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Old 08-08-2014, 08:40 PM   #1
Peter Boylan
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How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

I finally put together another blog post, and this one looks at timing and how to develop it.
It's at
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/08/...s-in-budo.html

How do you train to develop your sense of timing?

Peter Boylan
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:50 AM   #2
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

We had a good experience of training sen no sen at a seminar this weekend. It's a seminar where multiple martial arts instructors are invited and it was neat seeing teachers from karate, aikido, Iaido, and jujitsu all teach from a common theme of sen.

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Old 08-11-2014, 08:09 AM   #3
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

My sensei says that "when" is most important, "where" comes next and "what" is a rather distant third.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:30 PM   #4
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
My sensei says that "when" is most important, "where" comes next and "what" is a rather distant third.
Do you physically drill those concepts as well?

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Old 08-12-2014, 07:13 AM   #5
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
Do you physically drill those concepts as well?
yes. you can practice on intercept the attack at different time, from the point when uke thinking of the attack, until when the attack touch you and every when in between. sort of playing with uke's OODA loop. you make uke stutter his/her/it attack to all the way when uke thought he/she/it has you dead on, then you phase-shift and disappear. time, distance and intent tied together. they are equally important. 3 points of the triangle. to master you need to practice cutting into a buffet line.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:24 AM   #6
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
Do you physically drill those concepts as well?
I dislike the word "drill", but yes (I'm tempted to say "...obviously, otherwise what's the point of talking about it?").
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:05 AM   #7
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
I finally put together another blog post, and this one looks at timing and how to develop it.
It's at
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/08/...s-in-budo.html

How do you train to develop your sense of timing?
I like your articles about different aspects of training. While I agree with many statements, I don't think timing is simple. One of the reasons is that you can't separate it from the concept of space around you and the openings in attacker posture. Without owning space around you, you can't move most effectively.

Owning space take a lot of training, so can't reasonably teach timing very early in the body development, beginner students have always wrong timing because of that. Another aspect is opening (entering in perfect timing if there is no opening, is not very helping…) -- even if you explain clearly with examples in slow motion, their perception is not yet there.

Eyes or touch sense develops slowly….Another point supporting these that timing is not simple; it must be practiced with weapons. You can see huge difference in timing skills between somebody with long history of weapons training (under good teacher of course) and somebody who never touched any weapon. In this case it is even impossible to explain them some basic timing aspects (early timing, late timing, just-in-time timing)

I'm curious, what kind of exercises you do to improve timing?

Nagababa

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Old 08-12-2014, 10:10 AM   #8
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

I have been hesitating to post because I think this is really a "down the rabbit" hole discussion. But I'll give it a shot...

First off, I agree completely with everything Szczepan wrote up above (I will add that weapons work doesn't guarantee that timing *and* there are those without weapons work with the same amazing ability, but that clarification isn't I think really much to argue about anyway).

But I think his discussion highlights something that I think is really critical to understanding timing. And his question about how to train for it cuts right to the core of the problem.

Using one of the examples given in the article, a simple foot sweep is anything but. Yeah, we can comprehend it on an intellectual level, but your comments about timing (weight transferring but not yet connected) raise more questions in my mind really. How do we learn about that exact moment? Is it by watching? Or is it by "feeling". And that's where it gets complicated to me. And that's where I think I start to quibble with the use of the word timing... Because I think that sends *some* people in the wrong direction.

Going back a long time ago when I trained in Judo as a teenager (bell bottoms were in if that helps). I remember watching two very experienced guys training. A senior member came over and sat down next to me. I think he liked talking with me because I was always curious, always asking questions, and he joked that he could tell when I was puzzled because I would turn my head like his dog watching a treat (and fwiw I catch myself doing that even today -- I guess that's my "tell"). Anyway, I was watching then work on leg sweeps. My comment as I remember it was that their timing was great. The reason I remember this is the old guy laughed, slapped me on the back and said timing had nothing to do with it. I argued the point because if the timing isn't right you can't do it, but these guys seemed to always time it just right. He said that they get it right because they can feel when it will work and feel when it won't. And that has nothing to do with timing.

That conversation stuck with me over the years. Yes, the timing has to be perfect. But maybe the timing has nothing to do with "learning the timing" as much as "feeling" the ebb and flow of a technique. In other words, the "time" to sweep the foot is when you "know" they're vulnerable.

So then the question becomes how to learn when someone else is vulnerable. In Judo (and Aikido) you have the advantage generally of being directly engaged as things happen. With sufficient and correct training you can learn how to "feel" the attacker's balance, connection, etc. directly through their connection to you (and you obviously use all your other senses as well -- we always seem to want to separate senses and as a guy who is significantly hard of hearing I think that's probably a mistake -- a discussion for another time however). So how does this happen? What can we do to facilitate this? How do we train our students in the same? By teaching them how to feel the structure of the attacker through whatever connection you have available.

So this will veer off in to a lot of other areas so I'll end it now.

And "No", I don't think this is the only way or the only thing. Just a major part of it.

To me the problem with someone trying to "learn" timing is that they are focused on something that *is* accurate and correct. However, learning how to "hit it" right at the correct moment isn't really so much about timing. Back to the old guy's comment... It's not so much that the timing is correct (it is, of course), it's being able to comprehend *when* that moment has arrived or is about to arrive. When you feel the balance tipping. When you feel the attacker floating. If you can't feel that, yeah, maybe timing is the way to go (by that I mean a focus on the idea that at *this* point in the technique the attacker should be off his center). But that approach seems to be like looking for a way of *approximating* when something is happening rather than training to figure out how to *know* that thing is happening.

That's why I think there are many folk out there who are absolutely fantastic when training with their own students. The timing, rhythms, etc. are all there, known, and in many ways predetermined. And it is a form of collusion, but in a very subtle and insidious sense. I'm vastly more impressed when I see someone pull off a technique cleanly with someone from outside their group.

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Old 08-12-2014, 10:53 AM   #9
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

To what Szczepan and Keith said: I wonder if this isn't similar to the old show biz adage about success resulting from being in the right place at the right time ("where" and "when") -- to which you can add "...fully prepared." Is an opening still an opening if you don't recognize it -- or if you do recognize it, but don't own the space, and so can't take advantage of it? Hey, I hear trees falling in the forest...
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:38 AM   #10
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

To hopefully be as clear as possible, there is a bit of semantic sleight of hand going on with these discussions. And I'm trying to point out that there are subtle meanings involved and if we're not careful we can find ourselves wandering off in the wrong direction in pursuit of something that was never there.

Mary, I like your statement about "being prepared". And you started with the right time and right place. Okay, no question about it. So *how* do we know the right time? *How* do we know the right place? I think if we drill down a bit to specifics (again using the leg sweep as an example) I can yell "sweep the leg" so loudly my forehead will furrow in to the cobra kai logo. We agree it has to be done at the right time, in the right place, with proper form. But that seems almost tautological to me -- the correct way to do it is to do it correctly. Yeah, that and $5 will get you a cup at starbucks (BTW, I don't drink that crap -- just took my kid out and she wanted something -- good lord, do people buy that stuff all the time? I was going to have some tea but man... Sorry, I digress...). So we start to talk about doing it with the right timing. And I think the danger is that people think of timing much like they think of "correct" timing in the sense of the beat of a song, or the timing from a metronome. So "click, click, click, CLICK!". So we go on the fourth click. We try to find some sort of rhythm to the movement yet we don't do a good job of explaining where that rhythm comes from and what "drives" the rhythm.

It seems to me one solution is what I see in styles like demonstrated by Tissier. Large, sweeping movements that essentially "enforce" the timing. That I understand more or less on the same level I understood Judo way back when. But if I think of the Judo those older guys were doing, well, they were old school. And it wasn't about strength (although have no question -- they were strong). Their timing seemed to be related not to what they were doing but an exquisite sensitivity to what was going on in the body of their competitor. And this was done through a vastly more relaxed, soft touch because at the same time they were trying to hide the same information from the other. When we start to think of this type of thing, this type of subtle kuzushi and control, is "timing" really the issue any longer? I would argue that timing is actually the wrong word entirely because it's more about control. To those watching it *looks* like timing. Sometimes it even looks bogus. But I can guarantee you that those older guys could put me on the ground time and time again even though I had 30 fewer years of mileage and probably 20-30 pounds more muscle.

I try to avoid the word. Because I think if you're doing things correctly then there is no issue of timing. Yeah, again, a bit of semantic juggling here, and certainly "timing" it wrong is deadly. But I don't want to look at it as an issue of timing, but one of openings, closings, entering, turning, moving, all while feeling everything going on with the attacker so I can get all those things right. Then it's not really timing. Just doing it. And in the highest levels being able to do it when you want. By affecting them by your touch, movement, whatever and leaving them nothing to work with.

And when I talk about that sort of thing I'm reminded of stories of great martial artists going on the mat with people like O-sensei, Mifune, Takeda, et al. And their comments that they didn't have opening, they *knew* on the touch that they had already lost. I think that's where stories like that come from. Two people who are atuned to these things. One realizing they're outmatched already.

Insert obligatory scene from 7 Samurai here of the swordsman going up against the ruffian in the beginning of the movie. "It's obvious".

Enough from me.

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Old 08-12-2014, 03:33 PM   #11
phitruong
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

many many moons ago, when i was young and stupid, i took up karate with my best friend, under the tulage of an old Okinawan. it was a regular practice that at the end of the class, sensei would pick one of us to spar to test our skill. one day, at the end of the class, sensei pointed to my best friend. he bounced up all hyper and ready to go. they squared up at one step to kicking distance, i.e. it would take either person to take one full step to deliver a kick to target. regular kumite distance. then i saw sensei just step forward and kick my friend in the ass while my friend just stood there. i was howling in laughter and mentioned "slow poke!". sensei waved my friend to sitdown and pointed to me. i bounced up from seiza and hyped up and ready to go. we squared up. so i was thinking that if he even make a twitch, i would flew backward like a bat out of hell and be long gone before sensei got there. that was my plan. it was a good plan. i saw sensei slightly lower his shoulders. i executed the plan, both legs uncoiled to send my body flying backward. as my body lifting off the floor, a leg came out of nowhere and kicked me in the ass. my friend howled in laughter at the sideline. sensei looked at me with the amused look to match my astonished look. my friend said "slow poke!". my friend told me that i just stood there and sensei just walked up and kicked me in the ass.

i was younger, faster, and stronger (farm boy) than sensei. not to mention sensei had to take a long step to cross the distance to kick me. to this day, i still puzzled how he did that.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:29 PM   #12
Robert Cowham
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

I agree with Keith on the sensitivity thing - subtle awareness. I love the videos of Mifune (10th dan Judo).

But there's also a balance thing - the body being totally balanced and able to move without any unnecessary stuff. Classic thing is in kenjutsu, where if you want to move to the left, people generally start by putting their front foot to the right of the center line. Can be quite effective, but it isn't half as good as the ability just to move left - which is pretty challenging as I know well. Simiarlaly if you have right foot forward in hanmi stance, can you easily step with a) front foot (usually easiest), b) back foot, c) step out to left with back foot and switch front foot so it becomes back foot. All at the same time as making in appropriate strike with sword. This is balance and weight distribution and re-understanding what these things mean.

There is something in terms of speed of movement too, for example with weapons. And yet with someone like Inaba sensei, it doesn't seem that he moves fast, but it is perfectly balanced and with just the right timing. Part of this is the sensation that he has already connected to you before either of you have moved - he seems to know what you are doing before you do.
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:20 AM   #13
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
He said that they get it right because they can feel when it will work and feel when it won't. And that has nothing to do with timing.
I like what you said here Keith. This has a lot to do with muscle memory from repeating a technique thousands of times in an effort to perfect it. Different attackers will attack at different speeds in different ways but a constant will be the 'feeling' or body position that opens up the door for a technique to work. This is not just body position of the attacker, but the body position of the person executing the technique as well. The key is to feel when both of these situations are in alignment to perform a technique.

Because this 'feeling' relates to muscle memory, mental imagery also plays a role in 'timing training'.

Chris Sawyer
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Old 12-29-2014, 07:21 AM   #14
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

To get a little math-y, space and time are kinda the same. As we think of timing, we are correlating a phenomenon with a place in time. Dan Messisco likes to use space anaology and talk about meeting orbits and I think that closely resembles *our* common understanding of timing. We have a primary movement which is synchronized by a secondary movement. I think as long as we are interested in synchronizing our movement, we are in the role of the secondary movement and actually not doing anything substantial - other than synchronizing ourselves with a partner.

Rather, I think what we talk about in aiki shifts our perspective from secondary movement to primary movement. Essentially, the goal becomes not to be concerned with timing, because that is the role of the secondary movement to resolve. Most of what we mistakenly call "leading" movement was intended to deliberately train this primary movement. We mucked up those exercises and now we have an uke that is colluding to let us lead an exercise.

A fun exercise George Ledyard likes to do is create a tension between partners and nage actually pressures uke to initiate or retreat. It's not that uke chooses to attack, but she actually has to attack or abdicate the space. Because of the sport-orientation, sometimes judo has a better perspective because most judo players work very hard to create the scenario that crafts their throw. Karate, too. Aikido people sometimes get caught with the "I win 4 times" mentality and uke is actually crafting the throw, which is why we call it colluding.

The "always on" mentality of the aiki body is what allows us to transcend the second-movement perspective. Since that is difficult we have other training methodology to help along the way. I am falling out of love with the word "timing" since we have difficulty expressing timing as part of a progressive training strategy and tend not to put it down once we pick it up. I have moved towards interpreting maai and daai as the observation of being in the right place at the right time, without the baggage of making that time and place happen (i.e. "doing" something to somebody).

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Old 12-29-2014, 01:48 PM   #15
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
To get a little math-y, space and time are kinda the same. As we think of timing, we are correlating a phenomenon with a place in time. ... We have a primary movement which is synchronized by a secondary movement. I think as long as we are interested in synchronizing our movement, we are in the role of the secondary movement and actually not doing anything substantial - other than synchronizing ourselves with a partner.
...
We mucked up those exercises [in primary movement] and now we have an uke that is colluding to let us lead an exercise.

I have moved towards interpreting maai and daai as the observation of being in the right place at the right time, without the baggage of making that time and place happen (i.e. "doing" something to somebody).
What is interesting (to me) in Peter's post, is that the judoka are actually mirroring each other to perform de ashi barai.

Peter noted:
Quote:
The trick lies in the fact that the foot has to be swept after uke has transferred weight onto the foot but before the foot touches the ground.
.... IOW, the fall is created by uke already BEING in a "fall" -- onto the leg that will carry his weight , and misdirecting that "planned" fall onto the foot. If you look closely, you will see that nage is doing THE SAME THING in order to effect the fall of uke-- he misdirects his own falling foot to sweep the leg -- along with his own leg -- and nage is falling onto his own sweeping foot as uke intended to fall onto his swept foot. The sweeping action just interrupts nage's own step before it lands. And about half the time (in the video examples) it ends up as a sacrifice throw, since the sweep converges itself with uke's "misstep" and uke's fall also carries nage's foot off its planned landing as well.

I have been looking at resolving two seemingly different bits of wisdom on aiki and timing from O Sensei -- which nevertheless make perfect sense in terms of human motor and perception functions.

On the one hand, O Sensei said, regarding timing in his Asahi Shimbun interview :

Quote:
In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.

B: Does that mean go no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)

O Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory.
When O Sensei speaks of perfect victory, he speaks of victory over self -- which is to say, victory over the "planning-doing" functions of the mind -- as exemplified in his purely"defensive" engagement while unarmed with his angry naval officer friend who attacked with a bokken -- which provoked his first vision of Aiki -- with a profound mystical experience and visions. These forms of action point to some powerful neurology -- mirror neurons.

Profound religious experience is closely associated with activity in interesting parts of the brain for our purposes: the caudate nucleus (CN - governs threshold action potential), the medial orbitofrontal cortex (perception of subjective feelings); the superior parietal lobe (SPL --spatial perception of self); inferior parietal lobe (IPL -- distinction between self and other & motor imagery); and medial occipital cortex (visual imagery).

What interests us for this purpose is not the religious imagery, but the mechanisms behind it and the triggering event -- the duel in which Ueshiba was committed not to "win" against his angry friend ( meaning his likely injury or death). In essence, and from his observations about the event, he lost his spatial self-perception and distinction of self-and-other (IOW - his sense of self extended to include his opponent), His threshold to movement in mirroring his opponent was lowered, reducing motor processing time by at least a third (~300-400 ms for voluntary untrained motor action -- about 100 ms for trained motor patterns) -- and maybe by as much as an order of magnitude reduction (30-60 ms for some reflexive actions) because of disinhibiting the threshold potential for imitative action in the brain.

The caudate nucleus, the SPL and the IPL are all intimately involved in a what is now known as "mirror neurons" which make us susceptible to play out the actions of others in our own motor circuits. Basically, our voluntary movements are all "Memorex" -- they have been played out once already in the primary motor cortex before the threshold potential let's that motor program off the leash and to actuate the main motor circuits in the body.

Inhibitory mechanisms stop our action potential threshold from getting to the point of us actually aping the action we see another doing -- but.... our brain's motor circuitry is doing exactly that if we take a close enough interest in the action. Take a particularly INTENSE interest in that action by another, and those inhibitory mechanisms get overridden, in whole or in part, and one can begin to imitate what is shown (or suggested -- this, or related functions are one proposed basis for the nature of hypnosis, FWIW). Feinting operates on this threshold action tripping principle -- (but by exploiting trained reactions, rather than training explicitly to mirror actions).

Thus -- timing -- in my view -- is trained best NOT by any conscious plan of training timing as such -- but training in all instances to begin, and continue action by initially and immediately by simply mirroring the action we perceive another to be doing -- and as much as possible without thinking about it at all. That and the irimi-tenkan principle laid out and trained into the body's repertoire of movement in the aiki-taiso take what would otherwise be an ai-uchi mutual strike, and transform it into kuzushi at contact.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-29-2014, 01:52 PM   #16
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
... Their timing seemed to be related not to what they were doing but an exquisite sensitivity to what was going on in the body of their competitor. And this was done through a vastly more relaxed, soft touch because at the same time they were trying to hide the same information from the other.
Ueshiba said in the Takemusu Aiki lecture:
Quote:
[T]hrough the works of the Four Kon, the Universe manifests itself in the forms of Heaven, Fire, Water and Earth, and clarifies the significance of the union of spirits among human beings. This means exactly the same thing as when a group of deities gathers in dignified, perfect order around their center, Ama Terasu Oomikami, and are reflected in a holy mirror.

In other words, the breathing of A-UM is essential in order to perform our duties in this world. From a spiritual point of view, it is the workings of the Four Kon (Kusu Mitama, Ara Mitama, Nigi Mitama, and Sachi Mitama) and, from a physical point of view, it is the four great constructive functions performed by Heaven, Fire, Water and Earth
The "orbit" comment by Messisco in Jon's post resonates here. The difference in my take and Jon's is that orbits of heavenly bodies (alluded to by O Sensei's latter quote) require no "synchronization," i.e.-- no conscious intervention or direction. Similarly, the image of the mirror: responsive movement of a reflected figure requires no plan to be perfectly in time.

Physically, Heaven is the static potential limit of upward movement; Earth is the static potential limit of downward movement;

Fire is the uncoiling of dynamic energy "draining" up:


Water is the uncoiling of downward dynamic energy "draining" down:


The premise is that all martially effective action takes those forms in some manner.

The mirror image of fire and water is deeply instructive to me.

The "collusive" nature of some training that Jon rightly critiques is an outgrowth of a correct intuitive perception of this point, but a bad application of it. Uke must not simply flop into a fall. That kind of compliance -- gains neither uke nor nage anything of value at all. The right type of 'compliant' movement is not INHERENTLY inimical to good aiki -- and builds the kind of sensitivity that results in perceiving movement remotely by touch as Peter ably describes. However -- that requires that as the technique to be trained is ongoing, uke is still continuing with the spirit of the attack and yet also mirroring in every movement -- and even when compliant for his own protection.

A"rightly" compliant uke is actually learning something useful about aiki by protecting himself in the same mirroring exercise that nage takes in protecting himself in the initial attack. But that does not mean his attack and intent to attack have stopped, and if it does, then the training becomes collusive and worthless.

The difference, it seems to me, is this: A badly compliant uke is simply doing what is going to be done to him -- which looks like this:


The rightly compliant uke is continuing to try to do to nage what is being done to him as uke -- which looks like this:


World of difference there.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 12-30-2014, 04:25 PM   #17
Robert Cowham
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Related to this quote:
Quote:
The trick lies in the fact that the foot has to be swept after uke has transferred weight onto the foot but before the foot touches the ground.
Peter Ralston also talks about and demonstrates this:

Quote:
...it's when he intends to sit - even if he is looking it doesn't make any difference... it's our role to pick up when the commitment is there...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk9UQvaaBGQ
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Old 12-30-2014, 08:16 PM   #18
transit
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Just my 2 cents.

"Good Timing" is doing what is appropriate for the conditions of the moment to achieve your objective regardless of how these conditions change.

"Bad Timing" is waiting for conditions to become suited to what you intend to do without regard to changing circumstances which may or may not be beneficial to the planned action.

Back to lurking now. :-)
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:26 PM   #19
j0nharris
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Smile Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

I can't believe you forgot this classic example!


Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
I finally put together another blog post, and this one looks at timing and how to develop it.
It's at
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/08/...s-in-budo.html

How do you train to develop your sense of timing?

Last edited by j0nharris : 01-03-2015 at 04:29 PM.

jon harris

Life is a journey...
Now, who took my @#$%! map?!
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Old 01-03-2015, 07:14 PM   #20
Peter Boylan
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Tristan Abara wrote: View Post
Just my 2 cents.

"Good Timing" is doing what is appropriate for the conditions of the moment to achieve your objective regardless of how these conditions change.

"Bad Timing" is waiting for conditions to become suited to what you intend to do without regard to changing circumstances which may or may not be beneficial to the planned action.

Back to lurking now. :-)
Tristan,
You make a great point here. A person with good timing will choose an action appropriate to the conditions and do it at the moment optimal for the action.

Someone with mediocre timing will choose a technique and wait for the conditions to be appropriate for the chosen technique.

Someone with poor timing becomes uke whether they want to or not.

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
http://www.budogu.com
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:24 PM   #21
Mario Tobias
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

I learned basic timing from the Saito method:

From wikipedia:
"Progression

Saito believed in a progression from static techniques to the spontaneous takemusu aiki. Many Iwama style practitioners practice in stages most often divided into:

Kihon (basic/foundational) or Katai (static) practice
Yawarakai or Jutai (soft, flowing movement)
Ki-no-nagare (lit. the flow of ki)
"
Good timing happens if you follow the stages in order from static practice to flowing practice. I observed you'll have bad timing if an aikidoka's progression does not follow the above in order. Static practice teaches you the technical aspects of the technique and provides the basics.

An aikidoka who understands the techniques during static practice can easily transition to flowing techniques. A person who practices the opposite, who just "understands" flowing techniques most likely has poor technique during static practice and has bad timing. Better timing is just an outcome if this correct progression is followed. Good timing to me is just an additional component added to practice after mastery of the basics and muscle memory have been achieved.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:30 AM   #22
fatebass21
 
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Jon Harris wrote: View Post
I can't believe you forgot this classic example!

Chris Sawyer
Fountain Valley, CA
Tenshinkai Aikido Federation
Training day is every day
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:25 PM   #23
RED
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
I learned basic timing from the Saito method:

An aikidoka who understands the techniques during static practice can easily transition to flowing techniques. A person who practices the opposite, who just "understands" flowing techniques most likely has poor technique during static practice and has bad timing. Better timing is just an outcome if this correct progression is followed. Good timing to me is just an additional component added to practice after mastery of the basics and muscle memory have been achieved.
Thank you! That is a lightbulb moment! haha I love dynamic training, and dynamic throws. Techniques feel GREAT when the attacker is really going for it, for me. However, I notice a slight drag or break down when I switch to static (not horrible, but not where I feel the dynamic practice is.). This explanation might be what I'm looking for. Thanks, I'm going to read the source article and see if I can work on a little more balance between dynamic and static for my training in this new year.

MM
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Old 01-06-2015, 12:30 AM   #24
Mario Tobias
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Thank you! That is a lightbulb moment! haha I love dynamic training, and dynamic throws. Techniques feel GREAT when the attacker is really going for it, for me. However, I notice a slight drag or break down when I switch to static (not horrible, but not where I feel the dynamic practice is.). This explanation might be what I'm looking for. Thanks, I'm going to read the source article and see if I can work on a little more balance between dynamic and static for my training in this new year.
Hi Maggie,

A lot of aikidoka, even senior ones, get disappointed when uke does a static hold and really gives resistance (the cooperative type though). They would typically comment "that is not how a person would attack you on the street!". They would want uke to be always moving. Well, that is not the point of the static practice. The point is how nage would be able to break uke or accomplish the technique on a resisting partner with minimal effort. If you can do this, you understand where nage's weak points are and therefore are starting to understand the technical points of the technique. If you aren't able to move a resisting partner, then that is not martial arts (Saito's words)

If you can do the technique from a very strong, resisting partner, then you can do the technique a) while being held very tightly b) just before uke holds you 3) when you initiate the attack (the highest level). In these 3 forms (also a progression), the reaction of uke will be the same.

You can do the techniques with or without uke holding you if one understands how it is done. This is one of the "magic" facets of aikido. Different levels of resistance will teach you different things. Static holds will give you mastery of the basics and muscle memory. The 2nd and 3rd levels will teach you timing and blending.

In static practice, it also teaches you how to control uke's body. But in the higher levels, it teaches you more how to control uke's mind.(another form progression; physical to mental)

The correct progression is from static to dynamic and this leads to "better" aikido I think. It doesn't work the other way around. If one starts to train with a dynamic aikido and abhors static practice, the foundation is poor IMHO as the techniques will be questionable; uke might just be overly compliant gving nage a false sense of security. Every form of progression has a correct order.

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 01-06-2015 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 01-06-2015, 12:31 PM   #25
RED
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Re: How essential is timing, and how do you develop it?

Quote:
Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
Hi Maggie,

A lot of aikidoka, even senior ones, get disappointed when uke does a static hold and really gives resistance (the cooperative type though). They would typically comment "that is not how a person would attack you on the street!". They would want uke to be always moving. Well, that is not the point of the static practice. The point is how nage would be able to break uke or accomplish the technique on a resisting partner with minimal effort. If you can do this, you understand where nage's weak points are and therefore are starting to understand the technical points of the technique. If you aren't able to move a resisting partner, then that is not martial arts (Saito's words)

If you can do the technique from a very strong, resisting partner, then you can do the technique a) while being held very tightly b) just before uke holds you 3) when you initiate the attack (the highest level). In these 3 forms (also a progression), the reaction of uke will be the same.

You can do the techniques with or without uke holding you if one understands how it is done. This is one of the "magic" facets of aikido. Different levels of resistance will teach you different things. Static holds will give you mastery of the basics and muscle memory. The 2nd and 3rd levels will teach you timing and blending.

In static practice, it also teaches you how to control uke's body. But in the higher levels, it teaches you more how to control uke's mind.(another form progression; physical to mental)

The correct progression is from static to dynamic and this leads to "better" aikido I think. It doesn't work the other way around. If one starts to train with a dynamic aikido and abhors static practice, the foundation is poor IMHO as the techniques will be questionable; uke might just be overly compliant gving nage a false sense of security. Every form of progression has a correct order.
Makes sense to me. I've been thinking about means to learn how to incorporate more Aiki into my practice. I feel like a lot of my earlier practice was very sparse in Aiki, and very much just about waza. This is a helpful thing to ponder over. Thanks!

MM
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