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Old 11-01-2005, 03:58 PM   #1
kimusubi0
 
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Post A perspective on learning Aikido

Article:
A perspective on learning Aikido
http://www.apada.org/Artigos/PerspectivaAikido_en.html

Jean-Marc
____________

"Tu as le droit à l'action, mais seulement à l'action, et jamais à ces fruits; que les fruits de tes actions ne soient point ton mobile; et pourtant ne permets en toi aucun attachement à l'inaction. Bh G"
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Old 11-01-2005, 07:28 PM   #2
roosvelt
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Re: A perspective on learning Aikido

"For example, when our consciousness becomes aware of thirst, we realize "I am thirsty", which can trigger the action of going to the kitchen, open the cupboard, maybe avoid the cereal pack (mistakenly put there) without making it fall, move towards the tap, fill the glass with the appropriate quantity, bring it our mouth in order to finally quench one's thirst, all this done while thinking about the problem we currently have to deal with our son. The "Natural movement" is a wonder of cleverness and talent."

If you watch my kid, you'll realize what you described needs a lot of practice to become "natrual movement". Her "natrual movement" is from "crying" to "dady, I'm thirsty.", to "dady, can you open the fridge?", to a few broken glasses in the floor. I haven't got her to do the whole thing by herself yet.

She needs to drink water every day, five times a day at least. It's been 5 years, she hasn't get it down anywhere to "natrual movement". I only practice Aikido twice a week. I wonder how I can get any of my technique to "natrual movement".

In a world of instant gratification, I wonder if I can speed up the progress.
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Old 11-01-2005, 09:38 PM   #3
mathewjgano
 
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Re: A perspective on learning Aikido

Quote:
Roosvelt Freeman wrote:
She needs to drink water every day, five times a day at least. It's been 5 years, she hasn't get it down anywhere to "natrual movement". I only practice Aikido twice a week. I wonder how I can get any of my technique to "natrual movement".

In a world of instant gratification, I wonder if I can speed up the progress.
On the plus side, we, as adults with a lot more time uner our belts, have a lot more complimentary experiences from which to draw. I played soccer for 11 years before I started Aikido, which I imagine helped when i was trying to focus on foot-work. In the same regard, we have more time from which we can aquire and make stick many bad habits we have to subsequently "unlearn", so i guess it can work both ways.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-02-2005, 10:31 AM   #4
cck
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Re: A perspective on learning Aikido

"I only practice Aikido twice a week. I wonder how I can get any of my technique to 'natrual movement'."

I'm with you there. One of the ATMs at the bank I go to used to spit out the receipt with some force, causing it to flutter to the ground unless you were prepared for it. I've used that bank for nine years. They've changed the ATM machine, or adjusted it, and it now politely holds on to the receipt until you are ready to grab it. However, I still stand there, holding my hand over the opening, ready to catch it. Talk about conditioning! And this is NOT something I have consciously worked on, it seems as if some secret connection between my body and mind just does it by itself. Amazing what it will hold on to on its own - what else might be lurking there? I even moved away for a year and a half, and when I came back I did it exactly the same way. Now, why can't my body just do the same thing in aikido???
I don't know how many times my instructors can tell me variations on the same couple of things. I am conscious of it, and I can see when I don't do it, but for the life of me I can't seem to internalize it or make it natural. HOW LONG DOES THIS TAKE????
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Old 11-02-2005, 11:05 AM   #5
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Re: A perspective on learning Aikido

Supposedly, Gandhi once said, "Don't mix up that which is habitual with that which is natural." I think much of what we think as "natural" in our lives is more what is "habitual." What is natural, to me, is what exists underneath such habits.

Talking to Saotome sensei recently, he said to me to get rid of all habits, both good and bad. I'm still chewing on that one...

-- Jun

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Old 11-02-2005, 01:20 PM   #6
Robert Rumpf
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Re: A perspective on learning Aikido

Quote:
Camilla Kieliger wrote:
However, I still stand there, holding my hand over the opening, ready to catch it. Talk about conditioning! And this is NOT something I have consciously worked on, it seems as if some secret connection between my body and mind just does it by itself. Amazing what it will hold on to on its own - what else might be lurking there? I even moved away for a year and a half, and when I came back I did it exactly the same way. Now, why can't my body just do the same thing in aikido???
A better question is why would you want your body to be conditioned in that way, and how would you go about resisting that conditioning in the future?

You've now got yourself hardwired with an essentially empty gesture - unless those exact circumstances come up again.. If you're in aikido class, and you have that same type of response, you just reacted to something that hasn't happened (and potentially missed something that has).

This can often be seen when nage gets tired of uke miming a "response" to an atemi to the head (or blocking) and instead hits uke in the stomach or in the groin. How often does this completely shock uke (and for once, a real atemi is an option)?

This muscle memory (that some of my training partners have cited to me as being so desirable) is, to me, the major danger of kata training (where kata is what much of Aikido is taught as most of the time) and training in Aikido in general. When you work within Aikido, most people's responses are, over time, conditioned to behave in the Aikido way.

This makes it almost impossible to train yourself to respond to other things in that environment, and can serve to make technique very predictable, unless a major effort is made to preserve that "beginner's mind" that lacks anticipation or a choreographed response.

That, I think is the main benefit of cross-training for those serious about self-defense, but that benefit can also be realized by a diversity in dojos and training partners, or an exceptional attention to detail and excellent instruction.

Well-developed reflexes and habits are fine and good, until you're dealing with a situation that falls outside of where the reflex was developed. Therefore, I think they are very dangerous. Its that old story about the horse racing back to the barn that is on fire, because they are scared and the barn is their safe place.

Its not just you who has these reflexes: we all have those types of gestures that we incorporate into ourselves - especially with daily routines such as the ways we brush our teeth, or things like that.

I know that I now pick up the garage-key for my parking garage at work every time I go towards a parking garage. ANY garage. I clearly need to be more mindful of my Aikido practice off the mat, and work at dispelling these types of basic habits.

These types of habits are detrimental to martial arts, for the obvious reasons. If our responses to a given set of stimuli are predictable, than a cagey opponent can generate stimuli that generate that response from us at an inopportune time. They can in this way control us.

That capability is very dangerous, and something that is probably more dangerous off the mat than on, but Aikido training could be a means of helping to solve this problem. However, I think that most people are fortunate enough not to have any serious enemies that understand them well enough to take advantage of their conditioned reflexes.

Quote:
Talking to Saotome sensei recently, he said to me to get rid of all habits, both good and bad. I'm still chewing on that one...
Saotome is right, unfortunately. Making that happen though is extremely hard.

Maybe you should start brushing your teeth with your off-hand

Regrettably, we all tend to learn things by repetition. How do you learn something and then, having absorbed the skill, forget the habit and respond spontaneously regardless of what you are taught?

That is why sometimes I think my Aikido improves when I take time off. My conditioning than has time to be lost, somewhat, and I can move forth without that holding me back.

I think this goes back to the quotes like "Enter through form, exit from form" or something to that effect that you read in different dokas.. That Munenori quote about the six diseases also directly addresses this issue.

Truly a hard problem to solve.

Rob
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Old 11-02-2005, 01:48 PM   #7
cck
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Re: A perspective on learning Aikido

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote:
You've now got yourself hardwired with an essentially empty gesture - unless those exact circumstances come up again.. If you're in aikido class, and you have that same type of response, you just reacted to something that hasn't happened (and potentially missed something that has).
Absolutely - what puzzled me was that something "not my conscious me" had made this a habit, and seems to hold onto it so tightly although it is now obsolete. It just unveils an ability that goes unrecognized by "me" in my daily activities. What the heck else do "I" do this way?
Yes, I do understand that you must respond to what comes at you, and that different people take different responses. My wish for good habits was more to somehow internalize "use hips, not shoulders", "don't stare at hand", "head up", "downwards is a friend" etc. so I no longer have to think about it and can just apply it to whatever technique we may be practising. Or would that also be a bad habit, then?
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Old 11-02-2005, 02:53 PM   #8
Robert Rumpf
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Re: A perspective on learning Aikido

Quote:
Camilla Kieliger wrote:
Absolutely - what puzzled me was that something "not my conscious me" had made this a habit, and seems to hold onto it so tightly although it is now obsolete. It just unveils an ability that goes unrecognized by "me" in my daily activities. What the heck else do "I" do this way?
Yes, I do understand that you must respond to what comes at you, and that different people take different responses. My wish for good habits was more to somehow internalize "use hips, not shoulders", "don't stare at hand", "head up", "downwards is a friend" etc. so I no longer have to think about it and can just apply it to whatever technique we may be practising. Or would that also be a bad habit, then?
Hahaha.. I don't know, but I know that I am continually frustrated by those types of things when they crop up in my life, professionally, personally, and on the mat.

I think you're very much on the right track when you examine your conditioned responses. You have to build good habits before you can break them.

Part of what you seem to be asking though is, in effect, if there are things that are always good habits... I would hope that the answer is yes, but I fear that the answer is no.

Within an Aikido context, in regular training, the answer is probably yes when your goal is to do technique on a properly conditioned uke. Certain habits are very helpful. Likewise with randori, or with an Aikido test. Aikido is set up to work well when everyone does what they are supposed to do, and no one is trying to break the system and everyone can follow along and keep up.

I keep finding myself wandering back to those other times when doing things according to these habits is not positive, and can even be negative. I'm trying to figure out how and when do I decide to deviate from the flight plan, and when I can even allow a crash..

Are there any good times for me to make a mistake deliberately, or to not abide by the good habits? Is my perception of what is a good habit accurate? Can deception by making a mistake be a useful tool?

That type of ura-like practice is another part of Aikido training. Deception or pulling a technique can help when you're trying to lull your partner into thinking something that you want them to think. It can also help when winning or being correct is not the only goal (such as in interpersonal relationships).

Sometimes being right and sticking to the idea that you are right seems to be the most destructive thing you can do. That is also true in Aikido practice. How many times do I find myself changing my technique to be less effective when I know that my uke can't handle it (or that I can't handle how they will treat me afterward)? Is it right to do that or wrong? Can I stop doing it if I choose to, or is that response habitual?

All of the things you describe are good habits - or at least they start out that way. They can also become bad habits when they keep us from moving forward. When I concentrate on moving my hips, I can neglect to move my feet, or I can use too much strength from hips. But can I go from moving my shoulders to moving my feet without learning first to move my hips? When downwards is a friend, ikkyo can be very hard for nage perform. But at the end of ikkyo, downwards is important.

I think that any good habit can be a bad habit in the wrong circumstance, but the circumstance is only a moment long and it is hard to decide what to do impartially. However, I think you do have to acquire the good habits first, and then discard them later. I, at least, don't know how to learn without any patterns or habits at all.

When I learned ukemi to shomenuchi ikkyo, there was a sequence of movements that I learned. In the first set, uke plants the inside knee when descending. In the second set, uke collapses the inside leg. In the third set, a front-fall happens. There are also additional sets - those that lead to reversals. There are also the sets that senior student demonstrate when they don't think my ikkyo was appropriate - the "failure" modes." How do I condition myself to weigh all of these responses equally even though I practice one far more than the other?

I think it is there that other types of training (mental training) become important - at the extent when you realize that there are no well-behaved ukes, that every person on the mat is somewhere between your best friend and worst enemy, that there is no ideal situation, and that every movement you do needs to be created on the spot instead of being based on a habit.

Sorry.. I'm getting off into speculation here and trying to indicate something that I'm concerned about in my training that I can't articulate very well.

Rob
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Old 11-06-2005, 03:42 AM   #9
kimusubi0
 
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Re: A perspective on learning Aikido

My English is not too good to respond correctly! I'm sorry the ignorance...

L'apprentissage est lié à la notion de conservation de l'énergie en système ouvert. En dernière instance et à un niveau très différencié, cela devrait correspondre à la conscience à l'état pur. Et la désignation "conservation de l'énergie en système ouvert" devrait perdre son sens quand elle est réalisé (spéculation, of course!). C'est pour cela que la liaison est un élément indispensable. "Vue de haut", les alignements devrait être une partie intégrante de la liaison (un "effet").
Mais nous utilisons très souvent la notion de conservation de l'énergie en système fermé, ce qui revient à dire à un mécanisme (transitoire?).

Jean-Marc
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"Tu as le droit à l'action, mais seulement à l'action, et jamais à ces fruits; que les fruits de tes actions ne soient point ton mobile; et pourtant ne permets en toi aucun attachement à l'inaction. Bh G"
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Old 11-06-2005, 07:33 AM   #10
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: A perspective on learning Aikido

Quote:
Camilla Kieliger wrote:
Absolutely - what puzzled me was that something "not my conscious me" had made this a habit, and seems to hold onto it so tightly although it is now obsolete. It just unveils an ability that goes unrecognized by "me" in my daily activities. What the heck else do "I" do this way?
Yes, I do understand that you must respond to what comes at you, and that different people take different responses. My wish for good habits was more to somehow internalize "use hips, not shoulders", "don't stare at hand", "head up", "downwards is a friend" etc. so I no longer have to think about it and can just apply it to whatever technique we may be practising. Or would that also be a bad habit, then?
The way we learn movement is that it first is a concious effort and processed in one part of the brain, and with enough repetition, it moves to another part of the brain that we normally don't have concious access to. If you now want to change that action, you first have to get it out in the conciousness again.

If you just try to glue another different response on top of that first one, the first one may well be stronger because it's already sitting there in the unconcious part of the brain. So for instance "use hips, not shoulders" is all well and good, but the message your brain is sending out is actually "use shoulders" and you need to STOP that message first. This means that you have to take a little moment to wipe the canvas blank before you try the new thing, not rush into the technique, like we all like to do.

At first it takes time to rethink what you're doing, but with practice it's actually possible to learn to move while your stopping your habitual reactions, which is cool because now you're giving yourself the possibility of choosing an unhabitual response. Which will be unpredictable to an ill-willing opponent, too. This is totally different from doing something that is "good" automatically.

Of course, this sounds wonderful in theory...the hard part is having the patience to practice this, especially in the beginning when it feels like you have to stop moving, or move very very slowly, a lot.

kvaak
Pauliina
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