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Old 08-02-2004, 11:11 AM   #1
silverlion
Location: Virginia Beach
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Freaky! Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Hello Everyone,
I am a beginner. I would like to learn training techniques and meditative practices for when I am at home.
I am in the military, and cannot always make it to a dojo, sometimes for months at a time. So if someone would explain to me ways I can practice alone, I would greatly appreciate it.
I know this is possible, because I read that O'sensei would be alone for weeks at a time. What would he do to meditate and practice his techniques?
I am not looking to be a hero or anything. I just want to be peaceful within myself, so that I can share it with my fellowman(or woman).
I want to become one with the universe by developing my "ki"
I want to be so in tune to everything around me that I would never need a "feint" or "shoman" strike to unbalance my attacker.
I want to be able to enter and blend with an attacker so well that I do not even have to touch him to calm them down. Actually, I hope I blend enough so that I dont get attacked in the first place.
I hope someone will lead me in the right direction. I am not afraid to walk the path, I just need to know where the path is.

Thanks in advance for any help that is provided.
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Old 08-02-2004, 11:55 AM   #2
shihonage
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Solo exercises are only a supplement and they do not enable you to learn Aikido on their own.
Find a training partner in the military, then. Aikido cannot be learned without a training partner (and an instructor, for that matter, although you can try to replace that with videos... if you dare).

Also please start being a little less romanticized. Everyone wants to be O Sensei.
Aikido is not a magical drug that transforms people.
Find a physical way to practice Aikido, do the real techniques, and don't try to float up in the air and summon a halo around your head - just yet.

There are many people out there who can "blend" with life and other people naturally without ever stepping into a dojo, and there are also Aikidoka who struggle with the concept.
Maybe it is the halo that's weighing them down.

I'm sorry if this sounds rude, but I do wish someone would have said this to me when I started.

Last edited by shihonage : 08-02-2004 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 08-02-2004, 12:36 PM   #3
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
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Tongue Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Quote:
Aleksey Sundeyev wrote:
Also please start being a little less romanticized....I'm sorry if this sounds rude, but I do wish someone would have said this to me when I started.
"I'm sorry if this sounds rude," but would you have listened?

(I wouldn't have...didn't.)

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 08-02-2004, 01:23 PM   #4
shihonage
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
"I'm sorry if this sounds rude," but would you have listened?
No idea.
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Old 08-02-2004, 01:31 PM   #5
Orion Dartanyu
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Just a little thing I got of some aikido website.

A young boy traveled across Japan to the school of a famous martial artist. When he arrived at the dojo he was given an audience by the Sensei
"What do you wish from me?" the master asked.
"I wish to be your student and become the finest kareteka in the land," the boy replied. "How long must I study?"
"Ten years at least," the master answered.
"Ten years is a long time," said the boy. "What if I studied twice as hard as all your other students?"
"Twenty years," replied the master.
"Twenty years! What if I practice day and night with all my effort?"
"Thirty years," was the master's reply.
"How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me that it will take longer?" the boy asked.
"The answer is clear. When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way."
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Old 08-02-2004, 04:46 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Quote:
Sammy Luna wrote:
So if someone would explain to me ways I can practice alone, I would greatly appreciate it.
I know this is possible, because I read that O'sensei would be alone for weeks at a time.
It helps that he was already an accomplished martial artist.
Aikido is a physical art, learned in the body in connection with another person.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-02-2004, 07:10 PM   #7
Gareth Hinds
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Take it easy on the poor guy. He wants to improve himself. There are already threads on these forums that talk about various kinds of training you can do when you don't have access to a school -- however, these are all peripheral studies; the main body of aikido study does require two or more people training together.

Try for example this handy thread: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5114
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Old 08-03-2004, 06:40 AM   #8
Anat Amitay
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Dear Sammy,
Well, you got the basic idea that it takes time and effort to get to your goals, but I hope here is just a bit of help for you on your way.
Aikido is an MA but also a way of life.
Try to change things in your everyday- don't get mad at people who think slower than you do or blurted a stupid remark, be more patient, learn to recieve criticizm and don't be anti about it, even if not all of it is true, and so on.
As for training-
you can do things like two- steps by yourself, streching for the joints, rolling.
If you learn weapons training as well (aikido weapons, not military!), you can train with them on your own as well.
The best thing will be if you find someone else that aikido might interest and get them to join you, then you can practice actual techniques that are impossible to do by yourself. Even if you do use tapes, try to get to a dojo from time to time, because feeling is the best way to learn what is really happening in a technique you see, and that cannot be passed by video.
In any case, enjoy training. I wish you lot's of luck on your path, and feel free to ask any questions you need.
Be careful in the army, and use it as another type of "teacher" because you can learn alot from it (this I say from personal experience).
Good luck! Enjoy yourself!
Anat
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Old 08-03-2004, 08:05 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

IMHO, there are several things you can do when training alone.

General conditioning helps.

Footwork: skip rope and practice Tenkan (I like the 90-180-90-180 pattern) (keep hands on the centerline)

Shadow: walk through the techniques

Mental rehearsal:

Education: read all you can

Meditation: just sit, quiet the mind

Enviromental awareness: pay attention

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 08-03-2004, 08:26 AM   #10
kironin
 
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

For your situation, Listen to Lynn. He gave you the best outline of what to do if you are only able to visit a dojo very infrequently.

The only thing I would add is that you ask for help at the dojo you are attending. Does their organization have any videos, books you can study ? That way you can help reinforce what dojo training you do get.

while doing all this, you might just keep your eyes and ears open for a on base workout partner. Talk to others on base, see if you encounter anyone, who a) has the same interest and b) is willing to go train at the dojo also when they can manage.

best wishes,
Craig

p.s. I know of some people with an Aikido school in the Virginia Beach area. What school are you able to occasionally attend ?

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Old 08-03-2004, 09:31 AM   #11
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO, there are several things you can do when training alone.

General conditioning helps.

Footwork: skip rope and practice Tenkan (I like the 90-180-90-180 pattern) (keep hands on the centerline)

Shadow: walk through the techniques

Mental rehearsal:

Education: read all you can

Meditation: just sit, quiet the mind

Enviromental awareness: pay attention
Right on the money, these suggestions.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 08-03-2004, 09:49 AM   #12
silverlion
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Thanks everyone for the advice. I will do as much as I can. I am in no hurry to achieve my goals, I do have the rest of my life to attain them...lol. thanks again everyone
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Old 08-17-2004, 04:37 AM   #13
Peter Seth
Dojo: Zanshin. Sunderland University
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Smile Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Quote:
Sammy Luna wrote:
Hello Everyone,
I am a beginner. I would like to learn training techniques and meditative practices for when I am at home.
I am in the military, and cannot always make it to a dojo, sometimes for months at a time. So if someone would explain to me ways I can practice alone, I would greatly appreciate it.
I know this is possible, because I read that O'sensei would be alone for weeks at a time. What would he do to meditate and practice his techniques?
I am not looking to be a hero or anything. I just want to be peaceful within myself, so that I can share it with my fellowman(or woman).
I want to become one with the universe by developing my "ki"
I want to be so in tune to everything around me that I would never need a "feint" or "shoman" strike to unbalance my attacker.
I want to be able to enter and blend with an attacker so well that I do not even have to touch him to calm them down. Actually, I hope I blend enough so that I dont get attacked in the first place.
I hope someone will lead me in the right direction. I am not afraid to walk the path, I just need to know where the path is.

Thanks in advance for any help that is provided.
Hi sammy.
This may be a little controversial but, try Tai Chi. Though this is perceived as a 'chinese' form it is in my research along with other chinese arts, one of the main influences on O'sensei's development of Aikido. He spent a lot of time in China and was heavily influenced by their MArts culture - the subtle understanding of energy, flow and direction - becoming one with the rythm af the universe etc. I have recently had the priviledge of having instruction from Master Ma Boa Gua a Chen style Kung Fu master who has been visiting my area of NEast England (he has also taken part in two charity Martial Arts events for Cancer Research Uk which I organised). He initially made comment about my Aikido being 'Too Big' and went on to show me his form of very compact and extremely effective techniques. Nearly everything he did was 'Aiki' and a more compact version of standard Aikido techniques. (You can see where lots of aikido techniques come from)!
Basically it was the same principles but his Ki/Chi was much more subtle and powerful - which he put down to Tai Chi practice. Find a good instructor when you can and learn the basics which you can then take away and practice by yourself.
You will 'feel' the connection and realise that ALL martial arts are connected to this common thread. The appropriate and controlled use of the available energy - its flow - its direction and balanced dissipation. = AIKI.
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Old 08-17-2004, 06:31 AM   #14
batemanb
 
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Quote:
Peter Seth wrote:
Hi sammy.
Though this is perceived as a 'chinese' form it is in my research along with other chinese arts, one of the main influences on O'sensei's development of Aikido. He spent a lot of time in China and was heavily influenced by their MArts culture - the subtle understanding of energy, flow and direction - becoming one with the rythm af the universe etc. I have recently had the priviledge of having instruction from Master Ma Boa Gua a Chen style Kung Fu master who has been visiting my area of NEast England (he has also taken part in two charity Martial Arts events for Cancer Research Uk which I organised). He initially made comment about my Aikido being 'Too Big' and went on to show me his form of very compact and extremely effective techniques. Nearly everything he did was 'Aiki' and a more compact version of standard Aikido techniques. (You can see where lots of aikido techniques come from)!
I'm not convinced (yet) that the Chinese arts were a "main influence" on O Sensei's Aikido, nor where lots of Aikido techniques come from.

I think I need further documented proof that this was the case before I start believing that. That's not to say that I can't see similarities in body movements, I did myself study Tai Chi for a couple of years with a Chinese teacher, he taught me Wu, Yang and Chen styles, and practical applications. I think that the similarities come more from the fact that the body can only move in so many ways. I haven't found anything that conclusively links the Chinese Arts to O Sensei, only supposition and theorizing.

This has been discussed quite a bit before, both here and at Aikido Journal. Take a look here for starters

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...hlight=chinese


Rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 08-17-2004, 08:09 AM   #15
Hanna B
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Quote:
Peter Seth wrote:
He spent a lot of time in China and was heavily influenced by their MArts culture
Extremely controversial statement, yes.
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Old 08-23-2004, 04:06 AM   #16
Peter Seth
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Hi Hanna
No - Osensei's MArts changed after his return from China, I would think as a result of his experiences there. Comments by his contemporaries and various individuals who have written on the subject seem to observe the fact.
I have a video (taken from 8mm film) of O'sensei which appears to show him as a younger man and his technique is very aggressive, powerful, hard and direct. The latter part of the video sees him as an older man who's techniques more resemble aikido as I interpret it - more flow, blending, leading.
this may be just the result of age, or may also be post China influence.
Anyway - a bit of controversy is good fun - livens the spirit.
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Old 08-23-2004, 06:06 AM   #17
Troy
 
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

You could practice Iromo Tenkan (two step) by yourself, as well as irimi nage (entering move/step). The current Doshu says practicing those basic footwork is important to all Aikidoka. And you could do Tai no Henko as well. I try to dose those on my own when I have free time. And then Meditate on what you are learning.

"The Art of Peace is the religion that is not a religion; it perfects and completes all religions."
-Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 08-23-2004, 10:11 AM   #18
Hanna B
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Yes Peter, it is an extremely controversial statement that osensei would have learned any MA in China. There is no historical proof of it.
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Old 08-23-2004, 10:51 AM   #19
Charles Hill
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

Hi Peter,

After O'Sensei got back from the Mongolia/China debacle with Onisaburo Deguchi, he reportedly got much more intense, more martial. According to the various sources, the life and death experiences definitely changed him but not to become softer. The video you have is probably the one of when he was in his fifties. If it is an earlier film, you have a real treasure, please share!

Charles Hill
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:11 PM   #20
ian
 
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

I do a bit of tai-chi but I'm not convinced it relates directly to a practical response unless you do it with a partner. Like most 'kata' they teach techniques but not responsiveness. My advice for people practising on their own in order to achieve effective martial ability:

1. learn a few striking methods and good points to strike to and practise them relentlessly.
2. keep very fit (swimming, running, press-ups) and push yourself PSYCHOLOGICALLY when doing these exercises.
3. PLENTY of bokken cuts. I try to do 300 at a time, in sets of 50 so they can be done fast, moving off centre line.
4. Chi-Gung (stationary tai-chi) is EXCELLENT for producing relaxed power and it can be very intense. Buy the excellent 'the Way of Energy' (Lam Kiew Kitt?) or better, find a good teacher for a while.
5. Kung-fu conditioning exercises are good (catching bricks with finger-tips with arms outstretched but bent, press-ups on finger-tips, striking sand/punch-bags) Most chinese martial arts assume that the master only visits you very rarely and therefore solo training and conditioning had to be undertaken.
6. Visualisation of an attack when you step through techniques or do strikes is VERY VERY VERY important (basically you are conditioning you mind).

P.S. O'sensei head-butted a wall 100 times a day to toughen his skull.
I think any asetic practise can toughen the spirit, but ones less damaging (exercise or non damaging pain based) are good. He also did Misogi (purification) in cold waterfalls. Try cold showers or swim in lakes/the sea if you want this feeling!


P.P.S. there was a chinese martial arts expert who practised only 1 technique (cutting down a punch with his hand and striking jaw with vertical fist) and for a time was unbeatable (because he developed such a powerful strike he killed or at least knocked out his opponents every time).

Work on key areas:
1. power
2. speed
3. responsiveness (this is really done with a partner, but you could try games like catching chickens (e.g. Rocky films), playing with cats/dogs or avoiding things thrown at you.)
4. fitness
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:15 PM   #21
ian
 
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

P.S. I think the development of an ideal martial artist is as such:

1. basic techniques
2. internalising these techniques
3. physical and mental toughness development (actually occurs throughout)
4. gain in confidence
5. gain in sense of responsbility
6. development of aurora of impenatrability (not in an 'esoteric' sense)

I have come to believe that ascetic exercises are useful for psychological development in the martial arts. You may get to the point where you don't care if someone attacks you because they can't possibly hurt you as much as you hurt yourself (do people think this is too extreme?). Once you get this, people will not want to attack you.
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:18 PM   #22
ian
 
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

P.P.P.S I believe for Ueshiba aikido was an expression of the functioning of the universe ("when I walk, that is aikido"). Thus, maybe investigate zen/taoism if you want to examine some philosophical and psychological aspects of martial arts (I can't recommend shinto/omote kyo since I know little of it).

Hope this is all useful to you; many people are in the same situation as yourself. Draw up a training plan in which you can monitor your progress, and make sure you can improve! When you reach your peak, alter your plan (but don't loose what you have coniditoned your body to do).

Practically, a few basic responses which are simple, effective and well practiced is better than many years of half-hearted aikido - aikido itself is a massive simplification of the vast aikijitsu syllabus.

Last edited by ian : 08-23-2004 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:25 PM   #23
ian
 
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Re: Blindly searching for the path of Aikido

P.P.P.P.S Sorry everyone!
Just another point! When practising severe conditioning exercises and striking training it is important not to feel you are trying to punish or kill the 'enemy' - you are developing an animal instinct which flows with the movement of the universe. Hard training requires the balance of understanding that everyone has a right to live and to make mistakes! Hatred can destroy you from the inside.

Shalom.
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