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Old 03-15-2005, 09:59 AM   #101
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
In the particular case of Ki, Kokyu and the rest, I'm on pretty safe ground in knowing what he thought because I know that's the general thought in regard to Ki, etc., in Asian martial arts. I.e., when you look closely at it, most of what O-Sensei voiced actually reflected some fairly general ideas within the martial and religious communities, so it follows that he thought in those same general frameworks.
Or you simply jumped to a false conclusion and can't see past it. Kind of like when you are holding a hammer, and everything starts looking like a nail.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, in terms of promoting people to grand mastery, let's dispense with that immediately. Once O-Sensei promoted that woman dancer to 10th Dan, the meaning of his dan grades plummeted to zero. So we can deduce little about whom he promoted and why.
Well, my take on the story was that this was a hyperbolic statement to tell her how much he admired her dancing/movement. As opposed to the people he put in charge of teaching aikido. I suppose that it could be that he really meant that she was a 10th degree black belt in aikido (althought I doubt it) - and assuming she couldn't do the jo-trick (although some dancers are pretty strong) I'd have to go with she would be a perfect example of demonstrating my point. But, we probably shouldn't discount everything he said or did based on that incident.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I have to note that I am NOT an expert in any martial art (not at the level I would call "expert) and it MAY be that to do Aikido correctly, that much development is needed. For what I generally do, that much power would be a waste of my time, so I refuse to spend it, at the moment.
Somehow, it seems that you are suggesting that no one would be an expert - to what you would call expert - unless they could do the jo-trick, and it kind of begs the question, do you know anyone who can do it?

Rob
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Old 03-15-2005, 11:31 AM   #102
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

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The next question is "Have you developed a practical method of demonstrating, teaching and helping others develop these skills"? I guess this is really the question I have been dancing around...it sounds as if this is what you are suggesting.....but I can't find where you come right out and say it.
Yes, I have heard good things about the methods he's used to introduce what he talks about to others. I'd recommend taking the time to see it if you can.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 03-15-2005, 12:51 PM   #103
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Mark Mueller wrote:
So was there an "AHA" moment that gave you some insight?
I *felt* a visiting Dan from Hombu Dojo use this sort of strength, therefore I knew for certain that it existed. Even though almost everyone I encountered in Aikido after that couldn't do it or could only do small parts of it, I already knew it existed, so I simply kept up the chase and kept looking. I get pieces here and pieces there. In several funny cases, I've learned some pieces that some real experts didn't know.... very few people have ALL the pieces of the possibilities, I think... and I've had something to trade.
Quote:
The next question is "Have you developed a practical method of demonstrating, teaching and helping others develop these skills"?
Well, I think so. The real problem is that I can't just show someone how to do everything because they have to start with some do-able skills and then work their way up. A lot of the things, to work effectively, require a strong mid-section, a different way of using the back, some conditioning that is done with the breathing, etc.,... and those things take a little practice. It's like playing the guitar... I can't just show you how and then you know how to do it.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:07 PM   #104
Mark Mueller
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

"I can't just show you how and then you know how to do it. "

Well Darn! that's what I was hoping for......all the secrets tied up in one neat little bundle.

I will keep my fingers crossed...maybe our paths will cross..either in Durango or soemwhere else. Very interested in learning more.

mark
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:31 PM   #105
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Mark Mueller wrote:
"I can't just show you how and then you know how to do it. "

Well Darn! that's what I was hoping for......all the secrets tied up in one neat little bundle.

I will keep my fingers crossed...maybe our paths will cross..either in Durango or soemwhere else. Very interested in learning more.
Actually, part of the real problem is that people CAN learn to do a fair amount of things or enough of some things that they think "I've got it". Then they never progress from the few bits and pieces (sort of like being able to do some of the "Ki tests".... interesting, but not necessarily very useful). The reason for this is that you have to take the time to imbue this literal "moving from the center" and associated mechanics into your movement. You have to quit moving the old way. I've worked with a few Aikido people (some of my best friends are Aikidoists ) and they can't stop using their shoulders and get rid of the "Hakama Strut" ... the movements they've used for years on the mat are part of their ritualized motion and sometimes it's almost impossible to change. Aikido, like a lot of the arts involving "internal strength", is easy to learn wrong and then difficult to correct, IMO.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-17-2005, 07:03 AM   #106
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Mark,

There is a term called makkyo which means false enlightenment. I've been there countless times in my training - and I'm sure I'm not done. Basically, I found something that worked for me at my level and started taking it to an extreme. Luckily I had the fortune of having a good student-teacher relationship with an excellent teacher or two or three. It is just as easy to blindly stay in surface-level nonsense as it is to dig-in so to speak and decide you found the answer and need not look any further. I just ask myself questions to try to stay honest at this point. Like in this example, I'd ask myself how much time should I devote to getting extremely strong and unified compared to the amount of time I should spend focused on getting to the right place in the right time such that I do not need so much excessive full body strength. I'd like both to an extreme, but considering the amount of time required, you might want to consider your priorities. For instance consider weapons practice: if the attacker has a knife, I'd probably want ot be able to move very quickly and well with regard to their movment much more than I'd want to be able to move very strongly. I suppose this leads me into thinking about sword practice. I sword practice, the amount of body retraining to swing a sword correctly - which is where a lot of aikido movement comes from as taught by Osensei at one point - is staggering. It's just that when doing sword, you are also focusing on distancing and timing and movement with the attacker - as something which is AT LEAST equally important. It is truly a shame that they stopped teaching sword in hombu dojo when Saotome sensei left.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-17-2005 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 03-17-2005, 09:42 AM   #107
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

I'm not sure anyone should be waiting for "enlightenment", whether false or not. If you're talking about various epiphanies, they happen all the time and some of them are, as noted, simply wrong. My suggestion would be to follow the most obvious logic trail:

A number of people, including me, have run into higher-level martial practitioners in Aikido or related arts who use a palpably different form of strength that is "softer" than normal strength and difficult to resist.

O-Sensei showed some unusual examples of this and various film clips record it. Tohei Sensei, Abe Sensei, and others use this form of strength. The obvious point is that Aikido contains this form of strength => if someone doesn't use this form of strength in their Aikido then their Aikido is not fully Aikido, but some approximation thereof. If someone can make the various techniques of Aikido work using normal strength, etc., is it the same thing? If someone has an "enlightenment" about what Aikido means (to them) philosophically, does that validate their Aikido?

If a teacher can't palpably be felt to have this form of strength, can't exhibit the simple "ki tests" and stuff Tohei does, then the teacher's Aikido must not be correct; is it time to look for someone who CAN exhibit and teach this form of strength.... because what is the point of learning Aikido which is using the wrong form of movement? Because it looks like Aikido, wears a black skirt, and does a lot of Japanese ritual, is it really Aikido? (Incidentally, these aren't tear-down questions, but think-questions).

If this type of strength is core to Aikido, is it better to practice wrong, imbuing the wrong power in each movement until it is absolutely fixed, or is the first priority to learn how to move with this form of strength? If you really understand this form of strength, you can exhibit it in all circumstances... it's not a matter of enlightenment. I remember an acqaintance of mine who told me over coffee one time how to do a certain type of power release. Listening to him I was sure he was just blathering, but I said, "OK, sounds interesting. Can you demonstrate on me how you do that?". His reply was, "Oh no, I can't do it myself, but I know how to coach people how to do it."

Look for the person who can do it.... let him/her tell you which way you should go. Don't wait for "enlightenment". The person who can't do it (or "can't do it yet... still learning") can't tell you the correct way to go.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-17-2005, 10:07 AM   #108
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

You know I agree with everything you said. Absolutely, the term refers to those epiphanies that happen along the way that people get stuck on in their focus to the detriment of better progression.

Luckily, I have also met people who can use a palpably different form of strength that is "softer" than normal strength and difficult to resist. They also move really well.

Tieing this up, my point has been that the degree to which this softer than normal strength which is difficult to resist is necessary to develop is in question -- again due to my experience with actively seeking out aikido senseis who have it along with excellent movement, timing, judgment. I think focusing on developing that strength beyond a certain point is actually not taking me closer to where these individules have gone - which is through the levels of stages of aikido I outlined above.

The bottom line is that I only need so muh force/power to do things from the corect position to try to do that. Here is a simple analogy. Lifting a person up in the air is much easier to do when you are really close to them as opposed to being at arms length. Getting strong enough to lift the person at arms length - which would be similar to the extraordinary amount of power someone wuold need to develop to do the jo trick - is cool, but probably not the best approach if your intention is to lift people.

I totally agree that you should look for the person who can do it - and I'll add to look for as many of them who can do as much of it as possible who want to teach you.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-17-2005 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 03-17-2005, 10:27 AM   #109
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
You know I agree with everything you said. Absolutely, the term refers to those epiphanies that happen along the way that people get stuck on in their focus to the detriment of better progression.

Luckily, I have also met people who can use a palpably different form of strength that is "softer" than normal strength and difficult to resist. They also move really well.

Tieing this up, my point has been that the degree to which this softer than normal strength which is difficult to resist is necessary to develop is in question -- again due to my experience with actively seeking out aikido senseis who have it along with excellent movement, timing, judgment. I think focusing on developing that strength beyond a certain point is actually not taking me closer to where these individules have gone - which is through the levels of stages of aikido I outlined above.
Well, possibly you're making a valid point, Rob, but also it's possible that you're trivializing the importance of this form of strength for some reason. Difficult to say. Can you give me the name of the teachers who you say you recognize as using this form of strength? I'd be interested in investigating some of this in Aikido, assuming the person is in the US, of course.
Quote:
The bottom line is that I only need so muh force/power to do things from the corect position to try to do that. Here is a simple analogy. Lifting a person up in the air is much easier to do when you are really close to them as opposed to being at arms length. Getting strong enough to lift the person at arms length - which would be similar to the extraordinary amount of power someone wuold need to develop to do the jo trick - is cool, but probably not the best approach if your intention is to lift people.
Well, although I understand your perspective, I think that if you see it only as a way to do strength then you're missing some of the very important points.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-17-2005, 10:52 AM   #110
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, possibly you're making a valid point, Rob, but also it's possible that you're trivializing the importance of this form of strength for some reason.
Just the need to develop it beyond a certain degree.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Can you give me the name of the teachers who you say you recognize as using this form of strength?
I thought I mentioned several people on this thread already who exhibited strength which fit that definition (softer and hard to resist). A couple names that spring to mind would be Gleason sensei (who will be at the Aiki Expo), Charlie Page sensei, Pete Trimmer sensei, Ikeda sensei (who will be at the Aiki Expo), Saotome sensei, Endo sensei (who will be at the Aiki Expo), Rasso Hultgren sensei, and George Ledyard sensei (who will be at the Aiki Expo). I'm sure there are others who are not in the ASU, I just haven't felt them in a while. Maybe you should go to the Aiki Expo. I doubt any of these people can do the jo trick, but the power of their movement results in strength that is softer and hard to resist. Beyond what they can do, I'm not certain it's so important to to develop that kind of strength.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I think that if you see it only as a way to do strength then you're missing some of the very important points.
Of course. Conversely, I think that if you see developing "it" as the "core" of aikido to the exclusion of the other "core" principles you're missing some of the very important points

Rob
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Old 03-17-2005, 11:36 AM   #111
Mark Mueller
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Rob,

I practiced Aikido for 15 years...I too had some great teachers including Bob Galeone and several of the senior yudansha at Saotome's dojo in DC. I'm sure you and I might have crossed hands at one of the winter or summer camps in DC. I have found the aikido stuff extremely useful in the context of Aikido.... and I learned alot about posture, movement, timing, etc in that time. A major emphasis at Bob's dojo was on bokken work and Saotome's paired kumi-tachi....I don't know if that qualifies as "real" sword work but I learned alot from it.

I learned a LOT more in a short period of time boxing....but maybe that's because I applied a lot of what I learned in Aikido...I also found it much more intellectually honest.....I went back to Aikido for a short while but found a lot to question...and rather than prod the established Aikido Hierachy I went out and attempted to find stuff on my own.

Am I still looking...yes, somewhat...and when Mike voices some ideas that I had carried around in my head for awhile...I listen. Am I still a little skeptical...Hell, I am a LOT skeptical (evidently "LOT" is my favorite word today) but he has not come across as belligerent..only willing to defend his position...and I will give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that I can run across him someday and see if his "stuff" works for me...he seems to be a little vague on details...but I am willing to buy into his argument that it is hard to explain and works better in demonstration.


Regards,

Mark
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Old 03-17-2005, 11:38 AM   #112
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I think that if you see developing "it" as the "core" of aikido to the exclusion of the other "core" principles you're missing some of the very important points
Well, I place the same amount of importance on this "it" as the Asians do, Rob. I suspect that we're talking past each other on exactly what this "it" is, based on some of the names you used, but be that as it may. It's possible to use Romanji to write Japanese, but it misses both the point and the effectiveness in comparison to learning katakana, hiragana, and kanji. What is the point in learning sentence construction, pluralization, etc., when you never really learned the alphabet? (horrible analogies, I know... but you get the point)

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-17-2005, 11:41 AM   #113
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Mark Mueller wrote:
he seems to be a little vague on details...but I am willing to buy into his argument that it is hard to explain and works better in demonstration.
It's sort of like riding a bicycle... imagine trying to write a description clearly enough so that someone will know how to do it. It's not rocket science, but if you've never done it before.....

Mike
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Old 03-17-2005, 11:43 AM   #114
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Maybe we are talking past each other. I'll try to clarify. To extend your analogy, whats the point of spending years of dedicated focus learning every single kanji and where they came from to the point you never had time to actually use them, as opposed to learning enough to be functional and actually use the language?

Rob
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Old 03-17-2005, 12:01 PM   #115
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Mark,

I'm sure we trained together or in the same room at one point. I'm terrible with names.

I would say that aikiken kumitachi is not real sword, and I think so would Saotome sensei. They are useful kata. Most people practice them too close, too mechanically/artificially, and with no foundation like you might get if you actually studied something like kashimashindoryu.

I don't know Bob Galeone very well, but I can say that from what I have personally experienced with him, I can say that I do not agree with some of his opinions about aikido. Also, I like boxing very much too - although I'm more interested in aikido. I'm certain that Mike's stuff works to a point and I'm NOT intending to suggest that he is being belligerant on this thread. I do think that the degree to which he developed his stuff is not the *exclusive* "core" of aikido. Just one example of why I think that is that I do think that Saotome sensei's movement is mastery level aikido, and that he probably can't do the jo trick.

I can appreciate dissatisfaction with the way some/most people teach and do aikido - really. On of the problems is that teaching aikido doesn't really teach people how to be good teachers - and there are a whole lot of people who have been misled by their own false perception, or by their teacher's or by a combination of the both. I am certainly not immune to that. I just go see as many people as possible and try to train as honestly (yet as safely and level-appropriately) as I can. I've seen a lot more people's aikido than the folks I've mentioned in the ASU, and I think I have a farily decent idea of where I need to train. I do think some of the things Mike talks abotu would be very helpful. I just don't agree with to what degree it should be focused on.

Rob
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Old 03-17-2005, 01:36 PM   #116
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Maybe we are talking past each other. I'll try to clarify. To extend your analogy, whats the point of spending years of dedicated focus learning every single kanji and where they came from to the point you never had time to actually use them, as opposed to learning enough to be functional and actually use the language?
Well, at the moment, I'll leave it the idea that we're talking past each other. As I said in a previous post, there is an inescapable logic to these things. If you understand part of it well, all else makes sense. If you don't understand it, then there will be a continual talking past each other.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-17-2005, 01:47 PM   #117
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

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Mike Sigman wrote:
If you understand part of it well, all else makes sense.
When I think something like that about aikido, my critical mind starts going into deep makkyo detection mode.

Also, I know plenty of Asians, none of the ones I know seem to express your particular views.

Well, good luck.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-17-2005 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 03-17-2005, 02:40 PM   #118
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Also, I know plenty of Asians, none of the ones I know seem to express your particular views.
Actually, I knew plenty of Asians before I knew what I know now, and none of them voiced what I'm voicing. However, when I discuss what I know now with Asians who really know this topic, they often shrug and say, "Of course". And they still don't want to offer up too much.

But, now we're into unproductive exchanges. Let's just leave it that you're downplaying the importance of something, while not giving much indication that you really understand the topic, and I'm simply holding the position (as I have for years) that skills in Ki-related things is actually more significant in a tangible way than most of us realized for years. There will be a tendency to defend what we know, think we know, knew, etc., before accepting the idea that we err... that's human... but the question I once asked before is still relevant, "Do we go on as usual, playing to our peers and to neophytes, or do we back up and correct things so that our performances will impress the real experts?".

I'm still a little vague on who learned how much from whom, but it now seems clear that people like Abe Sensei, Tohei Sensei, and some others developed various levels of ability in these skills, while at the same time, others in the hierarchy accomplished some general but limited levels of skill. To me it's simply a curiosity. I don't have any position or status in the Aikido community that I need to protect, so perhaps I'm being needlessly offhand about an issue that would cause concern in the Aikido community if it became a wholesale discussion.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-17-2005, 03:19 PM   #119
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Hi Mike,

I have no status I need to protect either. I simply don't accept your slant on our exchanges, what it seems like your particular view on what is the main "core" of aikido and to what degree it should be developed compared to other things, your corroboration or your assurances. No hard feelings. I'm not convinced. How productive you make it is up to you.

Like maybe you have not considered that the Asians you know, probably run in the same martial arts circles you are interested in, so of course they are going to see things more similar to the way you see them. While maybe some other Asians might also be in the know - but happen to prioritize things a bit differently.

I have honestly continued to add additional thoughts and insight as to why I am not a believer based on experiences that might be useful to at least someone else who reads this thread. They or you might never have heard the term makkyo before, and it might help them. They or you might be incredibly strong in functional kokyu power and they might read this exchange and say to themselves "Hmm. I've devoted 30+ years of my focus to this, and I'm probably powerful enough to at least attempt to move on to the third level of aikido development that Rob listed. Maybe getting any more powerful is just a total waste of time compared to the other things I need to work on." Maybe it would help. Of course I don't honestly *know*. What I do know hasn't jived with what you know. That seemed like a valuable contribution to a forum based thread.

There is no need for you to defend your point further with the same points. If you get some inspiration about how to attempt to convince me further -and you have the inclination, please by all means go ahead.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-17-2005 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 03-17-2005, 03:23 PM   #120
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
What i do know hasn't jived what you know. That seemed like a valuable contribution to a forum based thread.
Thanks. I agree.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-17-2005, 04:28 PM   #121
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I've devoted 30+ years of my focus to this, and I'm probably powerful enough to at least attempt to move on to the third level of aikido development that Rob listed. Maybe getting any more powerful is just a total waste of time compared to the other things I need to work on." Maybe it would help. Of course I don't honestly *know*. What I do know hasn't jived with what you know. That seemed like a valuable contribution to a forum based thread.

There is no need for you to defend your point further with the same points. If you get some inspiration about how to attempt to convince me further -and you have the inclination, please by all means go ahead.
I was thinking of a way to shortcut these discussions to some degree, in order to save time. In essence, the basic commentary from a lot of people seems to be this: "O-Sensei, Tohei, and others did 'parlour tricks' that are interesting but not particularly germane to "Real Aikido" (TM) like I do. What I do is indeed Aikido and if I wanted to learn those somewhat unimportant parlour tricks and display them, I easily could, but it's got little to do with the bulk of Aikido, even if O-Sensei (who produced an art I claim to love and respect) did them to emphasize some point, etc."

Of course, the only thing someone making these claims about how unimportant these ki things are needs to do is show the "tricks" as offhandedly as they dismiss the study of how to do them as not very important.

As I've noted, Rob... these things are not just about "power". If it was just "power", we'd all go to the local sports club and that's what Ueshiba would have recommended. Instead, he recommended Mishogi and gave a couple of other pointers. I think what has been misleading for so many people is that Ueshiba said very little about HOW to do these things and only showed them sparingly... the mistake was to assume that he didn't place much importance in them. If I had to point at any real contributing factor, it would be that one. The counter-factor would be that Tohei, Abe, and others sought this stuff out for themselves when they saw they couldn't get it from Ueshiba.

Insofar as convincing you, I have no intention of doing that. I pointed out previously that the idea of substantive Ki things was outright rejected by a lot of people 20 years ago and they have passed beyond ever learning them. That was their choice and I simply watch it as an outsider... nothing more.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-18-2005, 08:16 AM   #122
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Well, that certainly inspires my thoughts, but I'm not sure it will get you your desired goal of shortening the discussion. Well, here are my thoughts:

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
if I wanted to learn those somewhat unimportant parlour tricks and display them, I easily could
Who thinks that? No one claimed that they could easily do the jo-trick.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
, but it's got little to do with the bulk of Aikido, even if O-Sensei (who produced an art I claim to love and respect) did them to emphasize some point, etc."
Maybe that's some other people's take, it was not mine. First off, O-sensei who produced an art I do claim to love and respect ALSO DID OTHER THINGS TO EMPHASIZE *OTHER* POINTS. (Please note those CAPS are not meant to mean yelling but rather to really try to get your full attention to apoint I think you are missing.)

My take on that particular point has consistently been that of course that type of integration is necessary - but probably not to the absurd degree that O-sensei was demonstrating because:
1) O-sensei outlined 3 levels of progression where the level you are talking about is level 2.
2) Several people can clearly demonstrate that they have made it to that 3rd level who cannot do the jo-trick.
3) In my personal experience, I have learned many things where I thought "wow I really have something here" and then I focused on it to the point is started becoming a crutch. I saw there were things my aikido teachers could do that I couldn't do - even with my new "crutch" so I had to admit I was focusing on something that was no longer helping me progress. I've seen many students and many teachers go through that time and again. I've seen many people not realise that they were stuck and they just stagnate - lost in their ego attachment to the depths of understanding they have with regard to their "crutch". From my specific experiences, most people get stuck in some degree of that shin-shin toitsu level. That crutch is extremely appealing to the ego because they did need to do quite a bit of work to get there, and well now that they got something they like it and kid themselves into not growing further - or at least in any other way.
4) Osensei explained that we should not try to do what he did before, but instead should focus on what he was doing closer to the end of his life. My experience leads me to believe that he probably went through a somewhat similar type of progression, and was trying to help us avoid getting stuck in taking any one aspect absurdly far like do the jo-trick.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Of course, the only thing someone making these claims about how unimportant these ki things are needs to do is show the "tricks" as offhandedly as they dismiss the study of how to do them as not very important.
Again, maybe you are not talking about my posts, but just in case. While *I* think they are important skills and have consistenly expressed interest in how to do them, it's a matter of *priority*. For example, I'd rather be able to move effortlessly around 5 people trying to hit me with shinai like Saotome sensei does BEFORE I consentrate too much on being able to resist 3 people pushing the end of jo while I resist by holding the other end. There is no doubt in my mind about which of those two skills has the best chance of saving my life.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
As I've noted, Rob... these things are not just about "power". If it was just "power", we'd all go to the local sports club and that's what Ueshiba would have recommended.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that I think the jo-trick is an amazing display of ability to resist power more than anything else. Regardless, no one has made any such claim that it was just the kind of power you could develop in a local sports l cub. The topic at hand is the power of mind-body unification with regard to martial principles.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Instead, he recommended Mishogi and gave a couple of other pointers.
Some of those misogi recommendations were mulitfaceted, Mike. For instance, I have been told that at one point they spent 8 hours a say doing ikkyo, everyday for 6 months straight. Sure that is misogi and hisogi, and certainly that develops shin-shin toitsu, but IT ALSO DEVELOPS OTHER ASPECTS of aikido. I'm going to go with that he probably felt he was making a strong recommendation about where he thought people needed to focus their training when he did things like that too...

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I think what has been misleading for so many people is that Ueshiba said very little about HOW to do these things and only showed them sparingly... the mistake was to assume that he didn't place much importance in them.
Another potential mistake is to place TOO MUCH importance on them - where too much is defined by how much is needed to continue on to other aspects which are appropriate for your level. You can and probably should go back and continue to develop these things - but it seems remarkably more reasonable that effectively learning aikido would be more of an itterative process than a linear sequential one. That's how it's been for everyone I have ever met - especially the ones who have made a lot of progress.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
If I had to point at any real contributing factor, it would be that one. The counter-factor would be that Tohei, Abe, and others sought this stuff out for themselves when they saw they couldn't get it from Ueshiba.
At what point in their training/development? The other side of that point would be that others potentially didn't seek this out because they had all the shin-shin toitsu development they needed for both their martial and spiritual practice - and while more kokyu power would be nice, there were more important priorities given the whole picture.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Insofar as convincing you, I have no intention of doing that.
Well I thank you for your discussion anyway.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I pointed out previously that the idea of substantive Ki things was outright rejected by a lot of people 20 years ago and they have passed beyond ever learning them.
That is interesting. I hear that type of sentiment often, and I have trouble relating to it. I've leaned/relearned how to go about walking 3 times now. Once as a child like everyone else. Then, after a echo virus I had to relearn but I didn't do a great job teaching myself again as I was only 9. Then at around 26, I found I had to correct the problems with my walking because I had been moving my shoulders and hips on the same side together since I was 9 and I found it was hurting my aikido development. Then when I was 30, I it started learning more about reflexive moment and started relearning walking again. I walk a lot, so I find a lot of time to practice. I guess I guess I can't relate to the idea of not being able to retrain movement. I retrain movements in aikido constantly. Gleason sensei's excellent yet a bit frustrating approach to teaching is kind of set up to give you something and then pull the rug out from you and then give you something with a bit more depth, and the process continues for quite a while. I don't know. the itterative approach makes a lot of sense to me, since I can only learn so much at a time.

Rob
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Old 03-18-2005, 09:56 AM   #123
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
From my specific experiences, most people get stuck in some degree of that shin-shin toitsu level.
I agree that most people get stuck where they are and consider it the best place to be... or else THEY wouldn't be there. You're attempting to distort what I'm saying and have already said a number of times, Rob. I've never said that all of Aikido is Ki and Kokyu. What I'm saying is that it's such an integral part that you can't have one without the other. If you look at a post of mine from some weeks ago, I summed it up with the saying "technique without internal strength is no good; internal strength without technique is no good". You're attempting to minimize the second part of that statement, calling it a "crutch", etc.
Quote:
While *I* think they are important skills and have consistenly expressed interest in how to do them, it's a matter of *priority*. For example, I'd rather be able to move effortlessly around 5 people trying to hit me with shinai like Saotome sensei does BEFORE I consentrate too much on being able to resist 3 people pushing the end of jo while I resist by holding the other end. There is no doubt in my mind about which of those two skills has the best chance of saving my life.
I recently watched and listened to the teacher at a dojo who was explaining techniques, how to strike, correct body alignment, how all these fit into self-defense applications, etc., etc. However, while he was demonstrating he did the stiff, curved-in back that seems to be so de rigeur amongst western Aikidoka, he pirouetted smoothly and beautifully in a way my little sister could have off-balanced, he planted his weight into the wrong foot on his suburi strokes, etc. I.e., he didn't really know squat about the how's and why's of basic body mechanics, regardless of his spiel and students taking dives for him. Would you shrug off the body mechanics because he was agile and could irimi and tenkan, etc.? No? Well, when you understand the inseparable relationships between technique, body mechanics, Ki, and Kokyu, you might not be so hasty to treat them as separate issues. Aikido, ki, and kokyu are inseparable. External techniques are indeed separable from ki and kokyu.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:12 AM   #124
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Quote:
4) Osensei explained that we should not try to do what he did before, but instead should focus on what he was doing closer to the end of his life.
/off topic/ I'm sorry...is there a source for this statement? I've seen it paraphrased more than once...but I never see a source associated with it. /on topic/

I understand what you are saying Rob, and generally tend to agree...

Thanks,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:32 AM   #125
rob_liberti
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Re: Ki Usage and O-Sensei: A Question

Mike, I think this is a good example of talking past each other, but I'll try to calrify.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You're attempting to distort what I'm saying and have already said a number of times, Rob.
I am? This was not and still is not my intention. I do admit that it never occured to me that what you said was to be left pure. I suppose that's because of my take on what a forum is.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I've never said that all of Aikido is Ki and Kokyu. What I'm saying is that it's such an integral part that you can't have one without the other. If you look at a post of mine from some weeks ago, I summed it up with the saying "technique without internal strength is no good; internal strength without technique is no good". You're attempting to minimize the second part of that statement, calling it a "crutch", etc.
That's really not what I said, what I meant, or what I was attempting to do. I'm only going to bring this up to support my stance - as opposed to just picking on you. You have told me what I am attempting to do a couple times here and it wasn't right. I bring this up because maybe if you can see that you do jump to conclusions about some things, it might logically follow that you may not be on as solid ground as you think you are on other things - like the topic at hand.

What I was saying was that there are degrees of things. While a certain degree of ki and kokyu power are absolutely required for aikido, developing these very important things to the absurd degree of being able to do the jo-trick is in all probability not required for aikido. There are other aspects. Focusing on developing ki and kokyu power to the absurd degree will take time and energy away from developing other aspects.

If you don't get to the level of being able to do the jo-trick but you have developed your kokyu power way beyond many other people - and you have done that at the expense of learning other equally important aspects of aikido such as distancing, timing, blending, etc. and that results in you not standing in the optimal place and just using your excessive amount of kokyu power to make things work out - I call that a "crutch".

I hope that clears this misunderstanding up.

Lastly, I never said that technique, body mechanics, Ki, and Kokyu, are separate issues. I agree that aikido, ki, and kokyu are inseparable and that external techniques are indeed separable from ki and kokyu - and never said or thought otherwise.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-18-2005 at 10:40 AM.
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