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#172998 - 07/29/05 11:14 PM What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"?
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
With all this talk about aikido being too compliant and unrealistic against non-resisting training partners, let's talk about what makes an aiki technique an aiki technique.

I've purposely dropped the "do" for the simple reason that the discussion isn't necessarily constrained to the spiritual philosophy. So, you are free to discuss aikijitsu or even hapkido techniques if you like.


Edited by eyrie (07/29/05 11:21 PM)

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#172999 - 07/30/05 08:59 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
OK, let me start. Ikkyo (straight arm bar), Nikkyo (wrist crush), Sankyo (vertical wrist twist/centerlock) are 3 techniques that are common in a number of martial arts. What makes these specifically "aiki" techniques, i.e. what differentiates these from other martial arts?

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#173000 - 07/30/05 04:00 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
Lots of arts share techniques; I don't think it's the technique itself that makes it "aiki" it's how you use it.

"aiki" is "harmonizing energy," so the main idea is that you match your movements to your opponent's to use his force against him, rather than meeting force with force. "When pushed, pull and when pulled, enter." But one thing that makes aikido different than judo (which I think is where the "when pushed, pull" comes from) is that kuzushi is essential to aiki technique.

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#173001 - 07/30/05 07:19 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Quote:

Lots of arts share techniques; I don't think it's the technique itself that makes it "aiki" it's how you use it.

"aiki" is "harmonizing energy," so the main idea is that you match your movements to your opponent's to use his force against him, rather than meeting force with force. "When pushed, pull and when pulled, enter." But one thing that makes aikido different than judo (which I think is where the "when pushed, pull" comes from) is that kuzushi is essential to aiki technique.




But Kuzushi is not essential to Judo??? I'm not sure I'd agree with that

Chris

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#173002 - 07/30/05 07:24 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
wer Offline
Member

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

But Kuzushi is not essential to Judo??? I'm not sure I'd agree with that

Chris



Disclaimer: I haven't ever done judo. But the people I know who have (particularly the aikido people who'd done both) say kuzushi is more important in aikido because in judo people use power in their techniques whereas in aikido you're supposed to get people so offbalanced that with perfect timing you get them to throw themselves. At least, that's the theory.

Are the aikido people misunderstanding something in judo, or is it just a matter of degree?

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#173003 - 07/30/05 07:45 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
In aikido, it's "When pushed, turn (tenkan). When pulled, enter (irimi)".

It's interesting to see the same principle (of yin/yang) used differently in Judo - "When pushed, yield (or pull if you prefer). When pulled, push".

It is also interesing to note that "kuzushi", or the principle of taking someone's balance, is treated very differently in Judo/Jujitsu and Aikido. Judo/Jujitsu tends to work on the principle of mechanical leverage and drawing the opponent's "weight" in 6 or 8 directions (10 if you include up and down).

Aikido tends to use the principle of spherical moment-forces (i.e. centripetal and centrifugal), using the attacker's momentum as the motivating force, and using ki/kokyu extension to control the center.

[added]
Note: when I say "mechanical leverage", I don't necessarily mean using force. Good judo players and jujitsukas are able to affect kuzushi using the principle of mechanical levers and fulcrums to magnify the effect of a (very) small initial force - sometimes by simply using their body weight in the right direction.




Edited by eyrie (07/30/05 07:57 PM)

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#173004 - 07/30/05 07:53 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
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Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
The few judo guys that I've worked with certainly did focus on off-balancing. In fact one of my current training partners is coming froma judo background and I constantly hear "push when pulled - pull when push" from him. And you don't have to go very long into just about any aikido classs before someone will try to muscle their way through a technique.

I think the key is that both arts are supposed to take balance before going into technique but the bi difference is that judo is more competition based and they tend to not worry the details as much. Where in aikido there isn't that same focus and you can spend years worrying about the details.

If I'm in a judo class and I toss you onto yuor back, you can claim I used muscle all you want but I just got a point! But in aikido I might be more interested in perfecting my technique so I'll care that I had to use muscle to dump you...

Chris

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#173005 - 07/30/05 08:04 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
So just focusing on the technical aspects.... what would you say is the defining characteristic of an "aiki" technique (if there is one)? Or is it some other technically definable quality that makes it "aiki"?

(Let's try and keep the sport/competition differences out of this discussion for the time being. I don't believe that the sportive or spiritual aspects are differentiating or even pertinent factors at this point).

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#173006 - 07/30/05 08:16 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
Member

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

In aikido, it's "When pushed, turn (tenkan). When pulled, enter (irimi)".

It's interesting to see the same principle (of yin/yang) used differently in Judo - "When pushed, yield (or pull if you prefer). When pulled, push".



Actually, I just ran across this (or one of its variants) again in Gozo Shioda's Aikido Shugyo. He quotes Mifune Kyuzo Sensei (Judo Master, 10th Dan Kodokan) as saying "If you are pushed, pull back. If you are being pulled, circle away." Gozo Shioda has a nice example, saying if you get pushed off a cliff and you go straight you'll go over but if you can wheel about you can recover. He also says, "They [Aikido and Judo] are both the same with respect to circular motion."

He trained in Judo first and says he had to unlearn some to learn Aikido properly under O'Sensei. One big difference between Judo and Aikido is the use of power, he says, where in Judo it's pulling power and in Aikido it's thrusting power forward. Does that fit with what you've experienced?

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#173007 - 07/30/05 08:49 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
"Same but Different" is the phrase that keeps coming up for me.

How can 2 things be the "same", but "different" at the same time? Since this is WHAT we are looking at (either principle or technique), this is where we need to look deeper into our respective arts and look at WHY the differences exist, and HOW they are different.

Generalizations from top level practitioners are helpful, but they serve no useful purpose other than to concur with what we've already established. They have come full circle. We haven't. So what WE must do is work out WHY and HOW they came to that conclusion, rather than accept their word blindly. This is what martial arts training is about.

So in answer to your question, my experience is with jujitsu. And no, "pulling" is a very loose word. "Thrusting" is equally vague. Let's try to dig deeper and see how specific we can really get, shall we?

Here's a few things to get you thinking:
1. Rather than "push" or "pull", which connotates use of force, how would you effect a "push" or "pull" mechanically by simply using body mechanics? Is there another way to effect a "push" or "pull" using "aiki"? How?

2. "Ju" means soft, supple, pliant, yielding. How is the concept of "ju" different to "aiki"? Why is it different? Is it different in Korean "Hapki" arts as well?

(This was an actually question asked of me by a jujitsu brown belt).

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#173008 - 07/30/05 10:24 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
Member

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

Here's a few things to get you thinking:
1. Rather than "push" or "pull", which connotates use of force, how would you effect a "push" or "pull" mechanically by simply using body mechanics? Is there another way to effect a "push" or "pull" using "aiki"? How?




Someone comes at me, thrusting hands out to push me.

If I were not thinking aiki, I would definitely: step forward shallowly with my right foot, lean forward slightly,chin down, right shoulder forward, right hand fisted, right arm bent at the elbow with the forearm horizontally in front and my left hand grasping my right forearm just above the wrist (so, shoulder and arms set for shoulder stroke), knees bent to drop my center of mass as he starts coming at me so I would be able to resist the push without being knocked backwards. (Of course since F=ma if he's a football player I'm going to go flying however well I root so I might be better off just taking ukemi.)

If instead I keep my aiki wits about me, I would, moving the instant his muscles tense for the motion towards me: keep my posture unbroken, grasp the attacker's right wrist with my right hand and his right elbow with my left hand as soon as he extends his arms for the push, and would rock my weight from my left leg to my right while stepping far back with my right foot turning my hips strongly to the right while keeping my arms fixed so their angles with my torso remains unchanged. I'm now "outside" my attacker, and my right foot is now my "post. If I don't meet too much resistance I could now release him and send him flying in the direction he'd been facing to start with (if he's a friend, I guess). Or, I could spiral to the right and down while still controlling my attacker's arm as I sink myself (seiza), the arm and its owner to the ground. (I'd do other stuff if he was resisting too much, but that's beyond our push/pull discussion).

If he was strong enough to keep his pushing arm bent and to keep himself from going foward when I stepped back, he would then be pulling me and I would respond to his leaning back by rocking my weight forward onto my left foot again then stepping deeply forward with my right foot in a classic ikkyo. (Again, assuming ideal technique -- if I couldn't pull off the ikkyo, I'd have to continue to counter whatever he did next.)

The biggest thing I get from this writing exercise is that I can't say what I'd do for sure because everything depends on what I sense he'll do. That might be what "aiki" is all about.

Quote:

2. "Ju" means soft, supple, pliant, yielding. How is the concept of "ju" different to "aiki"? Why is it different?



This, I don't know. I find many things in common between "ju" and "aiki" techniques, and most of the differences might be in the way modern training has evolved more than from something fundamental. But that's getting in to the "sport/competition" area. The other difference is that I haven't heard any discussion of ki in the ju arts, whereas ki is considered fundamental to aikido. But that might be considered getting into the spiritual area. You do a ju art -- what's your take on the difference?

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#173009 - 07/30/05 10:47 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
OK, let's make this REALLY simple. Shihonage (4 corner/direction throw) is a standard takedown/throw in many arts. Describe what or how you would do it as an aiki technique.

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#173010 - 07/30/05 11:21 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Intrepidinv1 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 308
Loc: NC, USA
Okay, I'm going to admit this up front, you guys are getting over my head here but I would like to take this opportunity to discuss what I perceive to be the difference between judo and wrestiling as opposed to aikido.

Wrestling and judo seem to place more emphasize on controlling the main centers of balance. The area around the hips and under the arms. Aikido seems to emphasize the secondary points of balance, the arms, wrist and head.

I realize they're are different styles of aikido and I readily admit that I am not familiar with them. However, from the aikido that I have been exposed to there seems to be a lack of concern about those major area of balance which is where I have to scratch my head. The style I was in didn't even encourage the need to control the wrist in some of the throws. Seldom are legs blocked or swept or reaped as in judo so what prevents someone from just stepping around the attack?

Please realize that I am sincerely asking this question not to criticize aikido but to understand it's concepts better. It seems to me that it is essential to control/take these key areas of balance by lifting, blocking, pulling, etc. in order to effectively take a person down. What am I missing here?

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#173011 - 07/30/05 11:35 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Intrepidinv1]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
To be quite honest, this is simple an intellectual exercise - to get people thinking a little more deeply about their art, rather than focus on some narrow and limited aspect, like say for example, "resistance training".

Because if you sure as hell cannot follow the conversation and discuss what it is that you're doing and why you're doing it, then it makes no difference whether the training is resistant/realistic or wotnot. The truth of the matter is, if you cannot explain in precise terms what makes the technique work, then whether there is resistance or not is immaterial, because the technique just won't work. Agreed?

Sure you can power your way thru the resistance and make it "work", but you're not really working the technique are you? Agreed?

Bear in mind I am only limiting the discussion to one small aspect of shihonage. Let's make it even simpler. Let's use shihonage from a same side wrist grab - attacker grabs defender's left hand with their right hand. Now do shihonage. Describe how you would execute shihonage. What makes shihonage work?

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#173012 - 07/31/05 12:03 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
KiDoHae Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
Quote:

It's interesting to see the same principle (of yin/yang) used differently in Judo - "When pushed, yield (or pull if you prefer). When pulled, push".




Most MAs who are either devoted to or dabbled in aiki systems have stumbled across a rather famous quote from a high ranking judoka who fought Jigaro Kano and described it as..."It was like fighting and empty jacket".

The use of "pull/push, push/pull" is a very basic element of instruction. You actually have to visulize the description of fighting an empty jacket in order to wrap your head around the concept of completely yeilding to an opponent. In there early days judo and aikido were probably much closer in practice than they might seem today.

The "empty jacket" offers no resistance and accepts the opponent's invitation. Is there a better way to describe "blending and yeilding"? Is that the essense of "aiki"?

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#173013 - 07/31/05 12:12 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: KiDoHae]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

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


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#173014 - 07/31/05 01:33 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Okay, here is the first of what will likely be three posts...

The comparison between judo and aikido, and references to Kano and Ueshiba keep coming up. Just for the sake of reference, let's keep in mind that both men studied and mastered other arts before creating their own. And what they created was a "safer" version of what they had compiled. So when we say that one or the other is reported to have done this that or the other things, it wasn't because they spent their whole life training in what we currently have as either aikido or judo. I'm also pretty sure that most of Ueshiba's deshi were already fairly proficient in other arts.

I bring this up because the guys that we use as the reference points where not pure Aikido or pure Judo.

Chris

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#173015 - 07/31/05 01:47 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Intrepidinv1]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Quote:

... I perceive to be the difference between judo and wrestiling as opposed to aikido.

Wrestling and judo seem to place more emphasize on controlling the main centers of balance. The area around the hips and under the arms. Aikido seems to emphasize the secondary points of balance, the arms, wrist and head...





Intrepid,

My aikido training comes in the form of principles first and then techniques are ways to practice the principles...

And one of the key principles for me and the way I have learned aikido is the principal of skeletal locking, and this has taken me a very long way... I actually think it is one of the half dozen or so key and defining principles, but that's just my opinion.

Anyway, skeletal locking is the principle that I need to lock up your skeletal system from my point of contact all the way through to your shoulders (and preferably down your spine to your hips). So what you are seeing as wrist and arm locks/throws should actually be locking the skeletal structure from that point of contact to at least the shoulders and preferably to the hips. If it doesn't, then what you are seeing is simply wrist twisting, possibly pain compliance, and in my opinion bad/ineffective aikido.

There, I said it!

I'll get to eyrie's question on shiho in my next post...

Take kote-gaeshi (outward wrist turn) as an example because it seems like every art seems to have their version. I also use this because in my opinion this is one of the most commonly screwed up techniques but it's in every demo because the uke often takes a high fall...

Try this with another person, preferably a consenting partner...

Take their right hand with your left hand. Your left hand is grasping their thumb and the pad at the base of their thumb. Rotate their hand in what will be for you a counterclockwise direction which will cause their fingers to first point to your right and then straight up.

Notice that just as their middle finger is pointed straight up, their right shoulder will dip just a bit. At this point you will have "locked" their wrist, forearm, elbow and up into their shoulder like links of a chain (let me know if you aren't familiar with the chain analogy). You now have a skeletal lock to their right shoulder. If you drop them from here, they should feel as if their shoulder is being led down, not that their wrist is being twisted off.

so if you are seeing good aikido, you will see contact points at the wrist, fingers, elbows and shoulders, but the "kuzushi" or off-balancing is happening at the shoulders or hips

Chris

PS- kote is often ruined by continuing the rotation of the wrist beyond the point where the lock is achieved which allows for two counters that I know of....

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#173016 - 07/31/05 02:12 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Shiho Nage with your right hand grabbing my left hand...

So many ways to go wrong, the first of which is for me to tense up my left arm, which gives you something to react to. So I need to keep my left arm relaxed and move my body around your attack (grabbing my wrist), in this case down and to my left.

My next opportunity to screw up is to enter with the wrong angle. If I come directly into you, I'll end up pushing into your grip and your arm and your strength; so I need to enter but allow your arm to pivot naturally about your shoulder. (Don't push)

Now as I'm moving and entering, I need to rotate my left arm with my thumb coming back and down. Here I can screw up by not rotating my whole arm, or by pulling away and breaking your grip. (don't pull). This rotation, ifI am connected to you will cause your right shoulder to begin to open up a bit as your upper torso rotates over your hips. Now I'm beginning to break down your posture (beginning kuzushi) on my way to breaking your base. This i very important because it takes away the first real counter to shiho which is you rsimply clenching your right elbow to your ribs.

As I'm entering with my left foot across your body and hopefully placing it somewhere near your main front triangulation point, I trap/hook your right wrist with my right hand and then begin to raise my right elbow up over my head (as if drawing a sword, hmmmmmm). At this point your grip will likely be lost and my left hand can reinforce the grip I have with my right or I can leave it free for a moment in the event I want to use it for "something else" later.

As I draw my sword, I mean raise my elbow above my head, I now have room to step through, turning my body about 180 degrees and bringing my right foot to my left. As I do this, the back of my left shoulder will come into contact near your right armpit, as I rotate I maintain a little bit of connection but let the contact point slid across my upper back. This will cause you to turn and be looking in the opposite direction as me.

From here a common mistake would be for me to start walking and trying to throw myuke to the ground, but off course uke should simply walk with me around the mat. The proper thing for me to do here is relax my elbows down almost as if I was doing a sword cut. This will cause you to arch into a bit of a back-bend as I begin drawing your right hand down behind your right shoulder...Your balance is mine and you have no base to speak of. I've locked your skeletal system from your wrist to your shoulders, down your spine to your hips....

And this is where things can get really exciting.

I can maintain a downward pressure and guide you down fairly gently (very aikido like)

I can step back with my right foot and make my cutting motion very firm, and you'll get to take a hot fall across the shoulers (maybe a "hard-style" aikido)

I can drop to my left knee and cut down 90 degrees to my left which will likely dislocate your elbow and possibly your shoulder and then force you to either drop your expanded ribs onto my upright right knee or bail and hope you can get over before I drive you head first into the mat. (probably not very aikido-like, and definitely not good for reusing ukes)

Along the way there are many ways to add a little spice to life, but this is certainly a long enough post

Chris


Edited by csinca (07/31/05 02:13 AM)

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#173017 - 07/31/05 03:26 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I'll work backwards...

Quote:

Shiho Nage with your right hand grabbing my left hand...

So many ways to go wrong, the first of which is for me to tense up my left arm, which gives you something to react to. So I need to keep my left arm relaxed and move my body around your attack (grabbing my wrist), in this case down and to my left.





How about a RH punch to the nose as I extend with my LH (which is grabbed) into your center, followed by pressing the ridge of my RH thumb into the radial nerve at LU7?

As I'm digging my thumb ridge into the nerve, I've already taken your balance onto your right foot, and your arm is nicely bent at the elbow.... which makes the following moot.

Quote:


My next opportunity to screw up is to enter with the wrong angle. If I come directly into you, I'll end up pushing into your grip and your arm and your strength; so I need to enter but allow your arm to pivot naturally about your shoulder. (Don't push)

Now as I'm moving and entering, I need to rotate my left arm with my thumb coming back and down. Here I can screw up by not rotating my whole arm, or by pulling away and breaking your grip. (don't pull). This rotation, ifI am connected to you will cause your right shoulder to begin to open up a bit as your upper torso rotates over your hips. Now I'm beginning to break down your posture (beginning kuzushi) on my way to breaking your base. This i very important because it takes away the first real counter to shiho which is you rsimply clenching your right elbow to your ribs.





Quote:


As I'm entering with my left foot across your body and hopefully placing it somewhere near your main front triangulation point, I trap/hook your right wrist with my right hand and then begin to raise my right elbow up over my head (as if drawing a sword, hmmmmmm). At this point your grip will likely be lost and my left hand can reinforce the grip I have with my right or I can leave it free for a moment in the event I want to use it for "something else" later.





As I step across the front of your body with my LF, I extend my L forearm into your R elbow (which is nicely bent) and stress the elbow joint as I am raising both my hands in front of my face. (Note: I am still digging my thumb ridge in LU7...)

Quote:


As I draw my sword, I mean raise my elbow above my head, I now have room to step through, turning my body about 180 degrees and bringing my right foot to my left. As I do this, the back of my left shoulder will come into contact near your right armpit, as I rotate I maintain a little bit of connection but let the contact point slid across my upper back. This will cause you to turn and be looking in the opposite direction as me.





In the same motion of stepping thru I drop into a horse stance so that your arm transitions over my head (at which point, I could also apply ikkyo using my R shoulder).

Quote:


From here a common mistake would be for me to start walking and trying to throw myuke to the ground, but off course uke should simply walk with me around the mat. The proper thing for me to do here is relax my elbows down almost as if I was doing a sword cut. This will cause you to arch into a bit of a back-bend as I begin drawing your right hand down behind your right shoulder...Your balance is mine and you have no base to speak of. I've locked your skeletal system from your wrist to your shoulders, down your spine to your hips....





Good. Lock the entire skeletal structure - wrist, elbow, shoulder, hips, knees and feet. Already done that as soon as you grab hold.

Quote:


And this is where things can get really exciting.

I can maintain a downward pressure and guide you down fairly gently (very aikido like)

I can step back with my right foot and make my cutting motion very firm, and you'll get to take a hot fall across the shoulers (maybe a "hard-style" aikido)





Here's a variation I like:
As I stand up from the horse stance to turn into you, I am also cutting (like bokken suburi) my hands to my belt knot. The dual action causes you to start to fall sharply - in effect, taking your center with me. From there I can control how fast you hit the mat.

Quote:


I can drop to my left knee and cut down 90 degrees to my left which will likely dislocate your elbow and possibly your shoulder and then force you to either drop your expanded ribs onto my upright right knee or bail and hope you can get over before I drive you head first into the mat. (probably not very aikido-like, and definitely not good for reusing ukes)





If I want to be really nasty, I use my R elbow as a lever and lever your R elbow as I'm dropping my hands, dislocate the shoulder as I'm going up and you're going down (i.e. using your own weight to do the nasty work for me).

If I want to be really really nasty, how about as you're already going down, I help you along into the mat by reaping your now fully weighted R leg with my R leg as I'm standing up and cutting down with my hands? Or even throwing you over my hip with your locked elbow? (as in basic jujitsu)

So, the same basic technique is there. The gross general movements are the same. But the devil is the minute detail and subtle differences...

I'm going to throw a curve ball out here. I'm sure everyone does this same technique slightly differently, so what makes it "aiki"?


Edited by eyrie (07/31/05 06:21 AM)

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#173018 - 07/31/05 04:29 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Chris makes a very good point about principles, in particular the principle of skeletal locks. This is common in a number of jujitsu derived variants.

Let's use Chris's example of kote-gaeshi (outward wrist twist). If you understand the principle of kote-gaeshi and skeletal locking, you can effectively do this technique with one hand and a subtle change of body angle. I like to do it with my 2 middle fingers and thumb (the key point being where I place my thumb and fingers) on the person's hand.

This is done in a similar way in jujitsu, except the other hand is often used as a "bridge" (i.e. the palm is pressed to the knife edge of uke's hand that is being twisted. This is done with a small circular motion (remember Wally Jay?) to put on the wrist lock.

What makes it "aiki"?

What is the core principle (or principles?) that make this "aiki"?

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#173019 - 07/31/05 10:16 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Intrepidinv1]
wer Offline
Member

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

...Wrestling and judo seem to place more emphasize on controlling the main centers of balance. The area around the hips and under the arms. Aikido seems to emphasize the secondary points of balance, the arms, wrist and head... Please realize that I am sincerely asking this question not to criticize aikido but to understand it's concepts better. It seems to me that it is essential to control/take these key areas of balance by lifting, blocking, pulling, etc. in order to effectively take a person down. What am I missing here?




Chris beat me to it, skeletal locking is what you're missing. If you don't allow your arms to collapse in towards you as you advance, your advance pushes you into a position where you have your opponent's balance -- you advance as if you were heading through him, so that the center of mass of the two of you together is somewhere behind him such that he can't step to recover his balance.

Quote:


Shiho Nage with your right hand grabbing my left hand...


Excellent description, Chris! No point in my even trying, you said it better than I would.

Quote:

The truth of the matter is, if you cannot explain in precise terms what makes the technique work, then whether there is resistance or not is immaterial, because the technique just won't work. Agreed?



I disagree. I know a lot of people who have the intuitive (or maybe learned) body awareness to do techniques beautifully and effectively, but they have difficulty explaining what makes it work. They can show you, and can watch you then adjust your technique to make it work, but they can't explain it. And writing the explanation is even harder. I'm betting there are plenty of capable practitioners out there who would be unable to explain in writing or even verbally. Heck, Gozo Shioda says O'Sensei just showed people the techniques and let them work it out by practicing.

Quote:

...This is done in a similar way in jujitsu, except the other hand is often used as a "bridge" (i.e. the palm is pressed to the knife edge of uke's hand that is being twisted. This is done with a small circular motion (remember Wally Jay?) to put on the wrist lock.

What makes it "aiki"?

What is the core principle (or principles?) that make this "aiki"?




It's easy to illustrate how "aiki" is different from "karate" and other arts that meet force with force, because it's easy to say what's NOT aiki. The difficulty is differentiating between the "ju" and "aiki" arts. Once you get into the realm of force redirection and circular motion, I don't see a lot of difference. Daito-ryu techniques look just like aikido except they all end in a strike -- but of course, daito-ryu is aikijujitsu so by definition that makes it "aiki" even though it violates the aikiDO principle of using the least amount of force required to subdue your opponent. Wally Jay's small circle jujitsu is very close to small circle aikido, the only differences being (from what I saw in my seminar with Dave Castoldi, and from training with one of his black belts) that the circles are even smaller and the locks put on more painfully. Professor Castoldi's classic saying "Pain makes believers" somehow doesn't seem very aiki, but the movements of the technique are aiki.

I suspect this is why my aikido teacher describes as "aiki" movements from a variety of disciplines, depending on the practitioner (e.g. Roy Jones in boxing).

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#173020 - 07/31/05 04:58 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Ubermint Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 154
Quote:

In aikido, it's "When pushed, turn (tenkan). When pulled, enter (irimi)".

It's interesting to see the same principle (of yin/yang) used differently in Judo - "When pushed, yield (or pull if you prefer). When pulled, push".

It is also interesing to note that "kuzushi", or the principle of taking someone's balance, is treated very differently in Judo/Jujitsu and Aikido. Judo/Jujitsu tends to work on the principle of mechanical leverage and drawing the opponent's "weight" in 6 or 8 directions (10 if you include up and down).

Aikido tends to use the principle of spherical moment-forces (i.e. centripetal and centrifugal), using the attacker's momentum as the motivating force, and using ki/kokyu extension to control the center.

[added]
Note: when I say "mechanical leverage", I don't necessarily mean using force. Good judo players and jujitsukas are able to affect kuzushi using the principle of mechanical levers and fulcrums to magnify the effect of a (very) small initial force - sometimes by simply using their body weight in the right direction.







The original of this post was deleted. I have no idea why, since it's one of my least inflammatory posts. Perhaps i'm being typecast?

From a bjj perspective, i'll give an example of offbalancing.

One of the most important areas for offbalancing is guard sweeps.

When opponent leans forward and tries to smash/stack you, you use sweeps where you help him to go in that direction by pulling him forward until he is completely over top of you, like butterfly/elevator and overhead sweeps. Now you control his balance, you roll like a ball.

Examples:
http://www.bjj.org/techniques/jacare/sittingopenguardreversal/
http://www.bjj.org/techniques/intheguard/jogafora/
http://www.bjj.org/techniques/bjjfighter/gi/guard/overhead-sweep/

Side to side sweeps are used against an opponent who is trying to pass your guard to the side. Again, assist him to go in that direction.

Examples: http://www.bjj.org/techniques/bjjfighter/gi/guard/bicep-sweep/
http://www.bjj.org/techniques/bjjfighter/gi/guard/scissor-sweep/

Sweeps that take opp. backwards are for someone who tries to back out of your guard, again you assist him in going that way.

Examples:
http://www.bjj.org/techniques/intheguard/omoplatasweep/
http://www.bjj.org/techniques/jen/tech11/
_________________________
Grappler or not you are a terrible martial artist IMO.-sanchin31, friend to all children

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#173021 - 07/31/05 07:58 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
AttorneyJohn Offline
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Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 14
Loc: Houston Texas
I'd say it's really simple. And, in the nature of simple things, hard to understand.

Take the attacker's force, however it's coming in, and use it against him without ever contradicting it in any way.


But, if you say that, then there's a hell of a lot of "aiki" principles int he good boxer when he slips a punch, and then moves in beside the opponent on the weak and blind side, to prepare to deliver his finishing, knockout punch.

Don't get me started on how good, technically-proficient judo players are doing close-up aikido.

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#173022 - 07/31/05 08:07 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: AttorneyJohn]
wer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
Now that I'm not the only one who's said it (thanks, Attorney John!), I figure I may as well post what my teacher Jason DeLucia said in an interview:

"With something like aikido, it's not a specific technique. Aiki is simply riding your opponent's force. And so, you can do aikido in boxing. In fact, if you ask me, Roy Jones is as good an aikido practitioner as any aikido master.

Most techniques are absorbed from a weapon. Judo is aikido. Most techniques are based or taken from the sword or the spear. Tennis is aikido. Aikido means I'm harmonizing, basically I'm trying to solicit a response from, and when I get that response I'm going to steer that response into a favorable position. And that is aiki; it's not the particular technique, it's what you do with the opponent's energy."

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#173023 - 07/31/05 08:39 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
wer,
Quote:


I disagree. I know a lot of people who have the intuitive (or maybe learned) body awareness to do techniques beautifully and effectively, but they have difficulty explaining what makes it work. They can show you, and can watch you then adjust your technique to make it work, but they can't explain it. And writing the explanation is even harder. I'm betting there are plenty of capable practitioners out there who would be unable to explain in writing or even verbally. Heck, Gozo Shioda says O'Sensei just showed people the techniques and let them work it out by practicing.





If you can't verbalize it, then half of the teaching delivery is missing. I also don't accept the view that "you'll work it out - if you practice long enough". It merely creates the illusory air of mystique that perpertuates much of aikido.

Perhaps this is why much of aikido is labeled as it is - because the way to describe it is so "airy-fairy".

I'm suggesting that it can be described in fairly precise terms. And no disrespect to Sensei DeLucia, but IMHO, it's a lot more than simply "riding your partner's force" or merely "harmonizing". It has more to do with not only WHAT you are doing with your opponent's energy, but HOW to do it.

It's getting to HOW that people have a problem verbalizing. So let's try it shall we? HOW do you do it?

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#173024 - 07/31/05 08:46 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Ubermint,

Interesting tactical perspective from a BJJ POV. How is that, in your opinion, "aiki" and what makes it "aiki"?

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#173025 - 07/31/05 09:06 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
Member

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

...if you can't verbalize it, then half of the teaching delivery is missing.



Are you saying that in your dojo the teacher explains absolutely every detail of the technique well enough that it could be written essay style in a post at home by the student after hearing it during class? Impressive, if so, for both the teacher and the student. Or are you just saying that if I'm a teacher I should be able to explain that well? (Lucky for me that I'm not one, if that's the case.)

Quote:

I also don't accept the view that "you'll work it out - if you practice long enough"...


I agree with you there, wholeheartedly. So does Gozo Shioda -- where I read that in Aikido Shugyu he says he explains in his dojo because they lost lots of good students who just didn't have the natural aptitude to learn by seeing O'Sensei demonstrate with no explanation.

Quote:

It has more to do with not only WHAT you are doing with your opponent's energy, but HOW to do it.

It's getting to HOW that people have a problem verbalizing. So let's try it shall we? HOW do you do it?



You first.

I must be missing your point, since my example of a non-aiki response to a shove and an aiki response doesn't seem to be what you were looking for.

And once we get away from the meet-force-with-force arts, I don't see how I would be able to differentiate between the ju and the aiki arts unless in describing an aiki movement I say "then you extend your ki into ...." -- I don't think there is anything intrinsic in the motions themselves in ju and aiki that clearly differentiate them from each other.

Do you? I can't tell if you're being devil's advocate here or if you have something in mind that you're hoping we'll submit.

How about if you give it a shot and we can pick apart your straw man?

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#173026 - 07/31/05 09:36 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
There are 3 ways in which people intake information - visual, auditory, and kinesthetically. See, hear, feel. Granted, that only a small percentage of the overall population is auditory, (the majority being visual/kinesthetic), the fact remains that at least half of the teaching delivery is missed.

So if you can't verbalize what you're doing, there's something lacking in terms of your level of understanding. You don't have to be a teacher. Try explaining a simple movement to a junior student or even a beginner.

Quote:


You first.

I must be missing your point, since my example of a non-aiki response to a shove and an aiki response doesn't seem to be what you were looking for.

And once we get away from the meet-force-with-force arts, I don't see how I would be able to differentiate between the ju and the aiki arts unless in describing an aiki movement I say "then you extend your ki into ...." -- I don't think there is anything intrinsic in the motions themselves in ju and aiki that clearly differentiate them from each other.

Do you? I can't tell if you're being devil's advocate here or if you have something in mind that you're hoping we'll submit.

How about if you give it a shot and we can pick apart your straw man?





I asked first.

Ok, let's start with "extend your ki".... what is "ki"? How do you "extend" it? How do you know if you got "ki"? Is this the differentiating factor between "ju" and "aiki"?

Yes, I'm playing Devil's Advocate - but only to get the discussion going. There is some very good information in here. But like I said, you have to see, hear, and feel it to take it in.

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#173027 - 07/31/05 09:52 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Ubermint Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 154
Quote:

Ubermint,

Interesting tactical perspective from a BJJ POV. How is that, in your opinion, "aiki" and what makes it "aiki"?




It all depends on semantics. I highlighted that because it would be an example in BJJ of assisting your opponent to go in the direction he wants to go in. Also, there was a discussion about offbalancing methods going, so I thought that was relevant.

Is it "aiki"? Well, we don't call it that. But it displays common characteristics with the things described in the above posts.

Re: Offbalancing
One important thing in bjj is that when you attempt to sweep you should trap the arm or leg on the side that you are sweeping to, to prevent him from posting (balancing himself on that limb). We don't consider opp. completely offbalanced until there is no possible way he can support himself on that side.


Edited by Ubermint (07/31/05 09:54 PM)
_________________________
Grappler or not you are a terrible martial artist IMO.-sanchin31, friend to all children

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#173028 - 07/31/05 10:07 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
OK, let's talk about the structural mechanics involved in the "sweep", so that we have some common ground for discussion. Otherwise, the terminology really means nothing to me (or those of us that do not practice BJJ).

What happens structurally when you trap the arm/leg on the side you're sweeping to? And when you sweep?

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#173029 - 07/31/05 11:29 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
Member

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

There are 3 ways in which people intake information - visual, auditory, and kinesthetically. See, hear, feel. Granted, that only a small percentage of the overall population is auditory, (the majority being visual/kinesthetic), the fact remains that at least half of the teaching delivery is missed.

So if you can't verbalize what you're doing, there's something lacking in terms of your level of understanding. You don't have to be a teacher. Try explaining a simple movement to a junior student or even a beginner.



I'll take the second item first: I can explain in person while demonstrating, reasonably well, and do so frequently in the kids' karate classes in which I coach and even help beginners at our aikido dojo. It's explaining in text only (no pictures, even) that is so difficult, and that's even with my engineering major and technical writing minor. I have enough self-confidence to know it's not just me, so I think your statement is overly optimistic. It may be the ideal we should strive for, but I doubt that most practitioners could manage it.

Now back to the first item, re learning styles. Some friends of mine are educators and some homeschoolers who work with gifted students and kids who in other ways just don't fit in right in public school, and we've had some interesting discussions. I have a feeling that Aikido and probably other martial arts self-select for students who are kinesthetic/visual learners, not auditory and certainly not people who learn best by reading. So although it's a good exercise to think techniques through very carefully and it's wonderful to be able to write them out in detail, I do not think detailed verbal or written instruction are essential to the success of a martial arts student.

Quote:

Ok, let's start with "extend your ki".... what is "ki"? How do you "extend" it? How do you know if you got "ki"? Is this the differentiating factor between "ju" and "aiki"?


They've been working on this discussion on AikiWeb for a while and haven't yet agreed on a good definition. The "Extending Ki" thread's not as good (in my opinion) as the "Defining Kokyu" thread, in which people are trying very hard to quantify and define. But kokyu's part of ju arts, too, right? And if that's so, the only difference is that ju people don't TALK about ki specifically, whatever it is.

As for myself, once we get into territory where there can be an effect with no visible change (e.g. an emotional effect through visualization or an internal change such as heartbeat or muscular tension ... ok, that might be visible but subtle), we're too far into the philosophical realm for me to try explaining.

For instance, I could say that when I extend ki into my hands I hold my swordhands in front of me, employ skeletal locking, spread my fingers about 20% further apart than they are when relaxed but without losing the natural slight cupping to the palm and curve to the fingers, and tense up all the muscles in the hands -- but although that describes the physical manifestation of what I'm doing, it doesn't necessarily mean there's ki in them there fingers and it doesn't necessarily mean that if you make the same physical motion there will be ki extended in your fingers.

I, in fact, have no idea whether there IS ki extended into my hands when I do that, which I suspect means that the people in the Aikiweb discussions would say there isn't.

So can anyone do better? Are we stuck with two possibilities, that either aiki and ju are the same or else aiki is different because of something undefinable?

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#173030 - 07/31/05 11:54 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
OK, let's not muddy the waters here with a discussion about learning modalities.

"ki" and "kokyu" are indeed part of the "ju" arts (at least in the jujitsu that I do), but not quite to the level of subtlety as the "aiki" arts. Maybe we are getting somewhere in terms of clarifying what makes "aiki" distinctly "aiki". Bear in mind our hapkido friends also utilize "ki" and "kokyu" as well.

You've followed the "Defining Kokyu" discussion on AikiWeb, but how much of it did you actually understand? If say, Mike Sigman, were to show you and do it to you, would you be able to explain it to someone else? And would you be able to replicate the effect (to some level) on someone else?

Good example, how would you convince our BJJ friends here (apart from a demonstration) of the effect of extending "ki", and how is that different to the subtle push/pull they do in BJJ (albeit on the ground).

OK, here's a leading question: How would you use the ground to extend? Anyone? BJJ folks, for whom the ground is your "friend". How do you use the ground?

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#173031 - 08/01/05 12:31 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
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Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
"aiki" is still something that I don't have a nice concise definition and I don't know that I ever will. But something that just came to me would be "the path of least resistance" so rather than fight with your opponent go with him and overextend his momentum. Sometimes you don't want to just let their energy go (ie a punch to the nose) but you may deflect or move out of the way and allow his energy to continue but not end where he intended it (that would be the nose)...

A few years ago in a randori I ended up with a standing rear naked chokeon one of the ukes. I really did "end up there" and I only held it for a couple of seconds...now the uke then screamed out "that's not aikido" but I think it was a great example.

It was aiki because I was moving and flowing properly and ended up in that position. Had I gone in with the intent to get the RNC and I made it happen, then I would say it wasn't aiki...

Chris

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#173032 - 08/01/05 12:35 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
eyrie,

I obviously left out any initial atemi....

There is also the opportunity to break the knee on the entrance, separate the elbow on the entrance...

I think you mentioned the elbow into the ribs...

Oh, rather than rotate 180 degrees you can cut the rotation short and cut down with the elbow braced on your shoulder..

Instead of taking them down you can reach around behind their head with your left hand and cup their chin...

In my world aiki is about how I accomplish whatever I'm doing and has nothing to do with being nice

Chris

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#173033 - 08/01/05 12:39 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
As far as I know shimewaza (strangulation techniques) is in the Yoshinkan syllabus, and certainly in the DTR curriculum. I think it's also in Hapkido. So who's to say that's not "aiki"?

I would suggest "aiki" is more than just "finding the path of least resistance". Here's something to get you thinking: You've found the path of least resistance in uke, now what do you do with that "path"?

(Forget about the spiritual "do" for the moment, I think it merely clouds the discussion).

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#173034 - 08/01/05 12:55 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Ubermint Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 154
Quote:

OK, let's talk about the structural mechanics involved in the "sweep", so that we have some common ground for discussion. Otherwise, the terminology really means nothing to me (or those of us that do not practice BJJ).

What happens structurally when you trap the arm/leg on the side you're sweeping to?




Specifically, what it means is to force the arm (it's usually the arm, unless he's standing and you sweep straight backwards) into a position where he cannot support himself on that arm ("basing/posting") (usually on his palm or elbow). The arm is effectively no longer in the game.

You could trap the wrist in your armpit, grab his sleeve and pull it across your body, have high underhooks so his shoulders cannot be used...there are many ways,

Here's a good example: Joe Moreira traps opps. wrist under his opposite armpit in this sweep.

When a sweep fails, it's usually because you gave him an opportunity to post. Here you switch your attack to a direction that has no limbs to post with because his wrist is controlled.

Quote:


And when you sweep?




Sweep: When opponent is in your guard (you are on your back, controlling him with your legs), to disrupt his balance and reverse him so that you end up on top of him with a dominant position.


Edited by Ubermint (08/01/05 12:59 AM)
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Grappler or not you are a terrible martial artist IMO.-sanchin31, friend to all children

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#173035 - 08/01/05 01:13 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Ubermint Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 154
Quote:



Good example, how would you convince our BJJ friends here (apart from a demonstration) of the effect of extending "ki", and how is that different to the subtle push/pull they do in BJJ (albeit on the ground).





Perhaps if you avoided any and all yoda-speak?

Quote:


OK, here's a leading question: How would you use the ground to extend? Anyone? BJJ folks, for whom the ground is your "friend". How do you use the ground?




Trying to detail all the ways BJJ uses the ground would take a book.

What comes immediately to mind:

Locks become much more easy to apply because the ground restricts your opponent's movement. Even (OMG) wristlocks become usable, because the wrist can't be squirmed out.
Keylock/ude garame/americana (different names for same thing) and pillow chokes are two subs that work because you trap an arm or his neck, respectively, against the ground.

Top/cross/side mount all work because opp. is trapped between you and the ground.

From guard, when kicking opp. back, we push off from the ground. Also, being on your back allows you to do things that would be dumb standing up, because there's no need to worry about getting taken down. It allows you to use your legs like an extra pair of arms, since you don't need them to stay standing up.
_________________________
Grappler or not you are a terrible martial artist IMO.-sanchin31, friend to all children

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#173036 - 08/01/05 03:15 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

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


Specifically, what it means is to force the arm (it's usually the arm, unless he's standing and you sweep straight backwards) into a position where he cannot support himself on that arm ("basing/posting") (usually on his palm or elbow). The arm is effectively no longer in the game.

You could trap the wrist in your armpit, grab his sleeve and pull it across your body, have high underhooks so his shoulders cannot be used...

...When opponent is in your guard (you are on your back, controlling him with your legs), to disrupt his balance and reverse him so that you end up on top of him with a dominant position.





Your response belies the subtlety and finesse that BJJ is known for. When you say "force the arm", "grab and pull", etc. it gives me no indication that you are exploiting any mechanical advantage or structural weaknesses. I'm sure you don't intend for it to come across as sounding like you're using plain "brute force" to effect the technique - which I'm sure is not the case.

So tell us in structural/bio-mechanical terms, when you "force" the arm, how are you doing it? Against the elbow using it as a fulcrum? When you "grab the sleeve and pull", do you also "push" in the other direction? Etc. etc. etc.

Be a little more specific.

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#173037 - 08/01/05 03:21 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Yoda-speak? That's Cord's department. But I'll try to remember that.

This is what I'm looking for:
Quote:

...we push off from the ground




Difference is the way you push off the ground because you're on your back. In effect, it is the same idea standing, by pushing off on the feet and transferring the ground force thru the arms and hands.

It's just another way of using the body synergistically (except there's more to it than just the body).

Could we call this "extending ki", or it that too yoda-esque?

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#173038 - 08/01/05 05:27 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
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Quote:

As far as I know shimewaza (strangulation techniques) is in the Yoshinkan syllabus, and certainly in the DTR curriculum. I think it's also in Hapkido. So who's to say that's not "aiki"?

I would suggest "aiki" is more than just "finding the path of least resistance". Here's something to get you thinking: You've found the path of least resistance in uke, now what do you do with that "path"?

(Forget about the spiritual "do" for the moment, I think it merely clouds the discussion).




Hey for me it's aiki, but there are people out there that if their sensei didn't teach it, then it ain't aikido!

Once I've found the path of least resistance I can do whatever I want! And that to me is the key.
Chris

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#173039 - 08/01/05 08:40 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
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Quote:


Once I've found the path of least resistance I can do whatever I want! And that to me is the key.




It is and it isn't. OK, let's boil this a little more. What exactly do you do once you've found the path of least resistance? Describe the generalities.

"Cutting" comes to mind (specifically, "cutting" into the hole or dead space with the ground force). What else? What else could you conceivably do that could be considered "aiki"?

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#173040 - 08/01/05 09:45 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
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Quote:

Quote:


Once I've found the path of least resistance I can do whatever I want! And that to me is the key.




It is and it isn't. OK, let's boil this a little more. What exactly do you do once you've found the path of least resistance? Describe the generalities.

"Cutting" comes to mind (specifically, "cutting" into the hole or dead space with the ground force). What else? What else could you conceivably do that could be considered "aiki"?



Thing is, it's not what you do next once finding the opening that makes it aiki rather than ju. What makes it aiki is your extreme sensitivity to your opponent so you can sense what he's going to do and find the opening and with that know what that path of least resistance is. So you start out with no preconception about what technique you're going to use, but after training enough you should be able to sense how he'll move and counter it with the least possible effort before he's able to develop it. Once you've found the opening, as long as you're using circular motion and going with his force (so it's adding to yours as you head that way, in effect) what you're doing is already aiki. Aiki seems to focus more on training that sensitivity to your partner than other arts -- does that fit with what you judoka have been taught or am I misunderstanding?

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#173041 - 08/01/05 10:00 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Ubermint Offline
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Quote:



Your response belies the subtlety and finesse that BJJ is known for. When you say "force the arm", "grab and pull", etc. it gives me no indication that you are exploiting any mechanical advantage or structural weaknesses. I'm sure you don't intend for it to come across as sounding like you're using plain "brute force" to effect the technique - which I'm sure is not the case.




Generally, you want to break down his base by pushing/pulling at a structurally weak point.

Quote:


So tell us in structural/bio-mechanical terms, when you "force" the arm, how are you doing it? Against the elbow using it as a fulcrum? When you "grab the sleeve and pull", do you also "push" in the other direction? Etc. etc. etc.

Be a little more specific.




I talk so generally because

1: There is no single way to do this, as long as the arm is out of the game it's fine
2: I've only been training two years.

The goal here is to remove the ability of his arm to support his weight.

However, if you think of his arm as a pillar, you can break it down in several ways.

You could destroy the base of the pillar by using a movement called an armdrag, where you get his sleeve, wrist or elbow and pull it across your body. This works because the muscles of the arm are not equipped to resist in the opposite direction with any strength, and you are using your shoulders, waist and hip so you effectively pull with your entire torso.

You could break down the pillar at it's center by wrapping over top of the arm (overhook) and using the same full torso pulling to bring his elbow (but not his wrist, which stays where it is) across your body. This is a very awkward angle for the arm to be at. Since his elbow is bent, the arm can't support his weight.

Seperating the pillar from what it supports, you could use high underhooks to crunch his shoulders. The compression of the shouler and triceps muscles means they cannot move the arms, and the arms are locked forward and close together.

If you sweep to the back-left or back-right corners, they can't base well because it's hard to post on your leg while kneeling.
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#173042 - 08/01/05 10:45 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
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Quote:


Thing is, it's not what you do next once finding the opening that makes it aiki rather than ju. What makes it aiki is your extreme sensitivity to your opponent so you can sense what he's going to do and find the opening and with that know what that path of least resistance is. So you start out with no preconception about what technique you're going to use, but after training enough you should be able to sense how he'll move and counter it with the least possible effort before he's able to develop it. Once you've found the opening, as long as you're using circular motion and going with his force (so it's adding to yours as you head that way, in effect) what you're doing is already aiki. Aiki seems to focus more on training that sensitivity to your partner than other arts -- does that fit with what you judoka have been taught or am I misunderstanding?





It's more than just the level of sensitivity, or subtlety of feeling. Many high-level martial artists (from traditionally "hard-styles") I have trained with, can also demonstrate this high level of sensitivity. Some also have the ability to "extend ki" in a way that is consistent with most anyone that has a good grasp of the basic body mechanics involved.

Even at their levels, it no longer becomes about technique, so the idea of preconceived notions about what technique to apply is moot. At their level, they are merely working with the body's systems - structural/mechanical, energetic or otherwise.

I'm guessing that our BJJ friends here can tell you that a good BJJer with 2 years experience would be able to "sense" what their opponent is going to do and find the opening into a technique along the path of least resistance.

It's also more than circular motion and going with force - they're the bread and butter principles of judo/jujitsu (traditional, brazillian or otherwise).

BTW, I've trained in aikido for 15+ years... but am currently doing jujitsu (just for the hell of it), and getting to roll with some more "resistant ukes".

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#173043 - 08/01/05 11:13 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
eyrie Offline
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Quote:


Generally, you want to break down his base by pushing/pulling at a structurally weak point.

....I talk so generally because... There is no single way to do this, as long as the arm is out of the game it's fine





Obviously, but just one way will do. Or just elucidate a couple of general principles you guys use. Push/pull at structurally weak points are good. Same like judo/jujitsu? Or slightly different?

Aiki tends to do the push/pull thing slightly differently - more like cutting into where you're empty, as you are extending to grab or strike with the other side. Or "cutting" into and along the path of the movement to redirect it. There are many other variations as well, but those are the general principles.

Quote:


The goal here is to remove the ability of his arm to support his weight.

However, if you think of his arm as a pillar, you can break it down in several ways.





Very interesting use of an architectural analogy.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but would I be correct to say that the "ju" arts, at some basic level, work more at the structural/mechanical and architectural levels of the body?

Whilst the "aiki" arts (also at some basic level) tend to start from the other spectrum first and work energetically?

By "energetics" I mean mechanical vector forces, as opposed to the more Yoda-esque interpretations. i.e. your basic push/pull, turn/enter, linear/circular forces, gravity etc.

Personally, I think you need to be able to successfully use both structural and energetic components provided by your opponent to make it work. The differences then are obviously in the degree to which each aspect is emphasized perhaps?

Same but different?

As an interesting note, the first 108 techniques in DTR are basic jujitsu techniques.

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#173044 - 08/02/05 12:55 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
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Quote:

Quote:


Once I've found the path of least resistance I can do whatever I want! And that to me is the key.




It is and it isn't. OK, let's boil this a little more. What exactly do you do once you've found the path of least resistance? Describe the generalities.

"Cutting" comes to mind (specifically, "cutting" into the hole or dead space with the ground force). What else? What else could you conceivably do that could be considered "aiki"?




eyrie, it doesn't make sense at this point to talk about what I could do, if indeed I'm in "the path of least resistance" and I can do anything. It obviously depends on the situation (where am I, who was the attacker, what was the attack, where am I in relation to the attacker....)

Just to give one example, let's stick with me getting the RNC through aiki principles or "path or least resistance". I'm there in position and balanced, the other person has no balance. I can do anything I want from that position.

If it's my drunk brother in law getting out of hand I don't have to do anything. No need to cut, hopefully he chills out quickly.

Or maybe he needs to take a nap.

Now if I'm in a dark alley (I don't know why I'm there) I would likely sink the choke and let the alley get a little darker for the other guy.

Or maybe it's three guys breaking into my house at night, then I'll probably spin the first guys head as far as I can on his shoulders and kick out a knee and then move on to the next guy....

If everything is available, then citing examples isn't much more useful to saying "I can buy any car I want" and then following it with "I can buy a Mustang", the second statement is made obvious and redundant by the first.

Of course I'm probably missing the heart of your question.

Chris

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#173045 - 08/02/05 08:51 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
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OK, let's not cloud the issue with situational variables.

Using a simple example, say, ikkyo from a straight punch to the face. (men tsuki ikkyo tenkan - using it as an example "exercise" of course - not a "real" situation).

Say you've done the cursory stuff, stepped off the line and entered to the dead side, and you've turned in onto the lead arm and checked it with your right hand and found the "path of least resistance" thru the elbow. What next?

"Cut"? Extend "ki" to redirect? Mechanically leverage the elbow? What?

IOW, how is what you do next considered "aiki" - as opposed to not "aiki"?

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#173046 - 08/02/05 11:17 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
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eyrie,

Gotcha...

short answer, there isn't necessarily only one direction that I can go that has an "aiki path".

Long answer --- so I've got the ikkyo on and the shoulder locked and uke is bent over. If I have him locked and off balance then I have options such as

1. tenkan and take down to a pin
2. irimi and " " " " "
3. knee to the ribs and then drop my near elbow into the back of the neck
4. project them on their way and let them go

any of these can have a path of least resistance. If I want to sweep the legs, its very easy to do while I have them locked and off balance. However if I shift my weight to deliver the mother of all sweeps, I'll inevitably lose the lock and let them regain their balance....

As long as I follow my principles it can be aiki.

chris

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#173047 - 08/02/05 11:24 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
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Interestingly enough, the further you go through a technique and the further you go down the path of least resistance, the more options you get and the morepaths that become available.

similar would be if I wanted to punch my opponent. Squared off against each other andlikely just outside of range, I have limited options to make contact.

If I just dive in to try to punch him I'm not following a path of little resistance, I'll run into all his power.

If I work my jab a bit with some footwork I might be able to control the distance and angles, reducing the resistance. Then I may notice that my opponent flinches when I jab, or he brings both hands together and tucks his chin, or he reaches out to block... any of which are going to leave an opening in his defense/resistance. So then I throw the jab and follow with a right hook... around the defenses.

Of course if that hook connects, then I have initiative and things in theory get easier for me and harder for him... (assuming I have any power in the shot)

Chris

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#173048 - 08/02/05 11:24 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
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Hmmm.... I feel you're still looking at it from the surface. Dig deeper.

Maybe we need to define what "ki" is. And what "ai" is. And together what "aiki" means....?????

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#173049 - 08/03/05 12:04 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
eyrie Offline
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OK, let's revisit the "empty jacket fighting" that KiDoHae brought up very early in the thread.

What does it mean to "fight an empty jacket"? How do you fight an empty jacket? What does it feel like?

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#173050 - 08/03/05 12:21 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
eyrie Offline
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OK, let's see if we can make it even clearer still. Using the previous example of ikkyo, uke attacks with a straight punch to the face, and it's like fighting an empty jacket.

How do you become the empty jacket? How does an empty jacket perform ikkyo????

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#173051 - 08/03/05 01:44 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Ubermint Offline
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Roundtable answer style? Maybe this is not a good example. A good jab-cross leaves nothing to be absorbed or taken advantage of. I think something pushing/pulling would be a better question.

BJJ: Change levels (covering up, just in case), come up behind him.
OR, drop, sit on his foot, you are safe in sitting guard.
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#173052 - 08/03/05 02:03 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
eyrie Offline
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*sigh* I think everyone's kinda getting caught up in the technical aspects of the response (i.e. response A vs response B). I think we can all generally agree that the number of potential technical applications are infinitely variable?

Also, I'm only using a straight punch as a tool for exploring the parameters of a specific type of strategic response - not as a defense. There's a bit of a difference there.

Let's look deeper at the overarching principles and strategies which determine whether the tactical responses are "aiki" or not "aiki".

Push and Pull is a good overarching principle and a typical Judo/Jujitsu strategy. Is it "aiki"? Can it be called "aiki"?

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#173053 - 08/03/05 03:52 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Ubermint Offline
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No, I mean by push and pull, you are being pushed and pulled. I think we all understand the overarching principle here: Move out of line of force and/or redirect force.

For instance what if you found yourself in a half neck clinch/one side of the neck tied up, opp. keeping forward pressure. He's not a great wrestler but he understands what to do here. What is the most "harmonious" response to this?

What i'm saying, is that good punchers simply don't leave anything out there to redirect. So if you wanted an "aiki" defense to such an attack, you should look at something striking oriented.
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#173054 - 08/03/05 04:55 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
eyrie Offline
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Oh, OK, my mistake. You're right, my being pushed or pulled is a better example. OK, let's go with that example then.

Perhaps it might help generate some ideas if we looked at a possible "aiki" like response to a push/pull into a clinch???

Part of my difficulty is that I'm not certain how to reconcile BJJ and "aiki". I think most people are already having a hard enough time defining what "aiki" means.

So, are you suggesting that an "aiki" response should be "harmonious"? What does "harmonious" mean to you? And what's involved in being "harmonious"? Structurally? Mechanically? Energetically? What?

Sorry for the barrage of questions..... I'm just trying to draw out the discussion....and I'm not sure where it's going at the moment...

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#173055 - 08/03/05 07:08 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
wer Offline
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Quote:

If I have him locked and off balance then I have options such as

1. tenkan and take down to a pin
2. irimi and " " " " "
3. knee to the ribs and then drop my near elbow into the back of the neck
4. project them on their way and let them go




I'm more lenient than many aikidoka about what I consider "aiki," but #3 seems very non-aiki to me. You've already got him offbalance and controlled, but are finishing him with two atemi rather than completing the takedown by breaking his balance the rest of the way by pushing him where he can't recover.

Quote:


Perhaps it might help generate some ideas if we looked at a possible "aiki" like response to a push/pull into a clinch???

Part of my difficulty is that I'm not certain how to reconcile BJJ and "aiki". I think most people are already having a hard enough time defining what "aiki" means.

So are you suggesting that an "aiki" response should be "harmonious"? What does "harmonious" mean to you? And what's involved in being "harmonious"? Structurally? Mechanically? Energetically? What?

Sorry for the barrage of questions..... I'm just trying to draw out the discussion....and I'm not sure where it's going at the moment...




I'm not having any trouble defining what "aiki" means --
"harmonizing energy," as in harmonizing your energy with your opponent's, as in sensing his incipient actions and coordinating your own movements to take advantage of them in such a way that adds his force to yours by redirecting his motion or by putting yourself in a position where his movement reinforces your goal (e.g he lunges forward to push you and you sidestep and grab his arm and propel him forwards past where you'd been so he continues along the path he'd chosen and goes in the direction he'd been going).

As for ju being structural/mechanical and aiki being energetic, that's only in the presentation; you'd doing the SAME THING in either art, when it comes right down to it, whether you think of it as using mechanical advantage or using his energy against him.

As to your example: Suppose he comes in and I'm unfortunate or slow enough to give up maai and we wind up clinched in head & arm control (right arms around each other's necks, left arms holding each other's upper arms.

My first two choices of response:

1. Ikkyo

I pull my right arm down at the elbow while releasing my grip on his neck as I bring my left hand to the bottom side of his right arm at the elbow and push his elbow over my head and towards his ear while I twist my torso to the right freeing my right arm and bringing it down to my right (winding up). Continuing the circle, I turn back into him taking him down with irimi nage using my right arm on his face/neck. (Most likely, as I'm entering my left hand has circled down and allowed his right arm to cross his body somewhere between his chest and waist level; but that might not be an essential detail, it's just what seems to happen.)

2. Elbow throw

I pull my right arm down at the elbow while releasing my grip on his neck while I twist my torso to the right freeing my right arm and bringing it down to my right (winding up). Continuing the circle with my right arm, I bring it up making contact under his right armpit, then bring my body and arms forward as if taking ukemi over his right arm bringing him down backwards in elbow throw (hijinage, right? )

I suspect I've missed describing some of the subtleties of the movement and eyrie will let me know, but I'm out of time so that's the best I can do for now.

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#173056 - 08/03/05 09:29 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
glad2bhere Offline
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The concept of "Ki" was used to explain how the human body generates motion and power but has very little to do with what is being talked about in this dialogue.Where these discussions go off is in confusing the use of "Ki" in martial arts with the concept of "aiki" which is a manner of recieving an attack.

"Aiki" is not some "thing" as much as it is a manner of acting in response to an attack. The concept of "aiki" is based on the premise of "go no sen" (lit: "no first strike). In the Hapkido arts this is sometimes subsumed under the First Principle (aka: "the water principle"-- to wit: "to take what is offered"). To take the "Aiki" approach to a technique requires that the person have mastered very subtle body motions that allow a person not only to have their Dynamic Sphere violated but to actually be grabbed and even grabbed hard. Quite recently I was accepted into a traditional kwan in Korea that teaches these movements. I assure you that there is nothing mystical or magical about them. They are simply good sound training and VERY strong attention to detail including vulnerable areas, vectors, angles of attack and the human neural-muscular system. Now I am sure that a century ago such things must have seemed magical but again I assure that they are not. These things make up the foundation of the second level of the Hapkido arts (aka: "hapkiyusool") and can be taught and learned by anyone willing to apply themselves dilligently.

Now, for comparison, let me say that in contrast to "aiki" techniques are "yawara" or "ju-jutsu" techniques. These are based on "sen-sen" (Lit: "to act before it happens"). Unlike the "aiki" techniques which cause the person to wait and address that which they are dealt, "yawara" techniques (aka: "yu sool" in Korean) are meant to be used pre-emptively much as a policeman must act on a perp before that perp acts out. There is quite a bit of controversey about whether "yu sool" is, at its root, in keeping with the Water Principle of the Hapkido arts. Thats another subject for another day.

Now, you don't have to believe a word that I have written. You don't know me and you don't know that what I have written is true. What I will do is refer you to the AIKIDO JOURNAL article in which the late Tokimune Takeda was interviewed and laid-out everything I just wrote albeit much more articulately. (See Aikido Journal #87 & #88). As most of you know Tokimuna was the son of Sokaku Takeda the organizer of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu the definitive aiki art in Japanese culture. I suspect that if anyone knew about the nature of an "aiki" technique this gentleman would have. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#173057 - 08/03/05 12:14 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
aikikiai Offline
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Quote:

So just focusing on the technical aspects.... what would you say is the defining characteristic of an "aiki" technique (if there is one)? Or is it some other technically definable quality that makes it "aiki"?





Well, I see two levels to this definition. The first is the absolute definition of aiki. The second is the "quality" of the technique that makes it aiki.

As to the absolute definition, aiki is when you apply your power to the ura of the attacker's attack.

Please note that this does not mean "to the rear". I didn't realize until recently that many aikidoka use the terms "omote" and "ura" to mean "in front of" and "to the rear of". I saw that even Morihiro Saito sensei used these terms in the sense of "in front of" and "to the rear of".

My sensei, Mochizuki Minoru, a pre-war uchi deshi to Morihei Ueshiba, used the kenjutsu definition of omote and ura.

In this sense, the attacker's omote is his real intention, expressed in an attacking technique. But there is an old saying: "Every front (omote) has a back (ura). The bigger the front, the bigger the back."

But again, this does not imply "in front of" or "to the rear of." It means the empty side of a full effort. In other words, consider a bullet, flying through the air. There is tremendous power at the tip of the bullet, but directly behind the bullet there is a vacuum. Powerful front, empty rear.

Still, the emptiness may not be "behind" the attack. Actually, any concentration of power in any "omote" form will have "ura" in several directions. Say he punches. We can pull him forward into a forward pulling drop. So the ura of the punch is not behind the punch, but further in front of it. Or we could deflect the punch and apply irimi nage, which is "behind" the punch, but still "in front of" the attacker. Yet it is the "ura" of his "omote" attack.

So in short, "aiki" means tailoring our response to the "ura" of his "omote" attack.

In truth, any "counter" to a technique is "ura." Even a hard block or arm break can be "ura" to a given technique. But aiki utilizes ura to create kuzushi, control the opponent's center and weight and neutralize his power.

The "quality" that makes technique "aiki" is that he loses control of his movement at first contact. Like Ueshiba threw Tenryu the sumo tori at first contact, as he threw so many people.

Ueshiba Morihei has been quoted as saying something like, "When he attacks, he throws his spirit away." This has been interpreted to mean that no one can attack without first losing all control of himself. But I think the quote may have been mistranslated.

Katsuyuki Kondo, of daito ryu, demonstrates the ippon dori waza, one of the fundamental essentials of the system which has survived somewhat in aikido.

He said the main quality of this technique is that the opponent loses control over his movement at the instant that he grabs the daito ryu man. The reason is the "aiki age" movement that bends the attacker's wrist back and locks his elbowy, allowing tori to push him up off his balance with small effort.

This is how Ueshiba threw Tenryu. And even if the attacker doesn't become a stumblebum as he reaches for your wrist, he loses the ability to control his movement at the instant of first contact.

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#173058 - 08/03/05 12:33 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
aikikiai Offline
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Quote:

In aikido, it's "When pushed, turn (tenkan). When pulled, enter (irimi)".

It's interesting to see the same principle (of yin/yang) used differently in Judo - "When pushed, yield (or pull if you prefer). When pulled, push".




I just saw Master of Judo, a really old tape with Kyuzo Mifune, judo 10th dan. There they said the same as aikido: when pushed turn, when pulled, enter (or push--but it means push with the whole body, i.e., "enter").

Quote:

It is also interesing to note that "kuzushi", or the principle of taking someone's balance, is treated very differently in Judo/Jujitsu and Aikido. Judo/Jujitsu tends to work on the principle of mechanical leverage and drawing the opponent's "weight" in 6 or 8 directions (10 if you include up and down).

Aikido tends to use the principle of spherical moment-forces (i.e. centripetal and centrifugal), using the attacker's momentum as the motivating force, and using ki/kokyu extension to control the center.




The lower levels of judo use leverage, etc., to explain techniques, but at higher levels, it's mostly timing, based on "enter when pulled, turn when pushed." In the tape mentioned above, Mifune sensei is shown with a ball, explaining that judo is based on sphericality, completely free movement and an undisturbable center and orientation.

Quote:


Note: when I say "mechanical leverage", I don't necessarily mean using force. Good judo players and jujitsukas are able to affect kuzushi using the principle of mechanical levers and fulcrums to magnify the effect of a (very) small initial force - sometimes by simply using their body weight in the right direction.




That's right. Mochizuki sensei said that Mifune sensei was about equivalent to Morihei Ueshiba in his ability to throw people at will without the uke's being able to feel the technique and resist. And Mifune wasn't doing this with strength because he was a tiny little fellow.

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#173059 - 08/03/05 12:36 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
aikikiai Offline
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Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 61
Quote:

2. "Ju" means soft, supple, pliant, yielding. How is the concept of "ju" different to "aiki"?




Ju is compared to a bamboo springing back when bent. As a technical term, it implies building up some resistance. He pushes, you push back, he pushes harder and your yeilding produces great power so that he throws himself.

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#173060 - 08/03/05 12:50 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: AttorneyJohn]
aikikiai Offline
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Posts: 61
Quote:

there's a hell of a lot of "aiki" principles int he good boxer when he slips a punch, and then moves in beside the opponent on the weak and blind side, to prepare to deliver his finishing, knockout punch.




That's nothing but aiki.

That's exactly how Morihei Ueshiba handled sword attacks--all those pictures of him standing outside the sword's path, reaching up to uke's head with his folding fan in his hand...

That's what you described, and those photos of Ueshiba are more central to aiki than most people would ever believe.

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#173061 - 08/03/05 01:07 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
aikikiai Offline
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Posts: 61
Quote:

If you can't verbalize it, then half of the teaching delivery is missing.




Well, Morihei Ueshiba seldom explained anything. And if he did, the explanation was usually completely non-rational.

Quote:

I also don't accept the view that "you'll work it out - if you practice long enough". It merely creates the illusory air of mystique that perpertuates much of aikido.




And it shields the fact that most aikido people really don't understand what they're doing. If your teacher doesn't understand what he's doing, practicing longer and longer under him will never bring you closer to understanding. The most important element here is finding a teacher who really knows what he's talking about.

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#173062 - 08/03/05 01:18 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
aikikiai Offline
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Posts: 61
Quote:

There are 3 ways in which people intake information - visual, auditory, and kinesthetically. See, hear, feel. Granted, that only a small percentage of the overall population is auditory, (the majority being visual/kinesthetic), the fact remains that at least half of the teaching delivery is missed.
Quote:



But a tremendous part of the Japanese method of teaching has always been for the student to apprehend without explicit explanation. It's one thing to tell someone and have them develop facility with what they have been told. But it's another thing entirely for the student to develop the deep perception to learn without being told. That's why aikido teaching is like it is even more than because Ueshiba was such a non-rational type. It's the Japanese tradition and there is tremendous content in the silence.

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#173063 - 08/03/05 01:42 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: aikikiai]
aikikiai Offline
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[quoteJu is compared to a bamboo springing back when bent. As a technical term, it implies building up some resistance. He pushes, you push back, he pushes harder and your yeilding produces great power so that he throws himself.




And in aiki, the resistance is never built up. We simply move with him and, if timed exquisitely, he may throw himself.

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#173064 - 08/03/05 02:37 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
Ubermint Offline
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Quote:


I'm not having any trouble defining what "aiki" means --
"harmonizing energy," as in harmonizing your energy with your opponent's, as in sensing his incipient actions and coordinating your own movements to take advantage of them in such a way that adds his force to yours by redirecting his motion or by putting yourself in a position where his movement reinforces your goal (e.g he lunges forward to push you and you sidestep and grab his arm and propel him forwards past where you'd been so he continues along the path he'd chosen and goes in the direction he'd been going).




If you define it that way, the way BJJ would do that in response to a half neck clinch would be:

1: Monkey paw grip from opposite side to his forearm and crunch your shoulder to you to make sure he doesn't pull his arm back. Drop and armbar or triangle. His insistence on keeping the tie up and trying to control your neck in a context where it's no longer appropriate (your guard) and his own pulling down motion provide the momentum/impetus for the submissions.

2: Use a "russian"...I'm having trouble finding a picture of this technique, but what it basically means is that you trap the arm in the same way and do a sudden 45-90 degree turn (it's very fast and snappy/jerky) with your shoulders and feet, away from the direction of his push (towards his tricep, not his bicep), so you end up to his side. You've realigned the direction of force so that he's pushing the air. Also, your shoulder has helped to knock his arm off.

If he wants to push forward, you keep the arm, turn with your feet in the same direction you stepped in and drive him semicircularly forward until he ends up turtled, since he's already pushing in that direction.

If he wants to withdraw his arm instead and you can't hold onto it, let him withdraw it. As his elbow comes towards his body, you step in that direction, bring your arm across his back to his opposite side hip (grab the hipbone) and either circle to his back or tani otoshi.

This is hugely "body movement" and footwork dependent.
_________________________
Grappler or not you are a terrible martial artist IMO.-sanchin31, friend to all children

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#173065 - 08/03/05 10:00 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: aikikiai]
eyrie Offline
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Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I want to get off the technique discussion because I feel the techniques themselves are clouding the lines of discussion. At the very start of this topic, we already established that there are a core bunch of similar techniques in every martial art. So what makes an "aiki" technique "aiki" in nature, lies more so in not what the technique is (or for that matter WHAT technique), but rather the distinctive quality of HOW and WHEN the technique is
executed (suggested by both wer and aikikiai).

The fundamental physics (structural/mechanical/energetics) of techniques are immutable - they remain consistent irrespective of style or system - the only difference being in the level of subtlety the practitioner is able to perform the technique.

In that regard, there have been some really good posts by
glad2bhere and aikikiai, that are taking this discussion in the direction I would like to explore.

The first is this, by aikikiai:
Quote:


ju is compared to a bamboo springing back when bent. As a
technical term, it implies building up some resistance. He
pushes, you push back, he pushes harder and your yeilding
produces great power so that he throws himself.

And in aiki, the resistance is never built up. We simply move with him and, if timed exquisitely, he may throw himself.




and this:
Quote:

The lower levels of judo use leverage, etc., to
explain techniques, but at higher levels, it's mostly timing, based on "enter when pulled, turn when pushed." In the tape mentioned above, Mifune sensei is shown with a ball, explaining that judo is based on sphericality, completely free movement and an undisturbable center and orientation.




That being the case, then is "aiki" merely a different expression of "ju", and the difference being in the level of subtlety (as also suggested by wer previously)? i.e. resistance (like a spring) vs non-resistance (like emptiness)? Like Air is to Water?

glad2bhere mentions the "Water Principle" and the premise of "go-no-sen" and "sen-sen", as the underlying subtleties between "aiki" and "ju".

In particular:
Quote:

"Aiki" is not some "thing" as much as it is a manner of acting in response to an attack. The concept of "aiki" is based on the premise of "go no sen" (lit: "no first
strike). In the Hapkido arts this is sometimes subsumed under the First Principle (aka: "the water principle"-- to wit: "to take what is offered"). To take the "Aiki" approach to a technique requires that the person have mastered very subtle body motions that allow a person not only to have their Dynamic Sphere violated but to actually be grabbed and even grabbed hard.



and:
Quote:


Now, for comparison, let me say that in contrast to "aiki"
techniques are "yawara" or "ju-jutsu" techniques. These are based on "sen-sen" (Lit: "to act before it happens"). Unlike the "aiki" techniques which cause the person to wait and address that which they are dealt, "yawara" techniques (aka: "yu sool" in Korean) are meant to be used pre-emptively much as a policeman must act on a perp before that perp acts out.





In other words, just as there is yin/yang, omote/ura (as
described by aikikiai), is "aiki" to "yin" as "ju" is to "yang"?

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#173066 - 08/03/05 11:17 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
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Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
How about

path of least resistance
smarter not harder
efficiency of motion

You could start listing principles but they aren't exclusive to aikido. The push/pull concept is a good principle, good enough that many other arts (most other arts?) use it in some way, shape or form.

The techniques of aikido are found in so many other arts that they can't be used to define aiki.

Aiki also has nothing to do with being nice, or showing mercy.

So what does "harmonizing energy" mean? Is it possible for it to mean different things to different people? I think yes.

Chris

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#173067 - 08/03/05 11:24 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: glad2bhere]
Jason DeLucia Offline
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Registered: 04/18/05
Posts: 9
Quote:

The concept of "Ki" was used to explain how the human body generates motion and power but has very little to do with what is being talked about in this dialogue.Where these discussions go off is in confusing the use of "Ki" in martial arts with the concept of "aiki" which is a manner of recieving an attack.

"Aiki" is not some "thing" as much as it is a manner of acting in response to an attack. The concept of "aiki" is based on the premise of "go no sen" (lit: "no first strike). In the Hapkido arts this is sometimes subsumed under the First Principle (aka: "the water principle"-- to wit: "to take what is offered"). To take the "Aiki" approach to a technique requires that the person have mastered very subtle body motions that allow a person not only to have their Dynamic Sphere violated but to actually be grabbed and even grabbed hard. Quite recently I was accepted into a traditional kwan in Korea that teaches these movements. I assure you that there is nothing mystical or magical about them. They are simply good sound training and VERY strong attention to detail including vulnerable areas, vectors, angles of attack and the human neural-muscular system. Now I am sure that a century ago such things must have seemed magical but again I assure that they are not. These things make up the foundation of the second level of the Hapkido arts (aka: "hapkiyusool") and can be taught and learned by anyone willing to apply themselves dilligently.

Now, for comparison, let me say that in contrast to "aiki" techniques are "yawara" or "ju-jutsu" techniques. These are based on "sen-sen" (Lit: "to act before it happens"). Unlike the "aiki" techniques which cause the person to wait and address that which they are dealt, "yawara" techniques (aka: "yu sool" in Korean) are meant to be used pre-emptively much as a policeman must act on a perp before that perp acts out. There is quite a bit of controversey about whether "yu sool" is, at its root, in keeping with the Water Principle of the Hapkido arts. Thats another subject for another day.

Now, you don't have to believe a word that I have written. You don't know me and you don't know that what I have written is true. What I will do is refer you to the AIKIDO JOURNAL article in which the late Tokimune Takeda was interviewed and laid-out everything I just wrote albeit much more articulately. (See Aikido Journal #87 & #88). As most of you know Tokimuna was the son of Sokaku Takeda the organizer of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu the definitive aiki art in Japanese culture. I suspect that if anyone knew about the nature of an "aiki" technique this gentleman would have. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce



you have outlined a principle and said that it is "the" principle of aikido ,but that is erronious .aiki techniques are not limited to nor do they recommend that a person wait for the attack in order to deal with it . that you must learn to address an attack done when you're not ready is basic .but and i refer you to gozo shioda's "total aikido" on irimi "never wait for the attack to come" .what most veteran aikibudo people know is sui getsu which is preemptive control .aikido and hapkido are eclectic and supposed to evolve .to say as you did that aiki is based on "go no sen" is like saying that a car can drive because of the front left tire but not the other three .

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#173068 - 08/03/05 11:45 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Jason DeLucia]
eyrie Offline
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Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Welcome Mr DeLucia!

In all fairness, glab2bhere was quoting Tokimune Takeda's interview on AJ (an excerpt can be found here): http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=226 (bottom of page).

I think we can generally agree that techniques have certain fundamental characteristics (i.e. they conform to certain laws of nature and physical phenonmenon) and similarities (as in geometric shapes), and that the differences lie more in the details and variations.

We can also generally agree that principles, generally, are not the sole domain of any particular style or system.

So, in your opinion, what would be the differentiating factor in what makes an "aiki" technique?

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#173069 - 08/04/05 04:02 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
rupert Offline
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Posts: 24
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Mechanically, aiki is adding power to uke’s attack. In order to do that though, we first have to have the skill to discern the direction of uke’s attack at some point in time in the midst of changing movement. Then, with more skill, that adding of power is done in such a way that a subtle technique starts to form, which you might call ikkyo, nikyo or whatever (the shapes we choose to do, or rather, those that form of themselves). Here, the simplistic phase of adding power to uke’s attack, which might result in kokyu-nage, transforms into the subtle manipulation of uke’s joints, which results in the development of technique. Other arts have a measure of it, but Aikido concentrates on it (or rather, I think it should – many people don’t). Accordingly, if you don’t have an overall picture – something to aim for – then your training can have no logical direction to fruitfull results and you’ll end up with a ‘mechanical’ kata syllabus that will be useless no matter how good it looks for show.


Edited by rupert (08/04/05 08:03 AM)
_________________________
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#173070 - 08/04/05 07:15 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: rupert]
eyrie Offline
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Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Hi Rupert,

Thanks for joining in. (I was wondering when we would get your valued opinion...)

So, would you say that "kokyu" (loosely translated as "breath power/breath timing"), is the differentiating factor?

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#173071 - 08/04/05 08:02 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
rupert Offline
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Not just kokyu by itself. Many arts use the same 'power' to some extent or another - but rather - Aikido names it and aims to develop it. And names do not always reflect what you are doing - kokyu itslef just means breathing, but everyone breathes. 'Kokyu-ryoku' is better as it indicates power from coordinated breath, but then begs the question - coordinated with what? Well, movement of course - martial movement. Which is, movement that smashes people about - there's no need to be nice about it - you have to realise its purpose in order to know what you need to aim for.


Edited by rupert (08/04/05 08:08 AM)
_________________________
Rupert Atkinson http://discovering-aikido.com

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#173072 - 08/04/05 08:33 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: rupert]
glad2bhere Offline
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Dear Rupert:

I would generally agree with you but I also want to throw out another situation.

In Hapkido (for us this happens about 2nd Dan) we begin to consider the implications of a failed technique. This approach accepts that there is always the possibility in combat that an intended technique does not acheive its anticipated result. The defender must then shape his behavior into a new or alternative technique. We call such tactics "transitions". Using your definitions for discriminating between an "aiki" application and a "yawara" application where would you draw the line? WOULD you draw a line? I ask because at face value I sense that were I to up the amount of energy I am imparting to a technique (that has failed) I risk only reverting to wrestling. On the other hand if I continue to curtail the amount of energy and trust in the technical aspects of the art I do not cue my adversary to "plant himself" and even make it more likely that I may uproot him as I do my transitional technique. I know this is difficult to write about. I am wondering if this is making any sense to you?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#173073 - 08/04/05 08:51 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: glad2bhere]
rupert Offline
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I said you follow uke's energy. If you can do that, and it is a big if, there is no such thing as a transition as - everything is change. A technique just emerges, if you want to call it a technique, and from what I can gather after a brief 20 years, the Aikido shapes we have are natural outcomes of such encounters. The problem is, we study the techniques first ... when in fact they perhaps ought to be natural outcomes of 'other' types of training. I like to think that that is a pretty important point - easy to state, hard to do, yet, it must be stated otherwise it will never be done (aimed for). Yet, it is never stated.
_________________________
Rupert Atkinson http://discovering-aikido.com

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#173074 - 08/04/05 02:30 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: glad2bhere]
Ubermint Offline
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Quote:

I ask because at face value I sense that were I to up the amount of energy I am imparting to a technique (that has failed) I risk only reverting to wrestling.




God forbid!
_________________________
Grappler or not you are a terrible martial artist IMO.-sanchin31, friend to all children

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#173075 - 08/04/05 04:32 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
aikikiai Offline
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Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 61
Quote:

That being the case, then is "aiki" merely a different expression of "ju", and the difference being in the level of subtlety (as also suggested by wer previously)? i.e. resistance (like a spring) vs non-resistance (like emptiness)? Like Air is to Water?





I should have said earlier that aiki cannot be considered as an independent concept. To understand aiki, we have to understand kiai. Aiki is not "the opposite" or "an anagram" of kiai: it is the ura of kiai. So without kiai, there cannot be aiki. Aiki is only the "other side" of kiai.

So what is kiai?

About 25 years ago, I published an article in Black Belt entitled, "Aiki-Kiai:the middle way". It contained some misconceptions about both concepts, but masters of both congratulated me on the publication. This is just to say that I was seriously considering the concept 25 years ago.

After that, I lived with Minoru Mochizuki, aikido meijin, in Shizuoka City, Japan and he made it clear. aiki is the ura of kiai.

So what is kiai?

It is not a shout. The shout is like the shadow of kiai. Real kiai is a spirit (ki) of dominating, plowing down the opponent. If the shout is like the sound of the pistol, kiai is the commitment to pulling the trigger.

So aiki is any technique that follows the ura of a kiai-based omote attack.

As to the relation between aiki and ju, well, aikido comes from daitoryu aikijujutsu. People seem to think that Morihei Ueshiba trimmed out the crude idea of ju from his superior aikido, but he did not. It simply takes tremendously subtle perception to recognize the difference and it ultimately is a moot difference. Both aiki and ju and all the martial arts are to serve human life. If we are so adhesive to aiki only, then we are a slave to it, unable to avail ourselves of the full range and potential of human life. The only positive thing is simply to become more and more subtly perceptive. I recommend training in The Feldenkrais Method for that.

Quote:

In other words, just as there is yin/yang, omote/ura (as
described by aikikiai), is "aiki" to "yin" as "ju" is to "yang"?




I would have to say that it is not. The roots of aiki techniques are traced by Donn Draeger to ancient "aiki no in-yo ho", or "aiki methods of yin and yang." Mochizuki sensei showed two types of aiki as yin aiki and yang aiki. Yang aiki enters and yin aiki yields.

Hope that helps.

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#173076 - 08/04/05 08:46 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: aikikiai]
aikikiai Offline
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Posts: 61
Quote:


I should have said earlier that aiki cannot be considered as an independent concept. To understand aiki, we have to understand kiai. Aiki is not "the opposite" or "an anagram" of kiai: it is the ura of kiai. So without kiai, there cannot be aiki. Aiki is only the "other side" of kiai.




And I should have added that, as kiai seeks to dominate the opponent, aiki also seeks to control him. It doesn't just let the opponent fall away by random chance, but takes inescapable control.

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#173077 - 08/04/05 11:43 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: glad2bhere]
eyrie Offline
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I think the concept of transitions in yawara/jujitsu is quite different to aikido. Like yin/yang - everything is in the state of flux, it is constantly changing. In that respect, I think, "aiki" is more like "air" than "ju" is to "water".

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#173078 - 08/05/05 03:39 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
aikikiai Offline
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Posts: 61
Quote:

I think, "aiki" is more like "air" than "ju" is to "water".




Yes, and there is a point where water vapor comes off the water and mixes with the air. And when water shoots over a falls, it becomes mixed in with air (aerated). It's where they're very close together that it's hard to distinguish which is which.

Thanks.

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#173079 - 08/17/05 07:44 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: aikikiai]
wer Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:

Quote:

I think, "aiki" is more like "air" than "ju" is to "water".




Yes, and there is a point where water vapor comes off the water and mixes with the air. And when water shoots over a falls, it becomes mixed in with air (aerated). It's where they're very close together that it's hard to distinguish which is which.

Thanks.



I just came to the part in Gozo Shioda's AIKIDO SHUGYO (p. 66) where he says this, which is a reasonably concrete description of the difference he sees between judo and aikido:

Quote:


As for breaking your opponent's balance, many of you are probably familiar with Judo's two-stage explanation of just how this is achieved. First is tsukuri, or positioning oneself for the throw, and then comes kuzushi, or the actual breaking of the opponent's balance. Judo's way is to lead the opponent into shifting his center of gravity one way or the other, and then to throw him by either sweeping him or lifting him on to the shoulder.

In Aikido, the principle is exactly the same. However, in Aikido, our concept is based on allowing his power to flow and, in one big continuous movement, extending his body as much as possible. We then attack at the moment the opponent's balance is broken.

This "extending of the body" points to the following condition. Suppose you stumble and lose your balance. If you recover immediately, fine. But when you can't regain your balance, you stumble forward and then it's just a matter of waiting to fall. In the same way, extending the body means to lead the opponent into a position where he can't control his own balance. Once he is fully extended, even if you leave him alone he will defeat himself. You can cause him to take a much more damaging fall by effectively applying additional force.

The way to achieve this is to guide the opponent's power farther and farther away from his body in such a way that it is not stopped or interrupted. The key is to keep him from recovering his balance. It's like pulling someone's hand a little bit further just as they lose their balance. If you do this, you will control his center of gravity and if you can guide his power in the right direction, you will be able to finish him off any way you like. As a result, you will be able to apply something like shiho nage. In fact, this is where the essence of shiho nage lies.




Thoughts?

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#173080 - 08/17/05 08:53 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
glad2bhere Offline
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Dear Wer:

Your post is one of the reasons I have such a soft-spot for Shioda's writing over Saito and many others. There is something very clean about his technical explanations. From a Hapkido POV I can only add that the sort of "mis-direction" (aka: "redirection"; aka: "extension") that he speaks of is only one way of impacting the antagonists neuro-muscular system. To un-balance the antagonist there are also the pre-emptive strikes (J. "atemi"), use of manipulative pressure points, "mis-alignment" (say, by twisting or turning), "un-timing" or "un-focusing" and so forth. Any and all of these can be used to impact the neuro-muscular system of the antagonist following their initiating the attack and so all of these by definition could be "aiki" material. Strictly speaking, in the Hapkido arts, use of physical properties such as leverage, mass, balance and power are typically the domain of yu sool level practice. The effort to unbalance by impacting the neuro-muscular sytem is more the domain of hapkiyusool. In EITHER case, were the technique to be done in response to the antagonists behavior it would be considered "aiki". Were it performed more "pre-emptively" it would be considered "Ki-ai". FWIW.

BTW: Not to put you on the spot but can you (or anyone) speak to the relationship between "tsukuri" and "atemi". My understanding is the "tsukuri" can be as much "positioning" yourself mentally to deal with a conflict as much as positioning oneself physically to initiate a technique or method. Thoughts? Comments?

Best Wishes,

Bruce


Edited by glad2bhere (08/17/05 09:00 AM)

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#173081 - 08/17/05 03:56 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
KiDoHae Offline
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Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
This has been a wonderful discussion so far and very informative. One thing that is quite clear to all by now is it is easier to understand what "aiki" is on an intuitive level than being able to articulate what your personal understanding of what it might be. There is also probably a certain bias to that understanding depending on the type of MA practiced.

Earlier on I mentioned "fighting an empty jacket". That was not intended to be cliche' or of some sophmoric understanding. To me it is the epitome of controlling another's power (or effort, or Ki) by yielding to it. This does not mean that the one yeilding is therefore dominated by the attacker, quite the opposite. In other arts, such as hapkido, the "water principle" also amply describes, IMHO, what "aiki" is. It obsorbs, yeilds to, effortlessly evades and eventually overwhelms what comes in contact with it.

While all of this can get bogged down in technical interpretations, nontheless a worthwile effort, I think it's easier to visualize it.

The other night I caught a classic fight on TV between a then young Casius Clay and the Heavy Weight Champ, Archie Moore. Now much older myself I watched the fight with a more expereinced eye. It amazed me to see just how "aiki" Mohammed Ali was. I doubt that at the time he was aware of the term "aiki" but he certainly intuitively grapsed it's essence. It was not perhaps the aiki of aikido, judo, hapkido or other MAs but it was definately "aiki". Ali always bragged that he was "pretty". He said that because there were very few boxers who could lay a glove on him. For all of his attributes his greatness was in the seemingly effortless ability to deflect and evade his opponents. The damage he inflicted on them was most often the result of transitioning through the attack (deflecting, parrying, slipping) and then countering - which strikes me as just being very aiki.

The way I have come to understand what is aiki is rather simple. I'm by no means saying that it is right but as a broad principle it is exploiting your opponents inherent vulnerablity once he has committed to the attack - however that might present itself. It is also not my intention for that to sound so broad as to be meaningless within the context of this discussion. Just as aiki can be demonstrated in boxing, it can be shown in aspects of BJJ, wrestling and MMA also. Understanding, albeit intuitively, what "classical" aiki is can clutter your perception of aiki applied in other arts, especially when the priciple is not an explicit (or implict) aspect of the martial or sportive combatives being applied.

Just a few thoughts.

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#173082 - 08/17/05 04:34 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: KiDoHae]
Ubermint Offline
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Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 154
RE: Fighting an empty jacket.
There are certain people in BJJ, at brown belt level and above (one of whom is my coach) who, when they hold top position, don't actually try to smash you at all. Instead, when you try to push them away, they kind of float, and allow you to push them in that direction. You have to carry their weight, whichever way you push.
For instance, you are under vanilla side control. You push him towards your legs, to try to get him back in your guard.He goes with the push, moving in that direction, as he switched his hips to end up in reverse kesa gatame. Each push is not opposed, but rather he goes in the direction of the push and switches to a controlling position in that direction.
I suppose the closest analogy is surfing. When the wave lifts you up, you let the wave carry you.

Throw the jacket up, and it falls back down on top of you. Did I mention that this jacket is filled with rocks?
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#173083 - 08/17/05 06:12 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
KiDoHae Offline
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Actually you described it better than I did.

If I read your description right, you are doing all the work, and he is merely countering you by subtly shifting his wieght. The control is not necessarily through his stength at all is it?

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#173084 - 08/17/05 06:38 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
eyrie Offline
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A half-intelligent and on-topic post for once, Ubermint. I'm stunned, shocked, surprised and repulsed all at once.

Why can't the rest of your posts be like this? It is so much easier to discuss things when you're not being an a$$hole.

Can't you see that we're all really talking about the same thing? Each person having their own perspectives and way of describing it?

Let me ask you this. How does the empty jacket weigh like it's filled with rocks? How does the same empty jacket (which weigh like a ton of rocks), seemingly float away? What mystical trickery is afoot?

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#173085 - 08/17/05 06:44 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: KiDoHae]
Ubermint Offline
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Quote:

Actually you described it better than I did.

If I read your description right, you are doing all the work, and he is merely countering you by subtly shifting his wieght. The control is not necessarily through his stength at all is it?




That's right. That's not to say we don't use our strength when attacking somewhere structurally weak, but this approach to holding top position is definetely best for light people, in my opinion. I think Jkogas could probably describe it better than I can.
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#173086 - 08/17/05 08:38 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
KiDoHae Offline
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Perfect.

I wasn't suggesting that the use of strength is in anyway absent from what is thought to be aiki. The use of strength, this is again a subtle distinction, IMHO is often misunderstood by many practitioners. Strength can also be equated to effort. Not sure if you picked up on it but I usually couch it in terms of "seeming effortlessness". That is to say that there can (is) indeed effort, power, strength, etc., applied to a given technique, at a given time. If you think of it in BJJ terms perhaps it is effort aplpied to "helping" someone along their way. In the distinction of aiki arts the use of your strength, even in a limited way, has the effect of being a multiplier.
The amount of strength applied can be deceptive to the uneducated eye or the inexeperienced. I think there is a misperception that aiki has an absense of the use of strength altogether. IMHO, that is not the case at all. Amongst the various schools of aiki arts the use of strength in applying any number of techniques may be more a matter degree rather than kind. The same holds true for the skill and experience of the individual practitioner also, regradless of the art practiced.

In your example of the BJJ brown belt, while he is controlling you by accepting your actions and shifting his position he is still applying force with his hands and arms to maintain complete control over you, though that might not be constant pressure on his part - because he doesn't have to right? He's smart and will not waste anything - economy of movement. He will also not give you the opportunity to punch the crap out of him either will he. In the broad aiki definition I apply to things he is absorbing whatever you have while on the ground and though he is probably quite able to do so by some other means, he will allow you to beat yourself by simply wearing you down.

Since you mentioned it, JKogas and I have had similar discussions before. He is well respected member and co-modertor with much to offer. He made me re-think a few things myself and look at my own pratice more critically. (Thoughtful exchanges will do that.) Nothing you've brought up is new to most of the people here, although I'm not telling you not to make whatever points or offer any personal insights you might want to. All are welcome. You might to keep that in mind and frame your comments in that context.

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#173087 - 08/17/05 10:57 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: glad2bhere]
wer Offline
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Quote:

Your post is one of the reasons I have such a soft-spot for Shioda's writing over Saito and many others. There is something very clean about his technical explanations.



As an engineer, I find Shioda's explanations MUCH easier to follow than O'Sensei's philosophizing. OK, so I'm a Philistine. But once I understand what Shioda's saying, I'm in a better position to get more out of O'Sensei's discussions.

Quote:

BTW: Not to put you on the spot but can you (or anyone) speak to the relationship between "tsukuri" and "atemi". My understanding is the "tsukuri" can be as much "positioning" yourself mentally to deal with a conflict as much as positioning oneself physically to initiate a technique or method. Thoughts? Comments?



It seems to me that "tsukuri" would have to be both mental as well as physical. Everything aiki is both, I think. Atemi isn't just whacking someone; it's also kuzushi, certainly mental/emotional and often physical. Kuzushi will fail if you don't have sufficient tsukuri; so I'd expect you need good tsukuri (all aspects) before your successful kake, be it atemi or some other sort of kuzushi.

Anyone else?

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#173088 - 08/18/05 04:26 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Ubermint Offline
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Quote:


Let me ask you this. How does the empty jacket weigh like it's filled with rocks?




Because it doesn't attempt to stand up or push you onto the ground. It just allows you to stay on the ground.

Quote:


How does the same empty jacket (which weigh like a ton of rocks), seemingly float away? What mystical trickery is afoot?




Because I pushed it up there. This is not to say he actually gives you any SPACE. He stays glued to you, but still going where you push him, etc and you're still suffocating.
Or maybe my teacher is a floating tentacle beast. And me in my sailor fuku...
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#173089 - 08/18/05 06:24 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
xuzen_628 Offline
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eyrie said, "What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"?"

Hello fellow aiki enthusiast,

I have ponder for a little while over the above question, and I have come out with the little statement below:

"Aikido technique is basically jujutsu technique that utilizes aiki principle. Aiki principle is not fighting with the opponent but by simple being not there to fight with him; what is not there, he cannot target; what he cannot target he cannot harm, what he cannot harm, he cannot create animosity towards, an absence of animosity is amicability. if we take amicability further we might just create harmony.

So aikido technique is unique because it allows the user to create harmony even with his opponent."

This is what i think is a suitable reply to the above question.

Boon.
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#173090 - 08/18/05 08:44 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Ubermint]
eyrie Offline
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Quote:


Because it doesn't attempt to stand up or push you onto the ground. It just allows you to stay on the ground.

Because I pushed it up there. This is not to say he actually gives you any SPACE. He stays glued to you, but still going where you push him, etc and you're still suffocating.
Or maybe my teacher is a floating tentacle beast. And me in my sailor fuku...




You answer reveals the shallow depth of your understanding of how it works. How does it allow you to stay on the ground? How does it "float"? By using what describable physical phenomena? It's not imaginary "ki" force or mythical beasts, but describable physical phenomena.

OK, let's try it another way, if I can take your mind off ground techniques for a moment, think of doing BJJ standing up, what have you got?

Apart from the fact that you lose the use of 2 appendages, (i.e. your feet as hands, since they're now gripping the ground), what have you got? If it helps, imagine your back to the wall, and you're standing up, now describe how this works using BJJ?

Now I know that somewhere underneath your arrogant ignorance is an intelligent person, so don't disappoint me.

It's not difficult. But it requires you to think 3 dimensionally and spatially. I know you can do it. Just need to get off the ground and think on your feet.

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#173091 - 08/18/05 09:58 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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There was an intersting bit on TV this morning as settlers/protesters were being removed from a temple in Gaza. The soldiers were being subjected to considerable stress by the demonstrators but seemed to "roll" with what was happening. In response I noticed that army and police individuals did not use batons and tear gas to break-up the group in the synagogue but used simple grappling to cut out a particular individual from the group on the floor, and carry that person off --- four security people to a protester. I veiwed this as very "aiki". Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce


Edited by glad2bhere (08/18/05 10:06 AM)

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#173092 - 08/18/05 12:01 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
MattJ Offline
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Gak. I have to agree with Uber on the "floating" aspect of BJJ. I can not describe it any better than he did, but I do think it is "aiki" in concept, as has been discussed here. The "empty jacket" is an apt analogy of what a good grappler is like, when on top.

However, let's keep this upright, like Eyrie said. What about the Chi Sao aspect of Wing Chun? While focusing pretty much on the arms (as WC is a fairly linear style), the same idea of shifting non-resistance is worked to a high degree. Thoughts?
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#173093 - 08/18/05 06:31 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: MattJ]
eyrie Offline
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How to describe how something "floats"? Archimedes did.
How to describe how something sinks. Newton and Galileo did.

Otherwise isn't that a little "esoteric" and therefore bullshido?

If you can't explain it in physical terms and have to rely on "esoteric" meaning and analogy does it make the explanation less valid? As long as meaning is conveyed and mutual understanding is reached, does it matter if the explanation is "non-technical"?

Sticking, floating, sinking are common principles in many MA.
Not just with the hands, but with the whole body.

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#173094 - 08/18/05 06:45 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Diga Offline
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WOW again, Eyrie....You really have one going here.
At this time I am not able to read all 10 pages so I will be brief just incase someone has already mentioned this.

One difference I have found in Aikido and most orher M/arts is what I will call "METERING".

Because you know how to blend and enter with someone you also know how much pressure to apply to a manouver. Most other arts are geared toward the hardest hit or kick wins.

It is the metering that allows an Aikidoist ( is that a word ?) to turn someone else's power into their own demise.

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#173095 - 08/18/05 07:13 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
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Quote:

How to describe how something "floats"? Archimedes did.
How to describe how something sinks. Newton and Galileo did.

Otherwise isn't that a little "esoteric" and therefore bullshido?

If you can't explain it in physical terms and have to rely on "esoteric" meaning and analogy does it make the explanation less valid? As long as meaning is conveyed and mutual understanding is reached, does it matter if the explanation is "non-technical"?

Sticking, floating, sinking are common principles in many MA.
Not just with the hands, but with the whole body.



But when we say something "floats" in MA, we're not talking about Archimedean displacement of an equal volume of water. If I "float" someone in Aikido it means my center of mass is lower than his and just as he is at the top of his trajectory so he's going neither up nor down I apply a force upward in the direction he had been travelling. Right?

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#173096 - 08/18/05 07:31 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
MattJ Offline
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Eyrie -

I think you may have misunderstood me. I was not saying that floating/sinking could not be explained. I just said that I could not explain them very well.

"Floating" in the MA sense, I believe refers to the concept of staying mobile and allowing the opponent's momentum to dictate your responses.

"Sinking" in the MA sense, refers to being rooted and stable, using your momentum (stopping or starting) to dictate your opponent's responses.

Not quite what Archimedes or Newton had in mind, but close enough.

I think it is fair to say that many arts use these concepts. Are the other arts "aiki" or are there other fundamental differences that I am missing?
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#173097 - 08/18/05 08:30 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: MattJ]
eyrie Offline
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Good posts from everyone. This is to get you thinking. You think and verbalize. I read, think and verbalize. Sometimes you'll mention something in a different way that gets other people thinking. It's all good.

Quote:


I think you may have misunderstood me. I was not saying that floating/sinking could not be explained. I just said that I could not explain them very well.





My apologies. I did understand you. I was simply stirring our friend.

Quote:


"Floating" in the MA sense, I believe refers to the concept of staying mobile and allowing the opponent's momentum to dictate your responses.

"Sinking" in the MA sense, refers to being rooted and stable, using your momentum (stopping or starting) to dictate your opponent's responses.





wer said it best.
It's not meant to be explained in terms of Archimedian displacement. It was a red herring on my part. (See: "Sh!t-stirring")

"Floating" means to ride the wave. "Sinking" means to plant your weight. "Sticking" means to stick like glue.

Now, can these be described in more precise technical terms that involve physical laws? This is the challenge...
Or are we forced to face the fact that some of these things defy explanation and therefore, its meaning can only be "pointed at" thru analogy and metaphors?

Quote:


I think it is fair to say that many arts use these concepts. Are the other arts "aiki" or are there other fundamental differences that I am missing?




I think this is the whole point. "aiki" is not the sole domain of the "aiki" arts. It is a way (i.e. an explicit path/means) to see and experience "aiki" in everything.

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#173098 - 08/18/05 09:24 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
KiDoHae Offline
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Hmmmmm....

I had not intended to return to Mohammed Ali but "floating" is more about imagery, as much as technical interpretation. Each of us seems to need one, the other, and some both. Ali is best known for his own description of himself - to "Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee." Floating evokes a sense of effortless, even grace. Translating it to a mechanical action, with the same visualization, will require more word-smithing than your's truly can muster at the moment.

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#173099 - 08/18/05 09:47 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
glad2bhere Offline
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".....If I "float" someone in Aikido it means my center of mass is lower than his and just as he is at the top of his trajectory so he's going neither up nor down I apply a force upward in the direction he had been travelling...."

Dear Wer:

With the fervent prayer that I can stay with this discussion, are you familiar with the training flights astronauts take in which the large plane in which they are riding performs an aerial maneuver such that the astronauts become weightless? Is this the sort of "flow" you are alluding to in your post? Are you espousing targeting the optimal point in time and space, or are you suggesting that one "accompany" their antagonist TO that point and then exploit it to accomplish the technique? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#173100 - 08/18/05 10:56 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: KiDoHae]
eyrie Offline
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Ah....imagery of words to evoke meaning....

Such is the nature of language. Sometimes language conciseness can evoke as much imagery. (Anyone studied Shakespeare?)

Quote:


Floating evokes a sense of effortless, even grace.




Quote:

...an aerial maneuver such that the astronauts become weightless?




"Floating" = weightless is probably a more apt description. Unfortunately, as we are bound by the laws of gravity, at some point the person must succumb to such law.

Quote:


Are you espousing targeting the optimal point in time and space, or are you suggesting that one "accompany" their antagonist TO that point and then exploit it to accomplish the technique?




If I can answer this for wer (excuse the boldness). The answer is YES to both, but exploiting the law of gravity at that point in time and space, in such a way that it would seem "effortless" on our part.

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#173101 - 08/18/05 11:03 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
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Quote:

It's not meant to be explained in terms of Archimedian displacement. It was a red herring on my part.



Yup, I caught that red herring (but you shoulda seen the one that got away!) but decided to go ahead anyway since I was pretty sure I could explain "floating" with real physics. If you agree that my proposed situation is what you mean by "floating", I consider my description sufficient since I could write out the equations governing the motion.

Sinking, though. Now that's harder to explain, which is why I left it as an exercise for the reader. But since the alternative is that I do useful work this evening, I'm going to take a stab at it.

"Sinking" is planting your weight. But how, exactly, does one do that? My tai chi teacher says you do so by "rooting," picturing your feet as connected to the ground and feeling the chi flowing through the ground and your feet. But he's also a kenpo man, and so demonstrated and clearly explained that the physical situation during this "rooting" is that you bend your knees more than they had been and drop your center of mass lower than usual or, more to the point, lower than that of your opponent. If you are both standing, this would entail flexing the knees and "dropping the hips" (which just seems to be tucking in the tailbone while bending those knees and keeping an upright posture). Your weight would be centered on your feet in a very stable stance, not up on your toes or rocked back on your heels, and your posture would be very upright as if you had a pole going straight from the top of your head down your spine into the ground (standard good Aikido posture).

How about if you're grappling? One example of "dropping" might be if you are in his guard (he's on the bottom) and you move so the vector that is perpendicular to the ground and goes down through your center of mass goes directly through his center of mass on the way to the ground. And, your center of mass is placed as close to his as possible. In this way, you add your weight to his in the the most effective way.

Both of these are easily quantifiable descriptions of what "sinking" is. Do these situations cover your idea of "sinking," or are there others we should consider? And do you think there's something quantifiable that I've left out of the descriptions? Finally, do you think we CAN describe "sinking" in terms of pure physics with no visualization or discussion of chi?

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#173102 - 08/18/05 11:08 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: glad2bhere]
wer Offline
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Quote:

".....If I "float" someone in Aikido it means my center of mass is lower than his and just as he is at the top of his trajectory so he's going neither up nor down I apply a force upward in the direction he had been travelling...."

Dear Wer:

With the fervent prayer that I can stay with this discussion, are you familiar with the training flights astronauts take in which the large plane in which they are riding performs an aerial maneuver such that the astronauts become weightless? Is this the sort of "flow" you are alluding to in your post? Are you espousing targeting the optimal point in time and space, or are you suggesting that one "accompany" their antagonist TO that point and then exploit it to accomplish the technique? Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce



eyrie beat me to it. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Does that agree with your views?

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#173103 - 08/19/05 08:25 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
glad2bhere Offline
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".....Does that agree with your views?...."

Yes, it does, but not, perhaps the way you might think. In the Hapkido arts this skill MAY develop at higher levels but it is not something that we pursue or focus on specifically. For instance, during a recent series of seminars in Australia, Dojunim Kim (Yong Sul Kwan) demonstrated a very high level of "aiki" work which many times seemed to border on the incredulous. While I deeply respect his skill level, for myself I do not aspire to such skills. At the yu sool level of Hapkido I focus on polishing my use of simple Newtonian physics to accomplish a successful technique. At the hapkiyusool level I see to facilitate my techniques by impacting or exploit the use of my antagonists neuro-muscular system. I am not saying what you are describing is not a fair goal or that I would resist the development of such skill. What I think I am sensing is that the actual returns on being able to accomplish such skill may not justify the time and effort necessary to take my practice to that level. Hope this came out right.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#173104 - 08/19/05 07:20 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: glad2bhere]
eyrie Offline
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It seems like you are drawing a distinction between "aiki" and a high level of skill. Whilst most people would feel like you do, that such a level of skill is not something that they would aspire to, it is nonetheless implied specifically in most "aikido" and from what I gather, explicitly taught as a set curriculum in the parent art Daito-ryu (aiki-no-waza).

It also appears that you are drawing a distinction between what you focus on at the "do" level and "jitsu" (yusool) level, albeit from a structural physical perspective.

Whilst I generally agree that this is a sound approach to understanding the technical principles, as one should if approaching the art from a "jitsu" perspective, but I believe that the "do" expression completes the "circle" - as it were.

I've said this before in other threads, I think you need a balance of both "do" and "jitsu" to be a more complete MAist.

Can I ask what was so incredulous about Dojonim Kim's "aiki" work? What is it about his level of expression makes you draw that distinction?

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#173105 - 08/19/05 09:42 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
glad2bhere Offline
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Dear Eyrie:

".....Can I ask what was so incredulous about Dojonim Kim's "aiki" work? What is it about his level of expression makes you draw that distinction?...."

{Here Bruce is observed to enter a minefield. }

For my part I have always drawn a distinction between physical attributes and those qualities of execution which transcend common practice. Had it been I on the mat performing for the attendees I could have done a few of the things that Dojunim Kim did, but would have worked much, much harder. But there was something else. True, all of his technique was in response to a committed attack, which would satisfy my original definition of "aiki". However, beyond that there were techniques which he accomplished that directly related to exploiting that "teetering" point mentioned earlier that allowed him to hold and lead his attacker in a way I am still working to understand. In those instances what he was doing was plainly beyond my skill level.

I think I also need to point out that my conclusions about the nature of "aiki" vis "kiai" is not a function of Dojunim Kims work. Rather I continue to pursue this as part and parcel of my own personal study. Having spent years in Hapkido watching people make much of what I have discerned to be little more than high quality "yawara" it was an eye-opener to find an individual, a native Korean, who has taken it upon himself to press the evolution of the Hapkido arts to a higher level. However, there is a mountain of material at the yawara level that one could pursue and make a career of as has my teacher, Myung Kwang Sik. Add to this yet another layer of technical proficiency with hapkiyusool and the challenge can be all but overwhelming. In the kwan to which I belong I would like to begin to teach some of the material Dojunim Kim has shared, but it would require a separate portion of the curriculum off by itself to do it justice. But, if there were any place to make practical use of all the great information that has been exchanged on this thread THAT would be the place to do it. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce

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#173106 - 09/02/05 01:02 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
wer Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
The more I think about it and read O'Sensei's writing (the thread's petering out, but that's not stopping me!), the more I think it's that cultivation of sensitivity to uke's intent that makes it aiki. Or at least, that makes it aiki not ju.

Anyone else?

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#173107 - 09/02/05 08:13 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
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Please, don't let this thread petering out stop you.

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.

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#173108 - 09/02/05 10:21 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Posts: 31
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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
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
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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
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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
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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
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Posts: 999
Does an aiki technique involve the use of force?

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#173118 - 09/08/05 08:50 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: KiDoHae]
wer Offline
Member

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

Does an aiki technique involve the use of force?



Here I go getting all engineery and pedantic again:

Yes, aiki technique involves the use of force since force is just any mass accelerating (speeding up) any amount, F=ma. You add your force to his -- e.g. he's moving towards you, you exert a small force in the same direction to pull him.

But, if you try to force a technique to work, "forcing it" or using "brute force" to make your opponent move the way you want, that's not aiki.

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#173119 - 09/09/05 06:25 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
KiDoHae Offline
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Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
Understood, but lets be more pendantic....

I think I jumped back in around the "ying/yang" discussion. The concept presupposes A naturally occurring balance. The wind blows the bamboo bends. You push, I pull or better yet I yeild - like the bamboo. Nothing has upset that balance. The force of the wind is not constant, therefore the bamboo responds and sways effortlessly with the ever changing changing force of the wind.

Although aiki seems to presuppose the same principle, to a degree, the practioner actaully seeks to only be in this same state for a moment, perhaps a few. Ultimately I wnat to upset that balance and take advantage of my opponents energy. When I do that when does it stop being aiki?

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#173120 - 09/10/05 08:31 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: KiDoHae]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Stictly speaking? Yes.

However, it is not only (as wer says) adding a smaller force to the larger force (of uke who is attacking properly), but also "leading" the force ("yielding" is a way of "leading") - and in that respect, it is similar to the taiji principle of using 4oz of force to deflect 1000lbs of force.

Here's a section from Cheng-Tzu's Treatise on Taiji that may help elucidate what is meant by the preceeding statement:
Quote:


...When they use 1000lbs to attack, they have a direction. If the attack is straight, I use 4oz to lead the end of his hand [could be any part of the body?]. I follow his tendency and shift to the diagonal direction [yielding the body?]. This is an example of leading. After his force dissipates [yang to yin?], I push him [yin to yang?]....The power of the push [fa-jing?] is then up to me. The power of the leading force should not be excessive or else the opponent will intuit it and be able to mobilize and escape. On occasion I can use the leading force to change his direction [principle of leading control] and attack him. If he detects my lead [i.e. I mis-timed the movement] he will store up his force and not advance. When he stores up his force his tendency is to withdraw [yang to yin]. Follow his withdrawal, give up the leading force [yin to yang?], and discharge [fa-jing?] him....





The way I read this, is that "fa-jing" (release of energy) in taiji is not so dissimilar to how one would use "force" (i.e. "kokyu") in aiki. For the engineering minded, the imagery is that of a loaded spring or a drawn bow releasing potential (stored) energy, where such release of energy occurs through the weak points of the adversary's structural balance.

The more I think about it, the fundamental tactical difference between "ju" and "aiki" is that "ju" is more focussed on manipulating weaknesses in the anatomical structure through nerves, bones, joints and ligaments to affect the internal energy potential of the attacker, whereas "aiki" focuses mainly on external vector forces in relation to the entire anatomical structure (of the attacker).

At least, how I see it at the moment.

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#173121 - 09/10/05 10:06 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:

The more I think about it, the fundamental tactical difference between "ju" and "aiki" is that "ju" is more focussed on manipulating weaknesses in the anatomical structure through nerves, bones, joints and ligaments to affect the internal energy potential of the attacker, whereas "aiki" focuses mainly on external vector forces in relation to the entire anatomical structure (of the attacker).




Yes! I agree, that seems just right. Thanks for providing a good thread for us to hash out our ideas.

Now, about that windy bamboo image -- do you have any good ju vs aiki images for us to kick around?

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#173122 - 09/11/05 07:16 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
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Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
The commonly used analogy of "ju" is that of running water flowing around a rock. I prefer the surfing analogy - not that I can surf or have ever surfed.

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