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Old 08-23-2005, 05:07 AM   #51
Larry John
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
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Re: quickness & accuracy

My thanks to you, David, for all of the time and effort you obviously put into what you're doing.

The folks at my office have often said that I have a peculiar talent for creating BFO's (Blinding Flashes of the Obvious). Hopefully it's useful to others--it has appeared to have been for me. My poor fevered brain gets too easily cluttered by distractions for me to retain long text passages.

Self delusion is a tough thing to fight. For me, it has often taken the hard light of outwardly imposed reality (a well-placed atemi, a less-than-stellar performance review or a "frank discussion" with a spouse) to get my to recognize that what I thought I knew or was doing well was not so. After fifty years of what some might call "significant emotional events" you'd think I'd recognize my own delusions more readily, but I'm not sure that's actually the case. Hey, at least I have something familiar to look forward to!

Oh, for any who are curious, here's a link to the Rule of Saint Benedict in a single file. It's a tad long, but,as David observes, can be well worth reading and contemplation (http://www.kansasmonks.org/RuleOfStBenedict.html).

Warm Regards,
Larry

Last edited by Larry John : 08-23-2005 at 05:17 AM.

Larry
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Old 08-23-2005, 10:39 AM   #52
toyamabarnard
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Hello Everyone,

First I apologize for the length needed here. Second, to David, Thank you for these videos, I think they're excellent. I'll tell you a little about me: I am 28 now and a practitioner of Aikido (although I've been away for some time) I WILL NOT claim to be a master or expert (or even of rank) at any style nor will I tell you I'm the greatest fighter in the world. I'm just a man uncontent to wander through life unknowing. I learned about fighting the way most did when I was young, by getting in to fights (though I avoid fighting or even harsh words whenever I can now). This uncivilized smashing and tugging at each other made no sense to me, so I started looking for a better way.

I'm a little guy (6 ft 165 lbs) so standing toe to toe evenly seemed foolish. If we stop and look at other forms of training (i.e. Boxing and Kick Boxing.) we see that sparring sessions happen with frequency (I leave out Karate, Tae Kwon Do and others because the sparring is all done with prescribed techniques). How often can we expect someone to come at us with an Atemi, or even better a "roundhouse" kick? Very rarely? In my opinion, those who are trained in the arts have the mental capacity not to use it unless necessary (although I'm sure there are a few idiots out there who stray). How many "fights" now are done fairly? None. A fight is combat and the goal in combat for most is to destroy. Anything and everything can be used because there are no rules. If a man attacks me and throws me to the ground then tries to stomp on my head, am I wrong to bite his ankle till he falls no matter how barbarian? No, because my goal is survival, especially in unprovoked attacks.

As for the guys in the original video, I've never known a woman who would be happy about me fighting over her that I wanted to stay with, they are both obviously led by emotions, neither is thinking clearly, and no "technique" is applied unless you count trying to throw your opponent down and stomp on their head technique or (in the case of the white kid) giving up and just trying not to get hurt too bad. It does show a good amount of typical human character from the 2 guys going at it to all their "friends" without enough sense to step in and separate them.

Some of you know already that when an opponent is about to strike or move there are gestures the normal person makes. A shift of the eyes toward the intended target, "cocking back" the fist, even something as small as seeing the muscles in your attackers shoulder tense can be enough warning of a strike. I normal training the guides of attack and defense are set out for us and we don't NEED these signs, therefore we don't learn them. If I know exactly what technique I'm supposed to use because I know exactly what technique my "opponent" will use what do I learn outside muscle memory and proper technique? Not that these aren't important, they are the basis of our training.

Please bear with me as I don't have my copies of these books here at work (I may make an error in the quotes). O'Sensei mentioned on several occasions a point of white light in the path of the opponents attack, Sun Tzu said it is impossible to make someone else vulnerable, only possible to make yourself invulnerable, and YamaTsunetomo (Hagakure) wrote "There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking.", Musashi wrote of crossing at the ford, Takuan Soho spoke of No Mind, and many others I won't get in to in this message. All these speak of a response to your opponent's actions. Your opponent's actions dictate yours whatever they may be. You MUST be able to react to anything your opponent does to even be able to use any technique. I believe I heard Irimi Nage defined as Stepping in and taking control of your opponents destiny and I think I have a small understanding of maintaining my circle and disrupting the enemy's. All these fit together under the same principle, we do not train our opponent to act, we train ourselves to react. You absolutely MUST believe in victory and surrender after you are dead to "win". Training your spirit and your mind are as important, if not more so, than training your body. In time your muscles will slack and your body become frail and weak, this is time we can't change that, but your spirit and mind can remain strong long after.

I think these types of drills are necessary if you follow the way for more than challenging yourself. How many times have we heard "Cover your face" "keep your head up" "keep your eyes open" or "Is smashing your opponents fist with your face a new style you came up with?"? In most fights people are guided by anger and fear, and do not think rationally. To apply anything you've learned (in fact to make it out without serious injury) you must be able to find your center and stay calm. It is very easy for me to saty calm and follow proper technique when I know what they are and I hear Sensei tell me to begin and end while facing someone whose skill / style I know. Most fears come from the unknown which is what you face. I have asked untrained friends to do the same type of drill and mix it up to learn how I will TRULY react and fix as many flaws as possible in myself. So, to wind my tirade down, I believe this type of training allows you to learn that you may get hit, to take a hit, and how to react and learn how to NOT get hit. If you don't do it now, my opinion is start (in your classes, with a friend, with your significant other [Don't hit them, just ask them to hit you, you might be surprised at how eager they can be ] or however else you can think of) it WILL benefit you. Thank you all for your time. Respectfully submitted, Brian A. Barnard
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Old 08-23-2005, 10:46 AM   #53
senshincenter
 
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Charles,

This is also how I would tie this topic into the thread. For me, when I look at that video, I see people that are reduced to lower levels of technical applicability NOT because they are out of shape, not trained in the latest kick-ass martial trend, unable to do Osensei's jo trick, etc. Rather, there are mind issues demonstrated in that video that are the issues that need to be addressed if we are going to ask and answer, "What do we do in our training to be able to deal with a barrage of strikes?" That is why for me, from this perspective, it may not be enough to say, "Just irimi." Nor would it be enough to say, "We need to sharpen the edge on our Aikido techniques so that they can deal with real-world punches and not just abstracts like tsuki -- let's add ground-fighting and/or see what else Daito-Ryu has to offer." Etc.

For me, these mind issues are the heart of Budo training. To be sure, Budo is a vast beast, and it has had many hearts, and most likely will come to have many more as it survives into the future, however, for me, it is a focus upon the heart/mind that makes our practice viable in these present times. Thus, my training, our training at our dojo, is focused around this. For us, by placing the heart/mind at the center of our training, and not things like technical mastery, ki development, or martial victory, etc., we not only come to see these things through the center of the heart/mind, we come to see these potentially mundane things as being related to deeper aspects of our inner selves. We bring to them a spiritual quality -- one that comes to them via our investment of self, which is of its own accord of the Divine/spiritual.

In the end then, from this point of view, we are talking about bringing an overall depth to our training. What does that mean? That means that we can perform our technical mastery within more situations even though they may be varied by levels of intensity or by degrees of dissimilarity. That means that we cultivate ki development or ki sensitivity not only in terms of various feats we can perform under controlled conditions but more importantly within real-life encounters, such as those with our spouses, our children, our friends, etc. That means that we can grasp the rule that victory over the self is the only true victory. This is important, I feel, because it is only through depth that we have any real chance of bringing the lessons and accomplishments we may gain through Aikido training off the mat and into the real world -- be that martially or spiritually or socially, etc. For the human being, there is only one way to add such depth -- one must go inward.

For these reasons, yes, I do believe it is the role of the teacher (as leader of a dojo or as in a person in a position of authority within the dojo) to provide a training environment/situation where the quality of the heart/mind will reveal itself and thus expose itself to the risk of reconciliation. I also believe it is the teacher's role to assist in addressing the student in those times when it does. How is that done? Well, as there are infinite ways for each heart/mind to reveal itself, supported by infinite reasons for that revelation, there must also be an infinite way for a teacher to offer guidance and support. As infinite as things must remain, however, some core elements continually come up because we are ultimately all of the same inner self -- such as the great significance that must be afforded to community. In fact, it is because we all share in these core elements that spirituality can even exist.

These core elements go on to function along with other types of things that together work synergistically to produce an environment that is fertile in terms of producing the fruits of such aimed for labors. For example, in regards to the notion of community (mentioned earlier in this thread), a dojo that offers such training must have an extremely strong sense of intimacy. That is to say, intimacy issues must be both cultivated and supported by the dojo overall. Thus, things like etiquette, for example, are more geared toward addressing the revealing of the heart/mind and not just the smooth operation of a group of different people that want to exercise together. Hence, etiquette is not just a prescription for behavior but is something that actually comes to rest upon a moral code that is geared toward cultivating those things that can support heavier and heavier amounts of intimacy - that can then go on to support heavier and heavier amounts of self-revelation, etc.

In short, a dojo is a kind of body, made up of parts that must all function toward the wellness of a whole. Therefore, as a teacher seeks to address, or guide, or support, or share, etc., via the process of self-revelation, those actions will themselves have to address, be guided by, supported by, and share in the overall wellness of the dojo/community. I feel it is important to point this out because it is this sense of a total environment that really gives potency to any possible guidance a teacher might actually give his/her student. This means that one cannot simply take some of the examples I am about to offer as an explanation of what such guidance might look like without understanding that such action must take place within a specific context. In fact, we should note, the same action outside of the appropriate context would in all likelihood produce the opposite effect of the one intended.

So far, in this thread, two common types of disengagement have been mentioned: laughing and alienating and/or distancing oneself from one's attacker. Please allow me to speak generally in regards to these things -- mainly using laughing as my example. In addressing these actions, a teacher must understand the "urge" to disengage. A teacher should be able to understand this because the "urge" is shared between them. It is located in the nature of our humanity, which is precisely why anyone who does these drills, anywhere, anytime, comes up against these various types of disengagement and the core urge that supports them. In addressing this urge, at its simplest, a teacher will make use of two primary elements: truth and the student's commitment to his/her training. Thus, a dojo that approaches this training must have ways of cultivating and of giving value to both truth and commitment. If in the dojo there is no value placed upon truth and/or commitment, or if in the dojo there are no means of cultivating higher degrees of truth and/or commitment, a teacher is at a great disadvantage then, as is the student as well.

When a student laughs through such a drill, it is because they are inspired to not take it seriously. They are inspired to not take it seriously because of the delusion that supports their reality. That is to say, there is some sense within them that what is happening is not really real -- because it does not jive with their (deluded) sense of reality. In other words, as in any type of humor, there is a distance present between what is happening and what is expected. What is happening is that they are being pummeled. What is supposed to be happening, what is expected, what is their "reality," is that they are not supposed to be pummeled. If they are a black belt -- that is supposed to be proof that they should not be getting hit. If they have been training for many years (whatever they think is "many years") -- that is supposed to be proof that they should not be getting hit. If they are working out with a partner that they are senior to -- that is supposed to be proof that they should not be getting hit. If they are stronger than their partner -- that is supposed to be proof that they should not be getting hit. If they are male and their partner is female -- that is supposed to be proof that they should not be getting hit. If they do yoga or practice zazen -- that is supposed to be proof that they are not supposed to be getting hit. If they have "won" many street fights -- that is supposed to be proof that they should not be getting hit. Etc. However, they are getting hit! Moreover, they are getting hit multiple times, at will almost (or perhaps so), and they are getting hit by smaller folks with less rank and with less experience, etc.

At this point, for some, an instructor can point out the truth by simply saying, "You are getting hit." The deshi more committed to the truth and that have more self-responsibility in their commitment to their training will respond by not only not laughing, by not only no longer seeking to disengage themselves from the drill, but by also coming to shine a bright light on their delusion. Thus, they will come to question the very foolish notions that were making such a drill humorous (i.e. distant from a "reality"). That is to say, folks will gain more truth concerning what a black belt means (or does not mean), what "senior" means, what "stronger" means, what "gender" means, what "winning" means, what "yoga" and "zazen" mean, etc.

Other deshi, those not yet as cultivated in truth and commitment may perhaps wish to support such humor, such distance from "reality," such delusion, with rationalizations. Again, this is a universal mark of our humanity. Why? Because delusions are never experienced as fantasy -- they can only be experienced as real and therefore they are often supported with those things that mark anything that is real -- such a reason. However, because these realities are of delusion, such reason is always plagued by internal contradiction and/or inconsistency. The delusion feels and can sound real because it is blind to its own contradictions and/or inconsistencies in reason. Therefore, a teacher must find the contradiction and/or the inconsistency and bring it to the light of the deshi's mind. For example, some deshi will say that the drill cannot be done -- that too much advantage is given to the attacker to not make this drill humorous/silly. The simplest way of exposing this rationalization as false is to put forth the example of it being done as a teacher. It is very hard to say it cannot be done when your teacher is doing it right in front of you -- with you. Toward this same end, a teacher might alter the drill when working with this deshi so that even more advantage is given to the deshi as attacker -- to show that even then the attacker cannot find his/her mark as the student is claiming he/she would. Alternately, or additionally, a teacher might seek to re-orient the deshi's rationalizations. This can be done by demonstrating and/or explaining how the structures of the drill do and/or can resemble various aspects of what the deshi feels is relevant to combat reality. For example, a teacher can ask, "So you are getting hit, should you lose your metsuke because you are getting hit? Isn't metsuke important in your reality?" Or, "So you are getting hit, should you be chasing fakes and feints all over the place like you are? Isn't it important to not have a mind that chases fakes and feints in your reality?" Or, "What if your attacker had a knife -- what would all those hits to your body/head mean then? Etc.

How ever a teacher wishes to shine a light in that place where reason breaks of its own accord due to its attachment to delusion, it is important for a teacher to note that they cannot make themselves fall outside of what is reasonable. That is to say, deshi that are more resistant to accepting the truth and/or toward cultivating more self-responsibility in their commitment to their training, and that use rationalization to support such lack of (directed) effort, often find a way of placing one's teacher outside of what is rational. This often takes the shape of hero-worship, etc. -- things that make the teacher extraordinary. For this reason, it is very important that a teacher remain ordinary. Everything in the dojo must work to keep the teacher just a human -- like anyone else, like everyone else. This is key! I cannot stress enough how counter productive it may be for a teacher to posit oneself as extraordinary -- as Enlightened, as Awakened, as in possession of some fantastic power, as possessed by some great spirit, as a barer of a secret teaching, as the heir of some noble lineage, etc. In the quest to purify the spirit, it is vital that we as teachers seek to be no ones of particular interest. We must remain, not only in our own minds, but also in the minds of our deshi, men and women like any other. In the dojo, we must be the cook, the servant, the one that scrubs on our hands and knees, the one that holds and cares for everyone's children, that gives of our time and our resources off of the mat, etc. We cannot stand above the dojo, and to make sure that such a thing never occurs it is best to seek to stand below everyone else -- holding everyone else up. This is the context that supports us as we entertain the various rationalizations of our deshi.

Now some students will awake to the openings in their own rationalizations. Some will not, some will hold out, some will continue to laugh -- to disengage from the drill for fear of what it is revealing about their "reality." At this point, for the most part, a teacher will have to rely on the constructs of the drill to mark both the truth and the deshi's commitment to his/her own training. The drill was about staying aware and about putting that awareness to a martial use. The drill is proclaiming that an intimate relationship exists between awareness and martial capacity. Laughing, disengaging, is a lack of awareness. The drill can still serve its purpose by presenting itself negatively and/or by its contrast. That is to say, as the student laughs (disengages) more, the student becomes more unaware of what is happening, becomes more incapable of martially addressing the situation. This was the point of the drill -- the student is learning this inversely, not regardless of the laughing but through the laughing. An instructor can also play with the intensity of the drill to make this more obvious (harder to deny) to the student. For example, an instructor can ask students to pick up the pace and/or to now perform the drill while the defender has his/her back to a wall (restricting all movement). Additionally, an instructor can place a line between the student and his/her urge to laugh/disengage -- such that the student is not only laughing, he/she has to cross a line to laugh. The instructor places this line before the student by saying, "Stop laughing, you are losing awareness."

At this point, should the student continue to resist what is being revealed, the drill's efficacy must remain within two other aspects. These two aspects are: the mundane elements of the drill (i.e. having a more free-for-all experience in one's practice, seeing and/or feeling strikes coming in at various angles and at various timings, etc.) and the overall context (i.e. the dojo environment) in which the drill is taking place. It is through the overall dojo environment, that context of the drill, one that is geared toward valuing and cultivating truth and commitment to one's training, that the deshi comes to this drill again, later, but not in the same way -- having more chance, for having done the drill and for participating in the rest of the dojo environment - to accept and reconcile what is being revealed.

I have chosen to deal here mainly with "laughing," and only very generally, but the structures I have mentioned here are universal to this entire process. As things alter, as different types of disengagement arise, as different delusions come to be supported by different rationalizations, as different emotions capture us, the ways that these things can be addressed by a teacher will remain but variations on these universals. If you were to pull them out of this reply here, they would be: context, commonality, servitude, consistency, humanity, community, truth, and commitment.


Thank you, and please forgive the delay in my reply to your question,
david

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 08-23-2005, 01:19 PM   #54
Adam Alexander
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Jean, I know how much we in the yoshinkan and similar schools love kata (I do myself) but this is a case of a distinction between Waza and Kata. Kata will not likely help in the situation posed here. Waza, on the other hand, probably would.
I see kata as teaching the basics. If, during these drills, you fail to hit the basic (getting the grab or recognizing the energy that's coming) then an Aikidoka is nowhere near ready for the technique.

So, although the drill calls for technique, I'd say that (if it's actually the exercise I gather it is), if you're failing to even carry out the initial stage of a technique, then you're short on kata.

Just what I think I see, but I don't know.
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:29 PM   #55
L. Camejo
 
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Re: quickness & accuracy

David,

Great to see that the concept we were speaking of in another thread evolving and being applied to an even deeper level in this one. It took a while to read the whole thread, but all good and poignantt stuff so far. Keep those thoughts coming, you are helping me clarify and refine my own approach to this sort of training.

Quote:
So, although the drill calls for technique, I'd say that (if it's actually the exercise I gather it is), if you're failing to even carry out the initial stage of a technique, then you're short on kata.
The above makes sense in some cases, but mostly the stuff that happens at the initial stage of a technique or even before the technique is not developed very much by kata (forms) training. Also, many drills actually do not call for technique, but an openness to one's own weaknesses in mind/body movement and a desire to address them through an exercise that is specifically designed to challenge and develop certain things in the mind/body relationship.

The reason that kata training does not develop these things so much is because certain elements such as ma ai, metsuke, mushin, sensitivity and ability to respond to subtle changes in motion/intent/power of an attack are either already present (i.e. pre-set) or non-existent (not addressed) in the practice of set forms where the role and movements of Uke and Nage are already determined. In this sort of practice, one's aim is to emulate these roles (i.e. reproduce the form) to the best of one's ability, not focus so much on the peripheral elements that make the form applicable to the situation (i.e. finding the best response to Uke's movements and "attack").

As such it is highly unlikely that further practice of kata addresses this problem, one needs to isolate what is lacking in one's response before the technique or kata has even started (what I call the "setup" phase). In Shodokan and Judo I think, this is referred to as tsukuri practice and is not technique-specific, but designed on training instinctive responses that allow one to adapt instantly to sudden and constant change, and as such is not a part of kata training per se but more toward the creation of basic structures that one can develop in randori or free play.

Kata practice is great and important, but it is not a cure all that sufficiently addressess the "peripheral" or non-waza aspects that are necessary for quality spontaneous Aikido practice imho.

Just my thoughts.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:01 PM   #56
Adam Alexander
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
...The reason that kata training does not develop these things so much is because certain elements such as ma ai, metsuke, mushin, sensitivity and ability to respond to subtle changes in motion/intent/power of an attack are either already present (i.e. pre-set) or non-existent (not addressed) in the practice of set forms...
I guess my understanding of kata is different. All things you mention are addressed when I practice kata.

Ma ai: Various techniques and ukes have different ma ai's. By practicing various kata with various uke, you develop an inherent understanding of ma ai.

Metsuke: If you make a conscious effort to be aware of it, you'll be practicing it. I think it's the same awareness as a previous poster said you should have during these drills.

Mushin: It's all about perspective. If you step up to the line to perform a technique, stay aware of all directions and maintain a conscious, yet non-committed, awareness of the technique to be performed, I think that works on mushin.

I think sensitivity and ability is the result of the type of practice I describe above.


Just my thoughts. I'm not trying to say the stuff is good or bad. I just don't see how you'd benefit from it anymore than you would kata.
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:45 PM   #57
Ron Tisdale
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Re: quickness & accuracy

There is kata, and then there is kata, and, then, there is kata.

Most aikido is loosely based on kata.

Yoshinkan (and other forms of aikido) sees kata much the way Jean spoke of it.

Some forms of Daito ryu may take an even more serious look at kata...emphasising exactly the things both Larry and Jean spoke of.

I have felt a shiver run down my back watching the kata of some koryu. Not alive? You've got to be kidding me...

Best,
Ron (remembering Ellis's kiai, and half of a composite bokkuto flying sans tsuka)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-24-2005, 12:52 PM   #58
Adam Alexander
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
There is kata, and then there is kata, and, then, there is kata.
Spoken like a true Aikidoka...that explains it
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:32 PM   #59
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Here's the kicker though - everyone who does kata pretty much thinks like that. Heck - you are supposed to. I do too. If you grasp the fundamentals of training, you understand kata like this. You have to. Only, thinking and doing are two different things. And again - everyone realizes that too. That's not news to anyone. We all know this. And YET, when we only do kata, and/or when we have not done these (types of) drills before and then attempt them, etc., we notice that not everything from kata is readily transferable. It can be, it should be, but it very often isn't, and it isn't because it doesn't HAVE to be.

Somewhere in kata or in how we approach kata or in how we attempt to "transfer" what we learn in kata to some other place, etc., there exists a very real possibility that some very important things don't make the gap from a live kata to a living application. I'm sure there are many reasons for this - some of them are very traditional and are very much a part of kata training - some of them are new to our modern era (i.e. make use of a newer discourse) - but the statistical fact remains: I have never seen anyone that trains in just kata come into this drill and/or these types of drills and see them move like they do in kata and/or see them move as if they had any kind of training at all (e.g. often the training they do have hinders them so they can end up worse off than someone that had no such formal training - heck - Takuan mentions this one, so this problem is very old). In this way, the gap that reveals itself is very much like the one that is experienced by folks that haven't underwent any kind of adrenaline dump training - they find that first one is quite determining in what they can and can't do.

From here, often, many of us run to the "reason" that real life shouldn't look like kata - so we excuse the gap that is really there between what we train in and what we are able to do, but then this reason doesn't account for the folks that can make real life applications look just like kata training sessions - because their body/mind is quite capable of making the transfer from live kata to living art - because they are quite capable of takemusu aiki and not just applying arm bars, trips, and jamming strategies, etc. Those people do these types of drills as part of their kata training.

I hate to repeat the ol' line of "You got to try it to get it" - I generally think that is such crap - but the first two drills are so easy to repeat on your own and the effects are so readily amplified that you cannot really have a hard time gaining some relative insight in regards to this "gap," that I would still like to suggest that folks give them a try - to see for your own self what is transferable and what is not. Again, I do not think this falls outside of kata training and/or in place of kata training. For me, this is just part of the a larger whole - one that will indeed come to make kata training (i.e. kihon waza training) even more alive when you return to it after having done this other type of training.

david

Last edited by senshincenter : 08-24-2005 at 02:43 PM.

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Old 08-24-2005, 03:00 PM   #60
Ron Tisdale
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Another good post David. One question...do you have problems yourself (as the person being attacked) finding someone who is able to bring sufficient pressure to bear?

Thanks,
Ron (did I spell that bear correctly?)

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Old 08-24-2005, 03:20 PM   #61
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Hi Ron,

Yeah - I do that too. I think it should be spelled "bare" but you are right, it's "bear" (like to bear arms/bring weapons to bear, etc.) - go figure.

Well, let's see, I've been doing that drill and those types of drills for nearly most of my training - I started in 84' and started playing with those types of drills by at least 86'. Today, if I do get my ass handed to me, let's say I can see it clearly being handed to me and I can accepted it calmly - lol. I'm am able to keep my awareness as I might be getting pummeled into the floor. The great part is that when the drill is opened up - or when we do other drills with less restrictions on both sides - that same situation most often turns around as I am through that lasting awareness able to SOMEHOW "find" that one opening I need to relieve the pressure and/or to apply pressure in my favor. If on the other hand I find I am working with someone that cannot apply adequate "pressure" for further insights (no matter what) I will very often place further restrictions on myself - such as putting my back against a wall and restricting myself from all movement and/or relying on only one arm to provide any necessary Angle of Deflection, etc. In short, there are always ways to increase the pressure no matter who you are going with and/or how skilled you may become. Moreover, there are other drills beside these - these are only beginner drills. The more advanced drills tend to be insightful no matter who you go with, nor how many times you go with the same person - this is because the variables are just too numerous and dynamic to ever become "stale".

Thanks,
david

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Old 08-24-2005, 08:35 PM   #62
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
There is kata, and then there is kata, and, then, there is kata.

Most aikido is loosely based on kata.

Yoshinkan (and other forms of aikido) sees kata much the way Jean spoke of it.

Some forms of Daito ryu may take an even more serious look at kata...emphasising exactly the things both Larry and Jean spoke of.
Hi Ron,

So I guess there is kata training where one's partner utilises unknown, unplanned, targeted continuous attacks, constantly fakes, jabs and deliberately tries to destroy his partner's ma ai by sudden changes, utilises muscular or positional resistance and other pressure methods to place his partner in a place where his mind/body movement, toitsu ryoku and kokyu ryoku (not his waza) are truly tested or otherwise enticed to fail, thereby helping him to improve. Would be interesting to see this sort of kata practice imo.

We tend to refer to kata practice as the cooperative, choreographed practice of technical form, whereas the above stuff I mentioned falls into either drills that are not specifically technique-oriented, but designed to train certain fundamentals that can be applied to technique; or randori practice. I always thought the Hiriki no Yosei practice of Yoshinkan (we have a similar counterpart) was a drill to train movement fundamentals and focus of power, breathing and relaxation, not kata (actual techniques and forms) practice per se.

I guess one learns something new every day.

Happy training.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 08-24-2005 at 08:39 PM.

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Old 08-25-2005, 07:38 AM   #63
Ron Tisdale
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Hi Ron,
Hi Larry, Of course I do understand the difference between kata and free sparring/free play...but lets look at some of the areas you mention. Others should feel free to chime in here, especially if I mention something I've seen that they do:

Quote:
So I guess there is kata training where one's partner utilises unknown, unplanned, targeted continuous attacks, constantly fakes, jabs [
I would generally say no here. What I have seen (and to some extent experienced) is a teacher putting pressure on a student by taking a kata where they know the basic movements, putting them in a pressure situation (like a public demo), and then inspite of the fact that it is a kata, attacking them with a full commitment to the engagement.

Quote:
...and deliberately tries to destroy his partner's ma ai by sudden changes, utilises muscular or positional resistance and other pressure methods to place his partner in a place where his mind/body movement, toitsu ryoku and kokyu ryoku (not his waza)
are truly tested or otherwise enticed to fail, thereby helping him to improve.
Yes, this I have seen and experienced to some extent. Just because you are performing kata doesn't mean that an experienced person can't change the timing, commitment, angle, distance of an attack, amount of muscular resistance. I have seen koryu members do this in person...at the first aiki expo, as an example. Ellis attacked his student with so much power his partner's composite bokken (those very rarely fail, its the *only* time I've seen it happen) snapped. He called out "kodachi" and switched the kata to short sword vs long sword. His partner responded fluidly...I saw no gap in intent. I can tell you right now *I* would have failed that test.

Quote:
Would be interesting to see this sort of kata practice imo.
Try making some of the aiki expos, or certain koryu demonstrations.

Quote:
We tend to refer to kata practice as the cooperative, choreographed practice of technical form, whereas the above stuff I mentioned falls into either drills that are not specifically technique-oriented, but designed to train certain fundamentals that can be applied to technique; or randori practice.
Well, bully for y'all!

Quote:
I always thought the Hiriki no Yosei practice of Yoshinkan (we have a similar counterpart) was a drill to train movement fundamentals and focus of power, breathing and relaxation, not kata (actual techniques and forms) practice per se.
Absolutely correct, Hiriki no Yosei (elbow power) is not a kata. It is a basic movement. Why would you think that I thought of it as kata?

Quote:
I guess one learns something new every day.
Well, maybe today will be one of those days When I refer to kata in the yoshinkan, I'm refering to things like the 150 basic techniques, performed with a partner, united basic movements and related technique, things like that. The movements are set...shite and uke know basically what's coming. What they don't necessarily know is what the power, speed, exact distances, timing, of the attacks will be. All of these things can and often are varied. All I am saying is that there are many ways to change the nature of the kata to make it more alive. And I've never seen it (in the yoshinkan) approach the nature of what I saw Ellis and his partner do. Which is why I told Jean that I didn't believe kata was what was needed in the situation discussed. Waza, on the other hand, probably would have helped, in my opinion. As would randori, obviously.

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-25-2005, 02:58 PM   #64
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Hi Ron,

Your last post was a good clarifier. In the end it seems like we are saying the same thing in different ways. Though imho periodic variances in ma ai and other aspects during the performance of kata do not work as well (as a developmental tool) as targeted drills designed to address certain issues. The simple reason is because during the practice of kata, one is still pretty focused on executing technique correctly, hence the amount and depth of awareness being applied to other things may not be as deep as they can be in a targeted training drill.

Using the example of Hiriki no Yosei - it is a great exercise to understand how to focus elbow power during movement, which can later be applied to waza like Shi ho Nage and many many others. However, though the continuous kata practice of Shi Ho Nage can also help one develop one's elbow power, during the practice of the architectural structures (form or kata) of Shi Ho Nage, one's focus may be more concerned with other aspects of the kata such as alignment, positioning, extension, kuzushi, atemi etc. All this means is that one still develops elbow power during kata training, but one does not focus on and internalise the deeper elements of breath, thought, alignment, movement etc. that help generate elbow power as is done in a targeted exercise like Hiriki no Yosei. To me, the difference merely comes down to what is one's primary focus during either kata, randori or drill type training. Each one is better than the other for different elements of one's development. My only point is that it is not always best to use a wrench to drive in a nail, even if it could do the job.

I hope this clarifies.

Also, I plan to meet Ellis at the Budoseek / Gulf Coast Martial Arts Winter Camp in Jan. 2006 in New Orleans, should be much fun.

Happy training.
LC

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Old 08-25-2005, 03:00 PM   #65
Ron Tisdale
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Hi Larry,

Agreed. Ask Ellis to do that monkey kiai he does. Quite interesting.

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-25-2005, 03:48 PM   #66
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Re: quickness & accuracy

I guess it's the same in all cases...what works for me isn't necessarily what works for others. In the times that my training has been called upon, I didn't feel a lack of transfer from kata to application. However, since I don't know everything there is to know about kata, I imagine there might be some stuff that I didn't notice transfer just because I haven't experienced it yet...if that makes sense.

What I do know, in the situations I've been in, it's always been reflex. My body moved before I knew what was happening...and that's because of kata.

However, I've been in fights as a youngster before training and maybe that gives me something that someone else would get from the drills.

I don't know.
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Old 08-26-2005, 02:20 PM   #67
Charles Hill
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Re: quickness & accuracy

David,

Thanks so much for your explanation. I downloaded the appropriate software and so was able to view the videos. That plus your commentary have inspired a lot of thought and I am now thinking of how to incorporate stuff.

A couple of comments,

I understand that any negative reaction during such drills is likely due to a number of causes. One of which is likely to be not feeling safe (psychologically) with one's training partners. I think that there needs to be a kind of "We are all in this together, helping each other" attitude before one can relax into or trust in the drills to do their work. I think the best way to do this is a lot of cooperative kata training. If we define "kata" as fixed role-playing of a combative situation as opposed to "drill" which might be defined as unfixed or semi-fixed role-playing of a combative situation, kata is obviously less psychologically demanding. People new to martial arts or Aikido can start to find their bearings in this weird world of strange movements, customs, clothing, and language if everything is fixed. It is my experience that two beginners are much more likely to become friends than a newer person and a more experienced person. That is because they both see the other struggling just like themselves and that helps them form a bond. To me, this is the most important thing about beginning aikido.

I think that it is between two people who have formed a close relationship that drills can have the most positive effect. They can safely (psychologically) push each other. The point is not to test but to explore. When we are tested, we revert to what we already know. That is why I feel that a person should not be pushed too much during drills nor kata. And the less one is pushed psychologically the more they can be pushed physically, and vice versa. I think that the adrenal dump type training that is now the rage is for 1. to show the person their current reality and 2. how to work within those new-found parameters. I think that arts like Aikido and systema are different. Here, the main point is to expand what an individual is capable of. That is, adrenal training is testing and working with the results, Aikido is expanding capabilities.

I always read with chagrin posts which say that aikido is not effective because there is no resistance. This, in my opinion, is false. Resistance naturally happens when two members of a dojo start to trust and respect each other. I have done similar training as the drills on David's website. However, they were always informal and all of a sudden. One friend just suddenly starts to pour it on until both are on the ground and one person is pinned. Then both laugh and stand up to go on to the next technique. I do think that David's drills are a very good idea and I would probably greatly improve if I made my "free" training a little more structured.

Of course, this is just my current thinking and as always, I reserve the right to be wrong.

Charles
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Old 08-26-2005, 05:04 PM   #68
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Re: quickness & accuracy

I agree Charles, trust is very important here. This is why I tried to speak about having a context to such drills, having a community capable of supporting such drills, and/or, if necessary, trying these drills with a few friends or peers that you are close to, etc.

For me, Aiki is about relationships. When we opt to look at Aiki in this way, we may start by looking at things in terms of opposites and/or in terms of sameness, but then we move on to look at things in terms of harmony and in terms of blending, etc. If we keep going with this, soon we are going to look into those things that keep us from harmonizing, from blending -- from manifesting Aiki within all kinds of relationships, etc. So eventually, our practice is going to come head to head with issues like trust (or our incapacity to trust), but also with issues like faith (or our incapacity to have faith) and eventually even intimacy (or our incapacity to have intimacy), etc.

In a way then, training is not only that which requires things like trust, faith, and intimacy, it is also that thing which cultivates trust, faith, and intimacy. It cultivates these things by requiring these things. For that reason, I think we should probably understand these drills as NOT those things we cannot do if we do not have trust, but really as drills that help cultivate our capacity for trust, but also for faith and intimacy, etc. To be sure, this can and should also be what is happening in forms, but as with other elements, forms often fail us in this regard. Many times, forms can become a filter through which we actually alienate ourselves from others -- thus, many times, forms can cultivate alienation, not intimacy. We know, at least intuitively, that forms are done and/or can be done without raising issues of intimacy, etc. This is one reason why we can pretty much do Kihon Waza training with anyone around the globe (whereas in drills like these we are pressed to be not only in a very close relationship with someone but also in a very good relationship with someone).

Once a student came to our dojo from another local dojo -- she did not even get to this type of training yet. She was just on the verge -- with nearly all of her training coming to her through Kihon Waza. As you can imagine, each of us takes back what we learn and what we reconcile within these drills into Kihon Waza, which is something that is supposed to happen. So our Kihon Waza was operating in a different way or at a different place in her body/mind than hers was at her other dojo for her before. She was intuitively aware of this. Eventually, she just sort of halted her training. She said she could see how potent the training was, but that it was extremely difficult for her because all her life (these are her words) she has had "intimacy issues". She noted how close everyone was in the dojo and she felt that she could never open up like that, share like that, etc. When I told her that we all have intimacy issues, and that the resolving of these issues is one very good way of understanding Aikido training, she just could not believe me -- no faith, no trust. Sometimes forms are not enough, sometimes nothing is enough.

Sometimes, heck, every time, you just got to do what you got to do -- this is especially true in a system of practice that opts to cultivate things in you by requiring these things of you. We want there to be this notion of "first this, then that," but that is almost impossible in something so holistic and synergistic as Budo. So sometimes, heck, every time, you just go for it, cultivating faith by practicing faith because faith is required; cultivating trust by practicing trust because trust is required; cultivating intimacy by practicing intimacy because intimacy is required, etc.

Oh well… I'm rambling now -- thinking out loud.

Thanks very much for the reply and thank you very much for the effort to get the software so you could look at the videos. I am also grateful for your comments - very well said.

Much appreciation,
david

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Old 08-26-2005, 09:45 PM   #69
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Extremely well said David.

I think certain things are revealed about our inner selves via the vehicle of testing and chellenging, such as in the drills you gave and others. Imho a well designed test works to deeply examine what is known or seen in order to greater illuminate that which is unknown or unseen. This sort of training forces us to look deeper than our surface facades and what we allow ourselves to (sometimes falsely) believe. When we begin to see deeper and reveal the previously unseen, it may be a good idea to attempt to humbly understand and analyse what is revealed in order to learn and evolve instead of allowing the ego's protective response to reign and sweep things back under the rug or discontinuing the method which has gotten us to this new level of self realisation. Of course, not everyone can deal with self realisation and revelation in the same way. What is illuminating for one can be blinding for another so it is important for the Instructor and the individual to use these tools/drills with skill and in a measured way, based on the particular individual's needs.

I have also experienced in my own dojo what David spoke of regarding the student in his dojo who decided to discontinue training due to issues in other areas that needed addressing. It reminds me of the old adage about not breaking the mirror if you dislike the image, but to instead work on manifesting a better image. Often this marks the difference between the indivdiual who makes a breakthtrough in his/her training and moves to a higher level of understanding of the self through aikido practice and the other who is perpetually repeating form at the same level without any sort of development or insight into self or art.

This returns to the initial point of the thread regarding how one trains for certain types of highly stressful encounters e.g. quick, continuous attacks with intent. Without training the mind and body in a manner that allows it to gradually enter the realm of this sort of stress and experience the effects of low to high stress situations upon the self, then one never truly understands what is lacking, and hence what is required to deal with these situations.

I agree with Charles H. that Aikido is about expanding capabilites. But how does one expand something when one does not first test or check to find the limits of that which one is attempting to expand? It's sort of like learning to swim without ever seeing or touching water imho.

David: I just thought I'd let you know that your earlier posts on this thread regarding the psychological links to responses such as laughter, denial, quitting etc. has really helped me to make my own drills even more targeted and address certain previously unforeseen student needs. It has helped to add a whole new dimension and awareness to the feedback aspect of my teaching approach. Arigato Gozaimasu.

Keep those thoughts coming.

Happy training all.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 08-26-2005 at 09:52 PM.

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Old 08-27-2005, 11:22 AM   #70
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Re: quickness & accuracy

If I may, I'd like to touch on a few points:

I agree wholeheartedly that a lot of training in kata with each other is an excellent way to build trust. It is my belief however that that is also part of the problem with these types of drills. To have someone that I know and trust attack me does not seem in order. I believe this is where many of the psychological issues may stem from. In these drills it is necessary, for me at least, NOT to think of my "attacker" as someone I know and trust, and to detach myself from that harmony I share with this person. While it is impossible to create the feelings of "UN-safety" and maliciousness that would be presented in a real life situation, I find it very important to think of these attacks as coming from an opponent. After all I would have to call these drills much more psychological than physical in nature and while we are all aware of the physical effects an attack can have it is difficult to understand the psychological response we react to the situation with unless we've dealt with it before. In order to truly follow the path we must use Aikido both inside and outside of the Dojo. In time do we not change the way we breath, the way we walk, the way we look at the world outside of the Dojo? We begin to take a different outlook on everything as time progresses, of course, because this is the way we chose to follow. If I train as if I was always in harmony, I'd have little idea what to do when my harmony became disrupted.

Also I agree that 2 beginners are more likely to join if left to do so. This has obvious benefits of course such as progressing together. I also believe it is very important for, not only instructors, but senior students to try and bring newer members in. It was difficult for me walking in to understand the relationships between Aikidoka at my school. While there was camaraderie where I had trained previously, it was nowhere near to this. I believe that this too is part of the fundamental nature of Aikido. To bring a new student to this level of understanding is also one of our responsibilities.

I have also seen people leave because they couldn't accept the closeness shared between all those at the Dojo. I've had people I've never met tell me if there's anything they can do to help just ask (people that meant it), and on more than a few occasions been told that I'm welcome to train somewhere if I'm ever in town, even though I don't pay dues there. On a few occasions when times were rougher for me and thought I would have to take several weeks or months away I was told It to "bring what you can when you can". I've even had friends I've known for many years who did not train question the way I interact with other Aikidoka. It has been beyond me to explain these things to them though I try.

Friendship is a complicated thing to explain, but I feel I have a duty to my friends that follow the way (i.e. all of us) to help them to the extant I can along their path. This includes discussing philosophy, listening if they have a problem, or stepping up the pressure when the time is right. I would hope my friends feel the same.

As a former Law Enforcement Officer, it was standard learning to study the adrenaline dump (Through PPCT combat and the effects on the body and mind actually). I do not push this statistical knowledge at anyone, but I found it interesting to study. The content of the material I had was confined to basically Police Officers under duress. As we all know there are many factors to be taken in. By focusing (Centering, staying calm etc..) we can have some effect on the bodies systems. The human is a complex thing and the body can "learn" to do the "impossible". While we must still train the body, my opinion (though it may be wrong) is that it is also as important to train the mind and spirit (or train the mind and spirit to train the body).

Anyone can learn to fight, many can learn to fight and "win". I follow this path not to fight, but to overcome any of life's confrontations by bringing them to my Way, our Way. Sorry if I went a little astray.
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Old 08-27-2005, 11:27 AM   #71
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Was anyone else surprised at how easily he got on that fake armbar? Promising!
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Old 08-27-2005, 11:51 AM   #72
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Quote:
Brian Barnard wrote:
If I may, I'd like to touch on a few points:

I agree wholeheartedly that a lot of training in kata with each other is an excellent way to build trust. It is my belief however that that is also part of the problem with these types of drills. To have someone that I know and trust attack me does not seem in order. I believe this is where many of the psychological issues may stem from. In these drills it is necessary, for me at least, NOT to think of my "attacker" as someone I know and trust, and to detach myself from that harmony I share with this person. While it is impossible to create the feelings of "UN-safety" and maliciousness that would be presented in a real life situation, I find it very important to think of these attacks as coming from an opponent. After all I would have to call these drills much more psychological than physical in nature and while we are all aware of the physical effects an attack can have it is difficult to understand the psychological response we react to the situation with unless we've dealt with it before. In order to truly follow the path we must use Aikido both inside and outside of the Dojo. In time do we not change the way we breath, the way we walk, the way we look at the world outside of the Dojo? We begin to take a different outlook on everything as time progresses, of course, because this is the way we chose to follow. If I train as if I was always in harmony, I'd have little idea what to do when my harmony became disrupted.

Also I agree that 2 beginners are more likely to join if left to do so. This has obvious benefits of course such as progressing together. I also believe it is very important for, not only instructors, but senior students to try and bring newer members in. It was difficult for me walking in to understand the relationships between Aikidoka at my school. While there was camaraderie where I had trained previously, it was nowhere near to this. I believe that this too is part of the fundamental nature of Aikido. To bring a new student to this level of understanding is also one of our responsibilities.

I have also seen people leave because they couldn't accept the closeness shared between all those at the Dojo. I've had people I've never met tell me if there's anything they can do to help just ask (people that meant it), and on more than a few occasions been told that I'm welcome to train somewhere if I'm ever in town, even though I don't pay dues there. On a few occasions when times were rougher for me and thought I would have to take several weeks or months away I was told It to "bring what you can when you can". I've even had friends I've known for many years who did not train question the way I interact with other Aikidoka. It has been beyond me to explain these things to them though I try.

Friendship is a complicated thing to explain, but I feel I have a duty to my friends that follow the way (i.e. all of us) to help them to the extant I can along their path. This includes discussing philosophy, listening if they have a problem, or stepping up the pressure when the time is right. I would hope my friends feel the same.

As a former Law Enforcement Officer, it was standard learning to study the adrenaline dump (Through PPCT combat and the effects on the body and mind actually). I do not push this statistical knowledge at anyone, but I found it interesting to study. The content of the material I had was confined to basically Police Officers under duress. As we all know there are many factors to be taken in. By focusing (Centering, staying calm etc..) we can have some effect on the bodies systems. The human is a complex thing and the body can "learn" to do the "impossible". While we must still train the body, my opinion (though it may be wrong) is that it is also as important to train the mind and spirit (or train the mind and spirit to train the body).

Anyone can learn to fight, many can learn to fight and "win". I follow this path not to fight, but to overcome any of life's confrontations by bringing them to my Way, our Way. Sorry if I went a little astray.
Brian,

An excellent post - if you will allow me to say so. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

david

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 08-27-2005, 02:38 PM   #73
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: quickness & accuracy

Brian,

I also appreciated your post. It sounds as though you're part of a good dojo. Familar stuff to me and many others. I'm sure you'd always be welcome in many of our dojo.

Gambatte!

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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