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Old 03-29-2004, 09:37 PM   #1
crand32100
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Aikido- balance or off-balance

The status quo belief in aikido is that aikido is all about off balancing your partner. That's a perfectly obvious and legitimate observation that I accept as a way of thinking about it. My intention is not to debate that in this thread. I would like to know if there are people out there who believe that aikido is about balance. To take that one step further, are there people who believe that all of these things can happen by studying balance rather than off-balance? This doesn't just mean that the nage practices balancing her/hiself, but rather tries to reach a balance of both sides-maybe through a true balance of the one side. If something like this has occurred to you, what do you think about it?

TC
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Old 03-30-2004, 01:28 AM   #2
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Tohei Sensei's book "ki in daily life" is all about staying centralized or "balanced". When i worked in ki society, keeping ourselves centered and balanced, it seemed, was almost all we did.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-30-2004, 03:44 AM   #3
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I believe that in order to do kuzushi on uke, tori needs to become uke's centre of balance. Only once you have become the centre of balance can you upset it.

regards

Bryan

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Old 03-30-2004, 05:29 AM   #4
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I've found that the main difference in teaching between Ki Aikido and BAB (Aikikai/Iwama) Aikido is that Ki Sensei stress Nage's centeredness in techniques and BAB stresses Ukes breaking of balance.

Regards,

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 03-30-2004, 05:29 AM   #5
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I've found that the main difference in teaching between Ki Aikido and BAB (Aikikai/Iwama) Aikido is that Ki Sensei stress Nage's centeredness in techniques and BAB stresses Ukes breaking of balance.

Regards,

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 03-30-2004, 07:39 AM   #6
L. Camejo
 
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There is no off balance without first having balance. The key to effective kuzushi is to be able to cause an imbalance in Uke while Tori maintains his own balance initially and throughout the technique.

If Tori is off balance it does not matter what kind of kuzushi is applied on Uke, the technique will be weak, clumsy and ineffective as power is not correctly focused and controlled.

Balance and off balance here can be both physical and psychological, they often work together.

Just my thoughts.

L.C.

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Old 03-30-2004, 10:15 AM   #7
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IMHO, the basics of Aikido is first to enter and blend, secondly to take balance while maintaining your own.

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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Old 03-30-2004, 10:39 AM   #8
crand32100
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I've been studying the yin/yang principle. The idea of taking someone's balance doesn't seem to fit this. Every time that I think about it, I come to the conclusion that if my attitude is to take the other person's balance, then I am essentially trying to make the black side bigger than the white, or visa versa. Yin/yang also seems to be a principle of making one out of two. When I think about the concept of me trying to be balanced, and off-balancing the other, it's more like one side is clobbering the other side no matter how smoothly some can make it look.

I say this because I started to think that maybe I can look at this from a different refernce point. Maybe both sides should be trying to balance themselves with the point of contact, or some center point somehow. That way, even the uke can in balance even if they are upside down in mid air. From this perspective, I'm not sure that anyone can really take your balance from you. It's more likely that you can loose your frame of reference from which you balance yourself- the other person's movement can make it easy for that to happen.

Just a thought.

TC
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Old 03-30-2004, 10:40 AM   #9
mantis
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Re: Aikido- balance or off-balance

Quote:
tyler crandall (crand32100) wrote:
are there people who believe that all of these things can happen by studying balance rather than off-balance?
I'm not sure if I understand your question, but it brings this to mind:

Has anyone ever reached for something on a coffee table, and almost fell on top of it, but you try to keep your balance and stand up, but your stuck there? This usually lasts a few seconds, and sometimes ends in a crash.

This is a state of perfect balance, but you can easily be knocked over with just one finger.

In many techniques if you have uke set up with perfect balance (to where he can't move), then it's easy to knock him down.

to get uke to that point, you have to break his balance first.

maybe someone can add some more to this idea.
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Old 03-30-2004, 11:14 AM   #10
akiy
 
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To me, at least, I don't really think of it as "taking balance."

The Japanese term "kuzushi" is often used in situations like this, but I don't really think of it as "balance." Rather, I usually translate "kuzushi" to be something like, "to undermine a structure so as to destoy its capacity to remain standing on its own."

It doesn't take much for kuzushi to be applied. I remember walking up the stairs here at work a while back and nearly falling flat on my face since I wasn't paying much attention and was expecting another step when there wasn't one! If a non-existent stair step can cause that, then it really doesn't take much...

-- Jun

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Old 03-30-2004, 11:42 AM   #11
ian
 
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Quote:
Bryan Bateman (batemanb) wrote:
I believe that in order to do kuzushi on uke, tori needs to become uke's centre of balance. Only once you have become the centre of balance can you upset it.
Very interesting - often when you look at Ueshiba (esp. suwari waza) he seems to be lifting or supporting uke before cutting down. Does anyone use this approach explicitely?

My general view is that uke takes his own balance because he is attacking you and you move. You then do the technique, putting uke in a weak situation. At that point you can either throw gently or hard (and since uke's ability to support themselves is destroyed, even a 'hard' throw should not take much force).

To me aikido is utilsing every availablee advantage to overcome the attacker. i.e. we never use force against force, though you can use force against weakness (yin/yang blah blah blah)

Ian
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Old 03-30-2004, 11:46 AM   #12
William Westdyke
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No, no, no! Aikido isn't about balance at all. You're just supposed to grab the other guy and use your big brawny muscles to throw him down upon the mat. "Fro him to the froor, centurion!" -- Life of Brian

"You, not anyone else, is 100% responsible for your own happyness and wellbeing." -- David Robertson
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Old 03-30-2004, 12:48 PM   #13
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Sometimes the technique emerges as uke quickly attempts to get back on balance. (Maybe more often than not an omote technique?) Other times, uke in a sense throws away his/her balance from the start, and nage simply keeps them that way. (Maybe more ura?)
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Old 03-30-2004, 03:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
My general view is that uke takes his own balance because he is attacking you and you move. You then do the technique, putting uke in a weak situation. At that point you can either throw gently or hard (and since uke's ability to support themselves is destroyed, even a 'hard' throw should not take much force).
You become uke`s centre of balance, then move, you put uke into a weak position, then you do technique, at least that `s the way I have been looking at it recently.

You become the focal point of balance for uke the instant uke attacks. I can liken this to walking towards a door, you are about to push it open when someone opens it from the other side, you often stagger or take an extra step to stop yourself falling into the hole. In Aikido, you are the door, uke intends to push you open, at that instant you are his point of balance, it depends on how you open the door and how far as to how much uke falls into the hole.

Regards

Bryan

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Old 03-30-2004, 03:51 PM   #15
mj
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Quote:
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
... I remember walking up the stairs here at work a while back and nearly falling flat on my face since I wasn't paying much attention and was expecting another step when there wasn't one! If a non-existent stair step can cause that, then it really doesn't take much...

-- Jun
Don't put yourself down Jun, could happen to anyone

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Old 03-30-2004, 04:37 PM   #16
Paula Lydon
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~~I believe nage must first have their own balance in order to affect uke's balance. Sometimes, though, I'm so focused on centering myself that I don't extend ki and so, as uke is unable to affect me so am I unable to affect uke...and there we stand

~~Paula~~
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Old 03-30-2004, 05:03 PM   #17
L. Camejo
 
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Quote:
tyler crandall (crand32100) wrote:
I've been studying the yin/yang principle. The idea of taking someone's balance doesn't seem to fit this. Every time that I think about it, I come to the conclusion that if my attitude is to take the other person's balance, then I am essentially trying to make the black side bigger than the white, or visa versa.
Actually, in my view the Yin/Yang concept does explain it. If Uke attacks with 8 units of force, then it may take only 2 units to unbalance him and do technique. If he attacks with 4 units (less energy for me to use), then I may have to use 6 units (more energy exerted by me) to achieve the same result as previously. If we match exact amounts for energy (5 for 5), we may have perfect balance at an instant in time, but it may not change overall the Yin/Yang relationship of the matter. Remember there are also the concepts of Greater Yin, Lesser Yang, Absolute Yin etc. stemming from the basic Yin/Yang relationship. Borrowing from Lynn's idea, by entering and blending while maintaining one's own balance, one becomes part of this relationship and is able to redirect the attacking force in the necessary direction to restore balance to the conflict of energies. Manipulation of Yin/Yang depending on the constantly changing reality of the engagement is what creates the technique. To do this, Tori must be balanced both internally and externally.
Quote:
tyler crandall (crand32100) wrote:
Yin/yang also seems to be a principle of making one out of two.
It can also be making 2 or more out of one, remember, the Yin/Yang we refer to is a manifestation of Tai Chi, which came out of oneness or Wuchi, complementary opposites coming out of a singular energy.
Quote:
tyler crandall (crand32100) wrote:
That way, even the uke can in balance even if they are upside down in mid air. From this perspective, I'm not sure that anyone can really take your balance from you. It's more likely that you can loose your frame of reference from which you balance yourself- the other person's movement can make it easy for that to happen.
I like this concept. Imho, what Tyler describes above is part of the aim of Ukemi - utilising the energy of a throw to restore one's balance and recover ones composition, even if one may be upside down in the air.

Just a few thoughts.

LC

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Old 03-30-2004, 05:37 PM   #18
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Actually the yin-yang priciple makes perfect sense! It's physics! All about the moments of force, so many Neutons in that angle, etc.
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Old 03-30-2004, 06:26 PM   #19
Steven
 
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Quote:
Nathan Gidney (p00kiethebear) wrote:
When i worked in ki society, keeping ourselves centered and balanced, it seemed, was almost all we did.
This is true in the Yoshinkan, as I'm sure it is an almost all MA's. In Total Aikido, Gozo Shioda defines KI as the mastery of balance. However this is not just an Aikido thing. Most all MA, sports in General and life, require some form of balance. And to me, that balance is not just physical.
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Old 03-30-2004, 07:20 PM   #20
crand32100
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I don't think that yin/yang is best represented by the idea of nage wanting to become uke's center. I look at it more like maybe uke is the white, nage is the black, and the line in the middle is just where people touch. When I look at it I see that one side equals the other. A=B. If one is trying to change the other, A does not equal B anymore. In any case, I can't help but believe that there is a way to do it in which A does not try to outsmart, trick, manipulate, overpower, or any other permutation to B. I've heard teacher's say that although there is movement, you don't move the uke's hand wherever it is placed. Somehow there is a way to move everything except the line where A touches B so that this happens.

You might even be able to say that uke and nage are always one, even before they touch each other. It's more likely that we separate ourselves mentally to play these roles when in reality there is no real separation.

I also have a hard time with the representation that if uke comes with a 10, nage responds with a 2. If that were true, maybe the black side would be 1/5 the side of the white side. Maybe it could be translated as if uke moves the contact line forward with a 7, nage moves around that line with a 7.

To me the symbol could represent how things always are, whether we are aware of it or not. Our minds create the ideas of inequities and so we try to learn how to trick the other side. I like my view because if uke and nage are just relating themselves to the line of contact then size, force, power becomes irrelevant. If A always changes it's relation to the contact point between A and B, then it never has to go into B's rhealm, psychology, or space to produce an outcome. It sounds like what most people are describing is going into the other's side to change them, or trying to force the other side into your side to get an outcome. The symbol doesn't seem to represent that to me.

On a side, I think that I've seen times when nage throws uke, and the uke is in more balance the entire time than nage ever was.

TC
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Old 03-30-2004, 07:30 PM   #21
Sharon Seymour
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Jun, thanks for the nifty definition of kuzushi - really clarifies the concept for me.

Having just spent a weekend at a seminar with Ikeda Sensei, I'm with Bryan - nage becomes the center of balance and technique is then possible.

Timing is an interesting question: What comes first, the connection or the kuzushi? My impression over the weekend was that the kuzushi needs to be part of the connection. Uke is trying to connect with nage's center and break balance, and nage has to re-direct before that connection occurs...

Interesting topic, and thought-provoking responses - thanks!

-----
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Old 03-30-2004, 08:36 PM   #22
L. Camejo
 
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Quote:
Steven Miranda (Steven) wrote:
This is true in the Yoshinkan, as I'm sure it is an almost all MA's. In Total Aikido, Gozo Shioda defines KI as the mastery of balance. However this is not just an Aikido thing. Most all MA, sports in General and life, require some form of balance. And to me, that balance is not just physical.
I agree with this. Hence my initial point that without first maintaining one's own balance, there can be no disruption of the other's balance and effective application of technique.

This has nothing to do with wanting to become the other person's centre, it is simply a prerequisite for effective movement.
Quote:
On a side, I think that I've seen times when nage throws uke, and the uke is in more balance the entire time than nage ever was.
Is this the norm in training for some of you? In our way of dealing with things, if Uke has his balance your chances of throwing/pinning him are slim to none (you are also begging to be thrown by a counter tech as well), though he may regain his balance after being thrown (i.e. be able to perform ukemi etc). Also, I think it would be very difficult for Tori to complete any technique if some superior degree of balance were not maintained on his own part. In this case Tori would probably end up throwing himself instead of Uke.

Interesting concepts.

LC

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Old 03-30-2004, 09:08 PM   #23
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Quote:
Tyler Crandall wrote:
On a side, I think that I've seen times when nage throws uke, and the uke is in more balance the entire time than nage ever was.
to which
Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Is this the norm in training for some of you? In our way of dealing with things, if Uke has his balance your chances of throwing/pinning him are slim to none (you are also begging to be thrown by a counter tech as well), though he may regain his balance after being thrown (i.e. be able to perform ukemi etc). Also, I think it would be very difficult for Tori to complete any technique if some superior degree of balance were not maintained on his own part. In this case Tori would probably end up throwing himself instead of Uke.
Hi Larry;

How do you think sutemi waza fits into your riposte?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-30-2004, 10:07 PM   #24
L. Camejo
 
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
to which

Hi Larry;

How do you think sutemi waza fits into your riposte?
Personally, and this comes from how my instructor taught me, sutemi waza (hell, simple leg reaping while trying to get off an Aikido technique) falls under Judo. As such, it depends on what we're training at the time, but I tend not to allow sutemi waza (or leg reaping for that matter) as "proper" Aikido technique, unless we are doing a self defence session, in which case what works, works and sutemi, shime, osoto gari and friends are all welcome. I often use this to show the Judo/Aikido similarity. I also use this method to avoid the temptation folks may have to get into a wrestling match on the mats (which in my book is also not Aikido). As I read Tomiki said somewhere, Aikidoka should not have to resort to Judo techs when in close contact grappling situations (paraphrased of course).

In fact when I did my last post I was specifically thinking about sutemi waza, in which case even though Tori has lost his footing, he has not necessarily lost all of his balance (psychological and physical), else he would not have the presence of mind/body to capitalise on the fall and execute sutemi waza. On the other hand, if he deliberately sacrifices his balance for sutemi, then he has not lost it, he has given it away for (hopefully) a tactical advantage.

What are your thoughts?

LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 03-30-2004 at 10:10 PM.

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Old 03-30-2004, 10:20 PM   #25
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Pretty much the same - I was just too lazy to write and thought you would jump at the chance to answer the question.

In sutemi waza tori may have temporarily sacrificed his balance but he has destroyed that of uke. I think it fits nicely into your original point where uke with stronger balance than tori can not be thrown.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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