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Old 10-05-2013, 11:19 PM   #151
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Working the 6 directions pulls (and pushes) you into alignment. It's inherent in the exercise, as I said before. You just aren't thinking about it, because you're working those 6 directions. You can put yourself out of alignment intentionally if you want, and can use the cross-body tensions to maintain your structure to some extent, but again, the exercise is not just "one thing."
Cady, I would be lying if I said working moving intent does not also work structure as an integral part of it. But at the same time, the focus must be on moving intent, otherwise all one is doing is external "IMA". It's moving intent that creates all the weird effects on contact, that allows us to fall apart structurally but still effect people. The structure is not a requirement, so it does not seem a good idea to become terribly attached to it, especially because in the limit, it just gives you a sort of hard power that, while strong, is still going to become undone by soft power. Structure stagnates, intent moves.
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:40 AM   #152
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

I like the word letting instead of working.

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Old 10-06-2013, 04:59 PM   #153
Cady Goldfield
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
Cady, I would be lying if I said working moving intent does not also work structure as an integral part of it. But at the same time, the focus must be on moving intent, otherwise all one is doing is external "IMA". It's moving intent that creates all the weird effects on contact, that allows us to fall apart structurally but still effect people. The structure is not a requirement, so it does not seem a good idea to become terribly attached to it, especially because in the limit, it just gives you a sort of hard power that, while strong, is still going to become undone by soft power. Structure stagnates, intent moves.
Well, it's not good to be terribly attached to any of the components of IP; yet, we have to be aware of them and acknowledge them, and let them become part of us, before we can build on them and move to the next level. My original post and intention was to parse out the steps and stages of building IP, and for me, it began with building the structure. That was 15 years ago. Today I still work on structure, but I am using it for all sorts of things, particularly to generate enormous power while maintaining a stable, relaxed body.

Maybe your definition of structure is different from mine.
Intent is the driver of everything, of course; it is what initiates structure and holds it/you together, so you can "move on" to use it for the next phase.

My suggestion is that we have this discussion again in five years. These are exciting times.
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Old 12-26-2016, 07:39 PM   #154
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Re: The Way of Aiki

I was having a conversation with someone recently, fairly high rank, and he could not get past waza: How to do the waza. Posture seemed to mean position; taking balance was yanking the guy off balance; technique seemed to mean leverage. Harmony was to blend with the attack = OK, but then he just forced everything on his uke. That, to me, is Jujutsu, basic Jujutsu, and it is what a lot of people do, whether they acknowledge it or not. I asked him what he thought aiki was and he said blending with the attack. OK, ... then what? He was not the slightest bit interested in other ideas, especially my take on it, Aikido as The Way of Aiki. Probably thought I was nuts.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 12-26-2016 at 07:46 PM.

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Old 12-28-2016, 03:19 PM   #155
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I was having a conversation with someone recently, fairly high rank, and he could not get past waza: How to do the waza. Posture seemed to mean position; taking balance was yanking the guy off balance; technique seemed to mean leverage. Harmony was to blend with the attack = OK, but then he just forced everything on his uke. That, to me, is Jujutsu, basic Jujutsu, and it is what a lot of people do, whether they acknowledge it or not. I asked him what he thought aiki was and he said blending with the attack. OK, ... then what? He was not the slightest bit interested in other ideas, especially my take on it, Aikido as The Way of Aiki. Probably thought I was nuts.
Even before I switched out of a more mainline method of training I used to think "blending" was an absurd word to use.

What do you visualize when someone says blend? What are your instincts?

If you're a chef, the imagery is even more useless.

We can choose to re-define words and we certainly should develop a common vocabulary to communicate well with the people we train, but I have never felt that "blending" was a useful word in training.

Tarik Ghbeish
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MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:49 PM   #156
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
We can choose to re-define words and we certainly should develop a common vocabulary to communicate well with the people we train, but I have never felt that "blending" was a useful word in training.
Blending, in it's most general form, is a process of mixing. In the context of Aikido, blending refers to the mixing of uke's and nage's individual motions so as to bring their conflicting trajectories into congruence in order to facilitate the execution of a technique.

Ron

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Old 12-29-2016, 12:00 AM   #157
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Blending, in it's most general form, is a process of mixing. In the context of Aikido, blending refers to the mixing of uke's and nage's individual motions so as to bring their conflicting trajectories into congruence in order to facilitate the execution of a technique.

Ron
Agreed, but after blending with the attack, presuming it to be neutralised, to what extend do you just do the technique on them thereafter, or, remain aware and further utilize uke's energy to encourage his demise? What I mean is ... it is all very well to just do your great solid technique on them, but our aim should be to develop aiki, and it is more than just destroying his structure with balance and solid technique. What I mean is, 'technique' itself tends to be done the same way on everyone, almost like kata, whereas we all know each uke reacts and behaves a little differently. This is Aikido's best asset and to not seek it is to just do Jujutsu.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 12-29-2016 at 12:03 AM.

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Old 12-29-2016, 06:37 AM   #158
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Agreed, but after blending with the attack, presuming it to be neutralised, to what extend do you just do the technique on them thereafter,
To no extent. I don't "just do the technique on them". My technique arises from the interaction itself. The form of the technique isn't imposed, it's exposed.

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
or, remain aware and further utilize uke's energy to encourage his demise?
Yes.

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
What I mean is ... it is all very well to just do your great solid technique on them, but our aim should be to develop aiki, and it is more than just destroying his structure with balance and solid technique.
Agreed.

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
What I mean is, 'technique' itself tends to be done the same way on everyone, almost like kata, whereas we all know each uke reacts and behaves a little differently. This is Aikido's best asset and to not seek it is to just do Jujutsu.
Not only is each uke different, each encounter with the same uke is different.

Ron

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Old 12-30-2016, 01:21 AM   #159
tarik
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Blending, in it's most general form, is a process of mixing. In the context of Aikido, blending refers to the mixing of uke's and nage's individual motions so as to bring their conflicting trajectories into congruence in order to facilitate the execution of a technique.
The language just doesn't work for me. I don't consider my harmony or any of the definitions of congruence, mathematical or otherwise, (except maybe compatibility) to describe well what is going on when I receive uke's attacking energy into my physical system and use it to affect their structure.

Compatibility is closest because I make their structure dependent upon mine, but I don't still don't feel that I'm blending my energy with theirs. I'm letting it move through me and adding a tweak here and there to change it's trajectory or rebound upon them. It's definitely not what I consider blending.

But maybe I am just worrying too much about semantics here, although at especially beginning levels of training I find sematic descriptions incredibly important in the responses they illicit from untrained students.

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 12-30-2016, 10:16 AM   #160
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Re: The Way of Aiki

I prefer to refer to it is as hijacking their momentum. The “blend” or “harmonizing” is the initial matching their movement so they are unaware of the moment that you connect and begin to redirect their movement. Both at the point of contact, so they initially feel nothing, and to a lesser extent with close parts of the body, so they do not see a visual que of diverging movements. The visual bit is more a side effect rather than a goal.

In our case the kuzushi is often achieved with a small body shift while both bodies are connected. The movement being small enough that uke does not perceive the unbalancing until it is too late. So small kuzushi with the body shift, followed by the throw, which amplifies the kuzushi with a larger movement after the initial unbalancing or degradation of uke’s structure.
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:22 PM   #161
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Hilary Heinmets wrote: View Post
In our case the kuzushi is often achieved with a small body shift while both bodies are connected. The movement being small enough that uke does not perceive the unbalancing until it is too late. So small kuzushi with the body shift, followed by the throw, which amplifies the kuzushi with a larger movement after the initial unbalancing or degradation of uke's structure.
I like this ...

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Old 12-31-2016, 03:36 PM   #162
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
The language just doesn't work for me. I don't consider my harmony or any of the definitions of congruence, mathematical or otherwise, (except maybe compatibility) to describe well what is going on when I receive uke's attacking energy into my physical system and use it to affect their structure.
Based on what you've described above I understand how the word blending doesn't work for you. It does work for me because when I'm training, from my point of view, uke and I cease to be separate individuals and become a single integrated system in motion. To me, that's blending.

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
But maybe I am just worrying too much about semantics here, although at especially beginning levels of training I find sematic descriptions incredibly important in the responses they illicit from untrained students.
And I think the descriptions we use with our students have to be compatible with the context of our individual Aikido styles. So I don't think you're over reaching with your concern here. When we're exchanging ideas in these forums it's important to keep in mind that we're seeing Aikido thru different filters and training backgrounds.

Ron

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Old 01-05-2017, 01:03 PM   #163
Hilary
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Agreed, but after blending with the attack, presuming it to be neutralised, to what extend do you just do the technique on them thereafter, or, remain aware and further utilize uke's energy to encourage his demise? What I mean is ... it is all very well to just do your great solid technique on them, but our aim should be to develop aiki, and it is more than just destroying his structure with balance and solid technique. What I mean is, 'technique' itself tends to be done the same way on everyone, almost like kata, whereas we all know each uke reacts and behaves a little differently. This is Aikido's best asset and to not seek it is to just do Jujutsu.
Rupert, a little circuitous but bear with me. I think once people are talking about developing aiki we are talking to a more experienced crowd. So I would expect at this point one is also brushing up against forgetting technique stage. I think this may be an integral part of the path to aiki (or maybe just my own path, but let try this on and see who it fits).

I found that once I shifted my attention from "I need to get a technique" to "just kuzushi them" opportunities to lock and throw just opened up, and made themselves obvious. We still work on traditional technique, but embrace what sensei refers to as informal techniques i.e. "well the kuzushi made them unstable in this direction lets go this way" and in short order kotogaishe/shionage hybrids and other throws that have no name start occurring. Point of contact throws, body displacements and atemi opportunities start erupting because the shift to kuszushi as the objective widens the applicable technique domain.

Traditional techniques become waypoints of principle in what is a continuum of locking and throwing methodologies. And because uke is kuzushied earlier in the engagement the throws and locks work better and more consistently. The shift to kuzushi on contact paradigm requires aiki to effect and make reliable and here we are. Aiki requires connected body and prefers a mobile dantian and there is your path to solo training. To develop the body, to do aiki, to create kuszushi on contact, to make technique reliable, adaptive and usable in the real world.

Had planned to go on, but perhaps more manageable chunks rather than wall of text is a better approach.
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:33 PM   #164
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Hilary Heinmets wrote: View Post
Traditional techniques become waypoints of principle in what is a continuum of locking and throwing methodologies. ...
I have tried to analogize codified waza as simply cross-sections, linked to one another, but forming a far larger and unified continuum of action/potential, most of which is not explicitly categorized or given any name or canonical form. They are drawn out and necessarily stylized in form because they do lack a significant dimension of the whole. But the isolated slice allows different elements or perspectives captured in each to be more easily grasped. They are the teacups collecting what water drips at the hose-end because to try sipping from the fire-hose stream itself is haphazard and problematic.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-05-2017, 03:38 PM   #165
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Hi all!

I'm new to Aikido but did attend one of Mr. Sigman's Internal Strength workshops years ago. I see, upon review of this thread, some participants also attended this type of workshop - or one of Dan Harden's.

I haven't practiced this stuff on my own so I'm really rusty. Anybody in the DC metro area?
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Old 01-10-2017, 01:16 PM   #166
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Rupert, guess I was a little too circuitous.

Erick it is clear you are a lawyer and charge by the word (not that I am stingy in that department either). ;-) I think we are in agreement on this. I simply view it as each formal technique utilizes/highlights one or more principles. Once these principles are embodied, after years of practice, the exact reproduction of a given technique is not required. Angles and methods of attack rarely conform to the geometry of kata practice, so why should the expression of the art.

Governor Silver, review what you were taught relative to solo exercises. Specifically pulling silk or what every Sigman calls his tendon and fascia isometrics. Just do them, they don’t take much time and they really do help you build resilient structure in your body. Yes, go ahead and join others, but do not let the absence of partners for partner training hinder your solo work. Partner training helps you validate some of your body skills, but is the actual solo training, on a regular basis, that will change your body. And yes go see Dan if you have a chance. Building an aiki body early in your aikido journey should help immensely in the expression of your art.
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Old 01-10-2017, 02:19 PM   #167
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Rupert, guess I was a little too circuitous.

Erick it is clear you are a lawyer and charge by the word (not that I am stingy in that department either). ;-)
Generosity is SAID to be a virtue ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-10-2017, 05:53 PM   #168
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Thumbs down Re: The Way of Aiki

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Generosity is SAID to be a virtue ...
So where the heck are our humanitarian awards?
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Old 01-11-2017, 03:02 PM   #169
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Hilary Heinmets wrote: View Post
Governor Silver, review what you were taught relative to solo exercises. Specifically pulling silk or what every Sigman calls his tendon and fascia isometrics. Just do them, they don't take much time and they really do help you build resilient structure in your body. Yes, go ahead and join others, but do not let the absence of partners for partner training hinder your solo work. Partner training helps you validate some of your body skills, but is the actual solo training, on a regular basis, that will change your body. And yes go see Dan if you have a chance. Building an aiki body early in your aikido journey should help immensely in the expression of your art.
Thanks! I've been digging around and reviewing written info and videos - the older one on Youtube and the newer ones on Vimeo. I see some changes/updates have been made, including new terminology/references like "the suit" that are unfamiliar to me. This the training plan I've pieced together, borrowing from one of Mike's posts:

1. Learn and develop jin skills
I believe this was simply standing and grounding a partner's push/pull. Solo practice is possible by pushing against a wall, with attention to ground path from foot to the hand/elbow/whatever is contacting the wall.

2. Then begin practicing and coordinating body-winding skills with reverse breathing, dantian, and so on.
I found a video on reverse breathing, then another one on reserve-breathing with arms extended, for feeling the pull on the front or the back of the body. So I'll start with those. I also found a couple of videos teaching basic opening and closing and basic "arm waving" silk reeling.

3. Begin strengthening the winding and dantian skills via some exercises like Cando Flexbar, pole-shaking, and so on.
I ordered a Cando Twist Bend Shake bar. I'll focus more on Steps 1 and 2 first of course.

I did contact Budd Yuhasz, who informed me there is a dojo in MD that trains under his Taikyoku Budo. I"ll check them out. I'll also look for opportunities to train w/ Dan or somebody who has trained with him.
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Old 01-17-2017, 11:35 AM   #170
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Shameless plug...
Dan will be in Atlanta Feb 10-12.

I think there is a distinction between aiki and aikido. For me, you are definitely talking about a core curriculum of exercises designed to build the aiki body. Performing the kata without the aiki body would necessarily mean performing kata without aiki...

"Blending" is sometimes vague and not imbued with the attributes we see in martial practice. The Earth circles the Sun, not the other way around. Is this important? Yes, because it means the Earth orbits the Sun, not vice versa. Blending leaves this vague, "Who's in control" element that we often resolve by means of authority. "Nage is in control." But, really? I think many of us have that feeling of compliance that proves nage is not, in fact, in control. I think if you have this experience, whatever you may call it, it would not be an experience of "aiki" which we know has a component of removing power and taking balance instantly.

We tease in the dojo that when you work out with someone who has aiki, the "blending" is more similar to, "No, no. Blending - like make smoothie." You are so not in control of what happens to your body, it is almost stupid.

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