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Dave Plaza
11-28-2010, 03:07 PM
Hi folks,

I'm looking for ways to develop my centre... This for me seems to be the most difficult thing to grasp, and it almost seems like the holy grail, if you can develop how to hold your centre then, it seems, you become good at Aikido.

I would like to know if they're any exercises that you think would aid in this process... Do, for example, the rowing exercises (can't remember the name) help?

Many thanks

Dave

mathewjgano
11-28-2010, 04:18 PM
Hi folks,

I'm looking for ways to develop my centre... This for me seems to be the most difficult thing to grasp, and it almost seems like the holy grail, if you can develop how to hold your centre then, it seems, you become good at Aikido.

I would like to know if they're any exercises that you think would aid in this process... Do, for example, the rowing exercises (can't remember the name) help?

Many thanks

Dave

That seems to depend on who you ask, but I think a major theme to recent conversations is that whatever the exercise, the important thing is to have a good teacher to guide your practice. I believe furitama and tori fune undo ("tama shaking" and "bird rowing exercise" respectively) can help. I know a couple of the major principles Tohei Sensei articulated was to be relaxed and think of the center in all our actions. I know that when I do this, I tend to be more stable in my actions and I notice at least something about how it might affect some movements.
...Not that I'm very aware of my center, though. Hopefully the folks with more experience will chime in.
Take care,
Matt

Benjamin Mehner
11-28-2010, 04:31 PM
I meditate while using the mudra shown in the video that appears in the link provided below. I learned it from a guy that was really into studying ki, and I think it has helped me. It may just be that I am gaining the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

http://www.theaikidojourney.com/uncategorized/133

Abasan
11-28-2010, 11:29 PM
The rowing exercise or funakogi undo is a favourite exercise of mine that does not only cultivate good center and shisei but extension and intent as well. You do need to have uke grab you and test every once in awhile. Dynamic and static testing. I'm assuming you know the various ki tests.

Having said that, it would be better for you to think 'center' in every movement you make in daily life and training instead of trying to 'cultivate' it via specific exercises. The more you ingrain it in everything you do the better your development of center would be. IMHO...

Tim Ruijs
11-29-2010, 02:11 AM
That seems to depend on who you ask, but I think a major theme to recent conversations is that whatever the exercise, the important thing is to have a good teacher to guide your practice.very true...

Two exercises you might try. Hopefully I am able to describe them clearly enough for you to understand.

First the rowing exercise. Do this with a partner holding your hands ryote dori with his feet next to each other. You do the rowing exercise and he allows himself to be pushed and pulled when you move back and forth. You quickly find the exercise gets much more 'content'. Focus is *not* to use your arms, but your centre.

Another exercise is where your partner holds your shoulders (kata dori; stationary; go-tai exercise) and you turn your body left and right (without stepping to either side!) and make your partner move along with you. Obviously you cannot use your arms, since he grasps your shoulders. All movement must come from your centre. Again, there is a rithm much similar to the rowing exercise to be found.

Let me know how that goes...;)

Tony Wagstaffe
11-29-2010, 03:41 AM
Get a bokken, do 100 shomen uchi a day backwards and forwards, to start....also do the same while performing tai no henko and any tai sabaki as you get the hang of it.....
When you reach 500 a day or every other day for a couple of months you should get the jist of it.......
Happy centre searching....;) :D :)

Larry Feldman
11-29-2010, 08:04 AM
The Ki Society does a variety of 'Ki Exercises' including the rowing exercise to help you develop your center.

I haven't looked at the new Tohei video from the Aikido Journal, but suspect some of the execises may be on there. C.S. Shifflet (who studied with the Ki Society) has authored 2 books on the subject.
Aikido Exercises....or something like that, which might provide some additional information.

If there is a Ki Society dojo near you - it might be helpful to get some actula instruction first, in lieu of that video and the books may be enough. Most importantly make sure you keep your balance as you do the exercises.

dps
11-29-2010, 08:34 AM
Here is a website with the Ki exercises.
http://www.bodymindandmodem.com/KiEx/KiEx.html

Do these while also doing the four basic principals,

1. Keep one-point.
2. Relax completely.
3. Keep weight underside.
4. Extend Ki.

this will develop your center.


dps

gregstec
11-29-2010, 08:34 AM
Having said that, it would be better for you to think 'center' in every movement you make in daily life and training instead of trying to 'cultivate' it via specific exercises. The more you ingrain it in everything you do the better your development of center would be. IMHO...

I am with Ahmad here - IMO, it all starts with intent - cultivate your intent first and the body will follow.

Greg

PhillyKiAikido
11-29-2010, 04:22 PM
David,

IMHO, all the exercises mentioned by other replies help your center development only if they're done in the right way. A good teacher's instruction is for sure the best help. As others did, I'd suggest you to check out some Ki Society dojos or seminars since the Ki Society curriculum emphasizes on the Ki/Whole body/Center training. Some ASU senseis' seminars (such as Hiroshi Ikeda sensei) are also very helpful.

If that's not feasible to you, my personal experence is to do the Jo and Bokken exercises over 30 minutes per day in a very relaxed way (Tohei sensei said "relax completely") is very helpful to build your correct posture (center).

Hope this helps.

danj
11-29-2010, 04:38 PM
I meditate while using the mudra shown in the video that appears in the link provided below. I learned it from a guy that was really into studying ki, and I think it has helped me. It may just be that I am gaining the benefits of mindfulness meditation.


I really like this Mudra, it works on a number of levels, not the least physically the interlocked fingers help the arms form a bridge so that the arms can be relaxed and not ache too much during a sitting.

Also I once heard the you can use crossing of the thumbs in the mudra as preparation for future scenarios. e.g. do hours (insert appropriate time in here) of the mudra while meditating. Then in the midst of battle, randoori or a time of need in everyday life just cross one thumb across the other to remind you body/mind of the feeling/ calmness/ centeredness you got from meditating in an instant.

dan

phitruong
11-30-2010, 06:46 AM
Hi folks,

I'm looking for ways to develop my centre... This for me seems to be the most difficult thing to grasp, and it almost seems like the holy grail, if you can develop how to hold your centre then, it seems, you become good at Aikido.

I would like to know if they're any exercises that you think would aid in this process... Do, for example, the rowing exercises (can't remember the name) help?

Dave

first, have you read the book "Hidden in Plain Sight: Tracing the Roots of Ueshiba Morihei's Power." by Ellis Amdur? if you have not, then read it. another book "Center: The Power of Aikido" by Ron Myer and Mark Reeder (pay attention to some of the references).

after the reading those two books, look up these names: Akuzawa Minoru, Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, Howard Popkin, Wang Hai Jun, Chen Bing. attend their seminar/workshop.

be warn, it's a terrible road to travel, filled with pain, frustration, and few results. it's not for everyone. my advice is to stick with aikido, whatever aikido that most folks are doing and not walk down the above road. :)

phitruong
11-30-2010, 06:52 AM
I meditate while using the mudra shown in the video that appears in the link provided below. I learned it from a guy that was really into studying ki, and I think it has helped me. It may just be that I am gaining the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

http://www.theaikidojourney.com/uncategorized/133

whoa! sitting meditation in the snow! how do i get my nipples from freeze off? not to mention my manhood from disappearing? so after my nipples and manhood fall off from frostbite, would that make me more center? :D

Dave Plaza
11-30-2010, 07:18 AM
Wow, what a wealth of info, thanks to all... I'm gonna try some of these techniques, read those books etc.

Thank you all so much :)

Dave

Dazzler
11-30-2010, 07:42 AM
first, have you read the book "Hidden in Plain Sight: Tracing the Roots of Ueshiba Morihei's Power." by Ellis Amdur? if you have not, then read it. another book "Center: The Power of Aikido" by Ron Myer and Mark Reeder (pay attention to some of the references).

after the reading those two books, look up these names: Akuzawa Minoru, Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, Howard Popkin, Wang Hai Jun, Chen Bing. attend their seminar/workshop.

be warn, it's a terrible road to travel, filled with pain, frustration, and few results. it's not for everyone. my advice is to stick with aikido, whatever aikido that most folks are doing and not walk down the above road. :)

Read both books, found the Myer / Reeder one a bit easier to follow (but I am a simple soul).

Followed with interest all the threads by the notables mentioned and even have the introductory DVD of Akuzawa Minoru.

In theory its all interesting stuff but you really have to do it and incorporate this stuff into your training.

This is the hard bit.

Don't expect too many revelations though - lots of the exercises are already practiced throughout many Aikido dojos- perhaps just not valued enough or understood enough though.

From personal experience I remember training on teachers courses with Pierre Chassang of France where the first hour of his lesson was a series of exercises which were all about centre or seika tanden.

The exercises always included those in the 2nd book above

He also explained at length how Tadashi Abe / Matsuharu Nakazono insisted on similar practice and how Master Shirata practiced Tai No Henka for 2 hours solid at Aikikai Tokyo.

In his book he talks of Arikawa suggesting exercises to develop the power of the belly and berates the world of french Aikido for not listening.

Unfortunately as Phi Truong points out it is hard work - and I don't think I really listened either.

I used to long for the end of these exercises so we could throw each other about.

When Pierre was in Tokyo someone left the mat "because they hadn't travelled 10,000 kilometres to do Tai No Henka".

I found the work a bit boring - thinking of it just as a physical warm up...but now I realise these things are so necessary to develop the centre which will allow Aikido practice to be Aikido rather than Aikido techniques practiced with a jujutsu body.

So my challenge is to re-introduce them to my own students without boring them.

Perhaps this is wrong and I should use them to weed out those that lack the discipline to do them...but in doing so I'd have to weed myself out too.

They are still hard work today.

So for me I'm doing it gradually but this means any centre i do have is only growing slowly..I'm not in a rush.

Anyway, yes, read the books, look for common ground with your own training and train harder.

I'll try same.

Cheers

D

MM
11-30-2010, 07:43 AM
The questions that run through my mind ...

1. How many people throughout the world have done the Aikido warmup exercises (rowing, furitama, etc) for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

2. How many people throughout the world have done bokken swinging for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

3. How many people throughout the world have meditated for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

4. How many people throughout the world have done the Ki Exercises for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

5. How many people throughout the world have done Aikido techniques for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

6. Why is it that Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc studied for 5-10 years and were very good?

7. What is the famous quote (attributed to Albert Einstein) for insanity?
(A: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)

8. After looking around at the Aikido world, its teachers, and current skill levels, why do you think that doing 20-40 years of what everyone else is doing will let you gain, or even surpass, Ueshiba Morihei's skills and abilities when even the Japanese shihan who studied under Ueshiba say they aren't close to what he could do?

The answers? I only know one for sure -- #7. Finding the rest of the answers, IMO, requires stepping outside Modern Aikido's exercises and techniques. They've all been done to death, for 40+ years and produced ... ? (A: Insert person who has achieved Ueshiba Morihei's skills and abilities).

Otherwise, refer back to #7.

chillzATL
11-30-2010, 11:32 AM
The questions that run through my mind ...

1. How many people throughout the world have done the Aikido warmup exercises (rowing, furitama, etc) for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

2. How many people throughout the world have done bokken swinging for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

3. How many people throughout the world have meditated for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

4. How many people throughout the world have done the Ki Exercises for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

5. How many people throughout the world have done Aikido techniques for anywhere from 10 years to 40+ years and still have yet to come close to Ueshiba's top Students (Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc) let alone Ueshiba's skill level?

6. Why is it that Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc studied for 5-10 years and were very good?

7. What is the famous quote (attributed to Albert Einstein) for insanity?
(A: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)

8. After looking around at the Aikido world, its teachers, and current skill levels, why do you think that doing 20-40 years of what everyone else is doing will let you gain, or even surpass, Ueshiba Morihei's skills and abilities when even the Japanese shihan who studied under Ueshiba say they aren't close to what he could do?

The answers? I only know one for sure -- #7. Finding the rest of the answers, IMO, requires stepping outside Modern Aikido's exercises and techniques. They've all been done to death, for 40+ years and produced ... ? (A: Insert person who has achieved Ueshiba Morihei's skills and abilities).

Otherwise, refer back to #7.

There's plenty of depth to be found in the things you listed, if you know what you're looking for. Simply going through the motions isn't going to get you much, but that holds true for nearly any activity. One of the big benefits of the outside training is how it allows you to view all the things we've done for years inside of aikido in an entirely new light and, if you choose, to go back use those things for continued development within aikido.

Rather than throwing out the same anecdotes suggesting how everyone is wasting their time, why not ask questions and offer some suggestions as to how one might actually benefit from these things based on your own experiences and progress?

MM
11-30-2010, 12:18 PM
There's plenty of depth to be found in the things you listed, if you know what you're looking for. Simply going through the motions isn't going to get you much, but that holds true for nearly any activity. One of the big benefits of the outside training is how it allows you to view all the things we've done for years inside of aikido in an entirely new light and, if you choose, to go back use those things for continued development within aikido.

Rather than throwing out the same anecdotes suggesting how everyone is wasting their time, why not ask questions and offer some suggestions as to how one might actually benefit from these things based on your own experiences and progress?

First, I never suggested people were wasting their time. Please don't put words in my mouth. I've met enough people who, because of their background, had a step up on other people. Some people were very connected or had structure.

Second, asking questions is the exact thing I did. Quote, "The questions that run through my mind". These are the questions *I* am personally invested with searching for answers.

If someone showed up in the Aikido world that had the skill level of Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc or Ueshiba, I'd be ecstatic. It would mean that some of those skills survived, were taught, and were handed down. There's a possibility that's happened somewhere out of the public's eye.

And suggestions? I think offering my own personal questions is a very good place to start. Maybe someone can answer them and I would be forced to reevaluate (in a good way) things. And, personally, if after doing warm up exercises for 10+ years and not getting anywhere (I am after all, Scottish, so I can be stubborn), I'd be glad if someone came up to me and said, "hey, you're not getting anywhere, shouldn't you reevaluate what you're doing"? I have been at a place where "I didn't know that I didn't know". I assume I'm there now.

so, to toss back your own post, what point was there to it? Where were your questions? Your suggestions? Care to take a stab at answering my questions? How about digging into the "plenty of depth to be found" that you cite instead of just mentioning it? What do you look for? Where do you deviate from "simply going through the motions"?

chillzATL
11-30-2010, 01:15 PM
First, I never suggested people were wasting their time. Please don't put words in my mouth. I've met enough people who, because of their background, had a step up on other people. Some people were very connected or had structure.

Second, asking questions is the exact thing I did. Quote, "The questions that run through my mind". These are the questions *I* am personally invested with searching for answers.

If someone showed up in the Aikido world that had the skill level of Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc or Ueshiba, I'd be ecstatic. It would mean that some of those skills survived, were taught, and were handed down. There's a possibility that's happened somewhere out of the public's eye.

And suggestions? I think offering my own personal questions is a very good place to start. Maybe someone can answer them and I would be forced to reevaluate (in a good way) things. And, personally, if after doing warm up exercises for 10+ years and not getting anywhere (I am after all, Scottish, so I can be stubborn), I'd be glad if someone came up to me and said, "hey, you're not getting anywhere, shouldn't you reevaluate what you're doing"? I have been at a place where "I didn't know that I didn't know". I assume I'm there now.

so, to toss back your own post, what point was there to it? Where were your questions? Your suggestions? Care to take a stab at answering my questions? How about digging into the "plenty of depth to be found" that you cite instead of just mentioning it? What do you look for? Where do you deviate from "simply going through the motions"?

Mark, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to break balls, but they're the same vague questions that you throw out in a lot of threads these days. I appreciate them for stiring up some interest in other people to go out and check things out, but at the same time, it would be nice to start seeing some more direct discussion. I think it would do more to spur peoples interest than simply asking why people who have been at this for 20+ years don't have a shred of Ueshiba's skill.

I'm more than willing to discuss the benefits of some of these things as I see them today. I only asked it of you because you seem to have taken up the mantle around here. how about suburi? There's quite a bit of things hidden in there that Ueshiba and others (sagawa) found value in that has seemingly been lost in the aikido world.

mathewjgano
11-30-2010, 02:41 PM
I'm just leaving this posted because I spent more time than I care to admit on it. It probably suffices to say: what Jason said.
Also, my frustration with these topics has more to do with communication issues than with content.
First, I never suggested people were wasting their time. Please don't put words in my mouth.
Considering the context of your own expressed experiences, whch I'm sure Jason has read, you don't think it's an easy assumption to make? I mean, I think you're raising very pertinent questions, but I also think you are suggesting that at least some people have wasted at least some of their time; simply because some people have a goal to attain similar abilities as Shioda and company (which you do seem to be implying are in short supply); particularly in light of your #7.
If someone showed up in the Aikido world that had the skill level of Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Tohei, etc or Ueshiba, I'd be ecstatic. It would mean that some of those skills survived, were taught, and were handed down. There's a possibility that's happened somewhere out of the public's eye.
And why would you be ecstatic if you didn't think how unlikely that would be? I'm guessing you think there's a possibilty it happened out of the public eye because in the public eye it hasn't...not much at least.

And suggestions? I think offering my own personal questions is a very good place to start.

Here you seem to be making the suggestion that questions are a good way to start making suggestions. Did I read that wrong?
If somehow indeed you really are "just asking questions" and they're not meant to make ANY assertions about the current state of Aikido at large, then I appologize for misconstruing your intentions. From this lap-top, it seems like you are. And to be clear, I didn't read anything "bad" in your remarks. I'll say it here: there are people in Aikido who are wasting at least some of their time. It's a guess, but one I feel confident making...which for me is, I believe, saying something.
How about digging into the "plenty of depth to be found" that you cite instead of just mentioning it?
The first thought that comes to mind has to do with the post describing the fellow who "didn't travel 10,000 miles to do tai sabaki" with Shirata Sensei. Maybe these exercises aren't meant to be done strictly as a warm-up? ...That is to say, maybe 10-15 minutes isn't enough to really reap the benefits, particularly earlier on in one's development.
Also I would suggest the atmosphere of the "Hell Dojo" might have something to do with it. I recall reading my Sensei as saying at some point a serious student needs to have a bit more pressure applied than the hobbyist.
I'd also suggest that who you get to lay hands on regularly has a direct impact on how much you can take in...never mind hearing folks who are touted as being VERY good at this stuff describing having taught hundreds from which maybe a dozen really got it. I may be misremembering important details, but there's a start anyway.
Seriously, I think you frame the issue of quality aiki in aikido very well. Please keep sharing your impressions.
...And again, I appologize if I am simply missing something and misconstruing your remarks.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-30-2010, 02:46 PM
Mark, those are interesting questions.

I'd add #9. When are going to see someone who is at today's equivalent level of the aikido giants of old. Someone who is on par with today's pro boxers, mma'ers, olimpyc wrestlers or world class judoka as it is said those aikido giants were back in the day?

kewms
11-30-2010, 03:23 PM
There's plenty of depth to be found in the things you listed, if you know what you're looking for. Simply going through the motions isn't going to get you much, but that holds true for nearly any activity. One of the big benefits of the outside training is how it allows you to view all the things we've done for years inside of aikido in an entirely new light and, if you choose, to go back use those things for continued development within aikido.

This. I've done the standard warmup exercises as just another form of calisthenics, good for getting the body warm, but not much more. And I've done them in a way that left me feeling like I'd just had a very tough workout and needed to go lie down for a while. Follow either approach for ten years, and I'll bet you end up in a very different place.

Katherine

Randall Lim
11-30-2010, 05:59 PM
Hi folks,

I'm looking for ways to develop my centre... This for me seems to be the most difficult thing to grasp, and it almost seems like the holy grail, if you can develop how to hold your centre then, it seems, you become good at Aikido.

I would like to know if they're any exercises that you think would aid in this process... Do, for example, the rowing exercises (can't remember the name) help?

Many thanks

Dave

Whenever I execute a Taisubaki, I would imagine holding a huge exercise ball (about 3 feet in diameter) in my arms, protecting it from harm.

MM
11-30-2010, 06:47 PM
Considering the context of your own expressed experiences, whch I'm sure Jason has read, you don't think it's an easy assumption to make? I mean, I think you're raising very pertinent questions, but I also think you are suggesting that at least some people have wasted at least some of their time; simply because some people have a goal to attain similar abilities as Shioda and company (which you do seem to be implying are in short supply); particularly in light of your #7.


You have to look at things in the context of trying to get out of the box. To look at things as if you didn't know that you didn't know.

Let's just take an example - Saotome sensei. I have no doubt whatsoever that he never wasted any of his time when he was with Ueshiba Morihei. Did he waste his time for 40+ years of aikido afterwards? No. He took what he was given and practiced it as diligently as he possibly could. He did the exercises. He did the practices. He asked questions. But, I'd also guess that 40+ years later, Saotome sensei would say that he's not at Ueshiba's level.

So, we have to look at what we, as worldwide aikido students, have done. We have to start climbing out of a box and looking at things as if there was something we just don't know. We've put in the time and spent it well in delving into all the myriad facets of aikido that we were given.

40+ years and we (worldwide aikido in general) are worse off than before. So, when someone asks how do I ..., we have to start critically looking at what we (as a whole) have already done over and over again and find what we're missing.

We've put in the time. We've done the exercises in a variety of means, manners, and ways. We've done techniques to death. We've plumbed the depths of variations on a theme. IMO, it's time to quite answering with the standard stuff of do 10,000 suburi. Do Ki exercises. Do warm up exercises. Time to start asking critical questions and getting together for answers.


Here you seem to be making the suggestion that questions are a good way to start making suggestions. Did I read that wrong?
If somehow indeed you really are "just asking questions" and they're not meant to make ANY assertions about the current state of Aikido at large, then I appologize for misconstruing your intentions. From this lap-top, it seems like you are. And to be clear, I didn't read anything "bad" in your remarks. I'll say it here: there are people in Aikido who are wasting at least some of their time. It's a guess, but one I feel confident making...which for me is, I believe, saying something.


Questions are a good way of getting people to start thinking critically. To re-examine what they "know". To get out of the box. Or maybe find that the box has floors and levels they never saw before. Those questions I posted (and others not posted) were and are my steps to open my box. To search for and find answers.

In regards to the topic here of developing the center, I can check off those things that have been done for 40+ years. Whatever is left has to include the correct answer. Even if I'm not seeing it yet because I didn't know that I didn't know. Even if what is left may seem unlikely answers. I trust the aikido world-at-large enough that if something in the aikido training that was passed down had the correct answer, we would have found it.

So, yes, my suggestion is to start asking critical questions about training. Just because someone has repeated the phrase, it's a 20 year technique, doesn't mean it's true. 40 years later and it's a 20 more years technique. Why is it that Ueshiba said his art is formless, that all techniques were the same, if there are 20 year techniques? We need those critical questions that cut to the heart of aikido. What exactly was the "secret of aiki" that allowed Ueshiba to pin Tenryu effortlessly? Why can we not do that same thing now?


The first thought that comes to mind has to do with the post describing the fellow who "didn't travel 10,000 miles to do tai sabaki" with Shirata Sensei. Maybe these exercises aren't meant to be done strictly as a warm-up? ...That is to say, maybe 10-15 minutes isn't enough to really reap the benefits, particularly earlier on in one's development.


See, there's a critical question. "Maybe these exercises aren't meant to be done strictly as a warm-up?" If they aren't, then what are they meant to do? Why did Ueshiba do them all the time? What was important? Why is it that 40 years later of doing them, we aren't like Ueshiba? What are we missing?

I think these questions and more should be asked of teachers everywhere, all the way up to Japanese shihan of all styles and Doshu. Don't misconstrue that as meaning we should demand answers. There are tactful, polite, and specific ways of asking questions. And I think we would find some very surprising answers and some hidden gems of information.

thisisnotreal
11-30-2010, 06:56 PM
Here (http://www.rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9080&st=0&sk=t&sd=a)'s some food for your brains. And here (http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9250&st=0&sk=t&sd=a).

phitruong
11-30-2010, 09:05 PM
Here (http://www.rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9080&st=0&sk=t&sd=a)'s some food for your brains. And here (http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9250&st=0&sk=t&sd=a).

forget the dantien/hara stuffs. focus on creating ground path from any point on your body in static mode then dynamic mode. if you cannot create ground path, then focus on dantien/hara is a waste of time. need to learn how to crawl before walk before run.

phitruong
11-30-2010, 09:16 PM
You have to look at things in the context of trying to get out of the box. To look at things as if you didn't know that you didn't know.



Mark, folks like their boxes. it kinda like a security blanket. even the folks that said they want to go outside of the box, they don't really mean it. what they meant is "as long as outside of the box is similar to the inside of the box, i am ok with that"; otherwise, bugger off!

so it's a waste of time to convince folks. either they want to find out or they won't. folks don't change until something drastic happened, like a shortage of coffee which we known as "The End of the World". :)

Rob Watson
11-30-2010, 09:56 PM
something drastic happened, like a shortage of coffee which we known as "The End of the World". :)

And here I was just starting to think Iiked where you are coming from but this is just too cruel only indicating a warped and twisted persona. Wait a minute, I'm warped and twisted ... watch out, might be a love/hate thing developing.

I say forget about center and forget about ground path and build up the leg strength way beyond what one might think is required to provide a solid foundation for whatever gets plunked on top of it down the road. You want a fluid mobile powerful center controlling a fully connected body moving in a unified manner? All that gotta sit on some mighty legs for real 'oomph'.

mathewjgano
11-30-2010, 10:59 PM
You have to look at things in the context of trying to get out of the box. To look at things as if you didn't know that you didn't know.
Absolutely. As soon as we assume we know something, we tend to stop searching for more about it. I'm in the very comfortable position of knowing I know, at best, next to nothing about much of anything...especially when it comes to doing. To my mind the answer is somewhat simple though: check around. How do you verify and expand upon information? Cross-reference it as much as possible. This is one of the great things about aikiweb and the like...and I would submit that we're in a great age because we seem to have more people who are willing to share a bit of their knowledge on these matters.

In regards to the topic here of developing the center, I can check off those things that have been done for 40+ years.
Do you think the exercises themselves are lacking? If so, how do you reconcile this with the idea that O Sensei seemed to find some value to them?
My sense (very meager though it is) of this issue is that the lack of explicit instruction is what probably caused the largest rift in the transmission...that people were more or less left to discover it on their own. What do you think?

"Maybe these exercises aren't meant to be done strictly as a warm-up?" If they aren't, then what are they meant to do? Why did Ueshiba do them all the time? What was important? Why is it that 40 years later of doing them, we aren't like Ueshiba? What are we missing?
Good questions...Care to hazzard a guess? My sense of those exercises was that they should be done a lot just to arrive at a good starting place. That's guesswork on my part though.

I think these questions and more should be asked of teachers everywhere, all the way up to Japanese shihan of all styles and Doshu. Don't misconstrue that as meaning we should demand answers. There are tactful, polite, and specific ways of asking questions. And I think we would find some very surprising answers and some hidden gems of information.
I agree...and in my case it's all the more reason for me to resume my training in earnest. When i was learning history and I learned of all these "great" men who tried to leave legacies built on their great accomplishments, I was frustrated to discover they all seemed to have mixed results at best (as I recall anyway). I attribute this transmission issue to be very much in keeping with that of aikido or anything else: it comes down to the next individual in line to be just as tireless in his or her pursuit of understanding...and I think most people are satisfied with being "close enough." Every great person I can think of, subjective though that description might be, seemed to be somewhat fanatical in their efforts. They ate, slept, breathed, and dreamed their study. I don't doubt there are exercises out there that could be better than what we typically see in Aikido, but to get near as good as Ueshiba Morihei and Takeda Sokaku, I presume it takes a lot more than exercises: it takes HUGE dedication, and direct hands on with other people similar to them who will provide direct feedback...hence my earlier remarks about finding a good teacher.
I'm tired; still recovering from pneumonia and not feeling very lucid so I'll leave this here and hope it added to the conversation in a useful way. Sorry if it didn't...I never feel very comfortable joining in on these things...even if it rarely stops me from trying.
Anyhoo...
Pleasant evening, Mark! Thank you for the considerate reply!
Take care all!
Matt
p.s. I liked the groundpath advice...when i was training my best that always seemed to be the best way to teach people who were even more "beginnery" than me. I remember working with one lass and suddenly I felt her ground out (my sense of it at any rate). I said "there! did you feel that? That should be in every movement." She noticed the difference too, which is why I think it's a trustworthy experience. How well grounded of course is another issue altogether. To my mind that has served as an example of how learning some of these things goes: the visceral experience/feeling itself.

Tim Ruijs
12-01-2010, 04:12 AM
Cross-reference it as much as possible. This is one of the great things about aikiweb and the like...and I would submit that we're in a great age because we seem to have more people who are willing to share a bit of their knowledge on these matters.

Agreed, but be aware. Observation is one thing, good judgement another. Do not accept everything you find as the truth.


My sense (very meager though it is) of this issue is that the lack of explicit instruction is what probably caused the largest rift in the transmission...that people were more or less left to discover it on their own. What do you think?

It is hard to find a good teacher for regular practise. Anyone can be a good example in one the 'great names' of Aikido. Which off course is good. But when it comes to regular practise...
To add to the problem: How does an inexperienced person know just what makes a good teacher? The dojo around the corner says they do Aikido, but how do you know they are any good?

phitruong
12-01-2010, 05:21 AM
And here I was just starting to think Iiked where you are coming from but this is just too cruel only indicating a warped and twisted persona. Wait a minute, I'm warped and twisted ... watch out, might be a love/hate thing developing.


if you listened to my ranting long enough, you would be warped and twisted too. sort of like the problem of two train traveling in the same direction and you have to calculate how long it take for a person on the train to drink his coffee, with cream and sugar...., mostly cream and sugar.


I say forget about center and forget about ground path and build up the leg strength way beyond what one might think is required to provide a solid foundation for whatever gets plunked on top of it down the road. You want a fluid mobile powerful center controlling a fully connected body moving in a unified manner? All that gotta sit on some mighty legs for real 'oomph'.

this is true in most cases when you are up-right. however, for folks who like to roll on the floor, such as bjj or sambo or judo, ground path isn't necessary through the legs. of course, building leg strength and ground path are related. of course the building leg strength isn't the same as going to a gym and pumping iron either. it's a different kind of leg strength training.

thisisnotreal
12-01-2010, 08:39 AM
hi phi

I didn't mean to imply anything specific - as far as training. This thread ostensibly was about the center, so i posted a link to a pretty lengthy discussion about that..more than I've ever seen here. It is by a bunch of guys trying to understand ... something. Thought there was many great points..physiologically (i.e. as the switching yard of the body), mentally (models of perception of the body), energetically (i.e. how center can effect the 'energetics' of the body), usage (practical). and on and on and on.

if you're asking me what I think you should do first...I don't think I could say.

And o yes - regarding boxes. Perhaps we've only traded one box for another. Boxes are okay. If you don't have a box the marbles spread all over the floor. Order. Understanding. Limits. Boundaries.

Agreed ... Important to open your mind though. And when to bail on my own limited view.

I always liked this quote from the bard:
""There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.""

what the hell am i talking about. damn strong coffee today.
j

mathewjgano
12-01-2010, 11:26 AM
Agreed, but be aware. Observation is one thing, good judgement another. Do not accept everything you find as the truth.
Amen to that. As a side note, I remember observing Aikido classes and thinking it wasn't very practical. Experiencing it changed my mind. I think the critical part of checking things out comes from direct participation. I like to observe training to see whatever I think I might be able to see, but I believe the nature of learning physical skills lies in the visceral experience in the body.

To add to the problem: How does an inexperienced person know just what makes a good teacher? The dojo around the corner says they do Aikido, but how do you know they are any good?
How indeed! Hence the need to check things out as much as possible. I think a lot of the advice Mark was mentioning (10000 suburi, etc.) are geared more toward the inexperienced person, but it does also bring up an important factor. If we start out with bad habits, it can be harder to remove them later on...some more than others I would imagine. This is why forums like this can serve such a great purpose in that we can read what a lot of people have experienced. It's still guesswork until the individual has enough experience, but the more we see people supporting different teachers and describing their specialties, the more reliable a starting point we can have. We can guess that certain names, like Sigman, Harden, Akuzawa, etc. are very good resources simply because we have so much testimony...and from a variety of experience levels.

thisisnotreal
12-01-2010, 07:11 PM
hi Dave, Here's an exercise (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-G2GZBDClU&feature=player_embedded#!). Different martial art...but they seek to condition the body/dantian. Here's a discussion about it (requirements, what it trains, etc). (http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5849&st=0&sk=t&sd=a).

Andrew Macdonald
12-26-2010, 07:52 PM
to develop my centre i use zhuang zhang, standing meditation used in chinese internal arts, and them moving meditation from baguazhang. i use these over methoids in aikido becasue when i learnt them there was more emphasis put on those practices where as in my aikido classes we ardly do the rowing excersie

Shadowfax
12-27-2010, 03:43 PM
take horseback riding lessons......:p
I'm serious.:straightf
Especially get someone to put you on a horse bareback on a longe line. Work on remaining relaxed and balanced without using your legs or hands to hold on... at all gaits. Guaranteed to teach you all about being centered.

MM
12-28-2010, 07:29 AM
Do you think the exercises themselves are lacking? If so, how do you reconcile this with the idea that O Sensei seemed to find some value to them?
My sense (very meager though it is) of this issue is that the lack of explicit instruction is what probably caused the largest rift in the transmission...that people were more or less left to discover it on their own. What do you think?


Hello Matthew,

Sorry about the delayed response. I was sidetracked with other things.

Let me paint a picture here. Let's use cars and drag racing. So, we have Ueshiba's car there on the strip. Open the hood and you find an amazingly powerful engine. The car itself is sleek, rounded, has no sharp edges, but is painted with some very detailed, almost 3D type paint such that the car seems to float in the air. When other people race this car, they lose. Badly. And the car looks as if it's part of the natural world as it floats down the strip. Other cars leave rubber marks, exhaust fumes, have loud noises, but not Ueshiba's car.

Along comes Modern Aikido. They try to build a car to look like Ueshiba's except they don't understand how Ueshiba's painter painted it. How it got so smooth, rounded, and sleek. They also don't understand how Ueshiba's mechanic built the engine so powerful. They do their best to imitate it, though, so that for the most part, it does. But, if you look closely, you can see the flaws in the design. When the Modern Aikido car races, it mostly loses, leaves rubber marks, has exhaust fumes, and is loud. But when you look at the car, it appears to look like Ueshiba's car. When you open the hood, it appears to look like Ueshiba's engine. Except Modern Aikido's car never acts, runs, or moves like Ueshiba's car.

The engine is Ueshiba's Daito ryu aiki. The body is Ueshiba's Omoto kyo spirituality. Modern Aikido has no understanding of either.

If you do Modern Aikido's exercises, you are not doing Ueshiba's exercises, although they can appear to look alike. As you noted, Ueshiba found value in them, so if Modern Aikido is doing them just like Ueshiba, where are the Modern Ueshibas?

After 40 years, we really can sum it up in two basic answers:

1. Ueshiba was a singularly unique individual, a one-in-a-billion kind of guy.

or

2. We aren't doing the same kind of training that Ueshiba did.

Now factor in that Takeda created Sagawa, Ueshiba, Kodo, Hisa, etc and they could all do very similar things. Ueshiba in his early training caused Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, etc to be very similar in skills, although not as good as he was. Sagawa didn't teach except Kimura got stuff out of him and supposedly Kimura is able to do similar things. Kodo taught a couple of people, most notably Okamoto who can do similar things as all the rest. So, really, reason #1 is kind of hard to accept, especially given the fact that Takeda told people not to teach the secret except to one or two individuals. Sagawa upheld that. Tokimune did, too. Kondo reiterated what Tokimune said.

Basically, even though it is a hard pill to swallow, option #2 is pretty much the remaining answer. We weren't taught the secret of aikido. Ueshiba didn't really teach it. And his students had one near impossible time of trying to figure out what he was doing.

Enter Kisshomaru and Tohei. Modern Aikido was born, raised, and then sent out into the world dressed as Ueshiba's child. 40 years later, the child is now a man. Some people are looking at the Modern Aikido Man and seeing that he doesn't move, act, or do anything at all in the same way Ueshiba did. The Modern Aikido Man is a ghostly and pale imitation that rarely stands up in the same manner as Ueshiba to the tests of the martial world, let alone the tests of the martial/spiritual intertwined world.

Are the exercises lacking? Are the techniques lacking? Is the training paradigm lacking? Is there something missing from the training? I think our Modern Aikido Man has all but directly answered those questions.

I think in the next 5 years, many people are going to be putting the fire to the feet of the Modern Aikido Man and getting that direct answer from him. Those that are content in their current aikido will realize that theirs is Kisshomaru and Tohei's aikido not Ueshiba's. Those wanting to do Ueshiba's aikido will finally have that option. Don't get me wrong here. I don't think of Modern Aikido as bad or wrong at all. Just that people need to realize that there is a major difference between the two.


Good questions...Care to hazzard a guess? My sense of those exercises was that they should be done a lot just to arrive at a good starting place. That's guesswork on my part though.


A lot? I think Modern Aikido has done that. People have done those exercises "a lot". Toss that answer out. Modern Aikido has Been There Done That (BTDT) kind of thing. Done the exercises as aerobics. BTDT. Done them slowly. BTDT. Done them quickly. BTDT. 40 years of twice a week. BTDT. 10 years of 4 times a week. BTDT. 20 years of 20 hours a week. BTDT. How many professional teachers do those exercises "a lot"? BTDT.

Ueshiba's training ...
1915 - 30 official days training with Takeda
1916 - 40 official days training with Takeda
1922 - 6 months official days training with Takeda

How about nobody in Modern Aikido has BTDT as the above training for Ueshiba. Most people in Modern Aikido have had direct hands-on training with a teacher for at least 10 full years of 2 to 4 times a week.

My guess? There is a very specific training paradigm required for Ueshiba's martial skills, for aiki. It was *THE* secret that Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Kodo, etc all knew. The secret wasn't the results of what they could do, no. The secret was in how to train the body to achieve those results. Do you do those exercises "a lot"? Sure. You train the basics your whole life. But obviously not in the same way that Modern Aikido does them.

Ueshiba's aikido and exercises for development are specific and not what Modern Aikido does.

Modern Aikido's exercises for development are varied and numerous. Cherie Cornmesser gave one example. Of course, most people probably won't have the opportunity to ride horses regularly, but luckily there are many other options for training and development out there. One's teacher is the best place to turn.


I agree...and in my case it's all the more reason for me to resume my training in earnest. When i was learning history and I learned of all these "great" men who tried to leave legacies built on their great accomplishments, I was frustrated to discover they all seemed to have mixed results at best (as I recall anyway). I attribute this transmission issue to be very much in keeping with that of aikido or anything else: it comes down to the next individual in line to be just as tireless in his or her pursuit of understanding...and I think most people are satisfied with being "close enough." Every great person I can think of, subjective though that description might be, seemed to be somewhat fanatical in their efforts. They ate, slept, breathed, and dreamed their study. I don't doubt there are exercises out there that could be better than what we typically see in Aikido, but to get near as good as Ueshiba Morihei and Takeda Sokaku, I presume it takes a lot more than exercises: it takes HUGE dedication, and direct hands on with other people similar to them who will provide direct feedback...hence my earlier remarks about finding a good teacher.


I think most people misunderstand the amount of dedication required. With the right training, one can get fairly good in 5 years. No, you won't be on the level of the greats, but you'll be head and shoulders above most Modern Aikido people. No "abnormal" dedication required, just the normal dedication most people have in martial training (Not slackers or part timers).

Yes, if you want to be as good as Ueshiba or Takeda, it will take a lot of dedication and some obsessive training regimen. However, the solo training can be put into everyday work so you are able to train obsessively without a lot of compromise. "Normal" training in a dojo is still required, yes. But, really, looking at the history of Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc, they really didn't have much time with their own teachers. Most of their time was spent either solo training or training with peers or seniors.


I'm tired; still recovering from pneumonia and not feeling very lucid so I'll leave this here and hope it added to the conversation in a useful way. Sorry if it didn't...I never feel very comfortable joining in on these things...even if it rarely stops me from trying.
Anyhoo...
Pleasant evening, Mark! Thank you for the considerate reply!
Take care all!
Matt


Hope you're better by now. :)


p.s. I liked the groundpath advice...when i was training my best that always seemed to be the best way to teach people who were even more "beginnery" than me. I remember working with one lass and suddenly I felt her ground out (my sense of it at any rate). I said "there! did you feel that? That should be in every movement." She noticed the difference too, which is why I think it's a trustworthy experience. How well grounded of course is another issue altogether. To my mind that has served as an example of how learning some of these things goes: the visceral experience/feeling itself.

I am not a fan of how many people are using "ground path". (Note: Take that as the usage, not a disregard of the meaning of "ground path".) Most people think of "ground path" in terms of a one way pathway in their body. I think of it as being much more than that. It is a two way pathway that utilizes contradictory forces and it's always throughout the entire body.

Thinking of "ground path" as a one way pathway to the ground or even a one way pathway from the ground out to your hand can get be detrimental. It can cause you to lose mobility. Sure you're "grounded" but how freely mobile are you *under* pressure/load/attack? Sure you can bring the ground up to your hand, but are you weighted all on one side of your body by doing that?

Lots of things to think about, anyway.

Mark

chillzATL
12-28-2010, 09:19 AM
Ueshiba's aikido and exercises for development are specific and not what Modern Aikido does.

Tohei's exercises came from Ueshiba, who also signed off on what Tohei was doing. He obviously felt that what Tohei was doing represented the core of what he wanted his Aikido to be. We have video of Ueshiba doing a good number of those exercises himself. So it's hard to say that they're not what he did. That doesn't mean anyone else was doing them properly or address why more attention wasn't paid to making sure people knew what proper was, but that's another topic.

I am not a fan of how many people are using "ground path". (Note: Take that as the usage, not a disregard of the meaning of "ground path".) Most people think of "ground path" in terms of a one way pathway in their body. I think of it as being much more than that. It is a two way pathway that utilizes contradictory forces and it's always throughout the entire body.

Thinking of "ground path" as a one way pathway to the ground or even a one way pathway from the ground out to your hand can get be detrimental. It can cause you to lose mobility. Sure you're "grounded" but how freely mobile are you *under* pressure/load/attack? Sure you can bring the ground up to your hand, but are you weighted all on one side of your body by doing that?

That's really just a basic training exercise Mark. Kind of like hitting a baseball off a tee. It's not meant to be the end result.

MM
12-28-2010, 10:20 AM
Tohei's exercises came from Ueshiba, who also signed off on what Tohei was doing. He obviously felt that what Tohei was doing represented the core of what he wanted his Aikido to be.


Do you have anything that would help show this? Most things that I've found don't allude to what you've posted. Tohei learned from the Tempukai. Kisshomaru and Tohei took over the hombu dojo after the war and kept it alive and running with their own teachings. They changed things.

=====

Yoseikan NA website:
Quote:
9. What is the relationship between Yoseikan's robuse and the similar techniques practiced as ikkyo in most other aikido schools?

Mochizuki Minoru Sensei said that when he was studying with Ueshiba Sensei (late 1920's), robuse was the name given to the technique that later became Ikkajo, then Ikkyo after the war. The present ikkyo as taught by most Aikikai (and Aikikai related) teachers is the result of the modifications made by Tohei and Kisshomaru Sensei in order to simplify Aikido and make it available to more people....[edited for length]

Patrick Augé Sensei

=====

http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia?entryID=720
In 1963, Kisshomaru made his first trip abroad to the U.S. and
subsequently traveled on numerous occasions to North and South
America, and Europe. Although his efforts to expand the Aikikai on an organizational level are well-known, it should be noted that his
technical influence was also great. Kisshomaru gradually modified the technical curriculum of the Aikikai by reducing the number of
techniques taught and creating a standardized nomenclature. His
flowing style of technique that emphasizes KI NO NAGARE movements have also become a de facto standard in many Aikikai dojos worldwide.

===

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=94 (AJ #112)
AJ: Do you have any particular memories of the old Wakamatsu-cho dojo?
Seiichi Sugano Sensei: The present Doshu (Kisshomaru Ueshiba) was one of the first people I met there. The place had the feel of an
old-style dojo; quite different from the way it is today. Most of the
time only O-Sensei and Doshu were there. Koichi Tohei was the head of the teaching staff. In the afternoon we were taught by people like Sadateru Arikawa, Hiroshi Tada and Shigenobu Okumura. A few years later Saito Sensei started coming down from Iwama to teach on Sundays.

AJ: People who have now become teachers themselves often mention teachers like Koichi Tohei and Seigo Yamaguchi. What were your impressions of them?

Seiichi Sugano Sensei: Yamaguchi Sensei really loved to talk. Once he got hold of you it was pretty hard to escape! [laughs] Actually he had already gone off to Burma by the time I became an uchideshi, and he wasn't back until a year or two later. He and Tohei Sensei were like oil and water. Yamaguchi Sensei had a very strong personality. It was difficult to grasp his techniques — they had quite a different feeling from those of the other teachers — or to capture the essence of what he was doing. Tohei Sensei's teaching was influenced by the Tempukai, and it was easier to follow, probably because much of the Tempukai curriculum originated in yoga.

===

Masao Ishii
1965-ish Started training at Hombu

http://aikidocanberra.com/Docs/main/doc/MasaoIshii
NCT: Really? So you started training there. Did you have a chance to train with O'Sensei then?
Ishii Sensei: Well, at that time he was already retired and he didn't
have a regular class. I was only 15 years old. I went to Hombu dojo
many times, where there were many teachers teaching regular classes. I expected to see O'Sensei at the dojo. His home was just next to Hombu dojo, and I expected him to come out of his room to teach us. But he didn't come to the dojo often. After a few months I learned that it was only for Yamaguchi Sensei's and Kisshomaru Sensei's classes that he came to the dojo to join us. This means that O'Sensei was not interested in other teachers training.

===

http://www.iwama-aikido.com/Saito_Interview.html

Q: Who among the Senseis today have been uchi deshis?

A: Well, if you speak of Senseis like; Yamada, Tamura, Tohei, Saotome and Kanai they all are students of Kisshomaru Ueshiba. They never went to Iwama and practised for O-Sensei. Chiba Sensei once stayed in Iwama for 3 months.

===

Black Belt Magazine Vol 1 No. 2.

In an article about Tohei. "His contributions to the art of Aikido
are legend. He has devised many of the exercises and throws which are now standard and taught in all Aikido schools both in Japan and the United States."

===

===

Black Belt 1966 Vol 4 No 5
"The uchideshi's day begins around 6 a.m., when he cleans the dojo and the grounds outside. The first class of the day starts at 6:30. This class is usually taught by Uyeshiba himself, the Osensei, which means the old teacher. The young uchideshi sit on their knees during this hour, which can be an uncomfortable and tiring experience.

The first class is usually taken up mostly with discussions about
God and nature - Uyeshiba doing the talking and the uchideshi
listening. It is in this hour that the young uchideshi is exposed to
Zen philosophy and the deeper meanings of aikido - its nonviolent and defensive perfection and understanding.

If this all sounds rather remote and difficult to grasp for a
Western reader, he may be interested to know that the young Japanese uchideshi often feels the same way. The 83-year-old Uyeshiba many times speaks about highly abstract topics, lapsing usually into ancient Japanese phraseology, so that his listeners often find it difficult to follow him.

When this long hour is over, the young uchideshi exuberantly spill
out onto the dojo floor for a half-hour exercise break. All the
restless energy pent up within seems to come out and they throw
themselves into the practice of their techniques with each other.

At 8 a.m. begins the real study of aikido techniques. This class
is taught by a different instructor every day, and is attended by a
large number of persons from outside the dojo. Sometimes this hour is taught by Uyeshiba's son, or Waka sensei as he is called. Sometimes Tohei sensei, the greatest of Uyeshiba's followers, instructs the class."

"If the uchideshi isn't helping out at this time, he may have a
private class of his own with Tohei or Waka sensei or some of the
other instructors."

===

Black Belt 1973 Vol 11 No 11

Article by Jon Shirota about Tohei and Ki

Quotes Tohei in the article. "Everyone thinks that I learned ki from
Morihei Uyeshiba. That's not true. The Master taught me aikido; he did not teach me ki. I studied and learned it myself."

===

Tohei's famous quote about all that he learned from Ueshiba was how to relax.

===

Black Belt 1974 Vol 12 No 2

Article by Andy Adams about Yoshinkan.
Quotes Shioda, "I don't really feel that I broke away from the
mainstream of aikido since there was nothing to break away from back then. Uyeshiba sensei (the late Morihei Uyeshiba) was farming, his son Kisshomaru was working for some company, and the sensei's aikido dojo at Iwama in Ibaragi Prefecture was being rented out as a dance hall."

"But Shioda notes that Hirai, Koichi Tohei (chief instructor at the
WAF hombu) and even Kisshomaru Uyeshiba were not used as the sensei's uke and therefore didn't have to undergo the constantly rough treatment at the sensei's hands that he and a handful of others experienced."

===

Aiki News Issue 010

Frank Doran: All of the energy kinds of games and practices, many of which Koichi Tohei developed are very useful tools to put someone in touch with this aliveness which is within you.

===

Black Belt 1977 Vol 15 No 11
Article about Tohei.

The separation from Ueshiba's school evolved from a dispute over the relevance of the basic principles of ki and the methods of instructing students. Tohei said he had to break with Ueshiba's son, who inherited the leadership of the aikido headquarters, because of the man's inability to understand the principles of ki. Under the leadership of the young Ueshiba, aikido was unable to change. Tohei wanted to teach ki and the basic principle to every student.

"When I taught these principles in the headquarters," he said,
"many instructors talked behind my back and said, 'This is not the way O'Sensei taught aikido. Ki is nothing. Don't follow Tohei!' But this is not true. I found four basic principles of ki. But according to
Japanese custom whenever I discovered some principle I always
presented it to my teacher.

"So I said, 'I learned from my teacher and I teach you.' But they
would not listen. They replied, 'Then why does Master Ueshiba's son say his father never teach like that?'

===


We have video of Ueshiba doing a good number of those exercises himself. So it's hard to say that they're not what he did. That doesn't mean anyone else was doing them properly or address why more attention wasn't paid to making sure people knew what proper was, but that's another topic.


Wasn't clear in that. Sorry. I actually meant that he did them differently (worked on internal training) and that he didn't do the exercises the way Modern Aikido people do them. Not that he didn't do them at all. Ueshiba also did farming but he didn't do that the way most farmers work.


That's really just a basic training exercise Mark. Kind of like hitting a baseball off a tee. It's not meant to be the end result.

Still, if you use "ground path" and you only have it going one way, you're not doing what I'm doing. And it won't get you to where I'm going, basic exercise or not. Not saying one is bad or wrong, just saying it isn't what I'm doing and I don't think it was how Ueshiba did things. IMO, of course.

Mark

Keith Larman
12-28-2010, 11:16 AM
Black Belt 1973 Vol 11 No 11

Article by Jon Shirota about Tohei and Ki

Quotes Tohei in the article. "Everyone thinks that I learned ki from
Morihei Uyeshiba. That's not true. The Master taught me aikido; he did not teach me ki. I studied and learned it myself."

===

Tohei's famous quote about all that he learned from Ueshiba was how to relax.

===

Citations are always great, but often individual quotes don't really convey the subtlety or the complexity of what someone really means.

Using the above quotes as an example... Those were done in 1973 according to your citation. Tohei would soon split from Aikikai and there were already a *lot* of problems brewing. Lots of things let up to the split including a lot of personal issues between Tohei and any number of other people. And, heck, Tohei and Kisshomaru were related through marriage. It was a royal mess of personal and "professional" issues for a number of years leading up to the split.

Our late sensei, Rod Kobayashi, spent a great deal of time talking with Tohei about his experiences both before the break and post break. He used to say that he kept copious notes of his time with O-sensei and tried his best to categorize and "systematize" what he was learning. The version of the story we we were told about Tohei was that his experiences at the Tempukai helped him develop a framework "within which" to understand what he was seeing being done by Ueshiba Morihei. So when I read the above quote I read it through my experience but also through the lenses of knowing that he was already feeling tremendous pressures from divisions within the Aikikai. He was feeling unappreciated for his 18 years of being the chief instructor (a position given him by Ueshiba and a position he held through the last, what, 15 years of Ueshiba's life. I doubt he would have been allowed to hold that position for so long without Ueshiba Morhei's explicit permission).

So keep in mind the contentious mood of the period. But also keep in mind the limitations of translation and the loss of subtlety involved in any correspondence. We evolved out of Ki Society and we were taught that while Tohei did a great deal of the systematization of the syllabus as well as the development of specific ki exercises and aiki taiso, there was *never* the implication that what he was trying to teach with those methods was anything other than what he learned from Ueshiba. My understanding of his quotes were always tempered with two things. One was acknowledging that Ueshiba Morihei wasn't big on explanations and that Tohei relied on his prior Judo experience as well as the framework offered by Yoga to understand it. That does not mean there wasn't a transmission from Ueshiba to Tohei, just that Tohei relied on outside influences in order to understand what he was being shown.

The second "tempering" was that at the time of those quotes Tohei was feeling isolated and under attack. And he was about to split off completely probably knowing full well what that would mean. If you look at the Aikikai post Tohei you'll find that in many ways his contributions are ignored or glossed over. Which is absurd -- he was integral for 18 years at the time things were being formulated. But because he left, well, he no longer exists for some.

Anyway, be careful about cherry picking quotes. In discussing the topic with those who knew Tohei at the time the picture painted was quite different than what you seem to want to imply today.

chillzATL
12-28-2010, 11:44 AM
Do you have anything that would help show this? Most things that I've found don't allude to what you've posted. Tohei learned from the Tempukai. Kisshomaru and Tohei took over the hombu dojo after the war and kept it alive and running with their own teachings. They changed things.

I'm just following the bouncing ball of logic and that logic doesn't support that Tohei gained his skills from what was essentially a yoga school. That's not to say he didn't learn things to help his understanding, but his core skills didn't come from there.

1. Ueshiba approved of what he was doing. I have plenty of books and even a video made a decade before he died that show Tohei doing the taiso, breathing exercises and his four basic principles all with the stamp of approval of Ueshiba.

2. He was the chosen son. Were it not for K.Ueshiba, Aikido would have been Tohei's, lock stock and barrrel. Of all the post war guys, though Tohei was also a pre-war guy, Tohei was the favored student. Heck Ueshiba made him his chief instructor, taiso and all. That's a significant stamp of approval there.

3. Again, the videos and books. We can see Ueshiba doing his exercises. Then you go look at Tohei's taiso and you can fairly easily see that they are just cut down versions of things Ueshiba was doing. Ikkyo, funekogi, kokyuho, choyaku, furi tama, etc, exist on both sides.


Wasn't clear in that. Sorry. I actually meant that he did them differently (worked on internal training) and that he didn't do the exercises the way Modern Aikido people do them. Not that he didn't do them at all. Ueshiba also did farming but he didn't do that the way most farmers work

I don't disagree with that, but again, that is the problem. Nobody was specifically told HOW to do anything. That goes back to Shioda and the rest of teh bunch. It was watch me, follow me and pick up what you can. Tohei did an good job of taking the things that he and obviously Ueshiba thought were needed and making them into solo exercises, but he still hamstrung the whole system by not giving people the information to really understand what they're doing. Realistically though, that was the budo system of the time. You don't just give it away. It may not be great for all of us who came later, but that's the way it was.

Transmission issues aside, if you look at Tohei's method, he covers a a lot of core skills. Connecting the body, drawing support from the ground, relaxation, weight down, intent, moving from center (flubbed as hips by most, but I'm still not sure the japanese fully got that one anyway). His taiso offers a way to work on all of these things (again, assuming you know) alone. They cover a huge array of body movements so that one can practice moving just about any way you might ever need to move while working on those core principles. Next you add some resistance via his ki testing. You take it up another notch with resistive waza. That's not to say it's all perfect, but there's a good collection of core skills and ways to work on them at a variety of resistance levels. Then if you want to step out and insult some judoka and see what you can do, go for it.


Still, if you use "ground path" and you only have it going one way, you're not doing what I'm doing. And it won't get you to where I'm going, basic exercise or not. Not saying one is bad or wrong, just saying it isn't what I'm doing and I don't think it was how Ueshiba did things. IMO, of course.

I'm not sure anyone ever said it has to go only one way. Doing different things with the forces inside your body doesn't take away from the core skills that are at work. It's just different progressions of the same core skills.


Oh one thing I forgot to add up top. ANyone who takes Tohei's quotes about what he learned, where and from whom, considering the bad blood that existed between them, is crazy.

chillzATL
12-28-2010, 11:49 AM
Citations are always great, but often individual quotes don't really convey the subtlety or the complexity of what someone really means.

Using the above quotes as an example... Those were done in 1973 according to your citation. Tohei would soon split from Aikikai and there were already a *lot* of problems brewing. Lots of things let up to the split including a lot of personal issues between Tohei and any number of other people. And, heck, Tohei and Kisshomaru were related through marriage. It was a royal mess of personal and "professional" issues for a number of years leading up to the split.

Our late sensei, Rod Kobayashi, spent a great deal of time talking with Tohei about his experiences both before the break and post break. He used to say that he kept copious notes of his time with O-sensei and tried his best to categorize and "systematize" what he was learning. The version of the story we we were told about Tohei was that his experiences at the Tempukai helped him develop a framework "within which" to understand what he was seeing being done by Ueshiba Morihei. So when I read the above quote I read it through my experience but also through the lenses of knowing that he was already feeling tremendous pressures from divisions within the Aikikai. He was feeling unappreciated for his 18 years of being the chief instructor (a position given him by Ueshiba and a position he held through the last, what, 15 years of Ueshiba's life. I doubt he would have been allowed to hold that position for so long without Ueshiba Morhei's explicit permission).

So keep in mind the contentious mood of the period. But also keep in mind the limitations of translation and the loss of subtlety involved in any correspondence. We evolved out of Ki Society and we were taught that while Tohei did a great deal of the systematization of the syllabus as well as the development of specific ki exercises and aiki taiso, there was *never* the implication that what he was trying to teach with those methods was anything other than what he learned from Ueshiba. My understanding of his quotes were always tempered with two things. One was acknowledging that Ueshiba Morihei wasn't big on explanations and that Tohei relied on his prior Judo experience as well as the framework offered by Yoga to understand it. That does not mean there wasn't a transmission from Ueshiba to Tohei, just that Tohei relied on outside influences in order to understand what he was being shown.

The second "tempering" was that at the time of those quotes Tohei was feeling isolated and under attack. And he was about to split off completely probably knowing full well what that would mean. If you look at the Aikikai post Tohei you'll find that in many ways his contributions are ignored or glossed over. Which is absurd -- he was integral for 18 years at the time things were being formulated. But because he left, well, he no longer exists for some.

Anyway, be careful about cherry picking quotes. In discussing the topic with those who knew Tohei at the time the picture painted was quite different than what you seem to want to imply today.

Well said.

MM
12-28-2010, 11:55 AM
Hi Keith,

I think Tohei was great at what he did. What did he do? He showed up at a time when Ueshiba wasn't really teaching the secret to his martial abilities, when Ueshiba left and secluded himself at Iwama, when the war was going downhill to post war, when most of the old students were no longer around, and he worked and trained and did what he could to become like Ueshiba.

I don't have to imply much of this stuff. It's out there. Tohei went to the Tempukai as did other students. Many of the post war students learned from Tohei. None of that is to dismiss any of them or their hard work.

Transmission from Ueshiba to Tohei? The fact is that Ueshiba really didn't teach aiki. He demonstrated on students. Used students for his own purposes. Talked in cryptic spiritual gobbledygook that no one really understood. Traveled extensively. And when he was actually at hombu, he only taught the morning class. That's when he felt like teaching. And half that class sometimes was taken up with lecturing.

And while Tohei (and the rest of the students) did the best that he could under those circumstances, IMO, Tohei didn't learn the full complement of aiki. Just look at Shioda after the war. What did he do? He didn't stick around Kisshomaru and Tohei for aiki, he went to Kodo.

As much hard work that was done by all the post war students, I don't believe there was any transmission from Ueshiba on the way of aiki. Not for lack of those students efforts, mind you, but for lack of Ueshiba wanting to pass it on. Because, IMO, Ueshiba knew exactly what physical training to do to train aiki. He went through it and some of his prewar students reaped the reward of that kind of training. Oh, they didn't get it all either, but the training then was more overt in what was being worked on. Post war, that was done and gone. IMO, Ueshiba didn't care to go back to it.

Unless you are specifically shown, you'll never get aiki. There are specific attributes/skills/abilities that are not going to be "deduced" or "stolen". And Ueshiba didn't do that post war. Thus, Kisshomaru and Tohei created Modern Aikido.

No disagreement that Tohei's time with the Tempukai allowed him to develop a framework. And there was no doubt about the skills that Tohei had. He was very good. But, framework only gets you the basics and allows you to start building the basics. IMO, compared to Ueshiba, Tohei's skills/abilities were the basic level. Ain't that a kick in the pants? What's that leave the rest of us who aren't even close to Tohei's level?

Mark

MM
12-28-2010, 12:14 PM
I'm just following the bouncing ball of logic and that logic doesn't support that Tohei gained his skills from what was essentially a yoga school. That's not to say he didn't learn things to help his understanding, but his core skills didn't come from there.

1. Ueshiba approved of what he was doing. I have plenty of books and even a video made a decade before he died that show Tohei doing the taiso, breathing exercises and his four basic principles all with the stamp of approval of Ueshiba.


Never said that those exercises weren't done by either Ueshiba or Tohei. Questioned the validity of stating that Ueshiba gave his stamp of approval. If we take things like you showed, then pretty much everyone got Ueshiba's stamp of approval. Tomiki had Ueshiba's stamp of approval, too. Ever hear of what Kisshomaru thought of what Tomiki did? :)

Ueshiba approved in the general Japanese manner. Doesn't mean there was an actual stamp of approval for what was going on.


2. He was the chosen son. Were it not for K.Ueshiba, Aikido would have been Tohei's, lock stock and barrrel. Of all the post war guys, though Tohei was also a pre-war guy, Tohei was the favored student. Heck Ueshiba made him his chief instructor, taiso and all. That's a significant stamp of approval there.


How many "chosen sons" were there in Ueshiba's life? And Mochizuki was made a chief instructor when he showed up, too. Who do you follow, then? Mochizuki or Tohei? Who's doing the "stamp of approval" aikido?


3. Again, the videos and books. We can see Ueshiba doing his exercises. Then you go look at Tohei's taiso and you can fairly easily see that they are just cut down versions of things Ueshiba was doing. Ikkyo, funekogi, kokyuho, choyaku, furi tama, etc, exist on both sides.


Sure. They look similar. Then again, most of the world does them too and all those people look fairly similar when they do these exercises. Must be doing the stamp of approval method, then, right? Course, if what Ueshiba was doing was entirely different than what Tohei was doing when both were doing those very same exercises, it would make for a very different meaning for "stamp of approval" ...


Transmission issues aside, if you look at Tohei's method, he covers a a lot of core skills. Connecting the body, drawing support from the ground, relaxation, weight down, intent, moving from center (flubbed as hips by most, but I'm still not sure the japanese fully got that one anyway). His taiso offers a way to work on all of these things (again, assuming you know) alone. They cover a huge array of body movements so that one can practice moving just about any way you might ever need to move while working on those core principles. Next you add some resistance via his ki testing. You take it up another notch with resistive waza. That's not to say it's all perfect, but there's a good collection of core skills and ways to work on them at a variety of resistance levels. Then if you want to step out and insult some judoka and see what you can do, go for it.


Actually, I disagree that they cover a lot of core skills. IMO, they only cover a few core skills. So, if you think about that ... how does that paint Ueshiba's aiki? A little further down the road and a lot more complex than what people think right now. Wouldn't that be something if true?


I'm not sure anyone ever said it has to go only one way. Doing different things with the forces inside your body doesn't take away from the core skills that are at work. It's just different progressions of the same core skills.


Only if Tohei was close to doing what Ueshiba was doing. If Ueshiba was actually doing other internal skills or abilities than what Tohei knew, then we get into a very different conversation where your above post really only applies to the beginning level basics and not to aiki ... something to think about ...

chillzATL
12-28-2010, 12:42 PM
Never said that those exercises weren't done by either Ueshiba or Tohei. Questioned the validity of stating that Ueshiba gave his stamp of approval. If we take things like you showed, then pretty much everyone got Ueshiba's stamp of approval. Tomiki had Ueshiba's stamp of approval, too. Ever hear of what Kisshomaru thought of what Tomiki did? :)

Ueshiba approved in the general Japanese manner. Doesn't mean there was an actual stamp of approval for what was going on.

How many "chosen sons" were there in Ueshiba's life? And Mochizuki was made a chief instructor when he showed up, too. Who do you follow, then? Mochizuki or Tohei? Who's doing the "stamp of approval" aikido?

Sure. They look similar. Then again, most of the world does them too and all those people look fairly similar when they do these exercises. Must be doing the stamp of approval method, then, right? Course, if what Ueshiba was doing was entirely different than what Tohei was doing when both were doing those very same exercises, it would make for a very different meaning for "stamp of approval" ...

Actually, I disagree that they cover a lot of core skills. IMO, they only cover a few core skills. So, if you think about that ... how does that paint Ueshiba's aiki? A little further down the road and a lot more complex than what people think right now. Wouldn't that be something if true?

Only if Tohei was close to doing what Ueshiba was doing. If Ueshiba was actually doing other internal skills or abilities than what Tohei knew, then we get into a very different conversation where your above post really only applies to the beginning level basics and not to aiki ... something to think about ...

You're just talking around the facts now. That fact being, Tohei was charged with presenting Ueshiba's aikido to the world and the way in which he did it was fully approved by Ueshiba.

Well then go ahead and tell me what you think those core skills are and we can better discuss things. IMO aiki is just usage.

mathewjgano
12-28-2010, 12:54 PM
Hi Mark,
Thank you for such a throrough reply! I'll have to think about this a "bit" more I'm sure, but some quick thoughts:
W/re: the exercises:
You seem to be saying the exercises needed to develop this ability were removed and replaced by poorer ones, ones which essentially prevent the learning of aiki, which implies a great deal simply comes from the exercises themselves. For starters, why not make public what those exercises are if so much is couched there? I understand there's more to it than mere forms of movement (the exercises), but if the exercises are such a major factor in their own right, why not put them out there for people to play around with?
I understand people can develop bad habits with them as well, but it can't be any worse than what's out there now can it?

MM
12-28-2010, 01:07 PM
Hi Mark,
Thank you for such a throrough reply! I'll have to think about this a "bit" more I'm sure, but some quick thoughts:
W/re: the exercises:
You seem to be saying the exercises needed to develop this ability were removed and replaced by poorer ones, ones which essentially prevent the learning of aiki, which implies a great deal simply comes from the exercises themselves. For starters, why not make public what those exercises are if so much is couched there? I understand there's more to it than mere forms of movement (the exercises), but if the exercises are such a major factor in their own right, why not put them out there for people to play around with?
I understand people can develop bad habits with them as well, but it can't be any worse than what's out there now can it?

The exercises look the same ... in outward form. You can see Ueshiba doing them just as you can see Tohei doing them just as you can see the whole world doing them. But, what they are actually training is completely different. Ueshiba is not training the same thing that pretty much everyone else is trying to do when doing these exercises. There are specific ways to work those exercises that Modern Aikido lacks but Ueshiba did. The exercises weren't removed, but the actual specifics of what to *do* or work on when doing these exercises aren't there.

Keith Larman
12-28-2010, 01:29 PM
Mark:

You missed my point completely. I come from an academic background and I *fully* support using citations to support a position. You do it a *lot*. The problem is that I see you using citations which given a larger context and understanding are questionable at best as to whether they really support the points you are trying to make. It does not follow that I agree or disagree with the point. What I was trying to point out is that it is a bit misleading to post citations that you know can be very misleading. Anyone with any experience in the subtlety of the history simply does not take those quotes by Tohei-sensei at "face value". Devoid of the larger context of when they were made and the larger question of what he was talking about, they are misleading. So even if they "on the face of it" seem to support the position you want to forward, I am saying it is not really "kosher" to use them as supporting statements, especially when you are aware they are missing a larger context. Those not familiar with the history or the "background events" around which the statements were made will end up making judgments based on misleading statements.

I was not addressing the validity of what you were saying. Just asking for more nuanced usage of quotes since a number of the ones you used struck me as "cherry picked" and out of context.

Like I said, it has nothing to do with whether I agree with your position or not (and frankly I'm a lot closer to you than you may realize). It has to do with presenting the information fairly and accurately.

Back to your regularly scheduled program...

Keith Larman
12-28-2010, 01:34 PM
Oh, I have to agree with Jason. The simple fact was that Tohei was appointed Chief Instructor in the 50's and was pretty much without question the favored guy by Ueshiba Morihei. This continued for a very long time while Morihei was alive. It wasn't just "the old man let whatever happened, happen". No, he was appointed while Morihei was still quite active, alert and involved.

None of this "proves" anything regarding transmission. But it does show that Morihei was quite happy with Tohei, what he was doing, and how he did things at least compared to the others available at that time to take on the same role.

mathewjgano
12-28-2010, 03:29 PM
The exercises look the same ... in outward form. You can see Ueshiba doing them just as you can see Tohei doing them just as you can see the whole world doing them. But, what they are actually training is completely different. Ueshiba is not training the same thing that pretty much everyone else is trying to do when doing these exercises...The exercises weren't removed, but the actual specifics of what to *do* or work on when doing these exercises aren't there.

I think I understand now. It's semantics, but I wouldn't say the exercises themselves are lacking, but rather that the instruction of them is lacking...based on your view of Aikido in general. So it would be a lack of explicit instruction which allows people to practice the same exercises while achieving different results. Theoretically, those who were taught "better" (in terms of aiki-related exercise) should be able to produce equally better students, though I seem to have taken the impression the pre-war schools aren't much better off at producing reliable aiki on the whole than post-war (rather, I should ask, for example, "did Shioda produce other Shiodas?"). I realize I may have misread this, however. This is why i said I think a big part of learning aiki must be in the individual's intensity and accuity for training. So where you said it's (1) or (2), I'm guessing it's (1) and (2).
...All guesses at best on my part, though. Again, i know I have very little point of reference. I'm just now beginning to take a serious look at where I essentially left off over a decade ago.
I am not a fan of how many people are using "ground path". (Note: Take that as the usage, not a disregard of the meaning of "ground path".) Most people think of "ground path" in terms of a one way pathway in their body.
I suppose most might, I couldn't say. Personally speaking, I always picture my physics 101 diagrams which account for equal and opposite reactions to forces, so when I imagine a "groundpath" from shizentai for example, I imagine a line extending equally up as down ("to infinity and beyond":D ), my center representing a kind of net-effect-point, about which other "lesser" points (e.g. shoulders) rest and move. None of this exactly creates a good connection to where ever my base happens to be, but it's a way of organizing the experience around the most fundemental forces relating to movement.
Where I believe I have balanced (more or less) the expression of "up and down" (speaking only of the vertical axis) within my body, i have felt light and powerful, again, relatively speaking (the bridge floating between Heaven and Earth?).
Beyond this simple mental model is the visceral experience of how those net-forces translate through the body tissues themselves, which I have always viewed as requiring the feeling of it. Unless we get lucky and happen upon some good degree of internal balance, this requires outside interaction to experience.
Ok time for another break for me. I've probably spoken more than I ought to considering my lack of experience, but FWIW...
Looking forward to learning more,
Take care,
Matt

MM
12-29-2010, 08:57 AM
Oh! Yeah, I did miss your point entirely. Sorry.

I think you're right in general. And, yes, I think the possibility of misrepresentation is there. And yes, the larger context is missing in the quoted material. Definitely agree with you there.

But, my larger context is also not presented either. If I were to present it, it would be pages long, so I post sections of it so people can start to see a bigger picture. Are the quotes out of context with a larger picture? Sure, but let me address that a bit further down.

We know that when people are angry and hurt (emotionally or mentally), they can lash out. Usually with hurtful remarks that they really didn't want to say. However, those remarks can have validity in what they believe, they just don't want to say them.

Yeah, the Tohei thing was complex and mostly behind the scenes. But, we know, not guess, not think, but know that Ueshiba didn't teach all that often at hombu. We know he demonstrated a lot using people as ukes. We know he lectured a lot. We know he traveled often. We know his answers to questions were wrapped in spiritual talk that was mostly not understood.

I know he didn't teach aiki. Now, people can look at the above, do their research, and come to their own conclusions on that. But, Tohei was present at the times above. I think Tohei really, really wanted to learn aiki. I think that's what pushed him to the Tempuka thinking that it would help him "steal" aiki from Ueshiba. Of course, it didn't (IMO). But Tohei did everything he could.

So, yeah, when the later break up occurred, I think Tohei was using a lot of the truth to further his side. I don't think Tohei learned "ki" from Ueshiba. (IMO, he really meant aiki but couldn't say that because then he couldn't teach aikido because he would have said he was never taught it. Follow?) So, while I agree with you that the quotes are out of context with *why* Tohei was saying these things, I think the actual content of *what* he said was valid.

And I think Tohei did the best he could with what he had in getting people started with "ki". I think he did teach "ki" work a bit differently (not saying that was bad) to get people to start becoming more internally strong. And I don't think Ueshiba had a lot to do with any of that. Except, of course, as some have noted that Ueshiba gave his "stamp of approval". Which, to me, just means Ueshiba let the youngsters squabble with themselves and find their own way.

Do my quotations, taken out of the larger context, support my points in painting an overall picture? I think they do, but I'm not an academic, Keith. More of a researcher putting pieces of a puzzle together from a huge volume of work (and I haven't even touched the other huge volume of work that's in Japanese). Yeah, I know it drives academics crazy. Peter has touched on some things, too. Yeah, here and there, I'm going to be wrong. Usually, it's the academic people who point out where, which is why I try to carefully read those posts. Sometimes I fail like yours. Totally missed your point. I'm glad you took the time to explain it to me. Thanks. And, in the end, your post means I'll go back and do more research, check on more things, and see what I can find.

Thanks,
Mark

Mark:

You missed my point completely. I come from an academic background and I *fully* support using citations to support a position. You do it a *lot*. The problem is that I see you using citations which given a larger context and understanding are questionable at best as to whether they really support the points you are trying to make. It does not follow that I agree or disagree with the point. What I was trying to point out is that it is a bit misleading to post citations that you know can be very misleading. Anyone with any experience in the subtlety of the history simply does not take those quotes by Tohei-sensei at "face value". Devoid of the larger context of when they were made and the larger question of what he was talking about, they are misleading. So even if they "on the face of it" seem to support the position you want to forward, I am saying it is not really "kosher" to use them as supporting statements, especially when you are aware they are missing a larger context. Those not familiar with the history or the "background events" around which the statements were made will end up making judgments based on misleading statements.

I was not addressing the validity of what you were saying. Just asking for more nuanced usage of quotes since a number of the ones you used struck me as "cherry picked" and out of context.

Like I said, it has nothing to do with whether I agree with your position or not (and frankly I'm a lot closer to you than you may realize). It has to do with presenting the information fairly and accurately.

Back to your regularly scheduled program...

MM
12-29-2010, 09:01 AM
Hi Matt,

Yeah, it looks like it was semantics. That's why I like conversations in person. They flow better. :)

Mark

I think I understand now. It's semantics, but I wouldn't say the exercises themselves are lacking, but rather that the instruction of them is lacking...based on your view of Aikido in general. So it would be a lack of explicit instruction which allows people to practice the same exercises while achieving different results. Theoretically, those who were taught "better" (in terms of aiki-related exercise) should be able to produce equally better students, though I seem to have taken the impression the pre-war schools aren't much better off at producing reliable aiki on the whole than post-war (rather, I should ask, for example, "did Shioda produce other Shiodas?"). I realize I may have misread this, however. This is why i said I think a big part of learning aiki must be in the individual's intensity and accuity for training. So where you said it's (1) or (2), I'm guessing it's (1) and (2).
...All guesses at best on my part, though. Again, i know I have very little point of reference. I'm just now beginning to take a serious look at where I essentially left off over a decade ago.

Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
12-29-2010, 12:47 PM
Hi Matt,

Yeah, it looks like it was semantics. That's why I like conversations in person. They flow better. :)

Mark

I agree. It's definately a more responsive vehicle!
What do you think about the rest of what I said? Looking over my post again I can see where I didn't express myself very well, but if you had any thoughts regarding anything else I said, I would definately like to hear them!
Take care and happy New Year!!!
Matt