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Ellis Amdur
07-28-2011, 01:58 AM
Alan Ruddock, who trained at the Tokyo Aikikai in the 1960's has written a charming memoir of his years training in Japan, his thoughts on aikido, a slender book with a number of wonderful photos of the later years of Osensei. It is entitled Aikido Memoirs (http://www.lulu.com/browse/search.php?&fKeywords=Alan+Ruddock).

First of all, we note:
When his house had been knocked down to allow for the building of the new dojo he would often come to the old dojo in keikogi and would take a class. At the start of some of these sessions he would sometimes go through a large selection of exercises. (emphasis added) These were never seen in 'normal'classes at Hombu where the emphasis was getting into 'waza' almost immediately.

Even more importantly, in Chapter Eleven of this book, he describes a birthday visit that the foreign students of the Aikikai at that time - eleven in all - paid to O-sensei. In the course of the visit, the following exchange took place.
As Henry (Kono) gave O-sensei his birthday card, he asked him, "Why can we not do what you do, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand yin and yang."
Afterwards they went into the dojo and took five pictures, three group photos and two of O-sensei by himself. In the last group photograph, and both of the two individual photos, his hands are placed in a particular position, contrary to the formal balanced positioning of the hands you see in almost every other picture of Osensei. He was teaching something important. (Note attached photo at bottom of this post)

Much of the latter portion of the book is Ruddock's attempt, through insights from Henry Kono, to explicate what O-sensei was conveying. Quite honestly, I do not believe they succeeded, but they at least paid attention and made the attempt, something few others apparently did.

In any event, given a clear designation that aiki in-yo ho was the core of his art - to a bunch of foreigners! - I would wager, as I've suggested elsewhere (ahem) - that the old man was dropping such hints almost daily. And lest he be accused of being too obscure or cryptic, how do you think he learned from his own teacher? In an interview, he was asked if he ever lost a battle: he described being Takeda's bag carrier, and almost being left behind, struggling in the crowd with the old man slipping through - an exercise that he replicated with his own deshi. In other words, his entire endeavor may have been as follows: "I watched everything my teacher did and felt everything he did to me. Not only did I steal the technique "in spite of" Takeda sensei, but I picked up every offering, because Takeda sensei dropped hints right in front of me. I do exactly the same with my students - why should I teach beyond those when no one picks up what I'm offering? If Takeda sensei built me with such methods, then these are the methods to build more like me - if they are around."

For example, you can see many photos where Ueshiba, within aikido technique, replicates this in-yo with his body, in various configurations. On page 45 of HIPS, there is a picture of Hisa Takuma doing a dramatic version of the same thing. Let me suggest the possibility that the assiduous student would try to create this structure in every aikido technique - not primarily between uke and nage, but within oneself. Furthermore, such a student would make a point of doing lots of the solo practices that the old man demonstrated, so that Ueshiba could see the product of that students labors, as if tilling the field so that the farmer might see worthwhile ground to throw down a few seeds.

In other words, such a student - like Shioda, for example would progressively receive more information on what to do next, as opposed to hearing "That's not my aikido!"

Ernesto Lemke
07-28-2011, 02:13 AM
Wow Ellis. Thank you for that. This post and the Kamae thread are killing me...Sorry for keeping this brief and my remark so deliberately obscure but I'm in the middle of a seminar working on you know what.
Thanks again for posting this!
Best

Ernesto

PS
Editing of the translation is almost done, text is due at the publisher by the end of next month.

Peter Goldsbury
07-28-2011, 02:47 AM
Hello Ellis,

Your post raises a number of questions, one of which concerns Ueshiba's alleged teaching methods. He stole the information that Takeda intentionally or unintentionally offered him, but Ueshiba's own 'uchi-deshi' seemingly did not do this, or if they tried, they were not really successful.

In addition, Kisshomaru sometimes appears in the 1938 Budo photographs taking ukemi and I wonder to what extent he also did such stealing. My focus is on whether the decision to change things from 1955 onwards was a conscious decision, based on real knowledge, or was made because he did not have a clue about what the old man was doing.

Best,

PAG

Ellis Amdur
07-28-2011, 03:20 AM
Then again, how many of Takeda Sokaku's disciples are generally believed to have gotten to a superlative level? Assuming that some quietly learned and kept to themselves, are there, perhaps, ten? As for Ueshiba K., I took ukemi for him a number of times, and although he has an admirable precision of technique (he could hit a waki-gatame like a machine), I never experienced anything that would lead me to believe that he "got" what his father was reputed to have had. Then again, perhaps he was hiding it . . .

Eric in Denver
07-28-2011, 05:54 AM
For example, you can see many photos where Ueshiba, within aikido technique, replicates this in-yo with his body, in various configurations. On page 45 of HIPS, there is a picture of Hisa Takuma doing a dramatic version of the same thing. Let me suggest the possibility that the assiduous student would try to create this structure in every aikido technique - not primarily between uke and nage, but within oneself.



Would the zanshin "poses" seen at the end of some waza be examples of this as well?

Budd
07-28-2011, 10:51 AM
Great stuff - thanks for pointing this out, Ellis.

JW
07-28-2011, 11:21 AM
Thank you for the post-- documents like this are precious. Does anyone remember an anecdote of almost identical content to the "because you don't understand yin and yang" comment? I've been looking but couldn't find it. I thought he said the same another time (would be interesting if he said it often), and I think it involved a female student, possibly the one who received a book with a handwritten inscription (from Ueshiba) about aikido having 4 goals: building ki, mind, body, spirit. Any help please?

DH
07-28-2011, 12:03 PM
Ellis is again spot on with these observations.
I've nothing much to add.

The spiraling I have long ago pointed to, and Ellis is suggesting as well in the Hisa photo is demonstrated as an additive at the end of many throws in Ueshiba's randori films. He is actually doing the spiraling that he talks about and others mistranslate or leave out altogether. Like; spiraling with the legs; in and out on opposing sides mentioned in a couple of different areas by Ueshiba.
In the film the spirals are everywhere within his movement, but the exaggerated movement he displays as he jumps away (one arm up the other down) is not needed, so it is indeed as if he is saying; "Look..look at me...see what I am doing...hint, hint!" Just as he said, dropping hints all over to see who would pick them up.

Circles are not spirals. Once demonstrated and taught, you can show people where their arts waza are based and where and how they degenerated into something else. I have yet to meet the person that once shown...ever wanted to go back. There is a reason that he said Aikido is elbow power and it has little to do with just how you move your arms.

As Ellis pointed out; why follow up when Ueshiba talked to people about six directions, heaven/earth/man, spiraling and they do not ask why, do not know why....and apparently don't much care either.

There is more to be revealed/ reviewed with some of the new translation work being done after exposure to IP/aiki work. Chris Li might be a person to watch for what he comes up with now that he is training this way.

Good stuff Ellis
Cheers
Dan

MM
07-28-2011, 01:51 PM
There is an interview with Henry Kono in an Aikido Today magazine. It's interesting in how that interview corresponds to what Ellis quoted. The interesting part is that yin/yang appears to be the translated part and Ueshiba actually used in/yo. In/yo are Daito ryu terms.

Mark


1. Aikido Today Magazine; #31 Dec.93/ Jan. 94
Interview of Henry Kono sensei by Virginia Mayhew and Susan Perry.
ATM: When you had conversations like these with O'sensei, what would you talk about?
HK: Well, I would usually ask him why the rest of us couldn't do what he could. there were many other teachers, all doing aikido. But he was doing it differently - doing something differently. His movement was so clean!
ATM: How would O'sensei answer your questions about what he was doing?
HK: He would say that I didn't understand yin and yang [in and yo]. So, now I've made it my life work to study yin and yang. That's what O'sensei told me to do.


If we look further, we find the below.


From Invincible Warrior by John Stevens:
Regarding Takeda, "His extraordinary ability was due to mind control, technical perfection honed in countless battles, and mastery of aiki, the blending of positive and negative energy."

I wonder what the original Japanese stated.


Aiki News Issue 091. Rinjiro Shirata writes:
The purified workings of Mother Nature, which keep the whole great universe in order, are but manifestations of the Great Love. By means of the breath (iki) of the Heavens and the breath of the Earth, through the in and yo (yin and yang) the multitude of things has come to be born. The breath of the Heavens and the Earth is the abdomen of everyone, and when a person partakes of this breath the techniques of aiki are born, with and by means of the Positive and Negative Principles. That is to say, the kotodama is born and aiki techniques are born.

Positive/Negative; in/yo; yin/yang.


A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba
Ueshiba is also quoted with the following:
As one follows the promptings of Aiki Myo-o, assisted by the virtue of the Creator, one's breathing begins to rise in a spiral on the right, and to descend in a spiral on the left.

JW
07-28-2011, 02:15 PM
The interesting part is that yin/yang appears to be the translated part and Ueshiba actually used in/yo. In/yo are Daito ryu terms.


Hi Mark, to be fair they are Japanese terms as much as DR terms. He would never have said "yin" or "yang" unless he was speaking Chinese.

dps
07-28-2011, 02:44 PM
Quote:

"A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba
Ueshiba is also quoted with the following:

As one follows the promptings of Aiki Myo-o, assisted by the virtue of the Creator, one's breathing begins to rise in a spiral on the right, and to descend in a spiral on the left."

Aiki Myo-o, aka Fudo Myo-o, aka Acala Vidyârâja;

http://fudosama.blogspot.com/2004/12/fudoo-myoo-oo-acala-vidyrja.html,

"

Acala Vidyârâja is one of the Vidyârâjas (Myôôs) class of deities, and a very wrathful deity.

He is portrayed holding a sword in his right hand and a coiled rope in his left hand. With this sword of wisdom, Acala cuts through deluded and ignorant minds and with the rope he binds those who are ruled by their violent passions and emotions. He leads them onto the correct path of self control. Acala is also portrayed surrounded by flames, flames which consume the evil and the defilements of this world. He sits on a flat rock which symbolizes the unshakeable peace and bliss which he bestows to the minds and the bodies of his devotees.

Purpose and Vows
Acala transmits the teachings and the injunctions of Mahâvairocana to all living beings and whether they agree to accept or to reject these injunctions is up to them, Acala's blue/black body and fierce face symbolize the force of his will to draw all beings to follow the teachings of the Buddha. Nevertheless, Acala's nature is essentially one of compassion and he has vowed to be of service to all beings for eternity.

Acala also represents his aspect of service by having his hair knotted in the style of a servant: his hair is tied into seven knots and falls down from his head on the left side. Acala has two teeth protruding from out of his mouth, an upper tooth and a lower tooth. The upper tooth is pointed downward and this represents his bestowing unlimited compassion who are suffering in body and spirit. His lower tooth is pointed upward and this represents the strength of his desire to progress upward in his service for the Truth. In his upward search for Bodhi and in his downward concern for suffering beings, he represents the beginning of the religious quest, the awakening of the Bodhicitta and the beginning of his compassionate concern for others.
It is for this reason that the figure of Acala is placed first among the thirteen deities (juusanbutsu 十三仏).

His vow is to do battle with evil with a powerful mind of compassion and to work for the protection of true happiness. To pray for recovery from illness and for safety while traveling is to rely upon his vow and power to save. Acala is also the guide for the deceased, to help save them and assist them in becoming buddhas for the first seven days after death. "

dps

NagaBaba
07-28-2011, 02:50 PM
his hands are placed in a particular position, contrary to the formal balanced positioning of the hands you see in almost every other picture of Osensei. He was teaching something important. (Note attached photo at bottom of this post)
After carefully looking at the picture I also noticed his one ear is redder than other one. That's direct hint for important spiral teaching. The last one, his left eye is looking down while right one toward the ceiling -- clearly heaven/earth teaching.

Also there is a famous story of a student from Europe. He was uke for O sensei and noticed that O sensei farted every time he was doing irimi. He didn't speak Japanese but he learned important teaching well. He thought "Yes, this is clearly a hint O sensei gave me. I got it right in front of my nose! "So after his return home, he and all his students also farted when doing irimi. After reading recent discussion, I personally believe he missed ‘6 directions' part of farting.

dps
07-28-2011, 02:58 PM
http://www.shingon.org/deities/jusanbutsu/images/titles/FudoTitle.gif

http://www.shingon.org/deities/jusanbutsu/images/Fudo.gif

JW
07-28-2011, 03:11 PM
[irreverent, dismissive, criticism involving the word "fart"]


...and thus in/yo balance was restored to the thread and to the world. Thank you!! Gotta love aikiweb. Just feels wrong without a post like that :D !
Personally I think you are totally, sadly wrong in dismissing the pose in the photo, but thank you anyway!

DH
07-28-2011, 03:48 PM
I think posts like David's and Szczepans are vaulable in that they demonstrate where we were at and why no one got it.
Meaningless assignments to things they do not understand, and Szczepans modern day equivalent of Chiba's response to Ueshiba telling them "This is not my Aikido".....
"We couldn't for him to stop talking about all that nonsense so we could train!" (paraphrasing here)
Oh well.
Thus modern day Aikido™ was born.
And Ueshiba's way of aiki was kept small.

You know, after reading that interview and these more educated translations by those better qualified; he may not have been the one who kept the real gold from the run of the mill people...
it just may have been a voluntary opting out process all their own.

Dan

dps
07-28-2011, 03:58 PM
I think posts like David's and Szczepans are vaulable in that they demonstrate where we were at and why no one got it.


What! You don't like my picture of the warrior god with a sword in his right fist and a rope in his open left hand?

David

DH
07-28-2011, 04:01 PM
What! You don't like my picture of the warrior god with a sword in his right fist and a rope in his open left hand?

David
That isn't what I said, David.

Gorgeous George
07-28-2011, 04:20 PM
What! You don't like my picture of the warrior god with a sword in his right fist and a rope in his open left hand?

David

Haha.

hughrbeyer
07-28-2011, 04:59 PM
I like your picture of the warrior god. I detect definite hints of spiraling in that left hand and arm. And that seated posture of his is very unique. I suppose we could translate it as something flowerly like "lotus" but no one would get it and who's ever seen a lotus, anyway? Let's just say he's sitting cross-legged.

rob_liberti
07-28-2011, 05:38 PM
Before I experienced some of what these folks are talking about I was critical myself. Admittedly, I didn't know what I didn't know. It was hidden in plain sight, and I couldn't see it without help. Being a curmudgeon is fine because people can laugh and enjoy your wit. But, it is risky to poke fun of some of the finest martial artists' opinions in that you may end up looking like the snookie of aikiweb. HaHa

Janet Rosen
07-28-2011, 05:53 PM
I suppose we could translate it as something flowerly like "lotus" but no one would get it and who's ever seen a lotus, anyway?

{raises hand}
Easily visited annually at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

robin_jet_alt
07-28-2011, 08:37 PM
{raises hand}
Easily visited annually at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29871053@N05/4915812322/in/photostream

If anyone is wondering, this is a lotus. Any more questions? I am more than happy to cook everyone crumpets and then teach them to play cricket.

hughrbeyer
07-28-2011, 09:24 PM
Eh, and how's a picture of a flower supposed to help anybody know how to sit? Tell the friggin' gaijin to sit cross-legged and be done. :p

Lee Salzman
07-28-2011, 10:24 PM
Who needs photographs when we got these newfangled movin' pictures? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98yRuBkUBGQ&t=546)

Mike Sigman
07-28-2011, 11:08 PM
Admittedly, I didn't know what I didn't know. It was hidden in plain sight, and I couldn't see it without help. Wouldn't the obvious next question be "what else am I missing that I didn't/don't know that I'm missing?". A related question is "what did Ueshiba know and when did he know it?". Both very valid questions if someone is taking a look at "internal strength" in Aikido.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

dps
07-29-2011, 01:24 AM
Wouldn't the obvious next question be "what else am I missing that I didn't/don't know that I'm missing?".
2 cents.

Mike Sigman

I once made a list of all the things I do not know.

Wooden nickel.

dps

rob_liberti
07-29-2011, 06:12 AM
Wouldn't the obvious next question be "what else am I missing that I didn't/don't know that I'm missing?". A related question is "what did Ueshiba know and when did he know it?". Both very valid questions if someone is taking a look at "internal strength" in Aikido.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Well Mike, I am open to any pointers you may want to throw out here.

While I honestly believe that you are making a fair and good point, to be completely truthful in my reply I think my personal answer to those questions would be "No." For me, that's not really the _next_ logical step at all.

The next step, if you ask me, is how do I get enough of a foothold of what I have been exposed to to be able to appreciate further information in a more productive way.

I'm actually at the point where I have some stability/structure even while moving around. I can get intent working to some degree through my arms and legs. I can -way too slowly- spin my dantien just a bit.

I want to be able to apply the skills I have (which are not yet automatic enough/fast enough) to striking, throwing, and wrestling against other people who have such skills infused with aiki. Once at that point, I really will have little interest in anything ELSE Dan may want to show me for a long while - until I assimilate to some degree.

Personally, as awful and terrifying as it is, I want to do MMA to some horrible degree with people like Dan and Andy (and other friends with aiki) for a while.

THEN, the next question for me is: what else don't I know?

Can I then appreciate a bit more of the kotodama principles? Can I understand a bit more about healing people with body work? Can I take my training in aiki to a next level, such that I can actually do aikido waza in MMA to some degree? How fun would aikido practice be with people training at that level?

Otherwise, I think you end up spread a bit martially thin.

Asking about what Ueshiba knew, and what aiki greats could do what is totally boring to me personally. I will be at seminars working on AIKI and some of my good friends are sitting on the sidelines NOT working on aiki, but rather discussing which old master could do what. I will never get that. There is enough credibility in what we are actually doing ourselves right now. If I had a time machine, I wouldn't go back in time to work with them, I would go to my younger self and get him/me working with Dan. (Okay, I would make a lot of money first, but THEN...)

Rob

NagaBaba
07-29-2011, 12:12 PM
I think posts like David's and Szczepans are vaulable in that they demonstrate where we were at and why no one got it.
Meaningless assignments to things they do not understand, and Szczepans modern day equivalent of Chiba's response to Ueshiba telling them "This is not my Aikido".....
"We couldn't for him to stop talking about all that nonsense so we could train!" (paraphrasing here)
Oh well.
Thus modern day Aikido™ was born.
And Ueshiba's way of aiki was kept small.

You know, after reading that interview and these more educated translations by those better qualified; he may not have been the one who kept the real gold from the run of the mill people...
it just may have been a voluntary opting out process all their own.

Dan
Your post are soooo boring last 10 years, Dan. You repeat yourself wihout mercy. You are coming to Aikiweb to do marketing your business and the same time you spit in the face to all aikido community... what a pity...

hughrbeyer
07-29-2011, 12:29 PM
Szczepan, Dan was invited into the Aikido community by aikidoka who wanted to learn what he could teach. So quit slagging him. It's rude not just to him, but to your fellow aikidoka.

And quit with the "marketing your business" line. If you knew him at all, you'd know how ignorant that is.

As for spitting in your face... oh, it's an old line but let's trot it out again: "I didn't give them hell. I told them the truth and they thought it was hell."--Harry Truman

DH
07-29-2011, 12:31 PM
Your post are soooo boring last 10 years, Dan. You repeat yourself wihout mercy. You are coming to Aikiweb to do marketing your business and the same time you spit in the face to all aikido community... what a pity...
Thanks Hugh

Szczepan
New information keeps coming to light, validating previous observations. Spitting in the face of the community? The worst evaluations of the currect state of aikido I have ever heard spoken are from teachers of aikido. Curiously the many letters I receive and heart felt thanks I get in person, seem to defy your characterization.

What did you expect for your post of uninformed sarcasm?
Don't make this about me. I disagree with your position, handle it better and stay on topic.
Dan

Chris Li
07-29-2011, 01:16 PM
Your post are soooo boring last 10 years, Dan. You repeat yourself wihout mercy. You are coming to Aikiweb to do marketing your business and the same time you spit in the face to all aikido community... what a pity...

I don't think that Dan really makes much money out of this stuff, the first time he came here he actually went out of pocket a little bit.

Also, he's always very respectful of Aikido and Ueshiba. However, I did get a little worn out last time - from local Aikido people thanking me for setting up the workshop :)

Dan may deny it - but what he does is pure 100% Aikido - the Way of Aiki. I recommend it highly.

Best,

Chris

MM
07-29-2011, 01:52 PM
Your post are soooo boring last 10 years, Dan. You repeat yourself wihout mercy. You are coming to Aikiweb to do marketing your business and the same time you spit in the face to all aikido community... what a pity...

It might help if you asked the "aikido community" before you spoke for them. I'm pretty sure that Bill Gleason and George Ledyard would have a different opinion than yours. Not to mention some other high ranked aikido people that I've been to a workshop with. Or those people outside of aikido, who are still helping the aikido community, like Ellis Amdur or Howard Popkin.

I think it's rather rude that you neglect the history of how Dan first started. It's out there but some people are just too lazy to find it. It was Ellis who dragged Dan out of his closed barn kicking and screaming, not really wanting to go out and meet people.

You know what? It was the quality of character of the budo people that he met that kept him going. It was never the quality of aiki because we didn't have it. After meeting Dan (and Andy) we realized that fact. Business? No. It's a screaming horde of martial artists wanting THE secret to aikido. The aiki that made Ueshiba great as a martial artist.

You know what it was to be a good budo man? When a martial artist heard of someone who had a reputation for being outstanding, the good budo man would go out of his way to meet and train with that outstanding person. Why do you think thousands wanted to train with Takeda, Sagawa, Kodo, and Ueshiba? We hear a good bit about their students because they were good budo men. They went, experienced, and started training. Ever hear about those budo men who stayed home?

Ledyard, Popkin, Amdur, Gleason, Ikeda, and a host of others chasing aiki. How about if you direct your comments of "spit in the face to all aikido community" to us before you speak for us. We certainly don't feel that way. Because it is we of the aikido community who are asking for the workshops and the training.

The pity ... is that people would rather be lazy and remain in ignorance than have to maybe face the fact that they do not have aiki.

There are a lot of people from various martial arts all working and training together because of aiki and *that* as far as I'm concerned is fulfilling one of Ueshiba's visions for his aikido, not to mention actually training for Ueshiba's aiki. The pity ... is that those people supposedly chasing Ueshiba's vision are spitting in the face of this and the the aikido community who are.

Mike Sigman
07-29-2011, 02:30 PM
Well Mike, I am open to any pointers you may want to throw out here.

While I honestly believe that you are making a fair and good point, to be completely truthful in my reply I think my personal answer to those questions would be "No." For me, that's not really the _next_ logical step at all.
Well, my comment was more in line that missing some fairly important can often happen more than once. If you remember some of the earlier conversations there was a lot of denial that anyone could possible be missing any important information. That sort of thing can happen time and time again, not just once, in my experience.

The comment about what Ueshiba knew and when did he know it is, in my opinion, fairly important. I stated before (a few years back) that there are some important differences between what Shioda, Tohei, Ueshiba, and others actually do in their versions of internal strength. And a lot of these comments about "spiralling" need to be thought out a little further, IMO.

2 cents

Mike Sigman

gregstec
07-29-2011, 02:32 PM
Your post are soooo boring last 10 years, Dan. You repeat yourself wihout mercy. You are coming to Aikiweb to do marketing your business and the same time you spit in the face to all aikido community... what a pity...

Yeah, Dan is soooo boring and he keeps repeating himself over and over again - how else would he get his message across to those too thick headed to listen and give things a shot. Why should he continue to bother you ask, because he knows what he is saying is right, which is evidenced by those who have gone and seen him, AND because he was that thick headed SOB at one time as well who wished there was someone like him willing to go out of their way to get their message across on what aiki really is.

So, WAKE UP people and start listening if you want to put substance back in your Aiki Do - if not, then please refrain from talking about things you do not truly know about and stop attacking those that do.

Greg

DH
07-29-2011, 02:42 PM
Current people and their input (real or imagined) is of little importance. If you have something meaningful to say instead of constantly telling people you have something meaningful to say....say it.
Otherwise, I think we need to stay on track of the OP.
Dan

Mike Sigman
07-29-2011, 02:43 PM
For example, you can see many photos where Ueshiba, within aikido technique, replicates this in-yo with his body, in various configurations. On page 45 of HIPS, there is a picture of Hisa Takuma doing a dramatic version of the same thing. Let me suggest the possibility that the assiduous student would try to create this structure in every aikido technique - not primarily between uke and nage, but within oneself. Hi Ellis:

I'm unclear how Ueshiba is doing anything particularly different than in most other art that use jin/kokyu and qi/ki skills. The important thing is differentiating Open and Close and what people are calling "winding" is really just a variation of the Yin-Yang formation of Open/Close. Maybe people should clarify (go into greater detail) about what it is that they think Ueshiba is doing.

The picture of Ueshiba with the Open-Close (Yin Yang) is interesting, but wouldn't be significantly different than a lot of the common symbolism of the earlier times. For instance, if you take that fist and place it within the flattened other hand, you have the famous and common Sun-Moon symbol (indicating Yin-Yang) that was and is commonly used by martial-artists in China.

My point being that I'm not seeing Ueshiba do anything that makes me think "oh, that's extraordinary and it's being done is a way not explained by common internal-strength theory". Maybe I'm missing something? Or maybe others are missing something. It could be an interesting discussion.

2 cents.

Mike

gregstec
07-29-2011, 03:12 PM
Current people and their input (real or imagined) is of little importance. If you have something meaningful to say instead of constantly telling people you have something meaningful to say....say it.
Otherwise, I think we need to stay on track of the OP.
Dan

Sorry to have appeared to speak for you, but I was tired of hearing the same type of stuff over and over again - I will refrain from talking about you in the future. Actually, I am getting tired of hearing the same stuff bantered about ad nauseam in these forums, so I think I am going to drop out to be a recluse and just go train in my barn.

Greg

JW
07-29-2011, 03:27 PM
As someone who has never met Dan, nor anyone who trains with him, I want to say something. Does he have a secret moneymaking scheme that is covered up in an aiki conspiracy? Well I guess I don't know. But let's be reasonable.

His posts and the ensuing discussion have tangibly changed my aikido, for the better. Why? Because of the discussion and the heart that people put into it. It led me to re-examine things. That's really the point of a discussion board, isn't it?

I am almost sure none of that would have happened if no one disagreed and argued. So, we as a community benefit from people arguing. But only real argument can benefit us-- what is the reason for your disagreement, which particular things do you think are BS? What is better in your opinion and what evidence/effects does your opinion produce as fuel for the argument?

Szczepan, humor is good but there is room to be more substantive. If you have a case to make, let's hear it and actually have something to disagree about.

-----------------
sorry for the rant..
Mike, I took the photo to be a message moreso than a demo of usage. As in, "hi can you people please look into 'yin and yang'?"

graham christian
07-29-2011, 03:50 PM
Ueshiba giving secret massages now? How significant can you get?
I think the statement of hidden in plain sight has gone into cuckoo land.

Maybe he was a mason from the yin yang order.

Regards.G.

DH
07-29-2011, 04:03 PM
Sorry to have appeared to speak for you, but I was tired of hearing the same type of stuff over and over again - I will refrain from talking about you in the future. Actually, I am getting tired of hearing the same stuff bantered about ad nauseam in these forums, so I think I am going to drop out to be a recluse and just go train in my barn.

Greg
What???
That wasn't aimed at you buddy. That was aimed squarely on those who continue to do this and are alllowed to do it, instead of debating ideas.
You are wrong is different than you're a jerk
Some people just cant process that.
I was just trying to stop the conversation from going toward me....again!

And thank you for your kind words and comments BTW.
Dan

NagaBaba
07-29-2011, 04:10 PM
Szczepan, humor is good but there is room to be more substantive. If you have a case to make, let's hear it and actually have something to disagree about.


You know Jonathan, this forum was designed to discuss aikido topics. However it became impossible to do it . Every more or less technical discussion quickly is spammed with “aiki” or “IP” off topics and a real topic is not discussed anymore. This spamming is done by pll who even don’t practice aikido or by fresh converters who were not happy with their aikido skills. As even between them they can’t agree on clear definition of ‘aiki’ they create environment where only ‘those chosen” can have real understanding. Like in those famous religious sects.

What they are doing on aikido forum? Why they don’t create their own forum to discuss their ideas?

Additionally they quickly diminish you or even direct O sensei students simply by saying “you don’t have aiki skills’. How arrogant it is! They never met O sensei personally, but they are putting down ppl who spent with O sensei many years, and who gave all their life to teach aikido over the world. And Dan is the best in such manipulation.

And this topic is really most hilarious – the discussion is “ what O sensei wanted to teach by having on the picture one hand position different that other” !!! It is just goes against simple common sense.

It is not surprising that in such situation almost any long time aikido students write anymore on Aikiweb.

DH
07-29-2011, 04:10 PM
Ueshiba giving secret massages now? How significant can you get?
I think the statement of hidden in plain sight has gone into cuckoo land.

Maybe he was a mason from the yin yang order.

Regards.G.
They are not secret, Graham, they're obvious, widespread and known. Your founder decided to talk about some known concepts in plain language... that got mistranslated.
His biographers and translators didn't get it.
He told them they didn't get it,
They admitted they didn't get it,
And several of them admit they just wanted him to shut up!
And no one I know of has said no one in aikido gets it.

Dan

DH
07-29-2011, 04:14 PM
It is not surprising that in such situation almost any long time aikido students write anymore on Aikiweb.
And fascinating that so many are now training this way. Including Japanese shihan. ;)

gregstec
07-29-2011, 04:14 PM
What???
That wasn't aimed at you buddy. That was aimed squarely on those who continue to do this and are alllowed to do it, instead of debating ideas.
You are wrong is different than you're a jerk
Some people just cant process that.
I was just trying to stop the conversation from going toward me....again!

And thank you for your kind words and comments BTW.
Dan

:sorry: Sometimes you too esoteric :) however, I really am tired of the same old BS going back and forth and I am serious about stepping out of the forum stuff for awhile.

Greg

graham christian
07-29-2011, 04:31 PM
They are not secret, Graham, they're obvious. and also widespread.
His biographers and translators.
They didn't get it
He told them they didn't get it,
They admitted they didn't get it,
And several of them admit they just wanted him to shut up!

Which explains so much.
Dan

What? The way he held his hands after a technique? As if to say look at me? Come on now that's significance and implying it's a message.

Statements as above: They didn't, He told them, His biographers and translators, They admitted....... Wow, the mysterious they. Generalisations.

If a person only listens to those who didn't understand then I suppose he can then imagine away nicely. What exactly does that explain?

Regards.G.

Cady Goldfield
07-29-2011, 04:47 PM
Aiki isn't an aikido topic? :confused:
Aikido people who are training aiki and posting about it here on AikiWeb aren't on topic? :confused:
Aikido people who are training aiki and posting about it here on AikiWeb aren't to be believed?
Respected aikido shihan who are now training aiki and incorporating it into their aikido aren't to be trusted as doing real aikido?
The one individual who has been teaching aiki in his home dojo to any sincere seeker FREE OF CHARGE for more than 20 years, and is now giving seminars for a limited time and for minimal tuition that is only break-even (or not even break-even), is a "spammer"?
It's okay to make fun of a photo because you don't understand what's going on in it?

Man, this stuff must be better hidden in plain sight from some folks than I thought! :hypno:

You know Jonathan, this forum was designed to discuss aikido topics. However it became impossible to do it . Every more or less technical discussion quickly is spammed with "aiki" or "IP" off topics and a real topic is not discussed anymore. This spamming is done by pll who even don't practice aikido or by fresh converters who were not happy with their aikido skills. As even between them they can't agree on clear definition of ‘aiki' they create environment where only ‘those chosen" can have real understanding. Like in those famous religious sects.

What they are doing on aikido forum? Why they don't create their own forum to discuss their ideas?

Additionally they quickly diminish you or even direct O sensei students simply by saying "you don't have aiki skills'. How arrogant it is! They never met O sensei personally, but they are putting down ppl who spent with O sensei many years, and who gave all their life to teach aikido over the world. And Dan is the best in such manipulation.

And this topic is really most hilarious -- the discussion is " what O sensei wanted to teach by having on the picture one hand position different that other" !!! It is just goes against simple common sense.

It is not surprising that in such situation almost any long time aikido students write anymore on Aikiweb.

Mike Sigman
07-29-2011, 04:52 PM
Mike, I took the photo to be a message moreso than a demo of usage. As in, "hi can you people please look into 'yin and yang'?"

Yeah, I more or less agree, Jonathan. It didn't mean much and the various signals of "yin-yang" are/were pretty widespread in Asian martial-arts (as you already know). Ueshiba would have known that, too, so I'd take it more as a signal that he was in the club, too, rather than a "here's a valuable clue" sort of thing. Same thing with a lot of the references in his douka..... using the correct words was an accepted way of titillating the readers who didn't know, while at the same time being a signal to the cognoscenti that his style adhered to the classical Yin-Yang, internal-strength, etc., dicta.

Mike

HL1978
07-29-2011, 05:27 PM
You know Jonathan, this forum was designed to discuss aikido topics. However it became impossible to do it . Every more or less technical discussion quickly is spammed with "aiki" or "IP" off topics and a real topic is not discussed anymore. This spamming is done by pll who even don't practice aikido or by fresh converters who were not happy with their aikido skills. As even between them they can't agree on clear definition of ‘aiki' they create environment where only ‘those chosen" can have real understanding. Like in those famous religious sects.

What they are doing on aikido forum? Why they don't create their own forum to discuss their ideas?

Additionally they quickly diminish you or even direct O sensei students simply by saying "you don't have aiki skills'. How arrogant it is! They never met O sensei personally, but they are putting down ppl who spent with O sensei many years, and who gave all their life to teach aikido over the world. And Dan is the best in such manipulation.

And this topic is really most hilarious -- the discussion is " what O sensei wanted to teach by having on the picture one hand position different that other" !!! It is just goes against simple common sense.

It is not surprising that in such situation almost any long time aikido students write anymore on Aikiweb.

I'm not sure.

A good question to ask is why can't my particular teacher replicate the various feats ascribed to the founder of the art on trained athletic people from outside the art. You also might ask why you do all sorts of wacky exercises that seem to have no real purpose or connection to the waza you preform. You can either come to the conclusion that the founder was a super special guy, that it was all fake, or that something is missing. I used to think it was 1/2 for aikido and other arts I studied, now I tend to believe it's #3.

Once upon a time I trained in aikido and I never met anyone who could move me around with essentially zero resistance or repeat the various feats ascribed to the founder. These guys didn't force me to move in particular ways due to pain compliance or moving in a particular way was expected by your partner. Most of what I learned in aikido and various other martial arts was predominantly technique based, yet applying these techniques on IS/IP people simply didn't work. They didn't use better waza nor superior physical strength or timing like many high ranking practioners I had previously trained with.

When you start to get some exposure to the concepts talked about, you start to see how far off you (and possibly your teachers) were in the past because they simply didn't know. The various words and descriptions take on new meanings as if your "eyes were opened to budo". (Who said that? :D)

As for why aikido? Well its been answered before, but the whole IS/IP fits in rather nicely. Plenty of people have argued that aikido simply doesn't work on resisting opponents. IS powered aikido appears to work according to people that attend seminars by various MA people. A reasonable conclusion is that IS people can make aikido work without using better technique, more strength or better timing, and might have a better understanding of what aiki is.

Or its simply a big money grabbing scam and everyone is a sucker (yet some people can replicate the results.... oops don't pay attention to them)

graham christian
07-29-2011, 05:48 PM
I'm not sure.

A good question to ask is why can't my particular teacher replicate the various feats ascribed to the founder of the art on trained athletic people from outside the art. You also might ask why you do all sorts of wacky exercises that seem to have no real purpose or connection to the waza you preform. You can either come to the conclusion that the founder was a super special guy, that it was all fake, or that something is missing. I used to think it was 1/2 for aikido and other arts I studied, now I tend to believe it's #3.

Once upon a time I trained in aikido and I never met anyone who could move me around with essentially zero resistance or repeat the various feats ascribed to the founder. These guys didn't force me to move in particular ways due to pain compliance or moving in a particular way was expected by your partner. Most of what I learned in aikido and various other martial arts was predominantly technique based, yet applying these techniques on IS/IP people simply didn't work. They didn't use better waza nor superior physical strength or timing like many high ranking practioners I had previously trained with.

When you start to get some exposure to the concepts talked about, you start to see how far off you (and possibly your teachers) were in the past because they simply didn't know. The various words and descriptions take on new meanings as if your "eyes were opened to budo". (Who said that? :D)

As for why aikido? Well its been answered before, but the whole IS/IP fits in rather nicely. Plenty of people have argued that aikido simply doesn't work on resisting opponents. IS powered aikido appears to work according to people that attend seminars by various MA people. A reasonable conclusion is that IS people can make aikido work, and might have a better understanding of what aiki is.

I asked that question as you proposed in your first paragraph, about some teachers, not mine for he could.

I could also see the founder was a special guy xo comparing other teachers to him was a bit silly no?

Now doing all sorts of wacky exercises that don't connect to waza? That's a false statement I'm afraid.

Your final point in that paragraph says you did various martial arts but couldn't effect them on ip guys. Now that could be an interesting point if you mean that on all other people you could.

Second paragraph says basically you did some Aikido but never met anyone like Ueshiba. Not surprising.

Finally why Aikido? Well the whole ip thing would fit most martial arts, especially ones with holds etc. wouldn't it?

So in conclusion, for those who never found the whys of basic exercises and their relationships to waza etc. then it would be useful up to a point, indeed for those it would be eye opening no doubt.

Regards G.

JW
07-29-2011, 05:53 PM
[crowd cheers]
It's game 42 of the Traditional Reformists vs the Institutional Purists! The Reformists score a point with "Because you don't understand in and yo" by pointing out that their training is based on these concepts! They pass the ball to Ueshiba in his strange photographic pose and desperate look in his eye. But Szczepan steals the ball and tries to score with "farting" and expression of distaste for the players on the other team. Looks like he didn't make the point! Then Graham fires a shot for the Institutionalists, suggesting that the idea of a Sensei expressing ideas covertly in a world where deshi are expected to "steal the technique" would be preposterous! Opinion stated... but point made? Mike Sigman scores for the Reformists again with the suggestion that yin and yang are the juicy core of many arts throughout history and that Ueshiba's doka match up with those arts' literature... can someone save this game for the purists?

Does anyone have an explanation for how the institution of Aikido does not need help in proving Ueshiba wrong that "we don't understand in and yo?" Where in the lineages of modern aikido can we point to this understanding? Step up the game, folks...

I am going to pull out my internet cable because I am clearly losing it.

graham christian
07-29-2011, 06:03 PM
[crowd cheers]
It's game 42 of the Traditional Reformists vs the Institutional Purists! The Reformists score a point with "Because you don't understand in and yo" by pointing out that their training is based on these concepts! They pass the ball to Ueshiba in his strange photographic pose and desperate look in his eye. But Szczepan steals the ball and tries to score with "farting" and expression of distaste for the players on the other team. Looks like he didn't make the point! Then Graham fires a shot for the Institutionalists, suggesting that the idea of a Sensei expressing ideas covertly in a world where deshi are expected to "steal the technique" would be preposterous! Opinion stated... but point made? Mike Sigman scores for the Reformists again with the suggestion that yin and yang are the juicy core of many arts throughout history and that Ueshiba's doka match up with those arts' literature... can someone save this game for the purists?

Does anyone have an explanation for how the institution of Aikido does not need help in proving Ueshiba wrong that "we don't understand in and yo?" Where in the lineages of modern aikido can we point to this understanding? Step up the game, folks...

I am going to pull out my internet cable because I am clearly losing it.

Ha ha, very creative.

I suggest you understand better what 'stealing techniques' really means. Nothing to do with covertness. Except maybe to the westerner.

Regards.G.

David Partington
07-29-2011, 06:14 PM
And fascinating that so many are now training this way. Including Japanese shihan. ;)

Having read some of the more recent posts concerning IP etc. and how more and more people are now training in it because they feel there is something missing from their aikido, is there any connection between the styles/teachers of these people? i.e. are they predominantly from one particular aikido "style/organisation" or are there students from all aikido "styles/organisation"?

Ellis Amdur
07-29-2011, 06:29 PM
I'm unclear how Ueshiba is doing anything particularly different than in most other art that use jin/kokyu and qi/ki skills. The important thing is differentiating Open and Close and what people are calling "winding" is really just a variation of the Yin-Yang formation of Open/Close. Maybe people should clarify (go into greater detail) about what it is that they think Ueshiba is doing.

Hi Mike - I wasn't suggesting that Ueshiba was doing something different from the "classic" open/close - yin-yang. Rather that he WAS doing it (which many people seem to deny), and further, what is interesting to me, that he was pointing it out. One of my areas of interest, in this regard, is pedagogy. How did Ueshiba teach this information - how did Takeda teach it - how DO others, from such modern greats as Chen Xiao Wang and Feng Zhi Qiang teach? How do they winnow out from all the people they teach those who they will really teach - Takeda and Ueshiba being very similar to the latter two men, in that they taught en masse If one doesn't follow the classic koryu model, where there is an established criteria of initiation into the "secrets" among people already selected, how does one decide when to teach the deeper levels of information.

Thus, giving Szczepan's jape far more respect than either it or he deserve, even if these photos prove nothing (even though Ueshiba also did so in a group photo as well, making a point to sit in a way that is not "correct" at all in two different contexts), Ueshiba either had remarkable skills or he did not, If that latter is not true, then:
1. Ueshiba was some kind of wild mutant talent and what he did is of little concern to aikidoka today (this is a position that many in the current hierarchy of the Aikikai have taken).
2. Ueshiba had some specific skills that he very deliberately did not share.
3. Ueshiba had certain skills that he only shared with people of his own choosing. If this, how did he choose? Then, how did he let people know he had such skills? Obviously, by doing remarkable things. How, then, did he establish to people that he wasn't a wild mutant? Perhaps he should have done what Mike and Dan are doing, each in their own way, simply mapping out what they know and teaching it as clearly and ably as they can. (non, non, non, mes amies, all of you, no thread drift about any disagreements on - well, you all know, so put that in another thread - I started this thread, so I hold the needle, and I'll stab you if I must ;) ) .

For reasons worthy of a book - ahem - Ueshiba didn't do that. I am suggesting that he showed the whispers of his methodology and waited to see who would pick it up - and who would ask questions. Who would break one's own cultural rules, if that's what it took.
By the way, Kato Hiroshi shows that same winding, counterbalancing of opposing forces within his body in many of his techniques, so at least in that regards, he obviously was paying attention.

Final point back to Mike's statement/question- there are some who have asserted that Ueshiba was doing something different from Daito-ryu (or more largely, from the core skills of internal training known in China). As far as my opportunities to be hands on with people who allegedly learned that "real" aikido, from Tanaka Bansen to Shirata Rinjiro to more modern folks, I have not experienced anything different from what have been called "baseline core skills." However, I never had a chance to be thrown by Ueshiba - maybe if I had a chance to be thrown/locked/countered by Ueshiba and Sagawa and Horikawa, and they really showed the goods, maybe Ueshiba would have had something beyond and different. (I can only shrug, because I'll never know - I doubt it, though). There still is at least one individual whom I've not had a chance to meet, of whom I've been told has those "beyond/different than DR skills." I won't mention a name, but if I do meet him and such is shown to me, I'll want to shout it to the heavens. Barring something differently remarkable, my assumption is that Ueshiba skills are a particular variation on that common theme.

Aikido is, however, different, from other arts, in the way that Dan H. described, the delibarate release from helplessness and destruction that he pointed out is moralty expressed in aikido waza. (IE., through irimi, DR crumples one in a space too small to survive intact, and aikido - Ueshiba's aikido - releases the person, just as that point is reached). That, by the way, is the best case for continuing to train in aikido, rather than just dropping the aikido and doing pure "aiki"/IT training or aiki+MMA or whatever.

Paranthetically, I personally believe the single flaw in modern aikido in not the lack of "aiki," internal strength, though that is a component of the problem. A lack of ability in "aiki" could be named as a limitation in any combative activity.

The flaw in aikido is the emphasis on the aforementioned release without true irimi. True irimi must contain atemi, as Ueshiba himself emphasized. Aikido atemi, if it is authentic and not mere bonking someone with a punch, requires internal power - witness Shioda describing Ueshiba dislocating the hip of a judoka who tried to cheapshot him with a sudden throwing attack, merely by <apparently> placing a hand on his hip.

In other words, I strongly believe that the moral aims of aikido cannot fully be achieved without the internal strength training that Ueshiba emphasized. How can you be proud of releasing someone from jail if there were no bars in the first place?
Ellis Amdur

wxyzabc
07-29-2011, 07:29 PM
Dear Ellis and friends

While I can easily agree with a lot of what you have just written. I do think that some of the words people are choosing to use are confusing a lot of people from the offset and causing a lot of misunderstanding.

A lot of people are using the word 'power' here...as though this is the basic function of any interaction in aikido. This is "the" image a lot of people with no real experience of this (in aikido) are maybe getting....yet the ability to generate 'power' is only one facet of a multi sided jewel. Could I suggest the word "internal control" with the basic meaning of having the power/ability to easily control yourself and those you practise with.. might be more appropriate..especially at the stage most people seem to be at/want to/need to (?) practise at.

Regards the photo I would have to say that other than showing one side is open while the other closed.. yet still connected...there isn't much more there for people to grasp (unless they already know something..or is there??). Its not so different to just looking at a statue showing a form..any deeper significance is lost to the masses (me included)

There is a very big difference between 'showing' something and actually teaching someone the intricasies of the message so that they too can truly understand/do the same thing in a real way.

Strange to have to point this out (though others already have) but in the past those that got it under Ueshiba..clearly got it generally by going to another person with these/similar/or "related" skills and saying "well Ueshiba is clearly different...he's trying to convey some message but it's not one I can understand or translate in something physically meaning. Can you show and explain simply please???)...you can just imagine Shioda saying something like this to Koda :)

Is it wrong to say that a Japanese student wouldn't even consider the possibility of reaching the level of his teacher?? (while the relationship was maintained..hence some skill individuals going their own way) hence not questioning or doing further individual research (generally)...not even feeling they need to...don't rock the boat man.

Theres a lot to say on this subject, but generally as you know but maybe many maybe don't...the Japanese system is basically one of receiving. Strange concept in that many will just repeat what is "shown" without actually thinking too deeply about what they are doing or why they are doing it (is that only the Japanese?)...even what the purpose of their practise is??.

The teacher was also a receiver and doesn't feel compelled to offer much more to his errr hobbyist group that live in a peaceful country and don't need much in the way of true martial ability, now the swords have been thrown down. Even when they come up against someone vastly superior with true internal connection it's because either
they are special
they practised a long time
I dont know/don't want to know so I'll not even go there...lol

It's a whole can of worms this subject...it really is..

What I can say is that there are in Japan in aikido a few exceptional (Japanese) individuals whose level is vastly different...on a whole different level to what we generally call aikido or at least what I've experienced (and I've been around a bit)...able to operate on a wide range of different levels...without ukemi). Generally unknown they do their work quietly.
Please don't ask for names ..it's not my position to bring them into the spotlight unless they're happy to be there.

One told me quite a long time ago after I had just finished a basic waza based training session "you know..no one will actually teach you aikido unless they really need students"....go figure....lol :D

rob_liberti
07-29-2011, 07:43 PM
Survey says ... bing bing bing - Ellis you got the number 2 answer.

The number 1 answer for the flaw in aikido is that the organizations of aikido are based on loyalty and not truth.

Yeah, I said it. I mean it too, only because it is true.

Most don't know that they don't know. Some suspect, but will defer, deflect, deny - pretty much anything to protect the ego. Some love the truth so much, that it is worth it to them to challenge everything they know to find out about aiki, IP/IS, whatever you want to call it.

It's your life. Do you love the truth enough to go way out of your way to feel what "has to be felt" to understand?

I humbly suggest that the people in aikido who are not interested in aiki drop the persecution complex and go see for themselves. The only thing you have to lose is delusion.

Rob

Lee Salzman
07-29-2011, 07:49 PM
Yeah, I more or less agree, Jonathan. It didn't mean much and the various signals of "yin-yang" are/were pretty widespread in Asian martial-arts (as you already know). Ueshiba would have known that, too, so I'd take it more as a signal that he was in the club, too, rather than a "here's a valuable clue" sort of thing. Same thing with a lot of the references in his douka..... using the correct words was an accepted way of titillating the readers who didn't know, while at the same time being a signal to the cognoscenti that his style adhered to the classical Yin-Yang, internal-strength, etc., dicta.

Mike

Mike, wouldn't that actually detract significantly from Ellis' points in the OP? If what O'Sensei knew he got by painstaking research of every little scrap of evidence he could examine from Takeda Sokaku's wake, then is there really some super-secret Asia-wide martial arts club O'Sensei got inducted into that he's trying to display membership in, especially given what we know about the animosity between the Chinese and Japanese at this time? Maybe he could be showing off to his Japanese contemporaries, but wouldn't it be rather doubtful he had any real focus on people or concepts outside of his local Japanese sphere? The fact that the Japanese sources from which O'Sensei learned may have historically derived from Chinese ones in some vague capacity isn't really a very interesting hypothesis at this time given the divergent flavor of expression, and it doesn't seem there is any strongly plausible link by which O'Sensei got his methodology directly from Chinese sources.

HL1978
07-29-2011, 08:40 PM
I asked that question as you proposed in your first paragraph, about some teachers, not mine for he could.

Thats fine, I have no basis to judge your teacher.

I could also see the founder was a special guy xo comparing other teachers to him was a bit silly no?

Not really, some of his contempories had the same skills didn't they? In particular some of the other students of his teacher.

Now doing all sorts of wacky exercises that don't connect to waza? That's a false statement I'm afraid.

I'm referring to various warmup exercises, not particular waza. The warmups don't really look like the waza. I'm referring to funakogi undo, that spinning exercise, duck walking etc.

In the karate world, sanchin kata would be another example.

Your final point in that paragraph says you did various martial arts but couldn't effect them on ip guys. Now that could be an interesting point if you mean that on all other people you could.

I'm certainly not a superlative martial artist, but I've won tournaments in various martial arts and won a state championship in swimming. These guys could do something which required more than mere athleticism, waza, or size. Akuzawa tossing me 15 feet with only the only visible movement being a pinky finger, while a "parlour trick", couldnt be done with size, strength or timing. I outweigh the guy, tower over him, and he gave me as much time as I wanted to break his pinky finger.

Second paragraph says basically you did some Aikido but never met anyone like Ueshiba. Not surprising.

Yep, had hands on with hachidan level martial artists as well in various arts (kendo, iaido, karate etc). They don't move like him, or seem to understand what he was doing. See my comments on another thread about that.

On the otherhand, the people I have met in the IS/IP world do have some similarities in terms of movement, and can replicate the results on uncooperative people.

Finally why Aikido? Well the whole ip thing would fit most martial arts, especially ones with holds etc. wouldn't it?

Many other arts (say judo, BJJ, karate) are considered "martially viable" in competition, yet we hear stories about people who were unable to affect Ueshiba or stories about Sagawa tossing olympic judoka while in his 80s. Aiki apparently overcomes athleticism and technique. Modern aikido apparently can't overcome athleticism and technique.

So in conclusion, for those who never found the whys of basic exercises and their relationships to waza etc. then it would be useful up to a point, indeed for those it would be eye opening no doubt.

Regards G.

Well that brings us back to the whole hidden in plain sight thing doesn't it? The fact that people are replicating what was shown in the hombu dojo post war, yet aren't mini Ueshiba's would indicate a flaw in the process.

Ellis Amdur
07-29-2011, 08:44 PM
Lee Price - let me address the points you make, in turn:
1. I do not agree with you that "internal control" is a better term. First of all, it is yours, an innovation, rather than the traditional language that the Japanese used. (Nairiki, aiki, etc.). Secondly, a careful reading of what I just wrote states clearly that aikido IS a multi-faceted jewel, so to speak, and that is why I state that "aiki" alone is not aikido, but without aiki, there is no aikido: the moral endeavor of aikido, as well as its waza, requires power, so to speak. To bring someone to the church, you need some electricity (denki) to light up the cross.
2. I agree with you re the photo - the same applies to this one (http://www.artsmia.org/world-myths/viewallart/images/nio_detail.jpg). For most people, that those are the Buddhist sculptures at the entrance of the place of worship or tourism, for Akuzawa Minoru, they embody his endeavor. All I'm saying is that Ueshiba dropped a hint - and would be far more likely to teach someone the skills who actually paid clear attention to such hints. Or, put it another way, if I were studying with Mr. Akuzawa and he one day mused, "That picture of a nio-sama is really something, isn't it." Me? I would study it for days and weeks and start comparing what I saw in that picture with how Akuzawa moves, and try to embody that spirit in my own movement. And based on my experience with him, the degree to which I achieved that would have a direct result on what he'd teach me next.
3. Yes, the people such as Tohei, who went "outside" got "something." But people such as Shirata and Tomiki. Consider Kobayashi Hirokazu (http://www.aikido-kobayashi.org/) in Osaka, for example. His only teacher was Ueshiba, and there are accounts that he was another who had "got it." I dunno - never met the man, which I regret. But note the essay - I couldn't find the complete one in English, that references spirals controlled by tanden. As for Shioda asking questions of Horikawa, that's apparently, that's EXACTLY what he did - he brought the man to his own dojo and trained with him for two weeks - and one of several things happened. 1) It confirmed for him that Ueshiba taught him the real goods - that would be worth both time and money 2) he filled in one or more missing pieces (that would be worth time and money too) 3) he finally learned aiki, which Ueshiba hadn't taught him (and that would be worth time and money also) (honestly, I doubt the last, because how to explain Tomiki, Shirata and the like, and also and that Tenryu stated that Shioda was the closest to Ueshiba in skill. Now, let us take that last point for a moment though - whether Shioda learned to be closest to Ueshiba through Ueshiba or through Horikawa, he sure didn't look all that much like Ueshiba when he moved. So Tenryu was not talking about how he looked - he was talking about something else - something "internal," perhaps?
4. Lee, speaking as someone who trained with two traditional koryu teachers, you are incorrect regarding asking questions of one's teacher. One teacher in particular would take offense, at times, and then I'd ask again and he might get even more irriated - but later, often when intoxicated, he'd explain in detail what I asked. Other students never asked - guess who was taught in more depth? Sure, some traditional teachers in the old days might reply, "Idiot, shut up and train." BUT - were I that student, I would then watch very carefully what the teacher did next. In my experience, the answers were then presented, and when I could show THAT, I was ready to ask another question. The idea being, was I asking a question to fill the air, or did I really want to learn?
5. How about the idea of overcoming your teacher? There are two kinds of students: those who cannot conceive of overcoming their teacher, and those who can think of little else. Guess which ones get stronger? I studied one-on-one for many years with my Araki-ryu teacher. I was also training muay-thai and once time in a grappling clinch, I managed to get control of his head, and drove in three round house knees, which, had they fully landed (I pulled the blows, so I just thumped his brain a little) would have put him out. He stopped practice, said, "No one's ever done that to me before" (he beat the Japanese kick-boxing champion, Sawamura, in an in-house match once). Next week, we got in a clinch again, and I made my move, and just as I yanked his head, he cocked his hips, swept my standing foot before my knee connected and dropped me, punched me just hard enough in the head, and laughing, said, "Never twice, Ellis. Never twice." I trained 13 years at that level. The stronger I got, the stronger he got, and he liked me for the challenge.
6. Yeah, I know that there are a few remarkable martial artists, mostly unknown. Maybe, as you say, there are some unknown lights among the Japanese aikido community. I hope so. As for me, were I to study with one of them, I'd be focused on stealing everything he knew, I'd be thinking every day on how to beat him. Because I have direct experience with some teachers who reward the student who really wants to learn. If he didn't welcome that with respect and teaching, I'd walk away because every moment training would be a waste of time.

Yes, there are a lot of teachers - maybe most - like the one's you describe in your last paragraph - the swords have been thrown down, their students are hobbiests, etc. Given a chance to study piano with McCoy Tyner - or a lounge pianist, yes, most would prefer the latter, because the demands of truly learning what such a master knows would be too much. Maybe you'd have to walk away from your marriage, or at least cause it to suffer, because of the time demands. Maybe you couldn't take a job which would provide you with a nest egg for the future. But do you love the art enough to pay your dues, not take "no" for an answer, and as one Hassidic rabbi put it, "I didn't go to Lublin to hear the rabbi teach or listen to him pray. I went to watch him tie his shoes?" That's what it takes.
Ellis Amdur

Mike Sigman
07-29-2011, 08:53 PM
In other words, I strongly believe that the moral aims of aikido cannot fully be achieved without the internal strength training that Ueshiba emphasized. How can you be proud of releasing someone from jail if there were no bars in the first place?
Ellis Amdur
A number of years ago I pointed out that Aikido is basically a member of the Asian martial-arts that use jin/kokyu/qi/ki/hara/dantien anyway you look at it. The debate has gone from "no it's unique" to a gradual understanding that Aikido is a variation of an important theme that encompasses body and mental development.

I always remember discussing the martial-arts of Taiwan with a friend of mine. We talked about Cheng Man Ching, Hong Yixian, Wang Shujin, and others. My friend, who was Chinese and raised doing martial-arts on Taiwan, pointed out that the martial-arts and the martial-arts masters that westerners were focusing on were the ones who got the press and who were courting western students.... many other better and lesser-known martial-arts experts simply never got the press.

All sorts of special traits were attributed to the chosen arts and masters, yet there were better ones out there and the chosen arts only represented variations of known martial-arts principles.... principles which westerners believed represented unique, almost magical ideals. I think pretty much the same thing goes on with most Asian martial arts, koryu, etc., when westerners are involved. Instead of a focus on the underlying and truly engrossing principles, everyone tends to go to "my art" or "my teacher" or "my exalted degrees". It becomes a study in psychology (witness some of the posts done in the name of 'oh look at me and my spiritually-chosen art).

What I'm saying about Ueshiba is along the same line as the Taiwan story.... he got some good press, but in reality what he was doing was just part of the same general principles. The fact that Ikeda, for instance, was working with a karate teacher (Ushiro) on kokyu should be an indicator that what I'm saying is not only true, but generally accepted by people who know a little bit (or more than a little bit, like Ikeda and most knowledgeable Asians). And the same thing is true of Takeda and many others.... no matter how special people would like to make them, they simply represents exponents of the general principles, etc., that everyone acknowledges in the front of their "secret manuscripts".

The real problem is that despite having been paying dojo dues for years and reading all the books and articles, most westerners seem to miss the larger picture and focus in one the chosen areas of the portrait that entice them. Yet to do that is to miss the whole point of the Tao.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Ellis Amdur
07-29-2011, 08:56 PM
Lee Salzman -
Mike, wouldn't that actually detract significantly from Ellis' points in the OP? If what O'Sensei knew he got by painstaking research of every little scrap of evidence he could examine from Takeda Sokaku's wake, then is there really some super-secret Asia-wide martial arts club O'Sensei got inducted into that he's trying to display membership in, especially given what we know about the animosity between the Chinese and Japanese at this time? Maybe he could be showing off to his Japanese contemporaries, but wouldn't it be rather doubtful he had any real focus on people or concepts outside of his local Japanese sphere? The fact that the Japanese sources from which O'Sensei learned may have historically derived from Chinese ones in some vague capacity isn't really a very interesting hypothesis at this time given the divergent flavor of expression, and it doesn't seem there is any strongly plausible link by which O'Sensei got his methodology directly from Chinese sources.


ARGGGHHH - the Japanese term in In-yo. Everyone knows that it means yin-yang. Everyone knew what came from China. That old idea that Ueshiba independently got the goods from some Chinese martial art is done to death, and that's not what is being said. Merely that aiki, Daito-ryu, all the ryu owe this aspect of training in large part to a transmission of knowledge that goes back to continental asia which took place over many hundreds of years, from a variety of sources.

Mike is right that there is a recognizable core skill set. When Higoonna Morio traveled with Donn Draeger to Malaysia and demonstrated his Okinawan Goju-ryu to some top level Chinese martial artists, they said, in effect, "That's not karate. We've seen karate. You are doing what we do." And again, Okinawan Goju-ryu doesn't LOOK that much like Chinese martial arts, even the southern Shaolin from Fukien. But Higoonna sensei manifested enough of those core skills (IT) that what he did was different than the Japanese karate that the Chinese folks had previously seen.

Where I perhaps disagree with Mike (perhaps, I'm not sure) is that aikido as aikido has its own value. As does each and every martial art. Some may choose to quit training aikido and focus on either another martial art or simply IT training alone. That makes absolute sense. What if you want to stay within aikido and use IT to empower it - just like Ueshiba Morihei did?

Personally, I am training in IT methods to fuel my martial arts practice, be it Araki-ryu, Toda-ha Buko-ryu and even BJJ. All are becoming markedly more powerful, clearly better - without changing the external form in the slightest.

I'm actually working on an essay regarding aiki/IT training alone verses aiki/IT for aikido. Does aikido waza get in the way of training aiki? Can/should be just stop doing aikido waza? What becomes of one's aikido if one actually trains in aiki? Etc. Probably be finished in a few weeks.

Mike Sigman
07-29-2011, 09:08 PM
2. I agree with you re the photo - the same applies to this one (http://www.artsmia.org/world-myths/viewallart/images/nio_detail.jpg). For most people, that those are the Buddhist sculptures at the entrance of the place of worship or tourism, for Akuzawa Minoru, they embody his endeavor. All I'm saying is that Ueshiba dropped a hint - and would be far more likely to teach someone the skills who actually paid clear attention to such hints. Or, put it another way, if I were studying with Mr. Akuzawa and he one day mused, "That picture of a nio-sama is really something, isn't it."

That picture of the Kongorishiki statues is basically the inhale and the exhale that uses the body for the power of the qi (not necessarily the jin/kokyu). It is, for all intents and purposes, the same inhale and exhale of the breathing exercises that Ueshiba and Tohei taught. All these things are one thing.

Note that the Kongorishiki statues were common in India, China, and Japan. The original god from whom the statue was developed was a Hindu god... yet the statue came via Buddhism. All of these studies of the body are ancient and have been highlighted for thousands of years. The fact that O-Sensei was promulgating the same principles indicates not a uniqueness, but a carrying forward of ancient tradition.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Ellis Amdur
07-29-2011, 09:38 PM
The fact that O-Sensei was promulgating the same principles indicates not a uniqueness, but a carrying forward of ancient tradition.

Yep. What's unique is not aiki: it is aikido.

Or put another way - What is unique is not ice cream. What is unique is Seattle's Molly Moon's (http://www.mollymoonicecream.com/) salted caramel ice cream. (If some religion ever offers that as a reward in Heaven, I'm converting - oh my God).

Ellis Amdur

Mike Sigman
07-29-2011, 09:40 PM
Yep. What's unique is not aiki: it is aikido.

Or put another way - What is unique is not ice cream. What is unique is Seattle's Molly Moon's (http://www.mollymoonicecream.com/) salted caramel ice cream. (If some religion ever offers that as a reward in Heaven, I'm converting - oh my God).

Ellis AmdurI am defeated in the reality of your power with words. I bow to you. ;)

M.

wxyzabc
07-29-2011, 10:12 PM
Hya Eliis

Thanks for taking the time to respond. We are in total agreement on many things for sure. This is not an attack on anything/anyone I'm just trying to show a balanced view through my own experience/ perspective within aikido..only that. I may be wrong...it's very rare that anyone is continously right :) people often veer to one side of the scale even if they dont mean too.

Quote "I do not agree with you that "internal control" is a better term. First of all, it is yours, an innovation, rather than the traditional language that the Japanese used. (Nairiki, aiki, etc.)"

So what do the words Nairiki, aiki mean? and how could you translate them into English?...do they = power? do they = internal power?
Without a clear definition, everyone can select the best phrase for their own language...what do we aikido people think is the best phrase that people with no understanding... can understand without mental blocks against..lets say negative words/connotations?. To be fair not everyone here is using the word "aiki". Is it even important?

Quote "Secondly, a careful reading of what I just wrote states clearly that aikido IS a multi-faceted jewel, so to speak, and that is why I state that "aiki" alone is not aikido, but without aiki, there is no aikido"

Well there is and has been for sometime...it's just a different kind of aikido...that everyone can do. Is it Ueshiba's aikido...no..that much is clear. That aikido only exists in a few forgotton places these days perhaps. But as you yourself state it takes a certain kind of person/training/fanatism to even approach Ueshibas level. Do some of us try?..sure we do....do most..they probably can't for a whole host of reasons. Hence in a balanced world there is perhaps something for everyone...depending on what your needs are.

It's a great thing that the option/information is there for those that do want to climb to the heavens..so to speak. If you want to fight..then you probably wont be in any aikido...nb..Ueshiba caused damage outside of his dojo did he not?..was he practising his aikido at those times?. At a later date did he look back with regret? ...difficult questions to answer. Are the 10th dans also known to have broken bones etc? there are stages in anyones progress...for sure some will want follow some of those steps. Many will want/try to miss them for the very reasons stated above.

Quote "the moral endeavor of aikido, as well as its waza, requires power, so to speak. To bring someone to the church, you need some electricity (denki) to light up the cross."

what if the church goes to the people?..what is needed there? :)

Quote " Yes, the people such as Tohei, who went "outside" got "something." But people such as Shirata and Tomiki. Consider Kobayashi Hirokazu (http://www.aikido-kobayashi.org/) in Osaka, for example. His only teacher was Ueshiba, and there are accounts that he was another who had "got it."

Friends/uchi deshi training together?...some with special information from outside?...have you not considered that maybe there was some sharing/talking going on in closed circles when certain people started progressing beyond the norm? Is there anything that stops us thinking that Ueshiba didn't recommend certain people go elsewhere at certain times for more understanding..as Dan appears to do now? He was happy to promote those that did.

Quote "As for Shioda asking questions of Horikawa, that's apparently, that's EXACTLY what he did[/U] - he brought the man to his own dojo and trained with him for two weeks - and one of several things happened. 1) It confirmed for him that Ueshiba taught him the real goods - that would be worth both time and money 2) he filled in one or more missing pieces (that would be worth time and money too) 3) he finally learned aiki, which Ueshiba hadn't taught him (and that would be worth time and money also) (honestly, I doubt the last, because how to explain Tomiki, Shirata and the like, and also and that Tenryu stated that Shioda was the closest to Ueshiba in skill. Now, let us take that last point for a moment though - whether Shioda learned to be closest to Ueshiba through Ueshiba or through Horikawa, he sure didn't look all that much like Ueshiba when he moved. So Tenryu was not talking about how he looked - he was talking about something else - something "internal," perhaps?"

sure...the feeling is unmistakable..it's either there or it's not imho....though soft jujutsu can be veerryyy effective too :)

Quote "Lee, speaking as someone who trained with two traditional koryu teachers, you are incorrect regarding asking questions of one's teacher. One teacher in particular would take offense, at times, and then I'd ask again and he might get even more irriated - but later, often when intoxicated, he'd explain in detail what I asked. Other students never asked - guess who was taught in more depth? Sure, some traditional teachers in the old days might reply, "Idiot, shut up and train." BUT - were I that student, I would then watch very carefully what the teacher did next. In my experience, the answers were then presented, and when I could show THAT, I was ready to ask another question. The idea being, was I asking a question to fill the air, or did I really want to learn?"

Of course but are your two tradional koryu teachers aikido teachers? perhaps in other koryu there is a basic standard of information/information sharing? in aikido we know there was/is a huge range of ability/understanding....and willingness to share?

5. How about the idea of overcoming your teacher?

The whole Japanese hierarchial system would make that very difficult...those that excelled or exceeded would I feel be compelled/forced to leave. Unless you are training under an exceptional individual....perhaps very developed beyond the physical?

Kindest regards

Lee

Ellis Amdur
07-29-2011, 10:40 PM
Nai--riki - literally means "internal power." "Ai-ki" = well, here's the question, isn't it? I'm actually in a position to say something here, because Toda-ha Buko-ryu was using the term "aiki" many generations before Daito-ryu. Documented. In the meaning of the school, it mean, "harmonizing/fitting together energy/power." The nuance, however, was power between two players, and was specific to what you were studying in a remarkable configuration of kusarigama vs. naginata.

Takeda's innovation, I think - along with some others of the same period (see writings of E.J. Harrison) was the use of the term to describe harmonizing the forces within oneself (albeit, kiai has long had that meaning). Ueshiba's innovation was to make a moral claim along with this. Hence, his alleged outrage when Tohei, after a night of debauchery demonstrated what Ueshiba believed in his later years was a manifestation of spiritual power and purification (given that he'd long known of these skills among his Daito-ryu peers, I think it is possible that he was in his dotage at this point - in other words, a little senile).

As for Ueshiba Morihei's aikido, I've written that one can attain a level of brilliance without a study of aiki - in other words, consider, within the 2nd generation paradigm, Nishio Shoji. But I have little tolerance for either (and I'm not talking about you here, I'm talking about my own endeavor):
1. "How dare you criticize what I'm doing by pointing out there is more - much more - and that the founder of the art I practice thought so too."
2. That my writing (and other's presentation) about said possibilities is an insult to those people whose interest is less than the pinnacle of the art.

The problem, as far as I'm concerned, when "the church goes to the people" is that it's usually watered down in the process.

Sure, maybe Ueshiba recommended people go "outside." He clearly didn't mind when they did. Terry Dobson started studying with Wang Shu Chin, and the other uchi-deshi were furious - accused him of betraying O-sensei, and so complained to the old man. Ueshiba said, basically, "I don't care." When further berated, Terry replied, "You just want to be Osensei's best deshi. I want to be Osensei."

Finally, the overcoming. Why would a man waste time with a teacher so small that he was threatened when his student became strong? Sure, they exist all over the place. Such father's exist too. I'm proud of the fact that I would never dare get in the ring to spar with my pro-boxer son. I so devoutly hope my students surpass me. But I will set the bar as high as I humanly can. They will have to stretch their sinews to the breaking point to catch me. And fwiw - in my experience, I knew lots of such teachers, in both koryu and in aikido in Japan. The others - the little ones - I didn't and don't even include in my definition of what is fully human.

Mike Sigman
07-30-2011, 01:42 AM
Nai--riki - literally means "internal power." "Ai-ki" = well, here's the question, isn't it? I'm actually in a position to say something here, because Toda-ha Buko-ryu was using the term "aiki" many generations before Daito-ryu. Documented. In the meaning of the school, it mean, "harmonizing/fitting together energy/power." The nuance, however, was power between two players, and was specific to what you were studying in a remarkable configuration of kusarigama vs. naginata. Uh oh... I don't like the way those words are strung together, Ellis.... too coincidentally similar and in a cause-and-effect world I distrust coincidence. Add to that the fact that what we're calling "Aiki" ("He Qi" in Chinese) was known long, long ago in China and there's a good chance that it made it's way to Japan long ago, too. NOT that just because a person studied one of the arts with "Aiki" they'd know what "aiki" really is (how many existing people in Aikido really know?).

What I'm getting at, as one of many possibilities, is that Takeda et al were simply carrying forward something that was honestly known for a long time and the current "histories" simply don't have enough detail to make that clear.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Ellis Amdur
07-30-2011, 02:07 AM
What I'm getting at, as one of many possibilities, is that Takeda et al were simply carrying forward something that was honestly known for a long time and the current "histories" simply don't have enough detail to make that clear.

Mike - I agree. I wrote a book with that point, remember?

What I wrote about Toda-ha Buko-ryu having a patent on the word was tongue-in-cheek - at least in so far as it having imprimature. Just having fun claiming that because the word was used in an older context, it and I must have more validity. ;)

E

Mike Sigman
07-30-2011, 02:31 AM
What I wrote about Toda-ha Buko-ryu having a patent on the word was tongue-in-cheek - True Toda-ha Buko-ryu does not use tongue-in-cheek because it is not really Aiki.
:dead:

graham christian
07-30-2011, 12:19 PM
Thats fine, I have no basis to judge your teacher.

Not really, some of his contempories had the same skills didn't they? In particular some of the other students of his teacher.

I'm referring to various warmup exercises, not particular waza. The warmups don't really look like the waza. I'm referring to funakogi undo, that spinning exercise, duck walking etc.

In the karate world, sanchin kata would be another example.

I'm certainly not a superlative martial artist, but I've won tournaments in various martial arts and won a state championship in swimming. These guys could do something which required more than mere athleticism, waza, or size. Akuzawa tossing me 15 feet with only the only visible movement being a pinky finger, while a "parlour trick", couldnt be done with size, strength or timing. I outweigh the guy, tower over him, and he gave me as much time as I wanted to break his pinky finger.

Yep, had hands on with hachidan level martial artists as well in various arts (kendo, iaido, karate etc). They don't move like him, or seem to understand what he was doing. See my comments on another thread about that.

On the otherhand, the people I have met in the IS/IP world do have some similarities in terms of movement, and can replicate the results on uncooperative people.

Many other arts (say judo, BJJ, karate) are considered "martially viable" in competition, yet we hear stories about people who were unable to affect Ueshiba or stories about Sagawa tossing olympic judoka while in his 80s. Aiki apparently overcomes athleticism and technique. Modern aikido apparently can't overcome athleticism and technique.

Well that brings us back to the whole hidden in plain sight thing doesn't it? The fact that people are replicating what was shown in the hombu dojo post war, yet aren't mini Ueshiba's would indicate a flaw in the process.

Hi Hunter.
Thanks for the reply.

May I say that the basic exercises do relate to waza and Aikido.

The failure to see this thus obviously leads to false statements. For example funakogi undo, tai sabake, ikkyo, as warmup exercises. Many don't see the connection but that's because they haven't progressed far enough. That's all. In my experience they haven't been taught the correct why's of those exercises in the first place.

I don't think any of his contemporaries had comparable skill at all. So we'll agree to disagree there.

There have been in the annuls of time many 'internal' ways of overcoming athleticism and size. What's new?

I reckon nearly all past great martial artists got drawn to these things and experimented with them and no doubt found some usage and incorporation for some aspects. Again, what's new about that?

This is the whole reason why I believe people think 'Aha, that's what O'Sensei was doing and hinting at'

I agree that it's normal for people to do this as they haven't explored that area, no different to the whole history of martial arts.

However I differ in respect that I say that is not Aikido or rather that is not O'Senseis Aikido. It can make people see and feel and know there is more to Aikido than they previously thought. That's all good. But that's still way behind what he was doing in my opinion.

Regards.G.

Marc Abrams
07-30-2011, 04:05 PM
What if the problem that we are exploring is directly related to teaching methodology? If we look at the large number of people who took instruction from Takeda Sensei and then look at the number of people who actually got the "Aiki" skills from him, the number is very, very low. Takeda Sensei was O'Sensei's biggest influence and Aikido clearly came from Daito Ryu.

We have countless interviews of people talking about how difficult it was to understand what O'Sensei was doing and saying. We have such a wide range of "interpretations" on what O'Sensei was saying and doing. Clearly, O'Sensei was a remarkable martial artist who did get what Takeda Sensei was doing. I think that it also quite apparent to say that he was not effective in teaching his knowledge and skill set.

If O'Sensei was waiting for people to ask the "right" questions in order to move forward in their training AND the students were not asking the "right" questions, then at what point did O'Sensei have some responsibility to see to it that the transmission of knowledge did take place?

Put yourself in the position of teaching at a university level (or think back to your experiences with your professors). If a gross majority of the students are not getting the material, it is the fault of the professor for not teaching in an effective manner. Effective teaching methodologies are necessary in order to be successful at teaching information to students.

I think that informed people can agree that O'Sensei did not do a good job in conveying the necessary information that should have been passed on. I think that the same can be said for Takeda Sensei. I think that is why people are struggling mightily to "rediscover" the "Aiki" and put it back in it's rightful place in Aikido. To me, we face two big challenges. One, is to put the "Aiki" back into Aikido so that it more accurately represents that what was being done by O'Sensei. Second, and more important, is that we need to develop more effective teaching methodologies that are successful in teaching Aikido (after the Aiki has been put back in).

Marc Abrams

jester
07-30-2011, 06:52 PM
On page 45 of HIPS, there is a picture of Hisa Takuma doing a dramatic version of the same thing.

Found the answer, never mind!

-

graham christian
07-30-2011, 07:07 PM
Teaching method. Ah, a valid point. Sounds reasonable.

First I think it's necessary to understand why a person would teach in such a way. As yet I have failed to see many who understand.

It seems so logical to say that a teacher should explain in such a way that the majority get it or should structure it in such a way.

in fact that's the basic premise of schooling and the education system is it not?

So back to why a person would teach in such a way.

To find the answer we must first stop putting down the teacher and assume such a teacher had a valid reason. Then and only then can we investigate from a different starting view.

Most reasons I see given are from a 'paranoid' view, a negative view ie: That the teacher was hiding something or keeping things secret etc. In other words they are saying he was a con man and thereafter go on a mission to find the secrets.

Now if you start from the view he was a compassionate sharing person, an enlightened person then you would have to face up to the fact that he would have a different problem in teaching.

How to get students who are so used to thinking in a certain way to see yet alone believe what you are constantly saying.

For you would see one major factor that most wouldn't want to confront. Time.

From where they are currently at to where they want to be.

When you tell them about love they run a mile or see no connection to martial arts. Oh dear, more time.

So where does this happen in the past?

Well we would have to look for enlightened individuals who spoke of love and compassion and universal harmony and such things and then see the problems they had in getting others to understand and apply those things.

Take Buddha or Jesus or Ghandi or Martin luther King or whoever and you will see lots taking to what was said but when it comes to following what was said is a different story. Thus you gey buddhists and christians and whoever fighting and killing in the name of that religion and person who in fact said the opposite. Even rules were put down to follow.

Thus a teacher may have to wait until he finds some who understand for one person who can understand or have a chance of understanding is better than a thousand numb-sculls who will just revert to the old ways.

One quality motion is worth a thousand 'correct' techniques.

One quality is worth a million qantity.

Regards.G.

Aikibu
07-30-2011, 08:05 PM
Been gone a while and now I am back YAY! :) All I can say is any discussion thread with Ellis is one I always read. :)

Thanks Sensei! :)

William Hazen

RonRagusa
07-30-2011, 10:19 PM
What if the problem that we are exploring is directly related to teaching methodology? If we look at the large number of people who took instruction from Takeda Sensei and then look at the number of people who actually got the "Aiki" skills from him, the number is very, very low...

We have countless interviews of people talking about how difficult it was to understand what O'Sensei was doing and saying... I think that it also quite apparent to say that he was not effective in teaching his knowledge and skill set.

Hi Marc -

You are assuming that both Takeda and O Sensei were trying to transmit their skill sets and that they failed in a large part because they were not very effective teachers. Is it not possible that they both had no intention of spoon feeding their students the information, preferring instead to provide only hints and sign posts and let those students who were able find their own ways?

If O'Sensei was waiting for people to ask the "right" questions in order to move forward in their training AND the students were not asking the "right" questions, then at what point did O'Sensei have some responsibility to see to it that the transmission of knowledge did take place?

Good question. Doesn't the answer depend on the nature of the "contract" entered into by both student and teacher?

Put yourself in the position of teaching at a university level (or think back to your experiences with your professors). If a gross majority of the students are not getting the material, it is the fault of the professor for not teaching in an effective manner. Effective teaching methodologies are necessary in order to be successful at teaching information to students.

Apples and oranges comparison unless students expectations and teachers goals coincide. That is, did Takeda and O Sensei have the same goals as your average college professor and did their students have the same expectations as a typical college student?

I think that is why people are struggling mightily to "rediscover" the "Aiki" and put it back in it's rightful place in Aikido.

Which may turn out to be the point of the whole exercise. The students of Takeda and O Sensei struggled to get "it" and apparently were not given the whole ball of wax on purpose. Is it possible that there is value and something profound to be learned from the struggle after all?

Just wondering.

Ron

David Orange
07-30-2011, 10:27 PM
What if the problem that we are exploring is directly related to teaching methodology? If we look at the large number of people who took instruction from Takeda Sensei and then look at the number of people who actually got the "Aiki" skills from him, the number is very, very low. Takeda Sensei was O'Sensei's biggest influence and Aikido clearly came from Daito Ryu.

Well put, Marc.

We have countless interviews of people talking about how difficult it was to understand what O'Sensei was doing and saying. We have such a wide range of "interpretations" on what O'Sensei was saying and doing. Clearly, O'Sensei was a remarkable martial artist who did get what Takeda Sensei was doing. I think that it also quite apparent to say that he was not effective in teaching his knowledge and skill set.

Unless his aim was not to disseminate this knowledge widely. I can appreciate the perspective that it only passes to a deeply perceptive type of person even though that means that I would never have glimpsed this way at all. I saw all the waza at Mochizuki Sensei's dojo and even felt really strange power from time to time, I came away without a hint of the source of that power except that it would be achieved through Herculean (or Ueshiban) labor at the techniques of the visible art. When the samurai knew a secret, they really kept it secret...Hidden in Plain Sight, Indeed.

If O'Sensei was waiting for people to ask the "right" questions in order to move forward in their training AND the students were not asking the "right" questions, then at what point did O'Sensei have some responsibility to see to it that the transmission of knowledge did take place?

I think that under samurai heritage, he had no such responsibility. I usually felt the "strange power" mostly from Murai Sensei, who was the tiniest person at the yoseikan and trained with Ueshiba and Mochizuki at the old-days yoseikan. He used to laugh at me all the time and I really loved to train with him. But he was just a fantastic polishing of the type of thing that some other very small people around there had. I could only understand it as waza and now I hit the wall where waza was concerned. I saw the edge of the universe, where waza runs out against the inevitable decline of athleticism, and I had nothing to fall back on. I think the samurai ethic was to have compassion for me by accepting me as I was, not subtle enough to perceive the underlying power....and therefore not needing it for the particular problem I was working out.

Put yourself in the position of teaching at a university level (or think back to your experiences with your professors). If a gross majority of the students are not getting the material, it is the fault of the professor for not teaching in an effective manner. Effective teaching methodologies are necessary in order to be successful at teaching information to students.

Well, now I'm thinking that Morihei didn't intend to teach the core to everyone. He taught the very few who could perceive and seize it without being told that it was there. The rest got waza and an "art" that represents the secret like a Bob Ross painting represents a snow-covered mountain where a nice little tree lives, or a beach where the sun shines through a breaking wave, just so...nice forms and images, but formulaic and imagistic....finally unreal....

So what Morihei left was not an art, but a mystery. And it looks like, these days, the mystery has begun to absorb more and more people: how could Morihei have developed his strange power when the art based on his living ability does not produce that power in many...maybe any....who train in it...

So is there maybe something deeper that has been left out of the "art"?

I believed for a long time that the whole answer was that the "art" was taught backward, from the waza to the the self. And now I see that that is true, but some of the waza don't even lend themselves to every person. And meanwhile...there is some non-waza teaching, based on some specific principles and skills that Ueshiba demonstrated....coming available from the Chinese side through Mike Sigman as well as from daito ryu through Dan Harden and dr/koryu from Minoru Akuzawa (Ark).

So after all the beating I have taken...I decided to check these guys out. The beginning of wisdom.

I guess the old saying is "when the student is ready, the teacher presents himself." And the subject matter comes with the teacher.

I think that informed people can agree that O'Sensei did not do a good job in conveying the necessary information that should have been passed on.

Certainly, he didn't explicitly pass on all the information he could have, but I think he realized that not everyone should be privy to that kind of power. Maybe it was his experience with the Imperial Naval Academy that made him realize that maybe some people should never find out just how much power you can generate inside the self.

I think that the same can be said for Takeda Sensei.

And I think he saw even more than Ueshiba that some people must never be allowed to understand certain types of power. And I think he passed the essence only to certain people he really loved. I think this comes from his experience of childhood abuse at the hands of his father and that that extremity was fed by his experience on battlefields as a child and in real sword fights as a young man. They really could not afford to let anyone understand what they were doing in those days.

But what he did teach was "mystery": that there was something there that waza did not account for.

I think that is why people are struggling mightily to "rediscover" the "Aiki" and put it back in it's rightful place in Aikido.

Which means that Morihei and Sokaku were actually fantastic teachers. They left this shell of an "art" of people imitating their movement, which would leave the next generation wondering "What was the difference?" "What is the missing element?"

Of course, only really sharp thinkers like Ellis, Mike and Dan dug this without someone spoon-feeding it to them. I have benefitted from their near spoon-feeding to the readers of aikiweb and other forums for the past six or seven years that I've been paying attention to them.

To me, we face two big challenges. One, is to put the "Aiki" back into Aikido so that it more accurately represents that what was being done by O'Sensei. Second, and more important, is that we need to develop more effective teaching methodologies that are successful in teaching Aikido (after the Aiki has been put back in).

I guess that's true. I'm constantly drafting outlines of my evolving understanding of IP, but more than making a teaching method for others, I just want to take hold of aiki for myself and fully experience it. Maybe I need more spoon-feeding....or maybe I need to become more subtle....

My current position in life seems to favor becoming more subtle.

Thanks for your help in that.

Best to you.

David

Mike Sigman
07-30-2011, 11:05 PM
Unless his aim was not to disseminate this knowledge widely. I can appreciate the perspective that it only passes to a deeply perceptive type of person even though that means that I would never have glimpsed this way at all. I saw all the waza at Mochizuki Sensei's dojo and even felt really strange power from time to time, I came away without a hint of the source of that power except that it would be achieved through Herculean (or Ueshiban) labor at the techniques of the visible art. When the samurai knew a secret, they really kept it secret...Hidden in Plain Sight, Indeed.

I dunno.... I think the biggest impediment to beginning internal strength is learning to move in a way that is not intuitive, a way that is different from the way you have moved all of your life.

And say that someone gets some basic jin.... from there on, without a good teacher of someone showing the way, they tend to stop at different levels of controls and results. There are a lot of people on this forum that are doing a number of different things that they're calling jin/kokyu. That's why the topic needs to be so thoroughly explored at first. Anyone who can't do basic jin/kokyu well or purely cannot logically be doing techniques with 'internal strength'. They wind up doing 'muscle jin'. Strong, but ot really internal strength. There's a lot to internal strength.... if the basics aren't done correctly then the high spots (which have never been discussed on this forum) can't be reached.

So what it all boils back down to that question I often ask about how much of the total Takeda or Ueshiba knew .... how much they knew has an effect on what got transmitted downhill and also exactly how the art is defined in terms of body skills.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Budd
07-30-2011, 11:27 PM
I'm actually working on an essay regarding aiki/IT training alone verses aiki/IT for aikido. Does aikido waza get in the way of training aiki? Can/should be just stop doing aikido waza? What becomes of one's aikido if one actually trains in aiki? Etc. Probably be finished in a few weeks.

I'll be very interested to read this - especially given that I've spent over a year mostly working on just aiki/IT training while being a tourist at various gyms/schools (MMA/fencing/BJJ) and taking a sabbatical from aiki-do training other than to work on your fundamental vectors/shapes (ikkyoku through gokyoku) as part of my basic means for expressing aiki.

At this point I'm sort of interested in doing aiki-do again, whether it means I start my own study group or go hide amongst some other school, I'm not sure, yet. But I'm leaning towards the former.

Anyways, looking forward to the essay.

Best/Budd

Marc Abrams
07-31-2011, 09:35 AM
Well put, Marc.

Unless his aim was not to disseminate this knowledge widely. I can appreciate the perspective that it only passes to a deeply perceptive type of person even though that means that I would never have glimpsed this way at all. I saw all the waza at Mochizuki Sensei's dojo and even felt really strange power from time to time, I came away without a hint of the source of that power except that it would be achieved through Herculean (or Ueshiban) labor at the techniques of the visible art. When the samurai knew a secret, they really kept it secret...Hidden in Plain Sight, Indeed.

I think that under samurai heritage, he had no such responsibility. I usually felt the "strange power" mostly from Murai Sensei, who was the tiniest person at the yoseikan and trained with Ueshiba and Mochizuki at the old-days yoseikan. He used to laugh at me all the time and I really loved to train with him. But he was just a fantastic polishing of the type of thing that some other very small people around there had. I could only understand it as waza and now I hit the wall where waza was concerned. I saw the edge of the universe, where waza runs out against the inevitable decline of athleticism, and I had nothing to fall back on. I think the samurai ethic was to have compassion for me by accepting me as I was, not subtle enough to perceive the underlying power....and therefore not needing it for the particular problem I was working out.

Well, now I'm thinking that Morihei didn't intend to teach the core to everyone. He taught the very few who could perceive and seize it without being told that it was there. The rest got waza and an "art" that represents the secret like a Bob Ross painting represents a snow-covered mountain where a nice little tree lives, or a beach where the sun shines through a breaking wave, just so...nice forms and images, but formulaic and imagistic....finally unreal....

So what Morihei left was not an art, but a mystery. And it looks like, these days, the mystery has begun to absorb more and more people: how could Morihei have developed his strange power when the art based on his living ability does not produce that power in many...maybe any....who train in it...

So is there maybe something deeper that has been left out of the "art"?

I believed for a long time that the whole answer was that the "art" was taught backward, from the waza to the the self. And now I see that that is true, but some of the waza don't even lend themselves to every person. And meanwhile...there is some non-waza teaching, based on some specific principles and skills that Ueshiba demonstrated....coming available from the Chinese side through Mike Sigman as well as from daito ryu through Dan Harden and dr/koryu from Minoru Akuzawa (Ark).

So after all the beating I have taken...I decided to check these guys out. The beginning of wisdom.

I guess the old saying is "when the student is ready, the teacher presents himself." And the subject matter comes with the teacher.

Certainly, he didn't explicitly pass on all the information he could have, but I think he realized that not everyone should be privy to that kind of power. Maybe it was his experience with the Imperial Naval Academy that made him realize that maybe some people should never find out just how much power you can generate inside the self.

And I think he saw even more than Ueshiba that some people must never be allowed to understand certain types of power. And I think he passed the essence only to certain people he really loved. I think this comes from his experience of childhood abuse at the hands of his father and that that extremity was fed by his experience on battlefields as a child and in real sword fights as a young man. They really could not afford to let anyone understand what they were doing in those days.

But what he did teach was "mystery": that there was something there that waza did not account for.

Which means that Morihei and Sokaku were actually fantastic teachers. They left this shell of an "art" of people imitating their movement, which would leave the next generation wondering "What was the difference?" "What is the missing element?"

Of course, only really sharp thinkers like Ellis, Mike and Dan dug this without someone spoon-feeding it to them. I have benefitted from their near spoon-feeding to the readers of aikiweb and other forums for the past six or seven years that I've been paying attention to them.

I guess that's true. I'm constantly drafting outlines of my evolving understanding of IP, but more than making a teaching method for others, I just want to take hold of aiki for myself and fully experience it. Maybe I need more spoon-feeding....or maybe I need to become more subtle....

My current position in life seems to favor becoming more subtle.

Thanks for your help in that.

Best to you.

David

David:

I understand the mindset of the teachers from that time period and could appreciate that position as reflective of an integral part of that time period. However, there were some notable changes that put the "old ways" to the test.

Traditional martial teachings were done on a much, much smaller scale and typically within one community. It was almost like a re-created family system where the "children" spent a substantial part of any day with the "parent" learning all sorts of lessons. there were oaths and secret teachings that only certain people seem to get.

Takeda Sensei traveled most of the time, teaching from one place to the next, while teaching a very large number of people things. This situation was a game-changer in my mind that made the old teaching paradigm not really effective. Add to that Sagawa Sensei's message in the book "Transparent Power" about hiding the "Aiki" teachings.

O'Sensei allowed (or his son- depending upon who you speak to) the teaching of Aikido to reach an international audience. It seems to me that O'Sensei's teaching style was not that different than that of his teachers. This would them compound the transmission problems.

The deshi and later, junior instructors, seemed to work very, very hard at trying to learn what O'Sensei was doing. These were a bunch of very, very intense, motivated, hard-working people who really wanted to learn. If so few of them seemed to get a "majority" of the teaching, then this model is destined for failure as the teaching of Aikido expands throughout the world.

We all work very hard at trying to get what we can from our teachers. We all struggle hard at trying to discover how to get the "goods." None of us want or expect to be spoon-fed the "stuff." However, I think that if we step back and look at the large scale model of Aikido today, we should be forced to find a better way to learn and teach Aikido. I do not think that the percentages of the people who actually get most/all of the "stuff" will change greatly. Statistics rarely lie (only the people who use them do that). We should be trying to fix the part of the transmission model that does not work on the scale that Aikido does today, while preserving those aspects that are beneficial.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

MM
07-31-2011, 11:19 AM
David:

I understand the mindset of the teachers from that time period and could appreciate that position as reflective of an integral part of that time period. However, there were some notable changes that put the "old ways" to the test.

Traditional martial teachings were done on a much, much smaller scale and typically within one community. It was almost like a re-created family system where the "children" spent a substantial part of any day with the "parent" learning all sorts of lessons. there were oaths and secret teachings that only certain people seem to get.

Takeda Sensei traveled most of the time, teaching from one place to the next, while teaching a very large number of people things. This situation was a game-changer in my mind that made the old teaching paradigm not really effective. Add to that Sagawa Sensei's message in the book "Transparent Power" about hiding the "Aiki" teachings.

O'Sensei allowed (or his son- depending upon who you speak to) the teaching of Aikido to reach an international audience. It seems to me that O'Sensei's teaching style was not that different than that of his teachers. This would them compound the transmission problems.

The deshi and later, junior instructors, seemed to work very, very hard at trying to learn what O'Sensei was doing. These were a bunch of very, very intense, motivated, hard-working people who really wanted to learn. If so few of them seemed to get a "majority" of the teaching, then this model is destined for failure as the teaching of Aikido expands throughout the world.

We all work very hard at trying to get what we can from our teachers. We all struggle hard at trying to discover how to get the "goods." None of us want or expect to be spoon-fed the "stuff." However, I think that if we step back and look at the large scale model of Aikido today, we should be forced to find a better way to learn and teach Aikido. I do not think that the percentages of the people who actually get most/all of the "stuff" will change greatly. Statistics rarely lie (only the people who use them do that). We should be trying to fix the part of the transmission model that does not work on the scale that Aikido does today, while preserving those aspects that are beneficial.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Hi Marc,
If we look at some historical information, a few things sort of stand out as peculiar.

First, Takeda taught several people aiki. Most notably:
Taiso and Horikawa Kodo
Nenokichi and Yukiyoshi Sagawa
Yoshida Kotaro
Morihei Ueshiba
Takuma Hisa

Takeda had a verified teaching ability and had verified students who "got" aiki. I don't much care how many he taught. If he produced one student, that can be an exception, but to produce at least 7 means he had a definite teaching style or syllabus for transmitting aiki.

Then, we read this little gem from Transparent Power by Tatsuo Kimura.

"The elder Sagawa, who sometimes had a fiery temper, would take what he learned from Takeda and try it out on strong and mean-looking construction workers he came across. He quickly realized that if you lacked the sort of aiki that Sokaku Takeda possessed, none of the techniques would work against a persistent opponent. So Sagawa's father said to Takeda, "I'm already so old, I think it would be better if you'd teach me Aiki instead of techniques."

This is most likely *before* Takeda started training Ueshiba. Takeda had already split his teaching into two groups: techniques and aiki. He had a teaching methodology for both. He had a methodology for teaching aiki that could definitely be passed down to his students because ...

Sagawa created Kimura
Kodo created Okamoto and another.
Ueshiba gave something to Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata, etc.

The one, critical problem with Ueshiba versus the rest of his peers is Ueshiba's spirituality. He hid all this "hidden in plain sight" stuff in esoteric terms most of the time. So much so that his students naturally ignored him when he was talking.

Robert Frager notes, I puzzled over statements like, "When you practice Aikido, you stand on the floating bridge between heaven and earth," and "Put the Shinto Goddess 'She-who-invites' in your left foot and the God 'He-who-approaches' in your right foot."

Mochizuki goes on to say that Ueshiba wouldn't explain but would rather say it came from God.

Yada yada yada...

And you have to remember that Sokaku Takeda was the mother of all badness. These were his students, not his peers. So when Takeda said don't teach the secret of aiki but to one or two, those students listened.

If Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba had wanted to, they could have created as many students of aiki as they wanted. Takeda created at least 7. 7 people went through training, sometimes alone, sometimes together, and they knew the teaching methodology. I believe they knew what to teach and how to teach to create aiki.

But, we're getting off topic here ...

Marc Abrams
07-31-2011, 04:00 PM
Hi Marc,
If we look at some historical information, a few things sort of stand out as peculiar.

First, Takeda taught several people aiki. Most notably:
Taiso and Horikawa Kodo
Nenokichi and Yukiyoshi Sagawa
Yoshida Kotaro
Morihei Ueshiba
Takuma Hisa

Takeda had a verified teaching ability and had verified students who "got" aiki. I don't much care how many he taught. If he produced one student, that can be an exception, but to produce at least 7 means he had a definite teaching style or syllabus for transmitting aiki.

Then, we read this little gem from Transparent Power by Tatsuo Kimura.

"The elder Sagawa, who sometimes had a fiery temper, would take what he learned from Takeda and try it out on strong and mean-looking construction workers he came across. He quickly realized that if you lacked the sort of aiki that Sokaku Takeda possessed, none of the techniques would work against a persistent opponent. So Sagawa's father said to Takeda, "I'm already so old, I think it would be better if you'd teach me Aiki instead of techniques."

This is most likely *before* Takeda started training Ueshiba. Takeda had already split his teaching into two groups: techniques and aiki. He had a teaching methodology for both. He had a methodology for teaching aiki that could definitely be passed down to his students because ...

Sagawa created Kimura
Kodo created Okamoto and another.
Ueshiba gave something to Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata, etc.

The one, critical problem with Ueshiba versus the rest of his peers is Ueshiba's spirituality. He hid all this "hidden in plain sight" stuff in esoteric terms most of the time. So much so that his students naturally ignored him when he was talking.

Robert Frager notes, I puzzled over statements like, "When you practice Aikido, you stand on the floating bridge between heaven and earth," and "Put the Shinto Goddess 'She-who-invites' in your left foot and the God 'He-who-approaches' in your right foot."

Mochizuki goes on to say that Ueshiba wouldn't explain but would rather say it came from God.

Yada yada yada...

And you have to remember that Sokaku Takeda was the mother of all badness. These were his students, not his peers. So when Takeda said don't teach the secret of aiki but to one or two, those students listened.

If Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba had wanted to, they could have created as many students of aiki as they wanted. Takeda created at least 7. 7 people went through training, sometimes alone, sometimes together, and they knew the teaching methodology. I believe they knew what to teach and how to teach to create aiki.

But, we're getting off topic here ...

Mark:

I do not consider this off topic at all. With all of the people that Takeda Sensei taught, he only gave "Aiki" to 7 people! If Sagawa, Kodo and Ueshiba Sensei wanted to create as many aiki students as they wanted to and did not do, then why? If Aikido was suppose to be spread to the world with "Aiki" missing then why?

I tend to take a more benign explanation of them being "stuck" within a teaching style and paradigm that did not bode well for large scale dissemination of the the core of the art. I would be curious to hear Ellis Amdur's take on this.

Marc Abrams

Ellis Amdur
07-31-2011, 04:30 PM
Takeda Sokaku - well, we have to start with Takeda Sokaku's character: the profoundly impaired ability to attach, and further, to "settle." He did not keep on the move to "feed his family." Tokimune's own account describes long periods where he sent no money home, not even a letter. Takeda was simultaneously something "new," in the way he taught, but also something profoundly old - the koryu-type sensitivity to revealing secrets. (By the way, one other person not mentioned much is Takeda Sue, his wife, who was teaching DR along with Ueshiba at the Omoto headquarters). It is my guess that Takeda truly welcomed the students who "found it out" (otherwise, he would have cut off relations with Sagawa and Horikawa, for example - and note that he tried to stay connected with Ueshiba, dispatching Sagawa, I believe, to check on his well-being after the 2nd Omoto incident) - but his paranoia also engendered internal recoil as well. That story of his backed against a way, demanding that Mochizuki drink the tea first was not, I believe, posturing. He truly lived that way. This would, I believe, make him truly reluctant to explicitly teach aiki, although he was quite willing to teach jujutsu.

Note that he did settle, so to speak, to a considerable degree with Horikawa Kodo - they apparently had an ease of relationship that we don't get a sense of re some of the other big names. I think he gave Horikawa almost a decade of instruction.

I think a final component has to do with my thesis that Takeda was, at minimum, chuko no so, a "refounder" of the older principles that he received either by means of the history I describe in HIPS, chapter 2, or some other means. This knowledge was so hard-won, so that, at least in the circles he travelled, he was pretty much the only one left with such skills. I can well understand the reluctance to simply hand this over, as if to say, it isn't worth anything unless you've sweated blood for it.
BTW, an alternative read of Ueshiba's outrage at Tohei doing ki-tricks after a night on the town - perhaps it wasn't so simplistic as Ueshiba being a naive religious nut who forgot how he learned such skills. Rather, if Ueshiba had "converted" such training as part of his spiritual expression, perhaps his fury was that it came too easy and cheap to Tohei - and that he had cheapened it as mere "tricks."

Speaking personally, I have actually had an internal struggle myself when I've discovered a principle within my own koryu - when I show it and a student or associate doesn't pick it up, my first impulse, right or wrong, is a kind of anger that they want to be spoon-fed. In my own training, where one of my teachers was very parsimonious with instruction, and the other simply didn't explain a lot of things, I DID steal things - and the particular process enabled me to learn in a different fashion. I learned all the way down to "mid-brain" - a pseudo-instinct. Because of that, I can, for example, pick up any object and know how to move with it in a Toda-ha Buko-ryu or an Araki-ryu context. I know immediately the "capabilities" of the object as a weapon. It's in my bones, so to speak. In this context, it may well be that Takeda Sokaku understood very well what he was doing - that the only way to achieve superlative skills was a kind of internal alchemy (and if you've ever read texts on European alchemy - the "work" both being primitive chemistry and an allegorical study on spiritual development - the images that are frequently used are torturous.).

Ellis Amdur
07-31-2011, 05:02 PM
As I wrote in Dueling with Osensei, Hong Yi Hsiang (very powerful teacher in Taiwan) said to me words to the effect of, "Be careful who you study with, because who he is will stick to you (will become you). I can definitely testify to this in my own training history - at least in so far as involvement with teachers with whom I was a deshi. I think that it is indisputable that Takeda's personality imbues the "aiki" arts, blending, if you will, with the character of the person.

Sagawa Yukiyoshi - I asked Stan Pranin if, having met Sagawa and being truly impressed with him even at his advanced age, if he wished he could have studied with him. He exclaimed something to the effect of, "No. He was a horribly unpleasant man." In Kimura's account as well as Masuda's, he does come off as both harsh and self-preoccupied (this may be a component of how he got so good). By Sagawa's own account, he did steal techniques (interesting that his father is alleged to have learned aiki, so Takeda, too, may have taught differently at different periods). Takeda's suspicion dovetailed well with Sagawa's arrogance and selfishness as well. He simply did not teach the "real" goods until the last years of his life. And forgive me if I am wrong, but the other students - not Kimura - who have posted on YouTube - do not display that they learned something of substance. Perhaps it's an IHTBF issue - but I've been disappointed. At any rate, Sagawa's pedagogy was nil - until his last years. At the same time, in Transparent Power, Kimura does name other members of the group with respect.

By the way, I've seen a continuation in that selfishness in that group: a) Takahashi refused to allow his book on Sagawa translated, when I contacted the publisher, saying that information wasn't for non-Japanese b) a non-Japanese, a member of a group of a student of Sagawa, lied to me about the most trivial aspect of Sagawa's history (that he had a menkyo in Araki-ryu, details of which I was curious). That fact is in print, with a copy of the ceritificate in a book! But he liked, rather that, thereby, allowing me a "pretext" for direct contact with his teacher.

Ueshiba - REmember that Ueshiba was already very religiously focused pre-war as well. But he apparently taught more explicitly. Remember the mountain gasshiku that Tenryu describes, where Ueshiba taught explicitly such skills. Several of the "remarkable" pre-war shihan describe Ueshiba announcing to them that he was - on an individual basis - going to teach that person the "skills." In this sense, Ueshiba could be considered liberal in how much he taught, not stingy.

BUT - Let's say he did. Did the person learn them? Did he or she put in the time? (One could ask Mike Sigman or Dan Harden or Akuzawa Minoru or x, y or z, how many of the people that they have explicitly taught information to learned at a level that would be expected if they really practiced hard).

I do believe that Ueshiba, too, was affected by Takeda's teachings - not that he was paranoid, but that he was very close with what he would teach. These men were of a period where it was explicitly taught, "isshin denshin," which means, in effect, one person direct transmission. TEaching more openly the gokui would feel very strange, that old adage that "knowledge shared is power lost"

Finally, if Ueshiba considered aiki to be part of his spiritual endeavor, then anyone learning it, I imagine, should, in his mind, follow his path. So I do think he left hint after hint - and some of his students picked up some or a lot, but he may have made it too difficult, because the aiki was subsumed into this larger endeavor.

Horikawa - Horikawa seems, by account,the most well-rounded of the "big three," a high - school principle, married for many decades, content to live in his hometown. What little I've been told about his teaching style, however, is that he, too, limited whom he taught and how much he taught - and this is definitely continued within the Kodokai. On one level, this could mean that he - and his fellows - considered ALL of DR to be important, not just the aiki. They were not doing aikijutsu(TM), they were doing Daito-ryu aikijutsu, and this required the kata, the jujutsu, the reigi, the community, the dojo, all of it. So the conservatism may have simply been that this is how one learned Daito-ryu. In other words, one went in the door to learn Daito-ryu, not "aiki."

Hisa Takuma - clear step-by-step pedagogy, so codified that they tried out that of Takeda Tokimune, and returned to their own Soden. Yet, I must ask. Are Hisa and his successors believe to have learned aiki? (I have heard hearsay from students of the Takuma-kai which suggest not). No disrespect. I do think it is a fair and open question if those skills were and are part of that school.

Apologies if this is all somewhat inchoate, but I think we can view several factors in the pedagogy:
1. A tried-and-true tradition in which only a very few will ever be taught (koryu focus which these guys subscribed, even if they broke the mold somewhat in what and how they taught)
2. A tried-and-true tradition that the only way to learn is to set up the "steal this technique" situation. One learns skills in a different way when taught this way, because one has to struggle so intensively to figure it out.
3. A grasping paranoia (or more mundanely, an extreme wariness), which imbues the Daito-ryu arts and it's off-shoots to this day, in which the teachers view the students as "stealing and keeping" the secrets.
4. Normal human stuff - one has something special and doesn't want to give it up, particularly if that special thing you have is the main reason people hang around you.

Just some thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.
Ellis Amdur

Mike Sigman
07-31-2011, 07:05 PM
[U]I think a final component has to do with my thesis that Takeda was, at minimum, chuko no so, a "refounder" of the older principles that he received either by means of the history I describe in HIPS, chapter 2, or some other means. This knowledge was so hard-won, so that, at least in the circles he travelled, he was pretty much the only one left with such skills. Hi Ellis:

You're speculating, but so am I..... I actually think there were various circles of people/teachers/practitioners who were in the know on these things. If nothing else, I can think of the anecdote where Ueshiba would go to various dojos and exclaim that he knew how the Sensei, etc., did something. What I think has been missing has been (1.) written indicators that these things were done (it would be a no-no to write about these skills) and (2.) what written indicators there were were missed by translators, historians, and so on.

Think about E.J. Harrison's acquaintance Nobuyuki Kunishige.... if you read the book there seems to be an indication that Kunishige was revealing something to Harrison that was there in the background but not often revealed to foreigners, etc. In other words, I think this "it was there, not spoken of much, and certainly not shown to foreigners" is more what happened with Takeda et al, and not so much that Takeda had semi-unique knowledge.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Jorge Garcia
07-31-2011, 07:22 PM
Then again, how many of Takeda Sokaku's disciples are generally believed to have gotten to a superlative level? Assuming that some quietly learned and kept to themselves, are there, perhaps, ten? As for Ueshiba K., I took ukemi for him a number of times, and although he has an admirable precision of technique (he could hit a waki-gatame like a machine), I never experienced anything that would lead me to believe that he "got" what his father was reputed to have had. Then again, perhaps he was hiding it . . .

He may have been hiding it. An American Sensei I was under once told me a story many years ago. He was a person who once lived in Japan and went to the Aikikai Hombu dojo to see if the art worked so he wouldn't waste his time in Aikido if it wasn't real. He actively resisted the shihans in every class he took when he was called for ukemi. He told me that he was able to stop almost all the shihans at one time or another. He quickly gained a reputation for being a trouble maker. He told me that he was able to stop one famous shihan and that the person was so upset, that he kicked him out of the class and publicly said to the whole class that "no one was to train with this foreigner!"

One day though, he said that he was in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's class and that Kisshomaru called him for ukemi. He said that as he approached him, he said to himself, " I'm going to break this little old man in half!" When he attacked, he said that Kisshomaru Sensei took him down and that he didn't know what he did but that the pin felt like someone had placed a car on top of him. He was trying to rise was was helplessly pinned and was having trouble breathing. As I remember this Sensei, he was in fact, extremely athletic and very strong and was really knuckle headed enough to try something like that. I for one believed him and since then, I have always believed Kisshomaru Doshu may have known something he didn't use gratuitously.
Best,
Jorge

Marc Abrams
07-31-2011, 07:36 PM
Ellis:

Very cogent and precise comments! They still raises questions (maybe impossible to answer) regarding teaching pedology in context to the larger goals.

The Koryu (s) that you represent are based upon a very close-knit model of student-teacher relationship, based upon a very strict passing on of not only technique and principle, but they are embedded within the culture milieu with which they arose. How successful would that teaching model be it it were to be treated like a gendai budo?

Aikido spread very quickly, on a large scale, by people who were struggling in their own right to try and understand what their teacher was doing. Then their students opened school and tried to pass on what they knew while they were still trying to grasp what their teachers were doing......

You asked the important question to Mike, Dan, and Akuzawa in regards to how many of their students are working as hard as they are to try and get their stuff. The bell-shaped curve (in statistics) seems to always remain robust...... That is why I raised the issue in regards to teaching methodology. Based on such a wide level of exposure, based upon the reality contained within the bell-shaped curve, there is an added importance in developing a teaching methodology that is more effective in helping to transmit information so that it does not become lost in the "times of sand." There will always be just a small percentage of people who are willing to rise to to level of "really getting it." It seems to me the in order to not permanently "lose" important components within an art, there needs to be the meeting of three components. One, the teacher who is willing and able to fully transmit knowledge. Two, enough students so that there will be the very few that are willing to commit to fully learning. Three, the meeting of points one and two.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

graham christian
07-31-2011, 07:43 PM
How about do YOU hide things from certain students and if so when and why?

How about do you not show certain things and if so when and why?

How about some introspection?

How about if you knew and were a master at let's say pressure points and the deadly effects of using such, would you teach such to the majority who are looking to harm and disable opponents?

Who would you teach such things to and when?

How about when they are ready to ACTUALLY understand what I'm saying they will understand what to ask?

Arrogance blames others for not learning. Arrogance blames teachers for not teaching. Humility learns and there's no such thing as stealing.

Regards.G.

Mike Sigman
07-31-2011, 07:44 PM
You asked the important question to Mike, Dan, and Akuzawa in regards to how many of their students are working as hard as they are to try and get their stuff. The bell-shaped curve (in statistics) seems to always remain robust...... That is why I raised the issue in regards to teaching methodology. I don't know about this continued shibboleth of Mike, Dan, Akuzawa, Ikeda, Ushiro, and so on. In my view there is some crossover of basic jin skills (how much, undeterminable), but other than that these things people are teaching are very different.

The question of difficulty starts at simple jin... that's the first hurdle and that's where so many people flounder. Then comes the teaching approach (if any.... some people simply stop at jin/kokyu) for the qi-proper development, hara, and so on. The constant equation of everyone doing the same thing is, IMO, confusing for beginners so it should be avoided. Maybe if the topic is a bit more specific than what a supposed number of people are all doing at the same time?

FWIW

Mike Sigman

gregstec
07-31-2011, 07:47 PM
Just some thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.
Ellis Amdur

Gee, Ellis, most folks on a Sunday afternoon take a nap or kick back at the pool or beach with a few cold ones - but you sit there and ponder up gems like the above for us poor confused folks to contemplate over the next few days - have you considered getting therapy for this apparent affliction and/or addiction :D

On a serious note, great stuff as usual - keep it coming !

Best

Greg

Ellis Amdur
07-31-2011, 07:48 PM
Jorge - I really hope that was/is true. Seriously! That would be wonderful, the modesty that that would require, NOT decking all the shihan who treated him, often, with little respect, in the service of a new vision.

(That, by the way, is what Oba sensei said of Tomiki - that he could do aiki - remarkable things - but disliked showing them because they countered his vision of a budo for the common man, who didn't have an entire lifetime to learn such things).

Mike - I agree with you. AND - Takeda was apparently considered remarkable even those circles as well, and this is based on who enrolled to study with him. That said, yes, I recently got a letter from a fellow training in a koryu, in reply to my asking about IT in the ryu and he said that they do not have that kind of study BUT, one old man, 90 years told him, 'this is the way we do things now, but in Meiji and Taisho, they did it this way . . . " and showed breathing methods no longer done.

Yes, I believe it was rife at one point (first chapter of HIPS) - but it truly had almost been abandoned by 1900, thanks in part to the ascendency of judo (and kendo). Think how much more rare they would have been when Ueshiba hit the big time in the late 1920's. (Which leads to a reference to that absolutely hilarious post on the judo forum - can't find it now - where a judo scholar was discussing how the Saigo Shiro tales cannot be found in any written reference until Ueshiba hit Tokyo, the writer speculating that Ueshiba was a like a zombie risen from the grave, showing some of those legendary skills that USED to be in Kito-ryu and Tenshin Shinyo-ryu, and the judo politicians had to say, "we've always had them too."

BTW - Ueshiba was actually saying something different - "In Aiki, we do it this way," contrasting his skills with what was being presented.

Mike - just caught your last note. Don't get me side-tracked. ;) I wasn't saying each is teaching the "same thing" (other than the other shibboleth that there is just one baseline set of skills at the root of all of this stuff). I was simply saying that each teacher who is presenting a set of not commonly known training methods to achieve certain effects that THEY can do - how many of their students have learned - can do what the teacher can do? And is that merely a fault of pedagogy, or even in the relatively open way it's being taught - few learn it, either due to lack of talent, or more likely, lack of mileage. Tohei, in an interview compared Japanese and American students, saying the Japanese don't ask any questions, and will simply repeat what they are taught, 1000's of times. And if they learned it wrong, they'll just repeat the mistake until the end of time. Of Americans, he said that they will ask 1000's of questions, then nod, do it once or twice, and then say, "got it" and sit down. Over-generalizations, to be sure, but subtract out the ethnicities, and you do have two very likely reasons that the students don't catch the teacher, even when taught clearly.

Best
Ellis

JW
07-31-2011, 07:48 PM
I don't think Ueshiba wanted too many cooks in the kitchen. He didn't teach to many, and here's what he got:

A worldwide phenomenon that bows daily to both his visage and his cause. They are inspired by the beauty of the images (David O.'s term regarding waza) they have been given. They look to those who can excel at neutralizing violence with admiration and devotion. The population of aikidoka has grown at a dramatic rate. They have built a culture more or less centered on the ideals that he espoused, and are together in an endless journey, paying tribute to him and his works every day.

Sounds great. (Especially from the spiritual point of view where his spirit is fed by the energies of his followers... through us, he lives forever.)

There's a fine line: no more people with skills like him, and the movement will dissolve and fade over time, as people stop believing in it. Too many people like him, and the movement fractures and people forget about him and his cause, instead following all these other greats. No more unified family.

What is best from Ueshiba's point of view? A bunch of people who really believe and really try, but still all end up being together in skill level. The bigger this culture of people grows, the better, and the longer it lasts, the better. The more inspired they are the better. So, rare gems every few decades is best, to keep it alive yet unified.

Mike Sigman
07-31-2011, 07:51 PM
How about do YOU hide things from certain students and if so when and why?

If somebody already knows all the answers, is "already doing that", "did it with Tohei", and so on, why impose yourself and show them anything? "Hide" probably has too much of an emotional index. "Not showing them what they already purport to know" might be better.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
07-31-2011, 08:00 PM
Mike - I agree with you. AND - Takeda was apparently considered remarkable even those circles as well, and this is based on who enrolled to study with him. That said, yes, I recently got a letter from a fellow training in a koryu, in reply to my asking about IT in the ryu and he said that they do not have that kind of study BUT, one old man, 90 years told him, 'this is the way we do things now, but in Meiji and Taisho, they did it this way . . . " and showed breathing methods no longer done.
OK, I take the point, but having seen so many expose's during my lifetime, I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Takeda syndrome comes mainly from the people for whom it profits to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare, the essential details tend to be more humdrum.

Whether Takeda was seen as remarkable in all circles is a good question to explore sometime.... as an ante, I'll bet it was a smaller circle than you'd think from the currently-available legends. Take Hong YiXian whom you recently mentioned... in Taiwanese martial-arts circles he was not seen as nearly the big-dog as westerners and his loyalists see him. There were some very famous "name" martial-artists on Taiwan who would have nothing to do with foreigners (and thus are almost never mentioned), yet the adulation goes to Hong and others with whom foreigners were able to interact.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Marc Abrams
07-31-2011, 08:14 PM
I don't know about this continued shibboleth of Mike, Dan, Akuzawa, Ikeda, Ushiro, and so on. In my view there is some crossover of basic jin skills (how much, undeterminable), but other than that these things people are teaching are very different.

The question of difficulty starts at simple jin... that's the first hurdle and that's where so many people flounder. Then comes the teaching approach (if any.... some people simply stop at jin/kokyu) for the qi-proper development, hara, and so on. The constant equation of everyone doing the same thing is, IMO, confusing for beginners so it should be avoided. Maybe if the topic is a bit more specific than what a supposed number of people are all doing at the same time?

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike:

Imagine putting all of those people in a room at the same time and coming to a agreed-upon definition of what it is that you are talking about....... I would suggest that part of the confusion for beginners comes from the fact that the people you mentioned do not seem to talk to one another, let alone get to the point of agreeing to points of view. Sad, but true reality.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

MM
07-31-2011, 08:38 PM
Sagawa Yukiyoshi - He simply did not teach the "real" goods until the last years of his life.

and

Apologies if this is all somewhat inchoate, but I think we can view several factors in the pedagogy:

2. A tried-and-true tradition that the only way to learn is to set up the "steal this technique" situation. One learns skills in a different way when taught this way, because one has to struggle so intensively to figure it out.

Just some thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.
Ellis Amdur

Sagawa started teaching actual exercises for aiki late in his life and at least one of his students started getting it.

Takeda supposedly said, "I never show the techniques in the presence of others since they are very easy to learn."
(http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=477)

Given some basic knowledge of how some of these exercises might have been taught, I would have to say that Takeda really did have a teaching methodology for aiki. I'm not arguing any of the other points you made, just that I don't think your #2 is entirely correct.

I think it is more likely that Takeda withheld teaching further exercises for developing advanced skills in aiki unless a student actually progressed in the basic ones. Not saying that Takeda came outright and told his students this. He probably didn't, but just watched and kept track of those who put in the work and then showed them a few more things for aiki. Then waited and watched.

But, I don't believe Takeda set up the "steal this technique" situation. I think he was way too controlling to ever allow anyone to get a chance to do that. I think his personality wouldn't allow it and he kept very good track of who got what and when.

Mark

DH
07-31-2011, 08:48 PM
1. I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Takeda syndrome comes mainly from the people for whom it profits to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare, the essential details tend to be more humdrum.

2. There were some very famous "name" martial-artists on Taiwan who would have nothing to do with foreigners (and thus are almost never mentioned), yet the adulation goes to Hong and others with whom foreigners were able to interact.
Mike Sigman
Well sure
In return:
I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Chinese "big dog" syndrome, comes mainly from those who profit to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare these "known Chinese names" prove to have methods as "humdrum" as their Japanese contemporaries.:rolleyes:
And since the Chinese are even more legendary for not telling foreigners anything of value one can only ask what any foreigner really knows, and how many mistakes and holes they have in their game, that they are sure are spot on. I have met more than a few now who trained in China and came back. I can't imagine the lessor lights and hobbyists who only trained in workshops.
Just say'n
Dan

Mike Sigman
07-31-2011, 08:57 PM
Imagine putting all of those people in a room at the same time and coming to a agreed-upon definition of what it is that you are talking about....... I would suggest that part of the confusion for beginners comes from the fact that the people you mentioned do not seem to talk to one another, let alone get to the point of agreeing to points of view. Sad, but true reality.
Why not put everyone in a room with some known world-class experts. True, those kind of experts tend to smile and be polite and not care what you say, but I think you'd find that their view of complete skills is different than a lot of the people you'd like to see in one room. Just to be clear, a lot of "internal strength", "hard qi", and other skills are reasonably commonly seen at various Chinese expositions, tournaments, and what not. Most people don't even know what the full range encompasses so how should their coming to an agreement fulfill all that much?

Right now, if I say "what about such-and-such", fairly well-known skills in the spectrum of Chinese martial-arts, most of the people present would simply go quiet. My point being that even though many people think all that is "Hidden in Plain Sight" has now been revealed, I think that things are just getting started.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
07-31-2011, 09:01 PM
I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Chinese "big dog" syndrome, comes mainly from those who profit to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare these "known Chinese names" prove to have methods as "humdrum" as their Japanese contemporaries.:rolleyes: Hence Draeger and many others talking about Chinese martial-artists being invited over the last century to teach in Japan? How many Japanese martial-artists have been invited to teach in China? How about Hong YiXian being invited to teach/demo by Okinawan Uechi Ryu experts, etc.?
And since the Chinese are even more legendary for not telling foreigners anything of value one can only ask what any foreigner really knows, and how many mistakes and holes they have in their game, that they are sure are spot on. I have met more than a few now who trained in China and came back. I can't imagine the lessor lights and hobbyists who only trained in workshops.
Heck, I can imagine lots of things, but I'll stick to the topic at hand.

Mike Sigman

DH
07-31-2011, 09:37 PM
I think certain questions and observations need to be thought through and explored a little more thoroughly. Some observations and comparisons (on all matters, there are so many being thown out) should not be given quite the validity that people are offering out of hand.
Mike Sigman wrote: I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Takeda syndrome comes mainly from the people for whom it profits to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare, the essential details tend to be more humdrum.
1. So The Takeda syndrome?
The essential details of Takeda's legendary skills were humdrum?
2. And only offered for those who profit?
Let's explore that. This -double assertion-would be based...on what?

Dan

Mike Sigman
07-31-2011, 09:43 PM
I think certain questions and observations need to be thought through and explored a little more thoroughly. Some observations and comparisons (on all matters, there are so many being thown out) should not be given quite the validity that people are offering out of hand.

1. So The Takeda syndrome?
The essential details of Takeda's legendary skills were humdrum?
2. And only offered for those who profit?
Let's explore that. This -double assertion-would be based...on what?

DanLet's not let simple semantics get in the way. A "bet" as an opinion is not an "observation" nor is it an "assertion". Reading Comprehension 101.

Mike Sigman

DH
07-31-2011, 10:00 PM
You called a bet and stated your assertion.
Mike Sigman wrote: I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Takeda syndrome comes mainly from the people for whom it profits to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare, the essential details tend to be more humdrum.
You placed the bet. I'll call it.
Where does this new gem come from? Unless you're talking out of your hat, state your argument for such a comment. Everyone else has at least attempted some support for their posts.

Dan

Ellis Amdur
07-31-2011, 10:19 PM
Oh heck - here we go. :crazy: Nothing will be accomplished if we go down that road again.

I started the thread. Here's the needle (http://www.ee.washington.edu/research/mems/oldWebsite/intracellular/rie-needle.jpg)

Mike Sigman
07-31-2011, 10:25 PM
You called a bet and stated your assertion.

You placed the bet. I'll call it.
Where does this new gem come from? Unless you're talking out of your hat, state your argument for such a ridiculous comment.
Tell me of a report by a contemporary outside expert that paints Takeda in as glowing terms as reports by people involved in D.R. and Aikido. Was Takeda invited to demonstrate in front of the Emperor? If you can't counter those simple questions then my bet/opinion is not without some foundation. It's fairly common in martial-arts for the followers/loyalists of a style to tell glowing stories that are sometimes embellished, but it's seldom that you have someone like, for instance, Sun LuTang of whom many people on the outside of his arts acknowledge his skills and deeds.

In Sun LuTang's case and in many others, there's a difference between impressing real experts as opposed to impressing the impressionable.

Another example might be Chen Yuan Yun, aka Chen Gempin: we know because there is a record in "Conversations with the Ancients" Part II, that he did something very impressive ("brought 'ju' to Japan"), so something notable happened. If the record exalting Chen Yuan Yun was mainly by the followers of his style, etc., a reasonable question could be raised about exactly how good/knowledgeable, etc., he was. Ipso facto. You may disagree, but show me the record from outside.

Mike Sigman

Ellis Amdur
07-31-2011, 11:24 PM
OK, Mike - one thing is that very prominent members - instrucrtors - of other ryu, such as Yagyu Shingan-ryu and Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, to give only two examples, signed up as Takeda's student. In this period, one only signed up as a student - publicly - when one truly recognized the worth of the other. I'd have to dig through the accounts, but there's quite a few other references to top level martial arts practitioners, who also became members.

Takeda, along with Yoshida Kotaro, were the only two outside people invited to a meeting of the top Yoshin-ryu jujutsu shihan to discuss how to meet the challenge to their existence presented by judo.

For Ueshiba, off the top of my head, Konishi, one of the top founders of a Japanese karate system in the 1930's called Ueshiba a teacher, and Jun-ichi Haga, the absolutely ferocious champion of the emperor's cup in kendo and a master level teacher in iaido stated that Ueshiba was the greatest swordsman in Japan. I'm also aware, in the case of Ueshiba, of some who demurred.

Egami, perhaps the most innovative teacher in the Shotokan world (who had that which was closest to internal type training, stated that he learned it all from Inoue, Ueshiba's nephew).

(I knew how great Wang Shu Chin was when I travelled to Taiwan and every teacher I met who wanted to prove to me how powerful they were stated that they'd beaten Wang. He "lost" so many times!).

I've actually got no dog in the fight that Takeda was the greatest of his time. How could one know. I can think of others who very possibly surpassed him. Or not. But there is no doubt that the respect he had extended far beyond the sectarian group of DR.

OK - now i don't know if this thread has run it's course, but the subject has been hidden in plain sight skills and pedagogy. Shall we return to that?

Ellis

Mike Sigman
07-31-2011, 11:33 PM
I've actually got no dog in the fight that Takeda was the greatest of his time. How could one know.
Exactly.


I can think of others who very possibly surpassed him. Or not. But there is no doubt that the respect he had extended far beyond the sectarian group of DR.

OK - now i don't know if this thread has run it's course, but the subject has been hidden in plain sight skills and pedagogy. Shall we return to that?


Fair enough, but my original thesis was in relation to how well or how rarely these skills were passed on. While Takeda was an exemplar (particularly among Aikido or similar arts), what I'm suggesting is that there was actually a lot more "aiki" around Japan at the time (and even now, if you look at various DVD's being offered in Japan) than we're allowing for with a Takeda-centered perspective. If I'm correct, then a valid question can be debated about how difficult or how infrequently these things were passed on. Maybe it's not such a forlorn hope as is being posited.

FWIW

Mike

DH
07-31-2011, 11:55 PM
I greatly enjoy these discussion looking at the who, where, why, what, and when "it" might have been taught and where evidence might be found through terminology and concepts.

Among these discussions there is a logic fallacy in play that continues to go unaddressed and hurts the argument. We have white guys making a case that foreigners didn't get it, then they proceed to make a case that they of course got it and know more than most in the martial arts. How'd that happen?

How do any of you see discussions of these unprovable assertions that the Chinese methods are superior to the Japanese methods as positive, while attempting to drive home a point that that "this stuff was everywhere in Asia" and so many of the methods are basic, common and known. The argument makes no sense. Now one of the stellar examples that we look to for "IT"...weren't really much and made up to profit someone?

This doesn't serve any useful purpose that I can see, nor forward the tenants of the discussions typically embraced in the Hidden in Plain Sight talks. Clearly, I don't embrace it or leave it unchallenged. I don't really care who had said it. It just happened to be Mike.

As far as how common these skills were; the oft quoted Kunishige stated that these skills were extremely rare, rather than common. It had nothing to do with sharing with foreigners. In the same book it is pointed out that the Judoka asked Kanos kid, who differentiated, and pointed out a 6th dan who used dantian, and could not be thrown. If I recall correctly (I have the entry somewhere) one of the Yagyu soke returned with students to train under Takeda as well. I am not sure why we are repeating how many budoka met him and were actually afraid or in awe of him ut there were many. I don't see how the Chinese equivalant has any more merit.
Dan

Ellis Amdur
08-01-2011, 12:29 AM
Mike - your point is well taken that IT was surely elsewhere within JAPAN. But my point is a) it was very rare at the turn of the century onwards (when E.J. Harrison asked about it at the Kodokan, among all the stellar guys, many of whom came from other jujutsu ryu, they could only mention one guy - Nango Jiro). Mifune, Yamashita, all the others gods of judo were not cited - only one guy - and this in Meiji. Kunishige, a jujutsu man whom Harrison mentioned, did not leave an extant line. This is the real problem - a lot of lines that had it simply died. b) of those who retained it, if they are koryu - and that is most likely - they are closed and sectarian, and thanks to the 2nd world war, a lot of the strong stalwarts died and ryu records were incinerated. There is a huge gap there, I think one more significant that even affected the Chinese due to the Cultural Revolution. (I appear to have cross-posted some of the same info in this paragraph as Dan H. above)

Thus, we owe Takeda a huge debt that he chose to go public. Whether he was the best or not, he almost alone was presenting this publicly at the turn of the twentieth century - and so remarkable he was that there was a newspaper article written about him, whether the reporter went to Hokkaido like some documentarian going to the Amazon, the article entitled "Ima Benkei," as I recall - "Modern Day Benkei," the implication being that here we had a figure out of legend, much like saying "Modern Day Achilles." All extant accounts describe him in similar terms to Tung Hai Chuan walking down the street in modern Shanghai, or George Washington appearing today to participate in modern politics. In the Japanese bujutsu world, he was a solitary exemplar (even if there may well have been others who were not only not teaching foreigners (Takeda did, btw, teach an American), but not teaching many Japanese either.

Given my particular love is koryu bujutsu. DR and aikido have been of interest to me because they were the only game in town, an explicit study of something most bujutsu in Japan had lost. Even though I've never had interest in DR as a martial art, and my interest in aikido in that vein was a long time ago, I certainly was interested at what these arts promised.

What I have discovered is that the application of qijin/aiki within koryu kata activates the waza in an incredible way (and my skills in this area are "scratch the surface" level). IT seems to fit so seamlessly within two koryu that I practice, two that are VERy different - that it is convincing to me that one-upon-a-time, they were much more common. And they were clearly lost or abandoned by most schools - or only a whisper remains. DR and aikido have been, in so far as most people have access, the only route within Japanese martial arts that one could have possible access, or even discourse about these skills.

Now, at this late date, it is reappearing, but in some traditions opening up on what they know, and others, like myself, attempting to incorporate "generic" information to revitalize schools where it was lost long ago.

Regarding "merit" of Chinese vs. Japanese sources - I think we must return to the issue of pedagogy. There is a tremendous level of b.s. in chinese martial arts as well (after all, b.s. and martial arts are hand-and-glove), but what the Chinese at their best offer is a very comprehensive language to describe IT and a lot of instruction on how to develop it. DR is largely inaccessible - and to be frank, most of the DR lines do not emphasize or study IT any more than aikido today does. It is very difficult to get access to DR training methodology. (all aside from do they teach foreigners or not).

I'm not in a position to make any assertions as to the comprehensive nature of DR aiki vs., say, Dai family xinyi. But I do think it is true that if one wanted to study IT, it would be easier - today - to find a teacher in China/Taiwan who would teach the skills in a methodical fashion than in Japan, at least if we are speaking about classical arts.

Best
Ellis Amdur

Ellis Amdur

Dennis Hooker
08-01-2011, 07:49 AM
When I was in math classes at the university I was more interested in the results than the process. So I learned how to apply the formulas to get the results I desired I never took the time, or had the interest, to understand how the formulas worked a lot like many in budo. However when it came to Aikido and other budo I had a deep interest in how the formulas worked so I seek to understand by all means available to me. I am not just interested in applying the formula to fell the other person, but was and am more interested in how that came to be. By doing this I believe I am gaining a deeper understanding of my chosen arts than those that chose to just apply the formula to get the results. Of course I sought to save my life at the same time and those lessons learned by understanding the formulas and sometimes expand them lets me work and help other people with neuromuscular diseases and those who want to learn Aikido.

Just my 2 cents

Mike Sigman
08-01-2011, 08:29 AM
Mike - your point is well taken that IT was surely elsewhere within JAPAN. But my point is a) it was very rare at the turn of the century onwards (when E.J. Harrison asked about it at the Kodokan, among all the stellar guys, many of whom came from other jujutsu ryu, they could only mention one guy - Nango Jiro). Mifune, Yamashita, all the others gods of judo were not cited - only one guy - and this in Meiji. Kunishige, a jujutsu man whom Harrison mentioned, did not leave an extant line. This is the real problem - a lot of lines that had it simply died. b) of those who retained it, if they are koryu - and that is most likely - they are closed and sectarian, and thanks to the 2nd world war, a lot of the strong stalwarts died and ryu records were incinerated. There is a huge gap there, I think one more significant that even affected the Chinese due to the Cultural Revolution. (I appear to have cross-posted some of the same info in this paragraph as Dan H. above)

Thus, we owe Takeda a huge debt that he chose to go public. Whether he was the best or not, he almost alone was presenting this publicly at the turn of the twentieth century - and so remarkable he was that there was a newspaper article written about him, whether the reporter went to Hokkaido like some documentarian going to the Amazon, the article entitled "Ima Benkei," as I recall - "Modern Day Benkei," the implication being that here we had a figure out of legend, much like saying "Modern Day Achilles." All extant accounts describe him in similar terms to Tung Hai Chuan walking down the street in modern Shanghai, or George Washington appearing today to participate in modern politics. In the Japanese bujutsu world, he was a solitary exemplar (even if there may well have been others who were not only not teaching foreigners (Takeda did, btw, teach an American), but not teaching many Japanese either.

Given my particular love is koryu bujutsu. DR and aikido have been of interest to me because they were the only game in town, an explicit study of something most bujutsu in Japan had lost. Even though I've never had interest in DR as a martial art, and my interest in aikido in that vein was a long time ago, I certainly was interested at what these arts promised.

What I have discovered is that the application of qijin/aiki within koryu kata activates the waza in an incredible way (and my skills in this area are "scratch the surface" level). IT seems to fit so seamlessly within two koryu that I practice, two that are VERy different - that it is convincing to me that one-upon-a-time, they were much more common. And they were clearly lost or abandoned by most schools - or only a whisper remains. DR and aikido have been, in so far as most people have access, the only route within Japanese martial arts that one could have possible access, or even discourse about these skills.

Now, at this late date, it is reappearing, but in some traditions opening up on what they know, and others, like myself, attempting to incorporate "generic" information to revitalize schools where it was lost long ago.

Regarding "merit" of Chinese vs. Japanese sources - I think we must return to the issue of pedagogy. There is a tremendous level of b.s. in chinese martial arts as well (after all, b.s. and martial arts are hand-and-glove), but what the Chinese at their best offer is a very comprehensive language to describe IT and a lot of instruction on how to develop it. DR is largely inaccessible - and to be frank, most of the DR lines do not emphasize or study IT any more than aikido today does. It is very difficult to get access to DR training methodology. (all aside from do they teach foreigners or not).

I'm not in a position to make any assertions as to the comprehensive nature of DR aiki vs., say, Dai family xinyi. But I do think it is true that if one wanted to study IT, it would be easier - today - to find a teacher in China/Taiwan who would teach the skills in a methodical fashion than in Japan, at least if we are speaking about classical arts.
Hi Ellis:

I used to think that these kinds of skills were relegated to Aikido. By the time I realized that almost no one in Aikido who was accessible to me seemed to have any of these skills, I was already convinced that a better source was Taiji, which is why I shifted over to CMA's (couldn't care less about the style wars, Japan, China, etc.; that sort of stuff is for the idiots). Over time and exposure, what I thought was mainly something found in Taijiquan turned out to be, in various guises, in every CMA I encountered... *among the qualified people*.

Given the number of arts in Japan that are opening up and already have "aiki", "kokyu", and so on, my suspicion is that that same general thing holds true in Japan.... the amount of schools, etc., with that type of knowledge is greater than you'd know from a superficial observation. Hence my emphasis/opinion that I doubt the Takeda-Ueshiba line was all that critical .... except for the fact that it is the one that many westerners have focused on and the one which became popular among westerners (like the Hong YiXiang and Cheng Man Ching effect).

Kunishige, as an example, may have had his line die out, but in the interim he taught people (Nihonjin, though); point being that I wouldn't blithely assume that his information was simply lost.

The clues you mentioned in the O.P.... I wonder if those were actually clues or were merely indirect taunts to the students. As a teaching methodology it appeared to not be too good for long-term results. Add to that the extreme difficulty for most people to change from normal movement over to dantien-centric movement and yeah... not too many people get it. Even the ones who get something are usually still hindered because they quickly settle on hybrid (muscle-jin) results.

In short, I take your points and they're good ones, but I interpose the suggestion that these skills were widely enough available in Japan that on the whole the carry forward wasn't all that bad. It was just bad in the D.R.-Aikido carry forward and we tend to focus on what we know.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

DH
08-01-2011, 10:20 AM
IT seems to fit so seamlessly within two koryu that I practice, two that are VERy different - that it is convincing to me that one-upon-a-time, they were much more common. And they were clearly lost or abandoned by most schools - or only a whisper remains. DR and aikido have been, in so far as most people have access, the only route within Japanese martial arts that one could have possible access, or even discourse about these skills.
Ellis Amdur
That is an interesting discussion, with some ramifications. Of course there is more to the differentiation between jin skills used to bolster a koryu's waza and koryu that have waza requiring it for those same kata to be more rational in execution.

There is certain defined movement in DR that Ueshiba also used (I haven't seen it in modern aikido) that is markedly different from any koryu jujutsu approach I have seen.
There are some weapons based Koryu that use that same movement and I seriously wonder how many see it strengthening them by default, (due to certain requirements), and how many know how to strengthen it by choice.

Internal training as the exception and not the norm
We have entertained discussions related to getting menkyo in six years, the pressure of readying for war, the evidence of stories of the "outlier" who went into the mountains and came back with unusual power, There is also evidence that there were some exercises and descriptions in scrolls that were ignored, and we also have the more common references we just used in the Meiji era, Where known powerhouses were rare, and when asked stated that few ever really got it.

There is no evidence of Kunishige being great, or that he taught anyone anything. There is no evidence of the use of IT in Judo. Remember again that in both of those references the parties involved stated flatly that few knew these things. It seems very odd to use those references that clearly state how unusual it was to make a case for it being the norm.

As far as a whole bunch of arts that claim aiki? On any other day certain people argue that “claims” are meaningless, So why use these "claims" as any evidence now?
These arts have yet to prove any capable understanding of it. As I stated, there are a few Koryu we know of that have certain things in their scrolls, yet those same sources state the same thing as Kunishige and Kanos son...few knew this or trained it.
So here you have adepts from a few schools among many who state that few if any trained this way.
All of this leaves me unconvinced that any of this was "all pervasive," "was everywhere" as a legitimate argument.

Chinese experts with lessor lights in Japan
In the modern era we have seen Chinese internal experts, who showed up and were successful against Japanese external martial artists. This means exactly what?

1. Has anyone entertained what would have happened had a Chinese internal expert met Takeda or Ueshiba?
2. How about if Takeda or Ueshiba had showed up to take on external artists in China? There were many.

The examples I have given over the years were for comparisons of the superiority of internal strength over normal strength and that is it. Stating this knowledge was everywhere then weakening your own argument by stating China has a deeper understanding is no argument at all. There is no evidence to support an argument of Chinese internal experts as superior to Japanese internal experts. There is no qualifier to prove it is so. No one knows the fullness of the knowledge of the Japanese experts to the Chinese experts nor their practical applicability.

Again I suggest people step back and think. Clearly some of these arguments are poorly constructed or developed. They don't survive even a cursory examination .

Dan

Ellis Amdur
08-01-2011, 11:26 AM
Dan - I think you are simultaneously discussing points with me and Mike here. Just to differentiate my perspective. I don't think such skills were ever "the norm." I simply think that variants of such study were once far more common, and I believe I have made a fair essay at establishing this in chapter 1 of HIPS. (or we have more concrete evidence - that Shindo Yoshin-ryu had a curriculum of study of IT, (nairiki), with roots back to China, and this was the most widespread jujutsu ryu in Japan pre-judo. Of course, this does not mean that every Yoshin-ryu practitioner had any level of skill. It was surely rare, among other reasons, because something you quote ""Aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training. Only amateurs think that techniques are enough. They understand nothing."

So for my part - it was "pervasive" in that such training methods, I believe, were available within many many martial ryu, but the experts were few. I think the same is true in China.
Nonetheless, maybe Takeda was the best who ever lived in Japan. Maybe he found things that no Japanese had ever discovered. Hell, maybe he went to the presentation of Hao Enguang, who in 1914, presented xingyi in Japan, went backstage and totally revolutionized his art after they compared methods (relax - I'm just having fun - though I do wish I knew who invited Hao, and what was the reaction among the Japanese viewers. Did he blow them away, or did they leave shaking their heads?. . )
Let me offer a bad simile - lets imagine every Barnes and Noble has a section in the back with rare books, $1000 apiece. You could go into "any" Barnes and Noble - the back room is there, but few people want to spend the money, learn to translate the books, etc. People know the back room is there and brag about their back room in their barnes and Noble, but few even walk through the doorway, and of those that do, most leaf through the books, run their fingers over the cover and then leave and talk about how good those books were "back in the day."
My perspective on Japan at the time of Takeda is that the martial schools weren't Barnes and Noble - they were Borders books - going out of business or closed down. Toby Threadgill has noted that among Yoshin-ryu densho, those groups that associated most strongly with the Kodokan eliminated explanation of the nairiki in their densho and then, even further, stopped even writing that section of their own densho. Takeda issued a "hostile takeover," and as far as the public - and much of the martial arts community among them - was concerned, his was the only bookstore that still had a back room. (and yes, there were still some independent booksellers around, but you had to know what alley to walk down and what was the secret code phrase to be let in the back room - and then you weren't allowed to shop at any other bookstore again, nor were you allowed to tell people the address).

Finally, re Chinese experts vs. Japanese - Once again, hopefully, we are talking about pedagogy, not merely who could beat who.
1. In many koryu, the esoteric training has specific limitations, because they are used to contribute to the overall intent of that koryu - which could be the techniques and even such larger issues as what would contribute to strengthening the ryu as a political entity. Therefore, an outside expert could, were he or she allowed to look over the curriculum, state "this ryu has these elements, but lacks these others." But that limited perspective might hone their ability with a tanto, within ryu parameters to an incredible peak, for one example.
2. I think it is very possible that someone with a "limited" curriculum of IT, trained to a peak, may very well be more powerful than someone with a comprehensive curriculum, not trained as well, or simply lacking a fighting spirit.
3. In trying to evaluate IT, be it Japanese, Chinese, or remnants in the Persian Zhor Khane - even today - is that most teachers are not open with their curriculum. So it's hard to objectively evaluate these things.

So let's imagine Chen Fake met Takeda Sokaku (there's a dream match!). Let's say, just for the sake of saying that they had a match and Chen Fake lost. And then they compared notes, and realized, nonetheless, that the entire curriculum of IT that Chen possessed through all the generations of the Chen family was more comprehensive than what Takeda possessed. Yet Takeda won the fight! And Takeda comes to the conclusion that a) he could take the more comprehensive knowledge that Chen has and offers to become yet stronger still OR b) that as far as he was concerned, this more comprehensive information was a distraction and continued study of what he knew what what he needed to know. (Or, fwiw, we reverse the positions in this story - the Japanese are more complete, whatever anyone likes - we can do anything in fantasy).

Any of these possibilities are true - the issue for each of us to to find a methodology - either inside or outside a martial tradtion - that works and train it into the ground and see how we emerge.

So when I hear that Sagawa dismissed Araki-ryu, that he had a menkyo in, because it lacked aiki, I assume he meant that the curriculum of the martial art he studied lacked it, because surely, he could, like Ueshiba, easilly say, "In aiki, we do it this way." Anyway, I'm not going to get ticked off that someone, be they Sagawa or not, dissed Araki-ryu. For me, data not personality. If he's right, how do I make up the lack.

The only way we will find out if the Japanese - specifically Daito-ryu - is limited compared to this or that Chinese system is when each puts all their cards on the table, and methodologies can be clearly compared. Until that date, we end up observing YouTube or even cross-hands, and make assertions that, for example, Ueshiba had this and that, but lacked full understanding of . . .If such examination (like Sagawa asserting that Hosono lacked aiki because of the way he was sitting in a photo) somehow aids training, great. Otherwise, it's just all us talking.

Mike Sigman
08-01-2011, 12:18 PM
(I knew how great Wang Shu Chin was when I travelled to Taiwan and every teacher I met who wanted to prove to me how powerful they were stated that they'd beaten Wang. He "lost" so many times!).
Well, of course every jackleg martial-artist is going to try to put down his betters, but you need to look at the culture of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Fujian Province, etc., and understand that some of the things we would deplore in an American are considered more the norm there.

That being said, Wang XuJin is perhaps a good comparison to look at. Wang made his name among westerners because he was one of the few Taiwanese that would teach foreigners. So therefore foreigners are focused on what Wang did, yet on Taiwan where he was considered a "name", he wasn't necessarily the biggest of the Big Dogs. I.e., our conversations may revolve around Wang (read "Takeda" or "Ueshiba") for essentially P.R. reasons, but that doesn't necessarily give us a correct perspective of all that went on. Most of martial-arts training, etc., is not publicly written about in Japan or China, so what we think we know of it relies heavily on second-hand, hearsay, and the few written records we have.

Incidentally, in terms of Wang XuJin, I was told of a friendly match where a big 'name' martial artist tossed Wang up onto a table. I was told this by a native Taiwanese who studied martial arts since a child on Taiwan. In a way, this anecdote demonstrates my point... few foreigners have ever heard some of these stories and they'd staunchly and angrily defend the name of Wang XuJin is someone told that anecdote. Everyone wants to defend his "style" or his "teacher" or lineage. They also want to trivialize everyone they consider competition. It's normal human pettiness. Allowing for all that, I still think there's plenty of room for various alternative realities involving Takeda, Ueshiba, and who was hiding what from whom. ;)

Mike

Ellis Amdur
08-01-2011, 12:33 PM
Mike - agree. (BTW - that particular story involved Shang Dong Shen, correct? That was one of the one's I believed:) )

Here's a funny Wang story, that illustrates all the levels of cultural confusion that can occur. An acquaintance of mine was training in Taichung in the 70's and after some considerable effort, managed to convince Wang's inner circle that he'd really like a chance to study with him. So he was told to be at a certain location in a local park very early in the morning. He arrives and waits and then Wang shows up. No students. So Wang does a t'ai chi set. Then he glances over at the guy, who is trying to be polite, doesn't know what's expected, so he just stands there, thinking that he should not approach the master, the master should choose to approach him. So Wang then does a set of xingyi, glances over again. The American does the same, and now Wang looks disgruntled, and goes into bagua. Looks over again. The American does nothing, and Wang, red-faced, stomps off.
The next day, one of his students approaches the guy and says, "Master Wang says you shouldn't come around again. He's really angry."
"What did I do? I tried to show him all the respect I could."
"What did you do!!!! Master Wang goes early to the park and shows you his t'ai chi, and you just stand there, implicitly saying, 'that's all you got?' So he shows you his xingyi, and you dismiss him again! So then he thinks you must be really serious, so he shows you his bagua!!!! And you just look at him again, telling him with that silence, that you are not impressed. Of course, he's insulted."

And, had this been Japan, he would have been doing just the "right" thing :)

Mike Sigman
08-01-2011, 01:03 PM
Mike - agree. (BTW - that particular story involved Shang Dong Shen, correct? That was one of the one's I believed:) ) No, it was someone else. However, let me note once again that Wang was considered to be very good. I'm personally sort of repelled by the types of teachers who constantly imply no one is as good as they are, so if I met a teacher on Taiwan (or other places) that spent great amounts of time putting others down, I'd assume something was wrong and wouldn't study with them. The caveat being that some of this behavior can be the norm on Taiwan and a few other places.



Here's a funny Wang story, that illustrates all the levels of cultural confusion that can occur. An acquaintance of mine was training in Taichung in the 70's and after some considerable effort, managed to convince Wang's inner circle that he'd really like a chance to study with him. So he was told to be at a certain location in a local park very early in the morning. He arrives and waits and then Wang shows up. No students. So Wang does a t'ai chi set. Then he glances over at the guy, who is trying to be polite, doesn't know what's expected, so he just stands there, thinking that he should not approach the master, the master should choose to approach him. So Wang then does a set of xingyi, glances over again. The American does the same, and now Wang looks disgruntled, and goes into bagua. Looks over again. The American does nothing, and Wang, red-faced, stomps off.
The next day, one of his students approaches the guy and says, "Master Wang says you shouldn't come around again. He's really angry."
"What did I do? I tried to show him all the respect I could."
"What did you do!!!! Master Wang goes early to the park and shows you his t'ai chi, and you just stand there, implicitly saying, 'that's all you got?' So he shows you his xingyi, and you dismiss him again! So then he thinks you must be really serious, so he shows you his bagua!!!! And you just look at him again, telling him with that silence, that you are not impressed. Of course, he's insulted."

And, had this been Japan, he would have been doing just the "right" thing :)That reminds me, getting back on topic, that I know of western students of Wang who got all sorts of "postures" and forms and "applications", but who got no inkling of how to train internal strength. I.e., I disagree with the idea that it's easier to get descriptive training via the Chinese.

2 cents.

Mike

Ellis Amdur
08-01-2011, 01:15 PM
To sum up this not-actually-derailment-of-thread-after-all:
whether more common in China than Japan or vice versa, whether more complete in China than Japan or vice versa, whoever is really good and whoever is not is blurred by anecdote, self-aggrandizement, self-delusion and wishful thinking on the part of acolytes

AND few people have high level skills, few people who have such skills are willing to teach those skills, and of the people they are willing to teach, few of them really learn what they were taught. And THAT is passed down to the next generation. And this is true, equally, in both China and Japan.

And particularly if you are from another race, another culture, another village, another family from the teacher who has IT, it is very rare that the teacher is willing to share the truth.

BUT - some do. Nonetheless, some do.

Which means, as students, we keep our eyes open for such teachers and whatever we are studying, it is only through comparison and open communication, sparring and other physical testing with others on the path who are training other methods, that we can get a good sense of the worth of what we are learning.

DH
08-01-2011, 01:18 PM
The opener was to you, the rest was discussing different points made by different people.

I'm not sure why you believe you are disagreeing with any of my points.
I made an argument that IP was known in Japan. I gave reference to Koryu scrolls I know of. I have personal experiences with it being discussed in three koryu. My argument was that it was not well known or practiced. Thats what I stated.
You just repeated it back to me!:cool:

The Chinese method over the Japanese being reduced to whos the best.
You are obviously talking to the wrong person. I didn't reduce the argument to individual players, Mike did. I responded to that. When he continued I responded with equally absurd cases to prove how absurd these comparisons are. As you are continuing to reduce the discussion to individuals (this time Chinese players), maybe you should continue to take your points up on individual players with Mike and not me. I've no interest beyond countering how ridiculous it is.

I...have no interest in a personal "who" is the best as it goes nowhere.
Your... discussion of who's the best, was a repeat of what we discussed at your table with Josh there. At the time the discussion was over Mike, Ark, me, Ushiro, Ikeda etc. My argument was that it will lead nowhere.
What parameters do we use?
Information vetted by whom?
Based on what authority?
If you think the people under discussion are all experts, and anyone here can accurately judge...then go for it.
The only way we will find out if the Japanese - specifically Daito-ryu - is limited compared to this or that Chinese system is when each puts all their cards on the table, and methodologies can be clearly compared.

1. As for laying things on the table, here?
To be judged by who? I see no experts here qualified to make a judgement on this topic. I have spent quite a bit of time debating this topic with someone I now know was never really able to demonstrate his self described deeper knowledge had any real value over what was already in the public domain and that many could actually use better. Why waste even more time?

2. As for laying things on the mat to be judged.
I will leave that for the mat. I am sure I will continue to meet experts of all types. FWIW, It is well in keeping with Budo that when you discuss an idea you be able to demonstrate and prove your ideas on the spot. If a person can't personally deliver and/or has no students who can deliver, he has no part in the discussion as far as I am concerned. A coach has a winning team or you can have all his theories.

As for just talking:
This is fun, don't get me wrong, but that's all it is to me, just fun.
I'm more interested in what happens ten years out, when the strong personalities in the debate have left the building or become less important. Lets see then what these current supposed experts and internet pundits pulled off where it counted...Teaching.
All the best
Dan

graham christian
08-01-2011, 03:52 PM
If somebody already knows all the answers, is "already doing that", "did it with Tohei", and so on, why impose yourself and show them anything? "Hide" probably has too much of an emotional index. "Not showing them what they already purport to know" might be better.

Mike Sigman

Or not showing what you don't know.

Why show me anything indeed? You don't know Toheis Aikido.

In fact I never hear you talk Aikido and that shows me what's hidden in plain sight.

Mark Mueller
08-01-2011, 07:02 PM
3. A grasping paranoia (or more mundanely, an extreme wariness), which imbues the Daito-ryu arts and it's off-shoots to this day, in which the teachers view the students as "stealing and keeping" the secrets.

This would explain so much..........

Mike Sigman
08-01-2011, 07:14 PM
3. A grasping paranoia (or more mundanely, an extreme wariness), which imbues the Daito-ryu arts and it's off-shoots to this day, in which the teachers view the students as "stealing and keeping" the secrets.

This would explain so much..........

I read through a book called "A Wrestler's Body" by Joseph S. Alter during one of my searches for the history of the internal strength skills. My impression was that while this was a good book, it suffered the usual "through the eyes of a Westerner" stuff. However, at one point in the book, the author notes the rules that apply to the specialized training that produces Shakti (jin; kokyu) and among the important rules was that these things must be kept secret. The point being that things being kept secret is traditional in pretty much every style/art/ethnicity that I've seen.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Ellis Amdur
08-01-2011, 08:20 PM
Dan - Just a few quick points on your last post, in so far as it touches on me.

Has anyone entertained what would have happened had a Chinese internal expert met Takeda or Ueshiba?
2. How about if Takeda or Ueshiba had showed up to take on external artists in China? There were many.
That statement was why I even engaged in the subject. Didn't realize you were expressing this reducto ad absurdum.

Your... discussion of who's the best, was a repeat of what we discussed at your table with Josh there. At the time the discussion was over Mike, Ark, me, Ushiro, Ikeda etc. My argument was that it will lead nowhere. I don't recall that discussion quite like that. i recall discussing the methodology by which people are presenting this info - in public. And as always, I'm scrupulous at NOT stating anything on methodology that a) I don't understand b) that someone told me in confidence (and I get that a fair amount, because people trust me not to violate such confidences. What I definitely never did was discuss who could beat up whom, or who was the 'best" at IT. I certainly will state if I think a person can defeat me or otherwise impresses me (because that is a way I evaluate people, in terms of having something to catch up to). Then again, I think I could have defeated Nitta sensei from day 1 that I entered her dojo, but after 13 years, she was still knocking me back on my heels with new knowledge in Toda-ha Buko-ryu, and budo in general.

As for laying things on the table, here?
To be judged by who? I see no experts here qualified to make a judgement on this topic. I have spent quite a bit of time debating this topic with someone I now know was never really able to demonstrate his self described deeper knowledge had any real value over what was already in the public domain and that many could actually use better. Why waste even more time? You really missed my point. All I was talking about was a collegial exchange. In my own training these days, I'm doing a lot more exchange - I teach Araki-ryu for example, in exchange for BJJ lessons. Of course such an exchange is limited if people do not want to be in each other's company. I got that. But that, and only that is what I was saying.

But I did not start this thread for a debate on skills or Chinese/Japanese antecedents. Yet, somehow, back to that underbrush we have gone.

Rather, I wanted to point out an example of Ueshiba perhaps lifting the veil a little, in a rather charming way. And how it relates to teaching styles - the latter a fruitful area of discussion when we try to figure out why this stuff dies, why it was so rare, and how it hopefully can survive and flourish.

EA

.

Ellis Amdur
08-01-2011, 08:35 PM
I got a PM. question that I can answer here. Some may already know the story. Re Takeda's American student. In 1905, Takeda Sokaku got on a train - either 2nd or 1st class car, and an American named Charles Perry tried to physically evict him from the car, thinking that this shabbily dressed Japanese didn't belong there. Takeda dropped him, I believe with a nikkyo. Perry studied with him for what I believe is a brief period of time, learning some of the jujutsu, and he later had some role in interesting T. Roosevelt in jujutsu.

In a search of newspapers, I found an article once that an elderly English professor in Yokohama named Charles Perry was, in 1949, beaten to death by a Japanese student.

Perry was buried in Yokohama - I think it is very possible that this was the same man - the dates correspond to the age he would have been.

The recently deceased Laszlo Abel did significant research on Perry, not only finding his grave in Yokohama, but one of his landladies. I don't know if Laszlo ever gathered that information together in publishable form. If so, Stanley Prainin has it now.

I believe Perry's history with DR was very brief. Still, to me the most remarkable thing is that Takeda Sokaku was willing to teach a foreigner in 1905. Similarly, when Terry Dobson was suggested as an uchi-deshi, there was considerable opposition among the uchi-deshi and others at admitting a non-Japanese (unlike Noquet, Terry had no gov't backing or status. He was one step from being a stray dog). It was Ueshiba who ordered that he be admitted.

In the mid-1980's I was scheduled to present in the Nippon Budokan as the leading sempai of Toda-ha Buko-ryu (Nitta sensei was not presenting) - at the all Japan Koryu embu. She got a lot of pressure from shihan of other ryu that it shamed Japanese budo if a koryu's leading representative was a gaijin. She told them that it was none of their business and called me up the night before and ordered me to absolutely present that next day. At one point, we discussed if I would succeed her as soke, and both agreed that it would not be good for the ryu - any mistake I made in etiquette or the like would be blamed on my foreigeness, and this would be a distraction for all the THBR members. But she was very willing to entertain the possibility.

As I say, there have always been exceptions to the general closed grasping quality so rife in martial arts.
Best
EA

MM
08-01-2011, 10:02 PM
Rather, I wanted to point out an example of Ueshiba perhaps lifting the veil a little, in a rather charming way. And how it relates to teaching styles - the latter a fruitful area of discussion when we try to figure out why this stuff dies, why it was so rare, and how it hopefully can survive and flourish.

EA

.

Just my thoughts ...

Why it dies?

There's the story about the person from the Takumakai who went to Tokimune for information and came back with boring solo exercises. No one wanted to do them.

Takeda saying only to teach the secrets to one or two people.

The repetitive, boring exercises that take years for results versus quicker, technique based training.

"Spoon-feeding" training. There is a major problem with looking at internal training as the same as all other martial arts. You can get off track very easily with internal training as opposed to technique based arts, so there should have been a different training paradigm for internal training but I think only Takeda had that. Most other teachers just went ahead with the same old training paradigm that typical martial arts used and that would have hindered students progressing in internal training.

Teachers actually not teaching what they knew for whatever reason (Sagawa is a good example).

I would venture a guess that between those who spent the long torturous years building aiki/IP that they didn't want to teach basics again, to finding students who will put in the time, to the more flashy technique based systems that lured most students, to teachers not "spoon feeding" students, and teachers holding back, it wouldn't take much more to have internal skills die out in the martial arts.

rare?

Looking at current trends, I think one could apply it to history to see why it was so rare. How many *want* to get exposure to the internal skills when their normal martial training provides them a comfort level or a social environment or a challenging environment that suits them? Of those that get the exposure, how many find it worth pursuing? Repetitive, boring solo exercises that are a challenge to do. Paired exercises that seem to have little to do with martial validity. Until years go by. How many keep going?

Then toss in that those who had IT didn't teach many people as a general rule.

Of the three areas, I think the last one is the important one. Especially for "aikido". I have said and still believe that there really is no way for aiki to be put back into Modern Aikido. I'm not saying that is a bad thing. Modern Aikido stands on its own for what it is. But Modern Aikido is nowhere near Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. People will not want to believe that and try to put a square peg in a round hole. Some will just go into denial that their Modern Aikido is Ueshiba's aikido.

It will take some translations, some correlations, and some in depth research to get information out there that shows the truth. Whether that actually happens ... I don't know.

Modern Aikido's "ukemi" model of training is a road block to getting very good at aiki. Modern Aikido's base training methodology (hanmi for example) is a road block to getting very good at aiki. The manner in which the body is trained to execute the techniques (hips generate movement for example) is a road block to getting very good at aiki. Lack of internal power (IP) driving techniques (breaking judoka's hip as an example) in an IP atemi manner. The entire "blending" and harmonizing" in Modern Aikido is opposite the aiki "blending" and "harmonizing". And let's not even get into the weapons training.

Survive and flourish? I think (and I could be wrong) people are going to have to choose whether they want to train in Modern Aikido or in Ueshiba's aikido. Neither good nor bad, depending on what kind of training a person is looking for. As I said, Modern Aikido stands on its own and doesn't need anyone to defend it. Millions worldwide have given Modern Aikido a shape, a form, and a spiritual ideal.

Both will end up looking similar. It will only be when people take them out for a test drive will they find major differences. I guess there will be one outward, major difference. Modern Aikido will have millions of students. Morhei Ueshiba's aikido will have hundreds. As it was, as it is now, as it will ever be.

Lee Salzman
08-01-2011, 10:31 PM
Of the three areas, I think the last one is the important one. Especially for "aikido". I have said and still believe that there really is no way for aiki to be put back into Modern Aikido. I'm not saying that is a bad thing. Modern Aikido stands on its own for what it is. But Modern Aikido is nowhere near Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. People will not want to believe that and try to put a square peg in a round hole. Some will just go into denial that their Modern Aikido is Ueshiba's aikido.

It will take some translations, some correlations, and some in depth research to get information out there that shows the truth. Whether that actually happens ... I don't know.

Modern Aikido's "ukemi" model of training is a road block to getting very good at aiki. Modern Aikido's base training methodology (hanmi for example) is a road block to getting very good at aiki. The manner in which the body is trained to execute the techniques (hips generate movement for example) is a road block to getting very good at aiki. Lack of internal power (IP) driving techniques (breaking judoka's hip as an example) in an IP atemi manner. The entire "blending" and harmonizing" in Modern Aikido is opposite the aiki "blending" and "harmonizing". And let's not even get into the weapons training.

Survive and flourish? I think (and I could be wrong) people are going to have to choose whether they want to train in Modern Aikido or in Ueshiba's aikido. Neither good nor bad, depending on what kind of training a person is looking for. As I said, Modern Aikido stands on its own and doesn't need anyone to defend it. Millions worldwide have given Modern Aikido a shape, a form, and a spiritual ideal.

Both will end up looking similar. It will only be when people take them out for a test drive will they find major differences. I guess there will be one outward, major difference. Modern Aikido will have millions of students. Morhei Ueshiba's aikido will have hundreds. As it was, as it is now, as it will ever be.

I think calling the end result Morihei Ueshiba's aikido in the end is a non-sequitur. It is reconstituted aiki-do arising from seeking out the source of Morihei Ueshiba's knowledge and then attempting to use the information thereby to reproduce his abilities. But the information did not come down from Morihei Ueshiba itself, whereas Modern Aikido did, that is, has an actual lineage to him, even though it has not reproduced his abilities. And yet, we have no definitive claim that we know what Morihei Ueshiba was doing, only that we think given his sources, we can engineer something like it again. This means you will always have a tough sell, because while you may now actually be operating on the same principles as Morihei Ueshiba technically, you did not get them from him directly or through a lineage from him. But reconstituted aiki-do? I don't think there would be anywhere near as much animosity if it was accurately labeled that, what it is, and by all means, my bias is that the reconstituted form is more interesting to me, but I do not entertain that I am upholding Morihei Ueshiba's tradition.

Mike Sigman
08-01-2011, 10:39 PM
But the information did not come down from Morihei Ueshiba itself, whereas Modern Aikido did, that is, has an actual lineage to him, even though it has not reproduced his abilities. In a way, Lee, this is a sort of standard argument. Just to give a significant example, think of Yang Cheng Fu and the Yang-style Taijiquan: many people claim to have studied under Yang Cheng Fu and therefore what they teach is the true "lineage". The problem with this argument is that it assumes that Yang Cheng Fu only had good students who carried on with what Yang was doing and it assumes that Yang taught all of his students the things that he knew. In fact, most Yang-style Taiji, particularly in the West, is just choreography and external technique.

I sort of agree that there is a real question about some of the things being taught now, but I have to point out that something that is "lineage" doesn't do much for me either.

Best.

Mike Sigman

JW
08-01-2011, 11:01 PM
Lee, I agree that there is a "tough sell" challenge with the reconstituted stuff, because it is kind of a reverse-engineering process more than a tradition.
But-- if people can cite doka/dobun/other text from sources like the "Budo" manual, that helps. In other words there is at least a bit of a bridge to claim legitimacy of the reverse-engineered material. It's just "stealing the technique" across time.

The entire "blending" and harmonizing" in Modern Aikido is opposite the aiki "blending" and "harmonizing".
This is just one pull-out quote to represent the gist of this part of your post, Mark. I respect your opinion but I want to point out that many seminar participants seem to disagree, in that they have said that there is a great match rather than a poor match. And, many are doing as Dan and Mike both either recommend or just plain expect: taking what they learn and sticking with aikido, and not seeming to find that to be a square peg and round hole.

In other words I recognize that modern aikido has started to diverge from Ueshiba's personal art, but I think your words are too harsh.

DH
08-01-2011, 11:30 PM
I got a PM. question that I can answer here. Some may already know the story. Re Takeda's American student. In 1905, Takeda Sokaku got on a train - either 2nd or 1st class car, and an American named Charles Perry tried to physically evict him from the car, thinking that this shabbily dressed Japanese didn't belong there. Takeda dropped him, I believe with a nikkyo. Perry studied with him for what I believe is a brief period of time, learning some of the jujutsu, and he later had some role in interesting T. Roosevelt in jujutsu.

It is my understanding that Takeda dispatched two teachers to the white house to teach Roosevelt. The date are in the registration book, though Roosevelt did not sign the book personally.
I'm not too hepped up on who he taught because I think he only really taught a fraction of the people who trained with him.

I don't think the issue is of teaching white people, it is an issue of actually teaching white people. A more interesting observation is those same people not ever realizing they were not taught. Why? Because they rarely run into someone who can demonstrate to them their lack and how to fix it.

Bringing foreigners into it is interesting but the bizzare behavior is not reserved for them only.
We could make an argument that when Ueshiba was standing next to Terry doing Fune kogi Undo that he was teaching him…but it is clear he really wasn’t.
Now add the Native Japanese. How many do you think, got it?



Nothing is as bizarre as Tokimune and his creation of aiki budo, as a separate art from aiki jujutsu, and awarding rank in both for years and in the end essentially telling students of 35 years that he didn't teach them the art. That makes Sagawa look like a piker!
So we have the same thing in China
Foreigners:
I have seen some guys who spent 11 years in China who have no clue what internal power really means. And they are now famous teachers of internal arts here in the states.
Native Chinese:
Now having met one of this man's teachers, a grand master of ICMA, this guy has no internal power either. Then I find out that he, a native Chinese, was not taught either and many know it!

There may be no promise with either of these cultures, but I could make a case for the power of stealing techniques and learning to play a teacher in a calculated manner in order to get more information but I'm not disposed to do that here.

Anyway, it's just as much a mess in China as it is in Japan.
Dan

DH
08-01-2011, 11:37 PM
I think calling the end result Morihei Ueshiba's aikido in the end is a non-sequitur. It is reconstituted aiki-do arising from seeking out the source of Morihei Ueshiba's knowledge and then attempting to use the information thereby to reproduce his abilities. But the information did not come down from Morihei Ueshiba itself, whereas Modern Aikido did, that is, has an actual lineage to him, even though it has not reproduced his abilities. And yet, we have no definitive claim that we know what Morihei Ueshiba was doing, only that we think given his sources, we can engineer something like it again. This means you will always have a tough sell, because while you may now actually be operating on the same principles as Morihei Ueshiba technically, you did not get them from him directly or through a lineage from him. But reconstituted aiki-do? I don't think there would be anywhere near as much animosity if it was accurately labeled that, what it is, and by all means, my bias is that the reconstituted form is more interesting to me, but I do not entertain that I am upholding Morihei Ueshiba's tradition.
I'll stick with the generic brand name of Aikido™ to denote the Modern, bland version.
And Aiki...do, the way of aiki to denote Ueshiba's research.
They are clearly different things.
As you are aware of the Kamae thread, you are also aware that there is going to be some interesting translations surfacing from those who are professional translators, who are also aikido-ka and are starting to train some of the principles that Ueshiba actually outlined in his own words. It is interesting to see the terms he used and the botched translation attempts by his own students and biographers.
Dan

graham christian
08-01-2011, 11:46 PM
3. A grasping paranoia (or more mundanely, an extreme wariness), which imbues the Daito-ryu arts and it's off-shoots to this day, in which the teachers view the students as "stealing and keeping" the secrets.

This would explain so much..........

It does indeed explain most. Of all things a quote is given about keeping kokyu secret. Talk about opposites, no wonder they don't understand Aikido.

Kokyu is about universal love, sharing, oneness, the transmission of harmony.

Aikido.

Regards.G.

Lorel Latorilla
08-02-2011, 01:45 AM
Universal love, oneness, oneness, transmission of harmony. How can I learn this through breathing? Wow! YOu should do seminars here in Japan, Graham. I think you are on to something groundbreaking here.

Tim Fong
08-02-2011, 02:04 AM
1. In many koryu, the esoteric training has specific limitations, because they are used to contribute to the overall intent of that koryu - which could be the techniques and even such larger issues as what would contribute to strengthening the ryu as a political entity. Therefore, an outside expert could, were he or she allowed to look over the curriculum, state "this ryu has these elements, but lacks these others." But that limited perspective might hone their ability with a tanto, within ryu parameters to an incredible peak, for one example.

Hi Ellis,

This is also true for people training in the modern sport fighting disciplines too. I know you know this, so forgive me, this post is just me thinking out loud. Okay, so let's say there are a variety of different "internal skills" and ways to power same. Some of those skills may take so much training that it would reduce the overall effectiveness of a fighter who wants to compete and win under a specific rule set, for example, muay thai. Say we look at internal power training as a specific type of conditioning. A fighter still must condition his cardiovascular system, explosiveness, as well as reflex training and basic strength and conditioning. Fighters may require remedial work in different areas, so no training system is going to fit all competitors.

For something like muay thai or sanda, you have predetermined round lengths, etc, and of course you have to optimize training to win under the particular ruleset. Now someone might say "those are just sports, all I care about is real fighting." But even then, there are, to my understanding, various engagement parameters. What kind of equipment is the practitioner carrying? Body armor? Working in a group vice working alone? Firearms? Impact weapons? Bladed weapons? Kevin Leavitt had some really thought provoking posts about how those factors change what kinds of things work. There's also the question of time-- what are the goals of the system? To train conscripts in 6 months to fight with spears? Professional, long service soldiers? A military caste from the age of 12? Or as the in-house training system for a clan of mercenaries? Training the farm village militia to drive off bandits? Internal training takes a long time to pay off, maybe it's inappropriate for training a hastily assembled village militia. Ring fighters?

So back to the call of your question about hidden in plain sight and pedagogy. One thing I think about a lot is what are the unspoken assumptions that systems make. What kind of skills did students bring to the school as a result of prior training? This is really a question of the environment. You mentioned in some of your essays that sumo was really a given to a lot of koryu since it was a common recreational sport played by kids. This is also paralleled by the popularity of shuaijiao in Northern China-- many people starting an ''internal'' style might have some experience playing shuaijiao even before they started practicing , taiji. Look at Yang Cheng Fu teaching the Qing court-- a lot of the Manchu bannermen played wrestling as a fundamental part of their culture/early training. For striking systems you have people coming out of backgrounds with a lot of rhythm and footwork training through dance or music, and this obviously is going to carry over.

So perhaps sometimes the frustration of transmission is really the result of moving a system to a new environment where pre-existing "givens" don't exist in the student population. Of course transmission will start to fail. And in some ways, a cultural revolution is a new environment which changes the cultural assumptions/education that new students bring. I think you and Prof. Goldsbury have mentioned a lot of the post-war uchideshi lacked the cultural background to understand what Ueshiba was saying in his long talks-- because the post-war culture no longer embraced those concepts.

It would be as if a Pentecostal, snake-handling Christian from Iowa developed an internal martial art, using Pentecostal end times theology to explain his experiences. Whether it was true or not is not the issue here, but rather, how he viewed the world and communicated said worldview to others. His early students would undoubtedly have strong (sometimes world class) standup wrestling backgrounds-- he's teaching in Iowa of all places. Say he then moved to San Francisco where a lot of his hipster students did BJJ (but not stand up grappling) and where they wanted to learn his awesome grappling skills but tuned out the lecture. They want to learn to kick ass (and they're too cool for the old time religion) and the old man is talking about feeling the Holy Spirit and snake handling.

Then imagine those hipster students, who only partially got the transmission, moving to Japan and trying to teach a bunch of Japanese people, some of whom came to the school because they were not so interested in martial arts, but were relatively recent Japanese evangelical Christian converts. Some of the hipster teachers at some point realize that understanding Christianity has something to do with understanding what the old man was talking about, so they go off and become Lutherans. They start talking about Martin Luther a lot, even though the old man belonged to another sect that was started up in Iowa by a guy that got thrown in jail for trying to overthrow the US government, after spending a bit of time trying to build a Christian religious community in Pakistan.

Now the 3rd or 4th generation Japanese students get a little frustrated that their art isn't working that well. Some of them might say, screw this, we're just going to do judo. Some of them might be really fascinated by all this and end up training in San Francisco at the old HQ, and some of them might find out that the old man had a secretive teacher who left some other students up in Iowa....

Aikibu
08-02-2011, 02:55 AM
You know I have come full circle in my desire to learn Aiki/IMA. What is frustrating though at least in terms of the History and Culture of these Arts it seems to make most folks in royal A-Holes...Perhaps (and of course I am just speculating..) O'Sensei had this in mind when he did his 180 away from DR and decided to share Aikido with the world. LOL

With all due respect I am not talking about anyone here. I myself have experienced something similar in being a member of some elite military units and their disdain for those outside their "caste".

I sure hope that as today's teachers of IMA progress they continue leave the legacy of "super secret squirreldom" egos behind.

Truth is I think most here want to learn such things because it would make them better martial artists AND human beings. :) I know that's what I want. My days of trying to be king of the mountain are left behind to those who do not yet know the meaninglessness behind that title.

Life is Short... Practice Hard. :)

William Hazen

observer
08-02-2011, 03:10 AM
Of all things a quote is given about keeping kokyu secret. Talk about opposites, no wonder they don't understand Aikido. Kokyu is about universal love, sharing, oneness, the transmission of harmony.
Do you think that you understand aikido? If I tell you that aikido is simply an art in which the idea is not to be touched by a real aggressor, and then to throw him on the head without braking his balance (and obviously without his cooperation) - will you belive me? That is a genius idea, isn't it? Still valid. Oh, no. You will say, as everyone, that this is impossible, and invent another theory, which makes no sense (kokyu secret!?), like others; in millions of words already written on this forum.;)

chillzATL
08-02-2011, 08:02 AM
Of the three areas, I think the last one is the important one. Especially for "aikido". I have said and still believe that there really is no way for aiki to be put back into Modern Aikido. I'm not saying that is a bad thing. Modern Aikido stands on its own for what it is. But Modern Aikido is nowhere near Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. People will not want to believe that and try to put a square peg in a round hole. Some will just go into denial that their Modern Aikido is Ueshiba's aikido.

It will take some translations, some correlations, and some in depth research to get information out there that shows the truth. Whether that actually happens ... I don't know.

Modern Aikido's "ukemi" model of training is a road block to getting very good at aiki. Modern Aikido's base training methodology (hanmi for example) is a road block to getting very good at aiki. The manner in which the body is trained to execute the techniques (hips generate movement for example) is a road block to getting very good at aiki. Lack of internal power (IP) driving techniques (breaking judoka's hip as an example) in an IP atemi manner. The entire "blending" and harmonizing" in Modern Aikido is opposite the aiki "blending" and "harmonizing". And let's not even get into the weapons training.


Mark,

Expand on what you mean by this please, because I'm not sure that I agree. The outward form of both are identical. Everything that you list as a negative of ai-ki-do, looked the same in Ueshiba's aiki-do, only his students understanding was incomplete. The fact that practically everything he said and did could be replicated, to a lesser degree, in some external way was a big part of the problem, but going back and doing it HIS way, doesn't really change the structure of the art. It just changes the focus and understanding of the people doing it.

phitruong
08-02-2011, 08:26 AM
Of the three areas, I think the last one is the important one. Especially for "aikido". I have said and still believe that there really is no way for aiki to be put back into Modern Aikido. I'm not saying that is a bad thing. Modern Aikido stands on its own for what it is. But Modern Aikido is nowhere near Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. People will not want to believe that and try to put a square peg in a round hole. Some will just go into denial that their Modern Aikido is Ueshiba's aikido.


a question or two. what is your definition of modern aikido? are what Ikeda and Gleason and a number of other aikido teachers doing considered as modern aikido? i am still trying to figure out what this aikido thing you folks are talking about. i thought i was learning some sort of cross-dressing martial arts. :)

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-02-2011, 08:44 AM
I think it is a fallacy on several grounds to assume that a combination of (1) feeling present day aiki teachers like Dan and working with them and (2) putting together all sorts of - admittedly often intelligent and interesting - hypotheses from the scarce historical sources available puts one into a position to say definitely what "Morihei Ueshibas Aikido" was.

I would be especially careful then to judge what others do on those premises.

And when it comes to giving the fundamentalist (because that is what they are :-) ) "reconstructions" that result more credence than the accounts of the living eye witnesses and companions of the man, I also find it a little arrogant.

Just being polemical, I love you all :D

dps
08-02-2011, 09:14 AM
Life is Short... Practice Hard. :)

William Hazen

Life is shorter when you obsess over things....Practice everyday.

And don't take any wooden nickels....or pennies.

dps

Erick Mead
08-02-2011, 09:19 AM
Yoshiyaki Yamashita was introduced to Roosevelt in 1905 by then naval attache, Isamu Takeshita. Takeshita assisted in the Russo- Japanese treaty negotiations which is how he got to know Roosevelt, and a mutual interest in sport was their connection.

Yamashita was specifically representing the Kodokan, and reportedly a signed picture of Roosevelt dedicated to Yamashita was hung at the Kodokan after his visit in the U.S. The stint was not all that short -- he taught judo for one term at the US Naval Academy.

Takeshita had some grounding in DTR, and great appreciation for Takeda, but was more associated with Ueshiba documenting his aiki-jujutsu, but also with advancing gendai budo more generally, particularly in advancing sumo as a national sport.

If there are any other DTR or jujutsu associated visits at the White House in that period I, for one, would like to know who, if there were any.

dps
08-02-2011, 09:28 AM
Perhaps this twill shed some light on the idea of hidden in plain sight.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18017

The Tao of Coffee

Two scholars spent the better part of an afternoon in the local Starbucks arguing the theories of Evolution versus Creationism. Getting nowhere they decided to head for the coast to visit a popular local sage named Chung Lee who reputedly had the answers.

Upon arrival to his shack hidden amongst the dunes, they parked and started walking up a hill to where the old sage was sitting with his face towards the sea. After approaching him the old man turned, directed his eyes upon them and asked, "Where's the coffee?"

The two became puzzled. "Sir, one said, we were told you could help us with the greatest philosophical dilemma of our age. . . perhaps even give us some insight into the theories of which we are about to speak."

Chung Lee answered, "Yes, of course, but go now, next time you come bring me a cup of Starbucks coffee, then we will speak of your theories."

The following morning they returned bearing a large cup of Starbucks coffee. After greetings, they handed the old sage the cardboard tray and opened their individual portfolios, each anticipating a quick and decisive victory.

Chung Lee, while sipping his coffee quickly went over each theory, handed the papers back, looked out to sea and finished the coffee before beginning to speak.

"The two theories are mere disciplines, and although seemingly opposing views, upon deeper reflection are one and the same. The difference lies in your interpretation and in your desire to understand the mystery. But alas, the mystery cannot be contained in a theory, so you are beating your learned heads against a brick wall."

Going on he said. "Each is merely a doorway, and being so can never explain the goings on within the room. You need theory to find the doorway, but once opened this very same discipline becomes your stumbling block. Theory can never reveal truth, only the pathway to it.

The two looked at each other, excused themselves and walked back to the car.

"This is a wise man?" one asked. "He sends us for coffee, then he comes up with this gibberish?"

"Yes, it is strange," said the other. "Yet his reputation is such there has to be something we are missing. Let's give him a chance to prove himself."

The two go back to where the old man is sitting. "Sir, excuse us, but we don't understand. What are we missing?"

The old man held up the empty cup. "This cup will always contain the mystery, but as you smell of it, sip of it, and enjoy drinking it, you one day realize you don't really care how Starbucks made such a good cup of coffee, you are just glad they did. And thanks be to the mystery, as long as there are people like you seeking to understand it, I will never have to worry about getting my morning cup."

The old man smiled and returned his gaze to the sea.

dps :)

DH
08-02-2011, 09:29 AM
That statement was why I even engaged in the subject. Didn't realize you were expressing this reducto ad absurdum.

Well again just trying to be clear.
I think it was the idea of using examples of Chinese internal artists against unknowing Japanese external artists as validation for anything, that was flawed. As I pointed out the opposite could have been examined had history been different.

I don't recall that discussion quite like that. i recall discussing the methodology by which people are presenting this info - in public. What I definitely never did was discuss who could beat up whom, or who was the 'best" at IT.
Ah I see the disconnect. When I said
"Your discussion of who's the best reminded me of our talk...."
I was talking about this part of your post. I should have quoted it . Here it is with bolded comments for emphasis of what I was referring to and it wasn't fighting.
Finally, re Chinese experts vs. Japanese - Once again, hopefully, we are talking about pedagogy, not merely who could beat who.
1. In many koryu, the esoteric training has specific limitations, because they are used to contribute to the overall intent of that koryu - which could be the techniques and even such larger issues as what would contribute to strengthening the ryu as a political entity. Therefore, an outside expert could, were he or she allowed to look over the curriculum, state "this ryu has these elements, but lacks these others." But that limited perspective might hone their ability with a tanto, within ryu parameters to an incredible peak, for one example.
2. I think it is very possible that someone with a "limited" curriculum of IT, trained to a peak, may very well be more powerful than someone with a comprehensive curriculum, not trained as well, or simply lacking a fighting spirit.
3. In trying to evaluate IT, be it Japanese, Chinese, or remnants in the Persian Zhor Khane - even today - is that most teachers are not open with their curriculum. So it's hard to objectively evaluate these things.

I stated I thought the discussion would go nowhere. I meant exactly that. You yourself just stated; "it's hard to objectively evaluate these things." I say its impossible for the reasons I quoted. I never said the discussion was about who could beat up who. I made an argument that single sourcing things is a mistake, and this included teaching methodology. What I remember discussing was not being able to compare correctness of teaching methodology based on individual ability alone.
1. One person may know something but not be able to use it yet,
2. Another may know less but be able to utilize what he knows far better,
3. Another may know something and use it, but it does not function well with all demands.

It presumes too much to think there is an ultimate model, a one method that is supreme to all humans and this is what we should all be doing.
Why presumptive?
Whoever... is stating or arguing that must by default know all things, be expert in all things, and has fought with all things to e able to discount or vet all methods. That, is impossible to know and to vet. There are too many examples of master class internal guys arguing that they understood the classics and others didn't, or that it is a mistake to focus on this or that model. So, the argument of comparing information is meaningless to me and I stated so.

You really missed my point. All I was talking about was a collegial exchange. I'm doing a lot more exchange......
That's fine. I hope you're having a blast. What do you think I have been doing?
I'll repeat my point one more time and if you don't get it, I'll leave it. I think we actually agree on it.
Maybe its all you were talking about, but you said:
The only way we will find out if the Japanese - specifically Daito-ryu - is limited compared to this or that Chinese system is when each puts all their cards on the table, and methodologies can be clearly compared.
This is directly addressed in my opening points going back to our table discussion.
The cards laid on a table will vet what method or idea? As judged by whom?
Let's examine your idea of "methodologies compared"
Instead of debating an arguing over terminology and some strangers inflated idea of his own understanding, I followed some advice and went out to get my hands on some real experts. I can tell you that I have been judged by some ICMA experts up close and personal and told I was doing advanced things in their art. I have also disagreed with a ICMA expert on how to use or whether to use certain things for practical reasons. I understood what he meant, I could do what he meant and I stopped him in his tracks for trying. Other things I totally agree on and applaud.
I have stood in rooms with eight Koryu people who had trained with five of the current guys teaching so called internals. I made an argument for how I move going from ground to standing, empty hand to weapons, traditional to modern seamlessly and fluidly compared to other methods.
How do you propose that physically laying my cards on the table in public, as opposed to engaging in written public debate, or the back handed positioning in private helps?
Do you propose that you know of a method that can solve this?
To me, your idea to "lay things out on the table and compare"...is being done in an ages old and acceptable process. On the net, as I said, it is a waste of time.

But I did not start this thread for a debate on skills or Chinese/Japanese antecedents. Yet, somehow, back to that underbrush we have gone.
Rather, I wanted to point out an example of Ueshiba perhaps lifting the veil a little, in a rather charming way. And how it relates to teaching styles - the latter a fruitful area of discussion when we try to figure out why this stuff dies, why it was so rare, and how it hopefully can survive and flourish.
I understand your frustration. But every time the art of boxing is discussed as an art; fighting ability, records an understanding of the art through demonstrable and effective use of the art, ensues. We are mostly amateurs. It's rude to say (yes I know) but who am I going to debate things with? I would rather debate intent, fajin, certain aspects of pole shaking, sword cutting or the nature of spiral energy with someone who can remain standing in front of me, instead of some unknown and unproved quantity on the net who has a lot of amateur theories. I am content to leave things as they are, to continue to go out and meet real experts (I have a few more invites to explore). share with who ever, and wait ten years for all of this to develop further. I'd rather have people prove their worth instead of telling me their worth. It time the students will display skills or not. Hah…even that is going to turn into all sorts of arguing and fun.

Ueshiba is a good example of what I mean by this. He was doing certain things correctly, but not using terminology that could have been more helpful. Do you suppose he had the full range of skills that Takeda had, or that various ICMA have? At times he was using terminology that was known, but obviously (as demonstrated by the translations) no one knew what he as talking about. That's interesting in itself. We state this stuff was everywhere in Asia and everyone knew it, but here is flat out proof that …no…that's simply not true. Not only could his deshi not even translate the damn shit right, they couldn't do it either. And here we all are on the net arguing about it
Budo is wonderful. A snake pit, a field of amazing information and friendships, all pockmarked with Bullshit…all in one. We just have to be careful where we step.
All the best
Dan

.

DH
08-02-2011, 09:40 AM
I think it is a fallacy on several grounds to assume that a combination of (1) feeling present day aiki teachers like Dan and working with them and (2) putting together all sorts of - admittedly often intelligent and interesting - hypotheses from the scarce historical sources available puts one into a position to say definitely what "Morihei Ueshibas Aikido" was.

I would be especially careful then to judge what others do on those premises.

And when it comes to giving the fundamentalist (because that is what they are :-) ) "reconstructions" that result more credence than the accounts of the living eye witnesses and companions of the man, I also find it a little arrogant.

Just being polemical, I love you all :D
Hi big guy. we love you too.
That's pretty dicey advice.
How do you reconcile
Advising people to compare with his contemporaries (which include insider stories of people who also studied Daito ryu) and when they include:
His fellow Daito ryu students who could do what he did
His students who could do some of what he did
His famous students who could not
And all of those who admit they didn't have a clue what he was doing or talking about who are all 8th dans with international followers
How do address that fact they...so many of the people you want us to listen to..admit they didn't have a clue?
Compared with
Modern researchers who do understand that many of his teachings agreed with known and practiced budo terminology that his own students didn't comprehend. Which is very revealing in itself.
Now add in a host of modern aikido teachers training in those methods and making a judgment that this is indeed aiki..do

Thoughts?
Dan

Aikibu
08-02-2011, 10:23 AM
Life is shorter when you obsess over things....Practice everyday.

And don't take any wooden nickels....or pennies.

dps

And I forgot... Don't forget to have HAVE FUN! As a wise man once told me....I ain't never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul. :)

William Hazen

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-02-2011, 10:23 AM
Hi big guy. we love you too.
That's pretty dicey advice.
How do you reconcile
Advising people to compare with his contemporaries (which include insider stories of people who also studied Daito ryu) and when they include:
His fellow Daito ryu students who could do what he did
His students who could do some of what he did
His famous students who could not
And all of those who admit they didn't have a clue what he was doing or talking about who are all 8th dans with international followers
How do address that fact they...so many of the people you want us to listen to..admit they didn't have a clue?
Compared with
Modern researchers who do understand that many of his teachings agreed with known and practiced budo terminology that his own students didn't comprehend. Which is very revealing in itself.
Now add in a host of modern aikido teachers training in those methods and making a judgment that this is indeed aiki..do

Thoughts?
Dan

Hi Dan,
well, in some way I am just advocating a healthy (I believe) dose of agnosticism when it comes to the history of aikido. Maybe that's because of my academic background in history... :o
There are tons of interesting historical bits (I sometimes call them flotsam/ "Treibgut" with my students) that we can use to inspire or guide our personal practice of whatever form, but very little we really know sure enough about historical Aikido to tell others what to think or do. At least that is what I believe. And I have read most of the texts published, and admire the authors for their efforts.

Generally, there is also very little we can - for general problems of historical interpretation - really "reconstruct" about any physical practice once the practitioner is dead, and it's always going to be selective. So when people argue history - especially here on aikiweb - it's usually about present day power games, and making claims about "Morihei Ueshibas Aikido" at the end of the day is mostly a rhetorical strategy.

I think we could do without that: by doing what we do because we love it, and letting others do what they do because it apparently improves their lives, too. And not delegitimate it, implicitly or explicitly.

As a student of yours (hi there!) said to me: "Once I started doing his work I got profoundly uninterested in the history of aikido." I thought that was a great statement. For me, the evidence of what you (or others) do, is in the overwhelming "practical" effect. No historical evidence needed. But the legitimacy of "modern aikido" similarly lies in the fact that people enjoy it. No historical justification needed. Now I am personally interested in possible combinations of the two, but I am more inspired by the future of such a project then by its past.

In that sense, I get wary when history is used for legitimation or delegitimation in Budo.

So I had to look up "dicey" and "flotsam" - learned something...
Hope you are well. Remember not to hurt yourself with blades before you come here next time :D

Nicholas

MM
08-02-2011, 10:32 AM
But the information did not come down from Morihei Ueshiba itself, whereas Modern Aikido did, that is, has an actual lineage to him, even though it has not reproduced his abilities.


Hi Lee,

There is information out there that Modern Aikido is much more a creation of Kisshomaru and Tohei than a derivative of Morhei Ueshiba. I think the most one can say about lineage is that there is a blood connection.


This is just one pull-out quote to represent the gist of this part of your post, Mark. I respect your opinion but I want to point out that many seminar participants seem to disagree, in that they have said that there is a great match rather than a poor match. And, many are doing as Dan and Mike both either recommend or just plain expect: taking what they learn and sticking with aikido, and not seeming to find that to be a square peg and round hole.

In other words I recognize that modern aikido has started to diverge from Ueshiba's personal art, but I think your words are too harsh.

Jonathan,

I think you hit an important point that everyone should recognize. :) This is my opinion and view. It doesn't make it right. I've been wrong before and will be so again. I'm not stubborn about it and entertain ideas and theories that contradict me.

As to Modern Aikido and participants agreeing there is a great match ... how many Martial Artists of other styles said the very same thing? :) People from Taiji, MMA, Judo, TaeKwonDo, Bagua, etc all said that aiki was a great match to what they are doing. Why would Modern Aikido people be any different? It would seem to be a great match, even more so for aikido people, considering it's aiki. :)

In fact, it was Ueshiba who said that aiki would make whatever you do, better. And to qualify even more, Ueshiba would see some other martial art and what did he say? You would do that this way with aiki. (paraphrasing) Why does very good jujutsu look like aiki yet feel completely and utterly different when experienced?

My words might very well be harsh. Too harsh? Maybe. But, being harsh and being wrong are different things. :D


I sure hope that as today's teachers of IMA progress they continue leave the legacy of "super secret squirreldom" egos behind.

Truth is I think most here want to learn such things because it would make them better martial artists AND human beings. :) I know that's what I want. My days of trying to be king of the mountain are left behind to those who do not yet know the meaninglessness behind that title.

Life is Short... Practice Hard. :)

William Hazen

Hi William,

I completely agree with you.

Mark,

Expand on what you mean by this please, because I'm not sure that I agree. The outward form of both are identical. Everything that you list as a negative of ai-ki-do, looked the same in Ueshiba's aiki-do, only his students understanding was incomplete. The fact that practically everything he said and did could be replicated, to a lesser degree, in some external way was a big part of the problem, but going back and doing it HIS way, doesn't really change the structure of the art. It just changes the focus and understanding of the people doing it.

Um, the things I listed were in comparison/contrast and were not negatives. I stated very clearly that I saw no negatives between Modern Aikido and Ueshiba's aikido.

If you train with the high break falls that most in Modern Aikido have, you will not get great at aiki. If you use hip power to drive your techniques, you will not get great at aiki. If you use timing to get out of the way of incoming force and then blend with that force you will not get great at aiki. Now, you don't have to believe me. You can say I'm wrong. That's perfectly fine with me.

Ask any person who is in a weapons based art what they think of Modern Aikido weapons use. When they stop laughing, listen closely to what they tell you. Then go back to research about Morihei Ueshiba and what people in weapons based martial arts thought of him. You tell me if you think that looking the same equates to being the same.

a question or two. what is your definition of modern aikido? are what Ikeda and Gleason and a number of other aikido teachers doing considered as modern aikido? i am still trying to figure out what this aikido thing you folks are talking about. i thought i was learning some sort of cross-dressing martial arts. :)

I have a lot of respect for Ikeda and Gleason. Heck, I'd love it if Bill proved me wrong. In fact, I'm eagerly waiting for it. But, without a major change in the methodology on how Modern Aikido is taught and trained, I really don't think it'll happen. One can hope but be realistic at the same time. :)

Again, to reiterate major points:
It's all my opinion and view. I allow for the chance that I'm wrong.

I don't see any negatives with Modern Aikido or Ueshiba's aikido. Each one serves its own purpose and people find value in either one. There is no reason to invalidate Modern Aikido when so many people love it and find it of immense value. Stating that one believes Modern Aikido and Ueshiba's aikido are two very different things does *NOT* invalidate either.

I think it is a fallacy on several grounds to assume that a combination of (1) feeling present day aiki teachers like Dan and working with them and (2) putting together all sorts of - admittedly often intelligent and interesting - hypotheses from the scarce historical sources available puts one into a position to say definitely what "Morihei Ueshibas Aikido" was.

I would be especially careful then to judge what others do on those premises.

And when it comes to giving the fundamentalist (because that is what they are :-) ) "reconstructions" that result more credence than the accounts of the living eye witnesses and companions of the man, I also find it a little arrogant.

Just being polemical, I love you all :D

Hi Nicholas,

Hope you're doing well and training hard. Personally, I'm not saying I definitely know what Morihei Ueshiba's aikido was. I'm saying that his aikido was very different than Modern Aikido and I'm pointing out areas where I think that is so.

I also think there are similarities. The techniques, in a general sense, seem to be similar. The message of love and harmony is close. Projecting your attacker rather than dealing a death blow at one's feet is similar. Use of jujutsu principles are similar.

I may be over-reaching, I may be harsh, I might even be wrong, but I'm always open to new information, ideas, and opinions. If you have information that points to where my comparisons, correlations, ideas, or views are wrong, I'd love to hear it.

Or look at it my way for a second. I've put together tons of information from various sources that sheds light that what Ueshiba was doing was not what his Modern Aikido students were doing, that Kisshomaru and Tohei changed things, that shows Ueshiba still doing stock Daito ryu techniques, that Ueshiba's peers did similar demonstrations, that translations were skewed by personal biases, etc, etc, etc and mostly what I receive in responses/posts are things like: I think (without any supporting evidence), it all looks the same so it must be the same (without any supporting evidence), you shouldn't assume x is y (but without any supporting evidence), etc.

Not that I'm taking any of the responses as negatives. Not at all. I just don't see very much evidence to contradict the stuff I've put out there. People can say that the stuff I put out there is anecdotal, indirect, and circumstantial (and I agree that it is), but I have not seen very many instances of someone posting something that contradicts it.

Thanks for all the replies,
Mark

Demetrio Cereijo
08-02-2011, 10:39 AM
... how many Martial Artists of other styles said the very same thing? :) People from Taiji, MMA, Judo, TaeKwonDo, Bagua, etc all said that aiki was a great match to what they are doing.

How many? Who are these elite judoists, pro mma'ers and olympic caliber taekwondoists who said that?

Names, locations, ...? I'd like to check their statements.

Janet Rosen
08-02-2011, 10:50 AM
Perhaps this twill shed some light on the idea of hidden in plain sight.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18017
The Tao of Coffee


But can anybody be deemed a wise man who believes that what Starbucks brews is actually a decent cup of coffee? :)

DH
08-02-2011, 10:50 AM
Well, as a History teacher you understand that "those who ignore history are....."

I see the debate not as right or wrong aikido. That's why I choose my terms and try to remain consistent Aikido™ as the standard fair approved by the aikikai, and Aiki...do.

You didn't really address the points that should be indicators to a history buff. When you are researching, precedents and known terminology and and cultural norms help to understand contextual references made by a subject. You don't get very far reinventing an entirely new meaning of something said or practiced through a researchers ignorance of the subject.
Please resolve, or dispute the following:
His own students admitted they did not understand him.
His translators misunderstood well established budo terminology Ueshiba was using for a random collection of disparate words they never understood ...chained together and thus they mistranslated him.
Why did they not know the terms and their meanings? Because Ueshiba, for all his greatness, was apparently a lousy teacher.

Now....
Modern researchers and translators who understand those terms
know what he was speaking about
Aikikai banned training videos- of one of Ueshibas original deshi- demonstrate a parallel understanding to what the modern researchers are saying.
These same methods that Ueshiba Morihei espoused, Six direction awareness, heaven/earth/man, Spiral energy (with some interesting familiar references), Leading intent from dantian out to fingers, training breath-power, now properly translated and referenced into the already established and known training principles and practiced by aikido-ka teachers are being vetted that they are dramatically improving their aikido.
Care to address any of that please?
Dan

Hi Dan,
well, in some way I am just advocating a healthy (I believe) dose of agnosticism when it comes to the history of aikido. Maybe that's because of my academic background in history... :o
There are tons of interesting historical bits (I sometimes call them flotsam/ "Treibgut" with my students) that we can use to inspire or guide our personal practice of whatever form, but very little we really know sure enough about historical Aikido to tell others what to think or do. At least that is what I believe. And I have read most of the texts published, and admire the authors for their efforts.

Generally, there is also very little we can - for general problems of historical interpretation - really "reconstruct" about any physical practice once the practitioner is dead, and its always going to be selective. So when people argue history - especially here on aikiweb - its usually about present day power games, and making claims about "Morihei Ueshibas Aikido" at the end of the day is mostly a rhetorical strategy.

I think we could do without that: by doing what we do because we love it, and letting others do what they do because it apparently improves their lives, too. And not delegitimate it.

As a student of yours (hi there!) said to me: "Once I started doing his work I got profoundly uninterested in the history of aikido." I thought that was a great statement. For me, the evidence of what you (or others) do, is in the overwhelming "practical" effect. No historical evidence needed. But the legitimacy of "modern aikido" similarly lies in the fact that people enjoy it. No historical justification needed. Now I am personally interested in possible combinations of the two, but I am more inspired by the future of such a project then by its past.

In that sense, I get wary when history is used for legitimation or delegitimation in Budo.

So I had to look up "dicey" and "flotsam" - learned something...
Hope you are well. Remember not to hurt yourself with blades before you come here next time :D

Nicholas

jester
08-02-2011, 11:01 AM
Please resolve, or dispute the following:
His own students admitted they did not understand him.

Dan

Was this the case with Kenji Tomiki? In your experience, how does this style of Aikido compare to the Aikikai or other organizations?

In my experience, it's night and day.

Tim

DH
08-02-2011, 11:17 AM
I think a discussion of Tomiki is different from a discussion of his art.
A discussion of Shrata is different from what has become of his art.
no different with aikido., Daitoryu, or the Chinese arts.
Dan

Was this the case with Kenji Tomiki? In your experience, how does this style of Aikido compare to the Aikikai or other organizations?

In my experience, it's night and day.

Tim

DH
08-02-2011, 11:25 AM
William
It appears to me that the people teaching are doing so publicly in open rooms. Last I. Checked there was a lot of fun being had in the learning process, and friends being made.
DON'T let the internet judge anything, dude!
cheers
Dan
You know I have come full circle in my desire to learn Aiki/IMA. What is frustrating though at least in terms of the History and Culture of these Arts it seems to make most folks in royal A-Holes...Perhaps (and of course I am just speculating..) O'Sensei had this in mind when he did his 180 away from DR and decided to share Aikido with the world. LOL

With all due respect I am not talking about anyone here. I myself have experienced something similar in being a member of some elite military units and their disdain for those outside their "caste".

I sure hope that as today's teachers of IMA progress they continue leave the legacy of "super secret squirreldom" egos behind.

Truth is I think most here want to learn such things because it would make them better martial artists AND human beings. :) I know that's what I want. My days of trying to be king of the mountain are left behind to those who do not yet know the meaninglessness behind that title.

Life is Short... Practice Hard. :)

William Hazen

Thomas Campbell
08-02-2011, 12:53 PM
Look at Yang Cheng Fu teaching the Qing court-- a lot of the Manchu bannermen played wrestling as a fundamental part of their culture/early training.

Just a minor historical point, Tim--Yang Cheng Fu never taught the Qing court. The Qing dynasty ended in 1911--Yang Cheng Fu was not teaching then. YCF's grandfather, Yang Luchan, and uncle, Yang Banhou, were involved in teaching the Manchu "Bannermen"--specifically the Shenjiying or "Divine Skill Battalion." YCF's father, Yang Jianhou, earned a living teaching Manchu nobility, taking the first steps towards devolving taijiquan into a "civilian" art. Not all of these aristocratic sources of income and prestige for Yang family taijiquan survived the downfall of the Qing dynasty--and earning a living through teaching a version of taijiquan publicly became a necessity for YCF.

But, to get back to your point, it is known that YCF trained shuaijiao when he was younger. He did not wholeheartedly embrace and train in his family's art of taijiquan until later--when he was groomed to take over as "head" and CEO of the family art (Yang Jianhou died in 1917, when YCF was 34 years old--YCF began teaching taiji a few years before this).

phitruong
08-02-2011, 01:13 PM
As a student of yours (hi there!) said to me: "Once I started doing his work I got profoundly uninterested in the history of aikido." I thought that was a great statement. For me, the evidence of what you (or others) do, is in the overwhelming "practical" effect. No historical evidence needed. But the legitimacy of "modern aikido" similarly lies in the fact that people enjoy it. No historical justification needed. Now I am personally interested in possible combinations of the two, but I am more inspired by the future of

i can relate to that sentiment. history is ok, but it's more interesting for me on "how do this stuffs work?", how to train for it? (please none of those love and joining methods. been there, done that and have children to prove it!) and how soon can i get Howie into fishing rehab clinics? :D

dps
08-02-2011, 01:39 PM
And I forgot... Don't forget to have HAVE FUN! As a wise man once told me....I ain't never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul. :)

William Hazen

LOL

dps

dps
08-02-2011, 01:43 PM
But can anybody be deemed a wise man who believes that what Starbucks brews is actually a decent cup of coffee? :)

Almost any free coffee is good enough coffee. :)

dps

Thomas Campbell
08-02-2011, 01:46 PM
i can relate to that sentiment. history is ok, but it's more interesting for me on "how do this stuffs work?", how to train for it? (please none of those love and joining methods. been there, done that and have children to prove it!) and how soon can i get Howie into fishing rehab clinics?

I agree with the general sentiment that our training today is more important than the fables of yesteryear--but if you are going to cite history, the history should be correct, insofar as it can be known. And as for the particular type of historical marketing known as lineage, some lineages likely do not have the internal skill sets being sought or the teaching methods to convey them. That is part of history and a substantial theme in this thread.

graham christian
08-02-2011, 04:31 PM
Universal love, oneness, oneness, transmission of harmony. How can I learn this through breathing? Wow! YOu should do seminars here in Japan, Graham. I think you are on to something groundbreaking here.

Universal love is indeed your spiritual breathing. Those who only think in terms of mind (analytical data, tachnical, historical etc.) and body therefore are blind to the truth. But there's hope.

DH
08-02-2011, 04:40 PM
Is it lineage that we are pursuing? Or is it getting a good handle on what these men were doing themselves to get it?
I enjoy some of the discovery and placement of the arts, but when it comes down to it, its not about the who's who, it's about what's what. I think it's going to be interesting if we can get some better translations done to see if there are even more known and established methods being discussed and or shown by these men. I think it says even more for aikido rather than against it.
Cheers
Dan

phitruong
08-02-2011, 06:00 PM
Almost any free coffee is good enough coffee. :)

dps

blaspheme! actually, I said the same thing to Ikeda sensei one time. he looked at me like i have two heads. of course, he then convinced me to get an espresso machine. i believed he mentioned something along the line of good aikido comes from good coffee. i don't think O Sensei ever had any coffee so his aikido couldn't be that good, contrary to popular belief. i am sure this fact has been hidden in plain sight somewhere. :)

dps
08-02-2011, 06:11 PM
blaspheme! actually, I said the same thing to Ikeda sensei one time. he looked at me like i have two heads. of course, he then convinced me to get an espresso machine. i believed he mentioned something along the line of good aikido comes from good coffee. i don't think O Sensei ever had any coffee so his aikido couldn't be that good, contrary to popular belief. i am sure this fact has been hidden in plain sight somewhere. :)

You might be onto something there. Didn't Dong Haichuan start a whole new martial art based on serving tea at a crowded diner.

O'Sensei work at a Japanese Starbucks or was it Caribou Coffee?

dps

gregstec
08-02-2011, 07:47 PM
Is it lineage that we are pursuing? Or is it getting a good handle on what these men were doing themselves to get it?
I enjoy some of the discovery and placement of the arts, but when it comes down to it, its not about the who's who, it's about what's what. I think it's going to be interesting if we can get some better translations done to see if there are even more known and established methods being discussed and or shown by these men. I think it says even more for aikido rather than against it.
Cheers
Dan

I like the statement in bold above - it segregates the subjective personalities from the objective substance - kind of like the statement: "It is what it is" - of course, the big question is, just what 'It' really is - just got to have fun in the exploration :)

Greg

gregstec
08-02-2011, 08:11 PM
Universal love is indeed your spiritual breathing. Those who only think in terms of mind (analytical data, tachnical, historical etc.) and body therefore are blind to the truth. But there's hope.

Hi Graham, buddy, how are things going? Just a couple of things I like to pass your way.

First, a few of your posts lately have somewhat implied that those on the IP/IT path were all about the physical - that is not really the way it is - actually, there is substantially more mental stuff going on than the physical, which is really just an outward manifestation of the internal stuff going on.

The other thing is about your spiritual breathing comment above - it implies that those that have an analytical and technical approach are missing something, not necessarily true - I am a technical person and I am extremely logical and analytical on everything - however, I have found that the most accurate approach to determining what is right or wrong is how it feels - now I do not consider that spiritual or religious, but it is not really a technical analysis either - some may place that on a non-religious spiritual or emotional level.

Greg

phitruong
08-02-2011, 08:22 PM
The other thing is about your spiritual breathing comment above - it implies that those that have an analytical and technical approach are missing something, not necessarily true -
Greg

come on, Greg! just admit that we are missing something. the whole analytical process implies that we are searching for things, right? if we are searching for things, which mean we don't have it, which mean we are missing something, right? now, Graham doesn't need to search for things, because he has them; thus, he is no longer need the analytical or technical, just spiritual is enough. so just admit it, that us lowly nobs are still in the weed and smoking. sometimes, my analogy runs away from me so i have to go about searching for it. :)

gregstec
08-02-2011, 08:37 PM
come on, Greg! just admit that we are missing something. the whole analytical process implies that we are searching for things, right? if we are searching for things, which mean we don't have it, which mean we are missing something, right? now, Graham doesn't need to search for things, because he has them; thus, he is no longer need the analytical or technical, just spiritual is enough. so just admit it, that us lowly nobs are still in the weed and smoking. sometimes, my analogy runs away from me so i have to go about searching for it. :)

Yes, there is truth in that smoke :freaky:

Greg

Lorel Latorilla
08-02-2011, 09:51 PM
Universal love is indeed your spiritual breathing. Those who only think in terms of mind (analytical data, tachnical, historical etc.) and body therefore are blind to the truth. But there's hope.

Can you do seminars on spiritual breathing? Id like to take your classes.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-03-2011, 02:54 AM
Hi Nicholas,

Hope you're doing well and training hard. Personally, I'm not saying I definitely know what Morihei Ueshiba's aikido was. I'm saying that his aikido was very different than Modern Aikido and I'm pointing out areas where I think that is so.

I also think there are similarities. The techniques, in a general sense, seem to be similar. The message of love and harmony is close. Projecting your attacker rather than dealing a death blow at one's feet is similar. Use of jujutsu principles are similar.

I may be over-reaching, I may be harsh, I might even be wrong, but I'm always open to new information, ideas, and opinions. If you have information that points to where my comparisons, correlations, ideas, or views are wrong, I'd love to hear it.

Or look at it my way for a second. I've put together tons of information from various sources that sheds light that what Ueshiba was doing was not what his Modern Aikido students were doing, that Kisshomaru and Tohei changed things, that shows Ueshiba still doing stock Daito ryu techniques, that Ueshiba's peers did similar demonstrations, that translations were skewed by personal biases, etc, etc, etc and mostly what I receive in responses/posts are things like: I think (without any supporting evidence), it all looks the same so it must be the same (without any supporting evidence), you shouldn't assume x is y (but without any supporting evidence), etc.

Not that I'm taking any of the responses as negatives. Not at all. I just don't see very much evidence to contradict the stuff I've put out there. People can say that the stuff I put out there is anecdotal, indirect, and circumstantial (and I agree that it is), but I have not seen very many instances of someone posting something that contradicts it.
Mark

Hi Mark,
I am not disputing your anecdotal, indirect and circumstantial evidence. We seem to agree that it is just that - and to be fair that is not without value at all.

Personally, I'm not saying I definitely know what Morihei Ueshiba's aikido was. Glad to hear that...

What I am edgy about in these discussions is historical selectivity, in conjunction with what I perceive as a recurring general delegitimation (sometimes verging on condescending belittling) of present day aikido on this forum.

For me, a valid attempt at reconstructing "Moihei Ueshiba's aikido" either encompasses the whole range of practices Ueshiba was involved in, including the religious, and farming, and so on, or it is lopsided. Maybe I misinterpret what I read here, but I do not think it is legitimate to isolate IS out of the equation and present it as the defining criterion of "Morihei Ueshiba's aikido". And when people who don't practise aikido (no matter how much I respect them personally, or appreciate their work) start to make lopsided arguments about aikido I get, as I wrote, wary. Especially when the arguments are really not that new anymore, but keep being reiterated for the sake of ... well, what would you say why you keep reiterating them?

Best

Nicholas

PS: Training hard? I try my best... my mind ist the limiting factor, unfortunately :)

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-03-2011, 03:17 AM
Well, as a History teacher you understand that "those who ignore history are....."

I see the debate not as right or wrong aikido. That's why I choose my terms and try to remain consistent Aikido™ as the standard fair approved by the aikikai, and Aiki...do.

I am aware you chose your terms carfully, and I respect that, even though I still perceive them as polemical.

For me, there is Aikido as it is practised, and the "Aiki-do" you keep talking about is, frankly, a fiction: a historical fiction, or a futurist tale. The second more interesting than the first to me personally.

Unless you say, for example, "Aiki-do" is what you do yourself - in that case it would immediately turn into a fascinating reality. But I do not think you will, will you?

You didn't really address the points that should be indicators to a history buff. When you are researching, precedents and known terminology and and cultural norms help to understand contextual references made by a subject. You don't get very far reinventing an entirely new meaning of something said or practiced through a researchers ignorance of the subject.
Please resolve, or dispute the following:
His own students admitted they did not understand him.
His translators misunderstood well established budo terminology Ueshiba was using for a random collection of disparate words they never understood ...chained together and thus they mistranslated him.
Why did they not know the terms and their meanings? Because Ueshiba, for all his greatness, was apparently a lousy teacher.

Now....
Modern researchers and translators who understand those terms
know what he was speaking about
Aikikai banned training videos- of one of Ueshibas original deshi- demonstrate a parallel understanding to what the modern researchers are saying.
These same methods that Ueshiba Morihei espoused, Six direction awareness, heaven/earth/man, Spiral energy (with some interesting familiar references), Leading intent from dantian out to fingers, training breath-power, now properly translated and referenced into the already established and known training principles and practiced by aikido-ka teachers are being vetted that they are dramatically improving their aikido.
Care to address any of that please?
Dan

No, I do not care to adress that, because I do not disagree with you. :D
While I am not always so sure about the validity of many of the sources, my central issue is with the uses of history and evidence, not with the individual tidbits.

As long as it does not include, let's say, a description of what "hanging out with the Yamabushi" to give just one example, meant to the man, we do not have a valid reconstruction of "Morihei Ueshiba's aikido". And there are many similar areas. Most of us don't channel spirits, but I have yet to hear the argument that we don't do Morihei Ueshiba's aikido because of that.

To sum up, I feel that the operation of isolating one aspect of the work of Morihei Ueshiba and then claiming that whoever does not perform to an (outside!) standard in that area today is not doing his aikido is invalid. If that is not the point you or Mark are making, I am sorry I misunderstand you guys.

Anyway, I sort of feel I have stated my points already, also in my post to Mark above, not sure I will have much to add.

Best

Nicholas

MM
08-03-2011, 09:51 AM
While I am not always so sure about the validity of many of the sources, my central issue is with the uses of history and evidence, not with the individual tidbits.

As long as it does not include, let's say, a description of what "hanging out with the Yamabushi" to give just one example, meant to the man, we do not have a valid reconstruction of "Morihei Ueshiba's aikido". And there are many similar areas. Most of us don't channel spirits, but I have yet to hear the argument that we don't do Morihei Ueshiba's aikido because of that.

To sum up, I feel that the operation of isolating one aspect of the work of Morihei Ueshiba and then claiming that whoever does not perform to an (outside!) standard in that area today is not doing his aikido is invalid. If that is not the point you or Mark are making, I am sorry I misunderstand you guys.

Anyway, I sort of feel I have stated my points already, also in my post to Mark above, not sure I will have much to add.

Best

Nicholas

Nicholas,

I don't go into the spiritual side of Morhei Ueshiba. If I do meander that way, I do so as little as possible. It is a very complex area. Instead, I focus on the point that Morihei Ueshiba made -- you didn't have to follow his exact footsteps. He said aiki made everything better and somewhere he told one of his students that aiki would make religion better.

So, of the two things that are primary influences in Morihei Ueshiba, martial aiki and spiritual ideology, the former is a must have and can be trained while the latter can be any outside spiritual influence that is similar in ideology.

So, yet again, we find that Modern Aikido is very different than Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. Modern Aikido created a complete package of martial and spiritual while Ueshiba's aikido used Daito ryu aiki merged with Oomoto kyo ideology. Ueshiba himself said he was a man of budo and not religion. I believe it was Kisshomaru who said that his father got angry when people called him religious.

As for the spirituality side, it didn't *seem* to matter to Ueshiba if you were Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Wiccan, etc. With Ueshiba, it was an *outside* spiritual influence. With Modern Aikido, it is one complete package. (AGAIN for the masses -- NOT stating either are bad just that they are different.)

Why do I not go into the spiritual side in these posts? Because it is an open field, dependent upon each individual person to fulfill as, I believe, Morihei Ueshiba envisioned it. What most people are doing in trying to be a better person, spiritually, would fit with this ideology. Why try to include nearly every religion, every spiritual ideology into aiki? As long as you are similar in the peace, love, harmony, make the world a better place, you're good to go. On the other hand, aiki is a specific martial quality. So, most everyone is fulfilling the spiritual side of Ueshiba's aikido. Why debate that? It's pretty much a given. You study Modern Aikido, you're fulfilling Ueshiba's spiritual ideology. You might not be studying the *exact* spiritual ideology of Ueshiba, but it doesn't matter. Ueshiba said it was okay to pursue your own way.

The martial aiki from Daito ryu would make it better. Now *that* idea is a whole different thread and a subject just waiting to be explored. How can aiki make religion better?

Lee Salzman
08-03-2011, 10:41 AM
Nicholas,

I don't go into the spiritual side of Morhei Ueshiba. If I do meander that way, I do so as little as possible. It is a very complex area. Instead, I focus on the point that Morihei Ueshiba made -- you didn't have to follow his exact footsteps. He said aiki made everything better and somewhere he told one of his students that aiki would make religion better.

So, of the two things that are primary influences in Morihei Ueshiba, martial aiki and spiritual ideology, the former is a must have and can be trained while the latter can be any outside spiritual influence that is similar in ideology.

So, yet again, we find that Modern Aikido is very different than Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. Modern Aikido created a complete package of martial and spiritual while Ueshiba's aikido used Daito ryu aiki merged with Oomoto kyo ideology. Ueshiba himself said he was a man of budo and not religion. I believe it was Kisshomaru who said that his father got angry when people called him religious.

As for the spirituality side, it didn't *seem* to matter to Ueshiba if you were Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Wiccan, etc. With Ueshiba, it was an *outside* spiritual influence. With Modern Aikido, it is one complete package. (AGAIN for the masses -- NOT stating either are bad just that they are different.)

Why do I not go into the spiritual side in these posts? Because it is an open field, dependent upon each individual person to fulfill as, I believe, Morihei Ueshiba envisioned it. What most people are doing in trying to be a better person, spiritually, would fit with this ideology. Why try to include nearly every religion, every spiritual ideology into aiki? As long as you are similar in the peace, love, harmony, make the world a better place, you're good to go. On the other hand, aiki is a specific martial quality. So, most everyone is fulfilling the spiritual side of Ueshiba's aikido. Why debate that? It's pretty much a given. You study Modern Aikido, you're fulfilling Ueshiba's spiritual ideology. You might not be studying the *exact* spiritual ideology of Ueshiba, but it doesn't matter. Ueshiba said it was okay to pursue your own way.

The martial aiki from Daito ryu would make it better. Now *that* idea is a whole different thread and a subject just waiting to be explored. How can aiki make religion better?

The example you cite where Morihei Ueshiba did not like to be called religious, could it be that he simply saw reality a bit differently than us to begin with? This is the man who saw the kami as tangible things and believed he was channeling them, no? He may regard those beliefs in the same way that he believes water is wet or the sun gives light or that mountains are fookin heavy, that they are inarguable aspects of his reality, not religious tenets of faith. So the question of whether one is Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Wiccan, etc. would be moot, because he could still see those inarguable tenets of his reality as manifesting regardless of which faith any practitioner chose, and that they would still be confronted with them. Just because he didn't see himself as religious doesn't mean he wasn't.

dps
08-03-2011, 10:52 AM
Nicholas,

He said aiki made everything better and somewhere he told one of his students that aiki would make religion better.


I believe he said that Aikido not aiki would make your religion better.

dps

Demetrio Cereijo
08-03-2011, 10:54 AM
The teachings of Oomoto are not those of a single sect. We don't believe, as do many established religions, that in the words of our founder we have the one and only religious truth. At Oomoto, we don't bind up and destroy people's living souls by encircling them with the steel nets and bars of doctrine and scriptures and rituals and catechisms. As a result, Christians, Buddhists and believers of other faiths from all over the world come to Oomoto, and we all work together to cultivate our spirituality and to discover religious principles in harmony with our times.

Onisaburo Deguchi, 1923

Ueshiba was simply espousing Omoto doctrine.

graham christian
08-04-2011, 01:00 PM
Hi Graham, buddy, how are things going? Just a couple of things I like to pass your way.

First, a few of your posts lately have somewhat implied that those on the IP/IT path were all about the physical - that is not really the way it is - actually, there is substantially more mental stuff going on than the physical, which is really just an outward manifestation of the internal stuff going on.

The other thing is about your spiritual breathing comment above - it implies that those that have an analytical and technical approach are missing something, not necessarily true - I am a technical person and I am extremely logical and analytical on everything - however, I have found that the most accurate approach to determining what is right or wrong is how it feels - now I do not consider that spiritual or religious, but it is not really a technical analysis either - some may place that on a non-religious spiritual or emotional level.

Greg

Yo dude. All good thanks.

My posts lately? I've said from day one the basics are spritual and real. So nothing new there.

The quotes I see are indeed to do with building such and such a body, hence physical. Based on getting the body to be able to take and give back and 'reflect' etc.etc. Physical emphasis. That's fine for it reaches the masses and then Aiki can be some physical/mental exercise.

Spiritual is not mental. The only mental process that should be going on in Aikido is making the mind still, quiet, it can't do anything but get in the way.

Do you know what feeling is? It's not physical and it's not mental. It's not even emotional. It's spiritual.

I can tell easily enough by the comments of what if someone does this to you or grabs you in such a way or uses extreme force.
They are talking physical body, they are saying you are a body.

I am not a body my friend. I have a body, it is a vessel, a very miraculous vessel, an alive vessel. I am responsible for it but I in truth am not it.

Therefore when someone says I will wrestle you to the ground it is amusing for they are saying they will wrestle centre or one point thus they are already mistaken.

Universal love is spiritual, you can spiritually feel it which just means reach it and and accept it and in so doing feel the effects on and in the body and on your own spiritual space as well as the physical space around you. It's all good and it's all real and it's Kokyu.

As far as religions go my view is that their basic forgotten responsibility is that they are meant to be there to help with a persons spiritual health, spiritual well being but being 'human' degrade into places of control and 'power' bases. Inverted to the truth of their own existence.

You know what the inversion of love is? Control my friend.

Thus you teach the power of love and people twist it and focus on control. Inverted.

Now apply that one datum to relationships and you'll see a lot of the illogical make sense. It's inverted love.

The path of Aikido as far as I'm concerned is back to true self which is a sentient harmonious being. Thus what O'Sensei said makes perfect sense to me.

Keep up the good work.

Regards.G.

graham christian
08-04-2011, 01:09 PM
Can you do seminars on spiritual breathing? Id like to take your classes.

Lorel.
What's with all this seminar business? I don't think I would ever do one actually, I don't see the point. I see egotistical reasons. I see attempted promotional reasons. I see 'get together' given as reasons. Basically I see them as something for the dilettantes.

Even demonstrations for the most part are a waste of time wxcept from the viewpoint of inspiration. To inspire others. That's about the only good reason I can see.

Regards.G.

Tim Ruijs
08-04-2011, 02:46 PM
except from the viewpoint of inspiration. To inspire others. That's about the only good reason I can see.

pretty good one I'd say.

aikilouis
08-04-2011, 04:12 PM
Graham, you describe your practise in very eloquent terms, but when I watch your videos (and I did several times to be sure I was not missing anything), I do not find anything that confirms the impression given in your discourse that you have reached an unusual level of understanding.

Perhaps it is me though.

graham christian
08-04-2011, 06:16 PM
Graham, you describe your practise in very eloquent terms, but when I watch your videos (and I did several times to be sure I was not missing anything), I do not find anything that confirms the impression given in your discourse that you have reached an unusual level of understanding.

Perhaps it is me though.

Perhaps. Depends what you're looking for. Also depends what you think you are seeing.

Regards.G.

gregstec
08-04-2011, 06:26 PM
Yo dude. All good thanks.

My posts lately? I've said from day one the basics are spritual and real. So nothing new there.

The quotes I see are indeed to do with building such and such a body, hence physical. Based on getting the body to be able to take and give back and 'reflect' etc.etc. Physical emphasis. That's fine for it reaches the masses and then Aiki can be some physical/mental exercise.

Spiritual is not mental. The only mental process that should be going on in Aikido is making the mind still, quiet, it can't do anything but get in the way.

Do you know what feeling is? It's not physical and it's not mental. It's not even emotional. It's spiritual.

I can tell easily enough by the comments of what if someone does this to you or grabs you in such a way or uses extreme force.
They are talking physical body, they are saying you are a body.

I am not a body my friend. I have a body, it is a vessel, a very miraculous vessel, an alive vessel. I am responsible for it but I in truth am not it.

Therefore when someone says I will wrestle you to the ground it is amusing for they are saying they will wrestle centre or one point thus they are already mistaken.

Universal love is spiritual, you can spiritually feel it which just means reach it and and accept it and in so doing feel the effects on and in the body and on your own spiritual space as well as the physical space around you. It's all good and it's all real and it's Kokyu.

As far as religions go my view is that their basic forgotten responsibility is that they are meant to be there to help with a persons spiritual health, spiritual well being but being 'human' degrade into places of control and 'power' bases. Inverted to the truth of their own existence.

You know what the inversion of love is? Control my friend.

Thus you teach the power of love and people twist it and focus on control. Inverted.

Now apply that one datum to relationships and you'll see a lot of the illogical make sense. It's inverted love.

The path of Aikido as far as I'm concerned is back to true self which is a sentient harmonious being. Thus what O'Sensei said makes perfect sense to me.

Keep up the good work.

Regards.G.

Hey, thanks for the reply - glad to see your still as whacky as ever, but that's cool - keep on keeping :)

Greg

Mike Sigman
08-04-2011, 06:30 PM
Depends what you're looking for. Also depends what you think you are seeing.
I think that should be your motto, Graham.

Is pendeo super quis vos es vultus pro. Is quoque pendeo super quis vos animadverto.

graham christian
08-04-2011, 06:47 PM
I think that should be your motto, Graham.

Is pendeo super quis vos es vultus pro. Is quoque pendeo super quis vos animadverto.


Mmmmm. Don't have a motto. Let me see now..........Yeah I've got one. Thanks Mike.

'When others attack with their swords of blindness, enter and strike down with your sword of kindness.' Peace.

Regards.G.

observer
08-04-2011, 07:03 PM
When others attack with their swords of blindness, enter and strike down with your sword of kindness.
... and wake up in a hospital. :D

graham christian
08-04-2011, 07:24 PM
... and wake up in a hospital. :D

You ever watched Kellys Heroes Moriarty?

gregstec
08-05-2011, 08:07 AM
You ever watched Kellys Heroes Moriarty?

Now this explains a lot, Oddball :D

Greg

observer
08-05-2011, 10:41 AM
You ever watched Kellys Heroes Moriarty?
O, no. Aikido is not a joke. It seems that we have different opinions on this topic.:)

graham christian
08-05-2011, 02:22 PM
Now this explains a lot, Oddball :D

Greg

Yeah. Just soaking up the rays my friend.

Regards G.

gregstec
08-05-2011, 03:35 PM
Yeah. Just soaking up the rays my friend.

Regards G.

I am with you on that at least :)

Greg

graham christian
08-05-2011, 04:31 PM
O, no. Aikido is not a joke. It seems that we have different opinions on this topic.:)

What topic?

MM
08-05-2011, 11:14 PM
The example you cite where Morihei Ueshiba did not like to be called religious, could it be that he simply saw reality a bit differently than us to begin with? This is the man who saw the kami as tangible things and believed he was channeling them, no? He may regard those beliefs in the same way that he believes water is wet or the sun gives light or that mountains are fookin heavy, that they are inarguable aspects of his reality, not religious tenets of faith. So the question of whether one is Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Wiccan, etc. would be moot, because he could still see those inarguable tenets of his reality as manifesting regardless of which faith any practitioner chose, and that they would still be confronted with them. Just because he didn't see himself as religious doesn't mean he wasn't.

If I remember the quote, Ueshiba most definitely got irate when people called him a religious man and replied he was a man of Budo. I can't find it at the moment.

There are these, though:

"When anybody asks is my Aiki budo principles are taken from religion, I say ‘No.' My true budo principles enlighten religions and lead them to completion." (http://doveraikido.com/about_o_sensei)

Aikido and the Harmony of Nature by Mitsugi Saotome. Ueshiba quoted as saying, "Aikido is not the way of weakness or escape, for obviously Budo belongs to those of strength and skill. Yet the Way must lead to a world of mutual concern and respect for one another."

Ueshiba is talking about his aikido being a Budo of strength and skill with mutual concern, not as a religion. Ueshiba viewed his aikido as a martial art and not a religion and he viewed himself as following Budo and not being a religious man.

observer
08-06-2011, 02:31 AM
Ueshiba is talking about his aikido being a Budo of strength and skill with mutual concern, not as a religion. Ueshiba viewed his aikido as a martial art and not a religion and he viewed himself as following Budo and not being a religious man.
It seems that we have the same opinion on this topic.:)

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-06-2011, 06:23 AM
Nicholas,
I don't go into the spiritual side of Morhei Ueshiba. If I do meander that way, I do so as little as possible. It is a very complex area.

It is a very complex area indeed, but why that should justify your strategic exclusion of it, for the sake of an easier argument, is not clear to me. You keep introducing "Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido" as such, then don't cut it into parcels that are more convenient for your understanding and/ or argument.

Instead, I focus on the point that Morihei Ueshiba made -- you didn't have to follow his exact footsteps. He said aiki made everything better and somewhere he told one of his students that aiki would make religion better.

So he made clear points? I thought he did not?

Plus, understanding somebodies practice and following their instructions for it are two different things for me, And may I point out that there seems to be some consensus that he was a "lousy teacher", so why should he suddenly become a good and credible one when it comes to following his advice on spirituality?


So, of the two things that are primary influences in Morihei Ueshiba, martial aiki and spiritual ideology, the former is a must have and can be trained while the latter can be any outside spiritual influence that is similar in ideology.


To me dividing the two is, technically speaking, an anachronism: a later attribution of terminology and distinctions to somebody who most likely did not make them. Yes, he may have used terms that we translate that way. But what they really meant to him I would like to subject to the historical agnosticism I mentioned earlier.

And I also have dificulties with your use of "ideology" here - what do you mean? I stand to be corrected, but snippets of indirect infomation from back issues of ATM magazine that have gone through processes of editing and translating are not going to convince me that a Japanese man of his time, with a traditional provincial upbrining and deeply involved in a sort of neo-shamnistic new religion, made the distinctions you make here. It would be most unusual.


So, yet again, we find that Modern Aikido is very different than Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. Modern Aikido created a complete package of martial and spiritual while Ueshiba's aikido used Daito ryu aiki merged with Oomoto kyo ideology. Ueshiba himself said he was a man of budo and not religion. I believe it was Kisshomaru who said that his father got angry when people called him religious.

Unless someboy can give an exact outline of the Japanese terms used, in their context at the time, this point is sort of mute to me. My agnosticism extends both ways, actually.

On top of that, I find it very hard to believe that somebody who underwent quite extreme transformational spiritual practices should make the body/mind, technique/ideology distinctions you keep making and implying. That type of dictinction is modern Western fare to me.

Do you have any background yourself with such practices, btw? It would inform the discussion in a similar way as knowing modern aiki teachers does to discussing aiki.


As for the spirituality side, it didn't *seem* to matter to Ueshiba if you were Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Wiccan, etc. With Ueshiba, it was an *outside* spiritual influence. With Modern Aikido, it is one complete package. (AGAIN for the masses -- NOT stating either are bad just that they are different.)


I do not see the religious part of the "modern aikido package". And I do not think there is such package at all, anywhere. It is a strawman you are building up. There may be certain mainstream tendencies in a Kisshomaru-dominated generation of Hombu dojo teachers, subject to processes of intercultural translation and adaption.


Why do I not go into the spiritual side in these posts? Because it is an open field, dependent upon each individual person to fulfill as, I believe, Morihei Ueshiba envisioned it. What most people are doing in trying to be a better person, spiritually, would fit with this ideology. Why try to include nearly every religion, every spiritual ideology into aiki? As long as you are similar in the peace, love, harmony, make the world a better place, you're good to go. On the other hand, aiki is a specific martial quality. So, most everyone is fulfilling the spiritual side of Ueshiba's aikido. Why debate that? It's pretty much a given. You study Modern Aikido, you're fulfilling Ueshiba's spiritual ideology. You might not be studying the *exact* spiritual ideology of Ueshiba, but it doesn't matter. Ueshiba said it was okay to pursue your own way.


Again, his vision and his practice are two different things. I do not find it convincing to claim, on the one hand, that he was a bad teacher of aiki and we should reconstruct what he was "really" doing, and then say in the same breath that there is not need to reconstruct his spiritual practice because he told us we do not need to. Did he tell us to study his IS-type stuff? I guess not. We still do it.

Again, my point is not that anybody needs to do all these reconstructions. But if you (not just you, any "you") do, please be honest and do the whole package, or don't claim to know who does or does not do "Morihei Ushiba's aikido".


The martial aiki from Daito ryu would make it better. Now *that* idea is a whole different thread and a subject just waiting to be explored. How can aiki make religion better?

It cannot. Do IS-teachers of all sorts strike you as a particularly religious bunch? Sagawa? :) Does aiki improve any religious practice you do?

A disciplined physical practice can of course serve as a "meditation" method of some sort of course, towards certain goals, like counting the breath or using a rosary. But that would really be an almost banal point.

To sum up, I do not think there are grounds to claim that some of us really know what Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido was exactly. We have hints and inferences and all sorts of information, some better than others, but not the whole package. And isolating one element out as the defining criterion over others, I will say it again, I do not consider a legitimate intellectual operation.

And just to make sure: no personal animosity intended!

Nicholas

oisin bourke
08-06-2011, 06:49 AM
I
It cannot. Do IS-teachers of all sorts strike you as a particularly religious bunch? Sagawa? :) Does aiki improve any religious practice you do?

A disciplined physical practice can of course serve as a "meditation" method of some sort of course, towards certain goals, like counting the breath or using a rosary. But that would really be an almost banal point.



I'm not going to go into this here, but in Daito Ryu there are explicit relationships between Japanese Buddhist and Shinto practices/philosophy and the techniques/worldview of the art itself.

These relationships are also prevalent in in traditional forms of Japanese flower arrangement and music. These are just two that I am in some way familiar with. In fact, pretty much any traditional form of Japanese art should have these philosophical links IMO.

My point is that Daito Ryu is not "merely" a vehicle for "Internal Strength" training. It is an art with its own traditions, history and "spiritual" (For want of a better word) worldview.

A great post, by the way!

On a separate point, has anyone posting on this thread ever actually trained with Alan Ruddock or Henry Kono?

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-06-2011, 07:20 AM
I'm not going to go into this here, but in Daito Ryu there are explicit relationships between Japanese Buddhist and Shinto practices/philosophy and the techniques/worldview of the art itself.

These relationships are also prevalent in in traditional forms of Japanese flower arrangement and music. These are just two that I am in some way familiar with. In fact, pretty much any traditional form of Japanese art should have these philosophical links IMO.

My point is that Daito Ryu is not "merely" a vehicle for "Internal Strength" training. It is an art with its own traditions, history and "spiritual" (For want of a better word) worldview.

A great post, by the way!


Hi Oisin,
thank you, I did not know that was the case for DR.

I should have been clearer: What I think will not work is isolating out "aiki" as a physical method from a complete culturally specific package (Morihei Ueshiba's practice) and then reintroducing it somewhere else to make spiritual improvements.

Nicholas