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MM
09-23-2010, 07:08 PM
Interesting info about Ueshiba. All three parts are taken from Black Belt articles. Some parts directly quoted, some parts not. Where did this power come from?

Mark

One man who worked with Uyeshiba when the master traveled to Hawaii in 1961 to introduce aikido there, was held by him. "He grabbed my arm and instantly it was like being in a steel vise. Just his hold on my wrist bruised me badly, and I'm sure with a little pressure, the bones would've been broken. O-Sensei didn't need technique."

and

Mochizuki remembers Uyeshiba for, among other things, his superhuman grip. "When Uyeshiba grabbed your wrist," he said, "it was already bruised. His hand was like a vise." Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's. "Uyeshiba," he said, "could break the wrist just by grasping it."

and

Auge says that Mochizuki said Uyeshiba was famous for his vice-like grip, and that everyone knew that if he got you in that grip, you were done for. So, everyone would throw themselves out of fear before being grabbed by Uyeshiba.

cconstantine
09-24-2010, 11:50 AM
I have no direct knowledge of O'Sensei's grip. But I can certainly vouch for being the recipient of "crushing" grips that were not based solely on raw muscle power, and for very muscular-strong grips that had little control, and no "crushing" affect.

It seems patently obvious that it also matters how one grips. The exact nuances of placement, orientation, position are aspects of a grip which one does automatically after much practice. I believe O'Sensei had great physical strength, and combined with exceptional placement, extension during the grip, connection, etc a "simple" (simple in the eyes of someone not familiar) grip would certainly be "crushing" to the recipient.

MM
09-24-2010, 12:26 PM
Under normal circumstances, I would think things like you mention would be the case. But, we have statements like this, "Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's."

Let me take a step back. This is the Mochizuki who studied directly under Funakoshi, Mifune, Kano, and Ueshiba. This is the Mochizuki who studied Katori Shinto ryu. I don't know who his kendo teachers were.

Here's his rank:
http://www.yoseikanbudo.com/eng/minorumochizuki.shtml

10th dan, Meijin Aikido, IMAF
9th dan, jujutsu
8th dan, Iaijutsu
8th dan, Judo
5th dan, Kendo
5th dan, Karate

So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?

chillzATL
09-24-2010, 12:42 PM
Under normal circumstances, I would think things like you mention would be the case. But, we have statements like this, "Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's."

Let me take a step back. This is the Mochizuki who studied directly under Mifune, Kano, and Ueshiba. This is the Mochizuki who studied Katori Shinto ryu. I don't know who his kendo or karate teachers were. Here's his rank:
http://www.yoseikanbudo.com/eng/minorumochizuki.shtml

10th dan, Meijin Aikido, IMAF
9th dan, jujutsu
8th dan, Iaijutsu
8th dan, Judo
5th dan, Kendo
5th dan, Karate

So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?

If I grab someone by the wrist and then proceed to stand on one hand, essentially putting all my weight into that grab, they might say I have a 'crushing grip". If I do the same thing while standing normally, but I can still bring all of my weight (and then some) to bear at that point of contact, there's nothing else they could say to explain it other than "he has a crushing grip".

Then again, maybe he just had freakishly strong hands?

cconstantine
09-24-2010, 12:48 PM
I can't speak critically of Mochizuki -- I'd never heard of him before your post so I've nothing of value to say about him. (I mean "critically" in the sense of my being able to apply skillful judgment as to truth, or merit.)

My reply pointed out the physical and mechanical aspects of grip, and then went on to say, "... combined with exceptional placement, extension during the grip, connection, etc ...". There's a lot of room in that statement for more just the magnitude of the strength of one's grip.

I'm interested in knowing if you're "digging" for the source of O'Sensei ability, or the cause of Mochizuki lack of the ability. Also, it's not clear to me that Mochizuki lacked the ability; I carefully reread what you posted, and it's not clear to me that Mochizuki was lacking the same grip. O'Sensei had it, Mochizuki worked towards it, but are you sure Mochizuki came up short?

Jim Sorrentino
09-24-2010, 05:03 PM
Hello Mark,
So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?
You appear to have something in mind. How about if you share your opinion with us, along with some reasoning to back it up.

For what it's worth, I heard that the late Kanei Uechi-sensei (of Uechi-ryu karatedo fame) was once ambushed by a thug with a short, makeshift spear. According to the story, Uechi-sensei disarmed the attacker, seized him by the wrists, and shook him, breaking both of the thug's forearms. Uechi-sensei attributed this result to his constant training in the sanchin kata., rather than any organized grip-strength practice.

I look forward to your reply.

Jim

Andrew Macdonald
09-24-2010, 10:17 PM
Many many arts have famous people with incredilbe grips strength.

For me it is only of the holy grails of training. that sort of thing would be so helpful in many ways.

there are some qi gong practices and the chinese internal arts create gret grip strength. might be worht looking into

Michael Hackett
09-25-2010, 02:37 AM
I have an uncle who just turned 80 last month. He spent 30 years as a cop, and for many of those years worked off-duty as a gravedigger, both to earn extra money (California cops weren't paid as well in those days) and to stay in good physical condition. They dug the graves with pick and shovel instead of backhoes or other modern equipment. Harry had a grip that was intensely powerful and was able to burst the seams of a beer can BEFORE beer was in aluminum cans. There are simply some people who have incredible grip strength naturally and others who develop it through their work or activities. I don't doubt O Sensei's reported grip strength and I'm not surprised that a man who farmed for much of his life and wielded swords and bokken most of his life would develop an extremely powerful grip. The IS folks may burn me to the ground, but it seems like a natural kind of adaptation to me.

DanTesic
09-25-2010, 07:04 AM
I am (also) not surprised to hear of the power grip of a man with a lifetime of top-class, outstanding, Budo experience plus a dedicated farmer.

Rob Watson
09-25-2010, 11:49 AM
I have an uncle who just turned 80 last month. He spent 30 years as a cop, and for many of those years worked off-duty as a gravedigger, both to earn extra money (California cops weren't paid as well in those days) and to stay in good physical condition. They dug the graves with pick and shovel instead of backhoes or other modern equipment. Harry had a grip that was intensely powerful and was able to burst the seams of a beer can BEFORE beer was in aluminum cans. There are simply some people who have incredible grip strength naturally and others who develop it through their work or activities. I don't doubt O Sensei's reported grip strength and I'm not surprised that a man who farmed for much of his life and wielded swords and bokken most of his life would develop an extremely powerful grip. The IS folks may burn me to the ground, but it seems like a natural kind of adaptation to me.

Never discount 'farmer' strength. My grandpa used to string barbed wire fences, miles of the stuff, using only a single pair of combo pliers/wire cutters. All day every day both hands for weeks at a time year in year out. Nobody would shake hands with him. The only person I know that even came close was my grandma who would macrame all day for years and she would put a pinch on a wayward youth that would literally drop them in their tracks.

Grueling, backbreaking, hardcore physical labor 12-14 hours a day for years on end ... pretty unusual to find these days. Wonder why the youth so readily flocked to the big city?

Even if IS is a different kind of strength imagine adding that on top of the hardened muscular foundation of a 'farmer' ... scary.

Chris Covington
09-25-2010, 04:26 PM
I've felt a lot of weak grips before. A guy I train with lifts all the time (might be on roids... huge arms and chest), but he uses the straps on his wrists. Grips like a girl (actually my girlfriend has a better grip).

One of the strongest grips I've ever felt was from a contractor friend of my father's when I was in my teens. His grip was so powerful it could drop you. He said he had to be careful because he had bruised people's hands when shaking hands before. I don't doubt it. It is amazing what guys who do some hard manual labor get from the work they do. Add hours clearing fields in Hokkaido to hours of budo practice and I think you're in for one hell of a grip.

For those of us who can't do hours of farm work this could help: http://www.grapplearts.com/Grip-Strength-Training.htm

Add some aikido training and a lot of sword swinging (with a nice fat tsuka) and I'm sure you'll make progress. Will it make you like Ueshiba? Maybe not but it I'm sure it'll help many get beyond where they are now.

Best regards,

dps
09-25-2010, 07:37 PM
When I was a teenager I worked for a neighboring dairy farmer who was in his sixties. He worked all his life on the dairy farm including milking cows by hand two times a day 7 days a week.

Talk about a grip.

David

AllanF
09-25-2010, 10:25 PM
Under normal circumstances, I would think things like you mention would be the case. But, we have statements like this, "Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's."

Let me take a step back. This is the Mochizuki who studied directly under Funakoshi, Mifune, Kano, and Ueshiba. This is the Mochizuki who studied Katori Shinto ryu. I don't know who his kendo teachers were.

Here's his rank:
http://www.yoseikanbudo.com/eng/minorumochizuki.shtml

10th dan, Meijin Aikido, IMAF
9th dan, jujutsu
8th dan, Iaijutsu
8th dan, Judo
5th dan, Kendo
5th dan, Karate

So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?

This is very interesting, and i would agree with your position that there is something more that is beyond physical strength or nuance of contact. As to what...maybe in another 40 years i'll be able to take a stab at it but for now it remains elusive!

crbateman
09-26-2010, 02:07 PM
Strength is well and good, but much more effective when coupled with insight, experience and intuition. My grandfather was a dairyman his whole life, and could crush rocks with the grip he developed, but it was of little use, because he could not anticipate where and when the rock would be... ;)

Ernesto Lemke
09-26-2010, 03:22 PM
Hi Mark,

Something I stumbled on today while reading "A Life in Aikido", page 52, about Ueshiba's father Yoroku:
"It is said that using just his little fingers, he could lift a pole with a bale of rice tied to each end, each one weighing about a hundred thirty-two pounds." Not saying this explains anything except that maybe this 'could' hint towards some beneficial genetics.

Anyway, I wonder whether similar accounts are known of Sagawa, Kodo or even Takeda in regards to also having possesed the kind of gripping power Ueshiba is said to have had.
Cheers

Ernesto

Lan Powers
09-26-2010, 10:34 PM
Renowned for breaking the rice-mallets when the contests would happen...
.a man of great physical power, and a consummate martial-artist as well.
Farmer-strength.
Hard labor in hokaido (indeed most of his life)
Just glad he never got a grip on ME!

But what it would have been like to experience the days of Ueshiba Juku...

Kato Sensei has a grip of steel. In November when he is in Texas, I plan to ask about OSensei's grip.
Back with more details as available....:)

Michael Neal
10-01-2010, 09:06 AM
I am wondering how many Aikidoka would react to being gripped like that causing bruising during training in class. He would probably be asked to stop hurting people.

tarik
10-01-2010, 12:39 PM
I am wondering how many Aikidoka would react to being gripped like that causing bruising during training in class. He would probably be asked to stop hurting people.

I'd throw him on his ass and then ask him to stop hurting people.. and have done.

Best,

DonMagee
10-01-2010, 01:51 PM
Under normal circumstances, I would think things like you mention would be the case. But, we have statements like this, "Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's."

Let me take a step back. This is the Mochizuki who studied directly under Funakoshi, Mifune, Kano, and Ueshiba. This is the Mochizuki who studied Katori Shinto ryu. I don't know who his kendo teachers were.

Here's his rank:
http://www.yoseikanbudo.com/eng/minorumochizuki.shtml

10th dan, Meijin Aikido, IMAF
9th dan, jujutsu
8th dan, Iaijutsu
8th dan, Judo
5th dan, Kendo
5th dan, Karate

So, I go back to what is written and find that Mochizuki couldn't replicate Ueshiba's power in his grip even though 1) he experienced it directly and 2) he actively tried.

With that in mind, I think there must be something else in Ueshiba's grip. So, respectfully, I'm disagreeing with your position. If it was a matter of placement, position, etc, then I think a man like Mochizuki would have figured it out. Yet he didn't and he had more experience than most, inside or outside Japan.

If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?

This leads me to believe that you believe that any physical ability can be developed if you only try hard enough? Meaning that I could, if I try hard enough become an top professional body builder?

(Tip, I wanted to build muscle when I was in high school, even with coaching, massive amounts of calories, and good workout routines I didn't gain anywhere near the size those guys with the right genetic makeup did.)

Michael Neal
10-01-2010, 02:44 PM
I'd throw him on his ass and then ask him to stop hurting people.. and have done.

Best,

Maybe yea, or maybe he'd throw you on yours if he was that strong. But you have made my point, Ueshiba's strength and formidable grip were part of his legendary characteristics, and they are discouraged in most modern Aikido practice.

Keith Larman
10-01-2010, 03:22 PM
Um, leaving aside much of the discussion, grip is of interest to me since I polish swords all day long. I hold the blade in my bare hands and the grip is important. We learn to curl your fingers inward towards the base of the thumb. The blade is "pinched" between those last three fingers and the base. Then your thumb comes over but the thumb tip itself isn't involved in this particular grip. You're using a rather large muscle that connects the thumb to the hand vs. the fingers curling in.

Ironically enough I saw an example of this grip (using a ball exercise) illustrated in an old book about "grip".

http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Aston/Grip/grip-01.htm

It's a few sections in before they get to that particular exercise.

FWIW I can actually flex that muscle attaching the base of the thumb to the hand. Since I've been polishing full time for years I can actually flex these muscles and create these freakishly weird looking bulges in my hands. I also have to be careful in the dojo if I've been polishing a lot. The hands get tired and I kind of lose the ability to gauge exactly how hard I'm grabbing. I've grabbed people only to have them say "grab harder". Okay, I do. One time the guy went to his knees before I realized he wasn't joking around. Left a nasty about 1.5 inch long bruise on his arm.

There's another grip in polishing that is used to do fingerstone work. You have to be intensely focused and very careful as you sometimes (not very often though) need to put a lot of pressure on the stone. But with a lot of pressure and if you slip you can really get a nasty cut. One of my worst was doign exactly that -- I cut into the soft bone -- a little more and I could have removed the thumb. Anyway, that grip strengthens the thumb itself. Think of making an "O" between your thumb and middle finger. Pressing them into each other very hard (with a blade between them) and then running up and down a small area of sword for hours on end. Normally the middle finger gets tired so you shift occasionally to pressing between the thumbtip and the side of your index finger near the tip. Back of the blade is running across the inside of your hand to control placement. Again, hours of this.

The upshot is that you can develop intensely strong hands. I also have people complain that I have "Popeye" forearms. It is hard for people to grab my wrists or forearm and all that polishing builds all those muscles as well.

Anyway, only point is that some activities can develop a very strong grip. But you have to develop the grip specifically.

The linked book above actually has some pretty good exercises. I use a tennis ball myself and a large ball of wax when my hands are a bit sore. Or between polishing sessions to keep things feeling good and mix up the stresses so I can avoid repetitive motion problems.

Just fwiw.

Keith Larman
10-01-2010, 03:24 PM
Oh, to add another thing. A friend of mine who lifts weights and is by virtually all measures in much better shape than me can't keep up with me when it comes to swinging a subarito. Some folk find their hands getting tired fairly quickly. Me, nah, it's like a vacation... ;)

Keith Larman
10-01-2010, 03:28 PM
Since my camera was sitting right here...

dps
10-01-2010, 04:38 PM
Here is a low tech exercise for grip strength and finger flexibility using the newspaper after you read it in the evening while watching television. ( Is that old school or what? )

You are out of luck if you get your news and entertainment from the internet.:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQkAS8K67BU&p=3CB701A5BE8D2D9C&playnext=1&index=6.

David

Michael Hackett
10-01-2010, 06:48 PM
You're right David. It didn't work very well with my laptop.

dps
10-01-2010, 07:01 PM
You're right David. It didn't work very well with my laptop.

LOL :)

David

Rob Watson
10-01-2010, 11:29 PM
You're right David. It didn't work very well with my laptop.

As Shibata sensei used to say to me "more conditioning".

Michael Hackett
10-02-2010, 02:34 AM
Shibata Sensei was right of course. Tomorrow I will try folding my Nook, or maybe my old Palm Pilot and work up from there.

tarik
10-02-2010, 07:25 PM
Maybe yea, or maybe he'd throw you on yours if he was that strong.

Maybe, but I haven't met anyone strong enough to throw me with strength in many years, but I'm sure it's possible, especially if the person can combine strength with skill. However it's been my experience that what makes aikido (and good judo) technique work isn't strength.

But you have made my point, Ueshiba's strength and formidable grip were part of his legendary characteristics, and they are discouraged in most modern Aikido practice.

I suppose that's one way to look at it. Honestly, I'd be very curious to know what is historically meant by Ueshiba's "Power Grip" because I reckon that a formidable (painful) grip and muscular strength aren't really central to what makes aikido work. If it really was his acknowledged muscular strength, then I suspect that he wasn't as good at aikido as he could have been if many of his students were mainly trying to escape the pain instead of raise the level of both of their practice, even if he was the founder.

Although I had a very powerful grip when I was healthy, it certainly never helped me succeed at getting good at what interests me in aikido. I'm no stunning specimen, but I can do a lot with strength if I want to, and NONE of it works on people who understand how to move.

When someone grabs me enough to hurt, if I resist and struggle, it hurts worse, when I relax and maintain my own structural integrity and move, the harder they grab, these more shit they get into. I now have painful, arthritic hands and I can hold many people I've laid hands on so that they cannot make me let go.. and it isn't muscular strength at all.

So to sum up, I'm not very impressed with muscular strength.

Best,

Stormcrow34
10-02-2010, 08:49 PM
Maybe yea, or maybe he'd throw you on yours if he was that strong. But you have made my point, Ueshiba's strength and formidable grip were part of his legendary characteristics, and they are discouraged in most modern Aikido practice.

Why would ANYONE complain about being grabbed too hard. I just had this mental image of someone in hakama saying; "Here grab my wrist. Ouch! Stop grabbing my wrist! Ok...grab my wrist, but not so hard so I can do the technique!" :crazy:

MM
10-03-2010, 08:04 AM
I suppose that's one way to look at it. Honestly, I'd be very curious to know what is historically meant by Ueshiba's "Power Grip" because I reckon that a formidable (painful) grip and muscular strength aren't really central to what makes aikido work. If it really was his acknowledged muscular strength, then I suspect that he wasn't as good at aikido as he could have been if many of his students were mainly trying to escape the pain instead of raise the level of both of their practice, even if he was the founder.

So to sum up, I'm not very impressed with muscular strength.

Best,

I think if anyone could tell if it was muscular grip, it would have been Mochizuki. Remember, he studied under both Kano and Mifune in judo. He studied judo before it was a sport. I'm sure he trained with all manner of men, both physically strong and weak. He also trained karate with Funakoshi. I'm sure he trained with some very physically strong men. This is the man who, at times, stopped Ueshiba in his techniques (except sumo).

Yet, among everyone he trained with, he thinks it worth mentioning that Ueshiba could break your wrist with his grip.

Personally, I don't think it was muscular strength at all. Whatever it was, none of his students seem to have developed it -- even Mochizuki, if we take him for his word.

Why would ANYONE complain about being grabbed too hard. I just had this mental image of someone in hakama saying; "Here grab my wrist. Ouch! Stop grabbing my wrist! Ok...grab my wrist, but not so hard so I can do the technique!" :crazy:

Perhaps complain isn't the right word. I'm sure the students of Ueshiba didn't "complain". One, it wouldn't have done any good, two they would have never been called to uke for Ueshiba, and three they probably would have been thrown out. Instead, they all talked about how powerful Ueshiba's grip was. So powerful, it left bruises and some thought he could break the wrist in that grip. So powerful, they'd rather not be grabbed by Ueshiba.

Can anyone imagine power on that scale that you throw yourself out of that kind of grip?

Stormcrow34
10-03-2010, 09:40 AM
I think if anyone could tell if it was muscular grip, it would have been Mochizuki. Remember, he studied under both Kano and Mifune in judo. He studied judo before it was a sport. I'm sure he trained with all manner of men, both physically strong and weak. He also trained karate with Funakoshi. I'm sure he trained with some very physically strong men. This is the man who, at times, stopped Ueshiba in his techniques (except sumo).

Yet, among everyone he trained with, he thinks it worth mentioning that Ueshiba could break your wrist with his grip.

Personally, I don't think it was muscular strength at all. Whatever it was, none of his students seem to have developed it -- even Mochizuki, if we take him for his word.

I agree with you. Mochizuki Sensei started training in Kendo at the age of five at his grandfathers dojo and trained in weapons his whole life and is said to have hands like a vise. I'm pretty sure he was a good judge of grip strength. I've heard these same stories about Ueshiba from my sensei who trained at the Yoseikan, and only once has there been a hint that it was attributed to normal muscular strength.

I should have been more clear. I was not referring to Ueshiba's students, I was referring to some modern day aikido students who seem to complain when anything is difficult.

Wasn't Ueshiba a lotus farmer?

tarik
10-03-2010, 12:23 PM
Why would ANYONE complain about being grabbed too hard. I just had this mental image of someone in hakama saying; "Here grab my wrist. Ouch! Stop grabbing my wrist! Ok...grab my wrist, but not so hard so I can do the technique!" :crazy:

Frankly, speaking from real experience, with few exceptions, anyone grabbing that hard is easier to throw, not more difficult. Generally, if I don't know them and they're not actually bruising me, I don't even mention it until they either get tired or finally ask me about what's going on. If they're actually bruising me, yeah, I going to ask them to stop.

Can anyone imagine power on that scale that you throw yourself out of that kind of grip?

Sure, it doesn't take much imagination, but again, I'm not impressed by or interested in power that makes your partner throw themselves. I'm much more interested in the kind of power that causes your partner to fall while actively trying not to and without understanding exactly how it happened.

As Mr. Neal said, it's all in what you're looking for, isn't it?

You state earlier:
If not placement, position, physical strength, then what?

Really, there's no way of knowing what kind of power Ueshiba was generating and using in his grip. You have no idea of Mochizuki's intent in mentioning that grip. How do you know it wasn't simply physical strength other than projections of your own hopes and desires for something more?

You're already solidly on your own path to getting your own results. I doubt you'll get much that's very useful by parsing third (or more) hand accounts of Ueshiba's abilities and looking for hidden meanings.

Best,

David Orange
10-03-2010, 08:03 PM
Quote:
Michael Crowell wrote:
Why would ANYONE complain about being grabbed too hard. I just had this mental image of someone in hakama saying; "Here grab my wrist. Ouch! Stop grabbing my wrist! Ok...grab my wrist, but not so hard so I can do the technique!"

Frankly, speaking from real experience, with few exceptions, anyone grabbing that hard is easier to throw, not more difficult....

It's not his attacking grip in question, Tarik. It's like when you put your hand on his shoulder from the rear and as he leads you off balance with his body, he reaches across his chestwith his opposite hand and grips your attacking hand and twists it. Or when you grab his extended wrist and while stepping outside your stance and turning, he reaches across with his other hand to apply kote gaeshi.

The powerful grip only came if his movement weren't already leading you off balance enough for your own movement to throw you and he had to actually grab you for a technique. A lot of guys would take the fall rather than let it go far enough for him to actually grab them.

Is what they're saying.

I do remember Mochizuki Sensei's saying that O Sensei could crush a section of bamboo with his bare grip, which Mochizuki Sensei was never able to do. Of course, he grew up experiencing O Sensei's grip and that may have been why, rather than teaching people how to lead a grip, he first taught how to cleanly escape a grip. His students knew what it felt like to be gripped very hard and they all learned how to get the heck out of that first.

So we always did a lot of powerful grabbing and escaping from established powerful grabs. So most of us developed pretty strong grips, but I figured if Mochizuki Sensei couldn't match O Sensei's grip, I could forget about it. I have a pretty good grip, but I can't crush a section of bamboo.

Best to all.

David

Michael Neal
10-04-2010, 08:00 AM
Maybe, but I haven't met anyone strong enough to throw me with strength in many years, but I'm sure it's possible, especially if the person can combine strength with skill. However it's been my experience that what makes aikido (and good judo) technique work isn't strength.

I suppose that's one way to look at it. Honestly, I'd be very curious to know what is historically meant by Ueshiba's "Power Grip" because I reckon that a formidable (painful) grip and muscular strength aren't really central to what makes aikido work. If it really was his acknowledged muscular strength, then I suspect that he wasn't as good at aikido as he could have been if many of his students were mainly trying to escape the pain instead of raise the level of both of their practice, even if he was the founder.

Although I had a very powerful grip when I was healthy, it certainly never helped me succeed at getting good at what interests me in aikido. I'm no stunning specimen, but I can do a lot with strength if I want to, and NONE of it works on people who understand how to move.

When someone grabs me enough to hurt, if I resist and struggle, it hurts worse, when I relax and maintain my own structural integrity and move, the harder they grab, these more shit they get into. I now have painful, arthritic hands and I can hold many people I've laid hands on so that they cannot make me let go.. and it isn't muscular strength at all.

So to sum up, I'm not very impressed with muscular strength.

Best,

With pure strength and no technique it is hard to throw anyone except those much smaller so I agree there. However I think strength is vital in combination with technique. I have rarely been thrown by someone much weaker than myself other than through cooperative practice, I am speaking more of Judo since almost all Aikido is cooperative practice.

Ellis Amdur
10-04-2010, 08:12 AM
Well, it's all "muscular" strength - but, I think one would make a mistake to assume that Ueshiba's "power grip" was based on his merely clamping down as hard as he could, clenching all his muscles together in a constipated spasm. Consider this grip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96pKz0rzxko): Slim Farnam started out in a granite quarry. Holds the world record for the hammer curl. To be sure, when working at peak weights, Farnam had to effectively use ever muscle at peak integration and power. Consider, however, him grabbing you with a relaxed grip - still able to respond to your movements, still able to react, lead, etc. Say, the power necessary to hammer curl a 16 lb sledge (beyond all but a small fraction of human beings, but far below his record of 28 lb in each hand).

The idea that a person who is very powerful and who expresses that physical power cannot, at the same time, use a coordinated body, internal skills, etc., is, I think, a mistake.

Then again, one wonders about the phrase, "he hurt him because he didn't know his own strength." Does one "accidentally" snap another person's arm with one's grip? Did Osensei get "lost in the moment" when grabbing his aite?

When I was a mere child, I discovered Superman, (who could stop a speeding locomotive!) at the same time my parents explained the sex act. Which caused me, at the age of six, to worry a lot about Lois Lane.
Best

Michael Hackett
10-04-2010, 09:03 AM
Ellis, all these years I thought I was a perv because I had that same question in my mind. Wait, just because you did too doesn't excuse me does it? LOL!

Michael Neal
10-04-2010, 09:28 AM
Yes at least from my own limited experience I can say that using strength at the right moment if even for a split second is vital for most techniques to work. If you are applying superhuman strength for this microsecond then it will just add to the effectiveness. There is a difference from this and just muscling through technique.

Keith Larman
10-04-2010, 10:47 AM
WRT grip, and having a pretty strong one available to me when I need it... I find it is rarely all that useful apart from circus tricks. The reality is that (in my practice at least) grabbing is more about controlling something, not crushing. So if I grab a wrist I'm trying to control the hand/wrist/arm or even more *through* the grab. The grab is the connection point of a much larger thing and not the end point.

I do find that having a powerful grasp means I can inflict pain if I want to, but that's generally not an issue as there are a lot of ways to do that. And given we're on an aikido forum I would think the larger issue would be creating a sort of connection that gives you some degree of control and "input" as to what's going on in uke's structure. And personally I find that vastly easier to do with a grab that is soft but connected. At that point I can feel what's happening and I can clamp down if need be or ideally blend and work with what I'm feeling.

Michael Neal
10-04-2010, 11:16 AM
So you are saying Ueshiba was not using real Aikido when he put people in vice like grip?

He must have had a reason for it.

Keith Larman
10-04-2010, 11:40 AM
So you are saying Ueshiba was not using real Aikido

Nope. I was talking about my experiences, nothing more, nothing less.

I will note that Ueshiba also allegedly broke an uke's arm in anger. That's would be some "real aikido" I'm just not interested in.

Michael Neal
10-04-2010, 11:50 AM
well I will agree with that, I am not interested in the arm breaking, at least during training. It would be good to have that capability for defense :)

I also remember a story that could be true or false, that an uke did not comply to one of his techniques so he gave him an uppercut and knocked him out? Although I can see the point he was trying to make, this is why you take the ukemi because otherwise you would have been in danger.

tarik
10-04-2010, 02:50 PM
Well, it's all "muscular" strength - but, I think one would make a mistake to assume that Ueshiba's "power grip" was based on his merely clamping down as hard as he could, clenching all his muscles together in a constipated spasm.

The idea that a person who is very powerful and who expresses that physical power cannot, at the same time, use a coordinated body, internal skills, etc., is, I think, a mistake.


Agreed.. and yet the discussion certainly appeared to be heading down that path. A connected, coordinated grip can certainly be described as powerful, but that wasn't the description that appeared to be offered and discussed by most of the people that I replied to.


Then again, one wonders about the phrase, "he hurt him because he didn't know his own strength." Does one "accidentally" snap another person's arm with one's grip? Did Osensei get "lost in the moment" when grabbing his aite?

I think immense strength has it's very useful place, but I think it can also get in the way of learning subtler applications of force, especially when that strength can be used in an overwhelming manner. I'm not sure that is wrong, per se, but I surely don't want my everyday practice to be about application of overwhelming strength.


When I was a mere child, I discovered Superman, (who could stop a speeding locomotive!) at the same time my parents explained the sex act. Which caused me, at the age of six, to worry a lot about Lois Lane.

You and Harlan Ellison. This topic was frequent entertainment amongst my friends and I.

With pure strength and no technique it is hard to throw anyone except those much smaller so I agree there. However I think strength is vital in combination with technique. I have rarely been thrown by someone much weaker than myself other than through cooperative practice, I am speaking more of Judo since almost all Aikido is cooperative practice.

Yes, Michael, I agree that strength has it's place, but overwhelming application of strength so that people are afraid to let you grab them doesn't strike me as very conducive to learning for either party.

I think competitive judo would be much more interesting if, instead of all the muscling I see, the competitors learned how to work with their partners efforts to throw them. It happens sometimes, certainly, but the overwhelming aspect of that practice that I've seen is more about winning at all costs rather than an application of of the principles of judo. It's more like using the same techniques with an application of speed and strength. It would be great if speed and strength were utilized in conjunction with the principles, and competitive judo would look a lot different than it does today.

It's not his attacking grip in question, Tarik.

Perhaps we did not read the same posts, because it was his powerful grip that the entire thread is named after and descriptions of how it might injure people.


The powerful grip only came if his movement weren't already leading you off balance enough for your own movement to throw you and he had to actually grab you for a technique. A lot of guys would take the fall rather than let it go far enough for him to actually grab them.

Is what they're saying.

Yes, I read that clearly from their posts. I guess that my comment simply is.. if you always avoid the grab, you'll never have much opportunity to learn how to deal with the grab when it does get you. Of course, if the grab is so overwhelming as to cause injury, then neither party really gets to learn and play with what can be done in that space.

Thanks all, for an intriguing conversation.

Best,

Michael Neal
10-04-2010, 03:00 PM
Yes, Michael, I agree that strength has it's place, but overwhelming application of strength so that people are afraid to let you grab them doesn't strike me as very conducive to learning for either party.

I think competitive judo would be much more interesting if, instead of all the muscling I see, the competitors learned how to work with their partners efforts to throw them. It happens sometimes, certainly, but the overwhelming aspect of that practice that I've seen is more about winning at all costs rather than an application of of the principles of judo. It's more like using the same techniques with an application of speed and strength. It would be great if speed and strength were utilized in conjunction with the principles, and competitive judo would look a lot different than it does today.

I agree, and doing Judo with only strength and speed is very exhausting. I find that not having the endurance I used to is very helpful since it is forcing me to rely more on technique and fight less.

It also confuses the hell out of people when they are hunched over ready for combat and I calmly walk towards them and take grips, it unnerves some people actually and they become apprehensive.

In competition when I do throw I use all the power I can generate and I usually get solid ippons rather than the light rolly polly throws you see so much by people gaming the match for points. it is about using strength at the right moment.

I have to keep reminding myself of the phrase Kano used "Be like an empty jacket"

thisisnotreal
10-04-2010, 07:48 PM
Hi Mark,This's likely out in left-field; but as per how the body can change and adapt..and how it links with the fascia stuff; ; and a link into 'the grip strength' you bring up..check out this old link that FL posted a long while ago: here< (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/health/24hand.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1185291103-lBe6F0edeYtxTYZEvTxeVg). maybe its interesting.. this (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=242856&postcount=72) too...(maybe not though!) o.O

David Orange
10-04-2010, 08:26 PM
Quote:
David Orange wrote:
It's not his attacking grip in question, Tarik.

Perhaps we did not read the same posts, because it was his powerful grip that the entire thread is named after and descriptions of how it might injure people.

No, I'm saying, the grip in question is not where he comes to grab you, but where you are trying to grab him or strike him in some way. The grab in question is what he did to any body part you thrust toward him.

I guess that my comment simply is.. if you always avoid the grab, you'll never have much opportunity to learn how to deal with the grab when it does get you. Of course, if the grab is so overwhelming as to cause injury, then neither party really gets to learn and play with what can be done in that space.

Well, all the old greats learned a lot under those conditions and they all look back on that time with great nostalgia. I remember O Sensei is quoted somewhere as telling a prospective student, "Aikido is very tough. Can you take it?"

It's a passed generation, I'm afraid.

Best to you.

David

Demetrio Cereijo
10-10-2010, 06:56 PM
There's another account of Ueshiba's powerful grip by Shirata Rinjiro Sensei in 'Aikido: The Way of Harmony (http://www.aikidojournal.com/bibliography_details?id=149)', pag 16.