwise, refer back to #7.
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:32 AM   #17
chillzATL
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
The questions that run through my mind ...

1. How many people throughout the world have done the Aikido warmup exercises (rowing, furitama, etc) for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

2. How many people throughout the world have done bokken swinging for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

3. How many people throughout the world have meditated for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

4. How many people throughout the world have done the Ki Exercises for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

5. How many people throughout the world have done Aikido techniques for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

6. Why is it that Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc studied for 5-10 years and were very good?

7. What is the famous quote (attributed to Albert Einstein) for insanity?
(A: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)

8. After looking around at the Aikido world, its teachers, and current skill levels, why do you think that doing 20-40 years of what everyone else is doing will let you gain, or even surpass, Ueshiba Morihei's skills and abilities when even the Japanese shihan who studied under Ueshiba say they aren't close to what he could do?

The answers? I only know one for sure -- #7. Finding the rest of the answers, IMO, requires stepping outside Modern Aikido's exercises and techniques. They've all been done to death, for 40+ years and produced ... ? (A: Insert person who has achieved Ueshiba Morihei's skills and abilities).

Otherwise, refer back to #7.
There's plenty of depth to be found in the things you listed, if you know what you're looking for. Simply going through the motions isn't going to get you much, but that holds true for nearly any activity. One of the big benefits of the outside training is how it allows you to view all the things we've done for years inside of aikido in an entirely new light and, if you choose, to go back use those things for continued development within aikido.

Rather than throwing out the same anecdotes suggesting how everyone is wasting their time, why not ask questions and offer some suggestions as to how one might actually benefit from these things based on your own experiences and progress?
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:18 PM   #18
MM
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
There's plenty of depth to be found in the things you listed, if you know what you're looking for. Simply going through the motions isn't going to get you much, but that holds true for nearly any activity. One of the big benefits of the outside training is how it allows you to view all the things we've done for years inside of aikido in an entirely new light and, if you choose, to go back use those things for continued development within aikido.

Rather than throwing out the same anecdotes suggesting how everyone is wasting their time, why not ask questions and offer some suggestions as to how one might actually benefit from these things based on your own experiences and progress?
First, I never suggested people were wasting their time. Please don't put words in my mouth. I've met enough people who, because of their background, had a step up on other people. Some people were very connected or had structure.

Second, asking questions is the exact thing I did. Quote, "The questions that run through my mind". These are the questions *I* am personally invested with searching for answers.

If someone showed up in the Aikido world that had the skill level of Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc or Ueshiba, I'd be ecstatic. It would mean that some of those skills survived, were taught, and were handed down. There's a possibility that's happened somewhere out of the public's eye.

And suggestions? I think offering my own personal questions is a very good place to start. Maybe someone can answer them and I would be forced to reevaluate (in a good way) things. And, personally, if after doing warm up exercises for 10+ years and not getting anywhere (I am after all, Scottish, so I can be stubborn), I'd be glad if someone came up to me and said, "hey, you're not getting anywhere, shouldn't you reevaluate what you're doing"? I have been at a place where "I didn't know that I didn't know". I assume I'm there now.

so, to toss back your own post, what point was there to it? Where were your questions? Your suggestions? Care to take a stab at answering my questions? How about digging into the "plenty of depth to be found" that you cite instead of just mentioning it? What do you look for? Where do you deviate from "simply going through the motions"?
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Old 11-30-2010, 01:15 PM   #19
chillzATL
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
First, I never suggested people were wasting their time. Please don't put words in my mouth. I've met enough people who, because of their background, had a step up on other people. Some people were very connected or had structure.

Second, asking questions is the exact thing I did. Quote, "The questions that run through my mind". These are the questions *I* am personally invested with searching for answers.

If someone showed up in the Aikido world that had the skill level of Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc or Ueshiba, I'd be ecstatic. It would mean that some of those skills survived, were taught, and were handed down. There's a possibility that's happened somewhere out of the public's eye.

And suggestions? I think offering my own personal questions is a very good place to start. Maybe someone can answer them and I would be forced to reevaluate (in a good way) things. And, personally, if after doing warm up exercises for 10+ years and not getting anywhere (I am after all, Scottish, so I can be stubborn), I'd be glad if someone came up to me and said, "hey, you're not getting anywhere, shouldn't you reevaluate what you're doing"? I have been at a place where "I didn't know that I didn't know". I assume I'm there now.

so, to toss back your own post, what point was there to it? Where were your questions? Your suggestions? Care to take a stab at answering my questions? How about digging into the "plenty of depth to be found" that you cite instead of just mentioning it? What do you look for? Where do you deviate from "simply going through the motions"?
Mark, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to break balls, but they're the same vague questions that you throw out in a lot of threads these days. I appreciate them for stiring up some interest in other people to go out and check things out, but at the same time, it would be nice to start seeing some more direct discussion. I think it would do more to spur peoples interest than simply asking why people who have been at this for 20+ years don't have a shred of Ueshiba's skill.

I'm more than willing to discuss the benefits of some of these things as I see them today. I only asked it of you because you seem to have taken up the mantle around here. how about suburi? There's quite a bit of things hidden in there that Ueshiba and others (sagawa) found value in that has seemingly been lost in the aikido world.
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:41 PM   #20
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

I'm just leaving this posted because I spent more time than I care to admit on it. It probably suffices to say: what Jason said.
Also, my frustration with these topics has more to do with communication issues than with content.
Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
First, I never suggested people were wasting their time. Please don't put words in my mouth.
Considering the context of your own expressed experiences, whch I'm sure Jason has read, you don't think it's an easy assumption to make? I mean, I think you're raising very pertinent questions, but I also think you are suggesting that at least some people have wasted at least some of their time; simply because some people have a goal to attain similar abilities as Shioda and company (which you do seem to be implying are in short supply); particularly in light of your #7.
Quote:
If someone showed up in the Aikido world that had the skill level of Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc or Ueshiba, I'd be ecstatic. It would mean that some of those skills survived, were taught, and were handed down. There's a possibility that's happened somewhere out of the public's eye.
And why would you be ecstatic if you didn't think how unlikely that would be? I'm guessing you think there's a possibilty it happened out of the public eye because in the public eye it hasn't...not much at least.

Quote:
And suggestions? I think offering my own personal questions is a very good place to start.
Here you seem to be making the suggestion that questions are a good way to start making suggestions. Did I read that wrong?
If somehow indeed you really are "just asking questions" and they're not meant to make ANY assertions about the current state of Aikido at large, then I appologize for misconstruing your intentions. From this lap-top, it seems like you are. And to be clear, I didn't read anything "bad" in your remarks. I'll say it here: there are people in Aikido who are wasting at least some of their time. It's a guess, but one I feel confident making...which for me is, I believe, saying something.
Quote:
How about digging into the "plenty of depth to be found" that you cite instead of just mentioning it?
The first thought that comes to mind has to do with the post describing the fellow who "didn't travel 10,000 miles to do tai sabaki" with Shirata Sensei. Maybe these exercises aren't meant to be done strictly as a warm-up? ...That is to say, maybe 10-15 minutes isn't enough to really reap the benefits, particularly earlier on in one's development.
Also I would suggest the atmosphere of the "Hell Dojo" might have something to do with it. I recall reading my Sensei as saying at some point a serious student needs to have a bit more pressure applied than the hobbyist.
I'd also suggest that who you get to lay hands on regularly has a direct impact on how much you can take in...never mind hearing folks who are touted as being VERY good at this stuff describing having taught hundreds from which maybe a dozen really got it. I may be misremembering important details, but there's a start anyway.
Seriously, I think you frame the issue of quality aiki in aikido very well. Please keep sharing your impressions.
...And again, I appologize if I am simply missing something and misconstruing your remarks.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 11-30-2010 at 02:47 PM.

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Old 11-30-2010, 02:46 PM   #21
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Mark, those are interesting questions.

I'd add #9. When are going to see someone who is at today's equivalent level of the aikido giants of old. Someone who is on par with today's pro boxers, mma'ers, olimpyc wrestlers or world class judoka as it is said those aikido giants were back in the day?

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Old 11-30-2010, 03:23 PM   #22
kewms
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
There's plenty of depth to be found in the things you listed, if you know what you're looking for. Simply going through the motions isn't going to get you much, but that holds true for nearly any activity. One of the big benefits of the outside training is how it allows you to view all the things we've done for years inside of aikido in an entirely new light and, if you choose, to go back use those things for continued development within aikido.
This. I've done the standard warmup exercises as just another form of calisthenics, good for getting the body warm, but not much more. And I've done them in a way that left me feeling like I'd just had a very tough workout and needed to go lie down for a while. Follow either approach for ten years, and I'll bet you end up in a very different place.

Katherine
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:59 PM   #23
Randall Lim
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

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Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
Hi folks,

I'm looking for ways to develop my centre... This for me seems to be the most difficult thing to grasp, and it almost seems like the holy grail, if you can develop how to hold your centre then, it seems, you become good at Aikido.

I would like to know if they're any exercises that you think would aid in this process... Do, for example, the rowing exercises (can't remember the name) help?

Many thanks

Dave
Whenever I execute a Taisubaki, I would imagine holding a huge exercise ball (about 3 feet in diameter) in my arms, protecting it from harm.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:47 PM   #24
MM
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Considering the context of your own expressed experiences, whch I'm sure Jason has read, you don't think it's an easy assumption to make? I mean, I think you're raising very pertinent questions, but I also think you are suggesting that at least some people have wasted at least some of their time; simply because some people have a goal to attain similar abilities as Shioda and company (which you do seem to be implying are in short supply); particularly in light of your #7.
You have to look at things in the context of trying to get out of the box. To look at things as if you didn't know that you didn't know.

Let's just take an example - Saotome sensei. I have no doubt whatsoever that he never wasted any of his time when he was with Ueshiba Morihei. Did he waste his time for 40+ years of aikido afterwards? No. He took what he was given and practiced it as diligently as he possibly could. He did the exercises. He did the practices. He asked questions. But, I'd also guess that 40+ years later, Saotome sensei would say that he's not at Ueshiba's level.

So, we have to look at what we, as worldwide aikido students, have done. We have to start climbing out of a box and looking at things as if there was something we just don't know. We've put in the time and spent it well in delving into all the myriad facets of aikido that we were given.

40+ years and we (worldwide aikido in general) are worse off than before. So, when someone asks how do I ..., we have to start critically looking at what we (as a whole) have already done over and over again and find what we're missing.

We've put in the time. We've done the exercises in a variety of means, manners, and ways. We've done techniques to death. We've plumbed the depths of variations on a theme. IMO, it's time to quite answering with the standard stuff of do 10,000 suburi. Do Ki exercises. Do warm up exercises. Time to start asking critical questions and getting together for answers.

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Here you seem to be making the suggestion that questions are a good way to start making suggestions. Did I read that wrong?
If somehow indeed you really are "just asking questions" and they're not meant to make ANY assertions about the current state of Aikido at large, then I appologize for misconstruing your intentions. From this lap-top, it seems like you are. And to be clear, I didn't read anything "bad" in your remarks. I'll say it here: there are people in Aikido who are wasting at least some of their time. It's a guess, but one I feel confident making...which for me is, I believe, saying something.
Questions are a good way of getting people to start thinking critically. To re-examine what they "know". To get out of the box. Or maybe find that the box has floors and levels they never saw before. Those questions I posted (and others not posted) were and are my steps to open my box. To search for and find answers.

In regards to the topic here of developing the center, I can check off those things that have been done for 40+ years. Whatever is left has to include the correct answer. Even if I'm not seeing it yet because I didn't know that I didn't know. Even if what is left may seem unlikely answers. I trust the aikido world-at-large enough that if something in the aikido training that was passed down had the correct answer, we would have found it.

So, yes, my suggestion is to start asking critical questions about training. Just because someone has repeated the phrase, it's a 20 year technique, doesn't mean it's true. 40 years later and it's a 20 more years technique. Why is it that Ueshiba said his art is formless, that all techniques were the same, if there are 20 year techniques? We need those critical questions that cut to the heart of aikido. What exactly was the "secret of aiki" that allowed Ueshiba to pin Tenryu effortlessly? Why can we not do that same thing now?

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
The first thought that comes to mind has to do with the post describing the fellow who "didn't travel 10,000 miles to do tai sabaki" with Shirata Sensei. Maybe these exercises aren't meant to be done strictly as a warm-up? ...That is to say, maybe 10-15 minutes isn't enough to really reap the benefits, particularly earlier on in one's development.
See, there's a critical question. "Maybe these exercises aren't meant to be done strictly as a warm-up?" If they aren't, then what are they meant to do? Why did Ueshiba do them all the time? What was important? Why is it that 40 years later of doing them, we aren't like Ueshiba? What are we missing?

I think these questions and more should be asked of teachers everywhere, all the way up to Japanese shihan of all styles and Doshu. Don't misconstrue that as meaning we should demand answers. There are tactful, polite, and specific ways of asking questions. And I think we would find some very surprising answers and some hidden gems of information.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:56 PM   #25
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Exercises for developing the centre (center)

Here's some food for your brains. And here.
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