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Old 03-16-2012, 01:57 PM   #51
Garth
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Interesting video. Bursting the paper into flame was a little tough to take but interesting none the less.

Question for Allen Beebe. So, many different practices for many different goals? OR. different practices for same goal (unified body/mind).

I know there are too many to list but so far we have.

1)Standing, Reeling Silk etc for development of IS
2)Sitting - no mind - meditation- quieting the chatter/ Zanshin?
3) Aiki ken and and Aikido or waza/techniques or locomotion
4) visualization which can fit into 1 and 3 not 2 so much

Im kinda getting the feeling there is overlapping circles of influence here.
Of course my understanding is rudimentary on all three, but I value all opinions
unless you dont believe in 1, 2,3 or 4 and then also would like an opinion as to why not?

A day will dawn when you will yourself laugh at your effort. That which is on the day of laughter is also now.
Ramana Maharishi
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:31 PM   #52
Eric in Denver
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Gregory Gargiso wrote: View Post
Interesting video. Bursting the paper into flame was a little tough to take but interesting none the less.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3rhG...eature=related

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Old 03-16-2012, 03:46 PM   #53
dave9nine
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

i know.

there are indeed other videos that "debunk" chi/ki. but do they? or do they just debunk the people shown? (frankly, i dont know what to make of it..)

the thing about this guy that is interesting is that he initially didnt want to share, and ended up going back to the shadows as it were after he felt ashamed for trying to promote it; would someone trying to gain fame etc. do such a thing?...

there are some videos of the foo-foo ki guys doing no touch throws, etc., but then, there is also some footage of o-sensei doing this..hmm...

my challenging questions for us (or maybe just for me):
1. would o-sensei's ki "powers" have stood up to scientific 'mythbusters'?
2. did his legend have anything to do with this stuff, or was he 'unbeatable' based strictly on physical budo skill?
3. how does the answer to #2 have implications for aikido training?

-dave
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:53 PM   #54
Allen Beebe
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Gregory Gargiso wrote: View Post
Interesting video. Bursting the paper into flame was a little tough to take but interesting none the less.

Question for Allen Beebe. So, many different practices for many different goals? OR. different practices for same goal (unified body/mind).

I know there are too many to list but so far we have.

1)Standing, Reeling Silk etc for development of IS
2)Sitting - no mind - meditation- quieting the chatter/ Zanshin?
3) Aiki ken and and Aikido or waza/techniques or locomotion
4) visualization which can fit into 1 and 3 not 2 so much

Im kinda getting the feeling there is overlapping circles of influence here.
Of course my understanding is rudimentary on all three, but I value all opinions
unless you dont believe in 1, 2,3 or 4 and then also would like an opinion as to why not?
It seems reasonable to me to look to the available evidence in our attempt to draw a conclusion. There have been, and are, individuals exhibiting certain unusual phenomena. What sort of training do they all have in common?

1) Yes. Training that is that or training that is similar to that, that produces the same result.*

[Here I insert my usual caution. Is it possible to train something that APPEARS to be exactly that or similar to that and not achieve any results . . . clearly the answer is, yes. So one should find someone that can demonstrate results and see what it is that they are doing to achieve the results and replicate it until they can do the same or better. Otherwise ones RESULTS assert that one is doing something similar in APPEARANCE but different in SUBSTANCE.]

2) No. All do not have this in common.
3) No. All do not have this in common. Application can be vastly different in appearance, or similar, or not at all.
4) Yes. Visualization in conjunction with some sort of non-locomotion and locomotion IP/Aiki training. (I don't equate locomotion to waza, just movement from one point to another - relative to sitting/standing training which does not move from one point to another (across the floor for example.)

*Clearly in APPEARANCE there is more than one way to develop IP and/or Aiki. Clearly APPEARANCE does not assure results. One must actually be training the same THINGS that are needed to be developed to express IP and/or Aiki. To put a finer point on the matter. I do not believe that either Dan or I claimed that Dan's way or Shirata's way are the only "path up the mountain." However, each of those paths have something in common . . . arrival at the summit. There are other paths, that arrive there too. The question is, is one on a path that arrives actually take one where one wishes to go? Once again, I like evidence rather than hearsay. What makes Shirata sensei's practice unique is that it happens to come from within Aikido (sort of) and was practiced within Aikido, and was recognized as leading in the proper direction by someone some believe can DEMONSTRATE knowledge and experience of a "higher elevation than most many, many others can DEMONSTRATE.

I think I will be away from a keyboard for the weekend so I hope that helps.

Good training!,
Allen

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 03-16-2012, 04:46 PM   #55
Robert Cowham
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Has anyone had experience of Taikiken? Kennichi Sawai studied with Wang Xangzhai (to some degree at least - reports of it being a senior student told not to give out the real stuff also abound) - and as a result did basic standing plus sparring - that seemed to be pretty much it.

There are a variety of videos around of Sawai and his students.

I have done a certain amount of standing over the years, because it was encouraged by Inaba sensei - who had Sawai sensei in to teach at the Shiseikan. I make no great claims as to expertise, but certainly encourage people to explore this practice.
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:06 PM   #56
Garth
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
It seems reasonable to me to look to the available evidence in our attempt to draw a conclusion. There have been, and are, individuals exhibiting certain unusual phenomena. What sort of training do they all have in common?

1) Yes. Training that is that or training that is similar to that, that produces the same result.*

[Here I insert my usual caution. Is it possible to train something that APPEARS to be exactly that or similar to that and not achieve any results . . . clearly the answer is, yes. So one should find someone that can demonstrate results and see what it is that they are doing to achieve the results and replicate it until they can do the same or better. Otherwise ones RESULTS assert that one is doing something similar in APPEARANCE but different in SUBSTANCE.]

2) No. All do not have this in common.
3) No. All do not have this in common. Application can be vastly different in appearance, or similar, or not at all.
4) Yes. Visualization in conjunction with some sort of non-locomotion and locomotion IP/Aiki training. (I don't equate locomotion to waza, just movement from one point to another - relative to sitting/standing training which does not move from one point to another (across the floor for example.)

*Clearly in APPEARANCE there is more than one way to develop IP and/or Aiki. Clearly APPEARANCE does not assure results. One must actually be training the same THINGS that are needed to be developed to express IP and/or Aiki. To put a finer point on the matter. I do not believe that either Dan or I claimed that Dan's way or Shirata's way are the only "path up the mountain." However, each of those paths have something in common . . . arrival at the summit. There are other paths, that arrive there too. The question is, is one on a path that arrives actually take one where one wishes to go? Once again, I like evidence rather than hearsay. What makes Shirata sensei's practice unique is that it happens to come from within Aikido (sort of) and was practiced within Aikido, and was recognized as leading in the proper direction by someone some believe can DEMONSTRATE knowledge and experience of a "higher elevation than most many, many others can DEMONSTRATE.

I think I will be away from a keyboard for the weekend so I hope that helps.

Good training!,
Allen
Okay thanks for the reply . Hopefully I get you before you go train the weekend away.

No mistake , I am not saying or even implying that IP is the ony way to go or that anyone has made that claim. As matter of fact it is what occupies most of my thoughts now.
My question is , which is answered now in my slow but thorough pondering brain is what competes or conflicts most or do we make room for it all in training.
And the answer is ..........
According to what your goals or which summit you wish to attain
"it" is in yourself
Has quite the ability to cut away all the BS and posers that there may be
Good and Better!!!!
Greg

A day will dawn when you will yourself laugh at your effort. That which is on the day of laughter is also now.
Ramana Maharishi
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Old 03-16-2012, 11:33 PM   #57
Lee Salzman
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
Has anyone had experience of Taikiken? Kennichi Sawai studied with Wang Xangzhai (to some degree at least - reports of it being a senior student told not to give out the real stuff also abound) - and as a result did basic standing plus sparring - that seemed to be pretty much it.

There are a variety of videos around of Sawai and his students.

I have done a certain amount of standing over the years, because it was encouraged by Inaba sensei - who had Sawai sensei in to teach at the Shiseikan. I make no great claims as to expertise, but certainly encourage people to explore this practice.
I have looked at Sawai's book, and it is a strange animal. It explains almost nothing of how to train "Ritsu-zen" for developing ki, other that he does it is and it is important. In some cases he hints at things about what the exercise actually is, but effectively, it is more what seems either willfull omission or purposeful disinformation of what he knows. It could be that he did not practice the mental activity at all, but the occasional hints he throws out indicate otherwise.

But this ties into a wider point:

WXZ talked extensively about mental activity, mental activity that is not visualization, but rather producing bodily effects by conscious activation of the mental faculties that control them. Those practices where you only just stood there and practiced methods of relaxation were regarded only as 'health' standing and had no carry-over to combative ability, in opposition to 'combat' methods which practiced the development of unified force combined with explosive reaction. You seek to build real ability, not the ability to conjure pictures in your mind.

(Paraphrasing, since it has been ages since I read the exact words) WXZ talked, in one of his translated writings, about things like standing as if he was assailed by many blades all at once and deflecting them away as if they could not touch him. Sawai talks about a spinning top, seemingly still, yet anything that touches it is dashed away, or a fish swimming in a pond, where a small stone dropped in the pool makes the fish instantly swim away. That is not to say these are visualizations they employed, they are rather descriptions of what it felt like when they practiced, and what the practice produced.

And that is to say, in the theme of the combat methods, the standing is but only a small part and is by no means any secret-sauce. If you know what to work on while standing, you also know what you need to work on in movement, which is more important than the incidental fact of you just standing or you just moving - you can work the qualities in either, but movement is more important for bridging to combat. If you just think it is just standing there, or just moving, then you get almost nothing out of these practices likewise.

At least for me, the health methods had no carry-over to the combat methods, zero, because they just tend to focus on relaxing the body rather than working towards a unified body in movement and one that is able to instantly react. And for the combat methods, it was vastly easier to learn various qualities dynamically and occasionally refine them statically where necessary, because static postures hide activational failures, whereas dynamic movements make it obvious when something is not working or working badly.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 03-16-2012 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 03-17-2012, 08:45 AM   #58
Robert Cowham
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I have looked at Sawai's book, and it is a strange animal. It explains almost nothing of how to train "Ritsu-zen" for developing ki, other that he does it is and it is important. In some cases he hints at things about what the exercise actually is, but effectively, it is more what seems either willfull omission or purposeful disinformation of what he knows. It could be that he did not practice the mental activity at all, but the occasional hints he throws out indicate otherwise.

But this ties into a wider point:

WXZ talked extensively about mental activity, mental activity that is not visualization, but rather producing bodily effects by conscious activation of the mental faculties that control them. Those practices where you only just stood there and practiced methods of relaxation were regarded only as 'health' standing and had no carry-over to combative ability, in opposition to 'combat' methods which practiced the development of unified force combined with explosive reaction. You seek to build real ability, not the ability to conjure pictures in your mind.

(Paraphrasing, since it has been ages since I read the exact words) WXZ talked, in one of his translated writings, about things like standing as if he was assailed by many blades all at once and deflecting them away as if they could not touch him. Sawai talks about a spinning top, seemingly still, yet anything that touches it is dashed away, or a fish swimming in a pond, where a small stone dropped in the pool makes the fish instantly swim away. That is not to say these are visualizations they employed, they are rather descriptions of what it felt like when they practiced, and what the practice produced.

And that is to say, in the theme of the combat methods, the standing is but only a small part and is by no means any secret-sauce. If you know what to work on while standing, you also know what you need to work on in movement, which is more important than the incidental fact of you just standing or you just moving - you can work the qualities in either, but movement is more important for bridging to combat. If you just think it is just standing there, or just moving, then you get almost nothing out of these practices likewise.

At least for me, the health methods had no carry-over to the combat methods, zero, because they just tend to focus on relaxing the body rather than working towards a unified body in movement and one that is able to instantly react. And for the combat methods, it was vastly easier to learn various qualities dynamically and occasionally refine them statically where necessary, because static postures hide activational failures, whereas dynamic movements make it obvious when something is not working or working badly.
Very valid points.

Fairly traditional Japanese (and not uncommon in China either) teaching method to "just stand" and if you do it long enough you will discover some stuff. I certainly believe this does have an effect, but it is sub-optimal (in the short term at least). Having sought out some Yiquan practitioners I discovered a number of mental exercises which made things more interesting and more effective. Have also had useful insights from people such as Mike Sigman and Dan Harden among others.

As I understand Sawai's teaching - the sparring sessions are a way of educating people about the benefits of the basic standing - and a feedback mechanism.

Interestingly, I am also starting to appreciate the long term benefits of not giving away too much - making students work for their knowledge. It's a way of filtering out the less motivated. I see pros and cons for both approaches.
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Old 03-18-2012, 01:26 AM   #59
Lee Salzman
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
Very valid points.

Fairly traditional Japanese (and not uncommon in China either) teaching method to "just stand" and if you do it long enough you will discover some stuff. I certainly believe this does have an effect, but it is sub-optimal (in the short term at least). Having sought out some Yiquan practitioners I discovered a number of mental exercises which made things more interesting and more effective. Have also had useful insights from people such as Mike Sigman and Dan Harden among others.

As I understand Sawai's teaching - the sparring sessions are a way of educating people about the benefits of the basic standing - and a feedback mechanism.

Interestingly, I am also starting to appreciate the long term benefits of not giving away too much - making students work for their knowledge. It's a way of filtering out the less motivated. I see pros and cons for both approaches.
Testing in sparring is really essential to make use of what is gained in practice, but it is no substitute for actually having been shown what to practice, it is just a complement to it. And it's weird, I just can't imagine Sawai didn't learn about mental activity in zhan zhuang since WXZ was so vocal about it publically, but maybe that could be the strange reality of the situation under which Sawai was in China in the first place and the hostility thereof, and the fact that we have a lot of WXZ's translated writings now, but presumably Sawai would not have access to them at the time.

On the other hand, WXZ was quite vocal and gave several interviews. But at the same time, there were probably other arts that did plenty of the just-stand-there-mabu or just-stand-there-santi that Sawai would have encountered, so it seems also unlikely he would be so taken by the practice if he thought that's all the tricks WXZ had, otherwise why would he be so insistent on trying to train under WXZ? WXZ allegedly bested him despite all Sawai's previous training, but there were probably no shortage of people in the whole of China who could have managed that, since WXZ was good, but he was no super-hero and had several defeats on record.

All in all, there are just so many what-ifs with Sawai that could only be answered by an actual student of his...

I think the idea of "filtering" is a bit wrong-headed. Now, on one level, you could say that you are trying to protect information from people who, well, might be independent minded and simply not want to use the information the same way in which the teacher does. They are just being human, whereas the teacher is just being a control freak.

At the same time, finding anyone who is going to train the full depth of the material is going to require a lot of exposure, because people who are obsessed about any one given activity are rare, and you can't predict what will trigger a person's interest and obsession with a subject. So by limiting his options, the teacher is both losing out, and as said before, is likely a control freak of the sort that prevents his own students which he may actually care about from growing into independent minded and self-sufficient martial artists.

It's not an easy subject to pass on and requires a lot of personal time and attention to do that, and that in and of itself will filter out people unintentionally, so no need to do it intentionally on top of that.

This is to say nothing of the fact that if the teacher is not showing the student anything of interest, why should the student show an interest and devotion to him? There's a lot of unimpressive stuff under the name of yiquan out there, and the good ones don't really do enough to draw people to them. Maybe they're happy with that, but a lot of students who actually do want to find a good teacher and study hard, never get the opportunity, since all they find is the quacks.

Funnily enough, WXZ himself spoke of the master-disciple system being harmful and an impediment to learning...
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:56 AM   #60
Allen Beebe
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Gregory Gargiso wrote: View Post
Okay thanks for the reply . Hopefully I get you before you go train the weekend away.

No mistake , I am not saying or even implying that IP is the ony way to go or that anyone has made that claim. As matter of fact it is what occupies most of my thoughts now.
My question is , which is answered now in my slow but thorough pondering brain is what competes or conflicts most or do we make room for it all in training.
And the answer is ..........
According to what your goals or which summit you wish to attain
"it" is in yourself
Has quite the ability to cut away all the BS and posers that there may be
Good and Better!!!!
Greg
Well, I am saying that IP is the way to go if one wants Aiki. IP is not Aiki, but IP is necessary for an individual to produce Aiki. As it is true that, the summit one reaches is determined by the path one takes. If one wishes to reach the summit of Aiki, one must be sure to tread the Way of Aiki fully to its summit. (As any path that reaches the summit can be rightfully called a "summit path.". There may be many paths up the "mountain of Aiki" but the validity of each TRUE path is evidenced by its reaching the goal of Aiki.)

Treading the path and reaching the summit will be determined and evidenced, soley by what one DOES rather than by what one SAYS.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:16 AM   #61
chillzATL
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

so I went back and reviewed Shioda's solo exercises. I find them quite similar to Tohei's exercises, though certainly not in the way he demonstrated them. There's little in the form that doesn't exist on both sides at least. The largest difference that I see and feel is the effect that Shioda's kamae has on the overall feeling in me. That feeling is something that, IMO, is missing from Tohei's stuff as practiced and, to my eyes at least, as demonstrated by him. Odd considering that he was around in the old days, it all came from the same source and his stuff was obviously approved by the man himself. It's also interesting to see things in Tohei's stuff that existed in DR, at least as practiced by Sagawa, but doesn't seem to appear in Ueshiba's early kobukan offshoots. It would be interesting to know the evolution there. layers of the onion!
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:30 PM   #62
Garth
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Well, I am saying that IP is the way to go if one wants Aiki. IP is not Aiki, but IP is necessary for an individual to produce Aiki. As it is true that, the summit one reaches is determined by the path one takes. If one wishes to reach the summit of Aiki, one must be sure to tread the Way of Aiki fully to its summit. (As any path that reaches the summit can be rightfully called a "summit path.". There may be many paths up the "mountain of Aiki" but the validity of each TRUE path is evidenced by its reaching the goal of Aiki.)

Treading the path and reaching the summit will be determined and evidenced, soley by what one DOES rather than by what one SAYS.
So as you say, many paths same summit. But is this not evidence that few were able to replicate what OSensei was doing at his level? Because they were treading a path a few yards a away but not the same exact path and therefore could not understand what he was actually doing , (IOW they could not see the motion in stillness nor understand the instruction. Eventually a few did attain aiki but a much harder/longer path? And not as good.?
And to keep answering some of my own questions, I guess sitting practice(meditation ) will Not develop much Aiki?
And I guess you liked my signature line at the bottom
Thanks Allen!

Last edited by Garth : 03-20-2012 at 02:34 PM.

A day will dawn when you will yourself laugh at your effort. That which is on the day of laughter is also now.
Ramana Maharishi
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:39 PM   #63
Allen Beebe
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

"Old" is a relative thing I guess. Relative to each other Tohei began in 1940, Shirata and Shioda began at the beginning of the 30's, Tomiki began studying with Ueshiba in 1926. So there is difference of about 6 years between Shioda/Shirata and Tomiki and a difference of almost 15 years between Tohei and Tomiki.

Tomiki, Shirata and Shioda (in order of entry) all received licenses (more than one I believe) in Daito Ryu from Ueshiba regardless of what the art was called during their training. And Ueshiba's Daito Ryu teacher Takeda Sokaku would occasionally come and teach at Ueshiba's dojo during this time. Seemingly these individuals, if they learned Aiki, likely learned Daito Ryu Aiki (as reflected in the licenses awarded by Morihei and, perhaps, the presence of Takeda in the dojo occasionally at the time.)

KIsshomaru Ueshiba is said to have begun his training in about 1937.

Tohei began training just before the name Aikido began to be officially used, and after ties with Takeda had been severed. Tohei claimed that the only thing he learned from Ueshiba was relaxation. (We are left to believe that Mind/Body coordination and consequently Ki-Aikido came via Tohei's study with the Tempukai or perhaps via personal discovery.)

All of these men were given responsibilities and, presumably, "approval" by Ueshiba Morihei. Clearly "approval" alone did not equate to similarity, or even compatibility.

Sagawa said that he learned Aiki from Takeda early on, and also claimed, similarly to Ueshiba and Tohei, that what he developed was unique from his teacher.

Two things are clear to me, as evidenced by innumerable students of these famous teachers:

The difference that *makes the difference* is not contained in outer forms but in inner ability manifested outwardly.
Learning from, attending a seminar, or being a student of and individual who CAN manifest outwardly their inner ability (even if it their heartfelt wish is to teach you) is NO guarantee that you will learn and manifest that ability yourself.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:04 PM   #64
chillzATL
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

old is definitely relative. I'd never quite thought of the timeline. It would certainly be interesting to hear some stories if Takeda had shown up when someone of Tohei's...personality... had been there. anywho..

I have little interest in the outward forms as outward forms. I just enjoy exploring them to see what's there with more opened eyes. Much like yourself I would imagine.

question: Did Shirata Sensei stress kamae in the same way as Shioda?
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:18 PM   #65
Allen Beebe
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

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Gregory Gargiso wrote: View Post
So as you say, many paths same summit. But is this not evidence that few were able to replicate what OSensei was doing at his level? Because they were treading a path a few yards a away but not the same exact path and therefore could not understand what he was actually doing , (IOW they could not see the motion in stillness nor understand the instruction. Eventually a few did attain aiki but a much harder/longer path? And not as good.?
And to keep answering some of my own questions, I guess sitting practice(meditation ) will Not develop much Aiki?
And I guess you liked my signature line at the bottom
Thanks Allen!
I would say, all summit paths, by definition, lead to the summit (yes, some may be more direct than others), BUT not all summits are the same. If I wish to reach the summit of Mt. Hood (Aiki), I'll be careful to take a path that leads to the summit of MT. HOOD (Aiki) and I'll seek the guidance of someone who has been to the summit of Mt. Hood (Aiki), knows the path (Way) well and has led others successfully to that goal, as evidenced by their manifestation of Aiki.

There does not appear to me to be a direct correlation between sitting practice (meditation) and the acquisition/manifestation of Aiki. However, as some sitting practices can lead to a profound ability to control consciousness and sometimes bodily processes not normally thought be be controlled by consciousness, and since both IP and Aiki require an unusual degree of intent and bodily control, it seems reasonable to me that such a practice might, while not the same (Compare the number of meditators vs the number of individuals exhibiting IP/Aiki to any appreciable degree.) may be, at the very least, not detrimental to the acquisition and/or manifestation of IP/Aiki in the same manner that, for example, resistance training is, at least at the initial states, counter productive to the acquisition and/or manifestation of IP/Aiki.

Thank you for your expression of appreciation for my posts. My general philosophy is: Those that can't do (to any appreciable degree) [and that would be me right now] shouldn't talk (rather they should think and train until they can DO to an appreciable degree) . . . or post in this case. However, I have been "encouraged" to share and continue sharing despite the awkwardness I feel in doing so. In the mean time I continue to think and train with my peers with the help and guidance of one (and his able friends ) who can DO.

It is for the aforementioned reason that I have also begun to speak of and share the solo body movement exercises taught to me. About a year ago I was asked why I don't share them. I responded that I do, those that train with me practice them from the start. I was then asked why I don't share them with others? I responded that most don't wish to learn them. I was then asked how someone can wish to learn something they don't know about? I didn't have a adequate response to that question, so last year I began teaching the exercises explicitly (not in conjunction with waza) in public. But, again, I point out that the outer forms are not the same as the inner ability manifested outwardly. I'm working on it.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:26 PM   #66
Allen Beebe
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
old is definitely relative. I'd never quite thought of the timeline. It would certainly be interesting to hear some stories if Takeda had shown up when someone of Tohei's...personality... had been there. anywho..

I have little interest in the outward forms as outward forms. I just enjoy exploring them to see what's there with more opened eyes. Much like yourself I would imagine.

question: Did Shirata Sensei stress kamae in the same way as Shioda?
It is difficult for me to answer that question for the following reasons:

1) I am one student of Shirata sensei, certainly not the sole representative. (I'm sure you know that, but for the sake of integrity I feel compelled to write it down nevertheless.)
2) I would have to be aware of the way that Shioda sensei "stressed" kamae, and I unfortunately am not.

I can state the following:

I personally find how Shioda sensei's students perform their solo body movements (including their kamae) to be qualitatively different from what I see Shioda sensei doing. (The same can be said of Shirata's students I suppose.)

Shioda sensei's movement appears to me to me more inline (but not identical to) qualitatively Shirata sensei's movement than Shioda's students are with Shioda.

I think I read that "Yoshinkan kamae" has the weight distributed something on the lines of 70/30 towards the front? My understanding of Shirata sensei's instruction with regards to Kamae (which changed slightly BTW depending on what was required at the moment) was that the weight was to be 50/50 (almost) all of the time (one must be centered in the self ALL of the time.) Also, the position of the groin area should be held similarly to the position acquired in the practice of shiko. (That is the shiko "sumo stomp," not knee walking.) In fact one's entire body should be "shiko like" which is why shiko was taught. This is important because most individuals allow that area to collapse or become acute especially when standing the hanmi position regularly taught by Shioda and Shirata senseis.

Probably of most importance was the teaching that kamae is more than a "physical posture" (which is best thought of as a dynamic processes rather than a form of stasis) but also a "mental attitude" (which is also best thought of as a dynamic processes rather than a form of stasis). There is a depth to these teachings that cannot be addressed here. I'll just mention that one should be emanating outwardly and inwardly, at once, in (four, eight or ten) directions (I don't recall sensei using 6) First there is up and down (Heaven, Earth, we are in the middle) then the four cardinal directions (Yeah that makes 6, but I don't recall that number being used. Like I said though, I'm just one guy.), then 8 (the diagonals) then ten (the eight plus up and down.)

This coincided with his teaching of the Ken. One should be open in all directions, when one goes in one direction there must be an equal amount in the opposite direction. This was especially true if one moved backwards. While moving backwards one must be POWERFULLY moving forwards. Also, one must be "on" in each direction like a charger pawing the ground impatient to bolt. It first this is clunky but, I was told and have some experience with, in time the chunkiness refines to a hum. So your body/mind will hum. If you have a weapon it should hum. This isn't a "pretend" or "hippy dippy" thing. It is a real, visceral, reproducible experience. It also isn't machismo. It has NOTHING to do with machismo.

In fact, that "hum" should be "feel able" at a distance.

The question is sometimes asked (in the context of Ken), "What if the opponent doesn't feel or recognize that (the "hum")?" The answer (in the context of Ken): "They die stupid."

No resource pertinent to the task at hand physical or mental is "off line."

One more thing (well lots more things but you know . . .), sensei's kamae changed with and without a ken I found. Without a ken there was still sensei "there" (to my mind at least), it was scary at times, but sensei was "around" to ameliorate the situation. With a ken in his hands his kamae changed such that (to my mind at least) sensei "wasn't there" anymore. It was, I imagine, a bit like looking into the face of a alligator, nothing personal . . . strictly business. Dealing with that was a study in kamae itself.

So, yeah, kamae . . . important mostly for reasons well beyond angles and such. How about with Shioda sensei?

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:33 PM   #67
Garth
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

[B:]Thank you for your expression of appreciation for my posts. My general philosophy is: Those that can't do (to any appreciable degree) [and that would be me right now] shouldn't talk (rather they should think and train until they can DO to an appreciable degree) . . . or post in this case. However, I have been "encouraged" to share and continue sharing despite the awkwardness I feel in doing so. In the mean time I continue to think and train with my peers with the help and guidance of one (and his able friends ) who can DO.[/b] Quote

Allen,
This is also me, same boat or path, although it sounds like you are much further up the path than I.
And "you see" or have "seen" more people at the summit than I and it is vitaly important that you continue to share, awkward as it may seem, there is more appreciation out there than you think

A day will dawn when you will yourself laugh at your effort. That which is on the day of laughter is also now.
Ramana Maharishi
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:10 AM   #68
chillzATL
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
It is difficult for me to answer that question for the following reasons:

1) I am one student of Shirata sensei, certainly not the sole representative. (I'm sure you know that, but for the sake of integrity I feel compelled to write it down nevertheless.)
2) I would have to be aware of the way that Shioda sensei "stressed" kamae, and I unfortunately am not.

I can state the following:

I personally find how Shioda sensei's students perform their solo body movements (including their kamae) to be qualitatively different from what I see Shioda sensei doing. (The same can be said of Shirata's students I suppose.)

Shioda sensei's movement appears to me to me more inline (but not identical to) qualitatively Shirata sensei's movement than Shioda's students are with Shioda.

I think I read that "Yoshinkan kamae" has the weight distributed something on the lines of 70/30 towards the front? My understanding of Shirata sensei's instruction with regards to Kamae (which changed slightly BTW depending on what was required at the moment) was that the weight was to be 50/50 (almost) all of the time (one must be centered in the self ALL of the time.) Also, the position of the groin area should be held similarly to the position acquired in the practice of shiko. (That is the shiko "sumo stomp," not knee walking.) In fact one's entire body should be "shiko like" which is why shiko was taught. This is important because most individuals allow that area to collapse or become acute especially when standing the hanmi position regularly taught by Shioda and Shirata senseis.

Probably of most importance was the teaching that kamae is more than a "physical posture" (which is best thought of as a dynamic processes rather than a form of stasis) but also a "mental attitude" (which is also best thought of as a dynamic processes rather than a form of stasis). There is a depth to these teachings that cannot be addressed here. I'll just mention that one should be emanating outwardly and inwardly, at once, in (four, eight or ten) directions (I don't recall sensei using 6) First there is up and down (Heaven, Earth, we are in the middle) then the four cardinal directions (Yeah that makes 6, but I don't recall that number being used. Like I said though, I'm just one guy.), then 8 (the diagonals) then ten (the eight plus up and down.)

This coincided with his teaching of the Ken. One should be open in all directions, when one goes in one direction there must be an equal amount in the opposite direction. This was especially true if one moved backwards. While moving backwards one must be POWERFULLY moving forwards. Also, one must be "on" in each direction like a charger pawing the ground impatient to bolt. It first this is clunky but, I was told and have some experience with, in time the chunkiness refines to a hum. So your body/mind will hum. If you have a weapon it should hum. This isn't a "pretend" or "hippy dippy" thing. It is a real, visceral, reproducible experience. It also isn't machismo. It has NOTHING to do with machismo.

In fact, that "hum" should be "feel able" at a distance.

The question is sometimes asked (in the context of Ken), "What if the opponent doesn't feel or recognize that (the "hum")?" The answer (in the context of Ken): "They die stupid."

No resource pertinent to the task at hand physical or mental is "off line."

One more thing (well lots more things but you know . . .), sensei's kamae changed with and without a ken I found. Without a ken there was still sensei "there" (to my mind at least), it was scary at times, but sensei was "around" to ameliorate the situation. With a ken in his hands his kamae changed such that (to my mind at least) sensei "wasn't there" anymore. It was, I imagine, a bit like looking into the face of a alligator, nothing personal . . . strictly business. Dealing with that was a study in kamae itself.

So, yeah, kamae . . . important mostly for reasons well beyond angles and such. How about with Shioda sensei?
Allen,

Interesting stuff, thanks for taking the time. I have no direct exeprience with the Yoshinkan, so all of my referencing is from print or video. I believe they hold to a 60/40 weight distribution, but my interest was really more in the foot positioning, specifically as it relates to their solo exercises. I recall finding that foot positioning such an odd thing as it's completely foreign to our practice and I guess I haven't thought about it since my training took its current turn. That kamae combined with some of their exercises (and oddly, even ours) produces an interesting sensation from hand to foot across the body. Even just standing it has an interesting feel to it through the legs/middle and seems to extend the stretch of some of the more linear exercises into the legs. It's definitely something I never would have noticed without that outside training, so it's easy to see how the value of these kinds of exercises gets glossed over. I also found it interesting that Shioda was pretty clear in saying that this isn't a fighting stance, but was to "instill the center line". He also has some interesting things to say in regards to the "energy" of the body in practice that somewhat mirrors your comments from Shirata sensei.

Good stuff and thanks again for sharing. Feel free to do so any time the urge strikes you!
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:36 AM   #69
Dazzler
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
....... I also found it interesting that Shioda was pretty clear in saying that this isn't a fighting stance, but was to "instill the center line". He also has some interesting things to say in regards to the "energy" of the body in practice that somewhat mirrors your comments from Shirata sensei.

)
Reading through a lot of recent threads there's clearly a lot of resistance to the suggestion that Aikido practice could be refocussed to improve the development of 'Aiki'.

Yet a statement like this suggests that what is proposed by the Aiki/Ip fraternity isn't necessarily plugging a gap that was never filled in Aikido but more about restoring it to its original glory.

Just an observation.

FWIW

D
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:46 AM   #70
chillzATL
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Reading through a lot of recent threads there's clearly a lot of resistance to the suggestion that Aikido practice could be refocussed to improve the development of 'Aiki'.

Yet a statement like this suggests that what is proposed by the Aiki/Ip fraternity isn't necessarily plugging a gap that was never filled in Aikido but more about restoring it to its original glory.

Just an observation.

FWIW

D
I wouldn't say refocused to improve, but refocused to once again include and IMO that resistance is slowly melting away. While the methods some are using to get there might be different on the surface, the real content is much the same. It's interesting (at least to me) to see what was actually there, the efforts that were made to pass it along and how some of that stuff can be reintegrated into practice along with some more modern methods to rebuild what was lost.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:49 AM   #71
Allen Beebe
Location: Portland, OR
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Allen,

Interesting stuff, thanks for taking the time. I have no direct exeprience with the Yoshinkan, so all of my referencing is from print or video. I believe they hold to a 60/40 weight distribution, but my interest was really more in the foot positioning, specifically as it relates to their solo exercises. I recall finding that foot positioning such an odd thing as it's completely foreign to our practice and I guess I haven't thought about it since my training took its current turn. That kamae combined with some of their exercises (and oddly, even ours) produces an interesting sensation from hand to foot across the body. Even just standing it has an interesting feel to it through the legs/middle and seems to extend the stretch of some of the more linear exercises into the legs. It's definitely something I never would have noticed without that outside training, so it's easy to see how the value of these kinds of exercises gets glossed over. I also found it interesting that Shioda was pretty clear in saying that this isn't a fighting stance, but was to "instill the center line". He also has some interesting things to say in regards to the "energy" of the body in practice that somewhat mirrors your comments from Shirata sensei.

Good stuff and thanks again for sharing. Feel free to do so any time the urge strikes you!
Thanks Jason,

With regards to the feet. If one considers that it is best (health wise) to keep them in line with the knee, one can see that the hanmi of Shioda/Shirata doesn't really supinate the foot, but rather the femur maximally. This is juxtaposed by an equally maximal pronation of the femurs during Shirata's tenkan movement. What causes the femur to be rotated maximally in either direction is also of primary importance. So one goes further down the rabbit hole of creating Ip, and then Aiki within one's self. Of course this is elementary stuff, but without a strong foundation to build off of everything that comes afterward can only be facade and sophistry.

All the best,
Allen

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:11 AM   #72
Dazzler
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
I wouldn't say refocused to improve, but refocused to once again include and IMO that resistance is slowly melting away. While the methods some are using to get there might be different on the surface, the real content is much the same. It's interesting (at least to me) to see what was actually there, the efforts that were made to pass it along and how some of that stuff can be reintegrated into practice along with some more modern methods to rebuild what was lost.
I guess refocussing to once again include ...would improve the end result.

There's certainly a growing appreciation and interest of the subject I agree.

For my own part i'm fascinated how an insight into this area can transform well trod training practices and illuminate areas previously unnoticed.

I still hear some pretty strong resistance though...who knows ...maybe there are some people out there who really do have this in their regular practice. its not beyond the realms of possibility...my belief though is that most would change their opinion once they got some hands on with the leading players in this revolution.

Cheers

D
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:17 AM   #73
Allen Beebe
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Reading through a lot of recent threads there's clearly a lot of resistance to the suggestion that Aikido practice could be refocussed to improve the development of 'Aiki'.

Yet a statement like this suggests that what is proposed by the Aiki/Ip fraternity isn't necessarily plugging a gap that was never filled in Aikido but more about restoring it to its original glory.

Just an observation.

FWIW

D
Hi Daren,

If one reads Chris Li's fine blogs, one can quickly come to the conclusuion that the founders of all IP/Aiki arts were part of a "fraternity" of sorts. As for me, I"ve trained with "outsiders" to Aikido for years (after sensei's death) rather than within Aikido because I found more commonality, friendship and acceptance with them than within Aikido. Some acused me of going "outside Aikido" for further training (to plug a hole) . . . Wrong! I went "outside Aikido" so I could further learn, train and develop Aikido as origionally taught to me!

I'm probably more jaded about the present state of Aikido and its future than most of my "outside" friends. On the other hand I've probably trained with more Aikido folks in the past year or so than I'd trained with in the ten years previously. That is a remarkable change in my Aikido world that I am enjoying.

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 03-21-2012 at 08:20 AM.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:19 AM   #74
Allen Beebe
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

Wish I could learn to spell!

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:32 AM   #75
Dazzler
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Re: Zhangzhuang could help Aikido practise

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Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Wish I could learn to spell!
Never mind the spelling ..its the quality of what you are saying that counts.

As you observe...your Aikido world is changing. Mine is too and while sometimes I feel critical of some practices, generally I feel very positive about the winds of change sweeping Aikido.

interesting times.
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