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Old 08-09-2011, 01:24 AM   #1
hughrbeyer
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Confused The Descent of Aiki

(I really consider this post to be about Aikido, but put it over here because it's about all that IS/IP/Aiki history nonsense.)

So I've been reflecting on the latest round of the Dan/Mike wars--thank you very much guys, take five, get yourselves some water--and thinking about what all this might imply about the transmission of the art, in particular of internal skills.

My understanding of Mike's position--taking out the value judgements--is that what Dan has a is mix of techniques and concepts shaken up in a bag, lacking certain fundamental principles that are widespread and well understood in CMAs.

Let's assume the basic theory laid out in HIPS, that Chinese internal methods came over to Japan and got assimilated and reworked in Takeda's Daito-Ryu. They become part of the underpinnings of that system, along with material from other sources and from Takeda's own genius. Some of the Chinese material might be downplayed or omitted altogether; other material would be transformed through synthesis with the other material. The result is a system that produces very impressive results in the people who train in it.

The question is: Suppose we now take the new system and show it to the original Chinese masters. Wouldn't they respond very much the way Mike did? There would be elements which were clearly the same, or at least congruent; there would be weird new stuff no one had seen before; and there'd be stuff that the CMA folks thought was basic that might be omitted.

And the next question: Can we interpret more about Takeda's (or his teachers') unique contribution by looking at the differences? Mike never seems to have heard of spiraling or elbow power as the IP/Aiki people use those terms. Does that suggest that this is a unique Japanese contribution? Dan has argued, by contrast, that some Chinese styles actually do incorporate spiralling in the sense that he understands it. Is this the source for its appearance in Japan, or was there parallel development?

Conversely, Mike has been laying out principles he considers basic to any kind of internal strength in CMA's. If they're so very basic they must have been introduced to Japan as part of the package. If they're not showing up in later Japanese arts, the Japanese must have made a deliberate decision to exclude them.

Why? Because the Japanese didn't understand them? --Unlikely, given the caliber of the Japanese in question. Because the Japanese didn't value them? --Why not? Are there alternative concepts that work better? That are more practical for martial applications? Or are they showing up, just with different vocabularies and visualizations?

Gentlemen: Start your engines.
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:54 AM   #2
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Hugh,
interesting and courageous attempt. When I think about these things I mostly get stuck one step earlier: that I am doubtful that descriptions (in language) of physical sensations - even when the applicability of those sensations can get tested - are probably never quite accurate enough to follow this stuff reliably through history, where we have only hearsay about application. They are necessarily heavily overshadowed by the (necessary) assumption that one's own experience is what is being described in the historical documents - or not. Which is impossible to verify. On top of that all the diverging interests of the people that told the stories then and do the research now...

Now I suppose it can be verified that a certain minute movement has been transmitted between two living people. But I am sceptical about historical reconstructions. More so when the original descriptions were in highly metaphorical languages, and embedded in complicated cosmologies.

So I often ask myself whether history here is really worth anything but as a source of personal motivation and inspiration.

Sorry for undercutting your questions... which I still think are interesting, but unanswerable. But I am looking forward to anybody else's attempts.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:22 AM   #3
Ellis Amdur
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Hugh - a little historical context. A couple points I tried to make in HIPS:
1. There were a discreet number of Chinese boxing manuals that arrived in Japan before the country was shut down - I believe about 20 are known. They are, as far as I've been told, Shaolin derived. The sophisticated training methods are somewhat different from those found in xingyi, t'ai chi and bagua. As far as that transmission is concerned, elements like "silk realing" almost surely were not transmitted.
2. Similarly, the direct Chinese transmission of marital arts that is known (Yoshin-ryu and Kito-ryu, being the most prominent) is also southern Chinese/Shaolin based).

3. But - a lot is poorly known. If my theory about Daito-ryu's history is correct, then Daito-ryu is a transmission of Itto-ryu from the older Kyo Hachi-ryu. Tradition states that this whole complex of martial disciplines has it's roots in esoteric Buddhism and Shugendo - and these, too, have roots in Chinese religious practices, some transmitted 1500 years ago. What is important to understand is that Taoism, outlawed in Japan, was hidden within these esoteric schools and there are clear records of various Taoist meditation and physical culture methods. For example, one of the Zen patriarchs is said to have broken his health doing zazen and was taught a Taoist method of restoration that included envisioning an egg broken on the crown of his head, and "feeling" the egg in streams going slowly down his body, this sensation to be a progressive and gradual relaxation. In so far as Daito-ryu is concerned, who knows what esoteric training practices were transmitted, Taoist methods that could have been adapted to combatives. For example, five element theory was transmitted within ARaki-ryu as a means of kiai development, here referring to both internal states as well as psychological manipulation of an enemy.
4. Takeda Tokimune states that the roots of Daito-ryu are in bugaku, the ancient court dances. This first sounded to me as a romanticized legend, but consider that these dances are perhaps the oldest extant dances in the world, with roots not only in China, but all the way back to Persia by way of the silk road. (There are Persian objects in the Shosoin, Imperial storehouse dating back to the seventh century, and if I recall correctly, Nestorian Christians traders contacted the Japanese in the Nara period. The point here is this: These dances are well over a 1000 years old, and have their own training methods which surely include ways of physical cultivation, this being yet another transmission method for physical culture that could contribute to the development of aiki. Examples:
ONE, TWO . And here's an example of the much later developed NOH - there are NOH texts with incredibly detailed instructions on physical culture.
5. Finally, as I mentioned in my conclusion to HIPS - I've had considerable doubts that the Hoshina family actually transmitted Daito-ryu, BUT as I note there, the Hoshina turn out to be Chinese, they were associated with the Shogun in making their daughters concubines, and they had their own family bujutsu, using, by report at least, a sword that sounds like a Chinese rather than Japanese type.

OK, so all that means is that there WAS an amalgam of information threading it's way through Japanese culture, reinterpreted and reworked by the Japanese if, for no other reason, that the requirements of skill development in Japanese martial arts differed in some respects to those of the Chinese. Each ryu that had such teachings distilled out a different tincture, from the available sources. Therefore, each would be unique - and some probably true "outlier" methods. (Imagine Hummel and Hayden sheet music was transmitted to Latvia, but no Beethoven, Bach or Mozart - AND, they had orchestras, but the pianos were all Pleyels, with the light touch, and they had no brass instruments, but a couple types of woodwinds not seen in the rest of Europe and huge accordions. What kind of music would their brand of classic music be? Maybe wonderful, but there might be essential core principles that Mozart, Bach and Beethoven used that were not part of their repertoire).

So it is very likely that Daito-ryu was a "blended art." Could Takeda, for example, have developed these principles in a new way, or independently discovered principles that are held in Chinese "internal" martial arts without direct transmission? Why not? If they were discovered once, why not again? Sagawa Yukiyoshi claimed that he had discovered a different way of doing aiki than his teacher. Again, why not?

How good? How complete? Why is this no different from discussing grappling? Like realizing that BJJ got their triangle chokes when Rolls Gracie found them in a judo book. (There is no doubt that the BJJ work on triangles far surpassed what judo did with it). Here are some examples of that kind of practical analysis by the great Feng Zhiqiang:
Quote:
S: Was it then something similar to Yi Quan (Intention Boxing)?

MR.FENG: I do not know enough about Yi Quan to be able to compare the methods. Hu Yaozhen did not teach standing methods where palms were turned outwards because in his opinion this made Qi flow away.
Quote:
Jarek Szymanski: Mr.Feng, it is known that you studied Shaolin Standing Post methods in your youth. How would you compare it to Neijia practice?

MR.FENG ZHIQIANG: Yes, I learnt and practised Standing Post exercises of Shaolin school. The main difference between them and the methods of Neijia school is that Neijia emphasizes relaxation to greater degree. For this I think there is certain reason in dividing martial arts into External and Internal Families. It is also related to the methods of using Qi - External Family (Waijia) uses physical strength (Li) to drive Qi, while Internal Family (Neijia) uses Intention (Yi) to move Qi. Anyway, I had to give up all my external practise after I started practising Neijia.
It is really unfortunate that one cannot note that, for example, "x" principle seems to be absent in Araki-ryu, and that's either true or false - the problem gets complicated, of course, if I am constrained by any kind of oath of secrecy, that may constrain my reply. Nonetheless, if you say, "well, Araki-ryu is far less complete than xyz ch'uan because you lack such principles," it's either true, false or doesn't matter. I'm only mentioning that because I, for one, would prefer that "engines aren't started." Seriously, I've never seen such acrimony about points of doctrine as in the internal arts, be they Chinese or Japanese. Brings to mind a recent aikido event when an aikido teacher got out of line with another teacher, doing something rude, and the 2nd grabbed him by the throat, throttling him against the wall, and someone came running across the mat, yelling, "You can't do that!. This is a friendship seminar!!!!"

Actually, the kind of comparative analysis you are talking about can be done. For example, Akuzawa Minoru and I like each other, and he was very kind to me when I visited his school. He answered any question I asked. When I asked about certain elements of his training that seemed to be like xingyi (which he had studied), he clearly explained that the xingyi he learned "did it this way," whereas the Yagyu Shingan-ryu did things differently.
So, perhaps, someday, with people who are highly skilled from Chinese and Japanese training backgrounds, there can and will be a meticulous analysis of training methods, and what the words people use to describe their actions really mean - in action.
Just so happens that the experts posting on Aikiweb will not likely be the ones to do that with each other.

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 08-09-2011 at 02:28 AM.

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Old 08-09-2011, 03:47 AM   #4
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

I like the example on how variation of the musical instruments can still create good compositions, but each will have their own signature.
Can one be better than the other, subjectively? One has to define what makes music good....ultimately it is down to the purpose of the music. The purpose will define whether or not the music is any good.

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* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:05 AM   #5
chillzATL
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Conversely, Mike has been laying out principles he considers basic to any kind of internal strength in CMA's. If they're so very basic they must have been introduced to Japan as part of the package. If they're not showing up in later Japanese arts, the Japanese must have made a deliberate decision to exclude them.

Why? Because the Japanese didn't understand them? --Unlikely, given the caliber of the Japanese in question. Because the Japanese didn't value them? --Why not? Are there alternative concepts that work better? That are more practical for martial applications? Or are they showing up, just with different vocabularies and visualizations?

Gentlemen: Start your engines.
What I've gathered from reading a few years worth of this stuff, right or wrong, is that it's not that they were left out or discarded, but that they weren't known in the first place. Various arts seem to have pieces and parts of the components that make internal strength. Mike's thinking is that internal strength is a very specific thing. Leaving a part or two out of it makes it no longer internal strength, but some sort of lesser derivative that shouldn't be called internal strength.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:06 AM   #6
MM
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

If we go by Sokaku Takeda's own thoughts, we find that in his eimeiroku and shareiroku are listed two of his teachers: Shibuya Toma of Ono-ha Itto-ryu and Chikanori Hoshina. (Stan Pranin Converstaions with Daito Masters.)

Ono-ha Itto-ryu
I have reason to believe that in some of the kenjutsu schools, there are/were training methods which rebuilt the body such that it created "internal structure". It's possible that some of these schools might have had a bit more training in internal skills than just that. We can guess that Takeda must have learned some internal training from Ono-ha Itto-ryu.

Chikanori Hoshina (Tanomo Saigo)
Now, someone I know has a theory about what oshikiuchi meant. It has been translated as "inside the threshold". Ellis states that the Hoshina turn out to be Chinese. When a Chinese martial arts master takes in a student to train in the "secrets", this student becomes an "indoor student". The theory is that oshikiuchi was the Japanese way of stating what the Chinese did. In other words "inside the threshold" = "indoor student". Hoshina could actually have known Chinese internal skills *outside* of any martial abilities. (1)

Sokaku Takeda
Factor in the sumo training, his stating the two teachers above, and then the change in Japan where the sword was no longer carried. Takeda then makes the move to unarmed. His skill by now was very good and so when he meets people, they start interacting in very strange ways because of aiki. We have the beginnings of Daito ryu, a martial art created by Takeda but owing to his teachers for giving him the sound basis of internal training.

Takeda's eimeiroku and shareiroku officially state that he is Daito ryu Hombu-cho or Somucho. In other words, he is the director of a training method that he put together from a few different places and he gives two of them their proper due in his books.

IMO anyway,
Mark

(1) For example, spirals. The ability to have internal spirals is not dependent on a martial system. One can train them without any martial ability. Takeda could have learned internal structure and power from kenjutsu and sumo, but not have learned spirals. He could have learned spirals and internal power from Hoshina, who did not train in the martial arts but kept the family "secret" alive for "health" reasons.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:30 AM   #7
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

How would this relate to someone that has ability, good developed internal strength, but is not a good teacher. People may still flock and wish to learn. Because of the mismatch students are likely to assume what the 'teacher' must be doing.
We already established that Ueshiba himself was not a good teacher.
What do we know about the teaching qualities of his predecessors?

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:02 AM   #8
niall
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

I'm not in this discussion but let's try to keep a little intellectual rigour.

Hundreds of thousands or millions of people doing the art you founded is an exceptional legacy for a teacher. Who has established that Morihei Ueshiba was not a good teacher? Whether you like his style is not a criterion.

Also deciding if music is good or not based on its purpose is not serious. The lightest piece Mozart dashed off for a fee or for a patron would be better than a second-rate composer's religious hymn or love song.

And that would be self-proclaimed experts.

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Old 08-09-2011, 10:38 AM   #9
Budd
 
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

On my end, I take all this to mean that the next generation of people (of which I consider myself one) trying to train these things have some pretty heavy lifting to do.

1) Get your skills to be as developed and polished as they can be. That's on you. No affiliation, connection, rank, years of experience or words can change whether or not you have legitimately put in the time, practiced and figured things out to develop your abilities. Having access to good information is one thing. Doing something of note with it is quite another.

2) Decide who you will share things with. Your network of contacts, training mates, etc. can either be a help or hindrance. You need folks that will support and challenge you in your path.

3) Stay within the realm of assuming that you suck and have a ton of things to constantly work on. Hopefully, that will keep your head from getting too big, drive down the potentially-fatal habit of assuming you have a clue about something new and keep you in the habit of maintaining a beginner's mind, where appropriate. In the case where you have students and they're expecting you to have a clue, set the example for humility, hard work and moral authority driven by attainment, rather than entitlement. In this case attainment includes, but is not limited to skill.

4) Be clear on the results you expect your training to imbue in yourself and your students. Also be clear on what the training may offer to someone walking in off of the street. Everyone will bring their own additional baggage anyway, the trick is will your training-as-a-container accommodate it or not. If not, don't be shy about having that conversation.

5) Present your peers and students with appropriate means to call you on your own bullshit. It's a good sanity check when done respectfully. Your teachers should do it as well, but will likely do it on their terms - one of the reasons they're your teachers. (REMINDER: this is a voluntary relationship)

That's all I got - not so much about how to train "this stuff" but some things I strive for in day to day and in my practice, as well as conventions that I don't think would hurt if we want to promote some of these training methodoligies from the standpoint of tradecraft, architecture and technology - assuming that there's an eventual interest as more people develop skills and want to share, capture the "how's it work", attempt to codfy, etc.

Again, I'm talking more about the next several years, etc. At some point, the round of people that are (I assume) feverishly training these things and trying to develop them a) for their own sake OR b) within their own martial arts -- will likely (gawd, I hope) step outside of the factions and see who's doing what, how they're describing it and (gawd, I hope) respectfully applying some pressure testing to see where the limits, definitions and mythologies overlap.

FWIW
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:51 AM   #10
Cliff Judge
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Ono-ha Itto-ryu
I have reason to believe that in some of the kenjutsu schools, there are/were training methods which rebuilt the body such that it created "internal structure". It's possible that some of these schools might have had a bit more training in internal skills than just that. We can guess that Takeda must have learned some internal training from Ono-ha Itto-ryu.
I don't think this is the right tree to be barking up. It is possible that Ono ha Itto ryu contains such training, but if it does, it is 100% hidden and secret. I've been to their hombu and they clean the place up, do some stretches, run through kamae really quick, and then they practice their extremely straightforward kata. No sumo stuff, no silk reeling....nothing at all fancy really, just clean technique.

I chatted with Rodney Uhler of Nine Circles a few weeks ago, he has been training the Takeda flavor of Ono ha Itto ryu for a number of years and he confirmed that it is practiced differently in the Daito ryu. I asked him how it was different and he said "it is done with Aiki." What this tells me is that, if there is an internal strength dimension in Takeda's Itto ryu, he put it there from another source.

What source could that be then? If you are thinking there was some input into Takeda's IP from kenjutsu, the obvious candidate would be Jikishinkage ryu. Those guys basically spend 75% of their training time packing ki into their centers and releasing it in very specific, controlled fashions through their kiai. Whether or not this actually has anything to do with internal power or not I have no idea but it is the starting point of their training as opposed to a possible, I think unlikely, hidden secret.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:16 AM   #11
Cliff Judge
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

oooh yeah and the founder of Jikishinkage ryu fled to China when Tokugawa took power and spent a number of years there. So there is that.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:22 AM   #12
Thomas Campbell
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Seriously, I've never seen such acrimony about points of doctrine as in the internal arts, be they Chinese or Japanese. Brings to mind a recent aikido event when an aikido teacher got out of line with another teacher, doing something rude, and the 2nd grabbed him by the throat, throttling him against the wall, and someone came running across the mat, yelling, "You can't do that!. This is a friendship seminar!!!!"
That is truly funny.

The whole post was masterful, and suggests an outline for another book . . . HIPS 2: Love Handles.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:29 AM   #13
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
We already established that Ueshiba himself was not a good teacher.
Has that been established? The successful transmission of internal skill from teacher to student is a rare thing under the best of circumstances. Perhaps Ueshiba did not conform to the modern pedagogical standard of spoonfeeding meticulously-analyzed concepts and baby-step students through basics . . . but at least some of his students (Shirata? Tomiki? Shioda with later influence from Kodokai? and others that have been pointed out on this forum over the years) achieved a decent understanding and ability to manifest internal connection and power--something they probably did not have a clue about before training with Ueshiba.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:36 AM   #14
Janet Rosen
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Brings to mind a recent aikido event when an aikido teacher got out of line with another teacher, doing something rude, and the 2nd grabbed him by the throat, throttling him against the wall, and someone came running across the mat, yelling, "You can't do that!. This is a friendship seminar!!!!"
Life imitates art....
Seriously...I am in no position to judge anybody's accuracy on historical matters, but appreciate Ellis' extended metaphor using classical music - it makes transmission/branching issues VERY clear.

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Old 08-09-2011, 12:42 PM   #15
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post

Quote:

S: Was it then something similar to Yi Quan (Intention Boxing)?

MR.FENG: I do not know enough about Yi Quan to be able to compare the methods. Hu Yaozhen did not teach standing methods where palms were turned outwards because in his opinion this made Qi flow away.
Quote:

Jarek Szymanski: Mr.Feng, it is known that you studied Shaolin Standing Post methods in your youth. How would you compare it to Neijia practice?

MR.FENG ZHIQIANG: Yes, I learnt and practised Standing Post exercises of Shaolin school. The main difference between them and the methods of Neijia school is that Neijia emphasizes relaxation to greater degree. For this I think there is certain reason in dividing martial arts into External and Internal Families. It is also related to the methods of using Qi - External Family (Waijia) uses physical strength (Li) to drive Qi, while Internal Family (Neijia) uses Intention (Yi) to move Qi. Anyway, I had to give up all my external practise after I started practising Neijia.
Hi Ellis:

One thing I'd point out is that the two anecdotes you used would be considered discussions about how to do internal strength correctly, but they're both refined discussions, in a sense, in that they assume qi and jin are present in a legitimate way already.

The current discussion about the Chinese and Japanese doing things differently is about like suggesting that electrical engineering is done differently in China and Japan and Japan has left out things they don't need, have added some important contributions the Chinese don't know about, and so on. I.e., it's really a sort of silly argument if you know something about electrical theory, but for people who have no idea about electrical theory it's not hard to convince them that there is a difference between Japanese and Chinese electrical theory if you've set yourself up as an expert with legitimate knowledge.

Me, I go to legitimate experts whenever I can to get things checked out... and I've recommended that people do the same thing. Of course, if legitimate experts aren't good enough to judge you, I can see the problem.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:07 PM   #16
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
(I really consider this post to be about Aikido, but put it over here because it's about all that IS/IP/Aiki history nonsense.)

So I've been reflecting on the latest round of the Dan/Mike wars--thank you very much guys, take five, get yourselves some water--and thinking about what all this might imply about the transmission of the art, in particular of internal skills.

My understanding of Mike's position--taking out the value judgements--is that what Dan has a is mix of techniques and concepts shaken up in a bag, lacking certain fundamental principles that are widespread and well understood in CMAs.

Let's assume the basic theory laid out in HIPS, that Chinese internal methods came over to Japan and got assimilated and reworked in Takeda's Daito-Ryu. They become part of the underpinnings of that system, along with material from other sources and from Takeda's own genius. Some of the Chinese material might be downplayed or omitted altogether; other material would be transformed through synthesis with the other material. The result is a system that produces very impressive results in the people who train in it.

The question is: Suppose we now take the new system and show it to the original Chinese masters. Wouldn't they respond very much the way Mike did? There would be elements which were clearly the same, or at least congruent; there would be weird new stuff no one had seen before; and there'd be stuff that the CMA folks thought was basic that might be omitted.

And the next question: Can we interpret more about Takeda's (or his teachers') unique contribution by looking at the differences? Mike never seems to have heard of spiraling or elbow power as the IP/Aiki people use those terms. Does that suggest that this is a unique Japanese contribution? Dan has argued, by contrast, that some Chinese styles actually do incorporate spiralling in the sense that he understands it. Is this the source for its appearance in Japan, or was there parallel development?

Conversely, Mike has been laying out principles he considers basic to any kind of internal strength in CMA's. If they're so very basic they must have been introduced to Japan as part of the package. If they're not showing up in later Japanese arts, the Japanese must have made a deliberate decision to exclude them.

Why? Because the Japanese didn't understand them? --Unlikely, given the caliber of the Japanese in question. Because the Japanese didn't value them? --Why not? Are there alternative concepts that work better? That are more practical for martial applications? Or are they showing up, just with different vocabularies and visualizations?

Gentlemen: Start your engines.
Interesting Hugh.
History. Now there's a thing to look at of itself. What is it's significance?

As in life you get the more conservative people who don't like change. They hold on to the past like it's the most important thing to do. This factor needs to be factored in to understand in my opinion.

So when a person, O'Sensei, says there has never been an art like his Aikido then it's hard for people to accept. When he says budo is love it's hard for people to see what he means. When he says therefore it is a new way and the only connection to the past is the waza used but now for a different reason then people run to the hills because to them it doesn't compute.

Thus we get Yoshinkan in it's origin which was more into pre war Aikido. Then we get others continually relating back to prior, back to Takeda, back to Daitu ryu etc. Back to chinese internal. Holding on the past, going backwards.

So we get the term Modern Aikido used as a putdown. Well one vital point is missing. Aikido is modern, it is a new way and that was what drew people to it. Thus as most said it was a mystery to them. As it is to anyone from another martial art now.

Ueshibas Aikido didn't lead to any descent of Aiki as it brought interest back to that dying art. Thus it brought it back to life. Even though Osenseis Aiki was no longer that which it helped bring back to life. Such was the power of this new phenomenon.

Thus I say you can study history to see how it used to be but until you see the budo of love, until you see the use of kindness, until you see the power of harmony and until you see the aim of bringing joy to your opponent then you will never know O'Senseis Aiki. When people get their minds around how these things relate to waza, to universal, to martial, then Aikido won't so much be in descent but rather will only slowly progress.

In fact still the most attractive thing about Aikido for all those potential adherents is those O'Sensei statements about love and harmony, human progression. A new Aiki, a new way of thinking, a new martial art.

So we have the rise of old Aiki and the rise of new Aiki.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:59 PM   #17
Ellis Amdur
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Mike - You write:

Quote:
The current discussion about the Chinese and Japanese doing things differently is about like suggesting that electrical engineering is done differently in China and Japan and Japan has left out things they don't need, have added some important contributions the Chinese don't know about, and so on
In the words of Wikipedia:
Quote:
Although most electrical engineers will understand basic circuit theory (that is the interactions of elements such as resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors and inductors in a circuit), the theories employed by engineers generally depend upon the work they do. For example, quantum mechanics and solid state physics might be relevant to an engineer working on VLSI (the design of integrated circuits), but are largely irrelevant to engineers working with macroscopic electrical systems. Even circuit theory may not be relevant to a person designing telecommunication systems that use off-the-shelf components.
Ellis

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Old 08-09-2011, 02:10 PM   #18
rroeserr
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Hi Ellis:

One thing I'd point out is that the two anecdotes you used would be considered discussions about how to do internal strength correctly, but they're both refined discussions, in a sense, in that they assume qi and jin are present in a legitimate way already.

The current discussion about the Chinese and Japanese doing things differently is about like suggesting that electrical engineering is done differently in China and Japan and Japan has left out things they don't need, have added some important contributions the Chinese don't know about, and so on. I.e., it's really a sort of silly argument if you know something about electrical theory, but for people who have no idea about electrical theory it's not hard to convince them that there is a difference between Japanese and Chinese electrical theory if you've set yourself up as an expert with legitimate knowledge.

Me, I go to legitimate experts whenever I can to get things checked out... and I've recommended that people do the same thing. Of course, if legitimate experts aren't good enough to judge you, I can see the problem.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
You've missed the entire argument. No one said Chinese and Japanes IP is based on different theory or Japan didn't get the basic theory from China. It has been stated over and again that in Japanese martial arts you move opening, closing across the body, instead of closing/opening front/back like you demonstrated in your video, or an exercises pool noddling. Therefore if you are suggesting that it is except-able to move opening/closing front/back other than just training (and you really shouldn't work on that much) then you are not teaching them how to move correctly for a Japanese art and should therefore find someone that knows how to move properly for a Japanese art to teach you what to do.

Last edited by rroeserr : 08-09-2011 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:18 PM   #19
hughrbeyer
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

@Nicholas: If we had to rely only on the written word, I'd agree with you. But we have serious experts in the different arts here, most of whom are in a position to compare at least some of the different lineages.

@Ellis, Thank you thank you, for the links particularly. I've hunted around YouTube for examples of the connection to classical dance but having you point to videos you think are good examples means a lot to me.

"MR.FENG ZHIQIANG: ... I had to give up all my external practise after I started practising Neijia." -- Okay, this makes me feel better about giving up weightlifting to study aiki. I guess I'm in good company.

I sure hope "start your engines" isn't taken as an invitation to start a pissing contest about whose art is better. That is indeed a waste of time. Exploring the commonalities and differences interests me, however.

@Budd, "Stay within the realm of assuming that you suck"--amen, brother.

@Mike: I don't buy the "electrical theory" analogy. Now, if you had drawn an analogy between eastern and western medicine... western medicine is based on science so either eastern medicine conforms to it or it's wrong... I think the analogy would be closer. It would also disprove itself.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:25 PM   #20
Ellis Amdur
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Robert - Just for the record, since you are responding to something written to me. I don't know what you train, but as far as I'm concerned, what Mike has shown me is absolutely congruent with the two Japanese arts I train. AND - Araki-ryu and Toda-ha Buko-ryu use remarkably different drivers of movement (THBR is rotation around an axle from crown to perinium, whereas Araki-ryu is like a bowling ball carrying the limbs and upper body in its wake. One would never mistake one art for the other). I'm not defending Mike - just reacting to any blanket statement about "Japanese budo."

What I'm focusing on is the fact that, as I put it elsewhere, there's ice cream and there's salted caramel and there's passion fruit/guava. Interestingly, what Akuzawa Minoru showed me is less congruent with those same two arts.

Best
Ellis

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 08-09-2011 at 02:30 PM.

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Old 08-09-2011, 02:36 PM   #21
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Robert Roeser wrote: View Post
No one said Chinese and Japanes IP is based on different theory or Japan didn't get the basic theory from China. It has been stated over and again that in Japanese martial arts you move opening, closing across the body, instead of closing/opening front/back like you demonstrated in your video, or an exercises pool noddling. Therefore if you are suggesting that it is except-able to move opening/closing front/back other than just training (and you really shouldn't work on that much) then you are not teaching them how to move correctly for a Japanese art and should therefore find someone that knows how to move properly for a Japanese art to teach you what to do.
Really? In Japanese arts, you open and close "across the body"? All Japanese arts (I just want to get this clear) or just some of them? If you do a suburi swing, you're not doing it with the dantien but are instead using a cross-body open-close? Now we're getting into details. Using the suburi swing, or something close to it, explain why the body is moving differently than the qi model.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:37 PM   #22
jss
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Robert Roeser wrote: View Post
It has been stated over and again that in Japanese martial arts you move opening, closing across the body, instead of closing/opening front/back like you demonstrated in your video, or an exercises pool noddling.
If you pool noodle without the pool noodle, you end up with a common aikido breathing exercise: hands start low, go up in front of the body, open out to the side above the head and then go back down with arms extended to the sides. I agree that's an example of opening/closing back/front.

Now, if I do the same exercise with only my right arm with most of my weight on my left leg, I would say I am opening and closing across the body. So to me that's a variation of opening/closing back/front.

Do you agree with me up to this point? If not, why not? If so, why do the Japanese prefer the opening/closing across the body over the front/back opening/closing?
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:52 PM   #23
rroeserr
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Robert - Just for the record, since you are responding to something written to me. I don't know what you train, but as far as I'm concerned, what Mike has shown me is absolutely congruent with the two Japanese arts I train. AND - Araki-ryu and Toda-ha Buko-ryu use remarkably different drivers of movement (THBR is rotation around an axle from crown to perinium, whereas Araki-ryu is like a bowling ball carrying the limbs and upper body in its wake. One would never mistake one art for the other). I'm not defending Mike - just reacting to any blanket statement about "Japanese budo."

What I'm focusing on is the fact that, as I put it elsewhere, there's ice cream and there's salted caramel and there's passion fruit/guava. Interestingly, what Akuzawa Minoru showed me is less congruent with those same two arts.

Best
Ellis
He posted on forum, and doesn't seem to have a problem posting back to other people. It's not my argument. He missed the argument. I restated it.

Regard- Ark if you move from crown to perineum in Toda-ha Buko-ryu isn't that more like shin taijiku than pool noodling?

Out of curiosity what class of status of citizen would do an art like Toda-ha Buko-ryu vs Araki-ryu?
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:54 PM   #24
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Robert - Just for the record, since you are responding to something written to me. I don't know what you train, but as far as I'm concerned, what Mike has shown me is absolutely congruent with the two Japanese arts I train. AND - Araki-ryu and Toda-ha Buko-ryu use remarkably different drivers of movement (THBR is rotation around an axle from crown to perinium, whereas Araki-ryu is like a bowling ball carrying the limbs and upper body in its wake. One would never mistake one art for the other). I'm not defending Mike - just reacting to any blanket statement about "Japanese budo."

What I'm focusing on is the fact that, as I put it elsewhere, there's ice cream and there's salted caramel and there's passion fruit/guava. Interestingly, what Akuzawa Minoru showed me is less congruent with those same two arts.

Best
Ellis
Ellis, it's quite possible that what Robert practices is a purely external martial-art and they may actively practice muscular contractions in an X-shape or whatever across the body. I don't have a problem with that possibility. If, on the other hand, they are using "ki", "hara", etc., terminology (I'm just making an example) and mixing it with this cross-body, then they probably represent some old practice that deteriorated from classical movement. Just assume that for a second..... in the made-up example/thought-problem where the skills have devolved over time, the definition is more "deterioration" rather than "Japanese". Unless of course all Japanese arts do the same thing. BTW, folks, this is a terms discussion, not a "my style is better" discussion.

Best.

Mike
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:04 PM   #25
rroeserr
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Re: The Descent of Aiki

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Really? In Japanese arts, you open and close "across the body"? All Japanese arts (I just want to get this clear) or just some of them? If you do a suburi swing, you're not doing it with the dantien but are instead using a cross-body open-close? Now we're getting into details. Using the suburi swing, or something close to it, explain why the body is moving differently than the qi model.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Oh good you noticed that. Excellent. See how annoying it is when people setup strawmen? You do it all the time - logical fallacies make it hard to have logical argument. Like your electrical engineering comment or about "how you go see actually experts" as opposed to people who don't.

Anyway I will say in Judo there is an up hand and a down hand, or a pushing and pulling hand. Or take a look at Aikido throws like irimi nage, juji nage, or tenchi nage. Why can't your dantien make one hand go up and one hand go down? Why can't move with your entire body but have a preference for moving your whole body a certain way? People do all sorts of cuts that aren't straight up and down.
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