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Thread: Aikido 7th-Dan William Gleason demonstrating internal principles

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    Default Aikido 7th-Dan William Gleason demonstrating internal principles

    A couple of short clips of Bill Gleason teaching aiki. Note his use of Chinese terms ("Yin and Yang," "6 Directions") in teaching internal body method, but what he is doing is "old-style aikido" internal power.



    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 8th March 2014 at 00:18.
    Cady Goldfield

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    Default Reverse engineering aikido?

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    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 15th March 2014 at 04:24. Reason: Not worth the backlash!
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Scott View Post
    Reverse engineering aikido?

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    Last edited by Nathan Scott; Today at 00:24. Reason: Not worth the backlash!
    No, I wouldn't call it "reverse engineering." More accurate to say, "restoring aikido to Morihei Ueshiba's aiki-driven Aikido."
    Using Chinese terms is expeditious because Japanese internal arts evidently have been lacking in a descriptive conceptual and teaching terminology.
    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 21st March 2014 at 13:39.
    Cady Goldfield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cady Goldfield View Post
    No, I wouldn't call it "reverse engineering." More accurate to say, "restoring aikido to Morihei Ueshiba's aiki-driven Aikido."
    Using Chinese terms is expeditious because Japanese internal arts evidently have been lacking in a descriptive conceptual and teaching terminology.

    Nathan Scott probably had the right idea about the backlash not being worth it, but I simply don't get it. I see uke in a very off-balanced position, gives his balance up from his first reaching out, and then a couple of Chinese terms to describe simple biomechanics - fetch the stick, son, fetch the stick. Why does explaining that require foreign terminology? Try that with any decent judoka with balance and core strength squared off with you and it will simply fail.

    Do people 'understand' this sort of language and actually pursue training in it?

    Lance Gatling

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    Wok fried aiki?
    Christopher Covington

    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LGatling View Post
    Nathan Scott probably had the right idea about the backlash not being worth it, but I simply don't get it. I see uke in a very off-balanced position, gives his balance up from his first reaching out, and then a couple of Chinese terms to describe simple biomechanics - fetch the stick, son, fetch the stick. Why does explaining that require foreign terminology? Try that with any decent judoka with balance and core strength squared off with you and it will simply fail.

    Do people 'understand' this sort of language and actually pursue training in it?

    Lance Gatling
    For what it is worth, this is the way we tend to do seminars in the ASU. The uke needs to be stable when the grab or attack happens but should not resist or try to get his balance back. The point is that the teacher is going to do something with different body mechanics than is expected or natural, and the results will feel different. Josh, the uke in the top video, has a habit of nodding furiously when he feels his posture being broken. People will partner up and do what they can based on what they saw, the teacher will walk around and throw everybody to let them feel it, etc. Then we go back to regaular practice and...well, generally we go back to our regular practice but over the years, things stick here and there that you can do at full speed.

    That's the way Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei do things....though I don't hear them use Chinese terms. They don't even use the term aiki much honestly. Ikeda Sensei basically says he is adjusting himself very subtly to unbalance his opponent, and Saotome Sensei has some things he talks about such as the fact that there are simple biomechanical things happening, and being careful about what you communicate to uke to fool their senses, and the importance of taking your training seriously. (Just my observation, other students may have picked up different things over the years. )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Judge View Post
    For what it is worth, this is the way we tend to do seminars in the ASU. The uke needs to be stable when the grab or attack happens but should not resist or try to get his balance back. The point is that the teacher is going to do something with different body mechanics than is expected or natural, and the results will feel different. Josh, the uke in the top video, has a habit of nodding furiously when he feels his posture being broken. ...

    That's the way Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei do things....though I don't hear them use Chinese terms. They don't even use the term aiki much honestly. Ikeda Sensei basically says he is adjusting himself very subtly to unbalance his opponent, and Saotome Sensei has some things he talks about such as the fact that there are simple biomechanical things happening, and being careful about what you communicate to uke to fool their senses, and the importance of taking your training seriously. (Just my observation, other students may have picked up different things over the years. )
    That's my point. Uke is not in a _stable_ position from the beginning - he is very much off-balance, in a _static_ but weak position, but not stable (we could disagree on the meaning of 'stable', I'm sure), having given up most of his stability by the odd posture before he even reaches out and down to touch tori, thus offbalancing himself even more - and it goes downhill from there. Tori can nudge him around as he wishes, no ki, yin, or even yang necessary. Simple biomechanics - tori stays in a stable, balanced posture and guides off-balanced uke through his dance. (Fetch the stick, son, fetch the stick.....)

    And why would uke not resist or try to get his balance back? Just to continue to prove the attack is not realistic? I get that from the initial contact, no need to belabor the point.

    I've practiced aikido with some very accomplished folks, and the best can serve up techniques that are hard to describe, and if they want to use 'ki' I don't argue, but this doesn't seem like such an example.

    L Gatling

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    Quote Originally Posted by LGatling View Post
    That's my point. Uke is not in a _stable_ position from the beginning - he is very much off-balance, in a _static_ but weak position, but not stable (we could disagree on the meaning of 'stable', I'm sure), having given up most of his stability by the odd posture before he even reaches out and down to touch tori, thus offbalancing himself even more - and it goes downhill from there. Tori can nudge him around as he wishes, no ki, yin, or even yang necessary. Simple biomechanics - tori stays in a stable, balanced posture and guides off-balanced uke through his dance. (Fetch the stick, son, fetch the stick.....)
    Hmm. Well, generally its a static but strong position, which I would call stable. We do the "hanmi" stance but we'll settle our weight down, keep it in between our feet, weight about 50/50 per foot, and don't reach out very far.

    An exception that you will see in something like 80% of all Aikido demo videos is the thing where the teacher gets you up out of seiza and your hands close around his wrist, and he starts executing some technique before you have organized yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by LGatling View Post
    And why would uke not resist or try to get his balance back? Just to continue to prove the attack is not realistic? I get that from the initial contact, no need to belabor the point.
    Basically because the technique is being slowed down. There is an agreement to work on a particular slice of time that would be fleeting in an application. We are trying to figure out how to get our bodies to work in a different way than we are used to. Tori wants to do things like make sure they aren't tensing the wrong muscles, and uke is going to give them mindful feedback. When people pair up to work on the thing that was just demonstrated there are highly differing degrees of success.

    I'm generally of the opinion that Aikido simply does not use "realistic" attacks at all - we use abstract, generalized attacks. I think that is similar in principal to a lot of koryu jujutsu I have seen - though there is a lack of consistent form because there is no basis of kata.

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    Default attacking hanmi

    My point is that assuming hanmi against an opponent, and reaching out any distance at all, is a nothingburger attack. It is pretty much a useless position from which to start anything, much less the attack of another person. It is also a bad position to end after an attack, but that's a different issue.

    In judo we spend much of our time trying to get into position to attack uke from just that angle. The unofficial British Judo Association kata (i.e., it is not one of the official Kodokan judo kata) illustrates this time and again - watch as uke attacks the side of tori. There's not much taisabaki in this demo as the point is tori's counter. what you see is uke successfully attacking, then tori countering slowly, then at normal speed. I don't have time to find a better example.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=Sx294w7macM

    hmmm.. embed not working for me.

    Anyhow, putting yourself into hanmi then reaching out almost _any_ distance out and down is simply putting yourself into an untenable position. There's a big difference in grip fighting - you reach out shoulder level, not down to grab a wrist.

    The kuzushi of many judo throws is to uke's right or right rear - if anyone presents their side and reaches out and down, wham! Thanks, sucker.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by LGatling View Post
    My point is that assuming hanmi against an opponent, and reaching out any distance at all, is a nothingburger attack. It is pretty much a useless position from which to start anything, much less the attack of another person. It is also a bad position to end after an attack, but that's a different issue.

    In judo we spend much of our time trying to get into position to attack uke from just that angle. The unofficial British Judo Association kata (i.e., it is not one of the official Kodokan judo kata) illustrates this time and again - watch as uke attacks the side of tori. There's not much taisabaki in this demo as the point is tori's counter. what you see is uke successfully attacking, then tori countering slowly, then at normal speed. I don't have time to find a better example.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=Sx294w7macM

    hmmm.. embed not working for me.

    Anyhow, putting yourself into hanmi then reaching out almost _any_ distance out and down is simply putting yourself into an untenable position. There's a big difference in grip fighting - you reach out shoulder level, not down to grab a wrist.

    The kuzushi of many judo throws is to uke's right or right rear - if anyone presents their side and reaches out and down, wham! Thanks, sucker.....
    Well hanmi is quite similar to some jodan kamae I have seen in a couple of different schools. Pretty sure Katori Shinto ryu has a jodan with the body turned to the right a bit and the left elbow out. It is also like a lot of school's waka no kamae, an open-hipped, non-aggressive stance.

    In Aikido the reason for hanmi as I understand it is that it is a stance for a situation where you have multiple or unknown numbers of attackers, and it is not yet written in stone that there is going to be violence. You should keep your hands down for whatever aid in de-escalation that provides, and in theory you've got an advantage of sight radius due to having one hip open.

    Some of us kind of grow out of it…it feels too stiff for me lately, sometimes it really doesn't seem called for.

    FWIW the people who are reimagining Aikido as a Chinese martial art are all about hanmi being an Aikikai thing that was not really part of Ueshiba's teachings. In the manual he wrote for the Crown Prince in the late 30's he talked more about standing "with the body open in six directions."

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    What manual did Ueshiba sensei write for what prince?

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    Hello Lance,

    The purpose of the book is not clear at all from the text of the book itself or the title, which is simply 『武道』.

    There are two English translations, one by John Stevens (the accuracy of which is open to question) and other by Sonoko Tanaka and Stan Pranin in a book entitled Budo: Commentary on the 1938 Training Manual of Morihei Ueshiba. There are also questionable aspects of the translation, even here. An explanation of the provenance of the book and the reference to Kaya-no-Miya, who was not the Crown Prince, can be found in Stan's introduction, pp. 16-21.
    Last edited by P Goldsbury; 10th April 2014 at 09:37. Reason: Typo fixed
    Peter Goldsbury,
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    Default ah, so desuka....

    Dr. Goldsbury,

    Thank you. Mentioning one of the scores of princes is very different from writing something for the Crown Prince.

    Prince / Imperial Japanese Army Lieutenant General Kaya-no-miya Tsunenori was the head of one of the many cadet branches of the Imperial Family; the only way he could become the Emperor would be if a couple of dozen more senior claimants to the throne all piled into a bus and went over a cliff together - meaning, very unlikely.

    His Japanese Wiki pg notes he was one of the tallest members of the family at over 180cm. He was also a sportsman, particularly like horse riding.

    Thanks again,

    Lance Gatling

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    I am not sure why I mistook him for a crown prince, thank you to the scholars for sorting that. I myself am barely qualified to eat my own breakfast in the morning. Wonders of the internet.

    As he was preparing a kind of documentation for someone of royal blood before WWII however, would it be right to say that he probably used more "high falootin'" language, sort of an effort to puff it all up and make it sound worthy for someone who was descended from the kami? I am wondering if this is why the Chinese concepts were used.

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    I think the best place to start would be to look at Christopher Li's blog http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/ (the discussion occurs in the earlier blogs). There is a careful discussion of a small part of the text, and a comparison of the translations given by John Stevens and Sonoko Tanaka.

    The introduction by Stanley Pranin relies on an interview with Kisshomaru Ueshiba published in Aiki News / Aikido Journal. Kisshomaru states that the manual was published as a text at the time when Morihei Ueshiba was teaching Kaya no miya and that a staff officer came to take pictures. It is nowhere mentioned in the manual that it was written specifically for the personal use of Kaya-no-miya, though Stan surmises that it was "fitting that the manual was prepared on his behalf" given Kaya's "royal lineage". Nor can one conclude that Ueshiba used Chinese concepts because it was Kaya-no-miya whom he was teaching.

    The main concept under discussion is the roppou (六法) stance, which corresponds with the Chinese concept of six directions and is also found in Noh drama and kabuki. Ueshiba does not explain this clearly and so some of the discussion has to be speculative. Kaya-no-miya became the superintendent of the Toyama military school, where Ueshiba had been teaching from an earlier date. The Budo manual could profitably be compared with the manual used in the Nakano Spy school, where Ueshiba also taught until 1942.
    Peter Goldsbury,
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