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Old 09-03-2015, 06:57 PM   #51
RonRagusa
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
He's not the first one nor the only one to claim to be/know/teach/study the real deal nor the first or only to claim others are a waste of time.
It amazes me that anyone could make that claim in light of the fact that Aikido offers the practitioner such a broad range of study options. Aikido is more like a university than a vocational school; and I say that without judgement as to the relative merits or drawbacks of either.

Ron

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Old 09-04-2015, 01:27 AM   #52
earnest aikidoka
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Greg Sinclair wrote: View Post
Once again, you are missing the point.

Get on the mat with them and open your mind. You might be pleasantly surprised.

There is so much in your statement that is inaccurate. So much you are missing out on. I will just leave you with this: One of the greatest Tenshin Aikidoka on the planet was a man of small physical stature.

Get outside your comfort zone and learn something new. You might find out the Aikido world is not flat.
Your point is that I am not open-minded enough and that I should just go on the mat with him and try his style out.

My point is this; I don't think that Sensei Sly is doing anything that would really 'broaden my horizon' as it were. It would be an experience, but nothing major. Just 'ok, he has some skill'. Not to 'oh my god he is a genius levels'.

honestly I would say you are less open-minded then me.

I have brought up a legitimate concern regarding instruction of aikido in the present, critical comments regarding what Sensei Sly teaches, not his skill mind, just what he teaches. and also recommended other instructors and resources who have developed deeper insight to the practice of aikido. Sure they are not badass, commando, gun strippers. But they do bring a different perspective in regards to practice and the nature of aikido. I have never said Sensei Sly was wrong, I have never said that he was not skilled, I propose however, that his teachings are no different from any other sensei or instructor. Just a tad more boot camp and stuff.

Your responses so far have been to say, 'go on the mat with him'. You have had first hand experience with Sensei Sly's teachings, and my points are also easily rebutted. All you have to do is tell me one example of his teachings contributing to a new, and deeper insight into aikido. And saying that the traditional way does not work? Does not count. Any aikidoka with sense can point that out. So far you haven't, which admittedly is implicit, but sometimes, the implications say all there is to say. Basically, you are so sure of Sensei Sly's awesomeness that any supported and reasonable comments and critique is an assault on his legitimacy and that I am saying that Sensei Sly is not a proper aikido teacher.

Well he is not a good one, or anything spectacular. But if I am ever in his class, I will afford all respect to him as he deserves. I don't wanna get my arm popped off, thanks.

You are not wrong as well. Yes, sometimes you need to get out and about, out of your comfort zone and experience new things. And I admit I do have problems with that, shyness and resources lacking being among them. However, you, as a student of Sensei Sly's, should be able to at least explain something of Sensei Sly's teachings through your own words, on a forum comment no less. It's not just for arguing's sake alone mind, but it is also good for your juniors, should they ever need clarification on certain matters.
(Of course here you might say that 'explanation is best left to Sensei Sly and once again recommend me to go on the mat and 'experience things for myself. I don't mind, but then there is no need to reply. You have made your point there.)

Basically, be a bit more willing to put some thought into an answer. Stock answers are good, but only if you are an 80 year old founder of martial forms. Its not for the sake of debate and defense of aikido once again, After all, as you like to say, 'go on the mat'. But its good practice for when you have to explain things to juniors and kohai, you know how they are, inquisitive at the least.
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:08 AM   #53
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Who is this Sensei Sly you're talking about?
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:09 AM   #54
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Hansel Wong wrote: View Post
Your point is that I am not open-minded enough and that I should just go on the mat with him and try his style out.

My point is this; I don't think that Sensei Sly is doing anything that would really 'broaden my horizon' as it were. It would be an experience, but nothing major. Just 'ok, he has some skill'. Not to 'oh my god he is a genius levels'.

honestly I would say you are less open-minded then me.

I have brought up a legitimate concern regarding instruction of aikido in the present, critical comments regarding what Sensei Sly teaches, not his skill mind, just what he teaches. and also recommended other instructors and resources who have developed deeper insight to the practice of aikido. Sure they are not badass, commando, gun strippers. But they do bring a different perspective in regards to practice and the nature of aikido. I have never said Sensei Sly was wrong, I have never said that he was not skilled, I propose however, that his teachings are no different from any other sensei or instructor. Just a tad more boot camp and stuff.

Your responses so far have been to say, 'go on the mat with him'. You have had first hand experience with Sensei Sly's teachings, and my points are also easily rebutted. All you have to do is tell me one example of his teachings contributing to a new, and deeper insight into aikido. And saying that the traditional way does not work? Does not count. Any aikidoka with sense can point that out. So far you haven't, which admittedly is implicit, but sometimes, the implications say all there is to say. Basically, you are so sure of Sensei Sly's awesomeness that any supported and reasonable comments and critique is an assault on his legitimacy and that I am saying that Sensei Sly is not a proper aikido teacher.

Well he is not a good one, or anything spectacular. But if I am ever in his class, I will afford all respect to him as he deserves. I don't wanna get my arm popped off, thanks.

You are not wrong as well. Yes, sometimes you need to get out and about, out of your comfort zone and experience new things. And I admit I do have problems with that, shyness and resources lacking being among them. However, you, as a student of Sensei Sly's, should be able to at least explain something of Sensei Sly's teachings through your own words, on a forum comment no less. It's not just for arguing's sake alone mind, but it is also good for your juniors, should they ever need clarification on certain matters.
(Of course here you might say that 'explanation is best left to Sensei Sly and once again recommend me to go on the mat and 'experience things for myself. I don't mind, but then there is no need to reply. You have made your point there.)

Basically, be a bit more willing to put some thought into an answer. Stock answers are good, but only if you are an 80 year old founder of martial forms. Its not for the sake of debate and defense of aikido once again, After all, as you like to say, 'go on the mat'. But its good practice for when you have to explain things to juniors and kohai, you know how they are, inquisitive at the least.
Sigh... Once again, you are missing my point. Out of respect I try not to be so blunt, so please hear me out and excuse the directness of the following statement:

Stop talking about things you know nothing about.

It is that simple. Go try it out, form an opinion of your own and then feel free to praise or disparage. I am tempted to stop typing here as it is very clear you have not really read what I have written previously (See my reply to John Hillson), but as this part involves me, I really must correct you.

I am NOT a student, NOR have I ever met Sly Sensei. To be clear: I am NOT a student, NOR have I ever met Sly Sensei. This is why I have withheld any opinion as to his skill, approach or teaching methods. But I was trained in Tenshin Aikido by the man who developed it. And from what I see from Sly Sensei's form, it looks clean and well executed. However, that is an opinion based on nothing but a video, and so much of Tenshin Aikido is not at all what it looks like.

With that said, let me share a story with you as an example of what I am talking about. In the 1990's I wore out two VHS tapes of "Above the Law" trying to understand the technique I was seeing. Both tapes actually stretched from rewinding and slow motioning through a few select fight scenes. I had been in Aikido for a couple years and after spending months with the videos I had determined that there was NO WAY the iriminage being performed was anything more than a full force clothesline. I had spent hours going frame by frame looking for any clue to unlock his speed and power. This combined with my Aikido knowledge (limited as it was) had me completely convinced it was just a clothesline and no one could talk me out of it. In fact I had convinced several fellow students he was just clothes-lining uke.
Fast forward a decade and a half. There I was standing before the man from the movie and ready to take ukemi for the iriminage I had studied for so long. I snapped my punch forward. Instantly I felt the deflection and I bulled my neck awaiting the powerful impact that was going to clothesline me off my feet. But that is not what happened. He never even touched my throat or the front of my neck. The force come from just over my shoulder and my lower back. It was not a clothesline. At all. Instead, what I felt was a circle. A throw. Albeit a tiny circle, one so small and tight like nothing I had ever felt before. During the next two to three repetitions, I quickly learned that if I just relaxed and "absorbed" the throw, the ukemi happened naturally and was not nearly as violent as it looks. It was a circle, a throw. My head went down, my feet went up. After a few more repetitions, I recall thinking
"I was so wrong." and "Fifteen wasted years."

This is my point and what I am talking about. I had spouted my clothesline theory for years and had video evidence to back it up. I could take you through it frame by frame as proof.

And it was all incorrect.

This was only one example of how so much of Tenshin Aikido is not what it looks like. And it is also why I now will give something a fair shake before forming or spouting any opinion. My whole point is to urge you to do the same. In addition, along the way, you just might learn something amazing.

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Old 09-04-2015, 01:36 PM   #55
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Who is this Sensei Sly you're talking about?
This is the man in question. He has a two-part commentary on "traditional" Aikido, linked earlier in the thread.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY_0KRiSJWk

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Old 09-04-2015, 02:03 PM   #56
Hilary
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Holey crap Sly like to talk more than I do.
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Old 09-04-2015, 02:39 PM   #57
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Re: Crisis of Faith

I would like to add that I think Sly illustrates some key points to this issue of having a crisis of faith in what we're doing. We are all individuals taking part in a group, and that group is part of larger groups, etc. There are necessarily going to be some differences, but more to the point, we as individuals have to define for ourselves what the purpose of our training is and reflect on what we like and dislike about what we're doing. I think a big part of why Aikido has such a wide range of approaches has to do with this; I presume O Sensei was, first and foremost, a student who attracted other students.
Sly isn't the first one to do what he's doing (not that anyone is claiming this). Many other students have spent some given time studying some given art and felt it wasn't enough of what they were looking for. I think his mistake is in treating the varieties of Aikido as a homogeny...and in light of conversations here on Aikiweb, I think it's somewhat ironic that he calls what he does "Modern Aikido" and calls what he dislikes "traditional." Just goes to show the slippery nature of language.
It is impossible to see all sides of the "aikido mountain" at once...and really, the mountain is too big for any lifetime to traverse completely. So I go back to the idea that each of us has to find/determine our purpose for climbing in the first place, which will undoubtedly change over time, and simply do our best. In considering what we like and dislike, I think it is important to remember the limitations of our perception and not project them onto others. At the end of the day we're all just working on awareness and trying to determine the best veins of applying that awareness for our own purposes.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 09-04-2015 at 02:41 PM.

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Old 09-04-2015, 04:06 PM   #58
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
This is the man in question. He has a two-part commentary on "traditional" Aikido, linked earlier in the thread.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY_0KRiSJWk
Thanks Matt, I missed that post.

Now, after watching the clip you linked and his 'aikido doesn't work' ones I'd say he makes some good points and some not so good but what really intrigues me is his protein shakes recipe.
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Old 09-04-2015, 04:15 PM   #59
jdm4life
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I would like to add that I think Sly illustrates some key points to this issue of having a crisis of faith in what we're doing. We are all individuals taking part in a group, and that group is part of larger groups, etc. There are necessarily going to be some differences, but more to the point, we as individuals have to define for ourselves what the purpose of our training is and reflect on what we like and dislike about what we're doing. I think a big part of why Aikido has such a wide range of approaches has to do with this; I presume O Sensei was, first and foremost, a student who attracted other students.
Sly isn't the first one to do what he's doing (not that anyone is claiming this). Many other students have spent some given time studying some given art and felt it wasn't enough of what they were looking for. I think his mistake is in treating the varieties of Aikido as a homogeny...and in light of conversations here on Aikiweb, I think it's somewhat ironic that he calls what he does "Modern Aikido" and calls what he dislikes "traditional." Just goes to show the slippery nature of language.
It is impossible to see all sides of the "aikido mountain" at once...and really, the mountain is too big for any lifetime to traverse completely. So I go back to the idea that each of us has to find/determine our purpose for climbing in the first place, which will undoubtedly change over time, and simply do our best. In considering what we like and dislike, I think it is important to remember the limitations of our perception and not project them onto others. At the end of the day we're all just working on awareness and trying to determine the best veins of applying that awareness for our own purposes.
What I find fascinating is that, regardless of what the forum happens specialise in, whether it be aikido, guitars.....cars........ humans will bitch and fight at the difference between what one thinks verses the next........its hillarious, exhausting, interesting and entertaining all at the same time...it can start off perfectly innocent and lighthearted but it often goes south as if by design. People trying to force or support their own perspective (all this I only a perspective and my contribution is so pointless, it almost makes it valid) I dont know where people who want to argue get their energy from, seriously I don't.

Anyway.......

I watched the sly videos and some strange things happened. I had an almost instant and automatic response to fight it......I took it as an attack, an attack on something that I identify with.....the practice of aikido....basically, ego....it felt threatened because it identifies with aikido......"I must defend" it said.......something in me wanted to comment, why I thought? Then another part of me witnessed that urge and then I started to question it. I then realised that I both disagreed and agreed with him within the 30 or 40 minutes I spent watching the videos. Cognitive dissonance.

I then was reminded of the important aiki principle to not fight, to not resist, not lose my centre and waste energy trying to get it back. Taking what the other is offering and together creating something. I learned about aikido so I was glad to come to that conclusion.

I got a lot from watching the videos and regardless of whether I agree with someone or not, I derive great interest in what people have to say. Value can be gained from listening to anyone

Last edited by jdm4life : 09-04-2015 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 09-04-2015, 04:25 PM   #60
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Stephen Irving wrote: View Post
I got a lot from watching the videos and regardless of whether I agree with someone or not, I derive great interest in what people have to say. Value can be gained from listening to anyone
Well, watching this one what I got was an epic facepalm.
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:19 PM   #61
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Well, the OP asked about ways to deal with losing faith in her Aikido, and Mr Sinclair gave a good answer in that there can be more to Aikido as an art than what we might experience within our usual training. I certainly have benefitted from lurking around Mokuren Dojo's website, and I try to get my hands on as much as possible by Gozo Shioda, Shirata Rinjiro, Morihiro Saito, and Koichi Tohei. The art of Aikido does seem to be much larger than any one organization has been able to fully represent. I also nearly destroyed my copies of Above the Law with constant rewinding. Sometimes to break through a barrier in training, I have had to go in another direction for a time.

The critiques of Sensei Sly are probably off topic and not really addressing any of the questions this thread was started for. Hopefully the OP is on her way to a great test!
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:21 PM   #62
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Stephen Irving wrote: View Post
What I find fascinating is that, regardless of what the forum happens specialise in, whether it be aikido, guitars.....cars........ humans will bitch and fight at the difference between what one thinks verses the next........its hillarious, exhausting, interesting and entertaining all at the same time...it can start off perfectly innocent and lighthearted but it often goes south as if by design. People trying to force or support their own perspective (all this I only a perspective and my contribution is so pointless, it almost makes it valid) I dont know where people who want to argue get their energy from, seriously I don't.
My take is that, like you mentioned, cognitive dissonance can be a touch too uncomfortable for people, so they are often compelled to squash the contrary point of view. I love ideas; I love debating over them (more or less) and the process of understanding different points of view, which I think is harder than many people seem to think, but I get the same reaction plenty. Debates (online especially) often remind me of the kids' class I used to teach. I'd show the same technique we did the previous week and one or two kids would often say, "we already know that one." We can always know them better and doing something over and over again can get frustrating when it seems like new ground isn't being made, but then sometimes something clicks and you see it somewhat new...and sometimes it happens far removed, like driving down the street (which everyone knows is done correctly on the right side of the road ) or taking a shower. Some of the kids would get bored, and lose faith that they were even learning anything new...and once they determined that they weren't learning anything new, they only saw what they already did know, and it was harder to find the new bits in the old form.

Quote:
I watched the sly videos and some strange things happened. I had an almost instant and automatic response to fight it......I took it as an attack, an attack on something that I identify with.....the practice of aikido....basically, ego....it felt threatened because it identifies with aikido......"I must defend" it said.......something in me wanted to comment, why I thought? Then another part of me witnessed that urge and then I started to question it. I then realised that I both disagreed and agreed with him within the 30 or 40 minutes I spent watching the videos. Cognitive dissonance.

I then was reminded of the important aiki principle to not fight, to not resist, not lose my centre and waste energy trying to get it back. Taking what the other is offering and together creating something. I learned about aikido so I was glad to come to that conclusion.

I got a lot from watching the videos and regardless of whether I agree with someone or not, I derive great interest in what people have to say. Value can be gained from listening to anyone
I like that! Thank you for sharing your impressions! I had a similar reaction...and then I saw one or two of his techniques, I thought, "but that's just regular ol' Aikido!" But you're right, he's just sharing his impressions and based on what he learned (not necessarily what he was taught for all we know), he's changed some things and good on him for making the effort to grow. We're all missing something, more or less. Take what's offered, do what you can with it; make yoursrelf better from the process; rinse and repeat. There's always going to be stuff we don't understand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrFO702T7Sg
Take care!

Last edited by mathewjgano : 09-05-2015 at 04:26 PM.

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Old 09-06-2015, 12:33 PM   #63
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Early on, non-aikido time, I was in Taekwondo and learning that... thought I was doing OK, learning how to move, evade, block, punch, kick, combo things up, etc. So, I had sort of thought I was getting somewhere.

Then a friend of mine invited me to train at his Muay Thai school, and, being the immature idiot I was, I went thinking to merely add to my stuff. I got handed my... ahh.... bottom by a guy who was 53, who moved like his legs didn't work right, slowly, etc. Guy knocked me out the one time in my life that I've been unconscious in any engagement, real-world or training with like-minded partners, save only judo shimewaza (judoka know...).

The way I dealt with my illusions being shattered was to dive into the new thing, training 5-6 days a week, doing anything and everything there was to do at that school/gym, including taking on full-contact thai matches and winning. I did that until I again figured I'd gotten what I could out of the Muay Thai.... but this time, instead of thinking that I knew what was what, I asked the main instructor (he wasn't the 53 y/o guy, if you were wondering), and he told me that I had indeed, explored and learned what he had to teach, and ther rest of my time would either be for physical fitness, mental toughness, teaching experience or move on to more actual fights (i.e. go pro, which I had no interest in).
So, off I went, ending up at law school and met a guy named Frank Yoon, in Tulsa, and as martial artists all around do, especially when beers are involved, we started talking about training, etc. Long story short, he invited me to his judo school and the cycle started over again.
However, this time I had no illusions that I knew everything, far from it.
With relation to the O/P, I think everyone goes through that phase of training, in whatever art they have been in -- or they are dumb like I was and didn't think that I had any holes in my game (knobhead). Both positions are illusory. In your case, remember that "You can't feel learning, but it is there." Also remember that getting past the phase of learning on cooperative training partners to totally random chaos of the street isn't like taking a single step, that's one end of the continuum vs. the other end. Train with cooperative uke flowing with, as if they know the steps of the dance, which they do. Then, ask them (if your instructor is in favor of this type of practice) to start being uncooperative, merely by not being so smoothly flowing with you, then next actively trying to halt the movement, then perhaps next trying to move in other directions or actively trying to do techniques back against you. I personally call this "Sliding into Reality" training. It's a LOT less difficult on both partners than jumping straight from cooperativeness to trying to take each other's heads off.
My $0.02.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 09-06-2015, 01:22 PM   #64
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
John Powell wrote: View Post
...Then, ask them (if your instructor is in favor of this type of practice) to start being uncooperative, merely by not being so smoothly flowing with you, then next actively trying to halt the movement, then perhaps next trying to move in other directions or actively trying to do techniques back against you. I personally call this "Sliding into Reality" training. It's a LOT less difficult on both partners than jumping straight from cooperativeness to trying to take each other's heads off.
My $0.02.
I like that (all of it, not just the above portion)! Thank you for sharing your experiences, John!
I just wanted to add that I really value the interactions that fit the above description. One of the biggest steps forward in my understanding of what we're trying for at my dojo was the idea that uke should always have a sense of looking for kaeshi. I get the sense that my sempai's job is to gently show openings, and sometimes this mean simply reversing or otherwise stopping me, and sometimes it means just telling me about the point in the flow where they perceive something collapsing (e.g. "focus more on what's happening at this point in the movement").
I mention this because, for me, this is what solidified my faith in what we're doing on a technical level. I have faith that I am working on the more intangible things like fortitude and sincerity and humility because that's largely what I bring to the table, but the ability to "play" a little is where I first began to appreciate an aliveness to the physical side of training. There's something unavoidably instructive when you suddenly see a fist inches from your face, or a light tap to the ribs, or what have you.
Thanks again! Take care.

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Old 09-07-2015, 12:13 PM   #65
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Re: Crisis of Faith

From Matthew Gano's earlier post...

Quote:
Debates (online especially) often remind me of the kids' class I used to teach. I'd show the same technique we did the previous week and one or two kids would often say, "we already know that one." We can always know them better and doing something over and over again can get frustrating when it seems like new ground isn't being made, but then sometimes something clicks and you see it somewhat new...and sometimes it happens far removed, like driving down the street (which everyone knows is done correctly on the right side of the road ) or taking a shower. Some of the kids would get bored, and lose faith that they were even learning anything new...and once they determined that they weren't learning anything new, they only saw what they already did know, and it was harder to find the new bits in the old form.
"We already know that one."

That is my experience as well. And easily the funniest thing I discovered about teaching children...

I try to counter that by talking about soccer, basketball and baseball practice. The fundamental stuff has to be done over and over again. If you can't make it work consistently in practice, it'll never work in a "game/real" situation. Sometimes it won't work even then, that is why many folks want people to have "game" experience. I cannot counter that belief except by saying that is hard to do without risking serious injury. It makes no sense to risk a serious injury if your purpose is to make sure you can defend yourself against a real but very unlikely attack. It seems that the only thing to do as folks increase their skill is provide (a) post technique feedback (b) carefully calibrated resistance.

All paths lead to death. I strongly recommend taking one of the scenic routes.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:48 AM   #66
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Greg Sinclair wrote: View Post
Sigh... Once again, you are missing my point. Out of respect I try not to be so blunt, so please hear me out and excuse the directness of the following statement:

Stop talking about things you know nothing about.

It is that simple. Go try it out, form an opinion of your own and then feel free to praise or disparage. I am tempted to stop typing here as it is very clear you have not really read what I have written previously (See my reply to John Hillson), but as this part involves me, I really must correct you.

I am NOT a student, NOR have I ever met Sly Sensei. To be clear: I am NOT a student, NOR have I ever met Sly Sensei. This is why I have withheld any opinion as to his skill, approach or teaching methods. But I was trained in Tenshin Aikido by the man who developed it. And from what I see from Sly Sensei's form, it looks clean and well executed. However, that is an opinion based on nothing but a video, and so much of Tenshin Aikido is not at all what it looks like.

With that said, let me share a story with you as an example of what I am talking about. In the 1990's I wore out two VHS tapes of "Above the Law" trying to understand the technique I was seeing. Both tapes actually stretched from rewinding and slow motioning through a few select fight scenes. I had been in Aikido for a couple years and after spending months with the videos I had determined that there was NO WAY the iriminage being performed was anything more than a full force clothesline. I had spent hours going frame by frame looking for any clue to unlock his speed and power. This combined with my Aikido knowledge (limited as it was) had me completely convinced it was just a clothesline and no one could talk me out of it. In fact I had convinced several fellow students he was just clothes-lining uke.
Fast forward a decade and a half. There I was standing before the man from the movie and ready to take ukemi for the iriminage I had studied for so long. I snapped my punch forward. Instantly I felt the deflection and I bulled my neck awaiting the powerful impact that was going to clothesline me off my feet. But that is not what happened. He never even touched my throat or the front of my neck. The force come from just over my shoulder and my lower back. It was not a clothesline. At all. Instead, what I felt was a circle. A throw. Albeit a tiny circle, one so small and tight like nothing I had ever felt before. During the next two to three repetitions, I quickly learned that if I just relaxed and "absorbed" the throw, the ukemi happened naturally and was not nearly as violent as it looks. It was a circle, a throw. My head went down, my feet went up. After a few more repetitions, I recall thinking
"I was so wrong." and "Fifteen wasted years."

This is my point and what I am talking about. I had spouted my clothesline theory for years and had video evidence to back it up. I could take you through it frame by frame as proof.

And it was all incorrect.

This was only one example of how so much of Tenshin Aikido is not what it looks like. And it is also why I now will give something a fair shake before forming or spouting any opinion. My whole point is to urge you to do the same. In addition, along the way, you just might learn something amazing.
I never said anything about Tenshin aikido. Only about Sensei Sly's knowledge and teaching regarding aikido. He teaches good form and technique, but that's all it is. As much as he would like to say otherwise.

In all your point is that I should try Tenshin Aikido. But add it now with, 'before I spout my mouth off.' Which I got the past three times you said it, thus illustrating my point about your close-mindedness etc. But I will concede that Tenshin Aikido is worth trying. However, not under Sensei Sly.
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:41 PM   #67
carpeviam
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Re: Crisis of Faith

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Julia, have you told your sensei about this? Seems like he/she would have the most useful perspective on it.

At a wild guess, what you're experiencing is a symptom of what I call "touching more of the elephant". The blind man touches the elephant's tusk, says "the elephant is like a spear!", and in the way of human beings, makes up a lot of stories about the elephant's spear-like nature, puts a lot of mental energy into it, becomes very invested in the idea of the elephant as like-a-spear. Then one day the elephant happens to touch more of the elephant. Omigod, the elephant is NOT like a spear! But I don't know what it is, all I know is that it's NOT A SPEAR! Oh no, the foundations of my world are crumbling, etc.

Our understanding is never perfect, and the more we become invested in our narratives at any point in our development, the harder it is to come to new understandings (because they contradict our narrative, they're not spear-like, ya know?), and the more jarring it is when new knowledge is basically forced upon us. It doesn't fit with the old story we told ourselves. The cure is to let go of the story line. See things as they are. Allow yourself to say "don't know", and not just as an exercise in ostentatious false modesty -- allow yourself to say it sincerely. don't-know has acres and acres of room for knowledge to come in; is-spear-like has none.

Every time I see a new aikido student who claims to understand or to get it, with reference to any of the deeper, mushier aikido concepts, I think, "yeah, that elephant sure is like a spear, isn't it?" Until it isn't. Or until they refuse to touch parts of the elephant that don't conform to the spear-like narrative. it's a choice.

You'll always be touching new parts of the elephant, and they'll always be contradicting your current story line. Drop the story line. The first time is unsettling and scary. After a while, it becomes natural, never exactly pleasant, but doable.
To follow up with your metaphor, I've been thinking a bit about what new parts of the elephant I've been touching recently and why they're so startling to me--so startling that I'd like to shove them back into the multidimentional interelephant void from which they came:

Nothing is 100%. For a decade, I had put off studying a martial art at all because I didn't want to deal with the question of whether I needed to be able to defend myself--part of me knew the answer was "yes, possibly," because prior experience had seen situations where it was necessary, but part of me didn't want to have seen said situations, and that part really wanted to answer "no." It's similar now. I *am* studying, but I think I'm also getting better at seeing that things do not always work--even outside of the dojo, where one is not limited by considerations for uke's safety, the attacker may just be too strong or too fast or I may just be unlucky in that situation. Nothing is 100%, except maybe a neutron bomb, and it's been hard to mentally enter the arena where I'm trying and I have to accept that I could possibly fail. Of course my chances of succeeding are higher than ever before. But the possibility of failure exists. In the back of my mind, "failure" means being raped, being mutilated, being unable to help someone I love. Obviously these aren't the things at stake when I'm on the mat. But when I am on the mat, and I try to look at "nothing is 100%" in the face, they sort of leer up from the other side. It's requiring a kind of mental fortitude from me that I have yet to develop. But I think it's growing.
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Old 09-10-2015, 01:07 PM   #68
phitruong
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Re: Crisis of Faith

don't know if you have read these two articles or not, might want to give it a read over.

http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2005_03.html
http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2005_09.html

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:01 AM   #69
G Sinclair
 
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Hansel Wong wrote: View Post
I never said anything about Tenshin aikido. Only about Sensei Sly's knowledge and teaching regarding aikido. He teaches good form and technique, but that's all it is. As much as he would like to say otherwise.

In all your point is that I should try Tenshin Aikido. But add it now with, 'before I spout my mouth off.' Which I got the past three times you said it, thus illustrating my point about your close-mindedness etc. But I will concede that Tenshin Aikido is worth trying. However, not under Sensei Sly.
I give up.

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Old 09-12-2015, 05:27 PM   #70
rugwithlegs
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Julia Campbell wrote: View Post
To follow up with your metaphor, I've been thinking a bit about what new parts of the elephant I've been touching recently and why they're so startling to me--so startling that I'd like to shove them back into the multidimentional interelephant void from which they came:

Nothing is 100%. For a decade, I had put off studying a martial art at all because I didn't want to deal with the question of whether I needed to be able to defend myself--part of me knew the answer was "yes, possibly," because prior experience had seen situations where it was necessary, but part of me didn't want to have seen said situations, and that part really wanted to answer "no." It's similar now. I *am* studying, but I think I'm also getting better at seeing that things do not always work--even outside of the dojo, where one is not limited by considerations for uke's safety, the attacker may just be too strong or too fast or I may just be unlucky in that situation. Nothing is 100%, except maybe a neutron bomb, and it's been hard to mentally enter the arena where I'm trying and I have to accept that I could possibly fail. Of course my chances of succeeding are higher than ever before. But the possibility of failure exists. In the back of my mind, "failure" means being raped, being mutilated, being unable to help someone I love. Obviously these aren't the things at stake when I'm on the mat. But when I am on the mat, and I try to look at "nothing is 100%" in the face, they sort of leer up from the other side. It's requiring a kind of mental fortitude from me that I have yet to develop. But I think it's growing.
Glad you're back in the conversation Julia. I hope your training is going well.

I don't know the association you are in, but in the one I train in now Ikkyu is a different animal than the testing prior. Freestyle is a requirement, not a suggestion. Koshinage five different ways is required, so there is much more work on that. Tanto Dori is a deeply flawed and questionable practice that is also a required element. Maybe your association has some of these in common?

A few years ago, we had a very talented young woman who made it to Nikyu, but was very uncomfortable with koshinage practice. She was a quiet reserved young woman who I think was weirded out by pushing her buttocks into her training partner's crotch, and she was very sweet so knowing someone was taking a more forceful fall from her was distressing to her. It's stuff that is easily avoided in practice for years prior to this test.

Much as I enjoy Tanto work, I certainly never associate it with a knife attack but just another exercise in avoiding Uke's hands and a more stressful element in maintaining control. Movements have to change and gentle techniques now can clearly result in one getting cut or killed. Beginning Tanto Dori as I learned and teach it involves Atemi and broken arms - stuff that is also easy to avoid prior to this test. I approach it as control, and I move slowly.

Freestyle is something I like to introduce piecemeal - there are dozens of separate skills like getting off the line that are necessary to work on for worthwhile skill. Nervous attackers move slowly with no momentum, which makes my techniques feel awkward - unless I step in and blast through their face. I got in trouble on several tests for holding back.

Maybe with some specifics about what you want to shove in back the elephant this venue could offer you some very concrete assistance? Many people did come to the conversation. Do you have one specific example of a technique or movement that you don't like/trust or take issue with?
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:27 AM   #71
carpeviam
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Re: Crisis of Faith

I've had some problems with koshis specifically for the reasons you mentioned; tanto dori usually doesn't phase me so much, maybe because it's more impersonal, though I still don't enjoy getting "cut." But my problem isn't one specific technique or area; it's having proper irimi spirit in any or all techniques. Take munetski kotegaeshi, a technique that was introduced in my first day of class. By now my partner and I can step through it at brisk speed with continuous balance-breaking from the first connection of hand to arm, like the mechanical dolls that shoot out of a cuckoo clock when an hour chimes. But there are two destabilizing factors I am aware of to lead us out of cuckoo clock territory (I know there are going to end up being more, but there are two that I can articulate right now).

One, there are many different physical trajectories kotegaeshi can go in: for example, the throw can go toward the third leg or it can be a strong-line throw through the near leg, or it can be other places in between. The throw can go through the elbow, leaving the wrist unaffected, or it can wind up the rubber bands inside the wrist, or it can do things in between. Nage can move in close through uke's space (perhaps adapting the technique with an atemi to keep uke from striking her in the face as she throws, if necessary), or nage can move far out through the outer limits of uke's arm. Different types work with different ukes, and with different entrances, and I find all this confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes I can make the trajectory that sensei has demonstrated work for my partner, and sometimes I can't, and I don't know why.

Two, there are very different attacks uke uses when we're playing around sparring together before class vs. when we're practicing a technique together. In unstructured play, uke maintains his base while attempting to strike me, he circles and changes direction, and he almost always has follow-up strikes; there are no single strikes in isolation. It's like listening to a static-filled French radio broadcast with difficult-to-understand regional accents, when one has always been used to the crisp, careful Parisian accent of one's teacher. Uke's momentum is hidden from me, I can't catch his structure when he moves it so constantly, and I can't make sense of his telegraphs quickly enough. All I can do is keep moving and keep hitting back, and I feel so much smaller and less powerful than my partner.

The result of all this is the overwhelming feeling I complained about earlier. It makes me feel like I don't have any game, which plays into my secret conviction that I can't ultimately defend myself, which is compounded by the fact that it's actually partially true; I can't ever eliminate the uncertainty in all of this. My natural reaction is to pull back, stay out of striking range, and in fact that was one of my sensei's foremost comments from my nikyu test: "Julia, you need to enter more." "More aggression." "More irimi spirit." "More entering." "Move in right away." "Move in, move in, move in." I have been trying to address his comment in my practice, but entering means taking on the risk of getting eaten which is the risk I came here in the first place to avoid. Sensei started to tell me to enter more at the exact time when I started to realize, for a fact, that I have no idea what I'm doing. Ultimately I plan on having the part of me that is trying to follow sensei's advice dissolve and disassemble the part of me that is trying to hide, but I am not clear on how this is going to happen or if I am making any progress on it, and in the meantime it has been useful to try articulating the problem here and to read so much solidarity, advice and support in the comments to my original post.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:01 PM   #72
ken king
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Aikido outside of waza training will likely never look like it does during training. It's almost always a eye opener, too bad many waste years without experiencing it. Aikido should not be about wrist twists and high falls but how to organize and move your body effectively and efficiently. Your teacher is correct about irimi spirit, when given the opportunity always be entering. Force your opponent to respond to you because if you are always reacting eventually you will be too slow. You have a fear of being hit, which is natural, but no amount of martial training will make you untouchable. It's best to learn how to mitigate damage and become famliar with fists flying at your face. Finally, it's good to not have complete faith in your teacher and question everything. Respect is obviously important but blindly following thier teachings is foolish.

Last edited by ken king : 09-14-2015 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:19 PM   #73
lbb
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Julia Campbell wrote: View Post
To follow up with your metaphor, I've been thinking a bit about what new parts of the elephant I've been touching recently and why they're so startling to me--so startling that I'd like to shove them back into the multidimentional interelephant void from which they came:

Nothing is 100%. For a decade, I had put off studying a martial art at all because I didn't want to deal with the question of whether I needed to be able to defend myself--part of me knew the answer was "yes, possibly," because prior experience had seen situations where it was necessary, but part of me didn't want to have seen said situations, and that part really wanted to answer "no." It's similar now. I *am* studying, but I think I'm also getting better at seeing that things do not always work--even outside of the dojo, where one is not limited by considerations for uke's safety, the attacker may just be too strong or too fast or I may just be unlucky in that situation. Nothing is 100%, except maybe a neutron bomb, and it's been hard to mentally enter the arena where I'm trying and I have to accept that I could possibly fail. Of course my chances of succeeding are higher than ever before. But the possibility of failure exists. In the back of my mind, "failure" means being raped, being mutilated, being unable to help someone I love. Obviously these aren't the things at stake when I'm on the mat. But when I am on the mat, and I try to look at "nothing is 100%" in the face, they sort of leer up from the other side. It's requiring a kind of mental fortitude from me that I have yet to develop. But I think it's growing.
Brava, Julia! Of course it's growing. When I was a little kid, if I had an injury, I could not stand to look at it. It wasn't a "hate the sight of blood" thing, it was just looking at MY injury and seeing that, yup, wow, it really IS an injury. I gradually taught myself not to have this aversion...and also, not to have it about injuries, or problems, or feared injuries that weren't physical ones. It is still hard, but every time I look them in the face, it gets a tiny bit easier -- and usually, not always, I find that the "injury" isn't as bad as I thought -- and even when it is, it's somehow manageable once I look at it.

Becoming comfortable with discomfort, becoming comfortable with uncertainty. For me that's the key to aikido. There's a quote from the book "Snow Crash":

Quote:
Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.

Hiro used to feel this way, too, but then he ran into Raven. In a way, this was liberating. He no longer has to worry about being the baddest motherfucker in the world. The position is taken.
Or, as Yamada Sensei once put it, no matter how strong you are, there's always gonna be someone stronger (my paraphrase). The certainty of being the strongest? Never gonna happen. The certainty of knowing exactly what every threat will be and having the perfect unanswerable counter to it? Not gonna happen. You just keep getting to know your elephant more and more, and keep in mind that there's always something you don't know, and that that's OK. Because even if you discover new parts of the elephant that you're really not comfortable with now...it's OK. It's still your elephant.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:40 PM   #74
kewms
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Julia Campbell wrote: View Post
One, there are many different physical trajectories kotegaeshi can go in: for example, the throw can go toward the third leg or it can be a strong-line throw through the near leg, or it can be other places in between. The throw can go through the elbow, leaving the wrist unaffected, or it can wind up the rubber bands inside the wrist, or it can do things in between. Nage can move in close through uke's space (perhaps adapting the technique with an atemi to keep uke from striking her in the face as she throws, if necessary), or nage can move far out through the outer limits of uke's arm. Different types work with different ukes, and with different entrances, and I find all this confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes I can make the trajectory that sensei has demonstrated work for my partner, and sometimes I can't, and I don't know why.
What's the common thread among the variations of kotegaeshi? Why do such different versions all have the same name? Find the underlying kotegaeshi principle that they all share, and you'll be on the way to making it work more consistently.

Quote:
Two, there are very different attacks uke uses when we're playing around sparring together before class vs. when we're practicing a technique together. In unstructured play, uke maintains his base while attempting to strike me, he circles and changes direction, and he almost always has follow-up strikes; there are no single strikes in isolation. It's like listening to a static-filled French radio broadcast with difficult-to-understand regional accents, when one has always been used to the crisp, careful Parisian accent of one's teacher. Uke's momentum is hidden from me, I can't catch his structure when he moves it so constantly, and I can't make sense of his telegraphs quickly enough. All I can do is keep moving and keep hitting back, and I feel so much smaller and less powerful than my partner.
This is excellent practice. Ask uke to go more slowly, slow enough that you *can* find his structure.

Quote:
The result of all this is the overwhelming feeling I complained about earlier. It makes me feel like I don't have any game, which plays into my secret conviction that I can't ultimately defend myself, which is compounded by the fact that it's actually partially true; I can't ever eliminate the uncertainty in all of this. My natural reaction is to pull back, stay out of striking range, and in fact that was one of my sensei's foremost comments from my nikyu test: "Julia, you need to enter more." "More aggression." "More irimi spirit." "More entering." "Move in right away." "Move in, move in, move in." I have been trying to address his comment in my practice, but entering means taking on the risk of getting eaten which is the risk I came here in the first place to avoid.
Yup. This is one reason why budo is hard. Retreating does not make you safe: the attacker will follow. The center is the only safe place, but to get there you have to be willing to pass through the point of maximum danger, and there are no guarantees. (This is one of the reasons why more experienced martial artists tend to be less enthusiastic about "winning real fights" than less experienced martial artists.)

Katherine
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Old 09-15-2015, 08:48 AM   #75
phitruong
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Julia Campbell wrote: View Post
The result of all this is the overwhelming feeling I complained about earlier. It makes me feel like I don't have any game, which plays into my secret conviction that I can't ultimately defend myself, which is compounded by the fact that it's actually partially true; I can't ever eliminate the uncertainty in all of this. My natural reaction is to pull back, stay out of striking range, and in fact that was one of my sensei's foremost comments from my nikyu test: "Julia, you need to enter more." "More aggression." "More irimi spirit." "More entering." "Move in right away." "Move in, move in, move in." I have been trying to address his comment in my practice, but entering means taking on the risk of getting eaten which is the risk I came here in the first place to avoid. Sensei started to tell me to enter more at the exact time when I started to realize, for a fact, that I have no idea what I'm doing. Ultimately I plan on having the part of me that is trying to follow sensei's advice dissolve and disassemble the part of me that is trying to hide, but I am not clear on how this is going to happen or if I am making any progress on it, and in the meantime it has been useful to try articulating the problem here and to read so much solidarity, advice and support in the comments to my original post.
Julia, I have two questions. "This is for posterity so be honest."
1. are you afraid of getting hit?
2. are you afraid of hitting people?

I ran into both cases before. the first, most folks. the second, mostly women. I have exercises that can deal with the first. the second, don't know of any that would be of value.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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