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#365791 - 12/09/07 07:46 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: iaibear]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Geez, how hard can this be????

IF you get verbal instructions, follow them...
IF you get the "do it like this" followed by a demo... do it like that...

I realize everybody is at different levels of understanding, but following the instructions can't be that hard... If they were, I'd have never learned anything...

Let's do this slow...
First, OBSERVE SOMEONE ELSE DOING THE TECHNIQUE
Second, Listen to the instructions and make sure the gross movements are correct when you practice it.
Third, If you get the gross movement correct, ASK what else you need to do to get the technique correct.

Keep chipping away at the little things, and eventually you'll have a good technique.

Remember, if your arm is twisted one direction, you get ikkyo and sankyo, if it's twisted the other, you get kote gaeshi and shiho nage. If you "Z" the arm, you get nikkyo... everything else is kokyu nage or irimi nage...
Gokyo is a special application of ikkyo, just so you don't think I forgot...

Follow the energy paths of those techniques and work on ma-ai, movement, and blending, and you should be able to do anything you're taught. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you guys...

There is "walking in a circle", "walking straight", and taking a triangular step...

If your Aikido warm up exercises are correct, they will contain all the elements you will use in Aikido. The movements are in the warm ups, as are the grips, etc.



_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#365792 - 12/10/07 10:29 AM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: wristtwister]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Quote:

Geez, how hard can this be????

IF you get verbal instructions, follow them...
IF you get the "do it like this" followed by a demo... do it like that...




My point exactly. I was last blessed with verbal instructions in 1999. The dojo of the teacher of my original Aikido sensei does not indulge in them, only demonstrations of variations of combinations. You could say my practice is rationed.
:-p
Beats the heck out of Taibo, tho.

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#365793 - 12/10/07 11:21 AM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: iaibear]
jude33 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1539
Quote:



My point exactly. I was last blessed with verbal instructions in 1999. The dojo of the teacher of my original Aikido sensei does not indulge in them, only demonstrations of variations of combinations. You could say my practice is rationed.
:-p
Beats the heck out of Taibo, tho.




I enjoy reading this thread.
I had to smile at Wristtwisters use of capitals.
It must get realy frustrating for him.
He is a good teacher though.
Has me looking up things.

There are (some) times when on receiving verbal instruction on something with me it just doesnt register .

So I prefer it if I was just shown a technique.
Prefer it being shown on someone else.

Along the lines of describe a house!
Takes forever to describe.

Or point to the house and say "The house"!


Jude


Edited by jude33 (12/10/07 11:37 AM)

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#365794 - 12/10/07 12:29 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: iaibear]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
I don't know what to tell you other than if you're not getting instruction, go somewhere that you do. Training with O'sensei wouldn't do you any good if you weren't learning anything.

If your teachers are "approachable", tell them that you need instructions you can follow rather than general directions. If they're worth a damn, they'll help you out if you're genuinely interested and training regularly.

We used to structure payments to the dojo like this...
If you train once a week... $100 a month
If you train twice a week... $75 a month
If you train three times a week... $50 a month

It was easy to tell which students were genuinely interested in learning and which ones were only showing up to save money. The answer to why they weren't learning anything was "you aren't training enough".

Trust me on this, if a teacher is worth anything, they are interested in seeing their students make progress. They expend their efforts on those that give it an effort... and don't waste time on those that just show up and want to somehow brag that they take "(insert martial art)". If you aren't learning and it's the teacher's fault, find another teacher. If you aren't learning and it's your fault, train more and pay attention to the teaching.

The formula is pretty simple. Train and learn, or don't train and don't learn. I don't know how to make it simpler than that...

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#365795 - 12/10/07 08:41 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
A large part of "traditional" MA training went something like this - teacher demonstrated the technique ONCE. Student was left on own to figure out. NO verbal instructions were given. No questions were allowed. If you asked a question, you found out very quickly why NOT to ask - usually intense pain was involved.

The rationale for this type of "instruction" was two-fold - #1. to train and develop the student's observational skills and sharpen their visual perception. And #2, before asking a question, you would have to THINK it thru and work it out yourself. If you couldn't be bothered, or were too "dumb" to do so, pain was typically a good reinforcement of the "lesson".

The way I was taught was not as radical as the example I've just given. But it was close. Usually nothing was said in class, by my instructor. Occasionally he would go into a 20min rant to someone about some aspect of their training in his cryptic Zen-like way. And our teacher, even though he did speak and understand English, spoke little more than 3-4 word sentences.

So it is largely up to the student to work at it, and to "work it out". Thankfully, there are many accomplished MA teachers these days with good communication skills, but I think people shouldn't expect to be spoonfed too much when it comes to MA training. The only way you can make the art truly your own is to OWN it - that means working at it and working it out for yourself.

Following the example and instruction of those who have "gone before", and not being afraid of asking thoughtful, intelligent questions, is a good step towards that goal.

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#365796 - 12/10/07 11:02 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Maybe I'm just spoiling my students by giving them too much information, but I'd like to "teach something, and move on"...

I know where you're coming from, because I've had a number of teachers that did teach that way, and I've had my share of thumpings because I couldn't figure it out by myself. Just like you learn throwing arts from ukemi, you learn energy arts from "turning loose".

I loved Judo, and enjoyed it for 35 years. Then, the "slams" got to be a bit much for my back and hips, so I moved over to a little "softer" side of the ballistic arts. That doesn't mean that less force is dissipated, it's just not done at 75 to 90 degree angles like judo falls take you, but more circular methods of force dissipation.

I totally agree that you have to work out "force loading" like Judo uses, and all of the nuance training necessary for Aikido, but I still think the teachers have an obligation to teach... not just show how good they are, but actually pass on the mechanical knowledge of how to execute techniques, and demonstrate how they're done correctly.

The pop quiz for Aikido techniques should go something like this...
Am I centered?
Am I forcing or flowing with the movement and energy?
Who's leading?
Is my ma-ai correct, or am I too close or far away?
Is my movement and leading breaking the attacker's structure? i.e. is there kuzushi?
AM I USING ARM SWORDS?... sorry, I have to grit my teeth when I ask that of students...

If you aren't centered, it doesn't matter what you do... the techniques won't work.
If you're forcing the techniques, you aren't doing Aikido.
If your attacker is leading, you're losing... if you're leading, you have a chance.
If you're having trouble, you probably are starting too far away or too close OR NOT USING AN ARM SWORD. (sorry, I lost it again).
To throw someone, you have to break their "structure" or "body frame". The normal way is to lock their hip by leading them in a direction that forces them to lean over (almost any direction) while you are applying a lead to their energy. If you aren't affecting the attacker's balance, then he'll never fall down or even lose his footing, which forces him to take a step to recover his balance.
If you aren't using arm swords, you might as well be sprinkling pixie dust on the attacker and wishing them to never-land... Aikido techniques just don't work without them... you can do some jujutsu techniques that look "Aikido-ish", but you just can't do Aikido without learning how to execute using arm-sword energy delivery.
(Wow, got through that without SHOUTING)...

I don't know how to teach somebody how something feels to them... only the mechanics and understanding of energy flow to gain that feeling. Like swimming, you don't know if you'll float until you're in the water... so there's no "intellectual way" to pass Aikido on to others... it's all about feel and flow, and understanding how the energy delivery can be manipulated to create certain body dynamics.

It takes knowledge of the body. It takes knowledge of energy. It takes learning the fundamental concepts of how energy affects the body and how to manipulate it. Something else it takes, which isn't taught in a lot of Aikido schools, is the capacity to extend ki from "other than your fingers". In Aikido, when ki is cut off, the capacity to extend ki from a different joint or create a mechanical movement to change the ki flow can keep a technique moving, and without that training, it takes years to learn very simple techniques.

Is there a lot to learn?... you bet. Is it hard... sometimes, but not because it's hard to understand, it's just hard to explain intellectually... it's based on feel and flow. Do instructions help... I don't have a clue... It depends on whether you and your teacher are on the same "wavelength" regarding the information. I have students I could talk to in seven languages, and it wouldn't get across to them... and others, that I can demonstrate the technique a few times, and they pick it up... but that being said, it isn't consistent. They might get one technique and not have a clue on the next one...

That's why you practice...



_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#365797 - 12/11/07 01:19 AM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

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

Maybe I'm just spoiling my students by giving them too much information, but I'd like to "teach something, and move on"...


I didn't mean to imply this, when I said that about "spoonfeeding". I'm pretty much the same way... but I also appreciate the "old" ways and how non-verbal communication is also "teaching" at some level. I think it's a cultural thing.... it's very "Asian".

Quote:

but I still think the teachers have an obligation to teach... not just show how good they are, but actually pass on the mechanical knowledge of how to execute techniques, and demonstrate how they're done correctly.


Totally agree.... Although I feel that sometimes, there's only so much I can convey to the person without sending them into "information overload".

Quote:

not because it's hard to understand, it's just hard to explain intellectually... it's based on feel and flow.


That is one of my favourite sayings in class... Don't think about it, just FEEL IT!!! After class you can go home and think about it. And PLEASE practice it. It's amazing how many don't go home and practice - the most basic things like funekogi, kokyu-ho, irimi-tenkan and ukemi... and next week, we start all over again from the beginning. Get the foot work right, get the body angle right, get the upper and lower connection right... *sigh*...

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#365798 - 12/11/07 06:15 AM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
It's a lot like housebreaking puppies... they only "go" when they have to "go"...

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#365799 - 12/11/07 10:44 AM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: wristtwister]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
1st dojo:
From Jan. 1994 to Dec. 2000 the repetition in class (3x a week), week to week worked the technique(s) of the day into muscle memory. I was able to take them home and practice.

2nd dojo:
From July 2000 to the present there has been no recognizable repetition and there can be thousands of variations. I couldn't remember the combination(s) of the day out the door, much less home. However, the activity is still enjoyable and necessary.

Figuring that testing was to prove what I have learned, I do not test. But I do value your opinions and advice. Thank you.

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#365800 - 12/11/07 05:49 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I've never put much stock in muscle memory. I think the biggest trap in Aikido is believing that the "techniques" are set responses to prescribed attacks. They are not.

It sounds like your current instructor is approaching it in a good way. As my teacher used to say in his usual brief manner... "Forget technique".

Just as karate kata is designed to change the way you move, aikido waza is designed to change the way you move. What I did was break the waza down into discrete parts and study a small part of the movement in detail - how I hold my posture, where I place my feet, the ma-ai between uke and me, in which line is uke easily off-balanced, etc. Teaching kids has been invaluable in that regard - if you get a chance to take the kids class in your dojo, grab it.

In all cases, the ground and your body weight are your primary sources of power. The key to understanding how to harness these power sources are in funekogi-undo, sayu-undo, ikkyo undo, tai-no-henka and tekubi furi undo. Primarily you want to learn how to express power (and absorb forces - what Grady calls "force loading") in the 6 directions - up/down, left/right, front/back.

Grady also mentioned that not many Aikido schools teach how to express (ki) power in parts other than your fingers. This is so true. But to start, learn how to bring the ground and your weight into your hands. This will help you understand how you can do the same with any other part of your body.

So, once you understand what it means to move correctly, you will start to understand that "techniques" are merely expressions of moving correctly. So for the time being, forget techniques.

Tests and gradings are usually a formality. If you are already at a certain level of development, the grading is only a demonstration of that ability. In any case, simply treat it as yet another training session.



HTH.

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