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Old 03-07-2005, 04:58 PM   #176
RonRagusa
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Re: Equitable?

Well Mike, I don't remember addressing anything to you in my post but since you brought it up... Mary and I have been married for 10 years, not that it's your or anyone else's business.

And yes, even though I'm independent now I spent 25 years under the instruction of Shuji Maruyama Sensei founder of the Kokikai School of Aikido. In choosing to use the name Aikido to describe my art I do so not without credentials.

Furthermore since O-Sensei has passed on how I run my dojo is undoubtedly of no interest to him.

One more thing - Mary's original post was intended to express a feeling and carried with it no expectations, implications or agendas. The vast womanly conspiracy to turn Aikido into a new age dance you dreamed up was in reaction to someone merely venting.
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Old 03-07-2005, 04:59 PM   #177
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
I understand the intimidation many women may feel walking into a martial arts dojo.
I wonder how many males, walking into a dojo for the first time, haven't felt "intimidated" (I think "apprehensive" is a better word for what people are trying to say). The idea that males never feel "intimidated", get all their jobs without trying, are never poor and downcast, is something of a myth in so many cases.

My opinion, FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-07-2005, 05:03 PM   #178
Mike Sigman
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
Well Mike, I don't remember addressing anything to you in my post but since you brought it up... Mary and I have been married for 10 years, not that it's your or anyone else's business.

And yes, even though I'm independent now I spent 25 years under the instruction of Shuji Maruyama Sensei founder of the Kokikai School of Aikido. In choosing to use the name Aikido to describe my art I do so not without credentials.

Furthermore since O-Sensei has passed on how I run my dojo is undoubtedly of no interest to him.

One more thing - Mary's original post was intended to express a feeling and carried with it no expectations, implications or agendas. The vast womanly conspiracy to turn Aikido into a new age dance you dreamed up was in reaction to someone merely venting.
I was just expressing a feeling, Ron, that it looks better to keep things out front. In a public forum. If I don't want anyone to comment, on topic, to what I say, I won't say it in a public forum.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-07-2005, 06:41 PM   #179
sunny liberti
 
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
You just built a strawman argument based on the idea that I was saying rape was OK, Sunny. It's offensive.
No, I said that to say that rape is animal behavior HEAVILY IMPLIES that it is acceptable.

You are not a stupid man, Mike. You knew exactly what you were doing.

Sunny

A brave man dies once; cowards are always dying." --Moanahonga, Ioway
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Old 03-07-2005, 06:52 PM   #180
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Sunny Liberti wrote:
No, I said that to say that rape is animal behavior HEAVILY IMPLIES that it is acceptable.

You are not a stupid man, Mike. You knew exactly what you were doing.
You need to learn to quit while you're behind. When you attribute a thought or statement to someone because you interpret another thing *at your whim* as "heavily implies", then it's simply intellectual dishonesty. I was not implying something was "acceptable" because animals do it.... I was saying that instead of the very simplistic characterization of rape as "rage and domination" there's more complexity to it than that. What you've done is take my statement of complexity and use it to say essentially that I am condoning rape. That is completely dishonest. Use those sorts of tactics on someone else, please. Have someone explain it to you.

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-07-2005, 08:03 PM   #181
rob_liberti
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Re: Equitable?

Ron,

You would be *crazy* to try to demand that I let someone train while pregnant in *my* dojo. If you want to do that in your dojo - good luck to you.

Mike,
Take a deep breath, relax, and try to follow along. When neither side can prove or disprove a point it would be just plain illogical to conclude that one side MUST be right and the other wrong. I'm not looking to provoke you. How about trying not to get all upset that you cannot convince me to agree with faulty logic. I thought about trying to re-explain some of my other points, but I actually feel that I explained them all well enough already. If it's really not working for you, and you honestly want further explanation, let me know and I'll PM you or email you, but I won't bug everyone else.

About the body to body communication of intimate martial arts, I think Osensei could feel these things in his partners. His martial art is very natural, and so is communication on that level. Larry, great post. I can feel the body-fear people have when they are taking ukemi just around their limit to do so. I used to mis-interpret this and think the person was challenging me and blast through it. That was a non-ideal situation. Others sense this and back off too much. The trick I have found it is back off just the tiniest bit in power and keep the power right there (like the momentu of the power and drama level) so that the uke can work through their body fear. Building a better uke, builds better overall aikido. I think that is part of the original aikido by the founder. Otherwise, it would be just a big filtering process.

Rob
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Old 03-07-2005, 08:58 PM   #182
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Re: Equitable?

Mike, if you start by rereading post 150, you'll find that the only one requiring proof of anything is you. I have seen you assert that your position is "on basic and easily proven ground". But your one source is someone else's *opinion* that you seem to misinterpret, and then pass off that misinterpretation as fact.

There have been plenty of attempts at bringing this thread back to aikido. Anytime we make progress toward that end, you are the one derailing it once again - even when you promised you'd quit. Can you resist the urge to get the last quibble at any cost?

If you actually want to have an aikido related contribution, I'd be interested in your take on how it is that both Rob and Larry - who train in completely different systems - have similar experiences perceiveing and relating to body-fear in others. It seems if many people are training at that level of perception, maybe we'll make some progress in increasing the numbers of women in aikido. Any thoughts?

Sunny

A brave man dies once; cowards are always dying." --Moanahonga, Ioway
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:23 AM   #183
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I can feel the body-fear people have when they are taking ukemi just around their limit to do so. I used to mis-interpret this and think the person was challenging me and blast through it. That was a non-ideal situation. Others sense this and back off too much. The trick I have found it is back off just the tiniest bit in power and keep the power right there (like the momentu of the power and drama level) so that the uke can work through their body fear.
Great post Rob. I tended to fall into the latter group of backing off too much at first, mainly not to injure any of my students in the event they unwittingly reacted in a self destructive manner to the technique. However, since exploring the concept of this sort of communication I am able to do it like you indicated above and maintain things at the level where Uke is still challenged but not scared into fearing for one's safety. In fact a good Tori/Nage always knows how his Uke is reacting to the technique as one should feel that slight tension in Uke when the fear response sets in. Over time though this turns into a confidence response as you feel them relaxing into the technique and the Ukemi more as you slowly increase the intensity. From my experience as far as the Ukemi part goes, I have found the fears I get from women about falling to be not very different to the fears I get from guys who come from striking arts who may have never practiced falling. It is the fear of the unknown.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Building a better uke, builds better overall aikido. I think that is part of the original aikido by the founder. Otherwise, it would be just a big filtering process.
I think so. It is through our work as Uke that we start to understand half of the communication that occurs during the process of a technique. It is also the gateway through which one begins to understand the dynamics of effective kaeshiwaza. The better the Uke the better the Tori in most cases. Even in resistance training it occurs, there came a point where during resistance randori neither my Instructor nor I could get off a clean technique since we instinctively knew each other's movements after training together for so many years, even though I was (and still am) not very near his technical ability, it was just that we knew each other's movements so well that we instinctively made things a stalemate.

I think listening on all levels is important in training and how we interpret what we hear from the ladies in class, the tough guys, the intimidated ones or the extroverted ones etc. can help Instructors and students alike to create an environment where each is comfortable to train within his/her own paradigm, yet be willing to explore beyond and challenge some of the norms that may have been a hindrance in the past to their development.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:50 AM   #184
rob_liberti
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Re: Equitable?

I developed my ability to listen by basically deciding to not use my arms muscles to do anything besides extend/retract, twist, and maintain light connection. I refused to resist *anything* for about 3 years as uke. I took such a beating though - luckily I had a fairly well conditioned and young body! Eventually, I learned to feel things very directly. My perception improved to the point that I wasn't getting suprised by how my teacher threw me. He is not one of those guys that you can get too used to because his technique continues to evolve so rapidly. About 2 or 3 times a year I could jam him up somewhere, and watching him instantly adapt and adjust (and smile) while he threw me or let me run into his palm-heel, etc. was incredibly valuable.

I realise that many women don't have too many other options, as they simply don't in general have matching upper body strength. My goal on this is to make sure that everyone in the dojo is on board with the approach towards developing full body movements. Hopefully the new females - well really everyone - who don't (can't) use their arm muscles primarily see that they actually have an advantage in training. I just had to set things up such that no one was abused for their tempory weaknesses while they are developing their skill. (It would be just about as unfair, as starting a new person out in slow tai-chi and then having people run up and push them over at full speed. Everyone thinks the same thing, try that again in 10-15 years. I'm hoping to get my folks feeling more solid closer to 10 years instead of 15 years.

Larry, when you do competitions, do the beginners participate cross gender? Is there a situation where some strong beginner just over powers a weaker beginner with arm and upper-body strength?

Rob
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Old 03-08-2005, 05:33 PM   #185
Brion Toss
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Re: Equitable?

Hello all,
Quite the thread, this, yes? It has drifted around a bit, but also gone to some places that got my attention and/or infuriated me. Either one I take as a sign of something worth paying attention to. I'm hoping it would be appropriate to offer a brief summing up of things thus far. Not to presume that everyone is through with whatever the thread has become, but as a way to comment on the total, if only for my own clarity.
So, what started out as an exasperated exclamation seems quickly to have jelled into two questions: Is there gender disparity in Aikido; and would such a disparity actually have anything intrinsic to do with the art.
The responses seem to fall into yes/yes, yes/no, and yes/oh, maybe, with the most of the more, um, interesting responses around the first two. For my part, thanks to the yes/yes group for saying so clearly and passionately why said disparity matters, and how it seems to them to be intrinsic to the health, or lack of health, of the art. Or that's how I took their posts as a whole.
Thanks also to the yes/no's, mostly in the person of Mr. Sigman, for presenting an utterly different perspective, and for demonstrating that I am still vulnerable to red herrings. As a yes/yes myself, I'd love it if the conversation were more, dare I say equitable?, but it has been thought-provoking.
And thanks to the yes/oh, I don't know's for a kinder, gentler take on things; judging by the volume rate, and intensity of all posts, this clearly is an issue that matters a lot to at least some people, and cooler heads are priceless in such circumstances.
Now, like I said, people may wish to carry on here, but I think that another thread has been running through this one: what is Aikido, anyway? Mr. Sigman has repeatedly said things to the effect that we should just practice this martial art and leave all our baggage at the door. Sounds easy, but doesn't define terms nearly enough for me to derive meaning. Others have intimated emotional or spiritual or intellectual considerations about why they practice. Are such considerations part of this art? If so, are they demonstrably consistent with the Founder's art? If not, why? And does it matter? Are we all just practicing our own version of Aikido, or is there something sufficiently clear, formal, and intrinsic that we can all relate to?
I don't know the answer to any of those questions, but I am about to make a major life passage and Start A Thread about them. Look for it in 'Spiritual.'
Yours,
Brion Toss
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Old 03-08-2005, 06:06 PM   #186
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Re: Equitable?

If there is should Aikido change because of it?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-08-2005, 06:14 PM   #187
wxyzabc
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Re: Equitable?

Hya guys

Sounds like S. Pranin has done a wonderful job in arranging great Expos...we should just enjoy, not seek to critize what may not be "perfect".

Lee

Last edited by wxyzabc : 03-08-2005 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 03-08-2005, 10:23 PM   #188
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Re: Equitable?

IMHO,
Yes, Pranin Sensei has done a wonderful job with the Expo. See you there.
Yes, I believe there is disparity in the world, not just Aikido.
No, the art shouldn't change, we should.

And in my not so humble professional opinion based on twenty-eight years of clinical experience with rapist and rape victims, while it is a sexual behavior, rape is all about power and control.

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 03-09-2005, 07:36 AM   #189
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Larry, when you do competitions, do the beginners participate cross gender?
In large competitions there is a separate category for men and women in the shiai part and there can be mixed team events for the enbu or demonstration part of the competition. When we have little internal dojo comps. for practice it's all mixed up since the numbers are not there to have a separate category for females. However, as far as I know, beginners are generally not allowed to compete at all, though they may engage in resistance randori, which is the method used to train for shiai.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Is there a situation where some strong beginner just over powers a weaker beginner with arm and upper-body strength?
There will always be situations where some try to use excessive upper body muscle to apply "technique" but basically this is not encouraged at all whether in shiai or in training. Because of the resistance based practice however, one quickly learns how to utilise this excessive muscle approach to relax and let it aid in one's kuzushi and technique, so in a sense it becomes quickly counter productive to those who try to use it. This helps keep the scales pretty well balanced as long as one focuses on the aspects of correct technique and not trying to react to a musclebound attack with his/her own muscular and mental tension. This is also the premise of shiai.

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 03-09-2005, 08:38 PM   #190
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Why would practicing Aikido, as opposed to practicing anything else, cause you to "develop a higher degree of sensitivity towards other peoples' body and psychological fear"?
Well Mike, I think you are just being argumentative here. Rob never said we could learn something in Aikido that we couldn't learn somewhere else.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Has anyone - through their aikido / internal martial arts training - developed a higher degree of sensitivity towards other people's body and psycological fears - such that they are able to really help those people work through their issues?
Asking "why aikido as opposed to anything else..." in response to this question would be like Rob asking if anybody has ever gone 100mph in a Honda Civic and you saying that lots of cars can go 100mph. True, but not an answer to what was asked.

My answer to Rob is yes. I believe that my aikido practice has helped me develop in these ways. The reason I believe it was aikido that helped me is that aikido is what I practice. If I did JKD, BJJ, played bridge, or checkers I might say those things helped me...but I don't practice those things, I practice aikido.

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 03-09-2005, 09:02 PM   #191
rob_liberti
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Re: Equitable?

Hi Bronson,

I think you can learn these things doing BJJ as well.

I don't really know, When you mature while training aikido, it is not easy to determine what maturity progress came from training aikido as opposed to just being around for a while longer.

I'm not sure I could have developed any additional perception to people playing checkers. I think you need to actually touch the person. (Again, I really don't *know* this, but that's my guess.)

The question is, how to you best develop the students to percieve this stuff - to increase the level of safety - to ultimately make these ancillary issues become nonissues and let us focus on aikido.

Thanks,
Rob
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:11 PM   #192
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Re: Equitable?

Rob Liberti wrote:
Has anyone - through their aikido / internal martial arts training - developed a higher degree of sensitivity towards other people's body and psycological fears - such that they are able to really help those people work through their issues?

I can think of several students that have benefited greatly from my awareness of their body fear. Before Aikido I wasn't aware that such a thing existed. How could anyone be afraid of their own body?

One of my students in particular was so tense on the mat when she first started I thought she would snap in two when thrown. Mary and I have paid special attention to her and little by little she has begun to relax and become more at home with herself. The transformation in this student has been remarkable.
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:31 PM   #193
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I don't really know, When you mature while training aikido, it is not easy to determine what maturity progress came from training aikido as opposed to just being around for a while longer.
We are complicated. I'm not sure it's possible to KNOW exactly which specific aspect of our life has given us anything. Everything about us informs and shapes everything else. Because I can't KNOW I chose to use the word BELIEVE.

Quote:
I believe that my aikido practice has helped me develop in these ways.
I can't say for sure that I wouldn't have learned these things anyway, but I can look at my past and decide for myself that without something to guide me this way I wouldn't have made it here. It just so happens that the "something" in my case was aikido.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I'm not sure I could have developed any additional perception to people playing checkers. I think you need to actually touch the person. (Again, I really don't *know* this, but that's my guess.)
It was meant to be a light hearted example but as I think about it some of the better poker players I know are phenomenal "readers" of people. I'm sure that if there are people out there playing checkers at a high level they are reading their opponents

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 03-10-2005, 07:42 AM   #194
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Re: Equitable?

I took it as a light-hearted example, but the poker idea occured to me too. It is a valuable insight for me. The difference there is that poker players read people but they put up a big mask to not be read themselves. I think aikido people should be working towards removing the masks. If there is something there you don't want people to see- change. That's the point of the art. That builds better people. Akido is cool because you can test your progress in dropping your ego because we get to try tomove/respond/react very spontaneously with ego-free movement. (I think the body makes a lot more progress than the mind initially, then then it's all in your mind.)

Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 07:56 AM   #195
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
I think aikido people should be working towards removing the masks
Rob, (with nod to Bronson's gambling habits) I have to disagree with your removal of masks - when I'm attacking or defending, the last thing I intend to do is introduce any "tells" to aid my partner in anticipating the attack/defense, so in effect I do like the poker folks do and attempt a mask, only in this case it's an all over body suit - or am I missing the point again?
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:07 AM   #196
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Re: Equitable?

Hi Ian,

Good point. I know what you mean. I have seen some people who open their eyes much wided than normal before they swing their sword at you. It's a little strange really - but a bit common.

But, isn't this a matter of being level-appropriate? I don't want to suprise the new people. There is enough distractions. First, you show them with totaly clarity what is happening, and elongate it and slow it down if necessary. Then as the drama, speed, intensity, and randomness of the attacks increase (in a level appropriate way) the nage should have developed good enough perception to deal with this (or optimally be just on the edge of their current ability) while training.

I agree that any good uke worth their salt, will not telegraph their attack (beyond what is level-appropriate) . From the nage side, I'd say there is no where to hide - so enter.

Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:16 AM   #197
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Re: Equitable?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Rob, (with nod to Bronson's gambling habits) I have to disagree with your removal of masks - when I'm attacking or defending, the last thing I intend to do is introduce any "tells" to aid my partner in anticipating the attack/defense, so in effect I do like the poker folks do and attempt a mask, only in this case it's an all over body suit - or am I missing the point again?
I can agree here with Ian also.

Sometime ago I had an Aikido instructor from another system visiting for some months and he trained with us for a while. He is accustomed to entering hanmi/kamae before attacking or receiving an attack. We try to do all technique without any sort of "telegraphing" so he'd attack and I'd go from "unmoving, hands down, sitting duck, mugamae stance" to "sudden entry, blur and it's all over". By being very relaxed and taking a neutral stance up to a split second before moving, the attacker would have absolutely no indication regarding what was coming next, so it would be difficult to provide resistance or counter without some sort of response guided by tactile sensitivity (that sensitivity issue comes up again). My instructor pal could only smile at the simplicity of it, since one sort of fell for it so easily, even after having seen it a few times.

Personally, I believe deception is a very important part of applying Aiki strategy effectively. Even before the attack is made we are leading the attacker to do what we want him to and not what works best for him, without him realising it until too late. But this is just my take.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 03-10-2005 at 08:22 AM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:31 AM   #198
rob_liberti
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Re: Equitable?

Good post. I greatly disliked the "hamni all the time" rule. My current teacher doesn't play by those rules and I am very happy. I can see the value in it for starting out - as there is enough to worry about. But I see moving to get the feeling of a technique as much more fundimental than what others typically see as fundimental so I think it is just a bad rule with good intentions.

I do like the situation where we expect uke to grow into a highly reactive uke. I'd say that has a lot more martial value (in teaching uke how to take care of themselve in teh moment of fully committed attack) than many of the silly wrist locks. Again, you have to build people in such a way that they work through their body-fears so they can be highly reactive.

This process gets fun in setting people up. I like messing with people's tracking system. Entering a bit but with strong communicative intention and then turning just enough and at just the right moment is a great skill to develop. Doing aikido starting from a completely stopped position as Larry suggested is something I haven't experiemented on in a long time. We used to do that with should grabs. My take is that this is something to work on after your entrance is realyl good - but I'm from a movement oriented point of view.

Rob
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:02 PM   #199
mj
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Re: Equitable?

Rob (although I am contributing to the thread drift, apologies all)

I am not entirely sure that Larry is talking about a static positition in mugamae, although he may well be.

My reading is that he is talking about allowing a good attack/being receptive and being open for it. As to hanmi it is a great tool but should not be deified. Of course hanmi does the opposite of mugamae, hanmi tries to close all openings.

Any grappler or thrower will tell you how insane it is to leave your front foot out in front of your body. However as I say, hanmi is a good tool just not ...always appropriate.

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Old 03-10-2005, 12:42 PM   #200
L. Camejo
 
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Location: Mississauga, Ontario
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Re: Equitable?

Hi Rob and MJ,

You are both correct actually.

The idea is to use mugamae in a way that the attacker "thinks" you are not moving or rooted to the spot (or unable to move), giving him that little extra confidence to really dedicate the attack among other things. However in mind and in slight body changes I am moving all the time but it is not made too obvious to the attacker. It's like playing dead, waiting for or creating that precise moment to move in, presenting an easy target, but ready to react at an instant when the opening presents itself with the incoming attack. So it can occur in both static and moving situations, similar to what Rob said about entering a bit then turning at the last moment. I think it goes back to the Yin/Yang concept about stillness being pregnant with potential for movement or something of the sort. It's like a cat about to pounce on its prey in a sense.

Hope this helps.

I see we may have some thread drift occuring here.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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