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Old 05-23-2005, 06:17 AM   #76
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
Personally, if I were to do ki, I would go back to the source, i.e. yoga and shaolin/wudang-based martial qigong.
Which is not a bad idea. However, just to be careful about the words since other people are reading, let me add that this area of ki we're discussing is really a subset of the general term "ki", which is a general term encompassing a lot of different topics. What you're saying is that in terms of the specific body skills termed "ki", you'd approach it more directly and I agree.

The second point I'd make is that the general approach to this odd strength/skill called "ki" through yoga and qigongs is more direct but it doesn't include some of the specialized body skills that are developed for martial application. The most obvious example is the ways of releasing power, but there are other aspects as well.

Yiquan is a popular martial art among some westerners and a few Chinese that focuses on going straight to how the power of the body and how power-releases are taught. The problem is that most of the teaching material out there which claims to be very open and "revealing all the secrets" is really not, although it might appear to do so, in the eyes of neophytes. Still, it's more obvious than most arts, by far. I keep having the side thought that if you understand a few basic principles of ki development using Yiquan methods, Yiquan practice (of the basics) might be the single best supplement to Aikido because its approach to development is somewhat along the lines of Aikido (while something like Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi, etc., is not really in line with Aikido's approach to body training). Just a thought.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-23-2005, 06:28 AM   #77
wendyrowe
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
... (while something like Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi, etc., is not really in line with Aikido's approach to body training)...
I don't know the others, but I train in taiji with someone who holds rank in external MAs and consequently does taiji in that context and as qigong instead of just as a sort of new-age dance exercise as it's taught in some places. When kept true to its roots, it seems to be as close to aikido as you can get. Granted, it's generally trained slowly; but if you apply those forms at full speed in a martial context, they are exactly the same blend-and-redirect movements as in aikido. I've always thought that taiji is essentially the Chinese version of aikido, and have heard the same from others.
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Old 05-23-2005, 06:46 AM   #78
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

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Wendy Rowe wrote:
I don't know the others, but I train in taiji with someone who holds rank in external MAs and consequently does taiji in that context and as qigong instead of just as a sort of new-age dance exercise as it's taught in some places. When kept true to its roots, it seems to be as close to aikido as you can get. Granted, it's generally trained slowly; but if you apply those forms at full speed in a martial context, they are exactly the same blend-and-redirect movements as in aikido. I've always thought that taiji is essentially the Chinese version of aikido, and have heard the same from others.
Hmmmm. No offense, but Taiji (which I've done for a little more than 20 years; enough to know that there is not a single westerner and dam-few Chinese that are really good at it) is different from Aikido in a couple of major respects. Aikido uses kokyu and ki, as do many martial arts, but it uses them in the way that a good Shaolin-based martial art does, not in the way that Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua do. Aikido does not use the basic six-harmonies way of moving and that method is the mainstay of Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua. Very easy to show the difference. The problem is that there are many people teaching Taiji and many people teaching Aikido and there are few that really know those arts completely. In the case of Taiji, it's harder to learn how to control the body properly than it is in Aikido. A quick check would be that someone who really does Taiji will have a muscular ability to isolate and move the muscles in front of the dantien without moving the rest of the body.... there's a reason that "qi ball" develops; it's not done by itself. I know of no western teachers that have developed that characteristic of real Taiji.... and that indicates they're not really doing Taiji. Does anyone know any anecdotes about any of the uchi-deshi that have such a characteristic, BTW?

In other words, I politely disagree with your characterization, Wendy, but I mean it in a non-offensive way.

Mike
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Old 05-23-2005, 07:05 AM   #79
rob_liberti
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

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Out of curiousity, how much of the imagery used in the dokas is easily attributable to Omoto-kyo cosmology?
Quote:
Well some of it must be, but certainly not all... not unless Omoto-kyo also taught martial arts. It appears that Ueshiba was combining his martial arts, his ki and kokyu knowledge (including the classical stuff), and his religion... all 3 of them... eclectically into his new martial art, Aikido.
I think I have a very different idea of what a principle is. To me, a principle must satisfy the principle of correspondence (basically as above, so below, as below, so above). So for instance, the principle of "move off the line" is a principle because its meaning applies to the mind, body, and spirit. My assumption is that the kotodama are such principles. A religious man saw kotodama through his eyes and made a religion. A martial artist who was also very religious saw kotodama through his eyes and made a marital art based on universal principles and tried to explain it by both of the means he was able to really grasp the ideas. Any other martial art based on the same principles will have things in common with it. The differences will probably have a lot more to do with the problems the inventors are interested in solving. I have no doubt that the same body of knowledge influenced other martial arts before aikido. It seems more likely to me that the Japanese were just good at preserving that body of knowledge all together - as I have never heard about a Chinese version of kotodama. (Or the Chinese were remarkably better at hiding it!) But the idea of any nationality owning them is silly. The Chinese manifestations of them are clear enough evidence to me that at least at one point in their history they had those philosophical principles guiding them. Are some Chinese manifestations of these idea a good thing to look at and study - sure. Should we assume that some very important things in Aikido came from China - I wouldn't go that far myself. I'd go so far as assuming that some very important things in Aikido got to Japan by way of China. But early human intuition is all of ours. No one owns it. Different people express it different ways. Heck, read Walt Whitman's poems and you might be very inspired by his apparent understanding of kotodama. I wouldn't be suprised if he had never had any exposer to the Chinese or Japanese represenation of that body of knowledge.

Lastly, I keep reading something to the effect that aikido people might not want to admit they don't know everything about aikido. I have never met one person in aikido who said that. Is there a quote from a book or is this just a re-occurring exaggeration like "90% of all fights go to the ground and if you count knock outs then 100%" ? While I suppose that one or two people may have deluded themselves in this way, the apparent exaggeration seems a bit dishonest.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 05-23-2005 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 05-23-2005, 07:12 AM   #80
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
But the idea of any nationality owning them is silly. [snip] While I suppose that many one or two people have deluded themselves in this way, the apparent exaggeration seems a bit dishonest.
Has anyone made a claim about some nationality "owning" something? Could I see the quote, please? The second sentence seems to be appropriate in terms of the first assertion.

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-23-2005, 07:15 AM   #81
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Hi Rob, kind of like aikdo has the market on 'new age'...but I think we all get that the exageration is in fact based in some amount of truth.

Quote:
Given the indications that other ryu and arts used/use this same knowledge, etc., I'd suggest that he got his basic information (if not everything) in Japan. But that's just a guess. He may have acquired additive information in China.... that would certainly answer the question of why he thought his "art" deserved to be separate from Daito-Ryu. At the moment it's impossible to settle on a definite answer, though.
Again, I don't think that dismissing the input of Daito-ryu would be prudent...at least not without some experiential basis for it. I have seen the use of what has been described here as qi-gongs in various lineages of Daito ryu. And my own personal level there is rather low...mostly open seminars and such. Another reason why these things might not be so well known by the public about Daito-ryu is not that they aren't there...its more that Daito-ryu tends to be much more of a 'closed shop' than aikido. That's just the way it is.

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-23-2005, 07:31 AM   #82
rob_liberti
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

That's easy enough! "Japan owns Tokyo." Your turn! One example, if you please, of an aikido person who claims to know it all...

Seriously, I think if you look in many of the 'aikido came from China' or 'O-sensei must have had Chinese influence' etc. threads, you might be able to find quite a few inferences to the idea that some of the body power stuff MUST have come from China because we can find manifestations of those principles in China earlier than we can in Japan. Or that aikido as a Japanese manifestation of these principles is somehow incomplete, as opposed to not thoroughly explored (which is usually a good working definistion of a "way" or a "path"). No doubt that getting a broader version of different cultures' expressions of such things can be helpful. Is it neccessary? No. Might it actually confuse some other essential matters much more than help others? Possibly. Does someone who knows a but about the Chinese expression of such things even if they have limited experience with aikido know squat about aikido - doubtful. (Unless that is that they were a true Chinese master, but I'll take yout word that there are very few of them and no westerners.)

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 05-23-2005 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 05-23-2005, 10:06 AM   #83
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Does someone who knows a but about the Chinese expression of such things even if they have limited experience with aikido know squat about aikido - doubtful. (Unless that is that they were a true Chinese master, but I'll take yout word that there are very few of them and no westerners.)
You just can't stop, can you, Rob? I love how you embody the spirit of a lot of American Aikido.

I think it would be a good discussion, if you want to discuss it, about who knows what in Aikido (i.e.,... you're once again feeling for the "credentials in order to trivialize" idea, and it's obvious to a lot of people). Why don't you start another thread on "open discussion", since you like to go personal so much, and let's try to figure out whether my 8 years of Aikido and my knowledge of ki and kokyu gives me perhaps better "credentials", since that's what you want to argue? Of course, I suspect I'm going to simply be another victim of yours like the well-known Aikido poster on this forum whom you told me privately "doesn't know anything... he's just a nidan". But why not start another thread that just honestly devotes itself to personal attack somewhere instead of constantly going back to your venomous style, Rob? Perhaps it would do you some good to just be able to rant about me as much as you want. Oh... and please do everyone a favor and don't go disingenuous on us again. I await your thread.

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:00 PM   #84
rob_liberti
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

At first, my response was only going to be "All of my comments were on topic. In this very thread, you wanted to trivilize my points by attacking my credentials - so maybe you shouldn't dish it out if you can't take it." - But you are right. Trivilizing someone else's opinions, points, or experiences - especially based on their credentials is wrong in a forum. I shouldn't have responded in kind. Let's BOTH not do it anymore.

I can't find where I thought a nidan knows _nothing_. If I did say it, shame on me for my arrogance. They obviously know up to nidan level and I'm sure they know something better than me depending on their area of focus (as there are monay). I apologize to the nameless nidan I may have privately slandered. Regardless, I actually have been a nidan and have trained with many from many schools so I'm pretty sure that any remark I made on general aikido nidan ability is at least coming from some personal experience. I got the impression that you are dissatisfied with the aikido taught by the shihan in this country. I had assumed you didn't reach shihan in your 8 years of aikido and that 8 years of aikido plus lots of Chinese MA didn't qualify you to judge that either.

One of the most useful basic elements of aikido is that less developed people try to force their will and ideas about how things should be on everyone else and hopefully find it to be so frustrating that they eventually change.

Rob
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:22 PM   #85
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

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Rob Liberti wrote:
I got the impression that you are dissatisfied with the aikido taught by the shihan in this country.
So? It's an opinion and it's certainly not mine alone. If you have a point to add to a debate, please do so.... but try to do it on topic and without constantly reaching for the personal.

I'm actually heartened by a lot of the Aikido people nowadays. The preponderance of horse's asses isn't so pronounced... there are actually some good martial artists who are not into role-playing and who are also on the lookout for information about not only Aikido, but martial arts as a whole. As I've stated before, I'm speaking to people like those, Rob, not people like you.

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:29 PM   #86
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I apologize to the nameless nidan I may have privately slandered. Regardless, I actually have been a nidan and have trained with many from many schools so I'm pretty sure that any remark I made on general aikido nidan ability is at least coming from some personal experience.
Two comments. That nidan was from the Ki Society, if that will help jog your memory. I know Shodans that have been doing Aikido longer than you have, Rob, and one or two Ikkyu's. They're not interested in the ranks and simply don't bother with it. Are you better than they are? I don't think so. As I've noted before, the attention to "rank" as credentials in the martial arts is misleading. The first day I ever took karate I had to spar with a sandan in the free-sparring after class and I took him down repeatedly with judo throws after dodging his kicks and punches. I couldn't care less what someone's "rank" is... I'm interested in what they know, as shown by what they can do. Male or female, big or little, black or white, hot or cold... it's all about the results, not the role-playing.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:56 PM   #87
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Ya know what? why not take the last 5 or so posts to private email. I'm certainly not interested, and a lot of others as well, I'm sure.

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-23-2005, 01:04 PM   #88
rob_liberti
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

When you started Karate, and you were dominating people with your Judo background, my guess is that the instructor didn't ask you to start teaching "Karate" just then.

Regardless, those ikkyus and shodans sound like they are in a good place where they are not interested in getting themselves/their thoughts validated - especially at the expense of others. They probably haven't trivalized anyone else's points or opinions in many of the years they've remained at their present rank. I really admire people like that. It's too bad that people like that are not taking more of a leadership role in aikido - because maybe fewer outsiders might not be so down on the state of affairs of aikido in the States.

Again (but more specifically now), my apologies to all Ki Society nidans. While I think you probably don't know much about aikido "power" as opposed to "flow" considering what is normally meant by that level, you may be someone who should have been promoted to yondan for your aikido martial ability and just decided that rank was not for you.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 05-23-2005 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 05-23-2005, 01:58 PM   #89
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

There's a guy named Tuey that is american out in ST Louis that is pretty good at Taiji, impressed me and many others. I don't have much experience in Taiji, but I have great respect for the people in Aikido circles that all but gave up studying aikido to work with this guy. All I can tell you is if I were in ST Louis, this is what I would be doing today.
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Old 05-23-2005, 02:40 PM   #90
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
While I think you probably don't know much about aikido "power" as opposed to "flow" considering what is normally meant by that level, you may be someone who should have been promoted to yondan for your aikido martial ability and just decided that rank was not for you.
So, Rob.... lay it out factually. Tell me something about "flow" and "power" that you think I may not know. Explain how it's done, even. I've spent a lot of time talking about ki and kokyu and you have yet to rebutt me factually.... if you want to start a different tack on "power" and "flow", do so. I'll either admit I know nothing about it, little about it, or I'll rebutt your positions factually. I won't start trying to assassinate your character. Same would happen on a Chinese arts list... people who devolve to character attacks are simply thrown off on the better lists.

So.... lay out some facts to back up your position. Don't make it a matter of me and what I know... lay it out factually, what it is and how it's done, etc. Focus on the facts of that issue alone, as a suggestion?

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-23-2005, 02:46 PM   #91
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

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Kevin Leavitt wrote:
There's a guy named Tuey that is american out in ST Louis that is pretty good at Taiji, impressed me and many others. I don't have much experience in Taiji, but I have great respect for the people in Aikido circles that all but gave up studying aikido to work with this guy. All I can tell you is if I were in ST Louis, this is what I would be doing today.
Hi Kevin:

My only comment is to repeat what I've said before.... I don't know any westerners that are really good in Taiji. If you think there's someone who is good, engage him for a few minutes and focus on how much he uses his arms and shoulders. If you notice that there's a lot of shoulder usage, then no matter how "good" his reputation is among the peer groups, it's not necessarily "good" in the sense of Aikido, Taiji, Bagua, etc., etc. Just a comment, fwiw. Think of that the next time you meet someone who is "good" at Taiji, or "good" at Aikido, even (watch how much shoulder is used by most people in kokyu-ho-dosa, as a point in fact).

Mike
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Old 05-23-2005, 03:48 PM   #92
rob_liberti
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Mike, you misunderstood. I was speaking to aikido nidans. It is fairly commonly accepted that aikido shodan is just slightly better than surface level technique, nidan is about flow, and sandan is about power. I realize I could have been more clear, but I did mention the word "nidan" in that sentence and preceeded it with a second apology to all of them. My assumption is that if I were saying a nidan didn't know _anything_ to you that is was most likely in the context of kokyu power, and that is not typically appropriate for that level -- as opposed to So and so is completely worthless because or their title - as it seems you misunderstood me to mean back then.

It would have been interesting to hear how do those Chinese forums deal with intellectual bullies, as well. Myself, I just give as good as I get. While imitation is the highest form of flattery, your point about how it's much better to not try to validate yourself or your position at the expense of others is right on the money. I'm sure we'll both make sure not to do that from this point forward... That was a really good point and I'm glad you made it.

Rob
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Old 05-23-2005, 04:40 PM   #93
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Mike, you misunderstood. (snip umpteenth time Liberti has been invited to post something of substance, posts no substance, and goes to personal remarks)
You don't really have anything to say substantive about the issue, do you, Rob? You're just carping and whining. Tell us something about the "power" of sandan that I don't understand, Rob. Show me "intellectual bullying". You are once again making charges and not backing them up when called for quotes, Rob. Do you have ANYTHING substantive to contribute to any of these threads??

Let's see the quotes on the intellectual bullying, Rob.... calling you on it again. Also calling.... again... for you to contribute some substance rather than charges.

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-23-2005, 07:30 PM   #94
eyrie
 
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Like Ron says, perhaps the last couple of posts could have gone to PM.

Back on topic...in relation to yoga etc.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Which is not a bad idea. However, just to be careful about the words since other people are reading, let me add that this area of ki we're discussing is really a subset of the general term "ki", which is a general term encompassing a lot of different topics. What you're saying is that in terms of the specific body skills termed "ki", you'd approach it more directly and I agree.
I am aware of the vagueness and general encompassing nature of "ki", from having a cultural context which I am familiar with and also an interest in TCM.

So, yes, we are specifically talking about developing a specific set of body (more specifically, martial) skills.

Quote:
The second point I'd make is that the general approach to this odd strength/skill called "ki" through yoga and qigongs is more direct but it doesn't include some of the specialized body skills that are developed for martial application. The most obvious example is the ways of releasing power, but there are other aspects as well.
Yes, I agree. In terms of developing the ability to store, channel and use ki for bodily health, maintenance and general wellbeing, it is a direct approach. And yes, it does not include the specialized martial skills, but it does provide a decent foundation from which to work with.

Quote:
... I keep having the side thought that if you understand a few basic principles of ki development using Yiquan methods, Yiquan practice (of the basics) might be the single best supplement to Aikido because its approach to development is somewhat along the lines of Aikido (while something like Taiji, Bagua, Xingyi, etc., is not really in line with Aikido's approach to body training). Just a thought.
I have not had the pleasure of seeing or experiencing Yiquan. I'm not sure if there is anyone "qualified" to teach it out here in the stix.

However, I have had the brief pleasure of training with a Chinese (as in mainland China) gentleman who had done the 3 internal arts, in addition to a shaolin derived gongfu. He was also a practising acupuncturist by profession, so he would have at least had to have a working understanding of the subject matter, albeit in a different context.

I have to agree, although the fundamental philosophy and principles of application appear to be sympathico with taiji, the movements are not. The way (I saw) this man's taiji work, was receiving "ki" through the hands, waist and feet into the ground, and releasing it back from the ground, feet, waist and hands - like a spring. The way he moved, was very different to how we (I) do it in aiki, yet, I could see *some* similarity in principle, but not a lot, the whole body structural alignment thing is different.

Ignatius
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Old 05-23-2005, 09:04 PM   #95
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

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Ignatius Teo wrote:
However, I have had the brief pleasure of training with a Chinese (as in mainland China) gentleman who had done the 3 internal arts, in addition to a shaolin derived gongfu. He was also a practising acupuncturist by profession, so he would have at least had to have a working understanding of the subject matter, albeit in a different context.

I have to agree, although the fundamental philosophy and principles of application appear to be sympathico with taiji, the movements are not. The way (I saw) this man's taiji work, was receiving "ki" through the hands, waist and feet into the ground, and releasing it back from the ground, feet, waist and hands - like a spring. The way he moved, was very different to how we (I) do it in aiki, yet, I could see *some* similarity in principle, but not a lot, the whole body structural alignment thing is different.
I didn't see him, so weight my comments accordingly, if you will. Think of his "receiving ki" as being along a direct path to the ground which compressed and released directly back or at some advantageous angle for the receiver. Perhaps into an "empty" area (the sky is a nice "empty" area, BTW, because no one can balance or stabilizie against the empty sky). There are ways to receive any incoming force, instantaneously combine with it (in an advantageous way that results in an "empty" spot for the attacker), etc. That is "Aiki", regardless of the body posture, alignment, etc. Instead of looking for the differences, why not look for the similarities and figure out how they're done??

Regardless of the postures, techniques, etc., I saw Shioda Koncho do exactly this, so his use of forces was *similar* to and related to Yiquan, Taiji, etc., etc. Although not all ways lead to the top of the mountain (some lead to the tops of different mountains entirely), some ways are indeed leading to the top of the same mountain.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-23-2005, 09:40 PM   #96
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I didn't see him, so weight my comments accordingly, if you will. Think of his "receiving ki" as being along a direct path to the ground which compressed and released directly back or at some advantageous angle for the receiver. Perhaps into an "empty" area (the sky is a nice "empty" area, BTW, because no one can balance or stabilizie against the empty sky). There are ways to receive any incoming force, instantaneously combine with it (in an advantageous way that results in an "empty" spot for the attacker), etc. That is "Aiki", regardless of the body posture, alignment, etc. Instead of looking for the differences, why not look for the similarities and figure out how they're done??
Darn! I usually do try to look for similarities rather than differences. Obviously not looking close enough.

Hmmm.... definitely more food for thought.

Ignatius
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Old 05-23-2005, 10:12 PM   #97
rob_liberti
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

From where I see it:

- Starting in post 19, you seem to have just decided that these things must have all been Chinese and that many aikido experts are not up to your satisfaction. I think the quote thing is a bit silly as you should be able to remember what you wrote or look it up yourself, but some examples would be:

Quote:
But despite his other credentials, it is almost completely doubtful that Stevens was also well-versed in the Chinese classical sayings about the training of qi, jin, etc., from which O-Sensei borrowed a number of his words, phrases, euphemisms, etc.
Quote:
As I said, the comments about combining heaven and earth, fire and water, the six directions, and all the rest in Ueshiba's doka leave no doubt that he was in possession of classical Chinese comments about developing qi, etc., and he was espousing those things as the basis of Aikido.
Quote:
I don't know what's in the Kojiki, but regardless, "ki" is "qi", etc., and that all comes from the Chinese.
Quote:
When I look at O-Sensei's writings, I see him over and over use basic Chinese ideas (mixed with a lot of Shinto, "purification", etc., of course) to essentially espouse the greatness of true Aikido practice that utilizes the learning of ki and kokyu skills because that is the way in which to become "natural" and "harmonize" with the rest of the universe.
== and then ==

Quote:
I doubt that many people in the current "senior" generations in western Aikido, karate, Taiji, etc., will acquire extensive skills in these methods of body use, but it should be helpful for the up and coming generations (the ones who are serious, that is) to get a foothold in what Ueshiba and others were talking about.
Quote:
And while I realize that some people who are "ranked" in Aikido and other arts may feel "intimidated" by discussions of something they don't have a handle on... i.e., that's just defensive pride... it's still important to move forward and get as much knowledge and skill as is possible in this area that Ueshiba called the "blade of Aiki".
Quote:
As I noted, though, ultimately to ignore the possibility that some current "experts" don't know some basics (as mentioned and demonstrated by O-Sensei and some uchideshi), is an untenable position.
-In post 29, you attempted to snipe my credentials. I brought that up in post 34 and it went unanswered.

-Then in post 39, you blatantly fabricated what I publicly display as my credentials and informed me that it wasn't a personal remark.

- In post 44, I contributed an alternative idea for where O-sensei "borrowed a number of his words, phrases, euphemisms, etc." and gave a link which you thought was a valuable enough substantive contribution that you quoted some of it yourself. We started quibbling over whether these ideas were Chinese for a few posts.

- In post 79, I contributed a substantive definition of a principle and to support my alternative that these things didn't have to come from China. In post 80, you seemed to want to know who thought they came from China. (I had the impression based on the previous quotes that you did.)

I can play the quote game forever. Like, show me the quote please for where I specifically accused you of intellectual bullying, but I agree it's beside the point of substantive contributions.

Ron and Ignatius. I would normally agree that some of these things should have been taken to PM, but as you can see:
1) Mike posts broken snippets of private conversations publicly.
2) As evidenced in the past (see post 39 for an example or three), I cannot trust him to fairly represent what was written.

Rob

My point is made. The last word is yours.
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Old 05-23-2005, 11:06 PM   #98
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Just noticed this thread. I only have a little time for the next couple of weeks, but a few points. Tempu Nakamura developed his own method of "yoga" after trips to India, and I believe, the Himalayas and China. He certainly brought elements of mainland Asian religion and ascetic practice back to Japan. I may be able to find out more specifics in a month or so.
Secondly, regarding Ueshiba and elements of Chinese martial arts/philosophy. He trained in Shingon mikkyo, which is, essentially, Tibetan Buddhism filtered through China. Taoism is one of the main theoretical bases within koryu. Five element theory and yin-yang dynamism is pervasive in Araki-ryu and in Jikishin Kage-ryu, to mention only two, one of which I study. Chi-kung practices - CHINESE chi-kung practices - are very old in Japan. I cannot remember if it is Hakuin or Dogen, or another famous roshi, but the story is that his health was ruined by zazen (the Japanese typically turned meditation into a self-torture) and he sought out a Taoist who taught him a chi-kung method which healed him. As I remember, it included imagining an egg broken on the crown of the head, and it slowly seeping down the body, relaxing and healing as it went. In short, what I'm saying is that Japanese Buddhists were quite familiar with Taoist practices, philosophy and cosmology. Most old ryu have esoteric teachings that are an amalgam of neo-Confucianism (a mixture of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism), mikkyo and pure Taoism.
Finally, if nowhere else, Deguchi was a spiritual omnivore. He took the intuitive, channeled folk Shinto of his wife, and elaborated it into something far more grandiose and comprehensive. Any and all spiritual training, he devoured, transmuted and under slightly new form, it all came out Omotokyo.
My two of three essays (the third still in formation) regarding Ueshba's own description of his aikido focused on his intention - what he was trying to do, by his own account, in uniting heaven and earth in man - not on an explication of the secret code of training that might be inherent in his statements. That was, by the way, my whole point regarding Tohei. Tohei says that the metaphyisical explanations were irrelevant to the art of relaxation. My point is that they weren't to Ueshiba. They were a means to another end.
Anyway, I have absolutely no doubt that the elements of Taoism and Buddhist ascetic chi-kung so permeated much that Ueshiba studied that there is no possibility that he could have gotten it any other way. Japanese martial ryu without Chinese underpinnings would be quite different. It is true that, for most ryu, this did not include ki/kokyu training, at least in the manner we think of when we think of either aikido or such arts as t'ai chi or bagua - I know, I know - as different as these arts are from each other anyway).
By the way, all of this does not require that Ueshiba went to China to get the goods (that is dubious - he didn't have enough time, nor did he speak Chinese). It is simply that such doctrines were rife, and in some ascetic trainings, and a few ryu, actual teachings beyond mere doctrine were available. There are a few ryu which include purely native Japanese folk Shinto, with exorcism, purifications, etc. But I think Mike is correct that Ueshiba's Shinto - Omotokyo - is not "folk Shinto" - it is a syncretic new religion that integrated a lot of Buddhism and Taoism. Deguchi claimed himself to be a Buddha as Ueshiba claimed to be a Buddhist "diety" - Fudomyo, just to give some examples.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 05-23-2005 at 11:16 PM.

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Old 05-23-2005, 11:35 PM   #99
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Sorry, one final point I thought of after the editing function disappeared. There is a lot of literature in Japanese on ki/kokyu, etc., both considering Chinese material, and material in Japanese spiritual traditions. Those fluent in Japanese could spend half a lifetime establishing the details of Mike's claim - that ki and kokyu training is derived, in large part, from Chinese sources. Not exclusively - sure. Just as Japanese Buddhism is, in some significant ways, different from India and China, so too, surely, are the martial applications of ki/kokyu. With the impact of the shamanistic world view of Shinto and the particular requirements of the Japanese style of warfare and later, dueling combat, these methods surely permutated in some uniquely Japanese directions. Again, I doubt 100% that Ueshiba went to China to learn them, or that he had a secret bagua teacher in Tokyo. That would be no more necessary that it would be for Americans to go to England to learn parlimentary rules. Our system of government and law is certainly different from England's, but the roots are there. But we can learn at home, unless we wish to do English "style."

Ellis Amdur

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Old 05-24-2005, 06:01 AM   #100
Mike Sigman
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Re: Basic elements of Aikido

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
Those fluent in Japanese could spend half a lifetime establishing the details of Mike's claim - that ki and kokyu training is derived, in large part, from Chinese sources.
Hi Ellis:

Frankly, given the overwhelming amount of borrowing that Japan did from China (it permeates even very small, mundane matters), I'm reluctant to engage seriously in conversation with anyone who wants to argue that there was no borrowing in regard to ki (a direct borrow of the word "qi") and related matters. Thanks for helping me save time.

The point I've tried to make, and I'll try it again, is that developing ki and kokyu skills is like developing the muscles and fitness for the 100-meter sprint... regardless of what country you come from and what "cultural tradition", there's not a heck of lot that's going to be ultimately different when you analyse it. The idea that there is a Chinese way of developing ki and expressing it and there is a somewhat different Japanese way of developing ki and expressing it borders on the absurd if you understand the basic principles. It's like someone trying to claim that the Chinese method of sprint training and results are demonstrably different from the Japanese sprint training and results or that the Japanese have a uniquely different way of training for sprinting. Try that on a sprinting coach in the Olympics and see how seriously the idea is accepted. Even to offer up that sort of idea is to immediately show an ignorance of what the basic principles are.

Anyway, thanks for trying to help me make the point, Ellis.

Regards,

Mike
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