PDA

View Full Version : Ueshiba on the future of Aikido


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


DH
03-29-2007, 07:49 AM
As I begin to once again -do- Aikido I wonder.
There is an old adage about the life of a corporation having to renew itself.
1. The company begins with an entrepreneurial spirit and vision
2. It succeeds and sets a new standard
3. It becomes well known and begins to rest on it laurels
4. It struggles to keep up in new burgeoning markets and wonders why the market is no longer looking to it, as it continually looks backwards.
5. It fades against a backdrop of a new company with an entrepreneurial spirit and vision who.......

Ueshiba Morihei was both an internal Artist and a supreme MMA'er of his culture, of his time... his whole life. If we look, he left the traditional arts and went full-bore into MMA.
In his old age showing up at the Kodakan. Aikido against Judo folks!! of an era still talked about today with the then judo “greats.” What on earth was he thinking?
I can only imagine where he would train were he to come back today, say as a thirty year old. I'd venture a guess that Aikido, as it is commonly practiced today would probably not entice him in the least. I say he would be doing MMA.... with internal skills, and perhaps reading the Non-Aikido Martial traditions section of his own arts forums.:cool:

I re-read a whole lot these past weeks to help a friends research. Part of it was to reread a series of interviews regrading Ueshiba. Everywhere he was pointing to MMA, Martial research and internal power. THAT....was his AIki way, and he both demonstrably and verbally kept talking about personal Aikido....your Aikido. Never corporate, company aikido. Odd that so many slaved away under him, while -HE- pointed outside of his own "company" and said "They or he or she are doing -real- Aikido!" And then he went to his own corporate Headquarters, walked in the door and shouted "This is not my AIkido!!" and preceded to lecture.
He, as the CEO, was scoffed at then and there. Taken lightly or dissmissed as being a cranky old guy when he boomed!. Today, more so. Maybe the company founder knew exactly what he was talking about and was pointing to the right path all along.

I wonder if George, and Ikeda are not on to something profound by looking outside too. I wonder what following Ueshiba's vision really means to begin with?
Who would Morihei say was doing "real Aikido" today? Place that MMA mindset, and internal training in todays dojo's. Where would that mind be looking and heading toward?
1. He would be in BJJ dojo's, Judo dojo's (as he actually WAS)
2. Sword schools
3. Then solo internal training that was NOT aikido technique based at all.
4. Then bringing in guest instructors from outside arts (as he actually DID) 5. Then back to those dojo's, researching, testing, proving his research.
6. Then back to his own dojo testing, researching proving his work.
Now imagine he's you.
You are the future of Aikido.

Ecosamurai
03-29-2007, 08:25 AM
Hi Dan,

To be honest with you I'm not entirely sure what the point you're trying to make in your post is. I know of many many people who cross train in various other martial arts in addition to aikido. I have students who are mainly from Tae Kwon Do or Judo backgrounds, guys from karate backgrounds. I practice three arts: aikido, kendo and iaido and I enjoy training with people from other arts than these whenever possible. I know plenty of people who are BJJ students who also do aikido. Kung Fu guys, Taiji guys. One of my sempai practices Taiji alongside aikido and finds them both extremely rewarding. I'm not the only one either, I'm pretty sure that if Jun were to put a poll up (assuming he hasn't done so in the past already) asking how many people cross trained in other arts the numbers would be fairly high. Isn't that representative of a lot of what you said above? Or is MMA something that in your mind has a different definition? i.e. separate from simply cross-training as you described the reincarnated Ueshiba doing in your previous post?

I've personally always been slightly wary of MMA as a principle not so much because I disagree with it in theory (I like the theory, hence the reason I like to cross train), but the people I've met who are MMA devotees have overwhemingly been cherry-pickers who take bits and pieces from whatever art they fancy as being 'effective', though they never actually define what they mean by 'effective'. That doesn't mean all or even most MMAers are like this mind, just the ones I've met. I recall one guy telling me that aikido wristlocks didn't work, he practically screamed when I put a nikyo on him. I think that says more about individuals than the principle as a whole though.

I am genuinely curious as to how and if you would differentiate between cross-training (a relatively common practice for many aikido students in my own personal experience) and MMA?

Regards

Mike Haft

Chuck Clark
03-29-2007, 08:51 AM
Another view of Ueshiba Morihei's power...

Quote from "Aikido Shugyo - Harmony in Confrontation", Shioda Gozo's book:

"Sensei (Ueshiba Morihei) was invited to go there and give a demonstration as part of a big martial arts tournament. There were a lot of Judo practitioners around and one of them who had watched Sensei's demonstration came and challenged him, saying that he didn't believe what he had just seen. The challenger, whom I will call Mr. N was known at that time as the rival of Masahiko Kimura. Of course, Mr. N was considerably larger than the average person and when he and Sensei faced each other, it looked just like an adult with a child.

Suddenly, Mr. N came in to grab Sensei's inside collar and, pulling him in, tried to execute a hip spring throw. That was it. Mr. N's gigantic figure buckled and he crumpled to the floor right there. As for Sensei, he was standing very quietly as if nothing had happened. The spectators were thrown into an uproar because nobody quite understood what they had just witnessed.

As it happens, Sensei had delivered a light blow with his fist to Mr. N's hip just as he stepped into Sensei's chest. The timing was absolutely perfect. From a conversation I overheard later I learned that Mr. N's hip bone was broken so severely that he would never fully recover.

This same principle can be applied in free-for-all fights as well. Discerning the opponent's movements and delivering an atemi at just the right moment will result in a very effective technique."

My gut level understanding of this is: Mr. N wanted to test his technique against something he thought was not real... he wanted to throw a fellow senior budoka with a judo hane goshi that would have no lasting effect other than most likely a strong fall from the ukemi. Something judoka do with each other every time they get on the tatami together. On the other side, Ueshiba Morihei must have viewed the "confrontation" differently because he "delivered a light blow" with the "same principle can be applied in free-for-all fights" which resulted in Mr. N's hip bone being broken so severly that he would never fully recover.

I just thought this first hand memory from Shioda would illustrate one encounter that Ueshiba Morihei had with a judo man that left a strong impression on both Shioda and Mr. N.

Best regards,

Erick Mead
03-29-2007, 08:59 AM
And then he went to his own corporate Headquarters, walked in the door and shouted "This is not my AIkido!!" and preceded to lecture. I find it interesting that this is the third or fourth time that this anecdotal statement has been mentioned. I also find it very interesting as to the standards of acceptance of the points in debate on either side. Where is the similar critique of language or circumstance or finessed translation on what O Sensei supposedly meant in the anecdotal event mentioned here? Why would one refuse to accept the plain import of things he is reasonably well-documented to have actually said, emphatically, in generally reliable and well-regarded regarded translation (and presumably to mean it when he said it.)

I find the contrast of approach interesting. My reliance on an authoritative, well-attributed interview in which O Sensei (with Kisshomaru Doshu also present and speaking) makes an emphatic point on "absolute non-resistance" several times, in several different ways, all to the same essential effect, is dismissed. I am told, among other things, that I do not understand the plain words, that it must be a bad translation, or alternatively, that what was said could not possibly be what was meant. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=169234&postcount=612
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=169232&postcount=611
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=169245&postcount=618
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=169285&postcount=626
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=169484&postcount=647

Why the uncritical willingnness to believe that THIS statement means just exactly what YOU want it to mean? Especially since the anecdotal account seen so far does not in the least bit elaborate on WHY the instance of practice he was observing was objectionable. Nor is there any indication that what ever he was observing was not subsequently corrected following from that comment. Nor any explanation of why whatever he (the Founder) did criticize would not have been immediately corrected.

One cannot support a persuasive position on a chain of inferences, leaving questions such as these unanswered with regard to a statement with such an ambiguous reference. Suggestive rhetorical questions are no substitute for some actual facts.

Ecosamurai
03-29-2007, 09:15 AM
Hey, chill out Erick or Jun will move this thread to the troll-pit down in the cellar of aikiweb... oops, sorry I mean the 'non-aikido martial traditions forum'....

:D :D

Mike

Dave Holbrow
03-29-2007, 09:34 AM
Hi Mike

I think you're reply very probably makes Dan's point from my reading of his initial post. Which is that while Aikido, Kendo and Iaido may well provide a individual with an excellent skill set were he living in pre-modern Japan they would not necessarily be your first port of call were you living in a 21st century western country and your primary interest was in maximising your fighting ability for the enviroment you find yourself in.

Aikido may have been an appropriate vehicle through which Uesbiba expressed his internal power given the time and place he was born in but were he alive now and exposed to the present information available on the relative merits of different approaches to developing fighting skills then his Aikido may have developed very differently indeed.

Dave H

Ecosamurai
03-29-2007, 09:41 AM
Hi Mike

I think you're reply very probably makes Dan's point from my reading of his initial post. Which is that while Aikido, Kendo and Iaido may well provide a individual with an excellent skill set were he living in pre-modern Japan they would not necessarily be your first port of call were you living in a 21st century western country and your primary interest was in maximising your fighting ability for the enviroment you find yourself in.

Aikido may have been an appropriate vehicle through which Uesbiba expressed his internal power given the time and place he was born in but were he alive now and exposed to the present information available on the relative merits of different approaches to developing fighting skills then his Aikido may have developed very differently indeed.

Dave H

Probably true. But my post was actually asking Dan how he would define the difference between MMA and cross-training. I happen to practice 3 arts which as you correctly point out would not be particularly beneficial to me in certain situations except in pre-modern Japan. That's just me however (I also like to play with BJJ and Judo guys when I get the opportunity from time to time incidentally). But, what about people who practice aikido and Tai Chi, or people who practice aikido and judo? Or aikido and BJJ.

How is cross training different from MMA? That's what I was asking really. I'm sure it is differerent, just not exactly sure how you'd define the difference.

Mike

Dave Holbrow
03-29-2007, 09:54 AM
No worries Mike

I'll leave Dan to comment on how he personally makes that distinction between cross-training and mma. I know its a distinction I make but now you ask I'm not exactly sure even in my own mind where one ends and the other starts.

Dave H

John A Butz
03-29-2007, 10:21 AM
I can't speak for Dan, obviously, but I have always viewed the concept of MMA as being less an actual set of techniques and more a methodology of training and employment.

The MMA methodology, in my opinion, is to take your skillset and put it up against another's skill set in an environment with increasing levels of resistance, and work what you know till you reach the failure point, i.e. you are submitted or dominated positionaly and can no longer defend yourself, or you have achieved said control over the other guy.

Cross-training is, to my mind, more of a "putting tools in the toolbox" sort of thing. You study different arts and methods as individual activities. In essence, you learn several arts under the assumptions those arts make about training and combat.

Because all arts make assumptions about training and combat, you need a venue in which to experiment without the need to "do technique" and see how things can play out when you forego some of the assumptions. That is the role of mma-style training.

MMA is taking that cross-trained knowledge and removing the assumptions it was gained under in a "live" environment where the other guy is under no obligation to share the same assumptions. I do not believe that all cross training has to be mma any more then all mma has to be thai boxing crossed with BJJ and wrestling. You could practice any set of arts, in any combination of armed or unarmed, with a mindset more aligned with removing assumptions and reliance on the "techniques" of an art. I would term this randori, and I personally view it more along the lines of judo's randori then what most folks consider aikido randori.

Even in MMA-style training, you are still going to have assumptions and limitations. There is no way to practice safely without some guidelines. But by removing the arts you train in from their standard context, you will create a less restricted environment to experiment with what you know.

If you watch the mma guys train, they don't just train in the sort of thing you see in a UFC match. They will do striking combo work, BJJ drills, heavy bag work, a wide variety of skill sets acquired from different places (Crosstraining). They then train different combinations of those skills as drills, i.e. standup to create opportunities for takes downs, or newaza till you have position to ground and pound (randori). They will integrate more and more aspects of the game into the drills they do till it looks like MMA. Then, when they get to the actual event, they are able to put the skills into practice. It doesn't always look exactly like what they trained, but because they have remained aware of the underlying assumptions in their game, they are able to have a full-contact, few holds barred type of fight. When they go back to training for the next fight, they also break stuff down again, and work the elements in isolation as well as incorporating them into drills, and the cycle repeats itself.

I do not think that cross training is necessary for MMA and more then MMA is necessary for crosstraining, so long as you understand the assumptions inherent in what you are practicing. I have had no formal training outside of aikido, and have enjoyed several sessions with judo, bjj, and stand-up striking guys where we would play by a certain set of rules and do drills or roll or whatever, and all I had was my aikido. I should note that these were friendly, half-speed and power things, and that in areas where I am weak I would find myself dominated. Sometimes I would find myself in the better position, and able to execute things I had learned from my aikido.

So, in essence, the question is what venue do we use to determine how well we are able to express the principles of our aikido? How do we want to structure our exploration of the principles underlying the techniques? And how can we train under increasing resistance without having it become a competition?

I apologize for the long post.

Cady Goldfield
03-29-2007, 10:22 AM
Mike, you say that you practice three different arts/systems. Do you combine them and use the "other" skills to augment your aikido, when you're in the aikido dojo? Or does your aikido "remain aikido" and not look anything like TKD, or taiji, etc. when you are nage/tori?

I'd say that in MMA, the skills you acquire from a variety of sources are bound into a cohesive and cogent system unto itself. It is custom-tailored to the needs of the individual practitioner, who makes a deep study of a variety of arts that provide what he needs to be a well-rounded fighter based on his capabilities as well as limitations.

Ecosamurai
03-29-2007, 10:36 AM
Mike, you say that you practice three different arts/systems. Do you combine them and use the "other" skills to augment your aikido, when you're in the aikido dojo? Or does your aikido "remain aikido" and not look anything like TKD, or taiji, etc. when you are nage/tori?

Brief answer as I'm out of time today. Three arts, aikido, kendo and iaido. Yes I do find that things I learn in each affect the other arts and the way I practice them. For example I try to use the 'ki' or internal stuff I learned in aikido in all of them and consequently, the way I do the others looks different. I've also found that my ikkyo for example occasionally gets a bit of a fumikomi type of footwork as you'd find in kendo etc etc.. other examples too.

Mike

Michael McCaslin
03-29-2007, 11:03 AM
I find it interesting that this is the third or fourth time that this anecdotal statement has been mentioned. I also find it very interesting as to the standards of acceptance of the points in debate on either side. Where is the similar critique of language or circumstance or finessed translation on what O Sensei supposedly meant in the anecdotal event mentioned here?


You keep bringing this point up. Here's an example from an interview with Kenji Shimizu that is posted on Aikido Journal at the moment:


Was O-Sensei irregular about coming to the dojo?

Yes, he was. When I was actively practicing there he often came and went. When he showed up everyone immediately sat down. At first, I thought that people were being courteous toward him. However, it wasn't only that. It was also that the practices we were doing were different from what O-Sensei expected us to do. Once he lost his temper at us. No one realized that he had come and he shouted: "What you people are doing is not aikido." His shout was so powerful it felt like the earth was trembling. He was then in his seventies but his voice nearly pierced our ear drums. Everybody just became quiet and looked gloomy.


So it's clear that O-Sensei was unhappy with what was being done in the dojo. What is not clear, I'll give you, is why he was unhappy and what he felt was missing.

If you think aikido today is better than aikido was then, and that we have moved closer to O-Sensei's ideal, then soldier on. I don't know that I can agree that aikido today is appreciably different from aikido as it was practiced then. If it is, I'm not sure that it is *better* than it was then.

All we know is that O-Sensei was telling them in no uncertain terms that they had it wrong, and that they didn't know what to do to make it right. It's a depressing thought, but also an inspirational one. It's inspirational because there are people with direct links to the training O-Sensei had who are pointing to practices that make for more effective aikido that appear to be known only to a minority of aikido practitioners today, if any. I don't know how anyone can see a statement like "the practices we were doing were different from what O-Sensei expected us to do" from someone who was there and not be in the least bit interested in seeing what's out there while the people who have it are generous enough to show it.

I have a hard time believing that O-Sensei would be that upset if they were practicing the right techniques with the wrong attitude. I think they were doing something fundamentally different from what he wanted.

Michael

DH
03-29-2007, 11:59 AM
I just am over trying to convince anyone. I'm not even interested in talking to the ones who sort of endlessly debate. It isn't a real discussion. I'm talking past them to folks who are really taking this stuff in and then moving forward in their training and in the discussion.
The interviews in support of what Ueshiba was saying are so numurous that its pointless to deny them. Chiba went on to state when Ueshiba did these things and then lectured;
a. They didn't have a clue what he talking about
b. They couldn't wait for him to finish so they could go back to training.
c. Training.....what? They just go tolkd it wasn't his Aiki?
What were they doing that he considered it to be "Not his aikido?"
Why was he blown-off as just an old man booming. Becasue they had no cluse how to find it? How to begin to do it? I haven't found many of that crop who were solo training. They were doing waza looking for technique to eventually instill aiki in them.
Who was really listening?

The more things change the more thay stay the same
I demonstrated what I do to a teacher who also trained with Ueshiba Morihei. When that teacher watched then felt me it was stated flatly and in no uncertain terms the following: "This is Ueshibas Aikido! They don't teach ths anymore you know! It's not in modern aikido."
One fellow and I were somewhat taken a back and explained how this is such a debate on aikiweb.The teachers looked at us puzzled and said.
"What do they know? Did -they- train with Ueshiba sensei?"

We all were sort of stumped being faced with such simple logic.
I posted that experience before. No I'm not going to reveal the source. Ellis and Chuck know who it is as well as a fellow who posts here. Here it will just get debated just like all the other personal witnesses. Somehow in today's internet, anyone with a keyboard is equal to everyone else.
That teacher doesn't post or read so I don't want to reveal their name. Its not relevant ot the point I'm making anyway The point of it is to the discussion's of what Ueshiba's Aiki really was and how he trained it. As well as HIS openess as a MMA practioner in his day.
He was NOT cross training to add to some "collection" of techniques called Aikido. Most of which came from his son as a syllabus later-on. he was concerned with testing his real skills against all comers, Sumo, Judo, jujutsu, Koryu kenjutsu, kendo etc.
He was leading and exploring and testing his power, his Aiki
Not doing a collection of techniques to add to his techical base as a cross trainer.
It's wonderfully challenging to look ahead and think like that.
I think Ikeda sensei has a keen idea and so doea George of looking outward to move Aikido forward.
Just like Ueshiba would be doing.

John A Butz
03-29-2007, 12:09 PM
He was NOT cross training to add to some "collection" of techniques called Aikido. Most of which came from his son as a syllabus later-on. he was concerned with testing his real skills against all comers, Sumo, Judo, jujutsu, Koryu kenjutsu, kendo etc.
He was leading and exploring and testing his power, his Aiki
Not doing a collection of techniques to add to his techical base as a cross trainer.


I believe this is the key point in any discussion about cross training vs training methodology/MMA. It is NOT about acquiring a collection of waza. It is about discerning how the principles power the waza and going out and applying those principles against skilled people who don't play by your rules.

For what it is worth, I believe that Ueshiba's anger at the type of practice he witnessed stems not from the fact that the deshi were doing techniques wrong, but rather from the fact that the FOCUS of the training had become the technique.

DH
03-29-2007, 12:18 PM
It is about discerning how the principles power the waza and going out and applying those principles against skilled people who don't play by your rules.

For what it is worth, I believe that Ueshiba's anger at the type of practice he witnessed stems not from the fact that the deshi were doing techniques wrong, but rather from the fact that the FOCUS of the training had become the technique.



Amen to Non-cooperation from stangers to us and our "views" Who only want to kick our butts and are perfectly willing to demonstrate that presently.
Amen to understanding it isn't about adding more techniques.

Good on ya John

Erick Mead
03-29-2007, 12:23 PM
You keep bringing this point up. Only because it has not been answered.

What is not clear, I'll give you, is why he was unhappy and what he felt was missing. Which is the only question worth answering in this context.

I don't know how anyone can see a statement like "the practices we were doing were different from what O-Sensei expected us to do" from someone who was there and not be in the least bit interested in seeing what's out there while the people who have it are generous enough to show it. What "it" is that is being shown now in certain quarters and its relation to "what he felt was missing," have not been established, and are the point of my criticism. Ushiro has been the focus of the outside critics.. He essentially said that basically aikidoka need to simply learn to hit effectively to fix the problem.
... when Mr. Pranin asked Ushiro Sensei what suggestions he might have that might help the students improve their aikido, he replied: "Things will change if you learn how to attack better. And that's pretty much it." ... (An audio replay of the entire discussion may be heard at http://www.aikidojournal.com/download_media.php?media=radio&id=7.
See: entire article: https://bujindesign.com/seminar_reviews/2005_9_article_1.html

Whirly-twirly dance is justly to be criticized, but it is also not what I was taught nor those alongside me. I just don't get the point of all this hand-wringing. That is not to say that the discussion is not worth the attention and the effort. I have certainly spent some effort in engaging it.

In every lineage in which I learned aikido (Saotome's, Saito's, and even briefly, Chiba, himself) we were specifically instructed in how to hit and kick, quite effectively. I see no problem in the typicality of my arc of training on that score. Mechanically, his overall point makes perfect sense: concentration of force and dissipation of force are the same exact prinicple in operation and to understand the one you must also understand the other. "In-yo ho" as Dan likes to say.

But also mechanically, his explanation of how this is occurring, while more than adequate in the idiom he learned it, needs some serious work to put into to the idiom of physical mechanics. Using ki, you can enter into the opponent's center instantly, directing them at will through the hips and knees. In the case of throws, too, it is not an external rotation that breaks the partner's balance, but an internal one. Because it is applied internally, the opponent cannot feel it." http://www.uk-jj.com/news/e_06_colorado.html

Some of what I have proposed, in terms of manipulating angular momentum, centers of inertia, gyrodynamics and related principles of waveforms are all applicable to his general description. Aspects of the Huygen/Fresnel Principle on wave gates, which I have mentioned previously, come into play to precisely the same effect that Ushiro describes for the internal rotation action noted above.

I won't belabor my thoughts on these things at any greater length than I have already. It seems like it should be unobjectionable that work on defining the nature and operation of that internal rotation in the idiom of physical mechanics of the principle would be helpful. In our increasingly technological society this seems an inevitable and long overdue development in the art, to me, especially if the art is to not only survive and keep attracting and helping practitioners in the future but also to develop and grow in depth of understanding, and ability to relate its prinicples even more broadly in society.

I have heard much analogy and pointing to websites, and mention of things like tensegrity structures, but little in terms of the actual proposed dynamics of those (or any other) structures in physically meaningful internal actions in the terms that Ushiro Sensei puts it. Dan, Mike (S.), Rob, and the others in their line of thought would do well to aid everyone if they would give their thoughts in line with what Ushiro says above, on a couple of fairly simple points:

1) What structure(s), to their way of thinking is/are rotating internally?
2) How do they rotate internally ?
3) What mechanism(s) transmit that rotation externally to the other person?

Feel free to point the response to any of the other threads if you so desire. But I think I made the topicality of my point fairly clear.

Edward
03-29-2007, 12:36 PM
If Osensei was unhappy about the training, he obviously would have done something about it. I believe he did have the necessary power to do it, being the founder of aikido and all. However, in his lectures that were so boring for the deshi, he was talking about heaven and earth and the kami and the universe...etc. No one understood a word of what he was saying. That's why they were so eager to go back to practice instead of sitting in seiza for an hour listening to an incomprehensible speech.

jonreading
03-29-2007, 12:44 PM
I believe that the concepts, principles, and execution of aikido is dependent upon a knowledge of basic fighting. O'Sensei (and many of his senior students) had significant experience in at least one other martial art before training aikido. Today, many aikido people do not have a pre-existing knowledge of basic fighting. I feel this element of "pre-training" is important to overall understanding of aikido. Can you learn aikido without knowing karate? Sure. But the knowledge of basic striking, kicking or blocking contributes to aikido training. I encourage serious students to learn basic skill sets to accelerate their aikido training, karate, judo, jujitsu, all provide good training in Japanese stylistic fighting.

That said, I differentiate cross-training from Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). To me, cross-training implies training multiple activities simultaneously. Mixed Martial Arts denotes mixing multiple activities together in one instance. I encourage cross-training to build a better understanding of aikido, but mixing arts promotes the bastardization of technique. Many people who train aikido do not understand the difference between aikido technique and bastardized aikido technique. This misunderstanding contributes to deficient technique and deficient technique contributes to poor aikido.

Sometimes we are so quick to take something, repackage it, and call it ours, and we forget to take enough time to figure out what the heck we repackaged. MMA is a great sport, and there are great athletes who are great fighters within that sport. Aikido is not MMA. Train aikido and learn aikido using other martial arts as the foundation of knowledge.

Erick Mead
03-29-2007, 12:59 PM
It is NOT about acquiring a collection of waza. I, for one, never said it was. Kihon are a tool, like any tool, intended to make work possible or more efficent. They are not the work itself, an assumption which it is very right to criticize.

It is about discerning how the principles power the waza ... Fine. Explain the physical principles, and explain how they power the waza. Be forewarned, of course, that if you can't explain it to my satisfaction, I may decide that you do not in fact discern them. ;) This point is explicitly based on a very unfair assumption I am making -- but it is simply the precise obverse of the often-stated, and unfounded assumption in these discussions that "X hasn't felt this; X therefore doesn't know what he is talking about."

Let's get past that silliness for once and for all. Being able to apply power -- from whatever source derived, does not mean you understand the principles of the power you are invoking and applying. Hunderds of millions of people, every day, flip a light switch without the faintest clue as to the principles they are applying in doing that. The President can launch the power of several thousand megatons of thermonuclear warheads. He almost certainly does not understand the principles that make them do what they do. I am on fairly safe ground to say that he likely can't build one even if given sound instructions, because he does NOT understand the principles he may be trying to apply.

Application does not necessarily result in discernment. Discernment may often be divorced from any possibility of application. Stephen Hawking has surely proved that.

For budo, these things must go hand in hand. It is a deep principle of Japanese budo, stemming from Neo-Confucianism, that knowledge and action be unified. For an art that is expressly intended to be instantaneously adaptive and creative, it is doubly essential.

For an art that has made many inroads toward becoming endemic in the West, it has yet to make the Western idiom a comfortable fit. It is time that this changed. That does not mean that if we just work long or hard enough then we can just flip the proverbial light switch on our aikido.

Budo doesn't work that way. It is by definition a commitment of one's entire being. Unlike the casual invocation of incidental light, it requires the whole spirit and mind as well. We cannot reach deeply into the mind of the typical Westerner until we can pass the gates of his understanding -- the idiom that is used to learn and understand things deeply.

DH
03-29-2007, 01:17 PM
If Osensei was unhappy about the training, he obviously would have done something about it. I believe he did have the necessary power to do it, being the founder of aikido and all. However, in his lectures that were so boring for the deshi, he was talking about heaven and earth and the kami and the universe...etc. No one understood a word of what he was saying. That's why they were so eager to go back to practice instead of sitting in seiza for an hour listening to an incomprehensible speech.

Not really, He was seldom there anymore. He was also apparently going to the Kodokan to play with them. It would be interesting to see how often that was. Then he was at Iwama training. The teaching was Kissomaru and Tohei. Tohei then left. What's left was Kissomaru's development with his students. Which looks like a technical syllabus more than anything else.

Budd
03-29-2007, 01:20 PM
Lest this thread get too bogged down in cross-training vs. MMA discussions, I'd be curious to ask those that have more information and insight than I do, was aikido ever formally codified as being comprised of x number of techniques with x variations against x number of attacks (other than testing requirements)? If so, can you please point me to the source?

Also if so, was the codification done in such a way as to declare whether the technical syllabus was the basis of the art or examples of how the principles of the art were manifested?

Thanks in advance!

DH
03-29-2007, 01:30 PM
I for one am not being an advocate for MMA. It's just that Ueshiba was...in spades. Weird huh? Since I chose it.
That really isn't what I would focus on were I in Aikido and didn't have internal skills. In many ways you're just adding even more techniques to do...externally. But everyone decides for themselves.

Budd
03-29-2007, 01:46 PM
Yes, but then one could say, "I do aikido AND MMA!!". Plus, I enjoy collecting comic books and baseball cards.

(darn, I'm getting drawn into the madness -- now how do I hide this edit -- stupid flu)

--edited--

I'm not arguing, per se, against the cross-training or MMA approach (guilty here, of both, at times). I'm more curious as to the formal pedagogical/hoplological underpinnings of the technical syllabus of aikido. I have no doubt that the founder tested himself against others. My own belief is that's one way that you train your skills (as JAB put above, we're of like minds on the subject). How you go about doing it is another subject entirely.

Anyhow, just wondering what info people may have of how exactly the ikkyu-rokkyu x-nage series of techniques were templated into the syllabus. At what point were they implemented as the teaching method of aikido and was the emphasis on the form or the "stuff" that made it happen? If the paradigm changed over time, when, where, why?

Thanks!

*exeunt*

gdandscompserv
03-29-2007, 01:57 PM
Mike, you say that you practice three different arts/systems. Do you combine them and use the "other" skills to augment your aikido, when you're in the aikido dojo? Or does your aikido "remain aikido" and not look anything like TKD, or taiji, etc. when you are nage/tori?

I'd say that in MMA, the skills you acquire from a variety of sources are bound into a cohesive and cogent system unto itself. It is custom-tailored to the needs of the individual practitioner, who makes a deep study of a variety of arts that provide what he needs to be a well-rounded fighter based on his capabilities as well as limitations.
Cady,
I'm a bit curious. Do you practice MMA?

Fred Little
03-29-2007, 02:05 PM
Not really, He was seldom there anymore. He was also apparently going to the Kodokan to play with them. It would be interesting to see how often that was. Then he was at Iwama training.

You'd also have to factor into that schedule regular visits to Osaka and Shingu. Presumably, one of the uchi-deshi would be travelling with him as otomo as part of his training, but that's not quite the same thing. Adding to that Gaku Homma's lamentation that folks tended to clear out of Hombu when they knew Morihei was coming in, one has to conclude that his contact with the bulk of the practitioners at Hombu was certainly considerably less than that of Kisshomaru, Tohei, et al.

FL

John A Butz
03-29-2007, 02:09 PM
Erick, just to be clear, I was not directing my comments at any one individual. I am laying out my opinion as to the role of waza vs. principle. Opinions are like, well, you know the rest

I speak, as much as possible, from my own perspective and experience. I am not Dan or Mike, and frankly don't have any level of internal skills. I want to lay hands on those gents, along with Akuzawa, Ushiro Sensei, and a bunch of the aikido guys out there that are better then me (which includes pretty much everybody) in order to see if they do have something I don't have and to see if they can teach me to do it. I am completely comfortable with not being able to explain things in terms of mechanical physics, a subject that I have no grasp of. I wouldn't even be able to debate it intelligently with you, because you have a much more extensive background in the sciences then I do. I have no interest or ability to discuss with you how "internal power" is generated, on the level you are able to discuss.

In short, I ain't got a dog in that fight.

One day we may meet up on a mat somewhere, and have a friendly, meaningful talk about what we feel powers our waza. That is the only way I think any of these ideas can be transmitted. Otherwise, as you said, we are just perpetuating silliness.

The principles I am truly interested in are pedagogical, i.e. how can we train people to make them capable of being martialy viable and still be doing aikido.

DH
03-29-2007, 03:59 PM
You'd also have to factor into that schedule regular visits to Osaka and Shingu. Presumably, one of the uchi-deshi would be travelling with him as otomo as part of his training, but that's not quite the same thing. Adding to that Gaku Homma's lamentation that folks tended to clear out of Hombu when they knew Morihei was coming in, one has to conclude that his contact with the bulk of the practitioners at Hombu was certainly considerably less than that of Kisshomaru, Tohei, et al.

FL

Hi Fred
That pretty much lines up with most of the interviews I've read with those training during that period.
I was more or less asking folks to think of him as a modern man. Think of what he was doing and the direct correlation between his actions and those doing much the same today. I want to see folks start believing that they can more closely aproximate his skills. To storm the walls and claim these skills for themselves. I love seeing the looks in their eyes when they do things they thought impossible. I have my own plans.
Thanks again.

Fred Little
03-29-2007, 04:02 PM
I love seeing the looks in their eyes when they do things they thought impossible.

That. Is. The. Best.

No question.

Cady Goldfield
03-29-2007, 04:21 PM
Cady,
I'm a bit curious. Do you practice MMA?

Yes, I do now. I come from a very traditional MA background, though, and was a "good soldier" for years despite growing frustration at the rigidity I encountered when trying to address the weaknesses of the arts I practiced. The need to be the most effective "combat artist" I could be is what drove me to explore other approaches.

I found a dojo where there was a deep and solid classical foundation, yet which had a flexibility to explore methodologies outside an institutional curriculum. The mode of learning was not enmired in repetitive kata, "technique worship" and ritual; rather, it was based in sound principles which were instilled from the get-go. Instead of walking through kata, from the start one was taught to match principle to free actions. It was a matter of "What works?" instead of "What is an accepted traditional technique for our system?"

Back then, I didn't know there was a name for this method, but now, of course, I reckon it's MMA. ;)

Erick Mead
03-29-2007, 04:47 PM
I for one am not being an advocate for MMA. It's just that Ueshiba was...in spades. Weird huh? Since I chose it.
That really isn't what I would focus on were I in Aikido and didn't have internal skills. In many ways you're just adding even more techniques to do...externally. But everyone decides for themselves. The question is whether one should retread his path or move further toward his goal. They are not at all the same thing.

I am reminded of an old ditty:

Where e'er I fall at end of day,
Let others after come and say
'Where he fell, he points the way.'

Erick Mead
03-29-2007, 04:54 PM
The principles I am truly interested in are pedagogical, i.e. how can we train people to make them capable of being martialy viable and still be doing aikido. Then we agree in purpose -- if not in approach. I don't l fault any approach, I just think we are missing key elements of one potential approach that is as important in its own way as the hands-on demo of good kokyu is in applying it. The more, the merrier, as far as I am concerned. Criticism should be directed to the improvement of any approach that is offered, which is why I offer it. I am not attempting the pointless task of trying to establish one approach as "better" or worse than another. People are too individual for that to have any reliable meaning.

Tim Mailloux
03-29-2007, 07:08 PM
If Osensei was unhappy about the training, he obviously would have done something about it. I believe he did have the necessary power to do it, being the founder of aikido and all. However, in his lectures that were so boring for the deshi, he was talking about heaven and earth and the kami and the universe...etc. No one understood a word of what he was saying. That's why they were so eager to go back to practice instead of sitting in seiza for an hour listening to an incomprehensible speech.

No I don't think so! I have personally heard Chiba sensei recount several instances of when the deshi were training at Hombu dojo and O'sensei would barge into the dojo and yell at them for not doing "his aikido". No long lecture, he would just barge in, yell and then leave. Chiba also recounted that O'sensei knew they were not doing "his aikido" just by the sound of the deshi's practice. When O'sensei heard sounds of enless ukemi he knew that the deshi were only doing repetative waza, and thus not doing "his aikido".

Tim

Edward
03-30-2007, 02:17 AM
If so it would be interesting for this thread to know how different was Osensei's aikido training from that practiced at the Hombu.

David Orange
03-31-2007, 12:37 AM
I for one am not being an advocate for MMA. It's just that Ueshiba was...in spades. Weird huh? Since I chose it.

Dan, you might ought to reconsider that idea. Mochizuki Sensei was definitely THE MMA guy from way, way back. He trained in aikido, judo, jujutsu, kenjutsu and actually blended them in his personal art.

And a lot of that came from seeing the broad range of arts practiced by Europeans when he lived in France for about three years in the early 1950s and where his son still lives. In France, Mochizuki Sensei faced boxers, fencers, savate, traditional western wrestling (with its own type of sacrifice throws) as well as knife throwers and such on top of people trained in judo and jujutsu.

Mochizuki came back to Japan and told Ueshiba, "We should be teaching a broader variety of attacks in aikido." And Ueshiba hit the ceiling. For him, the shomen uchi, yokomen uchi and the grabs were enough. He felt that aikido was broad enough without adding kicks and traditional jujutsu attacks, karate, boxing, etc. to the repertoire (and to the students' experience).

What you refer to as Ueshiba's MMA was really the traditional samurai style of training: sword, spear and jujutsu (plus the bayonet practice he picked up in the Army and which is central to aikido).

I've been absent from this board for awhile because I've been so busy working with Edgar Kruyning on his new book, "The Art of Ju-Jutsu," which is just going to the publisher. There, he shows not only traditonal aikido, judo, ju-jutsu and katori shinto ryu, but also grappling without gi--in wrestler's short-pants only. That's a full-range MMA approach that Ueshiba would not have liked (based on his response to Mochizuki after his return from Fance). And as far as internal skills, I'm told that Hiroo Mochizuki has the kind of penetration power with light strikes that I've seen described on these threads. So you'd have to get with Edgar to see what he says about that. He has told me that the traditional training all revolves around development of tanden. So the only way to know if he has it is hands-on interaction.

As to what Ueshiba would train in today? I think it would be daito ryu. Modern aikido is far from that and clearly very far from what Ueshiba was doing. But I can tell you, Edgar is the kind of guy he would hang out with. He was uchi deshi to one of Ueshiba's favorite uchi deshi and he loves to train.

Another thing, I don't see any indication that Ueshiba ever interacted with anyone from the kodokan except those people who came to him as students--including Mochizuki and Tomiki. And even though most of his top students, like Shioda and Tohei, were very skilled at judo before coming to him, I have never heard that Ueshiba ever went to the kodokan for anything. Kano went to him and apparently only that once.

If you want to see someone who really got the best that the yoseikan had to offer, Edgar Kruyning has it in spades and he can really do it justice.

Best to you.

David

statisticool
03-31-2007, 09:34 AM
, and he both demonstrably and verbally kept talking about personal Aikido....your Aikido. Never corporate, company aikido.


It goes without saying that even if students are taught the same thing in a class, they will always turn out somewhat different, and their homework process will be different, all because of natural variation.

I personally don't care for the whole corporation analogy, but perhaps it fits in with MMA, at least judging from its moneymaking goals. When there's an aikido class $40/month for unlimited classes, and there's a BJJ/MMA class $200/month for 3 classes, it is clear something is up.

You know O'Sensei stressed non-competitions. How do you rationalize that to fit in the MMA mindset?

Justin

Aikilove
03-31-2007, 12:43 PM
All this talk of that the founder shouted and scolded the deshi that they didn't do his aikido. I just don't get the idea that this equate his aikido was internal based and the deshi were not!
There are probably at least 10 times where the founder would sit and smile or walk by and smile while the deshi did regular suwari waza practice or regular tachi waza practise for every time the founder would scold them for not doing his aikido.
Take all the time in Iwama (even recorded on film!) where he would sit at the side while the deshi did endless repetition of shomen uchi ikkyo omote and ura waza. Or standing shomen uchi iriminage or koshi nage or what ever! Standard stuff that I still do to this day. He seemed more than happy to see them train like that.
Sure I would be the first in line if someone with Akazawas skill would be available simply because I could see it benificial in my aikido. But to say that it was the lack of that and only that that made Ueshiba scold his deshi in Tokyo I can't find any proof of.
Why can't it be as simple as he coming to see students exercises degenerating into judo or wrestling because they simply couldn't perform the technique properly or students doing flashy stuff either with our without weapons without having any proper base in solid technique:
- That is not my aikido!!!!
Did Saito teach like Ueshiba? No! Did Shioda? No! Both of them categoricaly stated that they had to change the way they were teaching (into a 1-2-3 manner) so that larger groups would learn the techniques. But it was still the teachniques that was the focal point for them. It was the techniques that Ueshiba had shown (and only those!) that they would teach while Ueshiba would sit at the side and smile. Not scold or get angry.
Maybe it was as simple as the change of techniques into something he wouldn't consider kihon version that made him go bananas!
I don't know. I certainly didn't touch the founder so that I could say for myself. I'm just speculating here based on the few things left like interviews with him and his student and some short clips of films. That's it. Oh yea, that and the techniques I practice on a daily basis supposedly straight from Ueshiba via Saito and his student.

/J

jennifer paige smith
04-01-2007, 01:23 PM
I sometimes, in all the gathering of information and questions that I have encountered in the aikido world, wonder if it is impossible for people to chew gum and walk at the same time. Is it not possible to train in martial arts and consider universal concepts in the same body? Is it not possible to practice aikido and to reflect on nature simultaneously, rather than practice martial arts and only think about martial arts, train in martial arts, and talk about fighting efectiveness. I believe that this may lie some where in O'Senseis frustration with the student in Hombu. According to my instructor, Motomichi Anno Sensei, O'Sensei asked him to reflect on nature constantly. I believe more flexibility in pactice brings more flexibilit everywhere in your life. So, I guess we should keep relaxing, reaching, and exploring in all directions. Including, but not exclusive to, many (martial) art forms.

Aikibu
04-01-2007, 03:28 PM
Dan, you might ought to reconsider that idea. Mochizuki Sensei was definitely THE MMA guy from way, way back. He trained in aikido, judo, jujutsu, kenjutsu and actually blended them in his personal art.

And a lot of that came from seeing the broad range of arts practiced by Europeans when he lived in France for about three years in the early 1950s and where his son still lives. In France, Mochizuki Sensei faced boxers, fencers, savate, traditional western wrestling (with its own type of sacrifice throws) as well as knife throwers and such on top of people trained in judo and jujutsu.

Mochizuki came back to Japan and told Ueshiba, "We should be teaching a broader variety of attacks in aikido." And Ueshiba hit the ceiling. For him, the shomen uchi, yokomen uchi and the grabs were enough. He felt that aikido was broad enough without adding kicks and traditional jujutsu attacks, karate, boxing, etc. to the repertoire (and to the students' experience).

What you refer to as Ueshiba's MMA was really the traditional samurai style of training: sword, spear and jujutsu (plus the bayonet practice he picked up in the Army and which is central to aikido).

I've been absent from this board for awhile because I've been so busy working with Edgar Kruyning on his new book, "The Art of Ju-Jutsu," which is just going to the publisher. There, he shows not only traditonal aikido, judo, ju-jutsu and katori shinto ryu, but also grappling without gi--in wrestler's short-pants only. That's a full-range MMA approach that Ueshiba would not have liked (based on his response to Mochizuki after his return from Fance). And as far as internal skills, I'm told that Hiroo Mochizuki has the kind of penetration power with light strikes that I've seen described on these threads. So you'd have to get with Edgar to see what he says about that. He has told me that the traditional training all revolves around development of tanden. So the only way to know if he has it is hands-on interaction.

As to what Ueshiba would train in today? I think it would be daito ryu. Modern aikido is far from that and clearly very far from what Ueshiba was doing. But I can tell you, Edgar is the kind of guy he would hang out with. He was uchi deshi to one of Ueshiba's favorite uchi deshi and he loves to train.

Another thing, I don't see any indication that Ueshiba ever interacted with anyone from the kodokan except those people who came to him as students--including Mochizuki and Tomiki. And even though most of his top students, like Shioda and Tohei, were very skilled at judo before coming to him, I have never heard that Ueshiba ever went to the kodokan for anything. Kano went to him and apparently only that once.

If you want to see someone who really got the best that the yoseikan had to offer, Edgar Kruyning has it in spades and he can really do it justice.

Best to you.

David

Mochizuki Shihan is not the only one. Shoji Nishio Shihan also took Aikido in a different more "Mixed" Martial Direction and I might add he did this with O'Sensei's blessing with The Founder telling him directly "You are the future of Aikido." Now that Nishio Shihan has passed... one can only hope that our Senior Yudansha continue to develop our Aikido and innovate it "into the future." Nishio Shihan scared people at Hombu but despite this our organization remains a member of the Aikikai in honor of Nishio Shihan's very personal relationship with the founder and his Deshi from the 50's. Two years before he passed the Japanese Government presented him with one of it's highest honors in recognition of his development of Aikido declaring him a "National Treasure."

Shoji Nishio's background included Iaijutsu, Jo-Jutsu, Kendo, Karate, and Judo and he developed his own Aikido based Iaido "Aiki Toho Iai" since he understand exactly what O'Sensei meant by "Aikido is the Sword." he always emphasized Cross Training, A proper Martial Spirit, and to measure our Aikido by how effective it is "against" other Martial Arts. "Aikido is Budo" was the way he like to put it adding "Anything else is just a dance."

Our Aikido sharply differs from Hombu and Iwama styles, in a number of areas starting with the footwork which is definately influanced by the various Koryu and Kenjutsu RyuHa

William Hazen

I sure hope more folks here in the US become willing to experiance his Aikido. It might quiet some of the background noise I constantly hear about Aikido's "effectiveness."

O'Sensei seemed to know where the future of Aikido was...Contrary to some opinions expressed here

CNYMike
04-02-2007, 01:29 AM
O'Sensei seemed to know where the future of Aikido was...Contrary to some opinions expressed here

O Sensei's quotes and writings seem to be broad enough that you can cite him to justify any position possible. One could argue that he would love MMA or hate it and not misquote him in either case.

As to where he thought Aikido was going, who knows? He's dead; it's kind of dofficult to ask him. However, when you look at the illustrations in Budo Training in Aikido, which he wrote in 1933, it desn't look too different from what we see in many dojos today. You don't see the common kickboxing and grappling reference points most MMA people are familiar with. Sorry, they're not there. Likewise, when you go through the photos of him training at Hombu in the 1960s in Training With The Master, again, again, it doesn't look too different from what you see today. Photos of him from the 1930s make the same point. Maybe when the photographers left he said, "Ok! Off with the funny robes and no more of this bowing crap today. I want two minutes of shadow sparring and then we're rolling," but I doubt it. I think we'd have heard about this by now.

It is true that he said change and growth were part of Aikido. Evidence suggests that what he did was MMA is a reach IMO. I have nothing aganst MMA; I just don't think it looks like O Sensei was doing that.

Josh Reyer
04-02-2007, 02:28 AM
However, when you look at the illustrations in Budo Training in Aikido, which he wrote in 1933, it desn't look too different from what we see in many dojos today. You don't see the common kickboxing and grappling reference points most MMA people are familiar with. Sorry, they're not there. Likewise, when you go through the photos of him training at Hombu in the 1960s in Training With The Master, again, again, it doesn't look too different from what you see today. Photos of him from the 1930s make the same point. Maybe when the photographers left he said, "Ok! Off with the funny robes and no more of this bowing crap today. I want two minutes of shadow sparring and then we're rolling," but I doubt it. I think we'd have heard about this by now.

Wow, that's a really limited conception of MMA. I think it's obvious that Dan Harden was talking about the mindset of mixed martial arts, not the outward appearance.

The MMA mindset is simply, "I will train and acquire whatever skills I need to in order to improve myself and my ability to handle whatever (martial) situation I may find myself in." These days, that means one needs to work on striking skills and defenses, kicking skills and defences, and grappling skills and defences, and using a combination of kata and live practice to improve those skills. And for those outside of the competitive sphere (because just because you're in competition doesn't mean you're into MMA, nor does being into MMA mean you are into competition), working on weapons is also part of the process.

One may say Dan is exaggerating to make a point, but you can see where he's coming from when you look at the history. In Daito-ryu he had a relatively (at the time) state-of-the-art grounding in grappling, but he was always looking outside for ways to supplement his skills.

Aikibu
04-02-2007, 01:57 PM
O Sensei's quotes and writings seem to be broad enough that you can cite him to justify any position possible. One could argue that he would love MMA or hate it and not misquote him in either case.

As to where he thought Aikido was going, who knows? He's dead; it's kind of dofficult to ask him. However, when you look at the illustrations in Budo Training in Aikido, which he wrote in 1933, it desn't look too different from what we see in many dojos today. You don't see the common kickboxing and grappling reference points most MMA people are familiar with. Sorry, they're not there. Likewise, when you go through the photos of him training at Hombu in the 1960s in Training With The Master, again, again, it doesn't look too different from what you see today. Photos of him from the 1930s make the same point. Maybe when the photographers left he said, "Ok! Off with the funny robes and no more of this bowing crap today. I want two minutes of shadow sparring and then we're rolling," but I doubt it. I think we'd have heard about this by now.

It is true that he said change and growth were part of Aikido. Evidence suggests that what he did was MMA is a reach IMO. I have nothing aganst MMA; I just don't think it looks like O Sensei was doing that.

When it came to what O'Sensei said about the future of Aikido I did not rely on what he wrote... Just on what Shoji Nishio Shihan told us. :)

I don't think Nishio Sensei misundertood him. :)

As for the rest of the post I will leave that open to those who are better able to interpret "What O'Sensei meant." :)

respectfully,

William Hazen

CNYMike
04-03-2007, 12:52 AM
Wow, that's a really limited conception of MMA. I think it's obvious that Dan Harden was talking about the mindset of mixed martial arts, not the outward appearance.

The MMA mindset is simply, "I will train and acquire whatever skills I need to in order to improve myself and my ability to handle whatever (martial) situation I may find myself in." These days, that means one needs to work on striking skills and defenses, kicking skills and defences, and grappling skills and defences, and using a combination of kata and live practice to improve those skills. And for those outside of the competitive sphere (because just because you're in competition doesn't mean you're into MMA, nor does being into MMA mean you are into competition), working on weapons is also part of the process.

Ah. I see.

Then it's not MMA you want to look into but FMA -- Filipino Martial Arts. They already have the variety of weapons and study many emtpy hand areas. Aikido need not be mangled; you can keep doing that and cross-train in Kali. Done. :p

CNYMike
04-03-2007, 12:56 AM
When it came to what O'Sensei said about the future of Aikido I did not rely on what he wrote... Just on what Shoji Nishio Shihan told us. :)

I don't think Nishio Sensei misundertood him. :)



Probably not. On the other hand, having more than one quote to go on is probably not a bad idea. :)

Erick Mead
04-03-2007, 08:47 AM
Wow, that's a really limited conception of MMA. I think it's obvious that Dan Harden was talking about the mindset of mixed martial arts, not the outward appearance.

The MMA mindset is simply, "I will train and acquire whatever skills I need to in order to improve myself and my ability to handle whatever (martial) situation I may find myself in." And that simplicity of treatment brings a larger point into clearer focus, actually.

Aikido comprises O Sensei's attempt at transmitting his revelation of what he described as "True Budo." Acknowledging the possibility that even Aikido as transmitted may fail of its intended legacy here and there, he plainly distinguished a great deal of the things that he may have done and learned along the way in martial arts from his realization of what he described as "True Budo."

Which just again begs the far larger question I asked in a thread quite some time ago:

Is Aikido really about SELF-defense, or is it about something else, both in its intent and in its actual operation?

A mother does not hesitate to step in front of the oncoming car immediately to save her child. That lack of indecision or concern about SELF embodies the primary effectiveness of her action -- and only secondarily any "skills" or "waza" she may employ in saving him. Any residue of self-preservation in that circumstance destroys that immediate and complete commitment to entering the area of danger, and thus placing what ever her physical talents may be in a far less effective sphere of operation.

The old teaching of bushido was to disregard one's own life in the face of battle. This has been negatively viewed by some as a mere love of death. But there is a richer and more positive appreciation of that admonition.

O Sensei's characterization of "True Budo" as Love, is a realization that the only thing that motivates a complete, radical and immediate commitment to the area of danger is, in fact, love of the Other. Withholding a love of oneself and the caution that it represents in that circumstance is an additional burden, and a barrier to far more effective action. MMA seems a distraction from the task of breaking down that barrier, as does the nature of solo (dare I say solipsistic) training and the highly individualized pursuits that seems so characteristic of it.

If Aikido is not about defense of Self -- but about practicing a radical love of the Other -- then the whole MMA debate is just as much beside the point. If he was getting at something else altogether -- then "Skills" collectors are subject to the precisely same criticism as is levelled at the waza "collectors" they characterize in Aikido. Not to say that there are not legitimate issues of technical proficieny to be discussed.

But there is in fact a keen martial point to the adoption of radical love as a martial strategy -- as well as an attitude of living. It is not merely an aiki-fruity affectation, but a profound point that reaches deeply into the roots of tradition -- both East and West.

George S. Ledyard
04-03-2007, 09:02 AM
And that simplicity of treatment brings a larger point into clearer focus, actually.

Aikido comprises O Sensei's attempt at transmitting his revelation of what he described as "True Budo." Acknowledging the possibility that even Aikido as transmitted may fail of its intended legacy here and there, he plainly distinguished a great deal of the things that he may have done and learned along the way in martial arts from his realization of what he described as "True Budo."

Which just again begs the far larger question I asked in a thread quite some time ago:

Is Aikido really about SELF-defense, or is it about something else, both in its intent and in its actual operation?

A mother does not hesitate to step in front of the oncoming car immediately to save her child. That lack of indecision or concern about SELF embodies the primary effectiveness of her action -- and only secondarily any "skills" or "waza" she may employ in saving him. Any residue of self-preservation in that circumstance destroys that immediate and complete commitment to entering the area of danger, and thus placing what ever her physical talents may be in a far less effective sphere of operation.

The old teaching of bushido was to disregard one's own life in the face of battle. This has been negatively viewed by some as a mere love of death. But there is a richer and more positive appreciation of that admonition.

O Sensei's characterization of "True Budo" as Love, is a realization that the only thing that motivates a complete, radical and immediate commitment to the area of danger is, in fact, love of the Other. Withholding a love of oneself and the caution that it represents in that circumstance is an additional burden, and a barrier to far more effective action. MMA seems a distraction from the task of breaking down that barrier, as does the nature of solo (dare I say solipsistic) training and the highly individualized pursuits that seems so characteristic of it.

If Aikido is not about defense of Self -- but about practicing a radical love of the Other -- then the whole MMA debate is just as much beside the point. If he was getting at something else altogether -- then "Skills" collectors are subject to the precisely same criticism as is levelled at the waza "collectors" they characterize in Aikido. Not to say that there are not legitimate issues of technical proficieny to be discussed.

But there is in fact a keen martial point to the adoption of radical love as a martial strategy -- as well as an attitude of living. It is not merely an aiki-fruity affectation, but a profound point that reaches deeply into the roots of tradition -- both East and West.

Very nice post Erick! It's a very good question, what happens when you stop being afraid? What's left? This does not mean desensitizing yourself through severe training so you simply don't feel it any more or overlaying the fear with martial prowess so others can't expose your fear... It's what happens when you simply release it all and aren't fearful any more.

Aikido training is fundamentally about understanding yourself and understanding the unbreakable connection between you and everyone and everything else. Self defense capability is a by product of that training, not the point.

Chuck Clark
04-03-2007, 10:32 AM
Aikido training is fundamentally about understanding yourself and understanding the unbreakable connection between you and everyone and everything else. Self defense capability is a by product of that training, not the point.

I agree George... Budo with it's self-defense aspect is certainly a by product of the training and when you add to that "do as little harm as possible"; I think the paradox leaves us with Kano's "Seiryoku Zenyo / Jita Kyoei."

Good discussion everyone, Thanks.

Best regards,

bkedelen
04-03-2007, 01:48 PM
This thread is really getting good. Shedding fear and embracing love as real and serious Aikido gokui appears to me to be consistent with what Joseph Campbell described as "walking the thread of the hero path".

SeiserL
04-03-2007, 04:57 PM
Aikido training is fundamentally about understanding yourself and understanding the unbreakable connection between you and everyone and everything else. Self defense capability is a by product of that training, not the point.
Yep, pretty much the same journey everywhere. Nicely stated. This type of attitude makes me believe in the future of Aikido as a true Budo not just another MMA. Deepest compliments and appreciation.

Aikibu
04-03-2007, 08:42 PM
Aikido training is fundamentally about understanding yourself and understanding the unbreakable connection between you and everyone and everything else. Self defense capability is a by product of that training, not the point.

Thanks for the post Sensei.

Aikido helps develop the unbreakable connection between the Martial and the Spiritual. If you have no "self" (as I have been told over a dozen times by Roshi over the years LOL) there is nothing to "defend." Life then becomes "connection"

Bodhidharma would have loved Aikido I'll bet. LOL :)

William Hazen

Russell Pearse
04-03-2007, 10:41 PM
Hi:

There has been some discussion about what O Sensei meant when he said “this is not my aikido”. While I cannot guess what he meant by this, it reminds me of a similar story that my sensei – Takayasu sensei, a student of Saito sensei – often relates. He said that when O Sensei passed the dojo at Iwama and looked in at what the students were doing, he would get upset if they were training in advanced techniques or variations. If however they were training in basic techniques, especially suwari-waza ikkyo or shiho-nage, he would be happy and would often stop to watch or join in.

The message Saito Sensei gained from this was the importance of the basic kihon techniques. And of course they trained in the basic techniques over and over in order to not incur O Sensei’s displeasure.

I agree with Jakob’s post that it is possible that O Sensei meant something as simple as concentrate on the basics.

Russell

Timothy WK
04-04-2007, 07:22 AM
That was a very good post, Erick.

MMA seems a distraction from the task of breaking down that barrier, as does the nature of solo (dare I say solipsistic) training and the highly individualized pursuits that seems so characteristic of it.
I have to disagree somewhat with the solo-training comment, though. If I may be philosophical for a moment, you cannot truly Love another without Loving yourself. The two are not synonymous, but they are intertwined. You can never fully embrace another person if you never come to grips with your own personal fears, loneliness, and shortcomings. And likewise, if you never embrace others, you will continue to live under the illusion of your own self-importance.

I believe there is a martial parallel here as well. Learning to understand your own inner-workings will help you to manipulate others, just as learning to manipulate others will shed light on your own inner workings.

But I think I understand what you were trying to say. Attention to the self can be seductive. If it's not tempered by interaction with others it will often lead to illusions of self-importance (both philosophically and martially). But if kept in the right perspective, self-study has many benefits.

I think this is actually a major point Dan is trying to communicate, though he's speaking in martial terms. I think he's arguing that traditional Aikido practice is primarily self-absorbed (at least martially), and that MMA(*) provides martial interaction with others.
__________

(*) I actually disagree with the way the term "MMA" is being used in this thread. I think it's stretching the term beyond how it's commonly understood, and I think it short-credits traditional training by implying that traditional training is unconcerned with developing effective technique against a variety of opponents and attacks.

George S. Ledyard
04-04-2007, 08:31 AM
I have to disagree somewhat with the solo-training comment, though. If I may be philosophical for a moment, you cannot truly Love another without Loving yourself. The two are not synonymous, but they are intertwined. You can never fully embrace another person if you never come to grips with your own personal fears, loneliness, and shortcomings. And likewise, if you never embrace others, you will continue to live under the illusion of your own self-importance.

I think it is important to realize that in a given day, O-Sensei put more time in on solo training than he did working with partners... I think that Ellis's "Hidden in Plain Sight" was specifically pointing this out and noting that most Aikido practitioners don't do this.

It's sort of Aikido logic 101:
O-Sensei did lots of solo practice every day with some partner practice. Most Aikido people do waza and very little solo practice. Most Aikido people today are nowhere near the level of O-Sensei. Might we be tempted to make a connection?

MM
04-04-2007, 08:42 AM
I think it is important to realize that in a given day, O-Sensei put more time in on solo training than he did working with partners... I think that Ellis's "Hidden in Plain Sight" was specifically pointing this out and noting that most Aikido practitioners don't do this.

It's sort of Aikido logic 101:
O-Sensei did lots of solo practice every day with some partner practice. Most Aikido people do waza and very little solo practice. Most Aikido people today are nowhere near the level of O-Sensei. Might we be tempted to make a connection?

Even if we do make the connection, then the next few questions still give us pause. Just what solo exercises was he doing? What exactly was he working when doing solo exercises? And from where did he get these solo exercises? :)

Now, granted, we know some of his solo training. We can see him doing a few in videos, but was that all of them? And also, what solo weapons training did he do besides spear against tree? Videos don't show internal mechanisms and we have to conclude that he was definitely working on internal "things" when doing solo exercises. So, what was he working? And finally, I'm sure Takeda showed him solo exercises, but what were they? Are they the same ones we see Ueshiba doing later on in his life (funekogi undo, etc)?

What were the solo exercises that his students did? Tomiki, Shioda, Tohei, Mochizuki, etc? Are they all the same?

Mark

DH
04-04-2007, 09:04 AM
Takeda and HIS method produced; Sagawa, Ueshiba, and Kodo.
Solo training? Well, where did Ueshiba get his skills from?

Solo training?
Hmmm....Hmmm.....
Heres some quotes from his fellow classmate-Sagawa Yukioshi

The true execution of Aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training to condition the body (Tanren). It is not easy to attain.

The reason practitioners from some styles are weak and no good is because they do not train (Tanren) their bodies. Only amateurs think that techniques are enough and that training the body is unnecessary. They understand nothing.
Most people would probably recoil if they knew what my training regimen consisted of.
The body must be trained until it is a veritable fortress, then should you body-slam (tai atari) another person bigger than yourself, they will be sent flying.

As for Kata and Form
Takeda Sensei's teaching method was always practical. He never taught us kata (forms). So, I have been preserving this method.

Where did Ueshiba "get it?"
Twenty years of training in DR produced..1....2....3.......A DR guy!
Teaching and handing out scrolls in DR, and doing Aiki-no jutsu. Which he used to modfiy to meet his new vision. To cast-off instead of drawing-in and causing breakfalls at his feet. Producing a newer from of Ukemi throw-away that was safer and more peaceful.
Art-meets-vision.

As for talking to Aikido people about it?
Sinclair wrote"
It's difficult to get a man to understand something, if his salary is based on his -not- understanding it.
Men will go to great lengths to find or create evidence to reinforce ideas that make them most comfortable.

MM
04-04-2007, 09:10 AM
Takeda and HIS method produced; Sagawa, Ueshiba, and Kodo.
Solo training? Well, where did Ueshiba get his skills from?

Solo training?
Hmmm....Hmmm.....
Heres some quotes from his fellow classmate-Sagawa Yukioshi

The true execution of Aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training to condition the body (Tanren). It is not easy to attain.

The reason practitioners from some styles are weak and no good is because they do not train (Tanren) their bodies. Only amateurs think that techniques are enough and that training the body is unnecessary. They understand nothing.
Most people would probably recoil if they knew what my training regimen consisted of.
The body must be trained until it is a veritable fortress, then should you body-slam (tai atari) another person bigger than yourself, they will be sent flying.

As for Kata and Form
Takeda Sensei's teaching method was always practical. He never taught us kata (forms). So, I have been preserving this method.

Hmmm..........Do we really need researchers, gobs of information, statistical analysis and conjecture and students-of-students of the friends of the family pets litter mate to support the obvious?
Men will go to great lengths to find or create evidence to reinforce ideas that make them most comfortable.

Sinclair wrote"
It's difficult to get a man to understand something, if his salary is based on his -not- understanding it.

Hi Dan,

True. But was Takeda's solo training the same as Ueshiba's solo training? Hmmm ... okay, we know it had to be the same in the beginning, but what about later on, say, years after the war?

I guess you could ask that question another way, Did Omoto kyo influence or change Ueshiba's solo exercises?

Mark

DH
04-04-2007, 09:25 AM
Good point and I agree.
I usually don't forward the discussion until some consensus is achieved that he originally "got it" from Takeda.

As you progress you can add and add. In fact I think only a half wit would fail to invovate once certain levels are achieved. The solo training can be a process of discovery. A process that when combined with students intereacting with your newly built Aiki body makes newer reactions-which then may send you off in more directions. Its why none of the Big four Sagawa, Ueshiba, Kodo and Hisa, look the same. Nor their off spring: Okamotto, Inue, Shioda, Mori and Kimura.
But none of them...made it up did they? They stated by having it handed to them.

The body method is profound and you will make personal discoveries. But you don't "find it" farting golden clouds in the garden and having mountains shout at you while you dodge bullets. In short-you don't make this stuff up.It's not natural. It gets handed to you. Then...you build and add.
The personal path and growth is a good discussion. I'm only intracatable and obstinate when credit is not given where credit is due-to Takeda. Then I move forward and recognize-even applaud-the vision of Ueshiba. I truly (no kidding) applaud his vision.
But Takeda was Dai Sensei.
He was the true master of the big four.

Aikilove
04-04-2007, 09:27 AM
I think one has to also realize that training (in aikido) for O-sensei was something very personal. He trained mainly for himself (solo practice if you like!), going up early every morning to pray and do misogi. Then he would do some solo physical exercises (in Iwama it seem to have been sword and staff mainly), sometimes going through some exercises with the present deshi (in Iwama it would be Saito and others). He seem to have been somewhat influenced by some schools in some of the solo exercises with sword (e.g. Jigen ryu's tanren uchi etc), but this would be after he already had displayed some considerable skills (internal and external). But all this was his own misogi. Solo work for him seem to me to have been more of a personal forging and misogi than anything else.
It was the basic techniques (not the solo work) that he consistantly taught from the end of 20's until he died. If the students did solo weapon works he would apparently scold them unless they did something out of a real school under supervision other than aikido. The only ones that apparently got some basic tutoring in bukiwaza (enough to be allowed to teach these things in his presence) were Hikitsuchi and Saito if I'm not mistaken. If it was that important, why wouldn't he have shown some simple solo exercises with staff and jo for all his deshi? It's one thing that there was a unity in Taijutsu and bukiwaza within O-senseis aikido. It's another thing all together to say that it was the bukiwaza (or what have you) that made him who hi was from the beginning. Everything he did was aikido! When he was walking it was aikido. Same if he held a staff or a sword in his hands. It was aikido. His aikido. His training.

The only exersises I can see intended for build up of internal power that he did and taught were the tori fune/funa kogi (solo indeed, but did he do that pre WW2?) and the suwari waza (and morote dori) kokyu ho (it mean kokyu exersise after all!). The latter one is something that we see in Daito ryu today. Sagawa did it and Tokimune did it. Ueshiba did it. If anything there seem to be something different how most aikidoka does this vs. how Daito ryu folks do it. Is that what's missing? We simply can't do it properly? I don't know.

/J

MM
04-04-2007, 09:37 AM
Good point and I agree.
I usually don't forward the discussion until some consensus is achieved that he originally "got it" from Takeda.

As you progress you can add and add. In fact I think only a half wit would fail to invovate once certain levels are achieved. Its why none of the Big four Sagawa, Ueshiba, Kodo and Hisa, look the same. Nor their off spring: Okamotto, Inue, Shioda, Mori and Kimura.

The body method is profound and you will make personal discoveries. But you don't "find it" farting golden clouds in the garden and having mountains shout at you while you dodge bullets. In short-you don't make this stuff up.It's not natural. It gets handed to you.
Then...you build and add.
I'm only intracatable and obstinate when credit is not given where credit is due-to Takeda. Then I move forward and recognize-even applaud-the vision of Ueshiba. I truly, no kidding, applaud his vision.
But Takeda was Dai Sensei. the true master of the big four. Not Ueshiba.

No arguments from me that Takeda created the others. :)

Course, all those mysterious retreats into the mountains where they gained insights are probably momentous amounts of solo training where no one can see what they're doing. So, then they come back and instead of giving out the secrets, they say they were washed in a golden light from heaven.

But, back to Ueshiba's aikido. So he innovated his training as he went along. Given that a big part of his life was Omoto kyo, it'd be a fairly logical step to say that this influenced the way he innovated his training.

Which brings us to his vision. And yeah, it seems fairly radical comparing it to the rest of the martial arts of his times. In fact, it actually gives a whole new meaning to what Kano said about it being a true budo. (Forgot the actual quote).

But, what then of the non-competition aspect? How do you train in Ueshiba aikido but yet not know if what you're doing is good and true without some means of testing it?

Mark

DH
04-04-2007, 09:51 AM
Jacob
Aikido's body method is Daito ryu's Aiki-age (Kokyu). It was not a discovery of Ueshiba's.
"No aiki-age- no Aikido."
"No Kokyu-no Aikido."
"No peng jin-no Taiji."

The problem is training techniwques as means to find it.
Will it work-Maybe yes maybe no. But its like taking a slow boat to China. there are far more direct routes that are faster with more defined results.
The solo work changes everything. I now train with folks who train AIkido DRAJJ and they are-or should I say WERE stumped at how powerful they could now do Aiki-age compared to before. After having seen senior men get stumped, they can see how The solo work changes everything. I'm not talking about wrist grab shapes!!From there the real work and training begins in all the other things. So, solo work is key-Aiki is first created in you by solo training, not in "meeting" energy from outside. It's not about shapes and write thingy' either. I think men get stumped because their "minds are in their hands" in a shape or a technique. It's in the body.

DH
04-04-2007, 10:19 AM
No arguments from me that Takeda created the others. :)

Course, all those mysterious retreats into the mountains where they gained insights are probably momentous amounts of solo training where no one can see what they're doing. So, then they come back and instead of giving out the secrets, they say they were washed in a golden light from heaven.

Were I to guess-I'de say that maybe you now have a better understanding of just, how that could have been so?


But, back to Ueshiba's aikido. So he innovated his training as he went along. Given that a big part of his life was Omoto kyo, it'd be a fairly logical step to say that this influenced the way he innovated his training.

Well we've all heard the "popular"stories
So we can also consider the obvious-since its ussually easier then the made up myths.
Ueshiba was training. DRAJJ is jut like other internal arts- you get epihanies and windows of growth in spurts. Deguchi was already stuned by Ueshibas skills,sure. then Takeda show up moves in. They train for months, everyday. Deguchi who does not like Takeda is likewise amazed at his skills and suggest changing the arts name. Perhaps the following happened
Ueshiba was ready to learn Aiki-no-jutsu and get it over this period. Deguchi is even more impressed. Floored by this power. He suggest instead of Daito ryu jujutsu which incorporates AIki as a power-that the art itself should be called Aiki-jujutsu. Takeda is given gifts and sent on his way. Ueshiba's skills go through the roof

My " theory" is at least a pluasible as the Omoto one. And has far more mundan and explicable causes.
Heres one.
Takeda made four men with Ueshiba's skills-I say Kodo and Sagawa's method were better.
Omote made who?


Which brings us to his vision. And yeah, it seems fairly radical comparing it to the rest of the martial arts of his times. In fact, it actually gives a whole new meaning to what Kano said about it being a true budo. (Forgot the actual quote).

But, what then of the non-competition aspect? How do you train in Ueshiba aikido but yet not know if what you're doing is good and true without some means of testing it?
Mark

Well, I love, love,,,,his vision. to be able to fight back without causing harm. Its not "really" do able against other trained fighters. But how about the rest of humanity? There it can work.
Now take the Body method that he was actually doing?
That works against other fighters-if you train to fight.
So overall its a great method...
Here's a thought: Kano saw what you saw, what Tim saw when Judo techniques were tried on someone with internal skills...zip. Now imagine watching or feeling someone as good as Ueshiba? Makes it seem more real and plausible, neh? I don't think many of these guys were stupid.

How about Harrisons book where the Judo guy is sent to meet an Aikijujutsu master who was doing what? Pushing, pulling, and being immovable. Gee, sound familiar? Then this Judo guy talks about practice beyond precept. Bout real world applicable use. He tells Harrison "When So and so (6th dan judoka)I uses this method-he cannot be thrown.

If we stop doing the Martial art technique "shtick" and go back to work on the "real" foundations of these arts then more and more men will be able to match the legends. The arts didn't fail us, we failed them. We have teachers who wont or -God bless them- can't teach, and/or lousy students. We need to fix it. Challenge those who know to teach more openly-good luck- or go find it on our own.

In time maybe more and more men will being doing real, applicable and powerful Aiki..do ..that will work against Judoka and more highly trained fighters...in modern Aikido

MM
04-04-2007, 11:21 AM
Were I to guess-I'de say that maybe you now have a better understanding of just, how that could have been so?


LOL. I can't imagine doing these exercises through a whole day, let alone weeks. I'd probably need a nice cool mountain stream to plunge into. ;) Oh, wait, that's a misogi practice.


The arts didn't fail us, we failed them.


It isn't that Aikido sucks. It's that my Aikido sucks. :)

But, seriously, I think following Ueshiba's vision of aikido is a harder road than doing other martial arts. And I think where people start falling short of that is when they apply only a "spiritual" aspect to aikido. Being "spiritual" is all well and good, but if you just wanted that, try yoga. No, I think Ueshiba had more of a martial spiritual aspect than anything.

Mark

DH
04-04-2007, 11:55 AM
LOL. I can't imagine doing these exercises through a whole day, let alone weeks. I'd probably need a nice cool mountain stream to plunge into. ;) Oh, wait, that's a misogi practice.

But, seriously, I think following Ueshiba's vision of aikido is a harder road than doing other martial arts. And I think where people start falling short of that is when they apply only a "spiritual" aspect to aikido. Being "spiritual" is all well and good, but if you just wanted that, try yoga. No, I think Ueshiba had more of a martial spiritual aspect than anything.

Mark

Well Sagawa said people would be appalled at the amount of work he did everday.

As for Ueshiba's vision being a harder road then other martial arts? Well I can understand your love of Aikido. But, maybe others had a hard road too. Sagawa and Kodo were able to stop attackers without hurting them as well. Even in their old age. I've had hands-on with a potent Tai ji guy in his 70's. Very powerful old guy.
So maybe its more accurate to say things along Sagawa's way of thinking -
That all of us who choose this way have to get there by a lot of inglorious, solo training and sweat. There is no fame or recognition on that hot summer day, or having your wife tell you your nuts, or drifting off while standing there in a company meeting internally "winding." We have to chose its each day whether or not to work. Moreover, not to get full of ourselves at a point we think we got something and stop. Every week its workin-it workin-it.
We all know the one word definition of success-Failure.
I think it best to be never satisifed with your efforts.

akiy
04-04-2007, 12:07 PM
Can we please steer the focus of the thread back to discussing aikido specifically and explicitly?

Thank you.

-- Jun

MM
04-04-2007, 12:24 PM
Can we please steer the focus of the thread back to discussing aikido specifically and explicitly?

Thank you.

-- Jun

Hi Jun,
I'm sorry, but I don't see where we weren't discussing aikido? Specifically, Ueshiba's vision of aikido. Can you explain where we were not doing that?

#52: Ledyard - Ueshiba and solo training
#53: Me - Ueshiba, solo training, his students training
#54: Harden - Ueshiba's vision of aikido
#55: Me - Ueshiba solo training different than Takeda?
#56: Harden - Takeda, Ueshiba, and students were all different
#57: Blomquist - Ueshiba and basic techniques
#58: Me - Ueshiba, Omoto kyo, and his vision of aikido
#59: Harden - Aikido's method is DR is solo training
#60: Harden - Ueshiba, Deguchi, Takeda. Ueshiba's vision of aikido
#61: Me - Ueshiba's vision of Aikido
#62: Harden - Ueshiba's vision compared to what others could also do and how it's always training, training, training.

For the most part, every post has been related in some way to Ueshiba, his vision, and how he trained. Unless you want to remove all mention of solo training, which covered most of those posts? Is that what you mean by steering the focus back to aikido specifically and explicitly? I'm not being sarcastic here, but I really, really couldn't see where the focus ever left Ueshiba or aikido.

Mark

DH
04-04-2007, 12:39 PM
Well I can see Jun's point. But its hard to discuss where he was pointing to since much of what he pointing to-came from where he went and what he did and he didn't tell anyone how to do it!!!
So its a search for what he did- that leads to where others can also find a path to where he was pointing? On top of that we have others -some top intructors in aikido- looking outward to research and invigorate back-in studies they believe are essential to aikido.
Does that make sense?

I think its VERY respectful of both him and his vision. Heck its even turning my eyes back toward it as an art. What about others who have been leaving to research more effective ways. Maybe it iwll make them think twice too. And thats all good for Aikido.

akiy
04-04-2007, 12:41 PM
Hi Mark,

I see the focus of the thread as being outside of aikido itself due to most of the references being of practitioners outside of aikido -- namely, more focusing on Daito Ryu aikijujutsu than aikido.

That's all I'll say regarding this matter in this thread.

-- Jun

Erick Mead
04-04-2007, 01:59 PM
I have to disagree somewhat with the solo-training comment, though. If I may be philosophical for a moment, you cannot truly Love another without Loving yourself. I find that there is quite an overabundance of self-love around these days, or at least what currently passes for a crude, materialist facsimile of it, in any event.
The two are not synonymous, but they are intertwined. ... But if kept in the right perspective, self-study has many benefits. I agree more with the latter observation as to the intertwined nature, however. Love of self is to be found in perspective with love of others -- or not at all. This is a distinguishing aspect of most aikido that I have practiced, and the reason for my observation. The risk of slipping into solipsism through solo training and its particular risk of ego-hardening is at least as great as for the risk of competitive ego gain, which notably, O Sensei did not allow. I say this having benefited from periods of my own solo training forced on me somehwat ad hoc by deployments, in which I did shadowboxing thourgh sets of kihon and variations thereon, slowly, with great rigor and attention to form and dynamic, always imagining the movement of the shadow partner before adapting my own.

Erick Mead
04-04-2007, 02:26 PM
Well I can see Jun's point. But its hard to discuss where he was pointing to since much of what he pointing to-came from where he went and what he did and he didn't tell anyone how to do it!!!Huygens/Fresnel Principle -- no matter where the sound originates on the other side of the door, to the man on this side -- it all comes from the door. This has direct application to the problem of musubi, but is also a more general comment on the importance of sources. In fact, it is meaningless to posit the position of the source on the other side of the door, because any number of positions could reproduce what is perceived on this side.

In short, remote sources do not necessarily matter. Empirically verifiable information on current sources does matter. Ki/Kokyu is a fundamental principle of nature anyway -- as the remote sources themselves suggest. It is thus rediscoverable from present sources without regard to the more remote sources that suggested a look at the basic principles again.

bkedelen
04-04-2007, 05:06 PM
That is an excellent point Erick. Since someone had to come up with all of these skills in the first place, it is reasonable to assume that a dedicated individual could rediscover such abilities rather than (or in addition to) learning them from someone else. The hope that this is true may give all of us who have teachers not claiming to have ancient and secret knowledge faith in continued training. In addition, as your previous brilliant post on primary effectiveness pointed out, possessing specific martial skills is hollow and purposeless if you are not a quality human being who can use those skills for some meaningful purpose. While such skills will give a person some credibility in an online martial arts forum, those skills may not be being used to foster better people or create a better world. To me, Osensei seems to speak about this point at great length.

kironin
04-04-2007, 06:59 PM
As for talking to Aikido people about it?
Sinclair wrote"
It's difficult to get a man to understand something, if his salary is based on his -not- understanding it.
Men will go to great lengths to find or create evidence to reinforce ideas that make them most comfortable.

Damn, I am supposed to be getting a salary ? :eek:

Why didn't any one tell me? :p

mriehle
04-05-2007, 03:31 PM
Damn, I am supposed to be getting a salary ? :eek:

Why didn't any one tell me? :p

Don't feel bad, nobody told me either.

jennifer paige smith
04-06-2007, 11:28 AM
This thread is really getting good. Shedding fear and embracing love as real and serious Aikido gokui appears to me to be consistent with what Joseph Campbell described as "walking the thread of the hero path".

I am cheered to hear someone speak of Joseph Campbell. I only experience harmony when my ear hears Campbell. Certainly we are on the heros path and EVERY story we build on this forum or in our minds or in our belief system reflects our journey and creates our adventure. Techniques are the spinning of myth as much as anything else. For example: the question "how would this work in such a such situation" is the pre- fabrication of the myth of war. "I could be more gentle with myself (or others) if I train like this...." is a myth of trancendence. The myth I follow is the myth of the path unfolding under my feet. This is a living adventure focused by the certainty of death. Enjoy your steps.

Dennis Hooker
04-06-2007, 01:13 PM
Takeda and HIS method produced; Sinclair wrote"
It's difficult to get a man to understand something, if his salary is based on his -not- understanding it.
Men will go to great lengths to find or create evidence to reinforce ideas that make them most comfortable.

.and Joseph Campbell wrote "And so it is that in our childhood years the foundation is laid of our later view of the world, and there with as well of its superficiality or depth: it will be in later years unfolded and fulfilled, not essentially changed."

I think therein lies the difference between Ueshiba and Aikido and Daito-ryu and Sokaku Takeda

DH
04-06-2007, 04:48 PM
.and Joseph Campbell wrote "And so it is that in our childhood years the foundation is laid of our later view of the world, and there with as well of its superficiality or depth: it will be in later years unfolded and fulfilled, not essentially changed."

I think therein lies the difference between Ueshiba and Aikido and Daito-ryu and Sokaku Takeda

Ahhhh
And so it was that.....
in later years (it) unfolded and (was) fulfilled.... not essentially changed."

It is my view that we look at this dilema of Aiki....as brothers.
Not cousins, not distant relatives, but brothers.
Ueshiba's vision of change was great and grand in a world view. But not nearly as dramatic in the practical execution. It was Ueshiba's decision to stop drawing in, to stop such damaging forms of jujutsu and to continually cast away with aiki, that made the shift towards the safer Ukemi we see. Its was this that allowed his Budo to match his vision and create something new with his Aiki. Learned from his teacher-Takeda.
Hence his words
"Takeda opened my eyes to true budo."

[i]Interview-Takeda Sokaku-
"This technique is a perfect self-defense art where you avoid being cut, hit or kicked while at the same time you don't hit, kick or cut. As the attack comes you handle it expediently using the power of your opponent. So even women and children can execute these techniques. But I make it a rule not to teach the techniques to anyone without proper references because they are frightening if misused. .....]

I think, in the end, their views were not that far apart.

Cheers
Dan

Chris Li
04-06-2007, 06:25 PM
As for Ueshiba's vision being a harder road then other martial arts? Well I can understand your love of Aikido. But, maybe others had a hard road too. Sagawa and Kodo were able to stop attackers without hurting them as well.

I think that it is a common misconception that Ueshiba's vision was a martial art that would be able to stop attackers without harming them. At the very least, that is a vast over-simplification of what his vision really turned out to be.

True, that was the seed of his experience in 1925, but the actual vision is much more complex and developed than that. If you look at "Take Musu Aiki", in which Ueshiba spends the first chapter defining what Aikido is, "stopping an attacker without hurting them" is not mentioned at all, not even once.

Without a doubt, Daito-ryu comprises the physical pillar of Ueshiba's creation, but the other pillar, which is no less important when defining "Aikido", is composed of the concepts that he elaborates on in "Take Musu Aiki" - a good read if you can slog through the Japanese. "Aikido Shinzui" is also a good source, but maybe a little tamer.

If you look at these sources I think that it is clear that when he talks about his "aiki" being different than in previous generations that he is absolutely correct. However, I think that it is also clear that he is using the word "aiki" in a different sense, and that is why it is "different".

So in the end, I would say that both are arguments are essentially true - Ueshiba's physical Aiki was the Aiki of Daito-ryu, and remained essentially unchanged from the Aiki taught to him by Sokaku Takeda. On the other hand, his use of the word "Aiki" as a spiritual/philosophical concept as part of his world-view was not only radically different from Daito-ryu, but from other martial arts practiced at the time.

In relation to the "harder road", I will note that Sagawa (in "Tomei na Chikara") seems to have been of the opinion that real personal transformation (which is primarily what Ueshiba harps on in "Take Musu Aiki") on any significant scale is so difficult as to be almost impossible :).

Best,

Chris

Josh Reyer
04-07-2007, 08:05 AM
Without a doubt, Daito-ryu comprises the physical pillar of Ueshiba's creation, but the other pillar, which is no less important when defining "Aikido", is composed of the concepts that he elaborates on in "Take Musu Aiki" - a good read if you can slog through the Japanese. "Aikido Shinzui" is also a good source, but maybe a little tamer.

Chris, I've got Aikido Shinzui at the local library. What exactly is "Takemusu Aiki"? Is that the full Japanese title? Do you have any publication info?

Erick Mead
04-07-2007, 08:35 AM
Hence his words
"Takeda opened my eyes to true budo." Actually the exchange was thus:
B: Did you discover Aikido while you were learning Daito-ryu under Takeda Sokaku?
O Sensei: No. It would be more accurate to say that Takeda Sensei opened my eyes to Budo. He began to see budo with Takeda. Seeing his "true budo" -- Aikido -- came later, in a personal revelation he described as spiritual and transformative.
It was Ueshiba's decision to stop drawing in, to stop such damaging forms of jujutsu and to continually cast away with aiki, that made the shift towards the safer Ukemi we see. It was this that allowed his Budo to match his vision and create something new with his Aiki. Learned from his teacher-Takeda.I don't quite agree with the "cast away" part. That is an incomplete description. Too many interactions end up with uke "sucked in" to this gaping hole that has opened from a small crack the middle of his balance.

Peter Goldsbury
04-07-2007, 08:44 AM
Chris, I've got Aikido Shinzui at the local library. What exactly is "Takemusu Aiki"? Is that the full Japanese title? Do you have any publication info?

Hello Josh,

武産合気 is the main title, but on the front cover there are the names of the 'author' : 合気道開祖植芝盛平先生口述 and editor: 高橋英雄編著. The publisher is 白米真宏会出版本部.

Erick Mead
04-07-2007, 09:37 AM
I think that it is a common misconception that Ueshiba's vision was a martial art that would be able to stop attackers without harming them. At the very least, that is a vast over-simplification of what his vision really turned out to be.

True, that was the seed of his experience in 1925, but the actual vision is much more complex and developed than that. If you look at "Take Musu Aiki", in which Ueshiba spends the first chapter defining what Aikido is, "stopping an attacker without hurting them" is not mentioned at all, not even once. Without a doubt, Daito-ryu comprises the physical pillar of Ueshiba's creation, but the other pillar, which is no less important when defining "Aikido", is composed of the concepts that he elaborates on in "Take Musu Aiki" - ... it is clear that when he talks about his "aiki" being different than in previous generations that he is absolutely correct. ...
In relation to the "harder road", I will note that Sagawa (in "Tomei na Chikara") seems to have been of the opinion that real personal transformation (which is primarily what Ueshiba harps on in "Take Musu Aiki") on any significant scale is so difficult as to be almost impossible :). O Sensei was nothing if not eclectic in his spiritual sources, so let me make a relevant point, given the season of the year, and from the standpoint of Christian spiritual understanding.

Love does NOT mean that destruction and death can be avoided. That is one of the necessary lessons of the Passion and Easter. Death and destruction are not to be avoided. Not even God Himself avoids them when he enters our sphere. They are an inevitable part of this mortal existence.

Death and destruction can, however, be transcended. They can only be transcended by love. Surpassing love -- even of one's enemies. This was O Sensei's revelation of his True Budo. It is of one thought with that of Jesus on this point.

You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.'

But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment;...

He who takes the sword may die by the sword. But Jesus explicitly told his followers to buy a sword, if they did not have one. So, neither taking the sword, nor living, nor dying are the point. For the record, his twelve chief followers after Easter, all died violently. "The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently."

The key question is: What is in your heart when you wield it? Katsu jinken -- or satsu jinto?

With or without it the sword in your hand, which sword is in your heart?

Chris Li
04-07-2007, 12:01 PM
Chris, I've got Aikido Shinzui at the local library. What exactly is "Takemusu Aiki"? Is that the full Japanese title? Do you have any publication info?

Peter already answered, but you can find it by searching at http://bookweb.kinokuniya.co.jp/

Best,

Chris

Josh Reyer
04-07-2007, 01:10 PM
Fantastic. Thanks, Messrs Goldsbury and Li!

Aikibu
04-08-2007, 02:15 PM
O Sensei was nothing if not eclectic in his spiritual sources, so let me make a relevant point, given the season of the year, and from the standpoint of Christian spiritual understanding.

Love does NOT mean that destruction and death can be avoided. That is one of the necessary lessons of the Passion and Easter. Death and destruction are not to be avoided. Not even God Himself avoids them when he enters our sphere. They are an inevitable part of this mortal existence.

Death and destruction can, however, be transcended. They can only be transcended by love. Surpassing love -- even of one's enemies. This was O Sensei's revelation of his True Budo. It is of one thought with that of Jesus on this point.

He who takes the sword may die by the sword. But Jesus explicitly told his followers to buy a sword, if they did not have one. So, neither taking the sword, nor living, nor dying are the point. For the record, his twelve chief followers after Easter, all died violently. "The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently."

The key question is: What is in your heart when you wield it? Katsu jinken -- or satsu jinto?

With or without it the sword in your hand, which sword is in your heart?

Outstanding! It is by this basic "Philosophy" that one may reconcile the paradoxical problem of how to "deal" with violence as a man of "peace" since violence is a part of the natural world. What O'Sensei did IMO was to clarify how to "express" this paradox through Budo.

Our purpose as Aikidoka is clear to me. It is up to us to discover for ourselves how best to understand and express this paradox.

Shoji Nishio once said about Aikido, "people who practice Aikido, should be recognized as the best artists in the world. It is easy to create something good with good materials, however, we perform a martial art that is designed to destroy and kill people which is something people dislike.
With these poor materials, we cultivate a society of friendship and build peaceful minds, that people desire.

Every Aikido technique has that mind/heart."

Since both O'Sensei and Shoji Nishio along with the other giants like Saito Sensei have passed on the "future" belongs to us and to me the message is clear about what my responsibilities are to "pass it on" to the next generation. "There is no time to lose."* :)

William Hazen

*With heartfelt thanks to Pema Chodron. :)

David Orange
04-10-2007, 11:56 AM
Interview-Takeda Sokaku-
"This technique is a perfect self-defense art where you avoid being cut, hit or kicked while at the same time you don't hit, kick or cut. As the attack comes you handle it expediently using the power of your opponent. So even women and children can execute these techniques. But I make it a rule not to teach the techniques to anyone without proper references because they are frightening if misused. .....


Dan,

This goes back to some vital points in the discussion.

How many times have people insisted on this topic that aikido does NOT involve "avoiding" the attack?

And this also goes to the idea of "blending" with the attack.

AND the relation between children and aiki technique.

Clearly, avoiding the attack is prime. That's why Sokaku mentioned it first. You avoid being hit or cut while at the same time not hitting or cutting in return.

Next, you handle the attack using the opponent's power and not your own. This is said in the context of avoiding the opponent's attack, which requires movement and is well accomplished by "blending".

I am still very interested in your methods and abilities, but the point I guess I have never managed to make in all my mentions of "when the other guy has equal abilities" is that, in that case, you must blend and you must apply superior technique. It's always been said that when size and strength are on your side, no technique is necessary. But where the opponent's size and strength are equal or greater (up to a point), technique can still prevail.

Where he has the size, the strength and the technique, we are SOL (unless we are very lucky, indeed) [or if we have God on our side, a la King David v. Goliath].

This does not attempt to dismiss your frequent statement that technique alone is not the means, but it does assert that technique is a necessary and vital component of budo training and development.

After all, Sokaku says, "...even women and children can execute these techniques" and "...I make it a rule not to teach the techniques to anyone without proper references..."

What "even women and children" means is that "the techniques of aiki" will work even when one is not highly developed or very strong.

I have elsewhere cited an example of a young woman who, after only a few days of aikido lessons in college, did aiki-nage on a guy who grabbed her from behind in a bear hug. Someone (who could it have been? [not you]) reduced this example to "Oh, you've just said that aiki is nothing more than techniques."

What I was saying was that aiki can be picked up quickly and applied with very little preparation or strength. That's why Sokaku would not teach the techniques without references--because anyone can pick them up quickly--even children.

Which brings me to my final point of this post: Sokaku does not specify a lowest-age limit to what a "child" is or how early they can be taught. In fact, he does not say that children "can be taught" the techniques, but that "... children can execute these techniques."

My assertion all along has been that children demonstrate the roots of "these techniques" from birth. Children begin to show root aiki before it is possible actually to "teach" them anything--when they are only developing the nerve connections from the brain to the limbs and while they are learning (independently and only semi-consciously) to orient themselves to gravity.

Chris Moses and I went back and forth on this matter. He "firmly" asserted that children have no innate aiki ability. I asked him "Can a rabbit eat an oak tree?"

Chris took that as a facaetious question, but it's actually a kind of "aiki trick" in itself. The answer is simple. A rabbit can eat an oak tree if it catches it right after it emerges from the acorn. It may be very small, but if left alone, it will become a huge tree. So a rabbit can eat it when it's small. The trick works because people naturally think of an "oak tree" as a mighty thing. But it's already an oak tree when it comes out of the acorn.

And we think of a "martial art" as something invented "outside" human nature and "reprogrammed into" people from outside, rather than something that capitalizes on their natural movement and abilities.

Likewise, toddlers have an innate aiki ability. They can only execute aiki techniques because the techniques are already very close to their innate nervous responses. That's the deepest genius of aiki.

Best to you.

David

The ans

ChrisMoses
04-10-2007, 12:35 PM
How many times have people insisted on this topic that aikido does NOT involve "avoiding" the attack?
I'm curious what actual word is translated as "avoid." He says that you avoid being hit by an attack, which I consider to be different than saying you avoid the attack in its entirety. I can avoid being hit while not avoiding the attack. That's kind of critical actually.

Clearly, avoiding the attack is prime. That's why Sokaku mentioned it first. You avoid being hit or cut while at the same time not hitting or cutting in return.
I interpret this to be his making a distinction between Daito Ryu and systems like karate that were quickly gaining popularity around this time in Japan, rather than an emphasis on avoidance itself.

What I was saying was that aiki can be picked up quickly and applied with very little preparation or strength. That's why Sokaku would not teach the techniques without references--because anyone can pick them up quickly--even children.
I didn't see anything in the quote about the fact that these techniques can be picked up quickly by children. He specifically says that he's selective because of how *dangerous* the techniques can be, not how easy they are to learn. Besides, why would he need to teach children, since they all have the innate ability to use aiki?

Chris Moses and I went back and forth on this matter. He "firmly" asserted that children have no innate aiki ability. I asked him "Can a rabbit eat an oak tree?"

Chris took that as a facaetious question, but it's actually a kind of "aiki trick" in itself. The answer is simple. A rabbit can eat an oak tree if it catches it right after it emerges from the acorn.
That's not a tree, it's a seedling, and I still think that has nothing to do with this conversation.

It's clear we have a different idea of what ‘aiki' is David, to be honest, it sounds like you're talking about ‘ju' rather than ‘aiki' most of the time. I've seen a lot of kids, and watched a lot of children doing Aikido, and I've never seen what you're talking about. As for the ‘root' movement stuff, it all depends on what you consider the root movements, something which, again, I think we disagree about completely, and which has been covered multiple times elsewhere…

Ron Tisdale
04-10-2007, 12:53 PM
I also have issues with David's interpretation of the word avoid in Dan's quote. I'd be interested in hearing the japanese word used, and the different meanings of that word.

Does anyone know if "avoid" was originally written as yokeru?

Best,
Ron

David Orange
04-10-2007, 01:54 PM
I'm curious what actual word is translated as "avoid." He says that you avoid being hit by an attack, which I consider to be different than saying you avoid the attack in its entirety. I can avoid being hit while not avoiding the attack. That's kind of critical actually.

Sounds like irimi to me.

I interpret this to be his making a distinction between Daito Ryu and systems like karate that were quickly gaining popularity around this time in Japan, rather than an emphasis on avoidance itself.

The emphasis is that he used aiki instead of what all those other systems (including common jujutsu) used, which was kiai. Aiki is nothing more nor less than the "ura" of kiai. But since kiai is to plow through the opponent, the ura of that is to "avoid" the strength of the attack, giving it no place to land and making it waste itself on nothingness.

I didn't see anything in the quote about the fact that these techniques can be picked up quickly by children. He specifically says that he's selective because of how *dangerous* the techniques can be, not how easy they are to learn.

No. He doesn't say they can be "picked up quickly by children. He says that "children can execute these techniques." He doesn't mention "teaching" them to children at all. Further he does NOT say anywhere in that quote that the techniques are "dangerous." He "specifically says that they are "frightening."

Besides, why would he need to teach children, since they all have the innate ability to use aiki?

As I said, he doesn't mention "teaching" children. He says "...children can execute these techniques." Of course, I assume that he "means" they can execute the techniques "after" he "shows" them how to execute the techniques, but again, they could not even learn to execute the techniques if they were not very close to children's natural movements from the beginning.

That's not a tree, it's a seedling, and I still think that has nothing to do with this conversation.

A seedling is everything a tree is. All it needs is time to develop. Same with baby martial artists. All we have to do is let them grow naturally and their innate powers will develop into what an ordinary over-civilized modern man would consider super-human.

It's clear we have a different idea of what ‘aiki' is David, to be honest, it sounds like you're talking about ‘ju' rather than ‘aiki' most of the time.

As I said above, and as Minoru Mochizuki explicitly defined it for me, aiki is the ura of kiai. It is related to ju, but it is specifically different.

I've seen a lot of kids, and watched a lot of children doing Aikido, and I've never seen what you're talking about. As for the ‘root' movement stuff, it all depends on what you consider the root movements, something which, again, I think we disagree about completely, and which has been covered multiple times elsewhere…

Well, that's why you've never observed it in children. Even a 100-foot-tall bamboo, 12 inches in diameter, comes out of the ground the size of a pencil point. You can kick it over or crush it without even knowing you'd just stepped on it. If you don't know what to look for, you'll never see it until it gets much bigger. But it's the same thing when it's the size of a pencil point as it will be when it's 100 feet tall and a foot across.

Best wishes.

David

David Orange
04-10-2007, 01:56 PM
I also have issues with David's interpretation of the word avoid in Dan's quote.

Well, it means that the other guy tries to hit you and you move so that he misses. In some limited applications, this can be done without moving, but that's not usually the case when the other guy is trying to "cut" you--especially with a sword. In other words, it relies on irimi tai sabaki.

Those who mince too much on the words get minced by the sword.

David

Mark Freeman
04-10-2007, 02:24 PM
Those who mince too much on the words get minced by the sword.



I'll try not to go mincing around when there are swords in the vicinity:D

Ron Tisdale
04-10-2007, 02:37 PM
If you read the other thread where "avoidance" was used, the context was completely different. Evasion is the word commonly used for what you are describing, which is why I asked for the specific term used in the quote, since yokeru is the japanese word I know for that...

Not mincing words is fine in a sword fight...but this is an internet board. Words ARE our swords here, and if mis-used, someone gets hurt.

Best,
Ron (usually the meaning)

ChrisMoses
04-10-2007, 02:42 PM
A seedling is everything a tree is. All it needs is time to develop. Same with baby martial artists. All we have to do is let them grow naturally and their innate powers will develop into what an ordinary over-civilized modern man would consider super-human.


No, no it's not. It shares the same genetic code, but there are a huge number of differences between a seedling and a tree.

I insist that you're reading way too much weight into very specific details of a translated text. Further, it's a very brief excerpt of that text, and we don't know the context or the intended audience.

I will believe your speculation about the naturally grown super-human martial artist when they can throw me. Until then, it's all just speculation.

David Orange
04-10-2007, 03:23 PM
If you read the other thread where "avoidance" was used, the context was completely different. Evasion is the word commonly used for what you are describing, which is why I asked for the specific term used in the quote, since yokeru is the japanese word I know for that...

Ron,

I don't see an important difference. Evasion is avoidance.

Not mincing words is fine in a sword fight...but this is an internet board. Words ARE our swords here, and if mis-used, someone gets hurt.

I agree with you there, especially if a sword strike is involved and someone is trying to "avoid" the attack without "evading" it. In either case, the body must move out of the line of the attack or it's going to be cut in half. That has been a prime principle of aikido since I first heard of the art. It was the way Mochizuki Sensei taught it and had me teach it. You must avoid the attack, as Sokaku said, not be hit by it, and use the attacker's strength against him. Any other end meaning doesn't "avoid" the truth but misses it completely.

Again, a nice rubber sword tends to end the argument forever.

Best to you.

David

Best,
Ron (usually the meaning)[/QUOTE]

David Orange
04-10-2007, 03:53 PM
No, no it's not. It shares the same genetic code, but there are a huge number of differences between a seedling and a tree.

The main difference is time. Anyway, you will never get an oak tree without the seedling and you will never have an oak tree that was not once a seedling. The seedling is still there in the full-grown tree.

I insist that you're reading way too much weight into very specific details of a translated text. Further, it's a very brief excerpt of that text, and we don't know the context or the intended audience.

I'm not reading into it. It's more like "highlighting" what's there. First, ""This technique is a perfect self-defense art where you avoid being cut, hit or kicked..." So aiki is "technique" in which avoidance of the attack is prime, according to Sokaku.

Next, aiki is very simple and easy: you use the opponent's power and "even women and children can execute these techniques" so it doesn't require vast development beforehand. How else can a child execute the techniques? They have to be simple, easy and close to the child's inborn nature. Otherwise, the child could not execute them.

Further, the techniques of aiki require no special qualifications to learn and Sokaku had to have "references" to ensure that any old person he might show the techniques would not misuse them--indicating again that they are very easy to learn and gain control of.

I will believe your speculation about the naturally grown super-human martial artist when they can throw me. Until then, it's all just speculation.

Unlike a tree or bamboo, a human being will never develop to his full potential without guidance and education. So the "wolf baby" will never become a super martial artist and wouldn't even learn to speak. So of course, he wouldn't develop "aikido" as we know it, but he probably would be able to snap you or me in half if he grew up climbing the hills and mountains and chasing the deer through the woods. Look at the Native Americans and the hell they gave the big old white men who came to their land. If the Europeans hadn't had guns, it's unlikely they would have gotten far in this land.

Best to you.

David

Tom H.
04-10-2007, 03:55 PM
I don't see an important difference. Evasion is avoidance.

To evade (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/evade) is to slip away from, to elude, or to escape by means of avoidance (from a Latin verb meaning to go, walk).

To avoid (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/avoid) is to make legally null, to keep away from, or to prevent the occurance of (from a Latin verb meaning to empty).

They are similar, nearly synonymous, but--a poet, etymologist, or translator may argue--not always identical. One person might use them interchangeably, but another might not. There's always room for miscommunication.

Ron Tisdale
04-10-2007, 03:56 PM
Sorry, but to me, avoidance and evasion have very different connotations...maybe it's just me and Chris...Oh, and apparently Tom...

As for rubber bokken...ah...no. Sensei just uses the wooden one. If you get hit...oh well. :D

Best,
Ron

Tom H.
04-10-2007, 04:08 PM
Oh, and apparently Tom...I'm the kind of word-geek that edits his post from "One person ... but someone else" to "One person ... but another" because I think it's easier to read.

James Davis
04-10-2007, 04:09 PM
Staying out of trouble is avoidance.:)

Getting yourself out of trouble, when you're already a target, is evasion.;)

I think.:D

ChrisMoses
04-10-2007, 04:11 PM
The main difference is time. Anyway, you will never get an oak tree without the seedling and you will never have an oak tree that was not once a seedling. The seedling is still there in the full-grown tree.

Well, time, genetic specialization, development of mature cell walls, mass, structures for moving fluid against gravity... Actually, seedlings don't even usually have leaves that are recognizable to a particular plant, so those structures would be different too. Not to mention the fact that none of the organic material present in the seedling would still be there once it had become a tree, or even the electrons for that matter. So no, I'm going to still disagree with you there.


I'm not reading into it. It's more like "highlighting" what's there. First, ""This technique is a perfect self-defense art where you avoid being cut, hit or kicked..." So aiki is "technique" in which avoidance of the attack is prime, according to Sokaku.

Unless you translate it say as, "This technique is a perfect self-defense art where you a keep from being cut, hit or kicked.."


Further, the techniques of aiki require no special qualifications to learn and Sokaku had to have "references" to ensure that any old person he might show the techniques would not misuse them--indicating again that they are very easy to learn and gain control of.

You're making a huge logical jump there, that because he didn't want to teach people of low character, the techniques are simple. I don't see how you can actually make that leap in a logical fashion.

Unlike a tree or bamboo, a human being will never develop to his full potential without guidance and education. So the "wolf baby" will never become a super martial artist and wouldn't even learn to speak. So of course, he wouldn't develop "aikido" as we know it...

So what good is your theory then if it can't be produced in the real world?

Appologies to all for thread-drift. I'm ducking out of this one. In my view there's nothing to be gained along this line of discourse.

George S. Ledyard
04-10-2007, 05:02 PM
Two things...
1) Aikido is not about avoiding or evading an attack. It is about joining with an attack. That is one of the meanings contained in the "aiki" of Aikido.

2) There seems to be a recurrent idea that, merely being relaxed and natural in ones movement, one is using "aiki". This is simply not the case any more than "aiki" has anything to do with ones behavior. In terms of waza, "Aiki" constitutes a set of methods for energizing ones own body and mind, for mentally and physically joining with another's intention and movement, for understanding how to create movement in the mind of another to get him to move his or her body...

It is intentional and it must be taught. Children do not do this naturally. What children do have is a lack of fear which manifests as a lack of physical tension. This may be required to utilize the principles of "aiki" in ones technique but it is not the same as "aiki"; it is merely a prerequisite.

mriehle
04-10-2007, 06:24 PM
It is intentional and it must be taught. Children do not do this naturally. What children do have is a lack of fear which manifests as a lack of physical tension. This may be required to utilize the principles of "aiki" in ones technique but it is not the same as "aiki"; it is merely a prerequisite.

Way back when my memory worked better than it does now, I remember Tohei Sensei saying that we are all born with an understanding of ki that we un-learn as we mature. He went on to say that we have to relearn it in order to learn Aikido effectively.

It always bothered me, that comment. It didn't seem to fit in with a lot of other things he said. Until I started teaching Aikido to both kids and adults. Then the comment started to make sense.

It's more than kids having a lack of tension, they have a naturalness of movement which is easily guided into correct movement. To say that it is correct movement already would be misleading, at best. But they have no concern over whether swinging their arm in an arc makes sense, they just know it feels good and Sensei just told them they should.

I think this is what Tohei was talking about. Part of this particular lecture was about us having to learn to move in more "mature" ways in order to function in the world and that un-learning our natural ki was an unfortunate consequence of this. This is an important aspect of the issue, I think.

Kids are very natural in their movement, but "aiki" - at least in my mind - implies intent and control on some level. "Ki" not so much. So natural movement may be correct, but it may not be. Even when it is, the intent is not there. Learning control means you will lose some of the natural movement and have to learn to be relaxed in that way with a new intent.

I think this is where people get confused. A child's ki may be powerful and natural, but it is undirected and undisciplined and so - I think - not aiki. That natural ki, though, combined with the fact that children are hard-wired to learn can make it surprisingly easy to teach children very complex things in Aikido.

Although it must be said that said naturalness can backfire in the learning process as well. When stuff comes to easily to a child, he or she may be easily discouraged upon encountering something that doesn't come easily.

Aikibu
04-11-2007, 04:54 PM
Two things...
1) Aikido is not about avoiding or evading an attack. It is about joining with an attack. That is one of the meanings contained in the "aiki" of Aikido.

2) There seems to be a recurrent idea that, merely being relaxed and natural in ones movement, one is using "aiki". This is simply not the case any more than "aiki" has anything to do with ones behavior. In terms of waza, "Aiki" constitutes a set of methods for energizing ones own body and mind, for mentally and physically joining with another's intention and movement, for understanding how to create movement in the mind of another to get him to move his or her body...

It is intentional and it must be taught. Children do not do this naturally. What children do have is a lack of fear which manifests as a lack of physical tension. This may be required to utilize the principles of "aiki" in ones technique but it is not the same as "aiki"; it is merely a prerequisite.

There are many examples of this in religion, martial arts, and popular culture. Thanks again Sensei for "cutting through" the Gordian knot of symantic mumbo jumbo over the meaning of the word "avoidance".

If Aikido is about anything it is about "creating a connection" through breathing, relaxed movement, and technique.

Perhaps folks are confusing off the line movement like tenkan as avoidance. To us it is the exact opposite. It means to enter.

Very enjoyable thread.

William Hazen

David Orange
05-10-2007, 10:48 PM
Well, time, genetic specialization, development of mature cell walls, mass, structures for moving fluid against gravity... Actually, seedlings don't even usually have leaves that are recognizable to a particular plant...

Nontheless, an oak seedling will always become an oak tree if allowed to continue its natural growth. It won't become a pine. So that's very much like the fact that you don't recognize the aiki that children do. The seedling oak leaves don't look like mature oak leaves, but an oak is an oak is an oak. And the aiki that children do is to adult, mature aiki as the seedling oak leaf is to the mature oak leaf. Though you don't recognize it, it is what it is.

You're making a huge logical jump there, that because he didn't want to teach people of low character, the techniques are simple. I don't see how you can actually make that leap in a logical fashion.

Well, he specifically said that children can do the techniques. How much simpler can they be than being executable by someone who really cannot be taught anything? The extreme power of real aiki is that it is nature. Once someone grasps that, they can unleash awesome power. Nothing can be hidden from them again.

So what good is your theory then if it can't be produced in the real world?

I said that he wouldn't develop "aikido" "as we know it." What kind of arts did the native Americans produce? Very deadly ones, as I recall, that nonetheless revered nature and spirituality. It not only can be produced in the real world but has been produced in the real world throughout history. It's the primal root of the Japanese arts: human nature.

I'm ducking out of this one. In my view there's nothing to be gained along this line of discourse.

I'm really too busy to deal with it much, myself, whichi is why I'm only now looking back at this thread that I last posted to one month ago.

I notice you say there's nothing to be gained in this line, but you keep coming back to it.

That's fine with me. At least your mind is working on it.

Best wishes.

David

David Orange
05-10-2007, 11:20 PM
Two things...
1) Aikido is not about avoiding or evading an attack. It is about joining with an attack. That is one of the meanings contained in the "aiki" of Aikido.

Well, that's an omote/ura thing. If we don't evade or avoid the sword, our only way of "joining" with the attack is to be split down the middle and everything ends right there.

I recently read Ellis Amdur's blog on Aikido Journal, which got me looking back over here.

Ellis went so far as to say that aikido has NOTHING to do with avoiding the attack. He said that irimi doe NOT move "off the line of the attack" at all, but enters straight in.

Well, there are times when that is applicable, but I can think of two clear cases in which death is the only possible outcome of that.

And if that were so, why are there so many photos of O-Sensei standing beside the sword that has just cut down, as he "taps" the attacker on the side of the head with his hand or a fan?

Yes, there are times and particular situations in which the best approach is to enter straight in and that is undeniably "irimi" but for the most part, irimi is conducted by "slipping" the attack and entering from outside the line. Ellis gave the example of Shioda's bouncing the attacker back with entry, but we also see many instances in which Shioda avoids the attack and counters into the opponent's resulting off-balance. I know that Mochizuki Sensei specifically taught irimi as "getting off the line of the attack and entering at an angle". This is the same as the method with the sword and you strike to his head in the same way armed or unarmed. See the photo of O-Sensei sword-on-sword with Kisshomaru (1st photo on page 4 of the Aikido Journal Photo Gallery here: http://www.aikidojournal.com/gallery?page=4
Or the photo in the fourth row (center photo) of page 1 of the same gallery, Shoji Nishio, having entered to the outside, the attacker's hands and kisaki clearly pointing toward the corner of the tatami. Nishio has entered well to the inside of the tatami.

So while, in all these cases, the tori enters the attacker's space and dominates his center, he does not go through the sword attack, but always to the outside in order to "join with the attack".

2) There seems to be a recurrent idea that, merely being relaxed and natural in ones movement, one is using "aiki". This is simply not the case any more than "aiki" has anything to do with ones behavior. In terms of waza, "Aiki" constitutes a set of methods for energizing ones own body and mind, for mentally and physically joining with another's intention and movement, for understanding how to create movement in the mind of another to get him to move his or her body...

There does seem to be an idea that I am saying that merely being relaxed and natural in one's movement constitutes aiki. I am not saying that.

I am saying that children do act with aiki without having to be told or shown how to do it. I am saying that their minds and bodies are already and naturally energized through the power of nature and that they have no distractions or idea that they ever were separate from others. Therefore, they are intimately close to others' intentions and movements and expert in creating movement in the minds and bodies of the people around them.

It is intentional and it must be taught.

I say that it is intentional in children to the degree that anything they do is intentional. They mean to pull the tablecloth. They don't intend to have the flower vase land on their head. They do intend to make their parents move. They don't necessarily intend for their parents to spank them. The do intend to get down from their parents grip and they do this very cleverly without being taught. For it to develop to a high degree, it must be cultivated, but cultivating, to me, implies developing something that is naturally there, while "teaching" implies training something into a person that was not naturally there. And I will always put my money on cultivated nature over taught "second nature".

What children do have is a lack of fear which manifests as a lack of physical tension. This may be required to utilize the principles of "aiki" in ones technique but it is not the same as "aiki"; it is merely a prerequisite.

Yes, but it is not what I am calling aiki. What I say is aiki is seen in children's specific combinations of the movements and efforts of pulling, pushing, turning and so on. For instance, lately, my 30-month-old has been manifesting the perfect entry for the judo technique seoi nage--but instead of holding my lapel, he has my finger. He leads me forward and when I am going with him, he turns with his gripping arm bent, elbow down, hand at his shoulder height, palm forward. If he were working with someone his own size and grippng the lapel instead of the finger, he would be in perfect position for seoi nage.

I was once intrigued when a teacher pointed out that the tori's form is exactly the same when doing two very unlike techniques, one affecting the leg, the other affecting the neck. The movement of tori is almost identical in both techniques. The difference is how tori fits that form into the movement of uke.

The same with children and aiki. They are relaxed, they are energized, they are moving spontaneously and they are intimately coordinating with people much larger than themselves. But the forms the produce are precisely those of the master of judo or aikido. A teacher who sees that can cultivate it to high ability in any of a number of directions. Thus we have judo, aikido, karate and all the Chinese and Korean, Philipino and Malaysian, Indian and Burmese approaches to martial art. They are all rooted in the same nature, cultivated through different cultures.

Best wishes.

David

David Orange
05-10-2007, 11:34 PM
As for rubber bokken...ah...no. Sensei just uses the wooden one. If you get hit...oh well. :D


And do people often get hit?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Does that mean they're unhittable? Or does it mean the sword wielder is not striking true?

From what I've seen in this world, it tends to be the latter. Lots of people think they're really able to avoid/evade/slip the sword when really all that's happening is the attacker is swinging wide of them.

Again, the rubber sword both allows the attacker to give it a real shot and allows the defender to find out the truth.

Best to you.

David

Erick Mead
05-11-2007, 01:49 AM
Well, that's an omote/ura thing. If we don't evade or avoid the sword, our only way of "joining" with the attack is to be split down the middle and everything ends right there....why are there so many photos of O-Sensei standing beside the sword that has just cut down, as he "taps" the attacker on the side of the head with his hand or a fan? ...So while, in all these cases, the tori enters the attacker's space and dominates his center, he does not go through the sword attack, but always to the outside in order to "join with the attack". I beg to differ, David. In my view, Amdur and Ledyard Sensei are right. The word is "tangent."

Take a bokken or shinai and have uke place it six inches above your head at full extension for a strike. You have six inches to live and you are dead on the line (pun intended). If you reach also at full extension to touch the back of his hand, your hand is literally behind his attacking hand -- on the line, he has not yet struck you and you have not yet moved.

He must grasp his sword to strike you. You need merely reach to touch his hand. And reach exceeds grasp. As contact occurs nage moves in integrated irimi-tenkan, turning either uchi or soto depending on which way the tangent defaults after contact. The attacker then is displaced from the line, as he is striking.

Now this application can be defeated by a competent swordsman, of course. But the illustration of the principle is sound, and it does not involve moving off the line but structuring the contact so that his attack carries him off of it.

Now I agree generally that the innate integration of the body that a child naturally obtains is later broken down by analysis as we learn discrete motor skills, and must be in some respects relearned or reapplied, perhaps, is a better phrase.

But what I just described, a child would never naturally do. That is the product only of training and observation of the dynamics and nature of the connections made by the attacker and attacked, and a will to enter under the blade, knowing what it is. Children do not have that. God willing, we should hope they might never have to, but the likelihood is otherwise.

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2007, 08:16 AM
And do people often get hit?

Somehow, I doubt it.
Go right ahead...you have no experience in this area, though, do you? :D I've been hit...hard enough to stop me in my tracks. Do we regularly bop each other? Absolutely not. We try to make our attacks appropriate to the level of uke, to build up the correct response without bloodying each other up on a regular basis. Just good old keiko.

Does that mean they're unhittable? Or does it mean the sword wielder is not striking true?
No one spoke of being "unhittable"...you just made that strawman up out of whole cloth...pardon the mixing of metaphors... :D Keiko involves finding that thin line...there will be mistakes along the way, but if you brain your partners regularly...that would be an issue for me, at least.

but we also see many instances in which Shioda avoids the attack and counters into the opponent's resulting off-balance

Sure...and what does he call it??? EVASION. Not avoidance. Yokeru.

Best,
Ron (missed you around here Bud, welcome back! ;))

George S. Ledyard
05-11-2007, 09:33 AM
I know that Mochizuki Sensei specifically taught irimi as "getting off the line of the attack and entering at an angle". This is the same as the method with the sword and you strike to his head in the same way armed or unarmed..

I think we have a misunderstanding here. It is true that the end point of the entry is a change in angle. If you look at stills, you could be under the misconception that there was a movement off the line. In actuality, most of the movement was on the line. This is why the attacker does not simply track you when you enter.

We are three dimensional beings with two footed support. On any linear attack (an attack which strikes our center line along the line of attack), one foot or the other is already on the side of the line of attack we wish to move to. In other words, on any linear attack, half of you is safe from the start; you only have to rotate the other half to the same side of the line in order not to be hit.

Irimi is inherent in proper rotation. If I move straight at the attacker's center, which means straight at the strike or cut, the attacker sees nothing that would cause him to change the path of his strike. One moves one foot forward (and that foot is already off the line and does not need to be moved away from the attack at all) and as the attack comes, one simply rotates the hips so that the back foot is drawn to the same side of the line as the front. As long as the hips open up, the body is now "off the line" but there was never any movement of the body away from the line of attack but rather the body moved directly towards the attacker's center and then rotated.

I travel around and teach at quite a few places. I consistently run into people who think that they can move off the line in order to enter. They are getting away with this because their partners are not really trying to cut them. They are shocked when I attack and they are unable to do an entry; my sword ends up on the forehead no matter what they try.

The movement receptors in the eye fire when there is a perceived change against the overall background. A movement off the line gives the brain the maximum amount of info it requires to track you.

If one takes a look at a body holding a sword, it only takes a three inch movement of ones hips to get a three foot movement of the tip of the sword. Does anyone really believe that you could move your body mass of one hundred plus pounds off the line faster than they can make that hip twist? Not a chance.

A good irimi basically fools the perception by giving the attacker no information that his attack is going to miss. So there is no attention put at evasion at all. Ones mind is placed "inside" the attack on the attacker's center. One actualizes that mental extension with physical movement along that same path. Only at the very last instant do the hips rotate taking the back half of the body to the same side of the line as the front half, thereby vacating the space. So an angle change has been accomplished but all movement was towards the center. When this is done properly, the attacker is sure he will hit you right up until he misses. There will be an element of "how the hell did I miss?".

If there is the least movement off the line by the defender as he tries to get in, the attacker will see it and track him.

David Orange
05-11-2007, 09:39 AM
Go right ahead...you have no experience in this area, though, do you?

I don't know what you do in your dojo, but I have seen aikido practice widely in the US and that of practitioners from many countries who came to the yoseikan dojo in Japan (where we did extensive practice with wooden bokken as well as the rubber kind). The one thing I can say is that, especially in the US, the attacker tends to attack in such a way that uke definitely will not be hit. And he does that because he knows that a good whack from a wooden bokken will injure if not kill his partner. Remember that Musashi stopped using "real" swords fairly early in his career and killed several opponents with wooden implements--including once when he knocked out a challenger (according to Richard Kim, anyway) with a piece of sculpture he was carving while the opponent used a real sword.

As to Erick's comment about letting the uke hold the bokken six inches above your head....and how that wouldn't work with a "competent" swordsman....that's the full kisaki of what I'm talking about. The idea of moving from six inches actually gives an advantage to tori, though I would not advise anyone to attempt that experiment with a live sword. If you're "deflecting" with your right hand, I can pretty much guarantee that almost anyone will lose his left arm. But put Toshishiro Obata behind that sword and, even at six inches almost anyone will be cut directly on top of the head. Why train for an incompetent opponent?

But give the swordsman good maai and the freedom of his spirit and timing, allow him the fullness of his effort and momentum, and a determined sword strike is virtually guaranteed deadly. I got a good lesson in that from Mochizuki Sensei when he was in his eighties. He stood in front of me with a rubber sword at gedan, looking me in the eye, and he was able to hit me on the head before I could move.

Striking to miss has two tragic results: it makes tori believe that he is really doing correct technique when he is not; and it develops bad sword "skills" and habits.

I've been hit...hard enough to stop me in my tracks. Do we regularly bop each other? Absolutely not. We try to make our attacks appropriate to the level of uke, to build up the correct response without bloodying each other up on a regular basis. Just good old keiko.

With the rubber bokken, you can train to strike seriously every time. That's what I consider "good" old keiko. If you're swinging a sword without intending to hit the "target," then it really isn't a target, is it? And tori can get the idea that he really can take swords away from people. But when you strike with a rubber sword and hit him a few times, he learns better. The problem then is to correct his movement and, unfortunately, I've met few American senseis who understood that well. When uke is not intentionally missing them, they get hit.

In the photos referenced in my earlier posts, it is clear that both O-Sensei and Nishio Sensei moved outside the strike line as well as turning their bodies at an angle. This does not mean that they did not "join with the attack" but that they did it in such a way that they were not in the line of the attack. Mochizuki Sensei clearly and specifically taught that the movement is the same for sword-against-sword, unarmed-against-sword, and unarmed-against-unarmed. Once, when some German black belts came to the dojo, he had me give them a special seminar on the precise movement of that moment. These guys' teacher had taught them to rush straight in, regardless of whether the opponent was punching or strking with a sword. They basically went for a kind of tackle entry, straight into the attack. Sensei had me use the rubber sword to show them what happens when you do that, then show them the correct way to enter past the strike without going straight into it.

No one spoke of being "unhittable"...you just made that strawman up out of whole cloth...pardon the mixing of metaphors... :D Keiko involves finding that thin line...there will be mistakes along the way, but if you brain your partners regularly...that would be an issue for me, at least.

Well, if you develop a movement that lets you be hit when the opponent strikes seriously, can that really be called aikido? Morihei Ueshiba faced many people with swords and we never hear that he was 'sometimes' hit. It's not like being caught by a punch on occasion: one sword strike will remove a limb. The rubber sword stings and, if someone can teach the student the real irimi movement, the sting will inspire him to perfect the movement. Intentionally missing the tori will only mislead him.

And one other thing: what if uke is not 'striking down' with the sword, but thrusting at your throat? Can you still come straight down the line at him?

And what if it's not a sword but a bullet? Can you enter straight into that line of attack? What did Morihei say about that? He saw where the bullet was going to be fired...and he moved out of the way.

Whether you call it evasion or avoiding, the point is, you're NOT where the attack is coming.

Thanks for the welcome back, Ron. It's really just popping in because I'm on my way out of town and really don't have time to read these threads and keep up with them, much less post.

I keep an eye out, though, and I'll be back eventually.

Best to all.

David

David Orange
05-11-2007, 10:01 AM
On any linear attack...half of you is safe from the start; you only have to rotate the other half to the same side of the line in order not to be hit.

Actually, both "halves" are safe. It's the part in the middle that's at risk. Or if you move incorrectly and leave any part of the body in the line, that part will be severed.

Look again at the photo of Nishio Sensei. Look at the tatami and the direction of the attacker's hands and the kisaki of the sword. He's pointing to the corner. Nishio's movement was to the side as well as forward. Yes, the body rotated. And the attack can also be evaded by merely bringing one side back, without moving forward, but that would not be irimi and would not give advantageous ma'ai for the "counter" attack.

Irimi is inherent in proper rotation. If I move straight at the attacker's center, which means straight at the strike or cut, the attacker sees nothing that would cause him to change the path of his strike. One moves one foot forward (and that foot is already off the line and does not need to be moved away from the attack at all) and as the attack comes, one simply rotates the hips so that the back foot is drawn to the same side of the line as the front. As long as the hips open up, the body is now "off the line" but there was never any movement of the body away from the line of attack but rather the body moved directly towards the attacker's center and then rotated.

Ummm...that's very close to how Mochizuki Sensei taught it, but that does take the body "off" the line of attack. In other words, if you draw a line on the floor, you are standing "on" the line and the opponent is coming down the line at you. In irimi, you do move alongside the line, but your whole body is "off" the line. You move parallel to it, but your kisaki moves into his center (assuming you have a sword). Think of it as train tracks. You end up standing beside the tracks as the train passes and anything left on the line will be cut off.

I travel around and teach at quite a few places. I consistently run into people who think that they can move off the line in order to enter.

Most people I encounter also think "moving off the line" means "going over there," off to the side, then "coming back in." It is as you describe above. I compare it to turning a sheet of paper. You slide up along the line, as if slipping into the crack between two skyscrapers. But you can't pass "through" either one of them. You can't move straight down the train tracks but you can move along beside them. You still have to get "off" the track, but you are going in the same direction as the line.

They are getting away with this because their partners are not really trying to cut them.

I love that rubber sword. Then no one needs to try not to cut the partner.

If one takes a look at a body holding a sword, it only takes a three inch movement of ones hips to get a three foot movement of the tip of the sword. Does anyone really believe that you could move your body mass of one hundred plus pounds off the line faster than they can make that hip twist? Not a chance.

The method you describe is pretty much exactly what I learned, but it leaves no part of the body "on" the line. It takes the whole body forward "beside" the line, parallel to the line, and results in a very close pass of the sword, but not a hit.

A good irimi basically fools the perception by giving the attacker no information that his attack is going to miss.

Completely agreed.

So there is no attention put at evasion at all. Ones mind is placed "inside" the attack on the attacker's center.

As I understand it, the attention is to the attacker's head, as in the photo of O-Sensei with Kisshomaru, and as in the many shots of O-Sensei "tapping" uke on the side of the head with his fan or his te gatana.

So an angle change has been accomplished but all movement was towards the center.[/qutoe]

I like to think of that as "wedging in". There is an angle change, but the movement is into the center of the opponent (at a slightly different angle than he is attacking--not "front to front".)

[QUOTE=George S. Ledyard;178065]When this is done properly, the attacker is sure he will hit you right up until he misses. There will be an element of "how the hell did I miss?".

Exactly.

If there is the least movement off the line by the defender as he tries to get in, the attacker will see it and track him.

Yes, if it's really a movement away from the line. What I have been describing moves along the line, beside the line, in the same direction as the line, but re-enters at a slight angle, as can be seen in the referenced photo of Nishio Sensei.

Best wishes and thanks for the thoughtful comments.

David

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2007, 10:27 AM
Hi David,

You really shouldn't assume what happens at one place because of what happens at others...

Best,
Ron

George S. Ledyard
05-11-2007, 10:59 AM
Hi David,

You really shouldn't assume what happens at one place because of what happens at others...

Best,
Ron

Hi Ron,
I think I know what you are saying but on another level I would disagree. This stuff isn't magic, which we have discussed before, although it can often feel "magical".

There are principles at work which function like "laws". If you see some doing something that violates what you took to be a principle, you either misunderstood what they were doing or your understanding of that principle needs to be revised.

So, to my way of thinking, if it is working, it is because of proper application of principle. People may have different stylistic differences but if their stuff works, you can find the common principle at work, even though they might look different.

So in that sense, what happens in one place will happen in another because the principles we seek are universal. Now variations of those principles are required by individual situations. How one shows basic kihon waza will not look like the application of those same principles against a mixed martial artist. But the "essential" principles should be the same in all times and in all places. That would be why, i think, O-Sensei didn't care who came through the door to test him. It could be a karate guy, a swordsman, or a sumotori. The principles underlying what he did applied regardless.

dbotari
05-11-2007, 11:06 AM
Off Topic//

Happy Birthday, Ledyard sensei. May you have many more!

back to topic//

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2007, 12:16 PM
Hi George,
Ditto! Happy B-day.

I don't get the impression that David has spent a lot (or perhaps any) time in Yoshinkan dojo...and certainly not in the one where I train. I also don't think I've stated enough of my views in this thread for him to make the huge leaps of logic he makes as to what I may or may not do. I don't mind though...just pointing it out.

Magic? who spoke of Magic? :D

Best,
Ron

George S. Ledyard
05-12-2007, 11:47 AM
Hi George,
Ditto! Happy B-day.

I don't get the impression that David has spent a lot (or perhaps any) time in Yoshinkan dojo...and certainly not in the one where I train. I also don't think I've stated enough of my views in this thread for him to make the huge leaps of logic he makes as to what I may or may not do. I don't mind though...just pointing it out.

Magic? who spoke of Magic? :D

Best,
Ron

Sure, it's very hard to communicate on these issues because we have no "control" in the scientific sense. Each person states what he or she understands but the training at one dojo can be so different from what they do at another that we might as well be talking about a different art.

People talk from their experience about what works, how they understand the principles... but in one dojo they have a certain level of intention and their folks understand what they do in a certain way. If those folks came to your dojo or my dojo they might find that their understanding of what is going on would be in dire need of revising because we don't train with the same level of intention as they are used to.

That said, if we train with strong intention, what works at one place should work at another, even though there are stylistic differences. The principles should apply universally. If they don't, then your understanding of technique has been developed through partner's who were colluding and how you understand what you do won't apply in situations in which the ukes don't play the same way.

jennifer paige smith
05-12-2007, 01:03 PM
Sure, it's very hard to communicate on these issues because we have no "control" in the scientific sense. Each person states what he or she understands but the training at one dojo can be so different from what they do at another that we might as well be talking about a different art.

People talk from their experience about what works, how they understand the principles... but in one dojo they have a certain level of intention and their folks understand what they do in a certain way. If those folks came to your dojo or my dojo they might find that their understanding of what is going on would be in dire need of revising because we don't train with the same level of intention as they are used to.

That said, if we train with strong intention, what works at one place should work at another, even though there are stylistic differences. The principles should apply universally. If they don't, then your understanding of technique has been developed through partner's who were colluding and how you understand what you do won't apply in situations in which the ukes don't play the same way.

This post relates, in my senses, to being trained well enough( like a tracker) to sense your environment and to respond accordingly. To train in one environment (A not-so changing environment ) is excellent because it does allow us to crack through our selves and to be in one place many times with developing observational and living skills. . But like the talented or skilled native, we need to observe the basic principles at work, practice them in survival/principle and then expand our senses to include new environments.

Sometimes we have sronger natures as a result of our environment, sometimes gentler natures. We need to adapt whatever our training nature is to a 'new place on the river', if you will. And hope the Indians aren't too restless:) .

Happy Birthday, Sir. My birthday wish for you is many more years of good health and wonderful friendship!

Ian Starr
05-14-2007, 12:41 AM
That said, if we train with strong intention, what works at one place should work at another, even though there are stylistic differences. The principles should apply universally. If they don't, then your understanding of technique has been developed through partner's who were colluding and how you understand what you do won't apply in situations in which the ukes don't play the same way.

Hi George and everyone,

The methodology of Aikido practice is collusion. I would guess that the majority of Aikido's practitioners have developed an understanding of technique only within that context. Were you commenting on the variations from dojo to dojo within the overall context of collusion or do you feel that if people train with enough intensity (intention) in Aikido that any limitations of a co-operative martial practice can be overcome?

How do we as practitioners measure how well we are developing and executing the martial principles of Aikido within the confines of the Aikido dojo? Is some measure of "control" necessary when most of us train only with other Aikidoka who have come up in the same environment? Is it possible to have a meaningful understanding of our own abilities in this way?

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this - if you feel any of this presents a unique challenge for our community. And of course anyone elses thoughts.

Thank you,

Ian

David Orange
05-17-2007, 10:58 AM
I don't get the impression that David has spent a lot (or perhaps any) time in Yoshinkan dojo...and certainly not in the one where I train.

You're right on that, Ron. The little bit of exposure I have to Yoshinkan was a visit to the hombu when the current head (Gozo Sensei's son) was teaching. Very impressive. Also, a dojo in the Birmingham area, which has actually split away from Yoshinkan.

I also don't think I've stated enough of my views in this thread for him to make the huge leaps of logic he makes as to what I may or may not do. I don't mind though...just pointing it out.

I'm not criticizing what I don't know that you do or don't do. I am promoting that the rubber sword eliminates all questions. There is no danger of "bloodying" the partner with the padded sword, so it allows real freedom in striking, which, again, I have seldom seen in any American dojo. What I don't understand is the disdain for using a tool that allows more realism as opposed to a truly dangerous implement that I know causes involuntary inhibition for most practitioners and which I have seen to produce a false sense of confidence on a wide scale. If a padded sword is good for someone like Minoru Mochizuki, what's the problem? Some people seem to think it's not "real budo" or that it defies tradition. Admittedly, a bokken looks more "real" and therefore maybe "cooler" but it breeds less real striking. Of course, I'd rather use a bokken for suburi practice, but for instilling a real sense of irimi in people, the padded sword is much more effective.

Best wishes.

David

Ron Tisdale
05-17-2007, 11:35 AM
Hi David,

No disdain here...it's just not our tradition. It is in yours, and I have no issues with you using it (or anyone else for that matter). But it is not what we do, for the reasons I have already stated. But we have used other padded items for similar types of training for black belt pressure testing, etc.

Best,
Ron

George S. Ledyard
05-17-2007, 11:42 AM
I am promoting that the rubber sword eliminates all questions. There is no danger of "bloodying" the partner with the padded sword, so it allows real freedom in striking, which, again, I have seldom seen in any American dojo. What I don't understand is the disdain for using a tool that allows more realism as opposed to a truly dangerous implement that I know causes involuntary inhibition for most practitioners and which I have seen to produce a false sense of confidence on a wide scale.
Saotome Sensei has had us using fukuro shinai for thirty years. The one from Bu Jin is patterned after the Yagyu shinai. The use of shinai in classical sword is not uncommon. Maniwa Nen Ryu uses a fukuro shinai with a tsuba, padded kote and a padded helmet. They don't do freestyle but rather what we would have called "controlled sparring" where one guy attacks with shomen attacks, full power, full speed, and the other guy executes one of several techniques. I actually use this exercise in our Intensives.

I like the shinai rather than some of the foam padded weapons because it is just forgiving enough that you won't be injured if you screw up but hard enough that you REALLY don't want to be hit. So the mental tension from the risk is still there to some extent. Things change when you know there are no unpleasant consequences to being struck.

What I like about shinai work is that your partner is really willing to strike you. No matter how fast you are going with a bokken, your partner doesn't really want to hurt you, so there's always just a bit held back. Most folks have no problem clocking you with a shinai which means you get a better attack.

Most Aikido folks don't realize that there is a power aspect to sword. I remember the first time Ellis Amdur Sensei hit my hand with his shinai.I was wearing a hockey glove and my hand still went numb. he was doing his Araki Ryu type cut which was meant to go through armor. If you've been waiving bokken around and doing the tip tip that many folks do, a cut like that will go right through anything you put in its way. It's useful to have some experience of that. That's why I like the Maniwa Nen Ryu exercises so much. I try my best to cut you, you try your best to deflect and cut me, and we see who gets it...

George S. Ledyard
05-17-2007, 12:13 PM
Were you commenting on the variations from dojo to dojo within the overall context of collusion or do you feel that if people train with enough intensity (intention) in Aikido that any limitations of a co-operative martial practice can be overcome?


I am pretty much unconcerned with issues of "street application" or whether I can use my Aikido against some guy from other martial arts. Statistically speaking, about the last thing you need to worry about is getting into a fight with another trained martial artist.

The Aikido dojo is a laboratory in which we create controlled situations so that we can investigate various principles in isolation. These principles can be physical or energetic, whatever.

If you train with proper intention, then the "experiments" you do will yield good results. if you train with weak intention or false energy, you won't learn anything that has martial validity, period. Just as in a physics lab, some of the things we create in our dojo lab won't be found in nature, meaning they just won't happen in a fight. That's just fine because we are training for entirely different reasons. An ability to defend oneself is a by-product of good training rather than the point.

If one wishes to engage in mixed martial arts competition, then one will need to go out into that world and see how the principles discovered in our dojo lab will apply in that context. If one is worried about applied self defense, then one should do some scenario training, preferably with an armored attacker, and see how the principles apply there. If one carries a firearm, then would should do some training to see how our principles apply in that context.

The principles are universal but that doesn't mean that you can automatically apply them in all conceivable situations without some knowledge and experience of those contexts. It just depends on what you are interested in.

For myself, the deeper I go into my training, the less concerned I am about the "applied" aspect. Folks who do all their training from a competition or fighting standpoint will almost certainly never discover some of the more subtle elements that we play with. This is why Japanese Koryu was pretty much kata based. People do not understand kata training and think that it is outmoded and that modern methods are better. But kata training is designed to get you to see things that you will likely miss if you are busy just fighting all the time.

I am not saying that you CAN"T discover these principles any other way. Certainly one can see very high level kendo people who have largely developed the understanding through sparring. But I think it is a slower process. Much of the psychic energy aspect of the interaction between two opponents is what I would call a low voltage
exchange and folks who are sparring or competing all the time tend to miss out on these things completely. So I am a big believer in creating controlled interactions designed to isolate precisely these subtle principles which are at work in our art. That's where all the "goodies" are, in my opinion.

If you take your study of principle to a deep level, you can decide to apply those principles in any context you wish. It will only take a little exposure to that new context to be able to do so.

Ron Tisdale
05-17-2007, 12:19 PM
Excellent post George...

Best,
Ron

Chuck Clark
05-17-2007, 02:35 PM
I like the shinai rather than some of the foam padded weapons because it is just forgiving enough that you won't be injured if you screw up but hard enough that you REALLY don't want to be hit. So the mental tension from the risk is still there to some extent. Things change when you know there are no unpleasant consequences to being struck.
....
Most Aikido folks don't realize that there is a power aspect to sword. I remember the first time Ellis Amdur Sensei hit my hand with his shinai.I was wearing a hockey glove and my hand still went numb. he was doing his Araki Ryu type cut which was meant to go through armor. If you've been waiving bokken around and doing the tip tip that many folks do, a cut like that will go right through anything you put in its way. It's useful to have some experience of that. That's why I like the Maniwa Nen Ryu exercises so much. I try my best to cut you, you try your best to deflect and cut me, and we see who gets it...

We do similar type training with fukuro shinai at the Jiyushinkan. A quote in Yagyu ryu writings says something to the affect that an unarmed person might get out of the way or take a sword from a skilled person one time out of a hundred (or some such odds). I know from experience that this is true due to practice with skillful swordsmen attacking for real with fukuro shinai. They do leave marks but not injuries that are there tomorrow. One chance instead of none is pretty good odds... if you have done serious practice.

To be clear, our seniors go full force/speed (sandan +); juniors build up to this ability as they continue to train longer. Even the buki sections in our Koryu no kata ends up being very fast and forceful at high level.

I am constantly looking for good fukuro shinai that don't cost a fortune... any help is appreciated in finding these. I'm getting ready to order a couple from a fellow in Germany. We'll see if they hold up. I don't like the cane in the Bujin versions.

George, your last post above was excellent by the way. I agree.

Dennis Hooker
05-17-2007, 03:06 PM
People attending ASU Summer Camp in D.C. will be treated to several classes in Ono Ha Itto Ryu with Kaiwa Shihan. We will be using the fujuru shinai I suppose because the cost of kote is prohibitive. I used to use welders gloves with PCV pipe glued to them and the whacks we got could buckle the knees.

Fred Little
05-17-2007, 03:29 PM
People attending ASU Summer Camp in D.C. will be treated to several classes in Ono Ha Itto Ryu with Kaiwa Shihan. We will be using the fujuru shinai I suppose because the cost of kote is prohibitive. I used to use welders gloves with PCV pipe glued to them and the whacks we got could buckle the knees.

Lacrosse gloves work nicely too.

FL

Ian Starr
05-17-2007, 04:15 PM
I am pretty much unconcerned with issues of "street application" or whether I can use my Aikido against some guy from other martial arts. Statistically speaking, about the last thing you need to worry about is getting into a fight with another trained martial artist.

The Aikido dojo is a laboratory in which we create controlled situations so that we can investigate various principles in isolation. These principles can be physical or energetic, whatever.

If you train with proper intention, then the "experiments" you do will yield good results. if you train with weak intention or false energy, you won't learn anything that has martial validity, period. Just as in a physics lab, some of the things we create in our dojo lab won't be found in nature, meaning they just won't happen in a fight. That's just fine because we are training for entirely different reasons. An ability to defend oneself is a by-product of good training rather than the point.

If one wishes to engage in mixed martial arts competition, then one will need to go out into that world and see how the principles discovered in our dojo lab will apply in that context. If one is worried about applied self defense, then one should do some scenario training, preferably with an armored attacker, and see how the principles apply there. If one carries a firearm, then would should do some training to see how our principles apply in that context.

The principles are universal but that doesn't mean that you can automatically apply them in all conceivable situations without some knowledge and experience of those contexts. It just depends on what you are interested in.

For myself, the deeper I go into my training, the less concerned I am about the "applied" aspect. Folks who do all their training from a competition or fighting standpoint will almost certainly never discover some of the more subtle elements that we play with. This is why Japanese Koryu was pretty much kata based. People do not understand kata training and think that it is outmoded and that modern methods are better. But kata training is designed to get you to see things that you will likely miss if you are busy just fighting all the time.

I am not saying that you CAN"T discover these principles any other way. Certainly one can see very high level kendo people who have largely developed the understanding through sparring. But I think it is a slower process. Much of the psychic energy aspect of the interaction between two opponents is what I would call a low voltage
exchange and folks who are sparring or competing all the time tend to miss out on these things completely. So I am a big believer in creating controlled interactions designed to isolate precisely these subtle principles which are at work in our art. That's where all the "goodies" are, in my opinion.

If you take your study of principle to a deep level, you can decide to apply those principles in any context you wish. It will only take a little exposure to that new context to be able to do so.

George,

Very nice post. Applications of Aikido outside of the Aikido dojo have really become less and less of a concern for me over time as well. Although the last couple of years I have not been training a lot.

I am not so concerned about getting into fights with other martial artists as it pertains to this conversation. I was more interested in examining aspects of the training methodology and also comparing with the alternative(s). Some things in previous posts got me going on the subject.

You mention that "For myself, the deeper I go into my training,less concerned I am about the "applied" aspect." On a physical level I take that to mean that your primary concern is successfully embodying/executing the principles/techniques that you study in the same environment that you study them in. I understand that is no small task in itself...

Is "Folks who do all their training from a competition or fighting standpoint..." synonymous with folks who develop their technique and martial ability using a fully resistive training environment?

Thanks for the conversation, I appreciate the response.

Ian

George S. Ledyard
05-17-2007, 07:50 PM
I am constantly looking for good fukuro shinai that don't cost a fortune... any help is appreciated in finding these. I'm getting ready to order a couple from a fellow in Germany. We'll see if they hold up. I don't like the cane in the Bujin versions.

Hi Chuck,
How many of the Bu Jin have you used? I say that because I have one that goes back almost thirty years that I have replaced the bamboo once and another that is several years old that is still in tip top shape. I know they did go through a period when they couldn't get the Calcutta bamboo that they prefer but generally we have no issue with them.

George S. Ledyard
05-17-2007, 08:27 PM
Is "Folks who do all their training from a competition or fighting standpoint..." synonymous with folks who develop their technique and martial ability using a fully resistive training environment?

I wouldn't say that it is necessarily synonymous... it depends on what ones intention is. I might grab someone as strongly as I can as part of my role in the training. I won't fall over if they don't take my center but I will take the ukemi if they do. That is quite different than going in with the intent to stop their technique. A lot of folks think that martial application is about stopping the other guys technique... My friend, Bob Galleone Sensei, talks about attacking the technique rather than the person. If that is what is meant by "a fully resistive training environment" then yes, I would say that they are "competing" or "fighting" when they should be training. They are not the same. I may be doing a kata in that my partner may know what my attack is going to be but in that context i do my level best to strike him. I'm not being tricky or deceptive, but I attack with the intention of really striking. If my partner blows his technique he or she will be hit. If they execute the technique properly, I will take the appropriate ukemi. If they leave me an opening I will counter them and take the technique myself (with the senior folks, not the juniors). If they don't pay attention to their alignment I will show them they are open by striking them (this doesn't need to be with power) but I am not trying to stop their technique.

Showing a person that he can't throw you is a demonstration of principle but it is not martial. Who ever heard of a fight being about not letting someone do something to you? It's about killing, disabling, or controlling the opponent. So if I grab you I am going to use that grab to effect your center, not make myself an immovable object. If I strike I am attempting to deliver impact energy to your structure, not hold my arm out like a tree limb and show you that you can't do Ikkyo. I had a guy plant on me like that at Summer Camp last year and I simply slid up his arm, got behind him, and had both my hands on his eyes from behind him, all while he was busy showing me that I couldn't move him. Why would I need to move him? He just made his body like the boards being held by two guys at a karate breaking demo...

So it depends on what you mean fully resistive...

Aikilove
05-18-2007, 05:10 AM
I had a guy plant on me like that at Summer Camp last year and I simply slid up his arm, got behind him, and had both my hands on his eyes from behind him, all while he was busy showing me that I couldn't move him. Why would I need to move him? He just made his body like the boards being held by two guys at a karate breaking demo...

So it depends on what you mean fully resistive...
It reminds me of a camp with a Dutch Iwama style instructor last year. He tried to show how to hold (grab) hard without locking up your own joints in the process (i.e. planting as you call it), so that you are still receptive at what nage is doing. It's not that hard as you get it and are more exprerienced, but for some people grabbing hard equals holding full out until a vein pops from their forhead locking up their whole body in the attempt to hold you in place. After the class was over a sandan from a big dojo "known" for their "solid" aikido complained and said:

-*Assumed* (If I can't hold them in place)* How am I then suppose to show them when they are doing something wrong?

Firstly the person assume that you can't control someone without locking up your own body in the process. That is wrong.
Secondly of if you have to ask that question one should probably refrain from trying to "show" anyone that they do "wrong". Sandan or not.
Thirdly the question is its own answer. I wonder if these people will ever get that however.

/J

Aikilove
05-18-2007, 06:44 AM
Regarding the use of protective equipment and/or padded swords or its like I just can't help but citing some thoughts by Kunii Zen'ya from Kashima Shinryu fame around what kendo had turned into. Of curse I personaly see the value in being able to now and then train using these equipment. Nevertheless...

Following the Meiji Restoration, the government issued an order banning the wearing of swords in public. It also abolished the rules restricting the mixing of warriors and ordinary people, so that anyone and everyone could say, $B!H(BI want to play at swordsmanship, too!$B!I(B At that time a person named SAKAKIBARA Kenkichi organized $B!H(BDueling Swords Shows$B!I(B (gekkenkai), making the act of people striking at one another into a popular entertainment for which they charged a small admission fee. These kinds of shows toured the whole country and, in no time they became concerned only with whatever looked good.

Ultimately things declined so far that they made it seem as if martial art fundamentally consists of dueling. The essential spirit was forgotten and bujutsu became a source of amusement, highlighted by competitive matches (shiai). This competition came to be seen as essential to martial art. Thereupon, they developed new procedures for competitive matches, with strikes limited to fixed targets: men (face), kote (forearm), and dô (sides).

As a result of competing in this kind of duel, people would fall into the trap of ignorantly cultivating aggression and a spirit of opposition. They developed all manner of laughable nonsense techniques. Sometimes they would intentionally use the front of their face protectors to catch blows aimed for their heads, calling it a menkane (face deflection), or they would catch blows on their shoulders$B!=(Bin order to $B!H(Bwin$B!I(B by striking the side of the other person$B!G(Bs head (yokomen). Other times they would block strikes at their midsection (dôtachi) with the hilt of their sword or even with their elbows, since blows to the fist or elbow (unlike blows to the dô) do not score points. This sort of thing is the height of absurdity. And yet, this is exactly what happens when people are always striking protective gear to determine victory in matches. Ridiculous arguments become common: One person catches a dô attack with his elbow (on the flesh of his arm) and insists that the other person did not score a point. The other person, however, says, $B!H(BNo, I scored a point!$B!I(B Then the first person shows the spot on his arm where a bruise is starting to appear and says: $B!H(BIsn$B!G(Bt this bruise on my arm direct evidence that you missed?$B!I(B!
quote from http://www.kashima-shinryu.jp/

/J

Erick Mead
05-18-2007, 08:51 AM
If that is what is meant by "a fully resistive training environment" then yes, I would say that they are "competing" or "fighting" when they should be training. ... I had a guy plant on me like that at Summer Camp last year and I simply slid up his arm, got behind him, and had both my hands on his eyes from behind him, all while he was busy showing me that I couldn't move him. ... So it depends on what you mean fully resistive...

"Resistance is useless."

I couldn't resist.

Dennis Hooker
05-18-2007, 09:32 AM
Many times Uke fails to understand the implied within a technique and act accordingly and many times Nage is insufficiently trained to know what is implied. The blind leading the blind, an empty dance, budo without bottom. Many times people don’t know the difference between learning and training and they try to train in things they have yet to learn. Foolishness!

Chris Li
05-18-2007, 10:03 AM
quote from http://www.kashima-shinryu.jp/



Interestingly, one of the students of SAKAKIBARA Kenkichi from the above quote was Sokaku Takeda.

Best,

Chris

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-18-2007, 10:27 AM
Many times Uke fails to understand the implied within a technique and act accordingly and many times Nage is insufficiently trained to know what is implied. The blind leading the blind, an empty dance, budo without bottom. Many times people don’t know the difference between learning and training and they try to train in things they have yet to learn. Foolishness!

Yeah...

Reminds me of some nuttiness I heard about wherein, due to ownage (real or implied) at the hands of MMAers, some karate people started claiming that uber-deadly groundfighting techniques were concealed within their forms. Dumb on so many levels.

Ian Starr
05-18-2007, 02:54 PM
I wouldn't say that it is necessarily synonymous... it depends on what ones intention is. I might grab someone as strongly as I can as part of my role in the training. I won't fall over if they don't take my center but I will take the ukemi if they do. That is quite different than going in with the intent to stop their technique. A lot of folks think that martial application is about stopping the other guys technique... My friend, Bob Galleone Sensei, talks about attacking the technique rather than the person. If that is what is meant by "a fully resistive training environment" then yes, I would say that they are "competing" or "fighting" when they should be training. They are not the same. I may be doing a kata in that my partner may know what my attack is going to be but in that context i do my level best to strike him. I'm not being tricky or deceptive, but I attack with the intention of really striking. If my partner blows his technique he or she will be hit. If they execute the technique properly, I will take the appropriate ukemi. If they leave me an opening I will counter them and take the technique myself (with the senior folks, not the juniors). If they don't pay attention to their alignment I will show them they are open by striking them (this doesn't need to be with power) but I am not trying to stop their technique.

Showing a person that he can't throw you is a demonstration of principle but it is not martial. Who ever heard of a fight being about not letting someone do something to you? It's about killing, disabling, or controlling the opponent. So if I grab you I am going to use that grab to effect your center, not make myself an immovable object. If I strike I am attempting to deliver impact energy to your structure, not hold my arm out like a tree limb and show you that you can't do Ikkyo. I had a guy plant on me like that at Summer Camp last year and I simply slid up his arm, got behind him, and had both my hands on his eyes from behind him, all while he was busy showing me that I couldn't move him. Why would I need to move him? He just made his body like the boards being held by two guys at a karate breaking demo...

So it depends on what you mean fully resistive...

By a fully resistive training environment I am referring to Judo for instance. I do not train in Judo so forgive my ignorance. My understanding is that a portion of the training consists of practicing the movements/techniques (fit-ins, or kata in a sense) and that another portion of the practice includes live sparring where the practioners try to best each other by throwing. This interaction is spontaneous and free. Of course their are always rules, like no punching and kicking, but within this context the practice is free to unfold as it will. It is dynamic in this way. Each person is trying their best to execute a technique and throw their partner.

You mentioned how many people focus on stopping the other person's technique. I would think this is mostly prevalent in kata based training where the roles are pre-defined. Everyone already knows what is going to happen - I'm going to attack you like this four times and your going to throw me like this four times and then we'll switch roles. In this environment I have much more freedom to stand around and single mindedly thwart your efforts. I believe this situation is enabled through a training methodology that consists only of co-operative practice.

You simply don't see this kind of thing outside of Aikido or other kata based practices. It is quite unsophisticated and useless (of course there is value in static, specific resistance at times to examine a technique or movement). I think that was your point George. The equivalent course of action with a boxer would get you quickly knocked out. Employing this with a skilled judoka would land you on the mat in short order. Yet this is very prevalent in our Aikido practice as per your example at Summer Camp last year. What is it about our practice that allows this useless interaction to go on so often? Is this not a problem and a waste of everyone's time? Do we want a next generation of students with these same habits?

For me the whole concept of a pre-defined Uke and Nage is a construct necessitated only by the co-operative training model. These roles don't exist in an already agreed upon fashion when we train live or free. As soon as we pre-define these roles in our practice a huge part of the freedom of the interaction goes away. Do you not agree? Other forum members?

Of course co-operation and collusion has a large role to play in the learning process and is an essential part of the curriculum. I understand this. But what are the results when this is our entire practice? What are the implications of spending year after year training only in this way. Isn't it true for many of us that this is the reality of how we spend our time on the mat? For me this has come to mean that Aikido's physical applications are largely confined to the Aikido Dojo. I have experienced the carry over of certain attributes and skills outside of Aikido practice and for that I am grateful. Those things are more subtle however.

Of course I am sure that there are physical skills and attributes gleaned from practice that we all carry into the world (i.e issues of self-defense and physical interaction with the world at large), but I started yammering about comparing methodologies. And for that I have to look to my peers in the greater martial arts community. How do they train and what I am I capable of when I interact with them? I think this is only natural and probably essential if we are truly serious in our pursuit of the martial arts.

In one sense that is fine if the extent of my ability doesn't go beyond the confines of Aikido practice. I am certainly no martial arts phenom. Or maybe I just suck. And I realize there is much to be developed solely within the context of our practice. You mentioned how this has become less of a concern of yours over time. Contrary to this post, this is true for myself as well. But if you've ever heard Saotome Sensei, for instance, discuss our practice (I know you have as have many here), I believe he has implied and overtly stated the importance of developing ourselves to a point where we are capable outside of our own microcosm.

So I am concerned with how we train in our art. How we spend our 2 or 5 or 10 hours a week on the mat week after week and year after year. I am interested in hearing the opinions of other forum members as to what positive attributes can be associated with our training method(s). Are there other negative aspects that I have forgotten to complain about? What is this generation capable of and what do we expect from the next generation? And will they train in the same way that we have?

Contrary to what some may think I have no interest in starting a conversation that has been played to the max on the forums. I'm sure everyone can think of an appropriate title for what I am referring to. I really was interested in an intellectual breakdown and exchange of ideas pertaining to our training model: the pros and cons of that model, what are the results of that model, examining what other models exist and the future of Aikido in general. Will other training methods come to bear on the future of our practice or will we remain more traditional and introverted?

Now I will apologize. I feel like a real blabbering cyber-samurai. After all this monologing I have no idea how coherent this is and I'm sure I am no longer within the realm of the original thread. I apologize for this Jun and please feel free to move this. It is also not my intention to be overly negative or a basher of Aikido. I have been thinking about this stuff for some time now and wanted to offer my thoughts and experiences up to other forum members in exchange for their views and experiences. This is basically a post pertaining to the physicality of Aikido and my relationship to the practice and the friends I have made goes far beyond that.

Very sincerely,

Ian

ChrisMoses
05-18-2007, 03:15 PM
For me the whole concept of a pre-defined Uke and Nage is a construct necessitated only by the co-operative training model. These roles don't exist in an already agreed upon fashion when we train live or free. As soon as we pre-define these roles in our practice a huge part of the freedom of the interaction goes away. Do you not agree? Other forum members?



Well, I've said this before, but I think the problem you're seeing is due in large part to the grey area that aikido training exists in. Toby Threadgill has talked about the three distinct kinds of training in TSYR: kata, oyowaza and randori. The rules and expectations of each kind of training are clearly defined and further adjusted between each individual group of partners. Aikido exists almost exclusively somewhere between kata and oyowaza with almost no randori. This is a very difficult way to train. By not having distinct different kinds of training, you lose the clarity of kata, the structured exploration of oyowaza and the reality check of randori. Sound familiar?

Erick Mead
05-18-2007, 03:47 PM
-- live sparring where the practioners try to best each other by throwing. In aikido as I have learned it, nage has not bested uke by throwing, and uke is not bested by being thrown. Both are practicing aikido. The technique at issue between them is the vehicle or venue for the aikido that is occurring between them, and is not the aikido, itself.
These roles don't exist in an already agreed upon fashion when we train live or free. As soon as we pre-define these roles in our practice a huge part of the freedom of the interaction goes away. Do you not agree? Other forum members? No more so than the surfer feels slighted or overly constrained in his training simply because his role and the role of the wave are both fundamentally pre-defined, and beyond his power to alter in any significant way. Sure, he could jump in front of it and contest its power, but that would be both foolish and dangerous, and -- more to the point -- would not be surfing.
I really was interested in an intellectual breakdown and exchange of ideas pertaining to our training model: the pros and cons of that model, what are the results of that model, examining what other models exist and the future of Aikido in general. Will other training methods come to bear on the future of our practice or will we remain more traditional and introverted? The role of the attacker must be to give a attack as honest in power and shape as the breaking wave. When training becomes more capable of safely doing so, it should be just as powerful and implacable as the breaking wave -- within the shape defined by the parameters of the engagement.

The technique should be delivered in precisely the same spirit.

In the case of the wave the parameters are generally defined by externals like the shape and set of the swell that day, the shape of the bottom and of the shore and the wind across them. But even so there are infinite slight variations and combinations of angle, speed and placement so that while each wave is always basically the same shape -- each is yet also utterly unique.

Surfers stereotypically tend to the contemplative in the dynamics of their art -- as Aikidoka tend to the contemplative. The forms of engagement encourage observation and appreciation of the details of similarity and difference in the flow of successive engagements.

The only way to actually "resist" an attack capable of doing real harm is to be really harmed in the process. That's why almost all "free" training disallows some of the simplest and most harmful options, in degree, at least, if not in excluding them categorically. Done any eye-gouging, knee-capping, ear-boxing or finger-snapping in the ole free-sparring lately? I sincerely hope not. Remarkably effective, those. Nasty, too. (Why are the bad things hyphenated, anyway?)

Resistance? There is no resisting a wave worth surfing. No one could or would try to train that way. Aikido is much more in that vein that is merely training to fight. It has the very same degree of joyful freedom and creativity attaching to the movements within those constraints. It therefore allows the contemplation and execution of movements at far larger energy levels (BIG waves) than are possible within the alternate set of constraints that exist in "free" training. Or so I find.

I'll no more stand to resist a descending sword than I will a breaking wave, and the principles involved -- in physics, psychology and training paradigm are, from my perspective, remarkably related.

David Orange
05-18-2007, 04:04 PM
Regarding the use of protective equipment and/or padded swords or its like I just can't help but citing some thoughts by Kunii Zen'ya from Kashima Shinryu fame around what kendo had turned into. Of curse I personaly see the value in being able to now and then train using these equipment. ...

"This sort of thing is the height of absurdity. And yet, this is exactly what happens when people are always striking protective gear to determine victory in matches. Ridiculous arguments become common: One person catches a dô attack with his elbow (on the flesh of his arm) and insists that the other person did not score a point. The other person, however, says, $B!H(BNo, I scored a point!$B!I(B Then the first person shows the spot on his arm where a bruise is starting to appear and says: $B!H(BIsn$B!G(Bt this bruise on my arm direct evidence that you missed?$B!I(B!"


The kind of thing I advocate does not involve scoring points or having a loser or winner. There should not be too many "hits" if anyone is able to teach the proper irimi movement. Once a person has been shown the correct irimi movement, a few whacks from that rubber sword will cure him of any other way of attempting to move.

That's the only point--not to say that someone won or lost, but for the tori to say, "Gee...I'm not doing that movement right."

But I have seen too many places where the attackers intentionally swing wide to the side where they know the defender will not be. If you don't know what you're seeing, it may look like the defender is really responsible for the sword's not hitting him. But I've frightened some people who train that way because, striking true, they thought I was trying to hit them. In fact, I was going relatively slowly and making very sure that I didn't hit them, but the bokken was coming so close they were convinced that I was making an effort to hit them. And they did not like it. But I'll guarantee you, I would have hit them if I had been trying.

But that shows that these people were training with a tacit, if unspoken, agreement not to try to hit one another. In that kind of practice, you can do any old thing and you won't get hit. And then you can go away thinking you can really "do" this kind of thing, which is just setting yourself up for failure at a crucial moment, when the truth is not being a coddler. The result could be critical injury or death. Think of an attacker with a baseball bat. He will be striking with deadly intent.

And that's where the padded sword comes in.

You can get a real appreciation of how hard it is to avoid being hit. And if someone can really teach irimi, you can learn how minimal a movement will save you. Really, the biggest problem with most people's irimi is that they do too much rather than too little. They dodge too far, which seems to be what's being criticized in talk of "getting off the line of attack".

But the line of attack is precisely the thickness of a samurai sword--half an inch?

Ledyard Sensei described the precise movement several posts back. Anything more than that and the attacker will be able to see and track you (and hit you). Anything less than that, and you will never be out of the way of the sword and you will also be unable to deflect it or keep it from hitting you.

So the point is definitely not to "score" or "win" but to train and to learn under the austere conditions required for real budo.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
05-18-2007, 04:11 PM
The role of the attacker must be to give a attack as honest in power and shape as the breaking wave. When training becomes more capable of safely doing so, it should be just as powerful and implacable as the breaking wave -- within the shape defined by the parameters of the engagement.

The technique should be delivered in precisely the same spirit.

I think this video is a great example of both attack and defense in aikido:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lcimd7qolZA

I think the best starts at about 1:05 into the clip.

Of course, he calls it aikibudo, but this group is trained by a student of Minoru Mochizuki and, especially the sutemi, it's very much how we trained in Japan.

David

Ian Starr
05-18-2007, 05:00 PM
Well, I've said this before, but I think the problem you're seeing is due in large part to the grey area that aikido training exists in. Toby Threadgill has talked about the three distinct kinds of training in TSYR: kata, oyowaza and randori. The rules and expectations of each kind of training are clearly defined and further adjusted between each individual group of partners. Aikido exists almost exclusively somewhere between kata and oyowaza with almost no randori. This is a very difficult way to train. By not having distinct different kinds of training, you lose the clarity of kata, the structured exploration of oyowaza and the reality check of randori. Sound familiar?

Hi Christian,

I do not know what oyowaza is. Will you elaborate on that? Also, do you mean randori as in Aikido randori or randori meaning a more "free" type of practice in general?

Thanks,

Ian

ChrisMoses
05-18-2007, 06:21 PM
Hi Christian,

I do not know what oyowaza is. Will you elaborate on that? Also, do you mean randori as in Aikido randori or randori meaning a more "free" type of practice in general?

Thanks,

Ian

A general breakdown would be as follows (and this is based on TSYR's training system as I understand it)

Kata: pre-arranged form with a specific attack and defense. Most (if not all of these) are only done on one side since many of them are done with weapons. The attack basically always happens one way, the response basically always happens one way. Both sides are working together to do the kata correctly. That doesn't mean that uke is tanking for nage, but they are offering a correct attack which fits with the response being taught. In most older systems, the senior practitioner was always the attacker side so that they could control the amount and type of resistance. The benefit of this training is that it forms a syllabus and ensures that basis of the art is transferred from generation to generation. In my sword line for instance everyone learns all of the kata in the same order. If you know what kata that person is up to, you know what they know, and what they still haven't learned.

Oyowaza: is kind of like henkawaza, it's time for the partners to experiment with different aspects of what the kata is trying to teach. Say for example a kata consists of a munetsuki attack and a kotegaeshi response done on the right side. In oyowaza, you could switch sides to get the left, play with atemi that might or might not be in the kata, use a different weapon or no weapon, change the attack to a grab or a different strike... But both parties are still working on the lesson from the kata, so one person is an attacker, and one responds with a technique. This could be done slowly, or quickly as long as both parties know what's going on. Here you get to experiment some and see if you're getting the lesson the kata has to offer. Remember, kata are lessons not "if attacked by A, do B" scenarios.

Randori: this is not like aikido randori, more like judo, but since TSYR uses a lot of atemi (and probably partly due to Toby's Wado-ryu background) this is more like sparring. But Toby was clear that this isn't just going at it full bore, it too is foundational, so it could just be drills where you don't know what attack is coming or it could be full contact sparring with no set attacker/defender roles depending on you and your partner's levels. This is where you get your reality check on how hard this stuff is to pull off, and you get to find out where your fighting strengths are.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-18-2007, 06:22 PM
Ouyou-waza generally, I think, refers to "applied" or "practical" techniques.

ChrisMoses
05-18-2007, 06:33 PM
Ouyou-waza generally, I think, refers to "applied" or "practical" techniques.

Quite true, and as such makes a lot of sense for an art like TSYR that is trying to preserve a tradition, but stay relevant as a living budo. You may not have many uses for fancy joint locks using the tsuka of your katana, but the same movements can often be applied to grabs or strikes. Kata -> tradition/syllabus oyowaza -> application/integration

Thanks, I should have included that in my response.

jennifer paige smith
05-20-2007, 10:34 AM
Eric Mead wrote:
"In the case of the wave the parameters are generally defined by externals like the shape and set of the swell that day, the shape of the bottom and of the shore and the wind across them. But even so there are infinite slight variations and combinations of angle, speed and placement so that while each wave is always basically the same shape -- each is yet also utterly unique. "

Ikkyo. Do you surf?

By the way, notice the lame way I'm having to quote people above? I've asked without a response so far, How the hell do you quote only a part of someones text? I've used the buttons below, and don't tell me to simply use the big quote button I don't want the whole text, and I still don't got it. So, someone please, how do I quote a portion of a post. It's a great feature and I'm severely handicapped in my posts without it. S.O.S.

ChrisMoses
05-20-2007, 11:24 AM
By the way, notice the lame way I'm having to quote people above? I've asked without a response so far, How the hell do you quote only a part of someones text?

Use the big quote button, in the "Reply to Thread" Message window, you will the full text of their post bracketed by [Q*OTE=Jennifer Smith;178785] and [/Q*OTE] (except "Q*OTE" will be spelled "QUOTE") Here you can delete parts of what you're quoting. Hope that helps.

jennifer paige smith
05-22-2007, 11:02 AM
Use the big quote button, in the "Reply to Thread" Message window, you will the full text of their post bracketed by [Q*OTE=Jennifer Smith;178785] and [/Q*OTE] (except "Q*OTE" will be spelled "QUOTE") Here you can delete parts of what you're quoting. Hope that helps.

Wayne's World. Wayne's World. I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy. Bow to you. Bow to you. Extereme close-up. Extreme close up.

yeah, it helped:D thank you very much..

CNYMike
05-22-2007, 05:01 PM
Wayne's World. Wayne's World. I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy. Bow to you. Bow to you. Extereme close-up. Extreme close up.

yeah, it helped:D thank you very much..

The phrase you are looking for is "Dee Dee-dee!" ;) :D

Aikibu
05-22-2007, 05:33 PM
Wayne's World. Wayne's World. I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy. Bow to you. Bow to you. Extereme close-up. Extreme close up.

yeah, it helped:D thank you very much..

PARTY ON JEN! :)

William Hazen

Ian Starr
05-23-2007, 11:36 AM
Well, I've said this before, but I think the problem you're seeing is due in large part to the grey area that aikido training exists in. Toby Threadgill has talked about the three distinct kinds of training in TSYR: kata, oyowaza and randori. The rules and expectations of each kind of training are clearly defined and further adjusted between each individual group of partners. Aikido exists almost exclusively somewhere between kata and oyowaza with almost no randori. This is a very difficult way to train. By not having distinct different kinds of training, you lose the clarity of kata, the structured exploration of oyowaza and the reality check of randori. Sound familiar?

Christian,

I have been thinking about this paragraph and the post that followed shortly after where you explained the 3 different training methods used in TSYR. You mentioned that "By not having distinct different kinds of training, you lose the clarity of kata [etc.]..." So, using only a syllabus of kata to train can result in a distortion or absence of the very elements the kata was designed to convey? That is how I am interpreting that. And while it is ironic, I can definitely see it. This is worth some discussion.

"Oyowaza: is kind of like henkawaza, it's time for the partners to experiment with different aspects of what the kata is trying to teach." I think this kind of training is very important. It is like "applied" science. Where we take things from the realm of our own construct and begin to learn about their application and validity in a larger and more interactive forum. With enough applied practice I think we are forced to understand the lessons of the kata on a much deeper level. And I would think randori or a free practice is only an extension of this process. It all seems like a very logical progression. The absence of this kind of progression in martial training, in any training, seems quite illogical.

I have much less faith in my ability to deeply and meaningfully absorb the lessons of a given kata by simply repeating the movement or interaction over and over again thousands of times over a period of years - where the last time I practiced it is basically under the same set of circumstances that I practiced it the first time - and every time in between.

Anyhow, I appreciate you elaborating on the training methods of your art. I hope I have not butchered your explanation of them. This was my interpretation.

Thanks,

Ian

ChrisMoses
05-23-2007, 12:39 PM
You mentioned that "By not having distinct different kinds of training, you lose the clarity of kata [etc.]..." So, using only a syllabus of kata to train can result in a distortion or absence of the very elements the kata was designed to convey? That is how I am interpreting that. And while it is ironic, I can definitely see it.
I may be mis-communicating this a bit. Let's move from the general to the specific for a moment. What I mean by aikido existing in a grey area between kata and oyowaza is that while there are some constraints on the uke/nage relationship, the rules of engagement are seldom very clearly defined. Let's create a hypothetical kata, we'll call it, "Kata #1." The name itself doesn't describe what happens in the kata at all, it's a title for a series of specific movements for uke and nage. Since I'm just making this up, let's make Kata#1 a LOT like something frequently found in aikido, munetsuki kotegaeshi, but let's define it further:

Uke and nage stand one tatami length apart, uke has their left foot forward in hanmi, nage has their right foot forward in hanmi. Both kiai. Uke takes one step forward and using a vertical fist strikes at nage's abdomen at the exact same time as the right foot lands, their elbow points down and while there is a slight bend to the arm, they do not re-chamber the strike. As uke strikes, nage steps forward with their left foot and deflects the strike with their left hand at uke's elbow, their right leg sweeps around to 90 degrees from the angle of attack. Their left hand drifts down to uke's right hand cupping the pad of the thumb, pressing their own thumb in between the 2nd and 3rd metacarpal on uke's right hand. From here, they draw uke around them without taking another step, then step back with the left leg and performing a basic kotegaeshi movement (right hand joins the left to cover the fingers). Uke takes a high-fall, nage rotates uke over onto their stomach and presses down through the straightened arm, uke slaps 2 times to signal that they are pinned. Nage releases the pin and takes two steps back, uke sits up, then stands, then both return to their starting positions. /end of kata#1

Note that I'm not saying this is the right way to do kotegaeshi, I'm just creating a kata so that we have something specific to talk about. OK, so this whole thing is the kata, skip any part or take too many steps or strike incorrectly (a rotated fist by uke for example) and you (meaning y'all) are doing the kata incorrectly. There is no other side to this kata, there is only one way to pin. Now, this is the kind of thing that you could pass down for generations with very little room for variation. And just because this is so specifically orchestrated doesn't mean that it's a dead encounter. Both parties have to enter into it fully. If you were to ask a student if they knew "kata#1" and they said, "yes" you would know exactly what they knew. But obviously that leaves some gaps, so after doing this they might move on to oyowaza. Maybe they agree to play with a more karate like rotated strike, or simply doing the kata on the left side, or a deflected jab followed by a committed strike which went into the kotegaeshi part. Perhaps they notice that using the same footwork from the kata, you can get to sumi-otoshi, so you explore that. Later, while sparring, one of them tries to pull off kotegaeshi and gets popped in the nose because they didn't get kuzushi. Perhaps the next time they do the kata, they look at this differently based on what they learned in sparring…

OK, so then back in aikido class, they're looking at "munetsuki kotegaeshi." One uke always likes to re-chamber her strikes and this makes it really hard to get the hand positioning for her newer partner. Another strikes and then resists against the pull of nage. To counter this, nage starts to throw in an atemi to uke's face as part of their entry. One semi-senior guy has figured out that if you strike with your elbow to the side and rotate your fist all the way over, it's almost impossible for nage to position their hand correctly. Their partner struggles for a while but then notices that uke is opening themselves up for hiji-osae so they start doing about 50/50 kotegaeshi/hiji-osae. One nage likes taking several small steps, another takes one very large tenkan step. If there are 20 people on the mat, there are 20 versions (at least) of what was being demonstrated. One thing that often happens is that while uke is allowed one attack, nage is allowed to flow and do whatever. In other words, uke strikes, nage moves in but doesn't get kuzushi, so when they go to throw uke, they run into a stable partner who doesn't fall down. Now, at that moment in true freestyle, it's over for nage, but since uke is confined to a pseudo-kata attack, they aren't able to act on this, so with the benefit of all the time in the world, nage tries to throw, then finally just uses atemi to punish uke for not going along with them and show them how "open" they were. Not quite kata, not exactly oyowaza, no where close to randori. And while everyone in class practiced, "munetsuki kotegaeshi" it's safe to say that there were many different lessons being learned. If I asked someone "do you know munetsuki kotegaeshi?" and they said, "yes" I wouldn't necessarily know what that actually meant.
Hopefully it's clear that I'm just trying to offer some specific *hypothetical* examples to clarify what we're talking about here.

I have much less faith in my ability to deeply and meaningfully absorb the lessons of a given kata by simply repeating the movement or interaction over and over again thousands of times over a period of years - where the last time I practiced it is basically under the same set of circumstances that I practiced it the first time - and every time in between.
That's a real danger, it's much easier for kata to become dead rote patterns of movement. My experience has been that arts that primarily use kata for instruction have ways of keeping things real. In my sword art, I've done some kata probably tens of thousands of times at this point, but I honestly don't know if I've ever done a single kata 100% correctly. Every time is a challenge to accomplish that, and there is always room for improvement. Further, the more times I run through a kata the more lessons come to the surface. I am constantly finding new information in kata that I have ‘known' for years. In some koryu that only train with kata, at senior levels, students are expected to be able to flow seamlessly from one kata to another based solely on their instructor's movements.


Anyhow, I appreciate you elaborating on the training methods of your art. I hope I have not butchered your explanation of them. This was my interpretation.

Thanks,

Ian

It's so hard to get at what people are actually saying on these forums, I appreciate your effort for clarity. Conversely, forgive me if I've misunderstood some of your comments. Also to be clear, I'm not a student of Toby's or TSYR, I've been to a few workshops/seminars and he's always very generous with information about his art. Where I currently train, we don't use kata per se either, but everyone is very good about adhering to the assumed rules. We make it very clear what we're doing, so if there's a particular attack, uke is expected to give that attack and not mess about. Nage is expected to stick to the script and not cheat. Then other times we're told to vamp on a theme, or do some freestyle exercises, randori, newaza, whatever. If someone isn't getting what the rules are, we point it out. If they continue to break the rules/agreement they get thumped. Fortunately that almost never happens, it's a good group.

Ron Tisdale
05-23-2007, 12:47 PM
Nice post Chris! Who does the thumping? Neil? :D

Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
05-23-2007, 12:50 PM
Nice post Chris! Who does the thumping? Neil? :D

Best,
Ron

We're equal opportunity thumpers. :D

Although in case of emergency, we would probably nominate our 'little' Samoan Fritz. Little is a relative term in Samoa...

Ron Tisdale
05-23-2007, 12:58 PM
:hypno: :blush: :eek:

Remind me when I'm out there not to need thumped... :D

B,
R

Jeremy Hulley
05-23-2007, 01:15 PM
All new guys get thumped...
Thems the rules!!!
:D :D :D
Hope you do make your way out here some time...