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Ken Zink
12-31-2006, 05:09 PM
This is an old video that was made by my teacher's teacher, Barrish Sensei. He still teachers Aikido but is now a Shinto Priest and operates the Tsubaki Grand Shrine up in Granite Falls, WA.

Aiki (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-948814286351794180&q=aikido+ki)

I'm curious if anyone else out there has experience with this type of teaching. My teacher Kimbal Sensei demonstrates this on a fairly regular basis but although I've experienced it as Uke many times over the years its still remains a mystery in many ways.

aikidoc
12-31-2006, 07:18 PM
I apparently am only able to assess with my left brain and do not understand ki. There was far too much there that pushes my credibility zone (uke's moving before any movement on nage)- yellow bamboo. Sorry-just my opinion.

My sensei only has no touch throws when there is a clear threat to the uke's safety and the uke bails out-no because of some mystical energy but due to safety. Trust me he has ki-you can feel it when you grab him.

Jorge Garcia
12-31-2006, 07:38 PM
I have to agree with Dr. Riggs but I will say that I liked his (Barrish Sensei's) movement. It was natural, smooth and extremely well done. It looked like he has done those a million times. I personally enjoy the physicality of Aikido but if you practice with that way regularly, I can see how both nage and uke could get some proficiency at it. It looks cool but stretches what can be reasonably expected from normal folks who aren't shinto priests. I think any comments from our MMA and BJJ regulars won't be as measured and subdued as the first two you have just received. Better get your fire gear on. :)
Thanks for sharing the video.
Jorge

Jeremy Hulley
12-31-2006, 08:05 PM
Agreed about the movements lookign clean but....
I might call it a good demo..but as far as it showing ki...
Looks all to over complaint too me..
I don't really see any ki there at all...

aikidoc
12-31-2006, 08:09 PM
A valid comment on the fluidity and relaxed nature of the movement.. However, when you are holding a jo, as an example, and there is no movement on the jo and people just start flying off their grabs it stretches the imagination. As stated the MMA and BJJ guys will have a field day with that.

The uke's are definitely well connected.

aikidoc
12-31-2006, 08:12 PM
Here is a good example of relaxed connection as well: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8247070826799750266&q=jonathan+lewis+aikido&hl=en

jeff.
12-31-2006, 09:41 PM
i really want to believe this. i mean: if this is real, the world is a much cooler place. a lot more fun. this doesn't mean i disbelieve, but i think it would be important to experience it for myself before making any judgements.

Don
01-01-2007, 12:54 AM
If one wants to take a charitable position, it would seem to me that at least in some of the video, the uke's are reacting to movements made by nage but in a very stylized manner. For instance when he makes a motion toward their head in preparation for irimi nage, uke's head snaps back, but at least in the slow mo of the video it appears very overstylized. One might even extend that explanation to the no touch stuff where uke(s) are advancing toward nage and nage moves toward them. One might explain this as uke's reaction to nage's movement.....however it is a real stretch. For instance if you as uke are moving in toward me and I feint atemi at your head, if you are aware you may stop and draw your head back. Further if you as uke are spooked by that and I advance toward you, you could conceivably step back and I could then take balance and throw or project.

Much of what we see as apparently miraculous throws have a component of this leading I think, but also have a component of "stylized reaction". I think some of this is trained by the particular sensei/school and some of it comes culturally from Japan.

That is not to say that someone who daily trains many hours per day for many years would not be able to so read a person's intent/attitude and body mechanics that they would not be able to pull off some pretty interesting throws. I saw Tamura sensei a few years a go at the 40th anniversary USAF summer camp and had a few chances to watch him up close. He would walk around (now this is a shihan in his late 70's) and offer his wrist to some young strapping blackbelt and they would be unable to do the technique unless they had used considerable muscle power. He would stand there and have himself well coodinated in position AND he would subtlely move to put uke at a disadvantage. Then he would switch roles and do the technique on them. It took me quite a while to see this but he would always present for instance a wrist and as uke was attacking he would very subtlely change position or move so that uke was in a disadvantaged position. That was much more interesting and tangible than no touch throws. It was real, it was something IF you saw it you could practice, and there was no stylized falling or reacting.

PeterR
01-01-2007, 02:49 AM
For what its worth - when he's in Japan one of his students plays with us.

If the student is a reflection of his teacher than perhaps his methods require a second look - the student is pretty good.

In the aiki arts - "stylized reactions" are as common as our own denial. Holding on when you would normally let go, resisting in defined ways, not resisting in others. Take your pick.

Aristeia
01-01-2007, 02:52 AM
ok I'll bite.

Some of the movement was actually quite nice. The spritualism/philosophy I could do without.

The big problem here as has been mentioned is the compliance of the ukemi. Uke is leaping into breakfalls rather than rolling out once they already find themselves in the air. Barrish had what I thought were some quite nice entries to unbalance uke, but where in reality that's all that would happen - uke is unbalnaced - here uke falls, leaps, shudders to the ground. What's annoying about this sort of practice is that you only get to practice the initial stage of the technique - the entry and off balancing. How do you keep uke off balance? How do you adjust to a variety of strategies on uke's behalf to reclaim balance? You never get to practice because uke is too busy wide eyed on the ground saying "wow dude that was awesome!"

He also lost me at he start with the "aiki is natural movement" angle. I hate the drive in some quarters to say aiki is everything - in that case why have a word for it? And if all it is is natural movement, why is aikido notorious for taking decades to come to grips with?

Ken Zink
01-01-2007, 03:21 AM
Well I agree you should approach anything you havn't experienced personally with caution. Myself, I've experienced my Sensei perform many different things using Ki but really no point in relating them because it would just come down to an argument of whether I'm telling the truth or am just crazy. Suffice it to say I've been true to myself and in those instances tried everything I could to make it *not* work to no avail so at this point I find value in it.

My original question though, is if there are others out there that are taught in this fashion?

batemanb
01-01-2007, 04:03 AM
I agree with most posted above. I thought that it was actually quite an interesting video. I wish I could get hold of it to add to my collection. From the physical aspect, I thought there was a lot of good stuff in there, Barrish sensei had very nice movement at times. There were a number of instances that, as previously mentioned, over stretch rational thinking, uke's seemed to fall at points when not neccessary, or overplay the ukemi. Having said that, there was a lot of atemi in there, if the uke's believe that they are going to get clocked if they don't move, then some of the movement was justified. I think I would like to uke for him, with an open mind. If O Sensei were alive today performing similar feats, how would we be reacting here? I do think that video will fuel a lot of fire, but it also provides a lot of food for thought.

The spritualism/philosophy I could do without.

I thought it was actually a plus point that someone was making an effort to explain parts of Aikido philosophy in English. As far as O Sensei was concerned, the philosophy is key to Aikido, it was adding shinto philosophy amongst others, that changed his Daito Ryu to Aikido. More effort should be made to try an understand it, for without it we are not really doing Aikido, we are merely doing Jujutsu techniques.

If anyone knows how I can obtain a copy of this please let me know.

rgd
Bryan

eyrie
01-01-2007, 04:59 AM
Apart from the overtly cooperative uke in both, there's a big difference between http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-948814286351794180&q=aikido+ki
and
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8247070826799750266&q=jonathan+lewis+aikido&hl=en

One has "extension" in all directions and one doesn't.... ;)

graham
01-01-2007, 06:52 AM
Looked nice, but all the grunting put me off! ;)

The second video seemed far more believable to me. That's partly because I've seen our Sensei do some similar stuff, occasionally. But, also because the Uke's aren't quite as dramatic or reacting with such an orgasmic look in their eyes!

Jorge Garcia
01-01-2007, 09:29 AM
I agree with most posted above. I thought that it was actually quite an interesting video. I wish I could get hold of it to add to my collection. From the physical aspect, I thought there was a lot of good stuff in there, Barrish sensei had very nice movement at times. There were a number of instances that, as previously mentioned, over stretch rational thinking, uke's seemed to fall at points when not necessary, or overplay the ukemi. Having said that, there was a lot of atemi in there, if the uke's believe that they are going to get clocked if they don't move, then some of the movement was justified. I think I would like to uke for him, with an open mind. If O Sensei were alive today performing similar feats, how would we be reacting here? I do think that video will fuel a lot of fire, but it also provides a lot of food for thought.
I thought it was actually a plus point that someone was making an effort to explain parts of Aikido philosophy in English. As far as O Sensei was concerned, the philosophy is key to Aikido
Bryan

I think Bryan has some good points. Here are some observations.

1) I was impressed with Barrish Sensei's movements. He was really fluid and in part was reacting well to the ukes attack although when you work with your own uke's that has to take away more than 50 percent of what you are looking at. I was impressed though with the blind fold demo. I didn't think it demonstrated ki but rather a lot of practice with those ukes. If he really wasn't peeking - that was impressive! (I really had to believe he was peeking but that would be a little hard to do and still be that fluid. That is why I thought it was probably a ton of practice).

2) I thought Barrish Sensei's positioning was pretty good too. It shows he learned some real Aikido somewhere that wasn't all ukes falling for him. (Does anyone know his background? Who was his teacher?)

3) I agree with the comments about the ukes finishing too soon by taking the falls (or making the falls). The nage never finishes the technique. That is the key point that stretches credibility. At this point, you have to accept invisible Ki power or know that you have some highly mentally conditioned ukes (if the ukes believe they have been thrown by ki). I tend not to believe in that (although it is claimed for O Sensei) because Kisshomaru Ueshiba apparently never picked up those powers from his father. Although I have never liked his Aikido that much, I have a lot of respect for Nidai Doshu because he never tried to imitate his own father. He accepted who he was, he trained, he went out there, he did things in an unassuming way with no flash, no aiki tricks and he went home. He did his job of being the leader and promoting the art and he did so as a gentle, quiet man with no flare or frills and he didn't try to tell anyone else what they had to be.

4) I think there's a big discussion to have about the "overplaying" or "conditioning" of ukes.
I think all the great Aikido masters have "conditioned" ukes. I have always felt that Master Gozo Shioda's ukes were highly conditioned because the type of falls they took have to be learned and take a lot of work to learn like the backwards fall. That kind of a fall on the strikes he gave wouldn't happen in real life. If he hit me in the throat with his fingers like that, I think I would just go splat. Not going slat means I had the time to make the adjustment to the fancy break-fall. To me that is cooperation between the two parties. My own Shihan, when he was young, did real Aikido and really hard Aikido. I happen to know he taught ukemi but just the rolls. He doesn't teach people how to take break-falls. Either you had learned them somewhere else or if you were his original student and you flipped, then it was because he flipped you but I don't think he believes you should break fall yourself. (His theory of ukemi is really unique and interesting). I have a tape of him doing a Basic Technique series about 17 years ago. The ukes are really being thrown. They flopping all over the place. They look terrible but that's because he is really throwing them. If you slow motion frame by frame it, you can see that. (For example, from watching him, I learned that if you are really going to flip someone with iriminage, you have to do it differently than if they are helping you by also projecting themselves for safety. When it is for real, it is different. The same goes for kotegaeshi.)
Now having said that, as his own students get more experience, they teach themselves how to do ukemi break-falls but because he doesn't teach that, they all have come up with different methods!

It has to be admitted that we do condition our ukes so we can work with them and so they won't get hurt as we practice. I do that too. BUT- we shouldn't try to play that off as some invisible power. My Shihan though is very unique in that he has dedicated his life to what is real. He doesn't ask anyone to tank for him. Some of us though tank so we won't get killed because when I didn't tank, it was really bad. Once, I was knocked out because I failed to move. It was really my fault. I found out he was really doing the atemi and I'd better get out of the way or drop before he hit me (That's what John Riggs is talking about). Once he got me in a sankyo and when I didn't start running backwards, he nearly tore my arm off. I think it was the scream I gave that startled him that made him let me go! He was not try to intentionally hurt me like some do. He was just doing the technique for real and I was on my own. Any way, I think I'm still on topic because these ukes on the video are doing way beyond their job to make things look real. They are into super-real.

Jorge

Ken Zink
01-01-2007, 10:08 AM
2) I thought Barrish Sensei's positioning was pretty good too. It shows he learned some real Aikido somewhere that wasn't all ukes falling for him. (Does anyone know his background? Who was his teacher?)


I don't know all of the specifics but his was actually a school of Aiki-jitsu, before his teacher passed away he inherited the school. He then went the route that O'sensei took and adapted his form of Aiki-jitsu to Aikido. So his lineage does not go back directly to O'sensei but back somewhere into the past with the Aiki-jistu.

He very much admired O'sensei, especially the spiritual teachings and philosphy and adopted them and that is partially what led him to becomeing a Shinto priest at the same shrine which O'sensei was enshrined at (Tsubaki). Which btw there has to be something said for that because he is the only caucasion Shinto priest.

Jorge Garcia
01-01-2007, 10:22 AM
You originally called him your teacher's teacher. Who was your teacher and what art did he do? What art are you doing?

Jorge

Aristeia
01-01-2007, 02:43 PM
Well I agree you should approach anything you havn't experienced personally with caution. true in some respects - we've all experienced stuff that felt more effective than it looks no doubt. But when you can clearly see uke providing their own energy to leap into a roll, while under no threat from substantial atemi etc (and sometimes even with that threat) it tells me what I need to know.

Murgen
01-01-2007, 03:05 PM
I found the video distrubing in two ways.

1) if it is fake and just dance, then this is what in some places Aikido has come to. KI that only works on his students. Seen this before.

and

2) if it is real, it distrubs me since I do not understand it.


My gut feeling is #1 since that I can understand that. Against a BJJ or Muay Thai fighter, I bet he wouldn't get the same reactions.

Aristeia
01-01-2007, 03:12 PM
well to be fair *none of us* would get the same reactions vs a MT or BJJ practitiioner as we do in the dojo - thats not what aikido is for. More to the point imo -uke like that deprive nage of the opportunity to practice.

Murgen
01-01-2007, 03:53 PM
Yes, when training you have to flow. But if he is demonstrating KI skill that can knock a person down without touching them, I'd like to see him try it on a fully resisting Uke (that isn't his student). For some reason there are few videos of that. I saw one video like that and the Ukes are BJJ students from another dojo. The Uke stands there with an expression like, "What, am I supposed to fall now!?"

Mashu
01-01-2007, 04:27 PM
Thank you for putting up the link to the video. It was interesting. I remember reading something about Sensei Barrish in the past and looking at his website but have never seen him in action.

Found this on Aikido Journal from 2001 which features some comments by someone with direct contact with him:

Koichi Barrish (http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4432&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0&sid=e0ac324ba44a3e72a85d5a8fd4cd9321)

Jorge Garcia
01-01-2007, 07:12 PM
Thanks Matthew. All the answers about Barrish Sensei were on that thread at Aikido Journal including two people that knew him directly. Also, there is in fact, a biographical article about him in the well known "Aikido In America" book as well. What everyone on both sides says about him is repeated over and over including the mysterious status of his backgorund.
Best wishes,
Jorge

Kevin Leavitt
01-02-2007, 04:54 AM
I am an aikidoka and a BJJ dude. I could do a video, lets say Michael and I both got together to do one. I could be his fully resistive Uke and we could agree that he would strickly use aikido principles.

Lets say I am free to hit him and feint and all that stuff, grapple and take him down.

What would it look like? I know most of you want to see Michael continue to maintain the same stylized Aikido that we all say "hey that's aikido".

Fact is, I believe, that what you would see would be clinch, takedown, dominate, submit.

Michael would say, cool, my aikido works, I'd say cool good aikido Michael. All you watching would say "hey that is MMA, I thought they were going to show aikido!"

that is the trouble with this paradox I think.

Aikido is a methodology to teach principles. These principles are universal and apply to MMA, BJJ, and any other thing you do, even picking up a heavy box.

I think we have to be very careful not to get tunnel vision and start thinking of aikido as a style of fighting or a method of actual combat.

One of the big problems with the methodology of aikido is that we form attachments to it, and start thinking of it in ways it was not meant to be thought of. We fixate on this and project our fears, personalities, and energy on this concept that really does not exsist (aikido concept that is). We try and make it something it is not.

This causes a two fold issue. one, some erode it into a dance. two, others fixate on it and try and develop it into a fighting style.

Fights are simple really...just go watch a bunch on Youtube. close distance, clinch, takedown, submit. Say it again five times. (this is my mantra these days!).

I think we have to be careful when we look at things and really think hard about what is going on, what is trying to be taught. It may be warranted that uke jump through the air at times seemingly out of context. Remember one of the things aikido is teaching is ma 'ai. If uke is too slow he may need to catch up, maybe that is what is being worked on...I don't know?

jeff.
01-02-2007, 07:13 AM
kevin

i really appreciate this post. here's osesnei saying pretty much the same thing, methinks: "Absorb venerable traditions into this new art by clothing them with fresh garments, and build on classic styles to create better forms." to wit: aikido is not limited to what we now think of as "aikido technique". aikido technique is any technique that maintains aikido principles as its center. so when i recently demonstrated a technique that combined something i learned from budo taijutsu with irimi nage, i didn't feel like i wasn't doing aikido.

however, i would just caution against thinking that aikido waza aren't applicable. i've seen all of the controls used to great effect, as i have with irimi nage and some kokyu nages. hell, i've been able to use aikido technique to avoid being taken to the ground and ultimately win the fight. not against some highly trained bjj player, but the fella had been a champion high school wrestler. i also recently broke up a fight in which a bjj guy i know was fighting three guys, and doing what he knows, took one of them to the ground (quite beautifully) and then started getting kicked in the face by the other two. while i suspect that aikido randori training would help me to be more likely to avoid exactly that situation. and this past summer i helped to teach "tactical aikido" to some d.e.a agents, most of whom have since used what we taught them in the field.

all of this is why i find this video interesting. if what he is doing is real, even if the exact outcomes are the result of the specific ukemi training they receive, i see how it is applicable. yet another expansion of possibilities, both in terms of spiritual development and defense applications.

fun!

jeff.

Ken Zink
01-02-2007, 09:43 AM
You originally called him your teacher's teacher. Who was your teacher and what art did he do? What art are you doing?

Jorge

My teacher is Kimbal Anderson Sensei here in Boise, he started training with Barrish 20 years ago and was basically a live in uchideshi (spelling?) for a year. But he went there specifically to learn Koto-Dama. I've met Barrish sensei 3 times, for a yearly ceremony but in those instances he never taught like he did in the video. However with Kimbal sensei I have seen and experienced things similar in nature.

mriehle
01-02-2007, 01:35 PM
I know Barrish Sensei by reputation. I know several people who have trained with him. Whatever he says, he is kind of a "ki-monster" by all accounts.

In other words, he's tapped into something very powerful that works well for him. I've never actually met or trained with him, but the people I train with who know him have told me enough about him for me to form one conclusion, especially now that I've seen this video (or at least parts of it):

Your mileage may vary.

A lot of what he does will work every time when he does it, but won't work at all when someone else tries it.

This doesn't surprise me much. It's not the first time I've encountered someone like this. My experience of Koichi Tohei Sensei was very much the same: what he was doing was very real and "works". But for me to try to do the same thing ignores the fundamental fact that I am not Koichi Tohei.

FWIW: I've also experienced Aikido with the kind of power I see in the video. I've also experienced people who think they can do it but actually can't. It's not easy to tell which is which from a video, but I tend to believe what I'm seeing in this particular video. But I wouldn't recommend someone go running off to train with Barrish Sensei based on it.

There are lots of good reasons to train with Barrish Sensei, but this video isn't one of them.

In any case, I certainly appreciate his calligraphy on the wall at my dojo. :)

senshincenter
01-02-2007, 08:26 PM
If you all may humor me for a minute, so that I may make this point, what if you looked at the video and forgot about the ending of whatever waza he was doing, instead concentrating on the beginning of that waza. This is not an unusual request, after all, since we have all realized it is the beginning of every waza that determines (as a natural consequence) what happens in the end. In other words, if you get the beginning right, be it a fencing match, a knife fight, a fist fight, an arrest, whatever, you are pretty much assured that whatever happens in the end will mostly likely not only happen but happen in the best possible way. So forget for the time being how the uke are landing, their "consequential" direction of travel, their height, and/or the degree of rotation in their breakfalls. Additionally, forget trying to look at each waza as if it is a narrative of sorts, as something with a successive middle and ending. Instead, just focus on the beginnings -- noting that there is in fact a total disregard for middles and endings altogether in the demonstration -- seeing that it is really all about beginnings, about multiple beginnings.

If you look at each beginning, aside from the natural movement (with others have already rightly noted), you will see that some very high levels of "awareness" are present (my word for what I am seeing). In my opinion, one doesn't have a shot at any waza -- aiki or otherwise, but especially aiki waza -- without this level of awareness being developed. Meaning, if one wants to talk about real, this, for me, is where that debate should happen -- especially in a demonstration. In other words, just because a guy does hard, fast,and logically applied koshi nage in a demonstration, it don't mean he is real (i.e. can apply it under live, aggressive, and violent conditions). However, if there is this practitioner out there that has developed this level of awareness, heck, it almost doesn't matter what he/she does -- it's pretty much guaranteed to work (even doing nothing). So, from that perspective, it's real.

I suggest starting with the blindfolded demonstration -- seeing how the timing and placement of his beginnings (e.g. when/where entering, when/where striking, when/where turning, etc.) is actually occurring at a level rarely (if ever) seen before. That skill alone, I would suggest is, is enough to make any martial artist, whatever their slant, say "Whoa!" From the blindfold demonstration, go back to the other demonstrations -- where he is doing jiyu waza -- and you will see this same example of skill, time and time again.

Based on the uke reactions, I feel this is what they are trying for, and actually developing. I think, once they get this, they sort of don't care what is actually happening. Perhaps we should not either.

As a side note: Having our slant on Aikido be geared toward law enforcement applications, I would say in some respects we are at the opposite side of where Barrish is on the Aikido spectrum. However, not only for the reasons mentioned above, I can admire what he has accomplished with his practice -- even being motivated by it -- because I can also chime in with Peter here. I too have worked with one of his students in the past. His Aikido is not at all like mine -- not at all. However, it is very clear that he is very skilled and I would allow him to teach at my dojo any day of the week. He has that same natural movement -- moves very much like his teacher (me seeing Barrish for the first time here in this video just now). Additionally, he is one of the nicest gentlemen I have ever met.

Jorge Garcia
01-02-2007, 11:05 PM
David,
I think I agree with you. The movement and positioning was really good. It was somewhat enjoyable to watch.
Jorge

Jerry Miller
01-03-2007, 12:11 AM
Spacing was excellent. For all the fluff there is something there that would make me worry about being the uke. But my ukemi skills stink anyway.

Erik
01-03-2007, 12:45 AM
Can't say I visit these parts much anymore but funny I'd find this. This must be 15 years old as I first saw it somewhere back in the late 80's or early 90's. Anyways, onto good old Barrish.

There was "unquestionably" major tankage that flowed around him. I saw people flip their ass into the air from 5 or more feet away. Some would flop around on the ground "unable" to get up until he "released" them. Thing is, I could throw those uke's around like that too and I wasn't no black belt then much less a "ki master". It's just how it was around him so the flopping was, well, flopping. Additionally, I know lots of people want to believe in ki, and Barrish clearly did, but it wasn't his great ki powers doing it, it was the environment and people fooling themselves.

Now, to offer a personal evaluation is somewhat hard. First I was a relative beginner, maybe 2nd kyu if I recollect correctly. Secondly, I was in a school where the teachers kind of bought (one a lot) into the whole thing. That being said I don't remember ever being thrown by him like his students in that video were. He would actually get in and throw me just like everyone else did, if anything, he used more force than you'd evpect given this video. And, I'd really have liked to have gone after him about 10+ years after I got the chance. It would have been a better test. But, he did throw you, if you didn't flop, or probably more accurately, he figured you wouldn't flop.

Two other things about Barrish are that he was a training fanatic and he had an ego the size of Mt. St. Helens (prior to it's erruption). The guy would literally do a seminar for 5 hours straight with no major break. So, you'd train a bunch, then you'd talk where he would, just about every time, mention his new facility and the 900 waterfalls the place possessed. It'd be train-waterfalls-train-talk about Barrish-train--waterfalls-Barrish-train.......it used to drive me nuts after about the 33rd time I heard about the waterfalls. But, he was in great shape, he was dedicated in his own way to the art and practiced a ton from what I heard.

It should also be noted that as far as I know he had no lineage in that he taught himself. I don't know if that's correct, for certain, but I've never heard a thing about him having a direct teacher. He just sort of annoited himself an aikido guy, formed his style and started issuing rank. Actually, I doubt that's even his real name. He doesn't exactly look like a Koichi.

Anyways, in conclusion, from the perspective of a 2nd kyu at the time, it was almost all flopping, but, he had some skill too. Overall though there are an awful lot of other people I'd go to for training before him.

Erik
01-03-2007, 01:12 AM
David, for the record, I saw nothing of him to indicate that he had this heightened awareness that you speak of. It appears that way because of the floppage. When you don't have to worry about application, and it was clearly a non-issue most of the time around him, things get a whole lot easier. For instance, it's really easy to just extend into someone when you know that they'll just spin off your extension and not block it to the side and nail your ass. Literally, anything he did provoked a major reaction in those guys and with ukes like that anyone with even a smidgeon of skill winds up looking like the second coming of O'Sensei.

senshincenter
01-03-2007, 01:49 AM
Hi Erik,

I can concede it is easier to do things like Irimi when you know the person is going to flop around for you, etc. That is very true. However, I was speaking more about what even comes before that. For lack of better words, I am referring to that moment in space/time when you "feel" your opponent is about to attack and so you move, because to wait more would have you reacting and thus moving too late. I'm referring to being sensitive - having a capacity toward being sensitive - to that space/time in person-to-person engagement where you start to blur (i.e. make meaningless) the line between initiating movement as nage and "inspiring" uke to attack. Regardless of whether Barrish is entering with a strike, entering to deviate laterally, or entering to turn, he is for the most part always commencing that given tactic within the pre-space/time of every move uke does - where the move is almost more thought in uke's mind than it is actual movement in his body. Now, uke can be coming in with a feather to tickle his nose or with the hottest stripper on his shoulders, but that isn't necessarily going to make it easier to be sensitive to this moment at which all aiki waza presumes sensitivity. Heck, I imagine he could do it just by saying the word "now" with his eyes shut every time uke goes from having his hand by his side to raising it up in the air. The saying of "now" is hardly martial, however, the the capacity to say "now" at that time/space, the sensitivity behind it, is key to any martial application - in my opinion. If you watch Barrish, watching when/where he moves, regardless of what he does or doesn't do, you can see he is moving in light of this awareness/sensitivity. For my money, in my experience, that is pretty impressive - so much so I am drawn to that part of the video and less so to the fact that the uke's are taking prat falls.

thanks for writing,
d

Aristeia
01-03-2007, 03:30 AM
Either that or he moves whenever and his uke's are responding to him. I've seen that happen before.

And yeah Erik, I was going to mention the koichi thing. It weirds me out when caucasians take on too much japophilia - taking on a japanese name is at the height. We're not japanese so why pretend to be? It's one step away from LARPing.

Ron Tisdale
01-03-2007, 09:13 AM
David, good to see you posting and to read your thoughts. Hope all is well. I will take a second look at the video, with what you said in mind.

Not that it's important, but isn't Barrish African American? At least that's what I thought I heard...as to the name business, if you are practicing as a shinto priest, wouldn't that be expected? Not my schtick...but hey...what ever floats your boat...

Best,
Ron

Ken Zink
01-03-2007, 09:16 AM
If you go to 20:20 in the video where he has them all holding there hands together and watch the second guy from the right a few times and notice how his body reacts during that fall, I just can't possibly see how someone could fake that and have it look the way it looks. If you are going to put your body almost vertical and keep it there for a couple seconds you would have to have a base that could support you, but even then it would look like your weight was resting on you. However it looks like what he is demonstrating there, that Uke has no control over it.

ChrisMoses
01-03-2007, 09:54 AM
If you go to 20:20 in the video where he has them all holding there hands together and watch the second guy from the right a few times and notice how his body reacts during that fall, I just can't possibly see how someone could fake that and have it look the way it looks. If you are going to put your body almost vertical and keep it there for a couple seconds you would have to have a base that could support you, but even then it would look like your weight was resting on you. However it looks like what he is demonstrating there, that Uke has no control over it.

I like how right before that he uses his magic jo to ki blast them...

I don't see what you're seeing with the guy 2nd from the right. I can do that pretty easily, he's just delaying his descent becuase the other two are in his way. If you can do a pushup, you can learn to do this.

Sorry, I'm just not a fan of Larry, I know too much.

Erik
01-03-2007, 10:14 AM
Either that or he moves whenever and his uke's are responding to him. I've seen that happen before.

Bingo! It's incredibly easy to look good when all you have to do is sense the movement while knowing that wherever you go and whatever you do it's going to be safe and it's going to work. Then, all you have to do is maintain form and you'll look like a stud.

As to the blindfold drill. Consider that he's working in a small space, where he roughly knows where his attackers will be (they make lots of noise too), and all he has to do is wave his hands and they'll fall or move in very conditioned patterns. It's a parlor trick which anyone with moderate skill, those kinds of ukes and some time spent with the drill could pull off.

David I understood what you were saying and I never said he didn't have any skill. I'm just saying that the results he achieves are not warranted by his skill. His ukes flopped and flopping ukes make what you think you are seeing possible.

pointy
01-03-2007, 12:27 PM
And yeah Erik, I was going to mention the koichi thing. It weirds me out when caucasians take on too much japophilia - taking on a japanese name is at the height. We're not japanese so why pretend to be? It's one step away from LARPing.

hahahahahahahahaha larp'n

senshincenter
01-03-2007, 01:26 PM
I guess one is always free to label things "moderate", etc., but in my experience, based upon what I was seeing, neither moderate skill nor small confines, nor even knowing where one's attackers will be, will account for one being sensitive to that time-space of aiki-initiation.

Additionally, from my point of view, he's not moving with his uke matching his pre-action - as you see all kinds of places (and which was mentioned by others here). He's doing something else, which is why you rarely see folks that move and then have their uke match them try such things blindfolded. They just don't do that, for the obviousness it brings to such assigned timing responsibilities (i.e. having nage standing with their arm reaching out a second or two before uke even begins to think about what to do).

If someone wants to really investigate this, one can film about 45 seconds, straight, with no editing, from a single camera, in as small a room as they would like to have, having at least moderate skill, having their uke's do their utmost best to match their timing, and see if they can demonstrate the same skill I am suggesting is present in Barrish. This is one more way a person can discover for themselves what is present and/or not present in the video - a way outside of differing opinions.

If a person has watched the video in the manner in which I suggested, and then they still see some sort of parlor trick (of one kind or another) in regards to the sensitivity issues I am discussing, not much left to discuss then. One says it's there, another says it's not; one says it's hard to manifest, another says it's not; one says it's a parlor trick, one says it's not. Well, not much left to discuss. :-) Either way, I respect your opinion and acknowledge that it is one of the possible interpretations. Thanks for sharing it. Much appreciation.

dmv

Erik
01-03-2007, 02:07 PM
David, I'm gonna bow out as well. I intentionally don't post here or even visit much anymore and would just as soon keep it that way.

Two last comments.

I probably shouldn't have used the word parlor trick. It doesn't quite describe what I meant. Doing what he did is a skill, in my opinion, it's just not something I believe he can pull off without compliant and conditioned ukes. Like I said, I could get those people flopping around when I worked with them including keeping them from getting up with my "ki". As to the other part we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Lastly, it's largely irrelevant. I'd be surprised to hear that he's even teaching anymore.

And with that I'm out. See ya all in June when I make my next post.

statisticool
01-03-2007, 02:44 PM
Probably couldn't do many of those on a resistant opponent.

Especially at 354-357.

And what is with all the grunting/huffing and puffing/acting from some ukes? Even after they just get their arm touched? Cmon.

And the women at 1750 and on are clearly acting/exxagerating the effect of the techniques.

senshincenter
01-03-2007, 03:08 PM
Hi Erik,

Well thank you again for the post. I do see what you are saying. It's good you said it - since all points of view should be considered. That is always best in my opinion.

Take care, talk later then,
d

Aiki LV
01-04-2007, 09:48 AM
I've trained with Barrish Sensei twice. At the time he would come to our dojo once a year for a seminar. This was about twelve years ago or so......I have not seen him since around that time period. At that time he was very physical not so ki oriented, tough and more on the jujitsu end of things. It is interesting how much people can change. I don't really have feelings one way or the other about what he is doing now. If it works for him great more power to him.

SteveTrinkle
01-04-2007, 09:55 PM
"Koichi Ideta Barrish sensei & sensei. Barrish is the soke of Ideta ryu Aikido, and is the Guji of Tsubaki America Grand Shrine"

At least as per this site: http://www.murakumodojo.org/pictures.html

DarkShodan
01-05-2007, 08:24 AM
I think it's a load of bologna!

Don_Modesto
01-05-2007, 10:51 AM
"I think it's a load of bologna!"

To my surprise, I quite liked much of what I saw in the vid.

Yes, the UKE were too enthusiastic, and I would call their UKEMI style "tanking". But I also saw that Barrish was solid and his timing was exquisite, a point I think David V. was making. (I've seen this before, solid teacher, flaky UKE. Curious correlation, but the other occasion was a guy all brass-tacks teaching at a rather fey liberal arts college...)

mriehle
01-05-2007, 12:26 PM
I've seen this before, solid teacher, flaky UKE. Curious correlation...

You know, this is one thing that's been bugging me in this discussion, but until you made the above statements I couldn't put my finger on what, actually was bugging me.

I've seen this before as well. With a teacher who is very strong, sometimes the experienced ukes have learned to protect themselves to the point where they're tanking all the time. Especially if the strength is ki.

I see it, sometimes, with my teacher. He has that kind of wave-the-hands-and-wham-you're-down energy sometimes. So I sometimes see students clearly tanking. It bugged me at first because it undermined my confidence in his Aikido. Now it bugs me because it's unecessary.

There seem to be two reasons why students do this with him:


They think they're doing him a favor or showing him respect.
They're afraid of the fall.


The first, IME, is just muddy thinking. The two or three people I've met like this don't really appreciate it. They will correct blatantly incorrect ukemi especially if it puts uke at risk, though. I think what sometimes happens is someone who's been corrected for doing something stupid overcompensates.

The latter I have a bit more sympathy for. I've, personally, been thrown into some pretty alarming falls because I came in with strong, determined energy and found it, um, redirected. I find it kind of fun when it works out like that, though, but I guess I'm kind of an Aikido geek. :D

(Remembering one attack when he was demonstrating irimi nage and I came in fully intending to take him to the mat. When I realized I'd leveled out in the air at about four feet up I actually started laughing. Laughing your way into a high fall like that is a Bad Idea... :eek: :uch: :yuck: :D )

As a teacher I've actually had students do these things to me even though I'm nowhere near that level. It can be a real problem. It's one of the reasons I like to regularly work with Aikidoists who are not my students. I can't always tell when my students are tanking and if they do it starts to affect my Aikido as well as theirs.

This would be one concern I'd have with a teacher whose students tank like that. How long have they been doing that? If it's been awhile, he's probably not as good as he was when they started doing that. Unless he's got other students who don't tank. Also, if it's not a fear thing, I worry about what he's teaching his students in terms of ukemi.

As for Barrish Sensei, I think my favorite quote of something he likes to say in classes would be, "Arrive organized". Apparently it's a hot button for him that some people just stand there and receive the attack rather than preparing and actively dealing with it.

Chuck Clark
01-05-2007, 12:55 PM
A large part of the this problem is that attacks are hardly ever "tested" because eveyone gets lazy and assumes that uke is supposed to "lose" anyway. Uke's job should be to cause a problem for the tori to solve and if their balance/structure/center/sente, etc. is taken, affected, disturbed, etc. they should remain active doing their best to recover their ability to continue to fulfil their intent to attack and be "dangerous." Of course, this must be done within appropriate levels of force, speed, skill, etc. to fulfil the training agreement at the moment with regard to ability, etc.

Instructors and teachers should be especially mindful of testing their uke in teaching situations. It is too easy for all of us to become lazy, complacent, or carried away with our own ego. There are several ways to test each other unexpectedly to be sure that our training is achieving what we intend. Uke has the hardest role in the training relationship. It's one of the main reasons that in serious embu, the senior person usually takes the uke role.

Shipley
01-05-2007, 05:20 PM
I teach up in the BC interior, and I get the chance to train at Barrish sensei's dojo about three-four times a year. This does not make me any kind of expert on him or his aikido, but at least my misconceptions are reasonably up to date :) .

Some true things from above -

The dojo is beautiful, as are the grounds
Barrish sensei's sense of timing is exquisite
Barrish sensei is very strong
The ukemi bothered me
Barrish sensei really does do an awful lot of sword cuts, as well as misogi in one of the colder bits of water I've set a toe into, all the way through the winter, regularly breaking ice to do it.
His aikido is different in many ways than one would find in a typical aikikai dojo, but interesting and powerful.

Some things that I see differently than what was stated above

He is still teaching very regularly
If he's part African-American, it's not obvious to me, though I wonder why that would matter
He does not expect or need uke to be compliant. I am strong, in shape, and take people seriously when they ask me to attack them. I feel solidly thrown by him, and more than solidly pinned at the end of the throw.
I have not run into an ego problem with him. He is always friendly, welcoming, and humble when we are chatting.

These are all my personal experiences only, and I'm staying away from any conjecture about things that I haven't experienced myself.

I will say that I have a great deal of respect for Barrish sensei as a martial artist, and I look forward to visiting every time that I get a chance. I've been lucky in that I have been able to train seriously with a number of different instructors from a number of different lineages due to a few moves over the years, and I've gotten peripheral looks at many more through seminars and visiting schools when I'm traveling. I've enjoyed all of those, and gotten a lot from all of them, and have learned to love the diversity that aikido presents.

Barrish sensei's aikido is very strong, and very different. I struggle each time I'm there to figure out what is going on, and take home a fairly diluted version of what was presented. He has a very regular group of people who train there who train seriously, and who are very helpful as well. He also, to my observations anyhow, actively models his life after O'Sensei's, trains hard, and imparts what he's learned to his students well.

My sensei (the sensei that I started training under, and still consider my sensei) is one of Barrish sensei's students, though with a background in Tomiki aikido before then. Barrish sensei awarded me one of my promotions personally. I say this as a disclaimer so you do not accept my statements as unbiased. As many have said before, drop by and train there sometime to make your own opinion. People visit there regularly and Barrish sensei and his students are a very nice bunch, and quite welcoming.

I've thought a long time before posting this, and I hope it was, to some degree anyhow, helpful.

Cheers,

Paul

senshincenter
01-05-2007, 05:37 PM
I also believe this is an interesting phenomena – one not just related to Barrish and his students, but one that all instructors face or should face. Here, I am referring to that gap in skill cultivation that exists between teacher and student. The gap is always somewhat present no matter what one does or does not do. This is because at some level it has to be, as this is the very foundation of the teacher/student dichotomy. In other words, the teacher-student relationship kind of a priori assumes that a gap exists at the level of skill; the teacher knows more than the student – hence the teacher is the teacher and the student is the student.

This is true at even a very mundane level. For example, look at the difference in body development in Barrish and in his students. Clearly, somewhere along the line, Barrish did some really hard physical training – the kind of resistance training that would develop his body thusly. On the other hand, perhaps obviously, his students are not really being pressed in that direction. In general, I think this might be a product of a teacher/practitioner reaching a particular skill level, one from which they come to understand what is “key” to training or what simply “one cannot or should not do without.”

As a result, though an instructor tended to do all kinds of things to get where they eventually got to, they end up mostly teaching on this “key” thing. For example, you get a guy that as a young man would spend hours swinging an axe or a sledgehammer, or even pulling tree trunks out of the ground, thereby reaching a point in the development of his physique where he is obviously the one capable of kicking sand in the face of others while at the beach, etc. But, a decade or two goes by, and somewhere in their training they realize that physical conditioning is not everything, that timing, or kokyu, or mushin, etc., is key – key to applying things like a well-conditioned physique and/or anything else for that matter. As a result, rather than asking his students to girth up, he has them working on timing, or kokyu, or mushin, etc.
For some reasons, and sticking with this example, it tends not to occur to instructors that their understanding of timing, or kokyu, or mushin, even their insights into such things, is entirely dependent upon not only that well-conditioned physique but also that period of their life where having a well-conditioned physique held a more central place in their training. Elements that held primary places in their own training tend to be edited out for one reason or another when it comes to their students – some reasons being positive, some reasons being negative. On the positive side, it could be that an instructor, in good faith, is trying to save “time” for a student by taking out what they have come to (mis)understand as wasteful or unnecessary. On the negative side, it could be that an instructor is no longer capable of such types of training (e.g. they could be old now or in poor health but still desire to be on the mat leading the way in all aspects of a given practice).

What is important to realize, in my opinion, is that art forms like Budo are about relating transformative processes to one’s entire being. As a result, teaching and learning can never be so targeted. This is because being, to put it simply, refers to a whole – not a part. As a result, if you aim for one thing, whether that is from either side of the cause and effect dialectic, you are going to miss more than you hit (if you hit it anything at all). When we are dealing with being, teaching, and learning, has to really be more of a natural process. As a result, regardless of how much our rational mind might be telling us that we can take something out, or how we over-emphasize this or that, the truth of the matter is that an instructor’s skill level is a product of his being. As such, said skill level is a product of his/her entire history. Training then, in my opinion, needs to reflect that history itself as best it can.

Some instructors may understand this, such that if they have a background in a striking art, for example, since this will obviously provide a much-needed context in regards to Aikido maai, though they are doing Aikido now, they would still try to bring as much striking training into their Aikido curriculum as possible. Some instructors do not understand this, and thus if they are doing “Aikido” now – THAT IS ALL THEY DO. When this happens, in my opinion, it is the responsibility of the student to learn what his/her teacher did all along the way, gaining that information from those little stories a teacher shares over a meal or drink, etc.

Sticking with this video, because it is a common reference point here, if you got one instructor that is obviously physically very strong, and you wish to follow his way, you might want to look into how that physical prowess was cultivated. You might want to do this NOT because you need to be as strong in general, as strong, or stronger, but because that was a part of his history, which makes up his being, which is part of the overall context for how he has come to understand and is thus able to perform things like timing, or kokyu, or mushin, etc. In other words, the true lesson might not at all be in the physical prowess, or in the timing, or the kokyu, or the mushin, but rather it is in that matrix that makes up a given being – that matrix being a personal history.

dmv

eyrie
01-05-2007, 06:20 PM
So true David, so true... after all... what student these days wants to spend 6 months in horse stance, or do hard physical conditioning? In this day and age of instant gratification, it's "Show me the good stuff first"

senshincenter
01-05-2007, 06:46 PM
Yes indeed, that is the flip side of it all, isn't it?

eyrie
01-05-2007, 08:04 PM
The way I see it, it's like building a house. You gotta start with a solid foundation. Everything else is just building blocks for building different things....

Yep... without the basics, the good stuff ain't gunna happen. It's ALL basic... ;)

jeff.
01-06-2007, 03:27 PM
you know... i was looking at my hidden roots of aikido book today (which is about daito ryu, for folks who haven't run accross this book)... and some of the "aiki nage" techniques that are in there reminded me of some of the weirder stuff that berrish sensei is doing in this video. (as an aside, anyone have any thoughts on the relationship between aikinage and kokyunage?) i was also interested in the details of wrist movement in this regard, and the claims about unbalancing via them made in the book.

soooo... if his roots really are in some form of aikijutsu, might it be that some of this weirder stuff is explicable also in terms of those techniques? not to deny the possible ki/kokyu aspects at all... but could it be that some of what most seem to be feeling is weird (the ukes' seeming over-reaction, etc.) might be understood this way? i.e. he might be applying subtle pressure point locks, etc. that are hard to discern, as well as some strange aikinage style techniques, in addition to any control over the ki/kokyu aspects. or something.

Toby Threadgill
01-06-2007, 06:40 PM
Hello,

Well this ought to throw some people...Sorry for the pun.

I'm a licensed instructor of koryu jujutsu, Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu. I come from a tradition where full power attacks and resistence to technique is not only the norm but absolutely demanded. I confess that when I saw the video of Sensei Barrish years ago, I wrote it off as another example of conscious or unconscious collusion between a bizarre new age Aikido teacher and his naive awe struck students. This impression lasted for some time.

Years later, due to Shinto being a significant component of training in our school of koryu, I was compelled to contact Sensei Barrish to ask some questions after the death of my teacher Yukio Takamura Sensei. Importantly, I contacted Sensei Barrish not as a martial artist but in his capacity as a Shinto Priest associated with the Tsubaki Okami Yashiro in Mie prefecture. Still, I was rather suspicious of him, remembering that odd video I had seen so many years prior. I traveled up to Granite Falls, Wa. and the Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja with a Japanese employee of mine, Kozue Miyamoto. The grounds are as stunningly beautiful as reported. The man I met there was not what I expected. I found Sensei Barrish to be a gentleman and an individual unique in his devotion to Shrine Shinto and its availability to those in the US. We talked at length about esoteric Shinto and its influence in TSYR. Afterwards I decided to invite him to our headquaters dojo in Colorado to perform our summer Oharai at the end of our annual instructors workshop. I continue to do this every year.

This past September I made an extended visit to the shrine to seek opinions and historical perspective on some of the more esoteric Shinto exercises included in our mokuroku. I found sensei Barrish and his wife Chika-san to be uncompromising in their generosity and willingness to help answer my questions. It may be that I return to the Kannagara Jinja every year from now on as a sort of personal misogi.


So the point of all this verbage?

One afternoon during my visit, Sensei Barrish asked me if I'd like to observe his aikido class. I replied yes, while in the back of my mind recalling that rather bizarre video. Well as the class started, that video quickly faded from memory because what I witnessed that evening was very clean and crisp aikido utilizing excellent hyoshi, atemi, maai and kuzushi. Especially noticiable to me was Barrish Sensei's relaxed body and solid base. This aikido was actually quite different from that depicted on the video. Also of note was the fact that the students likewise demonstrated an impressive level of competence. Sensei Barrish can obviously both execute his aikido and teach it, an important distinction.

Now, What does this all mean? I guess it means that anything you see on video must be taken with a grain of salt. I've met people that on video that looked mediocre, but in the flesh were quite impressive. I've also experienced the opposite more times than I care to mention.

Another thing needs to be said. I have heard a lot of arguments through the years concerning who's really doing "Ueshiba's" aikido. Well, how many people out there teaching aikido are deeply involved in esoteric Shinto, train in Chinkon, get up at dawn, recite kotodama and perform real misogi......every day?

I only know of one.....

Is Barrish weird? Absolutely. But I say that knowing that I have devoted much of my life to maintaining an antiquated japanese martial tradition, outside Japan and totally out of step with the modern western world. I guess that make me kinda weird too.

Jorge Garcia
01-06-2007, 06:56 PM
Hello,

Well this ought to throw some people...Sorry for the pun.

I'm a licensed instructor of koryu jujutsu, Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu. I come from a tradition where full power attacks and resistence to technique is not only the norm but absolutely demanded. I confess that when I saw the video of Sensei Barrish years ago, I wrote it off as another example of conscious or unconscious collusion between a bizarre new age Aikido teacher and his naive awe struck students. This impression lasted for some time.

Years later, due to Shinto being a significant component of training in our school of koryu, I was compelled to contact Sensei Barrish to ask some questions after the death of my teacher Yukio Takamura Sensei. Importantly, I contacted Sensei Barrish not as a martial artist but in his capacity as a Shinto Priest associated with the Tsubaki Okami Yashiro in Mie prefecture. Still, I was rather suspicious of him, remembering that odd video I had seen so many years prior. I traveled up to Granite Falls, Wa. and the Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja with a Japanese employee of mine, Kozue Miyamoto. The grounds are as stunningly beautiful as reported. The man I met there was not what I expected. I found Sensei Barrish to be a gentleman and an individual unique in his devotion to Shrine Shinto and its availability to those in the US. We talked at length about esoteric Shinto and its influence in TSYR. Afterwards I decided to invite him to our headquaters dojo in Colorado to perform our summer Oharai at the end of our annual instructors workshop. I continue to do this every year.

This past September I made an extended visit to the shrine to seek opinions and historical perspective on some of the more esoteric Shinto exercises included in our mokuroku. I found sensei Barrish and his wife Chika-san to be uncompromising in their generosity and willingness to help answer my questions. It may be that I return to the Kannagara Jinja every year from now on as a sort of personal misogi.


So the point of all this verbage?

One afternoon during my visit, Sensei Barrish asked me if I'd like to observe his aikido class. I replied yes, while in the back of my mind recalling that rather bizarre video. Well as the class started, that video quickly faded from memory because what I witnessed that evening was very clean and crisp aikido utilizing excellent hyoshi, atemi, maai and kuzushi. Especially noticiable to me was Barrish Sensei's relaxed body and solid base. This aikido was actually quite different from that depicted on the video. Also of note was the fact that the students likewise demonstrated an impressive level of competence. Sensei Barrish can obviously both execute his aikido and teach it, an important distinction.

Now, What does this all mean? I guess it means that anything you see on video must be taken with a grain of salt. I've met people that on video that looked mediocre, but in the flesh were quite impressive. I've also experienced the opposite more times than I care to mention.

Another thing needs to be said. I have heard a lot of arguments through the years concerning who's really doing "Ueshiba's" aikido. Well, how many people out there teaching aikido are deeply involved in esoteric Shinto, train in Chinkon, get up at dawn, recite kotodama and perform real misogi......every day?

I only know of one.....

Is Barrish weird? Absolutely. But I say that knowing that I have devoted much of my life to maintaining an antiquated japanese martial tradition, outside Japan and totally out of step with the modern western world. I guess that make me kinda weird too.

Thank you Sensei. I think this is the post that we were all waiting for and confirms what some of us were thinking. What took you so long?
Best wishes,
Jorge Garcia

Jorge Garcia
01-06-2007, 07:02 PM
you know... i was looking at my hidden roots of aikido book today (which is about daito ryu, for folks who haven't run across this book)... and some of the "aiki nage" techniques that are in there reminded me of some of the weirder stuff that Barrish sensei is doing in this video. (as an aside, anyone have any thoughts on the relationship between aikinage and kokyunage?) i was also interested in the details of wrist movement in this regard, and the claims about unbalancing via them made in the book.

soooo... if his roots really are in some form of aikijutsu, might it be that some of this weirder stuff is explicable also in terms of those techniques? not to deny the possible ki/kokyu aspects at all... but could it be that some of what most seem to be feeling is weird (the ukes' seeming over-reaction, etc.) might be understood this way? i.e. he might be applying subtle pressure point locks, etc. that are hard to discern, as well as some strange aikinage style techniques, in addition to any control over the ki/kokyu aspects. or something.

Although this is not exactly the same, look at this and tell me you don't have the same feeling as when looking at the Barrish video. I have felt these techniques and can vouch for them. Some are very physical and real and the way they work is because of moves you can't see and a few secrets that are hard to see. They especially work the first time but after that, it is a possibility they wouldn't work because you already know how they are done. It is my feeling that in all martial arts, there are compliant ukes but some of these techniques come from a direct line through Kodo Horikawa from Sokaku Takeda. They aren't made up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvPEU9mAX5Y

Jorge

Toby Threadgill
01-06-2007, 07:29 PM
Hi Jorge,

What took me so long? I'm only an occasional lurker here. Not a regular.

It's interesting that you picked Roppokai's Seigo Okamoto as a comparison. I know Okamoto personally, consider him a friend and have felt his technique many times. His technique is definitely real and he has that "touch" but......his ukes frequently overact badly, actually making his waza look faked. I cannot for the life of me understand why his uke's do this sort of thing? It's bizarre. I suspect it is much the same with Barrish's uke's on the video in question.

FWIW.....Concerning two other topics brought up in earlier posts.

Barrish's adoption of the given name "Koichi".

Sensei Barrish is genuine Shinto Guji, head of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America, associated with the Tsubaki O Kami Yashiro in Mie prefecture, Japan. As such the adoption of a Japanese given name is pretty much required for someone in his position. Predictably, some people have occasionally questioned the veracity of Sensei Barrish being a Shinto Priest at all. It should be therefore noted that Sensei Barrish was the keynote speaker at the Ichi no Miya Kai's 2006 gathering in Japan. The Ichi no Miya Kai is an very prestigious Shinto organization open only to the #1 Shinto Shrines from each prefecture in Japan. An organization such as this asking Sensei Barrish to be their keynote speaker should end any such speculation about his legitiment position in Shrine Shinto.

And, as to Sensei Barrish's Aikido background

As I understand it from a very reliable source, Sensei Barrish first studied aikido under Rod Kobayashi, who trained under Koichi Tohei and Isao Takahashi. Kobayashi went on to found Seidokan Aikido.

Ken Zink
01-06-2007, 07:39 PM
One afternoon during my visit, Sensei Barrish asked me if I'd like to observe his aikido class. I replied yes, while in the back of my mind recalling that rather bizarre video. Well as the class started, that video quickly faded from memory because what I witnessed that evening was very clean and crisp aikido utilizing excellent hyoshi, atemi, maai and kuzushi. Especially noticiable to me was Barrish Sensei's relaxed body and solid base. This aikido was actually quite different from that depicted on the video. Also of note was the fact that the students likewise demonstrated an impressive level of competence. Sensei Barrish can obviously both execute his aikido and teach it, an important distinction.

I've only met Sensei Barrish on three occasions for Gossku (ceremony and weekend of training honoring O'sensei) and during those times he didn't not teach in the same fashion as he did in that video, it was as Toby was saying. I have also heard though that when Sensei Barrish began pursuing the Shinto Priest path that he stopped teaching Ki waza for some reason pertaining to that. However Sensei Kimbal a student of Barrish for the past 20 years and the next one down from Barrish does teach Ki waza similar to what is shown in the video and having experienced it I can say that its like any technique in that it is effective - and very fun because its always completely natural movement even for uke.

The first time I walked into the dojo and encountered it with Sensei Kimbal I was off course put off and thinking it looked very fake, but I was also intrigued because he seemed like a very no-nonsense type of guy and I could tell he knew how to move, so I stuck around. Years later I can say that every time I have experienced Ki waza with my Sensei I have always been serious in my attack and it has always been effective without me adding anything too it. But still I think it's just something you have to experience yourself to see any value in it.

Which brings me back to my original questions, is there anyone else out there who is taught or at least has any experienced with this?

SteveTrinkle
01-06-2007, 10:56 PM
I don't know much about ki. That video looked like a demonstration of excellent zanshin to me.

Rupert Atkinson
01-07-2007, 04:55 AM
I like the vid. It is one way to train - and have fun, but not the only way. I agree with David V about the beginnings of techs. The guy is good and I'll bet he has a solid background, not a fluffy one.

Generally though, despite overly sensitive ukes ALL OF THE TIME, it is a very well put together vid and I like it. I believe, being a sensitive uke is an essential skill - but not the only one - to learning Aikido well.

At the end of the day, I think people can only believe aiki stuff if they have Ueshiba's face, or at least a very Japanese one.

Michael Douglas
01-07-2007, 06:15 AM
This is true at even a very mundane level. For example, look at the difference in body development in Barrish and in his students. Clearly, somewhere along the line, Barrish did some really hard physical training -- the kind of resistance training that would develop his body thusly. On the other hand, perhaps obviously, his students are not really being pressed in that direction. In general, I think this might be a product of a teacher/practitioner reaching a particular skill level, one from which they come to understand what is "key" to training or what simply "one cannot or should not do without."

As a result, though an instructor tended to do all kinds of things to get where they eventually got to, they end up mostly teaching on this "key" thing. For example, you get a guy that as a young man would spend hours swinging an axe or a sledgehammer, or even pulling tree trunks out of the ground, thereby reaching a point in the development of his physique where he is obviously the one capable of kicking sand in the face of others while at the beach, etc. But, a decade or two goes by, and somewhere in their training they realize that physical conditioning is not everything, that timing, or kokyu, or mushin, etc., is key -- key to applying things like a well-conditioned physique and/or anything else for that matter. As a result, rather than asking his students to girth up, he has them working on timing, or kokyu, or mushin, etc.
For some reasons, and sticking with this example, it tends not to occur to instructors that their understanding of timing, or kokyu, or mushin, even their insights into such things, is entirely dependent upon not only that well-conditioned physique but also that period of their life where having a well-conditioned physique held a more central place in their training. Elements that held primary places in their own training tend to be edited out for one reason or another when it comes to their students -- some reasons being positive, some reasons being negative. On the positive side, it could be that an instructor, in good faith, is trying to save "time" for a student by taking out what they have come to (mis)understand as wasteful or unnecessary. On the negative side, it could be that an instructor is no longer capable of such types of training (e.g. they could be old now or in poor health but still desire to be on the mat leading the way in all aspects of a given practice).
dmv

I loved this bit of your post David,
it really strikes a chord with my own observations.

Erik
01-07-2007, 08:44 PM
I guess I lied, gonna post one last time then you won't see my name until September. :)

I think there have been some interesting comments in this thread. I'm surprised to hear he's still teaching but I am glad to hear that he's gotten more substantive. I do, however, think that there are some rationalizations and misconceptions about what his ukes are doing.

Like I said, I saw him maybe a half dozen times around when this video was made and it was flop city. Everyone flopped for everyone and it wasn't skill doing it. I was throwing ukes like that and I don't even think I was a first kyu (I was 5th the first time I saw him). I'd say rather than sensitivity it was crazy insensitivity because everyone just fell like that no matter who did it. Reacting to every movement is just as insensitive as the guy you have to hit to get to move.

Now to what I wanted to say. I know a few people, like myself, but more experienced than I was, who didn't buy into it and stood there when he waved his finger expecting them to flip through the air (yes, it really was like that). I like to think that he looked at at those situations and asked why. Maybe he deliberately didn't throw people and they still fell. Who knows, but it sounds like something changed from then which I think is good.

I also find it interesting that he trained with Rod Kobayashi. I asked about that more than once and never got an answer from people who should have known. One of whom was ranked by him. Well, one mystery solved.

I'm out, again.

Aiki1
01-11-2007, 07:25 PM
Sorry, I'm just not a fan of Larry, I know too much.

Ah, allow me to second this sentiment. Many years ago I had some interaction with him when he was here in LA to do a seminar at a friend's Aikido dojo. Granted, this must have been sometime in the late '80s. I'm sorry, but it was.... well, let's say.... inneffective. I say this knowing that it is a strong statement, and I imagine that some will react against it. But it was, flat out.... inneffective. (I changed the word I used so as not to be rude.) I was nidan at the time, and had been teaching for several years by then, so I had some experience. Most of the people who attended, walked off the mat, including s few of my students who were there. Sorry to say but he could do nothing with anyone who was not his personal uke, and his explanation was that - the others were not sensitive enough to feel his ki.

I then researched his background. There's a lot I could say about this but I won't bother. His -original- Aiki background is completely unsubstantiated, particularly the story that he inherited a family-style Aiki system from a Japanese family. The only one I know who can substantiate that is Don Angier because in his case it is of course, true.

I have never met anyone who actually started their practice with him, so I can't judge "what he produces" - I have only met or seen people who had studied Aikido before and then went over to him. That doesn't say much to me.

I think he's a curious phenomenon in Aikido, someone who is absolutely Brilliant at capitalizing on the things in the Aikido training world that are.... not healthy.

Mike Sigman
01-11-2007, 09:26 PM
My goodness, there's hope for Aikido after all. I stand corrected. Nice posts and very helpful.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Shipley
01-12-2007, 03:58 PM
Well, like I said before I can't comment on twenty years ago, but I would like to clarify that when he's thrown me over the past few years, I wasn't falling to some sort of ki blast, but to solid technique delivered by a strong nage.

As for hyper-sensitive, just ask my wife, I don't qualify. :p

Cheers,

Paul

Zeb Leonard
01-12-2007, 10:21 PM
videos like this make me want to run a billion kilometers away from aikido

Mashu
01-12-2007, 10:48 PM
There's always worse:

Breakdancers #1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3psYEPYaBo)

Breakdancers #2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dZ6yLod5Eg)

Magic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq0BGVw6O8E)

Mark Freeman
01-13-2007, 07:39 PM
videos like this make me want to run a billion kilometers away from aikido

That would put you way out, beyond Mars Zeb, it's pretty cold and lonely out there :D

I think there are useful things to be gained from watching the Barrish video, whereas Matthew's 'breakdancers' start to move into a whole different realm :hypno:

regards,

Mark

Zeb Leonard
01-14-2007, 03:30 AM
yeah some good things. It's the tone of the thing that got to me and i was in a bastard mode that day (and i really hope someone doesn't link that to some spiritual discussion about training, ki and budo...)

Keith R Lee
01-14-2007, 10:33 AM
There's always worse:

Breakdancers #1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3psYEPYaBo)

Breakdancers #2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dZ6yLod5Eg)

Magic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq0BGVw6O8E)


Oh man, it's been awhile since I've seen the Master Young videos, hilarious as always.

That magic one was new to me though! That was great! Had me laughing for awhile.

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 09:05 AM
How about this one on Systema?

http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=-hO8yvA3cSE

aikidoc
01-15-2007, 10:35 AM
Master Young- hmmm. Light tap and they fly all over the yard. THere was one on YouTube a while ago I think, where one of these so-called ki masters went up against a MMA guy and got the S**T kicked out of him. You can buy them books but some people just don't learn. As for the other video of the three-beware of guys wearing their belts outside their hakamas-and left hand swordsmen. I would have thought the noise level in the crowd would have been deafening with all the BS detectors going off (especially when he was rolling him around the mat with his "ki"- I would have definitely been rolling around too and LMAO).

I'd like to see a non-student doing a real attack and see what happens with these guys. I think the ki master I referred to was really shocked to find out his ki did not work as he was getting the crap knocked out of him and his lip bloodied.

Mike Sigman
01-15-2007, 09:37 PM
I'd like to see a non-student doing a real attack and see what happens with these guys. I think the ki master I referred to was really shocked to find out his ki did not work as he was getting the crap knocked out of him and his lip bloodied.Because most of the guys who do the phoney ki/qi stuff are not used to doing any real fighting or sparring, they're often fairly weak and ineffective in their punches, etc. I've let some of them hit me as hard as they can in the stomach or chest and they were honestly shocked that I just stood there or that they bounced away. And I'm not saying that because I'm tough... that's how weak they were in reality. Yet they had let the fantasy play for so long in their own little punkin haids that they had come to believe their own spiel. Seriously. And it's not just Aikido and Tai Chi.... one of these guys was a godan in karate.

Mike

batemanb
01-16-2007, 02:03 AM
How about this one on Systema?

http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=-hO8yvA3cSE

Stan Pranin over at Aikido Journal has a bit of time for this chap. They've been on the mat at Aiki Expo, so there may be a few people on here that have experienced it and are able to comment more.

George Ledyard also has/ had some Systema people training up at his place, or next door. I believe he holds it in regard too.

Mike Sigman
01-16-2007, 08:16 AM
Stan Pranin over at Aikido Journal has a bit of time for this chap. They've been on the mat at Aiki Expo, so there may be a few people on here that have experienced it and are able to comment more.

George Ledyard also has/ had some Systema people training up at his place, or next door. I believe he holds it in regard too.Peter Young, in one of the previous videos does Taiji and so do I, but that doesn't stop me from pointing out absurdities in his "art". A good martial artist should be a clinical analyser par excellence, not a wannabelieve.

BTW, back in the mid-90's, I remember Peter Young coming over from England to some of the large tournaments in Houston and Orlando.... he would take workshops from me and anyone he could get information from, and I know he took it back as "secrets" to reveal to his loyal British students. I have this hangup about people having their students on and I hate to see them taught bogus stuff, no matter what art. :)

Best.

Mike

batemanb
01-16-2007, 09:30 AM
No mention of me being a "wannabelieve" Mike (although am open to believing), just adding that there may be people on here that can provide some first hand comments of the guy from their own experience. :)

Erik Calderon
01-17-2007, 04:25 PM
This is an old video that was made by my teacher's teacher, Barrish Sensei. He still teachers Aikido but is now a Shinto Priest and operates the Tsubaki Grand Shrine up in Granite Falls, WA.

Aiki (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-948814286351794180&q=aikido+ki)

I'm curious if anyone else out there has experience with this type of teaching. My teacher Kimbal Sensei demonstrates this on a fairly regular basis but although I've experienced it as Uke many times over the years its still remains a mystery in many ways.

I personally experienced this kind of Aikido in Japan at the honbu dojo.

The first time I saw it, I couldn't help but laugh. It was funny and unbelievable.

Later on that same instructor motioned to me to attack, well, I attacked and, I'll say, I accidently hit him. He had me attack him a second time, this time he got out of the way and performed waza.

Erik Calderon
Aikido ShinKiKan

George S. Ledyard
01-17-2007, 07:44 PM
Stan Pranin over at Aikido Journal has a bit of time for this chap. They've been on the mat at Aiki Expo, so there may be a few people on here that have experienced it and are able to comment more.

George Ledyard also has/ had some Systema people training up at his place, or next door. I believe he holds it in regard too.

Michael Ryabko is the O-Sensei of their system. There are several branches of this Russian tradition but the one that is Systema is his. He has taught a numebr of seniors. The one whom we know best is Vladimir Vasiliyev who is the number one guy in North America.

A number of my students and former students have trained with these guys. They continue to do so. These guys aren't the woo woo crowd one finds in Aikido. One has done karate and judo since he was a kid, has yudansha rank in Aikido from me as well, another has done club security work for years, the third is a WA State Patrol Officer... These guys have journeyed up to Toronto to train with Vladimir and Michael on a number of occasions. I have trained with Vladimir a couple of times and with Michael at the Expo. Suffice it to say that they didn't even scratch the surface at the Expo of what the eneregtics involve in systema practice.

Once again, it's one of those things where you have to feel it. Period. I personally think that the systema folks are seriously on the something. We keep having these discussions about Aikido in which we acknowledge that the real top level folks have failed to pass on what they know. This is not the case with the systema folks. My students and I have experienced some of the top people in North America, they come to Bellevue, WA to teach next door to me.

If you look at the people whom Vlad has taught directly, they have a phenomenol level of skill. Most of these guys trained with Vladimir under ten years. In fact, their exposure to Vladimir and Michael is about the same as most of the uchi deshi had to O-Sensei before they were sent off to teach. I can honestly say that these guys are operating on another level entirely. The systema teaching method is very straight forward, If you have access to the top teachers, they can and will pass on what they know to you.

Michael is off the charts as far as I am concerned in terms of the sophistication of what he can do.You definitely feel like the so-called primitives who labelled anything they didn't understand as "magic". He and Vlad are as close to "magic" as anyone I've seen but with them, there's nothing hidden. They will show you exactly how to train to develop these skills. Their senior students can do what they do, not as well as they do, yet, but they CAN do the magic as well.

One of the things that has really struck me with systema is the extent to which people will almost foam at the mouth in their efforts to de-bunk the system but they refuse to get on the mat with any of the top people. Folks have a lot of investment in hanging on to their notions of what works and what doesn't.

I can tell you that Ikeda Sensei views these guys as the real deal. I convinced Gleason Sensei to play with them at the Expo a bit. He let Vlad hit him... He told me later that Vlad hit him with a strike which looked like nothing and it hit him harder than the hardest karate punch he'd ever been hit with. He said he had no idea what Vlad had done... And what they showed at the Expo was purposely restrained...

I saw Vlad (at a seminar in Colorado I attended) do a sort of massage on a guy who held taken down in a knife free style. When Vlad got up and walked away, the guy couldn't move... Now this isn't some Dillman thing where suggestion has a lot to do with it... This fellow was just some guy who came to the seminar, not a personal student of Vlad, and there was no prior suggestion that Vlad was doing something. We thought he was given the guy a massage. But whatever he did, it temporarily reorganized the guy's nervous system and he was genuinely helpless for 20 or 30 seconds.

Jim King, one of Vlad's seniors, did a seminar at our place. He took one of my big brown belt boys and literally shut him down with a strike that looked like a flick of his hand. Scott was unable to move or breathe until Jim took it away... about the most fake thing you've ever seen til you've felt it. Scott told me he would never have believed it if he hadn't had it done to him.

The problem with systema training for Aikido people is that systema takes the opposite approach. We focus in the physical form first and consider getting to the energetics and letting go of the form as the "advanced" stuff ie shu-ha-ri... The systema folks start with no form right from the start. Their training is entirely about breaking you free from any constraints of form. And they start from day one on developing that internal power through devloping kokyu. Now it may be a different version of the energy than what Mike talks about.. I don't know. They don't train it the same way... But they have one of the most developed systems for teaching breath control that I have seen and it is integral to the system. It can't be separated out. What they do is actually a health system. the healing aspect is central to what the main guys like Vlad and Michael do. Fighting skill for them is a by product of the systema but not its point.

The reason Stan Pranin had these guys to the Expo was his belief that they had a lot to offer Aikido people. I think so too. Just make sure that you train with someone good. It's easy to do the relaxed movement stuff and look like you are doing systema. But its the internal kokyu training that is the goods. Find someone good to train with.

Mike Sigman
01-17-2007, 08:36 PM
One of the things that has really struck me with systema is the extent to which people will almost foam at the mouth in their efforts to de-bunk the system but they refuse to get on the mat with any of the top people. Folks have a lot of investment in hanging on to their notions of what works and what doesn't. I'm not interested in either bunking or de-bunking Systema, frankly. It's interesting and there are some guys in it that can fight, etc., but my comment mainly has been that I don't see how Systema has much relationship, if any, to what Aikido does (any more than any other martial art). The point was really the video tape showing no-touch manipulation at a distance. Even to the point of slamming one guy back down on to the mat with a 2-handed gesture. My question is.... do you think these no-touch things are real and applicable in a martial situation. I.e., do the techniques on that video represent real stuff, as opposed to the hokey stuff done by Peter Young in his video clips? It's a potentially interesting conversation.

Just for the fun of it, go to Youtube and do a search on Derren Brown and some of his filmed exploits of "mind control". He has a keen interest and ability in these things and how they're done to people. You might find it very interesting to approach the "energetics" stuff from that perspective.
All the Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
01-17-2007, 08:51 PM
Here... try these for "empty force", etc.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQdJf-rTVFo



http://youtube.com/watch?v=-DylNVUN_3I


This could be a good conversation, because Derren Brown openly admits that he manipulates peoples' expectations... which is very much what happens in most of the martial "no touch" things. Regardless of how effective a particular martial art may be.... my point would be that I'm leary of people who use this form of psychological manipulation and mix it in as a "real" part of a martial art.

Best

Mike

batemanb
01-18-2007, 02:35 AM
I have only seen Derren Brown a couple of times, he's interesting but I'm not a particular fan. He's an illusionist come hypnotist come magician type chap. I did happen to see the program with the instant conversion. If I remember, he went around pretending to be a faith healer to convert people. From what little I've seen he doesn't claim extraordinary powers, and often explains the logic behind his "tricks".

Just googled him and found this page with more video footage and stuff

http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/M/mindcontrol/index.html


I asked the question earlier in this thread, "If O Sensei were alive today performing similar feats, how would we be reacting here"? I understand, since he's not here and most of our exposure is limited to a few tapes from AJ, it's a hyperthetical question. I'm just curious as to whether he would suffer the same kind of reaction, or whether we would all be still be doing the art?

Mike Sigman
01-18-2007, 08:27 AM
I have only seen Derren Brown a couple of times, he's interesting but I'm not a particular fan. He's an illusionist come hypnotist come magician type chap. I did happen to see the program with the instant conversion. If I remember, he went around pretending to be a faith healer to convert people. From what little I've seen he doesn't claim extraordinary powers, and often explains the logic behind his "tricks". He seems to use a combination of verbal cues, gestures, good flowing read of people, etc. He's apparently into neuro-linguistic programming, some offshoot of Milton Method hypnosis, "mental magic", illusion, etc., all rolled into one. It's fun to watch. I certainly would never want to strike up a casual conversation with him. ;)

But think about it for a minute. He is a master of establishing a relationship and using cues. In some place a couple of years ago, I remember reading something he said about the fact that every word, every gesture, every step of logic, etc., has been carefully thought out ahead of time so that he can do this stuff rapidly (the "stooge" has little chance). Some of the Chinese I've met are well aware of this part of human psychology and they would say that a teacher who does a lot of "no touch" controls and throws is just using "psychological power".

Now if you factor in this psychological-power stuff and you add in the ability to emit a little bit of a field (everyone can do it to some degree.... but with many people it is mostly psychological stuff)... then suddenly you have sort of a combination of psychological control augmented in the cue stages by a little bit of emission. When you get that combination, many students/stooges will swear that there is something strange there. I think it's more of the combination I just mentioned, added into the fact that students tend to open themselves up to psychological manipulation with a teacher, making it pretty easy.

FWIW

Mike

ian
01-18-2007, 09:00 AM
...Aikido is a methodology to teach principles. These principles are universal and apply to MMA, BJJ, and any other thing you do, even picking up a heavy box...


I would agree. The instructor appeared to be proficient, but the reaction from uke was very exagerated. I suspect that the instructor is actually quite good, but that his students are effectively seeing the finger pointing at the moon instead of the moon i.e. I believe what the instructor is saying as regards the principles, but there is an overtly psychadelic/flowery aspect to the training which I believe not only to be unecessary, but also misleading and diverting away from the practical application.

I believe this video does not represent the simple, direct, effective blending technique which lays at the core of aikido. Also, the psychological tricks you could use on students are extremely different to the psychological tricks you would be able to use in real attacks.

Ian

mathewjgano
01-22-2007, 04:56 PM
My original question though, is if there are others out there that are taught in this fashion?
Well, I have been taught in this sort of fashion, but that's because it was from Barrish Sensei. :D

mathewjgano
01-22-2007, 07:11 PM
And yeah Erik, I was going to mention the koichi thing. It weirds me out when caucasians take on too much japophilia - taking on a japanese name is at the height. We're not japanese so why pretend to be? It's one step away from LARPing.
This used to bother me a little too. My roomate thought Barrish Sensei was Japanese when he heard him speak over the phone because he spoke with a Japanese manner to it. I've heard him speak in a very typical "US" accent as well. To me it makes more sense when you consider the fact that he's a trained Shinto priest who inherited the Ideta Aikijujitsu Ryu from a Japanese man...I've known plenty of people who adopted the mannerisms of those they deal with most commonly, and I've found myself adopting the verbage of those I'm around, though to a lesser extent perhaps. Personally, I see nothing wrong with things like this because ultimately they mean very little, if anything important at all.
As for the video, in general I'd say interactions like that are more about developing the sense of connection (and a subsequent responsiveness) to tori than they are about making people move however you want. Sensei Barrish has described waza as a sort of dialogue...to me this denotes responsiveness on both "sides" of the interaction...or to quote some, both should have "aliveness." Certainly people latch on to particular aspects of training and make them more than they should. I tend to be a "tanker," probably because I tend to focus on ukemi, but I've seen sensei get frustrated when i simply fell down. I lost my balance, but he seemed to think I shouldn't have fallen so quickly and was plainly annoyed by it.
His is a style that doesn't suit everyone. It is highly spiritual in orientation and for some reason that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Having grown up in a trailer park in south Everett, I can appreciate those who are put off by the "new-age"-like quality of kotodama, and the like, but such things are not necessarily exclusive to budo. I don't know where it falls on the continuum of good and bad self-defense, but I've benefited greatly from the training and have some outside validation which tells me I'm learning something both usefull and profound.

ken ashcom
03-14-2007, 01:10 PM
What does one do when confronted with new information; investigate or deny it?

Ask yourself about the blindfold? Do you really believe this man would have so little integrity as to stage this? Kimball Sensei says that his Dan test consisted of suwariwaza randori with a blindfold on. Think about it - O'Sensei had to do his practice with something other than strength when he was close to 80 with cancer. This is possible!

From my own experience I was studying Yoshinkan Style Aikido (non-affiliated) with a fire breathing dragon of a 5th Dan, Sensei Mike Germany (now Genshin). I believe he can do these things but I think he believed it could only be achieved through hard training over many years, because that's the way he learned. I'm older (50) and the hard training was breaking my body down, not building it up. I was wondering how I could survive 10 years to my dan test and the route practice was leading to very little progress over a long period of time. I had stopped all other physical activities (even standing because of the pain) when by chance on a business trip I visited Komyozan Dojo in Boise.

It changed my life. After 21 years in the same town I sold my business, sold my home, and I moved. And as suggested I'm not easily brainwashed or swayed.

There was never a truer statement made than when Sensei Barrish said that Ki Waza is "easier to learn because your cells already know the story!" I've been in this practice 6 months. My body is healing from the injuries sustained by the thousands of the break falls, my core strength is growing, my skill level has increased exponentially, and my mind is becoming less likely to pull away and stiffen during battle. The practice is becoming me.

It really works the way O'Sensei described it. In the moment of the attack an imbalance is created in the universe and the outcome is already decided. The attacker's Ki contracts and Nage's expands to fill the void. You only need to develop the skill set to sense it and apparently with much experience it can be done blindfolded.

As uke your breath is taken away, nage becomes a phantom, entry is no longer possible, and confusion reigns. The grunts, groans and vacant looks all happen as a result.

Judging from the responses to Ken Zink's question I would assume the answer is that only a handful of people know about this training and even fewer teach it. Making it hard or impossible for people to believe what they see.

Aiki1
03-14-2007, 01:23 PM
To me it makes more sense when you consider the fact that he's a trained Shinto priest who inherited the Ideta Aikijujitsu Ryu from a Japanese man...

He has been asked in the past to substantiate even the existance of an Ideta ryu. He didn't, and it has never been shown to exist, or what the difference between it and Aikido supposedly is.

Aiki1
03-14-2007, 01:26 PM
What does one do when confronted with new information; investigate or deny it?

snip

Judging from the responses to Ken Zink's question I would assume the answer is that only a handful of people know about this training and even fewer teach it. Making it hard or impossible for people to believe what they see.

I think it's great that you are getting something from your training.

I investigated it years ago. After seeing and speaking with Barrish and many other people, including top-level sensei and other experts in the history of Japanese martial arts, i came to my own conclusions.

I'd agree, in a sense, that not everyone necessarily teaches the subtle aspects of Aikido. I frankly do, however, and can tell the difference.

ken ashcom
03-15-2007, 04:50 PM
Sensei Kimball asked me to make a correction in my post.

1) He did not take his Shodan test blindfolded. That's what he asks of his students. Blindfolded - all positions all techniques.

I guess when I heard it I really wasn't ready for that one.

aikidoc
03-15-2007, 06:16 PM
There are a couple of others on the YouTube site where they are moving people all around without touching them. One of them tested it against a non-sychophant, non-student MMA person and got the crap kicked out of him. It "worked" with his students. So if this over-reactive, non-touch tossing the student all around the mat from a distance works, it can be subjected to scientific validation. I'm not talking about no touch throws in general-they have a lot to do with timing, mental connection etc. I'm talking about the over-reactive or maybe overacting is a better word seen on some of the sites-one guy "throws" his student from across the mat and then rolls him all over the mat. If they can do it, then I'm impressed and it can be subjected to scientific validation under controlled conditions. If they can do it, it should not matter whether the attacker is someone off the street or another martial artist. The one demonstrator apparently really believed he could do it or he would not have taken on the MMA guy. THe result was pretty ugly-he got a bloody face as a result and was actually hurt. I kind of felt sorry for him, although his skills were pathetic, I hate to see someone get beat up.

Timing, leading, mind connection, etc. can all lead to setting someone up and taking their balance. However, there has yet to be anyone able to prove psychokinetic abilities in all the years they have been claimed.

ken ashcom
03-31-2007, 08:02 PM
That looked a little impossible to me also! How could anyone throw a ball of energy across the room and have someone fall and roll across the floor? I would like to experience the training so that I can make up my own mind.

Also, doesn't lining up against someone to test your skills as a fighter go against the nature of what we are learning in Aikido? Isn't it "The Art of Peace" and not "The Test of Wills"?

And it does take a trained UKE. As uke of our training is to pursue Nage, no static training is involved. As uke, If I stop acting as the aggressor the conflict naturally resolves itself. If on the other hand I continue to pursue - even mentally - I am off balance and will experience the waza, through touch or no touch.

This also means that nage must be involved and perform the technique correctly. If not kaeshi occurs and the rolls reverse.
O'Sensei said that technique can be harsh or gentle.

Sensei Anderson is aware of these postings and as a demonstration performed randori with a blindfold on, then the rest of our practice was done with our eyes closed. It was his attempt to have us feel the attack before it occured. It was interesting to experience, even though I was completely ineffective.