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grondahl
09-21-2006, 04:48 PM
Really nice clip of Seichiro Endo Shihan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylrcUJc7MIA&mode=related&search=

Especially the morote dori kokyo-ho and the iriminage between 02:07 and 02:25

SteveTrinkle
09-21-2006, 06:24 PM
Can really see Yamaguchi Sensei influence. Very, very nice. Thanks.

NagaBaba
09-21-2006, 09:33 PM
With those ukes that follow whatever nage do, I'd be able to do not only the same but much better job, so I don't see nothing exciting on this video... :)

SteveTrinkle
09-21-2006, 09:40 PM
With those ukes that follow whatever nage do, I'd be able to do not only the same but much better job, so I don't see nothing exciting on this video... :)

That would be great! Please post your video.

Thanks

Mashu
09-21-2006, 09:46 PM
The All Japan Enbu Taikai demonstrations are not known for their spontaneity.

NagaBaba
09-22-2006, 07:57 AM
That would be great! Please post your video.

Thanks
I know it would be great, the biggest problem is to find such good uke :p ..........mhmhm......any ideas? :D

MikeE
09-22-2006, 08:38 AM
I found his posture, ease of movement, and ki no nagare fantastic. Wow, Nagababa you must really be very good to have developed such movement (or better). Maybe I should come train with you and you could teach me.

Dennis Hooker
09-22-2006, 09:26 AM
Or maybe the uke weren't that good, maybe he was. Damn that would screw up the hypotheses.

aikidoc
09-22-2006, 09:27 AM
Yeah, maybe I should abandon my master too.

As pointed out, he had excellent form, posture, etc. Balance breaks were evident in every technique. Just because it looks easy does not make it so. I know when I grab my instructor, it sure feels a whole lot different from anyone else I have grabbed-except maybe other 8th dans. You don't feel strength but you do feel power. It's relaxed and your energy seems to just move. Mine gets upset with you if you don't give him a hard attack. Perhaps you have mastered what it took my master 52 years of regular aikido to develop. I humbly bow.

Ron Tisdale
09-22-2006, 10:07 AM
I have to disagree with Mr. S here, though I should also state that as much as I'd like to see his own video, that doesn't necessarily detract from his stated position. Of course, his gruffness (as always) will tend to snarfle others... ;).

The things I liked about this video are the strength of connection between shite and uke, the carefull management of ma ai by shite, the precision of shite's posture, and the clear application of power into uke by shite. True to one of the halmarks of the lineage, you can see the uke doing their best to maintain their posture and physical integrity, while keeping a low center. The result is a nice 'tension' between uke and shite with very little or no slack in the relationship, which is a good conduit for the power in throws like the ganmen tsuki at 1:16, and the sumi otoshi / koshinage shown at 1:20. Uke is constantly being stretched out, and kept on the edge of their balance...what often looks like following often occurs because they are at the edge of their balance and postural integrity.

While some may find that this type of keiko is not as martial as they might like, I personally have never been able to take advantage of any percieved openings when training with people like Kirisawa Sensei in the Yamaguchi lineage (he's only 5th or 6th dan, so I'm not even dreaming about being able to compromise Endo Shihan). And even when I came at him full power...I just had to take a harder fall.

Best,
Ron

Nick P.
09-22-2006, 11:21 AM
... Wow, Nagababa you must really be very good to have developed such movement (or better). Maybe I should come train with you and you could teach me.

You cant; he is not a master (quite talented I bet, but no master...)


06-05-2006, 11:06 PM Re: Replacing Dojo/Instructor

Roy,
You should learn aikido from a Master, not from shodan level instructor.
Find a Master that will give you motivation for all life training. Otherwise it is simply waste of your preciouse time."

Jeremy Hulley
09-22-2006, 11:22 AM
Ron,
Nice post...It made me go back and re-think how I looked at that video.
Pretty good stuff.

Best
Jeremy

ChrisMoses
09-22-2006, 11:53 AM
Pretty good stuff.

Best
Jeremy

Agreed. It's not really what I'm working on these days, but it has the ring of truth. He's able to move with a relaxed power that keeps his movements to a minimum, and it's clear that he's affecting uke's balance at the beginning of the encounter and maintaining that disruption through to the throw. Me like.

Ron Tisdale
09-22-2006, 12:45 PM
The thing about differences in style can be very confusing. It's extremely rare (in my limited experience) to see someone proficient (or even appreciative) of styles as divergent as what you see here, and what you might see in a Chiba Shihan or Kanai Shihan video. As Mr. S. once remarked, each teacher is working on building up specific things from the start, to get to a certain place. Take one piece out, and you risk the whole tower falling.

Unless you can open your mind to the totality of what is being accomplished, you won't get inside what is happening in videos like this, especially if you are from a totally different tradition (aiki-budo-ites like myself will have an especially hard time). One more reason to get on the mat and take the ukemi for yourself (ala Don Modesto). After you finish shooting your wad and getting smashed by these instructors, you can then get down to learning what they have to teach. Maybe... ;)

Best,
Ron

Lan Powers
09-22-2006, 02:16 PM
quote< ...what often looks like following often occurs because they are at the edge of their balance and postural integrity > unquote

Very well phrased.
Lan

batemanb
09-22-2006, 02:32 PM
Needless to say, I disagree with Nagababa too. It's all too easy to poo poo people just by watching a video, and Nagababa does it all too often, without ever showing us how it really should be done, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

I haven't trained with Endo Sensei nearly as much as I would have liked, nor as much as I could have (should have made more effort when I was living in Tokyo), but in the 5 or 6 times I have trained with him, he has been nothing but a pleasure. If uke's give a committed attack, he will have you falling all over the shop plain and simple.

Whilst not training with Endo sensei that much, I have trained a lot more with Nakao sensei, also a student of Yamaguchi sensei, and now a student of Endo sensei. What they do is a joy, it may not suit those that like their aikido to appear hard and strong, because it looks too soft, apparently, but I promise you the power in their techniques is equal to any aikido you will find elsewhere, including Nagababa's.

I know Ron's been on the end of Nakao sensei, so he has a good idea of what it might be like to be on the end of Endo sensei. Anyone who get's the chance to train with either of these teachers should do so, it will only be a benefit, regardless of what you may think after watching the video footage.

rgds
Bryan

Roman Kremianski
09-22-2006, 02:59 PM
This is either the greatest soft Aikido I've ever seen, or the uke is just very friendly and doesn't want to try any funny buisness. :D

Either way, putting my foot in my mouth now. Interesting video I suppose. I wish I could go up as uke against him and get a first-hand taste for myself! :uch:

Ron Tisdale
09-22-2006, 03:05 PM
know Ron's been on the end of Nakao sensei, so he has a good idea of what it might be like to be on the end of Endo sensei. Anyone who get's the chance to train with either of these teachers should do so, it will only be a benefit, regardless of what you may think after watching the video footage.

There's a review of my time on the end of Nakao Sensei kicking around here somewhere...

I can promise you, Mr. S, from first hand experience...you could probably take your bestest shot at Nakao Sensei...you'll still go boom. But I'd love to be there to see it! ;)

B,
R

ChrisMoses
09-22-2006, 03:07 PM
The thing about differences in style can be very confusing. It's extremely rare (in my limited experience) to see someone proficient (or even appreciative) of styles as divergent as what you see here, and what you might see in a Chiba Shihan or Kanai Shihan video.

Ain't that the truth. This was one of the things I really liked about the AikiExpo that I attended. It also served to really call out some of those aiki-myths (like jujutsu is crude and simple and karate can't be subtle). These days I look at two primary things when evaluating someone visually, *and* I try to keep in mind that looks only tell part of it.

1) How specifically is nage moving? Are they generating power in a way that I can understand, is their footwork simple and intentional, do they look structurally sound? It also helps to know what the 'rules' are within their paradigm.

2) What is the effect of the encounter on uke? Are they planted and relaxed (bad) or is their balance compromised (good)? Do their attacks look credible (good) or overly cooperative (bad)? Along the same lines, do they look like they've been behaviourally conditioned to fall either through outright abuse or physical retribution (very, very bad, and very common)? Are they taking a lot of steps (I consider this bad) or are their movements fairly limited after the initial contact (mo betta)?

Ron, I knew you'd be interesting when you (a Yoshinkan guy) helped with a John Stevens seminar. That told me you were really looking for something and willing to step out of your paradigm to do so. There were a lot of people at the Expo (of all styles) that were quite unwilling to do that.

Ron Tisdale
09-22-2006, 03:24 PM
Thanks for the kind words, Chris. This subject is something we'd all better get a handle on...there is the distinct possibility that it could lead to various strains and styles dying out. And that would be a shame. Can you imagine aikido without Kato Shihan? Or Inoue Sensei? Or Arikawa Shihan? or a host of others? All different. All good.

Best,
Ron

jaime exley
09-22-2006, 09:38 PM
I have trained with all three of the ukes on that video, Shimizu Sensei, Ariga-san and Tanaka-san. I can attest to the fact that they are Heavy with a capitol H. Each has their own individual feeling, but they share a similar quality. The closest that I can come to describing it is yawarakakute omoi . (flexible and heavy) I've been working to understand this feeling for a few years and am comlepletely fascinated.

It's OK to appreciate one teachers Aikido over anothers. We just all need to be careful that we don't prove ourselves to be too ignorant or mean spirited in the process.

aikidoc
09-22-2006, 10:00 PM
Thanks for the kind words, Chris. This subject is something we'd all better get a handle on...there is the distinct possibility that it could lead to various strains and styles dying out. And that would be a shame. Can you imagine aikido without Kato Shihan? Or Inoue Sensei? Or Arikawa Shihan? or a host of others? All different. All good.

Best,
Ron

Thank you for the kind comments on Kato Sensei. As a student, I appreciate your comments. Unfortunately, all of the high ranking sensei's are getting up there. Without concerted efforts for the next generation to steal their gifts, their valuable knowledge will be lost forever.

NagaBaba
09-22-2006, 10:43 PM
Or maybe the uke weren't that good, maybe he was. Damn that would screw up the hypotheses.
Dennis, everybody knows very well that aikido in Japan is very different from aikido in Nord America. In Japan, the most important goal for uke is to be in perfect harmony with nage. It is not my imagination, it is simply true -- ask anybody who's been long enough in Hombu aikikai. That's is one of reasons they don't like Iwama aikido, cos Iwama uke has completly different role to play. :D

In the other hand, I'm sure, those uke are able to be heavy -- everybody who train long enough know how to be heavy but flexible. BUT!!! not during official demo with a shihan. During such demo they will harmonise with him perfectly.

So yes, if such good uke wants to harmonise with me perfectly, I can do also very impressive demo. Any shodan will do it and many of 1-2 kyu students either. The reason is simple -- such premise creates pure illusion, that has nothing to do with real skills, and more generaly, with aikido.

NagaBaba
09-22-2006, 10:57 PM
Needless to say, I disagree with Nagababa too. It's all too easy to poo poo people just by watching a video, and Nagababa does it all too often, without ever showing us how it really should be done, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
Bryan,
If someone does a demo in front of thousands spectators, he is expecting to be jugded, may be even he can't live without applause of crows of his fans -- look at all actors :D

I'm not in favor of a demo in general, and personally still search perfect uke -- you know, quite a few shihans do a demo exclusively with his own specialy trained uke. I hope you now understand very well why such a mortal as me can't show you right away 'how it really should be done' :p

NagaBaba
09-22-2006, 11:01 PM
I have to disagree with Mr. S here,

oooouuuffff!!!! fortunatly, otherwise aikiweb would become very boring place :cool:

The things I liked about this video are the strength of connection between shite and uke,
Nice stuff isn't it?
Unfortunately all this is artificial. This connection is created only by uke :rolleyes: That's why a magic like changing distance, changing timing, flow of movements etc are possible to realize.

Breaking balance is done by anticipating uke. Have you seen any situation where uke was surprised? – of course not. See, this is a key for observation. No surprise, so uke can anticipate in positive way, but also can make counter or simply block a technique. . No surprise, so nage can’t break balance for real. Take a look at Shioda sensei demo, his EVERY movement was a surprise to his uke.

gdandscompserv
09-22-2006, 11:22 PM
personally still search perfect uke
I can't imagine why you haven't found one yet.

senshincenter
09-23-2006, 02:24 AM
quick note:

I think both sides are right here – only both sides might be talking about different things. Of the two, I think Mr. S is more on a topic I am likely to agree with. Meaning, yes, there is stuff of many hours of practice and accomplishment here. That is obvious to anyone that also practices many hours subtle training – meaning, someone of great dedication is going to recognize great dedication (vs. a two years of training MMA dabbler – to him this would look like total crap, and be of no value whatsoever). However, and this is how I would understand what Mr. S is saying, we are pretty much looking at what can be called an exaggeration of what is martial. That is to say, great skill is here, many hours of practice, etc., but it is being used in an exaggerated sense, and to that degree it is not 100% consistent with what Mr. S is talking about and/or giving value to (which is something I also tend to give value to).

For me, folks have to learn how to look through exaggerations, particularly when it comes to demonstrations. However, one problem that comes with exaggerations is that folks often stop recognizing the exaggeration for what it is – coming to accept it as objective representation. This is not only a problem for the viewer but also for the person doing the exaggeration him/herself – as said person often comes to believe his/her own exaggeration.

What I hear Mr. S saying is that if you take away any of the exaggerated elements, particularly uke’s own exaggerated elements, the whole exaggeration can be seen for what it is – an exaggeration, a departure from or an extension of what is real. Sure, there are a few non-exaggerated throws in the demonstration, but this often only works to make the whole thing cloudy. Meaning, those few throws do not make the accusation of exaggeration any less accurate – only harder to see through.

For example, take the first throw: the uke just circles around nage. Obviously, the martial tactic here is connection and redirection, etc., but the fact that uke goes around nage simply by having his arm touched thusly – well, that never happens in real life. It cannot happen in real life – not like that at least, not like that (i.e. that is not how you can get someone to be behind you on the spiral). It is something partial only to certain abstract training environments – which tend to be very popular in Aikido. It is something happening here for the sake of demonstrating some other principle, etc. – only, like I said, the problem is that folks often miss this point and expect to see folks running around them just like that when attacked for real and/or they come to believe that that is all one has to do to put an attacker behind them on the spiral, etc. If you look closely, the video is filled with such examples, all similar to the very first throw. I believe this is Mr. S’s point of contention. I do not read him to be saying there is no posture or relaxation, etc.

dmv

Peter Goldsbury
09-23-2006, 06:28 AM
Hello,

There were similar 'issues' concerning Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido, when he was alive. Actually, from what I remember of the locker-room gossip in the Hombu, there were the Believers and the Atheists, with some bewildered Agnostics in the middle, who were wondering what all the fuss was about. The 'Believers' centred around Tissier, Endo and Yasuno, though he was rather younger at the time.

I think Szczepan and David are largely right (with David, I would agree that the circle in the first waza is not what happens in real life, but, on the other hand, the waza is irimi nage, and I have been on the end of Chiba Sensei's version of this waza often enough to know that the circling is not really uke's choice).

If you look at clips of Isoyama Shihan doing the same waza, his ukes are equally isolated from real life, though they all do splendid kiai and ukemi. They come into attack with their arms held high, like the wings of Zero fighters, and Isoyama Sensei goes right in under the chin, with no taisabaki. Of course, it's nonsense, really, totally divorced fom real life, but you just try being on the end of one of these waza.

For what it's worth, when I came to Japan, Chiba Sensei gave me some advice on how to deal with training in the Hombu. Of course, he could not tell me not to train with any of the instructors on the roster, but he did recommend that I train especially with certain Hombu shihan. These shihans were Yamaguchi, Arikawa, Tada (and, of course, people from outside Tokyo like Shirata and Saito, whenever they were in the Hombu). I did.

In the Hombu, I remember a class taught by Endo Sensei that focussed on the taisabaki of kaiten nage in the ura from. My personal opinion is that the ura forms of certain kihon waza are very difficult, 1-kyou and 3-kyou being examples. Kaiten-nage is an anomaly, in my opinion, because it is not really a kihon waza and was not included in the repertoire given in Budo, for example. Well, Endo Sensi was teaching the class in the Hombu, a few years ago, and did not like the way I was practising the waza. So I had to take ukemi, often, and was given very detailed advice on how to perform the ura version of the waza. I have not forgotten this advice.

Of course, my attacks were specified beforehand, since it was a normal class and not a demonstration. I have stated elswehere that I do not really believe in aikido demonstrations, since they seem to achieve no useful purpose.

Finally, I also trained often with Masatake Fujita Shihan. This shihan is constantly underrated by the aikido chattering classes because he openly disavows the accepted theory that weapons training is essential to aikido. His aikido is always 'basic', but is much more subtle than is commonly realized. Stephane S., if you get a chance to take ukemi fron this shihan, do so. Give him all the subtleties of attack that you are capable of and see how he responds.

Best wishes to all,

CitoMaramba
09-23-2006, 10:42 AM
I totally agree with the assessment of Professor Goldsbury of Fujita Shihan. We had the privilege of hosting a seminar given by him in the Philippines last January. I once was on the receiving end of his "basic" techniques, and I must say, my back had never hit the tatami that fast before. Truly an inspiration. I will try my utmost to train with him any chance I get.

aikidoc
09-23-2006, 10:44 AM
I believe Endo Sensei used to be quite forceful or hard when younger until he injured his shoulder. He started looking for ways to accomplish the same things while using less force. In the interview I read, he would ask people to attack him strongly and would try to figure out how to move using no strength. If the kuzushi (balance break) is there, the technique should be effective regardless of the strength used. To me that is the aiki element. Relaxed power.

raul rodrigo
09-23-2006, 11:15 AM
Hello,

There were similar 'issues' concerning Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido, when he was alive. Actually, from what I remember of the locker-room gossip in the Hombu, there were the Believers and the Atheists, with some bewildered Agnostics in the middle, who were wondering what all the fuss was about. The 'Believers' centred around Tissier, Endo and Yasuno, though he was rather younger at the time.
l,

Where did you stand on this issue—atheist or believer? And could you give us some more details on exactly what would the agnostics be saying about Yamaguchi's aikido?



R

Mike Hamer
09-23-2006, 06:35 PM
NagaBaba,

How long have you been training? Why are you always trying to turn the power of Aikido into some kind of illusion, why are you training, when you are calling the end result of decades of training just an illusion?

senshincenter
09-23-2006, 07:47 PM
I got a private message - one that perhaps made me think my point wasn't as clear as it should have been - that I did not make it as clearly as I should have. Just to keep things clear, let me share my reply here:

Hi,

Thanks for writing, for sharing. I hope this reply finds you and yours well and at peace.

To talk a bit more on my point...

Like I said, I do see lots of hour of practice in his technique - by which I mean "lots of skill." I hope that part came out enough. I wasn't at all trying to say that Endo was unskilled and/or that he could not throw for real or get a person that did not want to fall to fall, etc.

I think the difficult part in what I'm saying, for some, not meaning you, is that folks often only associate skill with what is "real." For such folks, the inverse assumption of "it's not real" ends up meaing the person is not skilled. For me, this is not the case. For example, for me Osensei's jo trick is an exaggeration of a certain princple/body mechanics - but this does not put the principle/body mechanics or Osensei's great level of cultivation concerning these things in the realm of "unskilled." In the case of Endo, I can say the technique is not real, is an exaggeration, and still see the skill underneath. This is what I was trying to say, and what I heard Mr. S trying to say as well.

In short, I very much imagine that Endo can throw folks, even folks that do not want to be thrown, etc., however, in that demonstration, he is definitely exaggerating and/or taking aiki tactics to a point of exaggeration - meaning, they are not being applied realistically. Therefore, sticking with my first example of the first Irimi Nage, if an uke, even an uke not in the video, feels compelled to run around Endo (as in that first Irimi Nage), then that uke is being compelled by the same training assumptions of exaggertion - because there is nothing in that architecture that would make a realistic attacker run around Endo (or any Nage) like that. For me then - FOR ME - a whole line of personal experiences can be placed back to back, with everyone saying, "He had me running around just like that when I didn't try to," and I would only see a whole bunch of folks that can't see their training assumptions for what they are and/or are not.

Again, this does not mean Endo is unskilled. In fact, I see no point in talking about that at all. Selfishly, I care more about how skilled or unskilled I am. For me then, what is more important, for a discussion like this, is not the skill of Endo, but how we as individuals or as a population can very well be blind to our own training assumptions. With this one being so common, I would like to see a whole bunch of folks in Aikido start asking of their sensei and/or their nage, "Hey, exactly why am I running around you like this?" Even if the answer is only, "Well, so we can work on this "x" principle," well, that would be good (as no training environment can ever be anything but artificial). For me, that answer is much better than the no-answer that is usually given and accepted in the silences of our training cultures. Let me make this small note here: Go down this lineage a bit, to a still relatively high ranking practitioner, now doing seminars and demonstrations all over the states and the world, and you get this one practitioner practitioner that said, "Uke falls in part because they get dizzy from having to have to run around you as nage." Geesh!

This might be where I am coming from only - with a past in Karate - where no one throwing a straigh strike ever does that run around/orbiting nage thingy, or from my own Aikido background where Chiba Sensei often spent a great deal of time straightening folks out on such strikes - not letting them run around him, or even lean toward him, for no reason. As Peter said, when Chiba Sensei has you running around him, you know he's MAKING you do it. The first time Chiba Sensei did Irimi Nage on me under a kenshusei paradigm, he put my inner knee right through my ribs and into my lungs and then into my chin. I suffered the rest of the throw only half-conscious and with the wind knocked out of me. He was going totally slow - me being a beginner. Real quick, you realize that when you tried to run around Sensei, when he had to stop you and straighten you out, you were trying to do that because you were afraid and thus anxiously trying to anticipate the kuzushi (rather than actually letting it happen). Meaning, in the training assumptions of my own culture, such behavior was not ideal but a mere reaction to a fear yet reconciled. This is how the issue remains for me. One should read what I say thusly, as someone with his own training assumptions - just like everyone else.

Thanks again for writing,
dmv

Peter Goldsbury
09-23-2006, 10:33 PM
Where did you stand on this issue—atheist or believer? And could you give us some more details on exactly what would the agnostics be saying about Yamaguchi's aikido?



R

I was an agnostic until I got to know Yamaguchi Sensei better. He regularly came to Hiroshima and I often took ukemi. Then I became a Believer.

As for my 'agnosticism', if you look at any of the video clips on the Aikido Journal site, you will see that Yamaguchi Sensei is Endo writ large. It was very elegant, required a cooperative uke, but was not the kind of aikido I had been used to in the US or UK.

Charles Hill
09-24-2006, 01:16 AM
Hi,

When I was at Honbu for four and a half years starting about ten years ago, I attended every Endo Shihan class I could and was fortunate to take ukemi from him a number of times. His main teaching seemed to be that once one learned the basic techniques, one should play with them, "research" as he called it. Unlike many of the other shihan, he did not overtly teach certain ways to take ukemi, but it became clear that he wanted uke and nage to really respond to what the other was doing, not just follow the "kata." There was a period where at the end of each class, he would come over and throw me for about five minutes. I always attempted to keep in constant motion, looking for openings. I would vary the speed and type of attack and Sensei easily moved with whatever I did.

I don't know Endo Shihan's feelings about demonstrations. My impression has been that the various Shihan either are not too fond of them but feel that they have to do them or else they view it as a chance to show (off?) what they can do. My guess is that Endo Shihan is in the first group, but I really don't know.

There was an interesting article in his dojo's newsletter written by a student of his who is a professor in a German university about six years ago that dealt with Szcepan's criticisms. The writer compared the usual style of aikido practice, what she called "aikido in collusion" with Endo Shihan's style, which she called "aikido in co-evolution."

In Collusion, both tori and uke move according to what is in their heads, ignoring what is physically happening at that moment. They are colluding in acting out a representation of a martial encounter, but the result is that they become stiff, they start the "kata" from a far too great distance, and any deviation is responded to by fear and anger (really the same thing.)

In Endo Shihan's co-evolution aikido, uke and tori start much closer to each other and all conditions are variable. Movement, attacks and even the tori/uke roles can change at any moment. As Jaime wrote above, the result is that both people become "heavier" what the writer describes as "gluey and permeable simultaneously. Atemi is extensively employed but in Endo Shihan's case is very light or at lease guaged on uke's ability to take a hit. (Unlike for ex. Yasuno Shihan who WILL hit you.)

Szcepan's criticisms are interesting for me as I feel that a number of the Shihan whom he admires are in the "collusion" category. As an example, their waza always look the same no matter the size or temperment of the attacker. Also many Shihan's uke will stop in the middle of an attack even if they are in a dangerous position, and wait for the teacher to "do" the technique. I have a video of one of these Shihan in which he loses connection with his uke, who stands up. The Shihan gives him a "look" (the look my mother often gave me when I messed up) and the uke put himself back into a precarious position so the Shihan could finish the technique!

Just one guy's opinion, but Endo Shihan is the best Aikido practitioner I have ever felt or seen. There are some interesting articles on his Saku Dojo's website. I highly recommend them.

Charles Hill

Chris Li
09-24-2006, 03:00 AM
I went to a lot of classes with Yasuno, Endo and Yamaguchi at hombu, and I have to say that none of them ever gave me any instruction at all (direct or implied) in how to take cooperate in taking a fall for them. All three of them encouraged me to grab hard and resist as much as I could.

Now, even Endo admits that he asked his ukes to cooperate with him when he first started working with the very soft stuff - but that doesn't mean that that stage lasts forever. You don't start out someone in baseball by tossing 100 mph fast balls at them - you toss them some easy ones and they work their way up - just like most things in life.

Best,

Chris

dps
09-24-2006, 08:04 AM
I think you need to keep in mind the purpose of the demonstration. If the purpose is for education, then the way the techniques are done will be different than in a dojo or real life situation. You will want to go slower and maybe stop or slow down even more to emphasize aspects of the technique.

Also keep in mind some of the people watching are very far away from the action in the upper seats not on the mat.

senshincenter
09-24-2006, 10:48 AM
Nice post Charles. Thanks.

Don_Modesto
09-24-2006, 12:03 PM
Szcepan's criticisms are interesting for me as I feel that a number of the Shihan whom he admires are in the "collusion" category....I have a video of one of these Shihan in which he loses connection with his uke, who stands up. The Shihan gives him a "look" (the look my mother often gave me when I messed up) and the uke put himself back into a precarious position so the Shihan could finish the technique! LOL!

I agree. Nice post.

Ron Tisdale
09-24-2006, 03:41 PM
I am truly grateful for the contributions to this thread. It shows a large part of the full diversity of aikido. We have people posting here who have the experience and the right to their differing opinions through the dint of their hard labor, and they express those opinions thoughtfully and respectfully. Moving on...

This issue of collusion is a difficult one. I may catch some heat for this, but I'll go here anyway, because it is a worthwhile issue. Mr. S. used Shioda Sensei as a good example of someone who "surprised" his uke during demonstrations. I agree...but for me, surprising my uke during an aikido demonstration is not always a good thing...and sometimes leads simply to the appearance of brutality that some see when they see Shioda Sensei's demos. An occasional result of these surprises was a trip to a hospital with a concussion. Now there were several factors (from what I understand) that may have gone into this...Shioda Sensei was tiny and quite a bit older than many of his uke, so that may account for some leeway in application. His uke knew full well what his demos were...and they signed up anyway...so they "assumed any risk".

But to say that Shioda Sensei's demos were "real" vs Endo Sensei's demos being "unreal" (as David has noted) is really false. They portray some things in what may be a more real light if you accept a certain paradigm. In other words, no training or demonstration is real in the first place. They simply are based in different abstractions...and we as adherents simply value some abstractions over others. And this is normal and to be expected to a certain extent. After all...any demonstration is "showing a lie to the Emperor"...because (hopefully) at the end, everyone walks away. And in combat, that is a lie.

But in my opinion, to get to grasp the entirety of aikido, we need to expose ourselves to these differing abstractions. We need to peek behind the veils, strip away some of our assumptions, and try to expand our minds, because this opens us up to a whole new world of possibilities. And to my way of thinking, these possibilities are in fact the future of aikido. And what I see in Endo Sensei's demo is one example of reaching for some of those possibilities (even at the expense of some of the martial qualities David and Szcepan speak of).

Best,
Ron

Don_Modesto
09-24-2006, 09:32 PM
I am truly grateful for the contributions to this thread....This kind of post being why my eye stops skimming upon finding "Tisdale" and begins reading.

senshincenter
09-24-2006, 11:03 PM
If I may, working a bit off of what Charles has said... That stopping thingy - yes indeed, one should wonder exactly what is going on there. I put that very much in the same book as the running around thingy. One has to wonder about these things as one is using them to learn something - especially as one is using them to learn something. Sort of echoing Ron: If we just accept them for what they give us, or because they give us something, in time, these things will end up taking more than they ever could offer. I fear this is the case for many kinds of Aikido all over the world - my opinion. For example, sure, it's easy to say something like the following when it comes to the stopping thing: "Well, one is participating in a two man form, and each person has their role to learn - including uke," etc. However, all too often, the whole thing goes unquestioned, and as a result you tend to get two things that are quite risky to live with when it comes to training in an art like Aikido. First, you get a blanket rejection of training than involves continuous movement. This is risky because both spiritual and martial realities are about constant movement - i.e. constant change. For many reasons, for me, one can definitely consider there to be more falsehood in technical environments that start and stop than in those that seek to constantly keep moving (which is not to say that there are never problems with the latter). Second, you start accepting stopping points that have nothing to do with the original/accepted reason for allowing stopping. A good example of this is how Yokomen-uchi is often stopped in a clash just so Nage can clear that hand by and enter to the back of Uke (e.g. prior to Irimi Nage from Tenkan). As a member of the "stopping" lineage, I have to admit that finding the continuous movement, WITHOUT bringing in a whole mess of the usual baggage that usually goes with continuous movement training environments, as been a real goal of mine. I'm not sure that this lives up to Ron said, but I would like to think it's a start in that direction.

Nice post Ron.

Thanks,
dmv

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-24-2006, 11:09 PM
The way I see it is that training is just that, training. And demos are to me training. Given that each person should have some specific technical points that they are training in every movement they make, then observing these technical points will be the training. If these points are neglected, then the training stops and becomes something else - but can perhaps in hindsight be used to improve training. Reinforcing and improving of technical points is needs be artificial, but that is what training means. It implies a set of technical criteria to adhere to, to evaluate against, and to reproduce. In that training is nothing but scientific. The major problem seems to be that the technical criteria are elusive - either not well explained and transmitted (purposely or otherwise), or replaced by non-technical criteria. In my opinion, if the technical criteria are known, then men and women can train together better (the degree of "violence" is in general limited more so than between different sizes of males), since the technically more adept person can almost always adapt to work at his or her limits by making their posture more difficult, for example, working from a more disadvantageous position, or by lowering further while still endeavouring to keep the same joined heaven-earth-man structure. In my experience, women need to be taught how to put more power into/out of their often quite good structure, while men need to be shown how to lay off the power and instead first learn more about how to obtain correct structure.

raul rodrigo
09-25-2006, 03:20 AM
For what it's worth, when I came to Japan, Chiba Sensei gave me some advice on how to deal with training in the Hombu. Of course, he could not tell me not to train with any of the instructors on the roster, but he did recommend that I train especially with certain Hombu shihan. These shihans were Yamaguchi, Arikawa, Tada (and, of course, people from outside Tokyo like Shirata and Saito, whenever they were in the Hombu). I did.


MR GOLDSBURY:

I suppose that Chiba (along with the late shihans M Saito and S Arikawa) is a foremost exponent within the Aikikai of a hard, martial, non-collusive style of aikido. So I find it interesting that he would recommend to you a Hombu teacher whose style is so diammetrically opposed to his own. That he would recommend Arikawa, Shirata and Saito seems to be more in keeping with his own kind of waza. Did Chiba ever say to you if Yamaguchi ever had any influence on his own aikido?


R

dawolfie
09-25-2006, 08:05 PM
My teacher learned under Yamaguichi and Endo. There is something there that is hard to explain. You really have to feel what is going on in the video. The Aikido is very different in concept than most schools.

I have only worked out with Endo in one seminar. Regardless of the uke's willingness to participate, the Aikido is very powerful. Why it is called soft, I have no idea. Grabbing Endo is like grabbing a train. I have had the pleasure of working out with many great teachers, Endo is by far the most interesting and powerful.

Ron Tisdale
09-26-2006, 11:11 AM
I agree about the soft comment Jody...some of the hardest throws I've taken were from 3rd, 5th, and 6th dans from that tradition. Ever get ahold of Nagao Sensei? Soft my @$$... :D

Best,
Ron

Peter Goldsbury
09-26-2006, 11:28 AM
MR GOLDSBURY:

I suppose that Chiba (along with the late shihans M Saito and S Arikawa) is a foremost exponent within the Aikikai of a hard, martial, non-collusive style of aikido. So I find it interesting that he would recommend to you a Hombu teacher whose style is so diammetrically opposed to his own. That he would recommend Arikawa, Shirata and Saito seems to be more in keeping with his own kind of waza. Did Chiba ever say to you if Yamaguchi ever had any influence on his own aikido?


R

Well, I think that Yamaguchi Sensei in some sense was sui generis. I have heard Kisshomaru Doshu acknowledge him as a master technician and along with Tada and Arikawa he had his regular teaching slot at the Hombu, for decades. Chiba was young enough to have cut his teeth taking ukemi for Yamaguchi Sensei, as well as O Sensei and Kisshomaru Doshu.

George S. Ledyard
09-26-2006, 12:30 PM
Breaking balance is done by anticipating uke. Have you seen any situation where uke was surprised? -- of course not. See, this is a key for observation. No surprise, so uke can anticipate in positive way, but also can make counter or simply block a technique. . No surprise, so nage can't break balance for real.

As someone who clearly prefers the "force of nature" style of Aikido I can see why you wouldn't like this. I am sorry but you are wrong about this. The surprise is defintely there when you deal with someone like Endo. It's not in the timing changes or some violent assault on the partner's structure, which is what you are used to. Endo, Yamaguchi, Takeda, Saotome Senseis all focused on "absorbing" the power of the attacker. You grab them and you feel nothing. Your balance breaks and you are not sure why, you can't figure out where your power went.

People think that power represents the expression of the martial side of Aikido. Having trained with some folks who come from older classical aiki backgrounds, I can tell you that the truth is exactly the opposite. They will set you up and dump you and you won't even feel it coming. I know I sound like a broken record on this, but since Mr Sczepan consistently maintains the opposite poistion on this, I think someone has to hold up this end.

This stuff was never about empty hand combat. These techniques were based on both people being armed. There is no point to wasteful expenditure of power trying to hurl people to the ground. In the martial stuff the idea was to drop the attacker virtually straight down so that one could access ones sword and finish the attacker. This would happen without you being aware of the setup so that you wouldn't execute a counter.

All this got changed in Aikido when the spirals got larger and the movements became very open and flowing. There were reasons for that but they had absolutely nothing to do with being more martial. Kuzushi isn't about throwing someone, although the technique might be a throw if one chooses. It's about placing the attacker in an off balance position in which you can strike him and he cannot respond. A throw is simply a strike you are choosing not to do.

Endo Sensei's interest is largely about how one uses the principles of aiki to absorb the attacker's energy at the instant of physical contact. He isn't interested in smashing people or torquing their joints. He is studying how to completely join with the attacker. I have taken ukemi from him and I can tell you that it's like grabbing air. I equal more than two of him in body mass and he moves me effortlessly.

This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS! Anyone can cut his outward energy flow and hunker down and get immoveable. Once you collapse your energy field like that, you might as well be a rock. I had a guy at camp do that to me... he was quite pleased that I "couldn't" move him. But why would I? The moment I felt him ground out, I slid behind him and had both my hands on his face with my fingers on his eyes. When you ground out and make yourself immoveable like that you are simply making yourself a non-moving target. If you are tense you cannot protect your suki (openings). That has nothing to do with good martial arts.

People with limited understanding think that the "hard stuff" is the martial stuff. It's really the soft stuff that has the "goods". If you understand the soft stuff, power comes easily and effortlessly.

I realize that no amount of talking about this will change Szepan's mind. There are plenty of folks he can train with who will fulfill his greatest desires to be smashed and torqued. It is clearly his nature to do things this way and he has found his teachers. But others should not fall into this trap of thinking that this stuff is the highest level of Aikido.

If anyone gets a chance to train with Endo Sensei, Takeda Sensei, Saotome Sensei, Gleason Sensei or any of the other decendents of the Yamaguchi influence, please do so. It will open your eyes (if you are open to it, anyway) to what is possible.

da2el.ni4na
09-26-2006, 01:24 PM
Hi, I saw this thread and had no particular reaction, but until George Ledyard's post, I thought it was notable that the discussion didn't seem to get into individual values, aesthetics, definitions/conceptions e.g., of kuzushi, (of Sczepan's I could only guess at if I had any inclination). I had no idea what the sensibilities were behind the original post that seemed to pique so many people, but I did see that no one asked him why he thought what he did. (I get that such a line of questioning reflects my own interest.)
In any case, my own topic of study has been centered on not being felt by the opponent, and I am momentarily intrigued by what folks think when they don't have the opportunity to feel a practitioner who is apparently "making" the uke do goofy-looking things.
My battery is about to run out, so...

ChrisMoses
09-26-2006, 02:29 PM
This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS! Anyone can cut his outward energy flow and hunker down and get immoveable. Once you collapse your energy field like that, you might as well be a rock. I had a guy at camp do that to me... he was quite pleased that I "couldn't" move him. But why would I? The moment I felt him ground out, I slid behind him and had both my hands on his face with my fingers on his eyes. When you ground out and make yourself immoveable like that you are simply making yourself a non-moving target. If you are tense you cannot protect your suki (openings). That has nothing to do with good martial arts.

George, this part of your post got me thinking (and it's only Tuesday, I hate thinking before at least Thursday..). I think I understand what you're saying here, but I'll just have to disagree to some extent. I know the kind of interaction you're talking about, I had a nearly identical thing happen to me at the first AikiExpo, as chance would have it, I was playing with some stuff that I'd learned from Takeda Sensei at the time. The guy just stood there arm outstretched as I moved in around him and began to massage his eyelids, "That's not moving me, " he said... Um, yeah ok. At the time I really felt that it spoke poorly of his training (and I still do to a lesser extent), that he would allow me (a complete stranger) to get into a position that made him so vulnerable rather than following the path to safety that I had presented for him. While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that I was also failed. I did not control the situation. He had the option of simply not following what I was doing. Bad on me. Do I expect aikido to only work on those with a strong sense of self preservation? I would describe this encounter as satsujinken, a dead lifeless encounter with all of the trappings of martial art, but none of the true budo. So how does this relate to your quote?

I agree that being immovable at the expense of all else is not martial, not interesting and kind of stupid. BUT, I don't feel that it's fair to say that the goal of being un-throwable/immovable is not a martial value. I think there are a lot of judoka out there that would certainly disagree. Mifune Sensei was known for being undefeated in randori and nearly impossible to throw, and yet he was able to accomplish this with a spirit of katsujinken, of a living and vibrant martial spirit. I think that as we develop deeper understanging about how our techniques work, we should simultaneously learn how to make those very techniques harder and harder to be applied on us. That isn't to say that we should strive to make ourselves unthrowable in aikido at all times, that would be silly, but those same subtle/internal skills and movements that can accomplish a kokyunage that seems to come from nowhere and take no time can (and should in the right context) be used as uke to block a technique. This is entirely possible to be done in a very dynamic and martial way. I would also point out that this ability, to be unmoved, has a deep tradition within aikido, whether it be the unbendable arm, the 'jo trick' or the quiet structure that forms an ikkyo pin...

ChrisMoses
09-26-2006, 03:10 PM
While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that I was also failed.
Not to mention that I was bad grammaring... :crazy:

Let's all pretend that read, "While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that to some extent I too failed."

Robert Rumpf
09-26-2006, 03:27 PM
While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that to some extent I too failed.

How did you fail, though? Did you fail in the martial sense, or as a student? Those are two separate things.

It would seem to me that you failed as a student, and succeeded martially, while he, at least, failed martially, and probably failed as a student, since it seems it was done out of spite and ego and not to develop you or himself.

I think the only way to succeed is to do the technique perfectly in spite of resistance or lack thereof... :D I wish I could.

I know what you mean though about it being a failure, in that "good actors never complain about their parts, while bad actors are never satisfied" (to butcher a quote).

Rob

ChrisMoses
09-26-2006, 04:04 PM
How did you fail, though? Did you fail in the martial sense, or as a student? Those are two separate things.

It would seem to me that you failed as a student, and succeeded martially, while he, at least, failed martially, and probably failed as a student, since it seems it was done out of spite and ego and not to develop you or himself.


If Aikido is to live up to its goal of protecting both parties, nage must have enough control to keep uke from making bad decisions. This is the difference between leading and directing. Directing someone can feel like leading, but it's qualitatively different. If my only recourse for someone not following me is to do severe damage (eye gouging would count in my book) then my waza has already failed. This is why I don't like when people use atemi at the end of techniques or when they get stuck.

Robert Rumpf
09-26-2006, 04:49 PM
If Aikido is to live up to its goal of protecting both parties, nage must have enough control to keep uke from making bad decisions. This is the difference between leading and directing. Directing someone can feel like leading, but it's qualitatively different. If my only recourse for someone not following me is to do severe damage (eye gouging would count in my book) then my waza has already failed. This is why I don't like when people use atemi at the end of techniques or when they get stuck.

I think part of what you are saying is what I was alluding to when I said that you failed as a student - in that you failed to continue to try to learn Aikido as a form of mutual preservation.

At some point, uke has some responsibility for the consequences of their actions. I don't think it is the responsibility of nage to "keep uke from making bad decisions," especially in a non-class setting.

I think the best that can be hoped for is that nage attempts to offer options to which uke can make good decisions, or maybe spares uke some of the consequences of a bad decision in a learning environment.

But... when it comes down to it, I find it difficult to believe that someone cannot be deliberately perverse, and hurtful to themselves, if they choose to be - regardless of nage's actions. I can't stop uke from running in front of a car if they wish to.

Rob

Ron Tisdale
09-26-2006, 04:56 PM
One thing I have to say...this is one of the best discussions I have had on ANY site. And we wouldn't have had it (most likely) without Sczepan's post. :)

Thanks Mr. S!

My very best,
Ron

aikidoc
09-26-2006, 05:14 PM
As someone who clearly prefers the "force of nature" style of Aikido I can see why you wouldn't like this. I am sorry but you are wrong about this. The surprise is defintely there when you deal with someone like Endo. It's not in the timing changes or some violent assault on the partner's structure, which is what you are used to. Endo, Yamaguchi, Takeda, Saotome Senseis all focused on "absorbing" the power of the attacker. You grab them and you feel nothing. Your balance breaks and you are not sure why, you can't figure out where your power went..

I have experienced this with Kato Sensei as well and to my understanding he was a pretty tough guy in the early days. When it has happened to me all I could do was laugh because I felt the power being drawn totally away. He gets upset with you if you don't grab hard. One of my students is a big guy-he about breaks your arm when he grabs you. Sensei just lifted his energy up and tossed him with no problem and he's a whole lot smaller.

People think that power represents the expression of the martial side of Aikido. Having trained with some folks who come from older classical aiki backgrounds, I can tell you that the truth is exactly the opposite. They will set you up and dump you and you won't even feel it coming. I know I sound like a broken record on this, but since Mr Sczepan consistently maintains the opposite poistion on this, I think someone has to hold up this end.

I also think than many equate power with strength and force rather than relaxation and connection. To me the hardest power to deal with is one that takes your power and gives it back to you in a fashion where you don't feel it coming. It is much harder to respond to whereas the strength kind is easier since the tenseness is always there-there is no disguise.

All this got changed in Aikido when the spirals got larger and the movements became very open and flowing. There were reasons for that but they had absolutely nothing to do with being more martial. Kuzushi isn't about throwing someone, although the technique might be a throw if one chooses. It's about placing the attacker in an off balance position in which you can strike him and he cannot respond. A throw is simply a strike you are choosing not to do..

Great comment!

Endo Sensei's interest is largely about how one uses the principles of aiki to absorb the attacker's energy at the instant of physical contact. He isn't interested in smashing people or torquing their joints. He is studying how to completely join with the attacker. I have taken ukemi from him and I can tell you that it's like grabbing air. I equal more than two of him in body mass and he moves me effortlessly..

Ah, the aiki in aikido. Perhaps that is something sorely missing in those who want to rely on strength or force to make a technique happen.

This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS! Anyone can cut his outward energy flow and hunker down and get immoveable. Once you collapse your energy field like that, you might as well be a rock. I had a guy at camp do that to me... he was quite pleased that I "couldn't" move him. But why would I? The moment I felt him ground out, I slid behind him and had both my hands on his face with my fingers on his eyes. When you ground out and make yourself immoveable like that you are simply making yourself a non-moving target. If you are tense you cannot protect your suki (openings). That has nothing to do with good martial arts.. Another great comment. Those who "hunker" down and become immoveable simply do not understand the martial implications of the situation and leave themselves open for additional educational opportunities to be applied at will.

People with limited understanding think that the "hard stuff" is the martial stuff. It's really the soft stuff that has the "goods". If you understand the soft stuff, power comes easily and effortlessly.

I realize that no amount of talking about this will change Szepan's mind. There are plenty of folks he can train with who will fulfill his greatest desires to be smashed and torqued. It is clearly his nature to do things this way and he has found his teachers. But others should not fall into this trap of thinking that this stuff is the highest level of Aikido.. It may be the highest level of ju jitsu.


If anyone gets a chance to train with Endo Sensei, Takeda Sensei, Saotome Sensei, Gleason Sensei or any of the other decendents of the Yamaguchi influence, please do so. It will open your eyes (if you are open to it, anyway) to what is possible. I don't know if Kato Sensei's influence was Yamaguchi or not but I would also suggest the same of him as well.

George S. Ledyard
09-26-2006, 05:23 PM
George, this part of your post got me thinking (and it's only Tuesday, I hate thinking before at least Thursday..). I think I understand what you're saying here, but I'll just have to disagree to some extent. I know the kind of interaction you're talking about, I had a nearly identical thing happen to me at the first AikiExpo, as chance would have it, I was playing with some stuff that I'd learned from Takeda Sensei at the time. The guy just stood there arm outstretched as I moved in around him and began to massage his eyelids, "That's not moving me, " he said... Um, yeah ok. At the time I really felt that it spoke poorly of his training (and I still do to a lesser extent), that he would allow me (a complete stranger) to get into a position that made him so vulnerable rather than following the path to safety that I had presented for him. While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that I was also failed. I did not control the situation. He had the option of simply not following what I was doing. Bad on me. Do I expect aikido to only work on those with a strong sense of self preservation? I would describe this encounter as satsujinken, a dead lifeless encounter with all of the trappings of martial art, but none of the true budo. So how does this relate to your quote?

I agree that being immovable at the expense of all else is not martial, not interesting and kind of stupid. BUT, I don't feel that it's fair to say that the goal of being un-throwable/immovable is not a martial value. I think there are a lot of judoka out there that would certainly disagree. Mifune Sensei was known for being undefeated in randori and nearly impossible to throw, and yet he was able to accomplish this with a spirit of katsujinken, of a living and vibrant martial spirit. I think that as we develop deeper understanging about how our techniques work, we should simultaneously learn how to make those very techniques harder and harder to be applied on us. That isn't to say that we should strive to make ourselves unthrowable in aikido at all times, that would be silly, but those same subtle/internal skills and movements that can accomplish a kokyunage that seems to come from nowhere and take no time can (and should in the right context) be used as uke to block a technique. This is entirely possible to be done in a very dynamic and martial way. I would also point out that this ability, to be unmoved, has a deep tradition within aikido, whether it be the unbendable arm, the 'jo trick' or the quiet structure that forms an ikkyo pin...

Chris, I know where you are coming from on this... as you know, I am quite used to training with folks who are quite hard to move... But I think that we were largely wrong to train that way and it accounts for why it took so many of us so long to start "getting it".

Endo Sensei is quite strict about his ukemi requirements. He does want good strong attacks, solid commitment. But he does not want tension. I really think he is right in this. Half of ones training interactions are on the ukemi side of the roles. If you exhibit tension as uke and then try to do relaxed technique as nage you are constantly giving the body and the mind mixed signals.

Having been exposed to a substantial amount of Systema at this point, I can see the result of proper training in this regard. They do everything they can to get rid of tension. They are all quite strong from the conditioning they do but they do not do technique with any tension at all. Their senior students are VERY good, better than what you'd see in Aikido in an equivalent amount of time.

At this point I believe that the essential purpose of the physical training in Aikido is to remove tension, both mental and physical. This has to do with losing ones "fear". Aiki requires this relaxation. We are programming our minds and our bodies to react to conflict in an expansive rather than contractive manner. Hunkering down and being immoveable is inherently a contraction. It is a withdrawl of the outgoing energy which makes aiki possible.

One does not move a rock using "aiki", unless, as Mike Sigman would probabaly maintain, you include "internal power" as inherently part of "aiki". I don't but I understand why he might. In my own understanding, aiki is the way in which we use the opponent's sensory system (the five senses and the intuition, or sixth sense) to move his mind and thereby get him to move his body. It is this aspect of Aikido that I am interested in. Anyway, when the two opponents come together the defender establishes the Ittaika or "single body" in which it is impossible for the attacker to move separately from him. The attacker must maintain an evenly distributed awareness in order to deal with any strikes to his suki or to feel any attempts to unbalance him. this outflow of consciousness is what makes it possible to move someone "effortlessly" in the aiki arts.

Now, with most reistant people, their very resistance gives you the energy to move them. I can get get a 300 pound guy moving with light hand pressure, especially if I tell him not to let me move him. But a more knowledgeable guy won't resist, he'll cut off his energy. He'll ground it out and attempt not to respond at all to what he feels you doing. This makes any sort of "leading his ki" impossible. At that point if you want to move him, you need to supply the energy. At some point I will probabaly make a study of how to generate that kind of power. My exchanges with Mike Sigman have given me some insight into what that might entail but it isn't the focus of my practice right now.

So in the instance of my experience at Summer Camp, I suppose I could have stood there looking at the fellow and resting my arms on his structure. He had cut off the attack so there was no reason to move at all, really. Harmony and balance had been restored when he stopped his attack. It made no real sense for me to attack him and I wasn't at all open for any move on his part... I only did so to show him that his collapse of energetic outflow made him completely open. Had he re-initiated the attack I would have had what I needed to get him to move.

The example of Judo is a bit off the mark, although I don't totally disagree with your point. Mifune was unthrowable while he kept his energetic outflow, his awareness at all times. He had to because he was still feeling for the opening to throw the other guy. It's a bit different than the guy who is acting as dumb as a rock. People at this point have a very hard time throwing me... My attacks are more relaxed than ever but I am very large and now that I have relaxed more, it makes it very hard for people to move me at all. That's why they need to use "aiki". They get me to move myself. Saotome Sensei weighs less than half what I weigh and he has no problem at all moving me around.

Now Mike Sigman gave me a shot that knocked me about 3 or 4 feet and took most of the air out of my lungs. He did it with no wind up and did it with a pulse strike to my shoulder! So I am not saying that one can't move me with power; it just takes a lot and you have to be very good to do it that way.

Don Angier Sensei, Endo Sensei, Saotome Sensei, and Toby Threadgill all have moved me relatively effortlessly but they were all using my own outflow of energy to do it. I doubt if any of them could move me if I just collapsed my energy field and grounded out, at least not without some technique designed to elicit a response like an atemi, a painful, pinch, a shock to the structure, something along those lines. It just seems like an awful lot of effort to get something moving that doesn't want to be. If there is no attack, why worry about the throw?

Anyway, I regularly get to do my stuff with folks who know virtually no ukemi so I get my reality checks.(That's important for ones practice but not all the time) I did a class for some club security guys and the average weight in the class was about 275 lbs. I could move them just fine and taking them down was no problem... but I sure as hell didn't want to go to the ground with any of them. What a bunch of beastie boys. They were easy to move because they "tried to be immoveable" if you know what I mean. That's a bit different than what I was talking about.

Anyway, I figure I can conventrate on one aspect at a time in my training. I may get to the point at which my focus becomes developing internal power but right now my interest is in developing my abilty to neutralize the attacker's power. I remember someone saying (Okamoto Sensei, perhaps?) "If you understand what was done to you, it wasn't aiki". I want to understand that. I am just arriving at the start of being able to do it. I just don't need to worry about hauling a bunch of human boulders around at this stage in my training.

Mike Sigman
09-26-2006, 06:37 PM
People think that power represents the expression of the martial side of Aikido. Having trained with some folks who come from older classical aiki backgrounds, I can tell you that the truth is exactly the opposite. They will set you up and dump you and you won't even feel it coming. I totally agree with this statement. The most telling old saying is the one that would caution: "Aikido without great internal power is not right; Great internal power without real Aikido skills is not right, either".

Insofar as being "unmoveable", I think that's a good demonstration, when done correctly (there are a lot of people that like to do it in ways that aren't really good), but I think it should only be a demonstration of the "root" from which you are able to base your power. If it is indeed the root from which you always base your power, even when moving, then I am impressed. A casual "look at how I hunker down against your push" doesn't impress me at all. Someone who tries to root immoveably during a technique is a dunce, IMO. Besides, it totally goes against the principle of no resistance.

My 2 cents.

Mike Sigman

senshincenter
09-26-2006, 06:57 PM
I would like to say that I’m very skeptical of either/or points of view – though I’m not saying that both/and points of view are the solution to every crisis. Let me say this then: I feel a blanket blessing is just as likely to be in the wrong as a blanket damning is likely to be in the wrong.

There are many “slogans” going around now in the thread, things that any aikidoka would be hard-pressed to disagree with – no matter what “side” they might fall on here. For me, that is always a sign that we have stopped questioning ourselves and started just accepting our own assumptions. I mean, who would ever say, “Aikido is about smashing people or torquing their joints,” or who would disagree with the position that higher levels of Aikido would entail more effortless movement, etc.????

I have made some comments akin to Mr. S’s in this thread, though I have joined Charles in his keen observation regarding the (apparently) opposite side as well. Let’s go back a bit… Chiba told another aikidoka (Peter) to pay attention to someone that today, for some, is on the other side of some fence. I think that right there tells you something – that, at the least, Chiba saw things differently that folks of our generation might (i.e. folks that see Chiba as torquing the crap out of joints and/or that see Yamaguchi as soft). I do not think Chiba was thinking then or now in terms of either/or. (Note: It was asked if he was influenced by Yamaguchi. In my opinion, that would be a definite yes – especially if you look at the young Yamaguchi, like in that clip they have of him at Hombu over at AJ.com. You got similar stances, similar angles of attack, and even similar postures concerning the torso and hip relationship.)

Now, I can concede, somewhere down the line, the training environments – i.e. the assumptions of each training environment – started to focus on one thing over another. BUT, at one time, folks saw what was common. I think that is what we should be trying to do as well. It is my position that slogans are one sure way to make sure no one sees what is common – becoming blind to how folks we are now talking about saw things differently from us. What we should be doing, in my opinion, is peeling away those damn assumptions that have come to define our training environments one-way vs. another. It is the “vs.” that is the problem.

Now, I am not talking about having three days of flowing practice and four days of wrist torquing practice per week. I am suggesting that folks try to hold things to a sense of the universal – well this is what I try. A good place to start is with the slogans themselves – since they always try to be universals. For example, “It's about placing the attacker in an off balance position in which you can strike him and he cannot respond.” Who would ever disagree with this? Not me! So, I accept it and seek to bring it into my training, but now I must go on to see if I am doing it or if it is something that is happening but that has nothing to do with me – has only to do with the assumptions of my training environment. As I said, in that video clip, and in a lot of places all over where Mr. S would not feel so at home, you do not have “placing the attacker in an off balance position…” Instead, you have some sort of subconsciously controlled “uke” putting himself where he can be taken off balance, struck, or thrown. This is not quite the same thing – in fact, it is very different. After this, if one is not careful, you simply have this slogan, which is perfectly valid, covering up something that is invalid (e.g. running around nage for no reason). The result is an end to questioning things, which in the end leads to a misunderstanding of everything.

Of course, the same thing can be done (and should be done) with the observations rightly pointed out by Charles.

My opinion,
dmv
p.s. okay - that's it for me - been very bad - sorry - I'll be unable to reply - busy with studies (too busy).

Mike Sigman
09-26-2006, 07:26 PM
One does not move a rock using "aiki", unless, as Mike Sigman would probabaly maintain, you include "internal power" as inherently part of "aiki". I don't but I understand why he might. In my own understanding, aiki is the way in which we use the opponent's sensory system (the five senses and the intuition, or sixth sense) to move his mind and thereby get him to move his body. It is this aspect of Aikido that I am interested in. Anyway, when the two opponents come together the defender establishes the Ittaika or "single body" in which it is impossible for the attacker to move separately from him. Ooooooo.... It's a good point and in some ways, I've set myself up for this, so I'll make amends. Let me see if I can make my point of view a little clearer, George. And bear in mind I'm just talking out loud to give a viewpoint; not trying to be offensive in the least. (Nor do I take any offense; it's just a good discussion topic)

I tried to explain how I arrive at "jin" more than anything else during our very limited meeting in Glenwood, but I actually showed 2 faces of it. One of it can be called "power" and how I derived it, in that step-by-step logic I tried to go through. But there a lot to using "internal power" that is more than strength. Part of it is to "listen" to an opponent's power, part of it is to try to make the whole body connected like a web so that a movement in any direction by the center is immediately available by connection to any part of the extremities.

So a couple of times when you unconsciously "set" against me and attempted to stop a movement I was making by adjusting your hips I simply immediately went with you (very lightly) in the direction of your hips (usually it was to your left front). And you were immediately off-balanced as a result. THAT was "internal power" in action. There was no real discernible use of power in the strength sense, but I had your balance. I can do far better and more subtley I think, but we'll have to wait until next time. ;)

The point is that "internal power" can be both a "strength" and a very subtle way of controlling an opponent. An example would be that when you and I engage physically, I sense the direction of your power and without moving I add one of those force directions directly to your direction of power so that there results a new direction that just happens to lead to a point where you have no power. You'll feel that your power is simply being drained and I will only have to maintain a constantly shifting response force that negates your shifts. Or I could add it in such a way that you and I together (this is the hypothetical "you"; no slights intended) contribute power that results in a direction leading toward a "hole" in your balance.

The point I'm trying to make is that it is this ability to generate forces in various directions and have them available at my extremeties that I think of when I say "internal power". Yes, sometimes it can be used as an admirable demonstration of real power/strength/force, but its value is in the subtle usages. So my response is more that I'm not using the opponents "senses", I'm using his force-direction-intention (his "ki" if you want to use the old terminology). That's the part I find so interesting.

Insofar as viewing people like Endo Sensei, regardless of his uke's cooperation, etc, Endo is good. I was impressed. ;)

Best Regards,

Mike Sigman

ChrisMoses
09-26-2006, 07:32 PM
Just some comments, and by the way, as I'm sure you know, I'm just interested in the dialectic here. Like you I'm figuring this stuff out as I go, based on what I'm exposed to, and I'm not presuming to tell you how you should be training or (even worse) what aiki is/should be.

One does not move a rock using "aiki", unless, as Mike Sigman would probabaly maintain, you include "internal power" as inherently part of "aiki". I don't but I understand why he might.
and

This makes any sort of "leading his ki" impossible. At that point if you want to move him, you need to supply the energy. At some point I will probabaly make a study of how to generate that kind of power. My exchanges with Mike Sigman have given me some insight into what that might entail but it isn't the focus of my practice right now. That pretty much describes what I've been working on of late. The same mechanics that work on a heavy bag or 100lb barbell work on a resistant uke, mix in some psychological effects and weaknesses of the bipedal frame and it just gets easier. Anyway, if it's not what you're working on, then certainly factor that into my comments as it may not apply to your own focus of study these days. That's also why I made the distinction between leading and directing, and satsujinken vs. katsujinken.

The example of Judo is a bit off the mark, although I don't totally disagree with your point. Mifune was unthrowable while he kept his energetic outflow, his awareness at all times. He had to because he was still feeling for the opening to throw the other guy. It's a bit different than the guy who is acting as dumb as a rock. I wasn't clear enough on this, so this is great point. What I'm talking about is the ability to spontaneously and instantly become immovable just long enough to distrupt an attack. This ability can literally floor someone all by itself. You see this in some of the footage of Mifune when MUCH bigger well trained guys are setting up for a perfect throw and he just bounces them off of him. They not only blow the throw, but lose their grip on him and their footing just from hitting such an unexpectedly grounded opponent, who moments before was literally dancing about. You could think of this as the opposite to one of those perfect irimi kokyunage that you use in randori. nothing...nothing..nothing..(perfect moment) BANG (your entire body transmits the force into uke's weakness)... (then back to) nothing... nothing.. nothing... That clearer?

Don Angier Sensei, Endo Sensei, Saotome Sensei, and Toby Threadgill all have moved me relatively effortlessly but they were all using my own outflow of energy to do it. I doubt if any of them could move me if I just collapsed my energy field and grounded out, at least not without some technique designed to elicit a response like an atemi, a painful, pinch, a shock to the structure, something along those lines. It just seems like an awful lot of effort to get something moving that doesn't want to be. If there is no attack, why worry about the throw?

So how would you describe the settling exercise that Toby did on you at his last seminar in Seattle, where he invited you up with the only instruction being to resist him, then placed his hand on your chest and slowly, slowly you sank back and fell over? Then he did it again after you knew what was coming. (Doncha hate that!) I know what the technique flet like when he did it on me, and know that I was not cooperating with the practice. I was trying to stay upright just as you did, just as Kevin did... (darn him, doesn't he know that it's all us aiki-folk that are supposed to be subtle!) ;)


Anyway, I figure I can conventrate on one aspect at a time in my training. I may get to the point at which my focus becomes developing internal power but right now my interest is in developing my abilty to neutralize the attacker's power. I remember someone saying (Okamoto Sensei, perhaps?) "If you understand what was done to you, it wasn't aiki". I want to understand that. I am just arriving at the start of being able to do it. I just don't need to worry about hauling a bunch of human boulders around at this stage in my training.

Absolutely. We all come with different skills and interests. I've been training to be soft ever since I started at budo, so for the last few years I've been trying to be harder, so that's what I'm looking at. I imagine you went through your hard phase decades ago. Thanks for the discourse.

Mike Sigman
09-26-2006, 08:15 PM
So how would you describe the settling exercise that Toby did on you at his last seminar in Seattle, where he invited you up with the only instruction being to resist him, then placed his hand on your chest and slowly, slowly you sank back and fell over? Then he did it again after you knew what was coming. (Doncha hate that!) I know what the technique flet like when he did it on me, and know that I was not cooperating with the practice. I was trying to stay upright just as you did, just as Kevin did... (darn him, doesn't he know that it's all us aiki-folk that are supposed to be subtle!) ;)What's bothersome to me is that this is just another example of the forces George, Rich Moore, and I discussed in Glenwood and it's as easy to negate as it is to apply to someone who doesn't know the trick.... but are you saying that Toby *demonstrated* this but he didn't show you how to do it? I'm curious about this.

Regards,

Mike

batemanb
09-27-2006, 02:34 AM
I very much liked George's post #48, especially this

As someone who clearly prefers the "force of nature" style of Aikido I can see why you wouldn't like this. I am sorry but you are wrong about this. The surprise is definitely there when you deal with someone like Endo. It's not in the timing changes or some violent assault on the partner's structure, which is what you are used to. Endo, Yamaguchi, Takeda, Saotome Senseis all focused on "absorbing" the power of the attacker. You grab them and you feel nothing. Your balance breaks and you are not sure why, you can't figure out where your power went.

It sums up practicing with Endo sensei and Nakao sensei very well (I've not had the pleasure of practicing with the others). They work tirelessly on Aiki, working in unison with your attack, totally synchronizing your movement with theirs so that you can do nothing but go where they guide you. There is no resistance, nothing for you to get hold of, no obstruction, nothing to clash or fight with, just a void for you to fall into.

It's a great feeling, like George, I recommend you try it for yourself.

Bryan

Charles Hill
09-27-2006, 03:56 AM
Hi,

I agree with Mr. Ledyard that Endo Shihan wants (probably) a certain style of ukemi, but he generally does not, in my experience, verbally explain it. Instead, he conveys it by resisting your attack in the same way as Mr. Ledyard's description of Mifune. If you grab him and he is stronger than you, he might just not move. If you then stop your movement, you will probably get his fingers tapping you on your face. This encourages people to get soft and heavy and to not stop moving.

I haven't seen the video but this might be why his uke moves around him. Also there are different degrees of heaviness and the point in the video that some are finding fault with may just be a less experienced uke and Shihan is not going to necessarily move just to "enact" a fight scenario. Waysun Liao once told me that sometimes people see two old men playing taichi push hands lightly not realizing that the two are passing thousands of pounds of chi back and forth. I think that this is probably where Endo Shihan and his top student, Shimizu Sensei will end up.

Charles Hill

Peter Goldsbury
09-27-2006, 06:43 AM
In reference to Charles Hill's last post:

I have rarely trained with Endo Shihan, but I have trained often with Yamaguchi Sensei and ever since he died, I have been struggling to incorporate insights, whatever, gained from this training into my own aikido 'life'.

All of the three shihans recommended to me by Chiba Sensei have a distinctive way of presenting the insights they gained from their own training with O Sensei. And I think these are individual insights: they are not the whole content of what O Sensei showed (for he never 'taught'), which we neeed to remember and ponder about, when we talk about training, demonstrations, and teaching methods etc.

So, Yamaguchi never trained quite like Arikawa and Arikawa never trained quite like Tada, who never trained quite like Yamaguchi, and so on. Similarly with Shioda, whom I never met, with Shirata, with whom I trained only once, and with Saito, with whom I trained several times, but only at seminars and gasshuku. These trainings were intensive 'hypershots', that perhaps yielded different insights from the experience of daily training in the 'home' dojo.

Yamaguchi Sensei never told anybody how he wanted them to take ukemi. If you took ukemi in the way he liked, he would ask you again and again. If you didn't, he wouldn't. Once in the Hombu, I, from the boondocks of Hiroshima and a gaijin to boot, was so pleased to take ukemi from Yamaguchi Sensei, who called me up rather than the Hombu regulars.

But in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi Sensei was freer to do what he wanted and there were prolonged periods of a certain kind of randori, where he would call you up and have you 'attack' him repeatedly, over a period of five-ten minutes or so. The privately-circulated Meiji University tape offers something of what he used to do and perhaps Saotome Sensei (I have never trained with him) and certainly William Gleason (ditto, but have tapes from seminars he gave in Brazil) give some flavor of this kind of training. But, actually, I have never seen this on tapes which are publicly available.

Now, and this is where Stephane's (Szczepan)'s observations come in, the parameters, the 'frames' of the encounters were different with Yamaguchi and Chiba and also with the shinans I have mentioned, also including Hiroshi Isoyama. I think one of the fundamental features of Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido (and Endo Sensei's to the extent that I have seen him) is that he breaks down the accepted frames of the uke-tori relationship. Of course, with Yamaguchi, you are always uke: these ground rules do not change, but, as uke, the parameters within which you discharge your role change.

With virtually everybody except Yamaguchi Sensei, the traditional perimeters of each waza are resepcted. As uke, you attack (and Stephane's remarks are highly relevlant here) and deploy all the resources of which you are capable as uke (including dishonesty and deceit, but also knowing full well that it might cost you dearly). With Yamaguchi Sensei you do not usually have this option and I think this is why there are Believers, Atheists and bewildered Agnostics.

Actually, in Hiroshima University I have occasionally attempted to practise Yamaguchi Sensei's type of training and my student uke litterally 'ran way'. Actually, I chased him round the mat, but he wanted the 'space' to get up and prepare himself to 'attack' again. Yamaguchi Sensei gave you this option only occasionally. I have never seen this type of training with any other shihan except Isoyama at the All-Japan Demonstration, but he always repeated the same waza (usually kote-gaeshi). There was none of the seamless flow from one waza to another that Yamaguchi Sensei was famous for. Now in the UK, Chiba Sensei often did a similar type of training with his yudansha: the type of training that in Japanese universities is called 'kakari-geiko', but this was quite different from what Yamaguchi Sensei was doing.

Of course, you have to attack 'hard', but if you didn't know where the waza ended and the 'attack' began, this became more difficult.

How is all this relevant to Endo Sensei? Well, there are Yamaguchi 'believers' scattered all over Japan and, outside the Hombu, Takeda (in Kamakura), Nakao (in Kobe) are two clear exponents. My own teacher in Hiroshima is a Yamaguchi 'believer', but he also 'believes' in Arikawa and Tada. So the result is somewhat different.

Another corollary are the issues raised by Mike Sigman and Robert John & Gernot Hassenpflug, both of whom regularly train with Akuzawa Sensei.

Best wishes to all,

George S. Ledyard
09-27-2006, 08:52 AM
In reference to Charles Hill's last post:

I have rarely trained with Endo Shihan, but I have trained often with Yamaguchi Sensei and ever since he died, I have been struggling to incorporate insights, whatever, gained from this training into my own aikido 'life'.

All of the three shihans recommended to me by Chiba Sensei have a distinctive way of presenting the insights they gained from their own training with O Sensei. And I think these are individual insights: they are not the whole content of what O Sensei showed (for he never 'taught'), which we neeed to remember and ponder about, when we talk about training, demonstrations, and teaching methods etc.

So, Yamaguchi never trained quite like Arikawa and Arikawa never trained quite like Tada, who never trained quite like Yamaguchi, and so on. Similarly with Shioda, whom I never met, with Shirata, with whom I trained only once, and with Saito, with whom I trained several times, but only at seminars and gasshuku. These trainings were intensive 'hypershots', that perhaps yielded different insights from the experience of daily training in the 'home' dojo.

Yamaguchi Sensei never told anybody how he wanted them to take ukemi. If you took ukemi in the way he liked, he would ask you again and again. If you didn't, he wouldn't. Once in the Hombu, I, from the boondocks of Hiroshima and a gaijin to boot, was so pleased to take ukemi from Yamaguchi Sensei, who called me up rather than the Hombu regulars.

But in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi Sensei was freer to do what he wanted and there were prolonged periods of a certain kind of randori, where he would call you up and have you 'attack' him repeatedly, over a period of five-ten minutes or so. The privately-circulated Meiji University tape offers something of what he used to do and perhaps Saotome Sensei (I have never trained with him) and certainly William Gleason (ditto, but have tapes from seminars he gave in Brazil) give some flavor of this kind of training. But, actually, I have never seen this on tapes which are publicly available.

Now, and this is where Stephane's (Szczepan)'s observations come in, the parameters, the 'frames' of the encounters were different with Yamaguchi and Chiba and also with the shinans I have mentioned, also including Hiroshi Isoyama. I think one of the fundamental features of Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido (and Endo Sensei's to the extent that I have seen him) is that he breaks down the accepted frames of the uke-tori relationship. Of course, with Yamaguchi, you are always uke: these ground rules do not change, but, as uke, the parameters within which you discharge your role change.

With virtually everybody except Yamaguchi Sensei, the traditional perimeters of each waza are resepcted. As uke, you attack (and Stephane's remarks are highly relevlant here) and deploy all the resources of which you are capable as uke (including dishonesty and deceit, but also knowing full well that it might cost you dearly). With Yamaguchi Sensei you do not usually have this option and I think this is why there are Believers, Atheists and bewildered Agnostics.

Actually, in Hiroshima University I have occasionally attempted to practise Yamaguchi Sensei's type of training and my student uke litterally 'ran way'. Actually, I chased him round the mat, but he wanted the 'space' to get up and prepare himself to 'attack' again. Yamaguchi Sensei gave you this option only occasionally. I have never seen this type of training with any other shihan except Isoyama at the All-Japan Demonstration, but he always repeated the same waza (usually kote-gaeshi). There was none of the seamless flow from one waza to another that Yamaguchi Sensei was famous for. Now in the UK, Chiba Sensei often did a similar type of training with his yudansha: the type of training that in Japanese universities is called 'kakari-geiko', but this was quite different from what Yamaguchi Sensei was doing.

Of course, you have to attack 'hard', but if you didn't know where the waza ended and the 'attack' began, this became more difficult.

How is all this relevant to Endo Sensei? Well, there are Yamaguchi 'believers' scattered all over Japan and, outside the Hombu, Takeda (in Kamakura), Nakao (in Kobe) are two clear exponents. My own teacher in Hiroshima is a Yamaguchi 'believer', but he also 'believes' in Arikawa and Tada. So the result is somewhat different.

Another corollary are the issues raised by Mike Sigman and Robert John & Gernot Hassenpflug, both of whom regularly train with Akuzawa Sensei.

Best wishes to all,
Of course, I am a Saotome Sensei "believer", he is my own teacher. But that does not mean I am not a "Chiba Sensei" believer; that would be a bit like saying one doesn't believe in hurricanes or tornados.

O-Sensei didn't teach waza, he taught principle. Every one of his students discovered his own way of manifesting this principle. I have found that the folks who like the "hard guys" tend to denegrate the "soft guys". The folks who like the "soft guys" think the hard guys missing the "message".

For me, I have always wanted the "magic" and I don't mean that from a new age standpoint. I have always sought that technique that you barely felt but that put you on the floor, that understandin of the connection that allows you to hold someone down with light hand pressure.

Even when I was in my youth and weighed a lot less than I do now, I was always about 100 lbs or more heavier than Sensei. He could droip me with a flick of the wrist. I would grab him as hard as I could and he could tip me over and I wouldn't feel it.

It is inevitable that one ends up expressing Aikido according to his nature. That's why there is so much variety. It's all great, as far as I am concerned, as long as we stay away from abuse of the ukes, which I fid unaccetable.

Peter Goldsbury
09-27-2006, 09:23 AM
Hello George,

As far as I am concerned, you are preaching to the converted.

But with Yamaguchi Sensei, there were issues, such that there were 'believers' and 'non-believers'.

My contributions to this thread were designed to make this clear: nothing more, nothing less.

And I also believe that O Sensei taught waza.

Apologies for the intrusion and best wishes,

PAG

Chuck Clark
09-27-2006, 09:51 AM
This has been mentioned by others but I want to add my voice as well... this is one of the better threads I have read in quite awhile on any of the boards where I lurk.

As George said above, I have also experienced very powerful waza from a very small man when I was nineteen years old. I couldn't understand where the "powerful force" came from because I felt very little sense of force from his touch. It felt like some giant hidden from me was forcing me to do things I couldn't understand. As I experienced more, I figured out that the giant was me. I have been chasing that feeling ever since and trying to pass it on to students. It ain't magic, but it sure is "magical" at times.

The principles involved are evident in some advanced people in many arts. I have felt it from a few judoka, aikidoka, tai ji and hsing i senior folks, also, for example, Tsuneo Nishioka Sensei (of Shinto Muso Ryu) with a stick or sword has given me similar feelings of great force from very light touch with very little to no information about where it's coming from.

I agree with George that the variety is great and the training relationship is very important in keeping the long term practice viable.

ChrisMoses
09-27-2006, 10:09 AM
What's bothersome to me is that this is just another example of the forces George, Rich Moore, and I discussed in Glenwood and it's as easy to negate as it is to apply to someone who doesn't know the trick.... but are you saying that Toby *demonstrated* this but he didn't show you how to do it? I'm curious about this.

Regards,

Mike

No he made it quite clear what he was doing and how to reproduce it. He also offered several versions of nearly the same thing using different 'strategies'. I already knew a similar exercise (and I consider it an exercise, something that teaches you about how waza works rather than something that you could apply directly say in randori) so I found it relatively easy to reproduce. I brought it up as an example of what George was saying he had never experienced (ie moving him only when he was providing an outflow of energy).

Also, going back to the discussion of Yamaguchi's influence, my own experience with his legacy is Takeda Sensei. And I should point out that it would be a mistake to think that he cannot pull movement out of you. I don't know how similar this is to the scenario Peter just described, but Takeda would often play with you if he was enjoying your ukemi, keeping just the slightest connection with you after every throw. He has an ability to position himself such that you feel you have only one possible path if you want to stand again, often this 'choice' doesn't even present itself immediately since he's blocking where you most naturally would like to rise. Then as you attempt to rise, he seems to help pick you up, only to position you for watever's next. When you see him do this with students who he knows well, it's frequently a very quick almost continuous series of throws, but since we weren't terribly used to each other, things were slower. I was looking for how to get back in on him and begin another attack, and he was studying how I moved. On the rare occasion I caught him off-guard, I would hear a little "a-ha" noise from him, but would be thrown just as easily as if I'd followed the line he was expecting. This is a different feeling encounter than the 'smothering' sensation that I have had from Shingu practitioners, where they follow you after each throw so that you are never fully able to rise before being thrown again. The only way I could describe the difference would be that the Shingu method feels like doing techniques to a compromised uke to control the encounter, where Takeda Sensei felt like he was working directly with reflex arcs and psychological phenomenon.

George S. Ledyard
09-27-2006, 11:32 AM
No he made it quite clear what he was doing and how to reproduce it. He also offered several versions of nearly the same thing using different 'strategies'. I already knew a similar exercise (and I consider it an exercise, something that teaches you about how waza works rather than something that you could apply directly say in randori) so I found it relatively easy to reproduce. I brought it up as an example of what George was saying he had never experienced (ie moving him only when he was providing an outflow of energy).


Toby absolutely was able to teach what he was doing. I have been playing with it and can reproduce it. I have been redoing much of my technique to incorporate that same set of principles.

Just as an aside... what I meant by "outflow of energy" was conscious attention. That's enough to draw out the movement. If one really tenses up and hunkers down, ones attention is largely inwardly focused and I don't think this type of aiki would serve to get the body moving. More drastic measures would have to be taken. I could be wrong.

What I felt fromToby was that he had me moving before I could process what was happening and organize my structure. If I had already been locked up in my structure I think it wouldn't have worked the same way. At least that's the way I understand what the principles are. I'll ask him the next time I see him.

Mike Sigman
09-27-2006, 11:57 AM
No he made it quite clear what he was doing and how to reproduce it. He also offered several versions of nearly the same thing using different 'strategies'. I already knew a similar exercise (and I consider it an exercise, something that teaches you about how waza works rather than something that you could apply directly say in randori) so I found it relatively easy to reproduce. I brought it up as an example of what George was saying he had never experienced (ie moving him only when he was providing an outflow of energy).Thanks, Chris. I think we're at the stage where we simply need to meet and demonstrate what we're talking about, someday. It's helpful that I've met George and I have a fuller understanding of what his terms are about certain things and I would suggest that a number of the Aikido contributors (or even some of the non-Aikido contributors like Rob John, Dan Harden, and others) should get together sometime and have a discussion/show-and-tell. Often the words, phrases, and written assurances of the written word are simply unclear until physically demonstrated. Also, I think there is something to be said for encouraging people by having them "walk the walk".... often knowing that there will be a real demand on people has the incentive of making them do the work, finally. ;) Not to mention, there is an added incentive to examine oneself and ask questions like, "Do I really 'move from my center' or is there a lot of shoulder involved?" or "I think I can do this but I'm not clear on exactly how I do it... let's take a moment and think it through". Show and tells can be terrific motivators.

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
09-27-2006, 12:02 PM
Toby absolutely was able to teach what he was doing. I have been playing with it and can reproduce it. Good. Next time you'll have to do me the favor of showing me. ;) Just as an aside... what I meant by "outflow of energy" was conscious attention. That's enough to draw out the movement. If one really tenses up and hunkers down, ones attention is largely inwardly focused and I don't think this type of aiki would serve to get the body moving. More drastic measures would have to be taken. I could be wrong.Frankly, I've watched and seen people "hunker down" and if I want to move them it's never hard at all. Someone that is truly "immoveable" (I've met 2 people that could do it in a scarey way; I've met some other truly world-class experts that I could move easily) uses an active mode, not a passive mode. It's just that they're so good at it that you can discern nothing under the touch but an immoveability. Still, those things are at best just demonstrations of the "root" they're able to base their techniques and power-releases upon, IMO.

Regards,

Mike

clwk
09-27-2006, 11:49 PM
This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS! Anyone can cut his outward energy flow and hunker down and get immoveable. Once you collapse your energy field like that, you might as well be a rock.Although it may be a belated and redundant addition to the discussion, I wanted to address this. I work with horses, and if it wants to, a horse *can* do what you're describing. It can tighten everything up into a tight knot and brace so that you cannot move it with a *simple* push. In reality, since it cannot *really* become a rock (just too hard, if you think about it) you can usually get it's center 'rolling' around, load the appropriate foot, and then apply force *across* the path to induce a balance step.

Why bring this up? Because a horse that *could* really 'hunker down' and freeze like you posit *would* be almost impossible to move - because horses have four legs, so they have no consistent holes in their balance. (The front and back ends act like loosely coupled two-legged beings, so you can use the imaginary holes to sort of 'juggle' their weight back and forth, but that's more complex. Bear in mind that a resistant horse is likely to become active in a way you *don't* want if you're not careful.) The point is that people, by the nature of their geometry, don't have inherent static postural stability. A person who really acomplished your 'rock' would not be hard to move at all - any more than a baseless human statue would be difficult to tip over if you pushed in the right direction(s). To a greater or lesser extent, the untrained reaction is always either to become rock-like or to become jello-like, and neither of these is particularly immoveable. The trick is to find the dynamic sweet spot between those two (unskilled) extremes.

It's certainly true that passive-aggressive tension is a problem, and if you just mean stupidly locking up to deny the chosen technique *when no alternative is socially permissible*, I agree wholeheartedly. But if you really meant frozen 'like a rock' - I'm not so sure that adds up to 'immoveable'. Anyone who freezes up to the extent that you can freely apply force to them is necessarily susceptible to being dumped (or *at least* 'moved'). Real immoveable is more interesting, probably worth pursuing (with just enough discretion to avoid disrupting the social order *too* badly) and probably not 'a lot of BS'. Just my opinion.

-ck

NagaBaba
09-28-2006, 08:41 PM
One thing I have to say...this is one of the best discussions I have had on ANY site. And we wouldn't have had it (most likely) without Sczepan's post. :)

Thanks Mr. S!

My very best,
Ron
You are welcome. I'm on vacation now in deep wild, so can't even read, no internet :grr: :grr: :grr: . Have to wait until next week, sorry....

Michael Young
09-28-2006, 09:53 PM
The point is that people, by the nature of their geometry, don't have inherent static postural stability. A person who really accomplished your 'rock' would not be hard to move at all - any more than a baseless human statue would be difficult to tip over if you pushed in the right direction(s)

I don't this is the kind of "rock" Ledyard Sensei is talking about. Sure, if you just tighten up your body structure by "locking" up the skeletal system with muscular tension, then you become a tottering-easily unbalanced-statue. This is what an untrained person would do, but then again, I don't think anybody is talking about unbalancing or moving untrained individuals here. If your weight is sunk down in a more relaxed and dynamic way, meaning being responsive to pushes/pulls/application of energy, and running that into your feet, then you become very immovable. But, like Ledyard said, this requires a complete pulling inward of your own energy, nothing flowing outward, only toward the ground, and no response to your partner's energy except toward you own structure.

Just to be fair, and be open about my bias:
Oh yeah, I absolutely loved the Endo Shihan video. That is what I am aiming for, so put me on that side of the fence...I trained the "other way" for years; left it when I experienced Saotome Sensei and his students.

clwk
09-29-2006, 12:41 AM
I don't this is the kind of "rock" Ledyard Sensei is talking about. Sure, if you just tighten up your body structure by "locking" up the skeletal system with muscular tension, then you become a tottering-easily unbalanced-statue. This is what an untrained person would do, but then again, I don't think anybody is talking about unbalancing or moving untrained individuals here. If your weight is sunk down in a more relaxed and dynamic way, meaning being responsive to pushes/pulls/application of energy, and running that into your feet, then you become very immovable.
Hmmm. It's kind of awkward, since I don't want to argue with you about what George said; he can probably speak for himself. I'll try to address what you're saying though, and we can leave George mostly out of it. (He's welcome to chime in, of course.) My first comment would be - what does 'very immovable' mean in this context?

But, like Ledyard said, this requires a complete pulling inward of your own energy, nothing flowing outward, only toward the ground, and no response to your partner's energy except toward you own structure.
Let's focus on that statement. To start with, I'd say the terminology is a little vague, so do correct me if you feel you need to. Despite a kind of 'general consensus', I don't think 'pulling inward of your own energy' and 'nothing flowing outward', etc. are really adequately descriptive (without establishing that we agree about what we're talking about) - but I'm pretty sure I can guess what you mean.

It *seems to me* that if you are going to (stand a reasonable chance to) resist attempts to move you (by someone who knows how to push) that you do have to have something 'flowing outward'. Incidentally, I would call that something 'force', and I would say 'directed' rather than 'flowing'. You might call this nit-picking, and you might say this is a tautology, but . . . whatever your 'flow' is supposed to be, if it's restricted from dynamically meeting the incoming force, then I think you are still describing a toned-down version of the 'rock'. I didn't choose that word, nor the word 'hunker'. These were the terms I was responding to. In my understanding, the style of connection required to (semi-)statically resist a push (for demonstration purposes) wouldn't really be described as 'hunkering', 'inward-directed' or like a 'rock'. In fact, I would describe it in quite the opposite way, as: 'expansive', 'outward-directed', and like a 'spring' (pun intended). If anything, you have to become 'light' to do this thing. (I'm not even saying I'm great at it, by the way - just that I have a clear idea about what it is.)

It seem obivous that we are describing different activities - even though both are ways of resisting a push. I *agree* that what you are describing is 'a lot of BS!' (not my words) - but my point was that this is not really what 'immoveable' is about.

To recap, George described something that sounded dumb, and he *said* it was dumb. I agreed but said there was something more interesting that might be confused with the dumb thing. You pointed out that George's 'dumb' thing was more sophisticated than I was giving it credit for. And finally, I'm saying, okay . . . but - that's still not what I'm talking about. For the record, do you think the method you described is 'dumb', or is it worth cultivating?

I think it comes down to what you said here:
I don't think anybody is talking about unbalancing or moving untrained individuals here.If 'hunkering' down and 'nothing flowing outward' and 'no response to your partners energy' are the 'training' for what you're describing, then it starts to become a question of what you mean by 'untrained'. Was O Sensei 'hunkered' down when he resisted a push on the side of his bokken? Or was there maybe something more to that little exercise? I'm actually curious to hear what you think.

-ck

Michael Young
10-02-2006, 02:29 AM
It's kind of awkward, since I don't want to argue with you about what George said; he can probably speak for himself.

I could understand why you would say that...there is a type-o in the line you were responding to, it says:

I don't this is the kind of "rock" Ledyard Sensei is talking about.

It should have read:

I don't THINK this is the kind of "rock" Ledyard Sensei is talking about....

My fingers not keeping up with my brain again :yuck: ...apologies.


To recap, George described something that sounded dumb, and he *said* it was dumb. I agreed but said there was something more interesting that might be confused with the dumb thing. You pointed out that George's 'dumb' thing was more sophisticated than I was giving it credit for. And finally, I'm saying, okay . . . but - that's still not what I'm talking about. For the record, do you think the method you described is 'dumb', or is it worth cultivating?

In a martially dynamic situation, yes its dumb. Is it "dumb" in a training situation? That depends on the situation, and for most training situations, yes, again its dumb. I think Ledyard Sensei covered the reasoning in his post, so I don't want to rehash it. Is it worth cultivating?...yes, to some extent I think so, but most of us have more of a problem with the other stuff and it requires a lot more training than becoming an unmoving, unresponsive, lug. I don't think being a lug is something all that sophisticated either, although it does take a bit of training. The problem with assuming the type of non-energetic, collapsing of energy that's being talked about (yes, I still think that is what happens, with the only "outflow" being tactile response which really isn't energy outflow IMO), gives neither partner the ability to find the "aiki".
The thing I was mostly addressing in my last post is that the human body, when in a decent postural stance, IS, or fairly easily can become, very stable (for a number of reasons). The "number of reasons" part can get into a lot of semantics in language and terminology and I think we would end up talking in circles, so I'll just leave it at that. Can the stable stance be broken? Of course...its just not usually going to be easy on the person who is getting their stance broken. Are there deeper levels to becoming more stable, or perhaps more accurately "responsively stable" :confused: ? I think so, but I don't think that a very high level of sophistication is what is required to become (for lack of a better term) a "lug".

Of course I could be wrong...and I'm sure Ledyard Sensei will be more than happy to correct me when he is here in San Antonio in a couple of weeks (SHAMELESS SEMINAR PLUG :D )

FWIW
Mike

NagaBaba
10-03-2006, 03:20 PM
Szcepan's criticisms are interesting for me as I feel that a number of the Shihan whom he admires are in the "collusion" category. As an example, their waza always look the same no matter the size or temperment of the attacker. Also many Shihan's uke will stop in the middle of an attack even if they are in a dangerous position, and wait for the teacher to "do" the technique. I have a video of one of these Shihan in which he loses connection with his uke, who stands up. The Shihan gives him a "look" (the look my mother often gave me when I messed up) and the uke put himself back into a precarious position so the Shihan could finish the technique!

Just one guy's opinion, but Endo Shihan is the best Aikido practitioner I have ever felt or seen. There are some interesting articles on his Saku Dojo's website. I highly recommend them.

Charles Hill

This is a very good discussion; I have finally a bit of time to read almost all posts. The list is too long to replay for everyone. After explanation of Peter G. we can see better a Japanese context of aikido practice. This can be a key of misunderstanding and may be also a key to understanding how and why hombu aikikai changed 'set up' for uke's role in aikido practice.

If one look at video with O sensei, he never did a demo this way, his moves were pretty direct, very linear. I believe it was a direct result of intensive weapons practice. Yes, ppl who don't do weapons tend to do thousand circles and spirals, only god knows why, before finally producing some kind of throw or pin.

Another aspect is "what is the goal of a demo?". For me -- it is only other training tool, so when one of my teachers does a demo, I can learn something. It has very practical value, for teacher and for us, his students.
If a demo is kind of show off, when high level teacher demonstrates something that can't be repeated or understood by anyone but him, even by 6th dan students, is it completely useless. What is worse, when he pretends to do a kind of magic, and he needs to accomplish it with special, very cooperative and anticipating uke. If uke can't help him produce spectacular results, he simply is never asked again to attack instructor -- because suddenly his technique is loosing ‘magic' aspect and became ordinary, may I say, basic technique. And all charisma is gone.

All following quotes are from George S. Ledyard:

People think that power represents the expression of the martial side of Aikido.

Yes, to develop aikido at his highest level one must be able to produce a lot of power in order to be independent of attacker's will.

It's about placing the attacker in an off balance position in which you can strike him and he cannot respond.

Yes, and this is another reason to develop very powerful techniques. Other choice is to find extremely cooperative uke who will put himself off balance. I think this is preferred choice of very many aikidoka who pretend to be able to do the techniques exactly as O sensei did in the end of his life.

He is studying how to completely join with the attacker.

I can't agree more. It is very common conviction in this line of practice, specially in France : we are studying a movement. It is nothing wrong when fresh beginner study aikido movements. He needs cooperation, slow motion and all this stuff….but when high ranking ppl still study movements after 30 years, and never do a martial technique it make me wonder what are they study and why? If we compare a speed of executing technique by 3 dan aikido who ‘study technique' all his life and 3 dan of judo during competition, we may better understand how false is this premise. And let's not forget that judo guy is able to do it with attacker that counter and resist actively!!!!!!!
As I said earlier -- pure illusion all this ‘studying technique'.


This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS!

Don't get excited too much. I never wrote such thing. However, it is very important body skill. Not to prove that your techniques is wrong, but simply to protect himself against bad technical skills. Also, if I can do it, it means that your technique has an opening and is not perfect yet LOL. Normally, if you are able to maintain a right connection, I can't redirect your leading, isn't it true?

People with limited understanding think that the "hard stuff" is the martial stuff. It's really the soft stuff that has the "goods". If you understand the soft stuff, power comes easily and effortlessly.

O sensei didn't start from soft power. No one who started training from soft power ever became great martial artist. Because this approach leads to nowhere.

Chuck Clark
10-03-2006, 03:48 PM
Good post Szczepan. I often agree with what I think you mean, but often don't agree with how you say it... if that makes any sense at all! I suspect that you'd enjoy training with us at the Jiyushinkan. Drop in and visit anytime.

Best regards,

clwk
10-03-2006, 05:42 PM
The problem with assuming the type of non-energetic, collapsing of energy that's being talked about (yes, I still think that is what happens, with the only "outflow" being tactile response which really isn't energy outflow IMO), gives neither partner the ability to find the "aiki".I will agree with you that we probably have too many terminological issues to make any headway in this discussion. What exactly you mean by 'energy outflow', 'tactile response', and 'aiki' is just too difficult to tell. In case it's unclear, all I am saying is that I think there is a mode of 'immovability' which is sophisticated, not 'lug-like', and a *valuable* skill, well-worth cultivating if you are trying to develop 'aiki'. It may not always be appropriate to shut down your partner's waza, but the core skill involved would *also* allow you to take extremely light, responsive ukemi if you wanted to. I would argue that developing these kind of unsual skills is probably *more* valuable than trying to 'flow' - and that 'flow' is what I am imagining when you talk about 'energy outflow'. I am *not* saying that one should be stiff or even static, but that the real ability to 'flow' is dependent on the ability to connect the parts of the body extremely well and to guide forces within the body in an extremely precise way - and that these properties can be cultivated well under the rubric of 'immovability'.

I think so, but I don't think that a very high level of sophistication is what is required to become (for lack of a better term) a "lug".I have no doubt that this is true, and I will try one more time: you are describing a kind of 'luggish' stasis and saying that it is easy to attain. I believe you, but *I* am saying that this luggish stasis is not the most sophisticated thing out there, and probably not as immoveable as you think; and I am furthermore saying that the difference between your luggish stasis and what I am talking about (as an ideal) is meaningful and worth cultivating. You can't have your cake and eat it too. We both agree that the lug thing is easy and useless, but you can't really take the position that what I am describing is also easy and useless if you think what I am describing is the lug thing. Well, you could, I suppose . . . but you'd need to be pretty confident you knew what I was talking about - and from what you say, it sounds like you might not.
Of course I could be wrong...and I'm sure Ledyard Sensei will be more than happy to correct me when he is here in San Antonio in a couple of weeks (SHAMELESS SEMINAR PLUG )Do you mean 'correct' you if you're misrepresenting his position - or 'correct' you if you're arument is flawed? I will point out that if you are representing his position accurately, he will probably not correct you on any flaws in the argument. I might be reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are not defending George's argument so much as his personal stance (so to speak) - and that you'll take whatever position he espouses. Correct me if I'm wrong.

-ck

Michael Young
10-03-2006, 06:02 PM
If a demo is kind of show off, when high level teacher demonstrates something that can't be repeated or understood by anyone but him, even by 6th dan students, is it completely useless.

Just like O'Sensei used to do...hmmm, maybe it does have value even if everyone in the room can't understand or replicate it. Personally I'm glad that O'Sensei left behind some demonstration of what he was doing...even if everyone who watches it can't replicate it, or even understand (those poor 6th dans). Maybe the demos have an intrinsic value beyond the limited perspective of the viewer.

However, it is very important body skill. Not to prove that your techniques is wrong, but simply to protect himself against bad technical skills. Also, if I can do it, it means that your technique has an opening and is not perfect yet LOL

Again...hmmm.. if you punch and I'm standing beside you with my hand in your face, and you aren't responding because you don't want to be thrown and I haven't "taken your balance", then this is O.K.? You've somehow shown me my technique isn't perfect? You don't have to respond to this? After all, its only a hand and I'm not going to hurt you, right? I mean how much damage can my little old hand do (particularly if I'm not "powerful")? Somewhere in there I was supposed to apply my power through physical contact and take your balance, and I didn't do that, right?.

O.K. now, imagine I had a 3 inch razor sharp blade in my hand...gonna move now, or stand there "unthrowable"? Doesn't take much power now does it? Nope, I'd bet you a whole lot of money you move your head, and if you have any intelligence, your whole body...and imagine, just for a second, that this would place you in a position of non-balance. Oooops, I forgot you're unthrowable from this "soft stuff." Of course, I really don't have a 3 inch blade in my little old hand do I? Hmmmm, I wonder if my 2.5 inch finger could penetrate your eye?...nah, your probably right, that could never happen :hypno:

Sorry about the sarcasm, but this argument could go on and on, and while I'm under no delusion that Nagababel will be convinced that maybe there is a little more to movement and off-balancing than copious amounts of power applied to a person, maybe its still good for the discussion.

O sensei didn't start from soft power. No one who started training from soft power ever became great martial artist. Because this approach leads to nowhere.

Interesting, because I would say;
No one who started training from hard power and never graduated beyond that ever became a great martial artist*. This approach leads to stagnation and a limited perspective.
O'Sensei graduated to something beyond just using power.

I doubt a great swordsman concentrates on mastering his art through the pursuit of a more and more powerful cut.

*disclaimer: I've never met every great martial artist...whatever that is ;)

FWIW

Michael Young
10-03-2006, 06:46 PM
In case it's unclear, all I am saying is that I think there is a mode of 'immovability' which is sophisticated, not 'lug-like', and a *valuable* skill, well-worth cultivating if you are trying to develop 'aiki'.

I completely aggree.

I am *not* saying that one should be stiff or even static, but that the real ability to 'flow' is dependent on the ability to connect the parts of the body extremely well and to guide forces within the body in an extremely precise way - and that these properties can be cultivated well under the rubric of 'immovability'.

Again, I agree: I have been actively seeking out training methods to build just such skillsets.

I would argue that developing these kind of unsual skills is probably *more* valuable than trying to 'flow'

Sorry, I don't agree with that. I think one s just as valuable as the other. Athough I would say that the skill of being responsive and "unmovable" in a relaxed connected manner is not practiced most places as much as "flowing" is. I also think that many places don't even have methodology in place to practice those things (fodder for another discussion)

I am *not* saying that one should be stiff or even static, but that the real ability to 'flow' is dependent on the ability to connect the parts of the body extremely well and to guide forces within the body in an extremely precise way - and that these properties can be cultivated well under the rubric of 'immovability'

I would say I do agree with that partly, but without actually putting it into practice would be like studying how to stand correctly with a sword, but never actually swing it and respond in a martial situation. You can watch someone play piano all day long, listen to it over and over, study as much music theory you want, practice your scales over and over again...all essential things, but if you never actually try to play Mozart, you'll never be able to play Mozart...O.K. I know that just opened a whole new tangent.

We both agree that the lug thing is easy and useless, but you can't really take the position that what I am describing is also easy and useless if you think what I am describing is the lug thing. Well, you could, I suppose . . . but you'd need to be pretty confident you knew what I was talking about - and from what you say, it sounds like you might not.

I never said that what you are describing is easy and useless, and never stated that...in fact (I'll state again) from your post the thing I disagreed with was that you originally stated someone standing in a stable posture was easy to move....I think we're arguing the same thing to some extent. Nuff said on that from my side, too many of these discussions devolve into semantics.

Do you mean 'correct' you if you're misrepresenting his position - or 'correct' you if you're arument is flawed? I will point out that if you are representing his position accurately, he will probably not correct you on any flaws in the argument. I might be reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are not defending George's argument so much as his personal stance (so to speak) - and that you'll take whatever position he espouses. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Um, thanks for pointing out that he wouldn't correct me if something I said aggrees with something he said.
The only reason I'd take anyone's stance on anything is if I think what they're saying is correct. I've been lucky enough to have a lot of exposure to Ledyard Sensei and he has been very instrumental to my understanding of a lot of things. Just to be clear, I'm not espousing what someone says to be a sycophant. You said something I didn't agree with or felt needed further discussion and understanding, thus I responded. Would I take Ledyard Sensei's advice on something he corrects me on? You bet I would, because he can demonstrate he knows what he is talking about to me, and he wouldn't give an opinion if it wasn't considered and backed up with experience/knowledge. I've had enough exposure to him to know this about him. How bout you? Have you met Ledyard or had the opportunity to train with him? Have you met me, and know anything at all about my personality? I don't know jack about you C.K. nor have I been condescending or insulting to you, just carrying on a discussion. Would I espouse any position Ledyard takes? Not if I didn't think it was correct, and have a reasonable explanaton to back up my thoughts.
I hope that corrects your veiled insult and accusation that I'm somehow unable to think for myself, because I won't respond any further to that line of questioning. Back to regularly scheduled programming.

clwk
10-03-2006, 07:12 PM
Sorry, I don't agree with that. I think one s just as valuable as the other. Athough I would say that the skill of being responsive and "unmovable" in a relaxed connected manner is not practiced most places as much as "flowing" is. I also think that many places don't even have methodology in place to practice those things (fodder for another discussion)All I mean is that if you can really stand in a way that converges on the immoveable idea, then it is easy to 'flow'. The opposite is not the case, so if I had to pick one method or the other exclusively, I would take the standing. *Fortunately*, we don't have to make that choice - and I *do* practice Aikido and value the ukemi as arguably the most important part of the training.
I would say I do agree with that partly, but without actually putting it into practice would be like studying how to stand correctly with a sword, but never actually swing it and respond in a martial situation.Yes and no, in my opinion. Yes - because, of course - you do have to practice with 'situations' and to some extent learn about techniques, etc. On the other hand, the *main* thing to cultivate is more of a state than a set of conditioned-responses - a state which entwines mind and body, and in which (theoretically!) the naturally correct response arises to any particular 'martial puzzle'. I am *not* saying you can arrive at that point without training with situations and techniques or that I have arrived there - but I think *a lot* of what you need to do to get there has very little to do with learning and practicing techniques as such. I think that is supported by O-Sensei's predilection for training methods which were not evidently martial.
I hope that corrects your veiled insult and accusation that I'm somehow unable to think for myself, because I won't respond any further to that line of questioning. Back to regularly scheduled programming.Actually, Michael, I don't think there was a veiled insult. I said it *sounded* like you were behaving in a certain way, but I wasn't sure. The paragraph in which you were supposed to have cleared it up left me confused about whether you were just "taking George's side" or not. For the record, I don't think you would need to interpret my observation as an insult if you were. That you feel it would be an insult suggests that must *not* have been what you meant. So what you were initially saying is that you would ask George to 'correct' you on whether you were expressing his position correctly - so as not to misrepresent him? I'm genuinely confused about what you meant, and there's no necessary insult in either answer.

I think you can see how it would be confusing if I stepped into a potential disagreement you were having with, say Sczepan, and ended my response with "I'll just check with Sczepan to see if I'm making any mistakes." I don't mean to insult you or George. I'm just trying to get a bead on what you're saying.

If you think my identifying the position I thought you *might* be taking is insulting, please just tell me that it's not your actual position. That's why I said 'I might be reading this wrong', and 'Correct me if I'm wrong.'

-ck

George S. Ledyard
10-03-2006, 08:59 PM
Let me clarify what I meany by the highly technical term of "hunkering down" and "being like a rock or rocklike".

Many folks resist by tightening up and blocking the flow of the technique. In doing so this tension makes it impossible for them to protect themselves against the atemi. Someone who tightens his arm can't use that arm to protect against a strike.

It is abolutely possible to develop very strong centering technique and be very difficult to move. One does this by learning to relax have proper body alignment. Mike Sigman would be very hard to move but he is very relaxed and quite sensitive to his opponent.

If one is tight, he is feeling himself, if one is relaxed, one is feeling the opponent. That doesn't mean "floaty" but it doesn't mean that one is still fluid enough to protect ones openings.

clwk
10-04-2006, 12:17 AM
Let me clarify what I meany by the highly technical term of "hunkering down" and "being like a rock or rocklike".
The first time I read that, 'rocklike' came out 'crocodile' in my head. I believe that *is* the official terminology: 'hunkering down like a crocodile.'

Many folks resist by tightening up and blocking the flow of the technique. In doing so this tension makes it impossible for them to protect themselves against the atemi. Someone who tightens his arm can't use that arm to protect against a strike.
Yes, that is exactly what I thought you meant.

It is abolutely possible to develop very strong centering technique and be very difficult to move. One does this by learning to relax have proper body alignment. Mike Sigman would be very hard to move but he is very relaxed and quite sensitive to his opponent.Yes, and that is exactly what I was talking about. It seems we have no disagreement. This was a long road to get there, but I'm all for gratuitous brouhahae.

-ck

Michael Young
10-04-2006, 12:17 AM
On the other hand, the *main* thing to cultivate is more of a state than a set of conditioned-responses - a state which entwines mind and body, and in which (theoretically!) the naturally correct response arises to any particular 'martial puzzle'. I am *not* saying you can arrive at that point without training with situations and techniques or that I have arrived there - but I think *a lot* of what you need to do to get there has very little to do with learning and practicing techniques as such. I think that is supported by O-Sensei's predilection for training methods which were not evidently martial.

This is something I would absolutely agree with. Having a repertoire of A+B=C is pretty much worthless. Learning technique is only part of the basic vocabulary of the art, not the art itself, they are a way of studying the principles. I would also agree that simply practicing the techniques has little (or at least, not as big a role that is generally emphasized) to do with learning Aikido. I don't think that the discussion (at least to me) has as much to do with nage's role as it does uke's. Of course the overlap is inherent in the art: where does the study of ukemi and the study of technique begin and end? The answer to me is in the principle, which is studied on both sides. The "flow" side of ukemi, to me, is where I begin to understand the feeling between the two partners, of what is happening. Obtaining this "natural state" is a job not only of the nage side, but also the uke. This is hard for an uke to accomplish when he becomes the proverbial "lug" (tight unmovable, as opposed to relaxed unmovable, taking from what Ledyard Sensei just said) and just stands there waiting for the torque, strike, slice, kiss, or whatever, when in a martially untenable position.
There is definite and necessary value in studying how to "unify" your body, feel your partner, and "ground them out". Like I said before, I don't think it is studied enough. A person should spend countless hours trying to "learn" their body and how to manipulate their structure correctly, then apply it to an interactive training process (particularly as nage). Its completely possible to use this skill to ground-out, shut down, control, or simply not be thrown by your nage when taking the role of uke...but then you've just switched roles and become nage haven't you? Is this appropriate in a training situation? It can be if that is the agreed upon interaction (after all we do have something called kaeshi-waza), but it sure as heck ain't appropriate under most training circumstances, and can be completely detrimental to the training process when not agreed upon...for both partners. The idea that I'm going to train to "not be thrown" all the time isn't going to get anyone anywhere. Granted, I don't think this is what you are advocating C.K (although it seems others are), so take what I'm saying as just elaboration for the sake of discussion. Its also not the appropriate thing to do in an embu either...an uke resisting the technique being applied is just asking for it during such a demonstration. I've seen shihan adjust with purposefully resistive, non-flowing, uke on a few occasions when demonstrating technique...it was never very pretty for the uke.

So as not to digress off topic, I'll address the "insult" issue in a PM.

clwk
10-04-2006, 01:10 AM
Of course the overlap is inherent in the art: where does the study of ukemi and the study of technique begin and end?At the point that kaeshi waza happens automatically, whenever uke refrains from forcing himself to 'take the fall' - or that's my take. In other words, when ukemi dissolves into spontaneous disarming of Nage's committed attack, then the principle of protection through completely yielding has been realized. In theory, mind you.
The "flow" side of ukemi, to me, is where I begin to understand the feeling between the two partners, of what is happening. I agree, and I think that most people have the problem of not being able to 'flow'. What I am saying is that the flow, as good as it is, and important as it is - especially from a mental perspective - actually contains a kind of disconnection. Think about it this way: if you take 'flow' to its logical extreme, if you perfect it, then how does Aikido differ from ballroom dancing (apart from the steps). The answer is: it doesn't. I think being *able* to flow to an arbitrarily perfect degree is a baseline requirement of ukemi, but I don't think it's the pinnacle. I think that in order for the uke-nage dynamic to be martially communicative, there needs to be more than just flow: there needs to also be the ability to 'unflow' at will. If uke can flow so well that nage does not feel him, and can unflow so well that nage cannot move him, then he is ideally suited to a) protect himself if need be, and b) give nage *exactly* the feedback appropriate to nage's ability and requirements of the time. This dichotomy carried into the realm of real physical conflict resolves the sometimes-confusing discussion about protection the attacker v.s. protecting oneself. a) has to come first, but if the skill level is there to treat your attacker as a training partner, then sure . . . go ahead and give him b). But the appropriate feedback to a real attack might not be pleasant - because a real attack does not conform to the etiquette which *should* prevent both real agressive and passive-aggressive ukemi in the dojo. We're after mock aggressive, with an asymptotic approach to *appearing* to be real. (See comments below.)
Its also not the appropriate thing to do in an embu either...an uke resisting the technique being applied is just asking for it during such a demonstration. I've seen shihan adjust with purposefully resistive, non-flowing, uke on a few occasions when demonstrating technique...it was never very pretty for the uke.I'm not commenting on the discussion in general because I haven't followed it closely, but as far as the video goes: the problem with the ukes is not that they are not resisting, or that they are flowing. It's a matter of degree, I suppose. It doesn't matter to me *at all*, but I think that if they *tightened up* their ukemi, then it would showcase Endo's skill even more. It's not a big deal, ballroom dancing is beautiful, and if you know Aikido, you can see what's going on. I don't think you can judge Endo too strongly by his ukes' skill level anyway. If that was too vague, let me be direct: his ukes could be more connected and anticipate the throws less. This would give him the opportunity to exert greater control, display more power, and would look more martially interesting - while still allowing them to take their breakfalls (which are good, of course). It would still be obviously cooperative, but it could just be tightened up a little bit.

Let's put it this way. With a little more practice, they could get it down so it didn't look so fake. We all know it's real anyway, so why spoil the illusion that is embu with the obviously over-the-top dance moves. I suggest some blood capsules, and maybe a couple of antique sugar vases which he could break over their heads at strategic points.

-ck

NagaBaba
10-05-2006, 12:18 PM
Good post Szczepan. I often agree with what I think you mean, but often don't agree with how you say it... if that makes any sense at all! I suspect that you'd enjoy training with us at the Jiyushinkan. Drop in and visit anytime.

Best regards,
Thank you Chuck for invitation, it will be pleasure to practice with you when time will allow me for long travels.
take care

NagaBaba
10-05-2006, 12:43 PM
Just like O'Sensei used to do...hmmm, maybe it does have value even if everyone in the room can't understand or replicate it. Personally I'm glad that O'Sensei left behind some demonstration of what he was doing...even if everyone who watches it can't replicate it, or even understand (those poor 6th dans). Maybe the demos have an intrinsic value beyond the limited perspective of the viewer.
O sensei was a founder, so his understanding of the art was far superieur to ours. His actions can't be mesured in the same way as ours.

Again...hmmm.. if you punch and I'm standing beside you with my hand in your face, and you aren't responding because you don't want to be thrown and I haven't "taken your balance", then this is O.K.? You've somehow shown me my technique isn't perfect? You don't have to respond to this? After all, its only a hand and I'm not going to hurt you, right? I mean how much damage can my little old hand do (particularly if I'm not "powerful")? Somewhere in there I was supposed to apply my power through physical contact and take your balance, and I didn't do that, right?. .
I'd say like that: in any moment after first contact uke should't be in balance until he hits the tatami. This is nage job to be sure about it. If uke, even for a half a second regain his balance, nage is done, doesn't matter what he(nage) thinks he is able to do after.
The reason is simple: result of such situation can't be predicted at all. So nage allowed to return to the situation from before beginning of the attack which is waste of time and effords.

O.K. now, imagine I had a 3 inch razor sharp blade in my hand...gonna move now, or stand there "unthrowable"? Doesn't take much power now does it? Nope, I'd bet you a whole lot of money you move your head, and if you have any intelligence, your whole body...and imagine, just for a second, that this would place you in a position of non-balance. Oooops, I forgot you're unthrowable from this "soft stuff." Of course, I really don't have a 3 inch blade in my little old hand do I? Hmmmm, I wonder if my 2.5 inch finger could penetrate your eye?...nah, your probably right, that could never happen :hypno: .
I see you have great imagination. Congratulations. It will not, however, help you in any way to master aikido.
Aikido is not about dreaming samurai-like fantasy.

Interesting, because I would say;
No one who started training from hard power and never graduated beyond that ever became a great martial artist*. This approach leads to stagnation and a limited perspective.
O'Sensei graduated to something beyond just using power.

I doubt a great swordsman concentrates on mastering his art through the pursuit of a more and more powerful cut.

*disclaimer: I've never met every great martial artist...whatever that is ;)

FWIW
Your knowledge about O sensei direct students martial background is very limited. ALL his early students were high skilled martal artist BEFORE they start aikido training. They didn't build their power by doing meditation, 'studying movement' or dreaming. It was done by very hard physical work during long time. This is not the case today. 99.99% aikido beginners are weak physically and have no powerful spirit. It is not surprising that first thing to do is to build it -- and the best way to do it is by developping a power in execution aikido techniques. More sophisticated skills(as Endo sensei presents in this video ) may be develop only later on this strong fundation.Or not -- not everyone is able to develop such skills. But at least they will have good basics.

What Yamaguchi and Endo sensei propose is reinversed process - they want to build sophistication without any basics. This is very funny. :dead:

gdandscompserv
10-05-2006, 01:42 PM
What Yamaguchi and Endo sensei propose is reinversed process - they want to build sophistication without any basics.
Where/when did they propose this?

Michael Young
10-05-2006, 03:45 PM
I see you have great imagination. Congratulations. It will not, however, help you in any way to master aikido.
I wasn't aware that carrying a 3 inch blade in hand could only be carried out by a samurai. I work in a rough area of town, in a job that exposes me to rough people on a regular basis. I never know what their carrying, and a 3 inch blade is certainly within the realm of possibility. But I'm sure its completely safe in your little corner of the world though. Who's fantasizing now?
I do try to have a good imagination though (thanks for the congrats)...I imagine that when I'm in a martially untenable situation I'm going to respond, not stand there waiting for someone to push or pull me off balance when a strike COULD be far more dangerous to my personal well-being. Even though I know that my fellow practice partners aren't going to purposefully hurt me inside the dojo, I still treat it AS IF they could. This is the time to "flow" and move yourself, this is the time for nage to take advantage of that situation and take uke's balance.
Oh yeah, insofar as my imagination goes, you forgot this part of my statement,
I really don't have a 3 inch blade in my little old hand do I? Hmmmm, I wonder if my 2.5 inch finger could penetrate your eye?...nah, your probably right, that could never happen
Or is it convenient to just ignore the fact that it doesn't actually take much "power" to do someone some damage and that they should pay attention to such things?
'd say like that: in any moment after first contact uke shouldn't be in balance until he hits the tatami. This is nage job to be sure about it. If uke, even for a half a second regain his balance, nage is done, doesn't matter what he(nage) thinks he is able to do after.
I agree...but what is "first contact".. just physical? Unfortunately a lot of what I have seen (and originally practiced in my old federation) only saw Aikido as a physical interaction between two people. It basically gets reduced to some kind of wrestling match where everything becomes a matter of waiting for your partner to torque, twist, push or pull, at the point of physical contact. I think uke's mind has to be disrupted before physical contact is made. If you practice as an unresponsive uke though, you can simply ignore the fact that your nage is already in a space to strike you, etc., and simply not move when, if it was a real situation, you would have (unless you've stupidly trained yourself not to).
Another problem with this purely physical response of "power must be applied" to balance breaking is, how much of uke's balance do you need to have broken? I can think of one Shihan in particular who likes his uke's bent in half, in a completely open position, but there they must wait until the "power" is poured on...just plain stupid on uke's part. But hey, better to train your body to absorb punishment than to actually just fall down and get the hell out of dodge, right? :freaky: I'm still trying to retrain that ridiculous habit out of my body, and I haven't practiced that "style" in quite a few years now.
O sensei was a founder, so his understanding of the art was far Superior to ours. His actions can't be measured in the same way as ours.
So the logic is, that if we can't understand something he did, or do it in the perfect manner that he did it in, then it is wrong for us do so? Well, guess we all better just quit doing embu now...heck I guess Aikido too. Just admit that there might be other reasons why O'Sensei, and pretty much every one of his top students did/do demonstrations. Remember this is your statement that I was addressing:
If a demo is kind of show off, when high level teacher demonstrates something that can't be repeated or understood by anyone but him, even by 6th dan students, is it completely useless.
I'm pretty sure O'Sensei could be considered a high level teacher. I doubt he was expecting people to understand everything about what he was doing, but maybe he thought there was value in showing it anyway...or maybe he was just showing off (I know, blaspheme!!).
Your knowledge about O sensei direct students martial background is very limited.
Wow, I am amazed that you could know that piece of information about me, especially considering we've never met...nor did I comment at all about what any of O'Sensei's early students knew or didn't know in what I wrote. I wonder what these immensely powerful students came to learn from O'Sensei though?..yeah probably just how to use more and more power, I doubt that any of them ever tried to use a something different that they learned while practicing with O'Sensei. :rolleyes:
What Yamaguchi and Endo sensei propose is reinversed process - they want to build sophistication without any basics. This is very funny.
I too wonder where you got this piece of information...I'm sure you were their direct students for many years, right? Or possibly have trained with some of their direct students? I tell you what, Gleason Sensei is a direct student of Yamaguchi...go see him at a seminar at the very least, heck try to get your hands on him and supply some "good-old-fashioned-resistive-ukemi", I'm suuuurrrrree that you'd find he is lacking in basics and "power" :freaky:

Basia Halliop
10-05-2006, 04:11 PM
I am going to regret wading in here, but are you guys even talking about the same thing when you say 'power'?

And I'm kind of unclear on the argument against needing to take balance -- if uke is just standing there and nage is relying on eye-gouging or a knife what's to stop uke from eye-gouging or knifing nage first? Then doesn't it all just become a matter of who can eye gouge faster?

I assume this is really not what you're trying to say, but I start to picture an interpretation where someone could practice in such a way that they never actually successfully escape a pretend 'attacker' unless the pretend 'attacker' is at that moment practicing how to cooperate better with them (which sounds like a non-attacker??), all the while nage saying, 'if this was real I would knife him" -- in which case why not drop the 'aikido' and spend the time on practicing knife skills and eye-gouging speed? I really suspect that's not what you're actually getting at, but it's getting confusing to follow.

I'm not sure you're even arguing about the same thing, though... I seem to recall being in Montreal a couple of months into starting Aikido and practicing with Stephane and hearing a lot of "Relaxe! Relaxe!" (that's french for relax :) ) "Relax your shoulders! Keep moving! Do something! Don't make your body rigid, it just gives them a lever!", and so on...

Michael Young
10-05-2006, 11:08 PM
I am going to regret wading in here,

C'mon in, the water's fine :D

I assume this is really not what you're trying to say, but I start to picture an interpretation where someone could practice in such a way that they never actually successfully escape a pretend 'attacker' unless the pretend 'attacker' is at that moment practicing how to cooperate better with them (which sounds like a non-attacker??), all the while nage saying, 'if this was real I would knife him" -- in which case why not drop the 'aikido' and spend the time on practicing knife skills and eye-gouging speed? I really suspect that's not what you're actually getting at, but it's getting confusing to follow.

You are correct, that is not what I'm trying to say. Let me clarify and hopefully state my position better:
-Uke should deliver attacks with precision and intent, and they should have their balance while doing so
-If nage doesn't respond correctly (assuming both practitioners are working at a more than beginner level), then uke shouldn't just throw away their balance and fall to the ground, making it some kind of dance
I hope that clears up that I am not advocating weak attacks, weak balance on uke's part, or reinforcing ineffective technique for nage by just falling down.
That said, neither should uke be resistive to being moved when in a MARTIALLY UNTENABLE position (that's the key to why it doesn't turn into uke just resuming the attack from a different position). I was using the knife, and eye gouging, as an example of why this resistive behavior on uke's part is just plain stupid. All to often I have been at places where the uke attacks, nage responds by moving to a shikaku with proper timing, then the uke just stands there as rigid as possible, waiting for nage to "do" something to him/her...this is only possible in a training environment and is a completely dishonest reaction from uke. Ledayard Sensei gave a perfect example of it in a post earlier on in this thread:

I had a guy at camp do that to me... he was quite pleased that I "couldn't" move him. But why would I? The moment I felt him ground out, I slid behind him and had both my hands on his face with my fingers on his eyes. When you ground out and make yourself immoveable like that you are simply making yourself a non-moving target. If you are tense you cannot protect your suki (openings). That has nothing to do with good martial arts..


This precisely answers your question of:
if uke is just standing there and nage is relying on eye-gouging or a knife what's to stop uke from eye-gouging or knifing nage first?

Uke is not in a position to do anything if he/she doesn't move, while nage is. Uke purposefully stopping the flow of technique when in a bad position is a bad idea.
I am not advocating that nage not take uke's balance...but let's be honest, if uke knows what is coming, and knows that nage is not actually going to strike, then most people with a modicum of training can begin resisting and fighting the technique, usually very successfully. There a many dojo's where this is the training method taught for uke, and nage is expected to get uke moving again through a series of purely mechanical manipulation (twisting, torquing, pulling, pushing). Lo and behold this type of training then spills over to the nage side...instead of concentrating of the centerline, timing, and putting themselves in martially effective positions, nage starts to reach out and grab appendages and concentrate on technique over principle. I'm not theorizing about this, I've experienced it a bunch in my training background. There is essentially a whole Aikido organization that practices and teaches this way (not naming names, sorry won't go there). Like I said in my last post, I've seen people literally bent almost in half backwards, (feet on the ground with the top of their head barely off the mat), a nage that placed them the uke in that position standing directly over them, and still the uke is resisting falling down. Why? What purpose does it serve to train your uke's to do that? What does it say about the uke martially? Maybe its so that nage can get the "bone-crunching" instant self-gratification of pummelling someone hard into the ground.
...are you guys even talking about the same thing when you say 'power'?

You'd probably need to go back and read the entire thread to get a handle on that. There have been some great posts in it on that very issue. Its worth reading the whole thread, its a good one with lots of interesting discussion, and I know I'm enjoying it...even if I am being a smart @#$ in some of my responses (mostly to Naga though, I tend to respond in kind ;) ). For me, these issues are very relevant to my current training focus.
I seem to recall being in Montreal a couple of months into starting Aikido and practicing with Stephane and hearing a lot of "Relaxe! Relaxe!" (that's french for relax ) "Relax your shoulders! Keep moving! Do something! Don't make your body rigid, it just gives them a lever!", and so on...
Fantastic (fantastique, en francais :D ) good advice.

-Mike

xuzen
10-06-2006, 12:40 AM
Pretty demo. Now try doing that with someone who is stiff arming you and trying their very best not to cooperate with you; IMO very different result altogether.

However, all is not lost, I see a very smoothly executed Tai Otoshi around 1' 22" of the clip. Very relaxed and effective. I too was caught with Tai Otoshi like this in my randori.

Other than that, all I see is the typical go with the flow cooperative ukes.

Boon.

RossT
10-06-2006, 02:04 AM
I've been reading (and skimming) this thread with interest. I have been a student of Nakao sensei for the last year and can confirm what Bryan has had to say. Rather than just following, when taking uke for Nakao sensei you are compelled to keep moving, a bit like travelling down a steep hill at speed. In this sense, as uke I feel I have to keep going and see the throw through to its' conclusion because I'm already falling over anyway, and his nage will eventually give me an opportunity to do so in a way that i can cope with.
There is also no opportunity to effectively block his technique, because if you don't give a commited attack he will go straight through you. Using what feels like pure hara, he will literally pin you against the dojo wall (whilst smiling) until you start attacking.
Furthermore, although incredibly soft, the best way I can describe the initial connection with Nakao sensei is like trying to push a very big boulder (this time up a hill!), never feeling that you are really anywhere near upsetting its' centre of gravity. In this way, you are presented with two choices, attack or not, of which attacking seems the more sensible one.

All the best
Ross

batemanb
10-06-2006, 03:38 AM
Hi Ross,

Not trying to hijack the thread but did we meet when I was over at Easter? Was it you that came and drank coffee with me and Brad after keiko?

Please give Nakao sensei my best regards and tell him I'll see him in the spring.

regards
Bryan

Aiki LV
10-06-2006, 12:05 PM
Pretty demo. Now try doing that with someone who is stiff arming you and trying their very best not to cooperate with you; IMO very different result altogether.

It seems to me this has turned into the classic argument between different schools of thought when it comes to aikido.
Those who believe you should be able to control and throw someone no matter what they are or are not doing to you. The other is that why throw or try to move something that is giving no energy or "attack" they are not hurting you what's the point?

dawolfie
10-06-2006, 08:48 PM
Stiff arming would not give any different result with Endo. Man, I have been there and saw the muscle aikido guys try to give him a hard time. They ended up bouncing harder than the best uke. He has found the true essence of aikido. When I said it was like grabbing a truck, I meant it. The guy has a presence that you can feel across the room.

When we discuss this it is very hard to comprehend. We are so far down on the ladder of understanding. It is sometimes easier to discredit or label it cooperation instead of actual technique. I have collectively practiced martial arts for 15 years. With the majority in BJJ and aikido, I am just now finding my place on the martial arts ladder. Endo, and others like him, has found a level way beyond a typical students experience. One day I hope I can get it. These "masters" have done this for many many years. Not a couple of hours a week, more so a couple of hours a day, every day. So keep that in mind when trying to discredit what we don't understand. This isn't directed at any poster, more so to everyone.

batemanb
10-07-2006, 03:56 AM
What Yamaguchi and Endo sensei propose is reinversed process - they want to build sophistication without any basics. This is very funny. :dead:

Szczepan,

I've been in classes with Endo sensei where he has done nothing but ikkyo the whole time. The classes I've attended with him at Hombu dojo always consisted of basic techniques. If you go onto the Sakura dojo website and read the articles written by Endo Sensei you will find that he very much advocates basic technique.

For one who hasn't trained with either person I don't see how you can qualify your statement above, certainly not from a video clip, that is funnier still. You seem to have a constant desire to criticize other peoples aikido, I can't help thinking that with this blinkered view you are the one that's missing out :dead: .

rgds
Bryan

Peter Goldsbury
10-07-2006, 08:20 AM
Szczepan,

I've been in classes with Endo sensei where he has done nothing but ikkyo the whole time. The classes I've attended with him at Hombu dojo always consisted of basic techniques. If you go onto the Sakura dojo website and read the articles written by Endo Sensei you will find that he very much advocates basic technique.

For one who hasn't trained with either person I don't see how you can qualify your statement above, certainly not from a video clip, that is funnier still. You seem to have a constant desire to criticize other peoples aikido, I can't help thinking that with this blinkered view you are the one that's missing out :dead: .

rgds
Bryan

Hello Bryan,

The issue of Atheists, Believers and Agnostics has been an issue ever since Yamaguchi Sensei evolved his distinctive way of doing aikido in training seminars. I think the same issues exist for Endoh Sensei and for Isoyama Sensei (though in a different way).

If some shihan is posted on video, well, this opens out the discussion to the aikido 'chattering classes'. This is unavoidable, in my opinion. I think Stephane has a valid point, based on the videos.

In Hiroshima we have a whole stock of videos of Yamaguchi Sensei giving training seminars over a long period. They are not demonstrations (unlike the Endo video being discussed here), but the content is pretty similar, because Yamaguchi Sensei did not make much difference between his aikido in class and his aikido in demonstrations.

Actually, I think you are being too hard on Szczepan. Of course, he does not need my support to buttress the quality of his aikido. But it was very good to meet him in Tokyo and to see that he is an aikido mortal, just like the rest of us.

PS. Any chance of a get-together on your next visit to Japan--in Himeji or Hiroshima?

kokyu
10-07-2006, 09:42 PM
I'm actually a bit curious. Besides Endo Sensei and Nakao Sensei, may I confirm that Yasuno Sensei and Kuribayashi Sensei also embody the style of Yamaguchi Sensei?

batemanb
10-08-2006, 03:41 AM
Hello Bryan,

The issue of Atheists, Believers and Agnostics has been an issue ever since Yamaguchi Sensei evolved his distinctive way of doing aikido in training seminars. I think the same issues exist for Endoh Sensei and for Isoyama Sensei (though in a different way).

If some shihan is posted on video, well, this opens out the discussion to the aikido 'chattering classes'. This is unavoidable, in my opinion. I think Stephane has a valid point, based on the videos.

In Hiroshima we have a whole stock of videos of Yamaguchi Sensei giving training seminars over a long period. They are not demonstrations (unlike the Endo video being discussed here), but the content is pretty similar, because Yamaguchi Sensei did not make much difference between his aikido in class and his aikido in demonstrations.

Actually, I think you are being too hard on Szczepan. Of course, he does not need my support to buttress the quality of his aikido. But it was very good to meet him in Tokyo and to see that he is an aikido mortal, just like the rest of us.

PS. Any chance of a get-together on your next visit to Japan--in Himeji or Hiroshima?

Hi Peter,

I don't think I'm being that hard on Szczepan, I've read enough of his post's over the years to know it's water of a duck's back. Whilst I agree that video's posted into the public domain open themselves for debate, I find it a shame that people that have been practicing Aikido for any length of time find the need to criticize others so much. I'm not defending Endo sensei specifically, but making a sweeping statement like this

Szczepan Janczuk]
What Yamaguchi and Endo sensei propose is reinversed process - they want to build sophistication without any basics. This is very funny.

without having any experience of the teachers in question is disapointing, maybe Szczepan just likes to be "gomasuri"? On the basis of video footage alone, many have similar opinions about Kaiso and his uke's, but you don't generally get that feedback from Aikido practicioners, only when it comes to other teachers. If you go and practice with someone and you're not that impressed, I don't have a problem voicing an opinion, but on the basis of a video...... we should be exhibiting better standards.

With regards to my next trip, I'm currently saving v. hard for to come over next Easter. Another get together would be fun, I look forward to it.

rgds
Bryan

raul rodrigo
10-08-2006, 04:38 AM
I'm actually a bit curious. Besides Endo Sensei and Nakao Sensei, may I confirm that Yasuno Sensei and Kuribayashi Sensei also embody the style of Yamaguchi Sensei?

Kuribayashi and Yasuno were deshi of Yamaguchi.


R

ian
10-08-2006, 06:59 AM
When I watch aikido videos I never think 'this is a realistic attack and the person uke is doing everything he can to defend himself'. Indeed, if that was the case aikido would look better with inexperienced ukes rather than experienced ukes surely?!

When you watch Ueshiba I believe almost all the time he is illustrating the use of blending, rather than showing a realistic defence. However, it is the rare occasions where an uke does something unexpected where the real ability of Ueshiba is shown, in that he can instantly adapt and can throw quite quickly and powerfully (yet with little effort). I did not see any of these such occasions presented because the ukes pretty much seemed to fit in well with what was happening, so in my opinion it is very hard to say anything either positive or negative about this other than it looked nice as a demo.

It's always wrong to confuse dojo training with real attacks. I believe when you train you should understand what you are training to achieve, and thus can put it in context (hence my signature). I didn't particularly feel like I learnt anything from the video, but maybe it would have been different if I'd had some supporting oral tuition from him as well.

Thus, although my sentiments edge towards those of Szczepan (whom I see as a great advocate in the war against politically correct hippies), I would reserve my judgement for now.

kokyu
10-08-2006, 08:49 AM
Kuribayashi and Yasuno were deshi of Yamaguchi.
R

Thanks :p

NagaBaba
10-09-2006, 09:56 PM
Hi Peter,

I don't think I'm being that hard on Szczepan, I've read enough of his post's over the years to know it's water of a duck's back. Whilst I agree that video's posted into the public domain open themselves for debate, I find it a shame that people that have been practicing Aikido for any length of time find the need to criticize others so much. I'm not defending Endo sensei specifically, but making a sweeping statement like this
Me I think it is a shame that some techers show useless exercises that distract attention of students from martial element of aikido, and direct the student's developement on sterile way.

without having any experience of the teachers in question is disapointing, maybe Szczepan just likes to be "gomasuri"?

How do you know that, Bryan? ;) Actually I participated in few seminars with Yamaguchi and Endo senseis. And I did practice with some of their students.

As O sensei said: aikido it is matter of Life and Death.
There is on old saying from Himalaya:
Life is separated from Death by only a fraction a second. During this time one must decide and his decision must be Right one. Aikido develops such capacity.
I hope now you understand that leght of video is more than enough to see the True. :D

Dennis Hooker
10-10-2006, 07:45 AM
Are you talking about Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei? If so when did you participate in his seminars?

I think you need a little more hands on experience with these types of teachers before you get so full of yourself. Frankly Szcepan what you don't know would fill volumes. I would try to be more tactful with you but frankly I think it is lost on you. Your opinions are inflammatory and tactless. Perhaps it is due to poor communication skills on my part but you seem to be opinionated, snappish, and critical beyond reason and knowledge.


Actually I participated in few seminars with Yamaguchi and Endo senseis. And I did practice with some of their students.

. :D

NagaBaba
10-10-2006, 09:47 PM
Are you talking about Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei? If so when did you participate in his seminars?

I think you need a little more hands on experience with these types of teachers before you get so full of yourself. Frankly Szcepan what you don't know would fill volumes. I would try to be more tactful with you but frankly I think it is lost on you. Your opinions are inflammatory and tactless. Perhaps it is due to poor communication skills on my part but you seem to be opinionated, snappish, and critical beyond reason and knowledge.
Hi Dennis,
I hope you are doing well. I don't think ppl are very interested to read about my personal qualities, instead, I propose go back to the topic, if you allow me?
I wonder, why every time, when somebody who has chosen to start aikido where O sensei finished, can't find any rational argument to back up this strange approach, he does personal attacks, instead of discussing a topic. :confused:

You are a shihan, may be you can explain me, why you still consider aikido something that is lacking martial element?
I'm very interested how I can learn spiritual dimension from such demo?

How it is possible to do practice 'ludique' of the Budo, as another shihan and direct student of S.Yamaguchi sensei repeats at almost every his seminar?

Dennis Hooker
10-11-2006, 07:54 AM
Szcepan, that is what I get for posting before coffee in the morning, my meanness shows. Sorry.

Yamaguchi Sensei is dead why do you refer to him as if he was still alive? You make derogatory statements about the fundamental abilities of men that have dedicated their life to the study of Aikido. Don't be upset if some people don't like that. They attempt to make their lives' and the lives of those people around them better through martial principles. That to me is a laudable thing. I have trained with these people at both ends of the spectrum of physical contact and I believe making a definitive statement about a lacking in their skills is unjustified. If you truly believe someone's stuff don't work then go after them on the mat. You will either prove your point or get broken. I have done both in my quest to learn Aikido. I have seen shihans such as you degrade slap down other shiahns some people thought were tough guys and to be admired. One thing I hope you learn is that things are not always as they seem. As far as martial principle is concerned and as far as life and death are concerned I have not met a Japanese Shihan yet that has been to war. This doesn't detract from their skill but lets put thing into perspective OK.

Fred Little
10-11-2006, 10:46 AM
How it is possible to do practice 'ludique' of the Budo, as another shihan and direct student of S.Yamaguchi sensei repeats at almost every his seminar?

This is an interesting question. You might wish to refer to the Precautions for Aikido Training set down by Ueshiba Morihei in response to a request from his senior students:

3. Always train in a vibrant and joyful manner.

4. The instructor can only impart a small portion of the teaching. Only through ceaseless training can you obtain the necessary experience to bring these mysteries alive.

Full text and more at:

http://www.aikidoonline.com/Features/WhatisAikido.htm

This would seem to indicate to me that a) the notion of a "ludique" in this Budo precedes Yamaguchi Sensei and his followers and b) any attempt to verballly explain "how is it possible" runs so directly against the grain of precaution four that the request for such an explanation may be "useless."

Or maybe that's just my reading.

Best regards,

FL

markwalsh
10-11-2006, 10:55 AM
I believe that the vast majority of posters here value tact, politeness, humility, consideration, respect and the like. If you do not value these things that´s OK, but do not post here, as this is a community with a set of norms and values.

This is normally voiced as a strong request by our moderator, I would ask for it a condition of participation.

Manners ARE Martial, rude people die quickly.

Dennis Hooker
10-11-2006, 12:28 PM
Little Sensei thank you for the reminder on the Precautions. Although they are in the ASU Handbook I don't reread them nearly enough and sometimes get a bit sideways myself on the issue. As always you draw things together with a few words and a wealth of knowledge.



[QUOTE=Fred Little]This is an interesting question. You might wish to refer to the Precautions for Aikido Training set down by Ueshiba Morihei in response to a request from his senior students:

Luc X Saroufim
10-19-2006, 07:43 AM
Really nice clip of Seichiro Endo Shihan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylrcUJc7MIA&mode=related&search=

Especially the morote dori kokyo-ho and the iriminage between 02:07 and 02:25

everything looks so fake and choreographed. no wonder people don't think Aikido works, or that it's too soft.

i'm very impressed with his posture throughout the whole thing. he was really screwed in the entire time.

Luc X Saroufim
10-19-2006, 08:52 AM
everything looks so fake and choreographed. no wonder people don't think Aikido works, or that it's too soft..

btw, i just meant to say that he makes it look very easy :)

SteveTrinkle
10-19-2006, 10:29 AM
Like Michael Jordan makes basketball look easy.