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Old 07-13-2005, 07:50 PM   #201
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
What I said was that if an Aikido practitioner is claiming to be proficient at kokyunage, that means they can manifest kokyu, which means they should be able to do "ki tests".
Mike
Not in my exerience.

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Old 07-13-2005, 08:03 PM   #202
Mike Sigman
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
Not in my exerience.
It boils down to the word "proficient", I would guess. O-Sensei showed that he could manifest that same (or better, if you count the jo trick) kokyu skills that are in Tohei's "ki tests". Shioda could do them. Abe could do them. And I'm sure there' s a number more that I don't even know of. If you can do one of the simple ones, let's say for example standing weight on back leg and partner pushing forearm, and you refine it, you should be able to realize and do most of the others fairly easily. Even "unbendable arm" is really just a version of the push-on-forearm one and can be done just as relaxed.

If your kokyu for a kokyu-nage is fairly clean and correct, it is from the same power as the "push on forearm" example. If it's not from that same relaxed power, then it's something else other than good kokyu power. If it is from that same power, then doing almost all the "ki tests" is easily in your reach. And remember, I keep mentioning "gradations"... I'm implying something about the "purity" gradient.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 07-13-2005, 08:08 PM   #203
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
I think that was one of the reasons why the zen priests didn't pass Tohei's ki testing.
This comment really sort of bothers me. Someone who really understands ki and the relationship of kokyu power to ki shouldn't have publicly challenged a bunch of priests, given that "ki" and real ki abilities does not necessarily require the ability to do kokyu-type "mind and body" tests. There is no reason for such a challenge, IMO, but for some kind of publicity. Although I'm willing to listen, if some one can offer some realistic other reason. It's one thing to show your powers; to show them at the expense of others is bothersome.

Mike
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Old 07-13-2005, 10:56 PM   #204
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Am I just really tired or did a bunch of the quotes text disappear a page back or 2?

Rob
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Old 07-13-2005, 11:54 PM   #205
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
It boils down to the word "proficient", I would guess....

Mike
What I meant was, I have seen people with 'the rank' try to teach stuff that they clearly cannot do. Unbendable arm etc. with tensed up muscles or otherwise garbage technique etc.

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Old 07-14-2005, 07:09 AM   #206
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
What I meant was, I have seen people with 'the rank' try to teach stuff that they clearly cannot do. Unbendable arm etc. with tensed up muscles or otherwise garbage technique etc.
How odd. If you want to find out the true meaning of "harmony", just point it out to them.

Mike
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Old 07-14-2005, 07:39 AM   #207
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

About the "years and years": It seems to me like most of my disagreeing with Mike on kokyu and aikido has boiled down to how to best prepare a person in aikido to start moving in a more kokyu-like way. From where I'm standing people go through the kyu ranks to learn enough external form to be a shodan - simply because people who were initially coming to aikido were generally already black belts in other Japanese Budo. So that accounts for some of the "years and years" but not many. I see nidan as a rank about achieving some degree of flow using the technical leverage of the external form. All of that training can be from 2 to 12+ years depending on the student and the teacher(s). At that point I see sandan as the beginner rank where people should be so dissatisfied with the results of normal strength that they start to totally over-haul their movements to be more kokyu-oriented movements. It _seems_ like Mike wants people who are at this level to already be good at it, and well then we just might disagree about how to best prepare someone. I see so many people attain some profound (_at least_ to them, but maybe very legitimate) level of understanding and then make the mistake of trying to start out all new students from that point. Invariably they leave something out that either they just had without any training (sense of rhythm comes to mind) so took for granted as a given (and now only look for those "gifted" students who start out with a set of basic requirements before their first class). I don't claim that Mike is setting himself up for that trap as he is not teaching aikido, but I offer it as an explanation for why just getting to the point where Mike would like new people to start takes at least some years and years.

From that point, I have no problem with someone "focusing" on drills like Mike frequently mentions. I'm intersted in all of them. I'm sure that they would be very useful and helpful. I'm not sold on the idea that his approach is from the superset of knowledge in this arena and therefore anything less would be incomplete - but I'm not wholesale discounting it either. To me it is just not a given. I think a yondan should have pretty good command of the basics of what Mike is talking about (I've seen some pretty good people in Japan take 12 years between sandand and yondan), a godan and a rokyu dan should be moving from principle and - I totally agree that Mike is right in that many people with such ranks cannot perform at this level and over-compensate with normal strength (and we call them strong-arm bandits) - and I think that is primarily due to promotions based on "loyalty".

The only thing I would mention about this is that since aikido is supposed to be "transformational", the required changes should be massive. Other massive changes like not shaming juniors, and eventually just truly respecting people and having complete self trust should come with the training or I'm not sure the training is all that important. Many times I see people try to make a short cut martial art approach, and some of the big lessons seem to be the things which are cut out to save time on the short-cut road to martial proficiency.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 07-14-2005 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 07-14-2005, 08:16 AM   #208
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Not bad, Rob. And pure debate, too!

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
About the "years and years": It seems to me like most of my disagreeing with Mike on kokyu and aikido has boiled down to how to best prepare a person in aikido to start moving in a more kokyu-like way.
In my view, our disagreement really starts not a when people start moving with kokyu, but what kokyu really is and how different it is from normal movement, on the whole. I consistently see your argument as indicating that you're thinking of one thing as general ki and kokyu movement and I'm thinking something else.
Quote:
From where I'm standing people go through the kyu ranks to learn enough external form to be a shodan (snip) I see nidan as a rank about achieving some degree of flow using the technical leverage of the external form. (snip) I see sandan as the beginner rank where people should be so dissatisfied with the results of normal strength that they start their totally over-haul their movements to be more kokyu-oriented movements. It _seems_ like Mike wants people who are at this level to already be good at it, and well then we just might disagree about how to best prepare someone. I see so many people attain some profound (_at least_ to them, but maybe very legitimate) level of understanding and then make the mistake of trying to start out all new students from that point. Invariably they leave something out that either they just had without any training (sense of rhythm comes to mind) so took for granted as a given (and now only look for those "gifted" students who start out with a set of basic requirements before their first class). I don't claim that Mike is setting himself up for that trap as he is not teaching aikido, but I offer it as an explanation for why just getting to the point where Mike would like new people to start takes at least some years and years.
I see godan's who are clueless about kokyu movement because they have practiced and reinforced normal movement over so many years. In my experience, not only in Aikido but in other arts using these strength/body skills, too... there are only a few people who can *really* do these things. In the normal course of Aikido, particularly among westerners, there is almost no grasp of these skills... so discussing "when to introduce these skills because we do it a little later" is sort of beside the point, IMO. In a way, Rob, you've been saying that (a.) people in western Aikido do understand these things and (b.) as a part of Aikido, these skills are of secondary importance. What I"ve been saying is that (a.) in "Ai Ki Do" these things are of paramount importance if you want to go beyond the superficial and really understand what O-Sensei thought was a big deal other than a bunch of nifty techniques and (b.) almost no one in (particularly western) Aikido has more than a rudimentary idea what these things are. And I'm offering to do a friendly show and tell which will give everyone (including me) a chance to lay out their cards. I think people would find that this is a more complex area then they think.

Incidentally, Rob... can you name a few of these "so many" people you know who have reached a "profound" level? I'd like to meet a couple.
Quote:
From that point, I have no problem with someone "focusing" on drills like Mike frequently mentions. I'm intersted in all of them. I'm sure that they would be very useful and helpful.
Actually, I'm pretty convinced that you're WAY shortselling the importance of side drills in traditional Aikido and *I'm* probably short-selling them some. Repetitive simple drills done many times are essential. You can't just go to a workshop and "learn how to do these things" (which is why so few people who I've met in workshops over the years really make progress... they think that if they academically understand it and did it 3 times they got it). Swinging a bokken 500-1000 times a day isn't a "maybe interesting" thing to do, IMO... it's a "must do" if you want to get anywhere. And there are other things I'd do if I was a serious Aikidoist.
Quote:
I think a yondan should have pretty good command of the basics of what Mike is talking about, a godan and a rokyu dan should be moving from principle and - I totally agree that Mike is right in that many people with such ranks cannot perform at this level and over-compensate with normal strength (and we call them strong-arm bandits) - and I think that is primarily due to promotions based on "loyalty".
OK, fair enough. That's your opinion. But I still think you don't really understand what I'm talking about, at least not fully enough. BTW... bear in mind that a lot of people learn a lot of these movement skills independent of any martial art... that might affect your idea of where and when in Aikido it "should" be learned.
Quote:
The only thing I would mention about this is that since aikido is supposed to be "transformational", the required changes should be massive. Other massive changes like not shaming juniors, and eventually just truly respecting people and having complete self trust should come with the training or I'm not sure the training is all that important. Many times I see people try to make a short cut martial art approach, and some of the big lessons seem to be the things which are cut out to save time on the short-cut road to martial proficiency.
I dunno... you just slipped some ideas in that I think are "western Aikido" and border on the self-assigned definitions of ludicrous phrases like "verbal Aikido". What you're trying to inject is your impression of what Aikido is on a philosophical basis and all I'm tallking about is function. I think we both know that there is not firm support for things like "transformational", "verbal Aikido", etc., from either O-Sensei's words or his personal manner. Let's stick with movement and the when's, where's, how's, etc., in order to keep from getting mired down, as a suggestion.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-14-2005, 09:58 AM   #209
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

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Not bad, Rob. And pure debate, too!
Hmm...the unfortunate implication here is that I must be some poor poster in general, but _you_ feel I'm improving. Giving you the benefit of the doubt that it was an inadvertent implication as opposed to a sneaky way to elevate yourself at my expense, my response is while I appreciate this approval, please be more careful because this is how those bickering matches you say you would like to avoid (to have pure debate) can start unintentionally...

If you want to try to further explain how kokyu really is and how different it is from normal movement or why you feel I'm thinking of one thing as general ki and kokyu movement and how you think I should be looking at it, I'm truly interested.

Quote:
Incidentally, Rob... can you name a few of these "so many" people you know who have reached a "profound" level? I'd like to meet a couple.
You got that from my writing "I see so many people attain some profound (_at least_ to them, but maybe very legitimate) level of understanding and then make the mistake of trying to start out all new students from that point." Well, while I think it would be in poor taste to mention the names of legitimate people who I believe failed their students; I can say that in general, I'll bet we all know many examples of people who make those conglomeration arts who are pretty good themselves but can't produce even one good student. As far as people who have reached a "profound" level - meaning _to me_ beyond normal strength (AND NOT in the context of people who failed their students), I would offer up Ralph Malerba sensei - a student of Gleason sensei. Ralph sensei had major problems with his shoulders (I think from a car accident) to the point he could not possibly do a push up, and he was throwing a professional football player all around the dojo with kokyunages. Given that I am certain that at least some parts of that cannot possibly be arm strength, I'd have to conclude that he was using power from somewhere else. Another example would be my sempai in Japan named Nishida san. He is a very under-ranked godan in Fukuoka. I would love for you to meet him. I'm positive he'd be more than happy to push hands with you, demonstrate his ability to perform any kokyu test you want - provided you ask with enthusiasm and humility. I asked him about the jo trick, and while he didn't hold a jo, he stuck out his arm to his side and resisted my pushing of his wrist from front to back and back to front pretty impressively. Anyway, I'm confident he has something beyond the mundane.

Lastly, I don't think I so much "just slipped some ideas in" as much as I was talking about "Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido" in the "do" sensei as opposed to the jutsu sense. I understand that some would disagree with the polarity of the Don Draeger definitions and explain that the Japanese see the jutsu and the do as pretty much interchangeable - but I draw the confusion that this means that they understand it means both at the same time. I'm not sure this is so much a purely Westerner's opinion, but you have every right to disagree.

Rob
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Old 07-14-2005, 10:22 AM   #210
Mike Sigman
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Hmm...the unfortunate implication here is that I must be some poor poster in general, but _you_ feel I'm improving.
Not at all. Just trying to be disarming. What is more of a concern to me than "bickering" is "lack of facts". In this case, you're presenting reasonable opinions in your argument... but that doesn't get around the impasse we have about *facts* that keeps coming up.
Quote:
If you want to try to further explain how kokyu really is and how different it is from normal movement or why you feel I'm thinking of one thing as general ki and kokyu movement and how you think I should be looking at it, I'm truly interested.
Well, I've been pretty extensive in explaining the mechanics of a number of things. I haven't seen any mechanics from you to support what you're calling "kokyu", how to do it, etc. I think we're fairly obviously at exactly the impasse I described (different perceptions) that can probably only be resolved by demonstration. I would change my mind if you could give some of your own examples, how-to's, etc., and we could arrive at a common ground.
Quote:
You got that from my writing "I see so many people attain some profound (_at least_ to them, but maybe very legitimate) level of understanding and then make the mistake of trying to start out all new students from that point." Well, while I think it would be in poor taste to mention the names of legitimate people who I believe failed their students
I'm not concerned with their students, in my question. I'm asking about this "great many" in Aikido that have, in your opinion, "profound" skills. I'm unaware of any great many, particularly amoung western Aikidoists, so I was asking a straightforward question of who they were, leaving aside any question of whether they failed in their teaching methods, etc.
Quote:
I would offer up Ralph Malerba sensei - a student of Gleason sensei. Ralph sensei had major problems with his shoulders (I think from a car accident) to the point he could not possibly do a push up, and he was throwing a professional football player all around the dojo with kokyunages.
Would that be a "profound" level, in your opinion? Did the professional football player actively attack Ralph or were these cooperative attacks, such as you usually see in a dojo?
Quote:
Another example would be my sempai in Japan named Nishida san. He is a very under-ranked godan in Fukuoka. I would love for you to meet him. I'm positive he'd be more than happy to push hands with you, demonstrate his ability to perform any kokyu test you want - provided you ask with enthusiasm and humility. I asked him about the jo trick, and while he didn't hold a jo, he stuck out his arm to his side and resisted my pushing of his wrist from front to back and back to front pretty impressively. Anyway, I'm confident he has something beyond the mundane.
I know a number of people that can relaxedly put their arm out and the average person can't move it from side to side, etc., but I'm not sure I would label this level "profound". It just tells me that someone has told them something about correct standing exercises and they've practiced it.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 07-14-2005, 03:15 PM   #211
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Well, maybe it's my poor expression. I attempted to qualify my usage of "profound" with "some profound (_at least_ to them, but maybe very legitimate) level" and when you take out all of the qualifying words I'm left with the impression that only O-sensei's 3 people pushing on the jo trick is "profound" enough for you. Regardless, if a guy who can't do a push up can throw the body mass of a professional football player around in even a semi-cooperative way, that's "profoundly" different than using just normal arm strength, in my opinion.

I suppose I just don't think there is any confusion about what normal strength is; and we all know some people who have exceptional amounts of normal strength. To me, anything in the range of just beyond normal strength and up to and maybe surpassing O-sensei's 3 people pushing on the jo trick is the range of "gradations" of kokyu strength. It seems like you want to have one more level in there, where everything that I may have seen/experienced and considered to be beyond normal is still not any gradation of kokyu in your opinion. I'm okay with that, but I'm really interested in narrowing down where you draw the line. As far as both of those people, I'm sure they could stand on one leg and resist a push, etc. What is the minimum gradation in your opinion?

Rob
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Old 07-14-2005, 03:23 PM   #212
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Well, maybe it's my poor expression. I attempted to qualify my usage of "profound" with "some profound (_at least_ to them, but maybe very legitimate) level" and when you take out all of the qualifying words I'm left with the impression that only O-sensei's 3 people pushing on the jo trick is "profound" enough for you.
Why are you left with that impression, given the title of this thread and the initial posts about high level Aikido?
Quote:
It seems like you want to have one more level in there, where everything that I may have seen/experienced and considered to be beyond normal is still not any gradation of kokyu in your opinion. I'm okay with that, but I'm really interested in narrowing down where you draw the line. As far as both of those people, I'm sure they could stand on one leg and resist a push, etc. What is the minimum gradation in your opinion?
I don't have a minimum gradation without any other criteria. What I was asking was what you were calling "profound".

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 07-14-2005 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 07-14-2005, 08:58 PM   #213
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Really? I was under the impression you were not asking my what I meant by profound. I thought you was asking me who I thought had some profound skills. Maybe I'm just too tired. Regardless, I'll answer that question but I don't want to get unproductive.

We agree kokyu movement is beyond normal strength. My opinion that power in movement beyond surface level "normal" strength in the aikido arena is at least a bit profound - meaning _to me_ "from the depths of your being" - to at least some relative degree since I think we continue to discover new deeper depths.. Again, I'll take responsibility if it was a poor expression on my part (meaning more confusion than helpful, but not necessarily flat out wrong. I agree that such quibbling doesn't drive anywhere useful.).

As far as the title of the thread, in my opinion since you have been writing about gradations, you opened a door to talk about less than highest level too. I have been of the opinion that there is no actual "highest" level - since I believe that O-sensei was still working ikkyo out on his death bed. Regardless, we can say for the moment that O-sensei can be the max (as it's high enough for my point) and we can agree that the minimum is at least beyond normal strength, there exists a range of kokyu ability. I give example after example of people doing things at least beyond what I would consider normal strength, and you seem to suggest that those examples are probably not quite kokyu movement yet. I'm fine with that opinion, but it would be good to get a better picture of what you consider the bottom of the gradations since it seems to be a bit higher than what I would define as the minimum.

Rob
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Old 07-14-2005, 09:37 PM   #214
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
We agree kokyu movement is beyond normal strength. My opinion that power in movement beyond surface level "normal" strength in the aikido arena is at least a bit profound - meaning _to me_ "from the depths of your being" - to at least some relative degree since I think we continue to discover new deeper depths..
The problem here is that kokyu strength can certainly be beyond normal strength (although a weight-lifter, to grab an example, can have strength beyond someone's kokyu strength, depending on how hard a practice, size, etc.... so we still have to stay in the real world), but obviously not all supra-normal strength is kokyu. [[ Incidentally, there was a cute old saying that someone with really good kokyu/jin could beat a normal man, but a not a brass man or a wooden man... there's a reason.]]

Where you and I continually go at odds in this type of debate is that I try to explain how these strengths work, etc., as part of my thesis and you discuss "kokyu" assuming we must be talking about the same thing, yet you don't give a factual explanation to support the idea. That's what I meant about "facts". If we're not talking about the same thing... and if we are, you must understand it enough to be able to provide some factual support, how-to's, etc., at the least... then it's tough to start into a discussion about "gradations" since we're not even sure we're talking about the same "kokyu strength", if you follow my blunt, non-emotional viewpoint.
Quote:
Regardless, we can say for the moment that O-sensei can be the max (as it's high enough for my point) and we can agree that the minimum is at least beyond normal strength, there exists a range of kokyu ability. I give example after example of people doing things at least beyond what I would consider normal strength, and you seem to suggest that those examples are probably not quite kokyu movement yet.
No, if you go look even at your last example, I'm satisfied with the *possibility* that you're talking about kokyu... I just wouldn't consider that level "profound". Again, what stops me from making a commitment is that you describe things that must be kokyu, in your opinion, but you've never given me any information that indicates positively you would be able to differentiate kokyu from something else. There's a reason for saying there's "internal", there's "external", and there's "rattan" (combination)... some things are mixtures. I hope you see the stumbling block for me.
Quote:
I'm fine with that opinion, but it would be good to get a better picture of what you consider the bottom of the gradations since it seems to be a bit higher than what I would define as the minimum.
"Bottom of gradations" for whom? Beginner? Nikkyu? Sandan? Teacher? Student? You see my problem with the open question of "minimum level". In my mind, since Aikido is a ki and kokyu art and not just a "technique" art, there has to be a certain amount of those skills, IMO, to legitimize a "teacher" of the art. That's my opinion.

In the real world, I know that Aikidoists, like Taiji'ers, Xingyi, Bagua'ers, etc., for the most part are clueless that they're even missing something. Also, in the real world, I think that's always the way it's going to be. For instance, most people doing "Tai Chi" are doing hogwash role-playing and very darn few people (although I'm sure it's in the thousands) know how to use portions of real qi and jin... and again, that's to be expected. There will always be the separation of sheep and goats. So while I'll take a debate position, I'm not emotionally too concerned with it. The maximum worry I might have is that the "real true art" might be lost because there's so much not-Aikido around, but I honestly don't think that's a worry. I think there will always be a level of Aikido, Xingyi, Karate, etc., that will have the full skills and information and there will always be people with less-than-complete info. But it's good to talk these things through.

Mike
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Old 07-15-2005, 06:40 PM   #215
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman in the 'BS in fellow Aikidoka' thread wrote:
Although a smaller person's "technique" is very important, until a smaller person's ki, kokyu, and ability to manipulate kokyu are good, they won't have enough of an edge to beat larger people consistently, IMO. I guess I could argue that those things are a necessary part of really "good technique".
I read this on another thread and agreed with it, then realized I would be totally incapable of explaining to someone what I mean by these concepts -- and what I think of when I think of them may well be different than what others of you mean when you talk about them.

I get the feeling that's the same thing going on in this discussion, where the crux of the matter is that we can't even be sure we're meaning the same thing when we use the same words. Given that our only tool here in the forums is words, I'm not sure we'll be able to achieve clarity -- but I'm hoping we'll get close enough as people define the key points more clearly and give examples if possible, so we won't be like the blind men and the elephant describing an elephant as being like a wall or a snake or a rope or a tree.

I'm hoping that by the time this thread winds down, I'll have the words I need to be able to explain. Keep it up!

Thanks,
Wendy
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Old 07-15-2005, 11:24 PM   #216
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Here's an interesting excerpt from the Thundering Aikido thread:
http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread...newpost&t=8535

My emphasis in bold.

Quote:
Abe left a great impression on Matsuoka, imparting much insight into aikido spirituality, the relationship between the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Affairs, a Japanese historical text) and aikido, and the importance of kokyu (breath power) training. Indeed, what many aikido instructors simply write off as a warmup exercise, Abe spoke of in great detail.

He clearly explained how the "boat rowing" exercise built ki through its different vowel sounds, breathing patterns and rhythms. He also elucidated the section of the Kojiki from which the exercise was drawn. "We should feel a great effort concentrated at the hara when we practice it," Matsuoka explained. "That is how we build ki power and what differentiates these kinds of strength-building exercises from weightlifting."

Ignatius
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Old 07-16-2005, 09:10 AM   #217
Mike Sigman
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

I'm glad to see that emphasis on the rowing exercise, regardless of where it ultimately turns out to have come from (Abe may be correct or he may be exhibiting some sort of nationalist fervor... the results of the exercise don't depend on where it came from). I think it's probably the most important exercise, although I think you have to supplement it with others, of course. Particularly correct bokken swinging.

Mike
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Old 07-17-2005, 08:09 PM   #218
rob_liberti
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

okay. Well maybe my reductionist thinking has a flaw but here are the facts to me:
- ralph sensei doing a "kokyunage" throw of someone really large (filled the door frame not the 100 pound kicker or anything) and heavy like a pro football player (with the assumption that someone who likes the feeling of impacting someone full on is probably not throwing himself)
- the throw outwardly looked like someone doing a one handed push up - only rotated perpendicular to the floor of course. (not leading down so much, up and straight out)
- this person's shoulder damage prevents him from doing a push-up
Therefore it sees odd to me that it could be normal strength or a combination, but hey, that's the best example I can think of which seems to eliminate the normal or combination, but I won't continue to beat a dead horse.

I'm just not at the end of my "beyond normal strength" research, so I suppose we;ll just have to wait, forget about it, or you can further elaborate yourself. But it seems there is another thread on this now so I'll just happy go read that one.

Rob
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Old 07-17-2005, 08:49 PM   #219
Mike Sigman
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
- the throw outwardly looked like someone doing a one handed push up - only rotated perpendicular to the floor of course. (not leading down so much, up and straight out)
- this person's shoulder damage prevents him from doing a push-up
Therefore it sees odd to me that it could be normal strength or a combination, but hey, that's the best example I can think of which seems to eliminate the normal or combination, but I won't continue to beat a dead horse.
Could be. Hard to say, frankly. A lot of applying power is, as Shioda noted, a function of timing, focus, and direction. I know people that can do such things as you described fairly well, but who have little or no jin/kokyu abilities. Often when I do a workshop I start off by asking everyone to put 2 hands on my chest and just push me... it's immediately obvious who uses the ground and who still uses shoulder/arm. Yet some of those people could launch me into the air with normal strength, some combination of skills, etc. I.e., it's just hard to attribute someone with having good kokyu skills from just the description, etc.[/quote]

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-20-2005, 10:37 PM   #220
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
About the "years and years": From where I'm standing people go through the kyu ranks to learn enough external form to be a shodan... I see nidan as a rank about achieving some degree of flow - 2 to 12+ years. At that point I see sandan as the beginner rank where people should be so dissatisfied with the results of normal strength that they start to ... I see so many people attain some profound (_at least_ to them, but maybe very legitimate) level of understanding and then make the mistake of trying to start out all new students from that point.
I've seen some pretty good people in Japan take 12 years between sandand and yondan...
Rob
Rob - you make some good points but if I were you I'd thinkabout time carefully. If you think it will take 12 yeras, then it will. I now firmly believe that 'correct' knowledge and 'correct' teaching are fast routes to success. Part of the reason it takes so long is becuase we are all being led up the garden path: there is NO pre-determined way - known secretly by our senseis and divulged carefully as we progress. There is only what we realise through hard training and discover by accident. If someone could collect, pool, and classify this knowledege we could learn much more efficiently. It is part of what Bruce Lee said about escaping from the classical mess.

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Old 07-20-2005, 11:22 PM   #221
eyrie
 
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

I totally agree. The corollary of that is, how long and to what level would it take for someone to know enough to be able to teach this knowledge effectively to students of differing abilities. I feel that not enough is being done to pass on the ability to teach (as opposed to simply passing on technical knowledge).

Ignatius
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Old 07-21-2005, 07:58 AM   #222
rob_liberti
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Well I agree with both of your excellent points. The numbers were rough estimates from my experience. I agree that when someone is talented they can make decent progress in a short amount of time. I was just trying to explain why some people legitamately take "year and years" before approaching kokyu from a background where they are not actually willing to put in that much effort toward rethinking their most basic movements, having the feelings 'to chase after' (of someone ahead of them on the path who threw them with kokyu and other things), and having their normal strength forms of kihon waza worked out enough to be able to compare and really really feel a difference. And it can all happen in the same class as brand new folks - with a qualified teacher as Ignatius points out.

Note that I am not saying that teaching this kind of way is the _only_ way. Conversely, I seemed to have gotten the implication that anyone who didn't just start out rowing and practicing suburi UNTIL they made some progress in those areas were wasting their time on invalid paths - and I disagreed. I think you can do your rowing and suburi with self reflection daily and have normal aikido class (again with self reflection) with a decent teacher and make all kinds of wonderful progress.

Rob
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Old 07-21-2005, 08:35 AM   #223
Mike Sigman
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
The corollary of that is, how long and to what level would it take for someone to know enough to be able to teach this knowledge effectively to students of differing abilities. I feel that not enough is being done to pass on the ability to teach (as opposed to simply passing on technical knowledge).
I think there are a number of factors. One of them is "who you know that really knows". In my career I've seen that some rare people (sons, sons of friends or high-placed officials, etc.) get shown how to do things pretty early on. I.e., the "good" treatment involves showing the favored few how to do things right off the bat. The fact that so many of us had to work for tidbits of information is "The Way", it's just a sign that we didn't get the Star Treatment.

In serious traditional arts, you get shown the valuable starting methods of ki and kokyu things *before* you're allowed to start working on forms and techniques... everyone knows that going back and trying to correct fixed incorrect habits is very difficult. To me this whole idea of "it will come when it is time" bespeaks enormous naivete and misunderstanding of the situation.

The other factor is the idea that you gradually work this into your practice a little at a time, you change the class emphasis a bit and focus so everyone is doing a little bit longer Aiki-Taiso and so on. That is a HUGE misunderstanding. It just won't happen. Almost everyone has the idea that once they grasp the general idea, they're about 80% there and it will just take some buffing and polishing to finish it up. In actuality, you have to begin to deliberately move this new way at home, at work, in supplemental exercises (anyone who thinks you become skilled in ki and kokyu from going to 3 2-hour classes a week is in dreamland). If you think about the original uchideshi, etc., and how much time they spent per day, it should ring a bell. They didn't put in all that work just for "longer hours"... they worked at the basic skills for many more hours than most "Aikidoists" do in order to get those ki and kokyu skills. How many people do you know that even do the simple stuff like 500-1000 bokken swings per day? Dang few, I'd bet.

In reality, most of Aikido (and other arts, too), particularly in the West, has experienced dabblers teaching new dabblers. I hate to be cynical, but then again I wouldn't want to change my basic personality, either.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-21-2005, 09:25 AM   #224
rob_liberti
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

That reminds me of a story from Dan Mesisco sensei. He got to train in Korea and in Japan. He told me how some of his aikido friends from Hombu dojo didn't think that the Tang Soo do folks could have any kokyu power. So, he arranged for those friends to go to Korea with him and try to do kokyu tanden ho. The Tang Soo Do guys sat cross legged and were quite good - much much better than the aikido folks thought they would be. Dan sensei explained that these guys practiced doing every single movement from center from the time they woke up until they slept - for about 3 years (to the point of things being really absurd).

Anyway, I can't think of a time that self-coordination habits I was working on in the dojo didn't end up being practiced almost non-stop all day long either. From adjusting the mirror in my car to make sure I held my neck optimally while driving to making funny slow hand/wrist movements while walking down the hall at work (making some people wave back with a strange kind of look on their face), etc..

I don't know, really. I guess I'm just not sure who learns things in the dojo and then completely forgets about them until a few days later at their next class, but they are probably not ready yet for any kind of breakthrough.

Rob
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Old 07-21-2005, 09:50 AM   #225
Mike Sigman
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Re: Highest Level Martial Arts and Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
That reminds me of a story from Dan Mesisco sensei. He got to train in Korea and in Japan. He told me how some of his aikido friends from Hombu dojo didn't think that the Tang Soo do folks could have any kokyu power. So, he arranged for those friends to go to Korea with him and try to do kokyu tanden ho. The Tang Soo Do guys sat cross legged and were quite good - much much better than the aikido folks thought they would be. Dan sensei explained that these guys practiced doing every single movement from center from the time they woke up until they slept - for about 3 years
I dunno.... if you ask every teacher on this forum, they'll all tell you that they and their students do their movement "from their center". And they're sure they do, I'll bet.

Practicing Aikido correctly with your center and kokyu is like going to heaven..... everyone wants to do it.... but not yet.

Mike
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