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gabe
02-19-2009, 12:14 PM
Just a quick note to let everyone know that Endo Shihan will be in Montreal for 3 days (during the week) right before his weekend seminar in Toronto. It's a great chance to get 6 days of continuous training with Endo Shihan.

For more info on the Montreal Event:

http://aikidomontreal.com/events

And the Toronto One:

http://www.nakaima.ca/news.html

Hope to see you on the mat!
gabe.

Nick P.
02-19-2009, 05:28 PM
Excellent, I am looking forward to this one indeed.

ramenboy
02-20-2009, 11:25 AM
gabe,

haven't been up there to see you guys and endo sensei for a couple of years!

hope to make it this year....

Nick P.
04-08-2009, 07:51 AM
Wow. Class #1 was last night and what a treat Endo Sensei is to have teaching a seminar. A big thanks to the orgranizers for a job well done.

If you are even considering attending any of his seminars I highly encourage you to make it happen; something for everyone. Powerful yet supple and flowing, strict (read below) yet jovial and approachable, and always asking "why"?

What we learned last night
-Be on time
-Wear flip-flops before getting on the mat
-Dont be late, but if you are, dont sit seiza off the mat as thats wear said flip-flops are, and that's dirty. Stand.
-During class, pay attention
-Dont get squished when lining up as your rei wont be full
-Last rei of the practice, dont wait for him to begin his bow to begin yours

Most of the above points I knew, and managed to execute, but the last two werent so obvious to me. A reminder that not everything is done the same way everywhere.

Nick P.
04-08-2009, 12:02 PM
...AND, for the love of all that is holy, turn you cell phone off!

Someone had left it in the bag at the back of the room, and it began to ring. Sensei addressed this point as well.

NagaBaba
04-09-2009, 02:00 PM
So yesterday I went to Endo sensei seminar. It was nice to see him after 15 years later. During more then 2 hours he presented only different exercises for connection. Not even single aikido technique. The class was structured like that: 15 minutes of explanations, 3 minutes of practice, again 15 minutes explanations 2 minutes of practice...etc.
We were not allowed to grip, the only contact was by touching very lightly. That was supposed to create and maintain famous connection. Sensei said he is only interested in that kind of practice.

Most folks were completely lost, trying imitating dancing movements and running around tori without much sens. Uke were overreacting and were much too cooperative.

Even in such 'favorable' conditions it was impossible to practice as there were no clear goals of practice established. Also, most of ppl practiced it first time, only few were familiar. However sensei didn't present 'user friendly' approach to his method, he was jumping from one concept to another, once he even mentioned street application!!!!! I was horrified, how anybody could do such association with the exercises (not martial techniques) that were presented!

Everybody was happily dancing around without any martial principles being respected.

I don't think what we did has something common with aikido.And stupid me, I brought my weapons :(

Nick P.
04-09-2009, 02:40 PM
So, you coming again tonight? It would be nice to meet you, who knows, we might have trained together last night....

*edit* look for the kanji seen at left on both my jacket and hakama.

JO
04-09-2009, 09:03 PM
Hey Szczepan,

I'm curious how the light touch training was presented. I find that the maintaining connection aspect is often overlooked. I once had Harvey Konigsberg teach an exercise where uke was asked to just barely touch and nage had to create the connection to move him (Harvey scolded me for following his movements and then went on to move me in such a way that made it impossible for me to let go of him). I found this type of connection very hard to establish, and event though it's been a couple of years, I still think a lot about that exercise. Probably learned more from it than from any of the "aikido techniques" we did that day. Of course, such an exercise is useless if uke follows nage of his own free will.

NagaBaba
04-09-2009, 09:04 PM
So, you coming again tonight? It would be nice to meet you, who knows, we might have trained together last night....

*edit* look for the kanji seen at left on both my jacket and hakama.
Sorry, I don't have so much time to waiste. :sorry: May be we can meet at the other, this time AIKIDO seminar :D

NagaBaba
04-09-2009, 09:12 PM
Hey Szczepan,

I'm curious how the light touch training was presented. I find that the maintaining connection aspect is often overlooked. I once had Harvey Konigsberg teach an exercise where uke was asked to just barely touch and nage had to create the connection to move him (Harvey scolded me for following his movements and then went on to move me in such a way that made it impossible for me to let go of him). I found this type of connection very hard to establish, and event though it's been a couple of years, I still think a lot about that exercise. Probably learned more from it than from any of the "aikido techniques" we did that day. Of course, such an exercise is useless if uke follows nage of his own free will.
I agree that connection aspect is overlloked. Such exercises can be done efficienlty, if they are immediatly followed by the applications of this concept in actual techniques. Otherwise, it is as a teaching how to swimm in empty pool.;)
I'll show you 'light touch training ' next time we meet.May be at May seminar?

JO
04-09-2009, 09:18 PM
I hope to make it to the May seminar, but things are a little out of my control. Elisabeth is at risk for preterm labor and has to stay on rest. I have to get a babysitter to help her with the kids just to go to train here in Québec. I barely manage one class a week :(
However, I plan to be at the Saturday class at Aikido de la Montagne this weekend as I will be in Montreal for Easter.

Carsten Möllering
04-10-2009, 02:25 PM
Hi

During more then 2 hours he presented only different exercises for connection. Not even single aikido technique.Yes, his seminars are known for that. And people like me visit his classes exactly for that reason.
He expects his scholars to practice kata or techniques at home in their dojo.
During his seminars he teaches the movements that help to do aikido techniques the way he thinks they shoul be practiced.

The class was structured like that: 15 minutes of explanations, 3 minutes of practice, again 15 minutes explanations 2 minutes of practice...etc.grin So folks weren't familiar with his way of doing Aikido? He had to explain a lot?
And yes: He is talking a lot. Even if it's not 15 Minutes. Baut again an aspect we search for when attending his classes.
But usually you have a lot of time to really practice too.

We were not allowed to grip, the only contact was by touching very lightly. That was supposed to create and maintain famous connection. Sensei said he is only interested in that kind of practice.Yes again. I'm trying his way of doing Aikido for about two and a half year now. Endo together with Christian Tissier is the shihan of our aikikai organization here in Germany.

What you get out of this way of practicing over the time seems sometimes to be really miraculous. The poin is: Youre technique doesn't rely on the contact, the grip, uke gives you. nage himself creates the contact and leads uke the way he want's to.
I can't really describe this in english. But I experienced over the time, that those funny things Endo teaches iconsiderably increase the efficacy of techniques.

Try: katate dori shiho nage omote.Does it work, if uke doesn't grab you and just touches your wrist with his palm? (soto kaiten nage ...)

The other way round: As nage, do you have to grip uke to move him/her? To lead uke just by atari and not by gripping helps a lot. It works. Better!

Most folks were completely lost, trying imitating dancing movements and running around tori without much sens. Uke were overreacting and were much too cooperative.Not familiar with his style of working ...

Even in such 'favorable' conditions it was impossible to practice as there were no clear goals of practice established.That sounds strange to me: Normaly he is very very precice in esplaining, what is to learn, how to practice, whatfor to train this or that. Very precise!
He is teaching a very clear system. An he is teaching it systematically. Each seminar has a clear structure from beginning to the end.
Normaly it ends with applying the contact-exercises to normal aikido techniques.

Also, most of ppl practiced it first time, only few were familiar.[/QUOTE]Ah as I thought.
Was it an open seminar or a yudansha seminar? There is a difference sometimes.

However sensei didn't present 'user friendly' approach to his method, I think, he expects people to be a little prepared when they come to train with him.

he was jumping from one concept to another, once he even mentioned street application!!!!! I was horrified, how anybody could do such association with the exercises (not martial techniques) that were presented!Those exercises are exercises. Nothing more, nothing less. But they help, to get to learn how to control an attacker much more easy.

But to experience that you have to try his way and train. I'm sorry that there wheren't enough partners to show how it works.
You don't have to like his aikido but you would have sensed why he can talk about budo.

Butttttt:
Did he say "street application"?
Or did he say "outside the dojo"???
Please remember.

He often speeks about Aikido "outside the dojo" and the doesn't mean selfdefence, but means unterstanding and living Aikido as dao.
I have him never heard talking about street application but very often about aikido as dao. Outside the dojo.

Everybody was happily dancing around without any martial principles being respected.Did he show atemi?

I don't think what we did has something common with aikido.And stupid me, I brought my weapons At the first seminar I brought my weapons too. It was like a tatoo on my forehead: "I'm a newbie". Never did it again.

I was very disappointed that first weekend. Used the same words you do. Couldn't understand why and what my teacher learned from him.

But I know it by now.

Do you like the Aikido of Yamaguchi?

Carsten

Nick P.
04-10-2009, 03:52 PM
Lots of specific techniques last night...
ikkyo and nikkyo from shomenuchi, ushiro waza and kosa-dori (both with uke pushing or pulling). But at no point did he actually say "This is how shomenuchi ikkyo must be done."

Carsten beat me to the lengthy reply, and did so with great accuracy both in general and in this case in particular.

I dont go to seminars to see and be taught the nuts and bolts of techniques. I go to seminars to see and feel and hear what principles the teacher is exploring that can (or cannot, to be fair) be brought to my own practice, and that my practice is up to me to take responsibility for, as Endo Sensei pointed out last night.

To be clear, this is probably the first seminar that I have attended where I really had no expectations going in, and perhaps due to that I was more open to the possibilities presented over the three classes. Oddly, Endo Sensei did say that being open to all possibilities was overall a good thing, and not just in one's keiko.

Being open....a novel concept for any aikido student :D

Gregory Adams
04-17-2009, 01:56 PM
The Endo seminar was great!!!! Anyone that didn't like it, would probably not have liked O Sensei's classes very much either. My instructor told me that O Sensei would talk a lot and no one minded much because it was all about the message - not the technique. Those that do not appreciate a seminar like this probably have a fighting mind; something that has no place in true Aiki.

NagaBaba
04-17-2009, 02:12 PM
The Endo seminar was great!!!! Anyone that didn't like it, would probably not have liked O Sensei's classes very much either. My instructor told me that O Sensei would talk a lot and no one minded much because it was all about the message - not the technique. Those that do not appreciate a seminar like this probably have a fighting mind; something that has no place in true Aiki.

I think you misunderstanding Budo spirit with fighting spirit.O sensei could talk a lot, however when he presented the techniques, it was very clear, that martial principles were present in every moment. It was not a case in this seminar.

Carsten Möllering
04-17-2009, 03:47 PM
I think you misunderstanding Budo spirit with fighting spirit.O sensei could talk a lot, however when he presented the techniques, it was very clear, that martial principles were present in every moment. It was not a case in this seminar.
Hm
I understood you attended one two hours class of that seminar?
I understood that you didn't train with Endo for about 15 years?
I understood that you didn't have an idea of the goals of the exercises you practiced?
I understood you didn't work with nage and uke who were familiar with those exercises and there goals?
I understood uke on the contrary were overreacting and were much too cooperative.
I understood the long explanations didn't tell you something?
I understood you still have to grip to handel your partner/attacker?

Hey, come on.

Is Matthias Claudius known in the US? He did a famous german evening song I have to think of. One verse of it:

Do you see the moon up there?
You can only see half of it,
all the same, it is round and beautiful.
The same goes for many things
that we laugh at without hesitation,
just because our eyes don't see them.

Thank you for your questions!

Carsten

Nick P.
04-17-2009, 08:47 PM
Now hold on.

I loved the seminar. I am sure not everyone did. That is ok too.

I firmly believe that what I learned from Endo Sensei were the following two key things:
1 - I can, and did and have since, applied the concepts and excersises to my martial-way of training. Absolutely. And the martial component has been amplified (and I thought what I did was fairly martial to begin with).
2 - There are as many different views of what Aikido should and should not be as there different deshi of O-Sensei.

I believe martial principles were being explored in a different, complementary manner than in a classic fashion. Call it 3/4 exploring different ways of getting to the same destination (awase, kuzushi, etc) and 1/4 of the seminar applying them in a martial way which was up to you, the student, to take responsibility for.

I do believe however that if you walked into that room with a closed mind, you got the results you were expecting to get (see this topic (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15737&highlight=create) for a good example of this concept).

One should never, ever blindly accept what is being taught as gospel, by any teacher, but you should always ask yourself what you can learn from them, as there is always something to be learned.

Sometimes you just have to stop fighting it and let that learning come to you. It's ok, you wont melt, and it wont erode what you think your aikido should be....unless you cling to that image so desperately and blindly that, in that case, maybe a little erosion which prompts you to ask yourself some questions is likely not a bad thing.

In the meantime, I found myself looking at flights for Paris and Vienna later this year...

DanielR
04-17-2009, 09:41 PM
Hi Nick,

Along with flights for Paris and Vienna, may I also recommend looking at flights to Seattle around June 5-7 (Frank Ostoff Sensei (http://www.pugetsoundaikikai.org/200906_OstoffSensei.pdf)) and again to Seattle sometime in October for Jan Nevelius Sensei's week-long visit there (the dates haven't been announced yet, this will be hosted by Aikido Seattle (http://leichbro.org/aikido/)).

Best wishes,
Daniel

Charles Hill
04-18-2009, 07:28 PM
Hi,

Anyone aware of Szczepan's history of posts and of Endo Shihan's teaching and practicing style could have predicted the result that seems to have happened.

Szczepan,

I highly recommend that you more thoroughly check out an instructor before you invest your valuable time, effort and money on a seminar. For example, you could have spent 30 minutes (or less) looking at Seishiro Endo clips on youtube and probably would have come to the same conclusion.

Charles

Ron Tisdale
04-20-2009, 11:47 AM
Well, at least Mr S. was open-minded enough to go to a seminar when he knew it would be a different style and approach than the one he favored. And honest enough to say what he really thought.

Personally, I applaud him for that, whether or not I agree with his opinion (frankly I don't have enough experience on this particular teacher to take a position).

Best,
Ron (Hey Charles, hope all is well)

Russ Q
04-20-2009, 02:23 PM
Charles' advice is good....that being said I value Mr. S's opinion as he is amazingly consistent...and almost always (whether I agree with him or not) is good for a chuckle.

Cheers,

Russ

NagaBaba
04-20-2009, 09:45 PM
Hi,

Anyone aware of Szczepan's history of posts and of Endo Shihan's teaching and practicing style could have predicted the result that seems to have happened.

Szczepan,

I highly recommend that you more thoroughly check out an instructor before you invest your valuable time, effort and money on a seminar. For example, you could have spent 30 minutes (or less) looking at Seishiro Endo clips on youtube and probably would have come to the same conclusion.

Charles
Hi Charles,
It is true that in certain moment of aikido development you, by simply looking at someone, exactly know his level of understanding of aikido.
However, at this level you don't learn in the same way as beginner by simply imitating teacher movements - rather, you are 'feeling his spirit' - I don't know how to describe it better.....hmhm........... like ' by induction', without touching him........... because your senses are very sensitive as a result of many years of training.

So sometimes, even if I normally don’t practice in particular way, I like to go for some strange ‘aikido style’ training, if the instructor has a good level.

The concepts that Endo Sensei is teaching are very difficult. You must have not only capacity of demonstrating it, but what is more important, you must have very strong, modern, step by step pedagogical approach if you want to teach it efficiently.

I believe that Endo sensei developed very high level of understanding of aikido, but he doesn’t know how to teach it efficiently. He is simply coping Yamaguchi sensei teaching. In the present way, such approach fails and is useless. I’ve been observing this style of aikido since many years, and presently don’t have any hope for better future for it.
They should change the name (as K.Tohei did many years ago), they don’t teach aikido anymore.

NagaBaba
04-20-2009, 09:57 PM
I do believe however that if you walked into that room with a closed mind, you got the results you were expecting to get ..

Hi Nick,
One day Chiba sensei wrote something like that: one must know where are the roots and where are the leafs.This way you will know where are you, and who are you.
It has nothing to do with closed mind, on contrary, I see very clearly what the instructors are trying to teach. But sometimes there is no hope for them.

raul rodrigo
04-20-2009, 10:35 PM
There is no hope for Endo shihan? Really? Boy, I'd hate to think what that implies for the rest of us.

R

Carsten Möllering
04-21-2009, 01:09 AM
Hi,
I believe that Endo sensei developed very high level of understanding of aikido, but he doesn't know how to teach it efficiently.

I haven't attended the seminar but instaed I know:

You can find everything you did in that two hour class on one of the three basic DVDs (one of them shows his kihon waza) and on one of his Seminar DVDs.
With explanations, preparatory exercises, alternatives, ways to techniques, showing common mistakes or difficulties and and and.

One of the things his scholars like is his precices and efficient way of teaching.

Shouldn't call it aikido anymore ...?
Do you know Endo's technique, his kihon waza?
Have you ever seen a dan-examination held by Endo?

May I ask which style of Aikido you are doing?

Carsten

Alex Megann
04-21-2009, 03:42 AM
I have one or two comments; I have been in classes with Endo Sensei several times, and am familiar with his three teaching DVDs.

First of all, the aikido that Endo teaches is recognisably in the lineage of Yamaguchi Sensei, but at the same time Endo has very much made it his own, and has a particularly well-organised teaching methodology. He communicates very clearly what the essence of his aikido is about: relaxed body, instant contact with the partner, continous control of the partner's centre. I disagree strongly with Szczepan's assertion that Endo is teaching poorly-assimilated Yamaguchi aikido. In the 1980s I attended several of Yamaguchi Sensei's classes in the UK and took ukemi from him numerous times and, although Yamaguchi's aikido was unique and singularly impressive, I believe Endo's pedagogy is clearer and more suitable for Western comprehension.

It is interesting how Szczepan's description of Endo Sensei's class reminds me of my own teacher, Kanetsuka Sensei. He hardly ever teaches aikido techniques these days, concentrating on relaxation, posture and direct control of the partner's balance (and indeed we spend rather more time listening to him talking than we do practising ourselves!). I don't think anyone would criticise Kanetsuka as "non-martial", as he likes strong grips and solid attacks, and you are immediately aware of who is in charge once you grab him. He actually states that he isn't teaching aikido as such, but aiki, kokyu and other essentials that enable us to practise aikido. My opinion is that the essence of what Endo and Kanetsuka are teaching is one and the same.

I get the impression that at the seminar Szczepan attended Endo was trying to get particular points across. Many people in aikido repeat techniques in an almost robotic fashion, regardless of whose class they are in, and I think some teachers avoid teaching "standard" techniques in a "normal" way for very much this reason.

Echoing Carsten's point, I was present for a yudansha grading at Hombu Dojo six years ago at which Endo Sensei was officiating (I believe he is still the chair of the Hombu Examination Committee), and the grading was absolutely straightforward and clear.

Alex

NagaBaba
04-21-2009, 09:16 AM
In the 1980s I attended several of Yamaguchi Sensei's classes in the UK and took ukemi from him numerous times and, although Yamaguchi's aikido was unique and singularly impressive, I believe Endo's pedagogy is clearer and more suitable for Western comprehension.
Of course, I agree, Endo sensei pedagogy is much more clearer. On Yamaguchi sensei seminars I often had impression that even Yamaguchi sensei himself didn't know what exactly he was doing LOL

However, I have impression that Endo sensei is not teaching. First he talks 15 minutes, then he takes a uke, and practice with him many combination of movements that has one or two principle in common (but a form of every movement is very different) for 5 minutes. When dojo can finally start to practice, he takes another uke and again execute other movements with him (not even techniques). Immediately, ppl sit down around him and start to admire how good he is (he was actually very surprised that in Montreal, folks tried actually to practice instead of admiring him LOL). Then he stops practice and start to talk again.
You call it well developed pedagogy? - I think we have very different definition of 'teaching'. ;)


He actually states that he isn't teaching aikido as such, but aiki, kokyu and other essentials that enable us to practise aikido. My opinion is that the essence of what Endo and Kanetsuka are teaching is one and the same.

Alex
It only confirms my point, that Endo sensei is not teaching aikido anymore, just as Kanetsuka sensei. At least Kanetsuka sensei honestly recognizes it.
I had a great pleasure to learn from Kanetsuka sensei during few years when he was still teaching aikido techniques beside some other interesting exercises. I think you need a good balance between them; otherwise it will denature the development of students. Those students, who never did any aikido techniques and practice only ‘essence' will not have a good understanding of aikido that O sensei created.

NagaBaba
04-21-2009, 09:52 AM
Hi,

I haven't attended the seminar but instaed I know:

You can find everything you did in that two hour class on one of the three basic DVDs (one of them shows his kihon waza) and on one of his Seminar DVDs.
With explanations, preparatory exercises, alternatives, ways to techniques, showing common mistakes or difficulties and and and.

One of the things his scholars like is his precices and efficient way of teaching.

Shouldn't call it aikido anymore ...?
Do you know Endo's technique, his kihon waza?
Have you ever seen a dan-examination held by Endo?

May I ask which style of Aikido you are doing?

Carsten

Hello Carsten,
I see you are one of ‘believers’. One of those, who during seminars, sit around and admire Endo sensei beautiful technique and how well he applies very sophisticated principles?

See, me, I’m not sitting during seminars. I’m not learning from books, DVD or from talks. I’m using all this time for purely physical practice. And you know what I learned? You can’t teach beginners very sophisticated elements. Even if these elements are ‘the essence’ of aikido. There were many other instructors, not only Yamaguchi and Endo sensei that were trying to teach only ‘essence’ to beginners i.e. Hirokazu Kobayashi, Nakazono sensei, K.Tohei…etc…

I had many opportunities to practice with students of those instructors during all these years, and see the result of their teaching. In all cases, those who didn’t have very solid basic training, were not able to apply even roughly a single one of those sophisticated details with someone who was not very familiar with their style. I’m talking here about normal, friendly practice, not any kaeshi waza training.

Those, who practice only ‘essence’ didn’t understand at all martial principles i.e. correct distance, because nobody ever hit them strongly in the head or in the stomach with the hand, foot or a weapon….What it worst, they always blamed uke for the failure of their techniques. So they will never develop misogi training. And will not reach a goal of aikido.

As you see, the weakness here is not a particular aikido style, or instructor, but the way of teaching. Don’t feel offended personally by my writing, I really have very wide experience with different aikido styles, so I can compare and see the strong points but also the weaknesses.

Take care

Ron Tisdale
04-21-2009, 10:14 AM
I have to say, based on the discussions here, Mr. S has made some very strong points, and they have not been successfully refuted yet (in my opinion).

His point about the difference between using the kind of training described for beginners vs advanced students is very well taken.

Best,
Ron (refuting his claims based on "loyalty" isn't really convincing at all)

Alex Megann
04-21-2009, 10:53 AM
However, I have impression that Endo sensei is not teaching. First he talks 15 minutes, then he takes a uke, and practice with him many combination of movements that has one or two principle in common (but a form of every movement is very different) for 5 minutes. When dojo can finally start to practice, he takes another uke and again execute other movements with him (not even techniques). Immediately, ppl sit down around him and start to admire how good he is (he was actually very surprised that in Montreal, folks tried actually to practice instead of admiring him LOL). Then he stops practice and start to talk again.
You call it well developed pedagogy? - I think we have very different definition of 'teaching'. ;)

Actually your experience of Endo Sensei at the Montreal course is not consistent with mine elsewhere. I should say that I haven't seen him for five or six years now, so he may have changed his teaching style, but in my experience Endo Sensei's classes are very clearly taught and structured, and when I saw him at Hombu Dojo in 1993 he was certainly teaching "standard" aikido techniques. His first DVD (Kihon no Kata) contains nothing but "normal" aikido techniques.

It only confirms my point, that Endo sensei is not teaching aikido anymore, just as Kanetsuka sensei. At least Kanetsuka sensei honestly recognizes it.
I had a great pleasure to learn from Kanetsuka sensei during few years when he was still teaching aikido techniques beside some other interesting exercises. I think you need a good balance between them; otherwise it will denature the development of students. Those students, who never did any aikido techniques and practice only ‘essence' will not have a good understanding of aikido that O sensei created.

I have to agree at least in part, as it happens. I have found for a quite a few years now that some students who only ever train in Kanetsuka Sensei's classes (though not all) have limited understanding of basic techniques, and this is evident in their gradings. Even twenty or twenty-five years ago, when he was regularly teaching technique, as well as a lot of sword practice, I noticed that many of his close students concentrated particularly on the "first contact" part of his teaching, but had no sense of flow or of relaxed breathing after that point.

Endo Sensei's teaching DVDs have been mentioned in this thread; Kanetsuka Sensei has made two teaching videos, which I believe will shortly be available in DVD format: these are prosaically entitled "6th Kyu to 5th Kyu" and "4th Kyu to 3rd Kyu", and as the names suggest are largely technical demonstrations. As I understand it, he teaches things in in his classes which he feels can only be transmitted in person, while he encourages us to study his videos to learn how to execute techniques. I would think that Endo Sensei has a similar intention when he conducts overseas seminrs.

Alex

DanielR
04-21-2009, 11:34 AM
An interesting discussion.

My knee-jerk reaction was to respond with something like "do you really want Endo Sensei to travel half way around the globe to teach ikkyo?" . Then I thought - why shouldn't he? Ikkyo is an Aikido technique, Endo Sensei is an Aikido instructor - what's the problem then? So I took some time to recall the practice at the seminars with Endo Sensei that I attended in the past, and remembered quite vividly that we did practice standard Aikido techniques, ikkyo included.

An important point, however, is that I assume Endo Sensei would like to be able to teach his ikkyo (if we can agree that there's more than one valid interpretation of this "basic" technique). And in order to be able to do that, he needs to establish a common vocabulary, intent and feeling with the practitioners in attendance. To this end, my understanding is that he developed a number of exercises, and he asks the practitioners to go through these, as building blocks for the material to follow. I didn't attend the Montreal training, but my guess is that there were quite a few practitioners there for whom this was their first exposure to Endo Sensei's style, so it would seem only natural that Endo Sensei took considerable time to explain what was supposed to be going on.

Sometimes the "shut up and train" approach is useless - if the practitioner didn't understand the goal or the method of the exercise the instructor is asking to practice, what is the instructor to do? Just let the students in attendance do whatever, and move on? What is the point of this training?

To address Szczepan's remark "you can't teach beginners very sophisticated elements" : I never got the impression that Endo Sensei was trying to do that. During a Toronto seminar a few years ago, Endo Sensei specifically insisted on teaching a separate class for white belts only, and worked only on the basics. Something as basic as giving a proper yokomen strike and taking a proper ukemi from yokomen-uchi shiho-nage, for example.

Ron, I'm curious: are you saying that Szczepan's point about using the kind of training described for beginners vs advanced students is very well taken because you attended Endo Sensei's seminars, and reached the same conclusion - that he teaches things way too advanced for the attendees (if this was indeed Szczepan's point)? Or simply that the point itself, that instruction should be appropriate for beginners or advanced students, is a valid one (which, as I understand, noone here disputes) ?

With best regards,
Daniel

Nick P.
04-21-2009, 11:49 AM
I have to say, based on the discussions here, Mr. S has made some very strong points, and they have not been successfully refuted yet (in my opinion).

His point about the difference between using the kind of training described for beginners vs advanced students is very well taken.

Best,
Ron (refuting his claims based on "loyalty" isn't really convincing at all)

I dunno Ron,

I agree with his point on advanced vs.beginners, but he is clearly not a beginner by his own admission.

If he could not or would not follow sensei's teaching during the seminar, guess that is his own fault, not senseis.

As the only other person present at this seminar posting on this thread, looks like 50% didnt get what they wanted ("See, me, I'm not sitting during seminars. I'm not learning from books, DVD or from talks. I'm using all this time for purely physical practice.") and the other 50% had no problem understanding and applying the martial applications of timeing, spacing and connection, and not gripeing too much about all the seiza and listening.

If I cant follow a teacher, or dont like what they are doing, that is my own business, and its up to me to remedy it for myself (read find another teacher or work harder at understanding what they are teaching), whether at a seminar or at a regular class.

Ron Tisdale
04-21-2009, 12:14 PM
Ron, I'm curious: are you saying that Szczepan's point about using the kind of training described for beginners vs advanced students is very well taken because you attended Endo Sensei's seminars, and reached the same conclusion - that he teaches things way too advanced for the attendees (if this was indeed Szczepan's point)? Or simply that the point itself, that instruction should be appropriate for beginners or advanced students, is a valid one (which, as I understand, noone here disputes) ?

With best regards,
Daniel

The latter I think. I guess my issue is the responses to his posts seemed to be emotionally based upon the fact that he has the "nerve" to speak up about his fairly well-considered opinion. I thought I'd chime in against that strain.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
04-21-2009, 01:04 PM
I dunno Ron,

I agree with his point on advanced vs.beginners, but he is clearly not a beginner by his own admission.

If he could not or would not follow sensei's teaching during the seminar, guess that is his own fault, not senseis.

I don't know...If he could not it might be no one's fault. Or it might be the instructor's fault. Or it might be his...who knows? Why do we assume that the participant is clueless and the instructor is always right?

As the only other person present at this seminar posting on this thread, looks like 50% didnt get what they wanted ("See, me, I'm not sitting during seminars. I'm not learning from books, DVD or from talks. I'm using all this time for purely physical practice.") and the other 50% had no problem understanding and applying the martial applications of timeing, spacing and connection, and not gripeing too much about all the seiza and listening.

Well, when you characterize his position negatively to start, it seems like his concerns are not even being given a fair chance. I can understand the issue with too much talk and not enough training...I've left dojo because of that.

To balance that perspective...it should be noted that many of Ueshiba's students wanted the "old man" to shut up and let them train...many of them kind of regretted that attitude later on I'm told.

If I cant follow a teacher, or dont like what they are doing, that is my own business, and its up to me to remedy it for myself (read find another teacher or work harder at understanding what they are teaching), whether at a seminar or at a regular class.

So you assume that Mr. S didn't or hasn't done that? He doesn't have a right to disagree intelligently?

Sorry, I don't get that.

Best,
Ron

DanielR
04-21-2009, 01:15 PM
Thanks, Ron,

Could you then please clarify what in Szczepan's opinion strikes you as well-considered intelligent disagreement? If you're not judging from experience with Endo Sensei, then I'm assuming you accept his claims about Endo Sensei's teaching style on face value (which is perfectly legitimate, as Szczepan is known as an experienced, no-nonsense Aikido practitioner).

But if you were one of the "believers", how would you go about refuting his claims? We have witnesses of practitioners who attended Endo Sensei's seminars and whose accounts are diametrically opposite to Szczepan's; what is their value, vs. Szczepan's? We have Endo Sensei's DVD on kihon waza as proof that he in fact pays close attention to basics; what is its value in this argument? Szczepan discounts adherents of this type of training as those that always blame their uke if their technique doesn't work, as those who "has never been hit" if their technique is not martially sound. This is just a sweeping generalization, does it have to be refuted as well? And how? :-)

With best regards,
Daniel

Ron Tisdale
04-21-2009, 01:22 PM
I think you refuted them very well just now. You simply discussed the issues without the emotions, or casting the opposite opinion in rather negative terms to start.

Let's be clear...I am an outsider looking in. I have no experience with Endo Shihan, and little experience with this style (Yamaguchi Shihan) of training. I have done some locally, and have had the priviledge of some contact with 5-6th dans. And I really enjoyed that training. But the things Mr. S. has mentioned also seemed to be present even in the environments I was exposed to.

I really don't have a dog in this fight...I'm just asking questions, and thinking. And I appreciate the conversation, so I don't mean to cast it negatively either. Thanks for tolerating this YoshOrc (TM)... ;)

Best,
Ron
PS I should perhaps correct myself...the local group from that tradition NEVER talks on the mat. They just sweat!
B,
R

DanielR
04-21-2009, 01:32 PM
Ron,

It takes someone like you to discuss the issues Szczepan raises without emotions - the immediate reaction is to discuss how he raises them :D

Thank you for being a great example, as always, to everyone on this board.

Re: talking - just to reiterate an essential point, it seems to me that it takes a certain initial investment to get past the talking stage and into the sweating stage.

With best wishes,
Daniel

Ron Tisdale
04-21-2009, 01:36 PM
ok, you just made me blush...

:blush:

Best to you sir...and thanks.

Ron
(PS I hope you'll do the same for me sometime...we all have "issues" now and again...:D)

Carsten Möllering
04-21-2009, 01:58 PM
Hi
... so he may have changed his teaching style, but in my experience Endo Sensei's classes are very clearly taught and structured, ... His teaching style hasn't changed. But I think it is very difficult, to get the point, if not being used to his approach to Aikido.
As I said before: After my first seminar with him I was unsure what to expect from him.

when I saw him at Hombu Dojo in 1993 he was certainly teaching "standard" aikido techniques. His first DVD (Kihon no Kata) contains nothing but "normal" aikido techniques.Well I think his Aikido is standard up to this day. That is the reason why I asked what style of Aikido Szczepzuk practices. Because Endos techniques are typical Aikikai and have - compared to the shihan responsible for Germany - a much more martial charakter.

As I understand it, he teaches things in in his classes which he feels can only be transmitted in person, while he encourages us to study his videos to learn how to execute techniques. I would think that Endo Sensei has a similar intention when he conducts overseas seminrs.
That's exactly the point.
When I attend a class of Endo I don't expect do be taught ikkyo. I expect to be taught doing ikkyo better. And simply that is what is happening.

I see you are one of ‘believers'.Grin, I'm a Lutheran Christian (a professional), so as far as Endo doesn't start to claim to be Jesus Christ, "believer" isn't the right word.

Well I began to test his approach to aikido because he is sempai of Christian Tissier and - together with him - shihan of our German Aikido Federation. And my own teacher trains with him. So I went to a seminar and tried out.

First I felt kind of you did, but some things caught my intention:

First: I saw a sandan-examination. I experienced how demanding Endo was. Especially about kata, about kihon waza. It had to precise and clear. That is something I love: Clear and approved kihon, no playing around or fantasy forms.
Good old Aikikai Aikido. (

Second: There where a lot of exercises I did not understand (but do now) but three or four worked astonishingly well. And I got an Idea what to get out of it because it were answers to questions I had asked myself for a while:
Creating contact to the attacker by myself. Not depending on him. Controlling him and moving him in a very effective way and without depending on him. Not relying on uke in a broader sense.
(Tissier taught similar things just one month later. Maybe I just heard the answers because I was “ripe”.)
No more “If uke looses the contact …” or “If uke does this or that …”

Third: Although he moved his uke in a way I hadn’t seen before, the things Endo taught worked on a non-esoteric way. What he taught was just technique, physical. I noticed, his uke weren’t doing him “favours” (knew some of them) and I couldn’t explain how he could throw them so hard the way he did.
I had examined and trained Aikido for some 13 years but couldn’t explain, why it worked.
But I understood: It’s not magic, it can be learned by me (I am not an Aikido talent but have to learn everything the long way), it could be practiced and – that’s important to me: It could be taught by me to my students.
No miracle, just physical.

One of those, who during seminars, sit around and admire Endo sensei beautiful technique and how well he applies very sophisticated principles? Well, last year I attended a yudansha seminar an was very very glad, when there was the opportunity to sit and listen to whatever. I’m just nidan, only 14 years of Aikido then.
I was a junior in that seminar. And I the first day I thought I wouldn’t survive.

I don’t want to admire Endo’s technique, but I want to practice, and to be taught by my seniors and by Sensei himself. What do I get out of it if he can apply whatever but I can’t?
I want to experience whether those “sophisticated principals” work, how they work, how they improve ikkyo or irimi nage (yesterday evening).

See, me, I'm not sitting during seminars. I'm not learning from books, DVD or from talks. I'm using all this time for purely physical practice.
Well I’m using only the time I can afford for physical practice. My family, my parish allow only three times a week and the weekends. (I’ve got a colleague and can manage attending seminars.) When I wasn’t married and father and had no own parish I practiced six times a week. … Good old times …
So I’m glad to have DVDs, books (which show me that our Aikido is just common Aikikai) or talks.
And: Hey, we are here, talking.

You can't teach beginners very sophisticated elements. Even if these elements are ‘the essence' of aikido. Yes: I think Endo Seminars don’t have much benefit for beginners if they aren’t prepared, explained and evaluated (?) by their teacher.

There were many other instructors, not only Yamaguchi and Endo sensei that were trying to teach only ‘essence' to beginners Well Endo doesn’t teach only the “essence”. He teaches definite kihon waza. And he demands it for grading.

… , Nakazono sensei, …He was the first teacher of Tissier. And your criticism is exactly the same, Tissier voices.

In all cases, those who didn't have very solid basic training, were not able to apply even roughly a single one of those sophisticated details with someone who was not very familiar with their style. You remember: The emphasis on “very solid basic training” was one thing that caught me …

Those, who practice only ‘essence' didn't understand at all martial principles i.e. correct distance, because nobody ever hit them strongly … Yes. It is the way of Endo, which helped me on regarding that point.

best regards (what do you write in english for: bye, await your answer?),

Carsten

Basia Halliop
04-21-2009, 02:53 PM
Your discussion reminds me a bit of similar discussions in university regarding different teachers' teaching style. For one thing, it's by nature subjective, since different people learn best differently (what is 'unusually clear' to one person may be exactly what is 'unusually unclear' to another). And a 'good prof' means something different if you take a class with them (i.e., a series of group lectures and assignments), something different if you attend a single stand-alone lecture, and something quite different entirely if they're your supervisor for an individual project of some kind... And it's not like every lecture by the same prof is the same anyway.

I.e., it's perfectly possible for two people to come out of a teaching experience with diametrically opposed experiences while both are simply being truthful and descriptive.

Nick P.
04-21-2009, 02:59 PM
Why cant everyone use the same language, generalizations and assumptions Szczepan engages in? :D

You are correct, I should not have made the assumption that I did re. my statement on finding another teacher or working harder at understanding a particular teacher.

But that is entirely seperate from disagreeing inteligently.

Szczepan is clearly quite capable of wording clearly what he does or does not like....we just have to push back after the initial "heavy handed" statements to get at the meat of his opinions, which is how we end up here. :sorry:

Ron Tisdale
04-21-2009, 02:59 PM
Exactly, Basia...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
04-21-2009, 03:02 PM
Szczepan is clearly quite capable of wording clearly what he does or does not like....we just have to push back after the initial "heavy handed" statements to get at the meat of his opinions, which is how we end up here.

I know, and he's got my ire up on more than one occation...you should see some of my responses to him on e-budo when discussing Gozo Shioda! :D

But I do find these discussions interesting...because I do train around a bit, and I find the different approaches facinating. Some I simply do not get, others I get to some degree, some really few I may even be so-so at. But they can all be interesting...

Best,
Ron

NagaBaba
04-21-2009, 04:06 PM
An important point, however, is that I assume Endo Sensei would like to be able to teach his ikkyo (if we can agree that there's more than one valid interpretation of this "basic" technique). And in order to be able to do that, he needs to establish a common vocabulary, intent and feeling with the practitioners in attendance.

Daniel
Hello Daniel,
I know this is an important point. And this is the biggest weakness of this kind of teaching. Ch.Tissier calls it a 'Code". Without that, they are not able to teach in this style.
Me, without using beautiful words, I call it simply a 'uke set up', exactly as Pavlov trained his dogs.

Aikido is basically cooperating practice. But this is not enough for Endo sensei (and Ch. Tisser) teaching. In his style, uke must play a role by following particular rules. Similarly like an actor in the movie or in the theatre plays a role. I personally believe this approach has nothing to do with O sensei Budo training. In such environment, Nage is fooling himself, and Uke is helping him to create more and more illusions. It isn’t a Way toward Harmony. It is a Way toward self satisfaction.

I strongly believe the capabilty of Nage must be independent of Uke's will. Instructor must be able to demonstrate the principles that he is teaching on any uke, not only on those that follow a 'set up'.

gdandscompserv
04-21-2009, 04:10 PM
Instructor must be able to demonstrate the principles that he is teaching on any uke, not only on those that follow a 'set up'.I'm glad Dan isn't my uke.:eek:

Carsten Möllering
04-21-2009, 04:14 PM
I.e., it's perfectly possible for two people to come out of a teaching experience with diametrically opposed experiences while both are simply being truthful and descriptive.
Ok, sorry to disturb.

So if you don't need Endo Sensei over there, it would be great, if we could have him instead of that twice over here?!

It's a big difference whether one likes this prof or one likes that prof.
Or someone says: He's not worth do be called a prof. He has nothing to teach.

But again:
Sorry to disturb! Do what you are used to.

Carsten Möllering
04-21-2009, 04:23 PM
I strongly believe the capabilty of Nage must be independent of Uke's will.That's exactly what Endo (and Tissier) are practicing, teaching, doing.
Don't see it???

If you don't see it - but that's what drives me. And I find it there.

Carsten

Basia Halliop
04-21-2009, 05:17 PM
Hey, I've never even seen the guy nor was I at that seminar or any other seminar of his -- I don't actually have an opinion on the CONTENT of your discussion. For all I know, I would have learned a lot and loved it, how would I know?

It's a big difference whether one likes this prof or one likes that prof.
Or someone says: He's not worth do be called a prof. He has nothing to teach.

:D I actually did mean more like the latter feeling more than the former (although I haven't noticed anything as strong as that in this discussion, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention).

I've had conversations (e.g. in high school) where people said things like your second comment quite openly to other students, and discussed why the person was still teaching (Unions? Politics? We couldn't figure it out - I remember one teacher in particular. We just figured it's hard to fire teachers), even assuming their incompetence as a high school teacher was too obvious and extreme to be at all controversial, and being quite startled when talking to someone else years later and mentioning teachers from high school, hearing 'The best at that school was definitely Mr. ______. Oh my God he was so great -- he was my favourite teacher in all of high school -- it was like the only class that year I learned anything in! I wonder whatever happened to him?"

I thought that's just life, isn't it?

DanielR
04-21-2009, 06:18 PM
Hi Szczepan,

In my understanding, the rationale for what you call "uke setup" is not to make life easier for the nage, or make him/her look good, although it certainly might seem that way. On the contrary: this training requires the uke to continue the engagement for as long as it is practically possible and martially reasonable, only give up when it makes sense and no opportunities for reversals are present (instead of "tanking"), and take ukemi from the best possible position for the uke so that s/he is then able to regroup and continue the attack. Incidentally, it is precisely due to this continuous engagement by the two practitioners that these beautiful-looking (and often frowned upon) soft high falls are possible, and these exercises can be an excellent teaching tool for demonstrating the necessity of such constant engagement, instead of tanking. Moreover, this type of ukemi can allow the nage to use more power in applying techniques, when the nage knows the uke can take it, thus enriching the training experience.

There's no question that the nage should be able to handle whatever comes his/her way from the uke. However, certain attempts to maintaining the attack on the uke's part can make the engagement more interesting, challenging and ultimately fulfilling for the nage (and, indeed, for the uke as well). The instructor needs to demonstrate this during class, assuming that it's in the instructor's interest to convey this principle to the students. How can the instructor demonstrate this, then, if the uke is not providing an appropriate attack? Certainly, an instructor of the ability you speak of can dump the uke on his/her butt, but how does that fit into the teaching? What have the students learned from this encounter? Should the instructor just say - well, I wanted to demonstrate a yokomen-uchi shiho-nage, but it really didn't make sense in the way this guy was attacking me, so I reverted to an irimi-nage instead. A valuable lesson, certainly, but this is not what the instructor wanted to teach at that particular point during the class. These students could really use some time practicing that yokomen-uchi shiho-nage; what is the instructor to do? Don't you agree that a "setup" is required for this teaching situation?

With best regards,
Daniel

NagaBaba
04-21-2009, 09:08 PM
That's exactly what Endo (and Tissier) are practicing, teaching, doing.
Don't see it???

If you don't see it - but that's what drives me. And I find it there.

Carsten
Hello Carsten,
It is logical contradiction - you can't learn to be independent of uke will if you always practice with uke who is following prearranged movements.

Nage must experience aleatory behavior of uke, and not only codified movements that are known to both students in advance.But such situation is forbidden in your style of aikido.

NagaBaba
04-21-2009, 09:31 PM
There's no question that the nage should be able to handle whatever comes his/her way from the uke. However, certain attempts to maintaining the attack on the uke's part can make the engagement more interesting, challenging and ultimately fulfilling for the nage (and, indeed, for the uke as well). The instructor needs to demonstrate this during class, assuming that it's in the instructor's interest to convey this principle to the students. How can the instructor demonstrate this, then, if the uke is not providing an appropriate attack?
Such concept as "appropriate attack" simply doesn't exist.This is a cheap excuse that usually is used by not well trained instructor, that is not able to execute a technique correctly. There is simply 'an attack' and the instructor have to deal with it.

If you read my post carefully, you will see I was talking about teaching principles, and not merly teaching techniques. As every basic principle is contained in any technique, it doesn't matter what technique instructor is doing, as long as he respect the pronciple that he wants to teach.


Certainly, an instructor of the ability you speak of can dump the uke on his/her butt, but how does that fit into the teaching? What have the students learned from this encounter?

With best regards,
Daniel
You still not reading my post carefully. I was writing about teaching principles, not about beating up a poor uke.
I'll give you an example: lets take unbalancing.
You can demonstrate unbalancing from static attack or dynamic - doesn't matter it will be gyaku hanmi katatedori or yokomen uchi or choke from behind.Uke can counter instructor technique by double leg take down or by simple escaping back- still instructor can demonstrate unbalancing. It can be demonstrated in standing techniques as well in suwari waza and in hanmi handachi waza.In this context, there are no limits here. That is why I see a 'code' for uke as useless and damageable for students.

DanielR
04-21-2009, 09:42 PM
Thanks for the clarification, Szczepan; I think I understand where you're coming from. I have a feeling that we were talking past each other a bit, but it was an interesting conversation nonetheless.

With best regards,
Daniel

Carsten Möllering
04-22-2009, 01:19 AM
Hi

you can't learn to be independent of uke will if you always practice with uke who is following prearranged movements.That is exactly my point!!!

Most teachers (I know) over here in Germany need a following uke. Asai Sensei, the shihan who brought Aikido to Germany in 1965 teaches openly that way. So People doesn't learn, how to handle a uke who doesn't follow and hold on to the contact. - Simply doesn't follow, I'n not yet talking about resistance.

Therefore Students went to Christian Tissier. Because his Aikido ist different. Here nage creates the contact by himself. Uke isn't expected to follow. The "rules" or the "code" for uke are: Regain your ballance, don't move if you don't have to, don't follow if you don't need to, don't fall by yourself, show nage his openings ...
That's the work of uke in our Aikido. And uke may resist or counter.

You will not learn Aikido if you always practice with uke who is following prearranged movements.

"Code" simply means kata and rei like in every dojo. When Tissier talks about a "code" then he states that this code helps to learn, but that other people or other arts use other codes and that we don't must rely simply on such code =kata.


The Teaching of Endo goes one step further because he teaches a system of exercises by which the handling of uke can be learned. A handling that doesn't expect uke to do something like follow, to hold contact, whatever. Even if uke tries to resist oder to move away or ...
It works.

Nage must experience aleatory behavior of uke, and not only codified movements that are known to both students in advance.But such situation is forbidden in your style of aikido.Is it?
Must be new. Untill last Monday it wasn't.
So you know more, than I do.

I don't know, how you got your understanding of our Aikido.
Didn't Endo "play" at that seminar? Didn't he have one of his deshi with him?

Carsten

gdandscompserv
04-22-2009, 09:25 AM
Such concept as "appropriate attack" simply doesn't exist.This is a cheap excuse that usually is used by not well trained instructor, that is not able to execute a technique correctly. There is simply 'an attack' and the instructor have to deal with it.

If you read my post carefully, you will see I was talking about teaching principles, and not merly teaching techniques. As every basic principle is contained in any technique, it doesn't matter what technique instructor is doing, as long as he respect the pronciple that he wants to teach.

You still not reading my post carefully. I was writing about teaching principles, not about beating up a poor uke.
I'll give you an example: lets take unbalancing.
You can demonstrate unbalancing from static attack or dynamic - doesn't matter it will be gyaku hanmi katatedori or yokomen uchi or choke from behind.Uke can counter instructor technique by double leg take down or by simple escaping back- still instructor can demonstrate unbalancing. It can be demonstrated in standing techniques as well in suwari waza and in hanmi handachi waza.In this context, there are no limits here. That is why I see a 'code' for uke as useless and damageable for students.
Nicely written Szczepan.

Carsten Möllering
04-22-2009, 10:31 AM
Hi
There is simply 'an attack' and the instructor have to deal with it.Yes, that's the way, we train. We domesticate our uke but deal with the attack they deliver.
I have seen neither Endo nor Tissier correcting their uke that way. And I have seen them often with uke being not familiar with their aikido.
On the contrary: They correct uke who try to do them "favours".

As every basic principle is contained in any technique, it doesn't matter what technique instructor is doing, as long as he respect the pronciple that he wants to teach.ya: those were my words after discussing my experiences after the first seminar I attendend.
Why such exercises and not teaching kuzushi or other things directly through the techniques?
I didn't feel good with that, I wanted to do Aikido and not something else.
I was convinced by practice.

Carsten

NagaBaba
04-22-2009, 10:39 AM
Is it?
Must be new. Untill last Monday it wasn't.
So you know more, than I do.

I don't know, how you got your understanding of our Aikido.
Didn't Endo "play" at that seminar? Didn't he have one of his deshi with him?

Carsten

Hi Carsten,
I see my communication skills are very poor, I'm not able to make you understand my point correctly.

Please do an exercise: Go to Yoshinkai/Tomiki/Aikibudo dojo, regardless of affiliation. Then try to do your techniques on these folks following Endo sensei teaching(i.e. not grabbing attacker). Giving the fact you have 15 years of experience, you shouldn't face any problem.

Please report here the results.
Kind regards
s.

Carsten Möllering
04-23-2009, 03:08 AM
Hi Szczepan
Hi Carsten,
I see my communication skills are very poor, I'm not able to make you understand my point correctly. I don't think so. I think I understood you very well. Because many of your statements or questions are very near to or identicall with my understanding of Aikido.

But I think, that your image of the Aikido following Endo or Tissier doesn't meet what I have experienced over the years.
And maybe, our practice here is different from that in the US? I don't know.

I have often had this same dialogue but I was in your place, saying your sentences. Interesting. Here in Germany things seem to be the other way round. Here our Aikido is known for emphasizing the martial aspects, the budo character of Aikido

Please do an exercise: Go to Yoshinkai/Tomiki/Aikibudo dojo, regardless of affiliation. Then try to do your techniques on these folks following Endo sensei teaching(i.e. not grabbing attacker). Giving the fact you have 15 years of experience, you shouldn't face any problem. Short version here (The long sermon by PM):

I tried out my Aikido with Yudansha from Yoshinkan and with Practioners of Aiki Budo.
(There is no Tomiki Aikido here in Germany.)
I trained at special seminars with People from other martial arts (Boxing, Kickboxing, Jujutsu, Pencak Silat, Judo, Karate ...)

I didn't face any problems. (Except the ones I carry with me, not depending on my partners or our style of Aikido ...)
I experienced that our Aikido works. (Sometimes better, sometimes poorer. Just like always.)

So I know (not I just think) that my technique works. (On my level.)
And I experienced that it works better doing it the way Endo teaches it. (i.e. not grabbing but only guiding by contact. Not the whole technique through, but only at the points where it is usefull.)
And it works stronger with people who are not used to it - although it doesn't look so elegant then.

Carsten

Carl Thompson
04-23-2009, 08:50 AM
I attended a seminar by Endo Shihan in Nagoya shortly before the one being discussed here, so I've been finding this thread very interesting reading. In my case I think I did my research and endeavoured to go along with an open mind, eager to see what different insights this shihan had to offer. However, I also had a few problems understanding what the point of everything was.

I realise his regular keiko may be different and I shall try to make it to one of his classes at the hombu sometime, but I feel there have been some valid points here regarding the kind of training he does during seminars. I found that sometimes I just didn't know which way people wanted me to go and I wasn't being made to go anywhere. I understand that this kind of practice may be intended as some kind of subtle movement-teaching kata, where each acts their part, but no one adequately showed me my role in it.

Carl

Ron Tisdale
04-23-2009, 09:34 AM
Hi Carl, in my limited experience, when training with competent seniors in this style, no one has to "show you your role". They are able to control and move and guide you through the waza appropriately.

I think one of the main issues with these kinds of styles is can the run of the mill student in class or in a seminar do the same. I think the answer is...sometimes, sometimes not. And so the instruction for uke to maintain the connection to give nage a chance to practice and learn.

This can make this particular style of training very difficult...being honest with your self and your partner is crucial. Sometimes, I ask my partner in these scenarios to purposefully stand strong, especially when my results surprise me. Sometimes I find that I am doing the waza, sometimes I find ... uh ... not so much. :D

Best,
Ron

Charles Hill
04-23-2009, 04:39 PM
Hi Carl,

I want to make sure I understand what you are saying. You are saying that as UKE, you were not made to go anywhere? So would it be correct to say that you think that correct aikido practice consists of tori making uke do something/go somewhere? If this is correct, what did you do in that situation as uke? Did you stop moving?

Ron!

I am doing great. Thank you for asking. I have an almost three year old who absolutely runs the house! If I see Dora the Explorer and her sidekick Boots one more time I think I`m gonna be sick! And I better prepare a bucket because I hear my princess coming.

Charles

NagaBaba
04-23-2009, 09:28 PM
So I know (not I just think) that my technique works. (On my level.)
And I experienced that it works better doing it the way Endo teaches it. (i.e. not grabbing but only guiding by contact. Not the whole technique through, but only at the points where it is usefull.)
And it works stronger with people who are not used to it - although it doesn't look so elegant then.

Carsten
Hello Carsten,
I don't understand very well - are you saying there are the points in the technique, where the teaching of Endo sensei fails(because is not useful)?

NagaBaba
04-23-2009, 09:39 PM
You are saying that as UKE, you were not made to go anywhere? So would it be correct to say that you think that correct aikido practice consists of tori making uke do something/go somewhere? If this is correct, what did you do in that situation as uke? Did you stop moving?

Charles
Hello Charles,
Yes my understanding is that tori has to unify an attacker with tatami as fast as possible.To do that, tori must control completely attacker by locking his body, not only by touching him lightly.Such light touch will never stop me to do a vigorous counter and I'm very friendly attacker. Against somebody who is full of aggression, hate and has a bad intent, this way of doing a technique it is a bad joke.

Carsten Möllering
04-24-2009, 02:09 AM
Hi
are you saying there are the points in the technique, where the teaching of Endo sensei fails(because is not useful)?
No, I am saying that we are not taught never ever to grab or something like that.
There are parts of the technique where it is usefull not to grab. Thats often the beginning, the entry of the technique.
And sure there are parts of the technique where it is usefull to grab.

Endo is not teaching not to grab or something like that as a conept or principle. He is not teaching any conpts or principles like Ki-Aikdio e.g.does.
We are doing concrete and pyhsical things. Explore how to move in certain situation, how to collaps uke, how to position ourselves ...

Endo just tell us to observe our body, to check honestly whether we can move freely, wether we really control the opponent completely, things like that.

"the teaching of Endo" is ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo ..., is shiho nage, iriminage, kote gaeshi, kaiten nage ..., is aikido.

"the teaching of Endo" is aikido as budo. Aikido as dao.

ori must control completely attacker by locking his body, not only by touching him lightly.Such light touch will never stop me to do a vigorous counter
What does "touching lightly" mean?
We touch the attacker so he can't move or has to move the way I guide him.
To me "lightly" is not the right word because this touching has a great impact on uke. At least if someone knows how to do it.

Carsten

gabe
04-24-2009, 04:35 AM
Immediately, ppl sit down around him and start to admire how good he is (he was actually very surprised that in Montreal, folks tried actually to practice instead of admiring him LOL).

Really? Is this something Endo told you... "wow, i'm surprised no one is sitting down to admire me?" I don't think so... but maybe. In my experience, Endo makes it a point to train actually train with everyone, and if you are at a seminar for 3 days there is virtually 100% chance that he will at some point train with you. He moves around the mat, and likes a small group in his immediate vicinity to sit and make some space, so that he can throw *everyone* in that group before moving on to the next one. Maybe you don't like to grab on to your shihan, but...??


I had a great pleasure to learn from Kanetsuka sensei during few years when he was still teaching aikido techniques beside some other interesting exercises. I think you need a good balance between them; otherwise it will denature the development of students. Those students, who never did any aikido techniques and practice only ‘essence' will not have a good understanding of aikido that O sensei created.

I agree, good balance is essential. But it's very hard to get when most teachers focus only on "This is what Ikkyo looks like in the book" How much of that training is necessary until you have to start balancing it out with other training?

In any case, thank you for coming to the seminar, I was hoping to meet you since I read so many of your posts here on Aiki-web, but I guess I missed you. Perhaps at the May seminar.

For my part, the seminar was excellent, as was the following weekend in Toronto, and we hope to have Endo shihan back again next year. Thank you to everyone for coming out and supporting the event.

Carl Thompson
04-24-2009, 05:35 AM
Hi Carl,

I want to make sure I understand what you are saying. You are saying that as UKE, you were not made to go anywhere? So would it be correct to say that you think that correct aikido practice consists of tori making uke do something/go somewhere?

I tried to leave what I thought was correct aikido behind. I went to the seminar to do Endo Shihan's aikido, whatever that might entail. One of the problems I had as uke was understanding just what that was, whether I was supposed to be getting made to move or whether I should purposely move to help my partner as part of the training.

Ron Tisdale
04-24-2009, 07:13 AM
Hi Carl, during the course of a normal keiko just about anywhere, isn't there a mix of the two?

Best,
Ron

Charles Hill
04-24-2009, 08:20 AM
Hello Charles,
Yes my understanding is that tori has to unify an attacker with tatami as fast as possible.To do that, tori must control completely attacker by locking his body, not only by touching him lightly.Such light touch will never stop me to do a vigorous counter and I'm very friendly attacker. Against somebody who is full of aggression, hate and has a bad intent, this way of doing a technique it is a bad joke.

Then, yes, insofar as what I understand Endo Sensei to be doing, he is not doing what you have written here.

Speaking of bad jokes...

This guy in a restaurant calls the waiter over and angrily says, "This is absolutely the worst vanilla ice cream I have ever eaten!" The waiter replies, "But sir, that is not vanilla, it`s butterscotch." The guy takes another spoonful and says, "Hey, this is pretty good."

Ron Tisdale
04-24-2009, 08:41 AM
:D

Good one, Charles!
B,
R

Carl Thompson
04-24-2009, 08:43 AM
Hi Carl, during the course of a normal keiko just about anywhere, isn't there a mix of the two?

Best,
Ron

Yeah, definitely. I’m not demanding absolutes. I hope I wasn’t demanding or expecting anything. Maybe next time someone like me blunders through one of these seminars, someone might say “ah, you are having the same problems as that stumpy guy with the beard off Aikiweb. You need to do this and this. Resist/don’t resist me here and help/don’t help me when I do this by moving/not moving here.”

Nick P.
04-12-2010, 01:40 PM
For my part, the seminar was excellent, as was the following weekend in Toronto, and we hope to have Endo shihan back again next year. Thank you to everyone for coming out and supporting the event.

Seishiro Endo Shihan - Montreal April 12-14 2010

...and here we are again, one year later, and I am looking forward to the next three evenings with great excitement...for whatever it is worth.