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Old 04-21-2005, 08:27 AM   #76
rob_liberti
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Alex, I find it works better for me to not tune everything out. At one point (pun intended) I developed a fairly unified push oriented to get the uke's knees to lift up. Now, I have abandoned that sillyness. What I try to work with now is that I generally recieve the grab a bit (not using my center at all - certainly not allowing them to feel a connection from my arms to my center) and then as their grab starts making some progress I allow them to feel my body's connection and move to energize a weak spot of theirs (typically below their center) such that they start to (and continue to) apply themselves. As I feel them apply themselves, I move the base a bit so that they are a bit more energized below their center until we follow that energy flow up and out of their body. My inspiration for this has come from the ideas of thrusting and cutting. YMMV.

Shaun, I appreciated your ideas about the state of aiki very much. Thank you.

While I would like to have more ability in kokyu explosiveness, I think I just have the goal of minimizing - or using minimal energy. And I suppose I have the belief that that my futher developing kokyu from within the state of aiki would be much more usable for my goals.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 04-21-2005 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 04-21-2005, 08:52 AM   #77
Alex Megann
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Alex, I find it works better for me to not tune everything out. At one point (pun intended) I developed a fairly unified push oriented to get the uke's knees to lift up. Now, I have abandoned that sillyness. What I try to work with now is that I generally recieve the grab a bit (not using my center at all - certainly not allowing them to feel a connection from my arms to my center) and then as their grab starts making some progress I allow them to feel my body's connection and move to energize a weak spot of theirs (typically below their center) such that they start to (and continue to) apply themselves. As I feel them apply themselves, I move the base a bit so that they are a bit more energized below their center until we follow that energy flow up and out of their body. My inspiration for this has come from the ideas of thrusting and cutting. YMMV.
Rob
Rob, actually I don't normally "tune out" in kokyu-ho, and I think my usual approach to the exercise is more similar to what you describe. The focus through the toes was really just an experiment which turned out to have surprising results!

By the way, one of our students visited your dojo in Connecticut a couple of years ago. Jim (American, glasses, beard, big grin) had a good time with you and your students. He mentioned a discussion with you about a certain movie of Yamaguchi Sensei...

Alex

Last edited by Alex Megann : 04-21-2005 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:19 AM   #78
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
Specifically, I agree about what you say the nage is doing, in terms of aiki, is a continuous, unbroken approach. Therefore, my approach is to effect, or summarizing your words induce a particular feeling in or on uke. For me the effect - whatever that may be, must be maintained with the same continuous, unbroken methodology. I wasn't sure if you were implying that the state of aiki ended within nage or at the point of connection of nage and uke and is being maintained solely by the nage - meaning that the uke's experience might actually vary throughout any one given encounter. Or, perhaps you meant that uke's feeling is based upon any of a number of varying methods employed by individual practitioners each capable of expressing an aiki-response that they (the uke) feel is maintained throughout the encounter. I was wondering whether you agree, or disagree with either of the two, above, scenarios. I just couldn't tell by what you had written.
Maybe it's simpler if I say that the defining moment of "aiki" is, *to me*, the moment nage engages with uke... that is the moment you actually "aiki" with his force and the way you do it determines your level of skill, in reality. From there on, I don't care too much for the simple reason that most Aikido throws and techniques and *followthrough* are dependent upon cooperative training partners. Besides, I was pretty clear... my "epiphany" was caused by (1.) seeing a level of kokyu manipulation that I have never seen in Aikido before (and hey.... most people seeing it wouldn't know what they were seeing, Shaun) and (2.) by Inaba Sensei's comment: At the same moment you meet your opponent, you focus on your abdomen (hara) and project your ki where you need it. The result will be that you will shut down your opponent's power. I understand that as the power of "aiki."

Notice that the focus is essentially that *at the moment you meet the opponent* you manipulate your kokyu in such a way as to negate his power. That is aiki. Yes there are necessary elements to the rest of the engagement, but the "aiki" moment is at the meeting.
Quote:
Looking at your further comments, something else came up for me that I wanted to talk about… Simply speaking, Aiki may be looked at as the relationship between things. It is true that being able to do this, in the manner you specified in your post is a rare and high level thing. It is also true that without this being present, there is no aikido - and on that you and I have never disagreed as far as I can tell, regardless of semantics, or our personal styles of writing. I guess my point is that while what you have pointed to is the precursor to aiki, it is only when it is extended out to include harmonizing with another that it actually becomes aiki.
Well, then, we disagree and you're also disagreeing with what Inaba Sensei said. I know some people in Aikido really cherish the "whirlpool" stuff, etc., but I'm just saying without judgement that I consider it extraneous to the discussion at hand... I'm not being for or against it.
Quote:
However, I can honestly say that my experiences coming from the sources from which I sought it in the past, and seek it even now, have always been exactly the way you have described it, above.
I didn't really describe it, Shaun. Not that clearly.
Quote:
That is not to say anything about my particular sources. However, if you had that same experience, albeit from your own sources, and that had been your only experience of the art form, wouldn't you find it strange, as did I, when you encountered comments like (aiki-bunnies, aikido doesn't work, is aikido a martial art…etc, etc.)? Furthermore, had you had experienced aikido in said manner, what you might envision your most recent epiphany, having occurred years before, might have led you to in terms of your understanding of the art as it might very well have revealed itself?
I'm not sure what you're trying to say, Shaun, other than that you've experienced better Aikido than I have, etc. We've already been there, I think. It's an Aikido pecking-order thing that you keep returning to and it is aside from the discussion at hand. Why don't we just leave it that if what Inaba Sensei said is correct and what you are saying is incorrect, then I validly saw in Shioda some high-level Aikido which I never saw from Yamada or many others ... and it's a revelation for me. For you to debate that point with me, I'd need to see your credentials that you understand what I'm talking about with some factual posts indicating you understand what this sort of kokyu manipulation involves. Unless you understand what I'm talking about, it's a little early to tell me that my perceptions are wrong or misguided.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:02 AM   #79
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote:
Shioda Sensei is said to have taught that kokyu power comes from the toes.

I've found that when practising suwariwaza kokyu-ho, if I manage to tune everything out except the sensation of the contact of my toes with the tatami, the technique becomes almost effortless. I'm still working on extending this to standing practice.
I've recently read some of Shioda's comments about this. He also mentions that O-Sensei subscribed to the same belief about the big toe, incidentally. However, he's mainly talking about using the big-toe (and the pad behind it) as part of the chain of power of his standing kokyu usage, I think. In an application of kokyu (disregarding the "down" applications for this discussion), there is a "power chain" that originates at the ground and there are various additive powers you can insert between the ground and the hand. Strengthening the musculature of the big toe and foot would certainly add power. Using the big toe area brings the larger part of the calf into play and that's an additive. The hips are an additive unit of power. The dantien and lower back can be an additive unit. The shoulder can be a unit. Of course the core is the kokyu path. By the way, I actually use a different set of power-chain components than someone would normally encounter in Aikido, so I don't focus much on the big toe area, but more on the front-center of the foot for standing usage.

In the case of suwariwaza kokyuhodosa, the legs are pretty much taken out of the equation and the distance is closed so that you are forced to manipulate your kokyu path with only a short portion of your body (mainly the hips and waist). Of course, a beginner will try to use his arms, but the idea is to manipulate the opponent with the kokyu power-path from the ground (probably from somewhere near your toes, I agree) with your hips and waist (mainly). And again, if you skill is high your initial meeting of the opponent's force on you should determine the engagement, IMO.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:19 AM   #80
rob_liberti
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

From what I got out of a few seminars, that the first moment you actually "aiki" with uke's force is called called "Dei-ai" (pronounced: "day-eye"). I'm not too clear on that because Saotome sensei seems to be "aiki"-ing with me well before I get anywhere near him, but I never knew if that pre-uke's force time was part of "Dei-ai".

Rob
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Old 04-21-2005, 01:20 PM   #81
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Maybe it's simpler if I say that the defining moment of "aiki" is, *to me*, the moment nage engages with uke... that is the moment you actually "aiki" with his force and the way you do it determines your level of skill, in reality. From there on, I don't care too much for the simple reason that most Aikido throws and techniques and *followthrough* are dependent upon cooperative training partners.
Agreed. Again, the cooperative training partner issue is according to your own experience. However, given your newfound appreciation for what actually might be possible in aikido, is there room for aikido to work on uncooperative, even dare I say truly aggressive attackers, ones with even skills of their own?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Besides, I was pretty clear... my "epiphany" was caused by (1.) seeing a level of kokyu manipulation that I have never seen in Aikido before (and hey.... most people seeing it wouldn't know what they were seeing, Shaun) and (2.) by Inaba Sensei's comment: At the same moment you meet your opponent, you focus on your abdomen (hara) and project your ki where you need it. The result will be that you will shut down your opponent's power. I understand that as the power of "aiki."

Well, then, we disagree and you're also disagreeing with what Inaba Sensei said.
Well, actually... no. I was asking you if you saw the two possible avenues as mutually exclusive, which by your reply, you seem to. I actually don't see any difference in my approach from what Inaba Sensei points to in his article, but I would have to speak with him directly about it to know for sure.


Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I didn't really describe it, Shaun. Not that clearly.
Oh, my mistake. However, I got what I needed from what you did say, and it was clearer, at least for me, than most of the other points you have made.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I'm not sure what you're trying to say, Shaun, other than that you've experienced better Aikido than I have, etc. We've already been there, I think. It's an Aikido pecking-order thing that you keep returning to and it is aside from the discussion at hand.
I do believe that you missed my point, entirely. I only mentioned my own experience to provide a specific example so that I could point back to it and say, "Had you had the same experience, what would you now hold as your thought on the subject..." As for better, or worse, I couldn't say. However, you have relayed on many occasions your own personal experiences of aikido, your distaste for it at the level you experienced it, and how "real" martial arts, as you see them (and I don't disagree with you here...) contain elements that you found to be missing. I don't think it then unfair for me to basically quote you (when I said that you had not had my experiences, I was merely paraphrasing your sentiments found in many of your posts). I was simply attempting to find common ground upon which to ask you some questions - and apparently you are still not yet comfortable giving up any of the ground upon which you stand - at least to me, anyway... No biggie, as it is no loss to me at this point in time. However, you might consider what loss it is to you... oh never mind...

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Why don't we just leave it that if what Inaba Sensei said is correct and what you are saying is incorrect, then I validly saw in Shioda some high-level Aikido which I never saw from Yamada or many others ... and it's a revelation for me. For you to debate that point with me, I'd need to see your credentials that you understand what I'm talking about with some factual posts indicating you understand what this sort of kokyu manipulation involves.
Again, I wasn't debating you on that point, or any other. I couldn't do so because I wasn't entirely clear about the only thing upon which I might be disagreeing with you? That is why I asked, stating where I stood for you to agree, disagree, or debate... As for my credentials, well, they don't really matter at all - especially to you.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Unless you understand what I'm talking about, it's a little early to tell me that my perceptions are wrong or misguided.
I guess you might be correct there, sir... even if I had been doing that - even subconsciously..., but alas, I was not.


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I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 04-21-2005, 01:38 PM   #82
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
Agreed. Again, the cooperative training partner issue is according to your own experience. However, given your newfound appreciation for what actually might be possible in aikido, is there room for aikido to work on uncooperative, even dare I say truly aggressive attackers, ones with even skills of their own?
Who knows? What known great and truly aggressive and uncooperative fighters have been beaten with Aikido? Name me a few and we'll discuss the possibilities. The rest of your post again contains no substance and only innuendoes, so I'll circumvent it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-21-2005, 01:53 PM   #83
rob_liberti
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

I suppose you can visit Fukuoka, Japan and find a strong aikidoka named Nashida san who has been known to do quite a bit of no rules fighting. When we have asked him about the rules his reply was basically: if you fall down and there is a brick on the ground, you pick up the brink and hit them with it.

I've never seen him actually in one of those fights. His aikido is awesome. I have punched him in the nose and was amazed about how it went completely flat, and how he just sniffed, shook it off, and smiled. But hey, don't take my word for it, I'd be happy to help you go find him and you can challenge him to a fight yourself.

I don't know if any of the people he fought were great fighters. But I'm sure they would be considered "truly aggressive and uncooperative fighters". Don't we generally refer to people as "great" fighters if they have never been beaten? I don't honeslty know. Who are "great" fighters in your opinion?

Rob
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Old 04-21-2005, 04:34 PM   #84
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Let me try this one again. I evaded it mainly because I didn't want be in a situation where I was offering false hope and I didn't want to give a tactic away:
Quote:
Shaun Ravens wrote:
Agreed. Again, the cooperative training partner issue is according to your own experience. However, given your newfound appreciation for what actually might be possible in aikido, is there room for aikido to work on uncooperative, even dare I say truly aggressive attackers, ones with even skills of their own?
Yes. Assuming someone has a certain skill level, conditioning level, and knows how to manipulate kokyu. I'd pass on anything below that.

Mike
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Old 04-21-2005, 05:20 PM   #85
MM
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Mike Sigman wrote:
>Maybe it's simpler if I say that the defining moment of "aiki" is, *to
>me*, the moment nage engages with uke... that is the moment
>you actually "aiki" with his force and the way you do it determines
>your level of skill, in reality. From there on, I don't care too much

So, following this reason of thought, what do you think about the timing issues at this moment (where nage engages uke)? I learned them as sen no sen, go no sen, and sen sen no sen. Basically, same timing (where uke and nage move at the same time, late timing (where nage moves after uke) and for lack of a better term, moment of inception (where nage moves just as uke thinks of the attack but just before uke physically implements attack).

Where does the "aiki" defining moment begin?

Or what if nage merely side steps and lets the uke continue through the attack without nage ever affecting uke? Is there a defining moment of "aiki" in that situation or does it begin when uke turns to continue the attack and nage meets that force? Can nage not start the "aiki" by letting uke pass even though there is no disruption to uke?

I'm still working out aiki, ki, kokyu, etc. That's the reason for the questions. To me, it's just like a major strategy game and all the good players are working on not just a few levels, but on major levels.

>for the simple reason that most Aikido throws and techniques and >*followthrough* are dependent upon cooperative training partners.

That's sort of a given, really. Especially the way most aikidoka train. We train to fall a certain way and to work with energy. So, yeah, I agree, that most aikido throws are from cooperative training partners. Just try a kotegaeshi on someone who's never heard of aikido and you will definitely not get that nice break fall.

>(2.) by Inaba Sensei's >comment: At the same moment you meet
>your opponent, you focus on your abdomen (hara) and project >your ki where you need it. The result will be that you will shut >down your opponent's power. I understand that as the power >of "aiki."
>
>Notice that the focus is essentially that *at the moment you meet >the opponent* you manipulate your kokyu in such a way as to >negate his power. That is aiki. Yes there are necessary elements >to the rest of the engagement, but the "aiki" moment is at the >meeting.

But, that doesn't necessarily mean that "aiki" stops there, does it? Just because there is no mention that "aiki" continues, doesn't mean that we can assume it's just at the meeting, does it? Yeah, I agree that you can shut down, or negate your opponent's power at the meeting and that it can be defined as "aiki", however, personally, I don't believe that it stops there. Because what you've done at that very beginning, the meeting, where you use kokyu to negate power ... well, you use that again and again and again throughout the encounter. At least that's my view so far. Especially considering that when I'm the uke and I'm being tossed around like a rag doll, I get the feeling over and over again that my power is constantly being negated and I'm having to regain center all the time.

Just my thoughts,
Mark
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Old 04-21-2005, 06:40 PM   #86
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
>Maybe it's simpler if I say that the defining moment of "aiki" is, *to
>me*, the moment nage engages with uke... that is the moment
>you actually "aiki" with his force and the way you do it determines
>your level of skill, in reality. From there on, I don't care too much

So, following this reason of thought, what do you think about the timing issues at this moment (where nage engages uke)? (snip)

Where does the "aiki" defining moment begin?
Let me try again. I had always thought of "aiki" as meaning all the factors involved in the technique... the timing, the entry or whatever, the taking of balance, the follow-through, and so on... and that was "The Way of Aiki". The combined techniques and approach were sort of a composite philosophy for dealing with an attack, etc. Pretty much as most practitioners see it. Suddenly I realize that I may have been viewing it wrong, or at least somewhat skewed from what the real idea is. The real idea is, I think now, focused on the skill of blending kokyu to an opponent's force. Inaba Sensei actually says that. Shioda delights in showing that. It's pretty sophisticated and maybe worthy of the religious significance O-Sensei attached to it, after all.

Think of it as a martial art with a secret, powerful punch called "Punch-Do". This is a spectacular punch that no one else really has and you have to be shown how to do it right because to an outsider it appears to be a normal punch. To apply this punch you need to have timing, yes, and you need some sort of finishing followup as part of your full strategy, yes. But the secret is in the moment of the punch... that's why it's called "punch-do", not because of the timing, the followup, the different ways you apply the punch, etc. If you follow my reasoning (you don't have to agree, of course). So this art of "punch-do" becomes popular and people learn all these approaches, punches, and followups that are in the art, but they use a normal punch while doing it. Of course, they would be outraged if you told them they weren't doing the punch correctly... heck, some of the are Go-dans!!.. anyway, you get the drift.
Quote:
I'm still working out aiki, ki, kokyu, etc. That's the reason for the questions. To me, it's just like a major strategy game and all the good players are working on not just a few levels, but on major levels.
Don't get me wrong... I'm not trivializing the rest of an Aikido technique or diminishing the importance of working on those things. I'm just saying I personally have a different perspective. Go back and look at what Inaba Sensei said... he would not have separated it out like that if all parts of a technique were the "aiki". Suddenly, "aiki" is not just another marketing tool and there's not a big mystery why O-Sensei thought his art was different than Aiki-jujitsu ... it's actually pretty high level if you look at it as being at heart a system that uses sophisticated kokyu controls in an engagement.

My opinion, FWIW,

Mike
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:09 PM   #87
gwailoh
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Hi Mike, any conjecture as to why these guys 'hold back' the real goods of how they've learned to do what they're doing? I'm mainly a Judo player, but i couldn't imagine purposely allowing my students to practice incorrectly, in less-than-the-best way that i know how to do it. If standing practice, swinging clubbells etc are so primary to developing real ki stuff, well ... why don't they feel like they're wasting their time by teaching non-essentials? I can think of better things to do than waste my time by tricking my students. I'm not arguing you're wrong, i'm just curious if anyone has an insight into why these few special ones haven't laid it out clearly in person, in their classes, as to how to do Aikido properly? Cheers, Charlie.
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:49 PM   #88
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Charlie Laidlaw wrote:
Hi Mike, any conjecture as to why these guys 'hold back' the real goods of how they've learned to do what they're doing? I'm mainly a Judo player, but i couldn't imagine purposely allowing my students to practice incorrectly, in less-than-the-best way that i know how to do it. If standing practice, swinging clubbells etc are so primary to developing real ki stuff, well ... why don't they feel like they're wasting their time by teaching non-essentials? I can think of better things to do than waste my time by tricking my students. I'm not arguing you're wrong, i'm just curious if anyone has an insight into why these few special ones haven't laid it out clearly in person, in their classes, as to how to do Aikido properly?
Actually, it's not all that bad, the way I see it. But let me think out loud a minute (i.e., I'm not going to formulate my thoughts, but just articulate as they come to me).

First of all, as a number of people have already begun to realize, actually how to do kokyu hasn't been shown to most people in Aikido... that's where the "why" should start, not why they haven't heard about the really high level of kokyu skills. Besides, most Asian martial arts I know of have this bit about things normal students, etc., aren't shown. This shouldn't be a big surprise, if you think about it. Where I got surprised was that I thought I knew where the hidden goods were and that I already had them pinpointed... that's why I openly posted my surprise at some of the things I saw Shioda do. I underestimated the level (hey... given the information I had previously, etc., etc.).

Secondly, Aikido is more or less functional (less functional than a lot of martial arts, but that's mainly because most people aren't really hard-core, multiple-hours-per-day practitioners) as it is and it *generally* leads in the direction of these higher-level skills... so you can't say it's at all in the category of "tricking students" or teaching them nonessentials. Not really. You can "manipulate" an opponent on an acceptable level with grosser skills, anyway, so pay your dues if you want to learn the full shooting match.

I don't know if you caught the post where I commented that I've run into this situation of "hidden levels" in so many martial arts that I consider it the rule, not the exception. Judo, I've often thought just lost it because of the bottle-neck at Kano starting his own gig and we don't know what Kano was privy to. Bear in mind that it's well known in China that a number of arts used to have these skills but lost them because they only showed the higher-level stuff to a few students.

Another thought, but one I've mentioned before, is that Tohei, Tada, Abe, and a number of others made no bones about the fact that they had to go outside of Aikido proper (i.e., O-Sensei) to get things that they were aware were there but which O-Sensei wasn't teaching them. Knowing that tells you that without a doubt there is knowledge some have and others don't, wouldn't you say? Seriously, wouldn't you say it's pretty obvious, so it's not a question of "why would anyone do that?".

Besides, in a broad sense I'm not doing anything more than making an observation that seems to be born out by facts, but one which doesn't do anything but change the perspective of Aikido as a whole. Beginners on up through super-experts are more or less still working on the same syllabus, it's just these hidden strengths and expertise at the usage levels of these strengths are floating around within the art. The only thing remarkable to me is that the term "aiki" suddenly came into focus and the actual "value" of high-level Aikido went up in my estimation. Actually, there appear to be 4 or 5 people lurking on the forum (from other arts) that have the jin skills to appreciate this possibility... so while I may be wrong, I don't think so and there's some agreement that it's a realistic estimation. If nothing else it's an interesting speculation.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-21-2005, 11:25 PM   #89
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Charlie Laidlaw wrote:
Hi Mike, any conjecture as to why these guys 'hold back' the real goods of how they've learned to do what they're doing? I'm mainly a Judo player, but i couldn't imagine purposely allowing my students to practice incorrectly, in less-than-the-best way that i know how to do it. If standing practice, swinging clubbells etc are so primary to developing real ki stuff, well ... why don't they feel like they're wasting their time by teaching non-essentials? I can think of better things to do than waste my time by tricking my students. I'm not arguing you're wrong, i'm just curious if anyone has an insight into why these few special ones haven't laid it out clearly in person, in their classes, as to how to do Aikido properly? Cheers, Charlie.
Actually, there appear to be two styles of Judo. I did Judo on and off for 15 years or so up until 1998. What I noticed was that most Judo, at the club level, is not very good technically or practically. People just try - for years - to make their bad technique work. As they imrpove they find ways to make their bad technique work better (forced kuzushi etc) but it is still pretty bad technique. And then there are those who push themselves further with the aim of competing at the top level. Well, I have met a a few of these advanced types - some fall into the previous category (making crappy technique work), but the really good ones (many who are not good will claim to be good, and many will also claim to have teachers who are good - who may or may not be) have fantastic technique - it includes a lot of power and speed but their technique is fantastic and well trained - precise and effortless (but with a mountain of power in reserve).

Not many can reach/teach this level and I have only experienced it from - very few - Judoka in Japan and Korea. I am not one of them, but I recognise what they have is excellence and it has been gained through correct teaching combined with hard training - as soon as I came to grips with them my instant feeling was "Where did you study!" And, "Damn it - I have wasted all these years!" Unfortunately, like Aikido, the correct teaching aspect is at best hidden, or worse, unknown.

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Old 04-22-2005, 04:40 AM   #90
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Charlie Laidlaw wrote:
Hi Mike, any conjecture as to why these guys 'hold back' the real goods of how they've learned to do what they're doing? I'm mainly a Judo player, but i couldn't imagine purposely allowing my students to practice incorrectly, in less-than-the-best way that i know how to do it. If standing practice, swinging clubbells etc are so primary to developing real ki stuff, well ... why don't they feel like they're wasting their time by teaching non-essentials? I can think of better things to do than waste my time by tricking my students. I'm not arguing you're wrong, i'm just curious if anyone has an insight into why these few special ones haven't laid it out clearly in person, in their classes, as to how to do Aikido properly? Cheers, Charlie.
Hello,

Like Mike, I'll respond by thinking aloud. My thinking is based on my long experience of teaching Japanese students, especially graduate students, in an academic institution. Of course, there are some differences between academic teaching and training in the martial arts, but the differences are less striking than the similarities. (Actually, I have been pursuing this theme for the past two years in Stanley Pranin's "Aiki News"--in Japanese, unfortunately.)

I do not think it is a question of purposely allowing students to practise incorrectly, so much as showing them and then expecting them to figure things out for themselves. Postwar Japanese education mollycoddles students, but the prewar elements are still there. From elementary school onwards they are taught to be passive recipients of knowledge, which is acquired by rote-learning, with the general aim nowadays is of acquiring the required number of credits or passing examinations.

I think Japanese education has always stressed rote learning and a central example of this is the learning of Chinese characters. There are 80 characters that have to be mastered in Grade 1, 160 in Grade 2, 200 in Grade 3, 200 in Grade 4, 185 in Grade 5, and 181 in Grade 6. You can find these in any dictionary. So it a reasonable hypothesis that in every elementary school throughout Japan, virtually the same characters are being learned at the same time. And they are learned by rote. Of course there are some explanations, as with BU, for example, which is No.802 and comes in Grade 5, and which is composed of 'stop' and 'spear', but they are mastered by reading and by copying them out hundreds of times.

In a way, the education is kata-based, in the sense that there is an accepted way of acquiring knowledge, understood as a kind of skill, whether it is mathematics or English. This is seen in an unusually striking form in the Japanese driving test. To obtain a license to ride a Harley, you have to pilot a bike round a course and execute a series of manoeuvres with no mistakes. To do this, you go to a driving school, pay large sums of money and practise, practise, practise. Only when you have passed the test can you take the bike on a public road and demonstrate to other road users how little you actually know about riding.

Coupled with the 'kata' basis of education, there is also a long tradition of 'teacher-centred' education, based on the old Master-deshi model. Thus a graduate student will go to a professor and join the professor's zemi (seminar). The student will expect to be given appropriate research 'kata' and guided through it. However, the research will be governed by the professor's view of the subject and done according to the professor's preferred method. Any attempt by the student to branch out on his/her own is frowned upon, as is any approach to research that smacks of dialectic. The professor is interested in the students only to the extent that they show the correctness of his research methods and is not afraid of using their results as his own research. The similarity to the martial arts is that students are expected to learn by witnessing the professor in action, so to speak, and imitating this as best they can.

Add to kata-based teaching by showing and to the central place of the teacher as Master, a third aspect, namely the dichotomy of omote and ura: what is open and what is hidden. In the aikido dojo students learn omote waza and ura waza, but M Ueshiba himself never used these terms.

Omote and ura can be coupled easily with the general idea of degrees of knowledge or skill, with the ura aspects coming after the omote aspects, even though in aikido they are two aspects of the same waza. Levels are found in many traditional Japanese arts, for example, 'kuui' (nine levels) in Noh drama (three upper, three middle, three lower)--and Zeami suggests that the middle levels are mastered first. Of course, the concept of levels of knowledge is not in any way a Japanese original.

Where you have a master who teaches by showing, he shows his understanding of the art, in its omote and ura aspects, but the students do not grasp this in its entirety: they do not "see". It is expected that they will "see" in time and with proper training, but this can never be a foregone conclusion. It is interesting that Tada Shihan went elsewhere to study KI and KOKYUU, but taught his own students in exactly the same way as M Ueshiba. One student, Masatomi Ikeda, found this so frustrating that he embodied what he had learned in a system, a 12-year spiral, if you like, based, I suspect, on the seasons and the Chinese calendar.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-22-2005, 08:02 AM   #91
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
[snip]Where you have a master who teaches by showing, he shows his understanding of the art, in its omote and ura aspects, but the students do not grasp this in its entirety: they do not "see". It is expected that they will "see" in time and with proper training, but this can never be a foregone conclusion. It is interesting that Tada Shihan went elsewhere to study KI and KOKYUU, but taught his own students in exactly the same way as M Ueshiba.
Good points. I'd emphasize that I also have noted many high-level teachers take great pains to demonstrate at high level, since it would be beneath them to exaggerate, slow-down, etc. If there is a subtlety that is best learned by starting with slow, exaggerated movements and all you see is the polished, finished product, you're screwed.

And of course, this veiling of substance isn't always just the accident that happens because of a traditional teaching method. There have been a lot of things that were shown to me or to close friends where the comment was along the lines of "now I'll show you how to really do it, the part you can't see". This holding back of things until you want to show the student is pretty traditional in the martial arts (look at the examples of O-Sensei's students accepting that approach for what it was and simply going outside to seek the knowledge as best they could). Another approach, if the teacher has the right personality, is to wait until the right psychological moment and then ask the right question, framed in the right way.

A downside to this witholding approach is that the martial arts is chock full of people who act mysterious and who try to get you to become their student, play their game, etc., when they really have minimum information (but how does a neophyte know what is a poor source of information since they don't know enough to judge?). Martial arts that are somewhat cloistered, like Aikido, Taiji, and others, and which "test" within stylized parameters but not in any competitive or realistic situations, can pick up unduly high numbers of "teachers" that have little real information other than a grasp of the rituals and outward appearance of the arts. True, they may have bits and pieces, but generally they're like spiderwebs that grab a fly and never let it go. I had one teacher (a yondan) that had a rudimentary grasp of how to use simple kokyu in certain situations and who delighted in demonstrating it but never explaining. When I went outside, found a good source and learned how to do it myself, he got very angry and began to treat me as some sort of threat to his position (it was time to go and I did).

Another consideration to bear in mind is that a traditional teacher will often support his family with the income from his teaching. If a son is going to follow in his footsteps for the next generation, the teacher will obviously withold information and give it only to the son so the son's livelihood is not jeopardized. In other words, when you're dealing with a good but traditional teacher who is grooming a son to take over, get the basics you can but spend a lot of time searching anywhere you can for supplemental information.

I'd mention again that I appreciated the amounts of information that Shioda's books (like the "Aikido Shugyo" we were discussing) and a few other good books by Tohei, Ueshiba, etc., contain... they at least give a format of information that allows us to make sense of Aikido as a whole when all we see is a confusing whirl of various techniques being done for brief periods of time over scattered intervals.

My thoughts, fwiw

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:56 PM   #92
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Dustin Craig posted this on a thread in the "Spiritual" section (I hope you don't mind my borrowing, Dustin):
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Dustin Craig wrote:
There is a quote on the back of John Stevens Invincible Warrior...
"The secret to Aikido is not how you move your feet it is how you move your mind. I'm not teaching you martial techniques, I'm teaching nonviolence." -Morihei Ueshiba
While that comment translated by Stevens (I don't know how accurately it is translated, BTW, so that may be a factor) appears to be advocating some spirituality, I can read it another way that supports some of the issues in this thread. You use your mind to manipulate and control kokyu directions and manipulations... if the "aiki" is focused on the mind controlling kokyu manipulation (as I posited in connection with a comment attributed to Inaba Sensei), this sentence would provide support for the idea of "aiki" being this use of kokyu against uke at the moment they join.

While the second sentence could be an injection of philosophy about the grandness of using the mind to control situations (it can be read a number of ways, I think), the first sentence is rather striking in light of the ongoing discussion.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-22-2005, 03:27 PM   #93
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

According to whoever translated these doka, he also said :

You must realize this!
AiKi cannot be captured with the brush
Nor can it be expressed with the mouth
And so it is that one must proceed
to realization (satori)

Even the most powerful human being
has a limited sphere of strength.
Draw him outside of that sphere
and into your own, and his strength will dissipate.

Enlightement or delusion?
Who is to say which person has which
Like the evening moon they appear and fade
Not one knows exactly when.

YMMV
Rob
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Old 04-22-2005, 08:06 PM   #94
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Where you have a master who teaches by showing, he shows his understanding of the art, in its omote and ura aspects, but the students do not grasp this in its entirety: they do not "see". It is expected that they will "see" in time and with proper training, but this can never be a foregone conclusion. It is interesting that Tada Shihan went elsewhere to study KI and KOKYUU, but taught his own students in exactly the same way as M Ueshiba.

Best regards,
Actually, Tada Shihan was not the only one who did this, but he rarely discussed teaching as such. When in Hiroshima, S Yamaguchi and S Arikawa on occasion did do and both argued that the finer points of aiki and kokyuu should not be taught explicitly, on the grounds that enlightenment was of value only to those who were ready for it.

Usually after practice finished my own (7th dan) teacher would ask questions and the questions were always answered by showing. Arikawa Shihan, especially, was a great believer in having people figure things out for themselves.

The problem here, of course, is that some people never manage to figure things out, but imagine they have. In a koryu this might be solved by having the master take uke from the deshi and teaching as such. In aikido, this rarely happens and so the only way the deshi has of figuring things out is by taking ukemi from the master: it is rarely the other way round.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-22-2005, 08:50 PM   #95
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Where you have a master who teaches by showing, he shows his understanding of the art, in its omote and ura aspects, but the students do not grasp this in its entirety: they do not "see". It is expected that they will "see" in time and with proper training, but this can never be a foregone conclusion. It is interesting that Tada Shihan went elsewhere to study KI and KOKYUU, but taught his own students in exactly the same way as M Ueshiba.
Actually, Tada Shihan was not the only one who did this, but he rarely discussed teaching as such. When in Hiroshima, S Yamaguchi and S Arikawa on occasion did do and both argued that the finer points of aiki and kokyuu should not be taught explicitly, on the grounds that enlightenment was of value only to those who were ready for it.

Usually after practice finished my own (7th dan) teacher would ask questions and the questions were always answered by showing. Arikawa Shihan, especially, was a great believer in having people figure things out for themselves.
Well, I see your point, but it sounds a little odd for someone to go outside in order to learn something he can't, apparently, figure out on his own and then turn around and take the position that others should just work hard and hope for an epiphany.
Quote:
The problem here, of course, is that some people never manage to figure things out, but imagine they have. In a koryu this might be solved by having the master take uke from the deshi and teaching as such. In aikido, this rarely happens and so the only way the deshi has of figuring things out is by taking ukemi from the master: it is rarely the other way round.
I'm not sure I know enough to comment intelligently about who takes ukemi from whom. I think that there are fairly simple ways to determine if someone has a certain level of skills. You can ask them to demonstrate them... it's usually obvious in a flash. Take, for instance, the anecdote someone told about Tohei demonstrating the jo-trick. Right away I know roughly his *threshold level* of skills (he's definately "got it"), that he does some standing practice, etc., in addition to the information I already know because of the "ki tests" that he exhibits. I *might* be able to figure some parts of that out over time from deductions I made in the dojo. However, from my own experience, I would offer that some things are, as Yang Cheng Fu said, "simple after you have been shown how to do them, but they would take two lifetimes to figure out by yourself." Some of the ki breathing techniques, etc., you would never figure out for yourself, for instance.

But ultimately, even if someone gives you pointers, you have to spend a lot of time thinking and working things out. Or you just won't get it. Oddly enough, a lot of people won't even think hard enough to realize that there's something important out there (What?..Me Worry?) -- much less devote the energy to figure anything difficult out. In a lot of Aikido (and other arts), it's a peer-group thing... if no one in your dojo really has ever talked about or shown demonstrable kokyu skills, you won't believe in its existence and you certainly won't think it's important enough to go after it to figure it out. Look at how many people have rationalized away O-Sensei's "parlor tricks", as they call them. There are so many clues laying around that I can't see how someone really devoted to Aikido could miss seeing them. The "enlightenment" part comes, IMO, for the people who hunt the elightenment down through every source available. Just as Tohei, Abe, Tada, et al did.



Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-22-2005, 10:13 PM   #96
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, I see your point, but it sounds a little odd for someone to go outside in order to learn something he can't, apparently, figure out on his own and then turn around and take the position that others should just work hard and hope for an epiphany.
Regards,

Mike Sigman
Hello Mike,

Well, M Ueshiba himself seems to have done this. Tada Shihan once told me that he did not 'teach' in any accepted sense. He 'showed' and then expected the deshi to 'steal'. The deshi used to train together informally and much of this training consisted in figuring out what thay had been shown. This has been said so often by the prewar uchideshi (e.g., in Stanley Pranin's "Modern Masters") that it seems to me to be part of what it meant to be an 'uchideshi' in the traditional sense (not as the term is used nowadays).

So I think the oddity you are pointing out is part of a whole load of general issues concerning pedagogy as the Japanese see this (I do not know enough to judge whether they are Asian, also). The issues involve questions like the dynamic between teaching & learning, the role of questioning, the role of explanations, the concept of time as a teaching & learning tool. I can see these issues because I face them everyday here in Japan, but in a situation completely divorced from aikido.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:26 PM   #97
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
So I think the oddity you are pointing out is part of a whole load of general issues concerning pedagogy as the Japanese see this (I do not know enough to judge whether they are Asian, also). The issues involve questions like the dynamic between teaching & learning, the role of questioning, the role of explanations, the concept of time as a teaching & learning tool. I can see these issues because I face them everyday here in Japan, but in a situation completely divorced from aikido.
I have often thought that a lot of the "oddities" of Asian societies were related to the competitiveness that develops in long-extant societies in which many people don't make it. It's a harshness that permeates the ritual social behaviour.

I've often puzzled about this particular subject of the transmission of the ki and kokyu things. As exemplified by O-Sensei's dojo, he was grudging to share what he knew. The product that people going to Tempukai and other places to get seems to be diluted with a certain amount of religiosity, i.e., it is not "easy" in the sense that it probably is not straightforward and is encumbered with ritual. The difficulty in obtaining information like this is common, insofar as my experience goes. On the other hand, the knowledge, in different forms and different degrees, is amazingly widespread in Asia. I suppose this knowledge is a comodity of sorts and not easily given away easily because it has a traditional value.

I tend to reject the notion that learning these things (ki and kokyu things) is something that must go hand in hand with any full-blown martial art and that people can only learn by following, etc., and must be at a certain point, etc. I've seen too many cases where I know some person has been shown (like by his father, etc.) and the results are apparent. Showing beats waiting for the hand of god. Besides, I know of a few qigong specialties that deal with developing much of these strengths in non-martial ways simply in order to promote health and strength. They do a pretty good job just focusing on standing, movement exercises, and breath conditioning. But regardless of anything else, I think these are good and important conversations to have in the community.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:27 PM   #98
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Gleason sensei has real kokyu skills which are fairly well known. Also, he is capable of teaching them by means of keiko and suburi. (He does take ukemi for students to check out them out and provide feedback.) One of his top students Ralph Malerba (who studied exclusively with Gleason sensei) is now a 5th dan was throwing around a professional football player which is remarkable in that Ralph sensei has shoulder damage from a motor vechile accident to the point that he would be totally unable to do a push up. I'm quite sure that neither of these senseis can do the jo trick. I suppose that's why I consider it to be not too important.

If that is considered rationalizing away one of O-sensei's "parlor tricks" well that's one way to look at it. The other way to look at is that focusing on resistive powers to that degree might be a bit of overkill and a bit of wasted focus. To each his own.

Rob
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Old 04-23-2005, 05:58 PM   #99
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, I see your point, but it sounds a little odd for someone to go outside in order to learn something he can't, apparently, figure out on his own
I've heard you mention this a number of times in this and other threads, but in regards to Koichi Tohei, you may be operating under a misconception.

In his case, it's not that he needed to go outside of the Aikikai to discover Ki and Kokyu development of the type and kind demonstrated by Ueshiba on a regular basis. Tohei was already actively involved in such training prior to enlisting as a deshi and was drawn to Ueshiba precisely because he saw him demonstrating physical manifestations of the aforementioned in martial technique.

If you follow Tohei's history, he came from a Judo background, was injured, and threw himself into Ki development (via the Ichikukai and other often unstated but hinted at misogi and zen training, formal or otherwise.) Upon returning to Judo, he found it to be less than the challenge he had recalled from previous experience and went in search of other outlets. He then came upon Ueshiba, recognized the principles at work in the art of Aikido, and enrolled as a means of continuing his Ki training.

Therefore, for Tohei, Ki development was never separate from Aikido; for him, it happened first, rather than as a frustration with Ueshiba's teaching style, and was integral from day one. It was only after Ueshiba's death in 1969 that a "deal" was struck with the then current Doshu Kisshomaru to teach Ki development training separately from Aikido and at a separate geographic location. This is important, because it undermines your very premise that Tohei, Abe, Tada, etc. were forced to go outside of Aikido to learn something that Ueshiba would not teach and that they could not get.

While I can't speak for Shioda or Abe, in regards to Tada, there is no evidence that he had to go outside of Aikido to the Tempukai to learn something he was otherwise incapable of getting--I've spent some time in a Tempukai dojo myself. It is far more likely, based on the testimony of some of his top students that I've talked and trained with directly, that he was drawn to the Tempukai, as many indulge in multiple disciplines, and simply incorporated it into his Aikido. Why this should project badly onto Ueshiba in your mind or on an individual's ability to "steal" the technique from the likes of said same is not entirely clear.

Quote:
Take, for instance, the anecdote someone told about Tohei demonstrating the jo-trick. Right away I know roughly his *threshold level* of skills (he's definately "got it"), that he does some standing practice, etc., in addition to the information I already know because of the "ki tests" that he exhibits. I *might* be able to figure some parts of that out over time from deductions I made in the dojo.
I would be careful about drawing too many definitive conclusions from secondhand stories (no matter how accurate) or the writings of an individual (Tohei and his books on Ki, for example) that are designed for public consumption.

I don't believe from your postings here and our brief communications via e-mail that you have any significant firsthand knowledge of Tohei's teachings. As such, I wouldn't be too quick to stuff your knowledge in this area into a succinct paradigm of your own devising, that validates your particular path and martial preferences.

Your infactuation, for example, with standing exercises, no matter how well placed, is not particularly relevant to the Ki no Kenkyukai or Tohei's private Ki no Shuren ho. He did not classify waza in regards to standing, as it is viewed within Chinese arts, nor did he put any significant emphasis on fluid versus static (in regards to Ki development, technique was another matter) seiza versus tachi, etc. The notion of emptying your proverbial cup here when approaching other practices and disciplines with which you are not intimately familiar is very apropros.

I believe you mean well, Mike, and wish to have a hand in pushing the level of Ki training in Aikido forward in a positive way. But based on your offerings here, it really seems as if you badly want Aikido and the personal practices of the likes of Tohei, Shioda, Tada, Abe, etc. to fit your Chinese-centric views and experiences first, as a means of ingratiating yourself to the Aikido community--makes sense given your credibility lies in Chinese arts. And then to utilize that attention and acquired camaraderie to springboard into becoming indispensable to the Aikido community via the offering of solutions to a problem you've convinced people exists--it may or may not.

This is understandable (assuming it's true.) We would all like to improve our surroundings and get the ensuing credit for such endeavors. And the lack of hands-on non-philosophy-based Ki development training in Aikido may be a shortcoming in need of remedy. Be that as it may, there is a real danger in trying to fit people and events to a preconceived cognitive mold if they otherwise don't necessarily fit. And far better for the growth and development of Aikido, in my opinion, to accept things as they are, whether it validates a personal perspective or not, and work from there. The reality may be that people don't want to do standing exercises or Ki development. If so, there is little that can be said or done that will change their preferences.

In any event, if you are truly interested in the Ki and Kokyu practices of some of the aforementioned pioneers of Aikido and not just looking for a pulpit and a responsive audience, I would suggest you familiarize yourself with the upper eschelons of their various organizations and accompanying dojo. There is no other way to get a hold on just what someone meant or did than to train directly with them or with those who were there and witnessed it firsthand. F.Y.I.: these forums are filled with individuals who either fit that bill, or have direct contact with those who do. And this isn't a euphemism for me, by the way, I'm firmly entrenched in Okinawan Karate and Hojutsu and don't practice Aikido any more--although, I do enjoy the occasional good post in the Aiki forums.

Last edited by sanskara : 04-23-2005 at 06:10 PM.

Regards,
James Bostwick
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Old 04-23-2005, 06:47 PM   #100
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
James Bostwick wrote:
I've heard you mention this a number of times in this and other threads, but in regards to Koichi Tohei, you may be operating under a misconception.

In his case, it's not that he needed to go outside of the Aikikai to discover Ki and Kokyu development of the type and kind demonstrated by Ueshiba on a regular basis. Tohei was already actively involved in such training prior to enlisting as a deshi and was drawn to Ueshiba precisely because he saw him demonstrating physical manifestations of the aforementioned in martial technique.

[snip to another comment] This is important, because it undermines your very premise that Tohei, Abe, Tada, etc. were forced to go outside of Aikido to learn something that Ueshiba would not teach and that they could not get.
If you read Stanley Pranin's four-part interview with Tohei, you'll find Tohei saying:

"When I went to Hawaii and tried to use the techniques I had learned form Ueshiba Sensei, I found that many of them were ineffective. What Sensei said and what he did were two different things. (snip)... when I returned to Japan and had another look at Ueshiba Sensei, I realized that he did indeed apply his techniques from a very relaxed state.

While I was with Ueshiba Sensei I was also studying under Tempu Nakamura. It was he who first taught me that "the mind moves the body." Those words struck me like a bolt of electricity and opened my eyes to the whole realm of aikido. "


In other words, Ueshiba was not teaching him how to move with ki and kokyu and he had to get it from outside.... but he wasn't aware of any of this until he had been with Ueshiba for quite some time.

Although you took the original quote out of context, the essence of your debate is that Tohei didn't need to go outside of Ueshiba's dojo in order to understand the principles of ki, etc. Yet Tohei and others certainly did need input from outside of the dojo in order to understand (to whatever degree) what Ueshiba was doing. Tohei himself says that his understanding originates with the teachings of Nakamura. The comment you quoted from was me saying that it sounds odd for someone to go outside and yet apparently say something to others indicating that they should get their knowledge only *within* the dojo.
Quote:
I don't believe from your postings here and our brief communications via e-mail that you have any significant firsthand knowledge of Tohei's teachings.
As I've publicly stated a few times, quite clearly. Having read some of your strange ideas in private email (and that's why I quit responding), I don't think you have much idea about what Tohei does, so I'm not sure what your point is in reinforcing something I've already said in public.
Quote:
As such, I wouldn't be too quick to stuff your knowledge in this area into a succinct paradigm of your own devising, that validates your particular path and martial preferences.
I'm not sure you understand. The discussions about ki, kokyu, qi, jin, etc., etc., are sustainable as a discussion outside of any "martial preferences". That's the way I'm discussing them, not as tied to any martial system. And what I do is more properly a "field of study", not a "path". I realize you have the belief that ki and kokyu things are different than the way I've discussed them... all you have to do is engage in the discussion and show me where you think I'm wrong or debate what you think you know, instead of simply posting what you think are my thoughts and motives and being insulting in doing so. If there's a point in the ki and kokyu things that you disagree with (as you did in private email), why not just lay them out in this forum and let's play it from there? Or do you feel that it's easier to take a cheap shot than debate honestly?

Insofar as my motives for being on this forum, etc., trust me I won't be here a bit longer than when I'm certain I can't get any more information along the lines that I've publicly mentioned, James. You may worry that you're not being recognized for your true value, but I'm simply an information-hound and I'll be out of your way soon enough. If you've paid attention, you've noticed that I've indeed learned some new and interesting things and it's been worthwhile so far.

Incidentally, I asked you before and you didn't answer... did you study with Tohei personally?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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