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Old 05-13-2004, 11:32 AM   #1
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Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Discuss the article, "Live Movement and Dead Movement" by Chuck Clark here.

Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/cclark/2004_05.html
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Old 05-13-2004, 03:24 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Chuck, thank you for a very interesting way of looking at our practice. Whether the word used is "live", "intent", "mindfulness", it always makes me smile to realize how many of us are working on the same puzzle!

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:00 PM   #3
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Tsuneo Nishioka Sensei (menkyo kaiden of Shinto Muso Ryu Jo) would probably say something about it just being constant awareness of "life and death" when we breath...

Chuck Clark
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Old 05-14-2004, 03:23 AM   #4
Charles Hill
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Mr. Clark,

Thanks for the article. It has made me think about a number of things. One thing I am wondering about is the degree to which the student`s intellect should be utilized in teaching. I have recently started to study Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido and each move and detail has been explained to me in terms of what would happen in a martial situation. This doesn`t seem to happen much in Aikido (at least what I have seen.) I wonder if students have "dead movement" because of a lack of knowledge of what a movement might represent. For example, when I work with a beginner who struggles against ikkyo, sometimes I verbally explain that when they struggle and resist against the technique, they are unable to stop me from hitting them. Then when I show them physically, many understand quickly and the movement becomes much smoother, I think "live." If I just show them, most seem to get defense and struggle more. I am starting to think that intellectual presentation is very important, whereas I used to think that all talking on the mat was useless.

Charles Hill
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:30 AM   #5
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Hello Charles,

The sooner a student can get a "picture" (intellectually and emotionally) of what the riai (essence or "what is this about?, why does this work?, etc.) of the technique the better. If the student is already well grounded in the fundamentals of posture, movement, etc., then the body begins to do its best to make things "fit".

In my experience in judo, aikido, and Shinto Muso Ryu (as taught in the lineage I belong to...) the "picture" is given more detail as you progress. For example, if a student asks a question about strategy or some such thing that isn't really necessary to the picture at that time, my teachers would say, "You will get that information later, it's not important to you just now." Trust in the teacher develops as you find out that the system works.

Intellectual understanding is part of the human learning "toolbox". Why ignore part of the tools possible to do the job better? Look into the teaching method of Shushaku Chiba, founder of the Hokushin Itto-ryu. He used a rational teaching method that was made up of a similar method that I use and you are describing in the late Edo period. He had the largest sword dojo in Tokyo area and many peoople remarked that his students became skillful quicker than the more "traditional" methods.

Of course, talking should follow the KISS principle (keep it short and simple) and be appropriate to the lesson needed at the time. I believe in students giving short, quiet verbal "feedback" to each other during practice when appropriate. Not "teaching" each other, but feedback. The teacher is the only one teaching in the dojo.

How can someone have the correct "intent" if they don't have some idea of what I call "the job order" is? How can we learn to recognize intent if the uke, for example, has the intent to move toward tori and offer their arm as a "handle" so technique can be done "to them"? Or, another example, it is better to understand why you are drawing your sword and making a movement as close as possible to what you've just seen your teacher do than to just imitate without knowing what the "job order" is.

Sorry for the length, but this is important, I think. As in all things, appropriate balance in the application of this method is necessary. Inexperienced instructors usually go overboard and then learn as they go to give just the right amount of verbage in each situation with each student. It sounds to me like your intuition is serving you well.

Gambatte!

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 05-15-2004, 09:50 PM   #6
MaryKaye
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

A couple of months ago we had a seminar, and the visiting sensei criticized us (collectively and individually) for insufficient commitment in attack. I've been party to a lot of dressing-room arguments about exactly what that means. How do you commit to an attack without intent to harm? How can you provide a committed attack in slow motion?

This article's comment about moving through the opponent suddenly made something click for me--that's what I'd been groping around looking for all month. I feel as though I should have realized this myself--it's one of the points that's been made over and over during kokyu dosa--but I hadn't made the connection till just now.

It's not often that that kind of "click" comes from reading rather than practicing. Thank you, Clark sensei.

To show us the difference, the visitng sensei (Clarence Chinn sensei of California) had us practice kata tori attacks. He said that a well executed kata tori will make the recipient want to move back. This was certainly the case when he did them, and we could occasionally get it to work, but the whole thing seemed very mysterious. My only useful observation was that whether or not nage would move depended on uke's initial movement: if I didn't feel impelled to move as soon as uke started toward me, I wasn't going to move no matter what he did subsequently. Beyond that, well, it wasn't speed, it wasn't force, and it wasn't making a scary face.

I'd like to try this exercise again, focusing on having the intent to move through partner rather than toward or up to him, and see how it goes.

Mary Kaye
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Old 05-16-2004, 08:35 AM   #7
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
A couple of months ago we had a seminar, and the visiting sensei criticized us (collectively and individually) for insufficient commitment in attack. I've been party to a lot of dressing-room arguments about exactly what that means. How do you commit to an attack without intent to harm? How can you provide a committed attack in slow motion?

This article's comment about moving through the opponent suddenly made something click for me--that's what I'd been groping around looking for all month. I feel as though I should have realized this myself--it's one of the points that's been made over and over during kokyu dosa--but I hadn't made the connection till just now.

It's not often that that kind of "click" comes from reading rather than practicing. Thank you, Clark sensei.

To show us the difference, the visitng sensei (Clarence Chinn sensei of California) had us practice kata tori attacks. He said that a well executed kata tori will make the recipient want to move back. This was certainly the case when he did them, and we could occasionally get it to work, but the whole thing seemed very mysterious. My only useful observation was that whether or not nage would move depended on uke's initial movement: if I didn't feel impelled to move as soon as uke started toward me, I wasn't going to move no matter what he did subsequently. Beyond that, well, it wasn't speed, it wasn't force, and it wasn't making a scary face.

I'd like to try this exercise again, focusing on having the intent to move through partner rather than toward or up to him, and see how it goes.

Mary Kaye
First of all, the desire not to injure your partner is not incompatible with full out training.Shomenuchi is a strike which we practice as a strike to the top area of the forehead. If you look at a chart of vital points you will not find that marked. It's the thickest bone in the body. You might give someone a bit of a jar if you hit them but you are highly unlikely to injure them with that strike.

As for yokomenuchi and tsuki... if I am pretty sure that my partner will get hit because he is making some fundamental mistake, I will change the focus of the strike to the surface rather than through the target. This allows me to strike full out, for my partner to experience the attack with all its energy, but without injury if he makes a mistake. This works better for training than taking the life out of the attacks by removing the intention.

People need to role play a bit when they train... What is the purpose of that katate tori? You are entering the space of an opponent and you grab the hand in order to nuetralize the use of a weapon by that hand, or make it impossible for him to strike you with the hand. If that is the way you picture what you are doing you won't tend to be wimpy about the grab, you're going to want it to do its job.

Alot of folks see Aikido as a form of conflict resolution. It's impoartnat to remember that you can't really practice conflict resolution without having a conflict.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-16-2004, 10:04 AM   #8
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
It's not often that that kind of "click" comes from reading rather than practicing. Thank you, Clark sensei.
You're most welcome Mary. Just one thought about practicing... it doesn't have to happen in the dojo, on the mat, with a keikogi on, etc. to be practice.

There's a saying that translates along these lines:
Wherever you are... that is your dojo.

I see no reason why watching with acute awareness, reading with an open critical mind, listening to things that at first seem different than we're used to hearing, etc. are not part of practice.

Gambatte!

Chuck Clark
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Old 05-16-2004, 10:23 AM   #9
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Very very good article Chuck.

I was speaking of this concept only yesterday to a student of mine. I find many beginners having a tendency to intellectualise everything from techniques to forward rolls, to the point where the thought process creates a sort of inner mental tension, which translates to broken up technique as they try to "work out" each part of the technique (or roll) in their head, instead of relaxing and letting things flow a bit more naturally.

Your article put things in a much more coherent and structured format to what I was saying. The words I used were "attitude" and "intent" in both attack and defense, but your article approaches the idea in a very comprehensive way imho.

Can I borrow it?

LC

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Old 05-16-2004, 03:31 PM   #10
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Hey Larry, no problems with using anything from me. It would be nice if folks acknowledge where it comes from, etc. I'm just passing it along from my teachers and their teachers.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 06-22-2004, 12:38 PM   #11
suren
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

A very useful article! Thanks Chuck.
It reminded me my old teacher saying "whether you practice karate or cleaning your shoes, be always concentrated on what you are doing". Well, mind discipline is really difficult...
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Old 06-22-2004, 02:10 PM   #12
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

You're welcome. Thanks for taking part and welcome to AikiWeb.

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-24-2004, 08:09 PM   #13
Richard Elliott
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Thanx Sensei Clark for such a fine article.

It really does define, for me, what a true learning process looks like. I'm one of those people that tries to get to the end quick or to try to get everything at once. It's just the way I am; some love the details. It's just a difference in peoples' learning styles that I'm sure you have experienced many times. Over time, I have learned to let "the spirit" work behind my back, so to speak, and concentrate on the hear and now, stay on task, and not try to outrun myself. As you say, this takes trust in the teacher.

Your use of "live" and "dead" to describe the result of movement and intent is a good one for me. I have never thought of it in this way and it really helps. I have found that with issues like motivation and intent, especially as you have presented them visualizing these things on a continuum really misses the mark as far as practical application goes. For me, it either is or isn't, does or doesn't, it's there or it isn't. At 47 years, I have finally developed the patience and not feel tempted to self-condemnation at mistakes and failures. Self-condemnation,hate, pity, etc., usually tends to freeze me from further progress.

I recognize the applicability and accuracy of your article. As one of the many folks these days that have to deal periodically with the malady of "melancholia" or as usually termed with the cliched word "depression", your article describes much of the process I go thru with enduring it (KISS IT !). That worn cliche, "fake it till you make it" really works sometimes, but only if the INTENT is there to make it.
Thanx.

I don't know how I missed this article before?

Respectfully, Richard
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Old 08-24-2004, 08:54 PM   #14
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Glad you got something from the article. Thanks for your input. It makes it easier to write something next time when even a bit of feedback from others comes in.

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-25-2004, 08:36 PM   #15
Richard Elliott
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Hello Mr. Clark

It's not necessary to respond to this if your occupied or such, but I just wanted to say that I took a month vacation about 10 years ago and traveled thru Arizona: Grand Canyon, the reservations: Navajo, Hopi, Quechan. Phoenix, Tempe, Sedona, Flagstaff, the desert. I just loved it. It was a short trip but it was really great, especially that little city experiment Arcosanti that Paolo Soleri is developing. Incredible. Incredible! It was located about halfway between Flagstaff and Phoenix.

Respectfully, Richard
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Old 08-26-2004, 01:06 AM   #16
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Richard,

Actually, I'm shutting down my system until next Monday and getting on a plane in the morning bound for Greensboro, North Carolina to get some mat time in with a bunch of great folks.

I'm familiar with Paolo Soleri's work and his experiment in the artistic living environment. At one point I was thinking about living up at Arcosanti. He has some interesting stuff around Santa Fe, New Mexico also. If you get back through this area, please stop in for a visit.

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-26-2004, 08:30 AM   #17
ian
 
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Intent is very interesting. From the chinese martial arts 'intent' is necessary to do effective strikes to meridians. However as part of the zen/aikido philosophy of defence, aren't we suppossed to be without intent? Intent certainly leads the body, but should this intent arise from directed thought, or from our natural responsiveness to events. Sounds esoteric but I think it is important.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 08-30-2004, 08:04 PM   #18
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Hi Ian,

I just returned from Greensboro and it was a great weekend. Your point is a good one and is important of course. At some point we can achieve that naturalness of intent from our direct experience and the actualization of that intent. Ki, ken, tai ichi is a phrase used many budo systems and means something similar to your "natural responsiveness". I agree with you. If you think you're doing this though, you're not. If you try to "turn it on" or "do it" ... it is impossible. It just happens.

Chuck Clark
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Old 09-15-2004, 08:03 PM   #19
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

If anyone has not read William Reed's article "Calmness" it is well worth the read, as all of those articles are. The description is Seishi (Living Calmness) versus Teishi (Dead Calmness) written Feb. 1997. It is under the "Spiritual" category in the "aikido articles" on this site. It seems to have a parrallel run with Sensei Clark's essay.

Respectfully, Richard
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Old 09-28-2004, 11:50 AM   #20
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Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Richard, thanks for making the comparison. I just read Mr. Reed's article and it's very interesting. As the French often say, "The more things change, the more they stay the same..."

Chuck Clark
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