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Thread: It has to be felt to be understood

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    Default It has to be felt to be understood

    http://www.aikidoacademyusa.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=488

    I'd like to share another great article, which I had the pleasure to translate in two languages by Takahashi Shihan and the thoughtful comments of my readers in my spanish blog

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    Quote Originally Posted by Takahashi
    http://www.aikidoacademyusa.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=488

    In the Aikido I am fashioning for myself, I take value from a variety of sources. The Founder is no longer available to grasp and to experience. So too is the unfortunate loss over time, of most of his direct students, and even direct students of their own. We appear to be in the third, or even fourth generation post Morihei Ueshiba, with only grainy videos, and dubious translations of verbal and written teachings of the past masters to study. We must muster the courage to make our own minds up.

    Yet, I feel that I may be in the minority of those who believe that the Aiki that the Founder based his Aikido on, is present and waiting within each and everyone of us who believes in those Principles. It is my position that, even with the meager store of what evidence remains, the majority of us are fully capable of discovering and implementing connections to those Principles, by simply committing to training diligently, honestly and persistently over our individual lifetimes.
    The bold is mine. With respect to Takahashi sensei, I disagree with parts.

    The first bold part. Dubious translations? I've trained with one teacher who has a very good training history in Japan (before Ueshiba died) and this teacher was shown direct internal training principles that very few got. That's "dubious"? Chris Li has excellent translations on his website that come from his training history, his experiences, and his translation skills. That's "dubious"? I'm sorry, but I see that as a slap in the face to the extremely hard work and training that these, and other, teachers did. The information about Morihei Ueshiba's skills, how to train them, and the very real ability to replicate them is out there. It is not "dubious". Some of it has been very clear and direct. Just because you (general sense) haven't experienced it, doesn't mean it isn't out there.

    The second bold part. There are millions of aikido students who have trained diligently, honestly, and persistently over their lifetimes and have not come close to Ueshiba's skills. If you don't believe me, have a conversation with Bill Gleason about this. If you are NOT directly shown the internal training exercises, you can spend 100 years of "training diligently, honestly and persistently" and not get close to Ueshiba's skills or abilities.

    The part I do agree with: "We must muster the courage to make our own minds up." As students looking for Ueshiba's aikido, that's the courage to walk away from those teachers (general blanket statement and not singling anyone out) who are not getting you there. In five years, you *should* be standing out from the crowd of other students. There should be a noticeable difference in your skills in five years. If you're not there ... start mustering the courage to ask why. As someone I know says, your training is in your hands. Good advice.

    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVMark View Post
    The bold is mine. With respect to Takahashi sensei, I disagree with parts.

    The first bold part. Dubious translations? I've trained with one teacher who has a very good training history in Japan (before Ueshiba died) and this teacher was shown direct internal training principles that very few got. That's "dubious"? Chris Li has excellent translations on his website that come from his training history, his experiences, and his translation skills. That's "dubious"? I'm sorry, but I see that as a slap in the face to the extremely hard work and training that these, and other, teachers did. The information about Morihei Ueshiba's skills, how to train them, and the very real ability to replicate them is out there. It is not "dubious". Some of it has been very clear and direct. Just because you (general sense) haven't experienced it, doesn't mean it isn't out there.

    The second bold part. There are millions of aikido students who have trained diligently, honestly, and persistently over their lifetimes and have not come close to Ueshiba's skills. If you don't believe me, have a conversation with Bill Gleason about this. If you are NOT directly shown the internal training exercises, you can spend 100 years of "training diligently, honestly and persistently" and not get close to Ueshiba's skills or abilities.

    The part I do agree with: "We must muster the courage to make our own minds up." As students looking for Ueshiba's aikido, that's the courage to walk away from those teachers (general blanket statement and not singling anyone out) who are not getting you there. In five years, you *should* be standing out from the crowd of other students. There should be a noticeable difference in your skills in five years. If you're not there ... start mustering the courage to ask why. As someone I know says, your training is in your hands. Good advice.

    Mark
    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your comment to the excellent article by Takahashi Shihan.

    I think that Takahashi Shihan referred to the difficulty in translating verbal and written teachings from the japanese of the past, when he writes about "with only grainy videos, and dubious translations of verbal and written teachings of the past masters to study".

    But what I surely missed in his article, even though I translated it in two different languages, is where in the article Takahashi Shihan mentions "direct internal training principles"

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    A short summary of the comments here and in Aikido Acadmy USA

    The comments of this article are a nice example how everyone understands the words of Takahashi Shihan in a different way, depending his approach and how full the cup of his mind is at this moment. If it is empty the person is open to read and fully understand what the autor thought when writing. But if it is full or just half full, the reader puts his own thoughts in the article and just adds a few phrases or words of the autor to decor his comment. The first example, the full cup is Mark who commented here E-Budo, then we have two examples in Aikido Academy USA of half full cups: Guillermo and Ricardo. The same may happen when we enter in any martial arts class, we will only get the whole teaching when we enter with an empty cup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carina Reinhardt View Post
    The first example, the full cup is Mark who commented here E-Budo, then we have two examples in Aikido Academy USA of half full cups: Guillermo and Ricardo.
    I'm not sure I fully understand. Reading the comments, I get the impression from you that if you agree or give praise to Takahashi, your cup is half full. If you disagree, your cup is full?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVMark View Post
    I'm not sure I fully understand. Reading the comments, I get the impression from you that if you agree or give praise to Takahashi, your cup is half full. If you disagree, your cup is full?

    I’m sorry Mark you didn’t understand, I’m talking about understanding what is written, not if you agree or disagree with Takahashi Shihan. First the “Dubious translations”, he is talking about the difficulty in translating the verbal teaching from old videos and some written teaching, I don’t think anybody can translate those literally. And second where did he write anything about internal training?, the article is not about that.

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    WVMark

    "the very real ability to replicate them is out there"

    Then why isn't anyone "out there" that matches O-Sensei? None of his direct students did so. For that matter how many of Takeda's students were Takeda's equal?

    I'm going to take a heretical POV on this issue and suggest that there are no "secret teachings" and compare it to Michael Jordon.

    There are---without a doubt, VASTLY more kids practicing basketball (substitute the sport of your choice here) than martial arts in general and aikido in particular. They train with remarkable dedication and discipline. They go to summer camps and train year round. They join organized teams in middle school and then High School......there they get specialized training, often under experts with considerable experience of their own.

    They get weeded out until only the "best" make it on to a college team.

    Those that are the "best" then go on to College ball--where they spend 4 more years under of hardcore training and instruction under the direct instruction of men whom themselves were former high end performers.

    Then that group gets weeded out until only a tiny handful makes it to the pros. The vast potential wealth means people sacrifice and train like monsters.

    Then the pro groups gets the best of the best in terms of training, conditioning and specialized instruction---the best money can buy.

    And STILL only a tiny handful of players becomes well known---and an even smaller group become good enough to become "legends."

    I suggest that Michael Jordon is what happens when exceptional natural talent and dedication meets exceptional coaching and teaching.

    You can train forever with Michael Jordan himself and NEVER reach his level of skill. Because his level of skill isn't really "teachable" in the normal use of the term.

    Same with the MA. Getting the proper training will help you improve---but no secret is going to make you O-Sensei......if there was.....then it would have been teachable by his direct students and if it was learnable then a lot of people would be doing it now.
    Last edited by cxt; 4th August 2014 at 02:17.
    Chris Thomas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carina Reinhardt View Post
    I’m sorry Mark you didn’t understand, I’m talking about understanding what is written, not if you agree or disagree with Takahashi Shihan. First the “Dubious translations”, he is talking about the difficulty in translating the verbal teaching from old videos and some written teaching, I don’t think anybody can translate those literally. And second where did he write anything about internal training?, the article is not about that.
    Still not sure I fully understand. Chris Li has some very good translations of Ueshiba on his website. The one book, Budo, was overseen by Ueshiba as it was taken from oral to written. You can tell that Ueshiba had to have had some hand in correcting things because part of it has "kami" as ka/fire and mi/water rather than kami/spirits. I think Chris Li has done an exemplary job with his translations. So much so, that people actually understand them far more than the loosely translated material from other people.

    If you're talking about the aiki of Morihei Ueshiba, you must include internal training. Telling people to "simply committing to training diligently, honestly and persistently over our individual lifetimes", IMO, is pretty much just telling people to keep doing exactly what they've been doing for 10, 20, 30, 40 years ... something which has *not* gotten them any closer to Ueshiba's skills/abilities. To *not* include internal training in there ... which by the way has invigorated and infused hundreds of people's aikido to a whole new level that is getting them closer to Ueshiba's skills/abilities ... that is why I disagreed.

    I completely emptied my cup of 15-20 years of "simply committing to training diligently" aikido, ventured out into unknown territory, found the path to internal training, and the way of getting closer to replicating Ueshiba's skills/abilities. In other words, I found the training to Ueshiba's aiki, and it most definitely wasn't "simply committing to training diligently" of the same aikido techniques, kata, waza, ukemi that I'd done for 15-20 years.

    As someone asked of Ueshiba, "Why can't we do what you do?" (paraphrasing)
    Ueshiba answered, "Because you don't understand yin/yang" (paraphrasing)

    Well, internal training in aiki shows you, in your own body, the understanding of what Ueshiba meant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cxt View Post
    WVMark

    "the very real ability to replicate them is out there"

    Then why isn't anyone "out there" that matches O-Sensei? None of his direct students did so. For that matter how many of Takeda's students were Takeda's equal?

    I'm going to take a heretical POV on this issue and suggest that there are no "secret teachings" and compare it to Michael Jordon.
    I think you'll have a tough time supporting that POV. If you go to Kondo's website, he states unequivocally that there were secrets all the way back to Takeda. Ueshiba himself told people that the reason he handled Tenryu so easily was the *secret* of aiki. Etc, etc, etc.

    There was a secret. It was aiki and the training to rebuild the body so that one had IP/aiki. But, we're getting off topic, so I'll just say we disagree.

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    "I think you will have a tough time supporting that POV"

    Maybe--lucky for me the burden of proof is on the person making the claim---which in this case would be you. I was just offering an alternative to the concept you introduced.

    Like I said---if there is a "secret" its unlikely to be "teachable" in the normal use of the term.

    Think about it---if such "secrets" were teachable then there should be Michael Jordon's everywhere--but there are not. Takeda should have many students as good as he was. O-Sensei--with all the people he taught--should have all sorts of people just as good as he was. But none of his direct student are--nor their student--nor their students, students have been able to do so.

    How many students in Taij are the equal of their teachers? Heck, look at the Chinese arts in general and how long they have been teaching---how many students became the equal of legendary masters? Almost none......with all the various arts and with the huge number of students over a very long period of time. Much longer and with larger populations than say Aikido.

    I think it was Pan Quin Fu ( not sure I got the spelling correct) who once quipped "If those old masters could really jump 30 feet then why did they have stairs in their houses?"

    There is always talk of "secrets" in the MA......but its demonstrable that those "secrets" are likely not teachable in the normal use of the term. If they were then pretty much anybody privy to them--and there are people that claim they are. Could have already become another O-Sensei.....and if they have not--then there needs to be an explanation as to why not.

    So its likely that whatever "secrets" there may be.....they are simply not widely teachable......probably.
    Last edited by cxt; 4th August 2014 at 13:43.
    Chris Thomas

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    "Team Cynicism" MVP 2005-2006
    Currently on "Injured/Reserve" list due to a scathing Sarcasm pile-up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVMark View Post
    Still not sure I fully understand. Chris Li has some very good translations of Ueshiba on his website. The one book, Budo, was overseen by Ueshiba as it was taken from oral to written. You can tell that Ueshiba had to have had some hand in correcting things because part of it has "kami" as ka/fire and mi/water rather than kami/spirits. I think Chris Li has done an exemplary job with his translations. So much so, that people actually understand them far more than the loosely translated material from other people.

    If you're talking about the aiki of Morihei Ueshiba, you must include internal training. Telling people to "simply committing to training diligently, honestly and persistently over our individual lifetimes", IMO, is pretty much just telling people to keep doing exactly what they've been doing for 10, 20, 30, 40 years ... something which has *not* gotten them any closer to Ueshiba's skills/abilities. To *not* include internal training in there ... which by the way has invigorated and infused hundreds of people's aikido to a whole new level that is getting them closer to Ueshiba's skills/abilities ... that is why I disagreed.

    I completely emptied my cup of 15-20 years of "simply committing to training diligently" aikido, ventured out into unknown territory, found the path to internal training, and the way of getting closer to replicating Ueshiba's skills/abilities. In other words, I found the training to Ueshiba's aiki, and it most definitely wasn't "simply committing to training diligently" of the same aikido techniques, kata, waza, ukemi that I'd done for 15-20 years.

    As someone asked of Ueshiba, "Why can't we do what you do?" (paraphrasing)
    Ueshiba answered, "Because you don't understand yin/yang" (paraphrasing)

    Well, internal training in aiki shows you, in your own body, the understanding of what Ueshiba meant.
    I do not doubt that Chris Li did a good job in his translations.
    But I think That Takahashi Shihan is referring of that kind
    http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2010/0...tanley-pranin/
    "I have served in this capacity on numerous occasions and here are some of the hurdles to be overcome. The teacher addresses the students and usually speaks facing forward toward the audience while the interpreter stands to his side or in back of the teacher. Given that the acoustics in many of the facilities used for large seminars are poor from the standpoint of sound production, it is very easy to
    miss words of the teacher. Now consider that it would be very awkward for the interpreter to interrupt and ask the teacher to repeat what he said and delay the progress of the class. So the interpreter usually does the best he can under pressure and this often includes “abbreviating” the translation to cover up what he has missed."

    When I gave that example of empty the cup I was thinking of reading each article, without comparing it with any article you read before, with an empty mind, the same we should do always when we enter in a dojo, look at the new teaching and forgetting all that what we learned before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cxt View Post
    "I think you will have a tough time supporting that POV"

    Maybe--lucky for me the burden of proof is on the person making the claim---which in this case would be you. I was just offering an alternative to the concept you introduced.

    Like I said---if there is a "secret" its unlikely to be "teachable" in the normal use of the term.

    Think about it---if such "secrets" were teachable then there should be Michael Jordon's everywhere--but there are not. Takeda should have many students as good as he was. O-Sensei--with all the people he taught--should have all sorts of people just as good as he was. But none of his direct student are--nor their student--nor their students, students have been able to do so.

    .....
    You are sure Aikido has not become more refined and it's good lines improved overtime? I'm not an Aikido guy. I wanted to be at one time and spent about 3 months in an Aikikai affiliated dojo but Aikido just wasn't me. We were doing free practice against tsuki and I used Sanakajo to redirect the knife into tori. I was chastized in good fun because "We don't kill people in Aikido" ( I came from a relatively strong Jujutsu background.)

    But I have film of O-Sensei from the 30s and from the 50's. Maybe it is because I don't understand it but about 15-20 years ago I saw a demonstration by Hayato Osawa Sensei and that looked like the finest Aikido I have ever seen. Maybe it is because the uke have gotten better over time.
    Ed Boyd

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    CEB

    Not really how I meant it--I was attempting to provide a "maybe" for the ideas posited by WVMark.

    Was NOT somehow bagging on Aikido.
    Chris Thomas

    "While people are entitled to their illusions, they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them upon others."

    "Team Cynicism" MVP 2005-2006
    Currently on "Injured/Reserve" list due to a scathing Sarcasm pile-up.

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    Oops, sorry.
    Ed Boyd

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