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Thread: Hidden in Plain Sight - Discussion

  1. #76
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    Wayne, here's a book that I recommend that's relative to the general subject of learning and teaching skills...

    The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, published by Cambridge University Press.

    http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Expe...2121251&sr=1-1
    Chuck Clark
    Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
    http://www.jiyushinkai.org

  2. #77
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    Default Thanks, Chuck, and Cady...

    Chuck,

    Thanks. I'll check out that book. I scanned the first sample pages at amazon.com and it looks interesting.

    Cady, I'm going to PM you re: impressions about some aikido folk.

    Wayne

  3. #78
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    When I read the tales of Ueshiba and Takeda, one thing that stands out to me is that these guys did not seem to have a problem with laying some hurt on people. I would posit that in order to attain the level of these guys it takes more than just training your body, and that it was their mindsets as much as their physical abilities that set them apart.

    It also, to my mind, seems like you only really see a lot of this type of training in civilian combat arts. I think that the most plausible reason for this is that if you have a limited amount of time in which to train someone for combat, and they will have a limited amount of time to maintain their training routines thereafter, that training the mind comes first. This fits with all the current research out there in both the military and law enforcement. It also fits with the research that has been done on survival, and what separates survivors from those who don't, it is not the body but the mind.

    I am not trying to refute the value of this type of training, but am suggesting that maybe it was not adopted into the older arts for reasons other than what have been posited here to date.
    Best regards,
    Bruce Mitchell

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    Default Not quite sure about this...

    Bruce,

    "...I am not trying to refute the value of this type of training, but am suggesting that maybe it was not adopted into the older arts for reasons other than what have been posited here to date."

    With due respect, I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. It has been my experience that the koryu stuff I have been doing...at least what I do...deals with this extensively, to a point where the ryu goes into the psychology of combat and the emotional and mental effects thereafter. In fact, my "homework" given to me in the summer was to read the tracts on such mental states kept within our ryu to balance the upper level physical techniques I just learned, which deal with laying on maximum owee. To my knowledge, I haven't come across this dissection of the mental and emotional effects of combat (not sports) in many modern budo schools.

    Sincerely,

    Wayne Muromoto

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    Hi Wayne,
    I'm sorry, I was unclear in my prior post. What I meant to say is that I do believe that many koryu focus on the mental/psychological aspect of training, much like modern military and police training, and not on the physical aspects of training described in Hidden In Plain Sight . I find it more plausible that this was because when training for combat, particularly armed combat, training to achieve a combative mindset is more important than the body-skills discussed both in the book and in this thread. What I am submitting is that just maybe the type of training and skills described in Hidden In Plain Sight are more properly the provenance of modern budo, rather than being something that was either hidden or lost in other arts.
    Best regards,
    Bruce Mitchell

  6. #81
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    Sorry Bruce - missed your second post, before I responded, so I'll rewrite slightly - but your clarification makes it clearer. There is a lot of evidence of this in a number of very old koryu - although not in others. If I recall correctly, you do Tendo-ryu. But what was in the primordial Ten-ryu kenjutsu - who knows? There are movements in Buko-ryu naginata which never made sense to me from a combative sense- after 30+ years of training, until I realized how perfectly they fit in an internal training methodology - they train the fighter to use whole body power with a very small range of movement, so you can deflect or smash through the enemy without windup, damaging your weapon, or losing your balance. It cannot be an accident that something fits so perfectly that methodology. Given that I find this more and more in the two ryu I train.

    It is fair to say that certain methodology - a certain "slant" to this kind of training is more the provenance of "civilian" combatives. But, as I've pointed out in the book, martial applications of internal training either were, or are part of the curriculum of many koryu. A few that I name are: Asayama Ichiden-ryu, Kashima Shin-ryu, Yagyu Shingan-ryu (certain branches), Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, Komagawa Kaishin-ryu, Itto-ryu (used to be), Shosho-ryu. One of the reasons this training "takes so long" is a) a cult of secrecy so they wouldn't give the students what they should have from the git-go (this is an Edo phenomena, I believe) b) students not putting in the hours.
    As I've posted elsewhere, I'm recently discovering that Araki-ryu either must have had - or by sheer happenstance, has a body form that is the perfect "vessel" for this type of training. I'm teaching a guy Araki-ryu sword - and have been teaching some of the internal body dynamics from the first day. He is a seasoned martial artist, and actually trains long hours on his own. And in two months, he's got things right that I have, previously, not been able to teach in years.
    Yes, this type of training requires a very intense amount of practice - I'm only scratching the surface myself - but with each month, I find more and more evidence of how widespread this knowledge was. There is no doubt that most ryu did not do "grab my wrist" type of training like is in Daito-ryu and it's off-shoots. That is one branch of the tree. The mistake would be to assume that this is the "core" training method, and thus, because we don't see that type of training or "ki" tricks in many kenjutsu ryu, that they didn't have internal training.
    Final point - a senior member of one very old ryu told me that the headmaster, who clearly has a very high level of skill attributes this to very specific breathing methods and other exercises. He despairs, however, that his students don't believe him - modern guys, they either "don't have time," "think it's weird," or "doubt it really is due to hours of repetition of such drudgery." The headmaster's point - "anybody could do what I do, if they had the dedication" - which he defines as an hour a day of concentrated practice.

    When we read of jujutsu and kenjutsu in the 17th & 18th century, we read of a number of guys of Takeda Sokaku's skill. He was unique to so many because the skills were already almost lost in the modernization of Meiji.

    Best
    Ellis Amdur
    Last edited by Ellis Amdur; 31st December 2009 at 01:48.

  7. #82
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    Thank you Ellis,
    Your responses are quite persuasive, and much to my surprise, I find myself convinced of the verity of your research.
    Best regards,
    Bruce Mitchell

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    Default Good round...

    Bruce, thanks for clarifying, and to Ellis for adding more to his book's thesis. I understand where you're coming from, Bruce. Interesting ideas.

    When I first entered tai chi training, I told my teacher that while I had reached a certain level in Japanese koryu, I KNEW there were things I wasn't catching. Since I had moved back from Japan, I only visited my teachers in Japan once a year or so and felt I needed more training, but how to sharpen my skills with my teachers so far away? Tai chi ch'uan seemed to answer it more than other Japanese budo being taught in Hawaii. It was as if it was the key that opened up a door to...well, I'm still finding out what's behind door number 3. So I find Ellis' observations, deductions, and concepts very, very interesting.

    Wayne

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Mitchell View Post
    What I meant to say is that I do believe that many koryu focus on the mental/psychological aspect of training, much like modern military and police training, and not on the physical aspects of training described in Hidden In Plain Sight . I find it more plausible that this was because when training for combat, particularly armed combat, training to achieve a combative mindset is more important than the body-skills discussed both in the book and in this thread.
    Interesting thread. Some thoughts without (hopefully) derailing the discussion too much:

    I don't think that you can really separate the physical from the mental – at least when we get to the level of function we are talking about here.

    Certainly there is room for speculation about certain specific "body skills,” that perhaps the genesis of these was originally a function of ways to move weapons, etc. with increased efficiency and effectiveness, evolved by certain “geniuses” with both talent and a strong work ethic, the “Michael Jordan’s” and ‘Tiger Woods” of personal combat of the day. Xingyi, Chen taiji, Baji, and a few others at least are battlefield systems based on the use of the spear, after all, with their body use strongly grounded in that weapon, and close in their complete teachings involving mindset and weapons use to Japanese koryu.

    In professional terms, the move away from contact weapons to projectile weapons is probably a factor vis-ŕ-vis a comparison with modern military/LE. One that impacts both mindset and body skills.

    Back on point: At the pedestrian level there is certainly an emphasis on mindset (whether it actually gets through to the students is another matter). It is I think the more important part of the equation. But fatigue and injury can strip the “mindset” right out of someone not physically inured to hardship through rigorous and demanding regimes. Some people have all the motivation in the world when they are not tired or hurt, but away it goes when things start getting tough.

    There is a reason, I think, that special forces type selection processes break people down physically: it is the surest test of real mindset at a core level. To draw a training parallel in the LE world, lots of very tough, motivated people that would appear to have “tactical mindsets,” and actually perform well in most street situations, “nut up” or “give up” under some force on force/simunition conditions because it….hurts.

    I say pedestrian level because I think that the traditions and training regimens discussed here, both in terms of mindset and body skills, were not for the “average warrior.” They certainly probably trained in the same systems, but training even under a good teacher says nothing about your own individual skill and ability, as already treated with here.

    I speculate that the “founders” of ryu, and early on at least, the ones who had ryu passed on to them were probably more like a sort of self-selected feudal era “special forces” type far different from the rank and file bushi. Men not only with the talent and wherewithal to truly focus on both mindset and weapons- and body-skills, to learn when tested and to improve upon their skills through experience and harder training, but who also due to social status had the time to put in to these practices; including the time to sequester themselves at shrines for “1,000 days” of ascetic training.

  10. #85
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    Default Is there a connection

    Mr Amdur,

    First I want to thank you for taking the time to write HIPS, outstanding book! I have read it no less than 10 times to date. As a student of Yoshinkan Aikido and Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu I truly enjoyed the questions put forth to me in this book. For one it prompted me, as well as many other reasons, to start Hozoin Ryu Takada Ha which I have been doing for a year now. I am very glad to have started this wonderfull art and it has had a change in my Aikido. Definatley interesting learning from such a different distance.
    Now more to my point. I was reading Kenji Tokitsu's "Miyamoto Musashi: His life and writings" and there is reference to Morita Monjuro (1889-1978) and his kendo-zen. He discusses the link of koshi, tanden, and sunden and the ability to "read" the opponents mind. Mr Mortita talks about Futabayama the sekitori who had 69n continues wins who stated being able to "read" his opponents intentions.
    This is very close to what I also read in a book entitled "Aizu no Takeda Sokaku", sorry author unknown at this time as I have loaned the book to one of my dojo mates and do not have it in my possesion at this time. In this book it is related that Takeda Sokichi told Sokaku that he was able to "read" the opponents mind through his sunden. This is interesting as it concurs with what Futabayama stated.
    Mr Morita also discusses the diagonal tension created by training in a nito fashion. All in all very interesting stuff as it coincides with what I read in HIPS.
    My question is do you think it is the trinity of koshi, tanden, sunden that gave these martial ancestors an edge that we or I am lacking in our current training?
    I thank you for your time and apologize for my ramblings as I am not much of an intelectual, more of a banger.

    regards Reg Sakamoto
    Reg Sakamoto
    a student of applied kinesiology through combatives.

  11. #86
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    Reg - thank you for continuing a discussion long asleep. First of all, I'm not familiar with the term sunden. I imagine that it is that either the point of the sword or the point between the eyes. (Which would be very different - but both would make a triangle).
    In principle, I DO believe that the cultivation of sophisticated "internal" skills was the key to the apparently miraculous abilities of some of our predecessors.
    Considering the specific words (I'll await your definition of sunden for me). Tanden is, of course, the universal center - it's not a point below the naval - it's a "virtual" ball, to some, which encompasses the lower abdomen and spine. I recently, however, heard another definition which likened it more to a flexible leaf spring (I think such differences of definition express different intent of usage - in other words, different martial arts). I think an easy way to think of tanden is a differential in a car, a gear that transmits force from four wheels (limbs), most efficiently, whatever angle the limbs are. Unlike the differential in a car, it is also additive, in that a trained tanden can express force.
    Koshi is usually defined as hips, but we should really think of it as "base."
    So - I'm curious what sunden is.

    As for reading minds - don't know about that - but one can definitely read intent. I've grappled with guys who give me a running commentary on what I'm going to do next, before I move. They can feel it. Personally, I can do that in weapon's practice. It's kind of hard to explain this, but what one should understand is that it's not passive. Part of this ability is to lead the opponent through kiai/kamae - it's easier to read people's intent when many options are closed off to them.
    Best
    Ellis Amdur

  12. #87
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    Ellis,

    Mr. Sakamoto will surely make things clear, but I believe if he is referring to the concept of sunden (寸田) in kendo, it is indeed a point between the eyes/eyebrows. It is also sometimes called the upper tanden (上丹田).
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, ţonne he ćt guđe gengan ţenceđ longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearađ. - The Beowulf Poet

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    Thank you Mr Amdur,

    Yes the gentleman is correct I am speaking of the sunden between the eyes. Sorry I was not clear before. Also Mr Amdur your correct I was told koshi as base, as in the small of the back so to speak. Thank you for your reply.

    regards Reg Sakamoto
    Reg Sakamoto
    a student of applied kinesiology through combatives.

  14. #89
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    Although many people do refer to Koshi as the small of the back, I think this is incorrect. Properly, koshi is the hip joints (which are properly supported by the lower legs), the buttocks, the sacrum and the pelvic floor.

    Now, as for sunden, now that I know what it is, I do think it is necessary to consider how these three components would be manifested in kendo. Would it not be fair to say that the organization of these three components would be rather different in Hozoin-ryu?

    That said, please consider this. When I train psychotherapists, I teach a particular way of breathing, suggesting that when one feels "ready for anything" (i.e., a relaxed combat effective breathing), one has the psychological energy/spaciousness to be aware of subtle changes in the other person's demeanor, and also to have the wherewithal to be aware of small intuitive impressions that float into consciousness. When "tight," one doesn't notice these ideas.

    Similarly, if one's body is in a perfect organization for kendo (or another martial art), ready for anything, yet committed to nothing, one can pick up similar intuitions in the midst of randori - or combat.

    I think this is tied to the anecdote of Ukei of Kito-ryu who, when suddenly attacked by a sumo wrestler (they are always the fall-guys in these stories), sort of moves and the guy drops, and when asked what he did, Ukei replies that he's not sure himself.

    Best
    Ellis Amdur

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    Mr Amdur,

    Thank you for the reply. I see your point about koshi. I think you are correct about viewing this trinity from the point of Hozoin ryu being different than kendo. I do not study kendo so I cannot say but the body configuration of Hozoin is radically different! So I would guess that the use of these points would alter.
    Now as I am not a very smart guy I believe you placed in your answer my next question. Is sunden then related to breathing? Is it where you draw the breath in? I have a limited understanding of koshi (apparently not that much as I believed it to be a little high! This would explain a lot of my problems in waza) and tanden. I have been practising starting movement from the koshi through the tanden and have some success. Ah I see your point about koshi. In Niten and aikido my body is more forward facing or hirakami but the composition of my body in Hozoin is in a deep kiba dachi so I was wondering how to start from the koshi. Your explanation of koshi makes more sense as it would be more like a ball in socket or bowel than a plate.
    So my next point would be that if I understand koshi/ tanden what do you do with sunden. Is it related to breathing? Am I in the right ball park or do I need to get back on the train?

    cheers Reg Sakamoto
    Reg Sakamoto
    a student of applied kinesiology through combatives.

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