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Thread: Aiki as a concept- why all the fuss?

  1. #256
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Judge View Post
    That's a good point, Cady, and I think it underscores my surprise that a Chinese taiji master would describe his art as aiki.
    Cliff, I have not yet seen or heard any traditional Chinese equivalent word for "aiki" in Chinese, yet I can aver that a number of Chinese systems most definitely have it. I have seen the use of the descriptive phrase, "the unification of the body through the harmonizing of Yin and Yang energies" but do not know of any single word or term that encapsulates that concept in a bite-sized bit.
    Cady Goldfield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    Strictly speaking? Well...yeah. ;-)
    But you can't achieve I.S. without the manipulation of the two kis... in you. No opposing forces, no Dantian.... No Dantian? Only a hopeful try at rather poor quality internal skills. Hence the ICMA teachers critique of the Japanese aiki arts
    So....
    Aiki in me, before aiki between thee and me. Using intent to work yin yang in you first, so your body is eminating and absorbing, then interactive work.
    For far too many aiki players when you get past their arms (which is usually fairly easy)? They are a disaster and behave and feel like your average budo player..... No hara, no clue what their body is capable of.
    Yet, we refer to aiki and IP/IS separately, albeit in the same breath, because internal strength/power creates the conditions for aiki. Aiki must contain the foundational conditions (e.g. dynamic opposing forces, give-and-take of dantian and mingmen, and of yin and yang muscles, etc.) of internal strength/power, but we are manipulating those conditions to effect certain internal movements, and hence, when we choose, overt effects on another person's body. We can choose to use internal power to penetrate their structure (such as with a "fajing" strike), to bounce them away (with "peng" fullness), or to merge them into our own internally manipulated in-yo/yin-yang cycle of movement...making them "one" with us (but we get to lead, like Fred Astaire). The first two are more representative of a direct manifestation of IP/IS, while the third is aiki, the "soft" manifestation of IP/IS unique in its manipulative movement.
    Cady Goldfield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Judge View Post
    My primary assertion is that there are qualities and conditions of the thing that Aikido and Daito ryu people refer to when they use the term "aiki" that would not be present if the referent were Chinese martial arts, Honma Senguro's skills, or what Dan does.
    As a scientist, this comes back to my first post (last post?) to this thread: one human body, one aiki Doesn't even really matter how it manifests.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cady Goldfield View Post
    Yet, we refer to aiki and IP/IS separately, albeit in the same breath, because internal strength/power creates the conditions for aiki. .
    I see what you did there....
    Aaron J. Cuffee


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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Judge View Post
    That's a good point, Cady, and I think it underscores my surprise that a Chinese taiji master would describe his art as aiki.
    Well, to be fair to both you and him, that's because you do not understand what he considers aiki to be and why he could say that.
    Perhaps you should apply equal curiosity as to why your own teachers continue to use Chinese training models, principles and terminology. That makes quite a lot of sense as an inquiry. In fact, why haven't you addressed that, since you keep harping on the other?
    My primary assertion is that there are qualities and conditions of the thing that Aikido and Daito ryu people refer to when they use the term "aiki" that would not be present if the referent were Chinese martial arts, Honma Senguro's skills, or what Dan does.
    Well, fine. And there are thousands of aiki practitioners and teachers world wide who train IP/ aiki with different teachers who would flat out disagree with you and the few other DR people here in this thread. Opinions are everywhere in budo.
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 20th November 2014 at 23:01.
    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    as to why your own teachers continue to use Chinese training models, principles and terminology.
    I haven't really understood why this is significant. In a sense you and I are having this conversation in German.

    Japanese culture has existed apart from but been heavily influenced by the culture of the mainland for 1-2 thousand years.

    Two of my teachers, Dr. Hall and Kondo Sensei, both teach koryu. So its come to class, practice the kata you have been taught, and the teacher observes the entire class, occasionally coming over to make corrections, or pull students aside for one-on-one teaching.

    My other two teachers, Saotome and Ikeda Senseis, teach much larger classes, and they do it by improvising kata in front of everyone, which everybody then tries to practice themselves. Again, the teacher observes the whole class and comes by an offers corrections. There is less one-on-one interaction than in koryu mode, it is more one-to-many.

    The koryu training model, as I understand it, follows a neo-confician pedagogical model. Sure that's Chinese, as adopted and internalized by Japanese for generations, with intermittent re-infusions of Chinese. Learn the form, practice the form incessantly until it becomes as natural as walking, then there is a process of analysis from which new personal insights arise, and eventually the student is developing new material.

    The Aikido training model is an evolution of the koryu model. I believe this was essentially Takeda's innovation, and I think he was probably inspired by Sakakibara to do it this way. It is a way to take your ryu on the road and train a larger number of students in a more hands-off fashion. I think at some point under Ueshiba, it took on a spiritual dimension which I believe is all Japanese. But sure, it was neo-confucian to start. It still a kata-based training model, but the kata are improvised on the spot.

    Principles, terminology? Sure? I mean, the Japanese write with Chinese characters.

    When you try to deconstruct one of these systems and note that some piece or other traces back to China, it's vacuous. But once you deconstruct these systems, you are no longer talking about the system at all. The koryu and the aiki arts are integrated systems of information. The koryu have names for their essential principles. Aikido and Daito ryu are similar, and they use the word "aiki." You can't take it out of its system and just apply it anywhere, that's inaccurate.

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    Well Chris, that is simply not accurate.
    Aiki is the use of yin and yang and is not even remotely singular to Daito ryu or Aikido.
    The origins of the use of yin and yang to both train the body to produce soft power and disruptive power at any contact point utilize methods quoted by your teachers that exist all over. Again (as you don't seem to comprehend this point) your own teachers are using- or as you like to say borrowing- well known Chinese internal training phrases, terminology and exact methods.

    I do find your initial attacks on us rather odd considering your founders profilefitting your description of things you object to. To use you, Chris C. and Nathans talking points regarding the lack of initiation, strip mining and selling of the arts:
    * Takeda stated he did not invent aiki. No one knows which koryu's operating system Takeda strip mined and stole aiki from. He was never deeply initiated into anything so how he corrupted it or changed it when he borrowed it we will never know. Sadly so much must have been lost since he failed to understand the deeper teaching behind it. Imagine what THOSE arts might have looked like.
    * Takedas skills for sale in circus stunts
    We do know that he fit the model for Nathan Scots old signature line here quoting Musashi lamenting those vulgar Samurai who sold the arts. As Takeda traveled with Sakakibara in what amounted to as a budo traveling circus performing budo stunts like body stacking and ridiculous displays such as whacking away at Helmut's with swords!!!
    Thank goodness there wasn't budo science television or movies back then as I am sure we would have seen Takeda next on the T.V.
    * Takeda's skills for sale on the seminar circuit
    Again, sadly, this followed with him traveling about charging exhorbitent fees for teaching, recruiting students to try and find benefactors and high rollers to support ten day seminar extravaganzas. And in the case of Ueshiba, to chase wayward students down for money and take over their schools.
    * Takeda's odd behavior
    Unfortunately, this all led to him passing out menkyos in arts he never studied and continually inventing scrolls of his own.
    The set up of a control mechanism as a false teaching model (only teach one or two the real art) while taking their money seems highly insulting to outside observers, but those in the art seem oddly complacent with it.
    All so sad.
    I can only imagine what would have happened were he alive today and doing all of this and he ran into your groups talking points!!! He would have been eviscerated on the net.

    As for your position. Have you ever applied your own standards to your founder?
    This reminds me of a frustrated church commitee putting up a pastoral candidate to a never satisfied board of elders. Their candidate was a known trouble maker, heretict, he had between jailed several times for disturbing the place, he had written the most popular chuches, accusing them of being arrogant and hypocritical and while claiming the true vision-and correcting other pastors- had never so much as served as a pastor before. The elders scoffed "How dare you??"
    The candidates CVS? Was the apostle Paul.

    Do I care about any of the above? Not really. Is just that your attempts to outline all the arts as singular visions unique in all the world could be made in a far more comprehensive manner- and I could help you in that regard were I so inclined- using some *legitimate* koryu's methods, compared to others and their rather singular approaches to common problems they all faced, as it might bolster your otherwise weak arguments.
    I think I will refrain, and continue to point to the fact that your own art uses the joining of two kis (aiki) , fure aiki, aiki-in-yo, directed lines of energy, motion before contact, kuzushi on contact, are laid out in arts from China to Indonesia to Japan, from ICMA to koryu to karate.

    The fact that they share many aspects of yin/ yang as their operating systems should seem understandable considering Takeda's mining of other arts in his travels.
    It also seems oddly out of place to object to it considering Daito ryu's origins.
    These discussions will continue as students views naturally evolve as they grow and experience a larger world and the Various talking point's evolve with them. hopefully they grow less adversarial in the process.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    I am intrigued by the possibility, however remote, that Saigō Tanomo played a role in Takeda Sokaku's acquisition of aiki, via esoteric practices from his "Chinese connection," when Sokaku was sent to learn oshikiuchi from him.
    Cady Goldfield

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    While I am familiar with the story and the source, there isn't enough evidence to make it definitive.
    The stories of Chikanori practicing single hand saber work (dao) and solo training, is interesting as it is more of a trade Mark of ICMA training than Japanese. It also would explain Takeda being known for single hand sword work. The very name oshiki- uchi ( inside the threshold or indoor) is a common parlance for an *indoor* student in the ICMA.
    The whole idea of oshiki- uchi standing for practicing* that* sort of jujutsu protecting a lord *inside the threshold* is just more fanciful myth making.
    It also would help explain why Chikanori had no mention of training in a Japanese art.
    The name, is as oddly out of place as "general affairs director" as a leader of a Koryu. It is however, more or less, oddly fitting as Chinese source given Takeda and his aiki line quoting ICMA training methods.
    The typical Japanese uke/ nage model with their cooperative jumping and hoping and freezing and other shenanigans can mask the commonalities and make it hard for certain people to see what's actually happening.
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 23rd November 2014 at 05:26.
    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cady Goldfield View Post
    I am intrigued by the possibility, however remote, that Saigō Tanomo played a role in Takeda Sokaku's acquisition of aiki, via esoteric practices from his "Chinese connection," when Sokaku was sent to learn oshikiuchi from him.
    You're not alone.

    Devon

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    I'm reminded of a conclusion that was reached here years ago, that applies here from; origin to present day.
    *Never use real skills, no matter how good they may be, to validate a false lineage.
    *Never let lineage be used to validate a lack of skill.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cady Goldfield View Post
    I am intrigued by the possibility, however remote, that Saigō Tanomo played a role in Takeda Sokaku's acquisition of aiki, via esoteric practices from his "Chinese connection," when Sokaku was sent to learn oshikiuchi from him.
    There's an interesting series of books in Japanese by Ei Ikezuki arguing links between Esoteric Buddhist (primarily Shingon) sources and Sokaku Takeda as one of the sources of Aiki (he also explores the linguistic issues of the term "Aiki"), and Tokimune's personal notes about his father's instruction also contain numerous references to Shingon. Esoteric Buddhism is Tantric Buddhism from India via China. This line of thought leads to some interesting thoughts about Ueshiba, but more on that another time.

    Saigo Tanomo doesn't figure into that particular connection, but there is also some interesting things about his relationship with Takeda in the books.

    Best,

    Chris

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    Shingon-shu's founder obtained his foundation in China, and it has been noted that the skills he then introduced to Shingon that are specific to the sect (mudra and other physical/body-related aspects) can only be learned by direct transmission from a master/teacher - they can't be learned from a scroll or verbal teaching.

    So, there are tantalizing tidbits that, if you squint the right way, would be supportive of the possibility of a connection. But, still, nothing definitive.
    Cady Goldfield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cady Goldfield View Post
    Shingon-shu's founder obtained his foundation in China, and it has been noted that the skills he then introduced to Shingon that are specific to the sect (mudra and other physical/body-related aspects) can only be learned by direct transmission from a master/teacher - they can't be learned from a scroll or verbal teaching.

    So, there are tantalizing tidbits that, if you squint the right way, would be supportive of the possibility of a connection. But, still, nothing definitive.
    Well, you have to read his books to get the full argument, he actually argues for a connection through specific personages. Anyway, something for a future date, I just thought I'd toss that out.

    Best,

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cady Goldfield View Post
    Shingon-shu's founder obtained his foundation in China, and it has been noted that the skills he then introduced to Shingon that are specific to the sect (mudra and other physical/body-related aspects) can only be learned by direct transmission from a master/teacher - they can't be learned from a scroll or verbal teaching.

    So, there are tantalizing tidbits that, if you squint the right way, would be supportive of the possibility of a connection. But, still, nothing definitive.
    Interesting. Awhile back, a long-time Daito-ryu practitioner showed me mudras reportedly associated with the art. Curious if anyone else has seen these.
    Mert Gambito

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koshu View Post
    Interesting. Awhile back, a long-time Daito-ryu practitioner showed me mudras reportedly associated with the art. Curious if anyone else has seen these.
    Mert, besides mudras, I have read and been told that there are other physical practices that apparently require "hands on" instruction from a master. That particularly grabbed my interest, but I have not been able to find anything more about it. I do have a friend in Japan who, while not a practicing adherent of Shingon-shu, has made a study of the sect. I'll see what he can tell me.
    Meanwhile, I'm hoping that Chris will take on the translation of the most relevant passages of Ei Ikezuki's books in the not-too-distant future...
    Cady Goldfield

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