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Izzyzx
27th December 2006, 15:13
Aiki – this is the mystery we American pay hundreds of dollars to the Japanese to have them teach us (and they rarely do) but its not so mysterious.

It has to do with creating an advantage by taking your attacker’s balance or center. The moment you perceive an attack -- you attack first. In Judo they call it Kuzushi , Kempo its called Kiai and AJJ and Kendo it referred to as taking the attacker’s center.

Next time someone grabs your wrists move him/her quickly and powerfully off center (a vector transfer – force and direction). And as a spider or a snake darts its fangs, perform your techniques as quickly as the cobra’s strike and you have added Aiki to your Jujutsu...

But just as a takes years to master Kote Gaeshi so does take to understand Aiki.

Israel Gelpi

Cady Goldfield
27th December 2006, 19:30
Why should it take years, unless you're slow, or your teacher ain't showing you stuff? Are you studying it?

Izzyzx
28th December 2006, 21:34
Why should it take years, unless you're slow, or your teacher ain't showing you stuff? Are you studying it? If you have perfected Kote Gaeshi why do you still continue to practice it? No I’m slow but perfection takes a life time… I don’t know you and you don’t know me but our introduction to each other started with an insult… therefore you have made an enemy of me.

I am peaceful man, but you have chosen to agitate me…

Cady Goldfield
28th December 2006, 21:37
Oh my. Just keep training.

aikihazen
29th December 2006, 00:25
Aiki – this is the mystery we American pay hundreds of dollars to the Japanese to have them teach us (and they rarely do) but its not so mysterious.

It has to do with creating an advantage by taking your attacker’s balance or center. The moment you perceive an attack -- you attack first. In Judo they call it Kuzushi , Kempo its called Kiai and AJJ and Kendo it referred to as taking the attacker’s center.

Next time someone grabs your wrists move him/her quickly and powerfully off center (a vector transfer – force and direction). And as a spider or a snake darts its fangs, perform your techniques as quickly as the cobra’s strike and you have added Aiki to your Jujutsu...

But just as a takes years to master Kote Gaeshi so does take to understand Aiki.

When you can practice "Kuzushi" (we call it Irimi) without someone "grabbing your wrist" first then perhaps understanding Aiki in a technique like Kote Gaeshi will become much easier. :)

Aiki should not be a mystery... It is the natural result of good practice.

My "Japanese Masters" had no problem teaching it to anyone without charging allot of money for it. Because to them (and to me) Aiki is to be shared with all those who seek it as a method of restoring harmony to any conflict.

William Hazen

Juan Perez
29th December 2006, 04:19
… therefore you have made an enemy of me.

I am peaceful man, but you have chosen to agitate me…

Dude, how old are you?

Honestly, I'm a big fan of Ibarra and all but, if you are his student, you represent him better by just training in the dojo and laying off the internet for a while. (Gosh, I really hope I don't make an "enemy" of him, or "agitate" him.) :rolleyes:

George Kohler
29th December 2006, 13:46
Izzyzx has been banned.

glad2bhere
29th December 2006, 14:44
Does that mean that the discussion of the original question needs to stop?

The reason that I ask is over on HAPKIDO FORUM we had a pretty decent discussion of a comparison of yu-sool and hapkiyusool and there were some interesting comments made about the nature of "ai-ki" in distinguishing between these two levels of Hapkido. Some folks were quite sure that these are actually two separate arts under the Hapkido banner and others were quite sure that both practices produced Hapkido by effectively merging together.
The characterization of "ai-ki" seemed to be one distinction but varied as to what position a person took on the larger topic.

For my part, I have identified at least three major takes on what constitutes "ai-ki" and wouldn't mind continuing if other were up for it. If not, maybe we'll miss a chance at a decent discussion, yes? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

glad2bhere
29th December 2006, 18:11
Honestly, I would like to pursue this as there are many fascinating aspects to the topic. The original thread over on the other forum went for 9 pages and side-tracked more than a few times. Its a bit of a challenge to capture the core positions and still do the discussion justice. OTOH, if people would like to continue this particular discussion, though on another thread, I can simply take the three aspects I singled-out there and we might just begin with that, as Ron suggested. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Mark Murray
30th December 2006, 02:41
Honestly, I would like to pursue this as there are many fascinating aspects to the topic. The original thread over on the other forum went for 9 pages and side-tracked more than a few times. Its a bit of a challenge to capture the core positions and still do the discussion justice. OTOH, if people would like to continue this particular discussion, though on another thread, I can simply take the three aspects I singled-out there and we might just begin with that, as Ron suggested. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Can your three aspects carry over to any martial art? I guess in a larger question, does aiki mean the same thing in other arts or are there multiple aiki?

Start a new thread with your three aspects. Or continue it here. If nothing else, it'll give us something to talk about. :)

Mark

Nathan Scott
30th December 2006, 05:49
[Post deleted by user]

glad2bhere
1st January 2007, 20:29
Dear Folks:

As suggested by participants on another thread I thought I would open this thread and pursue my line of questioning regarding the nature of "ai-ki" as it relates to Japaese traditions as well as Korean traditions.

In doing my research I have found that it is quite common for Koreans to simply transliterate Japanese Kan-ji to Korean Han-ja as though the transition from one culture to another matters not at all. The issue that I have is that while such a practice may be convenient, it is far from accurate when things come to the matter of actual practice. I think the nature of "ai-ki" is one such situation. To date I have found at least four aspects from which the concept of "ai-ki" can be viewed between tese two cultures.

1.) Donn Draeger in his martial arts trilogy on Japanese traditions ascribes the development of the concept of "ai-ki" to a Neo-Confucian scholar of the 18th Century. In this sense, "ai-ki" would seem to represent an early Philosophical parameter regarding the nature and application of certain practices from the standpoint social welfare.

2.) Exampined in another light, Draeger also is found to characterize "ai-ki" as essentially the reactive or responsive counter-part to "ki-ai". In this case, "ki-ai" is a more pro-active, perhaps even pre-emptive approach to a combat situation.

3.) As mentioned earlier, I have found significant discrepancies in simply transliterating Japanese constructs to Korean. One such situation arises from simply identifying Korean "hapki" as the Korean reading for Japanese "ai-ki". While linguistically a case can be made for this, from the standpoint of practical application there is some disconnect. While "hapki" and "ai-ki" can be found to use the same Han-ja, there is a school of thought that "hap" while being interpreted as "coordinated" can also mean "universal" in the catholic sense. In this way a wide spectrum of practices could be found to share a particular approach to "managing power" including sword, spear, unarmed combat, staff and stick. In this manner, a definition of "ai-ki" would have more to do with the technical skill of an individual to anticipate and therefore a lead a person using that individuals own habituated responses to a given condition.

4.) Lastly, there is a kind of quasi-religious take on "ai-ki" in which the expression of "Ki" is developed, lead, influenced, curtailed or otherwise manipulated in ways not readily apparent or even easily defined.

Having said all of this may I add that in studying the practice of Hyung (J. "Kata") I have found that not a few strong disagreements have arisen from the fact that "form" does not mean the same to everyone, even witin a given practice. I submitt that we often experience the same thing with the topic of "ai-ki". Still I would be very intersted to hear the take of fellow practitioners on the subject and will do my best to represent as much of the Korean view on the subject as knowledge and skill allow.

Oh, and Happy New Year!!!

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Nathan Scott
17th January 2007, 23:08
[Post deleted by user]

glad2bhere
18th January 2007, 02:49
Thanks, Nathan:

Glad to see that there continue to be those who fight the good fight against the minions of the Prince of Darkness (here insert "aka" of your choice).

For my part I am afraid I am marginalized from mainstream discussion since I do not subscribe to most of the cosmic reflection that passes for explanation in most venues. For myself the querie was essentially one of clarification.

I must report that my research reveals that somewhere just prior to 1970 there was a quantum shift in the perceptive capabilities of most Hapkido organizations and not a few practitioners. Some neuro-muscular affliction of cultural origins atttacked the intellectual properties of Hapkido leadership and left them incapable of expression save for that material of Japanese origin. For that moment forward, the lion's share of constructs and concepts as related to Korean traditions were essentially Japanese material repackaged as Korean practices. No small amount of this was due to the designs of MYONG Jae Nam to align closelt with the Japanese Aikido community. However, Japanese culture could not have enjoyed its success in surplanting Korean Martial Traditions were it not for the betrayal of the Korean language by post WW II linguists whose sloth permitted them to reconstruct modern Korean language by simply transliterating Japanese Kanji.

My purpose in submitting my question was the hope that I might have intelligent discourse with like-minded folk sans the cult-like positions (See: "What the bleep do we know") which seem to cloud examination of the subject. If you had in mind some resources who might enjoy such dicussion, I would truely appreciate being "hooked-up", as it were.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Cady Goldfield
18th January 2007, 17:32
Bruce,
Since you're so fascinated by and curious about "aiki" in the aikijujutsu sense (since you post on the aikijujutsu forum, I'm assuming that it is that "aiki" that you are interested in), why don't you look into some of the seminars and classes being offered by aikijujutsu proponents?

Howard Popkin has posted upcoming Roppokai seminars with Okomoto Sensei, on several forums and websites. Why not look into that, and start there? More questions are answered on the mats than in writing.

glad2bhere
19th January 2007, 13:18
Thanks, Cady, but Ihave to be very honest with you. The usual examination of "ai-ki" that I have found in most "aiki-jujutsu" discussions is not really the direction my own personal beliefs would take me. And some years back I attended an all-weekend seminar with Okamoto out on Long Island and I know that I won't be doing that again.

If its any help, the approach that I take to the matter of "ai-ki" is less as a force to be harnessed and more as a tactical or strategic approach. In this way I view it, at its most basic expression, as simply the counterpoint to "ki-ai". Plain and simple.

Now, before I get tuned-up on for not knowing what the hell I am talking about let me also say that I have a view of "ai-ki" as a combative methodology. In such a case, the skill level of the practitioner is such that he is able to attune himself to the response levels of the attacker so as to not just anticipate, but use that anticipatory skill to control and overcome his attacker. However, this is more of an original thought and not one that I have found much discussed. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

skylinerR32
19th January 2007, 17:47
If its any help, the approach that I take to the matter of "ai-ki" is less as a force to be harnessed and more as a tactical or strategic approach. In this way I view it, at its most basic expression, as simply the counterpoint to "ki-ai". Plain and simple.

Now, before I get tuned-up on for not knowing what the hell I am talking about let me also say that I have a view of "ai-ki" as a combative methodology. In such a case, the skill level of the practitioner is such that he is able to attune himself to the response levels of the attacker so as to not just anticipate, but use that anticipatory skill to control and overcome his attacker. However, this is more of an original thought and not one that I have found much discussed. Thoughts?


I belive that this view/interpretation of aiki has been covered in one or more of the previous "what is aiki?" type threads here at E-Budo and also over on the AikidoJournal forums; Toby Threadgill on the Bugei forums has a well-written short essay on the subject.

From the The Bugei Sword Discussion Forum FAQs section on Aikido, Aikijutsu & Aikijujutsu (http://swordforumbugei.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1202):


"Aiki" is actually an old name for a group of kenjutsu tactics that employed mental inertia, disruption and involuntary reflex to defeat ones opponent...
In taijutsu, aiki principles are most effectively employed in conjunction with jujutsu waza....hence the name aikijujutsu. At its highest level of execution aikijujutsu is characterized by sophisticated jujutsu waza which employs mental disruption and soft joint locks to throw or immobilize an attacker. Aiki taken even farther in taijutsu becomes the aforementioned aiki no waza (aiki jutsu) which almost totally eschews joint locking in favor of very subtle kuzushi and mental disruption to defeat an attack. Most aiki no waza should be viewed as a study of physical and mental dynamics as opposed to effective self defense."

-Tobin E Threadgill / Kaicho
Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Kai

Respectfully,
Jim Yang

glad2bhere
19th January 2007, 18:16
Thanks, Jim:

Thats the sort of information I was seeking.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Howard Popkin
20th January 2007, 20:38
Mr. Sims,

If you have unresolved issues with the way you were treated in my home, please let me know. I'm sorry if we offended you, but from your tone, it seems that we did.

Howard Popkin
New York Roppokai

glad2bhere
20th January 2007, 22:07
Thanks, but I have no unresolved issues. The nice thing about being 56 years old is that I am capable of formulating and standing by the opinions that I form. Further, I enjoy the right to be able to express those opinions when the situation merits it. If memory serves, the last time I exercized this right I received a telephone call from you asking me to refrain from comment. I've always had kind of a bad taste in my mouth from allowing myself to be cowed by you on that occasion. If you like, I am perfectly capable of correcting that mistake now, and in this very public venue.

The way I see it you could just let this subject drop and allow me to continue on in my research. Since my experience with you, your group and Okamoto Sensei was neither a benefit nor a loss there is no point, for my part, of going farther.

If, OTOH you would like to pursue this, I am fully capable of relating my experience, in painful detail, and allowing the mental chips to fall through people's imaginations as they may.

Were it my choice to make, I would probably just let things go, and might not have even made the comment you posted thus far. It is not, however my choice--- and, of course, your mileage may vary. FWIW.

Bruce

Howard Popkin
20th January 2007, 23:04
Bruce,

As you said this is a public forum. Most times I dont post, just read for enjoyment. I do usually respond to threats like the one that you just made.

If you feel the need to post your experiences, please feel free to do so.

It would be my pleasure to do so as well.

Again, this is a public forum.

Howard Popkin

kdlarman
21st January 2007, 00:54
Just speaking for myself as a fella who rather enjoy lurking in this forum as much as possible, might I suggest that there is no way on God's green earth that this will end nicely for anyone involved. I'd suggest a smile, a shrug, and I'll buy a round.

On the original topic... I once defined one aspect of aiki as taking advantage of ADD because oooh look a chicken!

See, that's why I don't post on this forum...

Joseph Svinth
21st January 2007, 01:37
Ooh, aiki threats. Does this mean I'll soon be seeing fireballs?

Let me get the popcorn out.

Howard Popkin
21st January 2007, 01:57
Sorry,

Fireball is a Shihan level technique, I'm only up to lightning bolts :)

Thanks

Howard Popkin

Cady Goldfield
21st January 2007, 02:20
That's okay. Lightning bolts are enough to pop Joe's popcorn. ;)

Howard Popkin
21st January 2007, 11:07
If you look at my last name, maybe you can figure out what my childhood nickname was ?

:)

Jose Garrido
21st January 2007, 13:17
As a person not too long ago stated on the TV

"can't we all just get along..."

Take the high road fellas.

As far as what is AIKI is concerned... well, every aiki school has its own definitions even from branch to branch and in some cases even from level of initiation to advanced levels. But IMHO the only way to see what each school really perceives as AIKI is to experience it for yourself.

Just my 2 cents, Thanks for listening....I'm out :-)

Jose Garrido

Nathan Scott
22nd January 2007, 02:55
[Post deleted by user]

judasith
22nd January 2007, 11:21
Just to give some light to the topic, in our new book "Daito-ryu. History and Technique" distributed by Budovideos.com (and by the way available within the week - I sent today all the boxes with the book by Fedex), there's an extensive section about defining Aiki, most important because it presents direct definitions of "Aiki" "Kiai" "Aikinojutsu" and "Aikijujutsu" by Takeda Tokimune.

Sorry if it sounded like a commercial, but I really think it would be interesting to read what a great master like him said about the definition of "Aiki".

Best regards,

Giacomo Merello

glad2bhere
22nd January 2007, 13:45
Whether you guys opt to air your laundry publicly, for better or for worse, is something I'll leave up to ya'll to decide. It's been done before, and the results are usually negative for both sides, but sometimes it is necessary. Obviously, airing things publicly is a last result when you're sure that working differences out privately will yield negative results (hint).

Regards,

Thanks, Nathan, but I think you can keep your Ref whistle in your pocket for the time being. OTOH, your in-put into the original question would be very much appreciated.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Nathan Scott
22nd January 2007, 22:35
[Post deleted by user]

Ron Tisdale
23rd January 2007, 02:33
Nah, you're still the Nathan we know and love. ;)

Best,
Ron

Nathan Scott
23rd January 2007, 05:17
[Post deleted by user]

Cady Goldfield
23rd January 2007, 05:23
Well, the way you tossed your hair and flared your nostrils was rather fetching. :D

Mark Murray
23rd January 2007, 12:03
flaring hair and tossing nostrils aside, I liked the aiki bunny terminator post.

But I have to admit that post 41 had great info.

Thanks,
Mark

Brently Keen
23rd January 2007, 12:55
Personally, I was hoping for a detailed explanation of the principles involved in unleashing fireballs or at least lightning bolts, but Nathan, your post really nailed an important point - definitions aside, there's only one way to get it. In a nutshell, as Musashi said "The Way is in Training". I'm also reminded of the Skoss essay that declared, "If you want koryu, (go) to Japan!".

Likewise, "If you want aiki, then sign up with a Daito-ryu teacher/school that has it (and is sharing it)." It may not even be necessary to got to Japan, but you still have to train with an empty cup and put in the hard work.

Regards,

Brently Keen

glad2bhere
23rd January 2007, 13:41
Thanks, Nathan.

I appreciate your sentiments as I have the very same concerns for the Korean arts that I practice.

My purpose was not to lever-open any doors that might be otherwise kept closed out of respect to one's own practice. Rather, I had hoped that people might mention their views along the lines of Toby (Threadgill's) essay. I know in the KMA we often run into the matter of "ai-ki" but it is usually at the far-end of the Aikido spectrum where magic and cosmology have become firmly embedded in the discussion.

To me, what we have come to call "ai-ki" is nothing more than very highly accomplished level of execution that incorporates an equally high sensitivity to the spectrum of responses a partner might make. From what I have noticed, the more fluently one can transition from one technique to another in anticipation of the responses of one's partner the more developed one's "ai-ki" is said to be. FWIW.

BTW: I noticed that WIKIPEDIA has a entry for "ai-ki" now.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Mark Jakabcsin
23rd January 2007, 14:02
From what I have noticed, the more fluently one can transition from one technique to another in anticipation of the responses of one's partner the more developed one's "ai-ki" is said to be.

Bruce,
While the above statement may be true my experience has shown me that the higher someone's ability in aiki is the less they NEED to transition to different technique. I.E. the ability to transition is not aiki it is a related side affect, imo.

There is an interesting article by George Ledyard over on Aikiweb, article section titled "What is Aiki". Enjoy.

Mark J.

Mark Murray
23rd January 2007, 19:50
Ledyard's article is here:
http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2006_09.html

Misc current AikiWeb threads of some interest:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11629

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11468

glad2bhere
23rd January 2007, 22:20
Found it!!

Much grass. A great article!

Best Wishes,

Bruce

glad2bhere
29th January 2007, 14:42
To whom it may concern:

There are a number of threads over on the AIKIWEB that I would not mind responding to and have completed the necessary application. However I have not been allowed to post yet and cannot find a PM to use to address this with the folks that run that website. Can anyone here offer any suggestions for resolving this? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Hanna B
1st April 2007, 05:01
Your post is two months old. Has the issue been resolved? Otherwise:

The guy who runs Aikiweb is Jun Akiyama, user name Akiy
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/member.php?u=1
His profile contains links to PM and email him. I am not sure if these functions work even if your account won't let you post. Anyway, at the bottom of each Aikiweb page there is a link to this form
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/sendmessage.php
with which you can leave messages.

wagnerphysed
4th April 2007, 12:51
It seems to me as westerners we tend to split concepts into two or more parts. It makes sense to want to intilectualize movements and events, as a Physical Education teacher I do this for a living. However, things like Aiki weren't developed using western philosophy or intilectual proceses. In short, Aiki doesn't really lend itself to these western ideals.

So Bruce, in my very limited opinion, I agree with many others here...think not, only do. Even if it could be broken down into western concepts, that wouldn't help you to actually do it. With all due respect to Nathan, sometimes the best way to hide secrets is right out in front of everyone's eyes. Almost no one can actually take these secrets without someone's direct guidance...at least not these days. If you think you have or that you can (no longer addressing Nathan), well then more power to you.
your mileage may vary.

glad2bhere
4th April 2007, 14:02
Thanks, Brian. I appreciate what you are saying. I guess if I had to point at a single point regarding "aiki" it would be regarding its development from a Neo-Confucian approach (a philosophy) to a physical skill set.

My issue is not so much that different people have different thoughts about a particular take. My concern is that the concept of "aiki", itself, does not seem to be the same thing to all people at all times across the board. IME a discussion with one person moves off in the direction of "aiki" vs "kiai" which is pretty basic. Talk to someone else and the discussion spirals into the rarified areas of "Ki" and the Cosmos.

I don't find any reference to "aiki" before the 18th Century Aizu Clan philosopher cited by Donn Draeger and it seems now that the whole idea of "aiki" has taken on a life of its own, and very much a life of magic proportions. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Mark Murray
4th April 2007, 14:32
Thanks, Brian. I appreciate what you are saying. I guess if I had to point at a single point regarding "aiki" it would be regarding its development from a Neo-Confucian approach (a philosophy) to a physical skill set.

My issue is not so much that different people have different thoughts about a particular take. My concern is that the concept of "aiki", itself, does not seem to be the same thing to all people at all times across the board. IME a discussion with one person moves off in the direction of "aiki" vs "kiai" which is pretty basic. Talk to someone else and the discussion spirals into the rarified areas of "Ki" and the Cosmos.

I don't find any reference to "aiki" before the 18th Century Aizu Clan philosopher cited by Donn Draeger and it seems now that the whole idea of "aiki" has taken on a life of its own, and very much a life of magic proportions. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Hi Bruce,
Have you been able to log on and post to AikiWeb?

Ki means different things to everyone, so it's no wonder that "aiki" is so varied in usage. However, when talking to some people who do different martial arts, I find that their usage of "aiki" tends to be nearly the same. Weird, no? yet, when you talk to Aikido people across various schools, their view of "ki" and "aiki" differs, sometimes quite a bit.

As for "aiki" and history. I don't know how old that word is. I'm sure others on the list have a better grasp of its use. But, I'd bet that there is a Chinese equivalent word for "aiki". You'd just have to find what it is and where it was referenced in relation to "aiki", if it was referenced at all.

Mark

wagnerphysed
4th April 2007, 17:22
I guess if I had to point at a single point regarding "aiki" it would be regarding its development from a Neo-Confucian approach (a philosophy) to a physical skill set.

This is what I am referring to...if we are dealing with Asian thought and we try to seperate Neo-confucian concepts into philosophy and a skill set we are falling into a western form of thinking which negates the meaning of the concept. I could be wrong, I'm not fluent in Neo-Confuscinism, but I don't think the Japanese or Chinese would look at these concepts in quite this manner. There is no dichotomy.


My concern is that the concept of "aiki", itself, does not seem to be the same thing to all people at all times across the board.

Yes. It's all based on perspective isn't it. 10 people witnessing a train wreck tell 10 different stories about how the same train wreck happened.


I don't find any reference to "aiki" before the 18th Century Aizu Clan philosopher cited by Donn Draeger and it seems now that the whole idea of "aiki" has taken on a life of its own, and very much a life of magic proportions.

I don't think that everyone or every school that teaches some form of Aiki views it in this manner. However, it is interesting how societies have attributed to magic those things they can't explain and don't understand.

I think that there have been some references to aiki in some of the older traditions / koryu arts, I'm thinking in relation to sword but I can't really remember the specifics. Anyway, keep up the research and good luck!

Invaribly, at some point, the research will lead you in the direction of do. Do you envision this to be true?

glad2bhere
4th April 2007, 19:35
(clip)

Invaribly, at some point, the research will lead you in the direction of do. Do you envision this to be true?

Very Nice, Brian. I consider this last comment to reflect a very pleasant if somewhat ironic turn on Eastern and Western cultures. While I would agree that my research may be working overtime to align Eastern constructs with Western processes, I cannot fault that even the most adamant of Western thought, applied consistently, fairly and intelligently invariably results in one finding himself in Balance. I submit that Balance and Harmony being what they are, your comment about being led to the do is not only likely but pretty much inevitable, yes?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Kenshin Butsu
5th April 2007, 00:56
Aiki = unbalance

glad2bhere
5th April 2007, 14:51
Aiki = unbalance

Yes---er---- thank you.

I am as appreciative of shibui (lit: "restrained elegance") as the next person. Your economy of words, however, leaves quite a bit to be desired-- and explained. There is a school of thought that "aiki" is a state of protracted control that one might exercise over an attacker's Balance, Timing, Interval and other attributes. This is accomplished by understanding and exploiting how an attacker responds to reestablish an attribute once it is compromised by the defender. By progressively compromising, say, Balance and then maintaining its compromised nature by using the attacker's own efforts to re-establish that Balance seems to be one way of defining "aiki". I can live with such a position. How one gets from Neo-Confucian philosophy, to here, to projecting Ki out through one's hands is more problematic, ne? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

DDATFUS
6th April 2007, 03:13
I think that there have been some references to aiki in some of the older traditions / koryu arts, I'm thinking in relation to sword but I can't really remember the specifics.


Just of the top of my head, I think Toda-ha Buko Ryu densho refer to their naginata-vs-kusarigama kata as "aiki." I'm too lazy to turn all the way around and pick up my copy of Old School to confirm this, but if I recall correctly, Ellis Amdur writes that in this context, "aiki" simply means "fitting together," referring to learning how to put together the lessons from some of the previous kata sets.

glad2bhere
6th April 2007, 14:30
Thanks, David.
In this context, though, I often get the feeling that the term "aiki" is a kind of "intellectual Swiss Army knife". What I mean is that it seems that any time a discussion reaches a kind of "critical mass" terms such as "aiki" and "Ki" are invoked. I have yet to see such invocation ever clarify anything. Rather these seem to be the modern day equivalent of the script on old maps--- "beyond here there be dragons" or "terra incognito"(Lit: "unknown lands").

Both "aiki" and "ki" are notoriously undefined, as this discussion, and others, indicates. In this way using these terms to clarify something else might, on some plane, be the equivalent of using a dirty cloth to clean a window.

Now, I understand that in every language there are tems which never quite enjoy a clean translation into another language and perhaps "aiki" might be one of these.

Another thought is that, because "aiki" enjoys (?) such a varied life, perhaps people invoke the term as a way of adding authority to what they say and KNOWING that noone will ever be able to mount a credible arguement against such an ethereal term. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Brently Keen
7th April 2007, 20:20
Yes. It's all based on perspective isn't it. 10 people witnessing a train wreck tell 10 different stories about how the same train wreck happened.


Well, if it's all based on perspective, then mine may be altogether different. Because what I think is that the divergent opinions and such regarding aiki are not different opinions about the same thing, but rather the same term (aiki) being used to describe very different things.

IOW, one person describes the carnage of a train wreck he saw and then another person says, oh yeah I know exactly what you mean, and proceeds to describe an accident involving a car and a bus, and then yet another describes a plane crash, yet another uses the same words to describe his parents divorce, and then another describes a suicide bomber blowing up a market, finally another tells of his company going bankrupt. In this example there are not 6 different perspectives of the same event there are 6 similar descriptions of very different events/things.

In the martial arts, aiki is a term that has been used by different styles and practitioners to describe various different things some a philosophical concept, some a strategic concept, some a symmetrical or reciprocal relationship, some a principle and others an actual skill set, and still others a curriculum of sorts. Therefore the use of "aiki" in Kashima-Shinryu is very different than the use of "aiki" in Daito-ryu, which is also different than the use of "aiki" in aikido.

FWIW however, I agree with Brian that there ought not to be a dichotomy between the definition/concept of the term aiki and the skill set. Perhaps in truth, you can't really define it if you can't do it.

I think there are those who can do & and can also define exactly what they do - they are good teachers. There are also those who can do, but struggle to define what it is they do - they are good practitioners and perhaps role models. Then there are those who cannot do, and yet pontificate on and on - they are merely philosophers. Then there are those who cannot do, but want to know and/or learn so they follow one of those three - they are seekers and perhaps researchers, then again there are many kinds of seekers and researchers, btw. Then there are those that cannot do and thus, believe that no one can truly define these terms - they're skeptics as well as seekers - but they usually follow only practitioners.

Which of the seekers is most likely to get what they're seeking for? IOW become able to do & define such things? Who is most likely and able to pass on the "real" aiki undiluted to the next generation of seekers?

Brently Keen

wagnerphysed
15th April 2007, 04:36
I just lost an entire response and I am frustrated beyond belief.

Anyway, you can't understand a definition if you don't understand the language in which it was delivered. In this case, AIKI. You learn this language through instruction under a master teacher, practice with skilled sempai, and hard, repetitive and often fruitless practice with dedicated training partners. Language here is not just words and it is not just practice. Thus, this language cannot be learned on an internet forum no matter how enlightened the participants may actually be (I don't think there has been a Daito-ryu master yet that could, through words alone, teach anyone to use AIKI, so what chance does anyone have of learning from us?).

This is why I asked Bruce if his research was going to lead to practice (sorry for talking about you in the third person Bruce). Without direct instruction from a master teacher and dedicated practice with knowledgeable and skilled sempai as well as training (often fruitless and frequently frustrating) with dedicated training partners, there just isn't anyway anyone is going to understand the definition (unless maybe you dedicated yourself to a shrine and were visited by a tengu). IOW, you might as well plan on visiting the moon in a rowboat (I think this would be less frustrating than trying to understand AIKI from a discussion in this forum, or for that matter typing a thoughtful, intelligent...very difficult for me...and credible response only to loose it due to personal negligence).

As to Brently's response,
I think there are those who can do & and can also define exactly what they do - they are good teachers. There are also those who can do, but struggle to define what it is they do - they are good practitioners and perhaps role models. Then there are those who cannot do, and yet pontificate on and on - they are merely philosophers. Then there are those who cannot do, but want to know and/or learn so they follow one of those three - they are seekers and perhaps researchers, then again there are many kinds of seekers and researchers, btw. Then there are those that cannot do and thus, believe that no one can truly define these terms - they're skeptics as well as seekers - but they usually follow only practitioners., I agree. However, I would like to add two points.

First, there are those who cannot do, pontificate on and on, and claim that they can do...these are frauds and charlatans. These are the people feared most by those of us dedicated to Daito-ryu and any other ryu inflicted with this plague.

Second, it is a simple rule of logic that if there is a single exception to the extreme of all or none then all or none does not apply. Therefore if there is a single person who can actually define, apply and teach AIKI, then AIKI is real and definable. It is not possible for someone to draw a conclusion that AIKI is mystical mumbo jumbo until they have tried everyone who makes the claim that they understand and can apply AIKI (and even some who make no claims at all). OTOH, this is what makes everything so difficult and frustrating regarding AIKI (this and the frauds).

FWIW, I understand why this discussion has gone on as long as it has. However, IMHO, this thread is a real waste of time because it is one sided and has no real benefit to anyone who truly wants to understand AIKI. We are simply exploring a single side of a dichotomy with people who seemingly have no access to the second side that would complete this investigation (honestly, IDT AIKI can exist in a dichotomy anyway).

I know this is really a blunt summation and I am really not trying to start a flame or even trying to be rude. I'm just pointing out the reality of the situation. :rolleyes:

Brently Keen
26th April 2007, 01:00
FWIW, my comment that Brian quoted above was not intended to be comprehensive -IOW there are certainly other kinds of people who practice and/or teach DR - besides those I mentioned. I've no qualms with making additional points if you like - however from my view, I would'nt have said, that the charlatons and frauds "are the people feared most by those of us dedicated to Daito-ryu..."

I don't find such individuals fearsome so much as bothersome and annoying. I also think they do their students and the public a great dis-service by misrepresenting themselves as well as the art of DR and aikijujutsu in general.

Respectfully,

Brently Keen

Ronnie Smart
26th April 2007, 03:53
Sorry for jumping in to the discussion, as I am not a practitioner of aikijujutsu or aikido at all, but a practioner of another art. I study classical chinese and at least from that perspective the characters don't appear to refer to any concept of unbalancing, as was suggested, but instead to the blending together of yin and yang.Perhaps the concept has an earlier origin than previously suggested. he, the chinese pronunciation of ai, refers to complementing (in the sense of a complementary opposite), at least in ancient chinese around 500 BCE. he, or ai is the opposite of tong 同 (at least in Classical Chinese anyway),which is close to alike or similar.

I do not propose to understand what this signifies in the systems you are discussing. I am just putting forward a point from my perspective as a student of Chinese. I believe if someone wants to understand the real meaning of the concept, they will only be able to do it through their body, in training.

Ronnie Smart

glad2bhere
26th April 2007, 14:07
Thanks, Ronnie.

Actually you are coming closer to the sort of scholarship I was want to pursue. As a Hapkido practioner I know that what most people have come to call "aiki" is very much experiential. However, there is a point at which I would hope that when we use the term, we are all at least identifying the same item,yes? For instance, in Hapkido I know that the "hapki-", though written with the same Hanja (J. "Kanji") does not immediately mean the same thing to Koreans as do those Chinese characters to the Japanese. Add to that the scrutiny of these interplays through Western eyes and the whole discussion can go up for grabs, yes?

BTW: How far back have you identified the reference you made to this reconciliation between Yin and Yang? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Mainiac
26th April 2007, 16:35
Hey folks, I am not an Aikijujutsu or Aikido student either but I will throw in my two cents anyway.
I was told that Aiki meant “The way of joining the Ki”. I was shown how this principal is utilized in almost all martial arts and indeed all of life. I was told that developing sensitivity to your opponents “intent” and being able to “follow it” and act “with” it rather than responding to it was it’s practice. As a Tai Chi player I see this play out in all of my training. Aside from getting into a discussion about what Ki or Chi is or is not, is this not a correct definition?

David Hills

glad2bhere
26th April 2007, 17:23
Hi, David:

The interpretation for the Chinese characters in Korean Hanja bespeaks a "universality" in the most catholic sense when it comes to various energies. In this sense the reconciling of the energies associated with weilding a range of weapons--- or no instruments at all----is accomplished by identifying and inter-relating these energies in a single hamonious whole. For myself it would almost go without saying that relating YIN and YANG would be right up at the top of the list.

OTOH, a great number of Hapkido practitioners have been influenced by the atempts to merge Aikido with Hapkido or vice versa. The result seems to be some attempt to employ a more Japanese take on the nature of "aiki". This latter definition seems to be more about "coordinated power" within the individual themelves (and by extension, how that relates to the energy of another) rather than how they relate to a particular practice.

Followin this line of thinking the question comes up as to whether "aiki" is, essentially, an inter-personal skill between partners, or a manner of execution as expressed through a partner, yes?

To put my last question another way--- and to borrow from an old ZEN koan:

If an martial artist practices his art with noone else around, does he still express "aiki"?

Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Mainiac
26th April 2007, 19:20
Hi, David:

The interpretation for the Chinese characters in Korean Hanja bespeaks a "universality" in the most catholic sense when it comes to various energies. In this sense the reconciling of the energies associated with weilding a range of weapons--- or no instruments at all----is accomplished by identifying and inter-relating these energies in a single hamonious whole. For myself it would almost go without saying that relating YIN and YANG would be right up at the top of the list.

OTOH, a great number of Hapkido practitioners have been influenced by the atempts to merge Aikido with Hapkido or vice versa. The result seems to be some attempt to employ a more Japanese take on the nature of "aiki". This latter definition seems to be more about "coordinated power" within the individual themelves (and by extension, how that relates to the energy of another) rather than how they relate to a particular practice.

Followin this line of thinking the question comes up as to whether "aiki" is, essentially, an inter-personal skill between partners, or a manner of execution as expressed through a partner, yes?

To put my last question another way--- and to borrow from an old ZEN koan:

If an martial artist practices his art with noone else around, does he still express "aiki"?

Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Understood.

In answer to the Koan I would say that yes he/she expresess "aiki" when alone to the degree that one is moving and breathing with "The Tao", but that's just my opinion....

David Hills

Samurai Jack
26th April 2007, 19:57
I am wondering if this defining Aiki thing is a bit from Steven Wright? The comic who is known for stuff like this "Practice makes perfect, I was told no one is perfect, so I quit practicing."


For me reading this is like listening on some guy trying to explain what a female organism (yes, it is spelled wrong for a reason) is to a woman who has never experienced one.

I got a very friendly email from someone, in the sig line was a webpage that I went to. On the very nice webpage was lots of good quotes, I found one that seems to apply to this abstract topic.

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident"
~ Schopenhauer

There is nothing said by Schopenhauer about truth being tested. The above is speaking to truth being accepted. In regard to the topic, it is a physical result experienced as a pocession, or on the receiving end of it. Then the question is defining and evaluation of existance (establishing it as true), then comes intensities, levels, types, etc. to further explain it's truth; definition. Therefore, this is very hard with all the limitations we face, to understand something we know nothing of.


There is a popular Zen koan or what have you, and if I remember correctly it goes something like this, "Words lie." I think we forget the limitations of words over the value of experience. Especially, here on the net where we communicate in a single diamension of symbols.

glad2bhere
26th April 2007, 20:13
I agree, Jack. Where I have a problem is when a construct is put forward and ever increasing numbers of people are identified as having no understanding of the construct. Simultaneously there are an ever shrinking, and mutually recriminating, group who purport to have the "inside truth" on the matter.

Even within the framework of Buddhism such esoteric terms as samadhi (J. "sanmai"), while variant, from person to person, can still be generally agreed upon regarding their basic nature. I wonder about the usefulness in communication of a term that is, at once, both freely used and yet so obscure in its meaning and expression. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Brently Keen
29th April 2007, 03:09
The subject of this thread is getting old - I'm not sure how many ways the answers can be spelled out, but here is just one part of the problem (imo) - that is the problem of defining aiki:

Too many people, including many experienced martial artists and teachers have been making assumptions about aiki that have little or no basis in reality. IOW there's either a lack of evidence or facts to support their assumptions or there are other mitigating facts that are not taken into account. For example:


Where I have a problem is when a construct is put forward and ever increasing numbers of people are identified as having no understanding of the construct. Simultaneously there are an ever shrinking, and mutually recriminating, group who purport to have the "inside truth" on the matter.

Granted this is an assumption about the people who "purport to have the inside truth" and not an assumption about the nature or definition of aiki, but it serves to make a point.

With regard to Daito-ryu aiki, I think that exactly the opposite is true. The number of people who have a good understanding of "DR aiki" has arguably been increasing each generation since Sokaku Takeda. This is especially true in the West outside of Japan. Likewise the numbers of people actively practicing and studying DR aiki has been steadily growing, thus the number of those who actually have some experience and with that increasing evidence and support for the "inside truth" about aiki. The numbers are growing as is the evidence surrounding their "orthodox" views on the subject.

Meanwhile (IMO), those on the outside continue with their assumptions, getting further from reality while those who earnestly seek the truth on the subject are now, more than ever, able to discover it and be rewarded by the transmission of the "secrets" of the tradition. In true koryu fashion such experiential knowledge is demonstrated and passed along directly from teacher to student (isshin denshin). What is (or was) unclear becomes increasing made clear through this sort of study and practice. These things CAN actually be spelled out quite clearly in this sort of context (IOW with those "inside the threshhold" taking part in the transmission process). They can't be or at least shouldn't be spelled out in a virtual manner such as on public forums like this, because there (outside the threshhold), the objective criteria/rules for understanding become subjective and blurred and therefore do not apply consistently.

Respectfully,

Brently Keen

Samurai Jack
1st May 2007, 17:43
Mr. Sims and Mr. Keen understand what you are both saying, good stuff.
From both your posts I was inspired to post the following.

As more people are exposed to DRAiki does this create more propensities for individuals to broaden the confusion in what aiki is and isn’t? For example, on youtube there is a clip of Okamoto doing some hard to believe applications of aiki power (for lack of a better phrase). Commenter’s ( a few ) ridiculed the demonstration because for many of us such a demonstration is something that our critical thinking sees as red flags. We find it difficult to conceive such ability as real, demonstrated by Okamoto. Therefore, I think such clips have a reverse affect on the public then they are intended to have. I think there is a naiveté as a result of cultural misunderstanding. That is to say, what is accepted as real in Japan, may find barriers to acceptance here. The result is a platform for greater disbelief and speculation on the very existence of aiki. And because of that a greater platform for frauds and those with limited ability pawning themselves off as great processors’ of the skill demonstrated by Okamoto multiply like rabbits. It is easier for our critical thinking
(as limited and half-cocked as it is for some) to accept someone of lesser ability or a charlatan because their poor skill is more critically digestible. Then it is for us to accept someone who actually has aiki power to speak of.

I don’t understand what aiki is, am not privy to anyone with such skill, nor can I do what I have seen or read about. What I have come to understand about the fascinating art of Daito ryu and all the individuals in its history is possibility by attempting to discuss and define what aiki is or isn’t opens a Pandora’s box of maladies. Maybe somethings are best kept secret.

Sometimes, we lose sight of the beauty of the living during the dissection. Sometime our obsession knowledge can be a kill joy. Where is the wonderment and amazement, the magic, in watching a magician when you know how it is done? In this instance, the art of magic and aiki are one. I think this is clearer if anyone has seen the films, about magic, “The Illusionist” and “The Prestige.” If you haven’t seen either film or read the books these films are based on, I highly recommend it in understanding fully my post.

glad2bhere
1st May 2007, 19:48
Thank you both for your time and attentions.

My relationship to DRAJJ extends only as far as there might be some biomechanical similarities between one art and another. Beyond that I profess no true understanding of DR or its nuances. However, I think there is much to be said about what "insiders" in the arts learn as opposed to "outsiders". The comment about "magic" caused me to give this some thought. Magicians have a way of doing extraordinary things by using the simplest of principles in rather different ways. However, if a person wants to learn "the secret to the trick" they have to "join the club". FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Itten
2nd May 2007, 11:14
I have recently had my fourth seminar with Minoru Akuzawa. I am still trying to process all my thoughts about what he can do and what he teaches. I am deeply impressed by the body skills he shows, unlike almost anything I have felt in 16 years of aikido. However, and this is no criticism to his teaching skill, I wonder whether or not what he can do is the result of his methods or that his methods are an attempt to transmit something that is unique to him alone, in the same way that we constantly discuss Takeda, Ueshiba or Sagawa. He has rooting, sticking, neutralizing, discharging and penetrating power, all seemingly without engaging normal musculature, and with zero perceptible wind-up. I think this is aiki in action.

glad2bhere
2nd May 2007, 14:42
While doing my research in KMA I had the pleasure of reading Mark Chen's book on Chen Tai Chi Chuan (See: OLD FRAME CHEN FAMILY TAIJIQUAN). I was especially intrigued by his discussion of the role of structural alignment in execution and application of Chen material. His view was that if the structure of the body is properly aligned, use of muscle tissue is not only unnecessary, but actually becomes a hinderance (See: Chap 4; Sec 4.1-4.7). I have wondered, occasionally, if what some folks experience as "effortless" technique is the sensory equivalent of "enjoying" proper structural alignment carrying the work for the muscular effort. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

Itten
2nd May 2007, 14:56
Bruce, I don't want to be accused of hijacking the thread, especially on the aikijutsu forum, but I'd be happy to go deeper in PM mode. Akuzawa places great emphasis on the development of what he calls frame, this is essentially structural alignment, and on relinking the nervous system and muscle tissue throughout the body. There are many overlaps with CMA (and, with respect and caution, many of the things that Mike Sigman talks about), which I recognize from my experience with Chinese boxing (5 animals) and Chen tai chi.
Maintaining the vertical axis and the creation of a sphere based upon 6 directional tension and intention is the starting point. It is very physically demanding at first, although he stresses and demonstrates that, later, when the frame is established, the holding of muscular tension falls away. There is also much emphasis on compressing and expending the are where the spine enters the pelvis structure, requiring what the Chinese refer to as opening the qua, the crease at the top of the legs. This is a subtle form of relaxation whilst holding the legs in a bow posture, very specific and very strong, the basis of rooting and discharging power.

Brently Keen
2nd May 2007, 21:15
While I've not had the fortune of working with Akuzawa-san personally from what I've seen heard and read about his skills lead me to believe he's mostly using ki/kokyu skills - IOW various (important and exceptional) body skills but not aiki. It seems that he says as much himself.

While the application of aiki requires certain body skills and there may me some overlap with what Ark is doing/teaching my own understanding of DR aiki seems to be quite different.

just my humble opinion...

Brently

Mike Haftel
2nd May 2007, 21:34
I have wondered, occasionally, if what some folks experience as "effortless" technique is the sensory equivalent of "enjoying" proper structural alignment carrying the work for the muscular effort. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce


I would agree.

Proper structural (skeletal, muscular) alignment, along with the complete embodyment (not just utilization) of a number of basic principles allows for what people might call, "effortless power."

It's all about efficiency and economy of motion - doing little to accomplish a lot.

I've only met one or two people who realy wow'd me with their ability. One was able to throw with almost no effort and no perceptability (Daito-Ryu) and the other was able to strike with incredible power, imperceptability, very little effort and take your center by doing so.

I'd say they both did so via (at least to start with) proper structure, being grounded, breathing correctly, relaxation, and etc.

Samurai Jack
5th May 2007, 17:32
While doing my research in KMA I had the pleasure of reading Mark Chen's book on Chen Tai Chi Chuan (See: OLD FRAME CHEN FAMILY TAIJIQUAN). I was especially intrigued by his discussion of the role of structural alignment in execution and application of Chen material. His view was that if the structure of the body is properly aligned, use of muscle tissue is not only unnecessary, but actually becomes a hinderance (See: Chap 4; Sec 4.1-4.7). I have wondered, occasionally, if what some folks experience as "effortless" technique is the sensory equivalent of "enjoying" proper structural alignment carrying the work for the muscular effort. Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

I agree Chen's book on Old Frame is good concerning the role of structural alignment. That is very important in all Tai Chi in my opinion since Chen style is the parent. I dare say, as I am not a Judo player, that Judo relies on some of the same ideas IMO as Chen Tai Chi, yet applied differently in Judo results in a Judo special throw that is touchless-rather not needing to grab an opponent to throw him, hence effortless, I forgot the name of that special waza. The core of Tai Chi is to relax in that in its self is a means of employing effortless technique to ward-off, etc.

glad2bhere
5th May 2007, 21:42
I agree Chen's book on Old Frame is good concerning the role of structural alignment. That is very important in all Tai Chi in my opinion since Chen style is the parent. I dare say, as I am not a Judo player, that Judo relies on some of the same ideas IMO as Chen Tai Chi, yet applied differently in Judo results in a Judo special throw that is touchless-rather not needing to grab an opponent to throw him, hence effortless, I forgot the name of that special waza. The core of Tai Chi is to relax in that in its self is a means of employing effortless technique to ward-off, etc.

Thanks, Jack.

Brently, is what Jack is sharing where you were going with your post or did you have something special in mind? For myself I try to stay away from the concept of "special power" when its comes to "aiki" choosing instead to think in terms of highly refined skill. Are we on the same page or do you have an alternate view to this? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,
Bruce

Brently Keen
6th June 2007, 08:38
Sorry to respond so late, but no, it wasn't where I was going with my post, Bruce. Aiki is not simply a refined skill. If it was it'd be no different than kung fu. Nor is it a magic sort of power - rather when you know how aiki works your wonderment and joy increases because you appreciate the unique genius of it all the more. In that regard it is truly special; that such wonderful methods were invented and not only still exist today, they still have practical application(s) too.

In my previous post I spoke about people making assumptions - and imo the assumptions about Chen Taiji and Judo are pretty accurate w/regard to those arts, but are much less so for DR aiki. While relaxation & structural alignment is common to all three to some extent, I understand the principles and means of Taiji technique/skills, and judo technique/skills to be fundamentally different from each other as well as different from DR aiki technique & skills.

People can read about aiki in books and discuss it on forums like this, they can watch videos of masters demonstrating aiki at high levels all because now, DR AJJ is no longer the closed art it once was. Now you can even go to see and feel it in person, and you can even learn the principles, techniques and skills yourself if you want to - many have and yet some still remain skeptical or continue to make assumptions about aiki and/or Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu despite the evidence. I must sound like a broken record (or a "loop" for younger folks) by now, but I know that these differences can be explained and demonstrated in person much better than in an online forum such as this. So why don't we just leave it at that? Plenty has been said already. If you haven't found what your looking for yet - keep on looking, or just look more closely where you've looked before.

Respectfully,

Brently

jlaverty
24th June 2007, 04:31
Forgive me if I make a faux pas, I am a first time poster. I want to thank everyone for the posts I have seen so far, I wish I had found this board years ago. I am an Aikidoka and I hope this is the correct place to post this thread.

I have a question in several parts. First, from the reading I have done so far, I believe the idea of “Aiki” as it has been taught to me is incomplete. The dojo where I studied did not often use the term aiki. We spent a lot of time talking about blending and harmonizing with energy. (The term energy in this case should be limited to the physical force and direction of an attack.) Blending would be used to off balance uke. Placeing uke in a position where resistance would only be possible from small, isolated muscle groups, while nage was in a position to use large, coordinated muscle groups. It was even stated that Aikido is about using bio-mechanics not “mystical energy”. If done correctly it is an effective method, but it does not sound like the idea of aiki I have found here. Without revealing any school specific secrets can someone help me by elaborating on the difference between proper positioning and using aiki to move and throw uke?

Second, I was lucky enough while in high school to learn a little internal Chinese boxing. One night to demonstrate my teacher had me cross my arms while he stood in front of me with his hands on my arms. I would not even feel him move. In fact I was not even aware I was in the air until someone positioned 10 or 12 feet behind me caught me. I later pursued Aikido hoping to find this feel again. It was to me the most amazing, effortless throw. Are there “aiki” arts out there that have a similar feel to what I am describing? I realize it is difficult to discuss what someone has felt in regards to a throw or technique but any insight would be helpful. At the Aikido dojo I practiced at there were several very powerful Aikidoka, but the power was the power of muscle and/or body weight moving through your center. This does not sound like the power of aiki that I have read about here.

Lastly, has the aiki portion of Aikido be passed on? I know that many Aikidoka are powerful and incredibly gifted martial artist. I have read several times here on E-budo that Ueshiba Morihei was afraid his students would steal his Aiki secrets. I respect all the teachers I have had and I do not doubt there dedication or ability but if no one received the fullness of Ueshiba Morihei knowledge, is Aikido a complete art?

I removed my last questions/thoughts since I believe they would be more appropriate in the Aikido threads. Thank you everyone in advance for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

JLaverty

Woody
25th June 2007, 01:29
Soo...you are seeking the Holy Grail of martial arts eh?
Like you I have felt what you have in very few people.
Good luck to you.

Jose Garrido
25th June 2007, 20:10
In our school we have 7 types of AIKI that we focus on during the beginers training, in the Ikkajo set.

I believe that this subject has been discussed several times on this forum. So a simple search will give you the answers as to which they are.

Other than that IMHO the only way to truly understand the different types of AIKI and the levels of AIKI (shoden, chuden, okuden) is to experience them from a highly qualified instructor.

Unfortunately no one explanation will do and there are numerous opinions as to what AIKI is. So...training and feeling is truly the only way to get the answer and find the "Holy Grail" sort of speak.

Sorry that I could not be more helpful.

Jose Garrido

jlaverty
25th June 2007, 21:01
Mr. Garrido,

Thank you for your remarks. I am sifting through a lot of material on this board. If the answers to my questions are already here I apologize, I have not found all of it yet, but I will continue looking.

I hate to admit it but I guess I really was asking “what is aiki?” I know this has been asked many times and answered as well as can be for a public forum. I really wish my first post had been something deeper and more profound then that…

One of my teachers used to tell us everyday that the only way to get better was through hard work. I have always agreed with this but finding highly qualified instructors can be difficult. Actually, I should say conveying a sincere desire to learn to a qualified instructor is difficult, as I assume most instructors are bombarded daily with requests. Add to this that I am in Colorado and not near any dojos\study groups and it becomes harder for an instructor to take my requests seriously. I have been pointed in the directions of several people, who can hopefully help me, once by yourself recently. So hopefully, there will be a chance in the future for me to learn and feel with a qualified instructor.

jlaverty

lucky1899
26th June 2007, 14:33
Jlaverty,

Check your private messages, I sent you some information that may be helpful.

Regards,

Andrew De Luna

Woody
26th June 2007, 20:05
Jlaverty,

Check your private messages, I sent you some information that may be helpful.

Regards,

Andrew De Luna
Please share. :)

John J. Montes
27th June 2007, 22:08
I believe Woody said it best....welcome to the quest...Lord knows I've been searching for a while now too....

P Goldsbury
27th June 2007, 22:20
This is an interesting thread, about which I will probably have something to contribute. Since Aikijujutsu is really intended for studies of the art of Sokaku Takeda and his successors in Daito-ruy and is not so directly concerned with Morihei Ueshiba, I am miving the thread to the aikido forum.

P Goldsbury
7th July 2007, 00:11
Since I was clearly mistaken in moving the thread to aikido: there have been no new posts and I have not time to make any contribution yet, I am moving the thread back to AJJ.


Best wishes to all

Brently Keen
7th July 2007, 18:11
John,

I'd rather not judge whether the "aiki" you were taught in aikido was complete or not. That's really up to you to decide for yourself.

I think you have accurately described the way that aikido is probably taught and practiced by most. Obviously different aikido organizations and schools have various approaches and emphases that differ somewhat - so it depends where you go to train as to what you will find (concerning the nature and feel of their aikido) as well as the extent to which that version of aikido is being transmitted faithfully.


Without revealing any school specific secrets can someone help me by elaborating on the difference between proper positioning and using aiki to move and throw uke?

As you stated, the aikido you learned involves proper positioning to move and throw uke. This sounds very much like the aikido that the founder taught to his students and that they have taught succeeding generations. It seems however that Ueshiba himself didn't always "move" as much. He apparently also used some internal (intrinsic) strength - ki &/or kokyu to facilitate the moving and throwing of his ukes around. Much has been made of this lately. The question is did he teach or transmit the methods to develop these body skills to his successors? And perhaps more importantly, did they in turn pass these methods on? Are they still being taught today? I think it depends where you go and with whom - even then, it's debatable to some degree who has or does not have what. In the end, these kinds of skills can be demonstrated by those that have them. Whether or not they're willing or able to teach them though, is another story.

As others have stated elsewhere, the Japanese in particular have a tendency to hide some of these things and make you work to steal or discover them for yourself. Most people don't have the discipline or perseverence required, but even for those that sincerely do, much of their efforts are hit or miss, and mostly they miss I'm afraid - because they're blindly trying to "pin the tail on the donkey" so to speak.

Back to the difference between positioning or using tai sabaki to move and/or throw uke vs using aiki. For a long time on these boards I always insisted there was a difference between DR aiki and jujutsu or aikido (I consider aikido to be a modified form of jujutsu). Without reviving those debates and going into too many details, it's been my experience that there are not only differences between jujutsu/aikido and DR aiki, but there are also differences in internal methods, and I personally distinguish aiki skills from ki/kokyu skills.

Anyway, it's possible to move your opponent around and throw him using ki/kokyu or using aiki. IOW you move the uke using internal skills into a disadvantageous position, as opposed to simply externally blending with the attack, evading &/or stepping into a position of greater advantage while trying to off-balance and redirect uke. This is what it means (imo) to be immoveable - it doesn't mean you don't move, it just means you move the opponent before (and more than) you move yourself. IOW you move him around more than you move around him.


One night to demonstrate my teacher had me cross my arms while he stood in front of me with his hands on my arms. I would not even feel him move. In fact I was not even aware I was in the air until someone positioned 10 or 12 feet behind me caught me. I later pursued Aikido hoping to find this feel again. It was to me the most amazing, effortless throw. Are there “aiki” arts out there that have a similar feel to what I am describing?

This sounds like he used ki &/or kokyu power to throw you back. Apparently he was able to release a good amount of power, but it doesn't sound like aiki to me. I think there are some aikido people who can do similar throws with kokyu ryoku - but not too many can/will teach you how they do it. Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu has similar techniques as well as different ones. However, a general characteristic of DR is that instead of projecting or throwing opponents away as is common in aikido or CMA, we collapse, or throw the opponent(s) to the ground, near us, that way we can control and/or finish them. This is more effective and is arguably more difficult to learn.

When you grab hold of someone who is good at DR aiki among other things you may be shocked, there's often a whiplash effect and you feel your body tense itself up, your grip tightens and your balance is taken immediately, you find it difficult to let go, your movement is frozen or severely restricted, your breathing is affected, and you may become involuntarily stuck to tori. As was mentioned before there are different kinds of aiki - including tome aiki, nuki aiki, etc... but these are some common effects of being subjected to DR aikijujutsu.

And while they are somewhat similar, aiki is different (imo), from the more common ki/kokyu/jin types of power used in most other internal martial arts.

With all due respect, if Ueshiba had much aiki skill from DR, I've yet to see or hear evidence of these kind of characteristic DR aiki effects, rather what I've seen is very excellent ki & kokyu skills combined with DR Jujutsu techniques. The older Ueshiba became the more he modified the older techniques of "prewar" aikibudo (DR jujutsu) into what we know as Aikido. He himself emphasized ki & kokyu while philosophizing about aiki. IMO the "aiki" in Ueshiba's Aikido was more of a general "concept" whereas in DR aiki entails specific internal techniques/methods, the means by which we achieve advantageous control over the opponent.

Is aikido complete? I think that depends what you mean by complete. It's not DR, although Ueshiba was licensed to teach DR and did for a time, Sokaku insisted he'd not finished teaching him - thus Ueshiba's DR training was not complete. Furthermore, Ueshiba did not continue to teach DR - he modified the hiden mokuroku (118 jujutsu techniques) of DR to create the technical curriculum of aikido - thus aikido derives from DR jujutsu and DR jujutsu served as a technical base for aikido, but aikido is a new art that Ueshiba developed himself. I think the aikido he created was complete for what he wanted it to be and it survives more or less in various places due to the efforts of his successors passing on what they managed to glean from their time with the founder and/or his closest students.

Likewise Daito-ryu aiki survives more or less due to the efforts of Sokaku Takeda's successors passing on what they learned from Sokaku to their respective students.

Regards,

Brently Keen