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#173108 - 09/02/05 10:21 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:

One of the best imagery I can think of is like bamboo swaying in the breeze, as opposed to bamboo bending from the weight of snow on it's leaves.



Bamboo swaying in the breeze sounds like tai chi (which has been called Chinese aikido) -- but unless the bamboo whips back smacking something or pulls something with it when it gets blown, you've only described the yielding part or "roll back." Do you have any images for me that complete the picture?

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#173109 - 09/04/05 06:00 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Why does it have to (whip back or pull)?

How is that in harmony with nature?

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#173110 - 09/04/05 08:09 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:

Why does it have to (whip back or pull)?

How is that in harmony with nature?



If all I do is roll back (talking tai chi terminology again, I lack the vocabulary in aikido) like bamboo in a breeze, how can I discuss any technique? Unless you are discussing just the receipt of technique, nage has to do something other than roll back. In some way, nage must engage uke.

Unless you're going the "avoiding a fight is the highest level of aikido" route -- but that can't be the only way to definine aiki technique as "aiki" since it describes just "roll back" (or "fade away" or "don't be there" or "be insubstantial" or maybe "silk reeling") -- you must find a way to describe an aiki engagement in order to find something compatible with all aiki technique.

If you want to stick with your waving bamboo as your overall image representing aikido technique, how would you make it fit with irimi (entering and engagement)?

Don't get me wrong, I like the image and find it very aiki; I just can't figure out how to extend it beyond the yin, to the essential irimi.

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#173111 - 09/04/05 03:09 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Because you have to restore harmony...

The bamboo intends to grow straight and true, but other forces around it cause it to shift, sway etc... But by swaying, the bamboo is continually going into and out of it's state of harmony (vertical). If it just bent and stayed bent, then it would never again be in its state of harmony

Or something like that...

Chris

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#173112 - 09/04/05 09:25 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
You are right, there needs to be a yang aspect as well in order for "harmony" to be restored. But the way I see the yang aspect manifested isn't necessarily in "whipping" back, "pushing", or "pulling". These descriptions, the way I see it, are "low" level expressions.

But without getting into a discussion of "ki" and "kokyu" (although it is essential to discussing "aiki" technique within the context of yin/yang), perhaps if I alluded to the "8 powers" it may make more sense, and may extend the discussion in other ways.

Different authors discuss the 8 powers differently. But they are merely different expressions of the same 4 polarities, which form the basis of many Chinese arts with Taoist and Buddhist influences (taiji for example).

Bill Gleason's "Spiritual Foundations of Aikido" talks about the 8 powers in the Omoto-kyo paradigm:

Movement/Rest
Push outward/Stabilize (I prefer "expand" to "push")
Extend/Pull inward (I prefer "draw" to "pull")
Unify/Separate

(I don't want to get into any extended discussion of the relevance of Omoto-kyo other than to say that much of its influence comes from esoteric Shigon Buddhism and thus the origin of the 8 powers within that paradigm).

John Stevens, in the Philosophy of Aikido, refers to these as:
Movement/Calm
Release/Solidification (tension?) [inverted?]
Contraction/Expansion
Unification/Division

Bear in mind that these polarities are in themselves different expressions of yin/yang.

Let's take "Separation" or "Division" as a basic concept and discussion within the context of a technique. Tenchi-nage (heaven/earth throw) is a basic technique which elucidates the foundational principle of separating. (Obviously it incorporates other principles, and I would go so far as to say it incorporates elements of all 8 powers, but the heart of tenchi is both unification and separation, the "balance" of which results in "harmony").

Back to the swaying bamboo idea... when the wind quells, the bamboo is returned to its normal upright posture. However, for us to discuss any meaningful technical aiki interpretation, the roles must change, and the bamboo becomes the wind, and the wind becomes the bamboo.

Hence the notion of who is "applying" and "receiving" the technique - uke or nage? (But let's not get into that right now...)

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#173113 - 09/04/05 10:07 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:

...However, for us to discuss any meaningful technical aiki interpretation, the roles must change, and the bamboo becomes the wind, and the wind becomes the bamboo.

Hence the notion of who is "applying" and "receiving" the technique - uke or nage? (But let's not get into that right now...)




That's fine, we do switch roles as we exchange technique, so that makes perfect sense. So I believe you're saying that the bamboo returning to its undisplaced position is being yang and is forcing the air to move, which is true. This is a perfect description of technique where uke and nage are perfectly matched and neither is able to beat the other -- like "push hands" in tai chi if it's a stalemate and neither is able to unbalance the other, the pair is perfectly matched and each flows with the other's motion and counters perfectly with no wasted effort.

But how would you extend the idiom (or replace it with another image) to discuss the successful application of a technique? Bamboo and wind are perfectly matched; but in aikido, one person can succeed in taking down the other rather than staying in a perfectly matched stalemate. So what image to you use for that? The 8 powers help us understand ... well ... the 8 powers; but they don't help me see how your idiom can be extended to, say, uke's being taken down by tenchi nage.

Now, it's possible that I'm being annoyingly overprecise in my consideration of the physics here; because when I think of wind and bamboo, I know that unless the wind changes direction all the bamboo can do is go back to pretty much where it was when the wind dies down. The motion's a bit more complicated, but basically it's like when you displace and let go of a pendulum, and all it can do is come back to its starting point. That may be in harmony with nature, but it's really boring if you're trying to see how it could be used in aiki technique.

I suppose if I think of the wind as getting really strong, it would bend the bamboo enough that when the wind stopped the bamboo would indeed whip back with significant force. Is that what you are thinking for the application of a technique (e.g. irimi nage or tenchi nage), or does your image remain the gentle waving one you seemed to be describing in your original description?

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#173114 - 09/05/05 03:59 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:


But how would you extend the idiom (or replace it with another image) to discuss the successful application of a technique? Bamboo and wind are perfectly matched; but in aikido, one person can succeed in taking down the other rather than staying in a perfectly matched stalemate. So what image to you use for that? The 8 powers help us understand ... well ... the 8 powers; but they don't help me see how your idiom can be extended to, say, uke's being taken down by tenchi nage.





Only because uke is in a precarious position that does not allow him to respond to the continually changing balance between the extremes of yin and yang. Even as uke is in the process of receiving ukemi, they should (if they are good ukes), be able to reverse the polarity of any of the 8 extremes.

I agree, the imagery is that of "perfect synchronicity". It was not my intention to suggest otherwise.

In an unevenly matched scenario, the imagery I would use would be that of a rock being thrown against the wind or skipping it on a pond. Note the rock is only acted upon by gravity or tangential forces to its movement and does not suggest any interaction other than this.

Quote:


Now, it's possible that I'm being annoyingly overprecise in my consideration of the physics here; because when I think of wind and bamboo, I know that unless the wind changes direction all the bamboo can do is go back to pretty much where it was when the wind dies down.





Not at all (annoyingly pendantic).
Are you looking at the bamboo as uke or nage? Is the bamboo (nage) being caressed by the wind (uke) or does the wind (nage) try to move the bamboo (uke)?

Quote:


I suppose if I think of the wind as getting really strong, it would bend the bamboo enough that when the wind stopped the bamboo would indeed whip back with significant force. Is that what you are thinking for the application of a technique (e.g. irimi nage or tenchi nage), or does your image remain the gentle waving one you seemed to be describing in your original description?




Well, it depends on how strong that wind is blowing. I'm not talking hurricane Katrina here... but when there is a lull in the wind, is when it changes "shape" and returns to the obverse aspect (yin/yang). The difference between a person and vegetation is that the person does not necessarily have to be rooted to one spot - the point of rooting oneself to the ground is mutable.

In terms of a technique like irimi nage, the point at which uke's force has reached its limit of extension, is when the movement changes from yin to yang. e.g. from a straight punch to the face, you ride uke's movement (drawing in), and as uke has reached the point where his force starts to dissipate, you enter in over the top and catch his chin/neck/face with the forearm like a hook, such that his momentum carries his feet forward. By adding "kokyu" to the throw as you enter, you add yang to where he is yin. And if his ukemi is really good, he would be able to change the shape of the movement. If not, then he gets "clotheslined" and falls.

How much "kokyu" depends on how stong the uke's attack is - usually much less "force" is required the stronger the attacker - again the balance of forces between yin and yang. Or in taiji terms, 4oz of force to move 100lbs of weight.

Tenchi-nage has more variables in play, not just splitting the center up and down but also drawing it in and spiralling out. To borrow the earlier imagery, it is like the bamboo bending with (drawing in) the wind, but turning and expanding out, whilst splitting the power of the wind up and down, in and out, so that the effect of the wind is nullified.

If the wind has weight, however, then it drops to the ground like everything else does, that is subject to the laws of gravity.

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#173115 - 09/07/05 08:32 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
KiDoHae Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
Pretty nice!

The willow v. the oak is perhaps just a helpful. One that yeilds and one that does not. Same storm, different outcomes.

Earlier on I mentioned that aiki does involve the use of force that is complimentary and thus acts as a mulitplier. There may be a subtle difference in philosophy here between a hapkido practitioner and an aikidoka. I may not be able to break a shaft of bamboo on my own, but might find it easy if doing it while the wind has done most of the work. Metaphorically, "the wind" can be a substitue for the energy (ki) projected by the attacker.

Is this helpful? Or am I off target?

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#173116 - 09/08/05 07:02 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: KiDoHae]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Metaphorically...I would concur.

Not just complimentary, but also contradictory.

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#173117 - 09/08/05 07:27 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
KiDoHae Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
Does an aiki technique involve the use of force?

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