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Old 06-01-2004, 06:41 AM   #1
drDalek
 
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Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Everyone who has been practicing Aikido for a while knows by now that the "endpoint" that we are striving towards is perfect, flowing, improvised according to the situation technique coupled with an enlightened mindset and all of that other lovely fluffy stuff.

The way Aikido is taught though, seems to start right at the opposite end, with technique endlessly drilled until the techniques themselves become the "Aikido" This is not inherently a bad thing but it kind of makes things a bit difficult.

The reason for this is very clear though, how the heck can you teach someone to "improvise" this stuff? How do you get the mindset, worldview and experience across to students so that they can see not only HOW to do the technique but also at that moment WHY you are doing that particular technique?

Is there a way to start at the other end of training, starting with the fundamental principles of Aikido; tai-sabaki, posture, timing, breathing and breaking balance and using those "teachable" elements as tools. Essentially telling your students "here is a toolkit, here is a problem, use the toolkit to solve the problem" (ofcourse an instructor would need to step in when someone starts nailing screws into the wall with the back of a powerdrill ). Would it be possible via some guiding from an instructor to work backwards towards the individual techniques from this freeform, improvisational practice?

This is just one of those random thoughts that have been rolling around the back of my head for a while, maybe the ukemi last night shook it loose.
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Old 06-01-2004, 08:49 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

IMHO, Takemesu Aiki is a Zen koan. To find the answer, drop the question. The best training method is to relax, breath, and enjoy the training. Takemesu Aiki will, by definition, come of its own.

BTW, I do believe that we can provide a chance to flow and improvise in training and more randori.

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 06-01-2004, 10:07 AM   #3
Bronson
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

One of the ways I've been taught and teach is to allow...no, expect students to do a technique appropriate to the attack given. If I'm being held in katatetori and the technique we're supposed to do requires a forward energy from uke but they are pulling, I should do a different technique or at least a variation on the shown technique. What we see is that very early we get students who are able to feel where the attack wants to go instead of blindly going through the motions demonstrated. Of course the newer folks often don't have the "tools" to do anything with that information but that's not the point really. The point is they feel it. Once they learn what to do with that feeling the flowing starts happening.

I've got a couple newer guys who are getting really good at this. They don't know what techniques to do buy if they are being pulled, instead of pushed, they move with uke and start turning and often find a lock or throw without pre-planning it.

Just one way. YMMV

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-01-2004, 10:33 AM   #4
John Boswell
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

I think the whole point of "technique endlessly drilled" is to engrain the BASICS of aikido.

Not sure about the rest of you, but any and all techniques in aikido were totally foriegn to me before starting my training. Going through these techniques over and over was the only way to pound them into my already thick skull so that I would know them when called upon during test/training.

All the while, during the 2-4 years of kyu training, these basics are being slammed home along with the concepts of posture, spheracity, distancing, breathing, etc. Through years of hard work and effort, one can finally achieve the rank of "sandan" or first degree black belt which, to me... means I would finally be ready to START learning .

Quote:
The way Aikido is taught though, seems to start right at the opposite end, with technique endlessly drilled until the techniques themselves become the "Aikido" This is not inherently a bad thing but it kind of makes things a bit difficult.
Is there a way to start at the other end of training, starting with the fundamental principles of Aikido; tai-sabaki, posture, timing, breathing and breaking balance and using those "teachable" elements as tools. Essentially telling your students "here is a toolkit, here is a problem, use the toolkit to solve the problem"
The basics are the tools of the toolkit to which you refer. Kyu training is learning: a) what a 'tool' is and b) what it is supposed to do. I think a Good student would know that just because one has a 'black belt', that it doesn't mean jack in the overall scheme of things and that now... more than ever, they need to knuckle down and learn the details that are Aikido.

Your whole line of questioning, in my humble opinion, is more a question of Student Perception which can also be shaped by the instruction... but the whole thing is moot and dependent on each student.

That's my 2 cents.

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Old 06-01-2004, 10:37 AM   #5
Bronson
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
one can finally achieve the rank of "sandan" or first degree black belt
Umm, John did you mean "shodan"?

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-01-2004, 10:48 AM   #6
John Boswell
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

oops... I did. Let me see if I can correct that. Otherwise, my apologies to those of THIRD degree ranking.

/grovel

*edit* Timed out... sorry bout that. SHOdan was my intention. Apologies.

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Old 06-01-2004, 01:08 PM   #7
Greg Jennings
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

I have no idea what "Takemesu Aiki" is.

If you're talking about "Takemusu Aiki", different schools have different pedagogical methods for getting there.

Best regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 06-01-2004, 02:55 PM   #8
Chris Birke
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

I think this image sums up my feelings in this argument concisely:

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Old 06-01-2004, 05:24 PM   #9
Amassus
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Hehehe!



Very good, Chris!

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:07 PM   #10
Mark Bilson
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

In order for Takemusu Aiki to occur the following things are required.

A mind clear, free and flowing with out attachment to anything.

No thought of winning

No thought or attempt at doing something to your partner

No thoughts about anything or anyone, before, or during the attack

No focus on attack or person

No ego

No attempt to think of or do a technique

No strength or muscle power......

No tension in body- very relaxed

You have to let go.............

O' Sensei said that the world exists in 3 levels

1, The world of appearances

2, The world of the Spirit

3 The world of the Divine

Aikido joins and connects these together and when this occurs Takemusu Aiki is projected and manifested into the world of appearances.

However, when this is manifested into the world of appearances it has the tendency to look fake or unreal to someone who only can see in the world of appearances. But to the person receiving Aiki they have no idea what had just occurred or why they are on the ground or how they got there.

Takemusu Aiki is a state of being and has nothing to do with techniques. Not even Aikido techniques.


Mark Bilson
http://www.roleystoneaiki.com

Last edited by Mark Bilson : 06-01-2004 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 06-02-2004, 01:22 AM   #11
drDalek
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Okay, everyone seems to be getting hung up on the spiritual baggage attached to the term Takemusu / mesu / whatever Aiki. What I REALY meant was spontaneously improvised effective technique according to the attack you receive. Instead of being told, do kotegaeshi against some form of tsuki, you get taught to use the building blocks of Aikido or the riai as Shioda sensei called it to "deal" with this particular attack in whichever way is effective. Once you have this spontaneity going and a good grip on tai-sabaki, breathing, atemi, breaking balance and timing you should (in theory) spontaneously (with only minor guiding by your instructor) just arrive at kotegaeshi (if the attack given to you is appropriate) Right or wrong?

The way Aikido is traditionally trained is backwards, where kotegaeshi is practiced no matter what attack you receive, from whom and what the best way of dealing with it would realy be for you, you must do kotegaeshi. In a way I am thinking that the techniques we practice should be a "symptom" of applying the principles and basics as opposed to the basics and principles being a symptom of applying technique (if this makes anymore sense than anything else in this thread)

I hate the fact that I sometimes ask a perfectly logical, technical question and people come out with all this spiritual mumbo jumbo, and whats worse is that its usually just the parroted words of some great shihan or O-Sensei and not anything that the person responding has actually experienced themselves. Sure I probably used the term "Takemusu Aiki" in the wrong context but thats how it was explained to me, spontaneous made-up-on-the-spot, top of your head technique thats perfectly suited to deal with the attack you are receiving, if this is wrong, please help me out. Bronson Diffin's post (no 3) is the only one that even touches on what I was getting at, thanks Mr Diffin.

Last edited by drDalek : 06-02-2004 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 06-02-2004, 01:28 AM   #12
PeterR
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
The reason for this is very clear though, how the heck can you teach someone to "improvise" this stuff? How do you get the mindset, worldview and experience across to students so that they can see not only HOW to do the technique but also at that moment WHY you are doing that particular technique?
That sort of thing can't be seen - it must be felt. The only way in my opinion to get there is to be subjected to a number of variations of attack where uke is obliged not to go down if the technique is ineffective. Failure is a great teacher.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-02-2004, 03:35 AM   #13
PaulieWalnuts
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Takemusu Aiki is the name given to the founders art while he was living in Iwama. The word takemusu in simple terms means no fight or no clashing,
Osensie said takemusu is the highest form of Aikido one can achieve
Takemusu aiki is also translated as infinate technique throw continous practice of basics
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Old 06-02-2004, 09:31 AM   #14
akiy
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Quote:
steff miller wrote:
The word takemusu in simple terms means no fight or no clashing,
Interesting. I can't say I've ever heard the term "takemusu" defined that way; I sure can't think of a way to derive it from the etymology of the characters... Do you (or anyone else) have a reference source for that?

-- Jun

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Old 06-02-2004, 12:28 PM   #15
SeiserL
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

"Takemusu Aiki: Aiki which gives birth to martial techniques. An expression coined by Morihei Ueshiba to refer to the highest level of aikido where one is capable of spontaneously executing perfect technique." (Stanley Pranin, The Aiki News Encyclopedia of Aikido, 1991, page 115)

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 06-02-2004, 07:32 PM   #16
Mark Bilson
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Wynand van Dyk,
You should not assume that the words a person writes have not been experienced by them. Not every question has an answer that relates to mechanics.

Mark Bilson
www.roleystoneaiki.com
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Old 06-02-2004, 09:32 PM   #17
Fred Calef III
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

I would suggest teaching students how to attack realistically and accurately early on. Most students have little idea what an attack is really composed of; how much energy, where to strike, etc.

I agree with Mr. Bronson, tori/sh'te should respond appropriately to uke's attack, however, uke should also be using the appropriate attack! If the technique is omote/irimi/ichi, then the attack should be a 'pulling' technique (using katatatori/katatamochi as an example), if ura/tenkan/ni, then it should be 'pushing'. I think the idea of what techniques require 'pushing' or 'pulling' is frequently overlooked or not emphasized enough for beginners. I know it was quite awhile before I realized when I should be pulling or pushing (granted that's my problem ) during specific techniques. Once an aikidoka knows that this group of techniques are for pulling/entering and these others are for pushing/receiving, then they can begin to respond appropriately to 'open'/randori/jiyuwaza situations where we have to feel the attack and respond accurately, ultimately reaching a point where the techniques flow without thought.
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Old 06-02-2004, 09:55 PM   #18
leefr
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

From what info there is on the internet, it seems to me the method you're talking about is being put into practice by the Systema folks. They say they put an emphasis on 'drills' and exercises that teach movement instead of techniques - it would be interesting if I could ever get a first hand experience.
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Old 06-02-2004, 10:42 PM   #19
Bronson
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Quote:
Fred Calef III wrote:
Mr. Bronson
Just Bronson is fine...it's my first name

Quote:
Fred Calef III wrote:
however, uke should also be using the appropriate attack!
Absolutely! We want our uke to give the proper attack for the technique being practiced. Uke are human however and sometimes don't realize there intent/energy/ki/whatever is going in a different direction. That's when we want our students to feel that and go with what's given. Besides, nothing wakes up an inattentive uke as getting a different technique than the one they were expecting

It's very easy to get into the trap of thinking "uke must attack me with "X" so I can respond with "Y". We really need to keep in mind that we are responding with "Y" because uke is giving "X". If uke is giving "Z" then "Y" may no longer be relevant....maybe "W" is

That made no sense....and I wrote it

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-09-2004, 06:50 PM   #20
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Takemesu Aiki -> Basics?

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
The way Aikido is traditionally trained is backwards, where kotegaeshi is practiced no matter what attack you receive, from whom and what the best way of dealing with it would realy be for you, you must do kotegaeshi. In a way I am thinking that the techniques we practice should be a "symptom" of applying the principles and basics as opposed to the basics and principles being a symptom of applying technique (if this makes anymore sense than anything else in this thread)
There are different Aikido tracks. Some start at one end, others at the other. Some name the technique and have to perform it at all costs, sometimes against logic, others name the attack, others name both.

I think you are on the right track. Once you have gotten past learning the basic techniques (I call them shapes) you need to get into the basics. Pull it all apart and put it all back together in a form you can recognise. So, it seems you are ready to follow you nose ... collect your tools and start to use them.

Rupert Atkinson
PS I notice you are from South Africa. Please say hello to Mike Holm if you see him
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