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Old 01-24-2011, 08:14 AM   #1
Mary Eastland
 
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Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:57 AM   #2
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: aikido training

Great topic, Mary.

I have come to see aikido as a continuous research into what it means that human beings are always connected (to one another and to all that lives) and at the same time forever in conflict within those connections. What to do about that? There are many kinds of conflict within this scenario, and many skills that may be needed to deal with them adequatly. A huge number of them can be explored in aikido.

If someone is interested in the kind of conflict that involves actual fighting, IS (understood as the technical designation for a complex set of physical and mental body organisation skills) is a very vaulable area of research.

There are many other valuable areas of research for other kinds of conflicts that can be explored in aikido. And of course there is interal strength of all kinds once we leave the above definition.

I believe power (and its other side, vulnerability) is the "life koan" of most, if not all, dedicated martial artists, anyway. I would like to think that it was the life koan which Morihei Ueshiba solved for himself. If one's life koan is about power, there is nothing wrong in pursuing it to its resolution. If that requires searching for power, than that will be necessary. Saying "I do not want power" can be as much of a delusion as obsessively pursuing power without awareness. (Not talking about you here!)

Again, great topic.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:58 AM   #3
Chris Li
 
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Re: aikido training

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice�he development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary
What was Gozo Shioda missing when he went outside the art? What about Koichi Tohei? Kisshomaru, for that matter, was made to go outside the art by his own father, for sword training. It seems to be more the rule than the exception.

Aren't you always trying to improve your training? It's not a matter of trying to be the strongest person alive, it's a matter of a training method that is just...better.

I haven't trained with the others, but I highly recommend Dan's classes if you get the opportunity. I think you'll find that he's not quite the soulless fighting machine you seem to be thinking of .

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-24-2011, 09:25 AM   #4
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

I am not sure where you got that idea. I am sure Dan is a fine fellow. However, I am not looking for what he is offering.
And what were they (Tohei, for ex) missing when they went outside the art? They can't speak to us but we can speak for ourselves.
I know I was missing being able to defend myself in my early years. So out I went to find a way to be safe.
Now I only train in Aikido. I am not judging others as wrong I am really interested in the thoughts and process.
Mary

Last edited by Mary Eastland : 01-24-2011 at 09:26 AM. Reason: guess what...spelling of course!
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:39 AM   #5
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary
Good questions.

From my personal perspective I suspect IS is what I've seen referred to as Kokyu Ryoku which is for me one of the bases of Aikido.

A long time ago one of my major influences expressed concerns that 'modern Aikido' was more concerned with the joy of movement and failed to recognise that the development of breath power was fundamental to the practice of Aikido.

Now on this forum there is a growing body saying the same thing.

So I'm very interested.

Some of the guys that post here are specialists with seemingly vast subject knowledge .

Naturally I'm interested ...sadly the person who initially evoked my interest is now in his 90's and no longer travels, ...so I do need another source since to date I've not been able to work it out for myself...If Aikido were more of a kicking art I'd kick myself for not paying enough attention when I had the chance...but perhaps I was not ready.

I'm ready now though - So this is why I'm looking ...i agree with you of course, Aikido is whole practice, it is all the good things in a dojo, it is also still a martial art so to me has to 'work' ...but if there are some shortcuts available or even just a few pearls of wisdom then why not look to those that have focussed on this Internal aspect and then bring that into the framework of your whole practice Aikido?

Regards

D
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:51 AM   #6
David Orange
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
And what were they (Tohei, for ex) missing when they went outside the art? They can't speak to us but we can speak for ourselves.
I know I was missing being able to defend myself in my early years. So out I went to find a way to be safe.
Now I only train in Aikido. I am not judging others as wrong I am really interested in the thoughts and process.
Mary
Mary,

The problem, to me, is whether one is even doing "the art' at all. I've been around the US a good bit and I've seen very little aikido deserving of the name. Mostly, I find people doing something so symbolic and formalized that there is no real life in it. And the teachers of these classes have mutliple degrees of black belt. But they are the student of a student of a student of someone who was a student of someone who trained with Ueshiba. And when I say they have that distant lineage, that may be after they hop around from organization to organization over many years, gradually going up in rank, so that they don't have a very long or direct relationship at all to the roots of the art.

So most places you go, it's very questionable that "the whole art" or "the real art" is even there.

But even when you get to the supposed "mainline" aikido, you're still left to wonder how closely it relates to Morihei Ueshiba's art. And that's the rub. It seems there was something more to Morihei Ueshiba's art than there is to modern aikido. So what I want is the root of the art--not the dead leaves I can find scattered all over the ground.

But aren't you guys in Tohei style? As far as I know, mainline aikido (aikikai) does not consider Tohei styl "real aikido" . Tohei added a lot of material that Ueshiba didn't include and aikikai took out a lot of what Ueshiba had.

I went back to Mochizuki Sensei, who had pre-war training with Ueshiba, but he had expanded the technical repertoire to include all of judo and a vast array of jujutsu--all performed from what we would call an "aiki opening". Since Morihei Ueshiba performed techniques spontaneously, causing people to say "What was that?", his aikido was limitless. And people were completely free to resist him as much as they wanted--if they could. So Mochizuki Sensei just opened the gates wide on technique, but it was all rooted in the fundamentals of tai sabaki and kuzushi. And to me, that really carries the spirit of Morihei Ueshiba much better than any modern style available.

Mochizuki Sensei waved off the idea of "ki" for reasons I understand much better now, but is it wrong of me to want to understand ki, now that I've reached full codgerhood? And is it wrong to want to understand how Ueshiba was able to stand in a natural stance and be unmoved when strong men pushed him? Or to understand how he defeated Tenryu, the sumo champion, while sitting in seiza? Maybe you guys teach that, but as far as I know, the "official" art of aikido does not. So your question on why we want to learn IS contains another question: why don't you drop all the Tohei stuff and teach only what Moriteru Ueshiba teaches now? That's the "official" aikido and they don't even teach sword work.

I think the answer to your original question is "Because 'official' aikido drops more and more of what Morihei Ueshiba did as the years roll on."

How's that?

David

So to me, mainstream aikido is symbolic and not living and that rather bores me.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:00 AM   #7
Mark Uttech
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Onegaishimasu, if I may add a thought to this discussion, I think more and more folks are exploring internal strength because internal strength is the core of why we are even alive after all. Internal strength also seems to be the mountain that all religions and philosophies lead to.

In gassho,
Mark

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:02 AM   #8
Budd
 
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Re: aikido training

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary
Well, I think this is where the current initiative amongst aikido practitioners to get some skills in internal strength will start to pay off - hopefully. On one hand you have people chasing internal strength, saying, "Yes!! This is what I was missing!" on the other hand you have people saying "We already do that!" and then (assuming this is akin to the many-handed giants of greek myth) there are still other hands "Not important", "Those people are mean", "Aikido is love", "My association forbids it", "Shut up and pay your dues", "I just train because I enjoy it - leave me alone", etc.

I think it's great that there are different flavors of aikido, but I think it wouldn't hurt if they were called out as what they are when measured against some objective standards (no idea of what those would be, either) . . but if you say that you do internal strengh, there's some basic things you should be able to demonstrate. If you say that you train aikido as a martial art, then some modicum of martial integrity needs to be present, if you say aikido is moving zen . .etc. The same. If the argument is that aikido is a blanket that encapsulates all of these things (which, being "formless" I can see how that gets rationalized) . . fine, but then it's even more important to have standards and some objective definitions around how each of the facets work.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:07 AM   #9
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Why is a great question. Why is something we should always ask. If we don't know why, we can never know how. I believe this is the real key to understanding Aikido.

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:10 AM   #10
JW
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Here's my reasoning. Aiki using I.S. seems to me based on the evidence to be the path that O-sensei himself was following. He suggested it might have some value for all of us, and wrote things like the Doka about it. But, his students (can't fault them mind you) in general imitated him and his movements (as has happened in a lot of arts that use IS).
So when the above slowly became evident to me, I was faced with the decision: should I continue to mimic a guy who was following this path, and hope to gain all that such mimicry could offer in terms of life enrichment, or follow that path myself, and then hope to see first-hand what O-sensei was talking about and enrich my life via the same path he was on?
The former had enough in it to hook me for 12 years. I'm sure I could have felt happy sticking with it for the rest of my life. It is not worthless as a source of enrichment. But-- the latter seems to be the heart of what I am really after.

Kind of like being inspired by Ansel Adams, and chosing between becoming a photographer or becoming an environmental advocate through photography. One is following the message and one is imitating the activity. And as this analogy starts to break down let me cling to it one last bit: let's suppose fictionally that the reason Adams' photos were so amazingly striking and mine for 12 years were only kind of "nice looking" in comparison is because he had a camera-building technological technique that was not popularized, and the mechanics of that design simply do things with light differently than my Canon camera. Things that I could imitate in a studio but could NEVER get out in the wild like he did.

Last edited by JW : 01-24-2011 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:20 AM   #11
Alfonso
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Speaking for myself; I wanted to understand what is it I was supposed to be teaching. I found myself leading classes where I went through a good 1/2 hour of movements which were supposed to make sense in some way, and I felt I could not teach something in that way. I also wanted to understand what was supposed to be missing, what this aiki thing was that the old schoolers kept pointing as missing in modern Aikido, and so on. Because the terms are so over used (see the current example on training internal strength thread) and because there has been secrecy and honour and whatnot involved in the topic it's hard to navigate through all of this. I think that the reality of internal strength as a non magical thinking subject is going to end up taking the day.

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:21 AM   #12
phitruong
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

*beware, one man's opinion follows*
that question deserves another question, what does power mean for you?

much of our education have either implicitly or explicitly pushed us away from power, because "power tends to corrupt. absolute power corrupt absolutely." most of us can not trust ourselves with power and we do not trust those who have power or those who seek it. it has now becomes our social subconscious.

the search for internal strength (the physical kind, not the spiritual kind) has been going on for millenniums. before the invention of gun, where we still fought, in up close and personal, having the right kind of power was the different between life and death. how does a smaller and weaker person survives against stronger, faster, and more numerous? you trained for better fighting techniques, tactics, strategies, viciousness, deviousness, weaponries, and so on and so for. you find anything that would give you an edge over the other person. those who did not, had not the chance to pass on the knowledge, i.e. selective process to weed out the stuffs that didn't work. internal power in martial arts was one of the many edges.

power doesn't corrupt. we, human, are. throughout our history, many of the major changes happened because of some of the most vicious bastards we produced. most are very bad, but they were the catalyst for change. we hated them. we associated power with such as they. what we didn't realize, is that in each and everyone of us, there is a vicious animal lies dormant, only wait for the right condition to unleash. many of us aware of such animal, and shy away from it. if we admit such animal exist, then we admit that we are bad, which we cannot see or allow ourselves to be view as such. because, in our mind eyes, we cannot be bad.

so, the search for internal power in martial arts, for some are to continue the old tradition of survival; for other, dominion; other stills, scholar topic, fad, and other reasons that we try to tell ourselves.

i won't tell you my reason to seek it, because it's mine and mine alone, my beast (it's a chihuahua ).

btw, for those who think IS training is quick and easy, i can tell you now. you are absolutely wrong! it requires great dedication, pain and sweat, more than you can imagine. no quick and easy buck here.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:23 AM   #13
jonreading
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

As I trained and engaged in historical/political research into both Japanese history and aikido history, 3 things became clear to me:
1. Those instructors (including many of the uchi deshi and early aikido leaders) who I respect all have experience in martial arts outside aikido;
2. The current leaders in aikido and individuals who I respect have experience in other martial arts and much of the "new" instruction breaking into aikido is centered around larger martial concepts, some of which are better explained by other arts;
3. O'Sensei deliberately removed particular components of his aikido from the curriculum. In this sense, aikido as we know it is an abridged version of earlier aikido. I believe many of these missing components are found in other arts and could (in theory) be re-assembled into aikido.

Internal strength/internal power is one of those components no longer considered part of aikido curriculum. I believe Kuriowa Sensei refers to this concept as it relates to [true] kihon waza; Tohei Sensei also referred to it... Trouble is we don't do it in aikido so we need to look elsewhere.

I believe internal power is desireable to aikido because it is the root of our strength; i.e. I think internal power is what generates the energy we express into our partners. I think some of the IP people may be able to provide a more complete statement about why internal power is desireable to aikido...
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:23 AM   #14
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

The human spirit is larger than any single art. Other arts (and other practices, martial or not) offer different views of the vast realm of human possibility.

Similarly, other arts offer different views of aiki (or whatever you want to call it). Not that these views are necessarily "better" or "worse," but different perspectives often help deepen understanding.

Katherine
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:26 AM   #15
David Orange
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it?
I think it's not "going outside aikido to find something else," but it's a search for the "real aikido," itself.

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:33 AM   #16
MM
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Hi Mary,

I would not equate "inner strength" with "internal strength". Those are two completely different things to me. And "internal strength" doesn't mean being the strongest person alive.

If you'll step back a moment with me, I would look towards Ueshiba's martial skills and what he accomplished. He had people push on him and try to topple him over or to make him move but none truly succeeded. That is one qualifier of defining "internal strength". It has to do with training the body a specific way to achieve that capability.

"Inner strength", on the other hand, I would look to Ueshiba's spiritual pursuits and see how he manifested that. For instance, he took the principle of Daito ryu to break and kill a person and he added another choice of sending the person outwards unharmed. That takes an inner strength to make that choice (understand that there has to be a martial capability, but that is another matter), to be the better person, to change how people view budo.

While I think that Kisshomaru altered his father's spiritual ideology to allow for a worldwide appeal, there is still that "inner strength" message in Modern Aikido.

What is lacking in Modern Aikido is the martial capabilities that Ueshiba had and that is where "internal strength" comes into play. "Internal strength" is a core body skill that allows better martial training in whatever art you choose to do. It only very tangentially touches upon the spiritual/mental/emotional concept of "inner strength" as learned in Modern Aikido. The two are very, very different things but are also very, very complementary. One does not invalidate the other.

As you noted, "inner strength" can be found in aikido training all over. It is part of the mold. "Internal strength" is not found in aikido training and can only be seen in a very few Aikido Greats such as Ueshiba, Shioda, Shirata, etc.

The very apt questions about whether someone has good "internal strength" or not are these:

Can you have a sumo champion try to push you over and you not only don't move, but you pin the sumo champion such that he admits defeat? (Ueshiba, Takeda)

Can you have 5th dan judo champions try to throw you and you not only don't get thrown, but you toss them at will? (Takeda, Mifune)

If you don't have a clue as to how that is at all possible, then you are not training "internal strength" and no amount of "inner strength" training will get you there.

That isn't to say "inner strength" is worthless. It is not that at all. I'm just trying to show the difference between the two and why people are going out and training "internal strength". They have resources for "inner strength" training in aikido, but not for "internal strength".

It isn't a matter of being the "strongest person alive" but a matter of trying to follow Ueshiba's vision. He not only had the "inner strength" but he also had the "internal strength". They were both seamlessly intertwined.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Why are you searching for internal strength? Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it? When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
Once when I was joined in the conversation I was told I don't have it because one of my students doesn't have it. If you asked me about that student I would agree. His heart was not in it. Aikido training lets your inner strength out. You don't have to go to an expert to find it.
Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Mary
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:34 AM   #17
MM
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
Onegaishimasu, if I may add a thought to this discussion, I think more and more folks are exploring internal strength because internal strength is the core of why we are even alive after all. Internal strength also seems to be the mountain that all religions and philosophies lead to.

In gassho,
Mark
That's not the definition of "internal strength" that I have. I would equate your post with "inner strength". The two are not the same for some people.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:41 AM   #18
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Why are you searching for internal strength?Mary
Why not? Why search for anything? I see IT as a compliment to aikido. I also see it as another compliment to other areas of my life. I have a feeling it can have a good influence on my horsemanship. It can only deepen my understanding of how my body works and offer me a broader realm of possibilities.

Quote:
Why is it missing from your Aikido training?
I don't believe it is or ever was. I have perceived aspects of IT as part of my training from day one although I did not know how to recognize them or isolate and train them.

Quote:
Why are you going outside your art to find it?Mary
I'm not. I am exploring it within my art. However if teachers from other arts ,who understand it better, are willing to share what they know why would I not take them up on the offer?

Quote:
When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
It is not what is lacking... it is what can make something good even better? Ice cream by itself is delicious. Ice cream with Sarri's hard cap on top is out of this world....
Quote:

Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into.
And I had the same sentiments before I got a little taste of IT. Nor do I think that this training is necessarily for everyone. But for myself personally. I want to continue the exploration. I'm relatively new to aikido. If all of these people who discovered it so late into their training have good results I can only imagine what someone who has had training like this ,alongside their regular training, might experience.

Quote:
Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
I am neither impatient nor interested in being the strongest person alive. I can see that this may be the goal of some. But just because one explores IT does not mean their goal is to be a great fighter. But then I also did not come to aikido looking for self defense.

My question to you is.

Why does it bother you that some wish to explore this aspect of training?

Last edited by Shadowfax : 01-24-2011 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:46 AM   #19
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Why not? Why search for anything? I see IT as a compliment to aikido.
Information Technology?

If there's a central theme to this thread, it's different people using the same (or similar) words to mean different things. It's a shaky basis for discussion.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:25 AM   #20
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Why are you searching for internal strength?
So I can stand in the floating bridge.

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Old 01-24-2011, 11:36 AM   #21
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I am not sure where you got that idea. I am sure Dan is a fine fellow. However, I am not looking for what he is offering.
And what were they (Tohei, for ex) missing when they went outside the art? They can't speak to us but we can speak for ourselves.
I know I was missing being able to defend myself in my early years. So out I went to find a way to be safe.
Now I only train in Aikido. I am not judging others as wrong I am really interested in the thoughts and process.
Mary
I think that you're confusing things if you think that internal strength is all about fighting or self-defense. Of course, the applications are obvious, but what we're talking about is really a superior way of moving and using your body.

For my money, it's not "outside" of Aikido at all - unless what Morihei Ueshiba was doing was "outside" of Aikido.

I also think that Mark's distinction between "inner strength" and "internal strength" is very important. On the other hand, I think that the two were intimately connected in Morihei Ueshiba's training method - so much so that you need one to understand the other.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-24-2011, 11:37 AM   #22
jss
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Why are you searching for internal strength?
I'd rather think of myself as 'training' than 'searching', but the reason is simple: I enjoy it.
One could argue that Aikido is not Aikido without internal strength, but I'm no longer interested in that discussion. People should decide for themselves how and what to train.

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Why is it missing from your Aikido training? Why are you going outside your art to find it?
I quit Aikido some time ago, but it's really quite simple: if you can't find what you're looking for in Aikido, you go look somewhere else.

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When I read the threads about this training it makes me wonder what you are lacking that you have to go find it.
A very specific skill set. Most people that have felt what Mike Sigman, Akuzawa, Dan Harden, etc, can do (not that they all do exactly the same thing) seem to agree, by the way. And the operative word sure seems to be 'felt' here.

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Aikido training for me is a whole practice…the development of correct feeling is just part of the process in becoming what Aikido is molding me into. Are you missing the point in your impatience to be the strongest person alive?
Ironically, a lot of the feats that make internal strength impressive have more to do with skill (coordination) than with strength (conditioning). Not that conditioning is not an important requirement, but the conditioning alone won't get you that far. It's the skill set that becomes accessible through the conditioning that makes up the fun part of internal strength. So I wouldn't say I want to become the strongest person alive and am thus missing the point.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
[...], but what we're talking about is really a superior way of moving and using your body.
Devil's advocate-time: superior in what way(s)?

Last edited by jss : 01-24-2011 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:45 AM   #23
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Information Technology?

If there's a central theme to this thread, it's different people using the same (or similar) words to mean different things. It's a shaky basis for discussion.
I don't necessarily believe that they mean different things. Yeah we seem to have several acronyms going on. I settled on IT (internal training) as the one closed to my current understanding. As that grows perhaps I'll find a different way to name it.

You asked some questions. I answered them from my POV. You have not yet answered mine.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:45 AM   #24
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Devil's advocate-time: superior in what way(s)?
Stability, power generation, and stress on the body. Not to mention the interesting effects that start to happen when interacting with a partner.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-24-2011, 11:48 AM   #25
Keith Larman
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I think that you're confusing things if you think that internal strength is all about fighting or self-defense. Of course, the applications are obvious, but what we're talking about is really a superior way of moving and using your body.

For my money, it's not "outside" of Aikido at all - unless what Morihei Ueshiba was doing was "outside" of Aikido.

I also think that Mark's distinction between "inner strength" and "internal strength" is very important. On the other hand, I think that the two were intimately connected in Morihei Ueshiba's training method - so much so that you need one to understand the other.

Best,

Chris
Here I am writing this long post then Chris posts. Okay, fine...

Delete it all.

What Chris said.

Then add "because I want to be able to do what I sometimes feel from some of my sensei without waiting another 20 years to get there.". Impatient? Maybe. Or could we consider the possibility that there may be better models available now to understand what was being done hence a maybe more efficient means of transmission of this one aspect of a larger art? I don't think the art *itself* is missing anything. However, people do differ considerably on what the art *is* and whether it has been faithfully transmitted.

If the previous is correct, well, then maybe I can in turn become a better teacher for the few students I teach. I do feel a responsibility to my art. To transmit it the best I can. And if I find another way to convey something to a student that is of value to them, well, I'm a happy guy.

But in the larger picture... If you feel things are just ducky the way they are, more power to ya. I shrug a lot about this stuff. Whatever floats your boat as my dad used to say. Or, another way of putting this point is to point out that nobody ever asks why I like playing tennis. Or why I try different ways to fix my swing. I know someone who does Aikido as a form of dance and movement. He is about as martially effective as a dead bird. But he's okay with that, he's getting what he wants from what he does. Great for him. Just not for me, however. We can, however, coexist without the universe imploding on itself.

The answer to me is quite mundane. Because I'm interested. Because I like it. Because it's fun. Because it is stimulating. Because maybe it will give me a way to be a better student of something I love. Or maybe make me a better teacher in turn.

Aikido as an art for me isn't a question of absolute slavish devotion to some idealized icon. To me it's about simply going where the path leads me. And doing so sincerely.

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