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Jason Mayo
07-10-2008, 11:05 AM
I recently saw this video of Seiseki Abe,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf5tBAB3YRc

at one point we see him stick his hands out and his ukes send themselves flying over.

I understand that he is one of osensei's students and is highly respected, but this looks more than a little dodgy to me.

Any comments on this?

Thanks

FiuzA
07-10-2008, 11:30 AM
Similar to this one, huh? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rHuQiugSks

Aikibu
07-10-2008, 11:52 AM
I recently saw this video of Seiseki Abe,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf5tBAB3YRc

at one point we see him stick his hands out and his ukes send themselves flying over.

I understand that he is one of osensei's students and is highly respected, but this looks more than a little dodgy to me.

Any comments on this?

Thanks

Sure...Welcome to Aikiweb

First off in ther spirit of AikiWeb why don't you introduce yourself and gives us some background on you. Then if you wish you can explain specifically what is dodgy to you. Can you speak Japanese? Understanding what they discussing in the video would be helpful to those who don't know the language. :)

Again Welcome :)

William Hazen

Jason Mayo
07-10-2008, 12:31 PM
Similar to this one, huh? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rHuQiugSks

I suppose, but again I dont really understand whats going on here either. Is there supposed to be some kind of sarchasam to both of these demonstrations, like a joke of some kind,or is it serious? In the video from your reply the crowd is laughing but the people who commented on the video seemed to take it seriously.

The Abe sensei video is similar in that the man interviewing him is in a cornball samurai outfit, but the Aikidoka in the video clip and everyone commenting seem to take it seriously, so i'm a little confused about whats going on...

Jason Mayo
07-10-2008, 01:06 PM
Sure...Welcome to Aikiweb

First off in ther spirit of AikiWeb why don't you introduce yourself and gives us some background on you. Then if you wish you can explain specifically what is dodgy to you. Can you speak Japanese? Understanding what they discussing in the video would be helpful to those who don't know the language. :)

Again Welcome :)

William Hazen

I'm assuming by the tone of your reply that your real question is "do you really have an interest in Aikido, or are you just starting another aiki bash session?" ;)

Yes I used to take Aikido but I dont any longer. And no, this isnt a bash session... I guess my real question, as I said in my other reply, would be is it serious or not? I was confused so I wanted some opinions (also, I dont speak japanese, so that would be helpful to me too).

As far as it looking "dodgy", like I said (in my other reply that hasnt posted yet, sorry!), if its a performance, thats one thing. But the others viewing the clip on youtube seem to take it seriously. As we all know, people in every dojo fall down because they think the are supposed to.Im just saying if it is supposed to be real, then were moving into dodgy territory for that reason.

Ive been thinking about this for a while, and this site seems to have a variety of opinions, so i asked the question here to try to see what others think.

Ron Tisdale
07-10-2008, 01:29 PM
If you do a search on Abe Sensei's name, you will find links to that video and similar ones, and comments as to the context. You will also find some of his current or former students who post here, and they may be able to lend some insight.

In general, I hear that the guy in the video is pretty much a goof ball, and I guess in the Japanese TV world what was done is pretty much what is expected.

But Abe Sensei is quite interesting to take ukemi from, and he is very generous with it. The one time I got to see and take a class from him, he walked up 5 flights of stairs, and threw everyone in the room, and no one took those kinds of falls, and he was over 90 at the time.

Not saying he is some kind of aiki hero...just giving a little perspective.

Best,
Ron (hope I can do that at 70, let alone 90...)

Aikibu
07-10-2008, 01:58 PM
I'm assuming by the tone of your reply that your real question is "do you really have an interest in Aikido, or are you just starting another aiki bash session?" ;)

Yes I used to take Aikido but I dont any longer. And no, this isnt a bash session... I guess my real question, as I said in my other reply, would be is it serious or not? I was confused so I wanted some opinions (also, I dont speak japanese, so that would be helpful to me too).

As far as it looking "dodgy", like I said (in my other reply that hasnt posted yet, sorry!), if its a performance, thats one thing. But the others viewing the clip on youtube seem to take it seriously. As we all know, people in every dojo fall down because they think the are supposed to.Im just saying if it is supposed to be real, then were moving into dodgy territory for that reason.

Ive been thinking about this for a while, and this site seems to have a variety of opinions, so i asked the question here to try to see what others think.

Sorry Jason but I am not assuming anything which is why I asked. :)

I watched the video and have seen the other and my opinion is to let other people have their opinion. :)

William Hazen

SmilingNage
07-10-2008, 02:19 PM
Those 2 videos are fluffier than my pillows, not exactly my cup of tea. I can see where they are going with their demos, but its not something that I subscribe to. I' ve never experienced either of those teachers, but from the video, things are very fluffy looking, with extra dose of flighty ukes.

This not exactly the kind of stuff I would should to perspective students, but to each his own.

B.J.M.
07-10-2008, 02:38 PM
They are just goofing in the video.

I trained at Abe sensei's dojo in Osaka a couple of times in 2001. He is extremely nice and generous.

He starts class by having all of his students grab him and he then throws them. He asked me to attack and grab him as hard as I could. I was a nikyu at the time and decided that I would "go for it". I grabbed and then found myself in the softest feeling front roll.

I still don't understand how he did it.

I'm not one for the "fluffy" Aikido either. My teacher is Donovan Waite sensei and there is no "fluff" with him.

Abe sensei is doing something on a different plain and closer to what O-Sensei was doing in his later years.

mathewjgano
07-10-2008, 10:46 PM
Any comments on this?

Thanks
My guess is that these are connectivity exercises.

Upyu
07-11-2008, 06:43 AM
My guess is that these are connectivity exercises.

Bingo :D

Actually, at one point he shows the comedian some movement and the guy says "oh ...so it travels from the other arm?" and Abe replies "Wow, you're really smart!" Exactly" or something to that effect.

Connection through the back for the arms... -_- Why they would be showing this stuff on tv beats me though.

As far as a lot of demos go, it's not bad. If you understand Japanese :D

shadowedge
07-11-2008, 08:18 AM
Connection through the back for the arms... -_- Why they would be showing this stuff on tv beats me though.

From a broadcaster's perspective, I've noticed that the Japanese media is swamped with tons of shows like these. Sort of a hybrid live informative documentary with a savvy mix of humor. :)

As for the flying uke's part ~ I'll take Ron's and Brent's word for it. Deep down, I've always had doubts as to how far one can push your Ki skills. It's inspiring to see and hear about. But its something I believe we as akidoka can come to understand only with more experience.

~ either way --- I find it fascinating. I really love Aikido hehehe :D

Ron Tisdale
07-11-2008, 08:44 AM
As for the flying uke's part ~ I'll take Ron's and Brent's word for it.

Nah, don't do that. If you get the opportunity take the ukemi for your self and see what you think. I just tried to supply some context.

Some times I enjoy (as uke) striving to give shite the best possible connection from my center to work with. Just to put things in the best possible way for shite to do the waza, and the best possible way for me to experience their power. I enjoy recieving it, especially from certain instructors and partners. It's a blast. These aren't "truly martial" interactions in a lot of cases...but they are aikido.

Other times I try to maintain my integrity, and let shite make all the connections on their own in terms of making the waza happen. It just depends on what seems called for, needed, desired, enjoyable etc at that moment. I can enjoy many different modes of keiko.

Doesn't mean you should take the pill... :D

Best,
Ron

dbotari
07-11-2008, 08:48 AM
Doesn't mean you should take the pill... :D


Or drink the Kool Aid. ;)

Ron Tisdale
07-11-2008, 09:57 AM
Bingo!

I should probably add that when shite is 90 plus, I am not concerned about "resisting", or having him prove something...I am concerned about feeling what he is doing, how he is doing it, what effect it has, etc. If flowing with him allows me to experience that stuff, great! If I don't feel or experience anything remarkable, that's fine...I'll take the ukemi and be happy I trained with a 90+ guy who knew the founder and is still getting on the mat. Probably won't go around telling people "hey, I didn't feel him do anything". Probably won't take the next boat to China to train with that person, either...

Best,
Ron

Jason Mayo
07-11-2008, 01:08 PM
My guess is that these are connectivity exercises.

Thats fine if they are actually connected, but if you watch both videos, especially the one FiuzA replied with, theyre not connecting at all. Nage is waving his hands around and uke is just jumping.

So my question now is, whats the point of being involved in something theatrical or "fluffy"? Ive seen osenseis ukes do some things in demonstrations that i would call questionable, but this is a little rediculous....

Jason Mayo
07-11-2008, 01:21 PM
Bingo!

I should probably add that when shite is 90 plus, I am not concerned about "resisting", or having him prove something...I am concerned about feeling what he is doing, how he is doing it, what effect it has, etc. If flowing with him allows me to experience that stuff, great! If I don't feel or experience anything remarkable, that's fine...I'll take the ukemi and be happy I trained with a 90+ guy who knew the founder and is still getting on the mat. Probably won't go around telling people "hey, I didn't feel him do anything". Probably won't take the next boat to China to train with that person, either...

Best,
Ron

This is another thing Im not getting. So just because your training partner is old, you should take it easy on them? And worse yet, just "take the ukemi"????

So just cause someones old, they dont need to sharpen their skills? I learned the hard way more than once how offended some more "seasoned" martial artists get when this sort of thing happens.

But maybe thats not what these individuals want anyways. Maybe they WANT to just wave their hands and have people pretend to fall down for them....

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-11-2008, 01:22 PM
...just goes to show you that what you don't know may ended up hurting you ...a lot.

.

Ron Tisdale
07-11-2008, 03:38 PM
Well, let's think about this a bit Jason. I don't know how old you are, but I'm 47. So, let's say an instructor is 90, and maybe has valuable things to teach.

Are you saying that a 47 year old 175 pound man should go hell bent for leather after a 90 year old say, 135 or less pound man? Who has unrealistic expectations of aikido here? What exactly do you want to learn? How to maximize whatever power your body can generate? How to beat up seniors? How do you approach taking that ukemi?

And are you telling me that you know of no other way of helping him sharpen his skills than beating up on him?

Personally, I was shocked at the relaxed power from a man over 90 that I should be able to push over with one finger. I learned a lot from that seminar (in Iowa, with Abe Sensei). I didn't go all that way from Phila. to beat up on a 90 year old. I went there to see if I could learn something.

If I want an MMA match, I know where I can get those in Philadelphia.

I think Abe Sensei wanted us to CONNECT...and then what happens happens. Again, hope I can do the same at 90.
Best,
Ron (the best course is something in the middle, as always...)

mathewjgano
07-11-2008, 04:28 PM
Bingo :D

Actually, at one point he shows the comedian some movement and the guy says "oh ...so it travels from the other arm?" and Abe replies "Wow, you're really smart!" Exactly" or something to that effect.

Connection through the back for the arms... -_- Why they would be showing this stuff on tv beats me though.

As far as a lot of demos go, it's not bad. If you understand Japanese :D

Woohoo! I got one! :D
...now I wish I had something better than a pre-schooler's vocabulary in Japanese.
Does he explain the purpose of the no-touch stuff that went on? What is your take on them?

mathewjgano
07-11-2008, 05:15 PM
Thats fine if they are actually connected, but if you watch both videos, especially the one FiuzA replied with, theyre not connecting at all. Nage is waving his hands around and uke is just jumping.

So my question now is, whats the point of being involved in something theatrical or "fluffy"? Ive seen osenseis ukes do some things in demonstrations that i would call questionable, but this is a little rediculous....

Well they are connecting their movements even though they aren't connecting physically. If you picture nage as holding something like a jo, some of the movements seem more practical to me. Beyond that, my guess is that these are coordination and responsiveness exercises. I know in my own training, sparse though it's been, it's been stressed that I should have a sense of connection before during and after contact. Perhaps this is one way of building that mental connection. The mention of sympathetic movements in another thread comes to mind. Perhaps the goal is to develop that sympathetic connection of movements. I don't really know though.

Jason Mayo
07-13-2008, 10:51 AM
And are you telling me that you know of no other way of helping him sharpen his skills than beating up on him?

Im not saying anyone should beat up on anyone, im just asking why anyone would just "take ukemi" if nothing happened?

Jason Mayo
07-13-2008, 11:06 AM
Well they are connecting their movements even though they aren't connecting physically. If you picture nage as holding something like a jo, some of the movements seem more practical to me. Beyond that, my guess is that these are coordination and responsiveness exercises. I know in my own training, sparse though it's been, it's been stressed that I should have a sense of connection before during and after contact. Perhaps this is one way of building that mental connection. The mention of sympathetic movements in another thread comes to mind. Perhaps the goal is to develop that sympathetic connection of movements. I don't really know though.

If they wanted to train coordination and responsiveness, why not just do it with real technique?

I cant count the number of times i heard a sensei tell a new student "now just take a roll". And ten times out of ten, that student stopped coming back, probably because they werent interested in something theatrical.

Why cant people accept that this is what is happening in these videos, only on a much greater level? I can see the purpose of such techniques as kaiten-nage or tenchi-nage, for example, that arent really effective in a martial sense but are more of a "forging technique".I dont like them, but i can see the point. But these demonstrations are taking that concept into a VERY theatrical area....

Aikibu
07-13-2008, 12:54 PM
If they wanted to train coordination and responsiveness, why not just do it with real technique?

I cant count the number of times i heard a sensei tell a new student "now just take a roll". And ten times out of ten, that student stopped coming back, probably because they werent interested in something theatrical.

Why cant people accept that this is what is happening in these videos, only on a much greater level? I can see the purpose of such techniques as kaiten-nage or tenchi-nage, for example, that arent really effective in a martial sense but are more of a "forging technique".I dont like them, but i can see the point. But these demonstrations are taking that concept into a VERY theatrical area....

Two things....

One.Read Shaun Raven's post again and ask yourself have I ever taken Ukemi from Abe Sensei (hint: he has)
Two: Besides not speaking or understanding Japanese and having never practiced personally with Abe's Sensei what qualifications do you have that allow me to put your observations in the proper context?

William Hazen

mathewjgano
07-13-2008, 02:32 PM
If they wanted to train coordination and responsiveness, why not just do it with real technique?
Because it's easier to respond when you're physically connected? What I'm guessing could be done any number of ways...and I'm not even sure that's the purpose.

I cant count the number of times i heard a sensei tell a new student "now just take a roll". And ten times out of ten, that student stopped coming back, probably because they werent interested in something theatrical.
100%? Sounds like theatrics isn't much of an issue then.

Why cant people accept that this is what is happening in these videos, only on a much greater level? I can see the purpose of such techniques as kaiten-nage or tenchi-nage, for example, that arent really effective in a martial sense but are more of a "forging technique".I dont like them, but i can see the point. But these demonstrations are taking that concept into a VERY theatrical area.

For all I know you're right. However, considering what accounts I've been reading about Seiseki Abe, I'm assuming there's something more to it than mere theatrics.

mathewjgano
07-13-2008, 03:08 PM
Im not saying anyone should beat up on anyone, im just asking why anyone would just "take ukemi" if nothing happened?
Perhaps it's more of a sympathetic movement exercise then?
On proper trigger control (http://http://www.rifleshootermag.com/shooting_tips/trigger_092105/index1.html): "The thumb and index finger work as a team, and this teamwork is in use countless times in a day (pick up a coin to see it). Technically, it's called "sympathetic movement," which means that when one moves, the other is ingrained to move also."
This last part seems to fit. Of course it can be either bad or good, but considering the idea of harmonizing with other people's movements, maybe there's some value to it. I've personally found sympathetic movement to be pretty useful.

Lyle Bogin
07-13-2008, 03:24 PM
I think once you see aikido as communication, you'll find that this demonstration was rather impressive on everyone's part... from the Sensei's ability to join with his ukes and draw out their highest level of respect, to uke's sincerity in accepting what nage has to offer.

Aikido shares many aspects with other martial arts, but it's focus on "leading" or "guiding" or "michibiki" is one thing that really sets it apart.

When I asked Imaizumi Sensei, who took ukemi for O'Sensei towards the end of his life, what he remembered about the great old man's technique, he said (in his way) "he had a lot of energy and his ability to guide was most impressive". In this film the same holds true.

If you don't like "theatrics" you're in the wrong game. Try out for the local MMA team and stop hating.

Takahama
07-13-2008, 09:56 PM
Reading this thread has reminded me about a handycam video cassette I found a few months ago when moving house. It has about 18 minutes of Abe sensei demonstrating and teaching in Osaka in 1995.

I've just finished uploading it now, the link is here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1611466919635892971&hl=en

Sorry about the sound/vision quality - these things are not my forte at all. And the last five minutes should have been cropped.

I hope the clip may have some educational benefit for us.

Regards,

Michael

Takahama
07-14-2008, 12:02 AM
Reading this thread has reminded me about a handycam video cassette I found a few months ago when moving house. It has about 18 minutes of Abe sensei demonstrating and teaching in Osaka in 1995.

I've just finished uploading it now, the link is here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1611466919635892971&hl=en

Sorry about the sound/vision quality - these things are not my forte at all. And the last five minutes should have been cropped.

I hope the clip may have some educational benefit for us.

Regards,

Michael

With my apologies, I have removed the clip since I haven't sought permission to share it.

George S. Ledyard
07-14-2008, 12:48 AM
Im not saying anyone should beat up on anyone, im just asking why anyone would just "take ukemi" if nothing happened?

This is really the wrong question... it doesn't allow for new learning because it assumes that you already understand what is going on. A better question would be "what is going on that I don't understand that produces that ukemi?"

I have seen the same type of energy work done by someone like Michael Ryabko of the Systema. If you simply observe it, it looks fake. It looks fake because we don't have a mental paradigm which includes that type of work. It really needs to be felt

I will say that "aiki" is about using the various sensory inputs, including the intuition to move the mind. Most people's experience of excellent Aikido is limited largely to the sense of touch with quite a bit of vision input.It starts to get really interesting when someone is good enough to start communicating using your intuition (consciousness).

It make a sort of sense because it is certainly the mind which moves the body. If one can move the partner's mind, he will them move his body. My still somewhat limited understanding of how this works bears this out. I have both had technique done to me on this level and I have also worked a bit on this type of thing myself.

Anyway, there is so much stuff out there that simply is outside of my current comprehension that I keep an open mind until I can experience it myself.

I think that Watanabe's work is understandable but he has his uke's acting as amplifiers for the energy he puts out. I have taken ukemi for him and he quite able to hurl me around the mat but he wasn't doing energy projections at ten feet either. It's one thing to train oneself and ones students to develop a high level of sensitivity but it's quite another to train them to be "reactive". "Fudoshin" is about having that highly developed "sensitivity" but having no "reactivity".

Just looking at the film clips, I would say that Abe Sensei's work was more subtle. Watanabe is shooting for the same thing but isn't there. Abe Sensei's stuff is more interesting. I'd love to have had the experience of taking some ukemi from him... that's the real test.

I would simply say that all of the really interesting stuff out there is the stuff you don't understand. I have so may friends who form all sorts of opinions about styles and teachers with whom they have absolutely no direct experience. Most of them have stopped getting any better. They are stuck because their seeking is restricted by their understanding. As far as I am concerned, the least interesting stuff to work on is what is already understood. I think folks should work more outside their comfort levels.

Upyu
07-14-2008, 02:49 AM
theyre not connecting at all. Nage is waving his hands around and uke is just jumping.


Er uh... you should be looking for connectedness in Abe, not "to" anything or anyone in particular.
And Abe is definitely connected... even if his Uke's are being dive bunnies a bit much in the vids.

Same stuff, different perspective:
http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM5p6ZkA
Anyone that can do these skills could probably see that what this old dude in the vid is doing is genuine. Anyone else would probably call "faKeSoRZ!" :D

Does it mean he can pwn a young guy rushing at him like a screaming banshee? Probably not.
But how many times does it have to be reiterated that having these skills, and putting them to use in fighting, are two different things ;)

Upyu
07-14-2008, 02:57 AM
Woohoo! I got one! :D
...now I wish I had something better than a pre-schooler's vocabulary in Japanese.
Does he explain the purpose of the no-touch stuff that went on? What is your take on them?

Nah, he's pretty vague about the no-touch stuff. He just says it's "ki" and lets it go at that. Then again, its a tv show produced for entertainment value, and he's probably well aware of that fact, which is why he doesn't go any further.

The no touch stuff is stuff I won't "touch." :D
It's an interesting study that's got its place with study of the fascia etc, but as far as they relate martially...I'd say it's a big "???."
Besides, just developing "normal" jin/ki/kokyu stuff is hard enough as it is without worrying about how much of the woo woo crap is psychological or physical ^^;

KamiKaze_Evolution
07-14-2008, 05:17 AM
Thinking about Yanagi Ryuken

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

Ron Tisdale
07-14-2008, 10:53 AM
George, really good post.

Rob, thanks for posting that.

My issue with this stuff is there is no way to really explain what value there is to it. You either get hands on with it, or you don't. As you say, the martial value is a question mark, other than maybe the proper sensitivity can help you learn to read your opponent.

And the bunny diving doesn't help the perception.

Best,
Ron

da2el.ni4na
07-14-2008, 12:20 PM
I will say that "aiki" is about using the various sensory inputs, including the intuition to move the mind. Most people's experience of excellent Aikido is limited largely to the sense of touch with quite a bit of vision input.It starts to get really interesting when someone is good enough to start communicating using your intuition (consciousness).
................
I would simply say that all of the really interesting stuff out there is the stuff you don't understand. I have so may friends who form all sorts of opinions about styles and teachers with whom they have absolutely no direct experience. Most of them have stopped getting any better. They are stuck because their seeking is restricted by their understanding. As far as I am concerned, the least interesting stuff to work on is what is already understood. I think folks should work more outside their comfort levels.

Communication is a key word. A specific question I asked Ushiro sensei about his "stopping people in their tracks" was what if the attacker was on drugs or enraged and not seeing anything. Someone like that isn't really taking in input so of course reaching them through communication doesn't happen. And in that case it's a matter of grasping how much input/communication is possible with that person in conjunction with how to deal with that person physically. (Several times Ushiro sensei said he didn't do anything to the attacker because he would have had to harm him/her. Despite this sounding like "Drink my kool-aid" I think he was talking about the attacker (seminar participant) charging in with tunnel vision.)

Along the lines of communication, in teaching a beginner I myself would ask them just to fall for me ie "take my word for it". I'm asking them to initially behave as if they're perceiving something, then perhaps later they're more "set up" to perceive it. Of course this doesn't jive with a "prove it to me" student attitude. And of course the danger is the instructor deluding him/herself that he/she is sending out those outputs for the student to perceive when in fact they may be lacking or nonexistent. How to police oneself...

George S. Ledyard
07-14-2008, 03:06 PM
As you say, the martial value is a question mark, other than maybe the proper sensitivity can help you learn to read your opponent.

Hi Ron,
I think that people generally misunderstand what is going on in this type of practice. So many folks in Aikido have an empty hand mentality, and one that isn't based on very deep empty hand skill at that.

This stuff came from weapons training originally. Once one is past the basics in sword for instance, it's really all about connection. If you attack when the opponent isn't open, you are dead. It's not a matter of being tough enough to take a punch, or being grounded enough to resist a throw... it's an inch and a half deep touch to the heart, a slice to the throat, a quick cut that lops off a hand...

Since very few folks train with anyone who is capable of single blow fight finishing strikes, the need for this type of sensitivity isn't there. The ability to take a hit becomes important. You can trade blows as long as you protect the most vulnerable targets. You can stop a technique because the opponent will only hit you rather than cut or stab you with a blade.

I think what you are seeing in this type of practice is sensitivity work for it's own sake. The nage is "communicating" with his partner, letting him know that the space is already taken, the uke takes ukemi as he feels the openings shift and close. Whereas this type of sensitivity has a central place in certain types of martial application, especially deadly force encounters, this type of practice is no more "applied" than normal Aikido Kihon Waza is "applied".

From the standpoint of why one would train that way... well, it much depends on why one is training in the first place. As is evident from many of the posts one sees here, there is a lot of focus in many people's practice on self defense and fighting. Most people's understanding of what they are doing is thoroughly physical / mechanical. If, however, one does a lot of sword work, this level of connectivity makes perfect sense.

If one trains with the Systema folks, they work to develop this type of sensitivity as well and their training methodology isn't all that different from what Abe Sensei is doing... However, since the focus of Systema can be a bit more practically oriented than Aikido, they take it one step further. They also train in not giving away any energetic signals that the opponent can read. They practice striking with no intention, making it extremely difficult to feel it coming. Ushiro Sensei also talks about the same thing...

Anyway, to my way of thinking, Aikido folks need to do a lot of work learning how to communicate on this level before we are ready to talk about how to be deceptive with ones communications. That's why this stuff looks so exaggerated... in a sense, it is. Abe is really blasting his attention out there for the uke to feel. It's not a subtle kind of touch, he is really projecting... He isn't trying to hide anything from the uke, rather he is putting it out there quite clearly and the uke moves his body as the energy seems to dictate. It's not about resisting, it's not about fighting; it's about really letting go of ones own tension so that one can really receive what is being projected.

if one wants to talk about the benefits of training for ones daily life, I strongly suspect that this type of practice develops more skills that can be used to make ones life better than being un-throwable or having a one punch knockout, both skills that are great for fighting but have limited applicability any other time in ones life.

Aikibu
07-14-2008, 03:19 PM
Hi Ron,
I think that people generally misunderstand what is going on in this type of practice. So many folks in Aikido have an empty hand mentality, and one that isn't based on very deep empty hand skill at that.

This stuff came from weapons training originally. Once one is past the basics in sword for instance, it's really all about connection. If you attack when the opponent isn't open, you are dead. It's not a matter of being tough enough to take a punch, or being grounded enough to resist a throw... it's an inch and a half deep touch to the heart, a slice to the throat, a quick cut that lops off a hand...

Since very few folks train with anyone who is capable of single blow fight finishing strikes, the need for this type of sensitivity isn't there. The ability to take a hit becomes important. You can trade blows as long as you protect the most vulnerable targets. You can stop a technique because the opponent will only hit you rather than cut or stab you with a blade.

I think what you are seeing in this type of practice is sensitivity work for it's own sake. The nage is "communicating" with his partner, letting him know that the space is already taken, the uke takes ukemi as he feels the openings shift and close. Whereas this type of sensitivity has a central place in certain types of martial application, especially deadly force encounters, this type of practice is no more "applied" than normal Aikido Kihon Waza is "applied".

From the standpoint of why one would train that way... well, it much depends on why one is training in the first place. As is evident from many of the posts one sees here, there is a lot of focus in many people's practice on self defense and fighting. Most people's understanding of what they are doing is thoroughly physical / mechanical. If, however, one does a lot of sword work, this level of connectivity makes perfect sense.

If one trains with the Systema folks, they work to develop this type of sensitivity as well and their training methodology isn't all that different from what Abe Sensei is doing... However, since the focus of Systema can be a bit more practically oriented than Aikido, they take it one step further. They also train in not giving away any energetic signals that the opponent can read. They practice striking with no intention, making it extremely difficult to feel it coming. Ushiro Sensei also talks about the same thing...

Anyway, to my way of thinking, Aikido folks need to do a lot of work learning how to communicate on this level before we are ready to talk about how to be deceptive with ones communications. That's why this stuff looks so exaggerated... in a sense, it is. Abe is really blasting his attention out there for the uke to feel. It's not a subtle kind of touch, he is really projecting... He isn't trying to hide anything from the uke, rather he is putting it out there quite clearly and the uke moves his body as the energy seems to dictate. It's not about resisting, it's not about fighting; it's about really letting go of ones own tension so that one can really receive what is being projected.

if one wants to talk about the benefits of training for ones daily life, I strongly suspect that this type of practice develops more skills that can be used to make ones life better than being un-throwable or having a one punch knockout, both skills that are great for fighting but have limited applicability any other time in ones life.

What a beautiful post Sensei Ledyard. Thanks for today's lesson and reinforcing some basic principles behind practice. :)

William Hazen

George S. Ledyard
07-14-2008, 03:22 PM
(Several times Ushiro sensei said he didn't do anything to the attacker because he would have had to harm him/her. Despite this sounding like "Drink my kool-aid" I think he was talking about the attacker (seminar participant) charging in with tunnel vision.)


Sometimes developing proper sensitivity is better done the hard way. Vladimir Vasiliev was working with a fellow at one seminar and moved as if to strike his partner. The energetic intention to create movement was there for anyone watching to see, yet his partner didn't react at all. So, on the next movement Vlad actually gave him a hit. Low and behold the next time he threw the same strike, the partner was moving.

This goes beyond the simple idea of negative reinforcement... it hurts if I stand still so I will move.... The pain involved with taking a hit of this type actually stimulates the nerves and begins to develop a body based sensitivity that allows one to feel a blow coming before it arrives. Since most of us in Aikido do not actually strike our partner's when they are unresponsive, it is more difficult to develop this type of sensitivity. I have seen Ushiro Sensei totally let an uke off the hook rather than hurt him and then the uke went away thinking that Ushiro Sensei hadn't been able to do anything to him. Everyone watching could see that the fellow was simply too full of tension, mental and physical, to perceive what Ushiro was putting out. The only option was to hit the guy and Ushiro chose not to.

I do not think that this type of training should be too difficult if the proper uke / nage relationship is trained. It just can't be some kind of competition... that won't work. But if both party's treat the training interaction as instructional and that their purpose is to facilitate their partner's learning, then I think it can be done properly.

ChrisMoses
07-14-2008, 03:58 PM
This goes beyond the simple idea of negative reinforcement... it hurts if I stand still so I will move.... The pain involved with taking a hit of this type actually stimulates the nerves and begins to develop a body based sensitivity that allows one to feel a blow coming before it arrives. Since most of us in Aikido do not actually strike our partner's when they are unresponsive, it is more difficult to develop this type of sensitivity. I have seen Ushiro Sensei totally let an uke off the hook rather than hurt him and then the uke went away thinking that Ushiro Sensei hadn't been able to do anything to him. Everyone watching could see that the fellow was simply too full of tension, mental and physical, to perceive what Ushiro was putting out. The only option was to hit the guy and Ushiro chose not to.

This is a general statement and not aimed at Abe Sensei or any of the other folks already referenced in this thread...

The danger with this kind of 'shaping' training is it can lead to the kind of stuff you see with Dillman and the Kombat Ki folks, where their students have been hit so many times at critical places that pantomiming these impacts can result in real physical reactions (like passing out). Unfortunately, those kinds of real and dramatic results are only possible with those students who have been properly shaped for these demonstrations to work. In my opinion, that becomes the realm of the parlor trick. Yes there are dense people out there, who have trained out many of their natural self-preservation responses, but there are also those people out there who have trained *in* vulnerabilities and responses that did not exist before. If we're to study budo, then even if we're going to go along with the throw (something we all do for safety in some situations) then we still have to go into that with both sides of the encounter fully aware that we are making those compensations/assumptions AND be careful not to train those vulnerabilities to the point that they become detriments to our own martial ability.

Aikibu
07-14-2008, 04:58 PM
If we're to study budo, then even if we're going to go along with the throw (something we all do for safety in some situations) then we still have to go into that with both sides of the encounter fully aware that we are making those compensations/assumptions AND be careful not to train those vulnerabilities to the point that they become detriments to our own martial ability.

Amen. Witness the massive growth of Aiki-Bunnies over the last 20 years.

William Hazen

Charles Hill
07-14-2008, 06:35 PM
How to police oneself...

Hi Dan,

I think the key point is the psychological structure of the training. In the Japanese/Aikido model we have the Neo-Confucian idea of a vertical hierarchy, as you have described. The beginner can't do "it" and the reason is because he/she can't understand "it." So the beginner must have "beginner's mind" and trust you as sempai, sensei as teacher, and Aikido as method.

Systema has a different structure. We practice "for real" but what is emphasized again and again is to really care about our partners, what Mr. Ryabko would probably call Christian love. His advice to beginners is to "be a good person." The primary idea behind practice is "non-destruction." My experience is that every long time Systema practitioner is someone who is very kind AND can hit you very hard. Both things seem to be necessary.

So in my thinking, to gain real ability in Aikido, adherence to the vertical teacher/student, sempai/kohai structure is necessary. In Systema, the development of compassion and empathy is essential.

Charles

FiuzA
07-14-2008, 06:36 PM
I would simply say that all of the really interesting stuff out there is the stuff you don't understand. I have so may friends who form all sorts of opinions about styles and teachers with whom they have absolutely no direct experience. Most of them have stopped getting any better. They are stuck because their seeking is restricted by their understanding. As far as I am concerned, the least interesting stuff to work on is what is already understood. I think folks should work more outside their comfort levels.

Thank you Sensei Ledyard, to emphasize such an important aspect in our (all of us) aikido training. In my opinion, that's really a shortcut (or possibly the only road) in the DO to higher knowledge.

That is why I only mentioned the Watanabe Sensei's demo and didn't give any opinion, simply because of that: just didn't understand.

I understand a little bit more now. Hehe.

Thank you all for enlightening me.

Best

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-14-2008, 06:53 PM
I am reserving my comments on the video and both what people think they are seeing in the video (irregardless of what Abe Sensei is saying in the video - think rocket science simplified for kindergarteners) and what is actually going on there. I will say this though...

As many of you know, I am about as far from Aiki-bunny as one could get, both as uke and nage. However, for many years I tried to be the "sensitive" uke for Abe Sensei because I wanted to feel what he was doing on many levels, including physically, with his breath and even his intention. Abe Sensei pointed out that I should be looking for these things, and I was. But I want to be very clear - If I ever even bent my knee to take ukemi and it was in any way disproportionate to exactly what he was doing or how he was throwing me, he would stop me mid-stride and have me correct my posture and start over. Abe Sensei is 5 feet tall and probably weighs less than a 100 pounds. Until I had been training with him for more than 10 years I could never move him, break his posture and certainly never throw him irregardless of anything I tried to do - and I tried it all. That is not to say what would have happened had I walked up behind him and hit him over the head with a chair... that is a story for another day.

I used to think all kinds of things about the sensitivity of the uke, and the importance of training with that in mind. I still feel that most focus way too much on throwing, and way to little on ukemi. I see it every day at every dojo. However, one thing is certain now, as it has been made clear to me by my own specific martial influences - it should really never matter what the uke is doing, how much he outweighs me, nor what skills he has as a martial artist or as an uke. If I can not control them completely and lift their feet off the ground in less than a split second and complete control where they go, how they land and with how much force, then I am only fooling myself into thinking that I have merely but introduced myself to what martial arts are really about. Me...? I have tested my teachers completely. I have tried to expose their weaknesses, knock them down, knock them out, catch them by surprise and resist their techniques at every level - all to no avail. This includes Abe Sensei, in his 90's. Had the results been different, I would have other teachers. Wouldn't you?

You are free to form whatever opinion you want of some made for TV special video clip on the internet. One thing is for sure though and that is when Abe Sensei wants to throw you, and I mean outside of the introductory level waza that 99% of the students receive 99% of the time, you will hit the ground and not be sure at all as to how you got there. It will most definitely not be because you threw yourself, either. On the rarest of occasions when Abe Sensei had me truly attack him, he threw me in a manner that, short of when I broke my car into four pieces, was more physical than anything I have ever experienced before or since.

If you do nothing other than read this thread and be open to the fact that there are people out there, Abe Sensei being one of them, the gentleman in the video that Rob John posted being another, who are at a level that is beyond what most people even understand as higher martial abilities and understandings, and it moves you in some fashion to even consider that there may be other ideas to embrace, then you will be one giant step closer to where it is that you are saying you are trying to get.

.

Aikibu
07-14-2008, 07:24 PM
Thanks Shaun you make some excellent points especially about being able to control Uke no matter what Uke does that is a high level goal.

All I know is along time ago I ended on my back or in a pile on the other side of the mat despite my years of Martial Arts training and fighting. That's how my journey in Aikido started.

There are folks who skill level I will never come close to much less master...However one must always give his/her best. :)

William Hazen

jennifer paige smith
07-14-2008, 08:26 PM
You are free to form whatever opinion you want of some made for TV special video clip on the internet. One thing is for sure though and that is when Abe Sensei wants to throw you, and I mean outside of the introductory level waza that 99% of the students receive 99% of the time, you will hit the ground and not be sure at all as to how you got there. It will most definitely not be because you threw yourself, either. On the rarest of occasions when Abe Sensei had me truly attack him, he threw me in a manner that, short of when I broke my car into four pieces, was more physical than anything I have ever experienced before or since.

If you do nothing other than read this thread and be open to the fact that there are people out there, Abe Sensei being one of them, the gentleman in the video that Rob John posted being another, who are at a level that is beyond what most people even understand as higher martial abilities and understandings, and it moves you in some fashion to even consider that there may be other ideas to embrace, then you will be one giant step closer to where it is that you are saying you are trying to get.

.

Sean, Thanks for another of many good posts recently.
If I could re-write this post for myself, I would write in the names of Kato Sensei and Anno Sensei for Abe Sensei(since I haven't had the distinct pleasure). And I could say similar things about my training as Sensei Ravens has done. True,true,true!!!!!

I thought of a metaphor last night:
After one 'gets hit plays chicken' with oncoming traffic several times, one learns to intuit and turn the wheel a little sooner.

Thank you Sensei Mack Truck!

Jen

DH
07-14-2008, 11:20 PM
If you do nothing other than read this thread and be open to the fact that there are people out there, Abe Sensei being one of them, the gentleman in the video that Rob John posted being another, who are at a level that is beyond what most people even understand as higher martial abilities and understandings, and it moves you in some fashion to even consider that there may be other ideas to embrace, then you will be one giant step closer to where it is that you are saying you are trying to get..

To Shaun and Ron

I think that this video will do nothing but cause serious people to doubt. I think its worth noting that there are men of power who would NEVER allow the sort of things displayed in this video. Their control is through connection, or power release through contact. No cooperation is needed or asked. Why would he do this stuff?
This is nothing more than over exaggerated flinch response, coupled with ukemi skills. Not to take away from Mr. Abe. I am not addressing his purported skills. Let’s say they are everything claimed. Having power-has not one thing to do with ukes training to be sooo overly sensitive that they throw themselves through the air with "perceived" movement from him. It's not martially relevant in any way and the degree of sensitivity displayed by the uke? Will not get you even one step closer to power and aiki then if you never trained at all.

And why would you spend a ten year curve to increase your sensitivity to his movements -to be thrown? I would have imagined that 3 or 4 years out the training would have caused the opposite effect. Why didn't the sensitivity to his movements start to preclude, and make it far more difficult for most any attempt at throwing you.

Again I'm not making any comment about Abe sensei’s power at all. I am just offering that there is a distinction between having "it" at any level and "what" those guys are choosing to "do together." Which has not one thing to do with having...it.

Ron and Shaun
Since you both trained with him, can anyone state where an equal amount of time spent training structure, retained balance and intent would not be more beneficial then learning to dodge and throw yourself from a perceived hand signal?
Was his regular training like this? I have dealt with real power before. Never once did I consider throwing myself as an option. Was the whole video just one big goof? I heard and thought he was a more seriously skilled type.

DH
07-15-2008, 06:21 AM
Hi George
I was up late and missed reading your post explaining the practice. I guess its worse than I thought. I was hoping it was all a joke or some kind of singular-thought nutty-exhibition for the comic.

As a sensitivity drill -where are the benefits that you couldn't devise a better method for? Or would you adopt this in your school as well?
What if you stood there and kept your balance, and worked your way in to try and throw him? What would change? Does he have enough aiki to throw a retained balance, noncooperatve,( meaning no ukemi-destroyed) aiki trained man? Could he take the balance of someone playing ...him in the same manner? Would he respond to a superior trained power output by throwing himself and calling it good?

In my mind a more useful approach for sensitivity like that is to dodge perceived power ( if you can't neutralize it) while managing myself and fit into and dominate the space between his output, Either that or sensing his openings and powering right through the man. Hell, even displacing through positioning is a better option. Going negative and throwing myself seems like the stupidest thing a man could do.
Why on earth, would anyone choose to fall down as a response to power output?
Why not train to increasingly absorb it and stay ahead of it and redirect, neutralize, and reengage and so forth as a sensitivity Training drill? Wouldn't you think that dealing with and managing his force, neutralizing it and countering and throwing HIM seems the better option to throwing yourself on the ground as a "drill."

It's bad enough to see inept to marginally successful throws based off of volunteerism, and an ukemi-destroyed structure. Aerial throws as a response to input just seems to be a huge step backward. .

Can you tell me a single benefit to that type of training that you personally do not know a superior method to use?

Rupert Atkinson
07-15-2008, 06:22 AM
If you think watching that vid is going to make your Aikido better you are barking up the wrong trree. There is something to be learned in being a super responsive uke, but you had better base what you learn on a more solid method, which I would not be surprised that they actually do normally. It looks more like a bit of a show for some kind of TV thing.

nagoyajoe
07-15-2008, 06:51 AM
Rupert and Dan are 100% correct. I would even go further: junk is junk and that was, indeed, junk. A lot of people, Abe-sensei excluded, lose the martial aspect of aikido. This video does nothing to further our studies of the art, nor does it lend credibility to aikido. A sad display indeed, especially for someone who has been living in Japan and training in aikido as long as I have.

Ron Tisdale
07-15-2008, 10:12 AM
Hi Dan,

I trained with Abe Sensei for about two days in Iowa. We did nothing like what is in the video at that time.

As has been stated, there is some "goof" in the video...it was done for the "gamey" side of Japanese TV, and I think it should be taken as such.

As for any other comments, I've said what I have to say on this, and I'm pretty much done with it...people will decide for themselves. I'm happy with that. As for internal training as I am pursuing it...no, that has nothing to do with the video.

Best,
Ron

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-15-2008, 11:46 AM
To Shaun and Ron

I think that this video will do nothing but cause serious people to doubt.

Hi Dan,

Well of course, you are entitled to your opinion. As for me, speaking from my own experience, a little doubt is always a good thing to keep in the back of one's mind. Would you not agree? While I may not be the most serious martial artist on the planet, I am very sincere. Now if you ask me, sincerity and skepticism go a long way towards balancing each other over time. I have chosen not to comment on the video, itself. As such, I am thoroughly enjoying the varied display of people talking out their pie holes about which they know less than nothing.

I think its worth noting that there are men of power who would NEVER allow the sort of things displayed in this video.

I think it is important to mention the context within which the video demonstration takes place. From what I can tell it seems as though it is a demonstration for some teen television show. That being the case, I believe inspiring young minds by planting a seed is certainly more valuable than showing them that you can break someone's arm using Aikido techniques. Wouldn't you agree?

...Their control is through connection, or power release through contact. No cooperation is needed or asked.

I agree. I stated so using very clear language as to that fact in my last post. But I believe that my viewpoint and yours as to how "connection, or power release through contact" relates to O-Sensei's Aikido versus how it relates to DRAJ, (or whatever model it is with which you identify) is very different. This goes back to my posts regarding Gan-Sa-Tan-Riki, which readers are free to find on this site. Suffice it to say that in my opinion, based upon what you have written on this site about Aikido versus Aiki...do, and your questions, statements and observations about the video in post #1 that you are currently only seeking proficiency/mastery of levels Tan through Sa. Of course, I am certainly open to the fact that you may be hiding some other level of knowledge that you have, or of which you have come in contact with, but have yet to find access to.

Why would he do this stuff?

I want to make two things clear. First, I do not speak for Abe Sensei. Only Abe Sensei could answer your question. I would suggest you ask him directly. Second, If there is one thing I have learned in martial arts it is that while I might venture a guess as to what it is I am currently learning, which direction I am heading, where I will end up, or why it is that Abe Sensei did, said, didn't do or didn't say this, that or the other thing, I would most certainly be right and wrong some percentage of the time. Based upon this, I let him lead and don't try to second guess anything.

This is nothing more than over exaggerated flinch response, coupled with ukemi skills.

Actually, that is about as far from the truth as could be possible. My suggestion would be to pack a bag, get on a plane and find out for yourself.

Not to take away from Mr. Abe. I am not addressing his purported skills. Let's say they are everything claimed. Having power-has not one thing to do with ukes training to be sooo overly sensitive that they throw themselves through the air with "perceived" movement from him. It's not martially relevant in any way and the degree of sensitivity displayed by the uke?

I appreciate your respectful tone. I also completely agree with your point about "power" whatever that may actually be, and its causal/effect relationship with Uke. As to how, where or when sensitivity to the smallest of movements could be seen as anything else than "martially relevant, well, let's just say that I could not disagree with you more on this subject. I will say more about that in response to some of your other points.

Will not get you even one step closer to power and aiki then if you never trained at all.

Power and Aiki... hmmm? Again, while we may both be training to bring about an apparent similar result, it is the differences that I will continue to point at in my posts. I equate the differences in this manner - we each want to exert complete control over our surroundings. With this in mind you seek to up the volume on power and aiki as you define them. You are extending yourself outwards, rooted in internals, ground connection and the like. All good stuff, about which I am sure you could teach me many things. I hope to have the opportunity to feel what it is that you have been working on at some point. As for me, I am not trying to gain control over my circumstances with these things, as important as they are. Why? Because there will always be someone who is more powerful, or has better Aiki. So, what else is there that would preclude any opportunity to be outdone by another? Well, if one asks themselves this question and meditates on the answer long enough you come to know that it is the direct opposite of power release and aiki-age. With such a thought and a sincere desire to discover what that is and just how to do that, I would imagine that one would need to find a teacher to guide them. Wouldn't you agree Dan?

And why would you spend a ten year curve to increase your sensitivity to his movements -to be thrown?

Its a good question Dan. I would be surprised if you didn't already know the answer to that question. I like the curve symbolism. It is a great visual to use when describing one's martial path. As to your question, I ask a questions, "How long did it take Einstein to come up with http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/emc2/emc2form.JPG?" Did he just sit down at a desk and plug away at it until he came up with a solution? No, he opened himself up to other things which peripherally enhanced his ability to move forward. I choose Einsteing and his formula because they are the most relevant - think black holes and their effect on light - one can see that it is because matter and energy are one and the same that one will inflict its will on the other. However, those are meditative concepts and for another thread, perhaps.

I would have imagined that 3 or 4 years out the training would have caused the opposite effect. Why didn't the sensitivity to his movements start to preclude, and make it far more difficult for most any attempt at throwing you.

Another great point Dan. I think it took slightly less time in fact to see that exact result, only not with Abe Sensei, just with everyone else.

Again I'm not making any comment about Abe sensei's power at all. I am just offering that there is a distinction between having "it" at any level and "what" those guys are choosing to "do together." Which has not one thing to do with having...it.

When Takemusu Aiki is present, there is no "together" - conceptually two things that are joined - rather there are no things at all. It is the difference in thinking how 1 differs from 2 versus how 1 differs from 0. Mathematically the answer is always 1 in each case. However, the concept of zero is mathematically superior to the concept of either 1 or two. 1 and 2 are numbers. 0 is the opposite to infinity. When we talk about infinity we are talking about God. From a humanistic perspective it is like trying to understand the difference between the three sayings "God created man" "man created God" and "God created God." The first two, while maybe accurate at some level are dualistic in nature, and the third is, well... the superior truth when all is considered.

Since you both trained with him, can anyone state where an equal amount of time spent training structure, retained balance and intent would not be more beneficial then learning to dodge and throw yourself from a perceived hand signal?

Since the observation about what is being displayed is, in itself, flawed, any conclusions based upon said observations would be also flawed.

Was his regular training like this?

Yes and no. It depends on which training one attended. As I am very sure you are aware, there are various levels taught at every traditional dojo. What one learns at one level is countered at the next level. Interestingly, about six years into my training I was able to observe the rank and file testing. Low and behold kyu through dan training was straight out of Iwama. Truth is, I had never participated in any class that focused on basic waza. I thought they just didn't focus on that at all. I was both surprised at and amazed by how technically proficient the students were at basic waza. To see them performed at the 6th dan level was even more amazing as I would have sworn that they had never even trained in such a manner.

I have dealt with real power before. Never once did I consider throwing myself as an option.

Well, there might be some reasons to get out of the way, say to avoid a sword, a horse, an arrow. But, once again Dan, that isn't what we are talking about. What we are alluding to is whether or not there is some level where one can not only not keep their balance, but that they are propelled with such efficiency of energy, such conservation of movement and with such a dramatic impact that one would be injured had he not spent as many years as it takes to be proficient at taking ukemi at such a level when one was not expecting to have to do so at all because he was so surely convinced that he could not be thrown.

Was the whole video just one big goof? I heard and thought he was a more seriously skilled type.

Dan, not for nothing, but truth be told, it really wouldn't matter what I said here. I could tell you that Abe Sensei has a big "S" on his undershirt and a cape under his dogi, that he can bounce bullets off his eyeballs and blow out building fires with one breath. Even if that were true... would you believe me? Probably not. But, if it all were true, would you not only want to know about it, but be curious enough to want to experience it for yourself?

...?
...??
...???

So Dan, would you like for me to arrange for you to ask Abe Sensei, yourself?

.

Mark Gibbons
07-15-2008, 01:07 PM
Hi Dan,

When Takemusu Aiki is present, there is no "together" - conceptually two things that are joined - rather there are no things at all. It is the difference in thinking how 1 differs from 2 versus how 1 differs from 0. Mathematically the answer is always 1 in each case. However, the concept of zero is mathematically superior to the concept of either 1 or two. 1 and 2 are numbers. 0 is the opposite to infinity. When we talk about infinity we are talking about God. From a humanistic perspective it is like trying to understand the difference between the three sayings "God created man" "man created God" and "God created God." The first two, while maybe accurate at some level are dualistic in nature, and the third is, well... the superior truth when all is considered.

.

Shaun,

Is there a specific culture or tradition where the above paragraph makes sense? It doesn't work mathematically. I'm trying to figure out how to interpret your remarks.

Sincerely,
Mark

ChrisMoses
07-15-2008, 01:15 PM
Its a good question Dan. I would be surprised if you didn't already know the answer to that question. I like the curve symbolism. It is a great visual to use when describing one's martial path. As to your question, I ask a questions, "How long did it take Einstein to come up with http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/emc2/emc2form.JPG?" Did he just sit down at a desk and plug away at it until he came up with a solution? No, he opened himself up to other things which peripherally enhanced his ability to move forward. I choose Einsteing and his formula because they are the most relevant - think black holes and their effect on light - one can see that it is because matter and energy are one and the same that one will inflict its will on the other. However, those are meditative concepts and for another thread, perhaps.

I would point out that Einstein published the paper that contained that formula (and 3 others) at the ripe old age of 26. :cool:

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-15-2008, 01:43 PM
Shaun,

Is there a specific culture or tradition where the above paragraph makes sense? It doesn't work mathematically. I'm trying to figure out how to interpret your remarks.

Sincerely,
Mark

Hi Mark,

The simple stuff

Mathematically these two are the same, the difference being 1.
2-1=1
0+1=1

The less simple stuff

The idea of zero being "nothing" goes far beyond numbers. Culturally, religiously philosophically and martially, the ideas of approaching infinity (maximum centrifugal) and the approaching the void (maximum centripetal) may very well be argued as what drives the forces within the universe. Maybe even so far as what created the universe. There is a concept in macrobiotics where something becomes so yin (or yang), known as "super-yin" (or "super-yang") that it turns in on itself and becomes the opposite yin becomes yang, yang becomes yin. In terms of direction infinity becomes the void, or visa-versa. This is where extending out to infinity at the speed of light will allow one to be anywhere in space/time, including nowhere and never.

Here are some relevant quotes from Wikipedia:



Background Info
Records show that the ancient Greeks seemed unsure about the status of zero as a number. They asked themselves, "How can nothing be something?", leading to philosophical and, by the Medieval period, religious arguments about the nature and existence of zero and the vacuum. The paradoxes of Zeno of Elea depend in large part on the uncertain interpretation of zero.

Quotations

The importance of the creation of the zero mark can never be exaggerated. This giving to airy nothing, not merely a local habitation and a name, a picture, a symbol, but helpful power, is the characteristic of the Hindu race from whence it sprang. It is like coining the Nirvana into dynamos. No single mathematical creation has been more potent for the general on-go of intelligence and power. G.B. Halsted

Dividing by zero...allows you to prove, mathematically, anything in the universe. You can prove that 1+1=42, and from there you can prove that J. Edgar Hoover is a space alien, that William Shakespeare came from Uzbekistan, or even that the sky is polka-dotted. (See appendix A for a proof that Winston Churchill was a carrot.) Charles Seife, from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

...a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit. But its very simplicity and the great ease which it lent to all computations put our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions. Pierre-Simon Laplace

The point about zero is that we do not need to use it in the operations of daily life. No one goes out to buy zero fish. It is in a way the most civilized of all the cardinals, and its use is only forced on us by the needs of cultivated modes of thought. Alfred North Whitehead

...a fine and wonderful refuge of the divine spirit--almost an amphibian between being and non-being. Gottfried Leibniz

Perhaps you had some specific ideas that you wanted to postulate to refute the ones I mentioned, or specific questions that you would like me to try and better address in a PM.

.

DH
07-15-2008, 01:59 PM
Hi Dan,
So Dan, would you like for me to arrange for you to ask Abe Sensei, yourself?
.
Shaun
No thanks
I would be more happy to have him try and throw me either that way in particular or in any other way he thought possible. Hell I won't even fght back, I'll just use my meager understanding to try and absord and redirect, you know-try and keep up. I'll just be standing there and moving a little bit and seeing what power level and understanding of aiki he has-one on one. I don't want to hurt the guy or cause harm. As you can tell, I am just not buying it-even for one minute. I went down this road with some big shots before, from diverse arts. Does he come to the States?

DonMagee
07-15-2008, 02:02 PM
I just want to comment on something that came up on page one about going at a 90 year old man with 'resistance'.

I am the probably the most vocal supporter of resistance training on this forum. I spend the majority of my posts trying to convey information and dispell false theories on what resistance training is and how it can be used to benefit any physical activity. However, even I would not go full bore at a 90 year old man. I would respect him, go with the flow and take a fall. Does that mean his stuff doesn't work? No it means I am a in shape 28 year old guy with years of training. Beating a 90 year old man (without his expressed request) would show nothing. Of course if he asked me to try my hardest to punch him in the face, well, I guess it's his own fault if he isn't ready.

You do not need to fight your teacher to get better. Resistance training is not resistance against everything training. There is a time for both. There are great boxing coaches out there that do not get in the ring and spar their fighters to prove their teachings. My judo coach is a multiple national champion and 70 years old. I do not need to randori him to know what he is telling me is correct. I can see it though applying his teachings in my sparing against other students at my level and above me.

In short (do I really have a short?) Aliveness training is good to help integrate and expand your own personal abilities, not for testing the abilities of others.

Josh Lerner
07-15-2008, 02:03 PM
As for me, I am not trying to gain control over my circumstances with these things, as important as they are. Why? Because there will always be someone who is more powerful, or has better Aiki. So, what else is there that would preclude any opportunity to be outdone by another? Well, if one asks themselves this question and meditates on the answer long enough you come to know that it is the direct opposite of power release and aiki-age. With such a thought and a sincere desire to discover what that is and just how to do that, I would imagine that one would need to find a teacher to guide them.

I've never quite understood the argument that the pursuit of power is in some sense fruitless because there will always be someone more powerful than you. If you are training for the "direct opposite of power release and aiki-age", isn't it also the case that there will always be someone who is better at *that* than you are?

It seems to me that regardless of whether you are learning to use either power or a skill that "precludes any opportunity to be outdone by another", the same rules apply. I'm assuming that Abe sensei is better at that skill than you are; therefore, there is as much a skill gradient there as there would be with gaining power. The question goes from "how powerful can you become" to "how well can you learn to use the opposite of power", yes? If you are better at using your skill than I am at using internal power, you win. If I am better at using internal power than you are at using your skill, I win. The skills may be opposites, but the process is the same - you keep practicing to get better at something, which minimizes the chances that you are going to come across someone who is better at what they do than you are at what you do.

Josh

DonMagee
07-15-2008, 02:06 PM
I just try to be the best I can be at everything I do. If there is someone out there who is better then me, and he wants to take my life, there is naught I can do about it.

I accept that I can lose. I embrace it. Then I learn to minimize it.

lifeafter2am
07-15-2008, 02:09 PM
I just try to be the best I can be at everything I do. If there is someone out there who is better then me, and he wants to take my life, there is naught I can do about it.

I accept that I can lose. I embrace it. Then I learn to minimize it.

You mean to say that Aikidoka are not invincible?!?! Damn you Steven Segal! :p ;)

Thomas Campbell
07-15-2008, 02:10 PM
[snip]
Same stuff, different perspective:
http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM5p6ZkA
Anyone that can do these skills could probably see that what this old dude in the vid is doing is genuine. Anyone else would probably call "faKeSoRZ!" :D

Does it mean he can pwn a young guy rushing at him like a screaming banshee? Probably not.
But how many times does it have to be reiterated that having these skills, and putting them to use in fighting, are two different things ;)

Same stuff, different perspective? I'm not sure.

Wang Yongquan at age 83 (maybe 84), confined to a chair:

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=6-_qR-sP9js

Wei Shuren, student of Wang Yongquan:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Vaogb-2vdrU

Demonstrations of sensitivity (ting jin) and internal connection. The partner's body becomes your body. A useful step on the way. But it may not be the same way that Dan Harden describes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snYlMC6gUoM&NR=1

Same stuff, different perspective? I think Akuzawa's "stuff" is closer to what Dan writes about than the taiji or bagua demonstrations. The methods the old Chinese gentlemen are showing tend to discuss how to directly affect the 'yi,' or intent + awareness, of the partner/opponent--leading it, tricking it, perhaps taking advantage of wired-in human reflexes relating to standing upright in gravity, perhaps playing with mirror-neuron systems or other elements of proprioception and "body maps" in the brain--the same stuff--maybe, but with a markedly different emphasis.

Akuzawa feels like someone in a passing roller coaster has suddenly grabbed you and taken you along for the ride.
Akuzawa is the roller coaster. Older Chinese gentlemen demonstrating the skills shown in the first couple of clips tend to lure you into the roller coaster car by holding the door open for you--they just don't get in with you.

Putting this to use in fighting?

To even consider that, you need to have the internal connection skills in the first place, to begin to feel what's possible.

Feeling people who can demonstrate this skill can be an inspirational first step to engaging in the training.

DH
07-15-2008, 02:11 PM
He Josh
I agree totally
It seems many assume 'power" to be a type of fixed strength to go through people. That is only one small portion of power. I could argue the opposite as well, having power to stand there and not receive much direct power as possible and be able to redirect it while retaining a higher percentage of retained balance without stress.
you can stress the balance of most people with relative ease, then use directed force to undo them. Most I have met are simply undone when meeting the guys out there who's centers they cannot touch while they are moved all around. that level of sensitivity and softness can be ghosty soft, fleeting and hard to find or hit you like and anvil and crush you. So power is not a single entity. It is myriad, it is power in use.
Having great body conditioning for internal power- leads to aiki. Or you could say "is aiki" if you were trying to be short.
In my view you can have the former without the later but you cannot have the later without the former.

Ron Tisdale
07-15-2008, 02:14 PM
Don, excellent post.

Best,
Ron (are you injured again? Or just bored on judo.com :D)

Aikibu
07-15-2008, 02:16 PM
I just want to comment on something that came up on page one about going at a 90 year old man with 'resistance'.

I am the probably the most vocal supporter of resistance training on this forum. I spend the majority of my posts trying to convey information and dispell false theories on what resistance training is and how it can be used to benefit any physical activity. However, even I would not go full bore at a 90 year old man. I would respect him, go with the flow and take a fall. Does that mean his stuff doesn't work? No it means I am a in shape 28 year old guy with years of training. Beating a 90 year old man (without his expressed request) would show nothing. Of course if he asked me to try my hardest to punch him in the face, well, I guess it's his own fault if he isn't ready.

You do not need to fight your teacher to get better. Resistance training is not resistance against everything training. There is a time for both. There are great boxing coaches out there that do not get in the ring and spar their fighters to prove their teachings. My judo coach is a multiple national champion and 70 years old. I do not need to randori him to know what he is telling me is correct. I can see it though applying his teachings in my sparing against other students at my level and above me.

In short (do I really have a short?) Aliveness training is good to help integrate and expand your own personal abilities, not for testing the abilities of others.

Wow...Thanks Don...I could not have said this any better. I was about to post something like this myself.

In the old Dojo Crashing Days The Tradition is You did not get to waltz up and challange the Sensei You had to deal with his junior then senior students first...If you wanted to test that Dojo's technical acumen

Some posted that vid of the Chinese 94 year old man demonstrating his awesome IMA Skills and I did not see one Aikidoka post the desire to attack him to prove his technique...

Here's ABE Sensei having fun and sharing his knowledge with a curious outsider and some folks want to dis him for it...

With all due respect...Meet me at the Dojo. :)

William Hazen

DH
07-15-2008, 02:20 PM
Don
Asking would be a waste of time. There are levels of resistance that are profound and refined and not gross resistance. What do you think I was offering to do? I'm a gentleman. The former-is a trained skill that is demonstrable and obviously different than a 28 yr old going after a 90 yr old guy. Come on guy.
There are easy and small finite tests, larger tests, static and moving tests, and then while I am a lowly mudansha in Aikido I can fly and move quite well. So offering a shomen or a wrist grab, or just standing there and seeing if he can "suggest" I fall, can be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon for both parties. In fact I'd be willing to bet no one even breaks a sweat.;)
That type of training is empty and requires conditioned responses or it will not work. It is that simple.

Shany
07-15-2008, 02:25 PM
i wonder if he can dodge a punch from me when he does the 'kicking your ass with KI' thingi ...

DH
07-15-2008, 02:26 PM
Some posted that vid of the Chinese 94 year old man demonstrating his awesome IMA Skills and I did not see one Aikidoka post the desire to attack him to prove his technique...

And outside of your inflammatory remark where did you see that here? Inflating comments are rarely productive in a discussion.
The 94 yr old guy was doing small tests and display of skill involving........touching and grabbing.
No one was flying through the air by a hand signal.
Lets see I saw a video of Chinese guy who was in his 70's that was interesting. I went to meet him too. He had real power was not afraid to show it and delvered. In fact he delighted in it. There was no whining..and no "fighting" either. Though he did try a bit.
tests William...tests. What part of two posts did you miss?
Here's ABE Sensei having fun and sharing his knowledge with a curious outsider and some folks want to dis him for it...
With all due respect...Meet me at the Dojo. :)
William Hazen
Well actually it was a given that it was a goof till others said yeah...he does train that way too. By and large the discussionwas more that that ypt of training we have all seen before is empty. Shaun chose to defend it as relevent.
There is nothing personal here.

Aikibu
07-15-2008, 02:47 PM
There is nothing personal here.

Believe it or not...My post was not meant to be personal either and was not solely directed at you...

But since you mentioned it. I would love to have a visual point of referance from you personally; So that I may better understand the points you are trying to make. :)

Take Care.

William Hazen

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-15-2008, 02:59 PM
I've never quite understood the argument that the pursuit of power is in some sense fruitless because there will always be someone more powerful than you. If you are training for the "direct opposite of power release and aiki-age", isn't it also the case that there will always be someone who is better at *that* than you are?

Hi Josh,

SO GLAD YOU ASKED!!!!! the simple answer is, "NO!" - I would say that your conclusion is based upon a "Western minded" method of analysis. This is not a case where we compare when I make you cry by hitting you and you make me cry by hitting me harder. We know where that will lead us. This is more of a case where you want to hit me, but I make you cry from loving you. Where might that lead us?

It seems to me that regardless of whether you are learning to use either power or a skill that "precludes any opportunity to be outdone by another", the same rules apply.

No!!!! Simply speaking, let's talk about peace for a moment. Imagine what it would look like if we tried as hard as we could and fought to the death. As a result one of us then died. You and yours would now have peace, right? Now imagine what it would look like if we tried as hard as we could to not fight at all. Instantly there would also be peace, peace of a very different sort. You see, while you may have viewed what I was talking about as opposites skills, they are not skills which are out to produce the same result at all. This is a categoric shift in thinking produced by the way of Aiki. I don't think that is in any way the same as what Dan is talking about when he talks about AIkido, or Aiki...do and how that relates to Power and Connection from his view of things.

.

Aikibu
07-15-2008, 03:07 PM
Don
Asking would be a waste of time. There are levels of resistance that are profound and refined and not gross resistance. What do you think I was offering to do? I'm a gentleman. The former-is a trained skill that is demonstrable and obviously different than a 28 yr old going after a 90 yr old guy. Come on guy.
There are easy and small finite tests, larger tests, static and moving tests, and then while I am a lowly mudansha in Aikido I can fly and move quite well. So offering a shomen or a wrist grab, or just standing there and seeing if he can "suggest" I fall, can be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon for both parties. In fact I'd be willing to bet no one even breaks a sweat.;)
That type of training is empty and requires conditioned responses or it will not work. It is that simple.

Let's See Abe Sensei practice with O'Sensei...O'Sensei performed many of the same "conditioned response" techniques late in his life on film...So several conclusions can be drawn from this simple premise

O'Sensei taught Abe Sensei and what O'Sensei was teaching is authentic
O'Sensei taught Abe Sensei and what O'Sensei was teaching was a series of not very good parlor tricks...

There are many many layers of this rhetorical fallacy as you know Dan so do we really need to parse them?

here's another one from my perspective as a dear reader... Rob Liberti whom I respect greatly and have started to develop a good friednship with says you're the real deal. I believe him

Shaun Ravens who has personally taught by Abe Sensei and is a great dude whom I have practiced with says Abe Sensei is the real deal and I believe him...

I am confused Why does this thread have to be like Thunderdome?

it is equally possible with regard to Internal Power

A. Both You and Abe Sensei are wrong
B. Both you and Abe Sensei are right
C. Abe Sensei is wrong and you are right
D.If Abe Sensei is wrong then O'Sensei is wrong because Abe Sensei learned from him
E. Abe Sensei is right and you are wrong
F. We're comparing Apples to Oranges
G. I have been hit on the head too many times with a surfboard

help me out here and the rest of the gentle readers. :)

William Hazen

Aikibu
07-15-2008, 03:10 PM
Hi Josh,

SO GLAD YOU ASKED!!!!! the simple answer is, "NO!" - I would say that your conclusion is based upon a "Western minded" method of analysis. This is not a case where we compare when I make you cry by hitting you and you make me cry by hitting me harder. We know where that will lead us. This is more of a case where you want to hit me, but I make you cry from loving you. Where might that lead us?


Man Shaun you continue to blow me away with the right thing to say. thanks for this. A perfect expression of Aikido.

Now I really have to go to work. Yes even folks in Malibu have to work once in a while LOL

William Hazen

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-15-2008, 03:14 PM
Well actually it was a given that it was a goof till others said yeah...he does train that way too. By and large the discussion was more that that type of training we have all seen before is empty. Shaun chose to defend it as relevant.
There is nothing personal here.

Dan,

Pardon me, but I did no such thing. There are people in this thread who without any direct experience of anything even remotely close to what is happening in that video have decided that
They know for sure what is going on there.
They can lessen or even eliminate the value of it
Point at others who may be seeking something very relevant and say they are wasting there time doing so.


I did not defend the "something" that you have dismissed. I pointed out that there may be "something" there that you
Have yet to feel
May have felt, but have yet to understand
May understand, but have yet to accomplish
May have accomplished, but have yet to master


Pointing out something that may, in fact be true is not defending some irrelevant sensitivity-based ukemi drills, far from it in fact.

By the way, I did not take your post personal at all, I think this is a very relevant discussion and being held at a fairly high level of respect in discourse.

.

DH
07-15-2008, 03:14 PM
I would say that your conclusion is based upon a "Western minded" method of analysis.
This is a categoric shift in thinking produced by the way of Aiki. I don't think that is in any way the same as what Dan is talking about when he talks about AIkido, or Aiki...do and how that relates to Power and Connection from his view of things..
Actually it is and it is from my largely Western mindset as a Christian. I was attracted to Aikido for its stated goals. I left because I didn't see it being able to fulfill them. Actually I found DR and Koryu jujutsu, Judo and taiji far just as capable if not more so of completing Ueshiba's goal of peaceful resolution.

Now, I find Aiki to be the penultimate of of the potential for non fighting. I don't want to talk about me except to say I have stopped some rather interestingly capable people in without hurting them. There are many methods and means to neutralizing power without aggression Shaun. Aikido does not and never has had a corner on it.
Ueshiba got Aiki from Takeda, then caught on to using aiki in a way that could be less violent. Though he most certainly has been a violent man himself.
Practicing the physical form is but one aspect, and not the greatest.

DH
07-15-2008, 03:22 PM
Pointing out something that may, in fact be true is not defending some irrelevant sensitivity-based ukemi drills, far from it in fact.

By the way, I did not take your post personal at all, I think this is a very relevant discussion and being held at a fairly high level of respect in discourse.


Hi Shaun I had that post up and didn't see all the other ones until later sorry.
I'm happy for the level of discourse too.
I missed what you were pointing out. Help me out here.

1. We are agreeing that no one is touching each other
2. Are you stating there is a force throwing someone?
3. Are you stating that the ukes are rolling involuntarily?
4. Are you stating that this will work on someone not pre-conditioned to respond?
5. Or are you stating that there is most certainly preconditioning, that there is no force and it is an exercise that will not work on just anyone, but it is good for your aikido training?
Thanks in advance

DH
07-15-2008, 03:25 PM
Hi WIlliam
No thunderdome exists except in YOUR mind.
We're talking training method here guy...not fighting.
I'm starting to believe you about the surfbaord hitting your head too often :-)

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-15-2008, 03:26 PM
Actually it is and it is from my largely Western mindset as a Christian. I was attracted to Aikido for its stated goals. I left because I didn't see it being able to fulfill them. Actually I found DR and Koryu jujutsu, Judo and taiji far just as capable if not more so of completing Ueshiba's goal of peaceful resolution.

Fair enough, Dan. I would ask you to clarify how any of the peaceful resolutions of which you speak are like that of O-Sensei's Aikido. By the way, I am not saying that they are not, but I am curious to see things from your perspective.

Now, I find Aiki to be the penultimate of of the potential for non fighting. I don't want to talk about me except to say I have stopped some rather interestingly capable people without hurting them.

With love Dan? Or was it more with the lovely techniques of Aiki, I wonder?

There are many methods and means to neutralizing power without aggression Shaun. Aikido does not and never has had a corner on it.

Unlimited, in fact.

Ueshiba got Aiki from Takeda, then caught on to using aiki in a way that could be less violent. Though he most certainly has been a violent man himself.

Yes, Dan, quite correct, but from where I stand Aiki and Aikido are two very different things. From where I stand I think you might say that they are different versions of the same thing. Of course, I could be wrong about what you might say, or you could be wrong having said them.

Practicing the physical form is but one aspect, and not the greatest.

Amen, to that, brother! Amen, to that.

.

DonMagee
07-15-2008, 03:35 PM
Don
Asking would be a waste of time. There are levels of resistance that are profound and refined and not gross resistance. What do you think I was offering to do? I'm a gentleman. The former-is a trained skill that is demonstrable and obviously different than a 28 yr old going after a 90 yr old guy. Come on guy.
There are easy and small finite tests, larger tests, static and moving tests, and then while I am a lowly mudansha in Aikido I can fly and move quite well. So offering a shomen or a wrist grab, or just standing there and seeing if he can "suggest" I fall, can be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon for both parties. In fact I'd be willing to bet no one even breaks a sweat.;)
That type of training is empty and requires conditioned responses or it will not work. It is that simple.

I'm not saying he should be above testing. While I personally do not hold value in many of the tests aikidoka do, I am not apposed to testing instructors of any age. In that regard I have tested my judo instructor. He has done throw lines and uchi komi with me and I do not give him my balance, I do not let him throw me, i stand there. I do not however resist him attempts to throw me.

It comes down to how you define resistance. If i was to test someone's aikido with resistance, I would attack them (with permission of course). I would either attempt to use my abilities to leverage them into submission (strikes, throws, pins, submissions, etc) or I woudl define a drill to work in and use that frame work to attempt to accomplish whatever goal I was given (strike nage, take nage down, pin nage, etc) To me, resistance training is not a full force shomen strike to the gut, but rather a free form expression where I am told to strike you, but not given direction as to where to strike from, how to strike, when to strike, etc.

But I am off my point. My real point is you do not need to test an instructor to test his training methods. You can do it in two easy ways:

1) Practice his methods, try it out yourself in an alive situation and see how it holds or fails. In the case of something like this, you probably do not want to go this path (unless you have years to potentially waste). This is a great way to test a cardio workout, or a bjj technique or teaching method, not so good on this aiki stuff.

2) Find someone willing to (and a good representative of) that instructor and 'play' with them. I can tell a great deal about a persons training by how they react to a strike, or a grap, or even a single step towards them.

I am not a fan of the attempt to lock down a static technique during drills to test your partner. I wouldn't dream of for example not allowing my partner to armbar me during a armbar drill. That is the time to work on form and build up speed. The time to learn to adjust to resistance is during the alive parts. In the case of the armbar drill, we would switch to I have to pass his guard, he has to submit me or sweep. Now he can see how that armbar fits into a persons real, and not what we think a person would do, reaction.

and Ron,
I'm not injured, just stuck at work (which is basically the same thing :D )

Ron Tisdale
07-15-2008, 03:39 PM
@ Don,

Hey, ain't it great to be employed though?!?! :D

Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
07-15-2008, 03:40 PM
Hi Josh,

SO GLAD YOU ASKED!!!!! the simple answer is, "NO!" - I would say that your conclusion is based upon a "Western minded" method of analysis.

That darn Josh and his Western mindset, if only he could be exposed to some Eastern thinking... :D (If you know Josh's background, you know why this is teh funnay).

This is not a case where we compare when I make you cry by hitting you and you make me cry by hitting me harder. We know where that will lead us.

I don't need to speak for Dan, but this simply isn't what he's talking about.

This is more of a case where you want to hit me, but I make you cry from loving you. Where might that lead us?

Can you go into more detail about what your talking about here (in real physical terms)? I'm having a hard time imagining how this can happen in an Aikido scenario. I've had a lot of people try to describe to me what they were doing in terms like these, but they were always using subtle strategies and dynaics that had nothing to do with my happy place. This is not a meant as a strawman or rhetorical question, I'm trying to understand what you're saying here.

Dunken Francis
07-15-2008, 03:54 PM
.... I think to really comment with a degree of conviction I'd like to have first-hand experience and "feel" what's going on here.,,

DH
07-15-2008, 04:26 PM
That darn Josh and his Western mindset, if only he could be exposed to some Eastern thinking... :D (If you know Josh's background, you know why this is teh funnay).


Hi Chris
I didn't want to out him I just died laughing:D He is the wifebeater t -shirt ,rolled up lucky strikes sort of guy though itdn't he now?
I'll make sure I bring it up when I see him this week
..."No Josh see, this is an Asian sort of mindset, you might want to consider the bridge between India and China and Japan" ...over...and over...and over:p
WAAAITT what am I saying. He'll start talking about it. Never mind.

Thomas Campbell
07-15-2008, 04:48 PM
Hi Chris
I didn't want to out him I just died laughing:D He is the wifebeater t -shirt ,rolled up lucky strikes sort of guy though itdn't he now?
[snip]

Rolled up sleeves with a packet of "Double Happiness" acupuncture needles.

Josh Lerner
07-15-2008, 05:33 PM
Hi Josh,

SO GLAD YOU ASKED!!!!! the simple answer is, "NO!" - I would say that your conclusion is based upon a "Western minded" method of analysis. This is not a case where we compare when I make you cry by hitting you and you make me cry by hitting me harder. We know where that will lead us. This is more of a case where you want to hit me, but I make you cry from loving you. Where might that lead us?

Thank you for making my point for me! If I wanted to hit you, but you made me cry from loving me, it means that you were better at loving me than I was at wanting to hit you. Maybe that's because I didn't really want to hit you - I just wanted attention, or some sort of human connection.

But what if you weren't so good at loving me - maybe your love was tainted without you realizing it by self-concern, or judgement, or was conditional? And if I really just wanted to hit you? Then maybe I would be better at hitting you than you were at loving me, and then I made you cry.

In my Western-minded way of looking at it, it still comes down to who is, in some sense, better at what they do. And both things require experience or training, and you grow in your skills.


Now imagine what it would look like if we tried as hard as we could to not fight at all. Instantly there would also be peace, peace of a very different sort.

I don't understand your point about both of us trying as hard as we could not to fight. Sure, that's a very different kind of peace. One that wouldn't require any martial training at all to uphold, in fact. I'm personally not very interested in training in an art that allows me to stay peaceful only in the face of an attacker who is trying very hard not to fight with me.


You see, while you may have viewed what I was talking about as opposites skills, they are not skills which are out to produce the same result at all. This is a categoric shift in thinking produced by the way of Aiki. I don't think that is in any way the same as what Dan is talking about when he talks about AIkido, or Aiki...do and how that relates to Power and Connection from his view of things.

.

Well, I would say that they are both out to produce the same result in the sense that the result is that you keep yourself (or other people) safe in the face of aggression. How you are doing that may be categorically different, or it may not, but either way it's still going to be a skill that you need to deepen through practice and experience, just like gaining internal power is.

And as for the rest of you . . . :p You know that I am a strictly materialistic Cartesian dualist who doesn't go in for all that Buddho-Daoist stuff.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. Some of my best friends are Eastern-minded.

Josh

rob_liberti
07-15-2008, 05:56 PM
Well, I think I can relate a bit to something Shaun was talking about here.

I remember visiting a friend in a different dojo (under a different shihan who has/had more of a violent repuation than others).

I was just happily doing basic waza and I didn't do the exact perscribed ukemi. I was just really into what was going on, and I was so joyful about being there and doing that thing we call aikido together that the guy who typically would try to break you in half for challenging his waza by not going exactly where he wanted you to go, just kind of wispered (take another backstep before bailing out) - and it was one of those absolutely quiet training dojos.

So I adjusted and all was well in the universe. After class that guy - under ranked sandan at the time - told me that he was a bit suprised himself that things went that way. He had been working on really punishing anyone who didn't do the "safe" thing, and was a little suprised that we had such an interchange.

All I could think was - well that's because what *I* practice is overwhelming people with my joy of training - and it worked - yet again.

I remember training with Gleason sensei and really opening up my feeling to him so I would stop being so suprised by where I was going to be randomly thrown. After a while, I think he had been going through some dark time on the home front, I noticed that he could show up to teach and be obviously all pissed off. After about 3 ukemis - I would have concentrated my joy of aikido so much that he would start to laugh and smile. I was like - WOW this stuff is powerful - I'm a master. :) Oh my gosh, then later I realized that this worked both ways, that the uke could feel how the nage was feeling a bit too. Man THAT SUCKED. I had to face the fact that I could no longer be a teacher who outwardly was friendly to a student who I didn't like too much - because if they trained the way I wanted to train - they would absoultely know. I thought - WOW THIS SUCKS - I HAVE TO CHANGE. And I did. I made a lot more progress, and I got a lot less fake with people. So now I'm blunt and honest - and if people don't like it that's perfectly fine.

Anyway if this has nothing to do with what Shaun was talking about then sorry for the interruption.

Rob

Aikibu
07-15-2008, 06:44 PM
Hi WIlliam
No thunderdome exists except in YOUR mind.
We're talking training method here guy...not fighting.
I'm starting to believe you about the surfbaord hitting your head too often :-)

No worries Dan. All in good fun. My articulation sucks.

I am still trying to wrap around the idea that somehow a TV Show of Abe Sensei has any relevance to the discussion how good his Aikido actually is...

William Hazen

FiuzA
07-15-2008, 07:12 PM
Mr. Hazen,

there's the Watanabe Sensei one as well. That one it's not a tv show ;)

Aikibu
07-15-2008, 08:07 PM
Mr. Hazen,

there's the Watanabe Sensei one as well. That one it's not a tv show ;)

So? Your point is?

William Hazen

eyrie
07-15-2008, 08:52 PM
I am still trying to wrap around the idea that somehow a TV Show of Abe Sensei has any relevance to the discussion how good his Aikido actually is... I don't think that is the issue here. As Dan pointed out, it's not a question of Abe's skills or abilities, but rather what purpose does this sort of ukemi response serve? Martially? Practically?.... Which I think is a valid question and pertinent to the topic.

On the one hand, I can appreciate George's views regarding sensitivity, but OTOH, Dan's point is equally valid - i.e. rather than ingrain a conditioned/"sensitized" reflex that causes you to "jump", why not train to respond differently - changing with it and re-vectoring the attack?

Whilst I do understand the potential practicalities of eliciting a predictable physiological response by simply "waving the hand", IMHE, the degree of such response is usually quite subtle and not of the magnitude demonstrated in the previous videos.

FiuzA
07-15-2008, 09:05 PM
So? Your point is?

William Hazen

My point is that we are discussing these "waving around" techniques. It doesn't matter whether it is Abe Sensei, Watanabe Sensei or any other Sensei. You say that the Abe Sensei video its just a TV show, but that's not the case on Watanabe Sensei's demo, for instance.

So this videos do have relevance to discuss these "strange" approaches to Aikido, IMO.

Or Watanabe Sensei's demo only purpose is to amuse the spectators? (as you say it happens on the TV show case).

If it is, my bad then :)

Best

PS: i know the topic title has Abe Sensei on it, but can't we widen up the discussion? That's my point.

Fred Little
07-15-2008, 10:49 PM
I don't think that is the issue here. As Dan pointed out, it's not a question of Abe's skills or abilities, but rather what purpose does this sort of ukemi response serve? Martially? Practically?.... Which I think is a valid question and pertinent to the topic.


Ignatius, good fellow:

The argument Dan is making is actually quite silly and really not worth the validation of the many responses it has gotten. Abe Sensei and his several uke knew quite well that they were putting on a show for a comedy/variety show. The following discussion makes about as much sense as drawing conclusions about Yip Man's Wing Chun training by reviewing Bruce Lee's fight scenes as Kato in the Green Hornet.

In fact, it is quite likely that the reason Dan won't post any video of himself doing anything is precisely because of his inner certainty that he will be mocked and called a transparent fraud who is teaching nonsense of dubious value and hounded about the subject to no good purpose by people who neither have eyes to see what he is showing nor ears to hear his sincere explanation.

That some individuals of good reputation might chime in and insist that he is an diligent martial artist of great skill and sensitivity whose jocular presentation of deep principles has been thoroughly misunderstood will make no difference. Even if they are right regarding the broad strokes of the matter, one or another of them will introduce one or another unfortunate particular phrase that stands at some variance from what he's really doing, and that will lead to a whole other line of idiotic wrangling. And it will go on and on.

So Dan chooses to let no one see what he is doing unless they are working with him one-on-one in circumstances over which he has complete control, and that's quite understandable.

Just what the irony is in this I will leave it to others to unpack, but I will say that it would be outrageously funny if it weren't so deeply sad.

Best regards,

FL

Ellis Amdur
07-15-2008, 11:03 PM
Once upon a time, before some of you young'uns were even born, I trained at the Aikido Headquarters, and I was a very popular uke for the shihan - I was (still am) tall, at 2 meters, and I was very --------- sensitive. Made people look good. I could respond to Watanabe when he made one of his, ah, ... - gestures -, made Doshu look like a titan by giving a straight arm out for him to crunch his wakigatame, gave up a relaxed arm and dived over it so Arikawa, Masuda, and Chiba wouldn't break it during their attempts to do so on shihonage, managed to run fast enough to keep ahold of Tada sensei, when he was doing one of his huge swirling treks across half the dojo, like a meteor run amuck, and managed to maintain finger-print contact with Osawa sensei as he etched living zen through the air. I could hang (on) with the Iwama guys while they did "weight lifting" with the uke. I even managed not to irritate Yamaguchi too much, even though I never mastered the wet towel flip-flop. For a period of about a year (my active time at the Aikikai), pretty much every shihan used me to demonstrate technique.
In that interim, I joined Araki-ryu. First day, my teacher puts a nasty joint lock on my wrist and I hit the deck. He looked at me, puzzled, and said, "What are you doing down there?"
"Taking ukemi," I replied.
"But I haven't done anything to you yet," he riposted
"But you were going to," I replied.
"So don't let me," he concluded.

On a related matter, I don't know if I'm the only one who sees it this way.
Rolling Stones - "I can't get no satisfaction" - the most barbaric yawp of adolescent need ever howled. It's kind of disappointing to hear it on an ad for "feminine hygiene spray" or a lawn mower.
Beethoven's 9th - testament to the artistic spirit that is unkillable - how about an endless loop of a passage while waiting to talk to someone in the IRS
Rollo May - a profoundly dignified pioneer of existential psychology - books on responsibility, fundamental anxiety in the face of death. I'd have hated to see him as a Dr. Phil.

Everybody's got their reasons, and everybody's got their life. And I fully believe that Abe sensei is all that he's said to be, by Shaun and by another friend who has felt what he can do.
But I don't like art demeaned.
But I do not get participating in a television show that is, in it's nature, japing, loud, disrespectful, and stupid - and doing there techniques that lend themselves to further japing. I did a little acting in Japan, and I told my agent that I would 1. Never rape or molest a Japanese female for the camera 2. Never make fun of budo 3. Never lend myself to a role that made white people out to be too crude and ignorant to understand the marvels of Japanese culture. . . . .I said that I did a little acting. None after that - they didn't have roles for me, then.

So maybe it's just me, but having seen that video show before, my objection is not about the air cookie throws, though I come down on Dan's perspective in this - that's just personal interest. It's simply aesthetic. It was an unpleasant thing to watch idiots make howling noises in the face of an old man of some attainment, and he agreed to let it happen. And in so doing, I do not think a message showing the real potential of the training he does was conveyed.
Best

Upyu
07-15-2008, 11:19 PM
Abe Sensei and his several uke knew quite well that they were putting on a show for a comedy/variety show.

Er... I've been to Abe's dojo, and trust me, the Ukemi that his students put on even without the cameras rolling would win the Oscar for overacting :D

I feel pretty comfortable with saying that because I got to see the reaction of one of his long time students reaction of my own stuff when we had a bit of private time. That kind of overacting just gets ingrained :-p

eyrie
07-16-2008, 12:28 AM
The argument Dan is making is actually quite silly and really not worth the validation of the many responses it has gotten. Fred... my good man...

Seeing another's perspective is not the same as taking sides. I'm sure Dan is quite capable of standing up for himself, and certainly doesn't need me to defend him. However, casting aspersions as to what Dan can/can't do or whether what he "teaches" is/is not worthless... is completely unnecessary, if not ungentlemanly.

Whether Abe's ukes were hamming it up for the cameras is irrelevant. If they were, then it perhaps diminishes the man's real abilities and the art being portrayed. If they didn't, then a fair and logical question would be why and wherefore such training methods.

Developing sensitivity is one thing... ingrained and conditioned reflex is quite another... none of which has anything to do with making someone look good on/off camera.... which some people might call "acting".

Demetrio Cereijo
07-16-2008, 06:49 AM
Everybody's got their reasons, and everybody's got their life. And I fully believe that Abe sensei is all that he's said to be, by Shaun and by another friend who has felt what he can do.
But I don't like art demeaned.
But I do not get participating in a television show that is, in it's nature, japing, loud, disrespectful, and stupid - and doing there techniques that lend themselves to further japing.

I can't agree more, however when I see this kind of techniques not in TV humor shows but in "official" events like the Watanabe S. clip mentioned before or this one of Takeda Yoshinobu S. (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=pETzdZCwjxk), I can't figure what the reasons for high ranked Aikikai Hombu instructors to demonstrate these kind of err... pavlovian aikido skills in these kind of events.

Well, maybe developing pavlovian skills is what high level aikido is about, not about "power" or "connection" or "harmony" but old school "headology".

OTOH, about Abe Sensei. Someone pointed O Sensei as a possible source of Abe Sensei skills, however I think the influence of Kawatsura Bonji via Kenzo Futaki's Misogi no Renseikai has some relevance here.

PS.

This discussion about "no touch throws" reminded me the following story told by Adam Alexander in his Iwama Monogatari:

We had someone from Tokyo come one Saturday to train with us over the weekend. This guy was very big, and I think he was a professional wrestler. Saito-sensei was off traveling somewhere and Hirosawa-sensei taught the Saturday night class.
I was in Tokyo on business and missed the class, but I came back later and heard about what happened. It seems that the visitor acted inappropriately toward Hirosawa-sensei (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=gswvg2K4_IQ) during the class, and then went off to go to sleep.
The word about this spread surprisingly fast. Inagaki-sensei (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=t8ZaDkpltPE) came by and was very angry. He showed his disapproval by smashing a steel bucket into a small ball with his fists. He also appointed himself to teach the Sunday morning class.
For the only time during the ten years I was in Iwama, the dojo was packed with spectators for the Sunday morning class. There were mothers with their little children, my wife was there, everyone wanted to see what would happen when Inagaki-sensei got the visitor on the mat.
The visitor woke up, looked at the spectacle in the dojo, apparently got the message, and quietly took off for the train station. We were all disappointed that the show we anticipated did not take place.
That was probably the smartest thing the visitor ever did.

Moral of the story: Context is everything.

Regards.

Fred Little
07-16-2008, 07:42 AM
Fred... my good man...
However, casting aspersions as to what Dan can/can't do or whether what he "teaches" is/is not worthless... is completely unnecessary, if not ungentlemanly.

Precisely.

That is why I used what is essentially an "If a then b."

For example:

"If Jake goes walking in a bad neighborhood at night with $100 he just took out of the ATM in his hand, then somebody is going to try to take it from him."

Jake may very well be able to kick the sorry ass of anyone who tries, and the statement of the inevitable is not an endorsement of the attempt to take it.

"It's very likely that the reason Jake doesn't go walking in bad neighborhoods with a wad of cash in his hand is that the time and effort involved in defending himself against the inevitable robbery attempt and subsequently justifying his actions to the police really makes it an energy sink that he would just as soon avoid."

Unlike the hypothetical Jake, I've met Dan, and really don't want to think about what would happen if he inadvertently ended up in the wrong part of town facing a knucklehead who thought he had found himself an easy mark walking away from an ATM machine.

Like all analogies, this is imperfect and falls apart if you try to push it too far or nail it down too tightly, but anyone who isn't simply looking for an argument should get my drift.

Best,

FL

Peter Goldsbury
07-16-2008, 08:44 AM
Hello Demetrio,

I did not attend the 2008 All-Japan Demonstration. I judged that attending was not worth the money or the time--correctly as it seems.

I watched the video and was rather stunned :eek: :o . Mr Takeda was a student of Yamaguchi Seigo Sensei--I think this is one of the main reasons why he is regarded as such an inspiring aikido shihan. Like Yasuno, Tissier, Endo, he is one of the deshi who have 'mastered' Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido. However, I am certain that Yamaguchi Sensei would never have given a demonstration in which he causes several ukes to fall over merely by raising his arm. I may be wrong, but I do not think that O Sensei ever did this, either. I know about the controversial 'jo trick', but his deshi were actually holding on to the jo: they were not several feet away when they fell over.:D

You should know that I have repeatedly discussed the content of the All-Japan Demonstration with Doshu and each time I have been told that I 'misunderstand' the point of the demonstration. It is not meant to have any 'teaching' function; rather, it is a 'gathering of Japanese aikido tribes and a celebration of their dominant myths' (these are my terms, not Doshu's).:mad:

So, in my opinion, the demonstration is intended to celebrate the history of aikido in Japan and also to reinforce certain types of group consciousness about aikido in Japan. It is not really intended for 'foreign' consumption (the foreign participants that participate are presented rather like unusual exhibits at a Japanese aikido zoo) :freaky: ; rather it is designed to celebrate and reinforce the aikido kokutai, under the benevolent rule of Doshu :p .

As an example, you trained in Iwama for many years. How often did you practice with Isoyama Sensei, especially his classic kata-guruma? On the videos Saito Sensei always did this in reverse. However, until a few years ago, before Isoyama Sensei became 'erai' and gave speeches at the demonstration, he always appeared at the All-Japan Demonstration, with chosen uke, and did the required waza. I know his favored uke and he trained severely, in order to take 'good' ukemi. He can no longer take ukemi because his body cannot take the punishment :sorry: .

Nowadays, the top shihans at the All-Japan Demonstration always use young 'pure' university students to take ukemi (except for the shihans from the Hombu's teaching department). Why? They are young and flexible and are taught to have no clue whatever about blocking a technique from a shihan :confused: . The whole purpose of their aikido life is to take 'prefect' ukemi :( .

Finally, you expressed surprise at the presence of smilies in a previous post of mine. So I have edited this post and made up up for earlier defects :D .

As always, best wishes,

PAG

PS. I will probably not use smilies again for another ten years or so.

Josh Reyer
07-16-2008, 08:54 AM
PS. I will probably not use smilies again for another ten years or so.

It was well worth it, sir. :D

Peter Goldsbury
07-16-2008, 09:00 AM
It was well worth it, sir. :D

:circle: :square: :triangle: :straightf

PAG

raul rodrigo
07-16-2008, 09:04 AM
I was about to post the same link to the Youtube video of Takeda shihan at the 2008 All Japan embutaikai. But Demetrio beat me to it. I too was stunned. In previous videos of Takeda at the All Japan, he would always take down ukes with a very light touch, so light that some could question whether in fact ukes were "tanking" for him or there was some real power in the waza. But this was the first time I ever saw him wander into Watanabe territory. As Prof. Goldsbury mentioned, this is not the kind of demo that Takeda's teacher Yamaguchi would ever have given. Undoubtedly Takeda was making some kind of point about his aikido. But I'm afraid that whatever that point is, it is beyond me. Would anyone have any ideas what that point might be? Connection, receptivity, or the fact that "the Force has a strong influence on the weak minded?"

DH
07-16-2008, 09:15 AM
I think video is a bad move for many aspects of the martial arts. That judgment is in line with an apparently rather large section of budo teachers; both gendai and Koryu, who obviously feel the same way. All too often it detracts from someone’s very real abilities.
Interesting that many -probably most- share the same views of this particular type of display of aikido.
Pre-conditioned reflex, to win and control is laudable.
Pre-conditioned reflex to fall down is laughable.

As Ellis noted with his going from aikido to Koryu–pre-conditioned reflex, particularly to choose to fall down as a response to either tame or even non existent input- should be avoided by anyone in a serious martial pursuit. While he was admonished from the teacher “Why did you fall down, I haven’t down anything to you yet?” And I think the best response is from the top down. Maybe it should be followed by “Here is a way to remain on your feet and neutralize everything I am about to do to you. Now let’s try another.” And so on and so on…till you made a martial artist that is potent on either side of the food chain. In the end it works very well when you do what I have done-go to places or meet people where you have no control over the outcome, and no one is interested in cooperating with you in any way.

That said, I agree with Ellis about demeaning the arts. That’s why many teachers are either extremely cautious or extremely calculating about what they put out there. Were one to assume that all teachers who DO put video out there are cautious or calculating- it then makes a hell of a statement about what we are seeing.
Were they to be casual about it?
Even more so

rob_liberti
07-16-2008, 09:46 AM
The funny thing here is that I find Takeda sensei's and Dan's training approaches very compatible.

Takeda sensei's physical ikkyo and iriminage are awesome. What do you do when the hardest techniques are mastered? Take them to MMA - okay if you like that. If you are a teacher and don't know how to best teach that kind of physical structure/mental intentions directly then maybe you work on extending the connection to the point that your students start practicing some of their lines of intention.

With Takeda sensei, I've seen personally withnessed his approach to teaching to take things to an exteme (Dan does too by the way). I will say training like that - okay not so far he wasn't touching me at all - but continuing to stretch out toward him as I fell away actaully helped me quite a bit with getting my mental intentions "strengthened" (not sure if that is the correct word!) when working with Dan.

As a side note - that actaully seems tangenially related - I would like to address this:
So Dan chooses to let no one see what he is doing unless they are working with him one-on-one in circumstances over which he has complete control, and that's quite understandable.

I just want to talk about this part: "he has complete control". I want to disagree with this because I believe that Dan goes to BJJ and other MMA places and works out with them playing by their rules - whatever they may be.

On the other hand, I also agree with the phrase "he has complete control". It reminds me of a story when some HVAC guy walked into the dojo (I rent space) and demanded my attention while I was teaching yelling to me. The conversation went like this:
HVAC guy: "ARE YOU IN CHARGE HERE?!" - (I stopped teaching)
Me: "Yes." (I started approaching him to help if I could).
HVAC guy: "DO YOU OWN THE BUILDING?!"
Me: "No."
HVAC guy: "THEN YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE HERE!!!"
Me: "I'm in charge everywhere I go." I said it very softly. At this point I was standing in front of him. And he chose to calm down.

I used the things that I value from training with Dan AS WELL AS the things I value from training with Takeda sensei.

YMMV - Rob

ChrisMoses
07-16-2008, 09:56 AM
That vid of Takeda Sensei is genuinely shocking. I've never seen anything like that from him before. I can't help but wonder (hope?) that it was done as a statement on the event itself rather than an actual demo of what he's capable of. Maybe? Please? :confused:

Great posts by Ellis and Peter too.

Allen Beebe
07-16-2008, 10:22 AM
I was taught that, since potentially 50% of one's practice is spent as uke (a lot of accumulated time over the years), it makes sense that that time and effort would be best spent striving towards the achievement of one's Aikido goals. In that sense, Uke and Nage are not different . . . there is no distinction between "uke" and "nage" outside of the kata, and since "there are no kata in Aikido" . . .

(Quiet Peter . . . just take the fall ;) )

Please notice that I left the goals of Aikido open for the individual to define according to their time and circumstance . . . as per O-sensei's example. :o

Chuck Clark
07-16-2008, 10:50 AM
I agree Allen... greetings from Monroe, WA, by the way. I finally made the move. I also agree with Chris - great posts from Ellis and Peter. (I'm in an agreeable mood this morning since I watched a couple hours of the O Sumo basho last night after the Comcast folks got me hooked up.)

Of course, as I've been told many times, we Jiyushinkai folks don't do "aikido", but we do have tandoku renshu and sotai gata geiko as tools for learning and teaching kihon that is based on what Ellis' teacher told him. Even in the kata yakusoku, uke's role is to cause problems that tori must solve and not be "easy." Of course the levels of "I'm not going to let you do that" should be appropriate to the skill levels involved. Then our randori is all about "I'm not gonna let you get me... I'm gonna get you"... until something happens that is decisive. I try my best to make that happen in one action. If that doesn't happen, then we're both learning new lessons. I think our real job is to continue to give each other problems to solve and learn from the process until we die. I do not want any "sensitive uke" that aren't trying to continue to give me those problems... even in public demos. Anything else seems demeaning to the art and our trust in each other.

Great stuff to wake up to this morning. Thanks to all.

Allen Beebe
07-16-2008, 11:17 AM
Congratulations Chuck! Welcome to the "Great Northwest!" (O-Sumo on Comcast? Can you PM me the details? I just got basic so that PBS comes in clear . . . but Sumo . . . now that's tempting!! Sumo, beer, kaki-pea, saki ika and I'm in hog heaven! :D

Great to hear from you. And I agree, nice posts from Ellis and Peter as usual . . . no wonder they get paid to write!

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-16-2008, 11:40 AM
That darn Josh and his Western mindset, if only he could be exposed to some Eastern thinking... :D (If you know Josh's background, you know why this is teh funnay).

Hi Christian,

Of course, I don't know either you or Josh. If you re-read my post you will see that I did not comment on Josh, per se. I did comment as to a particular method of analysis, calling it the "Western mindset" and applied it to the comments he made. This is no way says anything about Josh, only about the comments. As far as backgrounds go, he could be a 100% pure blooded native Japanese Buddhist Monk who has written books on Comparative Asian thought processes for all I know. That still wouldn't make the comments any less "Western minded" nor make him any more eastern minded. There is a saying that may ring true, "Those in the West may yearn for what is East, but no more so than Easterners Looking West.

I don't need to speak for Dan, but this simply isn't what he's talking about.

Sorry, Christian. I may be confused here, but my comments in that post were not to Dan.

Can you go into more detail about what your talking about here (in real physical terms)? I'm having a hard time imagining how this can happen in an Aikido scenario. I've had a lot of people try to describe to me what they were doing in terms like these, but they were always using subtle strategies and dynamics that had nothing to do with my happy place. This is not a meant as a straw man or rhetorical question, I'm trying to understand what you're saying here.

Christian, thanks for clarifying your intentions. The question is certainly very fair and particularly valid. I am basing my understanding and methods upon several instances where I was in imminent danger of being severely beaten or killed and converted these situations into something very different. These situations were with persons who I am sure have no qualms about doling out any level of punishment on their intended victims. I re-wrote this section three times, deleting each lengthy, detailed narrative one after the other. Without pounding out a chapter of a novel or inviting you into a dark corner of my interesting past, I will just spare everyone the details. So Christian, I guess you will have to be find your own happy place until we can meet up at some point and discuss it over some beer and sushi.

.

kironin
07-16-2008, 01:37 PM
... Most people's understanding of what they are doing is thoroughly physical / mechanical. If, however, one does a lot of sword work, this level of connectivity makes perfect sense. ...


Absolutely fantastic post. The whole post was great, just didn't want repost the whole thing, even though it's worth repeating.

:ki:

kironin
07-16-2008, 02:12 PM
I will add, reading the rest of the thread (seems not a lot has changed since I have been gone), that my reaction to the video of the TV show even knowing how common such characters are on Japanese TV was one of revulsion.

:ki:

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-16-2008, 02:31 PM
Shaun
No thanks

Hi Dan,

Of course, I did know what your answer would be. Oh, and when I said, "ask him yourself" I left it open as to in what form you might choose to ask.

I would be more happy to have him try and throw me either that way in particular or in any other way he thought possible. Hell I won't even fight back, I'll just use my meager understanding to try and absorbed and redirect, you know-try and keep up. I'll just be standing there and moving a little bit and seeing what power level and understanding of aiki he has-one on one. I don't want to hurt the guy or cause harm.

Well Dan, I would certainly do anything within my power to try and open the opportunity to you. Unfortunately, for you mostly, I am not sure this will ever happen.

As you can tell, I am just not buying it-even for one minute. I went down this road with some big shots before, from diverse arts.

I hear ya man! I both understand and agree. However, one must be careful not to ignore windows of opportunity, no matter where they arise, nor how small we must make ourselves in order to take advantage of the opening.

[b]Does he come to the States?

Will write you a PM on this one... shortly.

.

Ron Tisdale
07-16-2008, 02:35 PM
I met him in Iowa.

Best,
Ron (thanks Shaun)

Allen Beebe
07-16-2008, 02:37 PM
So I was thinking . . .

I find Georgeís statement to be true that sword work enhances connectivity. (I would state that it provides a unique training environment in which to learn how to connect and/or disconnect at will.) In fact just about all of our taijutsu is prefaced by sword work or some form of pole arm work. The benefit that weapons work offers non-weapons work is due, I believe, to the decreased tolerances physically, technically and mentally for error allowed within good weapons work.

However, of these three, the mental benefit is probably largely a beneficial byproduct of delusion. In other words, for example, in sword work, oneís physical and technical performance and accuracy may increase due the changed physical demands brought by the presence of a well handled sword. Interestingly, one also often derives benefits of enhanced mental performance do to type of training. However, in the case of mental enhancement, it is brought about by the PERCEPTION and EVALUATION of the changed physical reality brought by the presence of a sword. In other words, the mental reality changes and is enhanced due to a change in mentality (perception and evaluation) not necessarily due to physical change itself. Consequently, while one may require physical change in order to adapt physically, one does not necessarily require physical change in order to adapt mentally. (Although in the above example, one can see where it can help force the issue.) Of course the punch line is the mind/body differentiation is really a product of perception/evaluation as well.

Iím reminded of the story about Takeda Sokaku getting tooled by a faster Karate guy when he (Takeda) used jujutsu to fight him. He then solved his problem by rationalizing that the Karate guy was faster than his jujutsu, but his (Takedaís) Kenjutsu was faster than the Karate guy . . . so he came back and did Jujutsu like AS a Kenshi and tooled the Karate guy.

Don't know if this belongs here. The repost of George's comment prompted the posted string of thought . . . while I sat on "the throne."

Jun: Please feel free to do what you will with this. I flushed afterward! :p

DH
07-16-2008, 04:49 PM
Hi Dan,
Will write you a PM on this one... shortly.
.

Hi Shaun
I sent a PM as well.
To be more clear I would just prefer to feel than to talk. The talk always sound so good. The actual level of skill delivered? So far, not so much. These things can and should be fun and nonconfrontational. As has been noted here I've done many of these things and made friends.
Might I suggest they try both the no-touch throws and actual touching throws on me while we are at it? I have many years of Ukemi, and er...non-ukemi.;)
It should be a good time.
No TV. Beers on me. and dinner If I get tossed.

Aikibu
07-16-2008, 05:13 PM
So I was thinking . . .

I find George's statement to be true that sword work enhances connectivity. (I would state that it provides a unique training environment in which to learn how to connect and/or disconnect at will.) In fact just about all of our taijutsu is prefaced by sword work or some form of pole arm work. The benefit that weapons work offers non-weapons work is due, I believe, to the decreased tolerances physically, technically and mentally for error allowed within good weapons work.

However, of these three, the mental benefit is probably largely a beneficial byproduct of delusion. In other words, for example, in sword work, one's physical and technical performance and accuracy may increase due the changed physical demands brought by the presence of a well handled sword. Interestingly, one also often derives benefits of enhanced mental performance do to type of training. However, in the case of mental enhancement, it is brought about by the PERCEPTION and EVALUATION of the changed physical reality brought by the presence of a sword. In other words, the mental reality changes and is enhanced due to a change in mentality (perception and evaluation) not necessarily due to physical change itself. Consequently, while one may require physical change in order to adapt physically, one does not necessarily require physical change in order to adapt mentally. (Although in the above example, one can see where it can help force the issue.) Of course the punch line is the mind/body differentiation is really a product of perception/evaluation as well.

I'm reminded of the story about Takeda Sokaku getting tooled by a faster Karate guy when he (Takeda) used jujutsu to fight him. He then solved his problem by rationalizing that the Karate guy was faster than his jujutsu, but his (Takeda's) Kenjutsu was faster than the Karate guy . . . so he came back and did Jujutsu like AS a Kenshi and tooled the Karate guy.

Don't know if this belongs here. The repost of George's comment prompted the posted string of thought . . . while I sat on "the throne."

Jun: Please feel free to do what you will with this. I flushed afterward! :p

Which is why in our case Shoji Nishio took O'Sensei telling him "Aikido is the Sword" seriously enough to develop his own expression of Aikido around it. Everything we do is based on the Sword or Jo and I see a huge difference between those branches that follow this training philosophy and those that don't.

No worries Alan and Jun One of the few places I won't take my laptop is the bathroom or the bedroom. LOL

William Hazen

Rupert Atkinson
07-16-2008, 05:53 PM
That Takeda video. I have done Aikido for 28 years and have always known the art's weaknesses due to having studied Judo, Jujutsu, WingChun and other arts, but have kept it up because I also know the art's strengths. Not only that video, but other stuff, ... the Aikido that I do now is probably old Aikido or something. Well, as of last year, I still do the same stuff but call it Jujustu. If I talk to someone who understands, I call it Aiki-jujutsu. Problem is, the only lineage is me and the only organisation is me. Looks like I'll be relegated to my backyard for a good few more years to come.

jennifer paige smith
07-16-2008, 05:57 PM
That Takeda video. I have done Aikido for 28 years and have always known the art's weaknesses due to having studied Judo, Jujutsu, WingChun and other arts, but have kept it up because I also know the art's strengths. Not only that video, but other stuff, ... the Aikido that I do now is probably old Aikido or something. Well, as of last year, I still do the same stuff but call it Jujustu. If I talk to someone who understands, I call it Aiki-jujutsu. Problem is, the only lineage is me and the only organisation is me. Looks like I'll be relegated to my backyard for a good few more years to come.

Kinda like John Candy introducing himself in "Spaceballs, The Movie".

"Hi, I'm Mog. Half-man,half-dog. I'm my own best friend.":D

Best Wishes,
Jen

Rupert Atkinson
07-16-2008, 06:12 PM
Kinda like John Candy introducing himself in "Spaceballs, The Movie".

"Hi, I'm Mog. Half-man,half-dog. I'm my own best friend.":D

Best Wishes,
Jen

Don't know that movie. All I know is that watching that Takeda demo at the ALL JAPAN AIKIDO DEMONSTRATION made me sick to the stomach.The only highlight was the audience beginning to laugh at the 2 min period, but why they clapped at the end I have no idea. The more of that garbage I see, and it is not only there but found in too many other places, the more distant or pushed out I become from Aikido. People are rapidly losing the plot.

Think I'll go listen to some ACDC / ZZ Top.

ChrisMoses
07-16-2008, 06:59 PM
Well, as of last year, I still do the same stuff but call it Jujustu. If I talk to someone who understands, I call it Aiki-jujutsu. Problem is, the only lineage is me and the only organisation is me. Looks like I'll be relegated to my backyard for a good few more years to come.

Welcome to the club yo...:p

eyrie
07-16-2008, 07:07 PM
I find George's statement to be true that sword work enhances connectivity. (I would state that it provides a unique training environment in which to learn how to connect and/or disconnect at will.) In fact just about all of our taijutsu is prefaced by sword work or some form of pole arm work. The benefit that weapons work offers non-weapons work is due, I believe, to the decreased tolerances physically, technically and mentally for error allowed within good weapons work. No question about that.... but I'm sure you will agree... disengaging by "tanking" like that in a sword encounter is going to leave you at the mercy of the other person... or killed.

Consider also... a person, intent on doing you harm, under the influence of certain mind-altering substances, and not in the least bit concerned about what you might do or try to do to him..... OR even NOT under the influence... as in the Yanagi Ryuken video. :p

Cady Goldfield
07-16-2008, 09:26 PM
Allen,
Where did you get/hear that story about Takeda Sokaku "getting tooled" by the karate-ka? That's an interesting account -- would like to find out more.

Kinda like John Candy introducing himself in "Spaceballs, The Movie".

"Hi, I'm Mog. Half-man,half-dog. I'm my own best friend.":D

Best Wishes,
Jen

"May the Schwartz be with you!"

George S. Ledyard
07-16-2008, 09:43 PM
I am off in the am traveling cross country so I want to keep this relatively short... I totally understand what the folks are saying about "tanking" and the detriment to any martial efficacy. I don't think there is any question about that.

I think this is the point at which we start to have the discussion whether Aikido is meant to be a functional martial or rather a system of personal development which uses a martial paradigm.

I guess I do not think it is any mistake that one sees technique which is less practically oriented coming from older Senseis. Certainly that was true of the Founder. I suspect that they simply aren't interested in fighting any more... been there, done that, so to speak.

In my own Aikido I have chosen to move into a period in which I am not terribly concerned with practical application. I spent most of my younger days focusing on such things and, I too, find that my interests have taken me elsewhere. What is interesting is that this "letting go" of the need to fight, to worry about winning etc also has corresponded with the period of greatest positive change in my art. I am certain that, where I to require my waza for practical defense purposes, it would be stronger and more effective than it ever was.

I do not encourage my students to "amplify" what they feel in their ukemi. But I also do not train them to do anything with their body structure which doesn't make sense martially. Tension is the enemy of speed and power. Too many people think that being martial means using their muscular strength to resist technique. This almost never makes sense practically. But "tanking" as a way of doing ukemi makes equally little sense. I teach my students not to go if the nage's power goes into their structure. With good posture and grounding, muscling technique will not work, especially if one is relaxed.

On the other hand if the nage gets the technique then it isn't good practice to hold on. Resisting past the point of no return indicates that ones mind is caught in the past and is not in the present. One is stuck in the past when one should be doing something entirely new. Virtually always this represents a dangerous "opening". Kaeshiwaza is the martial application of aiki principle. I think, if I understand what he is saying, that Dan recommends this type of practice. I have found that I am much closer to being able to do that having changed the manner in which I practice. But we do not practice this way all the time. I think it would take Aikido in a different direction than was intended if practice was mostly a pseudo battle in which one or the other practitioner won.

Sometimes it's just fine to take the ukemi. It's a different practice and not how I would prepare folks for battle... but the dojo isn't a battle ground, at least not with ones partners. I have decided that it isn't useful for me to look at one way of practice or another as right or wrong... They are different and accomplish different things. Certainly, the different approaches to training allow people of vastly different dispositions to train. Perhaps some re-naming needs to take place as some approaches are so different from others that they might as well be different arts. Or perhaps we just come to terms with the fact that each person's Aikido reflects his own strengths and weaknesses and will change or not as he changes or doesn't.

NagaBaba
07-16-2008, 10:16 PM
Takeda Yoshinobu S. (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=pETzdZCwjxk).

http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones/3d%20(39).gif http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones/3d%20(39).gif http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones/3d%20(39).gif

There is anyone out there in Nord America who practice with this guy?

http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones%20geants/emoticone%20combat%20(91).gif

seminars coming out? http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones%20geants/autres%20(42).gif

jennifer paige smith
07-16-2008, 10:37 PM
Don't know that movie. All I know is that watching that Takeda demo at the ALL JAPAN AIKIDO DEMONSTRATION made me sick to the stomach.The only highlight was the audience beginning to laugh at the 2 min period, but why they clapped at the end I have no idea. The more of that garbage I see, and it is not only there but found in too many other places, the more distant or pushed out I become from Aikido. People are rapidly losing the plot.

Think I'll go listen to some ACDC / ZZ Top.

Spaceballs is Jewjitsu.

George S. Ledyard
07-16-2008, 10:45 PM
http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones/3d%20(39).gif http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones/3d%20(39).gif http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones/3d%20(39).gif

There is anyone out there in Nord America who practice with this guy?

http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones%20geants/emoticone%20combat%20(91).gif

seminars coming out? http://www.ruedusmiley.com/emoticones%20geants/autres%20(42).gif

Even by my quite flexible and inclusive standards, this is too far gone for me... Those ukes are trying like crazy to do what they "are supposed to do". This is like a badly synced kung fu film. I have seen some amazing energy work done but this is not it. Sorry...

jennifer paige smith
07-16-2008, 10:52 PM
Even by my quite flexible and inclusive standards, this is too far gone for me... Those ukes are trying like crazy to do what they "are supposed to do". This is like a badly synced kung fu film. I have seen some amazing energy work done but this is not it. Sorry...

Hahahahahahahahah!

Allen Beebe
07-16-2008, 11:15 PM
Allen,
Where did you get/hear that story about Takeda Sokaku "getting tooled" by the karate-ka? That's an interesting account -- would like to find out more.

"May the Schwartz be with you!"

Cady,

I read it somewhere, I'm sorry but I don't remember where. Maybe somebody here can help out my memory. It wasn't any place obscure. I also heard a version of the story last year where Takeda was knocked out. That version came from Ark Aizawa.

Allen

Upyu
07-16-2008, 11:34 PM
Cady,

I read it somewhere, I'm sorry but I don't remember where. Maybe somebody here can help out my memory. It wasn't any place obscure. I also heard a version of the story last year where Takeda was knocked out. That version came from Ark Aizawa.

Allen

I heard it went something like this.
Takeda held the Okinawan's wrists down, and told him "now, try anything!"
So the Okinawan, in typical Okinawan fashion, ignored the wrists, jumped up and kicked Takeda in the face (Takeda wasn't that tall so it's pretty easy to imagine), knocking him out.

Another story running around was about Takeda's students begging him to show his skill at throwing shuriken.
Takeda eventually obliged, throwing three shuriken in a row at some wooden beam.
Everyone does the whole "wow you're so awesome" speal,
but from the corner some old geezer spouted "Any ass with half their wits could throw something pointy into a piece of wood!"
Takeda gets pissed and challenges the old man,
who promptly threw 3 coins into the beam of wood, forming a neat triangle
Takeda shut up, face went purple, and supposedly shuriken were never to be mentioned in his presence ever again :D

True or not?
Dunno, makes for a good story though.
Just means that there's always someone more skilled at this stuff.

gdandscompserv
07-16-2008, 11:38 PM
there's always someone more skilled at this stuff.
That's something worth remembering and worth looking for.

Cady Goldfield
07-17-2008, 07:06 AM
Allen and Rob -- thanks for the info. I'll have to dig around. "Challenge" stories always give me pause, though, as they tend to gain new twists with every telling, till they reach the status of Legend. Often they start around a kernel of truth, but get embellished.

The Okinawan one sounds almost hackneyed because I've both heard about and seen such challenges where someone says "try anything" and promptly gets clocked because he didn't anticipate the opponent responding in any way other than the one he was "supposed" to. Being that Takeda was so martially conditioned, and from an early age, it's hard to believe that he would have assumed that his opponent/challengee would react in only one "possible" way and not be prepared for any other manner of responses. But hey, I wasn't there.

You're right though, they make great stories. In fact, the shuriken one reminds me of the tale of the three samurai and the fly... :D

Bringing this back almost on-topic, I have to agree with those who eschew videos -- especially the public accessibility of them -- not just because they are useless at conveying what is really being done (especially in the case of internal movements), but also because they tell some viewers much more than they should be telling them about the actual knowledge and skill of the person demonstrating in the video. Discretion is sometimes a wiser course, although ego and self-delusion are often the impetus for these guys to put their stuff on video for public consumption in the first place.

I heard it went something like this.
Takeda held the Okinawan's wrists down, and told him "now, try anything!"
So the Okinawan, in typical Okinawan fashion, ignored the wrists, jumped up and kicked Takeda in the face (Takeda wasn't that tall so it's pretty easy to imagine), knocking him out.

Another story running around was about Takeda's students begging him to show his skill at throwing shuriken.
Takeda eventually obliged, throwing three shuriken in a row at some wooden beam.
Everyone does the whole "wow you're so awesome" speal,
but from the corner some old geezer spouted "Any ass with half their wits could throw something pointy into a piece of wood!"
Takeda gets pissed and challenges the old man,
who promptly threw 3 coins into the beam of wood, forming a neat triangle
Takeda shut up, face went purple, and supposedly shuriken were never to be mentioned in his presence ever again :D

True or not?
Dunno, makes for a good story though.
Just means that there's always someone more skilled at this stuff.

George S. Ledyard
07-17-2008, 08:14 AM
Even in the kata yakusoku, uke's role is to cause problems that tori must solve and not be "easy." Of course the levels of "I'm not going to let you do that" should be appropriate to the skill levels involved. Then our randori is all about "I'm not gonna let you get me... I'm gonna get you"... until something happens that is decisive. I try my best to make that happen in one action. If that doesn't happen, then we're both learning new lessons. I think our real job is to continue to give each other problems to solve and learn from the process until we die. I do not want any "sensitive uke" that aren't trying to continue to give me those problems... even in public demos. Anything else seems demeaning to the art and our trust in each other.

Hi Chuck,
This was roughly the way we took ukemi when I trained with Saotome Sensei. The drawback to giving each other problems to solve was that we were far better at creating problems than we were at doing our waza. I believe that we spent far too much time imprinting tension in our bodies which actually made it impossible for us to higher level technique.

As Allen stated, and you agreed, there really is no uke nage dichotomy. Each role should be imprinting the same lessons in the body and the mind. I am still experimenting with this myself having not been satisfied with the progress my peers and I had made for 25 plus years. I'm fairly happy with the way my students are progressing now... they are far ahead of where i was at the same stage. But it's not perfect and I still strive for the right balance.

Fred Little
07-17-2008, 08:28 AM
....from the corner some old geezer spouted "Any ass with half their wits could throw something pointy into a piece of wood!"
Takeda gets pissed and challenges the old man,
who promptly threw 3 coins into the beam of wood, forming a neat triangle Takeda shut up, face went purple, and supposedly shuriken were never to be mentioned in his presence ever again :D .

I had no idea Ricky Jay (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4TDeC3DyyM&feature=related) was that old!

rob_liberti
07-17-2008, 09:43 AM
I can't agree more, however when I see this kind of techniques not in TV humor shows but in "official" events like the Watanabe S. clip mentioned before or this one of Takeda Yoshinobu S. (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=pETzdZCwjxk), I can't figure what the reasons for high ranked Aikikai Hombu instructors to demonstrate these kind of err... pavlovian aikido skills in these kind of events.

I've been thinking about this demo. I still have no idea beyond the "practicing lines of intention to the absurd extreme" idea for the randori aspect.

But the first 2 "hand wave --> group fall downs" thing got me thinking. Is it possible that the meaning of that message was something like:
1 guy in the front of the group will stand there
a bunch of other guys will all push in various/random forces onto the group - guy number 2 is depending his weight on the lead guy, and guy number 3 is depending his weight on guy number 2 etc...
Then Takeda sensei waves his hand - not to throw anyone but simply to give the signal to the lead guy to just fall in that direction.
The chain effect happens, and the lesson is:

That large group is some analogy to a single human body where if you can lead a body part or the mind of that body part, and get it to move/fall then the rest will follow. kind of like grab someone's head and yank it down, and watch the whip effect it has on the rest of the poor guy. I don't know. But it just seems like something that could explain what he decided to show. Then again, maybe he is just sick of having to do those demos.

I know that when I attacked him over 10 years ago, I remember having no idea why I was falling or where he disappeared to.

And I spoke with people who trained with him prior to that who couldn't relate to the "light ukemi" idea at all because their experience was that he used to throw people such that they would hit the floor and then they would feel their ribs and everything inside also kind of impact the floor in kind of an internal splatter for every single throw.

My opinion is that the guy is operating on an entirely different plane after having some sort of spiritual enlightenment and I am just not meant to understand much of what he does. My guess is that it is similar with Abe sensei.

Rob

Misogi-no-Gyo
07-17-2008, 10:05 AM
I've been thinking about this demo. I still have no idea beyond the "practicing lines of intention to the absurd extreme" idea for the randori aspect.

But the first 2 "hand wave --> group fall downs" thing got me thinking. Is it possible that the meaning of that message was something like:
1 guy in the front of the group will stand there
a bunch of other guys will all push in various/random forces onto the group - guy number 2 is depending his weight on the lead guy, and guy number 3 is depending his weight on guy number 2 etc...
Then Takeda sensei waves his hand - not to throw anyone but simply to give the signal to the lead guy to just fall in that direction.
The chain effect happens, and the lesson is:

That large group is some analogy to a single human body where if you can lead a body part or the mind of that body part, and get it to move/fall then the rest will follow. kind of like grab someone's head and yank it down, and watch the whip effect it has on the rest of the poor guy. I don't know. But it just seems like something that could explain what he decided to show. Then again, maybe he is just sick of having to do those demos.

I know that when I attacked him over 10 years ago, I remember having no idea why I was falling or where he disappeared to.

And I spoke with people who trained with him prior to that who couldn't relate to the "light ukemi" idea at all because their experience was that he used to throw people such that they would hit the floor and then they would feel their ribs and everything inside also kind of impact the floor in kind of an internal splatter for every single throw.

Whew! and I have been told that I over think things to the Nth degree... Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

My opinion is that the guy is operating on an entirely different plane after having some sort of spiritual enlightenment and I am just not meant to understand much of what he does. My guess is that it is similar with Abe sensei.

Rob

I may be going off on a limb here, but I can unequivocally say that Abe Sensei has never mentioned anything along those lines as long as I have been around. As a matter of fact, I had asked him directly about the importance of religion and spirituality at the first private training he held at our dojo. He told me that when it came to martial arts, that the most important thing was a point on the bottom of my foot. He then went on for about many minutes tying together various common sense things until everyone in the room went, "Ah Haaaaa!" Needless to say, after having spent a few years in a Shinto cult looking deeply into religion and spirituality, I suddenly realized that having asked such a question I had publicly inserted said foot in mouth and went back to training. So, in the case of some spiritual breakthrough that causes one to be seemingly deluded, well isn't that an oxymoron? Would any enlightened beings please care to chime in...? anyone...? ANYONE...? Bueller...?

.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-17-2008, 10:36 AM
My opinion is that the guy is operating on an entirely different plane after having some sort of spiritual enlightenment and I am just not meant to understand much of what he does.

Well, mine is more in this line:
http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=p958woXcYcI

Walker
07-17-2008, 11:15 AM
Cady,
I read it somewhere, I'm sorry but I don't remember where. Maybe somebody here can help out my memory. It wasn't any place obscure. I also heard a version of the story last year where Takeda was knocked out. That version came from Ark Aizawa.

Allen

Cady, if memory serves, it can be found in the AJ series Sokaku Takeda Biography by Tokimune. Don't know where it is in there, but they are pretty chronological. I also recall the this vignette was about the same time Takeda was hanging with the troup of acrobats (and right before he discovered the bat cave :D)

Kevin Leavitt
07-17-2008, 11:19 AM
Insightful Demetrio. Makes you think doesn't it.

rob_liberti
07-17-2008, 11:43 AM
Whew! and I have been told that I over think things to the Nth degree... Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Yeah, I like reading your posts!

Hey I can be wrong. But the thread is about "what is going on here" and I'm more than willing to run my ideas about what might be going on there up a flag pole and see if anyone salutes it. :)

No takers - okay.. I'm not enlightened. I don't know. Just making guesses. -Rob

Chuck Clark
07-17-2008, 11:58 AM
This was roughly the way we took ukemi when I trained with Saotome Sensei. The drawback to giving each other problems to solve was that we were far better at creating problems than we were at doing our waza. I believe that we spent far too much time imprinting tension in our bodies which actually made it impossible for us to higher level technique.

Hey George, I'm looking forward to getting together more now that I'm just a stone's throw down the road...

Holding and imprinting tension (trying TO DO stuff) is the real thing. Remember, Koichi Tohei said the most important thing he learned from Ueshiba Morihei was how to relax! Keeping the intent to create and solve the problems while being relaxed is the real practice... the struggle with ourself.... until we don't... and the sweet stuff just seems to happen. Felt power can seem like a whisper, a huge explosion, or an instantaneous tsunami to uke with very little feedback to tori. My practice is to just do what I do and give attention to the thing and accept whatever learning comes along until I die.

Allen Beebe
07-17-2008, 01:04 PM
It seems I wasn't very clear in my earlier post and some folks, understandably, interpreted it in terms of pre-conditioning towards an authority figure, etc.

As far as my post is concerned, I wasn't really thinking about Abe sensei's thing or hierarchical relationships specifically, or anything much related to the thread. Which is why I invited Jun to trash or move my post.

I was thinking about how weapons practice, sword practice in particular (either shinken or very intense bokken), can enhance one's taijutsu training by narrowing the permissible slop in one's physical response, technical execution and mental perception, evaluation and response.

I guess I didn't state it very clearly but, when it comes to intense weapons work the the time between perception, evaluation, and action ideally diminish considerably while the consequences greatly increase.

One possible positive result of such training is one's sensitivity can greatly increase, usually because one is scared to death. My point was, that being scared to death (with its appendant potentially heightened sensitivity) is a consequence of a mental process (one's evaluation of the situation) rather than the actually change in the physical situation. The implication of this is that one can theoretically avail themselves of this hypersensitivity without necessarily being scared to death, one just has to learn how to alter their consciousness. Ideally, one trains to become "hyper" sensitive without being hyper reactive.

An ideal example of this is the "flinch response" once thought to be built into the human system. Now we find that with proper mental training one can register an unexpected loud noise (which always illicit a flinch response even from trained professional shooters) without the flinch response . . . something earlier thought to be impossible.

Another topic is, how does one train this without further imbedding the undesired response?

Anyway, in order to pull this post back on topic, here is another reframing of what I was originally contemplating during my "seated meditiation": If the root of the desired outcome is to adjust one's internal "signal to noise ratio" how does one best do this while engaging in partner practice? In other words, just being sensitive (increasing the sensitivity to a signal) isn't likely to be very beneficial if one equally increases the noise (internal modeling of what is happening and the consequences of that, etc.) is it? So what is the best approach?

Cady Goldfield
07-17-2008, 01:34 PM
Cady, if memory serves, it can be found in the AJ series Sokaku Takeda Biography by Tokimune. Don't know where it is in there, but they are pretty chronological. I also recall the this vignette was about the same time Takeda was hanging with the troup of acrobats (and right before he discovered the bat cave :D)

Thanks, Doug. Someone PMed me the links to the AJ articles, which I'll enjoy browsing over the weekend. I hope they include Tomikmune's stories about Sokaku's alleged telepathic abilities, too. :D

Allen Beebe
07-17-2008, 01:50 PM
Cady,

I sent you those same links last night . . . telepathically. You didn't receive them?

Allen :hypno:

Ron Tisdale
07-17-2008, 02:21 PM
She didn't get the links...but you should have SEEN the UKEMI!!

:D

Best,
Ron

Allen Beebe
07-17-2008, 04:39 PM
Sending you my regards Ron . . .

:hypno:

:) ,
Allen

Cady Goldfield
07-17-2008, 04:49 PM
Ukemi? It was more like levitation!

Aikilove
07-17-2008, 06:20 PM
Hello Peter
Just a couple of comments to your comments:
However, I am certain that Yamaguchi Sensei would never have given a demonstration in which he causes several ukes to fall over merely by raising his arm. I may be wrong, but I do not think that O Sensei ever did this, either. I know about the controversial 'jo trick', but his deshi were actually holding on to the jo: they were not several feet away when they fell over.:D Well I have seen a couple of clips. Here's one: http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=bCjySZuVDkQ
I just think it has to do with, like what second Dushu said, the founder, in demos, moving in accord aiki (or to that affect) rather than doing aikido kihon. I mean why should he (or Takeda Y, S Abe or the like). Kihon is kihon and moving in accord with the principles of aiki/universe is moving in accord with the principles if aiki/universe... Btw. this is not directed towards you Peter, but it seems lately that one has to specify everything or risk being mis-understod...
As an example, you trained in Iwama for many years. How often did you practice with Isoyama Sensei, especially his classic kata-guruma? On the videos Saito Sensei always did this in reverse. However, until a few years ago, before Isoyama Sensei became 'erai' and gave speeches at the demonstration, he always appeared at the All-Japan Demonstration, with chosen uke, and did the required waza. I know his favored uke and he trained severely, in order to take 'good' ukemi. He can no longer take ukemi because his body cannot take the punishment :sorry: .If I remember correctly Isoyama sensei stated that he "invented" the kata guruma (belly over shoulders) when trying to teach koshinage to huge American MPs. Saito's technique (back over shoulders) was called ganseki otoshi. FWIW Koshi nage, kata guruma and ganseki otoshi are all the same from nage's perspective if done á la Saito M.

Enough ranting...

/J

Aikibu
07-17-2008, 07:02 PM
When a superior man hears of the Way,
he immediately begins to embody it.
When an average man hears of the Way,
he half believes it, half doubts it.
When a foolish man hears of the Way,
he laughs out loud.
If he didn't laugh,
it wouldn't be the Way. Lao Tsu-Tao te Ching

Seems relevant to this discussion. :)

William Hazen

Aikilove
07-17-2008, 07:10 PM
This discussion about "no touch throws" reminded me the following story told by Adam Alexander in his Iwama Monogatari:

We had someone from Tokyo come one Saturday to train with us over the weekend. This guy was very big, and I think he was a professional wrestler. Saito-sensei was off traveling somewhere and Hirosawa-sensei taught the Saturday night class.
I was in Tokyo on business and missed the class, but I came back later and heard about what happened. It seems that the visitor acted inappropriately toward Hirosawa-sensei (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=gswvg2K4_IQ) during the class, and then went off to go to sleep.
The word about this spread surprisingly fast. Inagaki-sensei (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=t8ZaDkpltPE) came by and was very angry. He showed his disapproval by smashing a steel bucket into a small ball with his fists. He also appointed himself to teach the Sunday morning class.
For the only time during the ten years I was in Iwama, the dojo was packed with spectators for the Sunday morning class. There were mothers with their little children, my wife was there, everyone wanted to see what would happen when Inagaki-sensei got the visitor on the mat.
The visitor woke up, looked at the spectacle in the dojo, apparently got the message, and quietly took off for the train station. We were all disappointed that the show we anticipated did not take place.
That was probably the smartest thing the visitor ever did.

Moral of the story: Context is everything.

Regards.Yes Funny how stories goes around... The "wrestler" in the story is no less then Jan "Janne Yondan" Hermansson Shihan, 7th dan Aikikai. He has had quite a career in budo, starting with Karate in the 50's and was part of a group of judo people who started to train aikido 1960-1964 in Sweden. Moved to Tokyo 1965 or so and stayed in Japan until 1980 training aikido and Judo and alot of other things. He trained for the founder. He was and still is a train-o-holic. He trained (parallel with aikido) Judo and Jodo with Don Draeger at Kodokan, who also set him up with weight lifting. He got involved with Professional Wrestling. This is a man who "famously" pushed out Miyamoto sensei onto the 4th floor Hombu balcony when Miyamoto would try to go rough on the gaijin, who reversed Chiba's technique and simply lifted him out off the mat (prompting Chiba to Challenge him). Simply put he was and is a man who takes his training seriously and someone who wouldn't stand for foul play by abuse of the "rules" of aikido. Still he loves aikido and still practice it in Stockholm. (Ellis most likely has great stories of the beast)
Anyway... He was a great fan of Saito M and the respect was apperently mutual. One time during the 70's he went out to visit Iwama and train. Saito sensei was not present during the actual event (neither was David Alexander btw.). Iwama, then, was known as a place where outsider were put into place.
With his own words of the event: When Janne worked-out with someone (Hirosawa perhaps, wouldn't surprice me...) this Iwama fellow tried to reverse or stop Jannes technique (common phenomenon there). This led to a counter-counter by Janne, which in turn (as so often) led to anger by someone with too much of an ego (my interpetation). It ended up with Janne having had enough and simply lifting the fellow up in a irimi variation crashing him down leaving the guy with a concussion. Later everybody had their usual evening party and everyone had a good time, including Saito who had returned and who couldn't care less (it was the guys own fault so to speak). In the morning Janne noticed that there was alot of bad feelings in the air and took the (in my mind wise) decision to leave. Aikido is after all not about fighting or egos. Right? Right?

/J

Ellis Amdur
07-17-2008, 07:53 PM
I wasn't at Iwama. In fact, I never went. Because when I trained aikido, it was a guarantee that someone like Inagaki would try to cripple you - NOT in a fair fight, but, say, in the middle of a technique and you gave up the pin, and were waiting to tap out, and he would ignore the tap and rip out your shoulder. I'd already had the attempt made at another Iwama affiliate dojo.
This is not combat - nor a fair fight. It's obscene cowardice. And lest someone is offended that I mentioned Inagaki's name, I truly don't care. Saito sensei was quite fine with this, himself. Because it happened over and over again. Right in front of him. A friend of mine, a white belt who happened to be big, went Iwama all starry-eyed, and was crippled for life - he could no longer functionally bend his right arm. That was in Saito Morihiro's class.
My friend, Terry Dobson, worked out with Inagaki during one of Saito Morihiro's trips to Tokyo. Terry told him he had a separated shoulder, so "let's go easy," and Inagaki waited for nikkyo pin, which Terry gave him and Inagaki ripped the pins out of the bone.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the Iwama big-guys tried, in very studied fashion, to tear out my shoulder on shihonage, saying that he just wanted to show me something, moving very slowly, saying, "no need to take a break fall," and then suddenly tried to bridge my arm and tear it up. I was ready - forewarned by Terry - and took the fall, and then we had some - - - discussion.
More recently, Isat at a table at the aiki-expo listening to Saito Hitohiro bragging to others how they used to beat up guys from Honbu when they came to Iwama to train, but, and this is a direct quote, "It was done out of love, to give them a sense of how things should really be done."
You know, everyone made a big deal about the Ueshiba family taking back Iwama after Saito Morihiro's death. "Oh, it's politics." OR, "The Ueshiba family always resented Osensei's special relationship." Well, payback's a bitch, isn't it. This is the place Tokyo guys went to get injured. At the shrine. Yeah, if you were in-house, like some of my friends, things were fine. But, the place was a cesspool of cheap-shot violence.
Aikido is love? Or it's not. Fine. Nice debate. But Janne, who was a force of nature, did not deliberately set out to hurt people. I worked out with him a fair amount. But he would not accept cheap gratuitous attempts to injure or shame him.
I apologize for the rant. But one thing that has always offended me about aikido is that, often, what is used as "evidence" of aikido's real power is not one-on-one face-to-face, fighting, for whatever that's worth, but at least it's clean - but going backall the way back to Osensei and Yukawa in front of the emperor, it is cheap, nasty sucker punching and locking of people who trust you. Aikido is love? I guess, sometimes, it's also domestic violence - and far too many people call that love too.

raul rodrigo
07-17-2008, 08:05 PM
Thanks for the info, Jakob. I'd heard about the Janne stories before, eg, the fire escape story, but didn't know it was Miyamoto on the receiving end. I'd also read David Alexander's story about the incident with Inagaki and Hirosawa, and it's funny how these stories get retold and who is put in the best light, depending on who is telling the story. One wonders how a head-to-head encounter between Janne and Inagaki would have ended.

eyrie
07-17-2008, 08:30 PM
Well, mine is more in this line:
http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=p958woXcYcI Precisely... exploiting the mind-body connection and accessing specific mind-states isn't new... as long as I can remember, the MA is all about mind-body control - yours and another's.

Notice that the first criteria was "open and responsive"... and then "amplify their behaviour" using various anchors.

Here's a few more...
Warning - partial nudity
http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=rwvA0rJ6rC0&feature=related
Yes... trust me completely... :D

And this one:
http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=gfffcjEcYJc&feature=related

Can Derren really do a no-touch punch? I doubt it.... when he "punched" the guy in the back, the automatic response from being physically hit in the back would be to arch the back backwards at the point of contact... but the guy buckles forward... as if he was hit in the guts... again??

And one more - how to get a bunch of people to perform a specific behaviour:
http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=hClJLxsS1TY&feature=related

Note how Derren anchors the final behaviour up front... "putting your hands up in the air"... he mentions the word "imagine", "mind", "head" several times... several times he raises his arms above his head...to the extent of animatedly shaking his fists overhead... etc. And thus the first 2 "predictions" lead into the final behaviour.

Certainly, the specifics of how aikido is/can be performed is far more subtle than that, but no less insidious.

FWIW... a couple of years ago I did a no-touch irimi nage similar to the one that Ueshiba does at the end of that video (http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=bCjySZuVDkQ)... not on a trained aikidoka, BUT with a black belt jujitsuka I had been working with for a couple of weeks prior to his grading. We were working on his jujitsu grading syllabus (I was uke mostly.. um... because I had ------ sensitive ukemi) and one of the techniques they had was similar to iriminage but it involved a strike to the throat. So we did that for a bit and I can tell you, these guys were trained to take hits to certain areas that one would rarely see in most aikido. It was jujitsu of course, and pain is pretty much par for course. And then he asks to see my aikido version of iriminage... which I obligingly performed.

As I did a tenkan out and into the throw, my hand was barely a foot from his head when he came off the ground and was momentarily horizontal to the ground. Granted he had good ukemi skills to begin with, but that particular style of jujitsu did not perform ukemi the same way it is done in Aikido... at least not in my experience. And to this day, he still doesn't know how I did it... ;)

By no means does this example put me in the same class as Ueshiba... it only illustrates the point that the mind-body connection can be manipulated to influence specific behaviours and "spontaneous" responses.

Peter Goldsbury
07-17-2008, 08:38 PM
Ellis's post, about aikido as love, reminded me of some interesting antecedents I have come across while researching for my Aikiweb columns. Here is an interesting quote:

“The authoritarian basis of Japanese morality in this period can be seen very clearly in the habitual ill-treatment of Japanese soldiers by their officers. Discipline was conducted through bentatsu ([鞭撻: 鞭 means whip or rod; 撻 means to flog or strike: the combination means to goad someone or to urge them on]: the routine bashing and striking of soldiers), which was presented as an “act of love” by the officers for the soldiers. Even in the Japanese Navy—which was far more westernized in its conduct than in the Army—adopted a practice of harsh discipline known as tekken seisai (鉄拳 means a clenched fist; 制裁 means sanction or punishment: the combination means the 'law of the iron fist') in the wake of the Russo-Japanese War. It was often called the 愛の鞭 (ai-no-muchi, or ‘whip/rod of love’).”

O Sensei apparently distinguished himself in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 and later taught many of the officers who administered the whip. I think it is always good to have some cultural context to O Sensei's "Aiki is Love" statements.

The quote, by the way, is from a Japanese scholar who is trying to explain the atrocities done by his countrymen on their foreign POWs in WWII.

All will be revealed in a future column :D .

thisisnotreal
07-17-2008, 09:54 PM
ok; so now what about this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAbiqVaxC8M
pretty good, or at least reasonable?

then what about this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4q4zJ92fNo&feature=related
i'm guessing it's still real although quite ... 'theatrical'.

how does he lock up the uke? is it a cramp? is it a pulsation into your body? (a power release that shocks your nervous system?)

thanks.

Josh

Gernot Hassenpflug
07-17-2008, 09:54 PM
Heck Peter, if I'd married a Japanese woman years earlier all this would have been old news to me!

LOL
Gernot

Allen Beebe
07-17-2008, 10:00 PM
I always thought that one of the valid explanations (not excuses mind you) for the Japanese military's abuse of POW's, "liberated" citizenry, etc., was the abusive treatment that Japanese children . . . on down to Japanese soldiers received unquestioningly and passed along unquestioningly at the time. Unfortunately, but not too surprisingly, this mindset survived the war in some folks and found fertile ground in certain sectors of the martial arts. This behavioral disorder has even successfully been exported and reproduced in other countries under the guise of 'Traditional Japanese Martial Arts Training.'

Another story, I read but can't remember where, that relates to Peter's post was of O-sensei being brought to military trial for breaking a senior officer's hand. The case was dismissed when it came out that HOW Ueshiba had broken the senior officer's hand was by standing obediently, and obligingly, at attention while the officer in question hit Ueshiba on the head with his fist, thereby breaking his hand! I seem to recall that Ueshiba explained that he had trained his head by beating it against rocks and such, but pleaded innocent to intentionally breaking the officer's hand . . .

Gives a whole new meaning to 愛打、 har, har, har! :uch:

Cady Goldfield
07-18-2008, 07:21 AM
Peter's remarks regarding bentatsu and tekken seisai bring to mind an interesting book I read some time back, "Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers" (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, 2006, University of Chicago Press). There is a lot of anecdotal material in her book that attests to the treatments Peter cites (definitely, there was no love involved here), and it provides some interesting insights into the authoritarian Japanese government during WII, the symbolic position and role of the emperor, and the harsh treatment of and expectations of ultimate sacrifice that young men were expected to make not for their homeland and people, but for their emperor.

Allen Beebe
07-18-2008, 11:53 AM
I wasn't at Iwama. In fact, I never went. Because when I trained aikido, it was a guarantee that someone like Inagaki would try to cripple you - NOT in a fair fight, but, say, in the middle of a technique and you gave up the pin, and were waiting to tap out, and he would ignore the tap and rip out your shoulder. I'd already had the attempt made at another Iwama affiliate dojo.
This is not combat - nor a fair fight. It's obscene cowardice. And lest someone is offended that I mentioned Inagaki's name, I truly don't care. Saito sensei was quite fine with this, himself. Because it happened over and over again. Right in front of him. A friend of mine, a white belt who happened to be big, went Iwama all starry-eyed, and was crippled for life - he could no longer functionally bend his right arm. That was in Saito Morihiro's class.
My friend, Terry Dobson, worked out with Inagaki during one of Saito Morihiro's trips to Tokyo. Terry told him he had a separated shoulder, so "let's go easy," and Inagaki waited for nikkyo pin, which Terry gave him and Inagaki ripped the pins out of the bone.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the Iwama big-guys tried, in very studied fashion, to tear out my shoulder on shihonage, saying that he just wanted to show me something, moving very slowly, saying, "no need to take a break fall," and then suddenly tried to bridge my arm and tear it up. I was ready - forewarned by Terry - and took the fall, and then we had some - - - discussion.
More recently, Isat at a table at the aiki-expo listening to Saito Hitohiro bragging to others how they used to beat up guys from Honbu when they came to Iwama to train, but, and this is a direct quote, "It was done out of love, to give them a sense of how things should really be done."
You know, everyone made a big deal about the Ueshiba family taking back Iwama after Saito Morihiro's death. "Oh, it's politics." OR, "The Ueshiba family always resented Osensei's special relationship." Well, payback's a bitch, isn't it. This is the place Tokyo guys went to get injured. At the shrine. Yeah, if you were in-house, like some of my friends, things were fine. But, the place was a cesspool of cheap-shot violence.
Aikido is love? Or it's not. Fine. Nice debate. But Janne, who was a force of nature, did not deliberately set out to hurt people. I worked out with him a fair amount. But he would not accept cheap gratuitous attempts to injure or shame him.
I apologize for the rant. But one thing that has always offended me about aikido is that, often, what is used as "evidence" of aikido's real power is not one-on-one face-to-face, fighting, for whatever that's worth, but at least it's clean - but going backall the way back to Osensei and Yukawa in front of the emperor, it is cheap, nasty sucker punching and locking of people who trust you. Aikido is love? I guess, sometimes, it's also domestic violence - and far too many people call that love too.

The domestic violence reference got me thinking - if I remember correctly Ellis related on another thread that sexual abuse is not statistically passed on, in other words the victim doesn't statistically become a "carrier." However, violent abuse is statistically passed on, statistically victims of violent child abuse have a statistical tendency to grow up and become abusers themselves. [Please correct me if I'm wrong here because it is important.]

With that in mind, we read that Takeda Sokaku was physically abused in the process of learning. According to one story floating around at least Ueshiba was in tears the first time he got "handled" by Takeda. These could have been tears of embarrassment, frustration, or not entirely unlikely, pain. Later we hear stories of injuries at Ueshiba's hands and his temper is rather famous. Finally, there are student's of O-sensei that are rather infamous along the same lines. Is this a domestic abuse skeleton in the closet of Aikido? Or perhaps it is a domestic abuse Pink Elephant in the middle of the dojo that nobody talks about?

Zach Trent
07-18-2008, 12:02 PM
Two ideas that I think are at odds:

I would even go further: junk is junk and that was, indeed, junk... A sad display indeed, especially for someone who has been living in Japan and training in aikido as long as I have.


I would simply say that all of the really interesting stuff out there is the stuff you don't understand.

As a new student of Aikido, I can't pretend to speak with any authority about the contents of the video posted above. However, the first lesson I learned from Aikido is that it isn't wise to make decisions about the art without being open, relaxed, and able to harmonize with what you experience.

Honestly, I missed out on Aikido training for about six months because I went and watched some you tube videos and remarked to myself how canned, impractical, and goofy the practitioners looked. If I had watched the Abe Sensei video above at that point, it would have only added to my inability to fathom what the art is about.

Watching the video after about 8 months of training does not allow me to guess about what is happening, but I have learned that making assumptions about what I see only stunts my ability to grow and be challenged in this art.

An offshoot of that lesson that I learned is that I can trust people not to waste their (and other's) time- If someone has trained for years and years, I can trust that they are training a certain way for a reason, and I can learn from them, even if what they are teaching makes no sense to me as to why I would want to learn it (at least in Aikido, I am not about to apply this principle to all walks of my life).

If I may- I had the privilege of taking a class with Ledyard Sensei about two weeks ago at ASU summer camp, and that class put me in a better place to watch this video and not dismiss it. I hope that I have the chance to train with him again.

Thanks,

Zach, Brattleboro VT

Peter Goldsbury
07-18-2008, 12:03 PM
Peter's remarks regarding bentatsu and tekken seisai bring to mind an interesting book I read some time back, "Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers" (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, 2006, University of Chicago Press). There is a lot of anecdotal material in her book that attests to the treatments Peter cites (definitely, there was no love involved here), and it provides some interesting insights into the authoritarian Japanese government during WII, the symbolic position and role of the emperor, and the harsh treatment of and expectations of ultimate sacrifice that young men were expected to make not for their homeland and people, but for their emperor.

Cady,

The book you mentioned is a sequel to an earlier book by Emiko Ohnuki Tierney, which contains much of the argument. The title is Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms and Nationalisms: The Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History, published in 2002. These two books have led to another book, much more 'journalistic' than Ohnuki-Tierney, but none the worse for that. The title is Blossoms in the Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze, by M G Sheftall, published in 2005.

Jason Mayo
07-18-2008, 12:17 PM
For all I know you're right. However, considering what accounts I've been reading about Seiseki Abe, I'm assuming there's something more to it than mere theatrics.

Accounts are fine, stories are great, but witnesses dont make good storytellers, especially in the aikido world (c'mon, we all know shioda sensei told some real doozies). Can you honestly say youve never seen anyone just take fake ukemi? Never seen anyone just fall down when nothing happened? We all want to believe amazing things are possible, but isnt it more likely that this is whats happening here?

Even with more martial techniques, do you really think its neccesary to do a breakfall on any technique other than koshi-waza?

(sorry ive been gone for a while!!)

Jason Mayo
07-18-2008, 12:33 PM
Er... I've been to Abe's dojo, and trust me, the Ukemi that his students put on even without the cameras rolling would win the Oscar for overacting :D

I feel pretty comfortable with saying that because I got to see the reaction of one of his long time students reaction of my own stuff when we had a bit of private time. That kind of overacting just gets ingrained :-p

Was reading thru all the posts i missed and thank you for this one, finally some honesty!!

Ron Tisdale
07-18-2008, 12:35 PM
Can you honestly say youve never seen anyone just take fake ukemi?

Yes, I have seen that.

Never seen anyone just fall down when nothing happened?

Yep, seen that too...

We all want to believe amazing things are possible, but isnt it more likely that this is whats happening here?

Quite possible...so if you don't like it, and don't see a point to it, don't do it.

Even with more martial techniques, do you really think its neccesary to do a breakfall on any technique other than koshi-waza?

Yes. At least in the yoshinkan. Shihonage kuzushi, some versions of kotegaeshi nage, aiki-nage, iriminage and others.

Hey, if the vid in question doesn't float your boat, just say so and move on.

Best,
Ron

Haowen Chan
07-18-2008, 12:38 PM
An offshoot of that lesson that I learned is that I can trust people not to waste their (and other's) time- If someone has trained for years and years, I can trust that they are training a certain way for a reason.

This is just offloading responsibility for making your own personal training decisions onto another person. What if that person also did the same, and so on...?

Zach Trent
07-18-2008, 02:02 PM
This is just offloading responsibility for making your own personal training decisions onto another person. What if that person also did the same, and so on...?

Well- I suppose you are correct, but from my perspective I have to offload that responsibility onto someone, as I do not know Aikido.

My point is that if an instructor is doing something that is puzzling or counter-intuitive to me, I am willing to still try and learn from them. I highlight that as a lesson I have learned because Aikido seems puzzling to me at times...not sure if I'm on a limb on that one.

Aikibu
07-18-2008, 02:07 PM
Was reading thru all the posts i missed and thank you for this one, finally some honesty!!

Whew...I am glad you caught that too! Now if you could only figure what Aikido is and how it works you might be restored to sanity. :)

Because according to your post. Most of the rest of us are liars. LOL

William Hazen

mathewjgano
07-18-2008, 05:59 PM
Accounts are fine, stories are great, but witnesses dont make good storytellers, especially in the aikido world (c'mon, we all know shioda sensei told some real doozies).
I don't think Aikido folks are any different from most other folks. People are ignorant by nature. I understand that even the most perceptive of folks miss things. Human nature seems to readily allow one understanding to obfuscate another...except for me of course, I'm the exception that proves the rule.:p

Can you honestly say youve never seen anyone just take fake ukemi? Never seen anyone just fall down when nothing happened? We all want to believe amazing things are possible, but isnt it more likely that this is whats happening here?
I'm the wrong person to ask. I've got very little experience here. I've seen lots of things I didn't understand though. A perfect example was the first time I saw Aikido waza in person. It looked completely fake, but I'm one of the more open-minded people I know so I gave it a try a few years later when I had the opportunity. I still train there whenever I get the chance to. I'm far from being even a mediocre student of Aikido, let alone the Martial Arts, but what I've learned at my dojo has been useful to me in everything from soccer to scrapping around with my buddies to my job in construction...not to mention the intagibles.


Even with more martial techniques, do you really think its neccesary to do a breakfall on any technique other than koshi-waza?
Assuming we share the same meaning of what a breakfall is, yes: any time someone throws but doesn't let go. But, learning to land on the ground (break a fall) from a variety of movements is pretty useful stuff in my opinion.

Charles Hill
07-19-2008, 12:55 AM
All will be revealed in a future column :D .

Very much looking forward to this, Professor. With Mr.Amdur's post(which parallels many stories I have heard and things I experienced at Honbu) an obvious question is how much was Morihei Ueshiba aware of things that were going on? How did the situations at both Iwama and Tokyo change on the death of the Founder?

For example, there was a rather large guy training at Honbu when I was there in the mid-late 90's who was always very rough with his partners. People who trained regularly avoided him so it was usually unsuspecting visitors whom he injured. One time during K. Ueshiba's class, he was trashing his partner when Doshu started walking by. Suddenly this guy was throwing his partner very soft and kindly. Doshu walked by and he went back to the violence.

A few weeks later at Doshu's class, he was paired up with a certain senior shihan who smashed this guy into the mat the whole hour. The thought in my head was "the cycle of violence continues."

Charles

eyrie
07-19-2008, 01:37 AM
The thought in my head was "the cycle of violence continues." Hmmm... so much for the "Art of Peace"... I can beat the crap out of you and be completely at peace with myself. :D

BTW... can we split all the digressions on "violence under the pretext of love" to it's own thread please...

Allen Beebe
07-19-2008, 12:17 PM
I've read, and have been told, that during the Kobukan era folks would regularly come in for "Dojo Arai." On occasion, when more formidable "guests" would come in, their "interview" would end with them literally broken. In these cases O-sensei would come out and scold his student for injuring the "guest" when his art was not meant for such violence. After the guest had left the founder would invite the "defending" student into his back office offering him a cup of tea and congratulating him on his fine performance . . .

Tatemae/Honne

This of course was a "challenge match" (not the typical cheap shot that Ellis described) and all parties involved knew it.

. . . an obvious question is how much was Morihei Ueshiba aware of things that were going on? How did the situations at both Iwama and Tokyo change on the death of the Founder?

Charles

Perhaps an extreme reframing of the question would help one to draw their own conclusion: "Did the body guard assigned to protect the assassin by the fanatical/ultranationalist backing religious 'god father' know that people got hurt in his dojo where members of the ultranationalist underground did at least part of their planning that used terror as a tool?"

If he did or didn't, does it make the described behavior any more or less condonable? We can't change the past, but we can learn from it. What should one do now?

jennifer paige smith
07-19-2008, 03:06 PM
Hmmm... so much for the "Art of Peace"... I can beat the crap out of you and be completely at peace with myself. :D

BTW... can we split all the digressions on "violence under the pretext of love" to it's own thread please...

Good idea, Ignatius. I just started that thread.
Thanks,
Jen

Lyle Bogin
07-19-2008, 05:42 PM
The problem I think a lot of us have is that we think any martial arts training is real. It's all fake, or we'd all be dead and crippled.

I recall a time I was personally offended by aikido and it's BS laffy taffy wrist throws. Years ago ('95?) I went to the aikikai to try aikido (at the time I was studying kung fu) and they asked me to stand in line, grab some dude's wrist, and fall when he pointed to the floor. I wonder what the look on my face was like. I was used to full contact sparring. Convinced everyone around me was a punk and or a fool, I retreated to bloody noses and swollen ankles.

After a few years of getting kicked in the knees and doing a gazillion squats and horse stances, I developed a chronic injury that stopped me from kicking (mostly). Sick of the chinese martial arts world and bored to tears by boxing I went back to aikido out of desperation.

It was rough going, accepting the format and training methods and the fact that it's a fixed game. But now I see the beauty and the brilliance of it. How refined and thoughtful it is, enabling people of all practice styles and abilities to co-habitate. I can use to to teach kids, to break up fights, and to explain everything that makes martial techniques effective without coming off as overly aggressive.

Aikido is one of the best tools around for teaching and studying the underlying principals of the arts, because it's so darn fake on the mat and so freakin' real in the world we live in.

Stefan Stenudd
07-20-2008, 04:33 AM
Sometimes in discussions on what kind of aikido works or not, I get the feeling that we talk about different forms of aikido that should not really be compared.

There are, of course, many ways to train aikido, and I strongly believe that it is good to try more than one of them. Such as gotai and jutai, for example. Gotai is from a static position, where uke is expected to grab hard and use some resistance, whereas jutai is in movement, where it might actually be dangerous for uke to resist or try to stop the technique.

There is also a very soft way of training, where the principles of rhythm and flow are investigated further. Many of the performances that make spectators very doubtful are of this nature. But in that kind of training, uke is supposed to accept the impulses felt through tori's actions.
Still, it is very meaningful training, since it leads to a deeper understanding of subtleties at work in aikido. Simply put: your gotai technique will get stronger by it.

Also, I think it's important to understand that aikido people easily go into ukemi, when they get out of balance. People without such training would stumble around instead, or just collapse to the floor. So we should not expect every ukemi in aikido to be the result of a mighty force from tori, but as a safe and natural reaction in uke.

DH
07-23-2008, 12:22 PM
... I get the feeling that we talk about different forms of aikido that should not really be compared.
There is only one Aikido.
And all must compare themselves to it. Everything else is just simply another person's dilema and it doesn't matter. Your aiki is strong, or it is week. Call it shugyo or gong-fu-no matter. Regardless of who's mat or what art you face or even just life-It's your own hard work that will fail or prevail and no one else's. What else matters?
It's why Ueshiba saw aikido everywhere and acknowledged it as such. Then shouted that people in his own dojo were in fact not doing Aikido!
And it's why you can see so much Aikido and say "That's not Aikido." To me it's clear as a bell (pun intended).
Makes perfect sense.

Stefan Stenudd
07-23-2008, 02:20 PM
There is only one Aikido.
We're not even sure that there is only one universe.

Good for you that you figured it all out. Me, I would like to be entitled to my doubts and uncertainties, without which I would not be able to discover anything but what I already think I know.

DH
07-23-2008, 07:02 PM
Stefan
You missed the point entirely. ;)

George S. Ledyard
07-24-2008, 11:41 AM
Er... I've been to Abe's dojo, and trust me, the Ukemi that his students put on even without the cameras rolling would win the Oscar for overacting :D

I feel pretty comfortable with saying that because I got to see the reaction of one of his long time students reaction of my own stuff when we had a bit of private time. That kind of overacting just gets ingrained :-p

Hey Rob,
I had much the same experience once. I was at a seminar with a guy who did a lot of "energy work". I got paired with one of his senior students. I decided to try some of what I had seen the "big guy" do and low and behold... I was blowing this fellow across the room with pulses through my extension.

That's when it all became clear... What stood between me and great mastery of the art was my defective ukes...

gdandscompserv
07-24-2008, 11:55 AM
That's when it all became clear... What stood between me and great mastery of the art was my defective ukes...
:cool:

Michael Douglas
07-24-2008, 12:58 PM
Ricky beat me to it, but still ;
That's when it all became clear... What stood between me and great mastery of the art was my defective ukes...
Nail on the head!

Tinyboy344
07-25-2008, 10:34 AM
Aikido is.... magical... WOOSH!

mathewjgano
07-25-2008, 10:19 PM
Stefan
You missed the point entirely. ;)

Hi Dan,
Would you be willing to rephrase it or spell it out a bit more? I missed your meaning as well.

eyrie
07-25-2008, 10:39 PM
Well I thought that was pretty clear... as my teacher used to say... it's all Aikido. One and the same. This "my style, your style, our style" thing is not only divisive, but irrelevant. Everybody does things differently, but at its heart, it is one and the same Aikido.

What Dan's saying is that the comparison should not be of form and style, but whether your aiki-do is strong or weak in comparison. If you were to remove "aikido" all together, is what you know good enough to hold water?

mathewjgano
07-26-2008, 12:55 AM
Well I thought that was pretty clear... as my teacher used to say... it's all Aikido. One and the same. This "my style, your style, our style" thing is not only divisive, but irrelevant. Everybody does things differently, but at its heart, it is one and the same Aikido.

What Dan's saying is that the comparison should not be of form and style, but whether your aiki-do is strong or weak in comparison. If you were to remove "aikido" all together, is what you know good enough to hold water?

Well clearly what's clear to one isn't to another. I'm glad you got it though since you're able to point out what now seems a bit more obvious to me. I think I just get a little too microscopic and literal-minded sometimes. The rest of his post made sense to me; it was just the idea that "there's one Aikido" (the proper noun instead of the generic term threw me) that I remembered being confused by the first time I read it. Apparently I wasn't the only one. I was just hoping something more than "you don't get it" would be offered to explain it.
So Dan was saying whatever you're doing, you need to compare it with others in terms of effectiveness, while Stefan was saying it's pointless to compare certain approaches at all?
As an aside, i don't think it's divisive to compare styles/approaches unless we make it so. I've personally found it useful.
Thanks, eyrie,
matt

Lyle Bogin
07-26-2008, 08:44 AM
I've been thinking that as soon as we remove the fully resisting opponent, we take a step toward the no-touch throws like in this vid. So to argue for training with and uke is in essence the same argument as saying why the need to touch them at all.

mathewjgano
07-26-2008, 09:37 AM
I've been thinking that as soon as we remove the fully resisting opponent, we take a step toward the no-touch throws like in this vid. So to argue for training with [an] (?) uke is in essence the same argument as saying why the need to touch them at all.

I don't think they're the same. My limited understanding is that no-touch stuff is about psychological leading and positioning, which I think is a part of Aikido. I think it can very easily lead to preprogramming instead of organic interaction, but that simply doing them doesn't preclude that organic interaction.