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Old 12-02-2011, 08:05 AM   #26
Allen Beebe
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Re: Putting IS/Aiki back into Aikido?

Quote:
Walter Oude Wesselink wrote: View Post
Hi Phi,

at one point in time i do think you have to adress it as being IS/aiki otherwise it will get lost again.

If you train the solo exercises, you have to be aware of where to put the emphasis. Otherwise the exercises will be become some useless body exercises
Addressing it as IS/Aiki in juxtaposition to everything else can, of course, be controversial if others identify the "everything else" with IS and/or Aiki. Then there is the problem of the non-homogeneity of identification, conception, and vocabulary among IS/Aiki proponents. (There is commonality, but the differences emphasized and debated can obfuscate that for newcomers.)

Some teachers, I think rightly, meet a student "where they are at" and attempt to lead them "where they wish to go.". These teachers almost always begin by teaching some form of gross phisical movement leading into finer detail with larger emphasis on mental aspects as the student demonstrates understanding and readiness. This is far too similar to ordinary training modality for some to differentiate. Therefore hey can only differentiate by result, but some results overlap further confusing matters. Some teachers, probably out of kindness, try to transmit their knowledge straight from the heart of the matter. To them it is simple, why bother with intermediary steps? Unfortunately this kind of teaching doesn't often produce results equal to the teacher. In fact, a teachers explicite admonitions can seem esoteric at best, and deceiving at worst. Why not train with sensei X? At least his/her students are producing tangible, invent if, mundane results?

One last thing, if one trains properly, but isolated, one can remain ignorant of the degree of progress (or lack) one is making, which can further confuse matters.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:23 AM   #27
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Putting IS/Aiki back into Aikido?

Solo exercises done with a partner are no longer solo exercises. if the partner understands the goal and shares it aikido training begins to look more like Tui Shou (push hands) and less like formalized waza. The dominant mindset of the uke/tori training dynamic always leads to predetermined winner/loser energy patterns;stiff, dominant and driven or floppy, submissive and acquiescent on the other. In order to really work IS/IP you either work alone or with someone who understand the purpose. Part of the problem with Aikido lies in such meaningless terminology as "sincere attack", meaning a pre-arranged, hard fast attack with an equally meaningless "victory" hailed as a sign of accomplished martial art. Finding good people to train with is vital to developing IS, people who know how and where and when to give correctly applied pressure, in the case of push testing, how to mount a freewheeling attack without stiffness or hormonal, adrenalized force in the case of beginning to spar with IS.
What is the point of making oneself "unthrowable" and going to a dojo where the training, correctly or incorrectly, emphasizes the "taking turns" form of practice ?
Even practising kaeshiwaza requires the right kind of compliance.
By the way having successfully removed atemi from modern Aikido, apart from the obviously ineffective hand waving that goes on, it is easy to talk about maintaining structure, throw feet, knees and elbows, let alone shoulders and head into the mix, and internal structure, receiving and issuing force suddenly become paramount.
I understand that it is important to walk before you run, and that you need to internalize before you externalize but for me the sanity test of IP is in contact with another body. It does not have to be "fighting", but it has to be pressure tested. there is no way to do in a standard dojo.
I am experimenting with my students in soft free flowing kaeshiwaza to build upon the feelings of the IS exercises since aikido is the vehicle of training they are familiar with, but it is very difficult to keep speeds matched, keep structure, acknowledge openings, feel your own energy paths, etc., all at the same time, something always gets lost.
So, no clear training model yet! (within aikido as we know it;-))

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:28 AM   #28
DH
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Re: Putting IS/Aiki back into Aikido?

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
Solo exercises done with a partner are no longer solo exercises. if the partner understands the goal and shares it aikido training begins to look more like Tui Shou (push hands) and less like formalized waza. The dominant mindset of the uke/tori training dynamic always leads to predetermined winner/loser energy patterns;stiff, dominant and driven or floppy, submissive and acquiescent on the other. In order to really work IS/IP you either work alone or with someone who understand the purpose. Part of the problem with Aikido lies in such meaningless terminology as "sincere attack", meaning a pre-arranged, hard fast attack with an equally meaningless "victory" hailed as a sign of accomplished martial art. Finding good people to train with is vital to developing IS, people who know how and where and when to give correctly applied pressure, in the case of push testing, how to mount a freewheeling attack without stiffness or hormonal, adrenalized force in the case of beginning to spar with IS.
What is the point of making oneself "unthrowable" and going to a dojo where the training, correctly or incorrectly, emphasizes the "taking turns" form of practice ?
Even practising kaeshiwaza requires the right kind of compliance.
By the way having successfully removed atemi from modern Aikido, apart from the obviously ineffective hand waving that goes on, it is easy to talk about maintaining structure, throw feet, knees and elbows, let alone shoulders and head into the mix, and internal structure, receiving and issuing force suddenly become paramount.
I understand that it is important to walk before you run, and that you need to internalize before you externalize but for me the sanity test of IP is in contact with another body. It does not have to be "fighting", but it has to be pressure tested. there is no way to do in a standard dojo.
I am experimenting with my students in soft free flowing kaeshiwaza to build upon the feelings of the IS exercises since aikido is the vehicle of training they are familiar with, but it is very difficult to keep speeds matched, keep structure, acknowledge openings, feel your own energy paths, etc., all at the same time, something always gets lost.
So, no clear training model yet! (within aikido as we know it;-))
+1
Dan
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:15 AM   #29
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Putting IS/Aiki back into Aikido?

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Alec Corper wrote: View Post
Solo exercises done with a partner are no longer solo exercises. if the partner understands the goal and shares it aikido training begins to look more like Tui Shou (push hands) and less like formalized waza. The dominant mindset of the uke/tori training dynamic always leads to predetermined winner/loser energy patterns;stiff, dominant and driven or floppy, submissive and acquiescent on the other. In order to really work IS/IP you either work alone or with someone who understand the purpose. Part of the problem with Aikido lies in such meaningless terminology as "sincere attack", meaning a pre-arranged, hard fast attack with an equally meaningless "victory" hailed as a sign of accomplished martial art.
...
By the way having successfully removed atemi from modern Aikido, apart from the obviously ineffective hand waving that goes on, it is easy to talk about maintaining structure, throw feet, knees and elbows, let alone shoulders and head into the mix, and internal structure, receiving and issuing force suddenly become paramount.
As far as my experience goes, your description is what we lawyers call a "strawman" argument. Since you may not be an idiomatic English speaker I will explain that a "strawman" is an argument against a premise that is itself a fanciful construct (or "strawman") that is easily demolished -- but essentially demonstrates nothing of a consequence.
If this summarizes your prior experience with aikido -- I am immensely sorry for you. In my experience, atemi is ever present in aikido training -- expressly or implicit -- and the implication is explained and shown at every point in the course of training wherever it is appears or is possible. (Maybe that's just cause we're unreconstructed, knuckle-dragging crackers.)

The first thing we do with people new to training is to assure that they begin with effective striking and address that if it is not. Bottom line-- if they cannot strike me so as to make me distinctly uncomfortable -- they will not likely learn much in aikido training. Second thing we typically do is correct postural defects, and dynamic defects like committting weight to either an atemi or throw -- which also involves a better comprehension of maai for striking -- which, together with inadequate structure -- is what underlies that problem. Lastly, we define "waza" as arbitrary examples along a continuum of action responding to openings exploited by proper structure.

Quote:
What is the point of making oneself "unthrowable" and going to a dojo where the training, correctly or incorrectly, emphasizes the "taking turns" form of practice ?
Even practising kaeshiwaza requires the right kind of compliance.
Done right it is a slightly structured game (so is push--hands, for that matter).

The rules of the game are:

1) Uke enters the encounter intending to create or allow one -- and only one opening or path of action from the attack to conclude in nage's favor
2) Nage must start with the the defined entry, but thereafter feel, find and follow any opening that presents itself;
3) Uke's must hold nage to the defined "exit" path or technique, close all other openings and enforce the excluded paths of action by any opening for reversal that uke finds in nage.

One can structure entire classes along these lines. This is the purpose of defined waza, as a jumping off point for such a game. Within one attack there can be an arbitrarily large number of possible openings allowed for application.

The instructor's job is to illustrate as clearly as possible the one and only one route of action that is to be allowed for the immediate training. Uke's job is to allow that and only that opening to be acted on by nage for a throw. Nage's job is to enter by an initially defined route but throw uke by whatever opening he finds thereafter.

Uke and nage stalemate if uke holds nage to the defined opening, and if nage finds no other opening. This is a stalemate -- but with training rigor.

Uke wins and nage loses if nage opens himself to reversal in the course of pursuing the defined opening. Uke is allowed to throw if and only if nage presents the opening -- and uke must show the opening to him by holding him in kuzushi, briefly, but enough to make the point that he is had.

Nage wins and uke loses if uke opens himself to throw by any path other than the one defined. Nage may throw by any opening he finds after the defined entry, but must also show the opening to uke in the same manner.

In other words, it is not enough to just thrown down and get lucky -- and not know why -- you only "win" in either case if you recognize and can show the opening to your partner as it occurs. Not unlike calling targets in kendo, but not as formal or predefined. This requires mindfulness and instant exploitation at the same time -- like fencing.

It looks a lot like aikido training as we have done it for a very long time. Somebody once called fencing "physical chess," and this is a fair description of the game above also.

The manner of aikido training you describe in your prior experience is more like taking chess pieces and moving them on the board according to the the "rules" of each piece -- but willy-nilly on the board without any understanding or strategy. Whatever that may be, in terms of complying with the nominal rules of the pieces -- it is not playing chess. The same goes for that kind of aikido training.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 12-02-2011 at 10:25 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:24 AM   #30
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Putting IS/Aiki back into Aikido?

Mr. Mead, Thank you for your sympathy towards me and your kind attempt to explain what you obviously deeply understand, but I am afraid it is too difficult for me as an Englishman to follow your vaunted and superior intellect.
iI bow to you Sir.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:19 AM   #31
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Putting IS/Aiki back into Aikido?

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1) So if you have either done or are doing solo IS training, how are you putting it into actual practice in the dojo, especially with other people who may not be on the same page? How is it improving your practice of aikido?

2) If you are teaching aikido, or just have ideas about how it needs to be taught, how then do you think the dynamic of the actual training environment itself must change to support IS/Aiki development? Yeah, yeah, I know there has to be solo training in there now, but you've got a room full of live bodies rather than imaginary friends, so what do you do with them now?
Hi Lee,

Interesting thread! Being far from the sources of this material, I have made it a rule for myself to do things that are extremely simple, and do them in a way that they are benefitial even if I get them wrong from a stricter „IS/IP“ point of view. Same applies to teaching: I have identified a few principles, all related to each other, that seem to make a lot of sense to me. In order of their relevance to me when I teach occasionally, these are:

(1) Maintain a „ground path“ during technique, as uke and nage. Learn to establish that path with more and more relaxed and subtle means. I realised the importance of this through Dan and Mike, but have found it present in both the Yamaguchi lineages and parts of the Iwama lineage.

(2a) Place your awareness in your body as much as possible. Then learn to put it in several places at the same time, then in as many places as possible. Learn to „activate“ the body through intent without moving it yet. Learn to preceed movement with awareness. Do that in opposing directions.

(2b) Different take on the same thing: Inhabit your body fully and feel it „from the inside out“ through breathing, including breathing as a kind of „awareness leading“ in the body.

(3) Connect your body using all of the above. In very simple exercises.

- Standard Truong’ian disclaimer about my own abilities –

All this seems to fit into parts of a standard aikido lesson (warm-ups or techniques) without making a great explicit IS/IP fuss about it – on one precondition: My teaching goal is not to produce students who are great at „IS/IP within aikido“, or even „put stuff back into aikido“, but students who have some familiarity with this approach and who, were they to meet Dan, Mike, Ikeda Sensei, or another one on that imaginary list, would be able to start working immediately, probably find some concepts familiar, and possibly get a pat on the back for getting it rather quickly. To do anything else is beyond my capabilties at the moment.

My experience is that it makes sense to the students, and they quite like the effects it has on the body and the practice. The main obstacle on their part is a certain fixation, which has to be overcome, on isolated aikido technique as an immediate means to a naively perceived martial end, but I think that needs to be overcome anyway.

It is of course my assumption here - apparently not shared by some others involved in IS/IP - that "modern" aikido is something very legitimate and deeply worth while, that it has many benefits apart from IS/IP, that I have teachers to whom I am much indebted for teaching me about those, and who, while maybe not being specialists, are not quite as ignorant about/ or uninterested in IS/IP as it is often suggested here for "mainstream aikido"

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 12-04-2011 at 05:25 AM. Reason: spelling and last sentence
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:27 AM   #32
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Putting IS/Aiki back into Aikido?

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Alec Corper wrote: View Post
Mr. Mead, Thank you for your sympathy towards me and your kind attempt to explain what you obviously deeply understand, but I am afraid it is too difficult for me as an Englishman to follow your vaunted and superior intellect.
iI bow to you Sir.
Ah, you are English. Well, that does makes our language problem doubly difficult, doesn't it? Consider it Dutch treat.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-10-2011, 02:10 AM   #33
Tatsushin
 
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Re: Putting IS/Aiki back into Aikido?

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Pauliina Lievonen wrote: View Post
Hi Joel, it sure has!

The interwebs ate my first attempt a couple days ago, possibly Jun was still fixing the forums or something...sorry for the delay in answering!

I'm not sure what you mean by opening the body? Though one of the effects of the kind of training we did at the recent seminar with Dan could be described as opening the body so maybe that's what you mean.

There are two things I like to separate, one is the way of going about the work one's doing, and the other is the results one's aiming at.

The way Dan works was something I was absolutely delighted about, because it fitted so well with Alexander work. Everything beginning with intent. The difference would be that the intensity of that intent and the effects of it on movement aren't usually taken that far in AT. It's usually not necessary either since most people aren't learning AT looking to become crazy powerful, just more coordinated and relaxed and able to move without or with less pain. So the goals are different.

One idea in the Alexander technique is that use, function and structure all influence each other. So if you use yourself differently, how you function will change and that may in time affect your structure as well. But the thing we always work on is use, and trying to change a students structure in any way directly or forcefully is a no no.

The exercises Dan taught I feel adress structure more directly, so that's another difference. I'm especially happy with a couple of them that give me a new tool to work on some slight tightness in connective tissue on one side of my spine and hip. Thing about connective tissue seems to be that it (unlike muscle) doesn't really respond much to intent, it really needs to be streched and worked over a longer period of time before it begings to change. And it seems to me the connectedness that one can feel in people's bodies who have done "internal stuff" for a while comes from connective tissue that has gotten stronger.

I remember someone writing here about theories about fascia contracting but I don't think that's quite the case, rather if your musculature works in really efficient way, and your bones are organized to carry and transmit weight as directly as possible, then the next weak link to strengthen is connective tissue that has to transmit the power the muscles generate. To put things very simply.

Talking about intent, whenever Dan asked us to think intent in some direction or another, not once did those instructions contradict anything I've learned in AT. It was funny really. Ok there was one minor thing I disagreed about, that's all.

Center - you know, I hardly ever think about "center". I prefer to think of the whole spine, or even better, my whole body, or on a really good day, the space I'm in, with me as a part of that three dimensional space. Wonder if that makes any sense to anyone else. :P

I'll be happy to write more, but it's 1:54 am here and I probably should go to bed sometime soon...

Pauliina
Hi Pauliina,

You said that there was one minor thing you disagreed with,may i ask what that thing was?
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:06 AM   #34
woudew
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Re: Putting IS/Aiki back into Aikido?

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Thomas Ossel wrote: View Post
Hi Pauliina,

You said that there was one minor thing you disagreed with,may i ask what that thing was?
MAybe you can ask her tomorrow
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