Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-30-2009, 03:08 PM   #1
jim312uav
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 17
Offline
Thoughts on technique

There have been numerous times where I have almost added to the threads. The last time was the “Techniques for Self Defense” thread. Where the gist of the thread was “what technique would you use to defend yourself?” My thought on it was no technique just aikido (and trust me no one would say my aikido was of the aiki-bunny vintage) but wasn’t sure how to explain it further until the other night at class.

The other night someone made the comment to me about how difficult it is for him currently to teach aikido because in demonstrating a technique you have to do that one technique no matter what Uke gives you. In his practice he explained he was working on being on being receptive to what he is given by uke. He explained that this was aiki, so one time what uke gives you may become ikkyu and the next time it could become iriminage. You accept what is given and move with it. But when instructing you needed to demonstrate the technique rather then the aiki so that people can learn the techniques.

I have always been of the mind that aikido is not and never was in the technique. If you watch the old footage of O’Sensei he would do something different every time he demonstrated but to him it was all the same, it was “aikido.” He would then tell his students to go and do it. But since he did something different every time they did not know what it was they were trying to do.

O’Sensei did not have a list of techniques for aikido. That came from his students trying to put a form to something without form, in way. And don’t get me wrong we need to learn the techniques because how else would practice.

Aikido to me at least comes from the interaction with uke. Being receptive to what he is putting out and moving with it not in resistance of it. I have heard it said when one gate is closed another opens. Meaning don’t try and force the gate that is locked tight; work the gate swinging in the breeze. Yes, you can force a technique over and over but that is not where the beauty of aikido lies.

There is old book called the “Unfettered Mind” by Takuan Soho and in it he talks about the stopping of the mind and how dangerous it is to a swordsman. In a lot ways the thinking and focusing one technique does just that it stops the mind.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2009, 04:05 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,939
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

The idea of doing a specific technique is, IMHO, a learning tool that is one half of the equation, the other half being that uke deliver the specific attack being called for. It's not called kata at most aikido dojo, but functionally it IS. And it serves to teach the basic building blocks of the art, over and over, until the movements for both roles are integrated into the student's mind and body.
That's why newbies have trouble with jiyuwaza: they literally can't think of ANYthing "to do" because the basic moves aren't "in there" yet. But it's also why (again IMO) it is important to start doing some slow freestyle practice early in people's training.
My 2 cents..

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2009, 08:24 PM   #3
jim312uav
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 17
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

Janet;
Thanks for your response and I appreciate your opinion. And I absolutely agree with you on training of technique and learning to attack in a manner that enables the technique to develop.

I just think that that seems to be where most people's training stops. That is the end all, be all to them. I feel that the thread "What technique would you use for self defense?" illustrates this.

Are people going past this? Absolutely and that's the direction hopefully people will continue to go. It seems that's where most senior instructors I've met are trying to take us.

There are a lot of additional things that need to be explored and brought back into aikido, things Mike S, Dan and Ark talk about (in my opinion). But if people view aikido solely as technique and don't look past the technique there will be no growth. And that simply would be a shame.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2009, 09:16 PM   #4
John Furgerson III
 
John Furgerson III's Avatar
Location: Mexico City
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 29
Mexico
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

Since I only have a few years experience I don't think I'm a good judge of technique so I look at the attitude of the Sensei. I look to see if they train in a style that looks like a dance. I prefer that over the federation for example. They seem to be a bit too hard for me. I watch the Sensei to see if he helps everyone (if possible).
There was one dojop I went to here in Mexico City and the instructor did the technique a couple of times then when everyone practiced he went to the other high ranking students and left the newbies to themselves.
I didn't care for that dojo. The attitude at the dojo I practice now is great. Very friendly people with 25 years experience in Aikido.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2009, 09:18 PM   #5
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

The body, once trained, makes waza almost meaningless. The old masters knew this.
If you move, they move, if you wind, they follow, any part of your body is a weapon. Your chest wall-connecting in a throw can be devastating, your strikes; fight enders. Hand, elbow, shoulder, are the same as the thigh, knee, and feet.
If they grab you and your body turns- it is very hard from them to let go-thus locks and throws- "happen" Shapes of locks and things....just happen. If they grab your head and you move they lose their balance. If you enter they rise, or they are down weighted.
Aiki happens because of how you trained your body. Not how you do someones waza. Of those who actually understand and can move this way-many have a very hard time caring about waza anymore...at all.
It is the way of Aiki
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 04-30-2009 at 09:23 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2009, 10:32 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,939
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

James, I agree totally w/ your point (and thought my second paragraph made that clear, but perhaps it didn't).

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2009, 05:50 AM   #7
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 638
England
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

Good thread.

I agree Aiki is not restricted to techniques, it surpasses these and becomes simple movement.

Dan's matching movements above are yin and yang - the two halves of the Dao.

How hard simple is though ;-)

But to teach where do you start?

Traditional techniques are good to startas long as the goal remains Aiki and Dao. Through these techniques you can train the body.

But fixation on technique will limit growth.

Move beyond technique and you move beyond "what if...."

Muse over...thanks for making me think.

D
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2009, 01:03 PM   #8
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
But to teach where do you start?
Traditional techniques are good to start as long as the goal remains Aiki and Dao.
Through these techniques you can train the body.
But fixation on technique will limit growth.
Hello Daren

Before I start with what we agree on, allow me to counter just one point.
I have yet to meet anyone who got it at the level I am describing through doing "techniques." In fact I do not believe it is even possible. No matter how long or how often they try. And I have trained with men with over 40 to 50 yrs in aikido as well as senior men from many Japanese arts. It is my opinion that it must be trained solo and then in pairs with NO WAZA. Then practiced with waza. I'd be happy to meet someone who is physically able to change my mind on that though.

As for how to's?
There is a way and it is teachable. By coincidence I got a call last night from an Aikido teacher who is training with me going on two years now. He and another teacher from another art who also trains aikido with him had just had the best class of their lives. During the call he shared with me his frustrations in trusting me through the first year. He was doing everything I told him out of trust but not feeling the level of change he was looking for and still was using too much muscle under live load. The reason for the call though was over the recent months it has just continued to change his body and the way he handles loads and gives back and his level of stickiness to the point that he finding it hard to care about aikido waza at all. His students are telling him they feel it is all they can do to take ukemi. I told him to talk with other teachers training here, as his experiences are a) not unique and b) there is perhaps some real discussions to be had about where to take the training in doing aikido as the "way of aiki" instead of a collection of waza.
IMO the more refined this training in the body goes the more you reach a level where you either cannot, or simply need not do waza anymore.

In yo ho (yin and yang)
Your observations are correct. But it is important to state that In/Yo has to be in balance "in you" long before you can talk about resolving an imbalance between you and others. If you receive energy and wish to deal with it without feeling loaded or "caught" by them- the only way out of the physical dilemma is to manage it in you. It certainly negates a lot of the aikido movement that exists where "you" physically have to move out of the way. It also negates the cooperation aspects as the contact point frequently causes a magnetic sticky feel that can draw in, catapult people off or drop them down. The only down side is that sometime the result is an extremely fast dropping or "snapping" energy feel, that has to be throttled back. It is so soft that it can be dangerous if the power differential between parties is too great. it can become dangerous to grab someone good at it who "happens" to be in motion. Moving in perfect harmony to your own body's energy makes it damn difficult to throw you as well.

Last "hard to do?"
Yes, I agree there. But hey we have the option now don't we? That's an improvement over the last hundred years of budo when most didn't even know this training even existed. When I was given the choice of doing waza or working on my body I made a choice and have never looked back.
I have never once regretted it.
Cheers
Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2009, 01:19 PM   #9
John Brockington
Dojo: Retsushinkan/Birmingham, AL
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 65
United_States
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

Dan-

Can you please provide perhaps just a little detail on some methodology for the solo and (subsequent) pair training to which you refer? I am very interested if this bears similarity to the Aunkai system, which has a similar philosophy as I understand it, albeit from a very neophyte standpoint. Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks-

John
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2009, 01:43 PM   #10
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

John
I know from talking with Rob that we share some methods. There are things I do differently, perhaps very different-I dunno.
Much of what I do works on winding oppositional spirals -that support each other; front and back and cross-line through the body. It makes it extremely difficult to weight me or to trap me in my own feet. The body pivots freely thus leaving it very stable and mobile to step, kick or throw or change the energy. My work leaves the center or dantien very mobile or moveable within the body and the hips separate and free. It also involves extremely soft training with lines of intent supported by breath work. I haven't seen or felt Ark to know enough of what he does,

Cheers
Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2009, 03:18 PM   #11
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,794
United_States
Online
Re: Thoughts on technique

i was thinking if i was to design an aikido training program it would be,

first two years: systema and internal stuffs. focus on building the body and to move freely and correctly and take the fear out of being attack (get smack by systema folks for awhile might do it).

third year: add weapon practices. learn more on timing and distance and the ability to project your power beyond your body.

4th year: learn aikido or karate or judo or whatever

5th year: declare yourself a grandmaster, wearing white hakama, with purple running light and smoke machine, and collect followers who would fall over just by you glance at them, thus, fortify your grandmasterness.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2009, 03:26 PM   #12
John Brockington
Dojo: Retsushinkan/Birmingham, AL
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 65
United_States
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

Dan-

Thanks very much for the specific reply- it is greatly appreciated. I am beginning to understand just a little about dantien mobility and am exploring that in my training, and your explanation helps all the more. Is the oppositional spiraling you employ along the lines of Chen-style movement coiling/uncoiling, or is this more intent-based (possibly from daito?)?

John
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2009, 08:36 PM   #13
wideawakedreamer
 
wideawakedreamer's Avatar
Dojo: Bu Yuu Kan dojo
Location: Davao City
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 127
Philippines
Offline
Thumbs up Re: Thoughts on technique

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i was thinking if i was to design an aikido training program it would be,

first two years: systema and internal stuffs. focus on building the body and to move freely and correctly and take the fear out of being attack (get smack by systema folks for awhile might do it).

third year: add weapon practices. learn more on timing and distance and the ability to project your power beyond your body.

4th year: learn aikido or karate or judo or whatever

5th year: declare yourself a grandmaster, wearing white hakama, with purple running light and smoke machine, and collect followers who would fall over just by you glance at them, thus, fortify your grandmasterness.
Excellent idea! Don't forget to write a book or two - plus make your AIKIDO TM dvd collection.

  Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2009, 11:09 PM   #14
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,169
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

Quote:
James Mockus wrote: View Post
The other night someone made the comment to me about how difficult it is for him currently to teach aikido because in demonstrating a technique you have to do that one technique no matter what Uke gives you. In his practice he explained he was working on being on being receptive to what he is given by uke. He explained that this was aiki, so one time what uke gives you may become ikkyu and the next time it could become iriminage. You accept what is given and move with it. But when instructing you needed to demonstrate the technique rather then the aiki so that people can learn the techniques.
A challenging way to learn aiki. No matter how you are attacked always end up doing one technique.

David
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 03:49 AM   #15
philippe willaume
 
philippe willaume's Avatar
Location: windsor
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 317
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

Quote:
James Mockus wrote: View Post
There have been numerous times where I have almost added to the threads. The last time was the "Techniques for Self Defense" thread. Where the gist of the thread was "what technique would you use to defend yourself?" My thought on it was no technique just aikido (and trust me no one would say my aikido was of the aiki-bunny vintage) but wasn't sure how to explain it further until the other night at class.

The other night someone made the comment to me about how difficult it is for him currently to teach aikido because in demonstrating a technique you have to do that one technique no matter what Uke gives you. In his practice he explained he was working on being on being receptive to what he is given by uke. He explained that this was aiki, so one time what uke gives you may become ikkyu and the next time it could become iriminage. You accept what is given and move with it. But when instructing you needed to demonstrate the technique rather then the aiki so that people can learn the techniques.

I have always been of the mind that aikido is not and never was in the technique. If you watch the old footage of O'Sensei he would do something different every time he demonstrated but to him it was all the same, it was "aikido." He would then tell his students to go and do it. But since he did something different every time they did not know what it was they were trying to do.

O'Sensei did not have a list of techniques for aikido. That came from his students trying to put a form to something without form, in way. And don't get me wrong we need to learn the techniques because how else would practice.

Aikido to me at least comes from the interaction with uke. Being receptive to what he is putting out and moving with it not in resistance of it. I have heard it said when one gate is closed another opens. Meaning don't try and force the gate that is locked tight; work the gate swinging in the breeze. Yes, you can force a technique over and over but that is not where the beauty of aikido lies.

There is old book called the "Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho and in it he talks about the stopping of the mind and how dangerous it is to a swordsman. In a lot ways the thinking and focusing one technique does just that it stops the mind.
Hello
Well techniques are the foundation of you tactics and tactics are the foundation of your strategy and movement is the expression of your strategy.

I think it is daft to separate movement and technique.
You move somewhere to do a technique and doing a technique will make you move somewhere.

Regardless of where you move, or if he attack or you attack, you need to have a technique that forces him to defend so that you can gain and keep the advantage on him. So you will probably change technique. In aikido this is covered awasa, medieval fencing wrestling this is fullen (feeling) and in modern fencing "le sentiment du fer"
That being said it is true that for a given place where you move some technique are more pertinent than others. Ie if after a punch/te-katana strikes from his outside he deflect buy rolling his shouldered up as in MT cross block with a slight side step movement so that a round house is coming any time soon
Threes no point of trying any thing else than sankio (that may turn in something else) or deal with the kick if we are a little bit late.

I think having from work and working withactive resistance is a good way to pratice and discover the limit of any given position technique and in what you can change to keep control
phil

One Ringeck to bring them all and in darkness bind them,
In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2009, 10:50 AM   #16
jonreading
 
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 893
United_States
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

The best way I have heard this explained to me is that aikido is a doctrine - a set of principles and morals of martial conduct. The techniques of aikido are physical manifestations of aikido principles. So in dialogue with the original post, I would suppose that aikido techniques demonstrate for what we stand. That leaves learning technique as a conditioning phase of training that leads to a greater understanding of the philosophy of aikido.

I think we run into trouble when those of us who do not know the larger picture demonstrate technique as either the end product, or worse, when we mis-interpret the application of technique, thus also mis-interpreting the doctrine of aikido. The argument then becomes how does one successfully learn to employ technique as a step in training towards not needing to employ technique?

Last edited by jonreading : 05-04-2009 at 10:53 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2009, 06:15 AM   #17
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
Location: Bristol
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 638
England
Offline
Re: Thoughts on technique

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Hello Daren

Before I start with what we agree on, allow me to counter just one point.
I have yet to meet anyone who got it at the level I am describing through doing "techniques." In fact I do not believe it is even possible. No matter how long or how often they try. And I have trained with men with over 40 to 50 yrs in aikido as well as senior men from many Japanese arts. It is my opinion that it must be trained solo and then in pairs with NO WAZA. Then practiced with waza. I'd be happy to meet someone who is physically able to change my mind on that though.

As for how to's?
There is a way and it is teachable. By coincidence I got a call last night from an Aikido teacher who is training with me going on two years now. He and another teacher from another art who also trains aikido with him had just had the best class of their lives. During the call he shared with me his frustrations in trusting me through the first year. He was doing everything I told him out of trust but not feeling the level of change he was looking for and still was using too much muscle under live load. The reason for the call though was over the recent months it has just continued to change his body and the way he handles loads and gives back and his level of stickiness to the point that he finding it hard to care about aikido waza at all. His students are telling him they feel it is all they can do to take ukemi. I told him to talk with other teachers training here, as his experiences are a) not unique and b) there is perhaps some real discussions to be had about where to take the training in doing aikido as the "way of aiki" instead of a collection of waza.
IMO the more refined this training in the body goes the more you reach a level where you either cannot, or simply need not do waza anymore.

In yo ho (yin and yang)
Your observations are correct. But it is important to state that In/Yo has to be in balance "in you" long before you can talk about resolving an imbalance between you and others. If you receive energy and wish to deal with it without feeling loaded or "caught" by them- the only way out of the physical dilemma is to manage it in you. It certainly negates a lot of the aikido movement that exists where "you" physically have to move out of the way. It also negates the cooperation aspects as the contact point frequently causes a magnetic sticky feel that can draw in, catapult people off or drop them down. The only down side is that sometime the result is an extremely fast dropping or "snapping" energy feel, that has to be throttled back. It is so soft that it can be dangerous if the power differential between parties is too great. it can become dangerous to grab someone good at it who "happens" to be in motion. Moving in perfect harmony to your own body's energy makes it damn difficult to throw you as well.

Last "hard to do?"
Yes, I agree there. But hey we have the option now don't we? That's an improvement over the last hundred years of budo when most didn't even know this training even existed. When I was given the choice of doing waza or working on my body I made a choice and have never looked back.
I have never once regretted it.
Cheers
Dan
Thanks Dan.

Hear what you are saying on techniques - don't feel we are so far apart on this in viewpoint - in experience of course the gulf is wider as i'm yet to reach 20 years in this art..

Although your words differ i think some of the things you say re-iterate classes I had in the early 90's where we were constantly working on 'constructing our bodies' through 'ceaseless kotai' work.

When visitors came to practice and wanted to work with big circles, lots of flow and little else the instructor would smile and say 'you like to play?'.

Those that valued the instruction and content stayed...those that didn't left.

Like you say - a choice.

Thanks again for your thoughts - I'll bring them to attention of a mentor of mine particularly the 'throttling back' ...its something he has said himself.

D
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Handmade Aikido Gifts - Handmade functional ceramic art with aikido themes



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Instructor got mad because I didnt fall actoman Training 192 05-02-2012 02:55 AM
Kotegaishi weakness? orenb Techniques 60 10-11-2008 02:53 PM
Aiki Expo Thoughts (Long!) akiy Seminars 5 09-29-2003 10:15 PM
Your thoughts appreciated David Humm General 16 09-09-2001 01:32 PM
What are you working on? akiy Training 15 06-29-2000 10:52 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:30 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate