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Chris Knight
10-17-2011, 11:00 AM
this is a genuine question, before people start attacking my intent on the subject

many of the people currently teaching aiki and Aikido follow the thinking that O Sensei was a martial genius who had a mastery of "Aiki"

As most of these people training "aiki" nowadays have never met O Sensei, how do they know this? Disregarding second hand stories, and verbal accounts.

Looking at video footage, can this be seen through body movement, training methods, mechanics etc of Ueshiba Sensei or not?? What is it that can be seen? How do proponents of today's aiki know this immense skill was present??

chillzATL
10-17-2011, 11:29 AM
The man is no longer here, so the stories of interactions with him have to do. Specifically the ones that involve people that weren't, at the time, his students and weren't invested in building his legend. Those are the ones that should carry the most weight.

Aikido in general always looks overly cooperative on video, even his, but there are a few vids where you can see his body skill at work.

aikishihan
10-17-2011, 11:48 AM
With the highest respect to all, especially to the Founder, no one can claim mastery of Aiki.
O Sensei was an avowed lifelong student of Aiki, and hopefully, he is not alone. He was often quoted as merely being in the very first level of his pursuit if Aiki Principles, duly recognizing how vast and all encompassing true Aiki actually is. Let us correctly honor him for that, and for the example he set for all of us.
He can be appropriately credited with Ueshiba Aiki, the constant resource and inspiration for his gift of Aikido.

MM
10-17-2011, 12:11 PM
Funny that you should bring that up. I'm finishing up a book about Ueshiba's aikido and how it compares to Modern Aikido, especially in how Ueshiba's "aiki" was different. Look for it soon. :D

From a Modern Aikido perspective, though, if only a very few people under Ueshiba ever got some of his "aiki", then how would 99% of the aikido world know what "aiki" actually was?

Some things to think about ... if you are training techniques and are relying on timing to make them work, that isn't Ueshiba's aiki. How many are taught to get out of the way of the attack by timing the movements just perfectly so that some kind of blending can occur? Great jujutsu, but not aiki. (That isn't to say that jujutsu is useless. aiki alone is not a martial system. You become aiki and then whatever martial system you choose, you express aiki in it. You still need jujutsu.)

Remember, too, that when Tenryu could not push Ueshiba over, could not get the better of him, Ueshiba stated that it was because he knew the secret of aiki.

Ueshiba and his peers (Sagawa and Horikawa) both noted that aiki was a body changing method, not a technique based method.

When asked what aikido was, Ueshiba replied, "I am aiki".

philipsmith
10-17-2011, 12:32 PM
I think it's important to realise that the concept of Aiki was around long before O'Sensei used it to describe his form of jujutsu.

In his book "The Fighting Spirit of Japan" E. J. Harrison describes meeting a master of aiki. Bear in mind this was published in 1913 - well before O'Sensei came to prominence.

IMHO O'Sensei saw himself as a channel for Aiki - but perhaps couldn't explain it himself.

Lee Salzman
10-17-2011, 12:50 PM
Looking at video footage, can this be seen through body movement, training methods, mechanics etc of Ueshiba Sensei or not?? What is it that can be seen? How do proponents of today's aiki know this immense skill was present??

A further question I think might be an interesting follow-on Chris' question: of all the things we can see Morihei Ueshiba doing in his publicly available videos and second-hand accounts of private happenings, just because he did it, and we can't, does that automatically make it aiki? And the things he taught explicitly to his students, does that necessarily make it aiki, or just the curriculum he taught to them based on what may have been a circumstantial background knowledge to understand something he wanted to explain later?

Or put another way, do we define aiki as merely what aikido does, or is aikido a larger grab-bag of teachings, only some of which have explicit utility in expressing aiki, if any? What if he regarded his students as so remedial that he basically had to spend 99% teaching them Martial Arts 101 before he could spend 1% of his time teaching some of them what he really meant? And yet, what if that remedial knowledge is still so far above most of us that it seems just as profound? i.e. the separation of aiki from the notion of internal strength, or of internal strength from efficient body mechanics, and so on, ...

Upyu
10-17-2011, 07:14 PM
this is a genuine question, before people start attacking my intent on the subject

many of the people currently teaching aiki and Aikido follow the thinking that O Sensei was a martial genius who had a mastery of "Aiki"

As most of these people training "aiki" nowadays have never met O Sensei, how do they know this? Disregarding second hand stories, and verbal accounts.

Looking at video footage, can this be seen through body movement, training methods, mechanics etc of Ueshiba Sensei or not?? What is it that can be seen? How do proponents of today's aiki know this immense skill was present??

Take a look at the following two vids, and you should see similarities in what's being demoed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoDK3XuvZWw
:18 - :28 More or less clear demo of Kokyu Force/Jin
:42 - :45 Typical bounce hit

Essentially, Ueshiba uses the same "kind" of force in each example, but with uses them different. First one he projects to the chest, the other he compressed then released as a pulse to the leg.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM5p6ZkA
It's more or less being done along the same principles as posted in this vid:
:22 - :24
Same thing, different flavor. Actually this one is even more subtle than what Ueshiba was doing in the vid, but that's just me

So sure you can see the skills, you just a) have to know what to look for, b) it helps if you can do this stuff yourself.

Out of the three, the leg bounce is the easiest to do/understand in a relatively short amount of time ime.
(Note, I say "do." "Doing well" is a whole nuther ball park ;) )

Chris Knight
10-18-2011, 08:02 AM
Funny that you should bring that up. I'm finishing up a book about Ueshiba's aikido and how it compares to Modern Aikido, especially in how Ueshiba's "aiki" was different. Look for it soon.

From a Modern Aikido perspective, though, if only a very few people under Ueshiba ever got some of his "aiki", then how would 99% of the aikido world know what "aiki" actually was?

Some things to think about ... if you are training techniques and are relying on timing to make them work, that isn't Ueshiba's aiki. How many are taught to get out of the way of the attack by timing the movements just perfectly so that some kind of blending can occur? Great jujutsu, but not aiki. (That isn't to say that jujutsu is useless. aiki alone is not a martial system. You become aiki and then whatever martial system you choose, you express aiki in it. You still need jujutsu.)

Remember, too, that when Tenryu could not push Ueshiba over, could not get the better of him, Ueshiba stated that it was because he knew the secret of aiki.

Ueshiba and his peers (Sagawa and Horikawa) both noted that aiki was a body changing method, not a technique based method.

When asked what aikido was, Ueshiba replied, "I am aiki".

Excellent post Mark, your thought lines seem to be the same as mine! I've recently read that dancers who are at the top of their game display aiki and that O Sensei awarded a dancer an 8th dan after watching a performance... not sure as to the legitamacy of this...? ?
I totally agree at the body changing method, one which I grappling with at the minute, but I'm just a mere novice and suffer from the old time and money syndrome :(

Please inbox me when the books out, I would be very interested in reading! :)

I do know these Aiki skills are fairly common within China especially, but I wonder why O Sensei was thrust to the status he was when he obviously wasn't the only person with these skill sets?
Was it for his martial ability in general, as like we know, he wasn't the first to display thses abilities??

Carsten Möllering
10-19-2011, 06:52 AM
Take a look at the following two vids, and you should see similarities in what's being demoed.
...
I am a little bit "unsure" about what you want to say showing these video-clips?
The movemtents you point out show Ueshiba doing things which are part of our training all the time.

So do we practice something which only looks like "his aiki"? Then watching videos wouldn't help us to detect the "real thing". (Because we do something looking similar but being something else.)
Or are we practicing "Ueshiba's aiki"? Then the whole debatte about IS wouldn't make sense to me because I do it all the time. ( Which is not the case I think ...)

So sure you can see the skills, you just a) have to know what to look for, b) it helps if you can do this stuff yourself.
So I see things, I cant do myself. But it's not the clue to "Ueshiba's aiki". At least not for me and the poeple around me.

Any thoughts?

Jon Haas
10-19-2011, 07:43 AM
Really looking forward to your book, Mark!! :)

Funny that you should bring that up. I'm finishing up a book about Ueshiba's aikido and how it compares to Modern Aikido, especially in how Ueshiba's "aiki" was different. Look for it soon. :D

From a Modern Aikido perspective, though, if only a very few people under Ueshiba ever got some of his "aiki", then how would 99% of the aikido world know what "aiki" actually was?

Some things to think about ... if you are training techniques and are relying on timing to make them work, that isn't Ueshiba's aiki. How many are taught to get out of the way of the attack by timing the movements just perfectly so that some kind of blending can occur? Great jujutsu, but not aiki. (That isn't to say that jujutsu is useless. aiki alone is not a martial system. You become aiki and then whatever martial system you choose, you express aiki in it. You still need jujutsu.)

Remember, too, that when Tenryu could not push Ueshiba over, could not get the better of him, Ueshiba stated that it was because he knew the secret of aiki.

Ueshiba and his peers (Sagawa and Horikawa) both noted that aiki was a body changing method, not a technique based method.

When asked what aikido was, Ueshiba replied, "I am aiki".

Carsten Möllering
10-19-2011, 09:30 AM
edit:
...
So I see things, I can do myself. But it's not the clue to "Ueshiba's aiki". At least not for me and the poeple around me.

Upyu
10-19-2011, 09:38 AM
I am a little bit "unsure" about what you want to say showing these video-clips?
The movemtents you point out show Ueshiba doing things which are part of our training all the time.

So do we practice something which only looks like "his aiki"? Then watching videos wouldn't help us to detect the "real thing". (Because we do something looking similar but being something else.)
Or are we practicing "Ueshiba's aiki"? Then the whole debatte about IS wouldn't make sense to me because I do it all the time. ( Which is not the case I think ...)

So I see things, I cant do myself. But it's not the clue to "Ueshiba's aiki". At least not for me and the poeple around me.

Any thoughts?

Mmm, get your hands on someone that's reported to be able to do this "stuff"
It should clear up any confusion pretty quickly.

Carsten Möllering
10-19-2011, 09:50 AM
Mmm, get your hands on someone that's reported to be able to do this "stuff"
It should clear up any confusion pretty quickly.
Yes.

But does that mean that looking at videos of Ueshiba doesn't say wether this is the same "stuff"? Even if knowing what to look for?
That's about what I am not sure.

Upyu
10-20-2011, 12:25 AM
Yes.

But does that mean that looking at videos of Ueshiba doesn't say wether this is the same "stuff"? Even if knowing what to look for?
That's about what I am not sure.

Ok, if you observe and research enough videos of reputable guys doing demos, you'll notice a curious correlation and find that they generally do a a) static "can't" move me demos - Ueshiba's head push b) demos where they emit a significant amount of force with little windup - Ueshiba's knee twitch and c) off balancing demos (which can get silly) where the Uke is controlled to varying degrees.

It's common in both the Chinese and Japanese styles.
If you have a good eye, you'll see similar mechanics being used by both (Ueshiba included), the most obvious being "bounce" type movements (which is why I pointed out the knee trick), and mechanics involving the back almost like a spring or bow, mind you I'm really generalizing.

Its here that you can generally see the components for "Aiki" at work and has little to do with the actual techniques involved.
So yes, you can see them on video.

Carsten Möllering
10-20-2011, 02:41 AM
Ok, if you observe and research enough videos of reputable guys ...
Its here that you can generally see the components for "Aiki" at work ...
Thank you for the detailed answer!

.. has little to do with the actual techniques involved.
Yes.

So yes, you can see them on video.
I think I got your point. Merci

DH
10-20-2011, 03:14 AM
this is a genuine question, before people start attacking my intent on the subject

many of the people currently teaching aiki and Aikido follow the thinking that O Sensei was a martial genius who had a mastery of "Aiki"

As most of these people training "aiki" nowadays have never met O Sensei, how do they know this? Disregarding second hand stories, and verbal accounts.

Looking at video footage, can this be seen through body movement, training methods, mechanics etc of Ueshiba Sensei or not?? What is it that can be seen? How do proponents of today's aiki know this immense skill was present??
Hi Chris
I have about as much interest in repeating, as people have in wanting me to...meaning zero.
Suffice to say that the vast overwhelming majority of people in Aikido-to include its highest ranked Japanese Shihan, haven't nary a clue what Ueshiba even thought aiki was, much less how to do it.

For starters, he himself was discussing aiki as a union of ki in opposition within oneself to produce "The mysteries of Aiki" NOT, the later union of two people. This is being made clear in the new translations of his work. Translations that his own students couldn't even comprehend. It was simply over their heads.
Through the efforts of those same students, everyone was is left to... "trying to blend."
Full speed...in the wrong direction. Unless and until they make a dramatic shift in their approach to their art, they will never understand him, his message, or his aiki.
Dan

Tim Ruijs
10-20-2011, 03:28 AM
Funny that you should bring that up. I'm finishing up a book about Ueshiba's aikido and how it compares to Modern Aikido, especially in how Ueshiba's "aiki" was different. Look for it soon. :D

Please keep me posted ;)


Some things to think about ... if you are training techniques and are relying on timing to make them work, that isn't Ueshiba's aiki. How many are taught to get out of the way of the attack by timing the movements just perfectly so that some kind of blending can occur? Great jujutsu, but not aiki. ... You become aiki and then whatever martial system you choose, you express aiki in it.

Timing has focus when you start learning techniques to find waypoints if you will. Later on you do not need those waypoints anymore and feel the technique, the flow. And become one.


Remember, too, that when Tenryu could not push Ueshiba over, could not get the better of him, Ueshiba stated that it was because he knew the secret of aiki.

When stated like this I cannot help but think: that is only mechanics! Would this imply that aiki is the mechanical use of body? This would concur with top level dancers....

What would the principles of aiki be?

sakumeikan
10-20-2011, 05:12 AM
Hi Chris
I have about as much interest in repeating, as people have in wanting me to...meaning zero.
Suffice to say that the vast overwhelming majority of people in Aikido-to include its highest ranked Japanese Shihan, haven't nary a clue what Ueshiba even thought aiki was, much less how to do it.

For starters, he himself was discussing aiki as a union of ki in opposition within oneself to produce "The mysteries of Aiki" NOT, the later union of two people. This is being made clear in the new translations of his work. Translations that his own students couldn't even comprehend. It was simply over their heads.
Through the efforts of those same students, everyone was is left to... "trying to blend."
Full speed...in the wrong direction. Unless and until they make a dramatic shift in their approach to their art, they will never understand him, his message, or his aiki.
Dan
Dear Dan,
Please refer me to where you can read the new translations of O Senseis words. Who if any of the Japanese/other Shihan [in your opinion]grasped what O Sensei was about? Please tell me why you believe this is so .After all am I right in saying you are not an Aikidoka?If indeed you are not an aikidoka how do you arrive at your conclusions?All the best , Joe.

Dazzler
10-20-2011, 05:47 AM
Ok, if you observe and research enough videos of reputable guys doing demos, you'll notice a curious correlation and find that they generally do a a) static "can't" move me demos - Ueshiba's head push b) demos where they emit a significant amount of force with little windup - Ueshiba's knee twitch and c) off balancing demos (which can get silly) where the Uke is controlled to varying degrees.

It's common in both the Chinese and Japanese styles.
If you have a good eye, you'll see similar mechanics being used by both (Ueshiba included), the most obvious being "bounce" type movements (which is why I pointed out the knee trick), and mechanics involving the back almost like a spring or bow, mind you I'm really generalizing.

Its here that you can generally see the components for "Aiki" at work and has little to do with the actual techniques involved.
So yes, you can see them on video.

Just to follow on from this exchange - "reputable guys" is a broad church - there are some interesting people out there all with following so its not necessarily so easy to pick one out....and when one does its not easy without an untrained eye to see what is going on.

Certainly in your vid of the 94 year old master...he's doing something but its hard to really decide what...unless you've been trained to look for it. So bear with us Aikido guys...some of us are playing catch up whether we want to admit it or not.

Anyway - thats not really what triggered my post. Carsten mentions that the vid of O'sensei is stuff that is practiced in most dojos...which is no surprise really since we are pretty much all trying to emulate the guy and do what he did...aren't we?

however to steal Ellis Amdurs catchphrase...so much seems to be 'hidden in plain sight'.

What we think we are trying to do now may not be what is actually demonstrated.

For instance...O'sensei does ikkyo....Student 2011 does ikkyo. Same thing? or not?

Theres no right or wrong answer - the student may be aiming at Aiki power - i'll call it kokyu-ryoku ...or he may be using ikkyo to develop kamae, maai, and shisei...or something else.

So it may look like same thing ...yet may not be.

In my thinking - The ikkyo is just an external form to be used by the teacher to teach whatever he want.

Most people who have been around a while know this - In dojos where the focus is more than an array of techniques, there are generally a small number of techniques deployed but these are used to teach different things at many levels, this enables 4th dans and beginner for instance to train together and gain something relevant to themselve - which may be totally different things.

Eventually practice has to drill through all of these things/layers and reach its inner level. For me this final level is kokyu-ryoku or generation of Aiki power. This is what I love about Aikido...there are multiple layers of training and ultimately the promise of great power...but it does take a long time to drill down to the essence and until this happens then ones Aikido is always exposed to questions.

Now this is where the likes of Aunkia & Rob , Mike Sigman and Dan come in. To me they offer explanations that are clear, structured and achievable of work to be done to really target this deepest layer of Aikido and speed up and expand its integration into the body.

I think this suggestion grates with many ...because the old ways are not without merit . O'sensei selected the techiques of Aikido because they were 'fit for purpose' and I do feel that through long hard training using them then there is benefit and some 'aiki' skills can be gained.

I think most of us here know and have experience that feeling of grabbing some normal looking person ...and feeling that abnormal power.

So there are people that have something sourced in 'traditional' training.

Couple this with the fact that some of the originals were amazing, From my own experience -Tamura Sensei for instance was incredible in the way he could allow seemingly anyone to try to put a technique on him then reverse it effortlessly and its hard to see any suggestion that such inspirational leaders could have lacked in some way.

But there were language barriers, they were not trained to teach with lesson plans, schemes of works etc...they taught by example...by watch and copy. Maybe this is not the most effective way and there is something in the rethink of practice offered by IP training...another thread perhaps for those that love debate.

I think the crux is that the IP argument & training is seen as being in opposition to, or as criticism of traditional training in some quarters whereas to me its just another level with an opportunity to really focus on power generation.

Its not new - Pierre Chassange was telling people 20 years ago about 'changing the software' ...at the time I had a view of this which was at best incomplete...but now I believe it was more about training the subconscious mind to use hara and the postural muscled instinctively rather than the obvious big muscles. I don't see any conflict with this and the IP stuff...My understanding might be pre-school level but I do feel its heading in the right direction.

Similarly Stephane Bennedeti suggested over a decade ago that the the techniques of Aikido were specifically selected as a form of conditioning. Again at the time I had a view that I no longer have....but can see how this correlates with the internal winding/spiralling that Dan H proposes rather than being a physical toughening that I originally though.

I'm sure there are many other examples of such synergy and I do not think the picture is a black and white as others suggest. Certainly the term 'modern Aikido' was not one that could be applied to Pierre Chassange and there are many that carry his influence in their practice.

With regard to IP training and traditional practice - In essense - yes...in many dojos its the same stuff ...although there are clearly examples where its totally not , but in my experience the IP training may well be better structured towards the kokyu-ryoku layer of Aikido....It fits with the lessons I've received from some highly respected Aikido instructors and the more I see of it the more it becomes visible elsewhere in the teachings and movement of 'the top guys' who are using their bodies in a way that is not obvious to the untrained eye...yet eye training opportunities are becoming more and more available.

Regards

D

Chris Knight
10-20-2011, 07:32 AM
Hi Dazzler, I believe my Sensei has trained with you in the past and speaks highly of you

Eventually practice has to drill through all of these things/layers and reach its inner level. For me this final level is kokyu-ryoku or generation of Aiki power. This is what I love about Aikido...there are multiple layers of training and ultimately the promise of great power...but it does take a long time to drill down to the essence and until this happens then ones Aikido is always exposed to questions.

Now this is where the likes of Aunkia & Rob , Mike Sigman and Dan come in. To me they offer explanations that are clear, structured and achievable of work to be done to really target this deepest layer of Aikido and speed up and expand its integration into the body.

excellent post

Do you think we aikidoka are going about things the wrong way, and should be initally concentraing on connecting the entire body, internally, before spending the majority of time trying to understand the essence of techniques etc?

For starters, he himself was discussing aiki as a union of ki in opposition within oneself to produce "The mysteries of Aiki" NOT, the later union of two people. This is being made clear in the new translations of his work. Translations that his own students couldn't even comprehend. It was simply over their heads.
Through the efforts of those same students, everyone was is left to... "trying to blend."
Full speed...in the wrong direction. Unless and until they make a dramatic shift in their approach to their art, they will never understand him, his message, or his aiki.


i totally agree Dan, but looking at videos of Ueshiba, can you SEE how he generates his power and that the stories are backed up with physical or internal power?

It's common in both the Chinese and Japanese styles.
If you have a good eye, you'll see similar mechanics being used by both (Ueshiba included), the most obvious being "bounce" type movements (which is why I pointed out the knee trick), and mechanics involving the back almost like a spring or bow, mind you I'm really generalizing.

if this is as common as believed, how come nobody has really come close to replicating Ueshiba's power, martial ability and strength, or have they??

Cheers

C

phitruong
10-20-2011, 07:47 AM
I think the crux is that the IP argument & training is seen as being in opposition to, or as criticism of traditional training in some quarters whereas to me its just another level with an opportunity to really focus on power generation.
D

not just power generation, that's just one facet of IP training. methink, more accurately, it's power manipulation from within and without.

Dazzler
10-20-2011, 07:51 AM
Do you think we aikidoka are going about things the wrong way, and should be initally concentraing on connecting the entire body, internally, before spending the majority of time trying to understand the essence of techniques etc?


Hi Chris,

not particularly - I think there are plenty of ways to learn, some seem to be really good, some not so good. For me I'm a practical kind of guy and I needed something active to grab my attention and then overtime I've become more and more open to the deeper message.

Others like the 'cerebral' approach so maybe what you suggest would work for them.

What I do think we need to do is recognise that there are many levels of practice and many places to get stuck and fall short....and accept that the Art of Aikido is not the techniques but what can be learned from them.

Having recognised that there is more than one way to float this boat - when something emerges / re-emerges such as this IP training...well lets grab it and incorporate it into what we have.

Not reject it because of a perceived slight against our teachers, or some other reason.

For me its the final piece of the jigsaw - but the jigsaw does seem to keep changing shape.

Regards

D

Dazzler
10-20-2011, 07:53 AM
not just power generation, that's just one facet of IP training. methink, more accurately, it's power manipulation from within and without.

Happy to accept that improved definition Phi. Many thanks.

D

Chris Li
10-20-2011, 02:21 PM
Dear Dan,
Please refer me to where you can read the new translations of O Senseis words. Who if any of the Japanese/other Shihan [in your opinion]grasped what O Sensei was about? Please tell me why you believe this is so .After all am I right in saying you are not an Aikidoka?If indeed you are not an aikidoka how do you arrive at your conclusions?All the best , Joe.

Dan's already posted a few of them. I think that I did most of the ones he posted, so I'll try commenting.

Some (many) of the English translations are clearly in error, with parts omitted because they were not understood (or thought to be irrelevant) and other parts mistaken because of a lack of background knowledge. There have been some discussions about this on Aikiweb already.

That's not to say that the translators were a bunch of dummies - it's clear that there wasn't any greater understanding on the Japanese side.

How many times have we all heard direct students of the founder say that they couldn't understand what he was talking about?

Well, if a direct student couldn't understand what was being said to them in their native language how could anybody expect that a translation be a non-native speaker who wasn't even hearing the direct speech of the founder would be accurate?

It's possible to look back at the writings of various direct students of the founder and show that they clearly missed what ought to have been obvious if they had had the right background. Not their fault - Ueshiba should have provided that background. At least one example of this has already been discussed on Aikiweb.

That there is so much resistance to the idea that anyone who trained directly with Ueshiba (or even Ueshiba himself) may have misunderstood or been mistaken is a great weakness of Aikido. Just imagine if the same attitude were adopted by historians!

Whether or not Dan is not an Aikido student (although he has been) is really irrelevant to the validity of the opinions expressed, which are clearly demonstrable, as above. But for the record, his Aiki-do is excellent, IMO.

Best,

Chris

sakumeikan
10-21-2011, 06:28 AM
Dan's already posted a few of them. I think that I did most of the ones he posted, so I'll try commenting.

Some (many) of the English translations are clearly in error, with parts omitted because they were not understood (or thought to be irrelevant) and other parts mistaken because of a lack of background knowledge. There have been some discussions about this on Aikiweb already.

That's not to say that the translators were a bunch of dummies - it's clear that there wasn't any greater understanding on the Japanese side.

How many times have we all heard direct students of the founder say that they couldn't understand what he was talking about?

Well, if a direct student couldn't understand what was being said to them in their native language how could anybody expect that a translation be a non-native speaker who wasn't even hearing the direct speech of the founder would be accurate?

It's possible to look back at the writings of various direct students of the founder and show that they clearly missed what ought to have been obvious if they had had the right background. Not their fault - Ueshiba should have provided that background. At least one example of this has already been discussed on Aikiweb.

That there is so much resistance to the idea that anyone who trained directly with Ueshiba (or even Ueshiba himself) may have misunderstood or been mistaken is a great weakness of Aikido. Just imagine if the same attitude were adopted by historians!

Whether or not Dan is not an Aikido student (although he has been) is really irrelevant to the validity of the opinions expressed, which are clearly demonstrable, as above. But for the record, his Aiki-do is excellent, IMO.

Best,

Chris
Dear Chris,
No one as yet has answered my very simple question-where does one acquire the re written transcripts of O Sensei?I am beginning to think I am asking for some Sumerian text or newly found Dead Sea scrolls.Guys, be specific tell me where you get the latest translation.I do not want to spend valuable time reading a discourse [however good it might be ] on aikiweb..I want to read the newer source articles as presented by the authors.Is this too much to ask? Thanks , Joe.

Peter Goldsbury
10-21-2011, 07:33 AM
Dear Chris,
No one as yet has answered my very simple question-where does one acquire the re written transcripts of O Sensei?I am beginning to think I am asking for some Sumerian text or newly found Dead Sea scrolls.Guys, be specific tell me where you get the latest translation.I do not want to spend valuable time reading a discourse [however good it might be ] on aikiweb..I want to read the newer source articles as presented by the authors.Is this too much to ask? Thanks , Joe.

Hello Joe,

I am sure Chris Li will respond, but I have had the same problem as others have had. If you look at Morihei Ueshiba's writings commercially available in English translation, you will find the following: Budo Renshu (1933), translated by the Larry Bieri and his wife; Budo (1938), translated by John Stevens; Aiki Shinzui (collections of discourses published by the Aikikai Hombu), translated by John Stevens; and Takemusu Aiki (discourses given to a religious group), selected, edited and translated by John Stevens. All of the Stevens translations have been published by Kodansha International and conform to the (commercial) editorial policies of that company.

Since living in Japan, I have learned to read the discourses of Ueshiba in the original Japanese and am personally quite dissatisfied with the existing translations, for various reasons. However, I do not have the time to produce complete new versions, even if the copyright owners (the Aikikai) agreed, so the only alternative is to produce new translations piecemeal, as the need arises, in connection with articles I am writing. I have done this with my own columns here on Aikiweb and Chris Li has also produced one or two translations, also on Aikiweb. However, neither the Japanese texts themselves nor the available translations have been systemically revised anywhere.

Best wishes,

PAG

Demetrio Cereijo
10-21-2011, 07:54 AM
BTW, the Takemusu Aiki discourses are being published in French by Editions du Cénacle de France (http://www.editionsducenacle.com/2.1_autour-de-ueshiba.html), but I can't say anything about the quality of the translation.

Jon Haas
10-21-2011, 08:02 AM
Joe,

Chris answered your question. He did most of the re-translations that are being talked about here. Dan posted them here on Aikiweb. You need to go look for them. Search Dan's post for the past couple months, you'll find them. :)

Hope that helps.

Dear Chris,
No one as yet has answered my very simple question-where does one acquire the re written transcripts of O Sensei?I am beginning to think I am asking for some Sumerian text or newly found Dead Sea scrolls.Guys, be specific tell me where you get the latest translation.I do not want to spend valuable time reading a discourse [however good it might be ] on aikiweb..I want to read the newer source articles as presented by the authors.Is this too much to ask? Thanks , Joe.

sakumeikan
10-21-2011, 11:08 AM
Hello Joe,

I am sure Chris Li will respond, but I have had the same problem as others have had. If you look at Morihei Ueshiba's writings commercially available in English translation, you will find the following: Budo Renshu (1933), translated by the Larry Bieri and his wife; Budo (1938), translated by John Stevens; Aiki Shinzui (collections of discourses published by the Aikikai Hombu), translated by John Stevens; and Takemusu Aiki (discourses given to a religious group), selected, edited and translated by John Stevens. All of the Stevens translations have been published by Kodansha International and conform to the (commercial) editorial policies of that company.

Since living in Japan, I have learned to read the discourses of Ueshiba in the original Japanese and am personally quite dissatisfied with the existing translations, for various reasons. However, I do not have the time to produce complete new versions, even if the copyright owners (the Aikikai) agreed, so the only alternative is to produce new translations piecemeal, as the need arises, in connection with articles I am writing. I have done this with my own columns here on Aikiweb and Chris Li has also produced one or two translations, also on Aikiweb. However, neither the Japanese texts themselves nor the available translations have been systemically revised anywhere.

Best wishes,

PAG
Dear Peter,
Thanks for reply. I thank the other guys who answered my blog as well.As you know I always like to hear /read the most accurate translation of any document. specially a document for a speeding offence etc [joking ]Hope you are well, Best regards, Joe.

Chris Li
10-21-2011, 12:01 PM
Dear Chris,
No one as yet has answered my very simple question-where does one acquire the re written transcripts of O Sensei?I am beginning to think I am asking for some Sumerian text or newly found Dead Sea scrolls.Guys, be specific tell me where you get the latest translation.I do not want to spend valuable time reading a discourse [however good it might be ] on aikiweb..I want to read the newer source articles as presented by the authors.Is this too much to ask? Thanks , Joe.

All of the original texts are publicly available in Japanese. A number of people (myself included) have been privately translating parts of those (Peter talked about this in more detail).

In any case, a number of them have been posted by Dan - and they're quite telling, if you take a look at them.

Best,

Chris

DH
10-22-2011, 03:01 AM
Dear Joe
I am currently in the UK conducting a seminar and will respond when I get home.
Personally I think quite a bit of disinformation has been rendered through the translations being done by those unfamiliar with the context or background knowledge of the material by Osensei's students. Frankly, I am uninterested in slogging through yet another attempt by any modern aikidoka who doesn't have the proper background and familiarity of the material he was discussing.
To answer your other question....I have yet to read or see any Japanese shihan who expressed the the same understanding, much less abilities adequate to the task.
Last, yes sir I left aikido out of a desperate need to discover aiki. Which I did. Oddly, when I wrote about it, aikido-ka laughed at it or dismissed it. Here we are 16 years later, and I find what I had been discussing is spelled out like a road map by Ueshiba himself. Hence, I have zero confidence in anyone in aikido-not being trained in these methods- being capable of producing anything worth reading, as certain discussions here recently demonstrated.
Dan

Ernesto Lemke
10-22-2011, 09:42 AM
Hey Dan, forget something? :D Check your mail...

Just a quick post to both say that it's great to see Rob posting here again (been a while) and that the first link he provided of Ueshiba was quite shocking to see anew.
I was telling Dan that I hadn't watched a Ueshiba vid in maybe 7 years or so (knew 'em by heart tho) but that watching them now, with all that I'm exposed to in the meantime, they make so much sense that it's hard to accept as well as belief that you can see anything other going on then IP/Aiki being expressed.

I'm staying out of the debate for now so apologies for tossing this in. Just wanted to share my enthusiasm and also share that it is possible to see whitout seeing. But now that I see (and I'm sure there is even more to see) it's so unbelievable (tho explainable) that I didn't see it in the past. The information, skill and knowledge is still there, but it requires someone in the know both willing and able to share for one to be able to see.

Michael Varin
10-23-2011, 12:34 AM
aiki alone is not a martial system. You become aiki and then whatever martial system you choose, you express aiki in it.

Mark,

So aiki is not martial? Or just not complete? But it is what set Ueshiba apart from other martial artists, correct? Can you expand on this?

Is aiki peculiar to martial arts, or can aiki be expressed in activities other than martial arts? If so, how does it fit in? How would it be trained?

Good luck with your book, by the way!

MM
10-23-2011, 07:28 AM
Mark,

So aiki is not martial? Or just not complete? But it is what set Ueshiba apart from other martial artists, correct? Can you expand on this?

Is aiki peculiar to martial arts, or can aiki be expressed in activities other than martial arts? If so, how does it fit in? How would it be trained?

Good luck with your book, by the way!

Aiki doesn't have to be martial, no. Aiki changes the body.

Sagawa (I think): Aiki is a body changing methodology.
Takeda's Daito ryu broken down into three: jujutsu, aikijujutsu, and aiki no jujutsu
Sagawa's father (after learning jujutsu) to Takeda: I want to learn aiki.
Mrs Horikawa: You steal it by watching the body
Ueshiba: You can't do what I do because you don't understand in/yo (not that you don't undestand enough techniques, i.e. jujutsu)

Etc, etc.

Once the body is changed, it naturally affects whatever that person chooses to do. Mifune in judo, Sagawa in Daito ryu, Ueshiba in aikido, Yoshida Kotaro in Yanagi ryu, Hong Junshen in Chen taiji, etc.

Why is it that Ueshiba gave rank to a dancer? Ueshiba saw *something* in that dancer that he believed was fundamental to his aikido. Yet the dancer was not a martial artist.

From what I understand, not all the great Chen style grand masters used what they knew for fighting.

To be good at judo, you have to train judo. To be good at fighting, you have to train fighting. Etc. So, while aiki can be made to change the body into a more effective, martial body, that still leaves training a martial system. How? Good luck with that one. Not being snide, or derogatory here, but being serious. Training aiki changes how the body works, so that it doesn't function "normally". If you're training most martial arts, you're learning how to make your body move and function "normally". By "normally", I mean how 95% of the rest of the world moves and functions. How do you merge the two if they are different training methodologies?

Some systems are somewhat compatible by their very nature: aikido, daito ryu, taiji, koryu. However, that doesn't mean it's 100%. Enough changes through history and you start to get removed from internal skills. Outward, physical jujutsu type movement is replaced to make up for lack of internally driven movement/functionality. And there are internal skills that have to be explicitly shown. Internal structure can sometimes be forced to be built in a body by training certain forms, but other internal attributes must be shown and trained specifically.

Aiki is what made Ueshiba great. But he used his aiki body in Daito ryu jujutsu, in weapons (of various sorts), in misogi, in farming, etc.

Thanks for the good wishes on my book. Appreciate it!

Mark

Ken McGrew
11-06-2011, 11:04 AM
I've read this and similar discussions and find little clarity or evidence for the claims being made. It's not clear what you are trying to say.

It would help to spell out each claim clearly and then provide evidence for it.

That some passages in O'Sensei's writing were either not included in translations or not translated to your liking does not prove on its face that you are the only people who understand his Aiki. For example, I've read the arguments that Aikido is about power not Ki and that his writing was mistranslated to say put Ki in your hand when it should have been translated as power. When asked what they mean by power these authors answer that you'll know it when you see it but you won't see it until you have it. How convenient! I suspect this translation difference is superficial. Power is Ki. If you mean something else say so and back it up with more evidence and explanation than what has been given in these discussions.

I've read the claim that related to this is the failure in Aikido to understand breaking balance internally. While there is clearly renewed interest lately in breaking balance internally, it is not new to Aikido. Watch the old videos of Terry Dobson, for example. It is also a false claim, if the claim being made is, that all of O'Sense's Aikido was about breaking internal balance. You can see him doing a number of things. He was clearly leading and blending at times, grounding at times, Etc. The relationship between the Chinese and Japanese martial arts has been explored most thoroughly by Sugawara Sensei. Very fruitful but certainly not new.

Finally I'd point out that there are multiple sources of evidence available. These include O'Sense's books. They also include interviews he gave, videos of both himself and the students under his supervision, and the recollections of those who trained with him.

MM
11-06-2011, 02:15 PM
I've read this and similar discussions and find little clarity or evidence for the claims being made. It's not clear what you are trying to say.

It would help to spell out each claim clearly and then provide evidence for it.

That some passages in O'Sensei's writing were either not included in translations or not translated to your liking does not prove on its face that you are the only people who understand his Aiki. For example, I've read the arguments that Aikido is about power not Ki and that his writing was mistranslated to say put Ki in your hand when it should have been translated as power. When asked what they mean by power these authors answer that you'll know it when you see it but you won't see it until you have it. How convenient! I suspect this translation difference is superficial. Power is Ki. If you mean something else say so and back it up with more evidence and explanation than what has been given in these discussions.

I've read the claim that related to this is the failure in Aikido to understand breaking balance internally. While there is clearly renewed interest lately in breaking balance internally, it is not new to Aikido. Watch the old videos of Terry Dobson, for example. It is also a false claim, if the claim being made is, that all of O'Sense's Aikido was about breaking internal balance. You can see him doing a number of things. He was clearly leading and blending at times, grounding at times, Etc. The relationship between the Chinese and Japanese martial arts has been explored most thoroughly by Sugawara Sensei. Very fruitful but certainly not new.

Finally I'd point out that there are multiple sources of evidence available. These include O'Sense's books. They also include interviews he gave, videos of both himself and the students under his supervision, and the recollections of those who trained with him.

Mr. McGrew,

Your profile indicates you joined AikiWeb in May of 2006. In that time, have you kept up with and read all the threads about Internal Strength, Internal Skills, aiki, etc that have populated the Non-Aikido Martial Forum and other forums throughout this site? I ask because from reading your recent two posts (here and here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=296079&postcount=49)), it does not appear to me that you have. It would be fairly long and involved to try to recap all of that. There are many threads detailing the information about which you are asking. Unfortunately, you are entering a conversation which has been going on for years.

Do you have specific questions?

Ken McGrew
11-06-2011, 10:08 PM
As my post indicates I have read several posts about alleged mistranslations of O'Sensei and other passages not translated. These posts don't seem to support the grandiose claims being made. Ofcourse they are incoherent at times, so there may be meaning behind them that is not clear. I could go back to the beginning of this forum and it would make the writing more readable. I'm genuinely trying to give you and others the benefit of fair consideration but the language is not clear at times. When it is clear the arguments are more implied than stated. The implied or not so implied argument seems to be that no one since O'Sensei (or a few direct students who trained with him early on) could do Aikido or even had a clue what it was they were trying to learn. I haven't read anything so far that can support a claim like that.

Specific questions:

Define power in plain English
Explain the difference between power and Ki
Is it your position that other than O'Sensei no one in Aikido understood breaking internal balance until recently?
Are you and others claiming that O'Sensei never demonstrated Aikido that relied on timing, blending, and leading?
To train the Aikido you and others are describing, what are the roles of Uke and Nage? Is it static, movement, or slow movement?
Are you denying the importance that O'Sensei gave to the spiritual and metaphysical in the larger purpose of Aikido and/or their relationship to Aikido' effectiveness?
How are you defining and using the concept of takemuso aiki?

Ken McGrew
11-08-2011, 11:36 AM
As requested I have read back to the beginning of posts by Mark, Chris, and HD. Go back far enough and you find Mark and HD disagreeing about the nature of ukemi. Now it seems that Mark is a convert.

From the beginning HD has been arguing that Aikido practitioners don't know how to defend themselves and that, though he doesn't train Aikido, that he knows true Aikido. Without clearer language and description it will be difficult to determine the extent to which what he is doing is Aikido, or some other art, or to judge his understanding of Aikido. We do find hints, however, that suggest a lack of understanding of the basic conception of Aikido. For examples, in one post he argues with Mark about why you would ever chose to fall down in response to a strike while in another post he argues that high ranking Aikido practitioners are unable to put him into locks or otherwise do Aikido to him.

Aikido is not based on the ability to "do" anything to an attacker. This is a basic misunderstanding of how the art works to think that anyone can put a lock on you if you aren't really attacking or that a given attack would lend itself to a lock (or even a particular technique). In fact O'Sensei was very clear on Aikido not being about technique at higher levels. O'Sensei was very clear that Aikido works in response to the attack and that the attacker is at a disadvantage for having broken the harmony of the universe. Chris might quibble over the translation of a word here or there, but the meaning is not lost. If we take the following quote from an interview with O'Sensei (which is less likely to involve translation problems than written work) we see O'Sensei making this point:

“In aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute non-resistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in aikido. The victory in aikido is masakatsu agatsu (correct victory, self-victory); since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength" (1976).

I think it's fine for HD, Chris, and Mark to question O'Sensei's ideas. But in doing so they should first acknowledge what his ideas were. Though more clarity is needed to make a final determination, it seems that they are describing an approach to the martial arts, that while potentially very good and even complimentary to Aikido at times, is not Aikido. HD's project seems to be to basically argue that O'Sensei had not developed a new art, that modern practitioners of Aikido don't understand what he was doing, so come pay me to learn how to do real Aikido. It is a mistake to take Aikido into the realm of fighting. Aikido is not about fighting. Aikido is not well suited for competitions. Aikido is about the refusal to fight. This can take many forms. The taking of many forms (including breaking balance internally and externally), spontaneously responding to a dynamic situation in an attack, is the meaning of Take Muso Aiki.

The cooperative nature of Aikido training is part of the "system" of teaching Aikido that O'Sensei developed (see Saotome Sensei's books). So, to answer the question HD asked years ago, Uke chooses to fall down in response to the atemi of Nage, so that Nage can learn to move in such a manner as to elicit that response more of the time. Uke also falls down for the same reason that boxers fall down when struck hard. Now imagine a boxer being struck and tripped at the same time as he came in and tried to punch himself. That's what Kokyu Tanden Ho basically accomplishes. There are problems in Aikido, in my opinion, but these problems are not those described by HD, Chris, and Mark. A problem in Aikido is that the system that O'Sensei developed has too often been forgotten. Another problem is that people try to make Aikido something it cannot be. Aikido can never be a cage fight art. There may be Aiki in arts like MMA. But that doesn't make them Aikido. I would argue that Aikido is closer to pure Aiki, as O'Sensei believed, but that doesn't really matter to this discussion. This discussion is supposed to be about Ueshiba's Aiki. He said his Aiki was based on leaving this plane of existence in order to engage in absolute non-resistance.

DH
11-08-2011, 12:08 PM
Mr. McGrew
You would do better to stick with questions. You clearly do not understand what I am talking about and teaching. At it's very foundation, all that I do is nonresistance.
As far as it being Aikido? Lets just say that men far more qualified than you consider it Aiki...do at it highest level. What aiki...do is supposed to be. I don't necessarily care to argue the point either way, but I will take the view of 14 shihans and dozens of 4th, 5th and 6thI dans...over yours.
And for the record, your comment that I say or think "Come pay me and I will show you true Aikido" is rude, dismissive and does a disservice; not only to yourself and your teacher-it speaks ill of the judgement of hundreds of teachers who find this work (which is very old, and well established training) valuable.
I assume you don't know, but your teacher has approved and spoken favorably of what this teaching has done with some of HIS highest ranked students.
I think you should do a little more research before embarrassing yourself further. This work is uniting different lines of the art, and making friends of different teachers who have never met. It is embarrassing to write or reveal some of the heartfelt letters I have received about what this work is doing for someof teachers Aikido. It's all good, and moving in a very positive direction.
Just say'n
Dan

Chris Li
11-08-2011, 12:19 PM
As requested I have read back to the beginning of posts by Mark, Chris, and HD. Go back far enough and you find Mark and HD disagreeing about the nature of ukemi. Now it seems that Mark is a convert.

From the beginning HD has been arguing that Aikido practitioners don't know how to defend themselves and that, though he doesn't train Aikido, that he knows true Aikido. Without clearer language and description it will be difficult to determine the extent to which what he is doing is Aikido, or some other art, or to judge his understanding of Aikido. We do find hints, however, that suggest a lack of understanding of the basic conception of Aikido. For examples, in one post he argues with Mark about why you would ever chose to fall down in response to a strike while in another post he argues that high ranking Aikido practitioners are unable to put him into locks or otherwise do Aikido to him.

Aikido is not based on the ability to "do" anything to an attacker. This is a basic misunderstanding of how the art works to think that anyone can put a lock on you if you aren't really attacking or that a given attack would lend itself to a lock (or even a particular technique). In fact O'Sensei was very clear on Aikido not being about technique at higher levels. O'Sensei was very clear that Aikido works in response to the attack and that the attacker is at a disadvantage for having broken the harmony of the universe. Chris might quibble over the translation of a word here or there, but the meaning is not lost. If we take the following quote from an interview with O'Sensei (which is less likely to involve translation problems than written work) we see O'Sensei making this point:

“In aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute non-resistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in aikido. The victory in aikido is masakatsu agatsu (correct victory, self-victory); since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength" (1976).

I think it's fine for HD, Chris, and Mark to question O'Sensei's ideas. But in doing so they should first acknowledge what his ideas were. Though more clarity is needed to make a final determination, it seems that they are describing an approach to the martial arts, that while potentially very good and even complimentary to Aikido at times, is not Aikido. HD's project seems to be to basically argue that O'Sensei had not developed a new art, that modern practitioners of Aikido don't understand what he was doing, so come pay me to learn how to do real Aikido. It is a mistake to take Aikido into the realm of fighting. Aikido is not about fighting. Aikido is not well suited for competitions. Aikido is about the refusal to fight. This can take many forms. The taking of many forms (including breaking balance internally and externally), spontaneously responding to a dynamic situation in an attack, is the meaning of Take Muso Aiki.

The cooperative nature of Aikido training is part of the "system" of teaching Aikido that O'Sensei developed (see Saotome Sensei's books). So, to answer the question HD asked years ago, Uke chooses to fall down in response to the atemi of Nage, so that Nage can learn to move in such a manner as to elicit that response more of the time. Uke also falls down for the same reason that boxers fall down when struck hard. Now imagine a boxer being struck and tripped at the same time as he came in and tried to punch himself. That's what Kokyu Tanden Ho basically accomplishes. There are problems in Aikido, in my opinion, but these problems are not those described by HD, Chris, and Mark. A problem in Aikido is that the system that O'Sensei developed has too often been forgotten. Another problem is that people try to make Aikido something it cannot be. Aikido can never be a cage fight art. There may be Aiki in arts like MMA. But that doesn't make them Aikido. I would argue that Aikido is closer to pure Aiki, as O'Sensei believed, but that doesn't really matter to this discussion. This discussion is supposed to be about Ueshiba's Aiki. He said his Aiki was based on leaving this plane of existence in order to engage in absolute non-resistance.

Ken, I don't even know where to start, this is a conversation that has spanned years. I've been in Aikido for more than 30 years, I've translated for both Moriteru and Mitsuteru Ueshiba, and I've read everything ever published by Morihei Ueshiba in the original Japanese. I have a pretty good idea of what the central ideas of Aikido are.

I was training with Dan just last night, and he's not advocating against Morihei Ueshiba - he's advocating for him, and everything that he's doing is borne out in Ueshiba's own words.

Best advice - try and get a chance to get some hands on time with him and see for yourself.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
11-08-2011, 12:31 PM
And for the record, your comment that I say or think "Come pay me and I will show you true Aikido" is rude, dismissive and does a disservice; not only to yourself and your teacher-it speaks ill of the judgement of hundreds of teachers who find this work (which is very old, and well established training) valuable.

I'd like to add that yes, we do pay Dan, but by the time he gets out here and covers air, hotel, and other costs, there is either little or nothing left. He ends making a lot less then minimum wage every time he visits - but of course the compensation is getting to see us :) .

Best,

Chris

MM
11-08-2011, 12:44 PM
As requested I have read back to the beginning of posts by Mark, Chris, and HD. Go back far enough and you find Mark and HD disagreeing about the nature of ukemi. Now it seems that Mark is a convert.


Mr. McGrew,

I have about 1700 posts. Dan has about 2500. Let's be conservative and say half of them are off topic. That leaves 800 and 1200 posts amid, oh, let's say 200 threads. That's just the two of us. There were a few more main participants (Rob John, Mike Sigman, etc) which could double the above count.

Are you saying that between the time I posted on Nov 6th and today, you have read all those threads and posts? Because, personally, from your recent post, it really doesn't seem like it.


From the beginning HD has been arguing that Aikido practitioners don't know how to defend themselves and that, though he doesn't train Aikido, that he knows true Aikido. Without clearer language and description it will be difficult to determine the extent to which what he is doing is Aikido, or some other art, or to judge his understanding of Aikido. We do find hints, however, that suggest a lack of understanding of the basic conception of Aikido.


Speaking of ... in your website on Aikido history, you have this:


As a young man, Ueshiba trained in many forms of martial arts, always striving to increase his ability and to become stronger. At the same time he was drawn to various ascetic and spiritual practices. At one point after easily defeating an army officer who challenged him with a wooden sword while he himself was unarmed, Ueshiba had an enlightenment experience in which he felt himself to be one with the universe. Out of this experience emerged a new art which Ueshiba named "Aikido," which means "the way of harmony with universal energy."


According to Stan Pranin's extensive research, the above is really not true. Ueshiba did not train in many forms of martial arts. And those few he did study were short lived. His one, main art that he trained was Daito ryu.

Also, it was not out of that experience you describe which created Aikido and in fact, Ueshiba never named his art but just acknowledged his acceptance of the name.

Then, there's this section from your web site:


Before World War II, Aikido was practiced by only a few people. One needed an introduction even to be considered for admittance as a student. But with the lesson of war fresh in his mind, Ueshiba opened the practice of Aikido to the general public in the late 1940's, hoping that his art might help to contribute to greater social and personal harmony.


It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who opened the practice of Aikido up to the general public, not Morihei. In fact, when Kisshomaru suggested a public demonstration, he feared his father would fly off in a rage at the notion. Instead, Morihei handed Tokyo hombu over to his son and Kisshomaru took things from there to a worldwide audience.

From there, it would be hard to have a conversation about aikido with someone who has ideas that are opposite historical facts. Stan Pranin has a subscription in which you can get a DVD with all the back issues of Aiki News/Aikido Journal. I would suggest starting there and reading through them.

If you don't wish to do that, then perhaps you should attend a seminar with Bill Gleason and have a long talk with him. Bill has the background, skills, and ability to help you understand aikido history, theory, spiritual ideology, and aiki.

Keith Larman
11-08-2011, 12:45 PM
but of course the compensation is getting to see us :) .

But who in their right mind would want to visit you guys? Nothing to do, no good food, horrible weather...

Oh, lord, I am jealous... I think it's time to come up with an excuse to visit family in Hilo...

DH
11-08-2011, 12:48 PM
Yup
No one ever brings up how many free night training sessions I offer outside the seminar itself, either. Why not? Because it diminishes the value of the insult and ill- motives they are trying to establish
It is worth noting that many teachers have advised me that I need to patiently accept that people can be angry over some of these issues. I have taken that advice and throttled way down. Understanding and a willingness to listen as well as advocate is a better approach.
It is funny reading some posts about " Making money" with his stuff...then yakking with the more experienced teachers who crack up and share the war stories of traveling and adding up the hours spent. George Ledyard said it best. "It has to be a labor of love. Otherwise no one in their right mind would EVER do this to themselves."
Oops...time for my massage.
Scuba awaits!!!!!
Dan
" making my $6.00 an hour worth every penny

Keith Larman
11-08-2011, 01:03 PM
Honestly there are very few in any of these arts who in any way makes any sort of "money" in the sense of supporting themselves in some reasonable way. It seems to me that most all of us do this for the same reasons -- out of love of the art. That extends to guys like Dan as well. No one in the west is getting wealthy doing this. People get together. People pay to cover the costs. It ain't like you've got a cathedral filled with 1000 people. It's more like 25 smelly people standing on a mat together for a couple solid days trying to move each other around,.

But this is debating motives, not validity or authenticity. Few I've met who've made the effort to attend and learn have walked away without some benefit or acknowledgement that there's something here to learn.

But... Whatever. Agree, disagree, or neither. Get out and try it or don't. In the end that's the only way to take this conversation any further...

SteveTrinkle
11-08-2011, 02:34 PM
Best advice - try and get a chance to get some hands on time with him and see for yourself.

Best,

Chris

I wholeheartedly agree with Chris's suggestion - once you do, many of the initial questions will immediately become moot, and there will suddenly be a whole new set of more interesting questions. My experience anyway.

Cheers.

SteveTrinkle
11-08-2011, 02:35 PM
But... Whatever. Agree, disagree, or neither. Get out and try it or don't. In the end that's the only way to take this conversation any further...

...and Keith's.

matty_mojo911
11-08-2011, 08:24 PM
We should cherish the past, but embrace change.

All martial arts morph and change, parts of what "we" do today are similar to what O'Sensei likely did, and parts aren't. Neither is right or wrong. Loosley speaking Aikido tends tend to get more and more embelished as the years past, more and more "art" like.

Make aikido your own. I of course never knew O'Sensei but I'm sure he would agree with that statement.

PS - in regards to the very recent posts above about $$$ made in Aikido. Most Aikido seminars I've been to over the years are people showing technique variations, or a lot of talk and breaking down one techinque to crazy levels. Generalisation I know.

People will pay what they think you are worth.

In BJJ, who charge the same fees here to many Akido clubs. Teachers at seminars will walk away with several thousand dollars for a few hours work. They can travel around teachin several of these a week. Very, very good money. Why do I pay a lot of money to go see these guys? Because they are unbelievably good, with some ground breaking ideas. Aikido could learn something here, being a 5th, 6th, 7th Dan doesn't mean you are worth listening to. A good "coach" is.

MM
11-08-2011, 08:41 PM
We should cherish the past, but embrace change.

All martial arts morph and change, parts of what "we" do today are similar to what O'Sensei likely did, and parts aren't. Neither is right or wrong. Loosley speaking Aikido tends tend to get more and more embelished as the years past, more and more "art" like.

Make aikido your own. I of course never knew O'Sensei but I'm sure he would agree with that statement.

It is the nature of aiki to change for each individual. However, if you have aiki, you still have certain qualities to your art as can be seen in Ueshiba's peers: Horikawa and Sagawa. Each of them said that they learned from Takeda, went past Takeda in areas, and were still trying to understand aiki. This is *not* Kisshomaru's "aiki". This is the aiki from Takeda. Do not make the mistake of thinking that Ueshiba's aiki is the same as Modern Aikido's aiki.

There is very little in common with what Modern Aikido does today and what Morihei Ueshiba did. And yes, there is a right and wrong when it comes to Ueshiba's aiki. And no, I don't believe Ueshiba would agree with you. Why do you think he stormed into the dojo and yelled at everyone that they weren't doing his aikido? That he said he looked back and no one was following him? That Saito was learning Daito ryu jujutsu techniques in Iwama while Tokyo under Kisshomaru's direction was doing something entirely different? That Ueshiba got angry when people called him religious? That Ueshiba stated strongly that he was a man of budo? That it was extremely common for Ueshiba to have students push on him, yet we do not find this kind of training in Modern Aikido? That Ueshiba was just standing and talking to someone and told his son, look, I'm training even now -- where is that training in Modern Aikido? That no one looked like Ueshiba when they were all doing fune koge? That some post war students came back after the war, took a look at what was going on in Tokyo and left? And not because of the spiritual nature ... they'd heard it all before from Ueshiba himself before the war.

matty_mojo911
11-08-2011, 10:08 PM
There is very little in common with what Modern Aikido does today and what Morihei Ueshiba did. And yes, there is a right and wrong when it comes to Ueshiba's aiki. And no, I don't believe Ueshiba would agree with you. Why do you think he stormed into the dojo and yelled at everyone that they weren't doing his aikido? That he said he looked back and no one was following him? That Saito was learning Daito ryu jujutsu techniques in Iwama while Tokyo under Kisshomaru's direction was doing something entirely different?

You clearly know more about O'Sensei than I. If what you say is accurate, and I don't doubt that it is, then O'Sensei was just expressing a normal instructors frustration at his students either not listening, or doing their own thing. I can fully understand this. I've done that enough over the years.

However it is human nature to develop and change something to our own way of liking. I would like to think that most wise old men would understand this. If O'Sensei couldn't, and demanded that things be done his way forever then he lacked understanding of this part of human nature.

Tim Ruijs
11-09-2011, 02:37 AM
However it is human nature to develop and change something to our own way of liking. I would like to think that most wise old men would understand this. If O'Sensei couldn't, and demanded that things be done his way forever then he lacked understanding of this part of human nature.
Teachers would however like to see that the essence of their teachings is present after the students 'made it their own'...
Perhaps Ueshiba did not see that....

DH
11-09-2011, 01:09 PM
You clearly know more about O'Sensei than I. If what you say is accurate, and I don't doubt that it is, then O'Sensei was just expressing a normal instructors frustration at his students either not listening, or doing their own thing. I can fully understand this. I've done that enough over the years.

However it is human nature to develop and change something to our own way of liking. I would like to think that most wise old men would understand this. If O'Sensei couldn't, and demanded that things be done his way forever then he lacked understanding of this part of human nature.
I think the key to understanding Ueshiba's frustrations - and I am beginning to believe his "giving up" at trying change them- is not an issue of an old man not liking change, but rather one of him knowing that what they were training would never produce his aiki.
And he was right.

Marks points were completely accurate. And aikido-ka would do well to pay attention to what Ueshiba said about his supposed religious beliefs. As well as saying he wasn't a religious man, he also stated that his aiki would inform religions.
We have been dealing with co-opted Ueshiba-isms, in lue of understanding what he was actually doing and saying.
So, we disagree about it being about an old man letting his art evolve. You guys haven't come up with a single thing "better" than his aiki.

Chiba nailed it when he said "What I wouldn't give to sit at that old man's feet again."
Dan

kewms
11-09-2011, 01:21 PM
As I see it, the whole discussion about translations, and personalities, and who said what when is a side issue.

The fundamental question is:
Can any of Ueshiba Sensei's students do what he could do? Can any of them teach what he was doing (or what they are doing) in a coherent, replicable way?

If not, then we modern aikidoka can either concede that a fundamental part of the art has been or soon will be lost forever, or go looking for those skills from whoever might be willing to teach us. Attacking the messenger(s) doesn't address the problem.

Katherine

hughrbeyer
11-09-2011, 02:11 PM
I think the key to understanding Ueshiba's frustrations - and I am beginning to believe his "giving up" at trying change them- is not an issue of an old man not liking change, but rather one of him knowing that what they were training would never produce his aiki.
And he was right.

This is the core puzzle for me. The man wasn't stupid. Why did he think that training people in a way he didn't train would teach them what he knew?

Did he think it was up to them to come looking for it? But he had lots of very sincere students. Why didn't they learn what he had? Or if they did, why couldn't they pass it on to their students?

We know he did solo exercises with his uchideshi. Why didn't they teach them to their students in turn? When they did introduce solo exercises (Tohei, Tomiki), why are they so devoid of internal power? Why did these shihan feel the need to invent new solo exercises, anyway?

When I read the currently active "grounding and centering" thread, all I could think of was to send the guy off to study Bagua because there's so little in mainstream Aikido to help him. Isn't that pathetic? ("Mainstream" meaning that if you go into a random Aikido dojo anywhere, you're likely to encounter it. Exceptional teachers and dojos do, of course, exist.)

Just askin'.

kewms
11-09-2011, 03:38 PM
One of the pitfalls of genius is expecting others to see things that are obvious to oneself. The best players don't always make the best coaches.

Perhaps it is too much to expect any single human to be both a martial genius and a pedagogical genius.

Remember, also, the enormous amount of social change in Japan in Ueshiba Sensei's lifetime. How difficult would it have been for any postwar aikidoka to train as he did?

Katherine

Tim Ruijs
11-10-2011, 05:54 AM
@Katherine
This again seems to boil down to the question how good a teacher Ueshiba really was....

Alec Corper
11-10-2011, 09:15 AM
By and large the uke/tori paradigm of training, at least as expressed in most aikido dojos, promotes stiff resistance or sloppy compliance. i have been hearing for 20 years that the waza are a vehicle for learning the "essence" of Aiki, and yet my experience of that within mainstream aikido has been minimal. However, in training with Akuzawa, and more recently with Dan, the experience was obvious. I am fortunate that my current Shihan was a direct student of Ueshiba, and does demonstrate his art with more than just mechanical competence but it is still very difficult to extract his internal methodology.
Why are so many people in aikido fearful of the idea that some people may be rediscovering what Aiki is, (bearing in mind the many Chinese arts that still practice and demonstrate internal power.
At least in free sparring in the form of pushing hands when there is no decision beforehand about who does what, it is very quickly revealed who has the mastery at that moment. Put your egos aside and get out and experience what is possible. Less time at the keyboard and more time on the mat!

kewms
11-10-2011, 11:10 AM
@Katherine
This again seems to boil down to the question how good a teacher Ueshiba really was....

Maybe. But my real point is that it doesn't take anything away from his accomplishments to concede that those of us who don't have the opportunity to learn from him directly might need to seek out a variety of different teachers. After all, he encouraged his own students to do that, too.

Katherine

Erick Mead
11-10-2011, 03:19 PM
Perhaps it is too much to expect any single human to be both a martial genius and a pedagogical genius.
Katherine A martial genius identifies key restraints to action -- so as to break or neutralize their effect on his course of action; a pedagogical genius sets restraints -- just so the student CAN break them and NOT evade them.

Ken McGrew
11-10-2011, 05:46 PM
Your response seems to reveal a great deal of insecurity hiding behind arrogance. Quite frankly I have no idea what it is you do. There are no videos available to see what you do, your writing and arguments are unclear, and your statements about Aikido and the practices of Aikido being clueless are outlandish forgiven the lack of anything tangible to back them up.

It is not aiki do. It is ai Ki do. This is not an opinion. This is what O'Sensei said. this is what my teachers say.

So once again you speak without detail and your supporters say to test your claims I have to go to your seminar. This is the genesis of my statement about money. I have been trying to give you and your followers a fair reading, but it is difficult to do when bad writing, unclear arguments, outlandishly insulting comments abou Aikido and Aikido practitioners, meet defensive responses like this one.

As I said in my post what you do (whatever "it" is) may be very good. It may even have aspects that are complimentary to Aikido. That does not make it Aikido. And it doesn't make Aikido The ineffective joke that you've claimed it is.

The thing is, I have eyes to read what O'Sensei wrote, what Saotome Sensei wrote, and watch videos of O'Sensei. I have ears to hear what my teachers tell me about O'Sensei. I see no support for the often repeated claims about everyone having missed the meaning of Aikido except yourself. I can see on the videos O'Sensei doing aikido, and students doing Aikido while he watched them, that contradicts what I take your claims to be (to the extent that I can read them). I see him doing the same Aikido that I see many schools practicing.

It would be more helpful if you would spell out in detail what I said about Aikido that is wrong in your view and what it is exactly that you are describing.

Mr. McGrew
You would do better to stick with questions. You clearly do not understand what I am talking about and teaching. At it's very foundation, all that I do is nonresistance.
As far as it being Aikido? Lets just say that men far more qualified than you consider it Aiki...do at it highest level. What aiki...do is supposed to be. I don't necessarily care to argue the point either way, but I will take the view of 14 shihans and dozens of 4th, 5th and 6thI dans...over yours.
And for the record, your comment that I say or think "Come pay me and I will show you true Aikido" is rude, dismissive and does a disservice; not only to yourself and your teacher-it speaks ill of the judgement of hundreds of teachers who find this work (which is very old, and well established training) valuable.
I assume you don't know, but your teacher has approved and spoken favorably of what this teaching has done with some of HIS highest ranked students.
I think you should do a little more research before embarrassing yourself further. This work is uniting different lines of the art, and making friends of different teachers who have never met. It is embarrassing to write or reveal some of the heartfelt letters I have received about what this work is doing for someof teachers Aikido. It's all good, and moving in a very positive direction.
Just say'n
Dan

Ken McGrew
11-10-2011, 06:02 PM
What we have here is a rather shallow attempt at diversion. Why not try to explain your alleged insights into Aikido instead of trying to draw me into a debate about unrelated historical issues? I could point to sources that contradict your claims and to video of O'Sensei teaching wider audiences, going on TV, Etc. but don't want to let you slip away from the unanswered questions. By the way, the disrespectful way that you and your comrades speak of Kisshomaru Sensei is simply not acceptable.

Why not simply answer the questions I posed and clarify what it is you think that HD has discovered that the rest of the Aikido world forgot.? It's just not evident in the posts. As I can't see HD doing whatever it is he's doing I can only read into the description of taking balance internally. As I mentioned, there is video of Terry Dobson doing what I assume are similar things way back when. It's not new.

Aikiweb has a very good search engine. So yes, Mark, I read all the relevant posts,that the search produced. I'm an academic. I know how to read. I know how to work through search engine results.

Mr. McGrew,

I have about 1700 posts. Dan has about 2500. Let's be conservative and say half of them are off topic. That leaves 800 and 1200 posts amid, oh, let's say 200 threads. That's just the two of us. There were a few more main participants (Rob John, Mike Sigman, etc) which could double the above count.

Are you saying that between the time I posted on Nov 6th and today, you have read all those threads and posts? Because, personally, from your recent post, it really doesn't seem like it.

Speaking of ... in your website on Aikido history, you have this:

According to Stan Pranin's extensive research, the above is really not true. Ueshiba did not train in many forms of martial arts. And those few he did study were short lived. His one, main art that he trained was Daito ryu.

Also, it was not out of that experience you describe which created Aikido and in fact, Ueshiba never named his art but just acknowledged his acceptance of the name.

Then, there's this section from your web site:

It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who opened the practice of Aikido up to the general public, not Morihei. In fact, when Kisshomaru suggested a public demonstration, he feared his father would fly off in a rage at the notion. Instead, Morihei handed Tokyo hombu over to his son and Kisshomaru took things from there to a worldwide audience.

From there, it would be hard to have a conversation about aikido with someone who has ideas that are opposite historical facts. Stan Pranin has a subscription in which you can get a DVD with all the back issues of Aiki News/Aikido Journal. I would suggest starting there and reading through them.

If you don't wish to do that, then perhaps you should attend a seminar with Bill Gleason and have a long talk with him. Bill has the background, skills, and ability to help you understand aikido history, theory, spiritual ideology, and aiki.

Ken McGrew
11-10-2011, 06:18 PM
This post contains a number of testable claims.

You seem to be claiming that O'Sensei did not develop a new martial art but took it from Takeda. Also that modern Aikido isn't the Aikido that O'Sensei trained. Where is the evidence to support these claims? I'm not sure what your claim is exactly. But I can see video of O'Sensei and I can compare it to video of current Shihan's. When I do it looks like the same general approach. Same with his son and grandson.

Are you denying that O'Sensei was religious/spiritual? It looks like that is a claim you are making. If so, what exactly is your evidence? There is so much to refute that claim, if in fact you are making the claim you seem to be making.

You claim that the practice of grounding while being pushed cannot be found in modern Aikido. This is a strange claim to make. It is a regular part of training in most Ki Society schools and I have experienced this training in both ASU and USAF, and at seminars with instructors from other organizations. What exactly is your point anyway?

You seem to be claiming that O'Sensei did not develop Aikido after the war and that there is no difference between what hid did/said before and after the war. Is that your claim? If so, it's mistaken to the extreme.

It is the nature of aiki to change for each individual. However, if you have aiki, you still have certain qualities to your art as can be seen in Ueshiba's peers: Horikawa and Sagawa. Each of them said that they learned from Takeda, went past Takeda in areas, and were still trying to understand aiki. This is *not* Kisshomaru's "aiki". This is the aiki from Takeda. Do not make the mistake of thinking that Ueshiba's aiki is the same as Modern Aikido's aiki.

There is very little in common with what Modern Aikido does today and what Morihei Ueshiba did. And yes, there is a right and wrong when it comes to Ueshiba's aiki. And no, I don't believe Ueshiba would agree with you. Why do you think he stormed into the dojo and yelled at everyone that they weren't doing his aikido? That he said he looked back and no one was following him? That Saito was learning Daito ryu jujutsu techniques in Iwama while Tokyo under Kisshomaru's direction was doing something entirely different? That Ueshiba got angry when people called him religious? That Ueshiba stated strongly that he was a man of budo? That it was extremely common for Ueshiba to have students push on him, yet we do not find this kind of training in Modern Aikido? That Ueshiba was just standing and talking to someone and told his son, look, I'm training even now -- where is that training in Modern Aikido? That no one looked like Ueshiba when they were all doing fune koge? That some post war students came back after the war, took a look at what was going on in Tokyo and left? And not because of the spiritual nature ... they'd heard it all before from Ueshiba himself before the war.

Chris Li
11-10-2011, 06:25 PM
This post contains a number of testable claims.

You seem to be claiming that O'Sensei did not develop a new martial art but took it from Takeda. Also that modern Aikido isn't the Aikido that O'Sensei trained. Where is the evidence to support these claims? I'm not sure what your claim is exactly. But I can see video of O'Sensei and I can compare it to video of current Shihan's. When I do it looks like the same general approach. Same with his son and grandson.

This should start you out: http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=34

It's a 15 year old argument, at a minimum. Not many people really contest the issue anymore.

You claim that the practice of grounding while being pushed cannot be found in modern Aikido. This is a strange claim to make. It is a regular part of training in most Ki Society schools and I have experienced this training in both ASU and USAF, and at seminars with instructors from other organizations. What exactly is your point anyway?

That kind of push test is nothing like what Dan is doing - or rather, it's just the very tip of the iceberg.


You seem to be claiming that O'Sensei did not develop Aikido after the war and that there is no difference between what hid did/said before and after the war. Is that your claim? If so, it's mistaken to the extreme.

Morihiro Saito didn't think so. He used to carry the 1938 edition of "Budo" around to prove it. In any case, after the war he was largely retired.

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-10-2011, 06:30 PM
What exactly are your claims here?

What did O'Sensei allegedly say about his religious beliefs that you are referring to?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Sugag-Ncs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

There an interview he did with his son I'll try to dig up later.

I think the key to understanding Ueshiba's frustrations - and I am beginning to believe his "giving up" at trying change them- is not an issue of an old man not liking change, but rather one of him knowing that what they were training would never produce his aiki.
And he was right.

Marks points were completely accurate. And aikido-ka would do well to pay attention to what Ueshiba said about his supposed religious beliefs. As well as saying he wasn't a religious man, he also stated that his aiki would inform religions.
We have been dealing with co-opted Ueshiba-isms, in lue of understanding what he was actually doing and saying.
So, we disagree about it being about an old man letting his art evolve. You guys haven't come up with a single thing "better" than his aiki.

Chiba nailed it when he said "What I wouldn't give to sit at that old man's feet again."
Dan

MM
11-10-2011, 07:02 PM
What we have here is a rather shallow attempt at diversion. Why not try to explain your alleged insights into Aikido instead of trying to draw me into a debate about unrelated historical issues?

I could point to sources that contradict your claims and to video of O'Sensei teaching wider audiences, going on TV, Etc. but don't want to let you slip away from the unanswered questions. By the way, the disrespectful way that you and your comrades speak of Kisshomaru Sensei is simply not acceptable.

Why not simply answer the questions I posed and clarify what it is you think that HD has discovered that the rest of the Aikido world forgot.? It's just not evident in the posts. As I can't see HD doing whatever it is he's doing I can only read into the description of taking balance internally. As I mentioned, there is video of Terry Dobson doing what I assume are similar things way back when. It's not new.

Aikiweb has a very good search engine. So yes, Mark, I read all the relevant posts,that the search produced. I'm an academic. I know how to read. I know how to work through search engine results.



Not a diversion, Mr. McGrew. An attempt at pointing you in the direction for research. With all due respect, you have yet to show that you have a good grasp of Aikido History, Morihei Ueshiba's history, or my posting history.

Just as an example, I have multiple posts stating that I thought highly of what Kisshomaru accomplished. The answers to your entire post #62 can be found in my previous posts. So, obviously, you have not read all the relevant posts. Your view of aikido history is skewed, at best. We are trying, earnestly, to point you in the right direction. Whether you accept that is entirely up to you.

Mark

graham christian
11-10-2011, 07:09 PM
What exactly are your claims here?

What did O'Sensei allegedly say about his religious beliefs that you are referring to?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Sugag-Ncs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

There an interview he did with his son I'll try to dig up later.

Ken. It's very simple really. They are trying to prove that the internal stuff or aiki that Takeda had is the same that O'Sensei had and used as Aikido.

Completely false in my opinion, but they are trying to prove it. That's the nub of the matter as I see it.

Such bits of data as O'Sensei was largely retired after the war or even that in his later years didn't really have much to do with teaching Aikido to me are completely false.

It's best to let them get on with it for obviously it is their path.

Regards.G.

MM
11-10-2011, 07:21 PM
Ken. It's very simple really. They are trying to prove that the internal stuff or aiki that Takeda had is the same that O'Sensei had and used as Aikido.

Completely false in my opinion, but they are trying to prove it. That's the nub of the matter as I see it.

Such bits of data as O'Sensei was largely retired after the war or even that in his later years didn't really have much to do with teaching Aikido to me are completely false.

It's best to let them get on with it for obviously it is their path.

Regards.G.

Actually, it's all out there for people earnestly looking. From actual times that the training classes were held at Tokyo hombu, to who was there and when, to the places that Ueshiba travelled to teach, to when and how long he was in Iwama, to students talking about what Ueshiba did when he actually was on the mat, to ... well, pretty much everything contradicts your entire post.

gregstec
11-10-2011, 07:54 PM
Your response seems to reveal a great deal of insecurity hiding behind arrogance. .

Ken, IMO, your responses seem to reveal a great deal of arrogance hiding behind ignorance. I do not intend to get into the detail of your arguments; I will leave that to those they are addressed to. However, I would like to just make an objective statement that the people you are apparently trying to engage in an intellectual fight all have well over 35 to 40 years of academic and hands-on experience in Aikido, Daito Ryu and other Japanese Budo - in addition, they also have intimate and personal access to others with even more experience and knowledge then them in the areas you have decided to challenge them on.

My recommendation to you, son (and I call you son not because of any physical age but more of a relative age to those you have engaged) is to do some more research in the areas of your arguments to find the corroboration of what is being stated here by those that have spent the time doing that. In other words, if you are truly the academic you say you are, stop being subjective and start being more objective - you really are bringing up arguments that have been presented and dispelled years ago by those that have been there, done that, etc.

Good luck in you journey

Greg

ps: it is DH and not HD....

Gary David
11-10-2011, 08:08 PM
You claim that the practice of grounding while being pushed cannot be found in modern Aikido. This is a strange claim to make. It is a regular part of training in most Ki Society schools and I have experienced this training in both ASU and USAF, and at seminars with instructors from other organizations. What exactly is your point anyway?


Ken
A number of ASU folks have had contact with Dan Harden and some have hosted him in their dojo. Why don't you just check with them to get your answers and to determine if he knows his stuff, as well as teach it. If you are not going to make the effort to check it out in person maybe the word of someone you have trained with and respect would either clear the air for you or give substance to your concerns.
Gary

kewms
11-10-2011, 09:36 PM
Ken
A number of ASU folks have had contact with Dan Harden and some have hosted him in their dojo. Why don't you just check with them to get your answers and to determine if he knows his stuff, as well as teach it. If you are not going to make the effort to check it out in person maybe the word of someone you have trained with and respect would either clear the air for you or give substance to your concerns.
Gary

This. All the arguments about history and "disrespect" aren't really relevant to the question of whether the man is teaching something worthwhile.

Katherine

Ken McGrew
11-10-2011, 11:17 PM
Not a diversion, Mr. McGrew. An attempt at pointing you in the direction for research. With all due respect, you have yet to show that you have a good grasp of Aikido History, Morihei Ueshiba's history, or my posting history.

Just as an example, I have multiple posts stating that I thought highly of what Kisshomaru accomplished. The answers to your entire post #62 can be found in my previous posts. So, obviously, you have not read all the relevant posts. Your view of aikido history is skewed, at best. We are trying, earnestly, to point you in the right direction. Whether you accept that is entirely up to you.

Mark

Your responses, Dan's, and Chris's are beginning to appear intentionally disingenuous. Also cowardly. When asked to qualify your positions or answer specific questions you say look at my earlier posts. Why are you on a discussion forum at all if you won't discuss? The three of you could just email each other. I've read the earlier posts, Mark, and you and your partners couldn't construct a readable paragraph much less a coherent argument to save your life. It's not my fault that I can't read your mind.

Ken McGrew
11-10-2011, 11:19 PM
Ken
A number of ASU folks have had contact with Dan Harden and some have hosted him in their dojo. Why don't you just check with them to get your answers and to determine if he knows his stuff, as well as teach it. If you are not going to make the effort to check it out in person maybe the word of someone you have trained with and respect would either clear the air for you or give substance to your concerns.
Gary

ASU is a big organization. People in ASU have also cross trained in MMA. So what? My comments in this discussion were all drawn from Saotome Sensei's books. you should read them.

Ken McGrew
11-10-2011, 11:27 PM
The fact that you're older than me doesn't make you right. For the record I've been training in Aikido for over 20 years with direct access and close access to a number of very senior martial artists in Aikido, Karate, Katori, Judo, and other arts. There isn't anything I've posted here that I did not learn directly and personally from these instructors.

You say I'm bringing up arguments that have been dispelled? Which ones? That O'Sensei was religious? That he warped us to engage in cooperative training? Did you watch the interview footage I posted? It's impossible to respond to arguments that have simply never been made.

Good God, just say what you think and explain hey you think it. Or don't post on discussion forums and then take offense when people discuss.

On a side note, you are actually accusing me of lying about my academic training? You can buy my book on Amazon.

Ken, IMO, your responses seem to reveal a great deal of arrogance hiding behind ignorance. I do not intend to get into the detail of your arguments; I will leave that to those they are addressed to. However, I would like to just make an objective statement that the people you are apparently trying to engage in an intellectual fight all have well over 35 to 40 years of academic and hands-on experience in Aikido, Daito Ryu and other Japanese Budo - in addition, they also have intimate and personal access to others with even more experience and knowledge then them in the areas you have decided to challenge them on.

My recommendation to you, son (and I call you son not because of any physical age but more of a relative age to those you have engaged) is to do some more research in the areas of your arguments to find the corroboration of what is being stated here by those that have spent the time doing that. In other words, if you are truly the academic you say you are, stop being subjective and start being more objective - you really are bringing up arguments that have been presented and dispelled years ago by those that have been there, done that, etc.

Good luck in you journey

Greg

ps: it is DH and not HD....

Ken McGrew
11-10-2011, 11:39 PM
Ken. It's very simple really. They are trying to prove that the internal stuff or aiki that Takeda had is the same that O'Sensei had and used as Aikido.

Completely false in my opinion, but they are trying to prove it. That's the nub of the matter as I see it.

Such bits of data as O'Sensei was largely retired after the war or even that in his later years didn't really have much to do with teaching Aikido to me are completely false.

It's best to let them get on with it for obviously it is their path.

Regards.G.

Thanks, Graham. I thought that's what they were saying.

They seem to also be saying that the cooperative training process in Aikido is a problem when it is the strength in Aikido and is exactly what O'Sensei wanted. I'm not opposed to people bringing in new influences to their Nage. I'm concerned about people undermining the training system that O'Sensei developed. What O'Sensei described as destroying Aikido principal, what he described as "a systaem, a training system, an education system. Aikido is process" (Saotome Sensei Aikido and the Harmony of Nature page 179).

Part of this results from the lack of an oral tradition. For example, aside from numerous other sources of evidence, I know that O'Sensei took purification baths every day because I'm part of the oral transmission of this knowledge from his original students down the line. He was very religious/spiritual. To argue otherwise is very ignorant and disrespectful. Why do these guys think there is a mirror on the shoman at the front of most dojos?

Gary David
11-10-2011, 11:42 PM
ASU is a big organization. People in ASU have also cross trained in MMA. So what? My comments in this discussion were all drawn from Saotome Sensei's books. you should read them.

Ken
I have Saotome Sensei's books, the version I have of "Aikido And the Harmony of Nature" I got back in the mid 80's. I trained with Saotome Sensei many times during the 80's when he came to California and we hosted him once at the old Orange County Aiki Kai dojo in Orange, CA. Of all the Aikido teachers I have had the opportunity grab grab onto over the years he is one that threw me without me understanding what was happening, movement without physical indicators, no tension in his arms or shoulders, without me feeling weight shift or exchange of momentum. This one time with Saotome Sensei at the OCAK dojo in 1983 is part of why I have looked for what was hidden. I can tell you that how what happened to me then by Saotome Sensei he was not teaching and I was around him every time he came to Southern California back then. It was something I had to seek on my own or get help from others looking for the same thing.

Dan Harden is for me one of several sources I utilize at the moment in a continuing journey.......maybe you should try him sometime.

Just go straight.....
Gary

Ken McGrew
11-10-2011, 11:46 PM
O'Sensei observed Saotome Sensei teaching the morning class for years. He was very happy with Saotome's instruction. I'm sure he observed others also. He was not retired in the way that you are implying. You should know that if you are associated with an Aikido lineage.

Saito Sensei had a number of opinions. Ill take O'Sensei's comments about his own Aikido after the war as the stronger case.

This should start you out: http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=34

It's a 15 year old argument, at a minimum. Not many people really contest the issue anymore.

That kind of push test is nothing like what Dan is doing - or rather, it's just the very tip of the iceberg.

Morihiro Saito didn't think so. He used to carry the 1938 edition of "Budo" around to prove it. In any case, after the war he was largely retired.

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 12:03 AM
Pranin Sensei is wrong at least in part. I say this based on what O'Sensei said about his own Aikido development after the war and also what Saotome Sensei wrote about the difference between Aiki Jujitsu, pre war Aikido, and post war Aikido.

Listen to yourself. You just claimed that most people accept that there's no difference between pre and post war Aikido and that they believe that O'Sensei had little influence after the war. This claim, that most people accept Pranin's claim or your claims, is refuted by posts on Aikiweb and basically everywhere except among the Saito Sensei and pre war Aikido practitioners. You might be right (though you are not right) but it is not true that most Aikido practitioners agree with you.

How many of your crowd who address Doshu so dismissively and make these arguments hold rank with Hombu? I'm not saying everything that has ever happened there was right. But maybe your crowd should have the decency to leave an organization that you regularly bash.

Dan and crowd have repeatedly argued,that no one has done Aikido properly since O'Sensei (or perhaps Saito Sensei). When they make these blanket statements they insult all of our teachers. If they won't back up these claims better than they have then they should expect to be criticized for having done so.

This should start you out: http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=34

It's a 15 year old argument, at a minimum. Not many people really contest the issue anymore.

That kind of push test is nothing like what Dan is doing - or rather, it's just the very tip of the iceberg.

Morihiro Saito didn't think so. He used to carry the 1938 edition of "Budo" around to prove it. In any case, after the war he was largely retired.

Best,

Chris

kewms
11-11-2011, 12:19 AM
ASU is a big organization. People in ASU have also cross trained in MMA. So what? My comments in this discussion were all drawn from Saotome Sensei's books. you should read them.

I have. My current teacher is a direct student of Saotome Sensei. And has invited Dan Harden to the dojo on multiple occasions. He's on the calendar several times for 2012, and you'd be welcome to come train with us.

Katherine

kewms
11-11-2011, 12:55 AM
ASU is a big organization. People in ASU have also cross trained in MMA. So what? My comments in this discussion were all drawn from Saotome Sensei's books. you should read them.

My previous teacher helped translate one of Saotome Sensei's books. He's fluent in Japanese, studied in Japan, and wrote what are probably the definitive works in English on O Sensei's philosophy. He studies with Dan Harden, too.

Katherine

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 01:49 AM
How many of your crowd who address Doshu so dismissively and make these arguments hold rank with Hombu? I'm not saying everything that has ever happened there was right. But maybe your crowd should have the decency to leave an organization that you regularly bash.

Well, I've held dan ranks both directly from Saotome and from hombu since before you started Aikido.

I criticize the US government, but I'm still a US citizen - when did "love it or leave it" become the rule? If it is the rule - I think that Saotome is going to have to leave the Aikikai again, based on some of the comments I've heard him make :) .

Best,

Chris

wxyzabc
11-11-2011, 01:55 AM
Maybe some of you guys should watch the following :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQd_kBse-c&feature=fvst

Pay careful attention to around 2:00 to 2:40 (you may have to watch this a few times)...then think about what you know..or don't...

This is not to insult current teachers but to give Ueshiba the correct level of respect.

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 02:02 AM
Dan and crowd have repeatedly argued,that no one has done Aikido properly since O'Sensei (or perhaps Saito Sensei). When they make these blanket statements they insult all of our teachers. If they won't back up these claims better than they have then they should expect to be criticized for having done so.

Actually, Dan's not that big a Saito fan, but that's beside the point. Dan's very pragmatic - if you have a better approach, or if you think that your current training paradigm is producing the same or better effects, and you can show him - he'll love it. If you can't, well...

I spent quite a few years with Saotome, and quite a few years in Japan. I've felt most of the big names - including Saotome's teacher, and this is where I am after feeling Dan. Give it a try and what he's saying will start to make sense.

Best,

Chris

DH
11-11-2011, 02:05 AM
The most ardent, derogatory comments I have heard about Aikido are FROM it's teachers. I am continually told I have breathed a new hope into their art. Both for infusing stunning aiki back in and for showing how it can transform from MMA to waza.
I am not inclined to debate with Mr. McGraw when his seniors agree with me and recognize that I am working to support Aikido, and not harm it.
I think he has some notion that I am interested in debating. something with him.
Dan

Well, I've held dan ranks both directly from Saotome and from hombu since before you started Aikido.

I criticize the US government, but I'm still a US citizen - when did "love it or leave it" become the rule? If it is the rule - I think that Saotome is going to have to leave the Aikikai again, based on some of the comments I've heard him make :) .

Best,

Chris

Tim Ruijs
11-11-2011, 02:47 AM
Dan

Whatever people eventually choose to do, you have made (at least some of ) them think about what they are doing and/or what they could/should expect from Aikido. This is very much in line with the teachings of Ueshiba: be independent and search for yourself. ;)

raul rodrigo
11-11-2011, 02:55 AM
Actually, Dan's not that big a Saito fan, but that's beside the point. Dan's very pragmatic - if you have a better approach, or if you think that your current training paradigm is producing the same or better effects, and you can show him - he'll love it. If you can't, well...

I spent quite a few years with Saotome, and quite a few years in Japan. I've felt most of the big names - including Saotome's teacher, and this is where I am after feeling Dan. Give it a try and what he's saying will start to make sense.

Best,

Chris

Chris, when you say Saotome's teacher, you mean Morihei?

best

RAUL

Chris Knight
11-11-2011, 05:52 AM
Ken. It's very simple really. They are trying to prove that the internal stuff or aiki that Takeda had is the same that O'Sensei had and used as Aikido.

Completely false in my opinion, but they are trying to prove it. That's the nub of the matter as I see it.

Such bits of data as O'Sensei was largely retired after the war or even that in his later years didn't really have much to do with teaching Aikido to me are completely false.

It's best to let them get on with it for obviously it is their path.

really?? take a look at the video Lee posted of O Sensei and tell me this process doesn't require internal strength and perfect body allignment. In fact, I'm pretty sure, as far as I know, that nobody has replicated the Jo horizontal position, albeit as a trick using the centre as resistance, which he obviously isn't doing in this with his arms extended.

Anybody able to answer my original question, we seem to have swung wide of the subject??

Alex Megann
11-11-2011, 06:16 AM
This is one of the most interesting threads I have read on AikiWeb for a long while, and contains most of the arguments I have come across for and against what Dan and others are teaching.

My own teacher (Aikikai 7th Dan, and with a very interesting and eclectic history of teachers) is in the habit of publicly criticising "modern aikido". Being Japanese, he won't of course mention specific names, but most of us who have been around for a while have filled in the gaps and know exactly who he is talking about. We invite Hombu shihan to our Summer School every year, but it is obvious that - for better or for worse - what they are teaching is different in a deep essence to what he has been trying to get across in recent years. I'm sure many people see him as a crazy old guy, but I have come to appreciate that the core of what he teaches is very valuable and elusive. He repeatedly complains "how can you do aikido without aiki?"

I have managed to miss Dan's UK seminars so far, but I would very much like to feel what he is doing. From communicating with various people on and off AikiWeb, I gather that it is not too different from what I have felt from my teacher, Yamashima Sensei and others (although he teaches in a much more "western" and systematic way), and seen in plenty of clips of O-Sensei. I have come to the opinion (quite late in the day, admittedly!) that kokyu and aiki skills are at the heart of true aikido. It is an aspect that I have been trying to grasp in my own practice on and off the mat.

Alex

Alex Megann
11-11-2011, 06:19 AM
It is not aiki do. It is ai Ki do. This is not an opinion. This is what O'Sensei said. this is what my teachers say.

This goes round and round...

When did O-Sensei make this distinction?

Alex

MM
11-11-2011, 07:47 AM
The fact that you're older than me doesn't make you right. For the record I've been training in Aikido for over 20 years with direct access and close access to a number of very senior martial artists in Aikido, Karate, Katori, Judo, and other arts. There isn't anything I've posted here that I did not learn directly and personally from these instructors.


Mr. McGrew,
Would you perhaps grace us with your list of senior martial artists that you've listed? Especially Katori. All the others are gendai, but you list a koryu. I'm curious whose name you are bandying and if they know you are doing so?

As for Aikido, I would guess that Bill Gleason (a highly ranked senior in your organization) isn't on your list. I would strongly urge you to talk to Bill. Actually, no, I take that back. I would strongly urge you to attend the very next seminar with Bill. If you are truly looking into Ueshiba's aiki, that is one of the best things that you can do.

For everyone, I don't mean to dismiss Saotome sensei in my recommendation to see Bill. I think very highly of Saotome sensei, but I think Bill can explain things better.

Marc Abrams
11-11-2011, 08:18 AM
Mr. McGrew:

David Orange is in your area. He attended the first seminar that Dan Harden led for martial arts instructors. You might want to reach out to him and talk directly to him about his impressions of Dan.

1) Banding together with the "Golden child" from England will get you less than nowhere very quickly. He claims to have deep understandings of things without having anything to back it up. Those videos should speak for themselves.

2) You might do well to explore a deeper source of your anger. Many of us had faced such an anger before. Some of us have as our teachers, direct students of O'Sensei and have had some heart-to-heart conversations with them. It is noteworthy that they would love to turn the clock back and learn from O'Sensei now that they are able to see beyond what they could in their youths. We are guided by our teachers who DIRECTLY SUPPORT our pursuits of discovering the deep/hidden-in-plain-sight aspects of our art, that our teachers are pursuing as well.

3) You call people cowards, disingenuous, etc.. Why don't you meet some of these people first before jumping to your conclusions. I would be surprised if your opinions did not change after spending some time with them. To me, the coward is the person who takes pot-shots from afar. When I had my doubts about this stuff, I took it directly to Dan. I had enough personal integrity to directly confront him, while being open enough to allow him the chance to show me exactly what he was talking about. I had the personal integrity to apologize directly to Dan and like any good martial artist, check my ego in at the door and allow myself to learn about things that I was not getting, did not understand and needed to learn. As a teacher, this is my obligation that I owe to my teacher, myself and my students each and every day.

Ushiro Sensei states very cogently that the biggest impediment to learning is what you think that you already know. I appreciate your zeal and now I am personally asking you to put your ego aside and meet some of these people to see if maybe, just maybe, your anger might be misdirected.

Marc Abrams

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 09:10 AM
Chris, when you say Saotome's teacher, you mean Morihei?

best

RAUL

Actually, Yamaguchi.

Best,

Chris

Marc Abrams
11-11-2011, 09:18 AM
It was brought to my attention that Mr. McGrew and David Orange do know each other and from the tone of an old Aikweb thread, there is little chance, if any, that these two would speak civilly. That being said, there are enough people in the ASU who are senior in that organization that have hands-on experience with Dan Harden, that Mr. McGrew should ask them directly. If he needs some names, he can PM me and I will provide him with some names of people who would talk to him.

The larger issue remains, Mr. McGrew is willing to make comments from afar before meeting some people. Will he have the character to meet these people in order to see if his opinions in various areas are inaccurate or accurate?

marc abrams

raul rodrigo
11-11-2011, 09:44 AM
Actually, Yamaguchi.

Best,

Chris

Thanks for clearing that up.

best

R

phitruong
11-11-2011, 10:08 AM
Well, I've held dan ranks both directly from Saotome and from hombu since before you started Aikido.

Chris

hey, that would make you my sempai! since i know that you are very busy giving Dan massages and working on translating original stuffs from O Sensei in your spare time, you might not realize the sempai obligation to the aforementioned kohai, namely moi, that as a sempai, you are obligated to buy the said kohai food and drink. :D

*would you hurry up already on translating the stuffs and published it so we can buy and read? don't make me go out there and make you open a can of whoop-ass! *

phitruong
11-11-2011, 10:26 AM
Pranin Sensei is wrong at least in part. I say this based on what O'Sensei said about his own Aikido development after the war and also what Saotome Sensei wrote about the difference between Aiki Jujitsu, pre war Aikido, and post war Aikido.

Listen to yourself. You just claimed that most people accept that there's no difference between pre and post war Aikido and that they believe that O'Sensei had little influence after the war. This claim, that most people accept Pranin's claim or your claims, is refuted by posts on Aikiweb and basically everywhere except among the Saito Sensei and pre war Aikido practitioners. You might be right (though you are not right) but it is not true that most Aikido practitioners agree with you.

How many of your crowd who address Doshu so dismissively and make these arguments hold rank with Hombu? I'm not saying everything that has ever happened there was right. But maybe your crowd should have the decency to leave an organization that you regularly bash.

Dan and crowd have repeatedly argued,that no one has done Aikido properly since O'Sensei (or perhaps Saito Sensei). When they make these blanket statements they insult all of our teachers. If they won't back up these claims better than they have then they should expect to be criticized for having done so.

don't you just hate these folks. they wasted thousands of hour posting and reading and researching and so on and won't just give us a straight answer. they expect us to go and read through all their posts, journals, books and think things through which would have wasting lots of our time when they could have just tell us directly. what do they think we are at? some kind of research/higher learning institution or something? all these guys are just theory and opinion and postulate without exposed themselves for hand on testing of such theory and opinion and so on. hmmm.... oh wait! Dan and you IS folks, stop expose yourself to all these aikido teachers and messing up our argument! you guys supposed to run some kind of scam, at least try to act like it. there, that show em! :D

and that Chris Li, who he thinks he is. even though, he has been practiced more years in aikido than us wearing underwear, and practiced with the like of Yamaguchi, and translated for the previous doshu as well as the current doshu, come on, what does he know about aikido or aiki? he should take example from Ikeda sensei and went to learn aiki stuffs from the like of Ushiro sensei, not some unknown, unranked, nobody like Dan or Sigman or ..... just not right, if you ask me. oh wait! you didn't ask me. nevermind! :)

chillzATL
11-11-2011, 10:38 AM
They say history repeats itself... on aikiweb it does so almost weekly.

You guys should really just let people be. Though I have yet to work with Dan, I am in the same boat as "his people" when it comes to my feelings on these skills. They are the heart of everything aikido was supposed to be and they have been, by and large, completely missing within the art. If people are interested, let them find it themselves. It doesn't matter how great you tell people it is, if they don't want it, then it just doesn't matter. Even among the people who have felt it, believe in it and want it, only a few are actually going to really get anywhere with it. So why waste the time and energy recycling the same posts from five years ago for people who aren't interested enough to just get out and see for themselves? Just leave them to do whatever it is they want to do.

hughrbeyer
11-11-2011, 10:45 AM
Actually, I thought Graham's summary of the discussion was spot on, as they say across the pond. "They are trying to prove that the internal stuff or aiki that Takeda had is the same that O'Sensei had and used as Aikido." Yeah.

Claim 1: The core of what made O-Sensei's art effective came from Takeda Sokaku through O-Sensei's Daito-Ryu training and is apparent in Takeda himself as well as some of his other students. This is what Dan calls "aiki"--because that's what Takeda and O-Sensei himself called it.

Claim 2: Aiki skill was not passed on effectively and is largely absent from Aikido as it is taught today.

Claim 3: Aiki skill will transform your art into something much more effective and powerful, and Dan has a methodology and language for teaching it. Unlike studying Systema or MMA to inform your Aikido, studying aiki is studying O-Sensei's own art and the foundational skill of his AIkido.

You don't, obviously, have to believe any of this, but arguments have been made to support all these claims. What are your counter-arguments? Really, the only one can bring to mind from the last few years of discussion here on aikiweb is, "Tens of thousands of aikidoka can't be wrong" -- or its variant, "My teacher can't be wrong" -- neither of which are persuasive to me.

And you have to account for all the senior aikidoka who have been hunting Dan out, saying, "This is what I was looking for all along" and, "Now that I know this, I can see things that were there all along but that I couldn't understand before."

The rest of the argument is really about history and transmission, and is independent of the above. I buy the above, for example, but don't buy all the other claims that have been made. I think that though O-Sensei started as a Daito-Ryu man, he had clearly created a new art before the war; that this alteration of the art was the main factor in the split between him and Takeda; that the techniques and method of practice that were passed on through Hombu came from him, not his son, and that they are, if not the essence of Aikido, at least its shape; that he continued to evolve his art and imbue it with deeper spirituality after the war, but not to change it in essence.

In particular, I think the ukemi and cooperative practice that are characteristic of Modern Aikido are valuable training tools. But that's all they are--training tools. They aren't an end in themselves.

Marc Abrams
11-11-2011, 10:46 AM
don't you just hate these folks. they wasted thousands of hour posting and reading and researching and so on and won't just give us a straight answer. they expect us to go and read through all their posts, journals, books and think things through which would have wasting lots of our time when they could have just tell us directly. what do they think we are at? some kind of research/higher learning institution or something? all these guys are just theory and opinion and postulate without exposed themselves for hand on testing of such theory and opinion and so on. hmmm.... oh wait! Dan and you IS folks, stop expose yourself to all these aikido teachers and messing up our argument! you guys supposed to run some kind of scam, at least try to act like it. there, that show em! :D

and that Chris Li, who he thinks he is. even though, he has been practiced more years in aikido than us wearing underwear, and practiced with the like of Yamaguchi, and translated for the previous doshu as well as the current doshu, come on, what does he know about aikido or aiki? he should take example from Ikeda sensei and went to learn aiki stuffs from the like of Ushiro sensei, not some unknown, unranked, nobody like Dan or Sigman or ..... just not right, if you ask me. oh wait! you didn't ask me. nevermind! :)

Now, Now Phil!

Please remember the Golden Rule: Everybody's opinions are valuable ;) . How dare you suggest that well-informed, extensively researched "opinions" are more valuable than highly idiosyncratic and overly personalized ones! EGADS, that's it, off to the punishment center with you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjio-F47IfM

Marc Abrams

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 10:57 AM
hey, that would make you my sempai! since i know that you are very busy giving Dan massages and working on translating original stuffs from O Sensei in your spare time, you might not realize the sempai obligation to the aforementioned kohai, namely moi, that as a sempai, you are obligated to buy the said kohai food and drink. :D

*would you hurry up already on translating the stuffs and published it so we can buy and read? don't make me go out there and make you open a can of whoop-ass! *

Dude - get yourself out here and I'll do just that.

Spent a week playing with Dan - now I'm going to spend a month making it up to my wife. Maybe some translation after that :) .

Best,

Chris

Janet Rosen
11-11-2011, 11:24 AM
Well I'm the kohei of all of ya's and I'm heading down shortly to meet Dan for the first time.

My own perspective as an aiki-mutt is that there is a lot of aikido out there that doesn't do what it says it does. Now take that with as big a pile of salt as you like because I'm by no means a good martial artist; I was an older, slower beginner and I'm just older and slower now.

But I have to say that over the years I trained with many nidan, sandan and yondan in USAF and other Aikikai dojos, and being a small woman I am very very aware of when I'm being muscled. I'm sorry, dragging people around and then throwing them all at the same speed and adding tons power is not the aikido I'm interested in.

And I've also trained in many dojos where people thought they were doing really good aikido because they blended so nicely and their ukes were happy to go where they were supposed to and take pretty rolls. That's a fun workout but it's also not the aikido I'm interested in doing.

But getting around a lot I have also felt the real deal - people who connected with you, found your center, undermined it, and left you on the ground, not saying "powerful throw!" but "how the hell did I get here?!" - some within mainstream aikido organizations and some outside of the mainstream.

I lack the youth and talent to ever "excel" at aikido in the sense of being a leading practitioner or teacher or what-have-you, but I deeply love the art and so will happily train outside of aikido to develop the mind-body skills that enhance my practice within the dojo.

Allen Beebe
11-11-2011, 12:03 PM
Just read this quote this morning and enjoyed it:

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." ~ Herbert Spencer (1820 - 1903)

thisisnotreal
11-11-2011, 12:10 PM
They say history repeats itself... on aikiweb it does so almost weekly.

seems its part of the tanren.

gregstec
11-11-2011, 12:13 PM
They say history repeats itself... on aikiweb it does so almost weekly.

You guys should really just let people be. Though I have yet to work with Dan, I am in the same boat as "his people" when it comes to my feelings on these skills. They are the heart of everything aikido was supposed to be and they have been, by and large, completely missing within the art. If people are interested, let them find it themselves. It doesn't matter how great you tell people it is, if they don't want it, then it just doesn't matter. Even among the people who have felt it, believe in it and want it, only a few are actually going to really get anywhere with it. So why waste the time and energy recycling the same posts from five years ago for people who aren't interested enough to just get out and see for themselves? Just leave them to do whatever it is they want to do.

Hi Jason,

I am with you on all of this - people should be left alone to pursue what it is they want to pursue regardless of whether it is aligned to someone else's beliefs or not. This constant defense of a position against those unwilling to spend time and effort to take an objective look at something different is futile. If the attacker had the maturity and sense of true self confidence their ego exhibits, they would not be jumping in with an uneducated angry attack accusing others of the short comings they themselves possess. As one grows and matures, this all becomes very evident - unfortunately, the time it takes for this lesson to sink in is proportional to the size of the ego and quantity of deficiencies one has.

And just to keep this post on topic, I do not think the above was a problem with Ueshiba's Aiki :)

All the best

Greg

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 12:45 PM
This is the 2nd time Dan, pretending not to respond to me, has done so. It is also the 2nd time he has claimed that I am somehow contracting the teachings of my seniors. That is an insult. I am not contradicting my instructors or the Sempi who I have learned from. In particular I have trained with and had a number of conversations about these issues with Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, as well as with my direct teachers, and numerous senior instructors in ASU. I have also trained with senior students in USAF and various Shihans and their students at seminars. Despite Dan's attempts at insult I am not junior or new to Aikido and the martial arts in general. I will not discuss Katori beyond saying that I have also learned from high level practitioners in the art. I am junior in Katori and have taken an oath not to discuss the teachings in Katori. Everything I have posted I have learned directly from my instructors.

I have quoted O'Sensei and I have quoted Saotome Sensei, quotes that contradict what Dan and his followers seem to be claiming. There has been no response to these quotes. No response to the questions posed. No response to the arguments raised in response to the claims they seem to be making. For example, the wholly false claim that O'Sensei wasn't religious/spiritual. Also ignored is the counter evidence to the claim that O'Sensei was not involved in training his senior students after the war. If your ideas can't hold up to scrutiny why do you hint at them on an international forum? If they can hold up to scrutiny why not simply respond to the questions, Etc.?

This discussion and the others that they make turn out to be little more than advertisements for Dan's seminars. I'm sure keeping some mystery about what he is doing (the lack of clear description, video, Etc.) helps to bring people in. So my crime is having interrupted the commercial.

There are loads of problems in modern Aikido, in my opinion, that have to do with people engaging in heavy static practice lacking an understanding of the training system that O'Sensei developed and the general approach, whether practices softly or not, that thinks Nage DOES Aikido to Uke. This is not how Aikido works. So if Dan if violating the system that O'Sensei developed, which I assume his is given statements he has made over the years but can't be sure as he won't come clean about what IT is that he's' doing, then I have a problem with calling it Aikido. I say this out of respect for O'Sensei and for my instructors. What Dan does may be very good, but the system of training is part of Aikido. Blending and leading energy are parts of Aikido. If he is contradicting that, he's wrong. Pretty much anything is an improvement on the heavy static training that we find in most pre-war Aikido, so that's an easy bar to reach as far as helping people with their Aikido development.

Of course there is Aiki in Aikido. A better name for Ai Ki Do would have been Aiki Ki Do. I certainly never said that there is not. But beyond this I am not sure what Dan and company are trying to say. They can't express a clear thought. They evade. They insult. They say that I'm not open minded and yet won't describe what it is I am supposed to be more open minded about. But they don't explain what it is that they are doing that is supposedly superior to all Aikido since O'Sensei. When they make claims like that I must assume they also mean my teachers, and to that I object. They are wrong. My teachers have Aiki and they have Ai Ki Do.

There is a basic logical problem in the arguments that are being made. If what they are doing is new and improved, then it is not Aikido. If what they are doing is old, then Aikido was not a new art. They seem to make both of these contradictory claims at different times. Studying a different art can inform Aikido. I have not disputed that. What Dan does may be complimentary to Aikido. This is the 3rd time I've had to state this. What Dan is doing may be very good. This is the 3rd time I have had to state this. But if what he is doing requires abandoning the cooperative training process that O'Sensei developed, then it is not Aikido. If people abandon the training process that O'Sensei developed, according to what O'Sensei and Saotome Sensei have written and said, then they have moved over to a new art. That's fine. Just don't call it Aikido.

The name of this discussion thread is Ueshiba's Aiki. I think you want to discuss Dan's Aiki.

The most ardent, derogatory comments I have heard about Aikido are FROM it's teachers. I am continually told I have breathed a new hope into their art. Both for infusing stunning aiki back in and for showing how it can transform from MMA to waza.
I am not inclined to debate with Mr. McGraw when his seniors agree with me and recognize that I am working to support Aikido, and not harm it.
I think he has some notion that I am interested in debating. something with him.
Dan

Allen Beebe
11-11-2011, 12:56 PM
Changing gears a bit, but still on the subject of Ueshiba's Aiki, I enjoyed the video posted on this thread:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQd_kBse-c&feature=fvst

and noticed that the clip of O-sensei's last demo looks remarkably like Shioda sensei's demos in choice of content. Now, I think that says a lot in and of itself, but what I wanted to ask about was the attribution by some of certain elements of Shioda sensei's demo to the influence of Kodo Horikawa. I always wondered about this because I never saw much that I didn't recognize, content wise, from my own sensei in Shioda sensei's demos. So, my question is, are the "Kodo elements" demonstrated by Shioda present in Ueshiba's demo? If so, wouldn't that point to a different possible source of those elements in Shioda's demo?

Just trying to sort things out for myself. Shioda, Takuma, etc all are remarkably familiar to me for obvious reasons. When a "twist" is potentially thrown in the mix I like to try to sort it out for myself.

On another note (of Ueshiba's Aiki), relating to the video, Ueshiba obviously is demonstrating his way of Aiki in each demo (What else would he be demonstrating?), regardless of the venue i.e. jo -push, body push, weapons demo, or taijutsu waza. To my mind this is very good teaching practice, to demonstrate the same thing in different modalities thereby increasing the odds that the essence of the demo is more likely to be discerned from, rather than conflated with, the venue of demonstration. If such is the case, Aiki ought to present and recognizable in each demo. In fact, apart from it being the same person demonstrating each time, the common element within each demo ought to be Aiki. In other words, in order to discern what Aiki is, as demonstrated by Ueshiba sensei, find the common element in each demo, presumably Ueshiba and Aiki. (Of course Ueshiba said, "I am Aiki." So he will be present in each of his demos.)

kewms
11-11-2011, 01:07 PM
Despite Dan's attempts at insult I am not junior or new to Aikido and the martial arts in general.

I read your bio. You started aikido the same year I did. I'm no beginner, but I don't claim any particular mastery either. So I might suggest that you empty your cup.


I have quoted O'Sensei and I have quoted Saotome Sensei, quotes that contradict what Dan and his followers seem to be claiming. There has been no response to these quotes.

Are you fluent in Japanese? Have you read either author in the original Japanese? If not, I'm not sure how you can speak to the mistranslation issue.


There are loads of problems in modern Aikido, in my opinion, that have to do with people engaging in heavy static practice lacking an understanding of the training system that O'Sensei developed and the general approach, whether practices softly or not, that thinks Nage DOES Aikido to Uke. This is not how Aikido works. So if Dan if violating the system that O'Sensei developed, which I assume his is given statements he has made over the years but can't be sure as he won't come clean about what IT is that he's' doing, then I have a problem with calling it Aikido. I say this out of respect for O'Sensei and for my instructors. What Dan does may be very good, but the system of training is part of Aikido. Blending and leading energy are parts of Aikido. If he is contradicting that, he's wrong. Pretty much anything is an improvement on the heavy static training that we find in most pre-war Aikido, so that's an easy bar to reach as far as helping people with their Aikido development.


Dan is not teaching aikido. He does not claim to be teaching aikido. He is teaching a set of body skills that have the potential to enhance one's aikido. If you really had read his previous posts as carefully as you claim, you would know this.

As for the whole issue of "blending" and "leading energy"... That's a whole other topic in itself. For our purposes here, let's just say that there is great variation in the way those aspects are approached, and that it's impossible for *all* of the variations to be true to Ueshiba Sensei's original teaching. (Because they're contradictory.) While Dan is not teaching aikido, I see no conflict between the skills he is teaching and aikido as my teachers (who include Ikeda and Saotome Sensei) explain it. If you think there is, perhaps your understanding of those terms might be incomplete. Or perhaps you are reading something into Dan's posts that is not actually there in his in-person instruction.

Katherine

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 01:14 PM
Here is O'Sensei contradicting many of the claims made by Dan and company, in spoken Japanese that is not prone to translation problems:

http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews/interviews.html

How can you know better than O'Sensei what he was doing? Note that:

He calls Aikido a new and different art
Note his describing spiritual power. Note him saying budo is a spiritual practice.
Note his describing blending with the energy of the opponent
Note his stating that Aikido works by not engaging in the fight, that in Aikido you "never go against the attacker's power."
Note him describing the numerous arts he trained in
Note him stating that he DID NOT learn Aikido from Takeda, though he learned much from Takeda in general, and that he discovered Aikido around 1925 when he had his enlightenment moment
Note him describing his strength as Ki strength not physical strength. Note his description of the flow of Ki.

This has been irimi. Anyone who reads this interview honestly will see that the claims of Dan and company are refuted by O'Sensei himself. Debate over.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-11-2011, 01:20 PM
Here is O'Sensei contradicting many of the claims made by Dan and company, in spoken Japanese that is not prone to translation problems:

http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews/interviews.html


Wow, I can read Japanese.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 01:24 PM
I never claimed to be a master. I claimed to be able to read. I claimed to have eyes and ears. I claimed to listen to what O'Sensei and my other teachers taught. My cup is full of Saotome Sensei.

I don't need to be fluent in Japanese. Chris can provide examples of the translation problems that he says completely undermine the common translations. The examples he gave, I think four words, did not change the meaning of the passages in the way he claimed that they do. He's the one making a claim. He has to make the case, not I.

Dan has claimed to be teaching Aikido. He said that he was showing "true Aikido" in earlier posts. Moreover, he and his followers have claimed that Aikido is not an original art, so he's teaching the art that Aikido stole from.

I have no idea if what Dan is teaching contradicts Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei. All I can go by are these inarticulate posts. Again, what Dan does may be good. Again, it may be able to inform Aikido at times. To the extent that he is teaching a different way of training, a way that is not based on O'Sensei's system of cooperative training, then it is not Aikido. These are O'Sensei's words as reported by Saotome Sensei and which I quoted above.

Dan and others have repeatedly claimed that no modern Aikido reflects what O'Sensei did or wanted us to be doing. I know this claim is false because Saotome Sensei has personally told me that O'Sensei approved of his Aikido practice and teaching. I'll take my teachers word on that.

I read your bio. You started aikido the same year I did. I'm no beginner, but I don't claim any particular mastery either. So I might suggest that you empty your cup.

Are you fluent in Japanese? Have you read either author in the original Japanese? If not, I'm not sure how you can speak to the mistranslation issue.

Dan is not teaching aikido. He does not claim to be teaching aikido. He is teaching a set of body skills that have the potential to enhance one's aikido. If you really had read his previous posts as carefully as you claim, you would know this.

As for the whole issue of "blending" and "leading energy"... That's a whole other topic in itself. For our purposes here, let's just say that there is great variation in the way those aspects are approached, and that it's impossible for *all* of the variations to be true to Ueshiba Sensei's original teaching. (Because they're contradictory.) While Dan is not teaching aikido, I see no conflict between the skills he is teaching and aikido as my teachers (who include Ikeda and Saotome Sensei) explain it. If you think there is, perhaps your understanding of those terms might be incomplete. Or perhaps you are reading something into Dan's posts that is not actually there in his in-person instruction.

Katherine

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 01:27 PM
Wow, I can read Japanese.

This was translated by Pranin Sensei who was held up earlier as an authority for Mark and Dan's arguments. Which is it? Reliable translator or not?

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 01:32 PM
Also note the agreement between O'Sensei and Doshu, not some widely different notions of Aikido as has been claimed.

Here is O'Sensei contradicting many of the claims made by Dan and company, in spoken Japanese that is not prone to translation problems:

http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews/interviews.html

How can you know better than O'Sensei what he was doing? Note that:

He calls Aikido a new and different art
Note his describing spiritual power. Note him saying budo is a spiritual practice.
Note his describing blending with the energy of the opponent
Note his stating that Aikido works by not engaging in the fight, that in Aikido you "never go against the attacker's power."
Note him describing the numerous arts he trained in
Note him stating that he DID NOT learn Aikido from Takeda, though he learned much from Takeda in general, and that he discovered Aikido around 1925 when he had his enlightenment moment
Note him describing his strength as Ki strength not physical strength. Note his description of the flow of Ki.

This has been irimi. Anyone who reads this interview honestly will see that the claims of Dan and company are refuted by O'Sensei himself. Debate over.

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 01:39 PM
I don't need to be fluent in Japanese. Chris can provide examples of the translation problems that he says completely undermine the common translations. The examples he gave, I think four words, did not change the meaning of the passages in the way he claimed that they do. He's the one making a claim. He has to make the case, not I.

There are a whole lot more quotes - some of which have been posted, some not. They are not really (yet) for the use of the community in general, I just made them for myself and my friends. What they do show is a consistent link to a terminology that is common in Chinese internal martial arts - many of them being direct or indirect quotes from classic texts. I don't see that it undermines anything so much as showing how much was missed. If you read the thread on Kamae you'll see that quite a lot of material was intentionally omitted, and that the material in question is quite telling if you have the background to understand what's being talked about.

That the same material exists in Daito-ryu and other Japanese Koryu just goes to show the common threads that flow through the arts - Ellis did a much better job of explaining this in "Hidden in Plain Sight", which I recommend highly.

And you do need to be careful about "I don't need to be fluent in Japanese" if you're quoting translated texts as "debate over".

Dan has claimed to be teaching Aikido. He said that he was showing "true Aikido" in earlier posts. Moreover, he and his followers have claimed that Aikido is not an original art, so he's teaching the art that Aikido stole from.

Again, Dan does not claim to teach Aikido - but he does teach Aiki. As to Ueshiba's history in Daito-ryu, the dates and times are all a matter of record. Do the math and compare his study time in other arts with his time in Daito-ryu - the only are that he held legitimate teaching credentials in, and the only art that he ever issued licenses in (other than his own).

I know this claim is false because Saotome Sensei has personally told me that O'Sensei approved of his Aikido practice and teaching. I'll take my teachers word on that.

And yet, the students of Ueshiba couldn't grasp enough to get to his level (ask them, they'll say the same). The same could be said of Saotome's students. Whether what he personally is doing is valid is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not he can transmit it successfully.

Best,

Chris

MM
11-11-2011, 01:41 PM
Jun,
Can you split off the discussion started by Ken McGrew into its own thread? That way the original poster can get back to discussing the original post topic.

Thanks,
Mark

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 01:42 PM
This was translated by Pranin Sensei who was held up earlier as an authority for Mark and Dan's arguments. Which is it? Reliable translator or not?

That's not a yes or no question. With regards to the dates and the historical record, Stan's research is the gold standard. That doesn't mean, however, that he got everything correct in terms of translation, or even that the translated record (which is a small portion of the complete record), tells the entire story.

Best,

Chris

Allen Beebe
11-11-2011, 01:47 PM
Changing gears a bit, but still on the subject of Ueshiba's Aiki, I enjoyed the video posted on this thread:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQd_kBse-c&feature=fvst

and noticed that the clip of O-sensei's last demo looks remarkably like Shioda sensei's demos in choice of content. Now, I think that says a lot in and of itself, but what I wanted to ask about was the attribution by some of certain elements of Shioda sensei's demo to the influence of Kodo Horikawa. I always wondered about this because I never saw much that I didn't recognize, content wise, from my own sensei in Shioda sensei's demos. So, my question is, are the "Kodo elements" demonstrated by Shioda present in Ueshiba's demo? If so, wouldn't that point to a different possible source of those elements in Shioda's demo?

Just trying to sort things out for myself. Shioda, Takuma, etc all are remarkably familiar to me for obvious reasons. When a "twist" is potentially thrown in the mix I like to try to sort it out for myself.

On another note (of Ueshiba's Aiki), relating to the video, Ueshiba obviously is demonstrating his way of Aiki in each demo (What else would he be demonstrating?), regardless of the venue i.e. jo -push, body push, weapons demo, or taijutsu waza. To my mind this is very good teaching practice, to demonstrate the same thing in different modalities thereby increasing the odds that the essence of the demo is more likely to be discerned from, rather than conflated with, the venue of demonstration. If such is the case, Aiki ought to present and recognizable in each demo. In fact, apart from it being the same person demonstrating each time, the common element within each demo ought to be Aiki. In other words, in order to discern what Aiki is, as demonstrated by Ueshiba sensei, find the common element in each demo, presumably Ueshiba and Aiki. (Of course Ueshiba said, "I am Aiki." So he will be present in each of his demos.)

Shameless bump. I'm really curious about my first question!

:p

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 01:51 PM
What in the interview with O'Sensei and Doshu do you think is so wrong that it changes the meaning of what was being said? You can get the original from Pranin Sensei.

Pranin Sensei also mistakenly assumed that O'Sensei not teaching much meant that he wasn't involved in instruction at Hombu. This is false. He supervised Saotome Sensei almost every morning. He probably supervised others as well. Have you read Dobson Sensei's book? He was involved.

That's not a yes or no question. With regards to the dates and the historical record, Stan's research is the gold standard. That doesn't mean, however, that he got everything correct in terms of translation, or even that the translated record (which is a small portion of the complete record), tells the entire story.

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 01:53 PM
Really?

Jun, how is responding to the claims they are making about O'Sensei's Aiki, in a discussion about O'Sensei's Aiki, going off thread?

Cowards.

Jun,
Can you split off the discussion started by Ken McGrew into its own thread? That way the original poster can get back to discussing the original post topic.

Thanks,
Mark

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 01:56 PM
Shameless bump. I'm really curious about my first question!

:p

Allen, I don't understand your question. I'm not ignoring your question. I just couldn't fallow what you were asking.

I started in this discussion asking for clarification of what people were claiming. They said they couldn't be bothered and that I should read the earlier posts. I read them. They are not readable. So I said so. I was asked to pose specific questions. I did. They have not been answered. Then the insults started.

This is a discussion about O'Sensei's Aiki. O'Sensei had some things to say about his own Aiki as well as his Ki that seem to contradict the claims being made by Dan and Mark and Chris and others. Rather than responding to this evidence which completely undermines this argument they've asked the moderator to censor me.

This has been a commercial for Dan.

kewms
11-11-2011, 01:58 PM
I never claimed to be a master. I claimed to be able to read. I claimed to have eyes and ears. I claimed to listen to what O'Sensei and my other teachers taught. My cup is full of Saotome Sensei.

No matter how excellent the tea, you can't have more unless you make room.


Dan has claimed to be teaching Aikido. He said that he was showing "true Aikido" in earlier posts. Moreover, he and his followers have claimed that Aikido is not an original art, so he's teaching the art that Aikido stole from.

He is teaching the skills that support "true aikido." He is not teaching aikido. How can you possibly claim otherwise if you haven't been on the mat with him and admit to having no idea what he's teaching?


Dan and others have repeatedly claimed that no modern Aikido reflects what O'Sensei did or wanted us to be doing. I know this claim is false because Saotome Sensei has personally told me that O'Sensei approved of his Aikido practice and teaching. I'll take my teachers word on that.

But how many people in the ASU can do what Saotome Sensei can? *That's* the real issue here. That's what has led people -- including Saotome Sensei's direct students -- to look elsewhere. The realization that -- after decades of training -- they not only couldn't do what he can, but weren't on a path that would get them there in this lifetime.

Katherine

Eric Joyce
11-11-2011, 01:58 PM
Really?

Jun, how is responding to the claims they are making about O'Sensei's Aiki, in a discussion about O'Sensei's Aiki, going off thread?

Cowards.

Ken,

I can understand a little bit of your frustration but you need to chilax a bit. I hate to see anyone get all worked up.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-11-2011, 02:08 PM
This was translated by Pranin Sensei who was held up earlier as an authority for Mark and Dan's arguments. Which is it? Reliable translator or not?

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=295057&postcount=6

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 02:08 PM
Your use of language here "including Saotome Sensei's direct students - to look elsewhere" is clever. It implies that all, or most, or the most important direct students of O'Sensei have looked elsewhere. Actually only a minority have. By look elsewhere it may imply they've looked to Dan. This is also false. Most who have branched out into other arts have not gone to Dan. Moreover, most who have branched out make distinctions between the other arts they train and Aikido. By direct students you imply that I haven't had much contact with Saotome Sensei. This is not true. I've probably had more conversations with Sensei about these issues than most of his students. Not everyone is interested in the spiritual aspects of Take Muso Aiki, but I am, so I have asked Sensei about these things.

Saotome Sensei and O'Sensei as quoted by him have told us what the right path is. For example, Saotome Sensei can do a particularly difficult Irimi Nage that O'Sensei could do. It took him years to finally get it. He has shown us how to go about getting this technique.

As you are able to write, Katherine, why not use this energy to simply explain what it is that Dan is doing in a way that will be more understandable than the bombosity that has generally been provided instead of clear descriptions? It's not my fault that Dan and his followers have not explained what it is that they are doing. They make lots of claims but don't back them up. Why post at all then if not as an advertisement for seminars and future book sales?

No matter how excellent the tea, you can't have more unless you make room.

He is teaching the skills that support "true aikido." He is not teaching aikido. How can you possibly claim otherwise if you haven't been on the mat with him and admit to having no idea what he's teaching?

But how many people in the ASU can do what Saotome Sensei can? *That's* the real issue here. That's what has led people -- including Saotome Sensei's direct students -- to look elsewhere. The realization that -- after decades of training -- they not only couldn't do what he can, but weren't on a path that would get them there in this lifetime.

Katherine

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 02:13 PM
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=295057&postcount=6

I have had training in textual analysis and some training in linguistics. If you think translations are so wrong that they completely undermine the meaning of the statements that I have referred to, then it is up to you to make the case in the specific. The possibility that something might be mistranslated in a manner that undermines the implied argument is not proof that that it was in fact so mistranslated. I provided another link earlier where O'Sensei was speaking on tape. Chris and others can easily check the accuracy of that translation of spoken word. He made many of the same arguments in the first interview I posted and as in the second.

kewms
11-11-2011, 02:17 PM
Your use of language here "including Saotome Sensei's direct students - to look elsewhere" is clever. It implies that all, or most, or the most important direct students of O'Sensei have look elsewhere.

Line-editing a forum post isn't really productive. Why not just edit it to say "some of" Saotome's direct students and leave it at that? As for Ueshiba Sensei's direct students, I have no knowledge and have made no claims.


As you are able to write, Katherine, why not use this energy to simply explain what it is that Dan is doing in a way that will be more understandable than the bombosity that has generally been provided instead of clear descriptions?

Because I don't personally understand it well enough. As I said up-thread, it's a set of body skills, not a set of waza, and as such is not easy to describe or to see on video. It's pretty obvious when you put your hands on someone, though.

Katherine

mathewjgano
11-11-2011, 02:22 PM
Allen, I don't understand your question. I'm not ignoring your question. I just couldn't fallow what you were asking.
The post you replied to is pretty clear I think:
are the "Kodo elements" demonstrated by Shioda present in Ueshiba's demo? If so, wouldn't that point to a different possible source of those elements in Shioda's demo?

Rather than responding to this evidence which completely undermines this argument they've asked the moderator to censor me.

This has been a commercial for Dan.

Not censor; split the thread. You've called people cowards more than once.

Regarding the idea that "no" modern Aikido reflects O Sensei's Aikido, I get the impression that's not to be taken literally since at the very least many Aikidoka are doing the very things the "IS folks" are proposing to be more authentic. People have a funny habit of using hyperbole when chatting.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-11-2011, 02:27 PM
I have had training in textual analysis and some training in linguistics. If you think translations are so wrong that they completely undermine the meaning of the statements that I have referred to, then it is up to you to make the case in the specific. The possibility that something might be mistranslated in a manner that undermines the implied argument is not proof that that it was in fact so mistranslated.

What I think about the subject at hand is that everybody can be wrong.

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 02:51 PM
What in the interview with O'Sensei and Doshu do you think is so wrong that it changes the meaning of what was being said? You can get the original from Pranin Sensei.

Pranin Sensei also mistakenly assumed that O'Sensei not teaching much meant that he wasn't involved in instruction at Hombu. This is false. He supervised Saotome Sensei almost every morning. He probably supervised others as well. Have you read Dobson Sensei's book? He was involved.

Sure I have, I even knew Terry slightly. Anyway, there's no question in my mind that he was not that active in the management of day to day affairs - and that the student experience after the war was markedly different than before. Even Kisshomaru stated, when asked who the post-war uchi-deshi were,"There were no uchi-deshi after the war.".

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 03:02 PM
Sure I have, I even knew Terry slightly. Anyway, there's no question in my mind that he was not that active in the management of day to day affairs - and that the student experience after the war was markedly different than before. Even Kisshomaru stated, when asked who the post-war uchi-deshi were,"There were no uchi-deshi after the war.".

Best,

Chris

Who cares if O'Sensei "managed the daily affairs"? Your argument, and that of your clan, have been that post-war Aikido was not O'Sensei's Aikido and/or that there was no difference between O'Sensei's pre-war and post-war Aikido. O'Sensei did not manage daily affairs and he mostly popped in from time to time to teach a bit in the classes of other students. This is all true. But he also supervised the teachers and in this way continued to shape the Aikido at Hombu. This contradicts your claims.

Terry Dobson Sensei's book is testament to the fact that O'Sensei continued to guide students.

I note again that the most brazen claims, like O'Sensei allegedly not being religious, have not been defended.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 03:08 PM
Despite the effort to hide what Dan is doing from non-paying students and public scrutiny: http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=433547

I have found photos here:
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.225916957430618.59140.219248654764115&type=3

Here we find Dan commenting on the similarity between what he is teaching and what this instructor is teaching:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4838722756738846126

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10351

The photos show grounding and unbalancing exercises. This is not new. This is in Tai Chi and many other arts. Read Sugawara's books on the Japanese and Chinese arts.

This instructor is pushing the idea that Ukemi, the cooperative nature of training, is the problem. I take this as support for the idea that Dan agrees. This is where I think he's way wrong. Exercises are fine. But they need to be incorporated in waza. Aikido is not about fighting back. I can teach the 50 year old 4'8" student to cage fight. I can teach her to evade and blend.

The idea that the blending notion of Aikido can't work, or that people who train in cooperative training, can't use Aikido as this instructor claims, and Dan seems to endorse, is contradicted by all the people who have trained in a cooperative manner and then used their Aikido in dangerous situations. Maybe you all live in safe places. Aikido has been tested time and time again by people whom I know personally.

chillzATL
11-11-2011, 03:15 PM
Despite the effort to hide what Dan is doing from non-paying students and public scrutiny: http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=433547

I have found photos here:
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.225916957430618.59140.219248654764115&type=3

Here we find Dan commenting on the similarity between what he is teaching and what this instructor is teaching:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4838722756738846126

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10351

The photos show grounding and unbalancing exercises. This is not new. This is in Tai Chi and many other arts. Read Sugawara's books on the Japanese and Chinese arts.

This instructor is pushing the idea that Ukemi, the cooperative nature of training, is the problem. I take this as support for the idea that Dan agrees. This is where I think he's way wrong. Exercises are fine. But they need to be incorporated in waza. Aikido is not about fighting back. I can teach the 50 year old 4'8" student to cage fight. I can teach her to evade and blend.

The idea that the blending notion of Aikido can't work, or that people who train in cooperative training, can't use Aikido as this instructor claims, and Dan seems to endorse, is contradicted by all the people who have trained in a cooperative manner and then used their Aikido in dangerous situations. Maybe you all live in safe places. Aikido has been tested time and time again by people whom I know personally.

You like to stir things up....

At least you finally did what they (Dan's people) asked you to do and did some searching rather than sitting around complaining that they're not spoon feeding you what you want to know. So now you have your answers and can move on, right?

DH
11-11-2011, 03:27 PM
Mr McGrew
You came in making statements about me that are not correct, stating positions I "supposedly" hold, and misquoting me. People who have have trained with me, or at least accurately read what I say are correcting you. You are now calling it a commercial for me.

What would you like, for everyone to just shut up and let you rant?
I am away and occasionally checking in on my phone. If you want to discuss Ueshiba when I get home ...I might consider it, if you lighten up.

FWIW, you are the one offering the insults...cowards, I need to come clean...and such. I have trained with saotomes senior students, this is not a level of discourse I have ever seen.
I refused to revisit sixteen years of issues with you, after reading the quality of your replies, I think it was a wise choice.
Dan

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 03:29 PM
You like to stir things up....

At least you finally did what they (Dan's people) asked you to do and did some searching rather than sitting around complaining that they're not spoon feeding you what you want to know. So now you have your answers and can move on, right?

Sure, go back to the commercial. Aikido is just Aiki Ju Jitsu and everyone in Aikido sucks because they believed the things the O'Sensei said. Cooperative training is a joke and not what O'Sensei had in mind.

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 03:35 PM
Despite the effort to hide what Dan is doing from non-paying students and public scrutiny: http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=433547

I'm not sure what your point is, that's a public announcement of a workshop with Dan.


I have found photos here:
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.225916957430618.59140.219248654764115&type=3

Here we find Dan commenting on the similarity between what he is teaching and what this instructor is teaching:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4838722756738846126

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10351

The photos show grounding and unbalancing exercises. This is not new. This is in Tai Chi and many other arts. Read Sugawara's books on the Japanese and Chinese arts.

Well that's the whole point, right? Dan never said it was new - he said it was old. Ueshiba said it was new.

The basic martial training of Aiki is, I believe, the same in Ueshiba as it was in Daito-ryu, as it was in China, allowing for differences in external expression. Ueshiba did take that paradigm and extend it into a philosophical expression of his beliefs and ideals - that's the "new" part.


This instructor is pushing the idea that Ukemi, the cooperative nature of training, is the problem. I take this as support for the idea that Dan agrees. This is where I think he's way wrong. Exercises are fine. But they need to be incorporated in waza. Aikido is not about fighting back. I can teach the 50 year old 4'8" student to cage fight. I can teach her to evade and blend.

The idea that the blending notion of Aikido can't work, or that people who train in cooperative training, can't use Aikido as this instructor claims, and Dan seems to endorse, is contradicted by all the people who have trained in a cooperative manner and then used their Aikido in dangerous situations. Maybe you all live in safe places. Aikido has been tested time and time again by people whom I know personally.

You really ought to get with Dan - in a room full of senior Aikido folks, one of the things that he yells at us the most for is fighting back. He's softer than anyone I know. And even Dan uses cooperative training - up to a point.

Best,

Chris

chillzATL
11-11-2011, 03:40 PM
Sure, go back to the commercial. Aikido is just Aiki Ju Jitsu and everyone in Aikido sucks because they believed the things the O'Sensei said. Cooperative training is a joke and not what O'Sensei had in mind.

I think you're conveniently misrepresenting what has been said, many times, so that you can continue your passive aggressive post streak. More power to you I suppose.

Gary David
11-11-2011, 03:40 PM
Pranin Sensei also mistakenly assumed that O'Sensei not teaching much meant that he wasn't involved in instruction at Hombu. This is false. He supervised Saotome Sensei almost every morning. He probably supervised others as well. Have you read Dobson Sensei's book? He was involved.

Ken
Did you train with Terry Dobson at all? If you did it would have had to have been during a very small window of time after your starting Aikido in 1991 and Terry's passing in 1992. I spent some time around Terry here in California during the 1979 to 1984 window when he was out here. I arranged for Terry to be part of a weekend seminar in Southern California, spent a weekend with him and Saotome Sensei where they were the featured teachers here in the local mountains, and some other occasions in the Bay Area. I don't remember Terry's Aikido looking anything like what is called modern Aikido. He didn't talk that way and he didn't move that way. What I got from Terry when taking ukemi was an overpowering sense of mass and size, beyond what was his actual large presence. It just sort of enveloped you and squeezed you down onto the mat. Once he called me up to punch him and I could not get set to actually deliver the punch, I could not settle. Terry was just looking at me and waiting. All of a sudden things cleared, I set up and punched. What ever he was doing to me was not in the modern Aikido set of training and it is not something I ever felt from any of the other Japanese Shihan in this country as direct representatives of the Aikikai. What Terry was doing was something he likely got from O'Sensei though I have not seen any evidence that it was passed on to anyone else post WWII. Terry had some other interesting stories about O'Sensei, but they are not for me to try to understand and pass along. In those days Saotome Sensei was here on his own.

As for Dan, I have had him out here 2 times. Not once did he do any waza or even talk about Aikido waza. What we did were drills that could lead to enhanced skills that would support a greater range of body applications.....like going to V8 engine in your car from a 4, then adding turbo chargers, then enhance power steering, enchanted power brakes, enhanced sensing tools and GPS along with a lot more. All things that would help with your current practice, not replace it. So I am at a loss as to what your true purpose is here.

Just go straight
Gary

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 03:42 PM
Mr McGrew
You came in making statements about me that are not correct, stating positions I "supposedly" hold, and misquoting me. People who have have trained with me, or at least accurately read what I say are correcting you. You are now calling it a commercial for me.

What would you like, for everyone to just shut up and let you rant?

FWIW, you are the one offering the insults...cowards, I need to come clean...and such. I have trained with saotomes senior students, this is not a level of discourse I have ever seen.
I refused to revisit sixteen years of issues with you, after reading the quality of your replies, I think it was a wise choice.
Dan

Dan, you again claim not to be engaging with me, yet you do. I have not ranted, I have asked questions. I have quoted O'Sensei in doing so. You, Matt, and Chris, and others, have not responded to any of the counter-evidence that I have provided. If I have misrepresented anything you said, please clarify. I went to the trouble to read all your old posts in an honest attempt to follow the argument you are making. It's just not clear what you are claiming.

Again:

Are you against the cooperative training approach?
Do you claim that O'Sensei was against the cooperative training approach?
Do you claim that there is no difference between Ju Jitsu and Aikido?
Do you claim that O'Sensei was not religious?
Do you claim that no students of O'Sensei can do the Aikido that O'Sensei was showing them and wanted them to do? If some could do it please indicate which ones.
Do you claim that Aikido does not work by blending with energy?
Is internal balance breaking the only way to do Aikido or is is also ok to break balance externally using the momentum of Uke?
To the extent that any of these claims are claims that you make, how do you reconcile them with the quotes I have provided from O'Sensei that seem to contradict them?

You have not trained "Saotome Sensei's senior students." You have trained some of his senior students.

I have called this a commercial because your seminars are closed, you make bold claims, your followers make bold claims, and yet you don't systematically back them up. I don't know what it is you do. I suspect I have experienced it indirectly from people who have trained with you. What I have experienced has some value. It's the rejection of cooperative training that I take issue with. If this is a discussion of O'Sensei's Aiki, shouldn't we consider what he said about the source of his Aiki? You have, I think, argued that people need to look at what O'Sensei really believed regarding a number of issues including religion. When I point out quotes that contradict your position you resort to posts like the one I'm not responding to.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 03:48 PM
O'Sensei said that Aikido was different than Daito-ryu. This is not a matter of mistranslation. If you and others are right, you need to convince us that we should decide that O'Sensei was deluding himself, or lying, or need to make a better case that all the translations are wrong. I can't accept what you are saying on face value given what I have read and what I have been taught. I'm not denying that there was and is Aiki in other arts. I'm not saying that Aikido is the only thing worth training. I'm saying that part of what makes Aikido what it is is the cooperative training approach, the system, as O'Sensei described it to Saotome Sensei. Though I don't share O'Sensei's spiritual beliefs, they also were central to how he believed his Aikido worked. It should not be dismissed. I'm not sure what your point is, that's a public announcement of a workshop with Dan.

Well that's the whole point, right? Dan never said it was new - he said it was old. Ueshiba said it was new.

The basic martial training of Aiki is, I believe, the same in Ueshiba as it was in Daito-ryu, as it was in China, allowing for differences in external expression. Ueshiba did take that paradigm and extend it into a philosophical expression of his beliefs and ideals - that's the "new" part.

You really ought to get with Dan - in a room full of senior Aikido folks, one of the things that he yells at us the most for is fighting back. He's softer than anyone I know. And even Dan uses cooperative training - up to a point.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 04:09 PM
O'Sensei said that Aikido was different than Daito-ryu. This is not a matter of mistranslation. If you and others are right, you need to convince us that we should decide that O'Sensei was deluding himself, or lying, or need to make a better case that all the translations are wrong. I can't accept what you are saying on face value given what I have read and what I have been taught. I'm not denying that there was and is Aiki in other arts. I'm not saying that Aikido is the only thing worth training. I'm saying that part of what makes Aikido what it is is the cooperative training approach, the system, as O'Sensei described it to Saotome Sensei. Though I don't share O'Sensei's spiritual beliefs, they also were central to how he believed his Aikido worked. It should not be dismissed.

He also said that he and other people were possessed by the Kami. If everything that he said is gospel, well...

I've no particular need to convince you, or anybody else - but I would recommend that you check it out, I think that you would find it interesting.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 04:13 PM
I have called this a commercial because your seminars are closed, you make bold claims, your followers make bold claims, and yet you don't systematically back them up. I don't know what it is you do.

If you don't know what it is that he does, than how can you pronounce the case closed?

As for closed seminars - nobody that I know of who's applied out here has ever been turned down, and the evening session were wide open. It's not even as strict as - training with Ueshiba was. I don't get your point.

And for the record, I'm not a follower - I don't think Dan even takes followers. But we are friends.

Best,

Chris

kewms
11-11-2011, 04:14 PM
This instructor is pushing the idea that Ukemi, the cooperative nature of training, is the problem. I take this as support for the idea that Dan agrees. This is where I think he's way wrong. Exercises are fine. But they need to be incorporated in waza. Aikido is not about fighting back. I can teach the 50 year old 4'8" student to cage fight. I can teach her to evade and blend.

I have heard, from the same teacher (possibly during the same class), both the observation that resistive training is idiotic, and the idea that cooperative training has been disastrous for aikido. Both statements can be true. Context is everything.

On one hand, you have the overly resistive paradigm, in which uke clamps down and refuses to budge, even when it's in his best interest to do so. On the other, you have the overly cooperative paradigm, in which uke surrenders his own balance and leaps in the air at the slightest finger flick in his direction. Neither is particularly conducive to the development of good aikido. (Nor, paradoxically, does either have much to do with "fighting back.")

But since Dan is hardly the first person to make such an observation, doesn't teach aikido, and in fact encourages a cooperative paradigm in his own classes, I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. Unless your primary complaint is really about his tendency to comment on the state of the emperor's clothes. Or his failure to use language that fits the "aikido=peace, love and understanding" world view.

Katherine

Dave de Vos
11-11-2011, 04:15 PM
O'Sensei said that Aikido was different than Daito-ryu. This is not a matter of mistranslation. If you and others are right, you need to convince us that we should decide that O'Sensei was deluding himself, or lying, or need to make a better case that all the translations are wrong. I can't accept what you are saying on face value given what I have read and what I have been taught. I'm not denying that there was and is Aiki in other arts. I'm not saying that Aikido is the only thing worth training. I'm saying that part of what makes Aikido what it is is the cooperative training approach, the system, as O'Sensei described it to Saotome Sensei. Though I don't share O'Sensei's spiritual beliefs, they also were central to how he believed his Aikido worked. It should not be dismissed.

I'm no expert in the history of Aikido or the history of Dan's statements on aikiweb, but I'd say we have been doing lots of cooperative training in Dan's seminars. I never got the impression that Dan dismisses cooperative training. Why do you think he does?

mathewjgano
11-11-2011, 04:25 PM
You, Matt, and Chris, and others, have not responded to any of the counter-evidence that I have provided.
I was commenting on your tone of posts and the specific notion that there is "no" aiki in Aikido, which I don't think is meant to be taken literally. I've had a problem with remarks like that in the past, but I think I understand what people mean by them now. Personal conventions of language aren't always readily compatible and often distract from the topic.

Are you against the cooperative training approach?
Do you claim that O'Sensei was against the cooperative training approach?



I am not speaking for anyone; just offering my ill-informed take, but I think it's more correct to say the supposed "problem" isn't cooperation, but rather over-cooperation. I only got to experience Dan's methods at a glance (in the "intro" part of the course), but we used cooperative practice to work on connection issues.
In the past I got the impression the Aikido exercises were supposed to be false and that "Dan's crew" used different exercises. Now I see many of the exercises are the same, but done with different emphasis/understanding. My experience suggests that what might set him apart from other people is the amount of personal instruction he employs. According to some very very highly experienced people, Dan has a very deep understanding (relative to most people, at the least) of "IT" and its role in developing aiki, so his insistance on more personalized instruction probably makes a big difference when compared to some other seminars.

With regard to O Sensei not being religious, I think there is a quote of him saying he is a budo man, not a religious man, but I can't find it. I think his pronounced spirituality fits the bill for what many people mean by "religious." So here I think the problem comes from different shades of meaning.
My two bits.
Take care,
Matt

gregstec
11-11-2011, 04:27 PM
Sure, go back to the commercial. Aikido is just Aiki Ju Jitsu and everyone in Aikido sucks because they believed the things the O'Sensei said. Cooperative training is a joke and not what O'Sensei had in mind.

Here are some simple facts for consideration:

1. There is a difference between Aiki and Aikido - Dan does not teach Aikido, but his does teach ways to develop Aiki.

2. There is a difference between external blending with energy and internal blending with energy - Dan does not teach external blending.

3. There is a difference between Ueshiba's teachings before and after the war - Dan's training is more aligned to his before war stuff.

4. As far as translations go, Dan and Chris have access to some original materiel that when viewed within the proper context is very revealing as to what was truly meant - and as Chis stated, it is not necessary what was mistranslated, but more of what was left out of a translation because the translator could not comprehend the applied context.

Bottom line here is that you are a mid level instructor in an American Aikido organization and you have been following the doctrine of your organization religiously. Then along come some folks indicating there may be more to your art that has been lost over the years - you take that as an insult and come swinging in here with your own insults calling us cowards and accusing us of commercialism. Some folks try to explain to you that is not true and recommenced you go back and do some more research on the topic, etc. You do some modicum of research and come back here with the same accusations and insults - if you truly had any clue as to the nature of the people you are accusing here, you would clearly see has laughable your assertions are, as I am sure those that do know us are doing reading your posts - if any commercialism is going on here it is from your position since you need to maintain your student base and you probably can't do that unless you attack any perceived challenges to the basis of your Aikido system. For the record, there is no Dan organization, there are no Dan membership fees, this is no rank, and absolutely NO ONE is making any money from any training activities with Dan - period!

So you don't agree with what Dan and some of the rest of us say - well, OK - move on and do your own thing - we really don't care - your loss not ours.

FWIW

Greg

Demetrio Cereijo
11-11-2011, 04:41 PM
I can teach the 50 year old 4'8" student to cage fight. I can teach her to evade and blend.
I doubt it.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 05:03 PM
I'm no expert in the history of Aikido or the history of Dan's statements on aikiweb, but I'd say we have been doing lots of cooperative training in Dan's seminars. I never got the impression that Dan dismisses cooperative training. Why do you think he does?

He said he approved of what the MMA teacher I posted the video of was saying. The teacher was saying that the cooperative training in Aikido is BS. Therefore, it appears, that Dan was endorsing those views.

I am also responding to various posts that Dan has made over the years. If you go through them you find examples of him, and Mark and others who follow his teachings, strongly suggesting that they are opposed to the cooperative nature of Aikido training. There's a post where he says it's not about blending. There are numerous posts where his says it is not about the relationship between Uke and Nage (i.e. blending) but about what he calls body conditioning and power (both terms that he and others refuse to define). I suppose I could dig up all these quotes and then put them in a post if it would be helpful.

It would be so much easier if these folks would just explain themselves, what they are doing, what they believe, and why, instead of saying we have to go to a seminar to find out for ourselves.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 05:06 PM
I'm no expert in the history of Aikido or the history of Dan's statements on aikiweb, but I'd say we have been doing lots of cooperative training in Dan's seminars. I never got the impression that Dan dismisses cooperative training. Why do you think he does?

He said he approved of what the MMA teacher I posted the video of was saying. The teacher was saying that the cooperative training in Aikido is BS. Therefore, it appears, that Dan was endorsing those views.

I am also responding to various posts that Dan has made over the years. If you go through them you find examples of him, and Mark and others who follow his teachings, strongly suggesting that they are opposed to the cooperative nature of Aikido training. There's a post when he says why would Uke ever chose to fall down (i.e. take ukemi) in response to a strike (i.e. kokyu tanden ho). At that time Mark actually disagreed with him. There's a post where he says it's not about blending. There are numerous posts where his says it is not about the relationship between Uke and Nage (i.e. blending) but about what he calls body conditioning and power (both terms that he and others refuse to define). I suppose I could dig up all these quotes and then put them in a post if it would be helpful.

It would be so much easier if these folks would just explain themselves, what they are doing, what they believe, and why, instead of saying we have to go to a seminar to find out for ourselves.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 05:12 PM
Mathew, point to a post when I deny the existence of Aiki in Aikido. I am defending O'Sensei's belief that it was Ai Ki Do. Dan has agued that it was only Aiki. It's ok if he believes that. It's just not ok, as he has done based on Chris's new translations, to claim that O'Sensei also argue that it was only Aiki. That's just disrespecting O'Sensei. I don't believe everything he believed. But I try to understand what he believed and how it informed his practice.

I have provided two interviews in this discussion where O'Sensei describes his religious beliefs. I have pointed to religious symbols in most dojos that we have as tradition from O'Sensei. This shows he was religious. If people are going to claim the translations are completely wrong then they need to back that up with new translations. The comment you are referring to about budo being beyond religion seems to indicate that he was beyond denominational thinking. That is he trained the true religion.

I was commenting on your tone of posts and the specific notion that there is "no" aiki in Aikido, which I don't think is meant to be taken literally. I've had a problem with remarks like that in the past, but I think I understand what people mean by them now. Personal conventions of language aren't always readily compatible and often distract from the topic.

I am not speaking for anyone; just offering my ill-informed take, but I think it's more correct to say the supposed "problem" isn't cooperation, but rather over-cooperation. I only got to experience Dan's methods at a glance (in the "intro" part of the course), but we used cooperative practice to work on connection issues.
In the past I got the impression the Aikido exercises were supposed to be false and that "Dan's crew" used different exercises. Now I see many of the exercises are the same, but done with different emphasis/understanding. My experience suggests that what might set him apart from other people is the amount of personal instruction he employs. According to some very very highly experienced people, Dan has a very deep understanding (relative to most people, at the least) of "IT" and its role in developing aiki, so his insistance on more personalized instruction probably makes a big difference when compared to some other seminars.

With regard to O Sensei not being religious, I think there is a quote of him saying he is a budo man, not a religious man, but I can't find it. I think his pronounced spirituality fits the bill for what many people mean by "religious." So here I think the problem comes from different shades of meaning.
My two bits.
Take care,
Matt

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 05:13 PM
He also said that he and other people were possessed by the Kami. If everything that he said is gospel, well...

I've no particular need to convince you, or anybody else - but I would recommend that you check it out, I think that you would find it interesting.

Best,

Chris

So, Chris, you are admitting that O'Sensei was religious? Possession by Kami is religious. It's so hard to follow what you people believe. It seems to keep changing.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 05:14 PM
I doubt it.

This was supposed to say can't teach her to cage fight. Typo. But thanks for the insults. It appears to be rather petty.

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 05:19 PM
He said he approved of what the MMA teacher I posted the video of was saying. The teacher was saying that the cooperative training in Aikido is BS. Therefore, it appears, that Dan was endorsing those views.

I am also responding to various posts that Dan has made over the years. If you go through them you find examples of him, and Mark and others who follow his teachings, strongly suggesting that they are opposed to the cooperative nature of Aikido training. There's a post where he says it's not about blending. There are numerous posts where his says it is not about the relationship between Uke and Nage (i.e. blending) but about what he calls body conditioning and power (both terms that he and others refuse to define). I suppose I could dig up all these quotes and then put them in a post if it would be helpful.

It would be so much easier if these folks would just explain themselves, what they are doing, what they believe, and why, instead of saying we have to go to a seminar to find out for ourselves.

Sure, cooperative training in Aikido. Mainly, because most of the time the pedagogy isn't clear and people end up over-cooperating to no purpose.

Dan has made some pretty extensive posts about what he's doing - but lot of what he says won't make that much sense without some hands on.

Instead of dismissing everything and demanding that we prove it, how about asking just one specific question at a time, if you really want to begin a discussion.

Best,

Chris

kewms
11-11-2011, 05:24 PM
There's a post where he says it's not about blending. There are numerous posts where his says it is not about the relationship between Uke and Nage (i.e. blending) but about what he calls body conditioning and power (both terms that he and others refuse to define). I suppose I could dig up all these quotes and then put them in a post if it would be helpful.

It would be very helpful if you would at least provide an antecedent for "it." Do you mean aiki, or aikido? Or something else?

Remember that, in Dan's view, aiki is an independent concept, and can be developed totally outside of the aikido context. Whether you agree with him or not, that's the way *he* thinks. So if you're going to critique his statements, it's only fair that you be very clear about what he actually said.

Katherine

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 05:25 PM
So, Chris, you are admitting that O'Sensei was religious? Possession by Kami is religious. It's so hard to follow what you people believe. It seems to keep changing.

I've never said that he wasn't religious, and neither has Dan, to my knowledge. Dan has expressed some skepticism towards the argument that his martial power stemmed from his religious practices - but that's pretty much the extent of it.

My point wasn't that I must believe in possession - but that you must, if any statement by Ueshiba is to be taken as an absolute truth.

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 05:26 PM
This is very confusing. Dan and Matt and others have argued the opposite of what you are arguing:

1) they've argued that there is no difference between Aiki and Aikido. Thus Dan calls it Aiki Do. Thus they claim that Aikido is just another name for the Aiki taken from Takeda.

3) These folks have argue that there is no difference between O'Sensei's teaching before the war and after the war. Notice the comments earlier by Chris about Saito Sensei and the book Budo.

It is very unusual to ban photos and videos from seminars. Without these all we can go by are the words that Dan and others have written. If we weren't supposed to debate their ideas why did they post them in a discussion forum? I have tried very hard to follow the arguments they are making. I'm good at doing that, by the way, I teach people how to do this at the highest levels. My initial posts asking for clarification were met with indignation and demands that I read all the old posts. I did. They are confusing and hard to read. I said so. I was asked to post specific question (it wasn't my idea) and I did so. The questions were not answered. They were reasonable questions. Then the insults started.

Now you claim I'm following the doctrine of my organization blindly. Others have argue that I fail to understand the teachings of Saotome Sensei. How can both be true? For the record, I don't follow anything blindly. That's why I'm asking such hard questions here. For Dan to be right, O'Sensei had to be senile, or else he had to be mistranslated AND his direct students had to be lying about what he taught them, Etc. That'a a hard pill to swallow without something more than what has been presented as evidence.

Here are some simple facts for consideration:

1. There is a difference between Aiki and Aikido - Dan does not teach Aikido, but his does teach ways to develop Aiki.

2. There is a difference between external blending with energy and internal blending with energy - Dan does not teach external blending.

3. There is a difference between Ueshiba's teachings before and after the war - Dan's training is more aligned to his before war stuff.

4. As far as translations go, Dan and Chris have access to some original materiel that when viewed within the proper context is very revealing as to what was truly meant - and as Chis stated, it is not necessary what was mistranslated, but more of what was left out of a translation because the translator could not comprehend the applied context.

Bottom line here is that you are a mid level instructor in an American Aikido organization and you have been following the doctrine of your organization religiously. Then along come some folks indicating there may be more to your art that has been lost over the years - you take that as an insult and come swinging in here with your own insults calling us cowards and accusing us of commercialism. Some folks try to explain to you that is not true and recommenced you go back and do some more research on the topic, etc. You do some modicum of research and come back here with the same accusations and insults - if you truly had any clue as to the nature of the people you are accusing here, you would clearly see has laughable your assertions are, as I am sure those that do know us are doing reading your posts - if any commercialism is going on here it is from your position since you need to maintain your student base and you probably can't do that unless you attack any perceived challenges to the basis of your Aikido system. For the record, there is no Dan organization, there are no Dan membership fees, this is no rank, and absolutely NO ONE is making any money from any training activities with Dan - period!

So you don't agree with what Dan and some of the rest of us say - well, OK - move on and do your own thing - we really don't care - your loss not ours.

FWIW

Greg

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 05:29 PM
I've never said that he wasn't religious, and neither has Dan, to my knowledge. Dan has expressed some skepticism towards the argument that his martial power stemmed from his religious practices - but that's pretty much the extent of it.

My point wasn't that I must believe in possession - but that you must, if any statement by Ueshiba is to be taken as an absolute truth.

Best,

Chris

Hello? Give me a few minutes. I'll dig up the quotes.

akiy
11-11-2011, 05:41 PM
Hi folks,

Please watch the tone of your posts to make sure that we're still engaging in a civil and respectful manner.

Also, rather than discussing the person behind the topic, please make sure to keep your discussion on the topic itself.

Thank you,

-- Jun

chillzATL
11-11-2011, 05:49 PM
Dan, you again claim not to be engaging with me, yet you do. I have not ranted, I have asked questions. I have quoted O'Sensei in doing so. You, Matt, and Chris, and others, have not responded to any of the counter-evidence that I have provided. If I have misrepresented anything you said, please clarify. I went to the trouble to read all your old posts in an honest attempt to follow the argument you are making. It's just not clear what you are claiming.


Anyone can answer these for you.

Are you against the cooperative training approach? Cooperative training, no. Training where, for instance, someone does a shomenuchi and you make the movements of a technique and they fall, yes, definitely.

Do you claim that O'Sensei was against the cooperative training approach? see above.

Do you claim that there is no difference between Ju Jitsu and Aikido? Daito Ryu Aiki-jujitsu, not really no.

Do you claim that O'Sensei was not religious? no

Do you claim that no students of O'Sensei can do the Aikido that O'Sensei was showing them and wanted them to do? If some could do it please indicate which ones. - how many of them can do what he could do? Only a handful of his students seem to have been particularly respected for their skills.

Do you claim that Aikido does not work by blending with energy? - blending with energy inside yourself, sure. The twirly external stuff, only to a certain degree and I would consider it low probability and this from someone who has used it in real fights.

Is internal balance breaking the only way to do Aikido or is is also ok to break balance externally using the momentum of Uke? - The only way to do Ueshiba's aikido.

To the extent that any of these claims are claims that you make, how do you reconcile them with the quotes I have provided from O'Sensei that seem to contradict them? - This type of training has done nothing but open my eyes to the things he said. I've seen no contradictions.

tiachica
11-11-2011, 05:59 PM
Maybe some of you guys should watch the following :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQd_kBse-c&feature=fvst

Pay careful attention to around 2:00 to 2:40 (you may have to watch this a few times)...then think about what you know..or don't...

This is not to insult current teachers but to give Ueshiba the correct level of respect.

Nice video... what was the instruction by O'Sensei to the Ukes? Do we know? Was it "Push with all your strength?" or was it "Keep hold of the Jo under all circumstances!" The latter of which sounds more plausible to me and might explain the twitching movements of the Ukes.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 06:19 PM
I am going to respond within the quoted text in bold:

Anyone can answer these for you.

Are you against the cooperative training approach? Cooperative training, no. Training where, for instance, someone does a shomenuchi and you make the movements of a technique and they fall, yes, definitely.

HERE WORD FAIL US. I AGREE THAT UKE CAN BE TOO COOPERATIVE. I SUSPECT THAT WHAT YOU MEAN IS THAT UKE SHOULD NOT FALL UNLESS THROWN BY NAGE. HERE I DISAGREE. I DO SO BECAUSE OF WHAT O'SENSEI SAID. HOW DO YOU RECONSILE THIS WHITH THE QUOTES I PROVIDED AND THE INTERVIEWS I PROVIDED IN WHICH O'SENSEI ADVOCATED FOR HEALTHFUL COOPERATIVE TRAINING AND ARGUE THAT THIS WAS PART OF HIS SYSTEM? THAT IS, IN YOUR ATTEMPTS TO MAKE THE TRAINING MORE "REALISTIC" AND COMPETITIVE, YOU UNDERMINE THE TRAINING PROCESS THAT O'SENSEI DESCRIBED.

Do you claim that O'Sensei was against the cooperative training approach? see above.

NOT AN ANSWER. THAT YOU DON'T LIKE IT DOES NOT INDICATE THAT O'SENSEI DID NOT WANT IT.

Do you claim that there is no difference between Ju Jitsu and Aikido? Daito Ryu Aiki-jujitsu, not really no.

O'SENSEI SAID THERE WAS A DIFFERENCE. SOME PEOPLE SUPPORTING DAN HAVE SAID THERE WAS A DIFFERENCE. SO I'M NOT SURE IF YOUR VIEW WOULD BE SHARED BY DAN. PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW HIM HAVE DIFFERENT TAKES ON THIS, IT SEEMS. BUT HOW DO YOU RECONSILE YOUR VIEW WITH WHAT O'SENSEI HIMSELF SAID ABOUT AIKIDO BEING A NEW ART?

Do you claim that O'Sensei was not religious? no

DAN AND OTHERS HAVE CLAIMED THAT THERE WAS NOT A RELIGIOUS BASIS IN O'SENSEI'S AIKIDO. THEY MAY BE RIGHT OBJECTIVELY. IT'S HARD TO PROVE OR DISPROVE RELIGIOUS IDEAS. BUT O'SENSEI ABSOLUTELY ATTRIBUTED RELIGIOUS BELIEFS TO HIS AIKIDO. TAKE MUSO AIKI HAS RELIGIOUS AND PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, AS FAR AS O'SENSEI WAS CONCERNED. I'VE ALREADY PROVIDED AMBLE EVIDENCE FOR THIS. WHY DO THEY IGNORE THE EVIDENCE I'VE PRESENTED?

Do you claim that no students of O'Sensei can do the Aikido that O'Sensei was showing them and wanted them to do? If some could do it please indicate which ones. - how many of them can do what he could do? Only a handful of his students seem to have been particularly respected for their skills.

THIS IS NOT AN ANSWER.

Do you claim that Aikido does not work by blending with energy? - blending with energy inside yourself, sure. The twirly external stuff, only to a certain degree and I would consider it low probability and this from someone who has used it in real fights.

DAN HAS ARGUED, IT SEEMS, THAT ALL EXTERNAL BLENDING IS FAKE. I SEE EXTERNAL BLENDING AT TIMES WITH O'SENSEI AND I'VE BEEN TAUGHT EXTERNAL BLENDING. I'M NOT AGAINST INTERNAL UNBALANCING WORK. BUT IT SEEMS THAT BOTH ARE REVEALED IN O'SENSEI. HOW IS NO TOUCH THROWING, FOR EXAMPLE, AN EXAMPLE OF INTERNAL BALANCE BREAKING?

Is internal balance breaking the only way to do Aikido or is is also ok to break balance externally using the momentum of Uke? - The only way to do Ueshiba's aikido.

HERE AGAIN THERE IS A CLAIM BACKED UP WITH NOTHING. IT CONTRADICTS WHAT O'SENSIE SAID AND DID. IT CONTRADICTS WHAT SAOTOME WROTE ETC. FOR EXAMPLE, WHERE IS THE INTERNAL UNBALANCING IN AIKI THROW WHERE O'SENSEI DROPS TO BOTH KNEES AND UKES ATTACK MAKES HIM FALL OVER O'SENSEI'S BACK?

To the extent that any of these claims are claims that you make, how do you reconcile them with the quotes I have provided from O'Sensei that seem to contradict them? - This type of training has done nothing but open my eyes to the things he said. I've seen no contradictions.

THIS IS NOT AN ANSWER.

DAN HAS ARGUE THAT O'SENSEI'S AIKIDO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN UKE AND NAGE BUT RATHER AN ONLY THE BODY CONDITIONING THAT HE DESCRIBES. HE CLAIMS THAT THE NEW TRANSLATIONS BY CHRIS PROVE THAT HE WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG. O'SENSEI DISCUSSED THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN UKE AND NAGE REPEATEDLY. THUS THE "ABSOLUTE NON-RESISTANCE" QUOTE. I ASK AGAIN, HOW DO YOU RECONSILE WITH WHAT O'SENSEI SAID? IF YOU CLAIM THAT THE TRANSLATIONS WERE ALL WRONG PROVE IT. BUT DOES THAT MEAN THAT HIS DIRECT STUDENTS WERE LYING TOO?

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 06:26 PM
Lee Price wrote:

Maybe some of you guys should watch the following :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQd_kBse-c&feature=fvst

Pay careful attention to around 2:00 to 2:40 (you may have to watch this a few times)...then think about what you know..or don't...

This is not to insult current teachers but to give Ueshiba the correct level of respect.
Nice video... what was the instruction by O'Sensei to the Ukes? Do we know? Was it "Push with all your strength?" or was it "Keep hold of the Jo under all circumstances!" The latter of which sounds more plausible to me and might explain the twitching movements of the Ukes."

This is a demonstration of grounding ability. The ability to ground feeds into waza. But Aikido still requires leading, blending, and non-resistance. Grounding exercises are just exercises. They don't translate or substitute for waza training, Take Muso Aiki training, Etc. We don't have to be as good at grounding as O'Sensei to be able to do Aikido. Can Dan break a bundle of arrows under his arm? This did happen. Saotome Sensei saw it. Moreover, you don't get to be as good as O'Sensei at this stuff by working exclusively on these grounding exercises. He argue that his system of cooperative training would bring you to the "secret of Aikido."

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 06:45 PM
I am going to respond within the quoted text in bold:

THIS IS NOT AN ANSWER.

DAN HAS ARGUE THAT O'SENSEI'S AIKIDO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN UKE AND NAGE BUT RATHER AN ONLY THE BODY CONDITIONING THAT HE DESCRIBES. HE CLAIMS THAT THE NEW TRANSLATIONS BY CHRIS PROVE THAT HE WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG. O'SENSEI DISCUSSED THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN UKE AND NAGE REPEATEDLY. THUS THE "ABSOLUTE NON-RESISTANCE" QUOTE. I ASK AGAIN, HOW DO YOU RECONSILE WITH WHAT O'SENSEI SAID? IF YOU CLAIM THAT THE TRANSLATIONS WERE ALL WRONG PROVE IT. BUT DOES THAT MEAN THAT HIS DIRECT STUDENTS WERE LYING TOO?

I think that you're taking his comments at much too much of an extreme. Of course, there is a relationship between uke and nage. But that relationship is secondary (in terms of Aiki) to what you're doing inside of yourself. If you try to play off what your partner is doing as your primary approach things just happen too fast, you can't keep up with the changes.

Neither I nor any one else said that all the translations were wrong - but the posting in the Kamae thread clearly illustrates that some of the translations are wrong in certain points and incomplete in others. Also, the context in which you are reading Ueshiba is extremely important - Ueshiba is very hard to read, even in Japanese by native speakers. Most native speakers that I've talked to don't even try for that reason.

Don't get me wrong - some things were clearly lied about (see http://www.koryu.com/library/mskoss3.html for an example) - but most of the time I think that people believed what they were saying. Why wouldn't they? Ueshiba tells Saotome "I studied many martial arts", Saotome tells you - is Saotome lying?

Ueshiba said that he studied many martial arts, which is true, but leaves out the fact that in all but one case that study was of extremely short duration compared to his 20+ years in Daito-ryu. Is that a lie or not?

If you actually practice much Daito-ryu you'll see the connections clearly enough. Sure, there are differences, but there are differences between instructors at hombu as well, or between Saotome and Yamada and Chiba. The differences are really not much larger, and don't effect the basic martial principles.

Best,

Chris

gregstec
11-11-2011, 06:48 PM
This is very confusing. Dan and Matt and others have argued the opposite of what you are arguing:

1) they've argued that there is no difference between Aiki and Aikido. Thus Dan calls it Aiki Do. Thus they claim that Aikido is just another name for the Aiki taken from Takeda.

3) These folks have argue that there is no difference between O'Sensei's teaching before the war and after the war. Notice the comments earlier by Chris about Saito Sensei and the book Budo.

It is very unusual to ban photos and videos from seminars. Without these all we can go by are the words that Dan and others have written. If we weren't supposed to debate their ideas why did they post them in a discussion forum? I have tried very hard to follow the arguments they are making. I'm good at doing that, by the way, I teach people how to do this at the highest levels. My initial posts asking for clarification were met with indignation and demands that I read all the old posts. I did. They are confusing and hard to read. I said so. I was asked to post specific question (it wasn't my idea) and I did so. The questions were not answered. They were reasonable questions. Then the insults started.

Now you claim I'm following the doctrine of my organization blindly. Others have argue that I fail to understand the teachings of Saotome Sensei. How can both be true? For the record, I don't follow anything blindly. That's why I'm asking such hard questions here. For Dan to be right, O'Sensei had to be senile, or else he had to be mistranslated AND his direct students had to be lying about what he taught them, Etc. That'a a hard pill to swallow without something more than what has been presented as evidence.

There are so many different things being bandied about in this thread that I can see where it has to be hard to follow for someone that has not been in the midst of all the different points throughout the previous years. There are also many assumptions and misconceptions based on an honest lack of detailed knowledge of various points that can lead to confusion and even different conclusions.

As Chris stated, if you want a sincere discussion, pick one point and lets start from there. To keep it civil and objective, stop with the coward and commercialism accusations - IMO, you are the one that came into this with an attitude and started slinging the shit - you drop that and show a sincere interest in wanting to know where everyone is coming from, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the cooperative atmosphere that develops - your choice...

Greg

Demetrio Cereijo
11-11-2011, 06:52 PM
Nice video... what was the instruction by O'Sensei to the Ukes? Do we know? Was it "Push with all your strength?" or was it "Keep hold of the Jo under all circumstances!" The latter of which sounds more plausible to me and might explain the twitching movements of the Ukes.

Have you ever heard about "The Georgia Magnet"?

Lee Salzman
11-11-2011, 07:06 PM
This is a demonstration of grounding ability. The ability to ground feeds into waza. But Aikido still requires leading, blending, and non-resistance. Grounding exercises are just exercises. They don't translate or substitute for waza training, Take Muso Aiki training, Etc. We don't have to be as good at grounding as O'Sensei to be able to do Aikido. Can Dan break a bundle of arrows under his arm? This did happen. Saotome Sensei saw it. Moreover, you don't get to be as good as O'Sensei at this stuff by working exclusively on these grounding exercises. He argue that his system of cooperative training would bring you to the "secret of Aikido."

What I saw in that video at 2:00-2:40 is all of those things you list, leading, blending, non-resistance, and grounding. I think that is somewhat the point: that we have only barely touched the surface of some of the things O'Sensei was talking about, and that to actually dig deeper we have to literally go beyond the surface appearances of what it looked like he was doing to how he was mentally coordinating himself.

O'Sensei may have been a great martial artist in his own right, but anecdotally, he was not a great teacher. You could say he was a good example of what we can aspire to, but he didn't seem adept at passing on his skills to other, and he did not go to great lengths to relate to his students in ways they could understand him. Very few of his direct students claim to have understood what he was talking about, and quite a few mention that they just wanted him to stop talking so much so they could get on with training.

Saotome Sensei is certainly one of the few people who can be said to have understood O'Sensei with respect to technical ability; I think anyone would have to be crazy to deny that, nor do I think anyone is denying that. But again, why do so few of his students display even an inkling of his ability? Why do Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei bring outside martial artists like Kenji Ushiro, decidedly not an aikidoka, to the summer camps to better relate what they are doing to their students? As Ledyard Sensei has noted elsewhere, why is Saotome Sensei now trying harder to explain things he just earlier hoped students would, in essence, get by osmosis? They are exploring ways to improve the teaching of things, because there are inadequacies and they know their art is in danger of degradation and loss, if it is not already there. I say this as a member of the ASU.

What we are addressing with these things is exactly the teaching problem: how to describe what is going on and how best to teach it to others. We're not changing the end-product, we're not changing the message of the art, we're not changing the foundations; we're just trying to figure out if there is a better way to arrive at these things than what has been passed down to us through official channels. This has meant going back and looking at where O'Sensei got his influences and seeing how he used them to build himself as well as how they helped frame what he was saying. This is not subverting him, this is rather trying to better understand where he was coming from.

You are setting up and attacking straw-men here.

Fred Little
11-11-2011, 07:11 PM
Just read this quote this morning and enjoyed it:

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." ~ Herbert Spencer (1820 - 1903)

Allen, you really shouldn't have mentioned Herbert Spencer. You see, I just finished transcribing this big batch of articles written by some guy named Minakata who that appeared in a little bitty magazine Mr. Spencer sorta, kinda, co-founded called NATURE. This makes even mentioning Spencer in my virtual presence almost as bad as putting an ounce or two of blow on Charlie Sheen's coffee table. But I'll say no more about that and just let Minakata-sama speak for himself:

Illogicality concerning Ghosts.

MR. HERBERT SPENCER, exposing the various inconsistencies that occur so frequently in the ghost-stories of the savage races, says:--"How illogicalities so extreme are possible, we shall the more easily see on recalling certain of our own illogicalities. Instance . . . that familiar absurdity fallen into by believers in ghosts, who, admitting that ghosts are seen clothed, admit, by implication that coats have ghosts--an implication they had not perceived." ("The Principles of Sociology," 3rd edition, vol. i. p. 104). It seems interesting to note that the same opinion was expressed about nineteen centuries ago by the Chinese philosopher Wang Chung (circa, 27-97 A.D.), whose skeptic remarks on the traditions of all manners, handed down to his time in the Middle Kingdom, form a celebrated work named "Lun Han" or "Balance of Discussions." In its twentieth book (fol. 14-15 in Miura's edition, Kyoto, 1748), he says:--"Since the beginning of the world, so vast has been the number of the deceased, that it enormously exceeds that of the whole present population. Therefore, should every one become a ghost after death, man is bound now to meet a ghost at each step on the road, and should he see ghosts in his dying moments, he ought to find not one or two singly, but several millions of them collectively filling the space. When a man dies by a weapon, his blood, the essence of his life, turns to what is termed ignus-fatuus, which has no resemblance to him, but gathering itself into an amorphous mass, looks like the light of fire. It is the ghost of blood, and presents an aspect quite different from a live man's blood, and as the essence of life has been separated from the man's body, it cannot resume his shape in life. If all ghosts be seen in the form of dead corpses, you have reason to suspect the dead to become the ghost. . . . And, equally, a disordered fellow might be true in seeing a ghost of his live friend visiting him. But how could he see a dead man in his shape of lifetime? . . . . As warm ashes, even after the fire has gone out, can be made to produce it again, we may with some reason suggest the possibility of a dead man appearing in the same form as alive. When we know well, however, that a fire once extinguished can never burn anew, it is evident that a dead man can never become a ghost. And now, what is the ghost? All say it is the soul of a deceased. Then, even if it could be seen by man, it ought to appear stark naked and fully disrobed: for the clothes have no soul to cover the dead man's soul; while the latter has no material body to put on a material raiment. Soul is an outcome of blood and breath, which, though dependent on body during man's life, are the things distinct from it; hence it might be still well to suppose soul able to survive body as a ghost. But the clothes consist of nothing but threads, cotton, hemp and silk, which have all no intercurrence of blood and breath imparted by the wearer's body; nor do they possess any blood and breath of their own; so that even when they keep their for entirely, they are as soulless as a human corpse; and how could they resume their former shape after their total decomposition? Thus, saying that a ghost appears clad necessitates the admission of its possession of body; which view itself militates against the definition of the ghost, because, according to this statement, the said ghost is a composite of the ghosts of body and clothes, which is essentially different from the soul of a deceased individual."
It is curious to observe that Wang Chung himself is quite illogical in esteeming it just to suppose a ghost able to appear only divested: for, according to his own proposition, the soul exists only in blood and breath; while the body, though very closely connected with them during life, is, after death, as severed from them as the ever lifeless and soulless clothes; so that, should it be necessary for a ghost to appear divested, it would be equally so to appear disembodied at the same time.
KUMAGUSU MINAKATA
April 2, 1900

NO. 1589, VOL. 61, NATURE


And just to bring this marginally back on topic, inasmuch as the meta-topic is the failure of Ueshiba M.'s students to understand and/or transmit what was central to his art, one cannot help but wonder if perhaps Ueshiba M. had the same problem with what was central to Minakata's arts and sciences. :D

We now return you to the episode 5486 of our continuing series, "Rock the Weeble."

Best,

Fred

kewms
11-11-2011, 07:21 PM
What we are addressing with these things is exactly the teaching problem: how to describe what is going on and how best to teach it to others. We're not changing the end-product, we're not changing the message of the art, we're not changing the foundations; we're just trying to figure out if there is a better way to arrive at these things than what has been passed down to us through official channels. This has meant going back and looking at where O'Sensei got his influences and seeing how he used them to build himself as well as how they helped frame what he was saying. This is not subverting him, this is rather trying to better understand where he was coming from.

Yes, exactly.

People are interested in what Dan has to say because he has isolated a particular element and developed a way to teach it. Likewise Popkin Sensei. Likewise Ushiro Sensei. Likewise plenty of other teachers. None of these teachers are aikidoka, and because of that they are not necessarily going to use -- or even agree with -- the vocabulary and training paradigms that aikidoka are accustomed to. But that doesn't make their knowledge any less valuable.

Katherine

Allen Beebe
11-11-2011, 07:55 PM
Allen, you really shouldn't have mentioned Herbert Spencer. You see, I just finished transcribing this big batch of articles written by some guy named Minakata who that appeared in a little bitty magazine Mr. Spencer sorta, kinda, co-founded called NATURE. This makes even mentioning Spencer in my virtual presence almost as bad as putting an ounce or two of blow on Charlie Sheen's coffee table. But I'll say no more about that and just let Minakata-sama speak for himself:

And just to bring this marginally back on topic, inasmuch as the meta-topic is the failure of Ueshiba M.'s students to understand and/or transmit what was central to his art, one cannot help but wonder if perhaps Ueshiba M. had the same problem with what was central to Minakata's arts and sciences. :D

We now return you to the episode 5486 of our continuing series, "Rock the Weeble."

Best,

Fred

Dear Fred,

I am so very, very sorry. I had no idea! I shall attempt never, ever to mention "certain people" around you ever again!

"Rock a bye weeble . . ."

shhh, shhhh . . . .

Allen

raul rodrigo
11-11-2011, 08:00 PM
Ken "Debate Over" McGrew all that he claims is that he is able to read. Well then he should do a lot more reading. Try Amdur's "Hidden in Plain Sight," for starters.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 08:05 PM
There are so many different things being bandied about in this thread that I can see where it has to be hard to follow for someone that has not been in the midst of all the different points throughout the previous years. There are also many assumptions and misconceptions based on an honest lack of detailed knowledge of various points that can lead to confusion and even different conclusions.

As Chris stated, if you want a sincere discussion, pick one point and lets start from there. To keep it civil and objective, stop with the coward and commercialism accusations - IMO, you are the one that came into this with an attitude and started slinging the shit - you drop that and show a sincere interest in wanting to know where everyone is coming from, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the cooperative atmosphere that develops - your choice...

Greg

I have. Look at th detailed responses I've provided.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 08:17 PM
This is different from earlier statements made by yourself, Dan, Mark, and others have made. It's much milder than statements made even earlier in this thread. I haven't misread the bold claims that u have made. Maybe some of your folks need to soften your language of you don't mean what you say.

I think that you're taking his comments at much too much of an extreme. Of course, there is a relationship between uke and nage. But that relationship is secondary (in terms of Aiki) to what you're doing inside of yourself. If you try to play off what your partner is doing as your primary approach things just happen too fast, you can't keep up with the changes.

Neither I nor any one else said that all the translations were wrong - but the posting in the Kamae thread clearly illustrates that some of the translations are wrong in certain points and incomplete in others. Also, the context in which you are reading Ueshiba is extremely important - Ueshiba is very hard to read, even in Japanese by native speakers. Most native speakers that I've talked to don't even try for that reason.

Don't get me wrong - some things were clearly lied about (see http://www.koryu.com/library/mskoss3.html for an example) - but most of the time I think that people believed what they were saying. Why wouldn't they? Ueshiba tells Saotome "I studied many martial arts", Saotome tells you - is Saotome lying?

Ueshiba said that he studied many martial arts, which is true, but leaves out the fact that in all but one case that study was of extremely short duration compared to his 20+ years in Daito-ryu. Is that a lie or not?

If you actually practice much Daito-ryu you'll see the connections clearly enough. Sure, there are differences, but there are differences between instructors at hombu as well, or between Saotome and Yamada and Chiba. The differences are really not much larger, and don't effect the basic martial principles.

Best,

Chris

raul rodrigo
11-11-2011, 08:21 PM
Other people need to "soften their language?" I seem to recall it was someone else who called everyone else here "Cowards" when he didn't understand the difference between splitting off a thread and censoring. Here's something that would help civil discourse: when you make a mistake and issue an insult in the course of it, you take it back when you realize you were wrong. Because you were wrong.

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 08:21 PM
This is different from earlier statements made by yourself, Dan, Mark, and others have made. It's much milder than statements made even earlier in this thread. I haven't misread the bold claims that u have made. Maybe some of your folks need to soften your language of you don't mean what you say.

Well, you'll have to point out which ones you're talking about if you want me to comment on that.

Best,

Chris

wxyzabc
11-11-2011, 08:49 PM
Lee Price wrote:

Maybe some of you guys should watch the following :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxQd_kBse-c&feature=fvst

Pay careful attention to around 2:00 to 2:40 (you may have to watch this a few times)...then think about what you know..or don't...

This is not to insult current teachers but to give Ueshiba the correct level of respect.
Nice video... what was the instruction by O'Sensei to the Ukes? Do we know? Was it "Push with all your strength?" or was it "Keep hold of the Jo under all circumstances!" The latter of which sounds more plausible to me and might explain the twitching movements of the Ukes."

This is a demonstration of grounding ability. The ability to ground feeds into waza. But Aikido still requires leading, blending, and non-resistance. Grounding exercises are just exercises. They don't translate or substitute for waza training, Take Muso Aiki training, Etc. We don't have to be as good at grounding as O'Sensei to be able to do Aikido. Can Dan break a bundle of arrows under his arm? This did happen. Saotome Sensei saw it. Moreover, you don't get to be as good as O'Sensei at this stuff by working exclusively on these grounding exercises. He argue that his system of cooperative training would bring you to the "secret of Aikido."

Hya Ken

I'm not going to say your wrong..actually your very right in some ways. I strongly believe theres a lot more to this than most people realise (or are willing to say/talk about ..especially on a public forum). I will say that if you watch the video closely near the beginning some of his uke are lying on the floor literally stunned...to be fair I don't think the vast majority of todays practioners need to experience something like that in regular practise...thats not to take away from his/or others ability to be truly martial..which is of course the ability to harm/even kill...but yes how much ability is necessary? or what should usual practise be like/need to be like for your average person? hence the situation we have today with lets say a watered down version for the masses...that anyone can do without huge amounts of work and kind of feel good about..

On the other hand of course, having the ability to really dial up or down is like being able to play all the piano instead of just 10 keys...people can really stand out without the need to batter anyone or power them into the mat. Sadly I think some practioners of old did no favors to the future of the art when they proper floored people sometimes (though there is the arguement its shows the potential of aiki..) but give porsche keys to some people and they just want to put their foot on the accelerator all the time with little or no concern for others...

I will say this..Ueshiba's aikido encompassed far more than just body training...imho he was very honest....thats something for us to think about....

Fred Little
11-11-2011, 08:52 PM
Dear Fred,

I am so very, very sorry. I had no idea! I shall attempt never, ever to mention "certain people" around you ever again!

"Rock a bye weeble . . ."

shhh, shhhh . . . .

Allen

Dear Allen,

Thank you ever so much!

And lest you think that many late nights of insane editorial labors have somehow diminished my mad skillz, let me assure you that my reference to "Minakata who that" (which you so kindly reproduced in toto) was not in fact evidence of an incredibly careless and sloppy error due to lack of attention on my part, but in fact, a cunning reference to Minakata's long unacknowledged 1891 discovery of several pages of a lost manuscript on creole wordplay which Lafcadio Hearn, late of New Orleans, had apparently left abandoned in the bottom drawer of a dilapidated Martinique hotel room dresser drawer in the West Indies sometime between 1887 and 1889. While broad national, nay international awareness of the New Orleans Saints' fans as the "Whodat Nation" is now commonplace, the more esoteric connection between this New Orleanian chant and the more colloquial Wakayama -ben reading of "有出," or "yuu da" (damn snow monkeys ran off with my macrons again, can you believe it?) referring to twilight situations in which thusness issues forth (presumably from voidness, but experts differ on the particular and necessary versus merely useful epistemic understanding of this ejaculation, so let us not speak of yobai in mixed company), the relationship between Sarutahiko Omikami and Amenouzume as a manifestation equivalent to that of Ellegua and Erzulie Danthor and clearly understood as such by both Hearn before his death and Minakata on his return to Wakayama....but I have said too much already and knowing that a nod is as good as wink to a blind horse I will leave it at that without trusting too much that sleep will actually come simply because it should.:freaky: :freaky: :freaky:

What is certain is that while Greil Marcus probably does know precisely who put the bomp in the bomp da bomp, AND who put the ram in the ramalamadingdong, (and don't get me wrong, Greil has always written beautifully), dancing about architecture never got so much as a one hole addition on a two hole outhouse built, desu nee?

Best,

Fred

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 09:08 PM
Lee, the argument that Dan and others have made is not that teachers have failed to communicate what they knew but that modem Aikido is 1) no good, and 2) no one after O'Sensei (or maybe Saito Sensei) could do Aikido as O'Sensei wanted. It's not a straw man that I've set up. It is what they have said. They've made numerous claims. When I disproved their arguments they did not answer. They still haven't answered. Now Chris, and yourself, are pretending the bold claims weren't made.

Let me be clear. I do not accept that most students of Saotome can't do Aikido well. For that matter I don't see the lack of alleged Aikido ability in other post-war organizations either. I prefer some Aikido over other Aikido, but it's basically good most places that I've gone. That people accept the argument that it's so terrible says more about what they want Aikido to be than any problem with Aikido. Aikido is not good for cage fighting.

For the record, I have gone to many seminars with Saotome Sensei. He's no more or less understandable than he has been in the past. His books and videos are easy to understand with a small effort. His descriptions at seminars are also easily understood once you have an idea of where he's coming from and get used to his way of speaking. If there is a problem it is that people don't always do what Sensei says. If we follow the system O'sensei developed we will progress in our ability. This is not my opinion. This is what Saotome Sensei said. This is what O'Sensei told him.

It is noteworthy that Dan has said he doesn't think much of Ushiro Sensei. We can conclude then that what Dan does is quite different from what Ikeda Sensei does, or at least that Dan thinks so. I know exactly why Ikeda Sensei has engaged in friendship seminars because he told me. But I'm not going to discuss it here. He does not value Ushiro Sensei because he thinks we completely missed the boat after the war. It is not because he thinks his Aikido or Saotome's Aikido was deficient. At his level he wants to explore. It does not mean that he is against cooperative waza training. I know because I asked him to show the application of breaking inner balance to strikes at a seminar I hosted and he made quite clear the difference between exercises and the application of skills to movement training. He says it is necessary to break balance internally and externally. Internal is another way. It is not the only correct way, according to Ikeda Sensei. Your claims that both Ikeda and Saotome Sensei's see "the inadequacies" of their art is not what they have told me.



Saotome Sensei is certainly one of the few people who can be said to have understood O'Sensei with respect to technical ability; I think anyone would have to be crazy to deny that, nor do I think anyone is denying that. But again, why do so few of his students display even an inkling of his ability? Why do Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei bring outside martial artists like Kenji Ushiro, decidedly not an aikidoka, to the summer camps to better relate what they are doing to their students? As Ledyard Sensei has noted elsewhere, why is Saotome Sensei now trying harder to explain things he just earlier hoped students would, in essence, get by osmosis? They are exploring ways to improve the teaching of things, because there are inadequacies and they know their art is in danger of degradation and loss, if it is not already there. I say this as a member of the ASU.

What we are addressing with these things is exactly the teaching problem: how to describe what is going on and how best to teach it to others. We're not changing the end-product, we're not changing the message of the art, we're not changing the foundations; we're just trying to figure out if there is a better way to arrive at these things than what has been passed down to us through official channels. This has meant going back and looking at where O'Sensei got his influences and seeing how he used them to build himself as well as how they helped frame what he was saying. This is not subverting him, this is rather trying to better understand where he was coming from.

You are setting up and attacking straw-men here.

gregstec
11-11-2011, 09:39 PM
I have. Look at th detailed responses I've provided.

We said pick one point and start from there - you are all over the place with you arguments and you continue with your arrogance even after numerous attempts by those you attacked to move on in a more civil manner. You continue to place Saotome and Ikeda up on a level as someone to emulate with no fault - well, I have had hands on both of them, and not to demean them in any manner as they both are very talented, but neither one has what Dan has as far as aiki - and there are other senior 5th and 6th dan ASU members that feel the same way as is evidenced by them training with Dan as well.

As I said, if you don't agree, and cannot discuss in a civil and logical manner, move on - this stuff is not for you.

Greg

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 09:41 PM
Other people need to "soften their language?" I seem to recall it was someone else who called everyone else here "Cowards" when he didn't understand the difference between splitting off a thread and censoring. Here's something that would help civil discourse: when you make a mistake and issue an insult in the course of it, you take it back when you realize you were wrong. Because you were wrong.

The posts by Dan and others have been insulting in tone and substance all along. Towards myself and others. They generally don't even have the respect to address senior instructors, Doshu, or O'Sensei with their rightful titles. I responded in kind.

To run away from the debate and claim that I'm off topic when I was responding to their communications towards myself... I think I used the right name for that.

wxyzabc
11-11-2011, 09:42 PM
Lee, the argument that Dan and others have made is not that teachers have failed to communicate what they knew but that modem Aikido is 1) no good, and 2) no one after O'Sensei (or maybe Saito Sensei) could do Aikido as O'Sensei wanted. It's not a straw man that I've set up. It is what they have said. They've made numerous claims. When I disproved their arguments they did not answer. They still haven't answered. Now Chris, and yourself, are pretending the bold claims weren't made.

Your claims that both Ikeda and Saotome Sensei's see "the inadequacies" of their art is not what they have told me.

Ken

Please be careful about what you state in my name. Careful reading of my post will show that just is not the case ...my opinions and understanding...are my own.
You have a bit of a bee in your bonnet, so I feel I do not wish to continue this conversation with you or say much else...I'm stepping out now... but for the record I've always admired Saotome sensei's aikido...his beautiful expression of the art is wonderful ;)

Kindest regards

Lee

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 09:51 PM
Ken

Please be careful about what you state in my name. Careful reading of my post will show that just is not the case ...my opinions and understanding...are my own.
You have a bit of a bee in your bonnet, so I feel I do not wish to continue this conversation with you or say much else...I'm stepping out now... but for the record I've always admired Saotome sensei's aikido...his beautiful expression of the art is wonderful ;)

Kindest regards

Lee

I directly quoted you. What in the world do you think I took out of context?

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 09:56 PM
We said pick one point and start from there - you are all over the place with you arguments and you continue with your arrogance even after numerous attempts by those you attacked to move on in a more civil manner. You continue to place Saotome and Ikeda up on a level as someone to emulate with no fault - well, I have had hands on both of them, and not to demean them in any manner as they both are very talented, but neither one has what Dan has as far as aiki - and there are other senior 5th and 6th dan ASU members that feel the same way as is evidenced by them training with Dan as well.

As I said, if you don't agree, and cannot discuss in a civil and logical manner, move on - this stuff is not for you.

Greg

You should really retract this before you put ASU students in the position of appearing to agree with you.

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 09:57 PM
The posts by Dan and others have been insulting in tone and substance all along. Towards myself and others. They generally don't even have the respect to address senior instructors, Doshu, or O'Sensei with their rightful titles. I responded in kind.

We're not in Japan, we're not Japanese, and we're not speaking Japanese. In English it's not uncommon to refer to famous people without their titles in a casual conversation - I don't see any particular reason to alter that practice simply because the people we're talking about happen to be Japanese.

And guess what - it's pretty common to refer to them without their titles even when in Japan, speaking to Japanese people in Japanese - this in conversations with Japanese shihan.

You said that you'd bring up the quote about religion, but I haven't seen it. Also, I asked you to bring up the quotes that you were referring to when you referenced a "change in tone" so we could discuss it. Maybe it would be best to continue the previous discussions before moving on to more accusations.

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 10:05 PM
We're not in Japan, we're not Japanese, and we're not speaking Japanese. In English it's not uncommon to refer to famous people without their titles in a casual conversation - I don't see any particular reason to alter that practice simply because the people we're talking about happen to be Japanese.

And guess what - it's pretty common to refer to them without their titles even when in Japan, speaking to Japanese people in Japanese - this in conversations with Japanese shihan.

You said that you'd bring up the quote about religion, but I haven't seen it. Also, I asked you to bring up the quotes that you were referring to when you referenced a "change in tone" so we could discuss it. Maybe it would be best to continue the previous discussions before moving on to more accusations.

Best,

Chris

You admitted to arguments that O'Sensei's Aikido wasn't tied up with the spiritual. That was what I meant to say. You and Dan have not as far as I see denied that he was spiritual in general. That his Aikido was tied up with his spiritual beliefs is well known for the reasons I outlined earlier. Read Take Muso Aiki.

You know full well that Dan, Mark, and yourself, and others, have used very strong language to allege that those of us in modern aikido are not talented and not doing O'Sensei Aikido. Everyone else knows it too.
Look at the post immediately above.

I have responded at length to all these attacks with an open heart (but not passive demeanor). I am not going to rewrite the things I've written. My questions and counter evidence have been spelled out in detail. If you want to start with just one issue (after ive been bombarded with so many) then pick one yourself.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 10:16 PM
We said pick one point and start from there - you are all over the place with you arguments and you continue with your arrogance even after numerous attempts by those you attacked to move on in a more civil manner. You continue to place Saotome and Ikeda up on a level as someone to emulate with no fault - well, I have had hands on both of them, and not to demean them in any manner as they both are very talented, but neither one has what Dan has as far as aiki - and there are other senior 5th and 6th dan ASU members that feel the same way as is evidenced by them training with Dan as well.

As I said, if you don't agree, and cannot discuss in a civil and logical manner, move on - this stuff is not for you.

Greg

I asked Greg to withdraw this post. He did not so I will respond. It is not fair to put students in this situation. Because people want to explore does not mean they think Dan is better than their teacher.

I am not calling anyone faultless. I'm not even entertaining the debates about who is better or worse than others. I cite Saotome Sensei because his teachings contradict the arguments Dan and others have made. I cite him for the same reasons they cite Saito Sensei. They both trained extensively with O'Sensei. I cited Saotome Sensei because he quotes O'Sensei on the proper training approach. Not to say anything about his ability next to Dan's ability.

When people like Dan say that all postwar Aikido is not good Aikido and not the Aikido O'Sensei taught they insult all postwar teachers. Should I apologize for demanding that such statements be backed up with stronger evidence than they've provided? It's not so much to ask given their statements.

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 10:26 PM
You admitted to arguments that O'Sensei's Aikido wasn't tied up with the spiritual. That was what I meant to say. You and Dan have not as far as I see denied that he was spiritual in general. That his Aikido was tied up with his spiritual beliefs is well known for the reasons I outlined earlier. Read Take Muso Aiki.

First of all, it's "Take Musu Aiki", not "Take Muso Aiki". I've read it in Japanese, but I can only assume that you haven't read it, since there is no English translation. Yes, John made a partial translation, but even he admits that the translation is highly abridged for an English speaking audience (there's nothing wrong with that).

Secondly, we admitted to arguments that the source of his martial power, the engine that powered his technique, was not his spiritual practice, but rather the Aiki of Daito-ryu. That's something quite different.

As the man said:

「私の武産の合気は、宗教から出て来たのかというとそうではない。真の武産から宗教を照らすのです。未完の宗教を完成へと導く案内であります」

"It would not be correct to say that my Takumusu Aiki emerged from religion. True budo illuminates religion. It guides incomplete religion to completion."


You know full well that Dan, Mark, and yourself, and others, have used very strong language to allege that those of us in modern aikido are not talented and not doing O'Sensei Aikido. Everyone else knows it too.
Look at the post immediately above.

I have responded at length to all these attacks with an open heart (but not passive demeanor). I am not going to rewrite the things I've written. My questions and counter evidence have been spelled out in detail. If you want to start with just one issue (after ive been bombarded with so many) then pick one yourself.

I don't recall making any particular "attacks", or seeing much detailed evidence. And I really don't see the post above as being particularly strong or insulting in anyway.You say "everybody knows", but the only people posting here don't seem to know it...

You're stepping into a conversation that has been going on for more than 15 years and asking that it be justified from the very beginning - your very first post had so many questions in so many directions that I woudn't even know where to begin. I'd be happy to discuss any particular point - pick one and let's go.

Best,

Chris

MM
11-11-2011, 10:37 PM
When people like Dan say that all postwar Aikido is not good Aikido and not the Aikido O'Sensei taught they insult all postwar teachers. Should I apologize for demanding that such statements be backed up with stronger evidence than they've provided? It's not so much to ask given their statements.

Mr. McGrew,

Had you read *all* of the posts, you would have found quite a few of your answers. Had you read *all* of the posts, you would have realized we were not making some of the statements you attribute to us. Had you been more polite, I might have dug up some of the posts for you.

Instead, you want us to believe that you read about 4000 posts (just mine and Dan's) in 48 hours, which is about 1.4 posts a minute for two days straight with no breaks. (Reference posts #36 and #38 in this thread.)

I'm not sure of the patience of others, maybe they'll still answer your posts. But, as of this post, I will exercise my option of putting you on ignore. I wish you the best in your training.

phitruong
11-11-2011, 10:47 PM
went back and read an old thread which had quite a few folks http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14063

memory lane. there was a time when jim sorrentino took exception to dan; rob liberti and sigman; david orange and IS folks in general; and the endless arguments between dan and mike. all these heated exchange brought back fond memory which i don't have to remember, since there is a search function in the forum. i remembered thinking what in the god name these folks talking about and made all these wild claims. i decided to go and experienced their stuffs. to date, i have not get the chance to experience a number of these folks, but the ones that i had, they actually walked the walk better than they talked the talk. i sometimes wondered how many of these folks who had debate with dan, mike, rob john, and so on, who went out and get their hands on these folks and changed their mind soon after. i tell ya, ego is a strange thing, just like waffle for breakfast and that just wrong; ham, egg, sausage and bacon for moi! :)

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 11:02 PM
Are you denying that the available English translations of Take Musi Aiki are essentially accurate? Because they describe O'Sensei moving outside of this plain to the bridge between heaven and earth in order to perform Aikido techniques. You also admit his referring to having been inspired or possessed by a deity. This deity was related to how he believed he discovered the secrets of Aikido. So,you seem to concede the point. Even the interviews I posted, I believe, make some reference to his spiritual beliefs and Aikido. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Saotome Sensei has written and taught about the spiritual aspects of O'Sensei's Budo. I discussed this with him in November. He wrote out for me what OSensei saw as the relationship between the physical body, Ki body, and astral body. As a direct student he should know. If I recall correctly Tohei Sensei also discussed this. Religious traditions are found in dojos and practice in Aikido even if people don't know their origins. All of this goes to refute the claim that Aikido was not religios for O'Sensei. Dan and others deny the religious aspects in order to deny the importance of Ki (see the interviews I provided) and in order to argue that it was not Ai Ki Do but rather Aiki Do. This was the spiritual issue.

The argument that Aikido was not a new art but only Daito-ryu is likewise contradicted by what O'Sensei wrote and said (see the interviews I provided) as well as what direct students like Saotome Sensei wrote and said. You are free to argue that he was wrong Etc. but you are not free to put words in his mouth that contradict what he really taught. I am not denying the lineage to Diato-ryu. But given what O'Sensei said and what Saotome said and wrote, I am arguing that O'Sensei claimed it was a new art. Saotome has a section on the differences between them in Harmony of nature and also discusses the differences in his videos. In particular i am arguing that the cooperative training approach was new and highly significant. This was the origins issue.

In both cases you have based your arguments largely on new translations you've done. The words that you would change don't seem to amount to much so far as changing the meaning of whole passages, assuming your translations are beyond debate which I do not accept (for example, was it Ki, power, or Ki power). That other things may be mistranslated doesn't prove that they are mistranslated. The translation you provide here, assuming its correct, doesn't dispense with the bulk of evidence to the other side. It becomes an outlier. Even O'Sensei could say things differently than he intended to on occasion. I thing he was trying to say something about universal religion verses sectarian understandings of it. Why not look to the interviews in Japanese? Any translation errors there will be easy to spot given they are spoken and written modern Japanese. This was the translation issue.

First of all, it's "Take Musu Aiki", not "Take Muso Aiki". I've read it in Japanese, but I can only assume that you haven't read it, since there is no English translation. Yes, John made a partial translation, but even he admits that the translation is highly abridged for an English speaking audience (there's nothing wrong with that).

Secondly, we admitted to arguments that the source of his martial power, the engine that powered his technique, was not his spiritual practice, but rather the Aiki of Daito-ryu. That's something quite different.

As the man said:

I don't recall making any particular "attacks", or seeing much detailed evidence. And I really don't see the post above as being particularly strong or insulting in anyway.You say "everybody knows", but the only people posting here don't seem to know it...

You're stepping into a conversation that has been going on for more than 15 years and asking that it be justified from the very beginning - your very first post had so many questions in so many directions that I woudn't even know where to begin. I'd be happy to discuss any particular point - pick one and let's go.

Best,

Chris

Ellis Amdur
11-11-2011, 11:05 PM
Such high dudgeon! About what? As Stanley Pranin noted recently, Ueshiba Morihei was ALREADY doing blending exercises, cooperative training in the 1935 film. And, he was, simultaneously, doing things that none of his students ever reached.

Oda sensei, Tomiki sensei's right hand man, in the famous demo in Manchuria, attacked Ueshiba with everything he had, backed by expertise in judo, karate, and aikibudo - and Ueshiba handled him with electric, sharp techniques that awed the audience - AND - he was furious with Oda for attacking in a way that he had to use such methods, wanting to show, instead a method blended, not stirred. He was only soothed from his rage by the admiration of the formidible naginata teacher Sonobe Hideo. He didn't want to use what I think we can assume is classical Daito-ryu - but he had to :p use such methods then to handle a "for-real" attack by an expert.

But the other point is this - Osensei was doing - and WANTED to do - post-war aikido in the prewar period. :cool:

Now where does this leave us. I honestly think it is very likely that Ueshiba's post-war personal innovation was to successfully imbue Daito-ryu aiki WITHIN his blending, cooperative form. (This is what is hidden in plain sight, not that he secretly had a pocketful of other waza). Whether he was right or not, I dunno, but I think Osensei thought his postwar accomplishment was the ability to use sharp aiki WITHIN blending - as the t'ai chi masters say, "a needle in cotton."

And this is the failure of modern aikidoka. Osensei's practice method and his techniques are imitated with grace, brilliance and often, considerable power. But most are using their bodies (nervous system, connective tissue, muscles, and the will and breath that drive the former) in a different way from Ueshiba. In my book, I refer to the waza as the bottle - the question is what it is filled with.

Since Dan Harden, among those offering internal training, is the whipping boy of some recent threads, I'll cite him for a moment: all he's offering is aiki training. I think I'm not going to have him jump on my head, feelings hurt, were I to say he has no interest in personally doing aikido waza. BUT - he is asserting this - and I think correctly: that if one acquires skill in aiki, it could be contained WITHIN classical aikido technique, be it nikkyo, kokyunage or any other limb-twining variation, if that's the way you want to use it. In other words, Ken, there is absolutely no requirement in what Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, Minoru Akuzawa, to name three, are teaching, that there be any abandonment of classical aikido practice or technique, if that's what you want to do.

And by the way, I took ukemi for Saotome on many occasions back in the 70's. And I lived in Terry Dobson's dojo for close to a year. And I much admire what both of them can/could (respectively) do on the mat and outside as well (Terry used a pure blending technique when he disarmed the chainsaw wielding logger in the bar in Vermont he was bouncing at). BUT - nothing they do/did merits the kind of awe in expert martial artists (respect, yes - awe, no) that Ueshiba inspired among the very best in Japan.

So one is either content to be religious about it - Ueshiba was a kami, and we mere mortal, or we can say, as Dobson snarled at the other uchi-deshi when they tried to stop him from jumping the fence to study with Wang Shu Chin, "All of you guys want to be Osensei's best student. I wanna be Osensei."

Best
Ellis Amdur

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 11:07 PM
Mr. McGrew,

Had you read *all* of the posts, you would have found quite a few of your answers. Had you read *all* of the posts, you would have realized we were not making some of the statements you attribute to us. Had you been more polite, I might have dug up some of the posts for you.

Instead, you want us to believe that you read about 4000 posts (just mine and Dan's) in 48 hours, which is about 1.4 posts a minute for two days straight with no breaks. (Reference posts #36 and #38 in this thread.)

I'm not sure of the patience of others, maybe they'll still answer your posts. But, as of this post, I will exercise my option of putting you on ignore. I wish you the best in your training.

It is very strange to find a discussion forum where people won't discuss the statements they make but rather tell people to go read the history. When they take the time to read through the history, which they never expected someone would actually do, they don't have a response to the specific questions that he presents based on that reading.

Ken McGrew
11-11-2011, 11:18 PM
If this is what and all they were claiming I would not complain. I understand what Aiki is and believe it is found in many arts. I am not against internal exercises Etc.. As i have said, what Dan is doing may be good and may be complimentary to Aikido. Unfortunately they have made lots of claims that basically dismiss "modern Aikido" and so forth. They have basically argued for abandoning Aikido training approach. More than anything I am pushing back against the idea that Aikido training can be competitive.



Since Dan Harden, among those offering internal training, is the whipping boy of some recent threads, I'll cite him for a moment: all he's offering is aiki training. I think I'm not going to have him jump on my head, feelings hurt, were I to say he has no interest in personally doing aikido waza. BUT - he is asserting this - and I think correctly: that if one acquires skill in aiki, it could be contained WITHIN classical aikido technique, be it nikkyo, kokyunage or any other limb-twining variation, if that's the way you want to use it. In other words, Ken, there is absolutely no requirement in what Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, Minoru Akuzawa, to name three, are teaching, that there be any abandonment of classical aikido practice or technique, if that's what you want to do.

Best
Ellis Amdur

mathewjgano
11-11-2011, 11:44 PM
Mathew, point to a post when I deny the existence of Aiki in Aikido.
That's not what I suggested. I was addressing the idea that is often put forward: that, whatever O Sensei was doing, it might not be present in modern Aikido. I'm saying read that kind of rhetoric with a grain of salt because in the past I know I've read things too literally, or read parts of a comment which seemed extraordinary until compared with other remarks that seemed to balance them out. In the past I've read people saying there's "no" aiki in Aikido. Strictly speaking there is. The question then is to what degree, but I have almost no frame of reference for that. There is a strong argument that internal training methods were a major part of O Sensei's practice but that most people today have little to no depth of training in them. It's all relative so it's almost pointless to quantify it, in my opinion, but given the kind of testimony I've seen from highly experienced people, I think there's something to it.

I have provided two interviews in this discussion where O'Sensei describes his religious beliefs. I have pointed to religious symbols in most dojos that we have as tradition from O'Sensei. This shows he was religious. If people are going to claim the translations are completely wrong then they need to back that up with new translations. The comment you are referring to about budo being beyond religion seems to indicate that he was beyond denominational thinking. That is he trained the true religion.

:eek: :D I'm not touching anything about "true" religion! Mine was a family of Huguenots so we like to avoid that kind of verbage...keeps our heads in place longer.;)
Sounds like some newer translations are being worked on though, so hopefuly they'll be available soon.
I'm not religious, but I am spiritual. According to an atheist friend, I'm religious because I incorporate religious things in my practice. Semantics can be difficult...and on aikiweb for some reason they seem to cause all kinds of trouble.
Take care,
Matt
ps- thank you, Mr. Amdur, for another comprehensive and illuminating post!!!

Chris Li
11-11-2011, 11:52 PM
Are you denying that the available English translations of Take Musi Aiki are essentially accurate?

Wrong again, it's not "Take Musi Aiki", just as it wasn't "Take Muso Aiki", it's "Take Musu Aiki".

Basically, there are no complete English translations, accurate or otherwise. Sonoko Tanaka did a bit of the early sections for AikiNews (now Aikido Journal) and John Stevens published a highly abridged version that he himself called "Take Musu Aiki Lite" - there's nothing wrong with that, he published it for popular consumption. I talked to him about it before it came out, he lives down the street from me.

Because they describe O'Sensei moving outside of this plain to the bridge between heaven and earth in order to perform Aikido techniques. You also admit his referring to having been inspired or possessed by a deity. This deity was related to how he believed he discovered the secrets of Aikido. So,you seem to concede the point. Even the interviews I posted, I believe, make some reference to his spiritual beliefs and Aikido. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Saotome Sensei has written and taught about the spiritual aspects of O'Sensei's Budo. I discussed this with him in November. He wrote out for me what OSensei saw as the relationship between the physical body, Ki body, and astral body. As a direct student he should know. If I recall correctly Tohei Sensei also discussed this. Religious traditions are found in dojos and practice in Aikido even if people don't know their origins. All of this goes to refute the claim that Aikido was not religios for O'Sensei. Dan and others deny the religious aspects in order to deny the importance of Ki (see the interviews I provided) and in order to argue that it was not Ai Ki Do but rather Aiki Do. This was the spiritual issue.

I think that there's rather more technical information contained in Take Musu Aiki than is generally thought, although there's plenty of the other stuff too. Again, nobody ever argued that Ueshiba wasn't religious. As to religion as a source of technical power - see my response below.


The argument that Aikido was not a new art but only Daito-ryu is likewise contradicted by what O'Sensei wrote and said (see the interviews I provided) as well as what direct students like Saotome Sensei wrote and said. You are free to argue that he was wrong Etc. but you are not free to put words in his mouth that contradict what he really taught. I am not denying the lineage to Diato-ryu. But given what O'Sensei said and what Saotome said and wrote, I am arguing that O'Sensei claimed it was a new art. Saotome has a section on the differences between them in Harmony of nature and also discusses the differences in his videos. In particular i am arguing that the cooperative training approach was new and highly significant. This was the origins issue.

Daito-ryu training is no less cooperative than modern Aikido training is. Cooperative training is hardly a revolution in Japanese martial arts, which are mostly kata based.

Nobody ever said the Ueshiba's art as a whole was not different from Daito-ryu. What we're talking about is the technical part, the engine that drives the technique.

Show an example of technical prowess that Ueshiba was capable of or demonstrated that was not present in Daito-ryu. If you can do that then there may be a basis to argue for a separate technical source.

Saying it's different/revolutionary/new isn't unusual in Japan - that's how the beginning of many classical ryuha came about, handed down from the gods or the tengu.


In both cases you have based your arguments largely on new translations you've done. The words that you would change don't seem to amount to much so far as changing the meaning of whole passages, assuming your translations are beyond debate which I do not accept (for example, was it Ki, power, or Ki power). That other things may be mistranslated doesn't prove that they are mistranslated. The translation you provide here, assuming its correct, doesn't dispense with the bulk of evidence to the other side. It becomes an outlier. Even O'Sensei could say things differently than he intended to on occasion. I thing he was trying to say something about universal religion verses sectarian understandings of it. Why not look to the interviews in Japanese? Any translation errors there will be easy to spot given they are spoken and written modern Japanese. This was the translation issue.

Frankly, I'm not interested in arguing translation issues on any detailed level unless you can speak and read Japanese. It's just pointless. I'm not selling anything, really, take the information or not, it's up to you.

Best,

Chris

hughrbeyer
11-11-2011, 11:55 PM
Golly, this thread moves fast. I'm nearly at the point of thinking Ken's not reachable, but what the hell--I have a glass of Talisker's at my elbow and I'm not ready for bed yet. Ken, do you really want an answer? Cuz this is my best shot at giving you one.

Part of the problem is nobody can speak for "Dan's people", not even Dan. We can all speak only for ourselves, and we're all someplace slightly different. It's the low-quality Kool-Aid Dan uses.

However, having drunk the Kool-Aid to some degree, here are my thoughts on the issues you've raised. Mine only, in fact I know some other IP guys disagree with some of this:

Cooperative practice: All martial training is cooperative to some degree. When I took up boxing, the first time I put the gloves on with my trainer, you know what? He didn't knock my block off.

The problem people see is that so much of Aikido training is so cooperative that not only does your technique not have to work, but you get no feedback that it's not working. As a result the training becomes entirely ineffective.

It's also a complete misunderstanding of O-Sensei's intent, as I understand it. He forbade competition not because we're all supposed to be too full of sweetness and light to compete, but because as soon as you impose rules you have a sport, not a martial art. His art was supposed to be too fierce for competition, not too gentle.

Many modern Aikido dojos have gotten so much into the "art of peace" thing, they've lost sight of this fact. "Katsujinken" is first and foremost a sword--once you've understood that, then it can give life. Cooperative practice is fine to learn the move, but then it has to get more and more realistic if you're going to advance in your technique, until finally you're honestly trying to clobber the guy while staying centered and able to deliver a follow-up blow, and they're honestly throwing you, and you take the fall because it's really the best way out of an unsafe situation.

O-Sensei's spirituality: Of course O-Sensei was both spiritual and religious, and of course he talked of Aikido as a way to bring peace. But understand his language here in terms of his context as a Japanese budo man born at the beginning of the last century.

When O-Sensei spoke of "not trying to win" (referencing the 1957 interview, and thanks for posting it, it's a while since I last read it and it merits re-reading) he didn't mean that winning didn't matter. When he talked of budo being love, he didn't mean to give up to your opponent. He was perfectly capable of talking peace and love and then breaking his uke's arm on the mat through his vigorous technique--just as a Zen master can talk about compassion and detachment one moment and be shouting at his student over their stupidity the next.

In O-Sensei's case, he was using very traditional budo language to talk about the attitude of conflict--that being overly concerned for the outcome undercut your ability to be effective in the moment. "When my enemy raises his sword, I am already behind him, ready to strike him down" (paraphrasing, sorry) -- there's no need to be concerned about winning because you control the situation before it starts. "The state of continuous victory," to quote from the interview.

In the interview, O-Sensei says there is no attack in Aikido--yet his own demonstrations contain atemi. So he must be talking about the attitude, not the physical action. An attitude of love, while you're throwing uke across the room. And when he gets up, you're both laughing.

When people say his religion doesn't matter to Aikido, I believe they're mostly talking about Ooomoto specifically. Aikido as a spiritual practice is different from O-Sensei's religious background. And don't make too much of mirrors on the shomen--lots of things are carried on as tradition without any commitment to the original meaning.

Similarly for the quotes about being the embodiment of the Kami. Even a Christian might say they were inspired by or filled by the Holy Spirit. It's a great mistake to take religious language as literal language. Religious language is always, at base, poetic--the language of myth.

Blending: The problem with blending is that it's always limited. If uke is in control of their own movement, it doesn't matter whether you blend with it or not--they can choose when to stop or reverse their movement. Same with trying to use uke's momentum. This is why so many Aikido dojos get into attacks where uke throws themselves off balance with their own strike--because we think we're supposed to blend and so we try to make it possible for our partner to do it. If you don't do this in your dojo, good on you. If you do, I'm sorry, but other martial artists are right to laugh at you.

But O-Sensei says you never oppose your opponent's power. Isn't that blending? Well, no, not as it's typically taught. I'm not depending on uke's movement to defeat uke. I'm meeting it--whether it's a fast punch, a static grab, or a pull--and using whatever energy uke put into the attack to make a connection and use that connection to own their balance. Ultimately, this is a ki connection, though you don't have to use that term if you don't find it helpful. But if you do, you can understand how the no-touch throws work--you're making the ki connection before the physical connection and using that to lead their balance. You can see this clearly in O-Sensei's own no-touch throws.

This isn't even surprising, if you understand O-Sensei's own words. You don't oppose uke's force, so you don't put any power into the point where you and uke connect. That being the case, it doesn't actually much matter whether you're even physically touching at that point.

Incidentally, some of O-Sensei's demos make a clear distinction between blending and taking balance. Look for some of the video where O-Sensei meets a shomenuchi by stepping into the strike with a turn that leaves him standing pretty much parallel to uke but with his back to him. There's blending but no balance break, and uke typically stands there with a silly look on his face (notice that O-Sensei's ukes almost never throw themselves off balance). Then, O-Sensei turns the move into an actual technique and shows how he can add a ki connection, take balance, and make an actual technique of it.

Origins of Aikido: As I said upthread, this is a bit of a red herring. In the interview, O-Sensei talks of teaching "Aikido" to Tenryu in Manchuria. This was clearly before the war, therefore before the term "Aikido" was even coined, and while O-Sensei was still teaching Daito-Ryu. Yet O-Sensei says he "knew the secret of 'Aikido'". Clearly, he's not using the term to mean the formal, defined art with a separate syllabus as it existed after the war.

I think he means here the same thing as he means when he says Takeda "opened my eyes to budo"--that Takeda taught him the skills and insights that make budo effective: the aiki skills that Dan is teaching, and that derive from the same source. But he thought those skills were the core and the specific Daito-Ryu techniques were window dressing that could be (and to some degree were) discarded at will.

I would speculate that he was searching for a purer or more immediate expression of those skills, and that what he did in developing Aikido was a paring away of elaborate and technically intricate technique in order to express the core skills more directly--Matisse to Takeda's Picasso. I think he did see cooperative practice and ukemi as important elements of practicing these skills.

What I think he didn't foresee was that the big throws would become so seductive that people would focus on them to the exclusion of the core skills that he knew were required to make his Aikido martially effective. So his students neglected the solo exercises for the flashy throws. So: "This is not my Aikido."

Translations: The best specific example is in the kamae thread. I'm not gonna hunt it--you should have done so already--but the basic story is that O-Sensei wrote or had written in his manual "Budo" a term ("roppo") describing a specific stance. It seemed to mean "open the feet in 6 directions" but the translator (Stevens) didn't know what that meant and asked Saito Sensei, who just said, "Oh, it means hanmi." So Stevens translated it as "stand with your feet at 60 degrees to each other" (paraphrasing throughout, but I have the sense). There were additional passages that he didn't understand at all, and rather than put a bunch of gibberish into his book he just left it out.

But it turns out that "6 directions" is a well-known concept in the internal arts, with a specific meaning. So the translation buried a link to a traditional body of martial knowledge.

Other, similar passages have been cited--e.g. moving in opposing spirals. One passage talked about putting Izanami in your left foot and Izanagi in your right, which is completely baffling if you don't know how Izanami and Izanagi are pictured as spiraling around each other and how spirals are used in martial movement. But when you have all the pieces, they lock together like a jigsaw puzzle, so much so that they self-evidently go together.

Jeez, this is way too long for a forum post. But it's late and my glass is empty, so I'll put it up as is. Anybody who gets through it, I'll buy you a glass of Talisker's if we ever meet.

Chris Li
11-12-2011, 12:19 AM
Very nice post - I just have two comments.


Similarly for the quotes about being the embodiment of the Kami. Even a Christian might say they were inspired by or filled by the Holy Spirit. It's a great mistake to take religious language as literal language. Religious language is always, at base, poetic--the language of myth.

I think that Ueshiba's belief in possession was quite literal. Check out http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=108


Translations: The best specific example is in the kamae thread. I'm not gonna hunt it--you should have done so already--but the basic story is that O-Sensei wrote or had written in his manual "Budo" a term ("roppo") describing a specific stance. It seemed to mean "open the feet in 6 directions" but the translator (Stevens) didn't know what that meant and asked Saito Sensei, who just said, "Oh, it means hanmi." So Stevens translated it as "stand with your feet at 60 degrees to each other" (paraphrasing throughout, but I have the sense). There were additional passages that he didn't understand at all, and rather than put a bunch of gibberish into his book he just left it out.

But it turns out that "6 directions" is a well-known concept in the internal arts, with a specific meaning. So the translation buried a link to a traditional body of martial knowledge.

Other, similar passages have been cited--e.g. moving in opposing spirals. One passage talked about putting Izanami in your left foot and Izanagi in your right, which is completely baffling if you don't know how Izanami and Izanagi are pictured as spiraling around each other and how spirals are used in martial movement. But when you have all the pieces, they lock together like a jigsaw puzzle, so much so that they self-evidently go together.

Jeez, this is way too long for a forum post. But it's late and my glass is empty, so I'll put it up as is. Anybody who gets through it, I'll buy you a glass of Talisker's if we ever meet.

There are two translations, the later one is the "Takemusu Edition" by Saito that was (I believe) translated by Stan Pranin. The earlier one was translated by John Stevens.

The Saito edition included the "6 directions" quote, but cites it as a possible reference to stepping in Kabuki.

The Stevens edition leaves out "6 directions" all together and translates "always open your legs in 6 directions" as "always open your feet at a 60 degree angle".

Both translations leave out some important material about spiraling through the legs when stepping - the Founder describing how to stand and move, how to hold the body, in clear technical language, if you have the background to understand the context. Seems very foundational, and very important, to me. More importantly, the same references appear in Daito-ryu, and then back into Chinese martial arts, which demonstrated the technical lineage. There's more, much more then we can go into here.

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 12:28 AM
Please give me a break on typos. It's late here. Small keyboard. Migraine.

This is not an answer regarding the religious teachings of O'Sensei and their relationship he argues they had to his Aikido. If these translations are fine:
http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/03/04/o-senseis-spiritual-writings-where-did-they-really-come-from-by-stanley-pranin/
Then you are conceding the spiritual basis of O'Sense's Aikido. He argued it was the source of his Aikido. The secret of Aikido in fact. See the interviews I posted earlier. See what Pranin's Sensei translated above. See What Saotome Sensei wrote based on his teachings. You haven't made the case. You are engaging in circular reasoning.

Dan has made posts against the Ukemi in Aikido. Others have made similar statements in this discussion thread inspired by their time with Dan. So which is it that you folks believe? People including Dan have argued that Aikido is just Takeda in O'Sensei, even in this discussion thread. O'Sensei said his Aikido was not technically derived. What do you mean by the technical engine? I'm not engaging inthe debate you are trying to engage me in. I'm not debating whether O'Sensei developed an art based on a different "engine.". I'm arguing that O'Sensei argued, and his direct students like Saotome Sensei argued, that his art was fundamentally different in its practice and source of power. You can argue that he was wrong. Just don't put words in his mouth. He did not agree with your position. He argued that it was Ai Ki Do. Not Aiki do. You have not made the case for your positions. You've simply repeated your claims. That's not evidence.

On to whether there are meaningful differences between the arts, aside from what O'Sensei believed, I have already responded to the claim that O'Senseis Aikido was only about breaking internal balance and body conditioning with no relationship with Uke needed (Paraphrasing Dan here). As I stated, no touch so called god techniques are different, the intent is different (to escape and resolve the conflict without revenge and with minimum injury), and the emphasis on the attackers energy as the engine is different (I know there's some of this in Diato-ryu but not like in Aikido). I don't train Diato-ryu but don't make the mistake of thinking I haven't trained with people who have. Aikido is different.

As most of your claims seem to be based on alleged translation errors, and you won't discuss them with non-Japanese readers, then no one can ever question your claims unless they can read Japanese. That's a pretty dishonest way to debate.

Wrong again, it's not "Take Musi Aiki", just as it wasn't "Take Muso Aiki", it's "Take Musu Aiki".

Basically, there are no complete English translations, accurate or otherwise. Sonoko Tanaka did a bit of the early sections for AikiNews (now Aikido Journal) and John Stevens published a highly abridged version that he himself called "Take Musu Aiki Lite" - there's nothing wrong with that, he published it for popular consumption. I talked to him about it before it came out, he lives down the street from me.

I think that there's rather more technical information contained in Take Musu Aiki than is generally thought, although there's plenty of the other stuff too. Again, nobody ever argued that Ueshiba wasn't religious. As to religion as a source of technical power - see my response below.

Daito-ryu training is no less cooperative than modern Aikido training is. Cooperative training is hardly a revolution in Japanese martial arts, which are mostly kata based.

Nobody ever said the Ueshiba's art as a whole was not different from Daito-ryu. What we're talking about is the technical part, the engine that drives the technique.

Show an example of technical prowess that Ueshiba was capable of or demonstrated that was not present in Daito-ryu. If you can do that then there may be a basis to argue for a separate technical source.

Saying it's different/revolutionary/new isn't unusual in Japan - that's how the beginning of many classical ryuha came about, handed down from the gods or the tengu.

Frankly, I'm not interested in arguing translation issues on any detailed level unless you can speak and read Japanese. It's just pointless. I'm not selling anything, really, take the information or not, it's up to you.

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 12:34 AM
The fact that technical instructions were intermingled with the spiritual writings makes the point that for O'Sensei they went together. You're making my point here. Very nice post - I just have two comments.

I think that Ueshiba's belief in possession was quite literal. Check out http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=108

There are two translations, the later one is the "Takemusu Edition" by Saito that was (I believe) translated by Stan Pranin. The earlier one was translated by John Stevens.

The Saito edition included the "6 directions" quote, but cites it as a possible reference to stepping in Kabuki.

The Stevens edition leaves out "6 directions" all together and translates "always open your legs in 6 directions" as "always open your feet at a 60 degree angle".

Both translations leave out some important material about spiraling through the legs when stepping - the Founder describing how to stand and move, how to hold the body, in clear technical language, if you have the background to understand the context. Seems very foundational, and very important, to me. More importantly, the same references appear in Daito-ryu, and then back into Chinese martial arts, which demonstrated the technical lineage. There's more, much more then we can go into here.

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 12:46 AM
Hugh, comments like does Ken really want an answer are meant to be dismissive. Not a nice way to begin.

I basically agree with your description of both basic and advanced Ukemi training. It is not what others have said (Dan posted years ago why would anyone choose to fall down in response to a strike). I disagree to some extent. Uke can teach Nage by taking Ukemi that is idealized, to draw out the proper movement over time. This is what O'Sensei told Saotome Sensei. I'm going to repeat that. This is what O'Sensei told Saotome Sensei. This is the unity of opposites in infinity. There are schools where people fall down for no reason. They are not the majority. That doesn't happen in general in ASU or USAF. By the way, O'Sensei showed techniques where people fell from the force of their own attack. This is not fake or phony. This is the highest level of Aikido that even O'Sensei could not do every time.

Let me describe the highest level irimi Nage that Saotome can do. He had a Karate master punch him in the face as fast and hard as he could. He was able to draw the attacker off his feet With a gentle brush of his arm so he was literally horizontal feet first. Then he did an elbow strike before gravity took Uke down. I saw this along with at least 50 other people. This was not fake. This is Aikido at the highest level. This is not Diato-ryu.

Atemi is not an attack. The point O'Sensei was making is that the attacker provides the energy. As he said the attacker breaks the harmony of the universe and is thus at a disadvantage. Both spiritually and physically. The attacks itself an opening. Non-resistance refers to not allowing the attacker to regain his balance. There are many ways to accomplish this. If Uke stops his movement it is possible to change within the technique or between techniques. This is take Musu aiki. If they resist you can change with the resistance. This is called oyo henka. Attacking an Aikido artist should feel like falling into quick sand. The more you struggle the sooner you fall.

A big part of this for O'Sensei was related to Karma. Aikido resolved the karma delimma. We don't have to agree, but that's what he believed. You just can't separate the spiritual from the art.

kewms
11-12-2011, 12:54 AM
They have basically argued for abandoning Aikido training approach. More than anything I am pushing back against the idea that Aikido training can be competitive.

Where have they done this? I've been on the mat with Dan, and didn't get that impression. The dojo where I train actively promotes seminars with Dan, and the chief instructor is quite outspoken in his opinion that competition is unproductive. If "Dan KoolAid" exists, the people I train with are swimming in it, but I'd say the dojo is less competitive than many I've visited.

So my response to this whole thread is mostly bafflement. From where I sit, you are beating the living $#@% out of a strawman that has little or no resemblance to the actual training I've experienced.

Katherine

Chris Li
11-12-2011, 12:59 AM
Well Ken, I wish you the best of luck with your approach. I'm out.

Best,

Chris

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 01:06 AM
I am responding to their posts over the years and also in this discusion.

I am not responding to their training as it is secretive I have not seen it directly.

Please just describe what they are doing and how it is different than Aikido and contains what they claim is lacking even in original students of O'Sensei.


Where have they done this? I've been on the mat with Dan, and didn't get that impression. The dojo where I train actively promotes seminars with Dan, and the chief instructor is quite outspoken in his opinion that competition is unproductive. If "Dan KoolAid" exists, the people I train with are swimming in it, but I'd say the dojo is less competitive than many I've visited.

So my response to this whole thread is mostly bafflement. From where I sit, you are beating the living $#@% out of a strawman that has little or no resemblance to the actual training I've experienced.

Katherine

kewms
11-12-2011, 01:08 AM
Dan has made posts against the Ukemi in Aikido. Others have made similar statements in this discussion thread inspired by their time with Dan. So which is it that you folks believe?

So. You are taking a stand against the Evil Dan Conspiracy because he questions aikido ukemi? Seriously?

Katherine

kewms
11-12-2011, 01:13 AM
The posts by Dan and others have been insulting in tone and substance all along. Towards myself and others. They generally don't even have the respect to address senior instructors, Doshu, or O'Sensei with their rightful titles. I responded in kind.

If you're going to get prickly about titles, you should know that O Sensei has no apostrophe. O is an honorific meaning "Great," not the signifier for a Celtic family relationship.

Katherine

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 01:14 AM
So. You are taking a stand against the Evil Dan Conspiracy because he questions aikido ukemi? Seriously?

Katherine

Have you read my posts? O'Sensei told Saotome Sensei that the cooperative ukemi process in Aikido was critical to learning Aikido. No cooperative ukemi no Aikido. It's fundamental.

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 01:15 AM
Titles matter. Typos don't.

kewms
11-12-2011, 01:54 AM
Have you read my posts? O'Sensei told Saotome Sensei that the cooperative ukemi process in Aikido was critical to learning Aikido. No cooperative ukemi no Aikido. It's fundamental.

I read your posts. It is impossible to understand what you (or anyone else) actually mean by "cooperative ukemi" without getting on the mat with you. As Hugh pointed out, it is pretty difficult to teach any form of martial art without some degree of cooperation: that's why it's a martial art and not a street brawl, that's why many arts have kata. No one (including Dan) is denying that. Nor -- at that level -- is cooperation unique to aikido.

It is also impossible to learn any martial art -- especially one as subtle as aikido -- without feedback from an intelligent, competent uke. If I do *this,* it works. If I do *that,* it doesn't work. If *everything* works because uke is being so cooperative that he flies in whatever direction I wave my hand, then I'm never going to get anywhere close to what Saotome Sensei is doing. If uke's attacks are so miserably disorganized or overcommitted that a light breeze would push him over, then I'm never going to do much more than embarrass myself if attacked by, say, a moderately competent brown belt karateka or judoka.

The argument, then, is not that cooperation is always bad, but that one can have too much of a good thing. And, further, that too many aikidoka misunderstand the role of uke, and therefore fail to provide the feedback that nage needs to improve. (Hint: If you're not at least a rokudan, and your aikido always works, your partners are probably guilty of this.)

As I said upthread, the position I have stated above does not strike me as particularly controversial. It seems to me perfectly compatible with Saotome Sensei's thoughts on higher level ukemi (http://www.aikido-shobukan.org/?ref=19#The Proper Role of Uke in Yudansha Examination). Which is why I am confused that you find it so viscerally offensive.

So. Do you object to anything I stated above? What, and why? If not, what proposal about ukemi do you find so objectionable? (With, please, a reference to the point where that proposal was actually made. I'm afraid I haven't been as diligent as you in reading the history of this topic.)

Katherine

kewms
11-12-2011, 01:58 AM
Titles matter. Typos don't.

When you do it every single time, it isn't a typo.

Katherine

Kevin Leavitt
11-12-2011, 02:08 AM
went back and read an old thread which had quite a few folks http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14063

memory lane. there was a time when jim sorrentino took exception to dan; rob liberti and sigman; david orange and IS folks in general; and the endless arguments between dan and mike. all these heated exchange brought back fond memory which i don't have to remember, since there is a search function in the forum. i remembered thinking what in the god name these folks talking about and made all these wild claims. i decided to go and experienced their stuffs. to date, i have not get the chance to experience a number of these folks, but the ones that i had, they actually walked the walk better than they talked the talk. i sometimes wondered how many of these folks who had debate with dan, mike, rob john, and so on, who went out and get their hands on these folks and changed their mind soon after. i tell ya, ego is a strange thing, just like waffle for breakfast and that just wrong; ham, egg, sausage and bacon for moi! :)

Phi, yes agreed. I have not gotten full spped on the bandwagon as I spend my time doing other things that are more of a priority to me at this point in my life. However, having gotten with Ark, Mike, Ushiro, Rob John I had a better understanding of where they are coming from and what they are talking about.

I have no issues with it at all and frankly walked away with more knowledge about AI I than I ever did from a shihan level seminar from a traditional teacher. That is not to say that the traditional teachers don,t get it, they either can't teach it well orchoose not to waste their time with me.

Do I have criticisms and critiques of the IS genre. Yea, but they are minor, most of mine are ego based, and really not worth fighting about and get in the way of learning so you will note that I don't comment on the small stuff about "well on this date you said, then you said....".

Bottom line is over last 5 years or so these guys have offered many an alternative and access to concepts and methods that many of us have not had access to and for that we should simply say thank you.

kewms
11-12-2011, 02:22 AM
I am responding to their posts over the years and also in this discusion.

I am not responding to their training as it is secretive I have not seen it directly.

Please just describe what they are doing and how it is different than Aikido and contains what they claim is lacking even in original students of O'Sensei.

Secretive? Well, as secretive as any seminar advertised a year in advance can be, I guess. (http://www.aikieast.com/guests.html) And the various ASU instructors who have studied with Dan are even less secretive than that.

I'm not going to wade into the swamp of evaluating any particular teacher's aikido. As noted up-thread, that's not really the issue anyway. The question is whether or not these particular skills are being passed down to the rest of us.

How is it "different than aikido?" Again, Dan is teaching skills, not waza, not aikido or any other martial art.

Katherine

raul rodrigo
11-12-2011, 06:22 AM
How can it "dishonest" of Chris Li to make an argument based on the fact that he can speak and read Japanese and Ken doesn't? That's a fact.

The dishonesty, to my mind, comes from someone arguing vociferously about the accuracy of a translation from a language he doesn't know.

Ken is proceeding from ignorance. Belligerent ignorance.

Fred Little
11-12-2011, 08:01 AM
Titles matter. Typos don't.

With all due respect, when you go after someone aggressively, and one of your first lines of attack is the lack of clarity and precision in his written expression, you need to be careful in that regard.

Now you'll have to excuse me...I need to go paint a sign for Mister Kim's Take One Doo.

Best,

FL

Dave de Vos
11-12-2011, 08:44 AM
Please just describe what they are doing and how it is different than Aikido and contains what they claim is lacking even in original students of O'Sensei.

Dan and other "internal" teachers are not teaching aikido. It is about enhancing your body. They teach how to rewire your body and mind by specific solo and paired exercises. When done right, it takes time and a lot of work before for these exercises have noticable effect. And it takes more time and more work before these exercises have a profound effect. It is not about becoming muscular, hard and tough. It is about becoming extremely centered, solid, soft, flexible and sensitive (in my understanding).

These exercises are not waza, they are more like calisthenics (but very different from the normal calisthenics. I'd say it's a bit like yoga in motion). In that light it might not be a surprise that the exercises are cooperative. Your partner offers just enough resistance that you can notice your mistakes, fix them and learn).

Sometimes the teacher might demonstrate how we could apply these internal skills in a martial context. But it is not a martial art by itself. It does not replace aikido, karate or BJJ training. It is something you do on your own, besides the art that you train.

Why would an aikidoka want to add internal qualities to his body? Points that Dan and others are trying to make, is that aikido (like many martial arts) was supposed to have these internal qualities from the beginning. That aikido is not unique in this. That O Sensei spent a lot of time doing solo exercises like these. That O Sensei tried to teach it. That somehow, it didn't get transmitted all too well. All the references to the history of aikido and non-aikido martial traditions like taiji is meant to back this up.

Again, I'm no expert in history. It is just my understanding of the intention of Dan and others who promote internal training for aikido.

I am not interested in history that much, but they have convinced me that aikido is supposed to be an internal art. That's enough for me to keep doing these exercises on my own.

Gary David
11-12-2011, 09:48 AM
Let me describe the highest level irimi Nage that Saotome can do. He had a Karate master punch him in the face as fast and hard as he could. He was able to draw the attacker off his feet With a gentle brush of his arm so he was literally horizontal feet first. Then he did an elbow strike before gravity took Uke down. I saw this along with at least 50 other people. This was not fake. This is Aikido at the highest level. This is not Diato-ryu.


Ken
What you describe here has the resulting appearance of what a close friend of mine, who is Aiki-jujitsu in a lineage associated with the parties here, accomplishes. The punch to the face curves, the soft bush continues the curve, bringing uke to a point of destabilization, the individual's center outside of their body....to be finished with a easy drop on nage part....maybe covered by an elbow strike. All this takes secondary pressure, push from behind, soft grip, transfer of momentum, weight drop, up and down spirals, use of the lower body, no tension in the upper body, proper rotation from the center (not hips first) and such....much of what is not clearly visible.....all of these things are not exclusive to Saotome Sensei or to the kind of Aikido you are trying to reach.

Just saying

Gary

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 10:12 AM
Dave, I appreciate this sincere effort to communicate.

Dan and others are not merely saying that Aikido practices should add more of the internal training. They are saying that Aikido is all and only about the internal unbalancing. As people forget how outlandish his claims have been I quote several posts from Dan below. If you read them you'll see that he does claim to be teaching Aikido... Or rather they don't really believe in Aikido so are teaching the true aiki of Daito-ryu. He does claim that Aikido is an ineffective art. I have not exaggerated his claims.

We can look at examples of Daito-ryu for comparison with Aikido:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZczkJwsFFA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Generally there is a tendency to stop Uke's movement and then do the technique. Dan views attempts to use Uke's energy to power the throw as ineffective and superficial. He has got it backwards. The Using of Uke's energy to such a high level was the breakthrough in Aikido. Breaking internal balance, Atemi, posture, these are all necessary at times but they are secondary to how Aikido works. Stopping Uke and then doing a technique is less likely to work when there is a great strength and size differential and it is slower in general. Moving and blending works better in multiple attack situations. A broader range of people are capable of learning Aikido well compared to Daito-ryu. When you look at the images of Dan's seminar that I found and posted a link to you see evidence of counter punching as well as the unbalancing exercises. I've done similar Tai Chi inspired punching. It's fine. It's even good. It's not Aikido. It gets in the way of Aikido. It's what I do if I screw up my Aikido, not what I do instead of Aikido.

It was said by one of Dan's students earlier that all of O'Sensei's aiki was about breaking internal balance (not some but all he said). Dan and company seem to have a very narrow and mechanical definition of aiki. There is aiki in sword but sword is seldom about breaking balance, for example.

They see in O'Sensei what they want to see. Some of what they see is there at times. At other times it is not there. They ignore or dismiss the things that don't fit their position. Like the spiritual aspects. Like the blending and leading. It was said that people are trying to be as good as O'Sensei so they are doing things he did but which have allegedly been lost. In the process they are loosing the parts that have been kept. Moreover, they are leaving out practices that O'Sensei seldom asked of his students. If you want to be like O'Sensei, from his point of view, you must be a strict vegetarian, take purification baths, meditate, do art, make offerings, study, train, fast, and seek to leave earthly motives. Then maybe you'll be rewarded by a Kami.

Spin off of the latest discussion in the Bill Gleason/ Popkin thread on the continuing Aikido or Non aikido aiki debate and what is or isn't aiki when it is taught...and where is can be placed on aikiweb.

Since more and more top aikido people are going outside of aikido to learn aiki, it's not going to matter in the long run.
I have charted a course for my own involvement in teaching IP/aiki which I always stated it was a three to five year plan, with predictions of behavior. 
The plan and events as I saw them
1. First, discussion of it. "Those outside people don't really understand the aiki of aikido."
2. Aikido students go feel it, recognize they missed it and they are not allowed to train in their home dojos.
3. Aikido teachers are shown it. They can't do a thing to the guys who actually have it. They see they missed it. They create an environment to train it and they start to teach it. They tell everyone "These outside guys are doing the aiki of aikido!!"
4. They start to get it a little bit and their students do as well.
5. As their bodies change and their mind/ body awareness improves, they convince themselves they actually had more of it then they first thought (forgetting the evidence of their obvious initial failures)
6. As they get better because of going outside, they think the people they went outside to get it from aren't as good as they once thought.
7..In time they convince themselves and their students that everything they wanted was there all along and they already knew it, those outside guys just reminded them.

Then, full circle in the near future
8. The new narrative appears. The people who were given aiki from the outside guys now take it back into the art and they say to their students. Those outside people are good but ....
they don't really understand the aiki of aikido."

It's only a matter of time. This is just the predictable path for the best budo people. Most of whom are self motived and self disciplined people. All input will eventually become self-awareness and self-actualization. They cannot help but to follow a process more or less along the lines of; 
That guys amazing
I can't do that, 
I am learning to do that,
My teachers did that
I forgot I already knew all that 
That guy was a bit of an influence on me 

Precedent
Ueshiba, meets Takeda. When they met, he cried from being totally dominated. 
Twenty three years under Takeda- Ueshiba gets power. This was all based on and witnessed to be from...Takeda.
What do we get
What he says "Takeda opened my eyes to true budo...." 
What he does hands out Daito ryu scrolls with a changed name, and refused to pay the fees he promised...and walked away into a world pointing to his vision..

I am a realist. What these aikido teachers are doing is going to change aikido. It is changing aikido, but in the end it is going to turn back to ownership from within...aikido. So, for me it's best to remain a nobody and just help when I am asked and watch it all unfold with interest. It appears that everyone has a shield or added layer in what they say on the net or say behind closed doors. For some strange reason, what they say and what they can actually do in person is...not always the same. I suspect it's always been that way. 

So is this the aiki in aikido? You just might find that it's not only who you ask, but also when you ask them.  

Standing on the outside and enjoying the view.
Dan

Aikido: Discussions of power
I would like to open with a discussion of O sensei by his son, Kisshomaru in... "A life in Aikido." 
After a recent seminar, I was reading and reflecting on a direction, and and the continued discovery of the ignorance of such basics as the warm up exercises in the art and how and why they were done, what they were for and what they were meant to deliver to the adept.
_________________
"...since O sensei had made his search for the true path of Aiki the center of his life, I don't think these "legendary feats" were all he intended to do. But since Aikido was still at an early stage, I think he used these feats as a means to explain and promote Aikido to the masses, who might not easily acknowledge it without power or the proof of power. In other words, my sense is that O sensei's legendary feats were intended not only to demonstrate or show off what he could do, but to create and opportunity for the introduction of a true martial art.
O sensei could use some rather dramatic methods to show what Takemusu Aiki...was."
_________________

I think this stands in stark contrast to what has become of the art in the hands of those who thought to pursue it's higher goals without the means to deliver as martial artists. It strains credibility to be copying the trappings of a martial art without the means to deliver. And apparently the more one researches and reads, the more one discovers that the arts founder not only shared the same view, but stressed it continually.

Of interest, in the same chapter, We find a discussion of Kito ryu as the study of In yo ho, with direct correlation to Ueshiba's pursuit in Daito ryu's aiki in yo ho, with the advice that one cannot pursue one or the other, but must maintain the union of opposites to be effective. This lines up with the new translations currently taking place and those, fit in well with the Chinese models. Yet we hear these same sayings (which the non-aikido people understand)... were un-intelligible to those students of Aikido who would become the Japanese teachers the Aikido community is currently following.

I think that nothing has changed from the post war taking over of Kisshomaru to today. I believe O sensei's famous entry comment "This is not my Aikido" into the post war dojo, would be used upon his entry into the majority of modern dojo, were he alive today. I keep hearing this assessment stated by Shihan and teachers I am meeting. "I think we missed it." "I do not believe that we would withstand O sensei's scrutiny of our methods today." I think O sensei, would no doubt agree. For most, they cannot enter into an informed discussion on the tenets of in yo ho and how it applies to effective movement, much less how it would be the cornerstone of soft power in a martial art based on Aiki. It appears that once they experience aiki and the ability to generate power, they now agree that were O sensei to re-enter the picture today, his entry would sunder the Aikdo community, as many, if not most, would have to re-wire or leave. In other words, his re-entry would turn modern Aikido on its head.

Against outside pressure, Ueshiba's pursuit of effective power as the core of Aikido would withstand the current demands, would withstand critical review for internal power and aiki and he would in fact, get along with and have more in common with those pursuing that as the foundation of their aikido than the current methods of the majority practicing the art. 
Thoughts?
Dan

He did say what he was searching for so it doesn't really need much speculation unless you didn't understand him.

What makes the softest aiki...is power
What generates control of others force into you that feels ghosty soft...is power.
What makes deadly atemi is power.
Most martial artists, do not understand power, which give those that do...power over them.
It is not about strength for force on force. Continually bringing it up shows how far people are off from understanding their own founders message.
Using small effort to move a large force requires power unseen or felt.
Using 5 and 5 to defeat ten is power unseen.
7 and 3 to defeat ten requires power unseen.
The source of that power is Aiki in yo ho.

Takeda knew it
Sagawa trained it and talked about it
"However closely you watch my Aiki from the outside you will not understand. That's because I remove the power from my opponent through internal movements that do not show in the outer form. Now I am able to remove the enemy's power no matter where on my body I am grabbed. The source of this begins from a simple principle,(aiki in yo ho) but nobody understands. You can see whether somebody understands by watching their Aiki-age."

Ueshiba trained it and talked about it
Henry (Kono) asked O-sensei "Why can we not do what you do, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand in yo ho."
"In order to achieve the mysterious workings of ki based upon intent, first realize the appearance of the foundation that is the ki connection (ki musubi) between the left side of the physical body grounded in the martial and the right that receives the universe. If you can achieve this connection between the left and the right then you will be able to move with complete freedom."
"Manifest yo (yang) in the right hand, change the left hand to in (yin) and guide the opponent."
"The way of the mountain echo is intent, standing in the center of the connection between the ki of heaven and the ki of the earth."

Tohei trained it and talked about it 
Shirata trained it and talked about it
How you are meant to use it is the mystery that people do not understand. It is the source of aiki in-yo-ho. The very foundation of the entire art of Aikido....is power.

In his own words
Interestingly enough, Many of Ueshiba's commentaries are borrowed from Daito ryu and the Chinese arts. Some are almost word for word. In essence many of his Doka; Yin and Yang hand, dual opposing spirals, Six directions, Heaven/earth/man, mountain echo, are not his, they are concepts all borrowed from other arts.
And they were given to a student based completely incapable of even translating them correctly, much less defining and doing what he was apparently continually talking about.
When they were asked why they mistranslated, or skipped over translating these phrases on movement that were so dear to your founder that he repeated them over and over and are commonplace to about a million people, they said..
"We had no idea what they meant."
And they....became your teachers.

I agree with Both Sagawa and Ueshiba who is worth quoting again.
"Why can we not do what you do, Sensei?" O-Sensei's reply was direct, simple and final, "Because you don't understand in yo ho."

And Sagawa "All you need do is watch someone do aki age and you know if they understand in yo ho."
If you are not doing aiki in yo ho, you are not doing Aikido (the way of aiki). Ueshiba was right, it really is that simple.

Dan

Chinese: Yin yang 
Japanese- in yo ho (method) yes it is a method.
By definition it is not about power dominating... 
But you would have to understand what in yo ho means.
Which was more or less my point.

As I stated 
Teachers in aikido don't get what their own founder was saying. It's not their fault, apparently it just isn't taught anymore, hence Ikeda going to Karate and Daito ryu to get it, others going elsewhere. I have read just about everything in English and it isn't there. It isn't in the interviews with the arts teachers. I now know the translators didn't know how to translate it correctly. They don't know the meaning of his terms, and they still don't understand his contextual referencing. As it was then, it is now, to the modern teachers...it's pretty much gobbledegook. 

Some of us from...outside, are helping to fix this. Outside of Aikido -as aikido teachers attending seminars with teachers from other arts like the ICMA are finding out- this stuff is known. As one group of ICMA guys said to some aikido teachers: "Your art is a soft art, how come you guys don't know this stuff, what have you been doing?"

So we are trying hard to get the word out to aikido-ka, by reading it to them (their own translations are incorrect), teaching them where it came from, what it means, why their founder kept talking about it over and over and over and show them the same quotes from across the sea. Then we show them how to do it, and why it was important. So far it seems the teachers like it and find it important. Plus they get reading suggestions to awaken them to a world their founder was pointing to that they thought was indecipherable. It's one of the benefits of going out to learn.

As for in yo ho, as has been pointed out (but only to certain teachers) in watching Ueshiba videos....(and as Sagawa said) "You can see it instantly."
Hell, at certain points it was like Ueshiba was daring you. "Hey...look at me!" it was so obvious.
Dan

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote:  
Dan
I have tried to find more on Aiki in yo ho, but nothing much came up. But from waht I have found:
Do I understand correctly it is about being able to become the link that neutralizes yin yang between your attacker and the universe ? Balance out yin yang? (do not know how to describe it better)
The power would be more about ability than actual strength...
You won't find anything.
Aiki is a method, resolving in yo within and without you.
It is more complex than the typical nonsense of doing things; like timing and power displays between you and an attacker.
Aiki begins in you, is perfected within you, otherwise everything you try to do with an opponent that creates kuzushi on contact will fail.
The type of strength produced is not what most people understand and or know how to develop, and for that matter know how to cope with. The dilapidated state of Sagawa-where he couldn't open a jar-is not a requirement. Most people I meet still have this weird notion that "soft" means evading or running away. 
a) that is not soft, and it is unsupported
b) it does not exhibit yin yang
They just don't know how to produce power without flexing muscle, so they opt for that evading stuff and call that "Soft."
Interestingly, and in keeping with the tenor of the thread, the world outside of aikido, has tracked that type of understanding for hundreds of years and have discredited it as ...not being part of the "soft" arts. They also recognized that it was low level, that many can do it- as it requires no serious training or changing of the body. The changing of the body is the cornerstone of the soft arts and here we go again why O sensei said no one can do what I do, because you do not understand In yo ho. 

Cheers
Dan

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote:  
Dan
I have tried to find more on Aiki in yo ho, but nothing much came up. But from waht I have found:
Do I understand correctly it is about being able to become the link that neutralizes yin yang between your attacker and the universe ? Balance out yin yang? (do not know how to describe it better)
The power would be more about ability than actual strength...
You won't find anything.
Aiki is a method, resolving in yo within and without you.
It is more complex than the typical nonsense of doing things; like timing and power displays between you and an attacker.
Aiki begins in you, is perfected within you, otherwise everything you try to do with an opponent that creates kuzushi on contact will fail.
The type of strength produced is not what most people understand and or know how to develop, and for that matter know how to cope with. The dilapidated state of Sagawa-where he couldn't open a jar-is not a requirement. Most people I meet still have this weird notion that "soft" means evading or running away. 
a) that is not soft, and it is unsupported
b) it does not exhibit yin yang
They just don't know how to produce power without flexing muscle, so they opt for that evading stuff and call that "Soft."
Interestingly, and in keeping with the tenor of the thread, the world outside of aikido, has tracked that type of understanding for hundreds of years and have discredited it as ...not being part of the "soft" arts. They also recognized that it was low level, that many can do it- as it requires no serious training or changing of the body. The changing of the body is the cornerstone of the soft arts and here we go again why O sensei said no one can do what I do, because you do not understand In yo ho. 

Cheers
Dan
The attempts to redefine aikido as ai..ki..do was a recent corruption.
Aiki..do is congruent with
Ken...do
Ju...do
Iai...do.
Nothing more.

Dan and other "internal" teachers are not teaching aikido. It is about enhancing your body. They teach how to rewire your body and mind by specific solo and paired exercises. When done right, it takes time and a lot of work before for these exercises have noticable effect. And it takes more time and more work before these exercises have a profound effect. It is not about becoming muscular, hard and tough. It is about becoming extremely centered, solid, soft, flexible and sensitive (in my understanding).

These exercises are not waza, they are more like calisthenics (but very different from the normal calisthenics. I'd say it's a bit like yoga in motion). In that light it might not be a surprise that the exercises are cooperative. Your partner offers just enough resistance that you can notice your mistakes, fix them and learn).

Sometimes the teacher might demonstrate how we could apply these internal skills in a martial context. But it is not a martial art by itself. It does not replace aikido, karate or BJJ training. It is something you do on your own, besides the art that you train.

Why would an aikidoka want to add internal qualities to his body? Points that Dan and others are trying to make, is that aikido (like many martial arts) was supposed to have these internal qualities from the beginning. That aikido is not unique in this. That O Sensei spent a lot of time doing solo exercises like these. That O Sensei tried to teach it. That somehow, it didn't get transmitted all too well. All the references to the history of aikido and non-aikido martial traditions like taiji is meant to back this up.

Again, I'm no expert in history. It is just my understanding of the intention of Dan and others who promote internal training for aikido.

I am not interested in history that much, but they have convinced me that aikido is supposed to be an internal art. That's enough for me to keep doing these exercises on my own.

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 10:16 AM
Ken
What you describe here has the resulting appearance of what a close friend of mine, who is Aiki-jujitsu in a lineage associated with the parties here, accomplishes. The punch to the face curves, the soft bush continues the curve, bringing uke to a point of destabilization, the individual's center outside of their body....to be finished with a easy drop on nage part....maybe covered by an elbow strike. All this takes secondary pressure, push from behind, soft grip, transfer of momentum, weight drop, up and down spirals, use of the lower body, no tension in the upper body, proper rotation from the center (not hips first) and such....much of what is not clearly visible.....all of these things are not exclusive to Saotome Sensei or to the kind of Aikido you are trying to reach.

Just saying

Gary

Where's the video footage? Maybe I don't do justice to what I'm describing. Uke was four feet off the ground and completely verticle. O Sensei watched Saotome Sensei every morning for seven years as he tried to get this technique, in an effort to help him find it. Exclusive to Saotome, no - he says anyone can do what he does - but specific to Aikido yes. Daito-ryu does not do this. The things that O Sensei did that amazed everyone were these sort of things.

Eric in Denver
11-12-2011, 10:26 AM
went back and read an old thread which had quite a few folks http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14063

memory lane. there was a time when jim sorrentino took exception to dan; rob liberti and sigman; david orange and IS folks in general; and the endless arguments between dan and mike. all these heated exchange brought back fond memory which i don't have to remember, since there is a search function in the forum. i remembered thinking what in the god name these folks talking about and made all these wild claims. i decided to go and experienced their stuffs. to date, i have not get the chance to experience a number of these folks, but the ones that i had, they actually walked the walk better than they talked the talk. i sometimes wondered how many of these folks who had debate with dan, mike, rob john, and so on, who went out and get their hands on these folks and changed their mind soon after. i tell ya, ego is a strange thing, just like waffle for breakfast and that just wrong; ham, egg, sausage and bacon for moi! :)

This was my experience as well. There is a lot of curmudgeonly discussion on this board around these skills, enough argument that I went and checked it out. The stuff is crazy and amazing. And it isn't spiritual.

That being said, it is pretty hard to deny that Ueshiba Sr was spiritually oriented -- why would he have spent so long in Omoto? You don't do that if you are just looking to be the biggest bad ass on the block.

I think the problem in this discussion is that if is one not reading the IS forums carefully, then they appear to say that Ueshiba never meant anything spiritual and that everything was only related to developing IS skills all the time. Probably the better way to view it is that some (but not all) of what appears to be namby-pamby New Age religious crap is actually a clue to IS training.

But there are also statements that are purely spiritual or religious. For example, I find it hard to believe that he was asked to give a lecture for Byakko in order to help them become better martial artists.

Perhaps someone with better J-language skills can shed some light on this aspect of it. Isn't there a statement attributed to Ueshiba that says Aikido is love? Doesn't that relate to a discussion of changing out the kanji for blending (ai -合) with the kanji for love (ai-愛)? That seems like it would be a pretty strong argument for their being a spiritual component outside of the IS discussion.

RonRagusa
11-12-2011, 10:34 AM
Ken
What you describe here has the resulting appearance of what a close friend of mine, who is Aiki-jujitsu in a lineage associated with the parties here, accomplishes. The punch to the face curves, the soft bush continues the curve, bringing uke to a point of destabilization, the individual's center outside of their body....to be finished with a easy drop on nage part....maybe covered by an elbow strike. All this takes secondary pressure, push from behind, soft grip, transfer of momentum, weight drop, up and down spirals, use of the lower body, no tension in the upper body, proper rotation from the center (not hips first) and such....much of what is not clearly visible.....all of these things are not exclusive to Saotome Sensei or to the kind of Aikido you are trying to reach.

Just saying

Gary

Nice description of blending Gary, thanks.

Best,

Ron

Mary Eastland
11-12-2011, 10:34 AM
@ Hugh....one can definitely blend with their uke.
@ whoever...becoming softer and stronger is totally possible while training in Aikido technique and Aikido principles.

gregstec
11-12-2011, 10:39 AM
Golly, this thread moves fast. I'm nearly at the point of thinking Ken's not reachable, but what the hell--I have a glass of Talisker's at my elbow and I'm not ready for bed yet. Ken, do you really want an answer? Cuz this is my best shot at giving you one.

Part of the problem is nobody can speak for "Dan's people", not even Dan. We can all speak only for ourselves, and we're all someplace slightly different. It's the low-quality Kool-Aid Dan uses.

However, having drunk the Kool-Aid to some degree, here are my thoughts on the issues you've raised. Mine only, in fact I know some other IP guys disagree with some of this:

Cooperative practice: All martial training is cooperative to some degree. When I took up boxing, the first time I put the gloves on with my trainer, you know what? He didn't knock my block off.

The problem people see is that so much of Aikido training is so cooperative that not only does your technique not have to work, but you get no feedback that it's not working. As a result the training becomes entirely ineffective.

It's also a complete misunderstanding of O-Sensei's intent, as I understand it. He forbade competition not because we're all supposed to be too full of sweetness and light to compete, but because as soon as you impose rules you have a sport, not a martial art. His art was supposed to be too fierce for competition, not too gentle.

Many modern Aikido dojos have gotten so much into the "art of peace" thing, they've lost sight of this fact. "Katsujinken" is first and foremost a sword--once you've understood that, then it can give life. Cooperative practice is fine to learn the move, but then it has to get more and more realistic if you're going to advance in your technique, until finally you're honestly trying to clobber the guy while staying centered and able to deliver a follow-up blow, and they're honestly throwing you, and you take the fall because it's really the best way out of an unsafe situation.

O-Sensei's spirituality: Of course O-Sensei was both spiritual and religious, and of course he talked of Aikido as a way to bring peace. But understand his language here in terms of his context as a Japanese budo man born at the beginning of the last century.

When O-Sensei spoke of "not trying to win" (referencing the 1957 interview, and thanks for posting it, it's a while since I last read it and it merits re-reading) he didn't mean that winning didn't matter. When he talked of budo being love, he didn't mean to give up to your opponent. He was perfectly capable of talking peace and love and then breaking his uke's arm on the mat through his vigorous technique--just as a Zen master can talk about compassion and detachment one moment and be shouting at his student over their stupidity the next.

In O-Sensei's case, he was using very traditional budo language to talk about the attitude of conflict--that being overly concerned for the outcome undercut your ability to be effective in the moment. "When my enemy raises his sword, I am already behind him, ready to strike him down" (paraphrasing, sorry) -- there's no need to be concerned about winning because you control the situation before it starts. "The state of continuous victory," to quote from the interview.

In the interview, O-Sensei says there is no attack in Aikido--yet his own demonstrations contain atemi. So he must be talking about the attitude, not the physical action. An attitude of love, while you're throwing uke across the room. And when he gets up, you're both laughing.

When people say his religion doesn't matter to Aikido, I believe they're mostly talking about Ooomoto specifically. Aikido as a spiritual practice is different from O-Sensei's religious background. And don't make too much of mirrors on the shomen--lots of things are carried on as tradition without any commitment to the original meaning.

Similarly for the quotes about being the embodiment of the Kami. Even a Christian might say they were inspired by or filled by the Holy Spirit. It's a great mistake to take religious language as literal language. Religious language is always, at base, poetic--the language of myth.

Blending: The problem with blending is that it's always limited. If uke is in control of their own movement, it doesn't matter whether you blend with it or not--they can choose when to stop or reverse their movement. Same with trying to use uke's momentum. This is why so many Aikido dojos get into attacks where uke throws themselves off balance with their own strike--because we think we're supposed to blend and so we try to make it possible for our partner to do it. If you don't do this in your dojo, good on you. If you do, I'm sorry, but other martial artists are right to laugh at you.

But O-Sensei says you never oppose your opponent's power. Isn't that blending? Well, no, not as it's typically taught. I'm not depending on uke's movement to defeat uke. I'm meeting it--whether it's a fast punch, a static grab, or a pull--and using whatever energy uke put into the attack to make a connection and use that connection to own their balance. Ultimately, this is a ki connection, though you don't have to use that term if you don't find it helpful. But if you do, you can understand how the no-touch throws work--you're making the ki connection before the physical connection and using that to lead their balance. You can see this clearly in O-Sensei's own no-touch throws.

This isn't even surprising, if you understand O-Sensei's own words. You don't oppose uke's force, so you don't put any power into the point where you and uke connect. That being the case, it doesn't actually much matter whether you're even physically touching at that point.

Incidentally, some of O-Sensei's demos make a clear distinction between blending and taking balance. Look for some of the video where O-Sensei meets a shomenuchi by stepping into the strike with a turn that leaves him standing pretty much parallel to uke but with his back to him. There's blending but no balance break, and uke typically stands there with a silly look on his face (notice that O-Sensei's ukes almost never throw themselves off balance). Then, O-Sensei turns the move into an actual technique and shows how he can add a ki connection, take balance, and make an actual technique of it.

Origins of Aikido: As I said upthread, this is a bit of a red herring. In the interview, O-Sensei talks of teaching "Aikido" to Tenryu in Manchuria. This was clearly before the war, therefore before the term "Aikido" was even coined, and while O-Sensei was still teaching Daito-Ryu. Yet O-Sensei says he "knew the secret of 'Aikido'". Clearly, he's not using the term to mean the formal, defined art with a separate syllabus as it existed after the war.

I think he means here the same thing as he means when he says Takeda "opened my eyes to budo"--that Takeda taught him the skills and insights that make budo effective: the aiki skills that Dan is teaching, and that derive from the same source. But he thought those skills were the core and the specific Daito-Ryu techniques were window dressing that could be (and to some degree were) discarded at will.

I would speculate that he was searching for a purer or more immediate expression of those skills, and that what he did in developing Aikido was a paring away of elaborate and technically intricate technique in order to express the core skills more directly--Matisse to Takeda's Picasso. I think he did see cooperative practice and ukemi as important elements of practicing these skills.

What I think he didn't foresee was that the big throws would become so seductive that people would focus on them to the exclusion of the core skills that he knew were required to make his Aikido martially effective. So his students neglected the solo exercises for the flashy throws. So: "This is not my Aikido."

Translations: The best specific example is in the kamae thread. I'm not gonna hunt it--you should have done so already--but the basic story is that O-Sensei wrote or had written in his manual "Budo" a term ("roppo") describing a specific stance. It seemed to mean "open the feet in 6 directions" but the translator (Stevens) didn't know what that meant and asked Saito Sensei, who just said, "Oh, it means hanmi." So Stevens translated it as "stand with your feet at 60 degrees to each other" (paraphrasing throughout, but I have the sense). There were additional passages that he didn't understand at all, and rather than put a bunch of gibberish into his book he just left it out.

But it turns out that "6 directions" is a well-known concept in the internal arts, with a specific meaning. So the translation buried a link to a traditional body of martial knowledge.

Other, similar passages have been cited--e.g. moving in opposing spirals. One passage talked about putting Izanami in your left foot and Izanagi in your right, which is completely baffling if you don't know how Izanami and Izanagi are pictured as spiraling around each other and how spirals are used in martial movement. But when you have all the pieces, they lock together like a jigsaw puzzle, so much so that they self-evidently go together.

Jeez, this is way too long for a forum post. But it's late and my glass is empty, so I'll put it up as is. Anybody who gets through it, I'll buy you a glass of Talisker's if we ever meet.

Good post Hugh! coupled with the comments from Chris, I do not see any point that I disagree with, but that is only me ;)

Greg

Gary David
11-12-2011, 10:55 AM
Nice description of blending Gary, thanks.

Best,

Ron

Ron
The problem is that most can not really do this....only the appearance of it ..... and that is made possible by the dance like roles taken in most most Aikido two person practice. Nothing wrong with cooperative practice to this extreme if that is what you want. Providing slight resistance, moderate resistance or extreme resistance in a setting where the parties are in agreement that this is the approach to be taken is "cooperative practice." It is this kind of paired practice with differing levels of resistance that let you know if you are on the right path to developing the tools needed to approach the limits of your art. There is no argument from me that you choose your own path and which way it takes you is ok.....

From my perspective looking at Aikido from the view that I am offered very few instructors have the internal skills needed to approach what O'Sensei was capable of or for that matter what Saotome Sensei can do. A good friend of mine told me that if you are really a seeker you will at some point reach the end of what your teacher can give you and you have to go out on your own to fill in the rest through your adaptation of what you find combined with what you are now. This has all been, this thread and other like it, about defending positions and not about seeking, searching and improving.

Off to a friends Aikido dojo to sit on a test board.....

Gary

gregstec
11-12-2011, 11:11 AM
I asked Greg to withdraw this post. He did not so I will respond. It is not fair to put students in this situation. Because people want to explore does not mean they think Dan is better than their teacher.

I am not calling anyone faultless. I'm not even entertaining the debates about who is better or worse than others. I cite Saotome Sensei because his teachings contradict the arguments Dan and others have made. I cite him for the same reasons they cite Saito Sensei. They both trained extensively with O'Sensei. I cited Saotome Sensei because he quotes O'Sensei on the proper training approach. Not to say anything about his ability next to Dan's ability.

When people like Dan say that all postwar Aikido is not good Aikido and not the Aikido O'Sensei taught they insult all postwar teachers. Should I apologize for demanding that such statements be backed up with stronger evidence than they've provided? It's not so much to ask given their statements.

First, I am just retuning to this thread after my post referenced above, so, if I was even inclined to retract it (which I am not) I did not have the opportunity.

Second, I never said Dan was better than them - just said that he had something they did not. As I said, I did not intend to demean anyone, both those guys have real good Aikido - but, IMO based on personal experience between all three, Dan has stronger aiki - you will have to understand that Aikido is different that aiki for any of that to make sense to you. Of course aiki can be in Aikido, but unfortunately, not much of that is found in modern Aikido - go back and read Ellis' comment about the 'bottle'

I am going to be bowing out after this post like some others for the same reasons. There has been many attempts to try and tone down and break this discussion into somewhat logical segments, but all of that has been resisted by you. In many ways, I view your behavior here similar to that of a child that has just been told Santa Clause is not real - your core belief system in all that is good in life is being challenged and shattered - you lash out in anger and attack at every aspect of what you perceive is a malicious attack against you personally. Well, after a while the child grows up and accepts the reality of the situation and moves on. My advise then is to do the same - I am...

Greg

Anjisan
11-12-2011, 12:02 PM
Golly, this thread moves fast. I'm nearly at the point of thinking Ken's not reachable, but what the hell--I have a glass of Talisker's at my elbow and I'm not ready for bed yet. Ken, do you really want an answer? Cuz this is my best shot at giving you one.

Part of the problem is nobody can speak for "Dan's people", not even Dan. We can all speak only for ourselves, and we're all someplace slightly different. It's the low-quality Kool-Aid Dan uses.

However, having drunk the Kool-Aid to some degree, here are my thoughts on the issues you've raised. Mine only, in fact I know some other IP guys disagree with some of this:

Cooperative practice: All martial training is cooperative to some degree. When I took up boxing, the first time I put the gloves on with my trainer, you know what? He didn't knock my block off.

The problem people see is that so much of Aikido training is so cooperative that not only does your technique not have to work, but you get no feedback that it's not working. As a result the training becomes entirely ineffective.

It's also a complete misunderstanding of O-Sensei's intent, as I understand it. He forbade competition not because we're all supposed to be too full of sweetness and light to compete, but because as soon as you impose rules you have a sport, not a martial art. His art was supposed to be too fierce for competition, not too gentle.

Many modern Aikido dojos have gotten so much into the "art of peace" thing, they've lost sight of this fact. "Katsujinken" is first and foremost a sword--once you've understood that, then it can give life. Cooperative practice is fine to learn the move, but then it has to get more and more realistic if you're going to advance in your technique, until finally you're honestly trying to clobber the guy while staying centered and able to deliver a follow-up blow, and they're honestly throwing you, and you take the fall because it's really the best way out of an unsafe situation.

O-Sensei's spirituality: Of course O-Sensei was both spiritual and religious, and of course he talked of Aikido as a way to bring peace. But understand his language here in terms of his context as a Japanese budo man born at the beginning of the last century.

When O-Sensei spoke of "not trying to win" (referencing the 1957 interview, and thanks for posting it, it's a while since I last read it and it merits re-reading) he didn't mean that winning didn't matter. When he talked of budo being love, he didn't mean to give up to your opponent. He was perfectly capable of talking peace and love and then breaking his uke's arm on the mat through his vigorous technique--just as a Zen master can talk about compassion and detachment one moment and be shouting at his student over their stupidity the next.

In O-Sensei's case, he was using very traditional budo language to talk about the attitude of conflict--that being overly concerned for the outcome undercut your ability to be effective in the moment. "When my enemy raises his sword, I am already behind him, ready to strike him down" (paraphrasing, sorry) -- there's no need to be concerned about winning because you control the situation before it starts. "The state of continuous victory," to quote from the interview.

In the interview, O-Sensei says there is no attack in Aikido--yet his own demonstrations contain atemi. So he must be talking about the attitude, not the physical action. An attitude of love, while you're throwing uke across the room. And when he gets up, you're both laughing.

When people say his religion doesn't matter to Aikido, I believe they're mostly talking about Ooomoto specifically. Aikido as a spiritual practice is different from O-Sensei's religious background. And don't make too much of mirrors on the shomen--lots of things are carried on as tradition without any commitment to the original meaning.

Similarly for the quotes about being the embodiment of the Kami. Even a Christian might say they were inspired by or filled by the Holy Spirit. It's a great mistake to take religious language as literal language. Religious language is always, at base, poetic--the language of myth.

Blending: The problem with blending is that it's always limited. If uke is in control of their own movement, it doesn't matter whether you blend with it or not--they can choose when to stop or reverse their movement. Same with trying to use uke's momentum. This is why so many Aikido dojos get into attacks where uke throws themselves off balance with their own strike--because we think we're supposed to blend and so we try to make it possible for our partner to do it. If you don't do this in your dojo, good on you. If you do, I'm sorry, but other martial artists are right to laugh at you.

But O-Sensei says you never oppose your opponent's power. Isn't that blending? Well, no, not as it's typically taught. I'm not depending on uke's movement to defeat uke. I'm meeting it--whether it's a fast punch, a static grab, or a pull--and using whatever energy uke put into the attack to make a connection and use that connection to own their balance. Ultimately, this is a ki connection, though you don't have to use that term if you don't find it helpful. But if you do, you can understand how the no-touch throws work--you're making the ki connection before the physical connection and using that to lead their balance. You can see this clearly in O-Sensei's own no-touch throws.

This isn't even surprising, if you understand O-Sensei's own words. You don't oppose uke's force, so you don't put any power into the point where you and uke connect. That being the case, it doesn't actually much matter whether you're even physically touching at that point.

Incidentally, some of O-Sensei's demos make a clear distinction between blending and taking balance. Look for some of the video where O-Sensei meets a shomenuchi by stepping into the strike with a turn that leaves him standing pretty much parallel to uke but with his back to him. There's blending but no balance break, and uke typically stands there with a silly look on his face (notice that O-Sensei's ukes almost never throw themselves off balance). Then, O-Sensei turns the move into an actual technique and shows how he can add a ki connection, take balance, and make an actual technique of it.

Origins of Aikido: As I said upthread, this is a bit of a red herring. In the interview, O-Sensei talks of teaching "Aikido" to Tenryu in Manchuria. This was clearly before the war, therefore before the term "Aikido" was even coined, and while O-Sensei was still teaching Daito-Ryu. Yet O-Sensei says he "knew the secret of 'Aikido'". Clearly, he's not using the term to mean the formal, defined art with a separate syllabus as it existed after the war.

I think he means here the same thing as he means when he says Takeda "opened my eyes to budo"--that Takeda taught him the skills and insights that make budo effective: the aiki skills that Dan is teaching, and that derive from the same source. But he thought those skills were the core and the specific Daito-Ryu techniques were window dressing that could be (and to some degree were) discarded at will.

I would speculate that he was searching for a purer or more immediate expression of those skills, and that what he did in developing Aikido was a paring away of elaborate and technically intricate technique in order to express the core skills more directly--Matisse to Takeda's Picasso. I think he did see cooperative practice and ukemi as important elements of practicing these skills.

What I think he didn't foresee was that the big throws would become so seductive that people would focus on them to the exclusion of the core skills that he knew were required to make his Aikido martially effective. So his students neglected the solo exercises for the flashy throws. So: "This is not my Aikido."

Translations: The best specific example is in the kamae thread. I'm not gonna hunt it--you should have done so already--but the basic story is that O-Sensei wrote or had written in his manual "Budo" a term ("roppo") describing a specific stance. It seemed to mean "open the feet in 6 directions" but the translator (Stevens) didn't know what that meant and asked Saito Sensei, who just said, "Oh, it means hanmi." So Stevens translated it as "stand with your feet at 60 degrees to each other" (paraphrasing throughout, but I have the sense). There were additional passages that he didn't understand at all, and rather than put a bunch of gibberish into his book he just left it out.

But it turns out that "6 directions" is a well-known concept in the internal arts, with a specific meaning. So the translation buried a link to a traditional body of martial knowledge.

Other, similar passages have been cited--e.g. moving in opposing spirals. One passage talked about putting Izanami in your left foot and Izanagi in your right, which is completely baffling if you don't know how Izanami and Izanagi are pictured as spiraling around each other and how spirals are used in martial movement. But when you have all the pieces, they lock together like a jigsaw puzzle, so much so that they self-evidently go together.

Jeez, this is way too long for a forum post. But it's late and my glass is empty, so I'll put it up as is. Anybody who gets through it, I'll buy you a glass of Talisker's if we ever meet.

I just wanted to comment the the point you made with regard to blending. Specifically, at my dojo we do a lot of leading and blending. While capturing Uke momentum/energy is desirable it is not always necessary. My sensei teaches a lot of getting in close and changing as Uke changes-blending, Being in the moment, not relying on large energy displays to connect with. U are in effect in the moment with them and it is very effective. It feels especially effortless when he is next to/behind like a sheet being thrown over you and there is nothing to fight against because he is adapting, changing as you do. All blending I guess is not the same. Further, in addition to Saotome sensei, Peter Ralston has had a profound influence (in my opinion for the better) on his Aikido by his own admission.

RonRagusa
11-12-2011, 12:20 PM
Providing slight resistance, moderate resistance or extreme resistance in a setting where the parties are in agreement that this is the approach to be taken is "cooperative practice." It is this kind of paired practice with differing levels of resistance that let you know if you are on the right path to developing the tools needed to approach the limits of your art.

Hi Gary -

This is the approach we take with both technique practice and Ki development work. That said, the resistance offered by uke must make sense in a practical way. Resisting by ceasing all movement and turning into an immovable mountain of flesh and bone is pointless since uke disengages his attack. Unfortunately that is precisely what passes for resistance in a lot of peoples minds.

A good friend of mine told me that if you are really a seeker you will at some point reach the end of what your teacher can give you and you have to go out on your own to fill in the rest through your adaptation of what you find combined with what you are now.

Interesting topic for another thread perhaps.

This has all been, this thread and other like it, about defending positions and not about seeking, searching and improving.

All too often sad but true.

Best,

Ron

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 12:38 PM
I'm getting tired of this slightly veiled insults.

I am not angry. I have not had my Aikido world shattered by the unsupported claims in this discussion made by yourself and others. I have trained with many master instructors in various arts. You have no idea who I am or who all my influences have been. I have even trained with people who were obciously showing Dan's influence in their Aikido. I understand the claims that are being made now that more explanation has been provided. The grandious claims that Dan makes are simply not supported. All this machismo BS gets old. All the comments by Dan, for example, that if people had Aiki they would prove it it combat and so forth.

You people keeping stating that aiki is absent in modern Aikido. Your definition of aiki is the problem. If you don't think Ikeda Sensei and Saotome Sensei have aiki in their Aikido, or not adequate aiki as claimed by many here who say that's why people seek out Dan, then you don't know what aiki is.

I posted the footage of Daito-ryu and people have not responded. I see so much more in the footage of O'Sensei than what is visible in Jujutsu. I layer out some of the obvious differences. Here's another. In Daito-ryu there is also a tendency to threaten the joints with injury. Aikido moved away from that. Not just to be nice but also to minimize the tendency of Uke to struggle.



First, I am just retuning to this thread after my post referenced above, so, if I was even inclined to retract it (which I am not) I did not have the opportunity.

Second, I never said Dan was better than them - just said that he had something they did not. As I said, I did not intend to demean anyone, both those guys have real good Aikido - but, IMO based on personal experience between all three, Dan has stronger aiki - you will have to understand that Aikido is different that aiki for any of that to make sense to you. Of course aiki can be in Aikido, but unfortunately, not much of that is found in modern Aikido - go back and read Ellis' comment about the 'bottle'

I am going to be bowing out after this post like some others for the same reasons. There has been many attempts to try and tone down and break this discussion into somewhat logical segments, but all of that has been resisted by you. In many ways, I view your behavior here similar to that of a child that has just been told Santa Clause is not real - your core belief system in all that is good in life is being challenged and shattered - you lash out in anger and attack at every aspect of what you perceive is a malicious attack against you personally. Well, after a while the child grows up and accepts the reality of the situation and moves on. My advise then is to do the same - I am...

Greg

stan baker
11-12-2011, 01:19 PM
Hi Ken
I have trained with Ikeda and Saotome and they are both
very good at Aikido and have Aiki skills, Dan is just on a higher
level, go ask your teachers.

gregstec
11-12-2011, 01:19 PM
I'm getting tired of this slightly veiled insults.

I am not angry. I have not had my Aikido world shattered by the unsupported claims in this discussion made by yourself and others. I have trained with many master instructors in various arts. You have no idea who I am or who all my influences have been. I have even trained with people who were obciously showing Dan's influence in their Aikido. I understand the claims that are being made now that more explanation has been provided. The grandious claims that Dan makes are simply not supported. All this machismo BS gets old. All the comments by Dan, for example, that if people had Aiki they would prove it it combat and so forth.

You people keeping stating that aiki is absent in modern Aikido. Your definition of aiki is the problem. If you don't think Ikeda Sensei and Saotome Sensei have aiki in their Aikido, or not adequate aiki as claimed by many here who say that's why people seek out Dan, then you don't know what aiki is.

I posted the footage of Daito-ryu and people have not responded. I see so much more in the footage of O'Sensei than what is visible in Jujutsu. I layer out some of the obvious differences. Here's another. In Daito-ryu there is also a tendency to threaten the joints with injury. Aikido moved away from that. Not just to be nice but also to minimize the tendency of Uke to struggle.

Well, Ken, you finally hit on the core of the problem in this discussion - the definition of Aiki. The topic of this thread is 'Ueshiba's Aiki' - Dan, and others, have stated that those in modern Aikido do not manifest aiki as Ueshiba did - if they could, how come no one has duplicated his power. You disagree with that because you have a different view of what aiki is - OK, that is fine. Regardless of how direct and blunt Dan can come across, the bottom line is that he can walk his talk, and those that have felt that, are all still training with him to learn more - and there is progress among his students. Now if you can come up with someone that can manifest the same level of soft power that Dan can, we will go check him out - period.

In summary, unless there can be an agreed upon point of reference for discussion, there can be no discussion - no agreed upon definition of aiki, then no logical discussion; just arguments - which has become very apparent in this thread.

Greg

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 01:30 PM
Hi Ken
I have trained with Ikeda and Saotome and they are both
very good at Aikido and have Aiki skills, Dan is just on a higher
level, go ask your teachers.

Define aiki as Dan defines it.
It seems to be defined as grounding and breaking internal balance.
Where then is the aiki in sword?

Are you claiming that Saotome Sensei one Ikeda Sensei have trained with Dan much less that they are following him? Ikeda Sensei has been inspired by Ushiro Sensei, who Dan thinks little of, and Saotome Sensei is focussed primarilly on transmitting what he learned from O'Sensei to his students.

Patrick Hutchinson
11-12-2011, 05:10 PM
"All this machismo BS gets old"
I agree completely.
By the way, that's Bill Gleason Sensei, and Howard Popkin Sensei to you.

hughrbeyer
11-12-2011, 06:10 PM
Ken writes: "Generally there is a tendency to stop Uke's movement and then do the technique. Dan views attempts to use Uke's energy to power the throw as ineffective and superficial. He has got it backwards. The Using of Uke's energy to such a high level was the breakthrough in Aikido. Breaking internal balance, Atemi, posture, these are all necessary at times but they are secondary to how Aikido works."

This is the point where online debate breaks down. I completely disagree with all of this, but the questions you're raising are the core and central questions of what makes Aikido. So it's a debate worth having, but a debate that's very hard to have without working with each other in person.

There are various "tricks" we can use to make our Aikido work. I regard joint locks, using momentum, using timing to lead uke off balance, as tricks. They may be effective in certain circumstances, and even worth practicing, but they aren't what I regard as the core of Aikido. (I heard one guy, who is very much into the aiki stuff--and whose name is not Dan--say that Saotome Shihan gets by with 'the trick of perfect technique.' Some trick. I wish I could pull that one off.)

I regard the core of Aikido as the center-to-center connection--making that connection instantly and using it to master the situation. I view the aiki skills as a set of concepts for understanding, a language for talking about, and exercises for practicing, that connection. I view blending as a "trick" which works only against an unskilled attack, because blending against a skilled attack leaves you being controlled by the attacker.

If your blending works--or Mary's, upthread--I'll claim that you're not purely blending but in fact have figured out how to make a connection and take balance within the movement you call blending. This is more than just semantics--I'm distinguishing two concepts and giving them labels so that we can talk about how they operate independently in practice. But until I've felt your technique I dont' know if that's what's going on or not.

Ken writes: "It [aiki] seems to be defined as grounding and breaking internal balance. Where then is the aiki in sword?"

Absolutely the same place as in taijitsu. Gleason Sensei has been teaching for a while how the same aiki principles that power taijitsu apply to sword and, in fact, have always been there. When I go back and look at his old sword videos I can absolutely see how they are manifest.

Ken, I think you're raising all the right questions. If you're seeing an attack on Aikido in the IP/aiki posts, I wish you would blend with it and irimi to engage with it. Right now, you're fighting it so hard you're making the opposition stronger and more absolute than it really is. Keep in mind most of the posts you dislike have been written by committed and sincere Aikidoka. Dan, though not an Aikidoka, works with us in sincerity and friendship at our request.

Skeptics who call bullshit when we fall into groupthink are always valuable. But it's more valuable if you know what we're actually saying and doing.

gregstec
11-12-2011, 06:35 PM
Ken writes: "Generally there is a tendency to stop Uke's movement and then do the technique. Dan views attempts to use Uke's energy to power the throw as ineffective and superficial. He has got it backwards. The Using of Uke's energy to such a high level was the breakthrough in Aikido. Breaking internal balance, Atemi, posture, these are all necessary at times but they are secondary to how Aikido works."

This is the point where online debate breaks down. I completely disagree with all of this, but the questions you're raising are the core and central questions of what makes Aikido. So it's a debate worth having, but a debate that's very hard to have without working with each other in person.

There are various "tricks" we can use to make our Aikido work. I regard joint locks, using momentum, using timing to lead uke off balance, as tricks. They may be effective in certain circumstances, and even worth practicing, but they aren't what I regard as the core of Aikido. (I heard one guy, who is very much into the aiki stuff--and whose name is not Dan--say that Saotome Shihan gets by with 'the trick of perfect technique.' Some trick. I wish I could pull that one off.)

I regard the core of Aikido as the center-to-center connection--making that connection instantly and using it to master the situation. I view the aiki skills as a set of concepts for understanding, a language for talking about, and exercises for practicing, that connection. I view blending as a "trick" which works only against an unskilled attack, because blending against a skilled attack leaves you being controlled by the attacker.

If your blending works--or Mary's, upthread--I'll claim that you're not purely blending but in fact have figured out how to make a connection and take balance within the movement you call blending. This is more than just semantics--I'm distinguishing two concepts and giving them labels so that we can talk about how they operate independently in practice. But until I've felt your technique I dont' know if that's what's going on or not.

Ken writes: "It [aiki] seems to be defined as grounding and breaking internal balance. Where then is the aiki in sword?"

Absolutely the same place as in taijitsu. Gleason Sensei has been teaching for a while how the same aiki principles that power taijitsu apply to sword and, in fact, have always been there. When I go back and look at his old sword videos I can absolutely see how they are manifest.

Ken, I think you're raising all the right questions. If you're seeing an attack on Aikido in the IP/aiki posts, I wish you would blend with it and irimi to engage with it. Right now, you're fighting it so hard you're making the opposition stronger and more absolute than it really is. Keep in mind most of the posts you dislike have been written by committed and sincere Aikidoka. Dan, though not an Aikidoka, works with us in sincerity and friendship at our request.

Skeptics who call bullshit when we fall into groupthink are always valuable. But it's more valuable if you know what we're actually saying and doing.

Here are a couple tidbits (gems) that may have relevance to parts of this post.

1. Aiki starts at home - you develop aiki within you via the balancing of yin-yang/in-yo - Ueshiba said it himself: (paraphrase) "you will never learn aiki unless you know in yo ho" (don't ask for a reference to where he said it, look for it yourself - it has been posted recently)

2. You don't blend with Uke's energy, you allow uke's energy to blend with you; then YOU control the joining of the two as one - this is as much ki blending as a physical blending - actually, more ki ;)

3. Once you have created aiki within you, everything that touches you becomes part of you and is controlled by you; this includes sword and jo, and whatever.

Oh, one other thing, this ALL so soft and natural, you should not even break a sweat :)

Greg

gregstec
11-12-2011, 06:48 PM
So. You are taking a stand against the Evil Dan Conspiracy because he questions aikido ukemi? Seriously?

Katherine

I luv it, what a great idea! We will make up some T-shirts, black with skull and crossbones on it and the tag: "EDC, Coming to a Dojo near you Soon!"

I think we will start the campaign in Alabama - we will ride into town on our 'hogs' - "we be Bad to the Bone, young girls will squeal, old women will blush, and Sandans will be crushed"

Gawd, I really miss the old days when you could get away with stuff like this :D

Greg

azrielg
11-12-2011, 07:10 PM
Here are a couple tidbits (gems) that may have relevance to parts of this post.

1. Aiki starts at home - you develop aiki within you via the balancing of yin-yang/in-yo - Ueshiba said it himself: (paraphrase) "you will never learn aiki unless you know in yo ho" (don't ask for a reference to where he said it, look for it yourself - it has been posted recently)

2. You don't blend with Uke's energy, you allow uke's energy to blend with you; then YOU control the joining of the two as one - this is as much ki blending as a physical blending - actually, more ki ;)

3. Once you have created aiki within you, everything that touches you becomes part of you and is controlled by you; this includes sword and jo, and whatever.

Oh, one other thing, this ALL so soft and natural, you should not even break a sweat :)

Greg

Amen.

RonRagusa
11-12-2011, 07:27 PM
I regard the core of Aikido as the center-to-center connection--making that connection instantly and using it to master the situation.

Hi Hugh -

No argument there, center-to-center connection is a core concept of Aikido.

If your blending works--or Mary's, upthread--I'll claim that you're not purely blending but in fact have figured out how to make a connection and take balance within the movement you call blending. This is more than just semantics--I'm distinguishing two concepts and giving them labels so that we can talk about how they operate independently in practice.

I don't know Ken so I am not speaking for him, but since Mary and I train together regularly I'll take a stab at speaking for the both of us (I'm sure that if I mess up she'll step right in and set me straight). Blending motions and center-to-center connection are separate skill sets as you have pointed out. We develop connection skills primarily via Ki exercises practiced both solo and with a partner. Blending skills are honed during technique training which also allows us to apply connection skills while in motion. I see taking balance as more a result of successful blending and the establishment of a solid connection to uke's center rather than a concept.

Best,

Ron

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 08:12 PM
Hugh, it would be very helpful if you would explain how what I'm describing as Dan's approach is incorrect. in fact, why not just describe what you are doing?

From the photos I found it looks like what Dan is working on are grounding and breaking balance internally exercises. Looks like this is being done in slow movement or soft static training. Grounding and breaking balance internally are obviously good skills. It's hard to do a technique like Sanyo for example without being grounded. It's much better to down an Uke from shiho Nage by unbalancing him than by cranking the wrists or elbow. I also recognize the ability demonstrated on the Daito-ryu video of neutralizing the attacker so they cannot continue the attack. These are all things I train.

I take issue with the idea that these are the only significant sides to Aiki or Aikido. I also take issue with an approach to ukemi that breaks the system of training that O Sensei developed. The way this get's translated to waza is to stop Uke and then do something TO Uke. This is not ideal. If someone grabs you in a strong static manner it may be very difficult to move them. If they give even a little energy (and real attacks always have energy) then it is very easy to move them. If you connect with Uke as if to do irimi Nage or Ikyo and move around him to the back in ura far enough this movement alone will be enough to break his balance. It's an extreme example but it makes the point. Not everything in Aikido is or should be about grounding and breaking internal balance.

Your description of blending and connecting with the center is not what Dan has claimed at times. In general what you describe sounds correct. But it should not sound correct to Dan. In no touch aikido and sword work If ther is no physical connection then the connection to the center is either a trick to lead the mind or else is a Ki connection. Dan doesn't believe, apparently, in Ki. Sowhatistheconnection? In sword the idea often is to get the strike to come then move to a safe place before countering. Aiki has to do with a certain presense and sensing when and how to respond.

The claims that have been made are not just that most Aikido needs more grounding and internal balance taking. The argument that has been made is that O Sensei was doing this body development and inner connection unbalancing, that everyone in aikido missed this and are doing fake fall down for no reason or else overcome resistance with strength Aikido, that what O Sensei was doing was Daito-ryu, and that he was not and would not be happy with modern Aikido. Dan has made his agenda very clear in his posts.

These claims contradict what O'Sensei said, what he wrote, what his students said, and what the videos show. Dan's supporters know this. So to overcome this they argue that the translations are so bad they are completely unreliable, that O Sensei did not teach after the war, and that its obvious from the videos that we was doing Diato-ryu. Finally they argue that everything I've stated has been disproven in earlier settled debates.

They just don't prove their claims. Most Aikido practices do not concede the things they claim. In fact, many teachers who train with Adan continue to argue for Ki and a spiritual basis in Aikido. It's not surprising that people don't respond to their claims given their responses to my questioning them. The translations of O Sensei have not been proven to show what they are unreliable or change the trajectory of his teachings. Finally, there is the problem of the direct students of O Sensei telling a different story. We know from people who were there that O Sensei was instructing and supervising. We know that he approved of the Aikido of several students including Saotome Sensei. We also know much of how O Sensei describe the source and practice of Aikido from teachers like Saotome Sensei who have conveyed their experiences to us. We know, for example, that Saotome Sensei isn't doing a trick that is different than what O Sensei did and wanted done because O Sensei told him that he was pleased with his Aikido.

People can do what they want with Dan. It doesn't concern me. The claims to Aikido that they, and you, are making should be challenged. I do so out of respect for O Sensei and various teachers after him.

Ken writes: "Generally there is a tendency to stop Uke's movement and then do the technique. Dan views attempts to use Uke's energy to power the throw as ineffective and superficial. He has got it backwards. The Using of Uke's energy to such a high level was the breakthrough in Aikido. Breaking internal balance, Atemi, posture, these are all necessary at times but they are secondary to how Aikido works."

This is the point where online debate breaks down. I completely disagree with all of this, but the questions you're raising are the core and central questions of what makes Aikido. So it's a debate worth having, but a debate that's very hard to have without working with each other in person.

There are various "tricks" we can use to make our Aikido work. I regard joint locks, using momentum, using timing to lead uke off balance, as tricks. They may be effective in certain circumstances, and even worth practicing, but they aren't what I regard as the core of Aikido. (I heard one guy, who is very much into the aiki stuff--and whose name is not Dan--say that Saotome Shihan gets by with 'the trick of perfect technique.' Some trick. I wish I could pull that one off.)

I regard the core of Aikido as the center-to-center connection--making that connection instantly and using it to master the situation. I view the aiki skills as a set of concepts for understanding, a language for talking about, and exercises for practicing, that connection. I view blending as a "trick" which works only against an unskilled attack, because blending against a skilled attack leaves you being controlled by the attacker.

If your blending works--or Mary's, upthread--I'll claim that you're not purely blending but in fact have figured out how to make a connection and take balance within the movement you call blending. This is more than just semantics--I'm distinguishing two concepts and giving them labels so that we can talk about how they operate independently in practice. But until I've felt your technique I dont' know if that's what's going on or not.

Ken writes: "It [aiki] seems to be defined as grounding and breaking internal balance. Where then is the aiki in sword?"

Absolutely the same place as in taijitsu. Gleason Sensei has been teaching for a while how the same aiki principles that power taijitsu apply to sword and, in fact, have always been there. When I go back and look at his old sword videos I can absolutely see how they are manifest.

Ken, I think you're raising all the right questions. If you're seeing an attack on Aikido in the IP/aiki posts, I wish you would blend with it and irimi to engage with it. Right now, you're fighting it so hard you're making the opposition stronger and more absolute than it really is. Keep in mind most of the posts you dislike have been written by committed and sincere Aikidoka. Dan, though not an Aikidoka, works with us in sincerity and friendship at our request.

Skeptics who call bullshit when we fall into groupthink are always valuable. But it's more valuable if you know what we're actually saying and doing.

raul rodrigo
11-12-2011, 08:27 PM
Hugh, in Bill Gleason's sword DVD, he speaks of waza and sword movement in terms of things like fire ki, water ki, and mudras. How well (or not) does the new IS paradigm fit over the old Japanese religious language that he used in the video? Or a line like "The vertical plane is the plane of non resistance." How has his teaching language changed over the last few years?

Ken McGrew
11-12-2011, 08:43 PM
I forgot to mention the related concept of body positioning by which Uke is unbalanced from the attack when Nage moves at the last moment to a place that is not what Uke expected. I assume this is also considered a non Aikido non Aiki trick?

hughrbeyer
11-12-2011, 09:35 PM
I won't attempt to speak for either of my teachers, or for whatever community is referred to in "I assume this is also considered a non Aikido non Aiki trick?"

Speaking for myself, I consider it a non-aiki trick "when Nage moves at the last moment to a place that is not what Uke expected". It's a cute piece of timing, fun to do, worth practicing, sometimes effective. But will it work against an attacker who knows how to stay on balance even during the attack? Who knows how to follow up with a second attack without pause?

People have said it already and I'll say it again: Aiki training doesn't replace Aikido. You can still do all your fun tricks and big throws. It's never going to be the only tool in your bag. But I do believe it's a critical tool.

Ken says, "The way this get's translated to waza is to stop Uke and then do something TO Uke. This is not ideal." -- No, it's not. It's also not what anybody is teaching on on the IP/aiki side of things, so far as I know. You may be right that it's what's happening in your Daito-Ryu video. It's not what anybody is trying to import into Aikido.

Ron, I pretty much agree that breaking balance is a consequence of proper connection, rather than a primary consideration. And if by "blending" you mean "not opposing uke's power" I can agree with that part too.

Here's an example that may help: Consider responding to yokumenuchi with a shihonage. As I was originally taught the movement, you "attack the attack," delivering atemi with, say, the right hand while blocking the attack with the left and guiding that hand in front of you into the shihonage grip. When you blend, as I understood the term, the block becomes less and less forceful until you're just matching the strike, leading it forward in the direction it's already going, and redirecting it. You can even lead the movement a bit, encouraging uke to strike a little further than they meant to, bringing them off balance even before you engage.

So far so good. And are we not manifesting yin/yang or in-yo-ho? Our right side goes forward in yang; our left receives in yin. We rotate around our center.

But according to my current understanding, this is not in-yo-ho. Though we are turning, we've built up angular momentum which has to be overcome if we want to stop or change direction. That momentum restricts our ability to respond to changes in the situation.

As I'm now practicing the movement, the right hand spirals out while the left coils in. Each arm balances in/yo in itself; each side of the body balances in/yo in itself. Externally, the movement looks very similar; internally it's very different. If I want to stop the movement right in the middle I can do it just by stopping; there's no momentum to overcome because all movement is from center. And uke is unbalanced from the first moment of touching because I'm not aligning to and accommodating his strike; I'm receiving it into my center, at which point it becomes part of my centered self.

Gleason Sensei and fire/water/heaven/earth mudras: Fascinating question. I see many correlations, including ways that basic aiki principles and concepts lead naturally to the mudras, so that they become an effect of correct movement rather than a cause. There's probably a unified field theory here, showing how aiki, mudras, and kotodama all manifest the same underlying principles. But that's above my pay grade.

raul rodrigo
11-12-2011, 09:42 PM
For ASU folks who have come late to the IS/IP party: take a look at George Ledyard's blog article from 2009 (http://aikieast.blogspot.com/2009/10/managing-change-in-aikido.html):

"Starting with the first Aiki Expo, almost ten years ago now, Aikido practitioners were exposed to a number of practitioners of what we will call "aiki arts" whose skill level seemed far beyond many of the Japanese teachers, both in Japan and overseas, who had become identified with post war Aikido. It was also clear that many of these teachers had a far more effective methodology for transmitting their knowledge than the teachers from the Aikido community as a whole."

"...So what will happen as more and more people start to be exposed to another paradigm concerning their art? What will people think when they find that what they'd been told about Daito Ryu, our parent art, simply wasn't true; that there were other teachers equally skilled in "aiki" as the Founder; that there are teachers of "aiki" from outside the Aikido community whose skills match or even exceed any of the top teachers we hold as models, that with proper instruction and hard work, it doesn't have to take thirty years or more to develop an understanding of high level principles?"

"I can guarantee that there is not universal rejoicing over this new direction. Remember what we said about change? People don't like it. The fact that you have recovered your Beginner's Mind for the first time in decades may be great for you nut it is not, in the minds of many students, what they are looking for in their guru. You are supposed to be the source for them. For as much as two or more decades some of them have been doing their level best to be you. Some of them have gotten pretty close and a certain status and authority has derived from that. Then you go and start showing everybody a whole new paradigm at which the most senior instructor at the dojo isn't any better than the new guys. What do you expect them to say? "gee. I am so glad to get back to the place I was in my Aikido 20 years ago when I couldn't do anything and felt like an idiot all the time." Of course not. I would actually predict an inverse relationship between who receptive folks will be to this sudden change of direction and how long they have trained. This is exactly what has happened in one dojo with which I am familiar."

phitruong
11-12-2011, 10:12 PM
Raul, good search posting. i mentioned before that ego is a strange thing, often show up at unexpected places and at the most inopportune moment, quite aiki that ego. it's often standing guard at the gate of shoshin and at the buffet line. :)

gregstec
11-12-2011, 10:26 PM
For ASU folks who have come late to the IS/IP party: take a look at George Ledyard's blog article from 2009 (http://aikieast.blogspot.com/2009/10/managing-change-in-aikido.html):

"Starting with the first Aiki Expo, almost ten years ago now, Aikido practitioners were exposed to a number of practitioners of what we will call "aiki arts" whose skill level seemed far beyond many of the Japanese teachers, both in Japan and overseas, who had become identified with post war Aikido. It was also clear that many of these teachers had a far more effective methodology for transmitting their knowledge than the teachers from the Aikido community as a whole."

"...So what will happen as more and more people start to be exposed to another paradigm concerning their art? What will people think when they find that what they'd been told about Daito Ryu, our parent art, simply wasn't true; that there were other teachers equally skilled in "aiki" as the Founder; that there are teachers of "aiki" from outside the Aikido community whose skills match or even exceed any of the top teachers we hold as models, that with proper instruction and hard work, it doesn't have to take thirty years or more to develop an understanding of high level principles?"

"I can guarantee that there is not universal rejoicing over this new direction. Remember what we said about change? People don't like it. The fact that you have recovered your Beginner's Mind for the first time in decades may be great for you nut it is not, in the minds of many students, what they are looking for in their guru. You are supposed to be the source for them. For as much as two or more decades some of them have been doing their level best to be you. Some of them have gotten pretty close and a certain status and authority has derived from that. Then you go and start showing everybody a whole new paradigm at which the most senior instructor at the dojo isn't any better than the new guys. What do you expect them to say? "gee. I am so glad to get back to the place I was in my Aikido 20 years ago when I couldn't do anything and felt like an idiot all the time." Of course not. I would actually predict an inverse relationship between who receptive folks will be to this sudden change of direction and how long they have trained. This is exactly what has happened in one dojo with which I am familiar."

Some nice points - thanks :)

Greg

kewms
11-13-2011, 12:46 AM
Hugh, in Bill Gleason's sword DVD, he speaks of waza and sword movement in terms of things like fire ki, water ki, and mudras. How well (or not) does the new IS paradigm fit over the old Japanese religious language that he used in the video? Or a line like "The vertical plane is the plane of non resistance." How has his teaching language changed over the last few years?

I was just on the mat with him today. I would say that he has largely integrated his IS work with his grounding in Japanese mysticism, and is to some extent returning to the teaching language he was using 5-7 years ago. The IS work seems to provide a vocabulary for tying somewhat esoteric ideas to physical realities.

Up-thread, it was implied that he is no longer doing aikido. I can only assume that such a comment comes from profound ignorance of what he is actually doing, since what I felt today was as "aikido-like" as you're likely to encounter anywhere.

(Full disclosure: Though I no longer train at his dojo, I did for quite a few years. So I'm quite biased. And, of course, I do not pretend to speak for him, just for my own on-mat experience.)

Katherine

kewms
11-13-2011, 12:57 AM
3. Once you have created aiki within you, everything that touches you becomes part of you and is controlled by you; this includes sword and jo, and whatever.

And includes uke.

I think this is the "unity" that Ikeda Sensei talks about, also.

Katherine

kewms
11-13-2011, 01:02 AM
I forgot to mention the related concept of body positioning by which Uke is unbalanced from the attack when Nage moves at the last moment to a place that is not what Uke expected. I assume this is also considered a non Aikido non Aiki trick?

I don't care what you call it, but there's a lot more to it than body positioning. This is one of those aikido moves that often doesn't work with ukes from other arts (or, often, other dojos). You can get completely different results if uke is really trying to hit you.

Katherine

kewms
11-13-2011, 02:16 AM
I also take issue with an approach to ukemi that breaks the system of training that O Sensei developed.

I posted my comments on ukemi upthread. You have not responded. Please do so. I remain unclear as to what you are actually objecting to, and so am unable to comment further.

Katherine

kewms
11-13-2011, 02:29 AM
If they give even a little energy (and real attacks always have energy) then it is very easy to move them. If you connect with Uke as if to do irimi Nage or Ikyo and move around him to the back in ura far enough this movement alone will be enough to break his balance.

Go ahead, try it. Find a person with training time equivalent to your own from the striking art of your choice and perform ikkyo or irimi nage against a tsuki attack. You may limit their initial attack to a straight punch to your choice of targets, but may not otherwise constrain their movement, including followup strikes, if any. (That is, you can't tell them to behave like an aikido-trained uke would.) Please report your experiences, with video.

Alternatively, find an equally competent judoka and do the same experiment from a basic shoulder grab.

I'm not saying you can't. I'm not saying you can. I don't know you. I just want to know what happens, and how you experience the connection between you and your partner.

Katherine

raul rodrigo
11-13-2011, 05:03 AM
Thanks for your responses regarding Bill Gleason, Hugh and Katherine. Hugh: Yes, it's a question that's above my pay grade too.

raul rodrigo
11-13-2011, 05:11 AM
Again from George Ledyard's blog, 2009, http://aikieast.blogspot.com/2009/06/georges-short-guide-to-cross-training.html:

"The major players influencing the Aikido community right now are as follows:

Ushiro Kenji from Japan - Head of Shindo Ryu Karate
Vladimir Vasiliev (Toronto) and Michael Ryabko (Moscow) of the Systema
Akuzawa Minoru - Head of the Aunkai
Dan Harden (USA) - major influence Daito Ryu
Mike Sigman (USA) - Chinese Martial Arts
Howard Popkin (USA) - Daito Ryu Roppokai"

"Let me say, first and foremost that I believe that training with any of these teachers will drastically alter ones take on Aikido in a positive way. I would not voluntarily pass up any opportunity to train with one of them if I could help it."

raul rodrigo
11-13-2011, 05:18 AM
George Ledyard ends the blog post thus:

"I think that in terms of pure accessibility Dan Harden and Mike Sigman may be the best to connect with in the sense that each has his own system, neither is beholden to anyone and can teach whatever and whomever he wishes, both are native English speakers and are extremely accomplished at offering systematic explanation of complex principles."

"This is a very simplistic synopsis. Each of these teachers offers enough to keep any serious Aikido student busy for years. Each teaches things that are either absent from most Aikido or at least are not taught in any systematic form. The exposure to these teachers and systems is transforming Aikido in a positive manner and I eagerly await the time in a few more years when this exposure has had time to turn into something really deep."

If you have some problems with the things you are reading in this thread, then please take them up with the above-named rokudan in your own ASU, because he is saying the same things.

I have a feeling you won't be so quick to sling a retort like "Debate over" at George Ledyard.

Then get back us on Aikiweb and we will pick this discussion up from there.

R

Mary Eastland
11-13-2011, 06:55 AM
Go ahead, try it. Find a person with training time equivalent to your own from the striking art of your choice and perform ikkyo or irimi nage against a tsuki attack. You may limit their initial attack to a straight punch to your choice of targets, but may not otherwise constrain their movement, including followup strikes, if any. (That is, you can't tell them to behave like an aikido-trained uke would.) Please report your experiences, with video.

Alternatively, find an equally competent judoka and do the same experiment from a basic shoulder grab.

I'm not saying you can't. I'm not saying you can. I don't know you. I just want to know what happens, and how you experience the connection between you and your partner.

Katherine
Why would one do this? What would it show? Has it happened to you?

gregstec
11-13-2011, 07:15 AM
Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
I forgot to mention the related concept of body positioning by which Uke is unbalanced from the attack when Nage moves at the last moment to a place that is not what Uke expected. I assume this is also considered a non Aikido non Aiki trick?

I don't care what you call it, but there's a lot more to it than body positioning. This is one of those aikido moves that often doesn't work with ukes from other arts (or, often, other dojos). You can get completely different results if uke is really trying to hit you.

Katherine

In Daitoryu, we don't move to evade away from the attack, we move in to attack the attack - has a very interesting effect on uke :)

Greg

Mark Mueller
11-13-2011, 11:07 AM
"In Daitoryu, we don't move to evade away from the attack, we move in to attack the attack - has a very interesting effect on uke :)"

Greg, That is interesting. That is one of the main principals I teach...I never did like the term "getting of the line"...I have always called it "Redefining the Line of Attack".

gregstec
11-13-2011, 11:13 AM
"In Daitoryu, we don't move to evade away from the attack, we move in to attack the attack - has a very interesting effect on uke :)"

Greg, That is interesting. That is one of the main principals I teach...I never did like the term "getting of the line"...I have always called it "Redefining the Line of Attack".

Yes, make it your line and not Uke's - of course it is very short lived, since as soon as YOU contact uke, their balance is gone and the attack is over :)

Greg