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Mark Freeman
06-15-2006, 06:30 PM
I came across this clip and enjoyed it so much, I'd just like to see if you agree with me that is a fine demonstration of the beautiful art of aikido.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df76174VwzQ&mode=suggested&search=Aikido

What do you think? is it the aikido you aspire to, or is it not 'martial' or 'realistic' enough for your taste?

Just curious ;)

regards,

Mark

Nick P.
06-15-2006, 07:42 PM
That was awesome.
Sure, to a degree it was choreographed (at least I hope so; otherwise that might have been the cleanest jyu-waza I will ever live to see), but there was an awful lot of energy and solid technique in there.
Wow. Good find.

crbateman
06-15-2006, 09:29 PM
Go see them in person... That's Phong Sensei's dojo in Westminster (O.C.), CA.

NagaBaba
06-15-2006, 09:51 PM
What do you think?
Mark
This video has nothing to do with aikido. It is empty shell. Or healthy gymnastic if you will.

xuzen
06-15-2006, 10:27 PM
This video has nothing to do with aikido. It is empty shell. Or healthy gymnastic if you will.

Szczepan,

How did you come out with this conclusion? Just curious? I need to know how your brain works, I need to know....

Boon.

statisticool
06-15-2006, 10:38 PM
There's something heart-warming about watching martial arts and people clapping at skill and techniques and have all martial artists involved unharmed at the end, rather than people clapping for skill and have martial artists bloodied, injured, or choked unconscious. A much different energy; nice video!

xuzen
06-16-2006, 02:53 AM
No matter how pretty the jiyu-waza is... it ain't aikido if there isn't at least a SHOMEN-ATE (TM) in it... OK OK, I am just kidding. :D

Boon.

Mark Freeman
06-16-2006, 03:02 AM
This video has nothing to do with aikido. It is empty shell. Or healthy gymnastic if you will.

That's about as blatant and narrow minded a put down as one could imagine. But one that obviously exists in the world of aikido. :(

Perhaps Szczepan, you could explain why this video has 'nothing to do with aikido'.

Even more curious

regards

Mark

Mark Freeman
06-16-2006, 03:04 AM
Go see them in person... That's Phong Sensei's dojo in Westminster (O.C.), CA.

Thanks Clark,

respect to Phong Sensei and his students.

BTW, what did you think of the clip?

regards,

Mark

Pauliina Lievonen
06-16-2006, 05:55 AM
It was very pretty. But I did wonder whether the ukes were actually out of balance somewhere along the way?

kvaak
Pauliina

crbateman
06-16-2006, 06:27 AM
Thanks Clark,

respect to Phong Sensei and his students.

BTW, what did you think of the clip?

regards,

MarkGood clip. Scripted for demonstration purposes, methinks, but well paced and impressive to watch. Phong Sensei is a humble but impressive teacher, and his students are NUTS about him. Good show.

MikeLogan
06-16-2006, 07:47 AM
This video has nothing to do with aikido. It is empty shell. Or healthy gymnastic if you will.

Even if it has been mostly/partly choreographed, and even if I was only uke the whole time (all 3 of them traded places as nage, by the way), I would have trouble keeping that pace and remembering where, how, and who I was going to attack. That the technique was so crisp and even throughout the demonstration shows how much what they do know has stuck solidly in their minds, muscles and mettle.

</sidetrack>
My brother's girlfriend is about 30, she grew up in Poland, and when she was young she and her friends would pool together small coins to the point that they could afford sauerkraut. A mushy, quickly soddening bag of sauerkraut. Each of these intrepid entreupeners would collect roughly more than a handful from this bag, and they would eat it gleefully. It was their candy. Sauerkruat.
</end sidetrack>

Now unless you come from some hard-bitten, wild deadly north like the afore-mentioned, Mr Janczuk, why have you got to be such a wet rag all the time?


Aside from all that, is this not the sensei that the esteemed Dr. Seiser trains with? Hate to say it but that lends some serious street cred, to boot.

michael.

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2006, 08:31 AM
I enjoyed the clip. I thought there was a lot of grace and power, that the participants had trained hard, and that the throws demonstrated a wide variety of aikido waza. Iriminage, shihonage, kotegaeshi nage, hijiate kokyunage, kaiten nage, koshinage, some nice kokyu nage duck under and entering throws, ushiro waza...Pretty much the entire basic syllabus of aikido waza. There was also a good combination of aikido variations displayed in the clip. Kaeshiwaza, oyo waza, and pretty good basics through out were displayed. No suwari waza...but audiences tend not to really get suwari waza...so for a demonstration of aikido I thought it was very complete.

Overall, I thought the participants were a little light on their feet at some points, and that the kuzushi on some throws was not there. The opening shihonage kuzushi was dependant on a complete lock of the arm, which did not seem to be there...uke was taking a fall (and that happens for all of us occasionally at least). The next sumi otoshi was begun well, but shite turned so quickly for the next uke, it seemed as though there was no real zanshin or completion to the throw. But I have to contrast that with some of the kokyu nage done as entering throws, where you could see the power of the throws clearly. The uke in these throws were clearly being thrown in a direction where they could not provide the power or distance. The same for the koshinage and the duck under throws.

A few of the attacks were not on target, and at times I wondered about the close ma ai. But these seemed to be rather small women in the demonstration, so their ma ai would of necessity be smaller to what I might find comfortable if I were doing jiyu waza with say, Mr. S. ;) Zanshin is extremely hard to demonstrate in a 3 person jiyu waza where kaeshi waza is taking place. To keep the speed reasonable, you are forced to move quickly to the next uke, especially since the waza seemed to be chosen to be representative of a wide corpus of aikido. In a more "realistic" portrayal of a 3 person randori, I would personally never have time for many of the throws if the uke were 'out to get me'. But I don't think that was the purpose of this demonstration as shown by my comments above, so I didn't really expect to see that.

Overall, I personally would like to see a lower center, better attacks, more zanshin, less bounciness. But I'm not sure I could do as well in portraying a picture of the aikido corpus under the same conditions. And if these ladies were between 1st and 3rd dan, I'm not sure we should expect any more from such a demonstration. Frankly, if I were a teacher, I'd be pretty darn proud of them and the efforts they displayed. I believe there is room in aikido for just this sort of demonstration...it is rewarding to the onlookers from outside of aikido, the dojo, and the participants. There are times for different types of demonstrations as well.

Best,
Ron

Alec Corper
06-16-2006, 10:05 AM
Very nice demonstration, very pretty, flowing Aikido-like movement, but, so sorry, have to agree with Nagababa, I can't see one real attack, the ukes appear to be most committed to taking good ukemi, their centres are floating throughout the approach, and there is plenty of room for kaeshiwaza in almost every technique. Horses for courses, it's still a great demo of training results, I'm just not sure if it's Budo.

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2006, 10:07 AM
Hi Alec,

I see you mention some of the same things on the minus side that I do...but I have one question.

Is Budo the finished result, or the path along the way?

Best,
Ron

crbateman
06-16-2006, 10:10 AM
Aside from all that, is this not the sensei that the esteemed Dr. Seiser trains with? Hate to say it but that lends some serious street cred, to boot.Yes Michael, it is. Not only is he nuts about Aikido and Phong Sensei, he's also just plain nuts... :D

Mark Freeman
06-16-2006, 10:28 AM
Is Budo the finished result, or the path along the way?

Good question Ron, also, I enjoyed your balanced assessment of the clip, thanks.

Obviously we see what we see through our own eyes, but this is filtered through our own experience. I knew when I posted the clip that some would not see it as I did. Which is fine, aikido is not a defined set of techniques to be practiced in exactly the same way by all. It is the principles that are important. If they are present it 'is' aikido whether you like what you see or not.

It is easy for us all to be armchair critics, we seem to revel in it :(

For those that like their aikido 'hard' I can see why they would find fault in what they saw. For those that like their aikido 'soft' I see little to be negative about.

I just enjoyed the spirit of the demo and the poise shown by the 3 women. Maybe, this was because I had just watched a clip of a high ranking aikidoka's demonstration at a big seminar which I wasn't that impressed with ( for me too 'clunky', not much finess and not much control of the ukes 'in advance of contact' ). But as I said it is easy to criticise.

regards,

Mark

Alec Corper
06-16-2006, 12:30 PM
Hi Ron,
Budo is a path, no end result, but it is in the manner of walking that determines it's truth.
How's that for philo-babble? I don't have a problem with this, I've already expressed it many times, Aikido is neither hard or soft, these are pointless terms, but it should be grounded, focussed and martial in "spirit". This looked graceful and athletic, but I've seen too much of this lately. I believe this is the result of endless public relations exercises within Japan that is gradually spreading world wide. I was at the IAF congress in Tokyo in 2004, some of the demos looked very similar, polished and pretty, some to the point of being dance form. OK, if that's what people want, just not for me.
Alec

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2006, 12:43 PM
So are you saying that the path they are on cannot lead to the destination you describe?

One of the many problems in my own waza that I've been working on is a feeling of connection to my partner, whether shite or uke. I see that connection being very tennuous in parts of that clip, but very strong (the step in throw / kokyu nage waza) in others.

I've kind of made this thread a challenge for myself...I want to be honest about my reactions, and yet willing to change my opinion if I see compelling arguements. So far, almost all the elements I've found fault with in one place, I've also seen done fairly well in another. The biggest flaw (if I may use that word) would be in the nature of the attacks (I'm not sure I see really good ones, but hey, this is a video...we're not there). So from what I can see, they are on a path, developing, and maybe with the addition of stronger attacks, they can be on that edge some of us like as budo...

Best,
Ron

Alec Corper
06-16-2006, 12:49 PM
Based on my limited experience I don't believe so, but, of course, their instructor, whom I respect, obviously thinks otherwise, so I don't think my opinion counts for much.

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2006, 01:06 PM
I'd be really currious to know how old the participants in the demo are. Does anyone know?

Best,
Ron

Mark Uttech
06-16-2006, 01:11 PM
Asking age is kind of a cheap shot. Then and again, one cannot point at a single demonstration and say: "This is aikido"

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2006, 01:19 PM
Hi Mark,

I certainly don't mean it as a cheap shot. I asked because I really can't tell from the video, but I believe these women are very young. I thought that might influence the strength of the attacks and the willingness of the participants to target nage/shite. But perhaps I am over analyzing.

I agree with you to some extent with your last statement though...

Best,
Ron

Richard Langridge
06-16-2006, 01:37 PM
My newbie's eyes were impressed by their ukemi.

giriasis
06-16-2006, 01:48 PM
I really enjoyed their demonstration. I enjoyed the flow, rythym and timing of their movements and especially how they reversed each other to switch from uke to nage. I thought they demonstrated great ukemi skills, too.

Mark Freeman
06-16-2006, 01:50 PM
Then and again, one cannot point at a single demonstration and say: "This is aikido"

Even when it was done by O Sensei? ;)

regards,

Mark

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2006, 01:52 PM
Well, then you can say "this is aikido at this moment". But once the moment is passed....

Best,
Ron (who knew what the crazy old koot was going to do next???)

Aristeia
06-16-2006, 03:12 PM
I liked it - nice flow and timing. I think that demo has a lot to do with Aikido as budo (emphasis on DO). The flow of energy was nice and unlike Ron I didn't mind the bounciness at all - quite liked it in fact.

NagaBaba
06-16-2006, 03:32 PM
Asking age is kind of a cheap shot. Then and again, one cannot point at a single demonstration and say: "This is aikido"
O sensei did it every time when he came from Iwama to Tokyo dojo. He was yelling it many times - "this is not aikido". So yes, it is possible to develop eyes to the level when you actually see THE reality.

Of course, when you follow a teaching, where everything is presented by instructor as in the plate, one will never develop his eyes, and will never be able to distinguish False from True. It is not magic, simply matter of training.

Also, one must be honest, and not hide under false politesse his opinion. Not long ago, we had a topic discussing O sensei teaching:

Through The Way, through our practice, we come to gain the virtue of sincerity. Through the virtue of sincerity, we come to know The Way -- we come to develop our practice. The virtue of sincerity is both the entry to The Way and a product of The Way. Sincerity is what connects the outer form to the inner essence. The cultivation of sincerity is then the purpose or the reason why we train in the martial arts. Through martial arts training, we are trying to gain a distance from the superficiality of our lives, our relationships, our thoughts, our actions, our identity, etc. Through the cultivation of sincerity, through a capacity for sincere action, thought, and word, we can come to clearly observe the holiness that is all around us -- that which is the true essence of everything and every one. Being able to give witness to this holiness, in turn, allows us to have an even greater capacity for sincerity, which, in turn, brings us more clarity regarding this holiness -- this cycle continues ad infinitum. This is what it means to practice the martial arts as a Way. It means we are here to mature our spirit, to realize the ultimate divine principles and purpose. We are here to bring a particular kind of depth to our lives, for this we need the virtue of sincerity.

So if I see somebody develop illusion of Budo practice I tell what I think. If anyone have no idea what is aikido as a Budo, please visit San Diego Aikikai -- west coast or NEAikikai or NYAikido if I may give some good examples.

Good ukemi skills? – lets allow to these girls take ANY judo throw as uke – they will be broken in pieces.

As a tori they are not able to throw ANYONE outside of their dojo. This is caricature of aikido techniques. How can someone allow them to deform it to such point?

graham
06-16-2006, 05:04 PM
I thought it was beautiful.

They seem to be very young, maybe teenage girls? So, I'm perfectly happy with it being partly choreographed.

Talon
06-16-2006, 06:02 PM
I see Szczepan has developed the sensitivity and vision of O'sensei....Wow Szczepan can you please teach me? or possibly all of us on here. I don't think that anyone else on here has achieved what you apparently have.

I thought the demo was just that a nice demo, however I must admit that I did share similar thoughts as some others on the lack of martial looking technique and attack. I believe Aikido being a martial art has to be martial so I can see where Szczepan is coming from but I just would not be so blunt about it....

Guilty Spark
06-16-2006, 06:45 PM
I thought it was a great demo. And lets face it, a demo is a demo. Was it practiced? Probably. I don't know how many times I've practiced crap at work for some kinda dog and pony show for visiting officers (Sorry Kevin!) and higher ups. You look pretty dumb when you're putting on a demo for a ton of people and you don't practice it.

I can't argue about their skill level or effectiveness of whatever their doing. My amateur opinion is aikido is a tricky thing to use against someone. I know everytime I've tried to demonstrate aikido to someone it hasn't worked and buddy just powers through it or resists and I can't do anything. The few times when I've "used aikido" without thinking or preperation (ie someone grabbing me from behind) it's worked surprisingly well.

I think it was a great demo, i'd love to bean uke for them. I can't argue the "what if" it will work question due to lack of experience AND because I've seen "what if" arguments go on for hours and degenerate into sillyness.

NagaBaba
06-16-2006, 08:24 PM
I see Szczepan has developed the sensitivity and vision of O'sensei....Wow Szczepan can you please teach me? or possibly all of us on here. I don't think that anyone else on here has achieved what you apparently have.
..
Szanowny panie Pawle,
I dont pretend to teach, I simply quoted O sensei words. His teaching is simple, do it in daily live, this is not theoretical blah blah blah. Be honest with yourself and with others -- and many emotional filters will disappear. So your senses will become actually 'purified' from superficial opinions, prejudges and other scrap. You will be able to FEEL springtime around you, may be first time in your life, who knows.......

The beauty of the techniques comes from their completeness. It means the technique includes martial elements among other elements -- to be able qualified as a Budo. It is good to practice healthy gymnastic, or social dance, but don’t call it aikido.

dps
06-16-2006, 09:28 PM
I would like to take a poll. How many would like to see a video of Szczepan Janczuk doing Aikido?

xuzen
06-16-2006, 09:45 PM
me me me!

aikigirl10
06-16-2006, 10:00 PM
Good ukemi skills? -- lets allow to these girls take ANY judo throw as uke -- they will be broken in pieces.

As a tori they are not able to throw ANYONE outside of their dojo. This is caricature of aikido techniques. How can someone allow them to deform it to such point?

How could you tell just from watching that clip how capable these girls are or are not? To me, it sounds like you are basing this solely on the fact that they are girls.

Does anyone else think these comments sound a little bit sexist, or is it just me? If no one else agrees then i will shut up.

*Paige*

statisticool
06-16-2006, 10:20 PM
Good ukemi skills? -- lets allow to these girls take ANY judo throw as uke -- they will be broken in pieces.


There were judo-ish looking throws IMO at 1:11 and at 1:32 in the clip.

ChrisMoses
06-16-2006, 10:21 PM
I would like to take a poll. How many would like to see a video of Szczepan Janczuk doing Aikido?

Oh dear God yes. I've been searching for some real material to work with for years... ;) I would love to be proven wrong however. We seem to agree at the weirdest times.

Nick P.
06-16-2006, 10:30 PM
On one of these forums, not too long ago, someone posted a link to "Iron Uke", or something like that; it is a toung-in-cheek Aikido-meets-spaghetti western, and our friend Szczepan Janczuk appears in it...
However, I should point out that his acting skills were refined under a true master, and only they know the one true light...or something like that. I am sure he will enlighten us.

Mr. Janczuk; the floor is now all yours...your audience is waiting.

Jory Boling
06-17-2006, 07:12 AM
Tenkan of Steel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLT03GcTlXw

maybe iron uke is the sequel

NagaBaba
06-17-2006, 08:32 AM
How could you tell just from watching that clip how capable these girls are or are not?
*Paige*
O sensei was able to perfectly know what and how his students practice by only listening sounds coming ffrom dojo.
Me I'm only a mortal, so I need to see at least some practice with my eyes. :p

giriasis
06-17-2006, 10:31 AM
Does anyone else think these comments sound a little bit sexist, or is it just me? If no one else agrees then i will shut up.

Yeah, my impression, too. But Szczepan says things like this to everybody so I take it with a grain of salt. He trains up somewhere in New England so he thinks is aikido is oh so much more superior than everyone else's. ~tongue firmly planted in cheek~ A similar comment, from someone else, was said about the women attacking in the Women In Aikido DVD, but to me it is a reflection of the perception that the smaller attacker can't possibly have a strong attack. Let them dwell in their own delusions as far as I'm concerned. I'd love to see Ron and Szcezepan put a demo together, post it on the web and let us tear it about for them, too. I don't know who said but there is a lot of armchair quarterbacking going on here.

Dominic Toupin
06-17-2006, 11:07 AM
Hi everyone,

I usually sit down and read the posts here on Aikiweb and rarely post myself because my English writing isn't that good (my first language is french...)

But I'm tired to read post from Szczepan Janczuk (Nagababa). It's always negative, the aikido from this sensei is poor, that demonstration had nothing to do with aikido and the best one that I can remember :" Someone who train hard never talks in the dojo".

I look at the demonstration and I will give you my take positively and without any bias toward an organization

Did you look at the crowd ? They were kids. The aim of the demonstration was probably to show kids what their aikido will become later if they continue to train. The public wasn't some military type guys that want to see real attack, real defense. It was a demonstration with the aim of showing techniques to kids. Those girls attacks were OK for that purpose...

Also, you said that those girls have not enough ukemi skills to take some judo's throws ? What the ? I train in Yoseikan Aikido and our hardest falls come from some of the sutemi techniques or some judo like technique and I'm sure that those girls can take those falls.

You said that It wasn't aikido ??? Do you know what is aikido ? If the demonstration motivates those children in the crowd to keep train hard, to keep in good shape, to apply principles show in the dojo in their life and develop their bodies and mind, this video is definitely aikido...

Mike Cook
06-17-2006, 01:52 PM
Good ukemi skills? -- lets allow to these girls take ANY judo throw as uke -- they will be broken in pieces.


Their ukemi is better than mine and I have never had a problem taking ukemi in judo randori. I reckon they would be fine, their ukemi would look different but they wouldn't get hurt.

Mike

Guilty Spark
06-17-2006, 02:13 PM
You said that It wasn't aikido ??? Do you know what is aikido ? If the demonstration motivates those children in the crowd to keep train hard, to keep in good shape, to apply principles show in the dojo in their life and develop their bodies and mind, this video is definitely aikido...

Very well said!

statisticool
06-17-2006, 03:37 PM
Tenkan of Steel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLT03GcTlXw


LOL, that was pretty funny. :)

George S. Ledyard
06-17-2006, 03:51 PM
Once again, I find myself in a position to agree with he of the unpronouncable name... Szcepan, while not someone I would want running public relations anywhere, is correct in many of the things he is saying.

What you see in this demo is a very good example of the aiki of movement. It's fluid, relaxed. It's show's aikido kihon waza to good effect in that it is large and expansive.

What is missing is the energetic side of actual intention. None of the strikes were done with real intention to hit. The uke is feeding a "strike-like" movement to the nage. In that way the uke is simply fascilitating the nage's technique.

The Mind moves before the body. When a strike is executed, the intention has already preceded the physical strike itself. If someone with very strong intention attacks, the challenge of ki musubi is to reach out and meet the intention with ones own. If one can't do that, one has a collapse of his energy field, or his field of intention. If that occurs it is impossible to actually make an effective entry against an attacker who has strong intention to hit you. You can know 500 techniques but they are simply 500 techniques you can't actually do.

Ushiro Kenji Sensei, at last year's Rocky Mountain Summer Camp, stated that the single weakest area in Aikido was our attacks. I think that is quite evident here. These young ladies are simply not trying to hit each other. There is no projection of strong intention moving out from them when they attack. None of those strikes would have even hurt if they had made contact. No hara.

It's not hard to do physical blending movement when the attacks are "low voltage" so to speak. As I say, I think the demo was a very nice example of the aiki of movement. But none of those ladies would keep her projection if attacked with real intensity. This is not meant to, as Szcepan has, disparage the whole demo. All of the components of good Aikido are there in the physical sense. But the inner strength that is required to take this movement to the level of Budo isn't there.

I think that this is a very important thing for people to understand. In an Aikido interaction, at the higher levels most of the important stuff is going on energetically in the communication between the partners. How you project your intention, where you place your attention, etc are very significant. If you train with low intention or no intention, you can develop very fine movement and technique but your ability to actually do your technique in any martial sense will be limited at best.

I run into this all the time. I find san dan and yondan level people who cannot do an irimi if you attack with strong intention. Their energy field collapses. As I have stated elsewhere, I can usually tell if I am going to hit someone before I even start to initiate the physical attack. You can tell by how the project their intention towards you (or not).

I am not intending to be unappreciative or disrespectful here. These ladies obviously have spent quite a long time and much effort in their training. It was a very nice demo, as good as many of the demos one saw at the Expo by higher ranked folks. But this lack of intention and lack of energetic projection is something that must be addressed if they are to make any progress towards higher level technique.

Szcepan, I am always wondering at what you feel is the necessity to be insulting, derogatory, inflammatory, etc. You can be right and I still feel embarrassed to be in agreement with you. It feels like hanging with bad companions.

Keith R Lee
06-17-2006, 04:42 PM
First off, I think the demo was fine. Aikido is a lot of different things to a lot of diferent people. Being a Yoshinkan practioner, I thought the attacks were weaker than they could be, the ukes appeared to be on auto-fall, and the techniques were not as crisp as I would like but whatever.

These women obviously put alot of time into it and enjoy their practice, more power to them. Not all Aikido has to be at one hundred percent power and effectivness. It certainly needs to exist, but not everyone needs to do it. Part of the appeal of Aikido is that it has such low barriers to entry that it is accessible to many people who would not normally get into martial arts.

Let people practice how they want, and get whatever it is out of Aikido they are looking for. If people are happy practicing Aikido, whatever it appears to be, I think that's a good thing. However, by filming oneself and releasing it into the wild (the web) one definitely opens themselves to praise and criticism, and people just need to be thick skinned enough to deal with that. Especially if the video in question is of a "softer" sort of Aikido and it is shown to Aikido people of a "harder" mindset.

Upyu
06-17-2006, 05:06 PM
How could you tell just from watching that clip how capable these girls are or are not? To me, it sounds like you are basing this solely on the fact that they are girls.

Does anyone else think these comments sound a little bit sexist, or is it just me? If no one else agrees then i will shut up.


I don't think he's being sexist, just making a pretty objective observation.

George was also correct about the intent, but let's see if anyone want's to break down the "why"s.

Specifically at 1:03 in the video, you can see where the Nage's lack of structure rear's its ugly head. Movement is disconnected. She's using arm only to throw Uke, and Uke is only being thrown becuase, well...they're throwing themselves mostly. Plus she's bent ever so slightly to the left. It sounds like a minor quibble, but it's not. It's pretty major, and it's the reason why the arm movement of the left hand looks disconnected as well.

So what does this mean?
Means that none of the exhibitors know how to "stand" properly, and to use structure to reinforce their movements (This is of course, sans all the Ki stuff Mike and others have been going on about). The movement is really no different from say, a kickboxer in K-1 throwing his kick. All the joints are relatively disconnected.

This results in that, all of the throws, have a "1, 2" tempo. They use simple twisting of the body/redirection of the vectors to throw the person.
If any of the people demoing had a proper core, you'd see much smoother execution, plus a more solid feel.

Alec noted it doesn't feel like "Budo". A large part of this is due to the fact that "Budo" movement happens on a "one" count and has to be able to be ended instantaneously at any point. At the second of contact, you could end it, but you don't.
None of the Nage's in this video exhibited that feel.

And that's besides the people in the vid being too floaty/hop skippity, using too much arm in all the throws etc.

If they're teenage girls demoing the "frame"work of what they know. Props to them. But it's still just a beginners demo.

Chinese have a specific term to refer to similar artists that start out.
Jade Hands, Brocade Legs.
Beautiful movement, but you'll get pulverized the second something r3al happens to you.
Typically the term refers to wushu people :D

The point is, I don't think the performers of this vid should be criticized one way or another. They're still learning.

But the person that brought them up as an example should probably rethink what they consider to be good/solid/efficient "movement" (in any activity, not just aikido)

FWIW ;)

NagaBaba
06-17-2006, 08:39 PM
he thinks is aikido is oh so much more superior than everyone else's.
Hi Anne Marie,
This is not true. There are tons aikido very high quality around. But not on this video.
This topic is not about me, so relax your shoulders and lets go back to the topic. :D

NagaBaba
06-17-2006, 08:47 PM
Hi everyone
But I'm tired to read post from Szczepan Janczuk (Nagababa). It's always negative, the aikido from this sensei is poor, that demonstration had nothing to do with aikido and the best one that I can remember :" Someone who train hard never talks in the dojo"..
Dont be melodramatique, Dominic.
I'm not negative, I state the reality. It is not my fault, that they had poor training.
One must face and accept the realit as it is, you like it or not. You can't live with rose eyeglasses -- not if you pretend to do Budo or MA. Illusions in aikido are very dangerous.

NagaBaba
06-17-2006, 08:50 PM
Once again, I find myself in a position to agree with he of the unpronouncable name... Szcepan, while not someone I would want running public relations anywhere, is correct in many of the things he is saying.
I'm happy to read your opinions. Looks like you didn't loose all these years of training :D This is very rare these days ;)

Guilty Spark
06-17-2006, 09:03 PM
This is not true. There are tons aikido very high quality around. But not on this video.

Man, if their aikido is bad I'm in trouble!

Dominic Toupin
06-17-2006, 10:37 PM
Dont be melodramatique, Dominic.
I'm not negative, I state the reality. It is not my fault, that they had poor training.
One must face and accept the realit as it is, you like it or not. You can't live with rose eyeglasses -- not if you pretend to do Budo or MA. Illusions in aikido are very dangerous.


I wonder if Claude Berthiaume Shihan, your sensei will have the same opinion of you, Szczepan Janczuk. You miss the point here. This is a demonstration in front of CHILDREN to show what is aikido at another level. You don't need to strike like a boxer to show children what is aikido... Just think about it and talk to your shihan about it. Maybe a lesson from someone with more experience than you could help you understand the true meaning of training in aikido.

Chris Li
06-17-2006, 11:34 PM
O sensei was able to perfectly know what and how his students practice by only listening sounds coming ffrom dojo.

Well, so they say, but they also say that he had psychic powers and was possessed by gods, so who knows?

Anyway, I'll agree with your general premise - the attacks weren't worth much.

Best,

Chris

batemanb
06-18-2006, 01:55 AM
For Szczepan, so fond of quoting O Sensei, something O Sensei was reportedly fond of saying "never to criticize other martial artists".

As for the video, it was a demo.

I have no idea who the girls were, how long they've trained etc. it's not important. There were times in the footage where things seemed to stop flowing, the attacks were light, but it was a demo, and as such, it was nice to watch. It may not have been everyone's cup of tea but that doesn't matter, does it? My training is my training, my concerns are where I break down and stop flowing, it's hard enough to keep practicing for myself let alone worrying about anyone else. I can't even apply the principles of Aikido to stay out of posting in this thread :(. Obviously I have a lot of practice to get on with.

'Bryan does tenkan of steel and leaves thread'

dps
06-18-2006, 02:47 AM
Let's not take Szcepan aka NagaBaba too seriously. It is a shame he can not enjoy the beauty of the kids demonstrating their art.

Definition for Naga:
1. designation of supernatural beings, snakedemons, sometimes represented in human form with a snake's hood in the neck, sometimes as mixed forms, half man half snake. They are distinguished by devout reverence toward the Buddha. Their sworn enemies are the Garuda, winged beings resembling the griffin
2. A Naga is a fictional creature from the Monster Rancher anime and video game franchise.
3. The Naga is a cocktail with a refreshing taste. .

Definition of Baba:
1. term of respect for an old man
2. A reverential prefix, added to the name of a holy man of merit and renown, like the English prefix Rev. before clergymen.
3.a small, rich sponge cake, usually soaked in rum.

mathewjgano
06-18-2006, 02:59 AM
I'm not negative, I state the reality. It is not my fault, that they had poor training.
One must face and accept the realit as it is, you like it or not. You can't live with rose eyeglasses -- not if you pretend to do Budo or MA. Illusions in aikido are very dangerous.

Szczepan,
I don't think it's a matter of stating "reality". I'll get a little philosophical and say none of us ever adequately expresses "the reality" of a situation. Each of us expresses what we think reality is and there's always something which is not entirely correct, in my opinion, and that includes your own perceptions, which may be incredibly insightful.
I disagree that what we saw wasn't Aikido. Aikido is a path, in my limited opinion. Few of us do Aikido in the strictest sense, where we're truly in tune with the universe around us, and if we do, it's rare. Aikido, in my opinion, is the act of becoming more in tune. If it's not as I just described, then I seriously doubt even you do "real" Aikido very often, though of course I have no way of knowing one way or the other.
That said, I do appreciate your honesty. You're right that illusions are dangerous, and sometimes we probably need people to state things bluntly to challenge us to do better. It's a valid point of view in my opinion. One can be blunt. Just be ready for the response such stern language inspires in people, and don't wonder where it comes from.
Take care,
Matt

Jorge Garcia
06-18-2006, 07:12 AM
Once again, I find myself in a position to agree with he of the unpronouncable name... Szcepan, while not someone I would want running public relations anywhere, is correct in many of the things he is saying..
I have to agree with Ledyard Sensei. It's a dangerous thing to agree with someone that everyone is "after" so I hide behind George Ledyard's careful comments because I feel that while Szcepan seems to have a reputation for saying "things like that", we may be allowing that prejudice to decide for us in advance that he's wrong when he might be right.
I will speak for myself here though. A question was asked as to what we thought and the original poster enjoyed the clip and thought it was wonderful. Personally, I have never liked that way of doing Aikido or the "look" that it has. I also must add that there are some styles that have that look. It's a large, round kind of Aikido where the ukes are flowing pretty easily with the nage so it has more of a choreographed look than I'm comfortable with. The problem with the super cooperation is that in my mind, Aikido is not the uke joining the nage's motion but the nage creating the harmony by matching the uke and drawing the uke into his motion. What distinguishes between hard and soft is what happens after that.
In Aikido training, there is a measure of cooperation in the training to prevent injury. For example, the uke is asked to attack in a certain way. The measure of reality then is based on the sincerity of the attack and if the nage really does Aikido (which is matching him and actually locking the centers together and taking the uke for a ride.) The theory and the reality are two different things. I think that Aikido has in fact suffered a watering down in that we are gradually following and imitating forms and are losing the reality of that experience. That's what I think Szczepan is seeing and stating although be it in an indecorous way. I know that I can't do the things that I have been taught but I am practicing them and I am amazed at how difficult it is to train the body to do what I have just described.
I hate to say this but all things in this world aren't equal. The demo the girls made should be applauded. It shows what they have accomplished at this point in their training. The problem may be that we may not all agree if this is the endpoint or a rather a marker in a much longer path to follow.
Best wishes,

giriasis
06-18-2006, 07:39 AM
Hi Anne Marie,
This is not true. There are tons aikido very high quality around. But not on this video.
This topic is not about me, so relax your shoulders and lets go back to the topic. :D

My post was on topic you dope. :rolleyes: I'm critiquing your commentary of the video. Your put your words out here on the internet and as a result they are subject to criticism and interpretation. I still challenge you to make your "all powerfully martial effective" aikido video and post it on the web so we can all critique it here. :rolleyes: What's good for the goose is good for the gander. :D

Alec Corper
06-18-2006, 07:46 AM
If a post begins, "What do you think?", it asks for opinions. There are bound to be disagreements because different people look at different things, just like different people seek more or less martial content in their aikido. If you want to be more specific perhaps the post should have read, "What do you think of the.........., grace, fluidity, timing, ukemi, blending, martial intent? etc.etc."
I stand behind my original comments and I totally agree with the concept of energy fields, as a metaphor, to explain one of the great shortfalls within general aikido practice. Having trained a few times now with Rob John's teacher, Akuzawa, I can safely say that a lot of high graded godans and rokudans would have trouble dealing with his level of intent, maintained within a grace and flexibility that is startling.
I'll say it again. it's a nice demo, but is it aikido? Ledyard Sensei calls it aiki of movement, fair enough. I've stood opposite him with a bokken in his hands and I felt his intent. I dont know if I would really move if attacked in the way I saw on the video, nothing coming at me. One last point it is incorrect to say that you can't feel things through a video. If you've been at it long enough you sure can.

Mark Freeman
06-18-2006, 08:24 AM
But the person that brought them up as an example should probably rethink what they consider to be good/solid/efficient "movement" (in any activity, not just aikido)

FWIW ;)

Hi Robert,

that would be me,

I came across this clip and enjoyed it so much, I'd just like to see if you agree with me that is a fine demonstration of the beautiful art of aikido.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df76...d&search=Aikido

What do you think? is it the aikido you aspire to, or is it not 'martial' or 'realistic' enough for your taste?

Just curious

regards,

Mark

I'm not sure I need to heed your advice about rethinking what I consider to be good/solid/efficient movement, simply because I enjoyed watching a nice demo of the 'beautiful art of aikido'.

I knew that there would be reactions to it and my curiosity about the reactions was what prompted me to post the clip. And to construct the question as it was asked.

I did not hold it up as 'this aikido is perfect or stronger or better than anyone elses' I just held it up as an enjoyable demo of aikido.

I agree with George's post about the low level of intent in the attacks, and his points about higher levels of attack in higher levels of practice.

To say that it is 'not aikido' is plainly flawed. Aikido has principles and if they are present then it 'is' aikido just maybe not 'your' aikido. IMO it is perfectly ok to say as many have done that "the attacks could be more realistic", or I prefer aikido practice to be more 'martial', but to write it off completely diminishes the speakers standing within the community.

We are all practicing an amazing art, one that develops the mind / body and spirit towards greater co-ordination. The aikidoka in the demo were practicing their aikido which I ( and it seems many of you ) enjoyed watching.

Go back to the dojo and continue to practice your own aikido, non of us are beyond correction or criticism ( just ask your sensei ;) )

Robert, if you want to know what I think good solid efficient movement is... attack me :D

Anyway, this thread has produced some interesting comments, let's keep them objective, and try to accept that aikido may be 'wider' than we think it is.

regards,

Mark

L. Camejo
06-18-2006, 08:30 AM
The demo was pretty. Transitions between the roles of Uke and Nage were fluid. Techniques looked pretty and fluid also. The range of techniques shown also gave a great spectrum of Aikido waza. Those were the positives imo.

My other impressions on the demo were already dealt with by Mr. Ledyard and Mr. Janczuk to some extent.

In the end it comes down to what one's goal in training is imo. Aikido as Budo does not suffer effectiveness for grace or vice versa.

LC:ai::ki:

dps
06-18-2006, 08:32 AM
Szczepan Janczuk, who are you? Do you practice Aikido? If so what dojo? Is is affiliated with a know orgaization? Who is or has been your sensei? How long have you been practicing? What rank are you?

Since you are a regular contributor to Aikweb forums, you should be more upfront about yourself. Put more information in your profile about yourself. It would help in deciding how much merit to place on your opions.

Guilty Spark
06-18-2006, 08:43 AM
I did not hold it up as 'this aikido is perfect or stronger or better than anyone elses' I just held it up as an enjoyable demo of aikido.


I was going to mention that. You simply threw something up in the air and asked what people thought of it. Some thought it was nice, others saw pro's and con's, others were critical. I can hardly debate on what Aikido is. I look at the level I'm at and like I mentioned above, if their not doing Aikido then I don't want to know what the heck I'm doing - if anything because it will be disappointing. Problem here is you have to define what Aikido is, which is different from person to person obviously.

To me Aikido is helping someone even though I don't like them, putting someone else's safety (including uke) above my own and looking for non violent resolutions to problems as much as the "physical" aspect of Aikido.

Mark asked what people thought of the video and people answered honestly. It seems to me the biggest point of contention in the thread is the delivery of some peoples opinions that start to take on a negative flavor.

NagaBaba
06-18-2006, 09:54 AM
Definition for Naga:
1. designation of supernatural beings, snakedemons, sometimes represented in human form with a snake's hood in the neck, sometimes as mixed forms, half man half snake. They are distinguished by devout reverence toward the Buddha. Their sworn enemies are the Garuda, winged beings resembling the griffin
2. A Naga is a fictional creature from the Monster Rancher anime and video game franchise.
3. The Naga is a cocktail with a refreshing taste. .

Definition of Baba:
1. term of respect for an old man
2. A reverential prefix, added to the name of a holy man of merit and renown, like the English prefix Rev. before clergymen.
3.a small, rich sponge cake, usually soaked in rum.
WoW David!
Major congrats! You did very nice research, in fact, you are very close to the Reality :D

For Szczepan, so fond of quoting O Sensei, something O Sensei was reportedly fond of saying "never to criticize other martial artists".

As for the video, it was a demo.
I don't criticize OTHER martial arts. I don't like this 'aikido' demo. What we see it is not martial art :eek: There isn't even ONE element that can qualifie the demo as martial art.

dps
06-18-2006, 10:11 AM
WoW David!
Major congrats! You did very nice research, in fact, you are very close to the Reality :D


Just as I thought, you are a small, rich sponge cake, usually soaked in rum that likes to drink cool refreshing cocktails.

Talon
06-18-2006, 10:28 AM
Let's not take Szcepan aka NagaBaba too seriously. It is a shame he can not enjoy the beauty of the kids demonstrating their art.

Definition for Naga:
1. designation of supernatural beings, snakedemons, sometimes represented in human form with a snake's hood in the neck, sometimes as mixed forms, half man half snake. They are distinguished by devout reverence toward the Buddha. Their sworn enemies are the Garuda, winged beings resembling the griffin
2. A Naga is a fictional creature from the Monster Rancher anime and video game franchise.
3. The Naga is a cocktail with a refreshing taste. .

Definition of Baba:
1. term of respect for an old man
2. A reverential prefix, added to the name of a holy man of merit and renown, like the English prefix Rev. before clergymen.
3.a small, rich sponge cake, usually soaked in rum.

Thats Just Hilllarious....Szczepan is polish and in polish..NagaBaba simply means naked woman....lol

Mark Freeman
06-18-2006, 10:33 AM
Thats Just Hilllarious....Szczepan is polish and in polish..NagaBaba simply means naked woman....lol

is this true Szcezepan? do you have something to hide? ;) :D

dps
06-18-2006, 10:37 AM
Thats Just Hilllarious....Szczepan is polish and in polish..NagaBaba simply means naked woman....lol

I apologize. I was wrong. By definition are you a naked polish women who likes to eat rum cake and drink cocktails? ;)

Ron Tisdale
06-18-2006, 01:34 PM
:) Man Mark, look what you started... ;)

I'd love to see Ron and Szcezepan put a demo together, post it on the web and let us tear it about for them, too. I don't know who said but there is a lot of armchair quarterbacking going on here.

Well, Anne Marie, I feel slightly offended...;)...I did my best to be inoffensive, polite, and stick to things that anyone could see and agree with or disagree with without personal attacks. I specifically did NOT tear anything down. The reason I spent so much time typing and thinking about a response was because I felt the effort of the participants deserved serious thought and evaluation. I think many people here have done the same...thought long and hard about their opinions, and stated them clearly and without malice.

Do you feel George Ledyard is out of bounds with his comments?

Best,
Ron (One of these days I will post some video I hope, though it may be a while yet...)

Mark Freeman
06-18-2006, 02:46 PM
:) Man Mark, look what you started... ;)

Who me...? :D I had no idea ;)

Best,
Ron (One of these days I will post some video I hope, though it may be a while yet...)

I think I'd think long and hard about that if I were you Ron, the forum is hard to please ;) :D

regards,

Mark

Mary Eastland
06-18-2006, 03:36 PM
This seems like a thinly disguised "my aikido is better than your aikido "thread. What works for you.... George. and Ron and Szewhatever..is not going to be the same for a woman who weighs 110 pounds. You all are judging something by how it looks not by how it feels.

I hope men keep thinking the way you guys do so when you get flattened some day by a soft powerful woman you will be caught unawares. :D ;)
Mary

Talon
06-18-2006, 04:50 PM
Whatever Mary! I was the first to point out Szczepan's bluntness but he, George, Ron all had a point ins saying that it was not martial. The attacks were weak and the attacks and techniques were jumpy. There is no need to feel the techniques to see whats happening on this demo. It was a pretty demo that did what it was supposed to do but it did not have the feel or look of a martial art.

Chris Li
06-18-2006, 05:50 PM
This seems like a thinly disguised "my aikido is better than your aikido "thread. What works for you.... George. and Ron and Szewhatever..is not going to be the same for a woman who weighs 110 pounds. You all are judging something by how it looks not by how it feels.

I hope men keep thinking the way you guys do so when you get flattened some day by a soft powerful woman you will be caught unawares. :D ;)
Mary

I didn't think much of the attacks either - and I usually run around 125 pounds, which isn't very far from 110, so I have a pretty good idea of what it's like. Anyway, George has certainly been around long enough (30 years?) to feel plenty of soft powerful women.

Best,

Chris

George S. Ledyard
06-18-2006, 05:56 PM
This seems like a thinly disguised "my aikido is better than your aikido "thread. What works for you.... George. and Ron and Szewhatever..is not going to be the same for a woman who weighs 110 pounds. You all are judging something by how it looks not by how it feels.

I hope men keep thinking the way you guys do so when you get flattened some day by a soft powerful woman you will be caught unawares. :D ;)
Mary
My Aikido experience has been informed by powerful women since I started. I trained with Patty Saotome when she was a Shodan and now she's a Sixth Dan. No one ever stood in front of Patty and had any doubts about whether she was trying to hit you.

I trained with Mary Heiny Sensei for five years. She'd bop you upside the head quite happliy if you didn't move it. Size is absolutely no reason for lack of intention

Don_Modesto
06-18-2006, 07:51 PM
:)Well, Anne Marie, I feel slightly offended...;)...I did my best to be inoffensive, polite, and stick to things that anyone could see and agree with or disagree with without personal attacks.

This was abundantly evident to me, Ron. Good job.

...would like to see a video of the unpronounceable one. Locals tell me admiringly that he's "dirty". I like him already (well, I've liked him for years for his posts, but...)

Given what I've seen of folk and their awareness of their own shortcomings, I wouldn't be surprised if the ladies in the demo themselves would make criticisms similar to what we've seen re: intent.

FWIW, I felt the intent was absent, too. But geez, there was a WHOLE lot to like there; far too much to dismiss as contemptuously as our enthusiastic gadfly does...

giriasis
06-18-2006, 08:39 PM
:) Man Mark, look what you started... ;)



Well, Anne Marie, I feel slightly offended...;)...I did my best to be inoffensive, polite, and stick to things that anyone could see and agree with or disagree with without personal attacks. I specifically did NOT tear anything down. The reason I spent so much time typing and thinking about a response was because I felt the effort of the participants deserved serious thought and evaluation. I think many people here have done the same...thought long and hard about their opinions, and stated them clearly and without malice.

Do you feel George Ledyard is out of bounds with his comments?

Best,
Ron (One of these days I will post some video I hope, though it may be a while yet...)


Hey, an honest critique is one thing, which at least yours was, but the oh, the unpronouncable one...we all can agree that his words are not nearly as eloquent as I hope his aikido should be -- putting his actions where his words are. I hope his aikido is as good and as martial and "death-like" as he expects everyone else's to be. It's not like these ladies posted this here and ask everyone here what they thought and asked for thoughtful critiques. Nope, someone found the link on a video clip site with at least 50 other aikido clips. Why this one? Because it's women? Because it's soft aikido? Who knows the intent of the original poster. Did he know the women and wanted to brag about them or bring them down? I thought it was a nice demonstration.

I'm with Mary here, you won't really know what their attacks are like until you train with them in real life. I've seen myself on video tape and my intent to really attack my partner did not translate to video really well. I was giving energy and intent, but it sure didn't look like it. I'd say that its hard for a video tape to grab the intensity of an attack. Heck, just watching an aikido class the intensity doesn't translate. And the smaller the person, the harder it will be for that to translate. Sure, it will translate for a 6'2" 210 lb Don Modesto, but would it for you, even you smaller guys? What about a 5'1" 100 pound woman? I know the same critique as made towards the female ukes in the Women In Aikido videos. Well, I've been uke and nage for at least on of them and their attacks do translate -- in person.

My point is to give these ladies the benefit of the doubt because at least they have put themselves out there subject to anyone's criticism of their skill.

L. Camejo
06-18-2006, 09:10 PM
I hope his aikido is as good and as martial and "death-like" as he expects everyone else's to be.

Why does "martial" Aikido have to be "Death-like"?

Overall I think this has been a good thread it is good if one can see different training methods and ways of executing Aikido principles within their own contexts and appreciate what each has to offer and how each manifestation in some way brings to reality a principle of Aiki.

In the same way pretty, fluid Aikido does not necessarily have to be martially useless, martially applied Aikido need not be labelled as "Death-like" imho.

Why can't we find the right balance between the two as the situation demands?

As far as getting an idea of martial intent from video, I think if one knows what to look for it is very possible.

LC:ai::ki:

giriasis
06-18-2006, 09:19 PM
Why does "martial" Aikido have to be "Death-like"? I dont' know why. But I was saying that because Mr. Szezcpan always states something to that effect that you have to train with the intent that you are going to die or some such.

Hardware
06-18-2006, 09:59 PM
I have seen some very talented and high ranking people perform many demos. Those young ladies did Aikido proud in my opinion and I believe O' Sensei is proud of them as well.

ikkitosennomusha
06-18-2006, 10:24 PM
There was some nice techniques in there but it was painfully obvious that uke started flipping before nage had completed the technique. So, uke was too gracious. I train uke not to give an inch. Nage will never learn how to master the technique and "make it work" in real life when uke blatantly lays down for you.

Bronson
06-18-2006, 11:49 PM
Anyway, George has certainly been around long enough (30 years?) to feel plenty of soft powerful women.


snicker... giggle... chuckle :D

Bronson

George S. Ledyard
06-19-2006, 01:40 AM
snicker... giggle... chuckle :D

Bronson
Bronson,
Go to your room. You've been a naughty boy...
- George

Mark Freeman
06-19-2006, 05:46 AM
Hey, an honest critique is one thing, which at least yours was, but the oh, the unpronouncable one...we all can agree that his words are not nearly as eloquent as I hope his aikido should be -- putting his actions where his words are. I hope his aikido is as good and as martial and "death-like" as he expects everyone else's to be. It's not like these ladies posted this here and ask everyone here what they thought and asked for thoughtful critiques. Nope, someone found the link on a video clip site with at least 50 other aikido clips. Why this one? Because it's women? Because it's soft aikido? Who knows the intent of the original poster. Did he know the women and wanted to brag about them or bring them down? I thought it was a nice demonstration.

I'm with Mary here, you won't really know what their attacks are like until you train with them in real life. I've seen myself on video tape and my intent to really attack my partner did not translate to video really well. I was giving energy and intent, but it sure didn't look like it. I'd say that its hard for a video tape to grab the intensity of an attack. Heck, just watching an aikido class the intensity doesn't translate. And the smaller the person, the harder it will be for that to translate. Sure, it will translate for a 6'2" 210 lb Don Modesto, but would it for you, even you smaller guys? What about a 5'1" 100 pound woman? I know the same critique as made towards the female ukes in the Women In Aikido videos. Well, I've been uke and nage for at least on of them and their attacks do translate -- in person.

My point is to give these ladies the benefit of the doubt because at least they have put themselves out there subject to anyone's criticism of their skill.

Good post Anne Marie,

just a note about my reason for posting this particular clip..I do not know the women on the clip, I was just browsing the clips, as you do, when I came upon this one. I was struck by their relatively young age ( we've all seen the 'old timers' doing their stuff, and they should be good they've been doing it long enough!), their speed, fluidity and general movement. Coupled with the fact that many of the audience were just small children, who seemed to really enjoy what they saw. I liked it for those reasons. It may not be exactly the 'same' aikido as I do, but so what. I was interested to see the opinions of others on the forum, as I know we don't all think alike.

Personally, I find some of the criticisms levelled at the 'softer' styles of aikido to be founded in lack of understanding. However I admit that when seen from the outside, this form of aikido can seem unrealistic. You only have to see O Sensei in the latter part of his life to agree with this.

I have read plenty of posts on this site that cast doubt on the reality of "no touch throws" ( even though O Sensei performed them ) as nonesense, and that O Sensei's uke's were "too co-operative" ( even though many of them ended up the respected heads of their own organisations ). I find it interesting that people want to defend thier 'own' position in the face of evidence.

Some of O Sensei's students taught the more martial aspects of aikido, some of them the softer more flowing style and others major on the philosophical aspects. They all did their best to translate what they learned to us the next generation of students.

I practice the aikido of my teacher who learnt from both 'hard' ( Kenshiro Abbe) and 'soft' ( Tohei) teachers. So he teaches a martially effective soft aikido :D.

I would love to practice with the aikidoka in the clip so as to feel what their aikido is really like. I suspect that they are perfectly capable practitioners of aikido principles from what I could see of their demo.

Aikido is a force for good in the modern world. O Sensei wanted it that way. My own teacher is no longer really interested in the 'martial' aspects of aikido. He teaches aikido for daily life, a way to co-ordinate mind and body so that life can be lived more fully.

If you want aikido purely for self defence, it is an effective art to learn. If you want aikido for self improvement it is an effective art to learn. They are not mutually exclusive, but are sometimes taught as such.

The growth of video posting websites has given us all access to way more aikido to see than we otherwise would. Some of what we see will be the aikido we know and some of it will not. It doesn''t mean that it doesn't merit being called 'aikido' it is only 'not aikido' if it is not following the principles of the art.

IMHO the priciples of aiki cannot be taught without co-operative practice, in the early stages a student would not be able to perform any of the techniques if the uke was fully resistant. We must learn through years of practice how to blend with our attacker. Attacks start 'very' unrealistic, and work towards more and more realism.

Aikido is an art for all, it can be practiced by young and old alike, we should revel in the fact that this is so. To think that it is only 'real' when practiced at the full on martial level is to miss the point. Not that there is anything wrong with the full on martial level - it must exist and people must train like this for it to be called a Martial Art. However aikido is not restricted to this form of practice. It is an art of non-resistance, of non-competition, a way to reconcile the divisions within oneself. Not just a way to win a fight with another human being.

I have a student who is in her 60's, a frail lady who has had many years of illness. She has been coming for over a year now and has benefitted greatly from her practice. If she was in an environment of full on martial style attacks she would not be there, and her life would not be as rich. The other students in the class ar happy to practice with her as they have to be completely mindfull of her body and what it can and will do. This teaches them awareness and sensitivity. Both qualities that are needed when practicing at the highest levels of aikido. They have plenty of opportunity to go full on with other more 'robust' partners.

Anyway, I urge those who are critical of what they saw in the clip to ask themselves what it is that makes them want to do so. Are they insecure of their own place in the wider world of aikido? Are they concerned that aikido is being 'watered down' and therefore their place in it is denigrated? Do they themselves feel it is their place to put the rest of us right? These are only questions to ponder, which may or may not have merit.

I sometimes think we all take ourselves a bit too seriously and our self importance gets the better of us ;)

regards

Mark

Hanna B
06-19-2006, 05:52 AM
This video has nothing to do with aikido. It is empty shell. Or healthy gymnastic if you will.

Everyone should know by now how the Unpronouncable one is.

I would like to take a poll. How many would like to see a video of Szczepan Janczuk doing Aikido?

Oh yes, absolutely. :-) He takes his mouth so full, we want to see some action too!

Having that said, I agree with


This topic is not about me, so relax your shoulders and lets go back to the topic. :D

Right, back to topic.

From the start, the topic of this thread is IMHO a bit problematic. Something is taped and put on the net, and a link is posted on the forum with the accompanying question "what do you think". Well there are so many opinions out there regarding how aikido should be, and someone will say they did not like it... and then they will be seen as mean to the people being put to display on the web.

We know nothing about the people doing the aikido - remember, hakama does not equate yudansha everywhere! I personally believe they are teens. It has more to do with how they move... they seem like teens, and for me this is a spirit I am glad to see teens train in. As has been said it is probably partly choreographed. I agree they are very "light" and the attacks look like the uke is already thinking about the ukemi. This is a way of thinking you easily get into in this kind of practice, although not desirable. They are demonstrating some aspects of aikido very nicely which makes it a good demo. It is not what I would have wanted to see from a 45-years old who has been doing aikido for 15 years, but from the context that I am guessing - since I do not know the true context - it seems like a really nice club demo.

Ron Tisdale
06-19-2006, 07:13 AM
Hi Anne Marie,

Thank you for separating what I said from what others said. That's all anyone can ask; to simply be taken at their own worth, for their own actions. I appreciate it, and am open to your critism.

This seems like a thinly disguised "my aikido is better than your aikido "thread. What works for you.... George. and Ron and Szewhatever..is not going to be the same for a woman who weighs 110 pounds. You all are judging something by how it looks not by how it feels.

I hope men keep thinking the way you guys do so when you get flattened some day by a soft powerful woman you will be caught unawares.
Mary

Already been flattened Mary. Did you read my review of my training in France? I was training with a woman who was smaller than I am by far, and yet she had no trouble whatever flattening me. ;) So it's not strictly a male female issue then, is it? I still remember my first entry into a kickboxing dojo. The instructor threw me in the ring with a small woman...who proceeded to kick my butt all over the ring. I still have yet to see such a sweet round house kick. In fact, it was kind of hard to see it then!

The point that many are making is that that kind of attack is missing from that video. It's not a crime, but it doesn't correspond to the aikido that some looking for. But I go back to a point that I made earlier...Budo is not a point in time. It's a path. I feel strongly that if those women continue to train, and if they strengthen their attacks, they may well be the ones literally flattening me one day. For the sake of justice, I hope they are!

And Larry is correct...it's not about Death Ray (TM) aikido...just attack straight and true, don't throw your balance away without any aikido on shite's part. It doesn't even have to be able to knock shite down...but at least your best effort, on target, intending to compromise shite so that there is a *chance* for shite to restore harmony.

Best,
Ron (Thank you for your posts George, I think it is important that someone of your caliber is posting in this thread)

Peter Goldsbury
06-19-2006, 07:57 AM
I think that much of the issue here concerns the purpose of demonstrations.

The clip actually reminded me of demonstrations that are often held in Japanese universities. Hiroshima University held its annual demonstration a couple of weeks ago and the students spent many hours choreographing all the attacks and the appropriate waza.

I watched these preparations and was something of a fly in the ointment, since the students were torn between my Szeczpan-like comments ("You are not attacking." "You should not announce your intention before you attack." "You are actually holding back before attacking, until tori has finished throwing the previous uke: nobody in the audience will be convinced.") and the need to do a "good" demonstration, full of fluid movements and spectacular ukemi, which would be pleasing to their 'sempai'. (This is important: being pleasing to one's sempai is a very important factor in university aikido clubs.) The students invariably kept to their choreographed scripts and treated my comments with gentle 'mokusatsu'. And this is right. Student aikido demonstrations fulfill a particular purpose. It is a kind of club reunion and follows a traditional pattern.

The annual All-Japan Demonstration is full of such performances and you even have Hombu shihans actually 'causing' their non-attacking uke to perform spectacular ukemi, ukemi such that only twenty-year-olds can perform, even before these uke raise their arms to make a non-attack. But, like the student demonstrations, the All-Japan Demonstration also fulfills a particular purpose.

One eminent Aikikai shihan, Sadateru Arikawa Sensei, actually stopped participating in the All-Japan Demonstration for this reason, though he would always come and make some trenchant comments. The surviving shihans of Arikawa Sensei's generation who give demonstrations at the May event almost inevitably follow a prescribed pattern. They start with taisabaki or basic waza and then add one or two more 'spectacular' waza (like kata-guruma in the case of Hiroshi Isoyama), but their uke are almost always young students or recent students, trained to take ukemi, or are designated uke from the same dojo, who 'know how to attack in the proper way'. So in a spectacular demonstration recorded somewhere on videotape, Chiba Sensei gave a spectacular demonstration of 'free' swordwork. But I think that his uke had been trained to attack with the sword only within certain parameters

I think it is pointless to get all steamed up about whether all this is 'really' aikido or not. Everybody will have an opinion based on how they have been taught.

But one can rightly ask, eWhatfs it all for?f What is the point of a demonstration? How can you actually 'demonstrate' 'real' aikido, if it is supposed to be the spontaneous 'takemusu aiki' etc etc, that we will learn about if we read O Sensei's writings?

Szczepan mentioned the New England Aikikai. There was a tradition of demonstrations in the NE Aikikai entitled gWarrior Arts of the Orienth. They were put together by Fred Wagstaff (Anyone remember him? Wonderful man. Severe 2-kyou. Died of AIDS.) The demonstrations always involved Kanai Mitsunari Sensei (in his younger days, with the long flowing hair, with the brushing back almost a part of the initial technique), but the uke were always chosen carefully and their role was invariably to show the martial qualities of Senseifs technique. This was fine, but you had to attack him ecorrectlyf in order to show this.

I was once uke at another NE Aikikai demonstration, held on the roof of a building, with no tatami. The tori were women members of the dojo and the uke were all men. Koshi-nage featured prominently in the demonstration. I quite enjoyed this demonstration, for I was young and reckless and I quite enjoyed demonstrating that I could take ukemi from koshi-nage on concrete floors. I think we were asked to do this demonstration as part of the incipient womenfs movement (this was the 1970s) and it was important to show that women could hold their own against men in 'real' situations. So the location of the demonstration was actually quite important. I do not recollect the demonstrations being choreographed, only that the uke had to be male (the more macho and hulking, the better) and the tori had to be female (the more petite and esoftf, the better).

So, in this case the demonstration was designed to fulfill a specific purpose. There had been some horrific murders in Boston and everyone felt that women had to take serious steps to protect themselves. So, the demonstration on the rooftop had a serious purpose, and one could then ask whether the attacks, in their turn, were realistic. At that time, my recollection was that I could happily take ukemi from koshi-nage on concrete, and so I was not so concerned about the niceties of attacking. However, as far as I can recall, we did not choreograph the demonstration.

(Anne-Marie, perhaps you might talk to Mr Peter Bernath and see if he remembers Fred Wagstaff. I think Fred moved from Boston to NY after I left the US in 1975. Yamada Sensei recently told me that Fred had died, and had died of AIDS.)

So, I do not want to pass judgment on the demonstration, other than raise a few questions about the purpose.

Best wishes to all,

Dennis Hooker
06-19-2006, 09:59 AM
Most of the stuff I see at the Aiki Expos, or the earlier Friendship Demonstrations are either choreographed or well rehearsed just as most public exhibitions are . There are a few exceptions which are obvious. At least they are not jumping over machetes or dodging junking looking katana knockoffs. They are giving a good demonstration of technique despite the sarcastic musings of some people.

Mark Freeman
06-19-2006, 10:23 AM
Thanks for your post Peter, most informative.

It shows how little I know about the wider world of aikido when I say I had no idea that these demonstrations were/are choreographed. In my insular world of aikido from one teacher, I was under the impression that aikido was spontaneous. Of course, much of our practice follows set techniques, but that is the nature of learning the techniques. My teacher no longer gives public demonstrations, but he used to in the early days when promoting aikido to an un aware audience. You only have to read some of Henry Ellis Sensei's accounts of how real some of the demos were. He's even had someone walk onto the mat in his boots and challenge him in front of everyone present. I'm not sure that the word coreography was used much in those days. ;)

Even knowing that the demo was/may have been coreographed, still doesn't diminish my enjoyment of it. :D

regards,

Mark

ikkitosennomusha
06-19-2006, 10:50 AM
Aikido should be spontaneous! A well trained nage will take control and be in control of the spontaneous uke. In a public demonstration, which I have done only a few, nothing is choreographed (sp?). I don't believe in it. When you reherse your demo, it will look just like that, rehersed! So, remember, what you train for in the dojo is what you will do elsewhere and if one is training to choreograph movements, the realism is absolutely not there.

It is ok of others disagree with me, by all means, you don't have to agree with me. However, I don't see what purpose a preplanned demo would serve nontheless how it would benefit students of aikido.

Perhaps some are afraid of "messing up" and want to appear flawless. This is behavior of the ego and you have to let that go. If you are truely in a state of "no mind" you will not be concerned with the on lookers and only with iradicating one attack at a time.

I read where someone stated that O-sensei would be proud. I beg to differ. O-sensei despised this type of training and maintained that the every essence of shugyo is pure, hardcore training and that goes for demos. In watching old clips of him, the attacks are real with intent. Sadly, some of today's heirarchy do not display any better of a demo than the one in this thread. This is just my opinion of course. Yes, they are technical and flashy, but that is not what I am looking for.

George S. Ledyard
06-19-2006, 06:48 PM
But one can rightly ask, eWhatfs it all for?f What is the point of a demonstration? How can you actually 'demonstrate' 'real' aikido, if it is supposed to be the spontaneous 'takemusu aiki' etc etc, that we will learn about if we read O Sensei's writings?

This is an excellent point... Back in the 1930's when O-sensei was asked to demonstrate his art before the Imperial family he apparently demurred at first saying that he didn't want to present something false in such an important occasion and that reality was about life and death confrontation. He was persuaded to present his demo, even though it wasn'r "real". It was real enough, however, that on the first technique he broke his uke's arm and Shioda Sensei had to do all the rest of the ukemi... 45 minutes straight of all out ukemi. All were said to heve collapsed in exhaustion once the demo was over.

Ikeda Sensei took ukemi for Saotome Sensei in the old days in Japan when Sensei was the Honbu Dojo representative at various martial arts demos. I asked him about the ukemi and if they rehearsed their demos. He said no and stated that the only thing he tried to do in his demos with Saotome Sensei was try his level best to kill Sensei. Saotome Sensei did the rest. At one demo at the Budokan in the sixties Saotome Sensei felt that the folks from the other martial arts did not respect Aikido. He proceeded to do a three person randori in which he did three entering movements. Ikeda Sensei's description of the aftermath was "One guy no can talk, one guy no can use arm, third guy sleeping". It lasted under ten seconds.

While this demo would perhaps satisfy the most stringent requirements of the "reality factor", I don't think it is seen as necessary or appropriate these days to take things to this extreme. I have never seen anything like this from Saotome Sensei after he came to the States...

So, somewhere in between movement with absolutely no intention and dangerous and destructive technique is where we should be trying to be. I think that demos should be seen as a form of practice for the people putting on the demo. They should have all the elements you would expect to see on a Dan test in terms of energy and intention but they can't be "real" either. All of our training, if it is to be done safely with no intentional injury will be a form of collusion on some level. My only desire is to see that the people doing the demo execute their techniques "as if" there weren't.

NagaBaba
06-19-2006, 09:25 PM
But one can rightly ask, eWhatfs it all for?f What is the point of a demonstration? How can you actually 'demonstrate' 'real' aikido, if it is supposed to be the spontaneous 'takemusu aiki' etc etc, that we will learn about if we read O Sensei's writings?


So, I do not want to pass judgment on the demonstration, other than raise a few questions about the purpose.

Best wishes to all,

spontaneous 'takemusu aiki' ?? I understand we aren't talking about video from the topic anymore? No, I've never dreamed to ask about such level of practice.

Yes, for me, and for few other ppl demo is only another training, where public is allowed to watch. Nothing very special.
There is very important reason for that -- aikido as a Budo, per definition, is not for the show. Of course, sensei can choose these special conditions to teach something his students. Some will learn, some not, but it is still only normal teachning.

I was uke for few demo in prehistoric times of my practice, and never ever was question about preparation. I would be very insulting to my instructor even to think he must prepare something. These demo were very sever teaching, but I survived and learned tons of stuff for all my life.

One thing I learned among others-- the demo must be done only by very advanced aikido folks.Otherwise we face the disaster.

Oh yes, absolutely. :-) He takes his mouth so full, we want to see some action too!
I practice 3 hours a day, EVERY day, + weekend seminars with shihans.
Watching my aikido practice can be very dangerous for you -- you may discover I move like O sensei himself :D What would you do??? What would you do??? http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/fragend/confused-smiley-013.gif

...would like to see a video of the unpronounceable one. Locals tell me admiringly that he's "dirty". I like him already (well, I've liked him for years for his posts, but...)
Well, I didnt plan to release video of my practice very soon, but now discovering excellent business opportunity I'm starting to think about it

http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/party/party-smiley-038.gif

dps
06-19-2006, 09:56 PM
s
Well, I didnt plan to release video of my practice very soon, but now discovering excellent business opportunity I'm starting to think about it

http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/party/party-smiley-038.gif

Will the video have a naked woman, rum cake and cocktails? :)

Talon
06-19-2006, 10:08 PM
I think that IF the video IS of naked women.....Szczepan can make some serious BUCKS!!! :)

Peter Goldsbury
06-19-2006, 11:34 PM
Hello Mark,

When I lived and trained in the UK with the AGB and the BAF, we never did any demonstrations. I think the only one I can remember was held by Terry Ezra in Liverpool to mark some anniversary or other. I also remember being the partner of M Kanetsuka for a demonstration in London, but this involved only Saito Sensei's kumi-tachi.

There was absolutely no question of preparing for or choreographing a demonstration. However, here in Japan it is more likely that there will be demonstrations at important events and that they will be choreographed or prepared for in some way. I once participated in the All-Japan Demonstration, representing the Hiroshima Dojo. My teacher insisted on preparing and vetting every single movement and technique, on the grounds that it would be in front of Doshu. I felt bad about it because I think that a demonstration should be ordinary training, with people watching. So I never volunteered again.

Hanna B
06-20-2006, 12:08 AM
Ah Unpronuncable One, you really did not want the thread to leave the subject of yourself... did you? :D

Hanna B
06-20-2006, 12:18 AM
I felt bad about it because I think that a demonstration should be ordinary training, with people watching.

More than 10 years ago I visited a martial arts gala. I do not remember how many hours of demos I watched from different arts. Very few of the demonstrations consisted of normal training - most demos very full of as many spectacular kicks as possible, people jumped up to kick peaches from swords and did arranged "self defence" scenes were someone was assaulted but ended victorious etc. One of the few who showed real training was, in my mind, the most impressive demo, the one I still remember: Wai Po Tang of wing chun showing some ordinary training with kicking on pads and training with the wooden dummy.

My conclusion is, most demos are designed to look impressive to the relatively ignorant audience.

xuzen
06-20-2006, 12:28 AM
Not sure with other arts, but IMO, it is difficult to show the REAL (TM) aikido to audience sitting comfortably in the spectator booth. All you can do is to show the shell of aikido, i.e., the flips, the graceful ukemi etc...

To really appreciate the functional beauty of aikido, one must get down on to the mat and FEEL IT (TM).

That is why, when seeing aikido demo, just appreciate it for what it is worth, entertainment.

Boon.

Peter Goldsbury
06-20-2006, 02:33 AM
Back in the 1930's when O-sensei was asked to demonstrate his art before the Imperial family he apparently demurred at first saying that he didn't want to present something false in such an important occasion and that reality was about life and death confrontation. He was persuaded to present his demo, even though it wasn'r "real". It was real enough, however, that on the first technique he broke his uke's arm and Shioda Sensei had to do all the rest of the ukemi... 45 minutes straight of all out ukemi. All were said to heve collapsed in exhaustion once the demo was over.

Yes, and I believe that this was a one-off. I understand that O Sensei was not in favour of demonstrations of aikido given before the general public, for reasons to do with keeping the art 'pure'.

After the war, however, things changed and demonstrations were held in an effort to make aikido better known. I do not think Morihei Ueshiba took part in these demonstration until the the precursor of the All-Japan Demonstrations was held. This would have been in the early sixties. The motivator behind these postwar demonstrations of aikido was Kisshomaru Ueshiba and his colleagues in the Aikikai Hombu.

Peter Goldsbury
06-20-2006, 02:43 AM
Not sure with other arts, but IMO, it is difficult to show the REAL (TM) aikido to audience sitting comfortably in the spectator booth. All you can do is to show the shell of aikido, i.e., the flips, the graceful ukemi etc...

To really appreciate the functional beauty of aikido, one must get down on to the mat and FEEL IT (TM).

That is why, when seeing aikido demo, just appreciate it for what it is worth, entertainment.

Boon.

We do not do demonstrations in my own dojo, in order to attract new members. Prospective members are invited to come and watch training and to come on the mat if they wish.

Of course, one fundamental purpose of demonstrations of the martial arts in traditional Japan was as an offering to the kami at festivals. Matsuri is the noun of the Japanese verb matsuru, which means to deify or worship as a deity. So, those being entertained were not physically present at the demonstration.

xuzen
06-20-2006, 03:31 AM
We do not do demonstrations in my own dojo, in order to attract new members. Prospective members are invited to come and watch training and to come on the mat if they wish.
Dear Peter-sama,
Like wise, my current aikido dojo has never done any demo nor promotional activity to date, and yet our membership is increasing... 100% through word of mouth. I think that is the best advertising any dojo can ever have.

Of course, one fundamental purpose of demonstrations of the martial arts in traditional Japan was as an offering to the kami at festivals. Matsuri is the noun of the Japanese verb matsuru, which means to deify or worship as a deity. So, those being entertained were not physically present at the demonstration.

In my culture, on 15/14th day of the 7th month of the lunar calender, the mortals will hold opera show al-fresco'ly. And yet, despite the show going on, no mortal except the performers will be at the premise. Similarly to your concept, those that are being entertained are not physically present.

Boon.

Mark Freeman
06-20-2006, 04:02 AM
. I felt bad about it because I think that a demonstration should be ordinary training, with people watching.

It seems there is a cultural differnce between Japan and the UK eh Peter?

I have only been involved in one demonstration in my aikido career. It was when I started teaching. The club that I was leaving came to my new venue and we all took part in a public demonstration in an attempt to attract new members for the fledgling teacher. The demo consisted of a normal lesson, with nothing different to what a new student would find if they just turned up out of the blue and got on the mat. There was no discussion beforehand of what would be done.
It went as a normal class would, with people of varying grades doing what they normally do, trying to practice what the Sensei has demonstrated, with input from him as they go about it.
In this way, the spectators saw exactly what they can expect if they were to join. Of course there was some 'spectacular' aikido on show, but this was an every lesson normality from my Sensei ;)

George Ledyard wrote:
So, somewhere in between movement with absolutely no intention and dangerous and destructive technique is where we should be trying to be.

I totally agree with this, there is 'real' and 'really real'. 'Really real' belongs on the battlefield, aikido has the capacity to be destructive, but if we practiced at this level all of the time, we would run out of willing uke's pretty darn quickly. The blood and guts practice common in yesteryear is not so evident today, and maybe thats a good thing. The world moves on. Japan is not the same now as it was in the past, it wants to show a different more peaceful face to the world.

I'm sure that there are enough aikidoka agreeing with George's point above to keep the integrity in aikido as we progress into the 21st Century.
We do have to accept the 'width' of modern aikido practice, and if some take their learning off to the edges of what is considered 'no longer 'real' aikido, then so be it. Maybe it will attract more people to the art, a good thing in my book. These new people will in time start to understand aikido as a whole, not just what they learned from their teacher.

When I started aikido, self defence was not a priority, it still isn't. I'm sure I'm not unique, and that others like me were attracted by the 'wholeness' of the art, the chance to practice something that would feed the mind, body and spirit in equal measure. A chance to journey with like minded individuals on a path of dicovery of the 'truth' of oneself. Aikido has given me this and more than I could imagine when I joined. If I had seen a brutal display of aikido effectiveness with broken bones being the result, I may never have started.

Keep it real but don't try to keep it the same.

regards,

Mark
p.s. a 100 posts in just a few days, I really put the cat amongst the pigeons didn't I? ;)

billybob
06-20-2006, 09:07 AM
Ledyard Sensei said:It's not hard to do physical blending movement when the attacks are "low voltage" so to speak. As I say, I think the demo was a very nice example of the aiki of movement. But none of those ladies would keep her projection if attacked with real intensity. This is not meant to, as Szcepan has, disparage the whole demo. All of the components of good Aikido are there in the physical sense. But the inner strength that is required to take this movement to the level of Budo isn't there.

Sensei, I respect you sir.

I take issue with your logic: "But none of those ladies would keep her projection if attacked with real intensity." Drawing this conclusion makes no sense. If any of those ladies were carrying her child and attacked on the street it would, I believe, become very clear that they are studying budo, and that the female gender is the more dangerous of the two in our species.

My opinion, Sir.

David

Mato-san
06-20-2006, 09:13 AM
Very nice (say no more)

George S. Ledyard
06-20-2006, 10:29 AM
Ledyard Sensei said:

Sensei, I respect you sir.

I take issue with your logic: "But none of those ladies would keep her projection if attacked with real intensity." Drawing this conclusion makes no sense. If any of those ladies were carrying her child and attacked on the street it would, I believe, become very clear that they are studying budo, and that the female gender is the more dangerous of the two in our species.

My opinion, Sir.

David
David,
What someone is capable of in a life and death situation is not particularly relevant here. I am talking about how we train and how the energetics of the Aikido interaction work. This is not just a matter of "intensity" although that is important for proper training. I am talking about aiki. Aiki is about moving the partner / opponent's mind in order to move his body. We use all of the forms of sensory input to do this... visual, sound, tactile, etc. All are entries to the mind of the partner and all can produce movement of the mind which will connect to the body.

If you don't train in how to project your intention, to develop that strong mental focus that allows you to effect the attacker before you even connect physically, you can NEVER take your Aikido up to a higher level. Physical relaxation is important, even crucial, to doing Aikido. But the relaxation of the mind under pressure is a prerequisite of a relaxed body. This has to be trained. If people train only with fairly low intention, even if the practice is quite aerobic, it will not prepare you for an encounter of high intention. PERIOD.

I do not doubt that these ladies could be quite dangerous if threatened, especially if they were protecting a child... But they are extremely unlikely to produce technique with aiki in that situation if they haven't routinely trained for it.

This is not a value judgment. These ladies look quite good and any teacher would bee happy to have them training at his dojo. They have abviously worked long and hard at their art. But if they want to get past Aikido simply as movemnt and get to the other levels, they need to start putting in the intentsity and intention. This is a common issue in the training I see all over. Intention starts to tap into ones fears and that isn't necessarly confortable. So many, if not most, folks would rather tone it down. But that "toning down" prevents them from getting to a higher level of technique.

Dominic Toupin
06-20-2006, 10:37 AM
When thinking about the intent and intensity of attack in an aikido demo, it's always in my mind related to the aim of the demo.

If you look at Morihiro Saito at 1994 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration with Pat Hendrick (you can see a clip at aikidojournal.com). They give an impressive demo in a kata form. All the move were planned in advance and I do not think that Hendricks Sensei have the real intention to hit Saito Sensei. Yes the attack was real, if Saito Sensei didn't move properly, he will be hit by the bokken.

Now I do not think that anyone could argue about the quality and the impressive look of that demonstration. Maybe Szczepan Janczuk will argue about it saying that those shihan had nothing to do with aikido.

By the way Szczepan Janczuk, when someone ask you a question (see post #54), why not give an answer. Probably that my question didn't have any relation to aikido or something like that

Mark Freeman
06-20-2006, 11:09 AM
What someone is capable of in a life and death situation is not particularly relevant here. I am talking about how we train and how the energetics of the Aikido interaction work. This is not just a matter of "intensity" although that is important for proper training. I am talking about aiki. Aiki is about moving the partner / opponent's mind in order to move his body. We use all of the forms of sensory input to do this... visual, sound, tactile, etc. All are entries to the mind of the partner and all can produce movement of the mind which will connect to the body.

If you don't train in how to project your intention, to develop that strong mental focus that allows you to effect the attacker before you even connect physically, you can NEVER take your Aikido up to a higher level. Physical relaxation is important, even crucial, to doing Aikido. But the relaxation of the mind under pressure is a prerequisite of a relaxed body. This has to be trained. If people train only with fairly low intention, even if the practice is quite aerobic, it will not prepare you for an encounter of high intention. PERIOD.

I have written about this aspect ( the mind leading the body) in another thread and nobody took me up on it. Is it an area that is lacking in some aikido, or is it something that is only understood after a great deal of training?

Good post George, thanks,

regards,

Mark

ChrisMoses
06-20-2006, 11:59 AM
I have written about this aspect ( the mind leading the body) in another thread and nobody took me up on it. Is it an area that is lacking in some aikido, or is it something that is only understood after a great deal of training?

Good post George, thanks,

regards,

Mark

It's been my experience that what most people in Aikido think of as 'leading the mind' is behavioral conditioning. 'Leading' can be a real phenomenon, but the kinds of gross movements I'm most familiar with in Aikido simply don't work outside of their overly cooperative settings. I think a lot of people think that they get it, but I would challenge them to effectively lead anyone trained in any other art, even just in honest cooperative training.

Since I'm bothering to post here, I'd agree that I don't see a lot of 'martial' quality in the video in question. I do see some impressive body skill and coordination, but I'm not too interested in that. I'm not going to make any general statements about the martial quality of the women in question though, people often do things in demos are not representative of their real character.

I am however reminded of a conversation with a friend and Iaido instructor, Scott Irey. We were watching a demonstration of iaido/batto/kenjutsu by various dojos and were pretty universally uninspired. His comment was along the lines that, "Too many students see the poses when a kata stops and try to shape themselves the same way. Too few try to see what the body is doing in the moments of movement. This however is where the real meat of the kata exists." It's my opinion that most martial artists flit from pose to pose rather than really getting into the meaning of the movements. In this way things may *look* right, but the meaning of the movements has been totally lost. I attended the first Vegas Aiki Expo, and was pretty underwhelmed at most of the Aikido demos, but when Ushiro Sensei started moving, I took note. Even though he didn't have a partner (yet) I could see his body transmitting force and the subtle relaxation and extension of his movements. He wound up in the right poses because the movements transitioning one to the next were nearly perfect, not because he knew how to pose.

billybob
06-20-2006, 12:59 PM
Ledyard Sensei said If you don't train in how to project your intention, to develop that strong mental focus that allows you to effect the attacker before you even connect physically, you can NEVER take your Aikido up to a higher level. Physical relaxation is important, even crucial, to doing Aikido. But the relaxation of the mind under pressure is a prerequisite of a relaxed body. This has to be trained. If people train only with fairly low intention, even if the practice is quite aerobic, it will not prepare you for an encounter of high intention. PERIOD.

Sir, the finest throws I did in judo, before I was seriously injured, were techniques that had no intention, no projection, at their outset. I was falling, or being thrown, and very peacefully, turned, and made the fall into a koshi technique. Has Sutemi Waza (sacrifice technique) no place in aikido?

As I look at the symbol for Yin and Yang I see that half of the circle is receptivity, and giving and receiving are continuously trading places in the circle. Logically, either you are focusing only on the Yang aspect of aikido, or I am never going to take my aikido to a higher level!

Alas for me, Sir, you are more qualified to judge.

Respectfully, David

ChrisMoses
06-20-2006, 01:04 PM
Has Sutemi Waza (sacrifice technique) no place in aikido?



Actually in most Aikido there is no place for sutemi. Many seniors know some from their judo days, but it only forms a formal part of the Yoseikan curriculum. My first aikido school had "ushiro-nage" aka tomoe-nage aka the Capt. Kirk throw, but that too was a hold over from their judo days. I don't know enough about Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido to say if they have formalized sutemi into their sylabus, but it's safe to say that Yoseikan and Tomiki are not representative of mainline 'typical' aikido anyway.

NagaBaba
06-20-2006, 01:07 PM
By the way Szczepan Janczuk, when someone ask you a question (see post #54), why not give an answer.
Because you don't know how to discuss a topic, instead, you are trying to attack me personaly. This often happens because of lack well build arguments. I tend to ignore such inexperienced young lions.

In the other hand nobody in the world have obligation to respond you only because you asked.

billybob
06-20-2006, 01:27 PM
Christian Moses kindly responded Actually in most Aikido there is no place for sutemi.

That might explain why so many, not just beginners, force their technique when it doesn't go as they expect.

David

George S. Ledyard
06-20-2006, 02:03 PM
Ledyard Sensei said

Sir, the finest throws I did in judo, before I was seriously injured, were techniques that had no intention, no projection, at their outset. I was falling, or being thrown, and very peacefully, turned, and made the fall into a koshi technique. Has Sutemi Waza (sacrifice technique) no place in aikido?

As I look at the symbol for Yin and Yang I see that half of the circle is receptivity, and giving and receiving are continuously trading places in the circle. Logically, either you are focusing only on the Yang aspect of aikido, or I am never going to take my aikido to a higher level!

Alas for me, Sir, you are more qualified to judge.

Respectfully, David
David,
We are not on the same page in what we are discussing. It's apples and oranges. I am sorry but I am not sure how to bridge this gap.
- George

billybob
06-20-2006, 02:04 PM
Thank you for answering sir. More training for me.

David

L. Camejo
06-20-2006, 04:14 PM
I don't know enough about Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido to say if they have formalized sutemi into their sylabus, but it's safe to say that Yoseikan and Tomiki are not representative of mainline 'typical' aikido anyway.
From my understanding there are no Sutemi waza in Shodokan training. In fact, any loss of balance while executing waza is not looked upon as an execution of quality technique from my experience. Tomiki was very clear on keeping Aikido and Judo practice as separate things and did not "borrow" techniques from one into the other.

However it is interesting that within photo archives of "mainline, typical" Aikido (i.e. pics of Ueshiba M.) there are shots of him doing Ne Waza, which is where one often ends up after executing Sutemi Waza.

'Leading' can be a real phenomenon, but the kinds of gross movements I'm most familiar with in Aikido simply don't work outside of their overly cooperative settings.
Actually leading works extremely well in uncooperative training, but it is not a product of gross movemements, but very subtle ones from my experience. Proper manipulation of ma ai is one key aspect.

George: Your comments regarding intent reminds me of a chat I had with a student recently. Relaxation of mind and body while under pressure is extremely important in getting to the meat of the stuff. I hope training is coming along well.

Onegaishimasu.
LC:ai::ki:

Don_Modesto
06-20-2006, 08:55 PM
At one demo at the Budokan in the sixties Saotome Sensei felt that the folks from the other martial arts did not respect Aikido. He proceeded to do a three person randori in which he did three entering movements. Ikeda Sensei's description of the aftermath was "One guy no can talk, one guy no can use arm, third guy sleeping". It lasted under ten seconds.

Hi, George,

I've heard this story but always considered it myth. It's very difficult to reconcile with the Saotome I've known (someone I've never known to hurt anyone.)

You mean that in order to prove a point to outsiders, he breached the trust of his UKE and deliberately injured them?

Hard to conceive.

Thanks.

Don_Modesto
06-20-2006, 08:58 PM
More than 10 years ago I visited a martial arts gala. I do not remember how many hours of demos I watched from different arts. Very few of the demonstrations consisted of normal training - most demos very full of as many spectacular kicks as possible, people jumped up to kick peaches from swords and did arranged "self defence" scenes were someone was assaulted but ended victorious etc.

I attended a KORYU demo once at the Budokan and had to laugh. The whole day long there were spectacular demos of skill and precision by these venerable ancients in wispy beards.

Polite applause.

Then, at the end of the day, they brought out the black powder arquebuses.

! BOOM !

Wild applause and shouting.

giriasis
06-20-2006, 09:10 PM
(Anne-Marie, perhaps you might talk to Mr Peter Bernath and see if he remembers Fred Wagstaff. I think Fred moved from Boston to NY after I left the US in 1975. Yamada Sensei recently told me that Fred had died, and had died of AIDS.)

I'll be sure to do that. I'm sure he does. And, the hair flick of Kanai Sensei always brings back good memories of him. There are times at seminars where you can just feel his presence. Or at least, we're all thinking of him because Claude or Peter or even Yamada Sensei is demonstrating a "Kanai Sensei throw." Oh, we miss him so.

Mark Freeman said:
Personally, I find some of the criticisms levelled at the 'softer' styles of aikido to be founded in lack of understanding. However I admit that when seen from the outside, this form of aikido can seem unrealistic. You only have to see O Sensei in the latter part of his life to agree with this.

I feel very much the same way. I often hear people say the same thing about softer stylists, almost as if its an apology for not being martial or for not being good enough -- at least is soft and pretty. Or it's used as a put down, "it's soft and pretty," "good movement but aerobic classes." Unfortunately, I think hard stylists are just as apt to gymnastic stylings in the ukemi even with what appears to be "good attacks." I saw a few videos like that on that site, too. Maybe folks should go check them all out. I know I did. I enjoy watching clips of people practicing no fronts or airs on being "perfect" or "ultimate" just a regular person practicing their stuff and putting it on the net.

I often seen people (usually men) at seminars challange the likes of Penny Bernath, because she really does enjoy the movement and art of aikido over the martiality of it, but then I watch her deliver precise strong technique to these guys without being Mr. Tough Guy or copping a 'tud (like I do.) I really cringe when I hear people demean the importance of movement as if that's the most basic way to train. However, in my opinion it's the more diffcult to make a technique fluid AND precise; filled with movement AND strong. Static training and stiff ukemi is not necessarily advanced training, either. And in some schools it's not preferrable.

I agree with you give these young women a few more years and they will start to develop their strength of their center which will help with the strength of their attacks. It will develop in time.

George S. Ledyard
06-20-2006, 09:30 PM
Hi, George,

I've heard this story but always considered it myth. It's very difficult to reconcile with the Saotome I've known (someone I've never known to hurt anyone.)

You mean that in order to prove a point to outsiders, he breached the trust of his UKE and deliberately injured them?

Hard to conceive.

Thanks.

I have heard the story both from Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei (he was the one who was knocked out).

I guess he felt that things were different here... In thirty years I have never known him to deliberately hurt anyone. I have never been injured training with either Saotome Sensei or Ikeda Sensei.

George S. Ledyard
06-20-2006, 09:49 PM
I really cringe when I hear people demean the importance of movement as if that's the most basic way to train.
Hi Anne Marie,
Movement is the most basic way to train. It is the very first thing you need to learn in Aikido. It is the foundation of everything. That does not "demean" it in any way. The large harmonious movements of Aikido are one aspect of aiki. One should not make the mistake of thinking that these large movements represent the pinnacle of what the art is about....

There was a very high ranking gentleman from one organization who said of Ikeda Sensei, "His knees are bad and he can't really do Aikido any more..." I just laughed to hear that. Ikeda Sensei can throw you and the movement is just barely visible. His skill level is simply amazing. Yet this individual had identified the large movement techniques which comprise the kihon waza with the art itself. Those are just good solid basics but there is a huge world to explore beyond that in Aikido. Some folks choose not to look past this area to what is beyond.

crbateman
06-21-2006, 03:51 AM
The large harmonious movements of Aikido are one aspect of aiki. One should not make the mistake of thinking that these large movements represent the pinnacle of what the art is about....

Those are just good solid basics but there is a huge world to explore beyond that in Aikido. Some folks choose not to look past this area to what is beyond.I very much agree with these statements. I have always been taught that the large movements are the first stage of learning the waza, and that continued practice will refine and make the movements more compact, finally resulting (in the most accomplished of practitioners) in the movements being very small, or almost imperceptible. Hope I get there someday, even if it's in only one technique...

dps
06-21-2006, 06:19 AM
I very much agree with these statements. I have always been taught that the large movements are the first stage of learning the waza, and that continued practice will refine and make the movements more compact, finally resulting (in the most accomplished of practitioners) in the movements being very small, or almost imperceptible. Hope I get there someday, even if it's in only one technique...

I first learned Aikido from an Aikikai style dojo and was taught big circles and big movements with some mention of tightening to smaller circles (techniques to use in a telephone booth). I currently study in a Shodokan Aikido dojo where the circles and movements are smaller and sometimes imperceptible. I thought I was seeing linear movements unitl Sensei explained that the cicles and movements were internal, the flexing and contracing of the muscles .
Does anybody else remember what a telephone booth looks like or know what one is?

Ron Tisdale
06-21-2006, 07:07 AM
Yeah, I remember...omph....getting old stinks. ;)

Unfortunately, I think hard stylists are just as apt to gymnastic stylings in the ukemi even with what appears to be "good attacks."

You are absolutely correct in this.

Best,
Ron

crbateman
06-21-2006, 08:02 AM
Yeah, I remember...omph....getting old stinks. ;)

Not when you consider the alternatives... ;)

Don_Modesto
06-21-2006, 01:14 PM
Does anybody else remember what a telephone booth looks like or know what one is?

Booth?

Is that what you used to call a shirt pocket?

Fred Little
06-21-2006, 01:59 PM
Booth?

Is that what you used to call a shirt pocket?

Mr. Modesto!

If you haven't mastered the ability to set that unit to vibrate, I'm going to have to ask you to leave the room for the rest of the class period!

But seriously....phone booths are not just a geezer remembrance any more:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techinnovations/2006-06-18-cellphone-booths_x.htm

Jerry Miller
06-21-2006, 02:15 PM
Without the phone booth we would not have Dr Who. I would advocate something like the cone of silence from "Get Smart" that would drop down over diners and movie goers.

Hanna B
06-21-2006, 03:02 PM
Does anybody else remember what a telephone booth looks like or know what one is?

...

It has to do with Superman, right? :-)

Mike Hamer
06-21-2006, 06:45 PM
This is beauty at it's finest. Thank you Mark.

batemanb
06-22-2006, 12:31 AM
Without the phone booth we would not have Dr Who.


The TARDIS is actually a Police Box, not a phone booth ;):).

Mark Freeman
06-22-2006, 03:20 AM
The TARDIS is actually a Police Box, not a phone booth ;):).

Thanks for pointing out this major historical faux pas Bryan :D

It seems that this thread has run it's natural course, when we are talking about doing aikido in a shirt pocket :D

thanks to all the forum members for contributing to such a lively debate. Over to you guys for the next one. ;)

regards

Mark

Bronson
06-22-2006, 01:42 PM
The TARDIS is actually a Police Box, not a phone booth ;):).

T.A.R.D.I.S.---Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, if I remember correctly :rolleyes:

I'm such a nerd.

Bronson

Jerry Miller
06-22-2006, 02:10 PM
Police box :confused: is that something from the other side of the pond? ;)

Ron Tisdale
06-22-2006, 02:24 PM
you betcha!

B,
R (love Dr. Who...one of my fav's)

Bronson
06-22-2006, 02:32 PM
(love Dr. Who...one of my fav's)

Because you sir, are also a nerd :cool:

Bronson (at least I'm in good company)

Guilty Spark
07-02-2006, 04:12 PM
Looks like who ever posted this video removed it. IT's a shame I showed it to a lot of people.

Walter Martindale
07-02-2006, 06:16 PM
New to the forum - tried your link to the video and it "has been removed by the user". :(
Did anyone save a copy for posting elsewhere?
Walter