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by Lynn Seiser

Breathe in, principle
Breathe out, technical

As a professional counselor and educator, I often find the biggest problem in communication is that people are not talking about the same thing at the same time.

In Aikido, some people are talking/teaching the physical tactical techniques, while others are talking/teaching the mental principles, strategies, and philosophies.

In life, many people are talking/demanding that others listen to what they want at the same time the other person is talking demanding about what they want and no one is listening or talking about what is in everyone's mutual best interest.

Before we figure how to do something, it is useful to know what you are trying to do.

Chunking up or chunking down is the ability to change the inclusive or exclusive criteria/level we use to think by.
Mental: (1) relating to, carried out in, or produced by the mind, (2) psychological, intellectual, perceptual, conceptual, abstract
Principle: (1) basic assumption, attitude, opinion, or belief, (2) ethical value, code or standard, (3) way of working, (4) source, origin, basis, or cause (5) characteristic ingredient, rule, theory, dogma
Strategy: (1) planning, (2) adaptation important for evolutionary success, (3) policy, approach, or scheme
Philosophy: (1) examination of basic concepts, (2) school of thought, (3) guiding or underlying principles, (4) set of beliefs or aims, (5) calm resignation, (6) a way of values, beliefs, viewpoints, and life
In the dojo, we seldom stop to think about what we are doing. In fact, many times, we are encouraged to practice/train more. Discussion is discouraged. Yet, I would often say that as a western man, if I cannot get my head around something, I am certainly not going to get my body to follow. Physically, that is one of the principle to off-balance someone. After all, wherever the head goes the body tends to follow. We are also taught focus/intent aims Ki/energy. If I understand my basic intent, the principles I am using, it is easier for me to get it. I remember struggling with technique (okay, I still do, but at a different level and for different reasons). Finally, someone said that there were no straight lines in Aikido; everything was a rotation or a spiral. The technique changed because my understanding changed. I have an extensive library in any art I study because (I know me) if I am to improve, I need to cognitively understand what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what specific principles apply.

In life, it is not always what we are doing that creates the problems, but not understanding the underlying principles we are using. Often our attempts to resolve/fix a problem only facilitates and perpetuates the problem because it actually uses the same principles, strategies, and philosophies. The type of thinking that creates a problem is never the type of thinking that solves it. If we want something different, we have to do something different. If we do more of the same, we will get more of the same. In communication counseling it is often interesting to watch people keep saying the same thing repeatedly, getting the same response/reaction, without changing how they are saying/showing it. Over 80% of communication is not the information/content/verbiage; it is the process/non-verbal message. Control, manipulation, or abuse is never a message of loving kindness.
Physical: (1) of body, (2) real and touchable, (3) needing body strength and contact, (4) involving touching
Tactical: (1) of tactics, (2) a means to an end, (3) showing skill-full planning, (4) for short distance, (6) supporting military objectives
Technique: (1) procedure or skill required, (2) treatment of basics, (3) special ability
In the dojo, we usually start training the body to move physically in a certain way. We hope that where the body goes, the mind will follow. However, this is not always the case. Aikido is often thought of as an art of body and mind unification, though we spend much of our time only on the physical techniques. Once we begin to understand the underlying principle/philosophy/strategy of Aikido, we can begin to better direct the body to move congruently. As an example, when I really heard that Aikido was supposed to have come from sword arts and that in sword art you touch the handle but control the tip, the ability to extend focus/intent/Ki outward became easier. When I apply the circle principle/strategy to my footwork, the tankan made sense. A training friend of mind finally admitted that his biggest problem was trying to move in a circle while his mind was still moving in a straight line. The physical expression is a manifestation of our true thoughts.

In life, as a counselor, I look more for the unconscious physical non-verbal messages expressed. Our words can lie, but our bodies cannot. The body does express the mind/heart. Many people say they are okay with something while their face is expressing fear and the head is shaking side to side (no, not really). When mindfully maintained and courageous explored, we begin to accept the truth as we know it now and look further/deeper into our creation. We all know what we need to, yet our own fears, ignorance, and insecurities tend to get in our way of expressing them in our everyday life (walking the talk).
Chunking: (1) breaking into pieces, (2) cutting into portion, (3) the ability to thinking at different size levels with different sorting criteria
Up/Inclusive: (1) including many things, (2) within particular limits, (3) all kinds, (4) nondiscriminatory, (5) includes speaker and one addressed, (6) containing at least one true proposition, (7) comprehensive, all-encompassing, wide-range, broad
Down/Exclusive: (1) high-class, private, elite, or special, (2) selective or limited, (3) restrictive, (4) appearing in one place, (5) sole or complete/full within itself (6) excluding others or partial, (7) where both cannot be true
In the dojo, it is important to learn how to change what we are focusing on. Sometimes we need to limit our focus of awareness/attention to the instructions we are given. When we are told to move the body, quiet the mind and move the body. When told to focus on extending Ki; we may quiet the body in stillness and visually extend our range with our imagination. We need to focus mind-fully on what we are doing bringing our attention/awareness to how the body feels when it moves this way. That may be the body, the mind, or both in unison and support.

In life, we have to decide what is important to invest our time and energy in and what to let go of. If it is loved based, we may want to do it more. If fear based, we may want to let it go. There comes a time to think things through and there is a time for decisive action. Wisdom knows the difference. What part/piece of life we invest our intention and attention in will be manifested and multiplied. We have to choose intelligently and wisely.

Breathe in, technique
Breathe out, principle

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now, get back to training. KWATZ!
Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for over 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) from Sensei Dang Thong Phong of the International Tenshinkai Aikido Federation and Sensei Andrew Sato of the Aikido World Alliance. He is the co-author of three books on Aikido (with Phong Sensei) and his martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders, victims, and families of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He is a professor of clinical and forensic psychology with an expertise in family violence and treatment. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains and teaches at Kyushinkan Dojo, Roswell Budokan.
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Old 10-01-2015, 09:21 AM   #2
Andy Kazama
Andy Kazama's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South
Location: Atlanta
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 43
Re: Chunking

Very nicely put, Lynn! We miss you in ATL!! Thanks as always for writing/sharing.

Aikido South
(Facebook Page)
The basic fundamentals, refined to perfection, are your most advanced techniques.
-Bill Koll (1923-2003)
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Old 10-01-2015, 12:43 PM   #3
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,902
Re: Chunking

Andy Kazama wrote: View Post
Very nicely put, Lynn! We miss you in ATL!! Thanks as always for writing/sharing.
Miss the ATL too and training, conversing, and having lunch with all of you.
Keep training and taking notes so you can show me what I missed.
Until again,

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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