Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby marvin8 on Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:01 pm

Itten wrote:
marvin8 wrote:Good fighters draw their opponent to attack and slip (yield), etc., without any contact and collide with the opponent's force with a counter to the opponent's center.


That may be one of the attributes of a”good fighter”.How about just hit “the firstest with the mostest” worked for Jack Dempsey ;D

I am glad you got the gist of my post. As, it was tongue and cheek and a fact. I appreciated reading all the responses and John Kaufmans' video on the internal power subject.
Last edited by marvin8 on Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Itten on Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:15 am

Windwalker,
Just for clarity’s sake. I know that the adage” one part moves all parts move” is one the fundamental tenets of all internal arts, the natural result of a correctly connected body steered by dantien. I have felt it in others and can sometimes manifest it myself. What I was referring to was the amount of talk in comparison to the can do factor. As for knowing what I am looking at, I can choose to switch between several different viewing windows.

Marvin8
I believe you are seeking that elusive chimera, people who can fight the way they train. I don’t believe you will find them in any traditional art. My own take on this is that all the so called “greats”, the founders of their systems, were the MMA guys of their generation. They cross trained, stole from any and every art that made sense to them, a la Bruce Lee, and pressure tested their skills, either in challenges or by profession. I believe C.J.W. has started a thread along these lines. To me, and I am not stating a fact, merely my own view, all MA training, wether internal or external, is only valid to the extent that it liberates an individual to use their unique type in the most effective way possible. All techniques and theories that do not contribute to that end must be counterproductive. The only caveat here is that some methods do not produce results quickly so we dismiss certain things at our peril. This is particularly true of the “internal” arts. Will an hour a day of Zhan Zhuang improve your fighting skills? No way. Can a fighter benefit from standing? For sure. How long will it take? When will you know if it is worth continuing.
I do not confuse the setup demonstration of applications with fighting. Yes, sparring is useful but I’m 65, if I have to fight a young guy of 30 with serious skills I’m done. My pathway is deception, misdirection, hiding my art, verbal judo. So I clarify in my mind the differences between the art, sparring, combat, self protection, health, self cultivation etc. I don’t expect to get them in one package, I expect to to turn the bits into a whole in myself.

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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby windwalker on Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:36 am

Itten wrote:Windwalker,
Just for clarity’s sake. I know that the adage” one part moves all parts move” is one the fundamental tenets of all internal arts, the natural result of a correctly connected body steered by dantien. I have felt it in others and can sometimes manifest it myself. What I was referring to was the amount of talk in comparison to the can do factor. As for knowing what I am looking at, I can choose to switch between several different viewing windows.

Good, the way some choose to view something has a lot to do with experience, which judging by comments is not common.
If it was IME the conversation would be a lot different.

What I've found is that in person things tend to be cleared up very quickly
with out a lot of the rancour that seems to come across on line.


all MA training, wether internal or external, is only valid to the extent that it liberates an individual to use their unique type in the most effective way possible. All techniques and theories that do not contribute to that end must be counterproductive.

totally agree very well said. ;)
although I look at it as one of many ways of self liberation/freedom


Last edited by windwalker on Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Bodywork on Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:22 am

Itten wrote:Windwalker,
Just for clarity’s sake. I know that the adage” one part moves all parts move” is one the fundamental tenets of all internal arts, the natural result of a correctly connected body steered by dantien. I have felt it in others and can sometimes manifest it myself. What I was referring to was the amount of talk in comparison to the can do factor.

Maybe a 100,000 to 1?
Maybe that's still too few!

Marvin8
I believe you are seeking that elusive chimera, people who can fight the way they train. I don’t believe you will find them in any traditional art. My own take on this is that all the so called “greats”, the founders of their systems, were the MMA guys of their generation. They cross trained, stole from any and every art that made sense to them, a la Bruce Lee, and pressure tested their skills, either in challenges or by profession. I believe C.J.W. has started a thread along these lines. To me, and I am not stating a fact, merely my own view, all MA training, wether internal or external, is only valid to the extent that it liberates an individual to use their unique type in the most effective way possible. All techniques and theories that do not contribute to that end must be counterproductive. The only caveat here is that some methods do not produce results quickly so we dismiss certain things at our peril. This is particularly true of the “internal” arts. Will an hour a day of Zhan Zhuang improve your fighting skills? No way. Can a fighter benefit from standing? For sure. How long will it take? When will you know if it is worth continuing.
I do not confuse the setup demonstration of applications with fighting. Yes, sparring is useful but I’m 65, if I have to fight a young guy of 30 with serious skills I’m done. My pathway is deception, misdirection, hiding my art, verbal judo. So I clarify in my mind the differences between the art, sparring, combat, self protection, health, self cultivation etc. I don’t expect to get them in one package, I expect to to turn the bits into a whole in myself.
Respect

Alec, that was simply too deep and rich not to respond to. Traditional martial artists don't fight. They pretend fight. There is so much that is different in a fight, not the least of which is how, when and why a guys body changes when he is amped up. I always find it telling when i talk to traditional guys about this and they have not one clue of what am talking about. Its a sure tell of a profound lack of experience.
Second is since the body quality itself changes, how does that effect the results of traditional technical skills (which typically no longer work like they do in class)?
Further, and faaaaar more interesting, is how does this all effect you? (the general you, not you, personally).
Where does the softness you used and trained in class, fall apart?
How do you sustain it while getting hit in the head and kicked and thrown, feinted and played, repeatedly?

Your comment about an hour a day is interesting as well. They spend an hour a day doing what? There are dramatically different things that need to be done to attain and then, sustain softness under extreme pressure.
People responses and answers tells me volumes about the person responding. Chief among which is a total lack of knowledge of the actual subject and reversion back to and defense of, the status quo of the traditional arts. I suspect it has always been this way. The traditional arts have a pronounced history of "outsiders" as you call them, beating the living shit out of or actual killing (Musashi is an example) traditional martial artists. Once again I point to Japan and the dawning of pride fighting there and them getting their asses handed to them. Repeated recent discussions with the senior Japanese staff of hombu are revealing they self admittedly don't have a clue about this in their own art either.
Watching the Chen guys now changing to all out grappling (and looking tighter and more judo like) and watching them now getting thrown by mid-level guys is revealing as well.
Watching some "internal coaches" getting dropped and handled by mid- level graplers)
Where did their softness go?
What needs to change, that they simply do not get ....yet?
What does "actual" fighting or at least sparring with experienced men, teach you?
Aaannnnnyway.
On the net? Ten million words of debate and defense.
Hands-on? There really isn't much to say when they simply fall apart and revert to scrambling to stay in the game. :-\
This is where your comments about what to throw away, what to keep and what you might have dismissed comes in. In Chen's case, those boys need a lot of time in fighting fighters to "get" what they don't get. Then they need to figure out how to keep what is valuable and train it to actually work. Right now they are doing the wrong thing. They are changing them, to fit the requirement, so as not to lose. BIG mistake. They are going to have to willing lose ...allot...while keeping the core of the art, while they change it to work under real pressure, (not their fixed, pretend bouts on the T.V.). If they swallow their pride. There is allot they can learn from Westerners, but I wonder if their cultural pride will be their Achilles heal. It's going to be sad to see MMA destroy Taiji but I think it is already happening. Taiji would work great in actual fighting, but there is a very long road ahead of them to get their and I don't think they have a clue what to do about it.
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby willie on Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:59 am

Bodywork wrote:
Hi Dan.
I'm going to discuss your post a bit, if you don't mind?
Watching the Chen guys now changing to all out grappling (and looking tighter and more judo like)

This is the mistake. they don't need to change their art to judo. They need to find out the truth of their own art.
What it is and how it really works. The lack of ANY video's showing in detail the true nature of the art is
the revealing factor and nothing else. I suspect that even in their own circle they are not revealing how the art works.
the grappling that you see is not and never will reach the higher skill level, in fact it will keep them from ever reaching
the higher levels.
The art is still ultra secret...I suspect, Even in their own circle.
So what Chen are you actually seeing? None.
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Itten on Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:28 am

Willie,
I think you need to carefully reread what Dan said

"Hands-on? There really isn't much to say when they simply fall apart and revert to scrambling to stay in the game. :-\
This is where your comments about what to throw away, what to keep and what you might have dismissed comes in. In Chen's case, those boys need a lot of time in fighting fighters to "get" what they don't get. Then they need to figure out how to keep what is valuable and train it to actually work. Right now they are doing the wrong thing. They are changing them, to fit the requirement, so as not to lose. BIG mistake. They are going to have to willing lose ...allot...while keeping the core of the art, while they change it to work under real pressure, (not their fixed, pretend bouts on the T.V.). If they swallow their pride."

There is a deep core of value to internal arts but much is lost or never implemented in a "live" way. Then more is thrown away by copying the methodology of other arts in order to be more "competitive". Underlying this is the assumption that repetition of exercises and executing applications should have produced fighters as advertised. it doesn't and never did.
I simply do not believe this "ultra secret" idea. If asian martial arts can win on the international stage again both China and Japan would be all over it. If it really is so unknown, even in their own circle, as you put it, it's dying with the hidden masters

regards,
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Itten on Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:30 am

Dan, please PM me when you are next over here, I'd like a face to face with you if you have time for me.
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Bao on Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:33 am

It's not arts that become more competitive. People do.

If there's a shortcut to a gold medal, people don't care about developing skills that take time to develop. :P
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby willie on Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:39 am

Itten wrote:Willie,
I think you need to carefully reread what Dan

There is a deep core of value to internal arts but much is lost or never implemented in a "live" way. Then more is thrown away by copying the methodology of other arts in order to be more "competitive". Underlying this is the assumption that repetition of exercises and executing applications should have produced fighters as advertised. it doesn't and never did.
I simply do not believe this "ultra secret" idea. If asian martial arts can win on the international stage again both China and Japan would be all over it. If it really is so unknown, even in their own circle, as you put it, it's dying with the hidden masters

regards,
Alec
hi I actually did read everything that Dan had to say. Now I want you to carefully read what I wrote. I actually like your post because there's a certain realism to it. Truthfully, no they would not be all over the information even if it was available. It simply takes too long to both acquire the skills and integration and then to actually be able to use it in real time. Someone would have to train like 8 hours a day everyday for 10 years with the correct material. There are much easier ways to get the same result knockout or whatever, I believe that that is the path that most people are taking. Not that I blame them because there is a window of opportunity and 10 years of 8 hours a day is Just too much.
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Bodywork on Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:46 am

To me, the overall take away is that the Chinese really don't have what it takes to get this right.
Having failed, they will now adopt the Western way of fighting. The correct solution, to keep and train the internal cultivation while using a more modern expression of technical skills and delivery, will elude them.
The taiji guy who failed in the MMA fight. Just needs to do that a couple hundred times to get his feet on a better path.
We might be the best solution, in the short term.
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby windwalker on Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:31 pm

What is shown on the net and in some of the contest hardly represents all. I do agree with the more modern expression of technical skills and delivery. Some teachers are addressing this now, as some have done in the past which brought forth the many CMA styles that exist now.

The problem which you mentioned is type of movement, and signature movement. This they are working on, this is what they have not yet developed for some styles that are starting to enter into competitive formats, others have and make clear distinctions between what might be called traditional training and those training for the competitions adopting the tenets of their styles to it.

example of a style adopting to modern verbiage and concepts

"its based on the touch"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH8p4486oX8

another example of adopting and use in the ring


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGXVcTv5N6I



The taiji family styles are about preserving their legacy just as some of the japanese styles are. In doing so they may have either lost, not achieved, or do not teach to outsiders the finer points of their work by which the masters of old became famous for.

The confusion IME is that many really do not understand the point or what they'er really training for.
If one is intending to use a parachute they'ed better test it, pack it and prove it works for themselves.
Bad time to find out after one has jumped from a plane and pulls the ripcord.
Last edited by windwalker on Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Tom on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:04 pm

Bodywork wrote:The correct solution, to keep and train the internal cultivation while using a more modern expression of technical skills and delivery, will elude them.


Really well stated, reflecting the excellence of your own training. The challenge may be in defining "a more modern expression of technical skills and delivery." What exactly does that phrase mean for you? BJJ and judo are modern systems of technical skills and delivery . . . can they be trained concomitantly with Sangenkai (or other) internal methods? What about Muay Thai or Western boxing? "Modern technical skills and delivery" as they are typically trained in these arts involve considerable tension and force. Sangenkai training as you've presented it does not, and you've even criticized students for practicing these other arts as they are conventionally taught because the neuromuscular habits developed obscure the internal connections cultivated in Sangenkai work.

"Develop the internal (budo/aiki/taiji) body" . . . and then what? Put it back into the root art of the Sangenkai student, which is more often than not aikido, perhaps taiji or I Liq Chuan or BJJ? Since you began publicly teaching this approach in August 2009, who among Sangenkai students has successfully integrated their internal cultivation with a "more modern expression of technical skills and delivery?"

It's not that the idea is wrong or that Sangenkai internal cultivation methods suck. It's just a damned hard challenge and an elusive balance to achieve.
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.

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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Tom on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:15 pm

willie wrote:The art is still ultra secret...I suspect, Even in their own circle.
So what Chen are you actually seeing? None.


Willie--

I think I understand what you are trying to say here . . . what Chen are we actually seeing there (in the allusions to the famous-name brands like Chen Zhiqiang, Bing, et al.)?

I just wanted to point out that Dan has met and played with one of your own Chen taiji teacher's influences--Wang Haijun. He's also met and played with and felt and been felt by Liu Chengde, one-on-one and in-depth and with a competent translator. I used to train Chen taijiquan, and Dan's got a very good eye and sense of what Chen involves.
Last edited by Tom on Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Tom on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:57 pm

windwalker wrote:The taiji family styles are about preserving their legacy just as some of the japanese styles are. In doing so they may have either lost, not achieved, or do not teach to outsiders the finer points of their work by which the masters of old became famous for.

The confusion IME is that many really do not understand the point or what they'er really training for.
If one is intending to use a parachute they'ed better test it, pack it and prove it works for themselves.
Bad time to find out after one has jumped from a plane and pulls the ripcord.


Test, pack and prove it works for yourself. Well said, young Jedi. It brings to mind a story about the early days of BJJ in New York City from John Danaher, who trained with Renzo Gracie:

Reflections on my sensei: When my sensei, Renzo Gracie, first moved permanently to the United States, jiu jitsu was in its absolute infancy here. It’s only publicity had come from early MMA fighting. The Martial arts scene in general was very primitive with all kinds of crazy arts making wild claims of fighting prowess and occult abilities. MMA proved to have a wonderful cleansing effect on the world of martial arts as it made all claims subject to empirical testing – but that took years to complete. In those early days of the Renzo Gracie Academy in NYC challenge matches and doubters seeking proof of the effectiveness of jiu jitsu were a common occurrence. One night when sensei was teaching (I was a fresh white belt and there were only a few blue belts and two purple belts), a man walked quietly in and began quietly observing the class. When class was finished we all typically hung about and asked Mr Gracie questions and talked about fighting and women. The quiet stranger stepped forward into the group and politely inquired of Mr Gracie if he could test his best stranglehold. Rather taken aback by this request, Mr Gracie asked what he meant.
The man stood up confidently and said, “I practice an art that makes me literally invulnerable to chokeholds. Your art is based on chokes and you are famous for them. I wish to test both you and myself” We were all rather surprised at this claim as every strangle we ever experienced felt extremely effective and impossible to resist.
Mr Gracie asked, “Let me get this straight. You are saying that if I start with a fully locked in chokehold, it won’t work on you?” The stranger looked back at him with a poker face and replied in a voice that conveyed serene confidence and mild disdain for our primitive techniques, “Yes – that’s exactly what I am saying.”
There was a long silence. The sheer confidence of the man was so astounding that even Mr Gracie momentarily looked hesitant to try.
The stranger sat down in front of Mr Gracie, his back to him, and said, “take your favorite hold and do your best.” We all looked at each other and then the scene in front of us. Mr Gracie got behind him and applied his strangle hold and asked the stranger if he was ready. He raised his chin to allow the stranglehold even better access and calmly replied, “yes – are you?” If I told you, my faithful readers, that we had no doubt in our beloved sensei and his strangle, I would be a liar. Such was the confidence of this man that we were all wondering- perhaps he really DOES have access to some unknown skill or ability to renders strangles ineffective.
Such was his serenity that even dear sensei, a man who had spent his entire life practicing the art of strangulation and never experienced a single failure, looked to have a shadow of self doubt in his eyes. We all fervently looked on as sensei closed the strangle upon the stranger who sat with the calmness of a Buddha before him. Mr Gracie squeezed and the strangers face immediately showed the reddened strain of a powerful strangle. He grasped Mr Gracie’s forearm and tried to apply what looked like pressure point technique to the forearm muscles. His fingers started slipping as the strangle rapidly took effect and the stranger tapped out. We all looked at each other in what can only be described as a very awkward silence.
Mr Gracie laughed and said, “well, you tapped – what happened?” The stranger looked shocked and bewildered. He immediately stated that no one had ever successfully strangled him and that Mr Gracie must have some kind of special invulnerability to his secret technique. Immediately Mr Gracie had all of us strangle the stranger in turn. By the end the poor fellow looked like he had run back to back NYC and Boston marathons while smoking a carton of cigarettes and drinking a shot of bourbon at every mile. It was clear that any properly applied strangle even from a white belt, was one hundred percent effective on him and the mysterious art of the stranger was one hundred percent INEFFECTIVE on strangles. As silly as it all sounds now, it was a valuable early lesson to us on confidence. We must be very clear about the BASIS of our confidence. Confidence based upon empirically supported ideas and skills is one of the pillars of successful action, both in life and in combat. Confidence based upon conjecture, hearsay and unsupported claims that go against what we normally observe to be the case, is worse than useless – it is positively harmful – as it will give us the confidence to act, but not the proven technique to succeed.
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.

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Re: Internal Seminar: All must be free to move — John Kaufman

Postby Itten on Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:39 am

I also like Windwalkers analogy. If I may borrow it for a moment? This to me is what “systems” are: a packed parachute delivered to you by someone else. It needs unpacking before it can really be considered useable. I’m a long time Aikido man, along with plenty of cross training, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people say that this or that loch breaks bones. However, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, I’ve seen very few broken bones. Unlike chokes, or even strikes, it’s hard to almost break a bone, so most people are not going to unpack that one. Then there are all the ultimate secret lethal single strikes to meridians and nerve clusters. I still hear people insisting that an upward palm strike to the nose will drive the bone into the brain. Bone, what bone?.,,
So we are left with competition and sparring as the major ways to unpack the parachute, unless you are military, and even then, some of your unpacking will have to wait till it’s not a test jump. Most military guys rely on the experience of those who have survived previous jumps. You don’t get to hear so many stories from the other guys.
Tom: your comments and questioning of what to do with this internal stuff if you get it is something that been keeping me busy for the 10 years. As I see it now, and I’ll just talk about Aikido, you can practice Aikido to develop some aspects of IP, but putting IP back into Aikido, as it now is, seems almost impossible, for me anyway. For example, I have developed a lot more short power over the years of internal training. If practicing outside of the fixed uke/tori format there are many moments where I have to break of the natural flow (yi, chi, li), which is not really leading to a pin but to something more explosive. This is also true with throwing, which tends to become less beautiful but more effective. In other words. For me, there are times when the system is a constraint to the natural expression of the dynamic outcome that belongs to the moment. I believe that this is more true of aikido and tai chi than it is of boxing , wrestling and MMA because of the limitations imposed by style, even though ring arts have to contend with a rule base.
Having had the good fortune to cross train and gently spar outside of aikido I have been able to unpack a little bit of the art but the repacking is starting to look like a bit of a different parachute. Am I then damaging the legacy of O Sensei, who unpacked Daito Ryu amongst other arts, and left out a lot that he thought was no longer relevant, or am I following his path, as Ellis Amdur suggested in “Hidden in Plain Sight”.
I am not sure that “enhanced” aikido or “super” tai chi is the goal. For me, it is the fullest expression of “my” art.
Respect
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