Reflections, 2019 Part II: July - December
When training to shoot, the goal is not to hit the target. The goal is to hit the target using a particular set of principles and elements. For example, a common mistake the new shooter makes is to aim lower once they see they are hitting high of the target. This is prioritizing the target over the means of hitting the target. This is a mistake because this kind of “adjustment” does not address the incorrect fundamentals that caused the round to go high of the intended point of aim - making technical improvement impossible. And, in fact, should the new shooter strike the target when aiming low so as to adjust for the last high shot, this would actually still constitute a miss - since the round struck a place different from where the sight picture was being held. All of this equally applies to Kihon Waza. The point is not to throw or pin the Uke. The point is to throw or pin the Uke using a particular set of principles and elements. For Aikido Kihon Waza, this set will always include the reconciliation of yin and yang energies, the utilization of internal force sources, and a state of self detachment. Techniques that do not have these elements cannot be considered correctly done.
The level of self-sabotage today is nearly unbelievable. Yet, even cancelling out all of the small, mundane, daily ways we do not tap into wisdom, all the ways we negatively seal our future, all the ways we subvert and destroy our relationships, all the ways we waste the precious time afforded to us by Chance and Destiny, and instead we just cut to the chase and look at suicidal rates, noting how they are constantly on the increase across demographics, how this ultimate act of self-sabotage is increasing in younger and younger age groups, how these numbers persistently keep this act as one of the top ten reasons for death in the United States - all of us knowing that it is an act that goes heavily unreported - we can see to what I am referring. This is how we come into the dojo, having lived and continuing to live a life of self-sabotage. There is this, obviously related, delusion that over stresses the selection of one’s dojo, one’s teacher, one’s federation - as if solving for these things can reverse or alter such a course and such a tendency. The truth is, regardless of where you are, and regardless of who are are with, and regardless whereupon you align yourself, you are predisposed to fuck it up, and so will you remain as such until you make the decision to forge yourself anew. You are the weak link, not your teacher, not your dojo, not your art.
The Modern episteme is incapable of realizing the simultaneity of infinite variation and universal connectedness. Whenever it attempts to do so, it lands itself firmly in a contradiction, or, more accurately, upon a violation of its own rules of thought. The Pre-Modern episteme, out of which Aikido was born, offered another way of understanding the experience of the world, one that reasonably allowed for a unifying and harmonizing of polarities: Concentricity.
The Modern mind is so radically different in its processes from the mind of Aikido that no application of will alone can come to refine it as needed or as wanted. Left to its own, as when one is without a true teacher, it will be the art that is transformed (usurped) and not the mind that is transformed (by the art). As such, a true teacher must at first “translate” the art into an appropriate life practice consisting of right activities, behaviors, and the application of techniques designed to facilitate the mind’s reorganization. Hence, the ritualistic nature of Kihon Waza.
A dojo should not accept walk-ins. A prospective student should first be tried for full dojo membership, measuring most of all for character. The aforementioned trial should also be long enough to allow for one to penetrate somewhat beyond appearance. For many promising in appearance, in the end, prove unfit for training. Any person not showing the necessary character for training, should be rejected, sent away, and room should be made for others to enter such trials. For it is not numbers but character that keeps a dojo successful and this is true regardless of the field wherein this metric is used.
The great mystery of the Founder’s Aikido stems mainly from his attempts to say the unsayable.
In real combat, which I differentiate from the ego duels of social violence, luck and the mistakes of the enemy combatant play a surprisingly and often overwhelmingly determining role in outcome. However, these things cannot be relied upon and no strategies or tactics should be dependent upon them. For luck is far from reliable, as it can equally favor the enemy or be absent from the engagement altogether, and depending upon mistakes made by the enemy combatant leaves control and ultimately initiative in his/her hands. Victory without initiative is statistically rare, and thus the forfeiting of initiative should be avoided at all costs. As this is all true for combat, this remains true, even if it is to a lesser degree, for any live training environments. As Musashi noted in the 17th Century, and as any insightful soldier or cop knows today, luck and the mistakes of the enemy allow for what is basically shit technique and/or crap strategy to succeed where it could have and would have easily failed were but circumstances even slightly different. Thus, good technique and sound strategy cannot truly be honed and mastered in live training environments, because one cannot factor out the huge outcome determining effects of luck and the mistakes of the enemy. This is why drilling has remained and must remain central to our training. Drilling, or the use of controlled training environments, allows for the perfection of technique in ways live training environments never can. Live training environments are not the end-all/be-all training technologies today’s dabblers have come to believe.
The practitioner that is looking to go “all the way,” in the Bukowskian sense of the phrase, needs to understand the immense pressure the idea of the “federation” has not only upon their thinking but also upon their body, and even upon their imagination. So engrained is this idea, so deeply and so infinitely invested is this idea at the level of our being, that even our doubt has come to be determined by it. Like this, both thought and what is beyond thought are governed and captured, and with that capturing we are also captured. There, we forfeit, sometimes knowingly but more often unknowingly, our freedom and our true potentiality for the comfortability of form and group inclusion. When we are confronted by something external, something “other” to this form and group inclusion, something subversive, our only instinct, like good institutionalists, is to shout back at it, “What is your rank?” “What lineage are you from?” “What is your title?” “What art do you practice?” Meaning, we double-down on our institutionalized behavior, never seeing through to the arbitrariness and ultimate meaninglessness of such things as rank, lineage, title, and art. Like this, the hordes of practitioners become filled by people who sense the bullshit, but stay their course because they are “about to get their black belt,” or whatever next rank or title the institution says is needed, is adequate, and that should be desired. Know, this is a human problem - age old. Like this, we sell our soul, and participate in our own demise – something we do nearly everywhere – and we do it because we long for external comfort, external surety, external stabilization. We do it because ultimately we are cowards. Dokkudo is only for the brave.
For the Ancient Chinese, and for Osensei as well, since his thought was but an extension of theirs, skill in the martial arts, even (or especially) within the as/if rituals of Kihon Waza, generated a particular experience that represented an idealized notion of totalistic sagehood, one that itself was held to be consistent with and even self-evident as a manifestation of the natural order of things (eg. Tao, T’ien, Heaven, God, Nature, Universe, etc.). This is how or why there are infinite variations of a technique while one at the same time nevertheless holds that some ways are wrong.
If Aikido is a Budo, then it is a self-technology. If it is a self-technology, there is no on or off the mat, no in or outside of the art. If there is no on or off the mat, no in or outside the art, then all aspects of ourselves should follow yin and yang reconciliation, the tenets of self-detachment, and the application of Aiki. Like this, mobility, strength, mood stabilization, food addiction, body weight, etc., all are as telling about our teacher’s understanding of the art as is his/her Ikkyo.
Go last, and you will be first. Let go, and you will be holding it. Yield, and power is yours. Surrender, and gain control. Love, and Fear has no place to rest within you.
As few as the circles are in which valid insights into Aiki are discussed, there is a growing trend to see or understand Aiki as effortless power or as a universal application of one’s Will to Power. For me, this is incorrect. For me, Aiki is a natural phenomena that happens outside of direct will and that cannot manifest for the purposes of power or via a will to power. If power is present when Aiki is present, it is a correlative phenomena and not a causal one.
Aiki is the Universe reorganizing itself (according to its own principles) in the face of self-detachment.
It is the concentration of energy in the body’s center that allows everywhere else in the body to become soft and have no loss of integrity or organization. Likewise, it is the releasing of the heart/mind, at its very center, that allows it to sharpen without losing an ever expanding awareness. These two skills are interrelated and it matters not which precedes the other or even if only one is attempted at a time.
The “how” of something can never address the “why” of something. Thus, practice is always more important than talking about practice.
When one side thinks you’re too “woo-woo,” “mystical bullshit,” “a pseudo-guru-wanna-be,” etc., and at the same time the other side thinks your uncompromising, too hard, too violent, angry and scared, you’ll know you’re on the true Path.
Many times, Aikido Kihon Waza architecturally repeats or prolongs moments not for tactical reasons but rather for the sake of cultivating internal skills. This allows the practitioner to take advantage of both micro-drilling and increased exposure durations - both vital to gaining unconscious competency. While some are completely unaware of the benefits that come from not having everything fall under the rubric of tactical viability, others go to the opposite extreme and make internal skill training directly equivalent to martial effectiveness. Truth be told, internal skills are but “force multipliers” to whatever tactic you are employing, and in that capacity their martial applicability operates temporally in a way completely different from how they are cultivated. Meaning, whereas training looks to increase duration exposure, martial applications tend to consist of fractions of an inch and hundredths of a second.
In Aikido, Uke is a mirror into our own self. Do we resist Uke, do they threaten us, are we against them, do we see an enemy? Through Uke we see the violence within us, our deep and silent lack of peace. Through the ritual of setting up an enemy dichotomy, we see the enemy within ourselves. We see the true Path.
The Way addresses the issues of human consciousness, not American consciousness, or male consciousness, or female consciousness, or adult consciousness, or even Modern or Pre-Modern consciousness, etc. Rather, it posits a universality of human consciousness, which then posits another, deeper, more underlying, universality - a God Consciousness - which goes by many names and even by no names. This deeper universality is equally resistant to the logic of specificity and/or particularism. As such, dogmatic or doctrinal mindsets are antithetical to it. Thus, holding Osensei’s poetics higher or lower than any other poetics is to mislead oneself.
Techniques that are practiced from lower states of consciousness, a consciousness that is fear-driven, pain-driven, dichotomous, and self-attached, these techniques are usurped by that lower consciousness. These techniques become as delusional as the consciousness from which they are derived. Inversely, higher executions of technique, such as techniques that utilize Aiki, can only be derived from higher states of consciousness.
To say, “Aiki is Love,” is not to speak of a mere matter of being in love. Rather, it is to say, “Be Love.” It is saying that Love is a force, a power, and that we must strive to become indistinguishable from it.
The Founder of Aikido, through his art, joined a global and timeless effort to save the world. Today, most so-called teachers of his art transmit only exercises and gymnastic routines. Do you not see the diminished aspirations and the reduction in means that accompanies them? Only the very wise will see through the con they work amongst and upon us.
It is a shift in consciousness, from fear-driven to love-driven, from one of ego-attachment to one of mystical communion, and that alone, that makes Aikido waza totally real. How can such a premise be so radical? So threatening? So hated? So irrational? Have we not all heard the Founder’s words? Have we not all seen decades of training, training wherein this premise is rejected and not held, wherein our art has been led to a place different from where the Founder said it should be? Do we not therefore have both positive and negative proofs by which we can and should orient ourselves?
The fear-driven consciousness, by its nature, organizes the universe, our experience of the world, amongst yang-yang conflicts. Because we have lived among such conflicts for so long, we come to know no other way, no other world. We come to see this kind of experienced organization as “natural,” “inevitable,” “inescapable,” “universal.” Therefore , when we think we are blending, unifying, harmonizing, we are in fact struggling, resisting, contesting, unconsciously acting out our fears. Here then are four telltale signs through which you can see yourself more clearly in your practice. They all are indicative of a yang-yang conflicts and therefore of an underlying fear-consciousness that is merely being reified through one’s training:
- Uke’s spine has a moment when it stops traversing or tilting in your waza.
- Your Base of Support makes use of adjustment steps.
- Your feet and/or toes wiggle on the mat.
- You require Uke to reduce pressures and/or forces so as to artificially make the above-listed three elements absent from your technique.
Here is my take on martial arts in Law Enforcement:
Law enforcement contacts that make use of the martial arts can be generally divided into two realms: detainment and defense. In the former, you are trying to prevent an escape, make an arrest, and/or prevent an escalation of violence. In the latter, you are trying to stay alive and/or prevent yourself from suffering injury.
In detainment, arts that can structurally gain control of a suspect regardless of size differences, regardless of numerical differences, and regardless of the suspect’s willful compliance or lack thereof, are superior. Out of these arts, the arts that utilize holds and locks from standing positions are best suited toward law enforcement applications. This is because they maintain higher degrees of mobility and thus of adaptability in light of ever changing circumstances. Out of these arts, the ones that employ holds and locks in combination with strategies that seek not to contest for space but rather look to blend with and utilize a suspect’s resisting energies are superior. This is because these arts are more mechanically geared to asymmetrical combat and/or combat wherein the mechanical advantage rests innately with the subject, not the officer. Out of these arts, the one’s that additionally look to develop within the practitioner not only with the proper architectural requirements of the given hold or lock but also the proper geometric alignment of the skeletal and muscular systems as they apply to posture and energy transfer are the best. This is because these arts train officers to move and remain the most mechanically efficient. The least effective arts for detention are those that are pugilistic-based and/or pain compliance-based – arts that rely on the willful submission of the suspect for detention and/or on the officer having greater size and strength.
In defense, the situation has been reduced to a contest of irreversible consequences. Meaning, the law enforcement contact is now no longer purely one of institutional concerns. It is now one consisting in part or in whole of a concern for individual survival. This issue of survival in this setting is a matter of contest, and in this contest survival has become equal to victory, and victory has become equal to the suspect’s defeat. The defeat of the suspect is equal to his/her own physical incapacitation, and this incapacitation is equal to the suspect’s death and/or serious bodily injury. This is combat.
In this type of combat, arts that adopt the assumptions and/or structures of the “combat sports” are the least effective. These arts include those that adopt the related target restrictions, weapon formations, corresponding rules of engagement, and gaming understandings. Out of these arts, the ones that do not address differences in size and in strength, and the statistical fact that the officer is likely at a numerical disadvantage, other than through physical conditioning, should be avoided, as they will function as designed only under the most idealized situations. Out of these arts, those that look to address the issue of combat through empty-handed means only, either by design or by assumption, should be rejected as the most inferior. Alternately, arts that break with sporting traditions assumptions but not with the issue of fitness are superior. Out of these arts, arts that do not contest for space, while they simultaneously seek to weaken the suspect’s power-base as they seek to strengthen the officer’s power-base, are superior. Out of these arts, arts that seek to seamlessly transition from empty-hand to weapon utilization, and vice versa, as needed, are the most superior.
I have said nothing on ego-duals, since they consist only of social violence and are therefore best addressed by the cultivation of a mature spirit and good character.
Atemi cannot be pre-excluded from the art for moral reasons. Their use is no more unnatural, no less a manifestation of the Universe, than any other tactical aspect of the art. When they are employed then, Atemi must follow the same yin-yang considerations, utilize the same internal organizations, and follow the same strategic principles of the art that all the art’s other tactical components must follow.
In Budo, a technology of the self, our consciousness must be the same as it is for Ukemi, for Nage Waza, for our deshihood, in our relationship to our self and to others, to our career, to the world, and to God: It must be one of ego-reconciliation, fear-reconciliation, selflessness.
So thin is the veil between this world and Heaven, so thin is the twine that binds me here still. Quick, listen, there is little energy left to keep my words making sense. Quick, before they become as good as silence. Soon, I will have nothing to say to you.
When you strike the target, you must destroy the target. When the target is destroyed, it must be done so in such a way that all attacking or countering organizations are also thoroughly deconstructed. This is Atemi. Never strike for the sake of distraction or for mental preoccupation. Care not for what the enemy is thinking or not thinking. Care only for what he can do and cannot do.
Life may become easier as the spirit matures, as one reconciles more of his or her fear-consciousness. However, this is where the Warrior and the Contemplative again part ways. The Contemplative will look to abide amidst the newfound ease, and the Warrior will look to take on more burden, suffering greater pains, and serving more people at greater levels, levels that now feel as heavy as old and previous efforts once felt.
Our art must include practices thoroughly based in devotion, service, ritual, and contemplation/meditation. These are the ancient technologies Man has used and refined for centuries to mature our spirits and to bring us to higher levels of consciousness. These are the technologies the Founder used. We cannot simply intellectualize or exercise our art and call it “Aikido.”
The current problem with “rock bottom” is that it has moved further down or been done away entirely by our Modern ability and capacity to distract ourselves from who and what we are and how that affects our lives. Where it was once a practical final point of self-reflection, a saving grace, it now may not be so. Today, it may very well be the case that our lives will have been thoroughly ruined by the time we see what needed to be seen.
In most Modern societies, the need for self-defense has all but disappeared. Additionally, the spiritual immaturity and the incapacity to reconcile pride that underlies the marketing potential of the ego-duel (social violence) is being politically deconstructed under the truth-game of “toxic masculinity.” Moreover, Modernity’s long historical effort to specialize violence and to make it alien to the masses has found an unexpected benefit in the economic dominance of “nerd culture” and its prioritization of the intellect over the body and of language over movement. For these reasons, and more, the overall viable market population available for martial arts businesses has been steadily dwindling proportionately to these trends over the last two decades. Martial arts schools who choose to base their consumer appeal on “self-defense,” or that do so based upon an absence of any other viable market option, are essentially competing for smaller and smaller pieces from a smaller and smaller pie. What to do? The answer, from a marketing point of view, is certainly NOT to make Aikido more martial. While Aikido is and should be kept martial a priori, the answer is this: Fulfill the Founder’s vision for the art, have the art be consistent within its own Budo paradigm. Keep the art a technology of the self that utilizes violence and the ritual of violence as a path to higher forms of consciousness.
The issue with everyone knowing the Founder’s discourse in a language-dominated era, while inside of a Modernity that is incrementally rejecting the possibility of truth with a capital “T,” is that everyone, anyone, can say AND feel as if they are doing things correctly. Nevertheless, there are ways of telling the worthy from the worthless. As the art is based in a premodern paradigm that first divides the world dualistically but then posits and more appreciates the reconciliation of these divisions, Modern eyes, when observing accurate manifestations of the art, should see paradoxes. That is to say, correct forms will simultaneously demonstrate softness and explosiveness; peacefulness and violence; power and effortlessness, patience and quickness, life and death. When you see only one side of these dichotomies at a time, you are looking at incorrect form, a worthless example of the art.
The finite rests upon the Infinite. One’s Aikido should reflect this insight.
Man’s being is not captured by scientific reason. In fact, most of the former escapes the latter, as Man still lives mostly by correlation and statistical likelihood and seldom by strict scientific reason. Underneath the false belief that he/she has evolved beyond a life of faith, he/she believes what he/she believes and this belief’s only foundation in truth is that it is he/she that is doing the believing. How else can Man see and know that all around him people are dying but somehow this does not apply to him/her? How else does Man come to hold, “Because there is an iPhone X, God does not exist.”
To my deshi: He or she that loves one another is he or she that is closest to me. You have understood the most. I am with you in Love always. Never shall we be apart. Though far or gone, there I am with you. Yet, he or she that raises themselves by lowering the other is far from me. He or she that believed we were just exercising knew me not at all and had understood nothing. This is how simple the teachings have been. However, do not mistake that I am not asking the near-impossible of you: To fold Space, to bend Time, to make the invisible visible, to bring Light into the Dark, and to not push back on what is pushing on you: This is what you have been taught - the miraculous.
There has always been an event in our human history, one wherein we must choose between following what society says is true or to follow what we ourselves know to be true. Every seeker knows this, and even the non-seeker cannot bypass this fork in the Path. For the non-seeker has already made their choice. It rested in the unconsciousness to not choose: To follow the herd.
Drilling or micro-drilling, the isolating of a particular sequence or element of movement for the sake of increasing refinement via the increasing of repetitions, must be done in such a way that all other non-drilled aspects remain as present as if one were performing the larger movement, sequence, or technique. Without this, far from being a benefit to training, drilling and micro-drilling becomes a hindrance to overall performance. This seems like an obvious thing, something that should go without saying, however, deshi operating within lower states of consciousness will forever try to “win” at the drill. Thereby, they will forever look to leave out of training that they find to be an impediment to that pseudo-victory. This, ironically, includes good form.
There is no time before Man was faced with two paths: The Path of Ignorance and the Path of Wisdom. Both are contained in the narrow confines of the cave of the heart. Yet, as near as they are within said heart, an infinite distance remains between them.
There is historical precedent and a direct lineage-based philosophical foundation for the art as it is practiced at Senshin Center. We are not doing anything new. Hence the position: Aikido cannot truly be practiced from an unenlightened state of consciousness, from a mind that does not transcend the delusion of dichotomy.
“As you see, so you shall live” is the ancient and universal mystical insight. For this reason, premodern Man took on the problem of consciousness as THE central problem, focusing on the experience and the experiencer of “reality” and not upon some reality that is supposed to exist separate from consciousness . To ask then of premodern technologies of the self what is real, or to challenge them with a competing material reality, is to miss the point entirely. To say one can do Aikido from outside a Consciousness of Love because the art is a mere matter of fulcrums and levers is to equally misunderstand the matter at hand.
It seems most Asian internal skills specialists have lost all martial context. As such, they have become a kind of metapractice, in the same way that analytical philosophy became a metadiscourse. Like analytical philosophy, which tasked itself with finding meaning but through their own overly specialized language games, thereby ultimately concluding no such meaning exists, most of these internal skills specialists play only within the specialized drills or games of such skills, and as such have ended up with a skill that has no martial attributes whatsoever - skills that cannot exist in the real world. The most telltale sign of this occurring is not the no-touch components that often accompany such specialized games but rather the way uke are allowed, perhaps encouraged, to show strain and pain on their faces during such play. For I know of no martially viable pedagogy or training paradigm, whether existing now or historically, wherein warriors in training were not admonished for showing such weakness and instead instructed to embrace the suck and take the pain.
Aikido is a way of fulfilling all religions because, first, it is open to all peoples, not just those willing or able to abandon the material world. Aikido’s awakening takes place right here, right now, right where you are here and now. Second, like this, Aikido brings to all religions their often now-missing practical component, those actual practices designed to reconcile the small-self and the underlying fear that brings the genesis of our own suffering and sickness.
As I teach, the Universe can be understood as consisting of two forces: one that brings things together and one that takes things apart. One is gravitational. One is projecting or repelling. One is Love. One is Fear. One is Aiki. One is Kokyu. These forces are not antithetical to each other. Nor are they morally ranked in and of themselves. They are both manifestations or aspects of God, Divine Will, Consciousness, etc.
Kokyu then in Aikido is the force that projects or that moves the attacker away from Nage or that keeps the attacker from penetrating into Nage’s tactical structure. Aiki, on the other hand, is the force that adheres or that gravitates the attacker into Nage’s tactical organization. On Kokyu: Kokyu is based initially upon a psycho-physiological structure or organization that is designed to maintain integrity. The energy that is used to gain this organizational integrity can be used passively and actively. Passively, this energy is used to maintain the psycho-physiological organization in the face of disorganizing forces. Actively, this energy is used to project the attacker from this psycho-physiological organization and/or to generate a disorganizing energy in the attacker’s structure. In later applications, things slightly change and become more amplified as Kokyu is reconciled with Aiki.
Authenticity is all you need. Everything follows from there. Authenticity, the concern for authenticity, is the center of the spiritual path.
War is the precursor to nearly every sport. Therefore, create your dojo so that it is filled only with athletes - people that would be competitive in nearly any athletic endeavor. Make them athletes! Help them to be athletes! Create your training model so that everyone has an operational strength-to-weight ratio, all are highly mobile and flexible (regardless of age), all possess grit and have “no quit;” have them be able to push through pain and fear. For there is almost no point to working on technique before this is achieved.
I cannot help to think that all the effort to transform oneself externally does not stem from some deep self-rejection. Whereas, the effort to transform oneself internally stems from a deep love of self.
As I teach you how to be in Love, my love for you will not for a long time feel like love to you.
I neither push nor pull Uke because I have no preference for Uke to be in any other place at any other time.
Impulsive living is no more free than living with any addiction. For a long time now, we have confused impulsivity with freedom. Impulsivity is the habitual self, the small self, ensuring its bondage over us.
Any true freedom is always preceded by a freedom from the small self.
Here is a better idea: Let me decide if I want you for a student before you decide if you want me for a teacher.
All of training is tanren. All of life is tanren for the person on The Path.
The Warrior's value is in being a protector, a protector for those that cannot protect themselves against the Darkness and all its forms. The Warrior is a being of Light. He or she is the anti-Darkness. True, the Warrior may kill in the protection of others, yet he/she remains different from the Darkness in two major ways: First, death, even that of his/her enemy's, remains only a cause for sorrow and felt loss, and, two, while beings of the Darkness may kill for others, the Warrior will also die for others. Only those that have never gone into harm's way will think this is a small difference.
Throws wherein Uke is brought into a topsy-turvy movement toward the rear are actually designed to nevertheless have Uke’s center moving forward - not brought rearward nor permitted or forced to become stationary. They are not designed to bend Uke backwards at the lower back, as such a requirement would be martially delusional.
Aikido is seen in all things because the art is designed around and through The Way. The relationship between The Way, Aikido, and all things is not metaphorical or analogous in nature. It is concentric.
The kids are all different ages, some teens, some not. Some have been practicing for many years, and some for only a couple. Some seriously from the beginning and some not seriously until recently. Some "started" as young as 2 years old, and some started in their teens. Like with adults, I do not expect deshi to have the qualities necessary for training. In fact, I expect them, like I do with adults, to NOT have the qualities necessary for training. Meaning, I expect them to be fear-driven, having a dichotomous consciousness, to be habitually oriented around pride and ignorance, prone to quitting, emotionally fragile, to have a victim-mentality that denies their role in their own suffering and that has them expecting the world and others to cater to their unreconciled will to power. This is not my own way of teaching. There is precedent for this historically, which is this: Budo is a Way precisely because it is considered to be a way to Enlightenment, on par with Buddhism and/or with any other spiritual-religious practice engineered to cultivate spiritual maturity in the individual. As such, or inversely, those not in a Way, which includes those not yet starting on The Path, do not possess the qualities necessary for The Way - they are un—Enlightened. Meaning, we train in Budo not because we have the qualities to train in Budo but rather to gain the qualities necessary to train in Budo. This means we do things differently from other dojo, since I do not expect deshi to come in with a ready-made Enlightenment. At the same time, I expect to cultivate these virtues through the practice in all my deshi. For example, we do not just practice techniques. The idea of showing up, dressing out, bowing in, being shown some techniques, practice those techniques, talk about some techniques, and then repeat ad nauseum, as is the most common thing done all over the world in Aikido dojo, is ridiculous to me. For the only way that this can produce anything other than rote demonstration of technique, the only way this can reap anything other than what is being sown, is to grant technique some sort of talismanic power that allows it to be something it is not while remaining solely what it is – TALK ABOUT MAGICAL THINKING! I do not believe in magic: I believe in training.
The traditional, or rather the historical skills, trapping, uniting, yielding, projecting, etc., are not martial ends in themselves. At most, they make up centimeters of a given force vector or path of action, or they consist of fractions of a second of those vectors and paths. But, they take and make any such vector or path exponentially more viable. Thus, they are both important and unnecessary, martially speaking.
Yin movements may look to be outside or inside a given force apex, say moving out of range or inside of yokomenuchi. However, yin energies, which may accompany a yin movement, need not avoid force apexes. This is why they may accompany yang movements and make those movements more penetrating, as yin energies working in this capacity absorb and neutralize all obstacles or opposing forces that may slow or stop such yang movements. This is actually what is going on in Aikido’s basic yokomenuchi responses. It is not a yin movement accompanied by a yin energy or a yang movement accompanied by a yang energy, but rather an external yang movement accompanied by an internal yin energy. Many think they are doing this, but most are retreating or blocking instead. Retreating and blocking are martially inferior tactics because they are size or speed dependent.
In my mind, the real value of social media is this: Addressing complicated long-term studies when person-to-person contact is not available. The short little quips, the lack of video, the absence of follow-up statements and/or the elaboration of discussion, etc., things so common to social media, are a total waste of time.
Waza that require a back breakfall for ukemi, such as Tachiwaza Kokyu-Ho, require Uke’s center and/or feet to be traveling forward past the head at the time contact has been made with the head and then through the time the throw is being executed to Uke’s rear. However, it is extremely common to see even “high-ranking” Aikidoka stopping Uke’s forward progress, pinning Uke’s feet in place, and merely bending an overly compliant Uke backwards at the waist for the “throw.” One’s Aikido should be more sophisticated than this.
Pass Two of Kihon should start addressing ballistic energy cues. In my opinion, folks train way too early with ballistic energy cues. Wrongly, there’s an assumed equivalency between grabs and strikes, and one just picks one on one day and then chooses the other on another day. Instead, many skill sets should be in place before taking on striking cues and those things are best developed in fixated movement energy cues, such as grabs.
Communion, Aiki, is the very creative act of God. Thus, you do not generate Aiki. Rather, you remove yourself, stop yourself from being an obstacle to Aiki, and God’s creative intention manifests itself. We do not do Aiki: Aiki does us.
Internal releasing is something entirely different from external compromisation. Confusing the two will only greatly limit your progress in the art.
Every aspect of correct form and every aspect of incorrect form has a larger mechanical impact as one moves from grabs (fixated movement) to strikes (ballistic movement). For this reason, one should not progress to ballistic movements until such training can function mainly as a refinement of correct form. Working with strikes when grab applications are showing a majority of incorrect form is a total waste of training time. It is something akin to shooting a handgun at 25 yards with the goal of improving one’s overall skill with the weapon when the fundamentals of marksmanship cannot be demonstrated consistently at 3 yards - a total waste of ammunition.
A dojocho should limit how much ukemi technique is taught. Instead, ukemi waza should primarily consist of conceptual learning and body organization. However, these are also kept very simple. Conceptually: 1. Commit to the prescribed energy cue. 2. Don’t die. That’s it. Body Organization: Perform the same internal body organization as you do as Nage. That’s it. Technically, teach and practice only the forward roll and the back breakfall - noting that these have multiple levels of execution. Forget teaching and practicing the backwards roll. It is only an administrative maneuver and has no place in a martial setting. Never teach a forward breakfall: For Uke never takes a front breakfall. Rather, Nage takes from Uke the forward roll - with this resulting in the front breakfall manifesting. The worst thing you can do for your dojo is have your deshi practice the high/soft breakfall by themselves. It only breeds choreographed ukemi, and the whole point of reducing ukemi instruction to these above-stated aspects is to reduce the choreography that is killing the art. It is only by reducing the choreography to these levels that you can finally learn to truly throw or pin.
The Man that seeks to comfort him/herself with God will never know God.
Kote-Gaeshi Series (Second Video):
Here, we look at Kote-Gaeshi as a Nage Waza.
Key points here are:
- Make sure the throw is executed from Uke’s blind spot. DO NOT TENKAN SO THAT YOU EXECUTE THE THROW FROM IN FRONT OF UKE OR EVEN ON THE SIDE OF UKE.
- Make sure Uke’s is continuously moving forward in a spiral pattern (ie. traversing through space). DO NOT SPIN UKE IN PLACE ON A SINGLE PIVOT POINT (ie. the front foot).
“Uh, duh, no one ever attacks with Shomenuchi or Yokomenuchi with a knife.” --Internet Keyboard Warrior
I’ve been attacked with a knife twice in real life. One was Tsuki and the other was Shomenuchi. Weird.
The mystery of Love is the Great mystery, the only True Mystery. Like with any Truth, to solve this Truth, you are going to have to align yourself with the Masters, and then you’re going to have to completely disappear. If you do not want to do either this alignment nor this disappearance, then you have at least solved a lesser mystery: That you do not truly want to solve this Mystery of Love.
Spontaneity cannot just be anything. “Anything” can never be a manifestation of Takemusu Aiki because “anything” is nothing more than the habitual self manifesting itself through its usual inertial processes of embodied fear, pride, and ignorance. “Anything” is merely the unconscious continuation of our self-attachment. Takemusu Aiki, on the other hand, is pure conscious, and what is being manifested is pure Aikido - the art with all of its martial and spiritual soundness intact. Too many times we see “spontaneous” Aikido being demonstrated, yet having martially unsound angles, vectors, and timings, etc. This is not Aikido. This is not Takemusu Aiki. This is just crap.
When you can see yourself as clearly as I see you, then you will no longer need me. Watch me disappear! When you can see yourself as clearly as I see you, The Way will become visible to you! Then, you cannot not see me!
A Shared Reply: Hello Kind Sir,
I hope this reply finds you and yours well and at peace. Thank you very much for writing me, and for sharing with me your thoughts and questions. Truly, I am honored and humbled. Your expressed thanks are above me and my station. I am only happy to hear that you too are on this Path of ours. I am very heartfelt-touched to know you are here walking beside me.
I think yours is a common question, or at least a common situation. I think everyone, every true walker of The Way, has to pass through this marker that you are currently near. In Budo, this is often one of the most difficult aspects of training. Meaning, as a teacher for many decades now, having trained many many deshi, what has proven most trying is to have students understand that the Way is not a way if it is restricted to the mat or to Aikido techniques, or to fighting, or self-defense, or the martial arts. For even if I train under my suggested requirements, that is only six hours per day. That is only 25% of my day, only 2190 hours of every year’s available 8760 hours! That is nothing! I remember, once I asked my teacher, wanting to model my training program after his own, how many hours he trained every day. His answer: "24 hours per day." At first, his reply confounded me - I was but a boy at the time. But, as I lived with him during my apprenticeship, I saw that he practiced The Way in his relationship to his wife, in his fatherhood to his children, in his cooking, in his blacksmithing, in how he designed and built his home, in how he did his food shopping, in his relationship with this friends, in how he walked through the woods at night - everywhere and at all times he was on The Path! In time, very soon after I became his personal student, we stopped training in martial technique altogether. We simply lived - him living and myself following him, watching him, talking together, sharing, crying together, sitting in silence by each other, working and eating together. That way, through The Way, my technique actually become better, better than it had ever reached up to that point via countless hours on the mat or through drilling.
What I am getting at? Budo is a Way precisely because it is a path to the reconciliation of fear, a path to the energy of Love - the very creative principle of God. It cannot be restricted or separated from any other similar path or from any activity in our lives. The whole point of Budo training is to see and move beyond the mat, to make all of one’s life, how we live, how we love, breathe, work, move, how we sense time and space, how we relate to others, to God, to emptiness, to fullness, to meaning, to the wind, to water, to fire, to the Earth, to death, and to birth, to history, how we experience memory, movement, to have every aspect of our being not only manifest The Way but to have all of these aspects be devices by which we can refine our practice in The Way. When we are not doing this, we are off The Path. Therefore, there is no need at all to have the mat. I may use it, but I do not need to have it. I may use Aikido technique, but I do not need to have it. So, yes, there is a Way of Trucking, just as there is a Way of Fatherhood, a Way of Law Enforcement, a Way of the Shepherd, a Way of the Carpenter, a Way of the Farmer, etc. There must be! Our asceticism, The Way, cannot be reserved to the mountain temples and to acts of reclusion - not today! Today, The Way, and the walkers of The Way, must be all around us, with us, by us, for there is too much Darkness, and we need Light everywhere! We need it when we are in line at the movies, or walking on the sidewalk, in the supermarket, on the street corner, at work, in school, and in the vehicle next to us. There can be no escapism today, there can be only engagement!
I know the fear of which you speak. It rests upon the demon shoulders of irreversibility and dire consequences. As a law enforcement officer, I know this fear my brother. I am holding you and you I. Know then: Every fear is like this, every fear knows what concerns us most, and by these things the Darkness takes shape before us and within us. Like this, we are at our most vulnerable, but like this we can apply the same solution, the same means of bringing Light, pushing the Darkness back, moving Fear out of us. How? First, we must value and occupy ourselves with the virtues of integrity and with authenticity. There is a comfort that is immediately ours when we do this, because, with such preoccupation, we have given ourselves something to do. Once, I asked that same aforementioned teacher what fear was, and he answered, “Fear is not knowing what to do.” For people not on The Path, for people still trapped fully in habitual and unconscious fear, this is a silly answer, but for a true walker, they will try it and so you must try it: Always look for work, for what needs to be done, all and everything, and then do that to the fullest and to the best of your ability (practicing integrity and authenticity). You will see, right there, in these very actions, fear will leave us, as fear is not the cause of not knowing what to do but rather the coincidental condition of not looking for work, of doing nothing or of doing less than we can. Like this, you will have to bring mindfulness into whatever you are doing, and mindfulness is the first step toward gaining skill in meta-cognition - skill in the cessation of unconsciousness. And, skill in the cessation of unconsciousness is what is needed for conscious to erupt within us, through us, by us, with us. This is The Way. There is none other, but, equally, everything has become The Way. For where there is consciousness, there can be no fear, no Darkness, only Light all around us.
If you were near brother, I would place my hands upon you and erase this fear from your person, but you must stop me from this disservice. For you need this fear, because it is by our fears that we come to The Way. No Man comes to the Way but by the Way of Sorrows. This is why all walkers on The Path are warriors, fighters, people that have no quit in them. Let it be known then, to the depth of your very core, that your fear is not a deviation from The Path, not an obstacle, but is The Way itself. Keep walking my friend. Though far, I am very near. I am by your side.
May my peace and light become inseparable from yours and yours from mine, Dave
The greatest evidence that much of Aikido is dead, that it has no true impact in the lives of its practitioners, and thus in the world, is held in the belief that the art is the art wherever you go: That there is one Aikido; that there has only ever been and can only be one Aikido. Contrarily, when things count, when life and death are clearly distinguishable from each other, when these things matter, when real and fake are understood to be worlds apart, one looks for the dens of lions and not for the tombs of kings where the masses are huddled.
Budo is a Way. A Way is a Path to liberation, awakening from delusion, mystical communion, ultimate wisdom. However, this aspect of Budo, that one has mastered him or herself, that one is a living Buddha, has become ridiculous for most Modern Aikidoka. Few things are as telling or as revealing on how impotent the art is for most practitioners. Impotent arts are dead arts. Dead arts are done by dead people, and Death always pulls against Life and the living. Death abhors the Living Buddha and therefore uses its greatest weapon against such beings: Denial of such a being’s existence.
What has the Way done for me? Through it, I have rid myself of envy and jealousy. No longer can I ever feel sorry for myself. I have learned patience, how to wait, and how to work for the sake of work. I have learned to be Love in the face of hatred and within ridicule. Freedom came to me through The Way. Guess, how petty has martial victory over you become for me?
All else but Love is Fear, Pride, and Ignorance. To those that barely train, this makes a kind of sense. To those that train hard, this seems irrelevant. To those that train to the extreme, there is only this truth.
The capacity to embody Yin is both martially and spiritually vital. Martially, we are only pressed by Yang energies, requiring Yin neutralizations to generate Aiki. Spiritually, Yin is the practice of self-detachment and acceptance, releasing, the emptying of Self that precedes all communion with the Divine. The Aiki that martially unites energies is the Aiki that unites Man and God. They are derived from the same means and they lead toward the same end. They are the same.
The practitioner that always talks about what Aikido tends to understand the art either through or solely within its Kihon Waza. This is a very low level understanding, in the same way that counting to ten is to theoretical physics and that field’s mathematical calculations. As a result of this low level understanding, or perhaps as a prerequisite for it, such a practitioner always understands the art as something external to themselves. As such, particularly in cases where Aikido Kihon Waza is determined to be lacking according to this irrelevant metric or that irrelevant metric, it is always Aikido that sucks and that is thereby in need of improvement. It is never that practitioner or that practitioner’s Aikido that sucks and that is need of improvement: All this to pretend that counting to ten is advanced.
In Budo, we are trying to move beyond the psycho-physiological limiting and reifying multiplex of self/technique/art (Shu) through a practice of release and acceptance to a deconstruction of this multiplex (Ha), so that we are embodied by Ri. We are not trying to do whatever technique we choose to do. While Jiyu Waza requires spontaneity, spontaneity is not Jiyu Waza.
True violence does indeed have an ugly side. But, it has become popular today, especially with people that only theorize about violence, that the truth of a violence can only be known by an inescapable ugliness. This is an error in reasoning, one brought about by a lack of experience in violence. The fact is there is often great beauty in violence, even, often times, there is a gracefulness that can be found within violence and in no other place. For the theorists, they picture through their fearful mind’s eye that violence brings with it only chaos and struggle. By such theorizing, they assume the loss of all form, that form cannot ever exist in violence. They thereby go on to ignorantly dismiss the study of form. Again, and in truth, the whole point of form is to give shape to chaos. This is the very point of all strategies and tactics: Form is not inevitably lost in chaos; Form requires chaos. The only times I have seen the fog of war lend itself to the overwhelming of form by chaos is when no form existed in the first place. In contrast, when form was present, when everyone knew what to do, and when everyone did what they were supposed to do, yes, blood was spilled, yes, injuries occurred, yes, contingencies had to be addressed, but there was no struggle and no ambiguity about what was happening or about what the result was going to be. That blood and those injuries was always going to belong to the enemy, and, as surely, so was defeat. And, from that point of view, all of this was always going to be beautiful.
Self-Attachment is not a purely psychological thing, nor is it either a purely intellectual thing. “Self” is weaved thoroughly into our cells and into our nerve endings. This is why premodern practices always involved the body, and it is also why Modern practices, because they are so influenced by the Enlightenment’s prioritization of the mind, prove impotent when it comes to true or meaningful self-transformation. Here, in our dojo, we practice the spiritual skills of release and acceptance and we cultivate these skills as adaptations induced by the stressors of bringing fear and danger to both the mind and the body.
I have made Wood more pliable, Water more calm, Wind more still, and I have brought Fire to warm without burning. Yin meets Yang.
Surrounded by the Four Elements, I become what I am. Void. As the Void, the elements become themselves.
Aiki is Love. Love’s power is based on small and invisible impacts. This is Love’s Way: Small barely noticeable influences that operate at the heart of something. This is where Aiki functions. At the time the Nazarene died, barely a soul had heard his last breath. Love is always like that: Easy to miss at first but yet nevertheless reaches unimaginable ends. It is no different combatively, no different in the lives we touch. The immediate effects of Love are small, but the ends are beyond measure.
Love’s ascetics base their whole practice around two central practices: sacrifice and service. One can then measure the depth and the scope of one’s Aikido by how much these two central practices are displaced by something as peripheral as the practice of Ikkyo.
To orient Aikido Waza around an “If/Then” understanding of self-defense, or to seek some sort of required value for the art via an alchemy of “reality” and “martial viability,” and then to have nothing to say on or to have no capacity at utilizing handguns is a fool’s act. Your Aikido cannot be martial without handgun training.
A humorous look at a serious flaw in most Aikido: Most Aikido have taken the traditional importance of having a specified biomechanical organization as meaning utilizing cultural standards for what has been deemed “good posture” in Western societies. Meaning, they tend to stand straight up, more akin to a child that has been scolded to “pay attention” or to “be polite,” or like a ballet dancer who has been instructed to lengthen the spine for cosmetic reasns or to add to the illusion of lightness. The use of the “good posture” of course lends itself to the rear posterior chain not being accessed, the pelvic girdle being disengaged, the practitioner being heel-weighted, and the chin and throat being over-exposed. The “good posture,” due to its low performance envelope, the point at which its mechanical integrity fails, has come not to be rejected because this fail-point has been witnessed over and over again: One can hardly see at Modern Aikidoka not stumbling, or bouncing off Uke, or having to take multiple steps to keep his/her Base of Support under his/her Line of Gravity. The only times this revelation is not observed is when training environments have been reduced in their challenging energies so that this low fail-point is never exposed. Think of the story of the Emperor that has no clothes: One could, and should, look past all rank and title and opt to stay or leave a dojo based upon whether or not the teacher’s chin is up or slightly tilted down.
Faith, like all form, must pass through its own destruction, our own deconstruction of it and us, that act of dismantling ourselves from our faith, of purifying our faith from ourselves through this act of destruction. This is because our first faith can only ever be an act of pride, a manifestation of ego attachment, a reification of self. To aid us, God will use silence and distance, and like this we will be flanked and ambushed, taken out from the blind spots whrein we hid ourself from ourselves. We will never see this coming and we can never know what shape this assault will take. In the end, at best, we come to float somewhere between ultimate mystery and glimmers of semi-comprehensible moments that fade immediately in and out of our consciousness. We become grateful that we are dust: This is how the Dark Night works and works upon us.
It may be counter-intuitive, but only in the same sense that emptiness appears nihilistic to the un-Awakened: You’re going to need a teacher that’s always ready and willing to burn it all down - the dojo, your sensei-deshi relationship, a teacher that’s ready and willing to rid his/her life of you. Every other kind of teacher will always compromise amidst your own homeostatic tendencies to remain unchanged, un-transformed, un-enlightened. Every other kind of teacher will only be subsumed by your own fear, pride, and ignorance.
Beauty is a virtue of Yin and Yang harmonization.Beauty is thus a metric of the art. An ugly Aikido can never be Aikido.
It is a step in the learning process: How to incorporate one’s whole body. Here, we are looking for that incorporation in Jo Tsuki. Too often, Jo Tsuki, like many striking (mis)applications, is performed separate from the body. Most use the body only to bring the tsuki into range, thereby stopping the body and looking to lob the weapon from the outside of the combative engagement. This is akin to a knight stopping his horse prior to contact in a joust. Rather, like in a proper joust, the body should be used to penetrate the target, whereby the jo is driven through the target. When that is being done, the lead shoulder can be checked for organizational integrity through drills like this one.
You keep waiting for me to reach to you so to pull you out of the darkness but you must reach out to me so to pull the light into you.
Truth be told: I hate to watch Sansho being practiced. No doubt, I hate watching most of our art being practiced. For it has suffered both the ill effects of revisionist history and a gross reductionism that was made solely for political and imagined commercial gains, and it has suffered the institutional pitfalls of wide-spread dissemination as well as the subversion of key technological components that are not and cannot be congruent with Modernity, making the art in most cases, at best, a former shadow of itself, and, at worst, a farce. All this, however, seems to be made worse in Sansho.
In Sansho, the form is all too often reduced to just hitting sticks. Tactical and strategic truths are often overlooked and more commonly violated than not. Additionally, the form is commonly not held to the same conceptual frameworks as is Body Art, not even within the same dojo! Concepts of maai are ignored and violated, the Nage-Uke dynamic is ignored and violated, the assumed psychological tendencies of asocial violence are ignored and violated, etc., and the form ends up becoming its own worst enemy. Practitioners lose the value of the form in their effort to perform the form (touch sticks).
As this goes on, just as happened in Body Art overall, the need for and sense of Aiki, as well as its spiritual aspects, are gone, unknown, and eventually considered superfluous. For as weapons training can, when done correctly, work as an amplifier for cultivating good form, weapons training, when done incorrectly, works as an accelerator in the farcifying of the art. Therefore, any good teacher is going to address this directly, and stop this decaying inertia dead in its tracks.
Here, as we continue to work our way through Sansho 1, Part One, we are working to move away from utilizing training vectors in the form. The two we are taking away is the first jo tsuki and the harai tsuki. Many people do not even recognize these as training vectors! However, taking them away brings back the martial validity of taking openings as they occur, moving with one’s partner and not waiting for one’s partner - itself making center-to-center connection possible and needed. Additionally, doing so cultivates the martial and spiritual capacity for Irimi - itself a simultaneous practice in faith, presence, and violence of action. Like this, and only like this, does the partner’s yin tactics make sense - giving sense to the whole form.
Stop just touching sticks!
Many places, the technology of the self that is the sensei has been done away with - likely a product of the art's over-dissemination and the Modern's subject's debilitating incapacity at the practices of humility and self-displacement. Often, the traditional teacher model is being replaced by modern coaching models. The strange part is that almost no coaching is taking place where this shift has happened. Whereas in other areas where coaches exist, say in athletics, coaches use training times to impart their experience to their athletes and to mentor them through drills and to advise athletes to higher and higher levels of expertise. Instead, in dojo where there is no sensei, where there is supposed to be a coach, we see no coaching going on! What most dojo like this resemble is not the use of coach but rather the use of a substitute teacher - from elementary school, someone that has very little experience in getting folks to advance, doesn't really know the material, didn't prepare the material themselves, and is simply "teaching" what someone else told them to teach.
Here, we provide the tried and true method of drilling and mentoring, which while belonging to good coaching models used today has also long been used by sensei and the abbots before them and the senior anchorites before them.
Weapon Retention 101: Keep it simple and immediate.
What is the point to our training? This question has to be asked. When it comes to weapons, traditional weapons, especially the Jo, it has to be asked even more. And, when we do ask this question, we cannot be satisfied with answers of martial practicality. Meaning, our point cannot be “Well, I often carry a walking stick for self-defense,” or “I tend to feel most vulnerable while I’m sweeping.” For me, weapons work should instead be one more venue, following the premodern principle of concentric truth, wherein the art’s values and virtues are cultivated, manifested, and upheld. Thus, if there is Aiki in our Body Art, there should be Aiki in our weapons work. As Uke and Nage adhere and commune, so too should our Jo. Here, we finish our sequence introduction on Sansho One, Part 1. However, it is these last two strikes that are the most challenging in the set in my opinion. They are the most challenging because they require the purest expression of Aiki. This is so because here Aiki is what is being used to take the displacing force out of the downward strike while manifesting the necessary adhesion for the final move. Here then, Aiki is being extended to and through what are commonly experienced as inanimate objects. And, it’s one thing to make another human feel as if you’re taking the power out of them; It’s altogether something else when you take the power out of a swinging stick. And, yet, the set here at this sequence makes no martial sense if this is not what is being practiced. When this is not what is being practiced, one is forced to reduce the set to something it should not be: Stick hitting.
When you release, that is Yin, that is Izanami’s yielding, the initial creation of space and allowance for potential, the inviting that must precede all communion.
The stressing of being grounded is only a beginner level necessity. This is because Yin and Yang are and can only ever be relative terms. In the beginning, because the mass of the Earth will almost always hold a greater mass value than any oncoming force we are wishing to receive, the ground can be used as an energetic accumulation point, one that we can then go on to issue stored energy from. This is why grounding is used as a part of beginner progressions. The Earth by default solves for all possible mathematical force equations. However, as our receiving skills increase, as our Yin skills increase, as our skill to release and allow energy to be stored into the Earth increases, we can at the point of contact begin to reduce the amount of energy needing to be accumulated and therefore we can reduce the amount of storage and/or issuing capacity mass required, making grounding less relevant to force reconciliation and/or output. When this level of skill is achieved, force accumulation, storage, and issuance can be done while moving and while remaining light on one’s feet.
Here we show more progressions for understanding and practicing the art through Yin and Yang, Aiki and Kokyu. When one does so, truly does so, the art does not feel the same, does not look the same, and cannot do the same things.
Aikido’s mystical extensions do not put it at odds with the concepts and principles of jiu-jitsu. It, therefore, must be consistent with said concepts and principles. Thus, all waza must contain two interrelated and simultaneously existing aspects. One, you must organize the body-mind for delivering one’s maximum force output potential. Two, you must organize the opponent’s body-mind so that its force output potential is minimized to the greatest degree. This is the practical formula for power. Physical conditioning, strength in particular, is only one component, perhaps a fleeting one, of the first aspect, and it has pretty much zero relation to the second aspect. Like this, executions that are strength-dependent, executions based in muscular exertion, examples of technical success based in huge men throwing small men or small women, are by default not powerful. Like this, executions where the Nage bounces back off of the Uke, or wherein Nage loses balance and is forced to move multiple steps to prevent falling themselves, and of course any demonstrations where Uke through choreography solves all power equations via facade, all these too are signs that power is absent and that basic Jiu-jitsu concepts and principles are being violated. No Aikido exists here.
There is a level of understanding that tends to dominate the discussion. It is the one that goes from trope to trope, slogan to slogan, repeating only the obvious, and remaining unconscious of any institutional inertia that is motivating such utterances while keeping others from being uttered. While these statements dominate the shared discourse, if you want to learn, you must question all of these so deeply that they are ultimately subverted. Instead, listen to the silence or to the ranting of the mad man.
In this class, we continue our training in releasing the pain-body, manifested fear. We do this in two aspects but using the single process of releasing. In one aspect, we use internal aspects to keep a technique hidden but powerful. In the other aspect, we use the same releasing to neutralize force immediately upon contact as Uke.
Here, we continue our Sansho workshop, addressing the need for understanding and embodying the martial strategy of “Violence of Action.” As explained and demonstrated in the video, not only through the jo set but through simplified drills, the strategy of Violence of Action generates the Yang energy necessary to cultivate skill in Yin resolution - a staple of the art and thus of Sansho.