Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Training

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-01-2011, 05:15 PM   #351
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,059
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
I don't think I've heard that particular joke . . .
"Doc, will I be able to play the piano after surgery?"

"Sure!"

"Awesome, because I can't play it now!"
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2011, 06:01 PM   #352
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 944
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Could be Kimura was telling a "story". There are a number of stories just like that about Ueshiba, Cheng Man Ching, and many others, so probably it's de rigeur, just to prove that you've got the "True Stuff" (tm), to have a story that shows that you're so weak physically that you can't dress yourself but your 'power' still allows you to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Mike Sigman
I supposed anything's possible, Mike, since we and our colleagues weren't there to bear witness.

But, Kimura seems like a humble mathematics professor not given to hyperbole. When one reads Kimura's writing, it's easy to get the impression that he is being a sychophant of sorts -- including the ways he both speaks to and writes about Sagawa -- but that is just the traditional Japanese way of showing proper deference and respect to one's seniors. And I doubt very much that even with such deferential speech and writing, he would make up tales to exalt his teacher. But maybe that's just me, the idealist.

Kimura describes Sagawa at 80 as "youthful and well developed" -- but photos indicate that he wasn't a muscle-bulky person. More sinewy, maybe you could say, from his unique regimen. Quotes of him from "Transparent Power" do indicate that he himself made a distinction between conventional athletic conditioning, and IP/aiki methodology. Here are a few:

"Weight lifting and other forms of strength training can be good, but the muscles you gain are qualitatively different. By that I mean that your shoulders will be tense."

--------------
"One student who enrolled could lift 180-kilogram (almost 400 lb.) barbells. He appeared quite powerful. Nevertheless, he could not defeat anyone. I find that amusing. You can't beat anyone with strength alone. It may appear at first sight as if only physical force is being used, but in fact, there is another principle at work."

That can, of course, be interpreted as meaning you need fighting strategy, not just physical strength and force, but if taken in the context of Sagawa's dojo training environment, I think we can take it to mean that this over-bulked newbie was tossed around like a ragdoll because there is more than one kind of power, and the one he used was not the kind being taught at Sagawa dojo.

----------------
From Kimura (Sagawa had a heart attack at age 87; at age 90 he went for a followup exam and EKG):
"...When the doctor asked Sensei to do some exercise so that they could do a stress test on his heart, Sagawa surprised the doctor by performing 150 push-ups on the spot. The chart naturally showed some effect of the exertion, but then, when he was given the same stress test on his heart while he was using his Aiki technique to throw opponents, the readings showed absolutely no change in his heart condition, providing yet further proof that Aiki requires no strength at all."

Well, maybe that last line has a touch of hyperbole, but it does point to the difference between using muscular (athletic) power, and IP. The latter is, as has been said many times, a more efficient way of using the body.

Here's another one from Kimura (his POV of Sagawa's weight-lifter story above):

"A weight lifter from Sendai city who has the muscles to lift more than 180 kgs (400 lbs.) enrolled at Sagawa Sensei's dojo. He couldn't budge when I pinned him down, and he was deeply shocked when I threw him around easily ... For me, this experience reinforces the point that bujutsu is completely different from ordinary strength." (By bujutsu, I suspect Kimura means aiki as he knew it, via Sagawa-ha Daito-ryu.)

And, finally (lest I quote too much from a book, though I fear I've already done so), Sagawa avers that IP/aiki is something that one can continue to grow in throughout one's life: "Humans can continue to progress until the day they die," which he apparently did. He lived to be 95, so he and Jack LaLanne are perhaps equal weights on the opposite ends of the physical-training seesaw, with Sagawa representing how IP training can take you through life with always a new horizon to reach for, and LaLanne demonstrating how athletics, done right, can be part of a lifestyle that slows down entropy.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2011, 07:01 PM   #353
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

I don't have a problem with any of that, Cady (including the bit of hyperbole that seems to pop up). My comment was two-part:

1. Stories about how someone couldn't do X physically but could become a demon-strongman throwing people around are fairly common.

2. Internal strength would include opening jars. Send me a jar of grape jelly and I'll open it and send it back as proof.

Mike
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2011, 07:39 PM   #354
thisisnotreal
 
thisisnotreal's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 694
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Chris, Couple of exceptional posts by Pete R::1, 2, 3, 4 (and this too)..and perhaps most relevant. HTH. fwiw. whatever.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2011, 07:51 PM   #355
JangChoe
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 35
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Maybe Sagawa couldn't open jars because he didn't practice his IS winding.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2011, 08:26 PM   #356
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 944
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Well, like I said, we don't know if they were screw-top or pop top juice bottles, or cans that need an old-fashioned hole-punch can opener. Each calls for a different application of IS.
I'll send you a jar of grape jelly when you're 90, Mike, and you can send me back the video.

Well, wherever there are very old folks who've been practicing IMAs for decades, certainly there must be plenty of stories of people who couldn't do X, but were demon-strongmen with throwing. That doesn't mean that Sagawa wasn't one of them. [IMO, "throwing" is kind of a lazy term for a full sequence of events, the last stage -- or product -- of which, is a throw or fall. The devil is in the set-up. That's where the IP and aiki are. Point being, he wasn't using just leverage like wrestlers, contemporary judoka and other more conventional athletes do. i.e., he was using an efficient body method that didn't require him to be muscularly strong.]

Heck, there's even such a story about Sokaku Takeda. He was, what, 5' tall and 100 lbs as an old man? He tossed around big people -- judoka, sumoka, important people's bodyguards. And by all reports he did it effortlessly. Sagawa describes Takeda lying in bed when he was in his early 80s, his right side paralyzed by stroke, and using aiki method to set up and throw people.

It doesn't mean that every disciple or student of every master is obliged to make up an apocryphal story to immortalize his teacher. These things actually do happen, they are memorable events, and they get recorded. Okay, so some get embellished with time, but Sagawa seemed pretty blunt (even when he was making ascertations about himself and his own position in the aiki universe.) )

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 02-01-2011 at 08:38 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2011, 09:15 PM   #357
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 944
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Point being, he wasn't using just leverage and muscle strength, like wrestlers, contemporary judoka and other more conventional athletes do
Oops -- left that out. Long day shoveling snow outside, then shoveling b...er ... writing stuff indoors.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2011, 10:33 PM   #358
bob_stra
Location: Australia
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 641
Australia
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
He lived to be 95, so he and Jack LaLanne are perhaps equal weights on the opposite ends of the physical-training seesaw, with Sagawa representing how IP training can take you through life with always a new horizon to reach for, and LaLanne demonstrating how athletics, done right, can be part of a lifestyle that slows down entropy.
A cynic would look at such stories and wonder "That's great and all, but it seems that going the athletics route gave a better ROI, including the ability to open jars and wipe one's own ass into one's dotage"

IOW, I don't think that Octogenarian IP Superman argument is so compelling, from that point of view.

Last edited by bob_stra : 02-01-2011 at 10:39 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2011, 10:46 PM   #359
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 944
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

It does seem that way, doesn't it, Bob?
I think both men died of pneumonia, so ultimately their training methods and lifestyles proved no match for pathogens and age-worn immune systems. Entropy always wins.

Now we can waste some bandwidth on the obligatory fantasy "strength" match between them in their primes... (which, for Sagawa, seems to have been in his 80s,after a stroke).

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 02-01-2011 at 10:49 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-01-2011, 11:16 PM   #360
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 385
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Thanks Dan, for the invitation and Cady for the reminder. I should have acknowledged earlier but I wanted to read more of the thread before posting. Still haven't caught up but it's a fascinating topic.

I see I should have let you know that my husband and I talked about it immediately with great interest. We haven't traveled much of anywhere in recent years out of the immediate vicinity,

Wethersfield seems to be upstate quite a bit but we are hoping one of our friends will drive. She lives even farther south but travels to other dojos sometimes, so we hope this works out.

thanks again we hope to see you and your group sometime this spring.....
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 10:25 AM   #361
bkedelen
 
bkedelen's Avatar
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 449
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

It is sad that these two great paths are still being discussed as if they are mutually exclusive.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 10:32 AM   #362
Lorel Latorilla
Location: Osaka
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 311
Japan
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
It is sad that these two great paths are still being discussed as if they are mutually exclusive.
Ha! Pretty much.

Unless stated otherwise, all wisdom, follies, harshness, malice that may spring up from my writing are attributable only to me.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 11:13 AM   #363
Rob Watson
Location: CA
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 698
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
It is sad that these two great paths are still being discussed as if they are mutually exclusive.
Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
It is sad that these two great paths are still being discussed as if they are mutually exclusive.
Well, I've laid hands on a fairly well developed (muscularly ,that is) powerlifter purported to have fairly well developed IS skills. Despite what one might say about the mutual exclusivity of internal versus external methods I suspect that if one just works on both they might be surprised. If anything the amount of effort may be more than twice as much as one would presume. Independent as opposed to exclusive or at least moderately contrarian (thus the requirement for extra effort). Honestly who has got the time and inclination to take on such a heavy load of work ... determination and will power in extra measure is a minimum requirement.

Imagine a blend of Jack Lalanne muscles and Sagawa IS skills. That is two lifetimes worth of dedicated daily effort ... anybody up for it?

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 11:57 AM   #364
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

I think it's damn near impossible. It's why I stopped lifting many years ago. Now I use weighted cables in certain inventive ways (I've written about the fun I have with the guys at the gym) and heavy pole shaking, certain offset weighted tools, iron bars and other things to develop and condition.
Hell pushing on a bungee cord stretched across a door frame is too much for many people. Their still all about shoulders. Which is nice, shoulders make good handles when they separate from the body frame!
As far as time spent...I dunno, seems to me that your average guy spends a lot of time sitting on his ass watching TV. I train, even while doing that. And training...should include everything you do all day long...these days that includes shoveling through 6' snow drifts!.
There are lots of ways to do that ...wrong.
Cheers
Dab
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 12:02 PM   #365
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,896
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
..these days that includes shoveling through 6' snow drifts!.
There are lots of ways to do that ...wrong.
Cheers
Dab
of course you do that wrong, shoveling snow that is. there is this thing called snow blower or the neighbor kids who need money for the next ipod. aren't you glad that i helped you out here?
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 12:08 PM   #366
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
of course you do that wrong, shoveling snow that is. there is this thing called snow blower or the neighbor kids who need money for the next ipod. aren't you glad that i helped you out here?
Hmmmm. Can't use a snowblower on gravel driveways and paths. Can't use neighborhood kids because there aren't any..halloween here is a ghost town. And I'm Scottish, so I wouldn't pay someone to do what I can do myself
Cheers
Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 12:10 PM   #367
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 944
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Guys, they are different methodolgies, yes. Will conventional means of strength development (e.g. weight lifting, etc.) create obstacles for cultivating relaxed, "soft" power? Yes. You've heard it from IP practioners say this time and again. Sagawa said it constantly.

For someone just starting out in IP, the re-wiring needed for correct neuromuscular, structural development is hard enough; adding an unrelated training regimen that uses the body in a completely different way, will make IP way more difficult, confusing, and progress will be much slower if at all.

I know firsthand, because it's something I had to struggle with for many years, thanks to deep indoctrination in "external" MAs for decades prior. And others have said the same. Someone earlier on in the forum stated that when he went back to his former, athletic-type training, it undid all the hard work he'd put into IP training. Dropping the former resulted in restoring his ability in the latter.

That said, after a point in IP training, IME you can tell what sorts of athletics you can do, that won't make you flex your shoulders or get into other counter-productive habits. Sagawa did push-ups and likely did other familiar exercises, with no problems.

I know IP people who play golf, shoot hoops, do sit-ups and push-ups. But they gave up power lifting and other muscle-flex activities. There's one fellow who says that, try as he might, he can't throw a baseball to save his life, but I suspect it's because he has so refined his IP skills that he has completely wired out the "external hip torque" that powers a baseball as it does a karate punch, but which is counter-productive to internal power.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 02-02-2011 at 12:21 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 12:15 PM   #368
Jeremy Hulley
Dojo: Seattle School of Aikido Shinto Ryu/Seattle Icho Ryu
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 138
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Cady,
That's funny for me in reverse. I couldn't throw a baseball with any zip at all until I spent some time with ark.But I know what you are saying..

Last edited by Jeremy Hulley : 02-02-2011 at 12:20 PM. Reason: spelling

Jeremy Hulley
Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 12:21 PM   #369
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 944
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
of course you do that wrong, shoveling snow that is. there is this thing called snow blower or the neighbor kids who need money for the next ipod. aren't you glad that i helped you out here?
Phi, do you hang around kids much, these days? The ones in my neighborhood walk down the snowy road, their earbuds blocking out the sounds of snow shovels being wielded by elderly and middled-aged folks (such as myself), their eyes averted from seeing this travesty because they are glued to their text-messaging and games.

It just wouldn't occur to them to attempt anything approximating physical labor.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 12:22 PM   #370
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 944
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
Cady,
That's funny for me in reverse. I couldn't throw a baseball with any zip at all until I spent some time with ark.But I know what you are saying..
So, you throw without the windup? A no-inch pitch?
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 12:51 PM   #371
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,257
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
of course you do that wrong, shoveling snow that is. there is this thing called snow blower or the neighbor kids who need money for the next ipod. aren't you glad that i helped you out here?
What's snow? Oh right... that white stuff I see on distant hilltops sometimes. I moved waaaay off center.... to where I intend to never have to shovel snow again.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 12:53 PM   #372
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Guys, they are different methodolgies, yes. Will conventional means of strength development (e.g. weight lifting, etc.) create obstacles for cultivating relaxed, "soft" power? Yes. You've heard it from IP practioners say this time and again. Sagawa said it constantly.

For someone just starting out in IP, the re-wiring needed for correct neuromuscular, structural development is hard enough; adding an unrelated training regimen that uses the body in a completely different way, will make IP way more difficult, confusing, and progress will be much slower if at all.

I know firsthand, because it's something I had to struggle with for many years, thanks to deep indoctrination in "external" MAs for decades prior. And others have said the same. Someone earlier on in the forum stated that when he went back to his former, athletic-type training, it undid all the hard work he'd put into IP training. Dropping the former resulted in restoring his ability in the latter.

That said, after a point in IP training, IME you can tell what sorts of athletics you can do, that won't make you flex your shoulders or get into other counter-productive habits. Sagawa did push-ups and likely did other familiar exercises, with no problems.

I know IP people who play golf, shoot hoops, do sit-ups and push-ups. But they gave up power lifting and other muscle-flex activities. There's one fellow who says that, try as he might, he can't throw a baseball to save his life, but I suspect it's because he has so refined his IP skills that he has completely wired out the "external hip torque" that powers a baseball as it does a karate punch, but which is counter-productive to internal power.
Hmmmmmmm..... frankly there are a number of issues that I'd disagree with either in the statements or the implications of the statements, Cady. You and I don't see internal-strength training in quite the same light. Not that I'm saying that to be disagreeable, but just to toss in a comment about a broad statement on internal-strength itself.

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 12:58 PM   #373
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,257
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Guys, they are different methodolgies, yes. Will conventional means of strength development (e.g. weight lifting, etc.) create obstacles for cultivating relaxed, "soft" power? Yes. You've heard it from IP practioners say this time and again. Sagawa said it constantly.......I know IP people who play golf, shoot hoops, do sit-ups and push-ups. But they gave up power lifting and other muscle-flex activities. There's one fellow who says that, try as he might, he can't throw a baseball to save his life, but I suspect it's because he has so refined his IP skills that he has completely wired out the "external hip torque" that powers a baseball as it does a karate punch, but which is counter-productive to internal power.
All I know - which ain't much - is that when I'm in the dojo doing the ki exercises we warm up with, if I'm focusing on bringing in the IP work which I assume is the original reason for doing these exercises, I can't do a proper looking or feeling shomenuchi block. If I do a proper shomenuchi block, I quickly lose the feelingof moving my center (as opposed to moving my hips, which is what I've been doing for oh so many years). So yeah, this feels very much like two separate skill sets that need to be integrated

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 01:02 PM   #374
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 944
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Could you describe what these disagreements are, Mike? Keep in mind that I'm speaking only from my personal experience, habits and opinion.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2011, 01:14 PM   #375
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
United_States
Offline
Re: Why do you perceive "internal" superior to athleticism?

Hey, Cady, just wanted to say it's been great seeing you on-line again. Love reading your posts -- always gives me food for thought (like so many here).

Sorry for the interruption -- back to the regularly scheduled stuff...

  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:25 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2016 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2016 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate