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Old 02-17-2011, 11:39 AM   #76
jonreading
 
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Re: Future of Aikido

First, I do not think comparison is what we are talking about. Exposure and scrutiny is what we are talking about. I am talking about allowing others to observe and scrutinize our aikido. These peers have something to offer if we are willing to listen.
Competition is one of those buzz words we use to discredit something we don't like in aikido. We don't have competition, right? Call it competition. Bang. Discredited.

Second, I think we are talking about exposing ourselves to good martial artists. While I absolutely believe the people I respect and from whom I seek advice bring the goods, I think the implication in the posts is that these people are only bringing physical knowledge (i.e. martial effectiveness). I would also advocate they have intellectual knowledge to share with us. Again, I don't want to marginalize this point by simply using another buzzword tactic, Martial effectiveness. Aikido is not about fighting, right? We are not concerned with being able to actually use fighting skills. Bang. Dead.

Aikido should not be about someone else, but that does not mean we cannot ask someone else to help us.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:52 AM   #77
Ketsan
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Maybe it is possible to learn martially effective aikido with little or no focus on personal development, great if that is what you want, but you may just end up as a more effective fighting person with little or no personal morals or integrity
How exactly does learning Aikido make you a more moral person? That's massive statment to make. One version of shihonage will save your life but another will teach you ethics, morality and give you personal integrity? How are you measuring for that?
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:54 AM   #78
kewms
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Aikido should not be about someone else, but that does not mean we cannot ask someone else to help us.
Wise words. Many people are shining lights on the Way for those who follow them. Not all of those people study aikido.

Katherine
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:12 PM   #79
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Comparing ourselves to others is just a distraction from becoming as good as we can be.
Mary
Hi Mary,
I have a different take on it... People generally have their "story". It's what they tell themselves to make themselves feel ok, to make the world seem comprehensible, to justify their actions, to justify their inaction, etc.

I am always trying to look at other folks. And I compare what I see with myself. I know I have my own "story"... does that "story" line up with what I am seeing with others? It is so easy to fool oneself. Am I really trying to be the best I can be? Or is that just my story? Looking outside oneself can function as a reality check.

I might be inclined to tell myself that I can't do something... I tried my best, but I just couldn't do it. But then I see other folks doing it. They are succeeding, why am I not? Did I really try my best? Or was that just my story?

Existing in the moment without seeing oneself in relation to some outside set of standards or accomplishments is a very advanced state spiritually. Most people can't do it. Most folks who think they are doing it are really just listening to their own story. That's why , even in Zen, you have teachers who provide the reality check for the students since its really easy to go off into la la land.

I am not saying that what you said isn't desirable or true. It just isn't very useful for most people. There are folks who are totally self sustaining in their training, as you described. Kuroda Sensei, Ushiro Sensei, Ikeda Sensei, Michael Ryabko... these people are all at the very top of their games. There isn't anyone they would compare themselves to in their fields. Yet they constantly get better. Their quest for an unattainable perfection is totally self motivated and not in relation to anyone else.

Most people simply can't do that. Without role models, without something to shoot for, without comparisons which allow them to peg their "progress", they take the easier road to mediocrity. So, I think we should look outside ourselves. It serves to keep us humble. It serves to show us what is possible when we don't believe it ourselves. Given the human capacity to lie to oneself, I think outside reference points serve a very important function.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:17 PM   #80
DH
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Wise words. Many people are shining lights on the Way for those who follow them. Not all of those people study aikido.

Katherine
It's probably important to note here that not all of the people helping by sharing what they know, consider the exchange...a competition at all.
What are we competing for? Instead it is becoming a free and cordial exchange.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:40 PM   #81
Lee Salzman
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Re: Future of Aikido

George, you know what this reminds me of, if we were to classify it as a state of mind? Depression! When you are depressed, you just want to shut out more and more of the world in an attempt to cocoon yourself from the dangers of life. You convince yourself that this is truly the best possible state of affairs, when in actuality, no matter how painful, the more you start partaking of outside stimulation again, the better you get. I have way more familiarity with this cycle than I would like.

The thought that we are possibly inadequate in our training is very frightening to contemplate, but then again, coming across people who can not just point out you're in a nasty rut, but show you a better way, can be rather ecstatic.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Hi Mary,
I have a different take on it... People generally have their "story". It's what they tell themselves to make themselves feel ok, to make the world seem comprehensible, to justify their actions, to justify their inaction, etc.

I am always trying to look at other folks. And I compare what I see with myself. I know I have my own "story"... does that "story" line up with what I am seeing with others? It is so easy to fool oneself. Am I really trying to be the best I can be? Or is that just my story? Looking outside oneself can function as a reality check.

I might be inclined to tell myself that I can't do something... I tried my best, but I just couldn't do it. But then I see other folks doing it. They are succeeding, why am I not? Did I really try my best? Or was that just my story?

Existing in the moment without seeing oneself in relation to some outside set of standards or accomplishments is a very advanced state spiritually. Most people can't do it. Most folks who think they are doing it are really just listening to their own story. That's why , even in Zen, you have teachers who provide the reality check for the students since its really easy to go off into la la land.

I am not saying that what you said isn't desirable or true. It just isn't very useful for most people. There are folks who are totally self sustaining in their training, as you described. Kuroda Sensei, Ushiro Sensei, Ikeda Sensei, Michael Ryabko... these people are all at the very top of their games. There isn't anyone they would compare themselves to in their fields. Yet they constantly get better. Their quest for an unattainable perfection is totally self motivated and not in relation to anyone else.

Most people simply can't do that. Without role models, without something to shoot for, without comparisons which allow them to peg their "progress", they take the easier road to mediocrity. So, I think we should look outside ourselves. It serves to keep us humble. It serves to show us what is possible when we don't believe it ourselves. Given the human capacity to lie to oneself, I think outside reference points serve a very important function.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:20 PM   #82
graham christian
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Re: Future of Aikido

Comparing, compairing. IT all depends on why your comparing. Compairing for the 'wrong' reason will lead you knowhere of any use.

I think Mary seems to be 'at the top of her game' and doing well thank you very much. I also think the teachers mentioned are also at the top of their game and doing well thank you very much. Definitely not an example of depression.

Compairing in order to learn is good also. The difference between between Mary and let's say anyone who learns by going to other arts and also if I may say so Dan is nothing to do with who's right and who's wrong.

Dan has a Purpose to share and help. That's brilliant. Mary has a purpose to share and help. Equally brilliant. Both are good at what they do. Brilliant.

One travels around, one doesn't so much. So what?

One welcomes anyone and so does the other.

I am now comparing and contrasting. I THINK what I see thus is true.

Just some thoughts.

Regards.G.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:20 PM   #83
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Re: Future of Aikido

"spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure" (Wikipedia)

I would also add ...for or against a certain 'method' or 'way'.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:22 PM   #84
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Exposure and scrutiny is what we are talking about. I am talking about allowing others to observe and scrutinize our aikido. These peers have something to offer if we are willing to listen.
.
are you talking about *gasp * peer review? do we look like we are in some sort of higher learning place, like a university or something? did i not say that we are descendants for barbarian? there is no place for higher learning here. soon you will be talking about tenure and grant and research. it will be down hill and the death of us all! horrible thought! although i wouldn't mind a PhD in aikido where folks would call me, Dr Phister. however, i hated writing research paper. if i have a research paper on aikido, it would have one line,

Aikido, please grab my wrist and hold on!


Last edited by phitruong : 02-17-2011 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:33 PM   #85
graham christian
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Asim Hanif wrote: View Post
"spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure" (Wikipedia)

I would also add ...for or against a certain 'method' or 'way'.
Asim. That said, some may be using spin, some may merely be promoting and some may be offering impartial advice or opinion.

Regards.G.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:51 PM   #86
dps
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Re: Future of Aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Decisions like that aren't made simply by focusing on the present... usually they come about because we realize one day that where we want to go, the direction we wish to pursue, isn't where we will go unless we make some change.
Decisions like that are made because one day you realize your worries and anxieties are not yours. The leaders, teachers and people who are showing you are also burdening you with their worries and anxieties about the past and future and how they compare to others. That is depressing.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Their quest for an unattainable perfection is totally self motivated and not in relation to anyone else.

Most people simply can't do that.
Most people simply do not try.

dps

Last edited by dps : 02-17-2011 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:58 PM   #87
Michael Hackett
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Re: Future of Aikido

I compare myself to others all the time, but not in the sense that "I'm better than him", but rather seeing that they have skills or a level of skill that I aspire to. One fellow I train with has the most connected and softest ukemi I've ever seen. Mine by comparison is more like a brick. As a result of my comparison I've asked him to help me improve my own ukemi and it's starting to happen. I don't see this manner of comparison to be a distraction at all, but rather a valuable training aid to improve myself.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:35 PM   #88
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Future of Aikido

Today I will think about how I feel when someone disagrees with me. Instead of thinking of them as wrong or of myself as wrong, I will think about how it is okay for us to be different. I will think about two beautiful black and white cows in the velvety green pasture. How could they be fighting with their big horns when there was so much space for them both? Everyone's reality is different, and the universe is vast enough to support trillions of viewpoints. Why must we agree? What is worth defending? These are thoughts only I can answer for myself.
Mary
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:01 PM   #89
Mark Freeman
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
How exactly does learning Aikido make you a more moral person? That's massive statment to make. One version of shihonage will save your life but another will teach you ethics, morality and give you personal integrity? How are you measuring for that?
Hi Alex,

I did not say that learning aikido made you a more moral person, only that it is possible to focus on narrow aspects of it, to the exclusion of others.

regards

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:34 PM   #90
Lee Salzman
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Today I will think about how I feel when someone disagrees with me. Instead of thinking of them as wrong or of myself as wrong, I will think about how it is okay for us to be different. I will think about two beautiful black and white cows in the velvety green pasture. How could they be fighting with their big horns when there was so much space for them both? Everyone's reality is different, and the universe is vast enough to support trillions of viewpoints. Why must we agree? What is worth defending? These are thoughts only I can answer for myself.
Mary
Mary, from an external vantage point, it seems like one cow knows there is something amiss in the pasture and is merely trying to alert the other cow that they are potentially being hauled off to slaughter. Who can blame the other cow from trying to alert the other? (Did I really just use that metaphor?) I could be reading the between-the-lines signals wrong, but that's what it seems like, FWIW.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:30 PM   #91
DH
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Today I will think about how I feel when someone disagrees with me. Instead of thinking of them as wrong or of myself as wrong, I will think about how it is okay for us to be different. I will think about two beautiful black and white cows in the velvety green pasture. How could they be fighting with their big horns when there was so much space for them both? Everyone's reality is different, and the universe is vast enough to support trillions of viewpoints. Why must we agree? What is worth defending? These are thoughts only I can answer for myself.
Mary
Ahhh but you don't even know you are different.
That's the by product of isolation and a reality set by our own vision and limitiations.
Then again...why even bring it up; being different or same...if you are all into being your own example of perfection the thought of *others* is not in your reality...er...right?

I'm trying to reconcile someone being all into their own path and not concerned with comparisons, just "being all they can be" with no outside input....consistently joining in the IP/aiki threads and making statements like this.
Quote:
Here I will say it again. Ron Ragusa Sensei has" IT". Honest, not that you will ever come here to find out. How could anyone in a tiny Aikido dojo in the Berkshires have it?
Well he does. He has IT...
I don't agree with George about Ryobkov, Ushiro, Ikeda, etc either but It's worth noting that they are at least not actively making comparisons and discussing comparisons. They are actually just doing their own thing.
Stating Ron has IT ...is.... a comparison in a discussion. It is both a judgement and a conclusion.

This somewhat bitter or assumed prejudice from other readers seems out of place to that mindset as well...
Quote:
not that you will ever come here to find out. How could anyone in a tiny Aikido dojo in the Berkshires have it?
It certainly interesting to hear that from someone so close to home who had the same thing said of them. What could someone from the woods in Massachusetts really know?
But why have you continued to deny repeated requests for visits to share?

Oh well. To each their own.
When I had a closed dojo we still went out to test and compare. It fostered change, growth and a true deepening of a body method. At a certain point I walked away from my teacher. Why? Because I knew I had surpassed him and staying would have only warped and hindered real growth..so I get that mindset, But we did something to ensure growth and it wasn't just depending on ourselves it was in testing with the finest we could get access to.
No judgement from me. I'm just trying to reconcile what appears to an consistency.It looks like you are very much discussing others while disassociating yourselves or being a little defensive.
Cheers
Dan

Just say'n
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-17-2011 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:02 PM   #92
Ketsan
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi Alex,

I did not say that learning aikido made you a more moral person, only that it is possible to focus on narrow aspects of it, to the exclusion of others.

regards

Mark
Yup you did. You said that if a person focuses on martially effective Aikido it can leave them lacking in the moral and personal integrity departments. By extension there must be part of training which such a person misses which builds morality and encourages personal integrity otherwise all Aikido would be is the aspect that is concerned with being martially effective. There would be no prospect of personal development, the concept would be alien to Aikido and your statement would be superfluous.

"To the exclusion of others"

So what is it about Aikido training that makes a person moral and gives them personal integrity?
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:32 PM   #93
kewms
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
So what is it about Aikido training that makes a person moral and gives them personal integrity?
Theoretically, the need for self-awareness and self-examination.

In practice, though, I don't think aikidoka are any more (or less) self-aware than anyone else. Those who do use aikido to develop their personal integrity were probably inclined in that direction to begin with and would have probably found another avenue if aikido didn't exist. Those who don't, wouldn't.

Katherine
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:42 PM   #94
Mike Sigman
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Today I will think about how I feel when someone disagrees with me. Instead of thinking of them as wrong or of myself as wrong, I will think about how it is okay for us to be different. I will think about two beautiful black and white cows in the velvety green pasture.
True. Who would argue with a cow?
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:32 PM   #95
Gary David
 
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Quote:
"There's a pounding my head
There's glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
……………………
Trying to connect the dots………
……………………
That was such an epic fail………….."
Katy Perry
We have the original master teacher Sokaku Takeda with a number of prominent students like Takuma Hisa, Kodo Horikawa, Kotaro Yoshida, Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Morihei Ueshiba and others. Each of these individual reproduction masters of some but not all aspects of the original. In turn each of these gentlemen produced 2nd generation students that were in themselves reproduction masters of some aspects of their 1st generation teachers. With Morihei Ueshiba we have 2nd generation pre-war students that are different than the post war 2nd generation students. Now we have 3rd, 4th, 5th and even 6th generation students of the various lines coming out of Morihei Ueshiba in the mix all with different views, purposes and filters through which they develop their Aikido…….if you laid reproduction prints out side by side how different would they all look? Would you find brush strokes and touches that were similar….likely.…would a strangers see similarities…likely, but maybe not. Why do we worry over the future of Aikido….it has already taken many varied tracks and paths….the future of Aikido is already here….it is change and evolution.

I spend a few hours on the mat last Saturday with Frank Doran, who is as elegant and precise as ever. He started the class with exercises that were some where between silk reeling and push hands, giving credit to Tai Chi as a source for what he was doing. During the whole of the class Frank emphasized body movement and whole body as the foundation of what he was doing. While I have not been around Frank for the past few years, this was new from him for me……change and evolution. Folks like Dan Harden and the others are just helping with this, adding exercises and skills that provide support in the change and evolution. For some this may be a threat, some back to the future and for others a boost up.

Gary
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:40 PM   #96
Mike Sigman
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
I spend a few hours on the mat last Saturday with Frank Doran, who is as elegant and precise as ever. He started the class with exercises that were some where between silk reeling and push hands, giving credit to Tai Chi as a source for what he was doing.
Well surely you know enough by now to be able to give an objective opinion about what Doran did as to whether it was "silk reeling" or whatever, Gary. I'd be really interested in seeing what he did for silk reeling. If it's legitimate, it should fit in with the traditional and well-known-throughout-Asia internal strength training. What's your opinion?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:52 PM   #97
crbateman
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
True. Who would argue with a cow?
Anybody could, but the cow wouldn't care...
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Old 02-17-2011, 10:53 PM   #98
Gary David
 
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Well surely you know enough by now to be able to give an objective opinion about what Doran did as to whether it was "silk reeling" or whatever, Gary. I'd be really interested in seeing what he did for silk reeling. If it's legitimate, it should fit in with the traditional and well-known-throughout-Asia internal strength training. What's your opinion?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Mike
My comments about Frank Doran, who I consider a friend, where to show a change in approach from the past and from what I consider the usual Aikido training model. Was it silk reeling..no. Was Frank moving like Chen Xiaowang and Chen Bing...not at all. Was Frank making an effort to connect flowing body movements, connecting shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, feet...yes. When we were doing the initial solo flowing movement preceding the paired practice that then turned into doing an Aikido technique.....it had to me the look if not the substance of silk reeling and some sense of pool noodling if not the substance.

What Frank was to me last Saturday was a step off the standard line, creating space for an emphasis or interest in continuing the whole body first aspect of Aikido. What this space allows is room for the input of folks like you, Dan and others to help those who are interested in internal training. The idea of silk reeling or pool noodling , or maybe even pole shaking, may lead to some in Aikido looking at these training tools and finding the internal aspects they can lead to.

Gary
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:04 AM   #99
Lee Salzman
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Well surely you know enough by now to be able to give an objective opinion about what Doran did as to whether it was "silk reeling" or whatever, Gary. I'd be really interested in seeing what he did for silk reeling. If it's legitimate, it should fit in with the traditional and well-known-throughout-Asia internal strength training. What's your opinion?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Mike, I don't really think this is the thread to get into that sort of tangent. I have also been present at seminars where Frank Doran has shown these exercises, and, the point is, they are vessels for getting across an idea he wants to teach. And they do. In terms of the general outlines, they are at least inspired by the originals enough to show what Frank Doran is getting from them. That's what counts. That's what is relevant to this thread.

If you want to pick nits, I think they are ridiculous exercises even when used as directed in tai chi, but what's that matter? Even in tai chi, they are only vessels for practicing a pre-existing understanding of mechanics, and are not actually good for actually imparting that initial understanding of the mechanics.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:06 AM   #100
Mike Sigman
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Re: Future of Aikido

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
The idea of silk reeling or pool noodling , or maybe even pole shaking, may lead to some in Aikido looking at these training tools and finding the internal aspects they can lead to.
Well, my general thought was that in terms of the "Future of Aikido" there are a lot of potential missteps, some of which can be avoided by reasonably precise usage of terms. "Silk Reeling", or any other of the numerous buzzwords, has a fairly precise connotation and it refers to the famous 'natural movement' of the human body, a basis for all the real "internal" movement. It's easy to make general statements like "Joe Blow teaches Aikido exercises as part of his Kung Fu class", when in fact that might be a slightly skewed perception of what Aikido is. Thus the conversation begins to warp off-course. I appreciate your clarifying the remarks.

Best.

Mike
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