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Carl Thompson
11-30-2011, 05:20 AM
Something I mentioned on the "Osensei Teaching at the Hombu" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=298407#post298407) thread:


Was he a "great teacher" (an "Osensei") only because he provided the subject to be taught? In other words, I'm asking if he didn't understand basic teaching methods or was too crazy to stick to them. Or did he actually have some degree of pedagogical skill? In the latter case, did he deliberately choose not to use it in order to keep the goods to himself?


What do people think? Better still, can you back it up?

Carl

Tim Ruijs
11-30-2011, 06:44 AM
Whether or not somebody is a good teacher depends on your take on what exactly constitutes a good teacher. What works for you may not work for someone else, but that does not make the teacher any better or worse. One might argue that a teacher that is able to 'reach' many students on different levels (visual, feel, explanation) is better than one that cannot, but that is only western logic....

The more I read about this subject I start to wonder if Ueshiba did not on purpose 'neglect' to explain things. Perhaps he really felt that he cannot explain the unexplainable, if you know what I mean.

Carl Thompson
11-30-2011, 08:14 AM
Whether or not somebody is a good teacher depends on your take on what exactly constitutes a good teacher.

Of course, for some a "good teacher" is a teacher who lets you sleep in class. :D

I actually avoided the word "good" but I did refer to the founder's title of "Osensei" as "great teacher". Just to clarify, I meant it as a title, not a personal judgement on what constitutes a "good" or even a "great" teacher. Did he deserve that title because he had pedagogical skill or was it just for providing the subject to be studied?

By pedagogical skill I mean being able to successfully pass on what one has learned which can be measured to an extent, regardless of how "good" one thinks it is. If "good" must be used, let's do so for positive results.

Carl

Carsten Möllering
11-30-2011, 08:37 AM
Doesn't the titel o sensei just refer to the fact the Ueshiba morihei was the top of the pyramid?
Isn't it just kind of equivalent to something like kaiso or even soke?

I never connected the term or titel o sensei to certain teching abilities?
Isn't the background in inJapanese just an academic titel which does not necessarily imply that this sensei also is a teacher of whatever?

grondahl
11-30-2011, 08:44 AM
Doesn't the titel o sensei just refer to the fact the Ueshiba morihei was the top of the pyramid?
Isn't it just kind of equivalent to something like kaiso or even soke?

I never connected the term or titel o sensei to certain teching abilities?
Isn't the background in inJapanese just an academic titel which does not necessarily imply that this sensei also is a teacher of whatever?

In relation to waka sensei (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6176) maybe?

Carl Thompson
11-30-2011, 09:05 AM
Doesn't the titel o sensei just refer to the fact the Ueshiba morihei was the top of the pyramid?
Isn't it just kind of equivalent to something like kaiso or even soke?

I never connected the term or titel o sensei to certain teching abilities?
Isn't the background in inJapanese just an academic titel which does not necessarily imply that this sensei also is a teacher of whatever?

Okay was he a "kaiso" only because he provided the subject to be taught or did he also successfully teach it?

Tim Ruijs
11-30-2011, 09:13 AM
Of course, for some a "good teacher" is a teacher who lets you sleep in class. :D
No doubt about that!

I actually avoided the word "good" but I did refer to the founder's title of "Osensei" as "great teacher". Just to clarify, I meant it as a title, not a personal judgement on what constitutes a "good" or even a "great" teacher. Did he deserve that title because he had pedagogical skill or was it just for providing the subject to be studied?

By pedagogical skill I mean being able to successfully pass on what one has learned which can be measured to an extent, regardless of how "good" one thinks it is. If "good" must be used, let's do so for positive results.

In that light I would say the title O Sensei is above Shihan and sensei. Sensei would be teacher, shihan example, so O Sensei would supersede all. Not surprisingly as he developed Aikido and is at the top.
Pedagogically speaking, as I have said may times, I am not sure. I do not him personally and cannot seem to get grip on the type of man he was (with ergard to how he felt how you should learn).
I understand he made you work hard, find out yourself and went mystical whenever he (tried?) to explain stuff. Did he really prepare lessons with set goals? I really do not know, but I doubt it.
You really cannot judge that good or bad. It works for you as a student or not: you cannot change the teacher only yourself....

Chris Li
11-30-2011, 09:19 AM
Something I mentioned on the "Osensei Teaching at the Hombu" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=298407#post298407) thread:

What do people think? Better still, can you back it up?

Carl

There are a lot of good questions there.

The one thing that I can say for sure is that he was immensely inspiring. That we are all here talking about this today is proof of that, and that must be an important thing for any teacher.

Of course, he was quite difficult to understand, and came out of a tradition of paranoia and secrecy that probably helped exacerbate the problem. Certainly, if we look around at the actual transmission of ability and skills than there seems to something lacking.

It may be that he was so monomaniacally focused on his own training that everybody else just got left behind.

A mixed grade, to my mind...

Best,

Chris

gates
11-30-2011, 09:32 AM
Hi Carl,
I think O'Sensei believed that the impetus was on the student to "steal" the techniques.
If this were the case it would have all sorts of implications.
On one of the Saito sensei seminar DVDs he states that O'Sensei only ever said two thngs about Morote Dori Kokyu Ho, "stand here" and "do this", for 23 years traning its not a particularly detailed explanation of what is regarded as a core technique. If certain Daito Ryu exercises were also not shown it does go some way to explain why there was a lot of trouble in stealing his techniques precisely (By this I mean the inner quality). As for the motivation?
Keith

David Yap
11-30-2011, 10:40 AM
No doubt about that!

In that light I would say the title O Sensei is above Shihan and sensei. Sensei would be teacher, shihan example, so O Sensei would supersede all. Not surprisingly as he developed Aikido and is at the top.
One must not discount the fact that when there is a waka sensei in the dojo, the elder one is always refer to as O sensei. :D

Carl Thompson
11-30-2011, 07:30 PM
Thanks for the comments so far.


I think O'Sensei believed that the impetus was on the student to "steal" the techniques.
If this were the case it would have all sorts of implications.

This is one often-cited thing about Osensei's teaching style that I'm interested in. Stealing technique or skills is of course not unique to aikido or even martial arts in Japan. A traditional carpenter who takes on an apprentice won't necessarily explain every detail but will rather just let the apprentice help him out and perhaps even deliberately withhold a few secrets to keep on top. The onus is on the student to actively learn in a "teacher-centred" approach. The thing is, in all these other professions, people do actually learn what to do. Also at some points it seems the founder did give explanations regarding technique (the kuden for example).

The "stealing" aspect seems to have two functions:


Produces active learners. In martial arts in particular, fostering the ability to learn what an opponent is doing quickly seems like a good idea to me.
Regulation. The teacher doesn't give everything away and furthermore, can make students focus on things stage-by-stage rather than jumping ahead and missing out something important.


Another thing is, did Osensei learn this way from Takeda? This man was reputed to be even more paranoid than Osensei. If stealing is the "problem" then surely the problem of transmission should be repeated in Takeda's other students too?

NagaBaba
11-30-2011, 09:52 PM
It is well know that O sensei saw himself as a shaman. If you study the phenomenon of shamanism, it is fairly common study as an apprentice for 20 years or more. It can be death or life activity,sometimes if shaman is not able to fulfill his duty, tribe simply kills him.

I'm pretty sure that the way of teaching such stuff has nothing to do with our western image of a school teacher.

graham christian
11-30-2011, 10:27 PM
It is well know that O sensei saw himself as a shaman. If you study the phenomenon of shamanism, it is fairly common study as an apprentice for 20 years or more. It can be death or life activity,sometimes if shaman is not able to fulfill his duty, tribe simply kills him.

I'm pretty sure that the way of teaching such stuff has nothing to do with our western image of a school teacher.

Well put.

Regards.G.

graham christian
11-30-2011, 10:53 PM
Carl, I would say he was O'Sensei (great teacher) for many reasons. He was the founder, a new leader of a new art, admired by others of other arts, a phenomenon in himself, adnired and respected on a government level, almost deified on a shinto (omoto) level, afforded the honour of national treasure on a government and nation level, attracting great interest on a worldwide level, etc.etc.

As to teaching? When you look at him as a great keeper of national tradition and culture and identity despite Americas attempts to change it then you will have to notice that there was culturally and historically a way of teaching such martial disciplines. As quoted here many times, not spoon feeding.

He thus taught as was traditional for masters to teach and as students of such expected. Part of that way was teaching extra to maybe uchideshi or those 'behind closed doors'.

Westerners not used to this get all suspicious and talk about holding back and not giving the real goods.

Thus he taught as all great teachers in the field had taught before, with his own flava of course, ha, ha.

The benefits of this way are probably totally missed by the western mind, or indeed other types of mind. Maybe a great teacher knows something and that something is he isn't a babysitter.

Good students will follow him. Other students will admire but question him. Great students will understand him.

Regards.G.

kewms
12-01-2011, 01:59 AM
As to teaching? When you look at him as a great keeper of national tradition and culture and identity despite Americas attempts to change it then you will have to notice that there was culturally and historically a way of teaching such martial disciplines.

Culturally and historically, most martial disciplines were taught only to a select few -- a particular lord's retainers, for instance -- and lives depended on making sure that students actually did learn what they were being taught. I wouldn't call it "spoon feeding," but there was a step-by-step pedagogy by which people could learn what they needed to learn to advance in the art. It might take a lifetime to achieve "mastery", but a school that couldn't produce competent swordsmen in a much shorter period probably wouldn't last very long.

Katherine

Tim Ruijs
12-01-2011, 03:22 AM
One must not discount the fact that when there is a waka sensei in the dojo, the elder one is always refer to as O sensei. :D

So it is a (relational) title used by others...like shihan?

Tim Ruijs
12-01-2011, 04:03 AM
My teacher always says:
please do copy me and thus show me you do not understand.
you must steal my technique to understand.
So first you learn to become a good thief!

David Yap
12-01-2011, 04:21 AM
So it is a (relational) title used by others...like shihan?

Relational as in "kinship"? What has that got to do with Shihan which is a honorific title.

May I direct you to this thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6176

Tim Ruijs
12-01-2011, 05:31 AM
Relational as in "kinship"? What has that got to do with Shihan which is a honorific title.

Not kinship. :D In Japan the relationship one has with another person is important. I understand that someone cannot say to be shihan: others refer to you as such.
From the thread you referred to I understand (accoring to Jun) that the O means grand, not older.

If you look at Morihei Ueshiba's kyoju dairi certificate you will see that it's signed "Takeda Sokaku Dai-Sensei". The "dai" is the same kanji used by Kisshomaru Ueshiba for the "O" in "O-Sensei", but with a different reading.

To me this makes sense: sensei (teacher: self proclaimed), shihan (example:according to others), O Sensei (grandmaster: according to others)

Demetrio Cereijo
12-01-2011, 10:19 AM
Carl, I would say he was O'Sensei (great teacher) for many reasons. He was the founder, a new leader of a new art, admired by others of other arts, a phenomenon in himself, adnired and respected on a government level, almost deified on a shinto (omoto) level, afforded the honour of national treasure on a government and nation level, attracting great interest on a worldwide level, etc.etc.

Now you're mentioning it, he was really awarded with this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Sacred_Treasure).

Put this Order of the Sacred Treasure in proper context (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_honors_system) and tell me what you think.

David Yap
12-01-2011, 11:35 AM
Not kinship. :D In Japan the relationship one has with another person is important. I understand that someone cannot say to be shihan: others refer to you as such.
From the thread you referred to I understand (accoring to Jun) that the O means grand, not older.

To me this makes sense: sensei (teacher: self proclaimed), shihan (example:according to others), O Sensei (grandmaster: according to others)

Not really, not when 大 is used. 大 as in big or elder. This is what I get from Google Translate for "Great Teacher" 偉大な教師

akiy
12-01-2011, 12:55 PM
Morihei Ueshiba is referred to in Japanese as "O-sensei" in a couple of different ways (from more common to less): 「大先生」and 「翁先生」.「大」, in this case, means "big," "grand," or "great." I don't know of a context in which that character would mean "elder." 「翁」 (also read as "okina") means "old," "revered," or "venerable."

He is also sometimes (not commonly) referred to as「老先生」 (which I would pronounce as "rou sensei"). 「老」 basically means "old."

He is also very commonly referred to as 「開祖」 which basically means "founder."

-- Jun

CorkyQ
12-01-2011, 01:02 PM
While I believe that Osensei was obviously a great visionary, I don't think he was a good teacher, particularly when it came to transmitting to his students how the physical principles of his art aligned with the spiritual principles.

In the book of interviews of living students who trained under the direct guidance of the founder edited by Susan Perry called "Remembering Osensei" (not to be confused with the biographical article of the same title by Fukiko Sunadomari) I noted a common reflection that could be paraphrased as: "We could all do everything Osensei was doing physically, but it never felt the same when anyone else threw you than it did when you were thrown by Osensei."

I imagine that this is because when Osensei made his shift from martial artist with the intention of killing to the intention of resolving conflict in a way that manifests "loving protection" there was no shift in the way he taught. Therefore he was teaching what he later called a spiritual art the same way he taught martial art.

The tradition of teaching through technique emulation is problematic at its core when one is ultimately desirous of practicing the highest level of aikido, that is take musu aiki, or the spontaneously manifesting aiki in which partners are truly joined and together reflect the workings of the universe rather than nage imposing something on his partner.

In our dojo, practice beyond the most basic beginning level is always from random attacks, so students never know what kind of attack will be coming from their partner. Since rejecting the technique emulation model and adapting a model that stresses an understanding of the spiritual nature of attack, I have seen my beginning and intermediate students perform aikido at dan levels from unprescribed attacks - including demonstrating classic aikido forms they were never taught or even shown. That is not to say that there are never any attempts by students to use the physical force or leverage advantages provided by body mechanics that come into play during an aiki interchange, but those attempts are quickly seen to be futile in attaining the ideal expressed by the Founder.

While all paths may lead to take musu aiki, are there routes that are shorter than the one offered in Osensei's dojo? I think so... and wasn't it Osensei's edict that we all continue to find the deeper levels of aikido that he himself did not live long enough to uncover?

Chris Li
12-01-2011, 01:03 PM
Morihei Ueshiba is referred to in Japanese as "O-sensei" in a couple of different ways (from more common to less): 「大先生」and 「翁先生」.「大」, in this case, means "big," "grand," or "great." I don't know of a context in which that character would mean "elder." 「翁」 (also read as "okina") means "old," "revered," or "venerable."

He is also sometimes (not commonly) referred to as「老先生」 (which I would pronounce as "rou sensei"). 「老」 basically means "old."

He is also very commonly referred to as 「開祖」 which basically means "founder."

-- Jun

Gozo Shioda often used "old" 「老」 - most of the time that Kisshomaru wrote it he used 「大」, which is the same character used by Sokaku Takeda (but pronounced "Dai-Sensei").

"O-Sensei" is actually not all that uncommon in Japan, sometimes even just referring to the main instructor in a group of instructors - but it can be kind of jarring for US Aikido students to hear.

My personal theory is that the whole thing started when a reporter interviewing Ueshiba was called "Sensei" by Ueshiba and then replied "Well, if you call me sensei than I will have to call you O-Sensei". But that's just my hunch.

Best,

Chris

kewms
12-01-2011, 01:11 PM
The tradition of teaching through technique emulation is problematic at its core when one is ultimately desirous of practicing the highest level of aikido, that is take musu aiki, or the spontaneously manifesting aiki in which partners are truly joined and together reflect the workings of the universe rather than nage imposing something on his partner.

This teaching approach also doesn't scale. How on earth is anyone supposed to learn the subtle movements inherent in high level aikido when their hands-on contact with a top level instructor is measured in minutes or even seconds? If Ueshiba Sensei's direct students had trouble reaching his level, and the direct students of the uchi-deshi had trouble figuring out what their teachers were doing, what hope is there for those of us who are three or four steps away from the Founder?

Katherine

Demetrio Cereijo
12-01-2011, 01:59 PM
In our dojo, practice beyond the most basic beginning level is always from random attacks, so students never know what kind of attack will be coming from their partner. Since rejecting the technique emulation model and adapting a model that stresses an understanding of the spiritual nature of attack, I have seen my beginning and intermediate students perform aikido at dan levels from unprescribed attacks - including demonstrating classic aikido forms they were never taught or even shown. That is not to say that there are never any attempts by students to use the physical force or leverage advantages provided by body mechanics that come into play during an aiki interchange, but those attempts are quickly seen to be futile in attaining the ideal expressed by the Founder.

What can be seen in this youtube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/Kakushitoride?feature=watch) does reflects your approach?

graham christian
12-01-2011, 02:34 PM
Now you're mentioning it, he was really awarded with this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Sacred_Treasure).

Put this Order of the Sacred Treasure in proper context (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_honors_system) and tell me what you think.

Interesting. You say put it in proper context?

Well here in England it would be equivalent to an O.B.E.

For someone not of the royal family, not of foreign royalty, not of government ie: cabinet, not of military heirarchy above general. Then it's about as high an honour as you can get no?

Of course if you are into class structure you could say it's a lower one. If you're into the masses, the rest of the people then it's one of the highest.

That's how I read it.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-01-2011, 03:36 PM
For someone not of the royal family, not of foreign royalty, not of government ie: cabinet, not of military heirarchy above general. Then it's about as high an honour as you can get no?
I think not.

Of course if you are into class structure you could say it's a lower one. If you're into the masses, the rest of the people then it's one of the highest.
Let's say not so high as it sounds.

In any case, being a "national treasure" is a different thing and O Sensei received other (higher and lower) honours from the japanese government.

Carl Thompson
12-01-2011, 03:54 PM
Thanks again to everyone who commented.

I called the thread "The Founder's Teaching Ability" because I'm interested in Osensei's ability to transmit his art. Although I mentioned his title in my self-quote from another thread, I think the meaning of that title is a separate issue from that teaching ability. Regardless of how we call it, is he deserving of that position only for providing the source material? Was he also able to transmit it?

It is well know that O sensei saw himself as a shaman. If you study the phenomenon of shamanism, it is fairly common study as an apprentice for 20 years or more. It can be death or life activity,sometimes if shaman is not able to fulfill his duty, tribe simply kills him.

I'm pretty sure that the way of teaching such stuff has nothing to do with our western image of a school teacher.

I'd agree that the traditional Japanese way of teaching is different from the West but it obviously works well enough to survive from generation to generation in most traditional professions.

Regarding shamanism, I would be interested to know if that could be the thing that threw a spanner (wrench) in the works regarding Osensei's teaching? I asked if he was crazy among other things in my first post but that is just one possible interpretation of a religious state he could have been in. For example, was he so "divinely inspired" that the traditional apprenticeship process was impaired as he lost touch with reality?

Carl

graham christian
12-01-2011, 05:20 PM
I think not.

Let's say not so high as it sounds.

In any case, being a "national treasure" is a different thing and O Sensei received other (higher and lower) honours from the japanese government.

More honours too? And statues? Sounds like a national treasure.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-01-2011, 05:38 PM
More honours too? And statues? Sounds like a national treasure.

Regards.G.

Sound like but it isn't. A national treasure is another thing.

graham christian
12-01-2011, 06:16 PM
Sound like but it isn't. A national treasure is another thing.

So what is this 'other thing?'

Regarding awards, he was awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal and also the The Order of The Rising Sun from what I can make out. Whilst still alive I might add. Now only about 15 people ever have been awarded higher than that and they were mainly royalty.

It is widely quoted that he was declared posthumously by the Japanese government as a Sacred National Treasure.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-01-2011, 06:45 PM
So what is this 'other thing?'
See: National Treasures of Japan
Also: Living National Treasures of Japan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_National_Treasures_of_Japan)

Regarding awards, he was awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal and also the The Order of The Rising Sun from what I can make out. Whilst still alive I might add. Now only about 15 people ever have been awarded higher than that and they were mainly royalty.
I can count more than 15 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Rising_Sun), lots of them not royalty.... like this cartoonist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leiji_Matsumoto) And there says the list is not complete.

It is widely quoted that he was declared posthumously by the Japanese government as a Sacred National Treasure.
But this is a wrong quote. What he received was the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

My point is: Ueshiba received honours? yes, deserved? yes, but look at the people who received the same honours than him and you can see which kind these honours are.

Context is everything.

graham christian
12-01-2011, 08:06 PM
See: National Treasures of Japan
Also: Living National Treasures of Japan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_National_Treasures_of_Japan)

I can count more than 15 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Rising_Sun), lots of them not royalty.... like this cartoonist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leiji_Matsumoto) And there says the list is not complete.

But this is a wrong quote. What he received was the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

My point is: Ueshiba received honours? yes, deserved? yes, but look at the people who received the same honours than him and you can see which kind these honours are.

Context is everything.

Context is everything yes. So we had better look in the field of martial arts then and compare and contrast. How many received the purple ribbon and how many the order of the rising sun?

Indeed how many outside received the latter? Context.

How many have a special rememberance day in their honour? Context.

How many had personal students asked for to give private Audience with heads of state ie: at the white house, thus representing?

How pleased is Japan still to say He was and is ours and proudly acknowledge him as special?

To be honoured and then to honoured again posthumously shows what the Government think of such a person, shows they have that person as a national treasure. I need say no more.

In the martial arts world, that's worldwide, he is renowned and respected.

I would say he's a worldwide treasure ha, ha. But alas, maybe some are jealous and seek to put him as less. I often wonder why?

I wonder how good he is for the tourist trade in Japan? I bet their's a virtual pilgrimage to places associated with him. Mmmmm. More context.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-02-2011, 06:13 AM
Context is everything yes. So we had better look in the field of martial arts then and compare and contrast. How many received the purple ribbon and how many the order of the rising sun?

Without much searching I've found:

Order of the Rising Sun:
- Jigoro Kano (Judo)
- George Kerr (Judo)

Order of the Sacred Treasure:
- Trevor Legget (Judo)
- Keiko Fukuda (Judo)
- Anton Geesink (Judo)

Medal of honor - Purple Ribbon
- Yosaburo Uno (Kyudo)
- Kyuzo Mifune (Judo)
- Kinnosuke Ogawa (Kendo)
- Seiji Mochida (Kendo)
- Kaichiro Samura (Judo)
- Yasuhiro Yamashita (Judo)
- Ryoko Tamura (Judo)

So maybe you are giving much weight to the "national treasure" issue, and the other questions you possed could be easily answered. Do you want them answered?

But alas, maybe some are jealous and seek to put him as less. I often wonder why
Or maybe is about seeking to put him as he was. Do you think the founder, and what he developed, need lies, disinformation and soviet style propaganda to be fully appreciated?

Chris Li
12-02-2011, 10:19 AM
I wonder how good he is for the tourist trade in Japan? I bet their's a virtual pilgrimage to places associated with him. Mmmmm. More context.

Regards.G.

A distant third after Judo, Kendo and Karate (which isn't even Japanese) - might be less than Kyudo, in numbers of actual practitioners in Japan. Not that it matters, I know of koryu where the entire art can fit in the same (small) room and have dinner together.

Like Demetrio says - no need for exaggeration.

Best,

Chris

graham christian
12-02-2011, 01:19 PM
Without much searching I've found:

Order of the Rising Sun:
- Jigoro Kano (Judo)
- George Kerr (Judo)

Order of the Sacred Treasure:
- Trevor Legget (Judo)
- Keiko Fukuda (Judo)
- Anton Geesink (Judo)

Medal of honor - Purple Ribbon
- Yosaburo Uno (Kyudo)
- Kyuzo Mifune (Judo)
- Kinnosuke Ogawa (Kendo)
- Seiji Mochida (Kendo)
- Kaichiro Samura (Judo)
- Yasuhiro Yamashita (Judo)
- Ryoko Tamura (Judo)

So maybe you are giving much weight to the "national treasure" issue, and the other questions you possed could be easily answered. Do you want them answered?

Or maybe is about seeking to put him as he was. Do you think the founder, and what he developed, need lies, disinformation and soviet style propaganda to be fully appreciated?

Still don't see your point. An Honoured citizen, a rare thing. A treasure. A national treasure.

Something to acknowledge.

Funny how people find ways to put it down and call it perspective. Out of all the millions and millions of people born in Japan not many make it to such greatness. That's about all the perspective you need. All treasures.

Regards.G.

graham christian
12-02-2011, 07:34 PM
Here's a point for those interested on Ueshibas Teaching ability. Let's put some more emphasis on the students study ability and let me point out something in the west you are quite familiar with.

What do you have at Universities? Be they Harvard or Oxford. Do you have senior teachers or senior lecturers? What's the difference?

Senior lecturers are considered the tops but what do they do? Basically they lecture. It is up to the student to take notes and study and practice in their own time.

So Ueshiba did both and and a lot of the lecturing side also. Now which students went and did their homework on his lectures? Compare that to which students just said 'No one understood him'

Now compare that to how many thousands also say that as they progress they begin to understand what Ueshiba meant when he said.....

As I repeatedly say, it's not the teacher you should look at usually, it's the student. Bad students blame the teacher, the book, the cat whatever.

Now add to that also Shuhari and and you will see that only good students can learn this way, it's the way he learned and he was a great student.

Regards.G.

Carl Thompson
12-03-2011, 07:37 AM
Hello Graham

Thanks for these points:

Senior lecturers are considered the tops but what do they do? Basically they lecture. It is up to the student to take notes and study and practice in their own time.

So Ueshiba did both and and a lot of the lecturing side also. Now which students went and did their homework on his lectures? Compare that to which students just said 'No one understood him'

and

Now add to that also Shuhari and and you will see that only good students can learn this way, it's the way he learned and he was a great student.

"...it's the way he learned" caught my attention in particular. I'd add that courses usually have assessments in which those who didn't get the goods from the lecturers tend to be weeded out. The experience in academia can vary greatly depending on the subject regarding how hands-on the "senior instructors" need to get to ensure their knowledge is passed on.

It doesn't appear that anyone will argue against the traditional model of "stealing". I mentioned the kuden (oral transmissions) as evidence that Osensei did explain technique sometimes but it seems for the most part that students had to pinch it. I pointed out what I thought the positives were earlier (regulation and active learning) but what if he habitually overdid it? Furthermore, if he overdid it and produced a generation of instructors underneath him whom he observed teaching and they clearly didn't have the goods, what was he thinking?

This affects everyone in the art, not to mention Daito Ryu if this is the same kind of pedagogy Osensei learned from Takeda.

Carl

graham christian
12-03-2011, 09:47 AM
Hello Graham

Thanks for these points:

and

"...it's the way he learned" caught my attention in particular. I'd add that courses usually have assessments in which those who didn't get the goods from the lecturers tend to be weeded out. The experience in academia can vary greatly depending on the subject regarding how hands-on the "senior instructors" need to get to ensure their knowledge is passed on.

It doesn't appear that anyone will argue against the traditional model of "stealing". I mentioned the kuden (oral transmissions) as evidence that Osensei did explain technique sometimes but it seems for the most part that students had to pinch it. I pointed out what I thought the positives were earlier (regulation and active learning) but what if he habitually overdid it? Furthermore, if he overdid it and produced a generation of instructors underneath him whom he observed teaching and they clearly didn't have the goods, what was he thinking?

This affects everyone in the art, not to mention Daito Ryu if this is the same kind of pedagogy Osensei learned from Takeda.

Carl

Hi Carl.
Shuhari. I don't believe many really understand this. Stealing the technique does not mean stealing as in a car or whatever.

So many I hear talking about stealing techniques as if it means something untoward and also with that they look upon it as keeping secrets, withholding things, keeping things away from, etc. The people who look at it this way to my mind are too paranoid basically. In fact the true meaning of stealing techniques was considered an intellectual ability.

It doesn't mean stealing as they are used to using the word. Secondly they are thrown by the word 'technique'.

Once again I find people outside of Aikido understand what it means better than those in it.

So I don't believe O'Sensei overdid or 'underdid' anything for it is not many who have the ability to study properly in the way he did. Not many, be they Japanese or western. He merely expected others to study as he did.

When you say the traditional model of 'stealing' and students had to pinch it I feel there may still be a misunderstanding of what 'stealing' really means.

What do you think it means? As it doesn't mean pinching anything.

Regards.G.

phitruong
12-03-2011, 10:27 AM
Shuhari. I don't believe many really understand this. Stealing the technique does not mean stealing as in a car or whatever.
.

i don't understand the shuhari either since i don't understand Japanese.

you meant i can't just sneaking up to my sensei with a tanto and jacking him for techniques. as in, "Your techniques or your life!" maybe i have gone at this all wrong, because i have tried technique jacking various teachers with bokken, jo and even empty hand. so far they kept saying "your life". i don't understand it. don't they know that i am technique jacking them? why can't they just hand it over to make it easy for everyone?

a bit off topic. if you jack someone named rob, would that be jacking rob, i.e. double jack, i.e. black jack? :D

graham christian
12-03-2011, 10:43 AM
i don't understand the shuhari either since i don't understand Japanese.

you meant i can't just sneaking up to my sensei with a tanto and jacking him for techniques. as in, "Your techniques or your life!" maybe i have gone at this all wrong, because i have tried technique jacking various teachers with bokken, jo and even empty hand. so far they kept saying "your life". i don't understand it. don't they know that i am technique jacking them? why can't they just hand it over to make it easy for everyone?

a bit off topic. if you jack someone named rob, would that be jacking rob, i.e. double jack, i.e. black jack? :D

Well you could try rocking, then you would have rocking robbing, you could try a hood as disguise then you would have robin hood, but please, in this pc world don't pick on jack that could be called jackism and thus you're a jackist.

Regards.G.

Ken McGrew
12-03-2011, 12:16 PM
This often repeated claim that O Sensei did not teach well because no one, allegedly, is as good as him. The people that make these claims have very high opinions of themselves and think they should be as good as O Sensei or their teachers, though they have trained for fewer years than their teachers. The argument that if O Sensei had been a better teacher there would be more greats like him is not a logical argument. Just about everyone learns tennis the same way. Everyone learns baseball pretty much the same way. Not everyone will be as good as O Sensei. But there are lots of people who are good. Even the people who doubt themselves. The problem is that they want to be good like a Bruce Lee movie, standing their ground, powerful, but Aikido is not about that.

mathewjgano
12-03-2011, 06:57 PM
This often repeated claim that O Sensei did not teach well because no one, allegedly, is as good as him. The people that make these claims have very high opinions of themselves and think they should be as good as O Sensei or their teachers, though they have trained for fewer years than their teachers. The argument that if O Sensei had been a better teacher there would be more greats like him is not a logical argument. Just about everyone learns tennis the same way. Everyone learns baseball pretty much the same way. Not everyone will be as good as O Sensei. But there are lots of people who are good. Even the people who doubt themselves. The problem is that they want to be good like a Bruce Lee movie, standing their ground, powerful, but Aikido is not about that.

I think the opinion people have of themselves is beside the point. I think the argument surrounding pedagogy is a valid one. We probably agree Ueshiba was something of a "genius" with somewhat exceptional ability. This doesn't take away from the idea that his method of teaching probably wasn't geared as much toward explicit teaching as it was toward implicit teaching...or that his teaching style or emphases may have even shifted somewhat from situation to situation, and that it probably affected the way different aspects were emphasized in turn by different groups of people.
I believe there are almost certainly better ways, speaking very generally, to teach people; simply because the science of teaching is a bit more refined. I get the feeling O Sensei's method of teaching was very well suited for some people. I'm not convinced he expected everyone to get everything and suspect he left a great deal to the individual to make happen. He points over and over again to the idea that quality training comes from the quality of the trainer; that it is up to the student to internalize the art; that it is up to the student to figure out how to master the student, if that makes any sense. With that in mind I think it's likely he felt people would naturally develop as they were naturally inclined and that he may have even valued the idea that things should be allowed to grow somewhat on their own terms.
Strictly speaking, not everyone learns baseball the same way; the most widely established methodologies aren't always best for everyone.
My personal opinion is that "greatness" like O Sensei's is a matter of having a very high-functioning obsessive quality. "Greatness" is the product of passion and reason coming together in large doses (usually with a bit of luck) that most people can't (or more likely won't) do. In that sense I agree we don't need to have a bunch of O Sensei's for his teaching to be called "good," but I do think it's valid to suggest his teaching might have been shaped by his personal method of learning more than what might have been better for some of his students.
Thoughts?
Take care,
Matt

Nicholas Eschenbruch
12-04-2011, 04:49 AM
Carl, thanks for the thread. This is not meant to be an attack on anyone, but, personally, I suspect questioning Morhei Ueshibas teaching ability often misses (amongst other things) what he was about at certain points in his life and how that relates to him teaching.

My own take, of course based only on the snippets of information we have and informed by what more knowledgable people have written here over the years, is that Ueshiba was first of all a person involved in a life long passionate (call it obsessive, I dont mind) search process of a highly individual nature that dominated all other aspects of his life. For a long time, daito ryu was quite central to that process, and since he got very good at it he taught, because daito ryu entails that. Later, I believe the different elements of his search all came together in a way that made deep and evident sense to him, and from that point onward he just expressed his individual, cosmologically all-encompassing, ongoing process. Expressing that process (and I draw on questions Peter Goldsbury, amongs others, has brought up), I do not think he had "an art" to "pass on" anymore, and I doubt teaching in the way it is suggested here (in my interpretation: taking structured and effective steps to pass on a clearly circumscribed art) was part of his expression.

It was suggested to him that he call the process aikido, and so he did, we dont know what he thought about it really. Ellis Amdur suggests, if I remember correctly, the possibilty that he saw himself as an avatar, and as such may not have seen any need for others to get as "good" as him in the art.

Note that I am not saying he did not teach, nor that he did not care about passing stuff on that was important to him. It may just not have been aikido in the way we see it, to the people we think, with the goals we have in mind.

Now I believe this pattern, expressing the results of a passionate search process and being confronted with the requirement to "teach" as a result while not having a body of knowledge to pass on, is actually quite common in highly creative people involved in similar processes. From some cursory reading it seems to me something similar was the case for Moshe Feldenkrais; in his case, the insight that he taught a "method of no-method" was somehow preserved, but is still at odds with the fact that there is now the "Feldenkrais method". It would be interesting to know whether there are other examples.

So, in a way, I arrive at a point similar to Grahams: how does a student best learn from such a person and process. One student of both Morihei Ueshiba and Feldenkrais told me about the later: "I did not study with Moshe to learn another profession. I wanted to understand how he thought" That seems a good strating point to me.

But anyway, I feel I am just paraphrasing Goldsbury, Amdur and years of reading here, etc., if that is the case pardon me please... :o

DH
12-04-2011, 05:49 AM
Perhaps it is more fair to his memory to judge, or discuss his teaching abilities from the period when he was actually teaching.

The era in which he actively taught he produced some remarkable men; Inue, Shirata, Mochizuki, Tomiki, Shioda, Hisa etc. These men were pretty substantial in their day.

Retired....has meaning. I don't think it is correct to castigate someone who handed over the reigns to someone else for where the wagon ended up. I also think it is presumptuous to think he should have had the same vested interest. His asking Shirata to "you go help my son, everyone has left the dojo..." at least in part shows his own acknowledgment of a separation of responsibility due to his..."retirement" from regular teaching.
So, on the whole, judgment of his abilities as a "teacher" should be when he was actively doing so. It is documented that he was never a day to day active presence at hombu dojo after he retired.
All the best
Dan

Nicholas Eschenbruch
12-04-2011, 08:06 AM
Now I believe this pattern, expressing the results of a passionate search process and being confronted with the requirement to "teach" as a result while not having a body of knowledge to pass on, is actually quite common in highly creative people involved in similar processes. From some cursory reading it seems to me something similar was the case for Moshe Feldenkrais; in his case, the insight that he taught a "method of no-method" was somehow preserved, but is still at odds with the fact that there is now the "Feldenkrais method". It would be interesting to know whether there are other examples.


Another one just came to mind: JL Moreno, creator of psychodrama, at his time influential in psychotherapy, theater, and sociology: apparently a wildly creative and charismatic character, and very effective therapist (also: an obsessive womanizer with megalomaniac streaks...), to whom the "method", that was created from what he did (though great in itself), somehow does not seem to do full justice - especially the aspect that students try to this day to extract a "theory", which he supposedly developped, from his often unsystematic and idiosyncratic writing in order to make him fit socially acceptable notions of therapy. Or so I take it...

Lee Salzman
12-04-2011, 08:12 AM
Now I believe this pattern, expressing the results of a passionate search process and being confronted with the requirement to "teach" as a result while not having a body of knowledge to pass on, is actually quite common in highly creative people involved in similar processes. From some cursory reading it seems to me something similar was the case for Moshe Feldenkrais; in his case, the insight that he taught a "method of no-method" was somehow preserved, but is still at odds with the fact that there is now the "Feldenkrais method". It would be interesting to know whether there are other examples.

So, in a way, I arrive at a point similar to Grahams: how does a student best learn from such a person and process. One student of both Morihei Ueshiba and Feldenkrais told me about the later: "I did not study with Moshe to learn another profession. I wanted to understand how he thought" That seems a good strating point to me.

There are in fact methods of "no method" that are rather common in CMA, but rather than name them, I think it is fairer to state what makes some of them tick: Realize that any fixed form is an initial crutch just to give the student an idea of a larger context of application, that must be discarded as soon as the student gets the idea and can practice it in the larger context. The student must understand this even as he is being taught the crutch.

For instance, it may be easy to find "jin" standing in one spot, but to find "jin" in all movements is too difficult a starting point for basically anyone, so you first have the student find it in standing. If the student were to cling to standing, he would hinder his ability to express it eventually in all movement. So for any initial crutch, an equal amount of time must be spent learning how to get off the crutches. The longer you use the crutch, the worse off you are. Likewise that does not mean you won't go back and test your ability to use that crutch, as a test of your progress in the larger context, but that the crutch is never the vehicle of progress. This extends even to particular fixed movements or forms or waza. Progress is measured by widening scope.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-04-2011, 02:17 PM
Still don't see your point.

It's a very simple one:

"afforded the honour of national treasure on a government and nation level" = BS

graham christian
12-04-2011, 05:32 PM
It's a very simple one:

"afforded the honour of national treasure on a government and nation level" = BS

I take it BS=Beautifully Said......

Regards.G.

hughrbeyer
12-04-2011, 05:48 PM
("afforded the honour of national treasure on a government and nation level" = BS) = cheap shot

graham christian
12-04-2011, 06:08 PM
Woahhh, here we go again. Who says that a person who is passionately on a path cannot or would not or even would explain why he didn't teach properly or more? Wow,what an assumption.

On inspection I think you will find quite the opposite in fact. Every person who was passionate about their field of study that I have met are only too willing to share their views and very enthusiastically at that.

In fact their only frustrations come from those who 'twist' what they are saying or do other than what they are instructing them to do.

So rather than O'Sensei being a not so good teacher it's more that he was a passionate teacher and thus a frustrated one.

Let's take another's methods, Tohei. Rules of mind and body coordination and rules of Aikido practice.

There you are, a set of principles to practice. Every time you get stuck then just refer back to those principles. This takes honesty and discipline. It says look no further than these principles and you will find what you are looking for.

That's a different super disciplined way of study. Expected by the teacher. So simple that it's hard. Teacher gives principles, you practice them, you keep practicing them.

One point. How many have practiced that principle and to what degree? Some say they did it for x number of years. Really? If they did actually discipline themselves to honestly notice when they didn't have one point and how to keep it then half the statements I hear about Ki Aikido wouldn't be made.

This is the traditional martial way of study. No quick fixes, no new models, no phd's or big words. No yeah but he said or fancy advanced techniques.

The point is that when a person understands the principles of something then to them it becomes simple. They want to pass on this simplicity but find everyone getting all complicated and complex about it. When they say a simplicity it is real to them so they may say it's the practice of loving protection or some such. Then they watch everyone using force, violence, technical tricks and wonder what the hell they are doing. They may say it's masakatsu and agatsu, self developement, and stand back and watch everyone trying to beat the opponent or become some martial untouchable body.

They may say there is absolutely no violence in Aikido only to watch everyone justify yeah but.

Such is the way of the master and such are his frustrations dealing with willing yet far less aware others.

Regards.G.

Carl Thompson
12-05-2011, 07:14 AM
Perhaps it is more fair to his memory to judge, or discuss his teaching abilities from the period when he was actually teaching.

The era in which he actively taught he produced some remarkable men; Inue, Shirata, Mochizuki, Tomiki, Shioda, Hisa etc. These men were pretty substantial in their day.

Takuma Hisa is exactly the person I was thinking of. He learned Daito Ryu from Morihei Ueshiba first, then Sokaku Takeda. He didn't seem to find anything wrong with Osensei's pedagogy. He even ended up calling what he was teaching "aikido" and insisted it was the same thing.

If things did change, what were they? The fusion with Omoto-beliefs perhaps or is it just a case that he wasn't teaching much later on. I recall an interview with Takuma Hisa in which he had something to say about Takeda Sensei's own enlightenment, not totally dissimilar to Osensei's.

Thanks

Carl

Sacha Cloetens
12-05-2011, 07:37 AM
Takuma Hisa is exactly the person I was thinking of. He learned Daito Ryu from Morihei Ueshiba first, then Sokaku Takeda. He didn't seem to find anything wrong with Osensei's pedagogy. He even ended up calling what he was teaching "aikido" and insisted it was the same thing.

If things did change, what were they? The fusion with Omoto-beliefs perhaps or is it just a case that he wasn't teaching much later on. I recall an interview with Takuma Hisa in which he had something to say about Takeda Sensei's own enlightenment, not totally dissimilar to Osensei's.

Thanks

Carl

Hello,

It seems the teaching methodology indeed did change after te war, according to Doshu Kisshomaru.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=566

"You mentioned earlier that O-Sensei in his later years would demonstrate his technique in front of his students and that the students learned Aikido by watching and being attracted to his movements rather than O-Sensei teaching them. Was O-Sensei’s teaching method like that from the beginning?

No. At first he taught techniques point by point although it didn’t seem that he was attached to a specific teaching goal. But he emphasized that you have to do things exactly, one by one, so you won’t make mistakes. Recently, there has been a tendency for Aikido training to become too soft and flowing and some beginners lightly bypass hard training. That’s not the way it should be. If you are going to practice you must practice basics earnestly. This he told me frequently even in his later years… exactly, not changing anything… if you don’t reach the level of softness beyond technique by getting the basics down perfectly, you won’t develop true strength. If, from the beginning, you practice a “tofu-like(bean-curd) soft style, you will be vulnerable to an attack. So it’s necessary to do solid training in the beginning. Over time, through this kind of solid training your technique will become effective. A soft effectiveness will emerge"

enjoy
Sacha

Demetrio Cereijo
12-05-2011, 09:38 AM
Recently, there has been a tendency for Aikido training to become too soft and flowing and some beginners lightly bypass hard training. That's not the way it should be. If you are going to practice you must practice basics earnestly. This he told me frequently even in his later years… exactly, not changing anything… if you don't reach the level of softness beyond technique by getting the basics down perfectly, you won't develop true strength. If, from the beginning, you practice a "tofu-like(bean-curd) soft style, you will be vulnerable to an attack. So it's necessary to do solid training in the beginning. Over time, through this kind of solid training your technique will become effective. A soft effectiveness will emerge"

I think I've heard that before.

Carl Thompson
12-05-2011, 05:48 PM
Hello,

It seems the teaching methodology indeed did change after te war, according to Doshu Kisshomaru.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=566

"You mentioned earlier that O-Sensei in his later years would demonstrate his technique in front of his students and that the students learned Aikido by watching and being attracted to his movements rather than O-Sensei teaching them. Was O-Sensei's teaching method like that from the beginning?

No. At first he taught techniques point by point although it didn't seem that he was attached to a specific teaching goal. But he emphasized that you have to do things exactly, one by one, so you won't make mistakes. Recently, there has been a tendency for Aikido training to become too soft and flowing and some beginners lightly bypass hard training. That's not the way it should be. If you are going to practice you must practice basics earnestly. This he told me frequently even in his later years… exactly, not changing anything… if you don't reach the level of softness beyond technique by getting the basics down perfectly, you won't develop true strength. If, from the beginning, you practice a "tofu-like(bean-curd) soft style, you will be vulnerable to an attack. So it's necessary to do solid training in the beginning. Over time, through this kind of solid training your technique will become effective. A soft effectiveness will emerge"

enjoy
Sacha

I recall hearing the comparison with tofu before, but I don't think I’d ever read that interview in full. Thanks very much for sharing the link.

To me this echoes a common view that the founder moved more towards demonstrating, lecturing and observing towards the end. It seems Kisshomaru Sensei suggests that his father wasn’t so concerned about transmitting his art later on and that the onus fell more on the students (stealing taken to a higher level). One thing was that at this point he had a cadre of instructors who had gone through the more rigorous approach already. How did he expect those instructors to teach when he observed them?

I also mentioned earlier the possible effect of the founder’s religious experience. Kagura mai (a kind of spiritual dance) featured as part of his demonstrations in later years. The founder bound his Omoto training with the physical aspects of his art. One question I had earlier was whether this impaired his teaching ability.

Carl

Demetrio Cereijo
12-06-2011, 08:58 AM
The founder bound his Omoto training with the physical aspects of his art. One question I had earlier was whether this impaired his teaching ability.

Carl

Considering O Sensei involvement with Omoto started around 1920 I don't think the (post war) change was mainly caused by his beliefs in Omoto doctrine.

graham christian
12-06-2011, 09:13 AM
Considering his two realizations in the mid 40's I'd say it's a lot to do with it.

Regards.G.

Carl Thompson
12-07-2011, 05:19 AM
Considering O Sensei involvement with Omoto started around 1920 I don't think the (post war) change was mainly caused by his beliefs in Omoto doctrine.

Vs.

Considering his two realizations in the mid 40's I'd say it's a lot to do with it.

?

I was thinking it was interesting how Takuma Hisa described Takeda going through a similar process of enlightenment. Osensei just happened to go to the heart of Omoto-kyo for his spiritual training. Was the change something as mundane as retirement and delegation of part 1 while he got on with the more lecture-orientated teaching of part two?

Carl

Demetrio Cereijo
12-07-2011, 06:22 AM
I was thinking it was interesting how Takuma Hisa described Takeda going through a similar process of enlightenment.
Did Takeda changed his teaching method because said enlightenment?

Osensei just happened to go to the heart of Omoto-kyo for his spiritual training.
And shorty after started to teach martial arts until his retirement to Iwama in 1942. I don't see how his beliefs in Oomoto doctrine could have affected his teaching method

Was the change something as mundane as retirement and delegation of part 1 while he got on with the more lecture-orientated teaching of part two?
IMO, at some point after WW2 he switched from martial arts instructor to shaman with martial skills. If this had something to do with Oomoto, a lot of years have passed since he joined the cult.

George S. Ledyard
12-07-2011, 12:00 PM
I think we might change the question from teaching "ability" to teaching "methodology". The methodology clearly changed over the years as the subject matter changed.

The 30's deshi were doing Daito Ryu originally. The material was different, it was still forms based early on. As O-Sensei moved in what he called Aiki Budo, this started to change a bit, but not that much. I have talked to folks who trained under '30s deshi and also have a Daito Ryu background and the all comment on the fact that what they were taught as "Aikido" was very Daito Ryu - like.

Even when you get to Saito Sensei, you find him walking around with O-Sensei's book from the pre-war period saying "See, I didn't change a thing." and Saito really was the last deshi to be systematically taught technique by the Founder.

By the time you get to Saotome Sensei's day, it was quite different. Saotome Sensei always said that he could remember three times in fifteen years in which O-Sensei talked in class about "how" to do a technique. Now, this reflects in the extremely wide range of interpretation and actually ability in the post war deshi.

Now, there are various interpretations of why this happened. My own personal take on this is that O-Sensei was simply teaching what he thought was important. He had trained several generations of teachers by this point. I simply don't think he felt he needed to be teaching technique, which any number of his senior students could do. What he thought of as his mission was to pass on the spiritual / philosophical underpinnings that underlay the technique. I think O-Sensei felt that this was the are that he could do that perhaps none of his students could quite do as well. So, his interest was in passing on the spiritual while his students more or less were interested in technique, by all accounts.

If you wanted to sum up the gist of any number of interviews available with the post war deshi, one thing you find over and over is a statement to the effect that "We were all young and stupid... all we paid attention to was technique. Now we wish we had paid more attention when O-Sensei taught." So, now you see many of the deshi hitting that same stage of their lives in which they are less technique oriented and more thoughtful about what they do. I recently attended a wonderful seminar with Okimura Sensei in which he commented, after taking for some time, that there seemed to be a time when teachers of Aikido became "professors" i.e. they felt the need to "profess". He said this with much humor, but he wasn't in the least apologetic about it. I think that in his mind, what he was telling us was just as important as any technical information he could impart.

This system only works when you have some sort of technical hierarchy of teachers. It's fine for the big guy to get all ethereal and wax philosophical as long as somebody else is around to teach people where to put their feet. So, it's not lack of teaching "ability" that was what caused some problems with the transmission, it was his disinterest in focusing on technical details.

So, then we have to ask why he was disinterested? Once again there are all sorts of opinions and interpretations about his whole period. O-Sensei's oft quoted statement that "No one is doing my Aikido" is brought out any number of times. Lately, one of the interpretations has been that his was an example of O-Sensei expressing his frustrations with the students not very sophisticated understanding of aiki and internal power principles. Personally, I see no evidence that this is what he meant. I am not saying that it wasn't true. There's huge range in what the deshi seemed to have been able to pick up in this area. But, doesn't it seem that, if this were the Founder's big complaint in the 1960's just before his death, that the deshi couldn't to technique the way he wanted, that he would have focused on that when he taught?

It's not like he was being told what to teach... he could do anything he wanted. he was the Founder, the Big Kahuna, he could talk for an hour and the deshi would sit there, knees screaming and never move. His complete lack of focus on "how to" but rather on "why" and "what's it mean" would say loud and clear that this was what he thought most important. He gave the deshi complete freedom to develop their own Aikido manifestation of form and physical principle and he kept trying to get them to see the connection between their Aikido and the larger universal picture. It's pretty much all he talked about. If he was at all concerned that his deshi couldn't do the five man push on the jo demo, he probably would have taught them the skills. You think? If he belived that a crucial element in Aikido was being able to blow a guy across the room when he pushed on the Founder's leg, well, it seems to me that he would have focused on that until his students got it. But he clearly did not. In the thrties he did, and after the war he didn't.

Who thinks that O-Sensei didn't notice that there was a qualitative difference (not better or worse but clearly different) between the post war deshi and Mochizuki, Shioda, Tomiki, and Shirata? Could you really maintain that he sat there bemoaning the fact that his post war students didn't have all the same skills his earlier students had had then did nothing to fix it? He simply showed no interest whatever in that issue. What I am saying is that, would he have been happy if his post war students had had an even deeper understanding of his waza than they did? I am sure he would have been happy with that. Every teacher wants his students to be better, to be as good as they can be. But, I would have to say that I don't know a single teacher, not have I ever met one, who didn't, at least with his or her "personal" students, focus on what they thought was MOST IMPORTANT for their students to understand. The idea that O-Sensei spent all his time teaching one thing and then lamented the fact that his students weren't any good at something else defies credibility. As far as I can tell he taught the deshi exactly what he thought was most important and then lamented the fact that most of them weren't, by their own accounts, listening.

So, making judgements about his ability to teach technique when he wasn't trying to teach technique is a bit silly. Clearly, back in the day, he knew how to teach technique when he wanted. He just wasn't interested... he had other folks who could do that, to his satisfaction I think. Perhaps the criticism might really be that he wasn't as good a salesman as he could have been in that he wasn't able to reach as much of his audience as he wished for. Or we could just say that a teacher can't teach without good students and his students, due to simple human nature, kept being distracted by what they could see and feel and didn't pay attention very closely to what they didn't understand. That's a failure oif the students as much as a failure of the teacher...

Anyway, I think this a question that hasn't usually been framed in the right terms.

- George

graham christian
12-07-2011, 12:58 PM
Vs.

?

I was thinking it was interesting how Takuma Hisa described Takeda going through a similar process of enlightenment. Osensei just happened to go to the heart of Omoto-kyo for his spiritual training. Was the change something as mundane as retirement and delegation of part 1 while he got on with the more lecture-orientated teaching of part two?

Carl

Takeda enlightenment? I don't think so, not in the terms of Ueshiba's anyway. The one thing he loved teaching or lecturing about was the spiritual underpinning of Aikido.

Now waiting for others to get more spiritual and understand the significance and indeed relevance to that base of Aikido by the look of things is quite a long wait.

Internal? Hah. Spiritually speaking anything bodily, whether inside the body or on the outside is all external. The only true internal is spiritual self and has nothing to do with a physical perspective.

Thus people are trapped in a physical only view trying to follow spiritual principles.

Still hypnotized by feats of strength, physically not needing to move, tales of superman. Ha,ha.

A man who talks spiritually and gives spiritual statements can only rely on extreme patience and thus can get frustrated.

Researched from this point of view all is revealed. Only then can you see what he means by how he used to use strength and want to be strong and contest. Only then can you see how Takeda opened his eyes to there is something more for that is one thing his 'aiki' does and that is show there are things you didn't understand. But alas, still pinned to physical.

Only when he realized and let go of all that physical and bodily internal stuff was he able to develop Aikido and explain it's all to do with those spiritual aspects he talked then about. Universal rather than internal and a rehabillitation of true self in harmony with the universe.

A hard thing to get across to people who can only translate physically and who even when they feel it from him can only translate it as physical strength and arms like steel.

So Aikido is 100% spiritual and harmonious and in so being unifies body and mind and has no enemies.

This is the message I believe Ueshiba was giving as to be practiced and understood through the form
of Aikido,

Thus, the words he spoke are still teaching today. They are the true reference points even now.

Only the not so spiritual feel the need to change them or alter them to fit in my opinion.

Truth cannot be changed, only denied, for it is always there, it is indeed universal and thus neither internal nor external. Facts on the other hand are physical and boy do people like them.

Regards.G.

Ken McGrew
12-07-2011, 01:33 PM
A senior instructor in any large dojo or organization, especially as he or she ages, will tend to allow his senior students to do more of the teaching. His or her instruction shifts more towards creating good teachers who can carry on than teaching the basics him or her self. I don't think there is anything unusual about this.

So these discussions about whether O Sensei was a good teacher are proxy arguments for other assumptions. I look at the Aikido world and see good post-war Aikido in general (though I fear we are headed off course lately). Others see bad Aikido. Some think it was always bad. Others think it got worse after the war. If Aikido is bad the world over, then the assumption is that O Sensei failed to teach well by any measure of what teaching means. If Aikido is good, at least among his senior students, then the assumption is that O Sensei did manage to teach what needed teaching. This is what is really being discussed.

MM
12-07-2011, 03:23 PM
I think we might change the question from teaching "ability" to teaching "methodology". The methodology clearly changed over the years as the subject matter changed.


Hi George,

Perhaps you are right, here. I think Ueshiba's "ability" to teach was just fine. I think his "methodology" was not as clear.


The 30's deshi were doing Daito Ryu originally. The material was different, it was still forms based early on. As O-Sensei moved in what he called Aiki Budo, this started to change a bit, but not that much. I have talked to folks who trained under '30s deshi and also have a Daito Ryu background and the all comment on the fact that what they were taught as "Aikido" was very Daito Ryu - like.

Even when you get to Saito Sensei, you find him walking around with O-Sensei's book from the pre-war period saying "See, I didn't change a thing." and Saito really was the last deshi to be systematically taught technique by the Founder.

By the time you get to Saotome Sensei's day, it was quite different. Saotome Sensei always said that he could remember three times in fifteen years in which O-Sensei talked in class about "how" to do a technique. Now, this reflects in the extremely wide range of interpretation and actually ability in the post war deshi.


I think it was different ... but for other reasons. Let me detail out why.

First, let me go over the pre-war time and how often Ueshiba was at the Kobukan.

===
From 1926 until the outbreak of World War II, O-Sensei maintained a heavy teaching schedule centering his activities in Tokyo. His students were primarily military officers and person of high social standing and his teaching services were in constant demand. He was obliged to travel extensively around the country and made almost yearly visits to Manchuria, then under Japanese political control.

There was actually only a small amount of training in those years for the prewar students and only a few actually trained more than five years. Adding to that, Ueshiba had a very busy traveling schedule as he went to various places to train people. Morihiro Saito even mentions how busy Ueshiba was traveling before the war.

In fact, after Mochizuki opened his dojo around 1931, he stated that when Ueshiba would travel each month to Kyoto to teach Omoto kyo followers, that Ueshiba would stop at Mochizuki's dojo to teach there for two to three days. It has been said that Ueshiba spent one to two weeks per month away from the Kobukan dojo. Between the actual travel times and the teaching times, Ueshiba was not at the Kobukan dojo regularly.

Aiki News Issue 027
Aiki News Issue 013
http://www.yoseikanbudo.com/eng/minorumochizuki.shtml
Aiki News Issue 054
===

Now, let's just take a look at *how* Ueshiba was teaching in pre-war:

===
Takako Kunigoshi and Zenzaburo Akazawa relate their memories of training and that Ueshiba would show a technique but not explain it. Rinjiro Shirata, another pre-war student, gives some more details about Ueshiba's teaching style.

"We never practiced techniques in any specific order. It was not a practice where we were taught. As I told you before, Ueshiba had his own training. Therefore, he practiced techniques as he wanted. That was his training. Ueshiba Sensei's way of explaining techniques was first of all to give the names of kamisama (deities). After that, he explained the movement. He told us, "Aikido originally didn't have any form. The movements of the body in response to one's state of mind became the techniques."

and

"… in our time, Ueshiba Sensei didn't teach systematically. While we learned we had to systemize each technique in our mind so it was very hard. Ueshiba Sensei didn't have techniques. He said: "There are no techniques. What you express each time is a technique." "

However, Hisao Kimata notes that sometimes Ueshiba did explain while at other times, it was up to the student to figure things out. But, overall, the continuing theme from these students was that there was either no explanations or very little.

Yoshio Sugino remembers Ueshiba quickly showing a technique once and then having the students practice without detailed explanations. It is also interesting to see what Shioda thought about Ueshiba's teaching methods.

"Our way of training was, for example, to hold Ueshiba Sensei's hands or shoulders or seize him from behind and he would free himself from our grip. He would merely say to us, "Master it and forget it". "

and

"I know that Ueshiba Sensei's techniques were wonderful, but what he did one day was completely different from the day before. Since Ueshiba Sensei did whatever came into his mind, those who were training watched what he was doing without understanding. There were nothing at all like the basics we do today. He would do whatever came to his mind."

and

"As mentioned earlier, at the Ueshiba Dojo in the old days we didn't explicitly have any pre-set forms. The only thing the students could do was copy the techniques that Sensei performed on their own. In terms of instruction, the only thing we were told was to "become one with heaven and earth." "

Minoru Mochizuki relates that Ueshiba wasn't concerned with teaching and was using his students merely as training partners. Stan Pranin writes about the pre-war era, "Morihei's teaching style was long on action and short on words. He would execute techniques in rapid succession with almost no explanation."

Aiki News Issue 047
Aiki News Issue 062
Aiki News Issue 063
Aiki News Issue 049
Aiki News Issue 069
Aiki News Issue 80
Aiki News Issue 93
Aikido Shugyo by Gozo Shioda
Black Belt 1989 Vol 27 No 8
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=193
===

Now, let's take a look at what Ueshiba said while teaching in the pre-war era:

===
Ueshiba had about ten years before the Kobukan dojo opened to refine his spiritual ideology. Takako Kunigoshi states that there wasn't anyone who could understand Ueshiba. Shirata remembers Ueshiba giving the names of kamisama as explanations. Mochizuki considered Ueshiba a "primitive genius who couldn't explain anything." In fact, Mochizuki goes on to say that Ueshiba wouldn't explain but would rather say it came from God. Hikitsuchi remembers this about training, "So, O-Sensei would teach by talking about the (kototama) origins of the waza and teach how it came into existence" and this, "There was no pattern to O-Sensei's waza. It was kamigoto (divine working)".

Aiki News 047
Aiki News Issue 062
Black Belt 1980 Vol 18 No 4
Black Belt 1989 Vol 27 No 8
http://www.aikidokids.hu/eng/media/readings4.htm
===

Sounds a lot like the post-war period. Ueshiba not at the dojo often, doesn't explain often, just does whatever he wants in the way of techniques, and is always talking about spiritual stuff very few understood. Didn't matter post-war or pre-war.

So, yes, I agree with you when you state, "By the time you get to Saotome Sensei's day, it was quite different." But, it doesn't *appear* to be different because Ueshiba was doing something different. What the exact differences were ... that's still quite controversial.


Now, there are various interpretations of why this happened. My own personal take on this is that O-Sensei was simply teaching what he thought was important. He had trained several generations of teachers by this point. I simply don't think he felt he needed to be teaching technique, which any number of his senior students could do. What he thought of as his mission was to pass on the spiritual / philosophical underpinnings that underlay the technique. I think O-Sensei felt that this was the are that he could do that perhaps none of his students could quite do as well. So, his interest was in passing on the spiritual while his students more or less were interested in technique, by all accounts.


As I noted, Ueshiba had plenty of time to get settled into his spiritual ideology before the pre-war students arrived. And many of them stated they didn't know what he was talking about, so I'm not sure what you mean here. Ueshiba always had senior students to teach technique, both pre-war and post-war. He always waxed eloquent about his spiritual ideology, both pre-war and post-war. So, what was the difference in his spiritual ideology that he thought was more important post-war than pre-war?


This system only works when you have some sort of technical hierarchy of teachers. It's fine for the big guy to get all ethereal and wax philosophical as long as somebody else is around to teach people where to put their feet. So, it's not lack of teaching "ability" that was what caused some problems with the transmission, it was his disinterest in focusing on technical details.


As far as I can tell, in both pre-war and post-war, Ueshiba had a technical hierarchy of teachers. Of course, there were major differences in what and how the pre-war students trained compared to post-war. So, where do we look for why that came to be?


Who thinks that O-Sensei didn't notice that there was a qualitative difference (not better or worse but clearly different) between the post war deshi and Mochizuki, Shioda, Tomiki, and Shirata? Could you really maintain that he sat there bemoaning the fact that his post war students didn't have all the same skills his earlier students had had then did nothing to fix it? He simply showed no interest whatever in that issue. What I am saying is that, would he have been happy if his post war students had had an even deeper understanding of his waza than they did?


I think he would have been happy had the post-war students had a deeper understanding. However, he was retired, spent time in Iwama away from Tokyo, spent time entertaining guests away from teaching, spent time on the road, spent time farming, and most importantly, left Tokyo in Kisshomaru's hands. It wasn't Morihei Ueshiba who set the daily activities in Tokyo, it was Kisshomaru. (Not saying good, bad, right or wrong here).


So, making judgements about his ability to teach technique when he wasn't trying to teach technique is a bit silly. Clearly, back in the day, he knew how to teach technique when he wanted. He just wasn't interested... he had other folks who could do that, to his satisfaction I think.


What if pre-war wasn't about techniques? They trained sumo in pre-war, did joint locks as a body conditioning exercises (not a technique), etc. So, what does Ueshiba do when he visits Tokyo, a place he left his son in charge of, and finds that he really can't change how things are taught. More than that, he only has a short morning class (when he is actually there, which isn't often). The rest of the class is taught by ... seniors, who are ... appointed by Kisshomaru, who has set the outline of how things work.

Now, in pre-war, the outline of how things work, are taught, what is focused on, etc was set by Ueshiba (which at that time was Daito ryu). His senior students taught what he wanted when he was gone. In Tokyo, the senior students taught ... what Kisshomaru wanted (or Tohei for a time). Big difference.

Well, in my opinion anyway. :)

Mark

Gary David
12-07-2011, 03:47 PM
A friend I respect greatly once told me that everyone (who has the will and the intention to get better) reaches a point where their teacher can no long help them. My take on this is 1) you have reached the teacher's limit of understanding, 2) the teacher has the skill and knowledge but just can't teach it 3) teacher can't or won't teach or share. Of course the student has any number of filters that affect/effect that students ability or willingness to learn. In the end it is the individuals responsibility to seek out knowledge wherever that knowledge (skills) can be found. It is that students responsibility to put it all together. Thank the teacher and then teach yourself.
Gary

graham christian
12-07-2011, 06:14 PM
A friend I respect greatly once told me that everyone (who has the will and the intention to get better) reaches a point where their teacher can no long help them. My take on this is 1) you have reached the teacher's limit of understanding, 2) the teacher has the skill and knowledge but just can't teach it 3) teacher can't or won't teach or share. Of course the student has any number of filters that affect/effect that students ability or willingness to learn. In the end it is the individuals responsibility to seek out knowledge wherever that knowledge (skills) can be found. It is that students responsibility to put it all together. Thank the teacher and then teach yourself.
Gary

All good points.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-07-2011, 06:17 PM
Mark,

I think you'll find interesting the following paragraphs from an interview with Mochizuki Minoru

Vous avez été le premier enseignant qui fit connaître l'Aïkido à l'Occident. Vous êtes, je crois, allé en France en 1951.

Oui. Juste avant de partir je rendis visite à Maître Ueshiba pour prendre congé de lui. Nous étions très proches, plutôt comme un père et un fils et il n'y avait entre nous aucune flatterie ni courbette comme c'est si souvent le cas entre un professeur et son élève. Je rentrai directement chez lui et lui dis : " Sensei, cette fois je pars en Europe. " Il me dit alors: " Ainsi, vous allez le faire. Mon rêve s'est donc réalisé. L'Aïkido va être mondialement connu après ça. " Il me semble que, trois jours avant ma visite, O-Sensei avait eu un rêve au cours duquel un kami lui avait dit que l'un de ses élèves irait bientôt en Europe et que ce voyage serait à l'origine d'un développement de l'Aïkido dans le monde entier. " Si vous y allez pour moi, alors mon rêve deviendra réalité. "

Je suis parti en Europe avant la normalisation du statut du Japon comme nation, après sa défaite à la fin de la seconde Guerre mondiale, et de ce fait, j'ai voyagé avec un passeport délivré par le Quartier Général des Forces Alliées.

J'ai passé deux ans en France, j'ai beaucoup enseigné le Judo et seulement un peu d'Aïkido. Pendant mon séjour, le Championnat Européen de Judo se déroula. Il y avait une pause de trente minutes entre les demi-finales et les finales et quelqu'un me demanda si je pouvais faire une démonstration pendant cette interruption. Je trouvai six Judokas solides et les armai tant bien que mal avec un sabre en bois, un bâton, des manches à balais et tout ce que je pus trouver. Je leur dis de m'attaquer tous ensembles et que je donnerais un prix si quelqu'un arrivait à me toucher. Je leur avais demandé d'attaquer de toute leur force et ils le firent tous les six. Je fis ilimi et " Boum boum " les projetai tous. J'ignorais qu'une compagnie américaine de cinéma, Universal Studios, avait une équipe de journalistes sur place et qu'ils avaient non seulement tout filmé mais distribué le film dans le monde entier. Après ça, les lettres et les invitations commencèrent à arriver de partout. L'Argentine, par exemple, m'offrit un poste de Directeur de l'éducation physique. Même au Japon il y eut des effets notables. Mon fils était au cinéma quand les actualités passèrent. Il cria: " Eh, c'est mon père! " Plus tard il réussit à entraîner un groupe de membres de notre famille pour revoir le film.

Un jour que nous avions une préparation intensive pour un championnat, je demandai aux élèves de venir s'entraîner aussi le Dimanche. Il m'expliquèrent que ce ne serait pas possible car ils devaient aller à la messe. J'ai été très surpris car je ne savais pas que les jeunes gens allaient à l'église. Je leur ai demandé s'ils n'étaient pas fatigués d'entendre toujours les mêmes histoires au sujet de Dieu. Ils me répondirent: " Sensei, les êtres humains sont des animaux qui n'ont pas beaucoup de mémoire; " Je pensai dans mon fors intérieur que parfois j'oubliais moi aussi l'enseignement de mon professeur et des Kamis, que je me querellais avec ma femme et mes frères. Pas de mémoires ... Je crois vraiment qu'ils avaient raison. J'avais honte de moi et je me suis mis à réfléchir à ma conduite. Nous devrions écouter plus souvent les histoires de Kami parce que nous n'avons pas de mémoire. Alors, pour la première fois, j'ai compris pourquoi KANO Sensei nous rappelait l'importance de la Voie quand il enseignait le Judo et pourquoi Ueshiba Sensei parlait souvent des Kamis pendant ses cours d'Aïkido. J'ai senti que la vraie signification des Arts martiaux se trouvait-là.

Après mon voyage en Europe, d'autres élèves de Ueshiba Sensei commencèrent à visiter des pays étranger et l'Aïkido prit une importance mondiale. Pour dire vrai, à mon retour il y a trente ans, j'ai eu quelques problèmes avec Maître Ueshiba. En le retrouvant je lui avait dit: " Je suis allé outre-mer pour faire connaître votre oeuvre et j'ai fait des compétitions avec différentes personnes quand j'étais là-bas. J'ai compris qu'il était très difficile de gagner en utilisant seulement des techniques d'Aïkido. Dans certains cas, je passais instinctivement à des mouvements de Judo ou de Kendo et cela me permettait de me sortir de situations difficiles. J'ai beau retourner le problème dans tous les sens, je suis obligé de conclure que les techniques de Daito-ryu jujutsu ne suffisent pas dans toutes les situations. Les lutteurs ne sont pas perturbés par les chutes et roulent après avoir été projetés. Ils reviennent immédiatement à la charge et utilisent des techniques de corps à corps. Quand à la boxe française, elle va bien au delà des simples techniques de pied et de main de Karate. Je suis sûr qu'à l'avenir l'Aïkido va se répandre dans le monde entier, mais si c'est le cas, il devra élargir son éventail technique pour être capable de répondre avec succès à n'importe quelle attaque.

Après avoir écouter cette diatribe O-Sensei me dit: " Tu ne parles que de gagner ou de perdre. " Je continuai très vite: " Mais il faut être fort et gagner. Maintenant que l'Aïkido est connu dans le monde entier il faut qu'il soit théoriquement et techniquement capable d'affronter n'importe quel défi. " A quoi il me rétorqua: " Toute ta façon de penser est faussée. Bien sûr qu'il ne faut pas être faible, mais ce n'est qu'un aspect du problème. Ne comprends-tu pas que nous ne sommes plus à une époque où nous pouvons seulement même parler de victoire ou de défaite ? Nous sommes entrés dans un siècle d'amour, tu n'arrives pas à comprendre ça ? " Vous auriez dû voir ses yeux pendant qu'il me parlait!

A cette époque, je n'arrivais pas à saisir complètement le sens de ses paroles mais avec le temps elles sont devenues plus claires. C'est pourquoi aujourd'hui je ressens les choses autrement. Pendant ces quatre ou cinq dernières années, nous avons vu le monde se diriger vers une guerre capable de réduire la population du globe des deux tiers. Dans une telle atmosphère comment pouvons-nous encore jouer avec ces concepts de victoire ou de défaite ? C'est pourquoi je ressens sincèrement, du plus profond de mon coeur, que les conceptions du Maître sont exactement le genre de budo que je veux promouvoir. Je crois avec passion qu'il devrait exister des mots pour faire connaître au monde d'aujourd'hui les idées et les pensées de Ueshiba Sensei. Mais il nous faut aussi des techniques comme support pédagogique de cet enseignement. Il est indispensable de pouvoir l'exprimer en mots et le réaliser en actes.

Source: http://briveyoseikanbudo.over-blog.com/article-interview-de-minoru-mochizuki-sensei-75060708.html


Bold mine.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-07-2011, 06:37 PM
I've noticed there is an English version (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=584) avalable in AJ...

To tell the truth, I got into trouble with Ueshiba Sensei after my trip to Europe thirty years ago. When I got back I told him:

I went overseas to spread Aikido and had shiai matches with many different people while there. From that experience I realized that with only the techniques of Aikido it was very difficult to win. In those cases I instinctively switched to judo or kendo techniques and was able to come out on top of the situation. No matter how I thought about it I couldn’t avoid the conclusion that the techniques of Daito Ryu Jujutsu were not enough to decide the issue. Wrestlers and others with that sort of experience are not put off by being thrown down and rolling away. They get right back up and close for some grappling and the French style of boxing is far above the hand and foot techniques of karate. I’m sure that Aikido will become more and more international and worldwide in the future, but if it does, it’s technical range will have to expand to be able to respond to any sort of enemy successfully.

Having said all this, Sensei said to me, “All you ever talk about is winning and losing.” “But one must be strong and win. And now that Aikido is being spread throughout the whole world I think that it is necessary for it to be both theoretically and technically able to defeat any challenge,” I said to Sensei. “Your whole thinking is mistaken. Of course, it is wrong to be weak but that is not the whole story. Don’t you realize that it is no longer the age where we can even talk about whether we are winning or losing? It is the age of “Love” now, are you unable to see that?” This he told me and with those eyes of his!

kewms
12-07-2011, 06:40 PM
Now, in pre-war, the outline of how things work, are taught, what is focused on, etc was set by Ueshiba (which at that time was Daito ryu). His senior students taught what he wanted when he was gone. In Tokyo, the senior students taught ... what Kisshomaru wanted (or Tohei for a time). Big difference.

Do you really think Kisshomaru would have oriented the curriculum in a direction *not* approved by his father? While his father was alive?

The degree to which M. Ueshiba oversaw the details of the curriculum is debatable. The degree to which the curriculum designed by K. Ueshiba actually reflected his father's teaching is debatable. But the idea that K. Ueshiba just went off and did his own thing without worrying about what his father thought seems ... unlikely at best.

Or did these visits to Tokyo at which M. Ueshiba said "no one is doing my aikido" also lead to world-shaking arguments between father and son, the existence and content of which has somehow (I can't imagine how) failed to survive to the present day?

Katherine

Demetrio Cereijo
12-07-2011, 06:58 PM
Or did these visits to Tokyo at which M. Ueshiba said "no one is doing my aikido" also lead to world-shaking arguments between father and son, the existence and content of which has somehow (I can't imagine how) failed to survive to the present day?

Katherine

Maybe there were arguments, maybe not, maybe this is a kind of information that should remain unavailable for those who doesn't need to be in the know but there is something that hints at people consciously doing things O Sensei didn't approve.

Was O-Sensei irregular about coming to the dojo?

Yes, he was. When I was actively practicing there he often came and went. When he showed up everyone immediately sat down. At first, I thought that people were being courteous toward him. However, it wasn’t only that. It was also that the practices we were doing were different from what O-Sensei expected us to do. Once he lost his temper at us. No one realized that he had come and he shouted: “What you people are doing is not aikido.” His shout was so powerful it felt like the earth was trembling. He was then in his seventies but his voice nearly pierced our ear drums. Everybody just became quiet and looked gloomy.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=140

David Yap
12-07-2011, 10:10 PM
...Shuhari. I don't believe many really understand this. Stealing the technique does not mean stealing as in a car or whatever...

Graham,

You posted a thread on this. I bet you believe that you are one of the few who really understand this concept . Shu Ha Ri 守破離 which kanji or part of the kanji mentions "stealing"?

Perhaps you can answer this in your original post to avoid distraction from this thread.

Regards

David Y

MM
12-07-2011, 10:47 PM
Do you really think Kisshomaru would have oriented the curriculum in a direction *not* approved by his father? While his father was alive?


Yes. In fact, one point illustrates this very well. Kisshomaru was setting up a public demonstration and went to his father about it. Kisshomaru expected his father to fly in a rage because it went against his father's views on aikido. What happened? Ueshiba gave in because he had already handed Tokyo over to his son. There are too many stories, articles, interviews, etc all pointing to Kisshomaru (and Tohei) making changes.

And before people get their dander up, yet again, I'll NOTE that I am not stating good, bad, right, or wrong.


The degree to which M. Ueshiba oversaw the details of the curriculum is debatable. The degree to which the curriculum designed by K. Ueshiba actually reflected his father's teaching is debatable. But the idea that K. Ueshiba just went off and did his own thing without worrying about what his father thought seems ... unlikely at best.

Or did these visits to Tokyo at which M. Ueshiba said "no one is doing my aikido" also lead to world-shaking arguments between father and son, the existence and content of which has somehow (I can't imagine how) failed to survive to the present day?

Katherine

I think you're taking it too far. It wasn't that Kisshomaru created his own thing. He took his father's outline and made it his own. For example, Kisshomaru removed all those deity references to allow the message to be more acceptable to a world wide audience. He codified the techniques so that many people could practice and have something to focus on. Etc, etc, etc. Some of the message remained, some changed. Daito ryu aiki was gone, but the new version of peace, harmony, and love aiki took its place. (Again, read my note above.)

Ueshiba handed over Tokyo to his son and with that, he gave his son the leeway to do whatever he wanted. Kisshomaru removed Omoto kyo and Daito ryu aiki: The two major foundational influences on Morihei Ueshiba's aikido. Replaced was Kisshomaru's Modern Aikido. (Do I even need to say read my note?) Remember the one time Kisshomaru heard his father tell him he had done well? The question then becomes, was it that Ueshiba was proud that his son had kept Tokyo going and tried to follow in his footsteps or was it that Ueshiba was proud that his son had created something worthwhile and valuable on his own? I think it was the latter.

Ueshiba's ability to produce men of stature is never in question. His ability to teach is never in question. Ueshiba produced Tomiki, Shirata, Shioda, Mochizuki, etc in pre-war time frames and all in less time than he had with post-war students.

In both pre-war and post-war:
1. Ueshiba was hardly at the dojo teaching.
2. Ueshiba rambled on about spiritual ideology that few understood.
3. Ueshiba rarely explained.
4. Ueshiba just did whatever he wanted to work on.

So, ask yourself what changed from pre-war to post-war? It certainly wasn't Ueshiba's ability to teach. He had already proven that he could produce aiki men. It certainly wasn't his teaching methodology because pretty much all the students, pre and post war, say similar things about how he taught. Who was in charge pre-war and who set the training paradigm? Who was in charge in post-war and who set the training paradigm? What exactly happened to the sumo practice portion of training in post-war? What other practices in pre-war were dropped in post-war Tokyo? Why did some sought-after teachers in post-war train completely differently in their very private dojos compared to Tokyo hombu?

The spin created to attach Modern Aikido to Morihei Ueshiba was so ingrained and prevalent that many things have been overlooked. Even now, people hold onto certain aspects with a death grip and are not willing to look for the truth.

And the really sad part of it all is that the truth doesn't detract one bit from the importance of either Morihei Ueshiba's aikido or Kisshomaru's Modern Aikido.

MM
12-07-2011, 10:48 PM
I've noticed there is an English version (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=584) avalable in AJ...

Yes, that's the one that I had read. :)

DodgingRain
12-07-2011, 10:56 PM
Mr Murray, could you please cite the source for pre war students practicing/training sumo?

Demetrio Cereijo
12-08-2011, 05:39 AM
Mr Murray, could you please cite the source for pre war students practicing/training sumo?

Here is one of the sources of pre-war sumo practise:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=299176&postcount=47

grondahl
12-08-2011, 03:19 PM
Here is one of the sources of pre-war sumo practise:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=299176&postcount=47

Thanks. Interesting.

Ellis Amdur
12-08-2011, 03:34 PM
Umm - post-war uchi-deshi did sumo practice too. Terry Dobson told me about how they used to try out tanto-dori techniques and do sumo. One thing I remember him saying is "I could never beat Chiba in sumo." This is not, however, some <secret teaching> of internal power. Sumo was, until recently, the most basic sport of guys in Japan. Everyone did it You don't even need a ball. It's really a stretch to impute, in any fashion, that the after-hours recreation (or in-class warm-up, if that occurred) of day-to-day sumo had anything to do with, for example, the shikko practice of Sagawa, or the kind of body-grounding training that some types of internal strength regimen recommend.
Ellis Amdur

Demetrio Cereijo
12-08-2011, 03:41 PM
It's really a stretch to impute, in any fashion, that the after-hours recreation (or in-class warm-up, if that occurred) of day-to-day sumo had anything to do with, for example, the shikko practice of Sagawa, or the kind of body-grounding training that some types of internal strength regimen recommend.
Ellis Amdur

Of course. Sumo wrestling is not IS training, but would be useful for today's people without experience in alive arts, which is my point.

chillzATL
12-08-2011, 03:48 PM
Of course. Sumo wrestling is not IS training, but would be useful for today's people without experience in alive arts, which is my point.

I think the point is that holding up the "whenever it happened" Sumo practice that Ueshiba and co engaged in as some sort of example of how vastly different the training of the pre-war guys was vs. the post war guys just doesn't stand up.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-08-2011, 04:55 PM
I think the point is that holding up the "whenever it happened" Sumo practice that Ueshiba and co engaged in as some sort of example of how vastly different the training of the pre-war guys was vs. the post war guys just doesn't stand up.
Well, from the Mochizuki interview linked, there were more things than Sumo wrestling.

Ellis Amdur
12-08-2011, 05:14 PM
We do a lot of spinning in circles here.

Unfortunately, there are, as far as I know, no surviving pre-war deshi - but it might be worth a final look. If any still survive, it would certainly be worth asking what forms of training students did.

Similarly, as some post-war Honbu dojo uchi-deshi and soto-deshi, from both the 1950's and 1960's are still alive, perhaps instead of our speculating on allusions in print, one should ask. Kobayashi sensei, for example, is alive and well, as are Saotome sensei, Chiba Sensei, Tada sensei, Kato sensei (although his answers will probably be gnomic as always). At Shingu, some of the shihan are still well - Anno sensei, for example. And Iwama - some of the old fellows from the forties are still in existance.

I do not know about Kobayashi Hirokazu's group, or Tanaka Bansen - if any were there when Osensei taught. Worth asking. Iwata Ikkusai. And as for Shirata Rinjiro, I've heard that some of his students have recollections of OSensei as well.

And how about the Takumakai? I recently read a link from Aikiweb, where one of the leading lights essentially said that what they do is the same as the Yoshinkan (not surprising, as they developed, so to speak, at much the same time) - this teacher had trained at both.

Once one gets past the waza (with the human origami aspect of a lot of Daito-ryu), and gets to essentials, one will likely find far more technical similarities, at least in contemporary periods of development.

But jeez - I essayed a number of speculations in HIPS for a reason - so that people with the energy and wherewithal to do so would follow up on the turned over ground, so to speak, and seek out the last surviving people with concrete knowledge. As far as knowledge of what "they" did (as opposed to our best-practice IS training or staunchest version of pre-post war aikido), there is only a limited time to interview people who have first hand knowledge.

Ellis Amdur

graham christian
12-08-2011, 07:51 PM
Umm - post-war uchi-deshi did sumo practice too. Terry Dobson told me about how they used to try out tanto-dori techniques and do sumo. One thing I remember him saying is "I could never beat Chiba in sumo." This is not, however, some <secret teaching> of internal power. Sumo was, until recently, the most basic sport of guys in Japan. Everyone did it You don't even need a ball. It's really a stretch to impute, in any fashion, that the after-hours recreation (or in-class warm-up, if that occurred) of day-to-day sumo had anything to do with, for example, the shikko practice of Sagawa, or the kind of body-grounding training that some types of internal strength regimen recommend.
Ellis Amdur

Interesting. Relates to my thread on Koshi. Koshi development, a central principle of sumo.

Regards.G.

renshin
12-09-2011, 01:39 AM
Gozo Shioda often used "old" 「老」 - most of the time that Kisshomaru wrote it he used 「大」, which is the same character used by Sokaku Takeda (but pronounced "Dai-Sensei").

"O-Sensei" is actually not all that uncommon in Japan, sometimes even just referring to the main instructor in a group of instructors - but it can be kind of jarring for US Aikido students to hear.

My personal theory is that the whole thing started when a reporter interviewing Ueshiba was called "Sensei" by Ueshiba and then replied "Well, if you call me sensei than I will have to call you O-Sensei". But that's just my hunch.

To give an example from Sugino Dojo: When Yoshio Sugino sensei was alive, everyone in the dojo referred to him as "sensei" (there was only one "sensei"). If referring to other teachers in the dojo, one would use the name + sensei (Iwata sensei, for instance). Back then, Yukihiro Sugino sensei (current head of Sugino dojo) was referred to as Waka Sensei ("young sensei") until his father's passing (also to imply that he was going to take his father's place as dojo cho). Today, he is called sensei. When talking about "sensei", everyone knows that means Yukihiro Sugino.

Today, when talking about Yoshio Sugino, it is not uncommon to use the term "O-Sensei". Not a formal title, but both a way of distringuishing between the current "sensei" and the late, and as an honour to one's late teacher.

To add to the confusion, the term "sensei" is used not only as a formal title like "teacher", but also as a way of showing respect towards a senior. So, I would call the seniors in Sugino dojo "X sensei", regardless of them having a formal teaching position or not. Likewise, my junior, who translated for us when we were in Japan, referred to his own seniors (myself included) as "X sempai". This to show his respect towards us when talking to seniors and show that he understood his place.

As Chris implies, we Westeners often have a need to formalize these things. Titles like this are used in context and will change depending on who you are talking to and about.

BTW, I find it amusing when I hear Western teachers say in videos: "Hi, I am X sensei and I am the head of this dojo". A japanese will not refer to himself as sensei, as it is a honorific title used by others. Just as a British or American wouldn't call himself "Sir".

(this is probably way off topic, btw)

kewms
12-09-2011, 01:56 AM
As Chris implies, we Westeners often have a need to formalize these things. Titles like this are used in context and will change depending on who you are talking to and about.

Indeed. Hierarchy and in-group/out-group relationships are a fundamental part of the Japanese language. They are not a fundamental part of the English language, and so we non-Japanese-fluent English speakers can confuse ourselves and others if we just translate the words without understanding the relationships.

Katherine

Chris Li
12-09-2011, 02:11 AM
BTW, I find it amusing when I hear Western teachers say in videos: "Hi, I am X sensei and I am the head of this dojo". A japanese will not refer to himself as sensei, as it is a honorific title used by others. Just as a British or American wouldn't call himself "Sir".

(this is probably way off topic, btw)

That's true, Ueshiba used to introduce himself by saying "I am Ueshiba" (in Japanese) - no honorifics. The same when signing a letter or similar document - no honorifics.

Best,

Chris

renshin
12-09-2011, 04:42 AM
I don't know this organization or teacher, but the title of "Soke Shihan Sensei" (and in particular when used about one self) would be an example of non-japanese use of the terms:
http://www.gohshinkan.de/GOHSHINKAN/Willkommen.html
http://www.gohshinkan.de/GOHSHINKAN/Uwe_Hasenbein.html

DH
12-09-2011, 05:17 AM
That's true, Ueshiba used to introduce himself by saying "I am Ueshiba" (in Japanese) - no honorifics. The same when signing a letter or similar document - no honorifics.

Best,

Chris
It used to be funny at the dawing of the internet, how many would sign their post with sensei _____, not even knowing enough to write; _________ sensei, and they did it at the bottom of every post. The funny ones were seeing that at the bottom of a post about acting more Japanese!!
You still see guys -sometimes even accomplished guys- sign their post with things like; Kancho, bacho, pichu, bichu,...sensei :o
To me this pomp is sort of like promising me something by telling me, I swear on my mothers life!! To which I say. "Why, if your word isn't good enough, why drag your Mom into this?

Many people in budo really don't have the skills to stand on their own two feet so they really need a back-up stamp from an organization. And they know it. Others are completely able. Representing can be a tough thing, fraught with many chances to muck it all up. I feel for those people and while I sometmes laugh I respect the effort.
Hi I am, Bill or Tom sure is a better opener though.
Dan

renshin
12-09-2011, 06:07 AM
It's quite simple actually. A judge wouldn't call himself "the honourable" Judge Smith :D

It's honorific. Just as you won't use -san after your own name...

That said, I have nothing against titles, as long as they are used in a proper, sober manner. Not to invoke a false sense of importance. I have no trouble of calling my teachers sensei, shihan or whatever is called for in a particular setting, as I respect them both as human beings and as martial artists.

Just don't introduce yourself as "Sensei John" to me, or I'll bend over laughing :D

phitruong
12-09-2011, 07:08 AM
That said, I have nothing against titles, as long as they are used in a proper, sober manner. Not to invoke a false sense of importance. I have no trouble of calling my teachers sensei, shihan or whatever is called for in a particular setting, as I respect them both as human beings and as martial artists.

Just don't introduce yourself as "Sensei John" to me, or I'll bend over laughing :D

what if a guy named Bator and a Grand Master. would he introduces himself as "I am Grand Master Bator!"? :D

DH
12-09-2011, 07:39 AM
what if a guy named Bator and a Grand Master. would he introduces himself as "I am Grand Master Bator!"? :D
True story.
There is a National Karate organization whom with I teach their teacers. One of their senior levels is called a Master level. And they have a guy named Bator. :o
Real deal
Dan

phitruong
12-09-2011, 08:06 AM
can't really comment on Ueshiba teaching ability, since none of us here took lessons from him before and after the war. some of us tried to reverse engineer his teaching based on the ability of his students. something, methink, we should consider. teaching methods before and after the war, in Japan (Asia really). and the change of the teacher view point before and after the war.

teaching method before the war, i believed, followed the older martial teaching approach where the teacher was very selective of student in term who he would teach and who he wouldn't. martial arts school, if you could even called that, tend to be small, i.e. few students. the teaching geared toward individualize, i.e. the teacher would focus certain aspect of his martial repertoire depending on the student inclination. for example, if the student favored kicking, then the teacher would focus more or less on the kicking stuffs. the relationship between teacher and student was almost father-son/father-daughter like. also, in Asia, student asking teacher questions was considered as rude, unschooled, and disrespectful. so the student had to pay a lot more attention to detail where the teaching was concerned; thus, methink, the phrased "steal technique from the teacher" had a lot more meaning here. after the war, the martial arts school environment changed, going from small and selective to large and more "commercialized". here, you have a multi-tier hierarchical setup to spread the teaching time and responsibility. teacher-student relationship was not as close/tight as before. before, rank was not important, since everyone knew the order of the line up; after, more so, since folks tend to get lost in the crowd.

then you have the teacher that went through various transformation through his/her life. philosophy changed, view point changed, physical changed as one aged. if one looked back through one's own life, one can see the changes at various important events in one's life. i believed that i mentioned somewhere before that i have not met anyone that had live through a war and not changed their view point and philosophy. and nobody had cowed with their family, hearing your children crying and your family members sobbing, in a makeshift bunker and on the receiving end of a bombing run, and not wishing for peace. Ueshiba lived through a war or two.

methink, we should consider such circumstances when we analyzed Ueshiba teaching. and i leave you with this quote from the book "Children of Dune" - "To remind you that all humans make mistakes, and that all leaders are but human."

Carl Thompson
12-09-2011, 08:35 AM
Apart from a few people aggrandising themselves by calling themselves Shihan, Soke or whatever, generally those within Japanese M.A. know we're showing respect to other people when we use Japanese honorifics, so just to bring things back on topic… :)

I think we might change the question from teaching "ability" to teaching "methodology".

Thank you very much for your post Ledyard sensei. While I think the methodology is totally pertinent, the main thing I was interested in clarifying when I started the thread was his ability as a teacher to impart his knowledge. I think the way he did it is just one important aspect of that. For example, a change in methodology might reduce that ability but then so could sticking to the same method while being "away with the fairies" (or even the kami). So method is only one variable. Madness could be another or maybe something else?

Did Takeda changed his teaching method because said enlightenment?

I haven't seen any evidence for that. Perhaps enlightenment is a normal part of the process of becoming a "Takeda" or an "Ueshiba" and is a result of unchanging teaching methods for a range of subject material (both physical and spiritual)? Maybe Osensei took the spiritual training further (too far?) even building a shrine to the deities of aikido. Perhaps that expanded repertoire on the spiritual side took time away from teaching the physical, but I don't think that would diminish the potential ability to teach it. Not if it was a choice to mainly teach a particular aspect of the repertoire with steps taken to ensure the other important stuff was still taught. If it was an irrational compulsion rather than a choice then you could call it a drop in ability.

So people not getting the goods from him physically in the former scenario (choice of repertoire) could think that it was no longer important to Osensei to get those particular goods. In the latter scenario he was ineffective at achieving his teaching goal.

I don't see how his beliefs in Oomoto doctrine could have affected his teaching method?

One view is that he tied the spiritual and physical training inextricably together in which case I'm inclined to agree that there was little change in method for either. As his understanding of both grew it would be a matter of the content of both changing rather than the method of transmission. From what I gather of Shamanism in the Japanese context, we are talking about Shinto and agriculture which makes me think of buno ichinyo (the union of budo and agriculture) in the aikido founder's case. Again, this seems to combine both physical and spiritual misogi (purification). I think you could describe it as "additional teaching material" (Mother Nature as the partner for training the body and mind) which is not necessarily a significant change in method that would affect teaching ability. It's more like fleshing out the content.

So we could assume that as time passed, Osensei still regarded transmission as important but gradually taught (with little change in effectiveness) a different part of the same subject more often. Clearly he observed the instructors he had created. Did he want them to just do kami-waza? Would he have approved if his instructors spent half the session talking about spirituality and kotodama before doing quick kagura mai demonstrations and claiming it came from the kami?

Could it simply be that Osensei gradually moved away from the hands-on teaching work and delegated it to the instructors he had created for that very purpose while he focused more on teaching the spiritual side for his retirement? If we are to believe Chiba Sensei, he watched them with the eyes of an eagle in the fifties and people have already described the founder flying into a rage when he saw his students not doing his aikido later on.

O-Sensei also taught evening class occasionally or would come to watch the class. He sat in front of the kamiza with the eyes of an eagle, wordless and motionless, while Saito Sensei led the class. O-Sensei often emphasized the importance of katai-keiko, which can mean in Japanese "stiff", but it really means to be rigid, vigorous, with full force, without sparing any power, without play.
http://www.aikidoonline.com/articles/shihankai_articles/chiba/Chiba_Memorial_Saito.php

Carl

DH
12-09-2011, 08:55 AM
Last post...I have to go teach

The real questions that remain
1. Who knows what he actually said
2. Who can translate what he said
3. Who actually knows what so many of the concepts he went on and one about mean in the established Asian world and where else they exist?
4. And who...are the people uninterested, and totally convinced they are already doing it...
5. Who at the end of the day, has spent decades and decades....just to feel like every other mid-level student of the art and called it a good day.

Fine by me, but not a place I ever wanted to be...so I did something different. Apparently, there are hundreds of others who feel the same way and are hotly pursuing his words and his art...instead of this son's.

No matter what you say or how hard you try to convince yourself, you cannot work and work on one thing...and magically make it something it's not.
As many women will tell you about their men!:eek:
Dan

phitruong
12-09-2011, 09:05 AM
As many women will tell you about their men!:eek:
Dan

what did you hear? does size really matter? :)

*sorry for gone off the topic, but really want to know what women said to Dan heh heh heh *

Demetrio Cereijo
12-09-2011, 10:32 AM
Hi Carl,

I think this:

So we could assume that as time passed, Osensei still regarded transmission as important but gradually taught (with little change in effectiveness) a different part of the same subject more often. Clearly he observed the instructors he had created. Did he want them to just do kami-waza? Would he have approved if his instructors spent half the session talking about spirituality and kotodama before doing quick kagura mai demonstrations and claiming it came from the kami?

Could it simply be that Osensei gradually moved away from the hands-on teaching work and delegated it to the instructors he had created for that very purpose while he focused more on teaching the spiritual side for his retirement? If we are to believe Chiba Sensei, he watched them with the eyes of an eagle in the fifties and people have already described the founder flying into a rage when he saw his students not doing his aikido later on.

and what Chiba says later in the link you posted

I remember profoundly one demonstration he (Saito) performed along with other senior shihans in front of O-Sensei on the occasion of the New Year's celebration at Hombu Dojo.

He only did katadori ikkyo through yonkyo as plainly as he usually did in his class. He knew well the danger of doing something else in front of O-Sensei

Plus the different (not saying here better or worse) training methodology in Iwama hints to O Sensei had a clear image of a step by step training method, a house which had to be being built with both physical and religious materials. Bricks and concrete, from basement to the top.

IMO, what happened is his students, for various motives, built their houses with straw and sticks or, in the best cases, with bricks only. Faster, cheaper, easier, available to everyone.

So I would not say Ueshiba teaching/training ability was lacking or impaired. For me it was simply people didn't want to buy the "outdated" technology he was selling. Is not Ueshiba who changed a lot, it was his post war students who were different people from the pre war ones.

graham christian
12-09-2011, 10:55 AM
http://www.ki-school.fr/spirale%20kinomichi_gb.html

Carl. Just another reference for your contemplation.

Enjoy.G.

graham christian
12-09-2011, 06:59 PM
One teacher says that in his later years he was in tokyo teaching quite often. Being there training Alan Ruddock says he saw him about two hundred times. He went to many of his lessons.

He describes how during the period of his house being knocked down to build the new Hombu Dojo that he at that time taught regularly. When not teaching classes he would also appear as has been described by others.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-09-2011, 07:24 PM
One teacher says that in his later years he was in tokyo teaching quite often. Being there training Alan Ruddock says he saw him about two hundred times. He went to many of his lessons.

Ruddock also says "It was obvious to the intelligent observer that what O-Sensei was doing did not fit in with 'normal' practice."

So normal practice at Hombu in the late 60s was not O Sensei's aikido.

graham christian
12-10-2011, 03:40 PM
Ruddock also says "It was obvious to the intelligent observer that what O-Sensei was doing did not fit in with 'normal' practice."

So normal practice at Hombu in the late 60s was not O Sensei's aikido.

Ha, ha. Sorry, he said to the intelligent.........

Reminds me of beethoven or, as Barcelona have just kicked off, Lionel Messi. In fact my teams Star Center Half (COME ON YOU SPURS!!) doesn't train at all. The manager calls him a freak......

Regards.G.

. .

Carl Thompson
12-12-2011, 12:29 AM
One teacher says that in his later years he was in tokyo teaching quite often. Being there training Alan Ruddock says he saw him about two hundred times. He went to many of his lessons.

He describes how during the period of his house being knocked down to build the new Hombu Dojo that he at that time taught regularly. When not teaching classes he would also appear as has been described by others.

Regards.G.

Just a thought: If Alan Ruddock trained "every single class" including Sunday, (http://www.guillaumeerard.com/en/aikido/interviews/alan-ruddock.html) and saw Osensei a "couple of hundred times" it would put Osensei there about 30% of the time during that three-year period right? But we already had a discussion (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20584&page=3)about where Osensei was. This one is about his ability to teach in those times and locations.

Carl

graham christian
12-12-2011, 09:25 AM
Just a thought: If Alan Ruddock trained "every single class" including Sunday, (http://www.guillaumeerard.com/en/aikido/interviews/alan-ruddock.html) and saw Osensei a "couple of hundred times" it would put Osensei there about 30% of the time during that three-year period right? But we already had a discussion (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20584&page=3)about where Osensei was. This one is about his ability to teach in those times and locations.

Carl

Well, it does show he taught. It does show that yet another of his students went on to his current high position.

Now if we look at how many of his students went on to be leaders of their own 'styles' and their success then it becomes a bit of a no brainer to me.

He did send his teachers out to teach around the world. Therefore he had a plan, a dream.

So he wasn't only a good teacher but also a visionary and basically what you would call a Master.

Once again I say it's more to do with how well you study and practice so maybe a more fruitful thread would be 'Students of O'Senseis learning ability.'

Anyway, the posts were merely for added information for you in your musings.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-12-2011, 09:35 AM
Well, it does show he taught.

This is not about IF he taught but about his teaching skills, HOW he taught.

graham christian
12-12-2011, 10:44 AM
This is not about IF he taught but about his teaching skills, HOW he taught.

Maybe. So how do you find out? I've answered already with my opinion of HOW. But for those who want to find out they would probably want to look at WHERE, WHEN, WHAT, IF, TO WHOM, HOW OFTEN, WHO UNDERSTOOD, WHO DIDN'T, WHY......... ETC.

Ha, ha, Why? is an interesting question. Why did he teach? If you don't know the answer to that then how can you judge his ability fairly?

Regards.G.

jbblack
12-12-2011, 11:55 AM
This is from another thread:
Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

If the student isn't ready, the teacher could be standing right in front of them and they'd never know it.

We all see Ueshiba Sensei's students as they are now. It's easy to forget that they were once beginners too. Can we really blame a bunch of athletic men in their twenties for not really "getting" everything the old man was rambling about? Would we really expect them to have the same understanding that their older selves can demonstrate?

Katherine

A quote by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

"The essential things in life are seen not with the eyes, but with the heart."

It is my belief that any interaction with O'Sensei was a teaching. A uchi deshi does not learn just on the mat.

Cheers,
Jeff

kewms
12-12-2011, 12:41 PM
It is my belief that any interaction with O'Sensei was a teaching. A uchi deshi does not learn just on the mat.

Sure. But what did they learn? Did they learn the Secrets of Aiki, or did they learn that Ueshiba Sensei was a grumpy old man who was finicky about his bath?

The answer would have had as much to do with the temperament of the student as with the pedagogical skills of the teacher.

I took a course in grad school that was commonly described in student evaluations as "Fireside Chats with Prof. L." The professor sat at his desk and told stories. He rarely used the board. I think there was a textbook, but he rarely referred to it. The topic was ceramics engineering and the behavior of glasses. It was one of the most challenging courses of my life. Not because the material was difficult -- it wasn't, at least relative to something like quantum mechanics -- but because it was so difficult to extract tangible information from the lectures.

I'm also reminded of the scene in Jonathan Livingston Seagull where Jonathan is lecturing the young gulls about love and the Great Gull. But the young gulls are so exhausted from flying practice that they mostly just drift off to sleep.

Katherine

Carl Thompson
12-12-2011, 10:28 PM
Maybe. So how do you find out? I've answered already with my opinion of HOW. But for those who want to find out they would probably want to look at WHERE, WHEN, WHAT, IF, TO WHOM, HOW OFTEN, WHO UNDERSTOOD, WHO DIDN'T, WHY......... ETC.
I agree that Osensei's location and the timing from the other thread has some relevance here and vice versa. However it is probably better not to use Ruddock Sensei prowess as a gauge for Osensei's transmission: If you do the maths, the statistic I gave you was actually pretty generous and although it is still awesome to have the founder popping round even that often, the bulk of the remaining time would have been under the other teachers whom he described. There is perhaps more value in looking at how Osensei fit himself into the training and what he expected of the regular teaching staff.


I took a course in grad school that was commonly described in student evaluations as "Fireside Chats with Prof. L." The professor sat at his desk and told stories. He rarely used the board. I think there was a textbook, but he rarely referred to it. The topic was ceramics engineering and the behavior of glasses. It was one of the most challenging courses of my life. Not because the material was difficult -- it wasn't, at least relative to something like quantum mechanics -- but because it was so difficult to extract tangible information from the lectures.

What do you think the purpose was in this kind of teaching style? Was Mr L just not very good at teaching this unchallenging material?

Carl

kewms
12-12-2011, 11:10 PM
What do you think the purpose was in this kind of teaching style? Was Mr L just not very good at teaching this unchallenging material?

Given my grade in the class, I'm sure the student deserves as much criticism as the teacher... :(

In retrospect, I would say the most important lesson of the class was that engineering problems don't start out looking like problem sets. They start out looking like some phenomenon from the real world, and part of the engineer's job is to design the model, including deciding what is relevant and what isn't. Whether that was the lesson he intended to teach is another question.

Katherine

graham christian
12-13-2011, 08:46 AM
I agree that Osensei's location and the timing from the other thread has some relevance here and vice versa. However it is probably better not to use Ruddock Sensei prowess as a gauge for Osensei's transmission: If you do the maths, the statistic I gave you was actually pretty generous and although it is still awesome to have the founder popping round even that often, the bulk of the remaining time would have been under the other teachers whom he described. There is perhaps more value in looking at how Osensei fit himself into the training and what he expected of the regular teaching staff.

What do you think the purpose was in this kind of teaching style? Was Mr L just not very good at teaching this unchallenging material?

Carl

My conclusion? All to do with speed.

O'Sensei was a master of his art. He trained teachers with a world vision of spreading his art.

Now we come to how much time that would take. How long does it take a student of martial arts to learn all the master has to offer? Add to this if he wanted many to do so.

Now add to this that many super sportsmen or athletes or even artists or artisans who then are asked to, or decide to teach enter the field of transmission and have to then learn a whole new art.

Now add to this the following: I don't know your level at Aikido but I am sure many of a high level have come across the phenomena of being able to do something and then when asked what it is they are doing or how to do it don't actually know. More precisely they understand how they do it but they just know they can and demonstrate such. Even an extremely talented child would be an example of this same thing. Then along come experts who can't do it and explain, alas.

Now add to this that so many, ego wise I might add, want to be able to do it 'like him' and want to do it like in two weeks. A craving for fast study. Quicker methods of study, wow. You can even get qualified over here in so many things, be it health and safety, a doormans licence, etc. by doing a few weekend courses. Wow, then you have the label, the piece of paper, so you are. What a load of nonsense, but it makes someone rich.

Speed. It's even inherent in this thread. If those taught by O'Sensei weren't up to his level by the time he died then ........blah, blah, blah.

Then that is equated with teaching ability?

Mmmm. Think I'll stick to study ability and teaching people how to study.

Regards.G.

Henrypsim
03-30-2012, 06:12 PM
This teaching approach also doesn't scale. How on earth is anyone supposed to learn the subtle movements inherent in high level aikido when their hands-on contact with a top level instructor is measured in minutes or even seconds? If Ueshiba Sensei's direct students had trouble reaching his level, and the direct students of the uchi-deshi had trouble figuring out what their teachers were doing, what hope is there for those of us who are three or four steps away from the Founder?

Katherine

There is hope. Please see my Introduction when I just join Aikiweb. O-sensei was not good in transmitting what he knew. Is that consider good or bad teacher is beside the point. His students did not get what he truly trying to teach and that is Aiki as demonstrated in his writings.O-sensei consider technique in itself is secondary, hence he do the same technique differently when he teach. But thru his writings he has said that Aikido without Aiki is not Aikido (something to that effect). He also said something like "when he turn around and thought his students were following him but saw no one there". Evidently, he was disappointed. Even to this day, the main focus of most (notice I said most and NOT all) modern teachers and students are in technique which is Ai-Do and not Aikido and miss the main focus of what O-Sensei was trying to teach.

Henrypsim
03-30-2012, 06:28 PM
There is hope. Please see my Introduction when I just join Aikiweb. O-sensei was not good in transmitting what he knew. Is that consider good or bad teacher is beside the point. His students did not get what he truly trying to teach and that is Aiki as demonstrated in his writings.O-sensei consider technique in itself is secondary, hence he do the same technique differently when he teach. But thru his writings he has said that Aikido without Aiki is not Aikido (something to that effect). He also said something like "when he turn around and thought his students were following him but saw no one there". Evidently, he was disappointed. Even to this day, the main focus of most (notice I said most and NOT all) modern teachers and students are in technique which is Ai-Do and not Aikido and miss the main focus of what O-Sensei was trying to teach.

There is hope. Please see my Introduction when I just join Aikiweb. O-sensei was not good in transmitting what he knew. Is that consider good or bad teacher is beside the point. His students did not get what he truly trying to teach and that is Aiki as demonstrated in his writings.O-sensei consider technique in itself is secondary, hence he do the same technique differently when he teach. But thru his writings he has said that Aikido without Aiki is not Aikido (something to that effect). He also said something like "when he turn around and thought his students were following him but saw no one there". Evidently, he was disappointed. Even to this day, the main focus of most (notice I said most and NOT all) modern teachers and students are in technique which is Ai-Do and not Aikido and miss the main focus of what O-Sensei was trying to teach. When O-Sensei's student ask him why is it that they cannot do what he does, his answer was "you do not understand Aikido". One other thought, O-Sensei's is very powerful, not because he has muscles or because he was built like a giant but because he uses Aiki to generate power to his technique. How many modern teachers can do that .... very very few. The good news is that more and more teachers in Japan and other countries are beginning to realize that and have made effort to "empty their cup so as to add more tea". In time, all students in Aikido will definitely learn Aikido and not just Ai-Do.

Tom Verhoeven
03-31-2012, 04:11 PM
There is hope. Please see my Introduction when I just join Aikiweb. O-sensei was not good in transmitting what he knew. Is that consider good or bad teacher is beside the point. His students did not get what he truly trying to teach and that is Aiki as demonstrated in his writings.O-sensei consider technique in itself is secondary, hence he do the same technique differently when he teach. But thru his writings he has said that Aikido without Aiki is not Aikido (something to that effect). He also said something like "when he turn around and thought his students were following him but saw no one there". Evidently, he was disappointed. Even to this day, the main focus of most (notice I said most and NOT all) modern teachers and students are in technique which is Ai-Do and not Aikido and miss the main focus of what O-Sensei was trying to teach. When O-Sensei's student ask him why is it that they cannot do what he does, his answer was "you do not understand Aikido". One other thought, O-Sensei's is very powerful, not because he has muscles or because he was built like a giant but because he uses Aiki to generate power to his technique. How many modern teachers can do that .... very very few. The good news is that more and more teachers in Japan and other countries are beginning to realize that and have made effort to "empty their cup so as to add more tea". In time, all students in Aikido will definitely learn Aikido and not just Ai-Do.

"When O-Sensei's student ask him why is it that they cannot do what he does, his answer was "you do not understand Aikido".

This sounds like a familiar quote of Henry Kono. I have come across this quote on Aiki web before, but it was a little bit different (shows how a story at times develops into something else entirely, a bit like with urban myths).
I met Henry Kono the first time in 2000, when I had invited him to come over and give a weekend seminar in the Netherlands. During class he told the story how one day he decided to ask O Sensei a question that was in his mind for quite a while. He had seen what O Sensei did and he had looked carefully at what his students (including himself) did and to him it was not the same thing. So he asked O Sensei "Why can't we do what you can do?" O Sensei answered him; "Because you do not understand Yin and Yang". After class in a private conversation with Henry I questioned this remark by O Sensei. And Henry Kono told me; "Yes, you are right, he did not use the words Yin and Yang. In reality O Sensei told me that we could not do what he did because we did not understand Izanagi and Izanami. But most people do not understand this. So I simplified it into Yin and Yang". And this is how he still explains it in his seminars and on his dvd's.
Yin and Yang can be compared to Izanagi and Izanami. But it is not exactly the same.

As far as transmitting knowledge is concerned, a good student does not depend on explanations, sometimes simply hinting at the right direction will do.

Tom
http://aikido-auvergne-kumano.blogspot.fr/

Chris Li
03-31-2012, 04:36 PM
"When O-Sensei's student ask him why is it that they cannot do what he does, his answer was "you do not understand Aikido".

This sounds like a familiar quote of Henry Kono. I have come across this quote on Aiki web before, but it was a little bit different (shows how a story at times develops into something else entirely, a bit like with urban myths).
I met Henry Kono the first time in 2000, when I had invited him to come over and give a weekend seminar in the Netherlands. During class he told the story how one day he decided to ask O Sensei a question that was in his mind for quite a while. He had seen what O Sensei did and he had looked carefully at what his students (including himself) did and to him it was not the same thing. So he asked O Sensei "Why can't we do what you can do?" O Sensei answered him; "Because you do not understand Yin and Yang". After class in a private conversation with Henry I questioned this remark by O Sensei. And Henry Kono told me; "Yes, you are right, he did not use the words Yin and Yang. In reality O Sensei told me that we could not do what he did because we did not understand Izanagi and Izanami. But most people do not understand this. So I simplified it into Yin and Yang". And this is how he still explains it in his seminars and on his dvd's.
Yin and Yang can be compared to Izanagi and Izanami. But it is not exactly the same.

As far as transmitting knowledge is concerned, a good student does not depend on explanations, sometimes simply hinting at the right direction will do.

Tom
http://aikido-auvergne-kumano.blogspot.fr/

Interesting - what would you say are the differences between Yin and Yang and Izanagi and Izanami (as Ueshiba used the terms here)?

Hinting at the right direction is a common Japanese methodology - but if you look at the results it really doesn't work very well, even in Japan. In the mass teaching environment of Aikido I would say that it works...not at all, really...

Best,

Chris

Henrypsim
03-31-2012, 05:24 PM
"When O-Sensei's student ask him why is it that they cannot do what he does, his answer was "you do not understand Aikido".

This sounds like a familiar quote of Henry Kono. I have come across this quote on Aiki web before, but it was a little bit different (shows how a story at times develops into something else entirely, a bit like with urban myths).
I met Henry Kono the first time in 2000, when I had invited him to come over and give a weekend seminar in the Netherlands. During class he told the story how one day he decided to ask O Sensei a question that was in his mind for quite a while. He had seen what O Sensei did and he had looked carefully at what his students (including himself) did and to him it was not the same thing. So he asked O Sensei "Why can't we do what you can do?" O Sensei answered him; "Because you do not understand Yin and Yang". After class in a private conversation with Henry I questioned this remark by O Sensei. And Henry Kono told me; "Yes, you are right, he did not use the words Yin and Yang. In reality O Sensei told me that we could not do what he did because we did not understand Izanagi and Izanami. But most people do not understand this. So I simplified it into Yin and Yang". And this is how he still explains it in his seminars and on his dvd's.
Yin and Yang can be compared to Izanagi and Izanami. But it is not exactly the same.

As far as transmitting knowledge is concerned, a good student does not depend on explanations, sometimes simply hinting at the right direction will do.

Tom
http://aikido-auvergne-kumano.blogspot.fr/

Thanks for the clarification. My mistake. In my "defense" and in my OPINION, yin and yang, internal power, aiki, elbow non-source power, six directions etc. is Aikido supplemented by techniques, (that I think is the reason why I read somewhere that O-Sensei always did the same technique differently,) hence my mistake. At this present time, how many Aikidokas understood why O-Sensei said what he said, let alone teach the "secret" of Aikido.....(where the power comes from, how a small guy can overcome a big muscle guy). that O-Sensei was trying to emphasize. As a member of the Aikido family, I would like to see Aikido be elevated to its REAL pedestal in my life time. It can be done if only more Aikidoka would "empty their cups". Unfortunately......sad.

Tom Verhoeven
03-31-2012, 07:14 PM
Interesting - what would you say are the differences between Yin and Yang and Izanagi and Izanami (as Ueshiba used the terms here)?

Hinting at the right direction is a common Japanese methodology - but if you look at the results it really doesn't work very well, even in Japan. In the mass teaching environment of Aikido I would say that it works...not at all, really...

Best,

Chris

We could endlessly discuss the differences. Or the nuances. And although, if you look at the description in the Kojiki, not exactly the same, on the whole they are similar. The emphasis on Izanagi and Izanami is of some importance to my training and teaching, but for most In and Yo will do the job just fine.

I was not talking about common Japanese methodology. Neither was I talking about a mass teaching environment. In the West a rational approach to teaching and learning prevails. In that approach the result counts. And we have created methods in which we can measure this. If the required result is not there, then the teacher or the teaching method has failed. And that means that we have to adjust the method. It also means that the student can question the method. Sometimes this works out just fine. Especially in our modern society. But not always and not everywhere.
The problem is that human beings are not rational. Their learning patterns do not follow mathematical lines.
If one where to learn a classic trade, whether it would be pottery, hunting, music, dancing, roof thatching, masonry, bookbinding, painting one would find this in every traditional culture as being common knowledge, not just Japanese.
That is not to say that there is or was no method in teaching. The European guilds for example had very meticulous methods of teaching. Nevertheless the apprentice was expected to pick up the finer details himself. And at the end of his apprenticeship give proof that he was as good if not better then his teachers.
This means that the student learned something more or something else then was given in the method of teaching. This was always fully understood.

Why would you say Mozart was such a good musician at a very young age. Because his father had a better teaching method?
Why are artists, musicians, sculptors, painters, actors, all talking about the technique, about experience, skill, and about... something else; creativity, the whisperings of their muses, the breath of god, that sparkle of light,...

This is the point where every rational teaching method will fail. It is something that cannot be taught. But it can be hinted at...

Best,
Tom

Tom Verhoeven
03-31-2012, 07:36 PM
Thanks for the clarification. My mistake. In my "defense" and in my OPINION, yin and yang, internal power, aiki, elbow non-source power, six directions etc. is Aikido supplemented by techniques, (that I think is the reason why I read somewhere that O-Sensei always did the same technique differently,) hence my mistake. At this present time, how many Aikidokas understood why O-Sensei said what he said, let alone teach the "secret" of Aikido.....(where the power comes from, how a small guy can overcome a big muscle guy). that O-Sensei was trying to emphasize. As a member of the Aikido family, I would like to see Aikido be elevated to its REAL pedestal in my life time. It can be done if only more Aikidoka would "empty their cups". Unfortunately......sad.

Henry,
It was not meant as criticism. It was something that I remembered as I read your writing. On the whole I tend to agree with you. It is more interesting to see a small guy overcome a big guy then vice-versa. We do not need Aikido to figure out that a big strong man could overcome a smaller person. I am not sure what you mean with "supplemented by techniques", I would rather say that the techniques and the keiko of Aikido are a way of entering and understanding the art, but they are not the michi itself. O Sensei was not just teaching techniques or only ways to overcome some one else, but he was guiding us on that Aiki no michi.
Greetings from the Auvergne,
Tom

Chris Li
03-31-2012, 08:46 PM
We could endlessly discuss the differences. Or the nuances. And although, if you look at the description in the Kojiki, not exactly the same, on the whole they are similar. The emphasis on Izanagi and Izanami is of some importance to my training and teaching, but for most In and Yo will do the job just fine.

Why bring it up, then, if you're not interested in discussing it?


I was not talking about common Japanese methodology. Neither was I talking about a mass teaching environment. In the West a rational approach to teaching and learning prevails. In that approach the result counts. And we have created methods in which we can measure this. If the required result is not there, then the teacher or the teaching method has failed. And that means that we have to adjust the method. It also means that the student can question the method. Sometimes this works out just fine. Especially in our modern society. But not always and not everywhere.
The problem is that human beings are not rational. Their learning patterns do not follow mathematical lines.
If one where to learn a classic trade, whether it would be pottery, hunting, music, dancing, roof thatching, masonry, bookbinding, painting one would find this in every traditional culture as being common knowledge, not just Japanese.
That is not to say that there is or was no method in teaching. The European guilds for example had very meticulous methods of teaching. Nevertheless the apprentice was expected to pick up the finer details himself. And at the end of his apprenticeship give proof that he was as good if not better then his teachers.
This means that the student learned something more or something else then was given in the method of teaching. This was always fully understood.

Why would you say Mozart was such a good musician at a very young age. Because his father had a better teaching method?
Why are artists, musicians, sculptors, painters, actors, all talking about the technique, about experience, skill, and about... something else; creativity, the whisperings of their muses, the breath of god, that sparkle of light,...

This is the point where every rational teaching method will fail. It is something that cannot be taught. But it can be hinted at...

Best,
Tom

Mozart was a special case, as are most prodigies - though I imagine that certain kinds of parents do have something to do with it.

Rational or non-rational, Japanese or Western, training is meant to achieve a certain transmission of abilities. If those abilities don't get passed along (and IMO, they haven't) then whatever method was used...it just didn't work. Talking about inspiration won't eliminate that problem.

For my money, the "hinting" method has been way over-romanticized, and just doesn't work very well in most cases. If it did, then you'd see multiple cases of people replicating Ueshiba's skills, and their students doing the same thing. The fact that you don't shows that the transmission broke down somewhere along the line.

Best,

Chris

Tom Verhoeven
04-01-2012, 06:11 AM
Why bring it up, then, if you're not interested in discussing it?

Mozart was a special case, as are most prodigies - though I imagine that certain kinds of parents do have something to do with it.

Rational or non-rational, Japanese or Western, training is meant to achieve a certain transmission of abilities. If those abilities don't get passed along (and IMO, they haven't) then whatever method was used...it just didn't work. Talking about inspiration won't eliminate that problem.

For my money, the "hinting" method has been way over-romanticized, and just doesn't work very well in most cases. If it did, then you'd see multiple cases of people replicating Ueshiba's skills, and their students doing the same thing. The fact that you don't shows that the transmission broke down somewhere along the line.

Best,

Chris

Context. I brought it up to show how a story develops into a different story.

Now you want a different discussion. And I already explained my position. Read the Kojiki and compare it with the classic Yin - Yang image. Make up your own mind if there is a difference or not.

The "hinting" method if you want to call it that way is still a commonly used method. And it works just fine in many of the arts that I mentioned. It is is a creative method that asks a fair amount of input from the student. As it is in use at this very moment and very succesful, I do not see why it should be considered over-romanticized.

IMHO O Sensei was not just teaching techniques or skills. He was teaching something else as well. A teaching that has a lot in common with Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto. The essence of that did not always come across with all of his own students (but there are those who got it!). And the following generation seems to have even more problems with it. But is that the result of a failing teaching method?
Buddhism is struggling with the same problem, beekeeping is a problem in the USA. Is that the result of a failing teaching method? Or is it more a clash of cultures?

And no, the transmission of Aikido did not break down somewhere down the line. It is a matter of finding the right teacher.
Best,
Tom

Chris Li
04-01-2012, 11:30 AM
Context. I brought it up to show how a story develops into a different story.

Now you want a different discussion. And I already explained my position. Read the Kojiki and compare it with the classic Yin - Yang image. Make up your own mind if there is a difference or not.

Well, the problem here is not just the Kojiki, but the fact that the Omoto-kyo interpretation of the Kojiki is somewhat different than the standard - and that Ueshiba's interpretation is often different from that.

What I was interested in was whether or not Kono had any specific comments on the differences, or whether that's your own personal assumption.


And no, the transmission of Aikido did not break down somewhere down the line. It is a matter of finding the right teacher.
Best,
Tom

I spent a lot of time in Japan, and I saw just about everybody (including Hikitsuchi), and I'll have to disagree there, but I suppose that YMMV.

Best,

Chris

Tom Verhoeven
04-01-2012, 03:07 PM
Well, the problem here is not just the Kojiki, but the fact that the Omoto-kyo interpretation of the Kojiki is somewhat different than the standard - and that Ueshiba's interpretation is often different from that.

What I was interested in was whether or not Kono had any specific comments on the differences, or whether that's your own personal assumption.

I spent a lot of time in Japan, and I saw just about everybody (including Hikitsuchi), and I'll have to disagree there, but I suppose that YMMV.

Best,

Chris

I may miscomprehend you here entirely, but are you saying that you saw just about all Aikido teachers in Japan and none of them practiced Aikido?

If so, how did you come to that conclusion?

Best,

Tom

Chris Li
04-01-2012, 06:29 PM
I may miscomprehend you here entirely, but are you saying that you saw just about all Aikido teachers in Japan and none of them practiced Aikido?

If so, how did you come to that conclusion?

Best,

Tom

I never said that any of them practiced Aikido.

If you look back at the beginning of the long thread that you have entered at the end (and six months after it started), you will see that it is all about the teaching ability of Ueshiba, and whether he was actually able to transmit his skills consistently (or at all, really).

If he were able to do that then there should have been multiple students after him that reached or exceeded his level. They, in turn, would have students that met or exceeded them, and so on.

I said that I saw a great many of Ueshiba's senior students, and their students in Japan, and that was not, IMO, the case.

If you believe that your teachers are replicating Ueshiba's skills and successfully transmitting them, then great, I hope it works out for you.

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-02-2012, 11:14 AM
The question is, did the Founder actually have some degree of pedagogical skill? Did he deliberately refrain from disseminating information in order to maintain superiority, or did he teach to the extent of his ability unable to disseminate all the information he had.

I skimmed through all the many responses, I maybe saying the same thing as others. The Founder has passed away. The two questions have importance is to his direct students. I would suspect that if they never complained than this isn't an issue.

Aikido isn't the only art I have experienced, where some instructors will hold information from their students. In school, when in the 5th grade you learn basic math skills. The teacher withholds all their knowledge from the class when teaching because the students are not developed their math skill to understand the more complex mathematics. It is not uncommon for a teacher in that class to teach advance math skills to those students with a greater aptitude for math. Students who struggle with math are taught accordingly. The teacher doesn't over-whelm these student with advance information teaching to the level of comprehension.

Analogy that is a favorite of mine is school. Does any school teacher teach all the knowledge the have? The school system has grade levels where each grade level teacher teaches more information at each grade. Students that progress through the grades pass and their skills increase. I was such a student. My learning experience wasn't completely teacher dependent. Of all the teachers I had non- of them taught me everything they knew. There times where I excelled beyond the class and teachers taught me more than the rest of the class. Then there where times I sought out a tutor. Going through the educational system there was a point that I took responsibility for my own learning and knowledge.

Not all people who train in Aikido have the same aptitude for learning. Bad teachers are fully aware of students learning aptitude. The unethical motives and self gain agendas of these teaching are easily exposed. They withhold information in all sorts of ways from their students. Holding in a carrot in front of a student is one way these poor teachers do things to withhold information. Discrediting other schools, teachers and even the Founder by saying they have cheated their students by withhold information, is another way. Looking at a teacher it can be spotted whether or not they have the students best interest in mind.

There are students who take their own responsibility for their learning and then there are those who demand. The responsible students move forward and develop skill, not demanding to know everything the teacher knows. They are more self-confident in knowing they will progress and obtain that information. Because these students work hard with an non-dependent teacher attitude. The demanding ones who feel the teacher owns them something, will stay idle or progress very slowly in their development. A resentment toward the teacher develops strongly in the dependent student, because the student is lacking progression. The reason for that lacking of skill is due to the student not having self confidence; not aware taking responsibility for their learning plays a huge role in success, especially as the progress.

What I know of the late Founder, it is clear to me he had his student's best interest in mind. He had dedicated students that helped Aikido grow into what it is today. Selfish teachers don't last long, flashes in the pan. Teachers like this don't develop their organizations as big as Aikido. They don't even come close to having the goods.

Chris Li
04-02-2012, 11:24 AM
The question is, did the Founder actually have some degree of pedagogical skill? Did he deliberately refrain from disseminating information in order to maintain superiority, or did he teach to the extent of his ability unable to disseminate all the information he had.

I skimmed through all the many responses, I maybe saying the same thing as others. The Founder has passed away. The two questions have importance is to his direct students. I would suspect that if they never complained than this isn't an issue.

It's not an issue if it worked - if he produced people who were able to replicate his skills consistently and pass those skills along to their students.

If that's not the case (and, IMO, it isn't) then all this talk about how these are valid teaching methods is meaningless.

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-02-2012, 02:20 PM
It's not an issue if it worked - if he produced people who were able to replicate his skills consistently and pass those skills along to their students.

If that's not the case (and, IMO, it isn't) then all this talk about how these are valid teaching methods is meaningless.

Best,

Chris

Yes, that is what I am saying. Those students became proficient in their skills, even if the Founder held back information. As easy as it is to look just at his post-war students, his pre-war students also where very skilled. The basal separation of each group is in the Founder's change of philosophy that has nothing to do with him holding or not holding back information. Whether post or pre war students those who are well known and responsible for spreading Aikido where the top of the class. No one in their right mind wouldn't put their best students forward.

Aikido would have never grown if the Founder didn't understand the value in sharing information. You can't have epic failure in representation when getting people's attention. For years there has been a low hum of dissatisfaction with the Japanese students first taught by the Founder. The complaint is they didn't tell non-Japanese students everything.  An argument that may have validity. If you really want to sabotage the empire that was built,  withhold information from everyone. Fast and easy way is to seal the lips and don't demonstrate. Instead lie and fake it. But the problem with that is, students will catch on very quickly and afford no validity to the teacher and move on.

Not everyone is a grand old teacher either. Many people have great adeptness, but are unable to communicate as well as other which they are measured. That isn't fair. In the face of that, the students of the Founder where successful enough to expand the interest of Aikido. It is meaningless.

Chris Li
04-02-2012, 02:38 PM
Yes, that is what I am saying. Those students became proficient in their skills, even if the Founder held back information. As easy as it is to look just at his post-war students, his pre-war students also where very skilled. The basal separation of each group is in the Founder's change of philosophy that has nothing to do with him holding or not holding back information. Whether post or pre war students those who are well known and responsible for spreading Aikido where the top of the class. No one in their right mind wouldn't put their best students forward.

Well, that's where we differ. I don't think that any of the students got near the level of the Founder. Everybody got something, some a little, some a fair amount. But what they got they mostly didn't understand well, so their students in turn never reach up to the level of the Founder's students - and so on, in a downward spiral (not the good kind).

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-02-2012, 04:08 PM
Well, that's where we differ. I don't think that any of the students got near the level of the Founder. Everybody got something, some a little, some a fair amount. But what they got they mostly didn't understand well, so their students in turn never reach up to the level of the Founder's students - and so on, in a downward spiral (not the good kind).

Best,

Chris

Hello Mr. Li.

I hope your day is going as good as mine, and life is treating you well.

That is a popular valid argument. From that argument, the thought that comes to mind is what did the Founder get from his teachers who where far more conservative and strict in doling out information? It isn't hard to figure out that wasn't much in comparison. The Founder had the genius to circumvent that obstacle, via training himself. Unlike today, during the Founder's time a seminar circuit didn't exist to support his development in pre-war or post war Aikido. Who would he go to at the time to teach him what Takeda did not? He had no resources outside Takeda, the Founder was left to his own devices to learn what Takeda with held from him. That alone makes a person more hungry. In the case of the Founder's students, I don't believe the Founder held back information. I do believe a wider generation gap existing between the Founder and his students than the Founder and his teacher.

I have read articles that argue some of the Founder's students both pre and post war had excelled remarkably in skill equaling to that of the Founder's. Suggesting to me, these student then became in the same shoes the Founder was in after the Founder's death. If you have the desire, the hunger, you will improve with or without a teacher. I don't think too many people think that having a teacher pass away early in a person's training places a person in the same situation as if the teacher withheld information.

We are fortunate today with so many opportunities to experience other teachers from a variety of willingness to share information. There are videos, internet, seminars, visiting a dojo all giving out a variety of information. The Founder and his students made videos, put on seminars, published books and other means of disseminating information. These actions are not those of individuals who want to withhold information and keep it to themselves. It is clear to me they wanted to disseminate information. There are those who do feel they didn't.

My thoughts go back to teaching kids math. Those who have or develop an aptitude, work at it, are hungry, take responsibility enjoy greater success. Students who are teach depended relay on the teacher for all information. If the student lacks the aptitude for example, that student can't learn independently. The student's success is heavily dependent on and at the will of the teacher.

I have never thought high Aikido skill was stratospheric outside of anyone's reach. The Founder set the mark based on his abilities. He took from jujutsu and form his knowledge base created Aikido. His accomplishments are his own. I think that is an example for all of us in the way we can pursue Aikido. The caveat is, it took the Founder years and thousands of hours of practice with the right mind set that lead him to his skill. The Founder's skill wasn't created in an day. His students gain great skill as well, they didn't learn over night. The most detrimental issue I think is when a student is his own worse enemy lacking confidence. Then it is the idea the teacher's knowledge is the pure truth which can't be questioned. A teacher no matter who it is doesn't have all the answers or carries a magic bullet. Students must accept the idea of independent study, instead of dependent study.

Because I take that view, am not a disgruntled student who feels cheated and lied to by his instructor. I am in contrast, a student who will push on and reach the higher levels of Aikido. I am a content happy student.

Hope everyone has a great day.

Chris Li
04-02-2012, 04:32 PM
Hello Mr. Li.

I hope your day is going as good as mine, and life is treating you well.

That is a popular valid argument. From that argument, the thought that comes to mind is what did the Founder get from his teachers who where far more conservative and strict in doling out information? It isn't hard to figure out that wasn't much in comparison. The Founder had the genius to circumvent that obstacle, via training himself. Unlike today, during the Founder's time a seminar circuit didn't exist to support his development in pre-war or post war Aikido. Who would he go to at the time to teach him what Takeda did not? He had no resources outside Takeda, the Founder was left to his own devices to learn what Takeda with held from him. That alone makes a person more hungry. In the case of the Founder's students, I don't believe the Founder held back information. I do believe a wider generation gap existing between the Founder and his students than the Founder and his teacher.

There's a pretty good record of who Takeda produced and what they could do - Ueshiba among others. Who did the Founder produce of that level?


I have read articles that argue some of the Founder's students both pre and post war had excelled remarkably in skill equaling to that of the Founder's. Suggesting to me, these student then became in the same shoes the Founder was in after the Founder's death. If you have the desire, the hunger, you will improve with or without a teacher. I don't think too many people think that having a teacher pass away early in a person's training places a person in the same situation as if the teacher withheld information.

As I said - that's where we disagree - I think that I've seen almost all of the big names, in person, and I just don't see it, in them and (more importantly), in their students.

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-02-2012, 05:51 PM
There's a pretty good record of who Takeda produced and what they could do - Ueshiba among others. Who did the Founder produce of that level?

As I said - that's where we disagree - I think that I've seen almost all of the big names, in person, and I just don't see it, in them and (more importantly), in their students.

Best,

Chris

Arguing your opinion would be disrespectful and ignorant on my part. I must apology for I wasn't clear. The Founder took upon the responsibility for his own training and excelled because of his aptitude and mindset. He was a man in a time different with a different way of life than from his students. I recognize you feel the top students of the Founder didn't make par in your experience and knowledge base. There is no reason for me to argue an opinion you are entitled too.

I was thinking more inline of Shioda, and Saito off the top of my head. Let me welcome anyone who wished to add to this list. I feel both these men where training in a time there was more information available to them. Valid information useful to support independent study, than being solely dependent on the Founder. I can't say they did or didn't explore other martial arts information to gain knowledge they felt the Founder omitted. Shioda did have a limited time with the Founder as a teacher. Here Shidoa can be considered similar to a student who theoretically the Founder withheld information. Shioda's skill didn't deteriorate, it improved greatly. Here we are looking at the benefits and development of a student who lacked much information and still developed great skill. Was he better or as good as the Founder? Good question, I don't know. It is evident he did improve with limited knowledge and instruction from the Founder. It answers the question for me, the Founder didn't with hold information.

Lastly, a teacher can tell a student everything the teacher knows. The student's ability to process the information and use it may be limited. The student in this case when in comparison to others feels the teacher wasn't forthcoming with their knowledge.

Well, I need to wrap things up on the wonderful Monday. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the day.

Chris Li
04-02-2012, 06:23 PM
Shioda did have a limited time with the Founder as a teacher. Here Shidoa can be considered similar to a student who theoretically the Founder withheld information. Shioda's skill didn't deteriorate, it improved greatly. Here we are looking at the benefits and development of a student who lacked much information and still developed great skill. Was he better or as good as the Founder? Good question, I don't know. It is evident he did improve with limited knowledge and instruction from the Founder. It answers the question for me, the Founder didn't with hold information.


Shioda was actually with the Founder longer than almost anybody (except maybe Saito and Kisshomaru) - at a time when the Founder was very active.

As to how well he did - I'd suggest you look into Shioda's relationship with Kodo Horikawa.

Best,

Chris

Don_Modesto
04-02-2012, 07:21 PM
As to how well he did - I'd suggest you look into Shioda's relationship with Kodo Horikawa.

Hey, Chris.

I'd love to do this, for Shioda and Arikawa and Saito.... Where are such things to be found?

Thanks.

Chris Li
04-02-2012, 07:31 PM
Hey, Chris.

I'd love to do this, for Shioda and Arikawa and Saito.... Where are such things to be found?

Thanks.

That's the tricky part - the documentation is still (AFAIK) held by the Kodokai. There's a fair amount of information about Shioda, at least, sprinkled through the forums.

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-02-2012, 08:26 PM
Shioda was actually with the Founder longer than almost anybody (except maybe Saito and Kisshomaru) - at a time when the Founder was very active.

As to how well he did - I'd suggest you look into Shioda's relationship with Kodo Horikawa.

Best,

Chris

Mr. Li. It is wonderful to read your response.

Didn't I mention Shioda having left the Founder at some point which is the same in a sense as a teacher withholding information from a student? huh? My apologies. I believe it was 8 years for Shioda and Chiba was 7 years as uchideshi. Tadashi Abe, he was a 10 year student? I am not sure if you have the opportunity to experience Minoru Mochizuki, and Kenji Tomiki? But, I would have loved to experience these greats. Who where the great senseis that you experienced if you are willing to share?

I am not familiar with that relationship. A friend of mine who studied another martial art for decades becoming the schools top student said his sensei told him once he held back the secrets of the art from him on purpose. Upset my friend protested that it was such a dishonest and diabolical thing to do. Demanding an explanation from his sensei feeling betrayed to why he withheld all the secrets of the art, the sensei replied calmly, did I really need to tell you?

Life is universal. Hard work and dedication and a mind set of perseverance has always been a recipe for success. Taking a loss and turning it into an opportunity to improve and do better, to get back on that horse when bucked off is another universal truth. The Wright Brothers, Edison and Bell are wonderful examples of people who stuck with it and figured it out on their own. The incredible achievements of these men is testimony to what is possible. The Founder too had the character and mind set to be independent. I don't think that is a luxury only afforded to the few. Everyone has the ability to achieve great skill if they are willing to put the time and energy into it. Another wonderful universal aspect of life that leads to success and the Founder is the proof.

I hope everyone had a great day.

Chris Li
04-02-2012, 08:38 PM
Didn't I mention Shioda having left the Founder at some point which is the same in a sense as a teacher withholding information from a student? huh? I believe it was 8 years for Shioda and Chiba was 7 years as uchideshi. Tadashi Abe, he was a 10 year student?

Abe was ten years before he left for Europe - much of that in Tokyo, and Ueshiba wasn't in Tokyo at that time. When Chiba was in Tokyo Ueshiba was not that active in teaching, although he was there a third to half the time.

When Shioda was there Ueshiba was personally involved in training the students - there were no other teachers, really.

Not that he was necessarily better than anybody else, but I thought it was kind of incredible to portray Shioda as someone who had a limited time with Ueshiba.


I am not familiar with that relationship. A friend of mine who studied another martial art for decades becoming the schools top student said his sensei told him once he held back the secrets of the art from him on purpose. Upset my friend protested that it was such a dishonest and diabolical thing to do. Demanding an explanation from his sensei feeling betrayed to why he withheld all the secrets of the art, the sensei replied calmly, did I really need to tell you?

Try searching - there's a fair amount of information scattered around.

And again - if they're not getting it then, yes, they needed to tell them.There's nothing wrong with figuring it out on your own - but that would show in the results. The proof is in the pudding - it's meaningless to talk about creativity when your kid is flunking basic math.

Best,

Chris

Allen Beebe
04-02-2012, 10:08 PM
It's meaningless to talk about creativity when your kid is flunking basic math.

Chris

Ooooooo what you said! :eek:

Requirement #1: Teacher with adequate knowledge/mastery of subject matter and ability to lay out that knowledge in a comprehendable manner. (No magic fairy dust which will learn for/or motivate students necessary.)

Requirement #2: Student of average intelligence with basic needs met (not physically or emotionally starved or abused) willing to do the work to learn.

Failure to exhibit learning indicates an absence of one reqirement or the other 99% of the time. Excuses and blame abound. But in the achievers you will not find an absence of either requirement, or the presence of excuses and blame justifying failure to achieve.

Today there may be a culture of entitlement that may be undermining. But in pre/post war Japan I sincerely doubt it, which indicates a lack of Requirement #1.

Creativity is swell, talent is swell. Mozart didn't get to be MOZART by bypassing requirement 1 and 2.

Even among genius there is a bell curve, but genius doesn't bypass the essentials. The "giants" stood on the shoulders of the knowledge passed down before them. To pretend otherwise does a disservice to both those in the past and future.

Tim Fong
04-02-2012, 10:18 PM
http://i.imgur.com/fGNh0.jpg

Found this from a Youtube slideshow. If it's a real photo, appears to show Shioda with Kodo.

PeterR
04-03-2012, 12:32 AM
There's a pretty good record of who Takeda produced and what they could do - Ueshiba among others. Who did the Founder produce of that level?

As I said - that's where we disagree - I think that I've seen almost all of the big names, in person, and I just don't see it, in them and (more importantly), in their students.

Best,

Chris

Chris;

Sort of stating the obvious to someone who has already considered it but the biggest problem is seeing the various students and of course Ueshiba M. and Takeda themselves at comparable times. It is really hard to make comparisons especially when some are long dead and legend has taken over.

What were Takeda or Ueshiba really capable of doing - was Shioda in his prime that much less then Ueshiba? Or conversely were certain student's capable of doing things that Ueshiba could not?

I would like to think that if one produces students that gain a wide respect beyond their own limited area art than you have been a successful teacher.

Chris Li
04-03-2012, 01:15 AM
Chris;

Sort of stating the obvious to someone who has already considered it but the biggest problem is seeing the various students and of course Ueshiba M. and Takeda themselves at comparable times. It is really hard to make comparisons especially when some are long dead and legend has taken over.

What were Takeda or Ueshiba really capable of doing - was Shioda in his prime that much less then Ueshiba? Or conversely were certain student's capable of doing things that Ueshiba could not?

I would like to think that if one produces students that gain a wide respect beyond their own limited area art than you have been a successful teacher.

Of course it's hard. But at some point you have to take a look around and, based on your experience, make an opinion. It's not a thing that's ever likely to be proven objectively, but I think that it's important for all of us to try and make the assessment.

There are a number of people who have wide respect - but not much in the way of skills that I'm talking about. So, you could say that they are successful, and that their teacher has been successful - but I don't.

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-03-2012, 09:36 AM
Abe was ten years before he left for Europe - much of that in Tokyo, and Ueshiba wasn't in Tokyo at that time. When Chiba was in Tokyo Ueshiba was not that active in teaching, although he was there a third to half the time.

When Shioda was there Ueshiba was personally involved in training the students - there were no other teachers, really.

Not that he was necessarily better than anybody else, but I thought it was kind of incredible to portray Shioda as someone who had a limited time with Ueshiba.

Try searching - there's a fair amount of information scattered around.

And again - if they're not getting it then, yes, they needed to tell them.There's nothing wrong with figuring it out on your own - but that would show in the results. The proof is in the pudding - it's meaningless to talk about creativity when your kid is flunking basic math.

Best,

Chris

Good morning Mr. Li,

I am pleased to tell you where I think were we are getting our lines crossed. The mentioned uchideshi had many years of training under the Founder. The amount of contact they had with the Founder was not always consistent. During the periods of time where the Founder was absent either permanently or intermittently the uchideshi worked on their own to improve their skill. How hard they worked, to what what extent they developed their skill is subject to opinion.

What am focusing on is the fact that they where not always teacher dependent, and worked independently to develop their own skill. Not how hard they worked at it. My focus is on the Founder who did worked more independently than dependently. His teachers passed on or where absent living the Founder to train and develop on his own. Didn't Takeda travel teaching intermittently from place to place, vs having a central dojo he taught out of? Isn't there stories of Takeda only showing a technique once without explanation? All his students including the Founder learned under these conditions, independently with significant absences of his teachers. All his teachers passed on before the Founder as well. This is the point I am making.

The Japanese word I am looking has escaped me that defines an intensive self training. The Founder did it by going up into the mountains to train isolation. Not being an Aikido historian, I hope someone will expand on the details. The reason it is being brought up is to point to the Founder was not teacher dependent for his skills. For him there where no other learning resource outside his initial teachers.The Founder trained on his own, developing his skill on his own. No one taught him dependently like today. In comparison, the instruction time and attention he received was very limited and short.

The independent path taken by the Founder proves to me, a student of Aikido, if willing, can improve on their own making great strides in their skill. If they are not told everything by a teacher it isn't an epic failure. Independent learning and the benefits, are over shadowed by the myth the path to success is teacher dependent. Where the student solely relies on the teacher to provide all the information, all the "secrets" of the art to the student under some unwritten obligation. Worse it has become the norm because we have convinced ourselves dependently learning is the only way to learn. The pandora box had been flung open because of that idea. People complain about their lack of skilI rushing to an outside quick fix that is just as teacher dependent. All without knowing they can fix it themselves, developing there own skill with time and effort. The proof of that success, in developing skill independently was shown by the Founder. But, many Aikido students don't see the Founder as such an example.

Students have been accustom to being milk feed information and their training coddled to such an extent they reach a point of feeling they have been cheated in someway out of key information by their instructors. Some students develop as sense of entitlement, making demands of information. The key here is to avoid that trap. Instead placing confidence in their own ability to develop skill on their own, obtaining the information on there own. Then any information from a teacher is useful. A teacher job's is to guide the student to their own success, not make it happen for the student.

It is the student's responsibility to take control of his own training and learning, under the guidance of the teacher. How much desire, how hungry a student is to improve, is based on that student's willingness to work for it. If a student is a poor practitioner it is because there was little effort placed toward his own development. How good a student become is up to the student, not the teacher.

This is why I think the Founder's teaching ability is without question. He was more open then his instructors with the information he obtained on his own. He encouraged his students to learn in his presences and absence, to develop on their own. To what level the students achieved is of debate, a debate am not comfortable engaging or feel necessary.

I am not a Aikido historian, but my searches have not revealed any instructional link between Shidoda and Horikawa. I have not found Shioda stating or his school mentioning there is an instructional link to Horiikiwa. The picture could just show a visit being made by Shioda who by that time was an established Aikido practitioner. It would be better evidence if a picture showed the two men training. Is there a picture of that?

Thank you. Hope everyone's day goes well and is enjoyable!

Chris Li
04-03-2012, 10:31 AM
What am focusing on is the fact that they where not always teacher dependent, and worked independently to develop their own skill. Not how hard they worked at it. My focus is on the Founder who did worked more independently than dependently. His teachers passed on or where absent living the Founder to train and develop on his own. Didn't Takeda travel teaching intermittently from place to place, vs having a central dojo he taught out of? Isn't there stories of Takeda only showing a technique once without explanation? All his students including the Founder learned under these conditions, independently with significant absences of his teachers. All his teachers passed on before the Founder as well. This is the point I am making.

The Japanese word I am looking has escaped me that defines an intensive self training. The Founder did it by going up into the mountains to train isolation. Not being an Aikido historian, I hope someone will expand on the details. The reason it is being brought up is to point to the Founder was not teacher dependent for his skills. For him there where no other learning resource outside his initial teachers.The Founder trained on his own, developing his skill on his own. No one taught him dependently like today. In comparison, the instruction time and attention he received was very limited and short.

Ueshiba trained with Takeda over a period of some 20 years - Takeda actually lived with him for 2. He had extensive contact and continuous training - that's all a matter of written record.

That's not to downplay training on your own - but "limited and short" is nowhere near accurate when describing Ueshiba's relationship with Takeda.



This is why I think the Founder's teaching ability is without question. He was more open then his instructors with the information he obtained on his own. He encouraged his students to learn in his presences and absence, to develop on their own. To what level the students achieved is of debate, a debate am not comfortable engaging or feel necessary.

Whatever other great things a teacher does, whatever great ideas he has or tasks he accomplishes - his skills as a teacher have to be judged by the abilities of his students. If you can't form an opinion about that then there's no way that you'll really be able to evaluate his teaching abilities.


I am not a Aikido historian, but my searches have not revealed any instructional link between Shidoda and Horikawa. I have not found Shioda stating or his school mentioning there is an instructional link to Horiikiwa. The picture could just show a visit being made by Shioda who by that time was an established Aikido practitioner. It would be better evidence if a picture showed the two men training. Is there a picture of that?

As I said, try searching for it - there's better than a picture, there's Shioda's signature in Kodo Horikawa's Emeiroku.

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-03-2012, 11:03 AM
Ueshiba trained with Takeda over a period of some 20 years - Takeda actually lived with him for 2. He had extensive contact and continuous training - that's all a matter of written record.

That's not to downplay training on your own - but "limited and short" is nowhere near accurate when describing Ueshiba's relationship with Takeda.

Whatever other great things a teacher does, whatever great ideas he has or tasks he accomplishes - his skills as a teacher have to be judged by the abilities of his students. If you can't form an opinion about that then there's no way that you'll really be able to evaluate his teaching abilities.

As I said, try searching for it - there's better than a picture, there's Shioda's signature in Kodo Horikawa's Emeiroku.

Best,

Chris

Hello Mr. Li,

Oh, I see what you mean. I was wasn't specific. I was referring to the skill level's of the Founder's uchideshi. The Founder in my opinion would be better than I to deem which of his students are better than others in this instance. For me this type of discussion makes me uncomfortable. I am not the Founder. Not saying you are doing this, but such debates tend to get allot attention that comes to no end.

How many instructional days did the Founder have under Takeda. How many hours of instruction did the Founder log in with Takeda over those decades? This is something I don't know for sure, am not a historian. It is my believe Takeda traveled constantly all over Japan teaching spending somewhere between a few days and a week or some places a month teaching large groups periodically. Sessions lasted up to 6 or more hrs at a time. I know it is said Takeda was not a personable man. Takeda's Emeiroku I believe records how many hrs the Founder logged in. I hope someone with more knowledge than I can accurately provide that proper information.

If Shioda did train with Horikawa, per the Emeiroku do you know how many hrs Shioda logged in with Horikawa? That would be fascinating to see. Because there is nothing on the net that states Shioda trained with Horikawa, I found from Shioda's school. This is said inline with the fact I am not a historian. Shioda wasn't the only student of the Founder's who I believe made the effort himself, Minoru Mochizuki.

Concluding in brief, in any form of teaching or learning independent based learning has greater benefits than being completely teacher dependent learning. Because the Founder, I believe took the latter approach, and his teachers, is proof the Founder was an altruistic teacher that guided his students and didn't make them dependent on him for knowledge.

It has been a pleasure discussing this with you Mr. Li. Have a wonderful day.

sakumeikan
04-03-2012, 11:20 AM
Good morning Mr. Li,

I am pleased to tell you where I think were we are getting our lines crossed. The mentioned uchideshi had many years of training under the Founder. The amount of contact they had with the Founder was not always consistent. During the periods of time where the Founder was absent either permanently or intermittently the uchideshi worked on their own to improve their skill. How hard they worked, to what what extent they developed their skill is subject to opinion.

What am focusing on is the fact that they where not always teacher dependent, and worked independently to develop their own skill. Not how hard they worked at it. My focus is on the Founder who did worked more independently than dependently. His teachers passed on or where absent living the Founder to train and develop on his own. Didn't Takeda travel teaching intermittently from place to place, vs having a central dojo he taught out of? Isn't there stories of Takeda only showing a technique once without explanation? All his students including the Founder learned under these conditions, independently with significant absences of his teachers. All his teachers passed on before the Founder as well. This is the point I am making.

The Japanese word I am looking has escaped me that defines an intensive self training. The Founder did it by going up into the mountains to train isolation. Not being an Aikido historian, I hope someone will expand on the details. The reason it is being brought up is to point to the Founder was not teacher dependent for his skills. For him there where no other learning resource outside his initial teachers.The Founder trained on his own, developing his skill on his own. No one taught him dependently like today. In comparison, the instruction time and attention he received was very limited and short.

The independent path taken by the Founder proves to me, a student of Aikido, if willing, can improve on their own making great strides in their skill. If they are not told everything by a teacher it isn't an epic failure. Independent learning and the benefits, are over shadowed by the myth the path to success is teacher dependent. Where the student solely relies on the teacher to provide all the information, all the "secrets" of the art to the student under some unwritten obligation. Worse it has become the norm because we have convinced ourselves dependently learning is the only way to learn. The pandora box had been flung open because of that idea. People complain about their lack of skilI rushing to an outside quick fix that is just as teacher dependent. All without knowing they can fix it themselves, developing there own skill with time and effort. The proof of that success, in developing skill independently was shown by the Founder. But, many Aikido students don't see the Founder as such an example.

Students have been accustom to being milk feed information and their training coddled to such an extent they reach a point of feeling they have been cheated in someway out of key information by their instructors. Some students develop as sense of entitlement, making demands of information. The key here is to avoid that trap. Instead placing confidence in their own ability to develop skill on their own, obtaining the information on there own. Then any information from a teacher is useful. A teacher job's is to guide the student to their own success, not make it happen for the student.

It is the student's responsibility to take control of his own training and learning, under the guidance of the teacher. How much desire, how hungry a student is to improve, is based on that student's willingness to work for it. If a student is a poor practitioner it is because there was little effort placed toward his own development. How good a student become is up to the student, not the teacher.

This is why I think the Founder's teaching ability is without question. He was more open then his instructors with the information he obtained on his own. He encouraged his students to learn in his presences and absence, to develop on their own. To what level the students achieved is of debate, a debate am not comfortable engaging or feel necessary.

I am not a Aikido historian, but my searches have not revealed any instructional link between Shidoda and Horikawa. I have not found Shioda stating or his school mentioning there is an instructional link to Horiikiwa. The picture could just show a visit being made by Shioda who by that time was an established Aikido practitioner. It would be better evidence if a picture showed the two men training. Is there a picture of that?

Thank you. Hope everyone's day goes well and is enjoyable!

Dear Sir,
May I offer the term Shugyo which can be translated into intense training or a mindset in the present?Za Zen related. Or possibly the term Misogi , which is purification method usually done either by ascetic practice or again hard training Hope this helps, Cheers, Joe..

Chris Li
04-03-2012, 11:51 AM
Hello Mr. Li,

How many instructional days did the Founder have under Takeda. How many hours of instruction did the Founder log in with Takeda over those decades? This is something I don't know for sure, am not a historian. It is my believe Takeda traveled constantly all over Japan teaching spending somewhere between a few days and a week or some places a month teaching large groups periodically. Sessions lasted up to 6 or more hrs at a time. I know it is said Takeda was not a personable man. Takeda's Emeiroku I believe records how many hrs the Founder logged in. I hope someone with more knowledge than I can accurately provide that proper information.

If Shioda did train with Horikawa, per the Emeiroku do you know how many hrs Shioda logged in with Horikawa? That would be fascinating to see. Because there is nothing on the net that states Shioda trained with Horikawa, I found from Shioda's school. This is said inline with the fact I am not a historian. Shioda wasn't the only student of the Founder's who I believe made the effort himself, Minoru Mochizuki.

Concluding in brief, in any form of teaching or learning independent based learning has greater benefits than being completely teacher dependent learning. Because the Founder, I believe took the latter approach, and his teachers, is proof the Founder was an altruistic teacher that guided his students and didn't make them dependent on him for knowledge.

It has been a pleasure discussing this with you Mr. Li. Have a wonderful day.

This has all been laid out in Stan Pranin's work - starting back in the 1980's. I'm not going to go back and make the same arguments again.

Best,

Chris

chillzATL
04-03-2012, 12:21 PM
This has all been laid out in Stan Pranin's work - starting back in the 1980's. I'm not going to go back and make the same arguments again.

Best,

Chris

I'm not sure how much more clearly you can attempt to lay it out and have it skated around... Props to you, because I'm exhausted just from reading it.

Ueshiba had a lot of students, a good many of which were serious in their training and looked high and low for the "secrets" both while he was alive and for decades after, yet only a handful have any notable measure of the skills that he had. There are only so many honest conclusions one can draw from that...

Carl Thompson
04-03-2012, 06:43 PM
If you look back at the beginning of the long thread that you have entered at the end (and six months after it started), you will see that it is all about the teaching ability of Ueshiba, and whether he was actually able to transmit his skills consistently (or at all, really).


If he were able to do that then there should have been multiple students after him that reached or exceeded his level. They, in turn, would have students that met or exceeded them, and so on.

Hello Chris

Did Osensei's teacher (Takeda) produce multiple students after him who reached or exceeded his level? Did their students in turn produce students who reached or exceeded Takeda's level? How about the likes of Hisa, who started Daito-ryu under Ueshiba then went on to study it under Takeda, got promoted then later taught it as aikido saying it was the same thing? Did both award him ranks for abilities he had not attained?

I said that I saw a great many of Ueshiba's senior students, and their students in Japan, and that was not, IMO, the case.
Many of us have become familiar with the acronym IHTBF. Did you feel a great many of Ueshiba's senior students? It is conceivable that Takeda and Ueshiba gave out recognition of ability in the form or ranks or scrolls without regard for the reality. However, if we assume that they did care a little about how people who would represent them would be able to perform, I have the following question for you: How can you tell that these students didn't get the goods when Ueshiba apparently thought they had? In other words, what can you recognise the absence of in his students that Ueshiba could not? CMA skills? Kokyu-ryoku?

Was he a "great teacher" (an "Osensei") only because he provided the subject to be taught? In other words, I'm asking if he didn't understand basic teaching methods or was too crazy to stick to them. Or did he actually have some degree of pedagogical skill? In the latter case, did he deliberately choose not to use it in order to keep the goods to himself?

What do people think? Better still, can you back it up?

Carl
There seems to be a consensus that Osensei had certain goods himself. I appreciate the study people are doing into how similar skills are found elsewhere but if you find him consistently recognising people for their aikido ability without passing on a particular essential training method there could be a number of reasons. One is that his training method was different. Another is that it was the same as these other arts and he was not competent at passing it on (which begs the question, who was competent?). The ideas that he didn't care or was too lost in his religious pursuits have also been mentioned.

Regards,

Carl

Chris Li
04-03-2012, 07:02 PM
Hello Chris

Did Osensei's teacher (Takeda) produce multiple students after him who reached or exceeded his level? Did their students in turn produce students who reached or exceeded Takeda's level? How about the likes of Hisa, who started Daito-ryu under Ueshiba then went on to study it under Takeda, got promoted then later taught it as aikido saying it was the same thing? Did both award him ranks for abilities he had not attained?

That's a hard question to answer, since he was much less visible than Ueshiba. Generally speaking, I'd be of the opinion that Takeda was not a great teacher either although, like Ueshiba, he was apparently quite inspiring. It might even be possible to make the argument that the problem with transmission was partially due to Takeda, since Ueshiba quite deliberately imitated him in so many ways (right down to the titles).


Many of us have become familiar with the acronym IHTBF. Did you feel a great many of Ueshiba's senior students? It is conceivable that Takeda and Ueshiba gave out recognition of ability in the form or ranks or scrolls without regard for the reality. However, if we assume that they did care a little about how people who would represent them would be able to perform, I have the following question for you: How can you tell that these students didn't get the goods when Ueshiba apparently thought they had? In other words, what can you recognise the absence of in his students that Ueshiba could not? CMA skills? Kokyu-ryoku?

Some of them I have and some of them I haven't. I don't know that he that he thought that they had the goods. There were menkyo kaiden awarded after just a couple of years, and after the war it wasn't uncommon for people to find themselves suddenly promoted to 8th dan - more than once.

Don't get me wrong - Ueshiba has some very skilled students. But the ones that got what they got don't seem to know how they got it - and because of that were unable to pass the thing on effectively. We're at an important time right now where we can see the effects of three or four generations of transmission in a large range of people.


There seems to be a consensus that Osensei had certain goods himself. I appreciate the study people are doing into how similar skills are found elsewhere but if you find him consistently recognising people for their aikido ability without passing on a particular essential training method there could be a number of reasons. One is that his training method was different. Another is that it was the same as these other arts and he was not competent at passing it on (which begs the question, who was competent?). The ideas that he didn't care or was too lost in his religious pursuits have also been mentioned.

Regards,

Carl

I think that it was the combination of a lot of things. More on that later, maybe...

Best,

Chris

Garth
04-03-2012, 08:57 PM
Not to be a thread killer. Not to take anything from Mr. Li's brilliant research on the subject.
But a lot (not all) (maybe unknowable) of the founder's teaching ability and who taught what to whom, and also who went to who for what, including lineages up and down the time lines of aikido and daito ryu is laid out in Ellis's Amdur's book , "Hidden in Plain Sight". Having just finished reading it in what maybe the first of many times( yes my head is still throbbing), it is illuminating a little bit about this very subject.
What I took from it in first go around, is separation between the teaching of technique or waza and that unseen quality (hidden in plain sight) which is most likely internal strength, internal power .
The founder's younger days it seems, or so I am told(which are provable because of meticulous Japanese record keeping) were filled with a wide ranging vocabulary of techniques and teachers and arts.
And on that front it seems when time came to write it down, Saito sensei filled the bill quite nicely and almost 1000 techniques (with aiki ken and aiki jo added in) were codified in Iwama. A veritable perfect score of Aikido SAT vocabulary or technique. Pretty sucessful there.
On the other hand, the ability to teach and then do the waza on uncooperative opponents or downright hostile foes(using IP or IS) seems to have been either lacking on the part of the teacher AND OR or the students . How many of the 3rd generation students and teachers in Aikido are taking on all comers in this manner? ( like to study with you:D )
Clearly there were deschi of O'sensei saying in his later years, " we didn't know what He was talking about". And then there are the films of people bouncing off him , and what appear to be shock waves being generated far greater than what seem possible for a 5 foot tall and change man.
So there is the showing and telling of this quality. Teacher taught, but not do A + B +C and you will definitely arrive with D and also D by the way is tapping into the infinite power of the universe.
You know of course that as soon as that last sentence left my fingertips, I realized that he also did say exactly what D was........
Back then to the original point, it is all out there, I never had a lesson with O'sensei, maybe a couple of classes with direct deschi of his, and there was no mention of anything other than technique, once I became an earnest student more was discovered and more also was thought to be given.....
Its a moot point, and I think it is more up to oneself now.......
I hope that I did some justice to Ellis's book and Chris's research, not to mention many others, and eagerly await clarifications, and corrections as it will be awhile before I delve into this rabbit hole again
Thx
Greg

Chris Li
04-03-2012, 09:03 PM
Not to be a thread killer. Not to take anything from Mr. Li's brilliant research on the subject.
But a lot (not all) (maybe unknowable) of the founder's teaching ability and who taught what to whom, and also who went to who for what, including lineages up and down the time lines of aikido and daito ryu is laid out in Ellis's Amdur's book , "Hidden in Plain Sight". Having just finished reading it in what maybe the first of many times( yes my head is still throbbing), it is illuminating a little bit about this very subject.

Not taking away anything - HIPS is the gold standard.

Ellis was nice enough to include me in the acknowledgements - but I don't think that I really contributed very much.

Best,

Chris

Garth
04-03-2012, 09:20 PM
Not taking away anything - HIPS is the gold standard.

Ellis was nice enough to include me in the acknowledgements - but I don't think that I really contributed very much.

Best,

Chris

Very good then. Because I thought I was having flashback headaches about reading it:D
I have read your blog, you are being modest.
Thx
Greg

Tenyu
04-03-2012, 11:20 PM
Despite the recently popular mantra the essence of Aikido being the same as Daito-ryu, in reality the most important parts of Ueshiba's training didn't come from Takeda. His martial skills were never separate from his religious practices regardless how often profane western ‘logic' desires otherwise to reduce the physical from the spiritual or the spiritual from the physical.

We can see Takeda in this photo (http://members.aikidojournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/sokaku-takeda-osaka-1939.jpg) at 80 years old, knowingly with few years left to live, deciding to provide an ostentatious display of ‘power' during one of the few opportunities to record his image. His other photos late in life only show a wretched expression, a man embittered by his hollow mastering of separation for martial gain. The visual similarity between some taijitsu forms belie the actual polarity of their ways. Certainly Ueshiba felt sorry for his former teacher who never realized a higher level of power. In the 21st century I would've assumed common sense among Aikidoka a desire for the pursuit of power, as many here openly seek, without irony is the greatest limiting factor in its attainment.

Chris Li
04-03-2012, 11:32 PM
Despite the recently popular mantra the essence of Aikido being the same as Daito-ryu, in reality the most important parts of Ueshiba's training didn't come from Takeda. His martial skills were never separate from his religious practices regardless how often profane western �logic' desires otherwise to reduce the physical from the spiritual or the spiritual from the physical.

We can see Takeda in this photo (http://members.aikidojournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/sokaku-takeda-osaka-1939.jpg) at 80 years old, knowingly with few years left to live, deciding to provide an ostentatious display of �power' during one of the few opportunities to record his image. His other photos late in life only show a wretched expression, a man embittered by his hollow mastering of separation for martial gain. The visual similarity between some taijitsu forms belie the actual polarity of their ways. Certainly Ueshiba felt sorry for his former teacher who never realized a higher level of power. In the 21st century I would've assumed common sense among Aikidoka a desire for the pursuit of power, as many here openly seek, without irony is the greatest limiting factor in its attainment.

No question that Takeda was a complex character. As to the expressions - he had a sour expression because he got some of his teeth knocked out in a spear fight, and he was embarrassed to show his mouth.

Anyway, accusations of ostentation have been made about this picture (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/02/11/free-download-sokaku-came-to-visit-in-wooden-clogs-with-a-walking-stick%E2%80%A6-aiki-news-number-49-1982/) too, but I'm not sure what either picture has to do with the issue of whether or not Ueshiba was able to successfully transmit his skills.

Best,

Chris

Tenyu
04-04-2012, 12:03 AM
No question that Takeda was a complex character. As to the expressions - he had a sour expression because he got some of his teeth knocked out in a spear fight, and he was embarrassed to show his mouth.

Anyway, accusations of ostentation have been made about this picture (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/02/11/free-download-sokaku-came-to-visit-in-wooden-clogs-with-a-walking-stick%E2%80%A6-aiki-news-number-49-1982/) too, but I'm not sure what either picture has to do with the issue of whether or not Ueshiba was able to successfully transmit his skills.

Best,

Chris

How old was Takeda when he got his teeth knocked out? People with teeth missing can still smile while keeping the mouth closed.

That 'picture' looks like Ueshiba pre-war to me, he didn't fully realize Aikido till post-war. I bring up the differences between Ueshiba and Takeda because they had little in common regardless of the opposite being asserted here often.

since Ueshiba quite deliberately imitated him in so many ways

This is absolutely false post-war.

Chris Li
04-04-2012, 12:19 AM
How old was Takeda when he got his teeth knocked out? People with teeth missing can still smile while keeping the mouth closed.

Whether you can or not is immaterial to the fact that you are self-conscious about it.

That 'picture' looks like Ueshiba pre-war to me, he didn't fully realize Aikido till post-war. I bring up the differences between Ueshiba and Takeda because they had little in common regardless of the opposite being asserted here often.

You're right, it was painted pre-war. OTOH, the last time I saw it was when it was hanging on the wall at Aikikai Hombu (and I'm not that old). Anyway, when it was painted is immaterial to the fact that some people have felt it to be ostentatious, or that such feeling is still immaterial to the subject of this thread.


This is absolutely false post-war.

Well, I disagree, but true or not - it still doesn't have anything to do with Ueshiba's teaching skills.

Best,

Chris

Garth
04-04-2012, 07:22 AM
How old was Takeda when he got his teeth knocked out? People with teeth missing can still smile while keeping the mouth closed.

That 'picture' looks like Ueshiba pre-war to me, he didn't fully realize Aikido till post-war. I bring up the differences between Ueshiba and Takeda because they had little in common regardless of the opposite being asserted here often.

This is absolutely false post-war.

We 'd (me anyway) all like to know your references
And source materials for the above opinion(s)

jackie adams
04-04-2012, 08:37 AM
Dear Sir,
May I offer the term Shugyo which can be translated into intense training or a mindset in the present?Za Zen related. Or possibly the term Misogi , which is purification method usually done either by ascetic practice or again hard training Hope this helps, Cheers, Joe..

Thank you very much.

jackie adams
04-04-2012, 10:22 AM
I hope everyone is having a great day,


Looking at the Founder's life and his attitude it is clear he was a generous teacher who invested in his students because he had an altruistic vision toward his students. A key element if the Founder wanted his art spread carrying his spiritual message.

How could anyone say he held back the goods when he provided so much information and was so available and open to his students. I never measure a teacher's ability based solely on the performance of the students. We can't blame Socrates/Plato for all the problems education has today. We can't blame them for the drop out rates, or why a child is left behind. We can't blame them because little Sally failed to go to college and be come a Noble Peace Prize winner. More importantly we can't blame him for all his students for not being an Aristotle or Aristotle surpassing Socrates/Plato. How can we blame Socrates as a lousy teacher because none of the students surpassed him/Plato. The student isn't absent of the onus that comes with learning. There are great teachers who have had students failed.

Great people have had lousy teachers and have done remarkable things why beyond the teacher's capabilities. Even common people like me have had lousy teachers, and still succeeded. It isn't an uncommon event.

Measuring the Founder's teaching ability and the idea he with held information from his students can be easily answered, not by looking at his students. Instead, by looking at the Founder's life and the success of his mission.

It has been my pleasure to have the opportunity to express my thoughts and opinions here. Thank you everyone.

Chris Li
04-04-2012, 10:38 AM
I hope everyone is having a great day,

Looking at the Founder's life and his attitude it is clear he was a generous teacher who invested in his students because he had an altruistic vision toward his students. A key element if the Founder wanted his art spread carrying his spiritual message.


Said it before, and I'll say it again - being altruistic doesn't make you an effective instructor. Being an effective instructor makes you an effective instructor.

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-04-2012, 11:27 AM
Said it before, and I'll say it again - being altruistic doesn't make you an effective instructor. Being an effective instructor makes you an effective instructor.

Best,

Chris

Hello Mr. Li,

It is kind of you that you have responded. I know I didn't go into too much detail at the start. Here goes.

The Founder was altruistic. It is obvious his best interest in mind was for only the students. This is an earmark of a good teacher, universally. He isn't going to with hold information for selfish reasons and personal gain. He wants his students to progress, to develop and be the best they can be. Whether or not they succeed him, is dependent on the student. Is the student as naturally talented as the Founder, does the student have the same work ethic, is the student, a good student who is smart and can learn quickly. The onus of effectiveness is shared by the student.

The Founder had an uncharitable and hospitable teacher, who by all standards was an ineffective teacher. He was someone who wasn't effective at all in teaching. For example, he offered no explanation when demonstrating a technique once. Also unlike the Founder, he was not committed to teaching. He didn't pen any books for his students. He didn't have a dojo, traveling and periodically teaching on an infrequent base though out Japan. Instruction was limited and in frequent with large gaps of time between sessions. Yet, the Founder was a bright student, with a good work ethic and determination, who could figure things out on his own.

The Founder's top students skill is debated unfairly by some. Those who feel the top students have fallen short in their skill can't hold that as a measure fairly up against the teaching effectiveness of the Founder. The Founder had hundreds of students who benefited and progressed. Effectiveness of teaching can't be reduced to the ability of a student to preform. No caring and devoted teacher is considered ineffective if a student doesn't go to college. Everyone knows there is an onus on the student to put forth the required effort to do well. It is the student's responsibility to learn and progress to the level they wish. Lots of time as we know, modern life reducing training time. You get out of something as much as you put into it. If you don't get anything out of it, you are in part to blame, even if your teach was really bad.

Mr.Li am not expecting you to agree or disagree, please feel at ease. I hope you don't feel the purpose of my comments is for you to do so. Please express your opinion without any expectation or distractions from me. My intention here is to answer the questions about the Founder's teaching ability. I am comfortable that I have achieved that sufficiently. Mr. Li I find your comments thought provoking and intelligent, and wish you great success. It has been a pleasure speaking with you. And I thank you for taking the time to respond.

jackie adams
04-04-2012, 11:58 AM
The Founder had hundreds of students who benefited and progressed. Effectiveness of teaching can't be reduced to the ability of a student to preform.

It is better safe than sorry, so this needs better clarification. When I said a student, I meant a teacher's effectiveness isn' t based on a few of the student's performance. Meaning a teacher doesn't get fired or is called ineffective based on the bell curve of student performance. A teacher is called effective over years of the high number of students failing. The lack of an altruistic approach from the teacher means the teacher doesn't care about the students, only collecting a pay check. If an altruistic teacher doesn't have great knowledge that teacher will seek it out and obtain it, improving upon themselves. Being altruistic has nothing to do with teaching methods or teaching style. An effective teacher has to care about the students to teach them to the best of their abilities. Altruistic teachers are the most effective teachers.They also are the most effective leaders. Anyone who has every been taught anything knows how true this is. We all have experienced it, if we have been to school. A teacher sucks because they don't care, a poor school is when the leadership doesn't have the students best interest in mind. The Founder has demonstrated by the success of his efforts of appealing to so many people who have recognized this about him. Otherwise, Aikido would have die with a whimper unnoticed.

It is my hope my comments have benefit to this discussion and not detracted from it. Thank you again.

mathewjgano
04-04-2012, 01:21 PM
I hope everyone is having a great day,

Looking at the Founder's life and his attitude it is clear he was a generous teacher who invested in his students because he had an altruistic vision toward his students. A key element if the Founder wanted his art spread carrying his spiritual message.

How could anyone say he held back the goods when he provided so much information and was so available and open to his students. I never measure a teacher's ability based solely on the performance of the students. We can't blame Socrates/Plato for all the problems education has today. We can't blame them for the drop out rates, or why a child is left behind. We can't blame them because little Sally failed to go to college and be come a Noble Peace Prize winner. More importantly we can't blame him for all his students for not being an Aristotle or Aristotle surpassing Socrates/Plato. How can we blame Socrates as a lousy teacher because none of the students surpassed him/Plato. The student isn't absent of the onus that comes with learning. There are great teachers who have had students failed.

Great people have had lousy teachers and have done remarkable things why beyond the teacher's capabilities. Even common people like me have had lousy teachers, and still succeeded. It isn't an uncommon event.

Measuring the Founder's teaching ability and the idea he with held information from his students can be easily answered, not by looking at his students. Instead, by looking at the Founder's life and the success of his mission.

It has been my pleasure to have the opportunity to express my thoughts and opinions here. Thank you everyone.

I strongly agree with your ideas about good and bad teachers/students in general. I have little to go on for exactly how well O Sensei taught, but I'm sure it could be viewed in positive or negative terms depending on which criteria we use.
In a "non-budo" society (perhaps exemplified by post-war adjustments in Japan), I see bujutsu as relatively less important, and so I'm not sure how crucial physical potency is compared to other, perhaps more holistic, benefits. This isn't to say it isn't important or that there shouldn't be people who uphold this very central (if not absolutely critical) aspect of budo and budo-based practices, but I think it points to one possible reason why it might not have been held as the highest priority in all or even perhaps most cases.
I get the sense O Sensei was primarily concerned with seeking an understanding of the universe and his place within it; his practice was an extention of this; those around him could learn from his example, but it was up to them to really make it happen; and that he probably focused different efforts in different places based on what seemed most appropriate. Whatever he deemed as being most appropriate probably wasn't viewed in quite the same way by those he was teaching, so in some cases I'm sure there were people who thought they were being taught "everything" when in fact they were being taught whatever O Sensei believed they were able to manage.
Ultimately, of course, I have no real idea. This is all academic and fun to think about and try to flesh out the puzzle of history, but the "real" issue is "what are we doing with our practice today and where are we headed?" I think.
Thank you for the great food for thought!
Take care,
Matthew

jackie adams
04-04-2012, 01:29 PM
Mr. Gano,

You truly have a gift with writing. I admire your ability to express your ideas and thoughts. I wish I could have said it as well.

Have a wonder day.

My apologies to Mr Li, for not writing so well.

Marc Abrams
04-04-2012, 01:54 PM
Hello Mr. Li,

The Founder had an uncharitable and hospitable teacher, who by all standards was an ineffective teacher. He was someone who wasn't effective at all in teaching. For example, he offered no explanation when demonstrating a technique once. Also unlike the Founder, he was not committed to teaching. He didn't pen any books for his students. He didn't have a dojo, traveling and periodically teaching on an infrequent base though out Japan. Instruction was limited and in frequent with large gaps of time between sessions. Yet, the Founder was a bright student, with a good work ethic and determination, who could figure things out on his own.



Jackie:

I think that the bulk of the historical work that is out there does not concur with your position. I would suggest that you read Stanley Pranin's works regarding the interviews with Daito-ryu and Aikido teachers. O'Sensei modified what he learned from Sokaku Takeda. He did not figure things out on his own and became enlightened after learning directly from Takeda.

Teachers are frequently assessed by their ability to transfer information. This ability is typically assessed by the degree to which their students can demonstrate the knowledge/abilities/information learned. Using that as a measure, O'Sensei did not have good teaching abilities. His own students frequently commented on how difficult it was to learn from him. This pattern appeared to be made worse by a significantly lessened involvement in teaching Aikido after WWII. He appeared to be following his own unique path and shared what he did when others were around him. This is very different than someone who is simply dedicated to teaching others. In my opinion, you seem to be idolizing O'Sensei.

Marc Abrams

Garth
04-04-2012, 02:42 PM
Jackie:
Teachers are frequently assessed by their ability to transfer information. This ability is typically assessed by the degree to which their students can demonstrate the knowledge/abilities/information learned. Using that as a measure, O'Sensei did not have good teaching abilities. His own students frequently commented on how difficult it was to learn from him. This pattern appeared to be made worse by a significantly lessened involvement in teaching Aikido after WWII. He appeared to be following his own unique path and shared what he did when others were around him. This is very different than someone who is simply dedicated to teaching others. In my opinion, you seem to be idolizing O'Sensei.

Marc Abrams

Agreed. Using todays model in education, where there is a current push to make teachers more accountable for the results of their class(results oriented teaching and or the military model, which not everyone is really cut out for, so you dont join silly) makes little sense to pursue, unless you are trying hold a man dead for forty years accountable for something. The teacher/student relationship is currently not balanced, teachers, rules and regulations and testing is being further pushed into lives whether it is needed or not, somwhere around 70/30 or at the least 60/40 , teacher giving more to student than student requires. Success if often increased and seen by a student who is somehow being held to account for his actions or "hunger" for learning or lack there of. Not rare but not the majority are actually happy coming to school for a multitude of reasons. Survival is usually not one of the reasons, but it certainly played a role in Takeda's education and upbringing as well as the founder's and therefore creates a whole different paradigm of priorities.
So was an intellectual trail created by Ueshiba to follow for the logical progression of the Western or Eastern mind to follow? Again O'Sensei didnt say do A followed by BCD and you will arive at E like me or make it into a compound formula or intellectual trail over and over again..
Leading by example which is a whole different teaching paradigm, and the harder this student looks(hunger), I find that he did say do A and BCD and even E and even what they were, so on that part of it , teaching by example, or leading by example, there is success. Because we/I are starting to make the trail again for ourselves following his example.

jackie adams
04-04-2012, 03:01 PM
Jackie:

I think that the bulk of the historical work that is out there does not concur with your position. I would suggest that you read Stanley Pranin's works regarding the interviews with Daito-ryu and Aikido teachers. O'Sensei modified what he learned from Sokaku Takeda. He did not figure things out on his own and became enlightened after learning directly from Takeda.

Teachers are frequently assessed by their ability to transfer information. This ability is typically assessed by the degree to which their students can demonstrate the knowledge/abilities/information learned. Using that as a measure, O'Sensei did not have good teaching abilities. His own students frequently commented on how difficult it was to learn from him. This pattern appeared to be made worse by a significantly lessened involvement in teaching Aikido after WWII. He appeared to be following his own unique path and shared what he did when others were around him. This is very different than someone who is simply dedicated to teaching others. In my opinion, you seem to be idolizing O'Sensei.

Marc Abrams

If I could have stated things as well as Mr. Gano did,I would have. Not having the gift of gab, I would like to point to Mr. Gano explanation. The way he put things is way better than how I put it. Please don't confuse Mr. Gano for me, even if point to his explanation. It would not be fair to him.

As I respect your comment, please feel assured I am responding in the context of the original question. Yes, the Founder had teaching skill, otherwise Aikido would have died shortly after it's birth. No, I don't believe he held anything back from his students. Despite the arguments his students never came close in reaching the same level of proficiency as he did. I am not judging the Founder on the opinions of his students abilities. If anyone is to judge his students abilities it would be the Founder.

I would like to close with this thought. Today, Aikido an international organization existing for decades with hundreds of thousand students who have passed through its door and thousands more passing through right now. The future is still bright for Aikido, I don't see this star dying soon.

jackie adams
04-04-2012, 03:23 PM
A post thought, I guess editing is timed: if some of his top students did complain about the Founder's communication skills, why did they stay? Why did they support Aikido and pioneer it? Playing pivotal roles in supporting the Founder's art? Why didn't they just walk a way shaking their heads? Some of his students where well trained martial artist before they started Aikido. Why did they train under the Founder? Why didn't they all write the Founder off as an ineffective teacher and seek Takeda or someone else? It is evident way the Founder wasn't abandon by his top students who complained about him.

Marc Abrams
04-04-2012, 03:30 PM
If I could have stated things as well as Mr. Gano did,I would have. Not having the gift of gab, I would like to point to Mr. Gano explanation. The way he put things is way better than how I put it. Please don't confuse Mr. Gano for me, even if point to his explanation. It would not be fair to him.

As I respect your comment, please feel assured I am responding in the context of the original question. Yes, the Founder had teaching skill, otherwise Aikido would have died shortly after it's birth. No, I don't believe he held anything back from his students. Despite the arguments his students never came close in reaching the same level of proficiency as he did. I am not judging the Founder on the opinions of his students abilities. If anyone is to judge his students abilities it would be the Founder.

I would like to close with this thought. Today, Aikido an international organization existing for decades with hundreds of thousand students who have passed through its door and thousands more passing through right now. The future is still bright for Aikido, I don't see this star dying soon.

Jackie:

I cannot clearly gauge how you would like us to evaluate O'Sensei's teaching abilities. I do not think that he ever tried to hold things back. I do think that he was hemmed in by his unique personality and by the teaching modalities that he was exposed to and utilized. I also believe that there was a genuine disconnect between his expressing his thoughts, based upon a formal education in Chinese classics, and his students who were taught in a more western-based system. O'Sensei talked about things in a manner that reflected knowledge of Chinese classics to people who did not really understand what he was saying because they did not have that background of understanding.

The larger issue of the state of Aikido today is one that I look at differently. Just because it is popular, does not mean that a high level of learning is taking place. Martial arts is really based on a teaching modality of long-term, personal exposure and training with a highly skilled teacher, compounded with a lot of personal training. This teaching paradigm does not translate well into a setting where there is one teacher and many students. I look at our population from the statistical percentage of the bell-shaped curve. A lot of mediocrity, few incompetents and few highly skilled. Our art will continue into the future like a lot of other martial arts.... mostly watered down with a few highly competent people.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Chris Li
04-04-2012, 03:30 PM
A post thought, I guess editing is timed: if some of his top students did complain about the Founder's communication skills, why did they stay? Why did they support Aikido and pioneer it? Playing pivotal roles in supporting the Founder's art? Why didn't they just walk a way shaking their heads? Some of his students where well trained martial artist before they started Aikido. Why did they train under the Founder? Why didn't they all write the Founder off as an ineffective teacher and seek Takeda or someone else? It is evident way the Founder wasn't abandon by his top students who complained about him.


Some of them did walk away - Inoue, Tomiki, Mochizuki, Shioda all walked away after the war. Shirata almost did, but was begged to stay.
You don't usually walk out so easily in a Japanese system.
Most of the folks after the war were young kids and the day to day instruction wasn't performed by Ueshiba anyway.
Other places aren't necessarily any better.
Same as today - people don't know what they don't know.
Love the Kool-Aid! :D


Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-04-2012, 04:56 PM
Some of them did walk away - Inoue, Tomiki, Mochizuki, Shioda all walked away after the war. Shirata almost did, but was begged to stay.
You don't usually walk out so easily in a Japanese system.
Most of the folks after the war were young kids and the day to day instruction wasn't performed by Ueshiba anyway.
Other places aren't necessarily any better.
Same as today - people don't know what they don't know.
Love the Kool-Aid! :D


Best,

Chris

Hello again Mr. Li. It is nice to read your post. You always have something interesting to say. I believe

Mochizuki was 10 dan in Aikido. I don't think he complained about the Founder communication, did he?

Tomiki was awarded 8th dan, and taught Aikido at Waseda University many years starting his own Aikido association in 1974, right? Did he want to leave Aikido because he felt the Founder was a terrible teacher?

Shioda was 10th dan. Who used aikido effectively is a street fight, won an award for his Aikido demonstration, continued to teach Aikido up until his death. Shidoda could not train under the Founder because of post war economics. Was it because, he felt the Founder was a poor teacher. Shioda left easily.

Inoue helped the Founder with building Aikido, and had a personal disagreement over matters not related to the Founder's quality of teaching. He too left easily.

Shirata was 9th dan, “I want to follow [The Founders] Sensei's footsteps as my life path.” Shirata Rinjiro. Surely, he didn't complain, and was very dedicated to the Founder.

The Founder really didn't teach is what your are saying. This means they had to develop their skill on their own? Who was teaching then? You said, the early students where kids being taught by the Founder....could that be the source of complaint. Kids always complaining about their teachers.

It seems Shiriata like the others had confidence in the Founder's ability to teach. At least he felt he was a effective teach to be so dedicated.

Was it really hard to leave a martial in early part of the 20th century, way was that?

Short day, I hope everyone is in good health and wish them good training.

Chris Li
04-04-2012, 05:01 PM
Hello again Mr. Li. It is nice to read your post. You always have something interesting to say. I believe

Mochizuki was 10 dan in Aikido. I don't think he complained about the Founder communication, did he?

Tomiki was awarded 8th dan, and taught Aikido at Waseda University many years starting his own Aikido association in 1974, right? Did he want to leave Aikido because he felt the Founder was a terrible teacher?

Shioda was 10th dan. Who used aikido effectively is a street fight, won an award for his Aikido demonstration, continued to teach Aikido up until his death. Shidoda could not train under the Founder because of post war economics. Was it because, he felt the Founder was a poor teacher. Shioda left easily.

Inoue helped the Founder with building Aikido, and had a personal disagreement over matters not related to the Founder's quality of teaching. He too left easily.

Shirata was 9th dan, "I want to follow [The Founders] Sensei's footsteps as my life path." Shirata Rinjiro. Surely, he didn't complain, and was very dedicated to the Founder.

The Founder really didn't teach is what your are saying. This means they had to develop their skill on their own? Who was teaching then? You said, the early students where kids being taught by the Founder....could that be the source of complaint. Kids always complaining about their teachers.

It seems Shiriata like the others had confidence in the Founder's ability to teach. At least he felt he was a effective teach to be so dedicated.

Was it really hard to leave a martial in early part of the 20th century, way was that?

Short day, I hope everyone is in good health and wish them good training.

I should have stayed out the first time, I will now - there's just too much basic information you're missing here.

Best,

Chris

jackie adams
04-04-2012, 05:03 PM
"I was very lucky O-Sensei taught me thoroughly in detail, and I’m following his example.”
-Morihiro Saito

This speaks for it's self. There is so much praise by those the Founder taught, on how well he taught and how inspiring he was.

I didn't realize that until I entered this discussion. I think knowing how well of a teacher the Founder was has been very well establish, that he didn't keep any goods to himself. Questioning the Founders teaching abilities and character is plain silly.

I want to thank everyone for enriching my knowledge and appreciation of Aikido through this discussion.

sakumeikan
04-04-2012, 05:44 PM
Abe was ten years before he left for Europe - much of that in Tokyo, and Ueshiba wasn't in Tokyo at that time. When Chiba was in Tokyo Ueshiba was not that active in teaching, although he was there a third to half the time.

Dear Mr Li,
I would like to point out that Chiba Sensei [and possibly other Uchi Deshi ] spent time with O Sensei as otomo/uke when O Sensei traveled to other areas.I would assume therefore that Chiba Sensei would have greater experience of training with O Sensei other than in Tokyo?Unfortunately Chiba Sensei did not tell me the exact time period he spent on this role.Cheers, Joe.

gregstec
04-04-2012, 06:01 PM
http://i.imgur.com/fGNh0.jpg

Found this from a Youtube slideshow. If it's a real photo, appears to show Shioda with Kodo.

Yeah, that is Shioda next to Kodo - wonder who the two on the ends are?

Greg

DH
04-04-2012, 06:12 PM
In the years during and shortly after the war, O-Sensei was ensconced in Iwama. Finally from the early 1950s he began to resume his travels with occasional visits to Tokyo and the Kansai region. By the late 1950s his trips increased in frequency and it seemed no one ever knew where he would be at a given point in time. He divided his time between Iwama, Tokyo, and his favorite spots in Kansai which included Osaka, Kameoka, Ayabe, his native Tanabe, and Shingu. He even visited Kanshu Sunadomari in far away Kyushu. I remember hearing Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei state that O-Sensei visited Shingu more than sixty times after the war. Considering that this refers to a period of about twelve to fifteen years, we see that the founder was off in Kansai on the average of four to six times per year.

The astute reader will see no doubt see what I am leading up to. O-Sensei did not teach in Tokyo on a regular basis after the war. Even when he appeared on the mat, often he would spend most of the hour lecturing on esoteric subjects completely beyond the comprehension of the students present. The main teachers at the Hombu in the postwar years were Koichi Tohei Sensei and the present Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. They were assisted by Okumura, Osawa, Arikawa, Tada, Tamura and the subsequent generation of uchideshi mentioned above.

I want to make my point perfectly clear. What I mean to say is that Morihei Ueshiba was NOT the main figure at the Hombu Dojo who taught on a day-to-day basis. O-Sensei was there at unpredictible intervals and often his instruction centered on philosophical subjects. Tohei and Kisshomaru Ueshiba are the persons most responsible for the technical content and development of aikido within the Aikikai Hombu system. As before the war, the uchideshi of later years would teach outside the Hombu Dojo in clubs and universities after only a relatively short period of apprenticeship. Also, this period was characterized by "dan inflation," many of these young teachers being promoted at the rate of one dan per year. In a number of cases, they also "skipped" ranks. But that is the subject of another article!

What does all of this mean? It means that the common view of the spread of aikido following the war taking place under the direct tutelage of the founder is fundamentally in error. Tohei and the present Doshu deserve the lion's share of the credit, not the founder. It means further that O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba was not seriously involved in the instruction or administration of aikido in the postwar years. He was already long retired and very focused on his personal training, spiritual development, travel and social activities. Also, it should be noted that, despite his stereotyped image as a gentle, kind old man, O-Sensei was also the possessor of piercing eyes and a heroic temper. His presence was not always sought at the Hombu Dojo due to his critical comments and frequent outbursts. This is the truth of the matter as attested to by numerous first-hand witnesses. In the past I have hinted at some of these things, but have only recently felt confident enough to speak out because of the weighty evidence gathered from numerous sources close to the founder. I can't say necessarily that these comments will help practitioners in the training or bring them closer to their goals, but I do sincerely hope that by shining the light of truth on an important subject, those committed to aikido will have a deeper understanding on which to base their judgments. I also hope that the key figure of Koichi Tohei who has in recent years been relegated to a peripheral role or overlooked entirely will be given his just due.

Aikido Journal #109 (Fall/Winter 1996)
I would only add that the numer of teachers later telling their deshi that they drew the bath for Ueshiba everyday...must have made his bath look like the famous N.Y. bath houses of the 70's. And the shear volume of those claiming to be his indoor "special student" and "the person who traveled with him" defies all logic and testimony to the contrary by equally famous teachers.
All that is left is to determine who where the ones who were really there.
Peter Goldsbury offers interesting insights into how a version of a story meant to convey a message-in this case the closeness of teacher to a student- makes these sorts of stories okay ina certain contextual framework.

Another point or reasoning to offer you by way finality in outcome. Many of these post war guys were dispatched with 5 to 6 years training. A first or maybe second dan in Japan / maybe a third kyu in the States. It explains much.
Dan

gregstec
04-04-2012, 06:37 PM
"I was very lucky O-Sensei taught me thoroughly in detail, and I'm following his example."
-Morihiro Saito

This speaks for it's self. There is so much praise by those the Founder taught, on how well he taught and how inspiring he was.

I didn't realize that until I entered this discussion. I think knowing how well of a teacher the Founder was has been very well establish, that he didn't keep any goods to himself. Questioning the Founders teaching abilities and character is plain silly.

I want to thank everyone for enriching my knowledge and appreciation of Aikido through this discussion.

Hi Jackie, I hope you are also having a wonderful day as you wish us all. From an objective point of view, it appears to me your posts are very authoritative in context without much reference to facts. However, the majority of your positions appear to conflict with a lot of facts that have been very thoroughly discussed in many other threads in this forum as well as others. A few of the people you have engaged are very familiar with those other posts due to their intimate involvement with them. As has been suggested, I believe much more research on the topics you have been discussing would be very beneficial to any further engagements you wish to pursue in this area.

As far as the Topic of the Founder's Teaching ability? well, it has long been my opinion that he really did not have much, nor did he care - IMO, his main approach was in using students as training partners to further his learning, and if any of them picked anything up, he helped them to the extent that they could comprehend and develop themselves - he just did not have a mission to teach; if he did, there would be students of his that had his level of skill. This is very evident once you have felt someone with true Aiki - a few seconds of contact speaks volumes of what really is.

Greg

Tengu859
04-04-2012, 09:47 PM
Hello All,

IMO, it's important to keep in mind, that ALL the great men mentioned in this thread are in the end simply men. Takeda, Ueshiba, Shioda, Horikawa, Shirata, Sagawa, Hisa...I could go on. They are all a great inspiration of what to strive for in our training. To me all the great research from AJ, HIPS, recent blog posts...etc, clearly show this. It also reminds me that they are men with many good points and others not so good. Not one perfect. So for me, it's important to keep this in mind otherwise things might become clouded. No Kami here, just great Budoka.

So as far as Ueshiba's teaching ability goes...it seems to me, he emulated his teacher. The one who opened his eyes to true budo. Good or bad, just reality. But worthy of looking to for direction in our own training. Thanks.

ChrisWestern

PS Thank you to all those mentioned above. Thanks for All the great reasearch, information, and inspiration.

DH
04-04-2012, 11:18 PM
Hello All,

IMO, it's important to keep in mind, that ALL the great men mentioned in this thread are in the end simply men. Takeda, Ueshiba, Shioda, Horikawa, Shirata, Sagawa, Hisa...I could go on. They are all a great inspiration of what to strive for in our training. To me all the great research from AJ, HIPS, recent blog posts...etc, clearly show this. It also reminds me that they are men with many good points and others not so good. Not one perfect. So for me, it's important to keep this in mind otherwise things might become clouded. No Kami here, just great Budoka.

So as far as Ueshiba's teaching ability goes...it seems to me, he emulated his teacher. The one who opened his eyes to true budo. Good or bad, just reality. But worthy of looking to for direction in our own training. Thanks.

ChrisWestern

PS Thank you to all those mentioned above. Thanks for All the great reasearch, information, and inspiration.
We also need to remember with Ueshiba, we had Mochizuki, Shirata, Shioda, and others.
Takeda, Sagawa, Kodo, Hisa and Ueshiba were, in many ways from a culture and era that most of us would never understand how to function in. There standards and norms, and what was and was not expected of them were not ours.
Dan
RE edit: Thanks Jun!!!

bothhandsclapping
04-05-2012, 12:26 AM
I may be missing something here, but doesn't the fact that we are now 'talking' about a little man, born on an island a half a world away, whose singular vision was responsible for a world-wide 'movement' and who has been dead now some 40 odd years, say at least a little something about his teaching ability?

PeterR
04-05-2012, 12:43 AM
I think there is a huge difference between inspiration and teaching ability although you have to have a good measure of the former to do well at the latter.

jackie adams
04-05-2012, 06:05 AM
Good Morning, fellow martial artists and readers.

Confusion seems to arise of some people between the teaching ability of the Founder and Aikido being watered down, being no longer effective. If there is a concern over the quality of the techniques effectiveness deteriorating, it has no reflection on the Founder's ability as a teacher. To have something become progressively worse, is again the onus of the students. In no way is it reasonable to hold the Founder's ability to teach for what some feel a deterioration or dilution of the art today.

The Founder's teaching philosophy framed in martial arts tradition and the nature of teaching is often criticized. The Founder choosing to reduce his frequency as a teacher in his later years doesn't reflect on his abilities. It is not unrealistic to have teachers focus on their own interests and research, reducing their teaching schedule, turning some teaching duties over to others. It is common with university professors who have grad students teach 101 classes. We know it is very common in martial arts allowing higher ranked students the opportunity to develop teaching skills. Criticizing the Founder's (closest description is Idiosyncratic) personal teaching philosophy is not the same as his ability to teach.

The quality of what is being taught, and personal teaching philosophy has no reflection on a person's capacity and talent to provide information or give instruction. The Founder was a highly sought after teacher, a testimonial to his success, just as the number of critics he has attracted during his lifetime and after his passing. In other words, you receive more criticism for being at the top then anywhere else in your field, resulting as an indicator of you success. The more people want to knock you down, only indicates the greater achievements you have made. No different than being the champ that everyone goes after to beat, because that means they gain their own instant credibility if they win.

I appreciate the time and opportunity to express my thoughts. It is my hope everyone has a good day.

DH
04-05-2012, 08:50 AM
I think there is a huge difference between inspiration and teaching ability although you have to have a good measure of the former to do well at the latter.
True, otherwise there would be traditions filled with amazingly competent all stars.
Where are these people?
Further, as is the case with many traditions you often ended up with the real talent as a titular head with the son and next level of teachers as poor substitutes as the active teaching staff.

Gary David
04-05-2012, 01:04 PM
Criticizing the Founder's (closest description is Idiosyncratic) personal teaching philosophy is not the same as his ability to teach.

The quality of what is being taught, and personal teaching philosophy has no reflection on a person's capacity and talent to provide information or give instruction.



Some years back I had a conversation with an individual who spent time training and talking directly with Morihei Ueshiba in Japan back in the 60's. His comment when I ask about the reaction of the deshi to his time spent talking with O'Sensei was that it didn't worry them as they could not understand what the "old man" was talking about anyway .......and it seems that by that time it was mostly talking he was doing anyway.. If lecture was the primary mode of transmission ...then transmission was not happening.

Gary

Eric Winters
04-05-2012, 01:16 PM
I may be missing something here, but doesn't the fact that we are now 'talking' about a little man, born on an island a half a world away, whose singular vision was responsible for a world-wide 'movement' and who has been dead now some 40 odd years, say at least a little something about his teaching ability?

No. :)

DH
04-05-2012, 01:25 PM
Some years back I had a conversation with an individual who spent time training and talking directly with Morihei Ueshiba in Japan back in the 60's. His comment when I ask about the reaction of the deshi to his time spent talking with O'Sensei was that it didn't worry them as they could not understand what the "old man" was talking about anyway .......and it seems that by that time it was mostly talking he was doing anyway.. If lecture was the primary mode of transmission ...then transmission was not happening.

Gary
The one thing that seems to remain constant is people in denial of some rather obvious truths.
Since many of the great's "stories" of their training/personal care/ travel times with Ueshiba do not line up, I keep waiting for the list to come out of who was lying and who was telling the truth. It is NEVER going to happen, but the conclusions are startlingly obvious...some of the greats....were not telling the truth.
I prefer to leave it as a pregnant pause and allow them to express feelings of a personal connection with a great teacher with colorful stories; years added, baths being drawn when he wasn't there, learning from a guy who wasn't present etc.
Dan

Tengu859
04-05-2012, 02:03 PM
The one thing that seems to remain constant is people in denial of some rather obvious truths.
Since many of the great's "stories" of their training/personal care/ travel times with Ueshiba do not line up, I keep waiting for the list to come out of who was lying and who was telling the truth. It is NEVER going to happen, but the conclusions are startlingly obvious...some of the greats....were not telling the truth.
I prefer to leave it as a pregnant pause and allow them to express feelings of a personal connection with a great teacher with colorful stories; years added, baths being drawn when he wasn't there, learning from a guy who wasn't present etc.
Dan

It is very hard for people to see things that are in plain sight...no pun intended. Many have much invested emotionally when it comes to the Ueshiba sensei. Hence the saying, " love is blind". So denial, myth making,etc., happen. I'm guilty of it myself. I feel that this is at the core of this thread.

IMO, it is very easy to go about life being "blind". So for me it's become important to step out of my comfort zone during my training. Musha shugyo has become for me a way of training with others to gage myself. Hopefully one day, I'll be able to see...Thanks.

ChrisW

MM
04-05-2012, 06:46 PM
Hello again Mr. Li. It is nice to read your post. You always have something interesting to say. I believe

Mochizuki was 10 dan in Aikido. I don't think he complained about the Founder communication, did he?

Tomiki was awarded 8th dan, and taught Aikido at Waseda University many years starting his own Aikido association in 1974, right? Did he want to leave Aikido because he felt the Founder was a terrible teacher?

Shioda was 10th dan. Who used aikido effectively is a street fight, won an award for his Aikido demonstration, continued to teach Aikido up until his death. Shidoda could not train under the Founder because of post war economics. Was it because, he felt the Founder was a poor teacher. Shioda left easily.

Inoue helped the Founder with building Aikido, and had a personal disagreement over matters not related to the Founder's quality of teaching. He too left easily.

Shirata was 9th dan, "I want to follow [The Founders] Sensei's footsteps as my life path." Shirata Rinjiro. Surely, he didn't complain, and was very dedicated to the Founder.

The Founder really didn't teach is what your are saying. This means they had to develop their skill on their own? Who was teaching then? You said, the early students where kids being taught by the Founder....could that be the source of complaint. Kids always complaining about their teachers.

It seems Shiriata like the others had confidence in the Founder's ability to teach. At least he felt he was a effective teach to be so dedicated.

Was it really hard to leave a martial in early part of the 20th century, way was that?

Short day, I hope everyone is in good health and wish them good training.

I would strongly urge you to get the back issues of Aikido Journal from Stan Pranin and read them all. Buy Ellis Amdur's book, Hidden in Plain Sight and read it. Research the Non-Aikido Forum here on AikiWeb while you are also reading Peter Goldsbury's articles, TIE.

At a minimum, that is what is needed to have a conversation with people like Chris Li, Allen Beebe, etc.

I've read your posts in this thread. I really would suggest that you put in the time to read the above mentioned material. You'll find a wealth of information there. Too much for anyone to really go over here. But (... isn't there always a but?) I'll post a few highlights to help you get started. This is by no means a complete list. There's a ton more like it out there ...

Mark

1. Aiki News Issue 038
Kanai Sensei: He would throw the uchideshi (live-in disciples) with very little in the way of explanation and we would grasp what we could of the feeling of the technique while we were flying through the air.

2. Aiki News Issue 066
Tamura Sensei: When O-Sensei came to the dojo, he threw us one after another and then told us to execute the same technique. At the beginning we didn't even know what kind of technique he did. When I practiced with a senior student he would throw me first. Then, he would say, "It's your turn!", but I didn't know what to do. While I was struggling to throw him, O-Sensei began to demonstrate the next technique. During the first period of my training which lasted a long time, I was just thrown and made to feel pain. It took one or two years for me to be able to distinguish techniques a little.

3. Aiki News 047
Editor: During Ueshiba Sensei's training sessions in what way did he explain the techniques of Aikido? [1933 time frame]
Kunigoshi Sensei: No matter what it was that we asked him I think we always got the same answer. Anyway, there wasn't a soul there who could understand any of the things he said. I guess he was talking about spiritual subjects but the meaning of his words was just beyond us.

Akazawa Sensei: No, there was nothing like that. He would say, "O.K.", and show a technique, and that's all. He never taught in detail by saying, "Put strength here," or, "Now push on this point." He never used that way of teaching.

4. Aiki News Issue 049
Editor: Did O-Sensei give verbal explanations of techniques?
Mr. Kamata: It varied. Sometimes he would explain and at others his idea seemed to be to let us find out for ourselves. He always said, however, "You have to enter into the inside of the training partner; get into the inside and then take him into your inside!"

5. Aiki News Issue 069
Sugino Sensei: [started around 1932] Ueshiba Sensei, unlike the present Honbu instructors, taught techniques by quickly showing the movement just one time. He didn't teach by offering detailed explanations. Even when we asked him to show us the technique again he would say, "No. Next technique!".

6. Black Belt 1989 Vol 27 No 8
Mochizuki: Uyeshiba Sensei's teaching pushed me a lot to think. He could never show again what he did in randori. I would say, "What was that?" and he would reply, "I got that from God suddenly. I don't remember." To Uyeshiba Sensei, ki (internal energy) was inspiration from God. So I had to rationalize and try to extract basics from multiple variations. Also, Uyeshiba Sensei was not concerned with teaching at the time I was studying under him. We were mostly training partners to him.

7. Training with the Master by John Stevens
Walther Krenner writes in the book
As I said, O-Sensei no longer taught on a regular schedule at that time, and his illness must have given him great pain; but when he did teach us it was awesome. Sometimes he came in and talked for a long while and left; this was good training in seiza.

8. Aiki News Issue 031
Doshu: Thus, the sight of those present not immediately understanding the true meaning of his remarks and ending up completely baffled was a frequent one. This was understandably so because O-Sensei 's lectures involved difficult to comprehend explanations based on mental and physical austerities far more numerous than those undergone by ordinary people, remarks about intuitive spiritual realizations, and words about extraordinary things he experienced.

9. Aiki News Issue 031
Yoji Tomosue - Since O-Sensei's speech was somewhat disconnected, it was extremely difficult for his listeners to understand him.

10. Aiki News Issue 066
Aiki News: We understand that O-Sensei in his latter years talked about kotodama and the spiritual world when he spoke on Aikido or budo. Did those who were uchideshi at that time understand him?
Tamura Sensei: No, I don't think they did. At least the young uchideshi including myself didn't understand him.

11. Aiki News Issue 062
Shirata Sensei: Ueshiba Sensei's way of explaining techniques was first of all to give the names of kamisama (deities). After that, he explained the movement.

12. Black Belt 1980 Vol 18 No 4
Mochizuki states, "Every time Uyeshiba couldn't explain something, he'd say it was because of God. He had a strong sense of intuition because he was not educated. He could explain with actions what Kano conceived intellectually."

13. Black Belt 1981 Vol 19 No 10
Article by Yoji Kondo and Karl Geis about Tomiki.

Uyeshiba's training method was quite a change from that of Kano's.

Uyeshiba, on the other hand, was a man of premodern tradition.

… was a genius whose mastery and understanding of the martial arts were strictly at an intuitive level. However, where Kano enunciated his thoughts lucidly and clearly in terms of scientific principles, Uyeshiba would invoke the divine spirit.

Uyeshiba's understanding of the aikido principles was not articulated but was simply expressed as ki; hence, it was very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to transmit the gokui (secret) of his art to anyone but another genius like himself.

14. Black Belt 1988 Vol 26 No 4
Article about Virginia Mayhew by Chuck Bush
"O-Sensei taught entirely differently from any of the other teachers," Mayhew relates. "He had no set form when he taught."

15. http://aikidocanberra.com/Docs/main/doc/MasaoIshii
Masao Ishii
1965-ish Started training at Hombu
NCT: Really? So you started training there. Did you have a chance to train with O'Sensei then?
Ishii Sensei: Well, at that time he was already retired and he didn't have a regular class. I was only 15 years old. I went to Hombu dojo many times, where there were many teachers teaching regular classes. I expected to see O'Sensei at the dojo. His home was just next to Hombu dojo, and I expected him to come out of his room to teach us. But he didn't come to the dojo often. After a few months I learned that it was only for Yamaguchi Sensei's and Kisshomaru Sensei's classes that he came to the dojo to join us. This means that O'Sensei was not interested in other teachers training.

16. Aikido Shugyo by Gozo Shioda
As mentioned earlier, at the Ueshiba Dojo in the old days we didn't explicitly have any pre-set forms. The only thing the students could do was copy the techniques that Sensei performed on their own. In terms of instruction, the only thing we were told was to "become one with heaven and earth."

17. Aikido Journal 103
Interview with David Lynch
Shioda Sensei, like many other former students of O-Sensei, felt that O-Sensei's teaching was unsystematic, and he therefore devised his own set of basic exercises that were intended to make the art easier for the average person to learn.

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

David Yap
04-05-2012, 10:31 PM
Interview with Henry Kono sensei:

http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/interviews/henry-kono.html

Carl Thompson
04-06-2012, 08:39 AM
Did Osensei's teacher (Takeda) produce multiple students after him who reached or exceeded his level? Did their students in turn produce students who reached or exceeded Takeda's level? How about the likes of Hisa, who started Daito-ryu under Ueshiba then went on to study it under Takeda, got promoted then later taught it as aikido saying it was the same thing? Did both award him ranks for abilities he had not attained? That's a hard question to answer, since he was much less visible than Ueshiba. Generally speaking, I'd be of the opinion that Takeda was not a great teacher either although, like Ueshiba, he was apparently quite inspiring. It might even be possible to make the argument that the problem with transmission was partially due to Takeda, since Ueshiba quite deliberately imitated him in so many ways (right down to the titles).

Many of us have become familiar with the acronym IHTBF. Did you feel a great many of Ueshiba's senior students? It is conceivable that Takeda and Ueshiba gave out recognition of ability in the form or ranks or scrolls without regard for the reality. However, if we assume that they did care a little about how people who would represent them would be able to perform, I have the following question for you: How can you tell that these students didn't get the goods when Ueshiba apparently thought they had? In other words, what can you recognise the absence of in his students that Ueshiba could not? CMA skills? Kokyu-ryoku?
Some of them I have and some of them I haven't. I don't know that he that he thought that they had the goods. There were menkyo kaiden awarded after just a couple of years, and after the war it wasn't uncommon for people to find themselves suddenly promoted to 8th dan - more than once.

Don't get me wrong - Ueshiba has some very skilled students. But the ones that got what they got don't seem to know how they got it - and because of that were unable to pass the thing on effectively. We're at an important time right now where we can see the effects of three or four generations of transmission in a large range of people.
There seems to be a consensus that Osensei had certain goods himself. I appreciate the study people are doing into how similar skills are found elsewhere but if you find him consistently recognising people for their aikido ability without passing on a particular essential training method there could be a number of reasons. One is that his training method was different. Another is that it was the same as these other arts and he was not competent at passing it on (which begs the question, who was competent?). The ideas that he didn't care or was too lost in his religious pursuits have also been mentioned.

I think that it was the combination of a lot of things. More on that later, maybe...

Best,

Chris

Hello Chris

Sorry to keep responding so late to your posts and thanks for making them at all. I very much appreciate your answers.

So if Osensei and possibly even Takeda were not very good at transmitting their knowledge, who is? In order to make that kind of relative judgement you must have experienced people who were better. That would mean that there must be people out there whom you have trained with who have the kind of skills Ueshiba had and were able to pass them on to create equals or people who surpassed them. Who are these people? Who are the students who have equalled or surpassed them?

Also, and I apologise for the barrage of questions here, what were the skills that were not passed on effectively (IP? Something from CMA?) and how are they getting passed on in a good way elsewhere?

Regards

Carl

jackie adams
04-06-2012, 09:17 AM
I would strongly urge you to get the back issues of Aikido Journal from Stan Pranin and read them all. Buy Ellis Amdur's book, Hidden in Plain Sight and read it. Research the Non-Aikido Forum here on AikiWeb while you are also reading Peter Goldsbury's articles, TIE.

At a minimum, that is what is needed to have a conversation with people like Chris Li, Allen Beebe, etc.

I've read your posts in this thread. I really would suggest that you put in the time to read the above mentioned material. You'll find a wealth of information there. Too much for anyone to really go over here. But (... isn't there always a but?) I'll post a few highlights to help you get started. This is by no means a complete list. There's a ton more like it out there ...

Mark

1. Aiki News Issue 038
Kanai Sensei: He would throw the uchideshi (live-in disciples) with very little in the way of explanation and we would grasp what we could of the feeling of the technique while we were flying through the air.

2. Aiki News Issue 066
Tamura Sensei: When O-Sensei came to the dojo, he threw us one after another and then told us to execute the same technique. At the beginning we didn't even know what kind of technique he did. When I practiced with a senior student he would throw me first. Then, he would say, "It's your turn!", but I didn't know what to do. While I was struggling to throw him, O-Sensei began to demonstrate the next technique. During the first period of my training which lasted a long time, I was just thrown and made to feel pain. It took one or two years for me to be able to distinguish techniques a little.

3. Aiki News 047
Editor: During Ueshiba Sensei's training sessions in what way did he explain the techniques of Aikido? [1933 time frame]
Kunigoshi Sensei: No matter what it was that we asked him I think we always got the same answer. Anyway, there wasn't a soul there who could understand any of the things he said. I guess he was talking about spiritual subjects but the meaning of his words was just beyond us.

Akazawa Sensei: No, there was nothing like that. He would say, "O.K.", and show a technique, and that's all. He never taught in detail by saying, "Put strength here," or, "Now push on this point." He never used that way of teaching.

4. Aiki News Issue 049
Editor: Did O-Sensei give verbal explanations of techniques?
Mr. Kamata: It varied. Sometimes he would explain and at others his idea seemed to be to let us find out for ourselves. He always said, however, "You have to enter into the inside of the training partner; get into the inside and then take him into your inside!"

5. Aiki News Issue 069
Sugino Sensei: [started around 1932] Ueshiba Sensei, unlike the present Honbu instructors, taught techniques by quickly showing the movement just one time. He didn't teach by offering detailed explanations. Even when we asked him to show us the technique again he would say, "No. Next technique!".

6. Black Belt 1989 Vol 27 No 8
Mochizuki: Uyeshiba Sensei's teaching pushed me a lot to think. He could never show again what he did in randori. I would say, "What was that?" and he would reply, "I got that from God suddenly. I don't remember." To Uyeshiba Sensei, ki (internal energy) was inspiration from God. So I had to rationalize and try to extract basics from multiple variations. Also, Uyeshiba Sensei was not concerned with teaching at the time I was studying under him. We were mostly training partners to him.

7. Training with the Master by John Stevens
Walther Krenner writes in the book
As I said, O-Sensei no longer taught on a regular schedule at that time, and his illness must have given him great pain; but when he did teach us it was awesome. Sometimes he came in and talked for a long while and left; this was good training in seiza.

8. Aiki News Issue 031
Doshu: Thus, the sight of those present not immediately understanding the true meaning of his remarks and ending up completely baffled was a frequent one. This was understandably so because O-Sensei 's lectures involved difficult to comprehend explanations based on mental and physical austerities far more numerous than those undergone by ordinary people, remarks about intuitive spiritual realizations, and words about extraordinary things he experienced.

9. Aiki News Issue 031
Yoji Tomosue - Since O-Sensei's speech was somewhat disconnected, it was extremely difficult for his listeners to understand him.

10. Aiki News Issue 066
Aiki News: We understand that O-Sensei in his latter years talked about kotodama and the spiritual world when he spoke on Aikido or budo. Did those who were uchideshi at that time understand him?
Tamura Sensei: No, I don't think they did. At least the young uchideshi including myself didn't understand him.

11. Aiki News Issue 062
Shirata Sensei: Ueshiba Sensei's way of explaining techniques was first of all to give the names of kamisama (deities). After that, he explained the movement.

12. Black Belt 1980 Vol 18 No 4
Mochizuki states, "Every time Uyeshiba couldn't explain something, he'd say it was because of God. He had a strong sense of intuition because he was not educated. He could explain with actions what Kano conceived intellectually."

13. Black Belt 1981 Vol 19 No 10
Article by Yoji Kondo and Karl Geis about Tomiki.

Uyeshiba's training method was quite a change from that of Kano's.

Uyeshiba, on the other hand, was a man of premodern tradition.

… was a genius whose mastery and understanding of the martial arts were strictly at an intuitive level. However, where Kano enunciated his thoughts lucidly and clearly in terms of scientific principles, Uyeshiba would invoke the divine spirit.

Uyeshiba's understanding of the aikido principles was not articulated but was simply expressed as ki; hence, it was very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to transmit the gokui (secret) of his art to anyone but another genius like himself.

14. Black Belt 1988 Vol 26 No 4
Article about Virginia Mayhew by Chuck Bush
"O-Sensei taught entirely differently from any of the other teachers," Mayhew relates. "He had no set form when he taught."

15. http://aikidocanberra.com/Docs/main/doc/MasaoIshii
Masao Ishii
1965-ish Started training at Hombu
NCT: Really? So you started training there. Did you have a chance to train with O'Sensei then?
Ishii Sensei: Well, at that time he was already retired and he didn't have a regular class. I was only 15 years old. I went to Hombu dojo many times, where there were many teachers teaching regular classes. I expected to see O'Sensei at the dojo. His home was just next to Hombu dojo, and I expected him to come out of his room to teach us. But he didn't come to the dojo often. After a few months I learned that it was only for Yamaguchi Sensei's and Kisshomaru Sensei's classes that he came to the dojo to join us. This means that O'Sensei was not interested in other teachers training.

16. Aikido Shugyo by Gozo Shioda
As mentioned earlier, at the Ueshiba Dojo in the old days we didn't explicitly have any pre-set forms. The only thing the students could do was copy the techniques that Sensei performed on their own. In terms of instruction, the only thing we were told was to "become one with heaven and earth."

17. Aikido Journal 103
Interview with David Lynch
Shioda Sensei, like many other former students of O-Sensei, felt that O-Sensei's teaching was unsystematic, and he therefore devised his own set of basic exercises that were intended to make the art easier for the average person to learn.

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

Mr. Murray, hello. I am very impressed by you. That is allot of work. I appreciate greatly the time you took to help me. I will keep a copy of this on hand for conversations with those you mentioned. Thank you again for such a fine effort.

Ellis Amdur
04-06-2012, 09:36 AM
You know, one thing that is neglected is what it takes to be a good student. Consider Takeda - he was willing to get his teeth busted out (making himself embarrassed to smile for the rest of his life) just to learn what it felt like to try a certain technique against a real spear. Would you? Consider Ueshiba, who struggled for twenty + years with a teacher who was NOT congenial on a personal level. Kamata, one of Ueshiba's oldest deshi stated that one of the strongest impressions he had about Ueshiba was his exemplary conduct towards his teacher every time he came to Tokyo - and say what you will, I doubt there are many, if any, who could have tolerated the way Takeda treated Ueshiba on an emotional basis. Eventually, it exploded - and its a lot to ask that such a fraught situation would have ended gracefully. (And I know from whence I speak, having lived 13 years in a someway analogous situation). Would you tolerate decades of incessant stress at never pleasing one's teacher and having him shame you on a regular, public basis as being incompetent (note Sugino's account of Takeda handily dispatching some judoka in a late life demo and as he was doing so, deriding them in loud, demeaning words).

Consider how MUCH work it would take to achieve Takeda's skill or Ueshiba's. As I noted in HIPS, Chen Xiao Wang, another great one, simply abandoned building a larger house for his family, because it cut too much into his training time.

So these guys were difficult personalities. Tough. There's a new movie out on Japan's greatest sushi master - and I cannot recall how many years it takes before one of his disciples is ever allowed to TRY to make the egg sushi and how many thousands of rejections of the product. The meticulous attention to detail, the endless repetition.

I've been teaching koryu for twenty-five years, and I'm actually regarded in some quarters as a GOOD teacher. Yet no one is close to me - yet. Why? No one is willing to throw away enough of their lives to make what I offer the central fact of their existence. Why should I teach step two or three when a person, years in has not learned step one. And contrary to the complainers, perhaps the teacher has made numerous attempts to show the student, but they are too willful or lazy or blind to see it. That's certainly been my experience - and it applies even when I've looked them in the eyes and said, "you need to do this in the following order."

Consider all the talk about Sagawa not teaching the real goods until he was very old. And the consensus is that he was a withholding, selfish man. Maybe so. But maybe, just maybe, he had criteria - he'd show something - maybe once - but maybe deliberately let a student "inadvertently" see him doing one of his solo exercises in the garden, one that should, with enough practice, produce an effect. And he watches, and sees no change and sees the student is not really his student, because he'd consider what his teacher was doing as important, but no, all he wants is more instruction on nikajo - the angle of the lock, etc. Perhaps Sagawa said that he began to teach openly, but like a lot else, this may have been misdirection. Perhaps Kimura simply manifested enough progress that there was a POINT in teaching openly. And interestingly, the consensus in some quarters is that after he started teaching openly, only Kimura really got "it." So it made little difference.

Perhaps each of these great men simply said, "I got it. My teacher got it. And I learned the same way my teacher learned. And here it is." HIPS. And perhaps a skill rooted in a pre-modern time requires a pre-modern mind, and that even meticulous, supportive, rational explanation and demonstration will take a student no further than the old-school way. How about if Ueshiba having his deshi carry his bags, which was exactly what Takeda did - and how he expected his students to awake in the middle of the night, just when he did to attend to him - was an essential component to greatness?

And even if it's not - People have cited Dan H., for one example, and how open he is to teaching all he knows and what a nice guy he is (hi, Dan). For those who are actively studying with him, how many are putting in a fraction of the hours he put in (and probably still puts in?). Repeat? Are you? Or do you have excuses, like work, a sick child, a spouse going through emotional troubles, a job that you have to go to, or you'll be evicted from your home? Trivial things - at least if you want to be great.

So yeah, he's a nice guy and you probably have a much more enjoyable time studying with him than you would have with Takeda Sokaku, or Sagawa or Ueshiba, but are you really getting better? I don't mean a little better. How many of you are putting two hours a day dedicated practice? Three? Four? How can one criticize anyone as not being a "good" teacher unless they have offered the bare minimum requirement of getting good? Much less getting great? Getting great requires monomania, which is not the most prosocial trait. I recall a story of a Chassidic rabbi who, when talking of his teacher, said something like, "Everyone said they went to study with him to hear his exegesis on the Talmud, to learn the Kabala, I just went to see him lace up his boots."

To be sure, Ueshiba, post-war, was not Ueshiba pre-war in his teaching style and when he got very old, his pre-occupations were different. (Interestingly, read Shirata's memories in AJ - he stated that Osensei taught Yukawa directly and specifically). But this entire discussion smacks to me of a little too much entitlement - "these guys don't make it easy." I'm increasingly coming to the opinion that whether the teacher explains openly or not makes little difference, as long as they manifest it in a way that the student can see it. I think the "good" teacher will have the same low number of great students as the "not good or skilled" teacher. This method of teaching was common in Japan and in China and for hundreds of years produced superlative martial artists. In xingyi, one might only learn pi ch'uan for several years. The student's dedication demanded the teacher instruct more - not the student "deserving" to be taught because they want it. The only thing that would make a teacher "not good," is IF a student did catch what was HIPS and manifested it's effect, if the teacher didn't honor that by offering him more.

In short, if you are not willing to practice many hours a day, and willing to take damage to your own life, if you are not willing, perhaps, to not attend as much to your children or your spouse, if you are not willing to sacrifice an opportunity at certain employment because the low paying job you have now gives you more opportunity to train, then you'll never be great. I'm not saying you should do those things, whoever you are - but if greatness is what you want, then sacrifice is the requirement. It is no accident that entry into an old ryu started with the shedding of one's own blood (keppan).

chillzATL
04-06-2012, 10:16 AM
In short, if you are not willing to practice many hours a day, and willing to take damage to your own life, if you are not willing, perhaps, to not attend as much to your children or your spouse, if you are not willing to sacrifice an opportunity at certain employment because the low paying job you have now gives you more opportunity to train, then you'll never be great. I'm not saying you should do those things, whoever you are - but if greatness is what you want, then sacrifice is the requirement. It is no accident that entry into an old ryu started with the shedding of one's own blood (keppan).

Nice post Ellis.

That seems to be a commonality amongst those who are considered "great" at anything, not just budo. They devote their lives to that thing at the expense of everything else in their lives and they are almost universally regarded as assholes by those who can't understand what it is to devote your life to something so completely. Steve Jobs, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, etc, etc, etc. It doesn't matter what the pursuit is, only a handful will ever be above average and of them only a few will ever really be great.

Chris Li
04-06-2012, 10:29 AM
Hello Chris

Sorry to keep responding so late to your posts and thanks for making them at all. I very much appreciate your answers.

So if Osensei and possibly even Takeda were not very good at transmitting their knowledge, who is? In order to make that kind of relative judgement you must have experienced people who were better. That would mean that there must be people out there whom you have trained with who have the kind of skills Ueshiba had and were able to pass them on to create equals or people who surpassed them. Who are these people? Who are the students who have equalled or surpassed them?

Also, and I apologise for the barrage of questions here, what were the skills that were not passed on effectively (IP? Something from CMA?) and how are they getting passed on in a good way elsewhere?

Regards

Carl

There are a few, I think, Dan Harden and Sam Chin - to name two. There are more, I'm sure, that I haven't felt.

Keep in mind that I'm not saying that they are (or aren't) the equal in skill of Ueshiba, Takeda, or whomever. You don't have to have a Nobel Prize to teach high school physics - and in fact the high school physics teacher may well be better at actually transmitting those principles than the Nobel Prize winner.

As to equaled or surpassed - that's hard to judge right now since they are alive and still training and progressing. However, both of them produce students with the skillsets and power to potentially equal or surpass them. It'd be interesting to go down a couple of generations and see how it works out.

What the skills are? Well, everybody has techniques - kotegaeshi is everywhere from Tae Kwon Do to Capoeira - it's what your're doing with your body inside (IMO) that makes the difference, call it IP, or whatever.

Best,

Chris

Marc Abrams
04-06-2012, 10:51 AM
You know, one thing that is neglected is what it takes to be a good student. Consider Takeda - he was willing to get his teeth busted out (making himself embarrassed to smile for the rest of his life) just to learn what it felt like to try a certain technique against a real spear. Would you? Consider Ueshiba, who struggled for twenty + years with a teacher who was NOT congenial on a personal level. Kamata, one of Ueshiba's oldest deshi stated that one of the strongest impressions he had about Ueshiba was his exemplary conduct towards his teacher every time he came to Tokyo - and say what you will, I doubt there are many, if any, who could have tolerated the way Takeda treated Ueshiba on an emotional basis. Eventually, it exploded - and its a lot to ask that such a fraught situation would have ended gracefully. (And I know from whence I speak, having lived 13 years in a someway analogous situation). Would you tolerate decades of incessant stress at never pleasing one's teacher and having him shame you on a regular, public basis as being incompetent (note Sugino's account of Takeda handily dispatching some judoka in a late life demo and as he was doing so, deriding them in loud, demeaning words).

Consider how MUCH work it would take to achieve Takeda's skill or Ueshiba's. As I noted in HIPS, Chen Xiao Wang, another great one, simply abandoned building a larger house for his family, because it cut too much into his training time.

So these guys were difficult personalities. Tough. There's a new movie out on Japan's greatest sushi master - and I cannot recall how many years it takes before one of his disciples is ever allowed to TRY to make the egg sushi and how many thousands of rejections of the product. The meticulous attention to detail, the endless repetition.

I've been teaching koryu for twenty-five years, and I'm actually regarded in some quarters as a GOOD teacher. Yet no one is close to me - yet. Why? No one is willing to throw away enough of their lives to make what I offer the central fact of their existence. Why should I teach step two or three when a person, years in has not learned step one. And contrary to the complainers, perhaps the teacher has made numerous attempts to show the student, but they are too willful or lazy or blind to see it. That's certainly been my experience - and it applies even when I've looked them in the eyes and said, "you need to do this in the following order."

Consider all the talk about Sagawa not teaching the real goods until he was very old. And the consensus is that he was a withholding, selfish man. Maybe so. But maybe, just maybe, he had criteria - he'd show something - maybe once - but maybe deliberately let a student "inadvertently" see him doing one of his solo exercises in the garden, one that should, with enough practice, produce an effect. And he watches, and sees no change and sees the student is not really his student, because he'd consider what his teacher was doing as important, but no, all he wants is more instruction on nikajo - the angle of the lock, etc. Perhaps Sagawa said that he began to teach openly, but like a lot else, this may have been misdirection. Perhaps Kimura simply manifested enough progress that there was a POINT in teaching openly. And interestingly, the consensus in some quarters is that after he started teaching openly, only Kimura really got "it." So it made little difference.

Perhaps each of these great men simply said, "I got it. My teacher got it. And I learned the same way my teacher learned. And here it is." HIPS. And perhaps a skill rooted in a pre-modern time requires a pre-modern mind, and that even meticulous, supportive, rational explanation and demonstration will take a student no further than the old-school way. How about if Ueshiba having his deshi carry his bags, which was exactly what Takeda did - and how he expected his students to awake in the middle of the night, just when he did to attend to him - was an essential component to greatness?

And even if it's not - People have cited Dan H., for one example, and how open he is to teaching all he knows and what a nice guy he is (hi, Dan). For those who are actively studying with him, how many are putting in a fraction of the hours he put in (and probably still puts in?). Repeat? Are you? Or do you have excuses, like work, a sick child, a spouse going through emotional troubles, a job that you have to go to, or you'll be evicted from your home? Trivial things - at least if you want to be great.

So yeah, he's a nice guy and you probably have a much more enjoyable time studying with him than you would have with Takeda Sokaku, or Sagawa or Ueshiba, but are you really getting better? I don't mean a little better. How many of you are putting two hours a day dedicated practice? Three? Four? How can one criticize anyone as not being a "good" teacher unless they have offered the bare minimum requirement of getting good? Much less getting great? Getting great requires monomania, which is not the most prosocial trait. I recall a story of a Chassidic rabbi who, when talking of his teacher, said something like, "Everyone said they went to study with him to hear his exegesis on the Talmud, to learn the Kabala, I just went to see him lace up his boots."

To be sure, Ueshiba, post-war, was not Ueshiba pre-war in his teaching style and when he got very old, his pre-occupations were different. (Interestingly, read Shirata's memories in AJ - he stated that Osensei taught Yukawa directly and specifically). But this entire discussion smacks to me of a little too much entitlement - "these guys don't make it easy." I'm increasingly coming to the opinion that whether the teacher explains openly or not makes little difference, as long as they manifest it in a way that the student can see it. I think the "good" teacher will have the same low number of great students as the "not good or skilled" teacher. This method of teaching was common in Japan and in China and for hundreds of years produced superlative martial artists. In xingyi, one might only learn pi ch'uan for several years. The student's dedication demanded the teacher instruct more - not the student "deserving" to be taught because they want it. The only thing that would make a teacher "not good," is IF a student did catch what was HIPS and manifested it's effect, if the teacher didn't honor that by offering him more.

In short, if you are not willing to practice many hours a day, and willing to take damage to your own life, if you are not willing, perhaps, to not attend as much to your children or your spouse, if you are not willing to sacrifice an opportunity at certain employment because the low paying job you have now gives you more opportunity to train, then you'll never be great. I'm not saying you should do those things, whoever you are - but if greatness is what you want, then sacrifice is the requirement. It is no accident that entry into an old ryu started with the shedding of one's own blood (keppan).

Ellis:

GREAT POST! I have always simply referred to what you are saying as The Bell-Shaped Curve. That statistical outcome does not seem to lie....Malcom Gladwell refers to the Outliers. The rare mix of inherent abilities with countless hours of sweat is indeed rare.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

jackie adams
04-06-2012, 11:16 AM
Often times I think people coming into martial arts feel they are entitled because they pay for it, like a service, like being waited on at a restaurant. I think too, because for many to take up Japanese martial arts don't see that it is something from a foreign place. Then the don't see the proper similarities. They cross their culture with the Japanese martial arts subculture. Expecting the Japanese martial art to behave as they think it should, and become disgruntled if they it doesn't. We also have to consider the communication and culture gaps.

Now I would like to bring things into terms familiar to modern society and out of feudal Japan. Having a sports background both in volleyball and swimming. The hardest and most demanding coaches created the champions. Hungry athletes with hearts willing to endure the rigors and the unrealistic demands of the coach become champions.

Here is a good time to drop some Bela Karolyi quotes.

BELA KAROLYI
You're late again Teodora, that's 200 sit ups.

OLDER TEODORA UNGUREANU
[sarcastically] Why not make it 400?

BELA KAROLYI
That's a very good idea. Make it 400.

--------------------------------------------

BELA KAROLYI
Don't cry about today.

YOUNG NADIA COMANECI
I'm not crying. I never cry.

BELA KAROLYI
You should. So that I can tell you not to. Nadia, the tragedy isn't that you fell. It's that you were the best and you didn't live up to it. You completely lost your concentration

YOUNG NADIA COMANECI
It will never happen again.

BELA KAROLYI
You're not serious about gymnastics

YOUNG NADIA COMANECI
Yes, I am

BELA KAROLYI
No you're not, you should quit
YOUNG NADIA COMANECI
No.

BELA KAROLYI
Did you see *anyone* as bad as you were today?

BELA KAROLYI
Neither did I. Quit!

YOUNG NADIA COMANECI
No!

BELA KAROLYI
Go back to doing cartwheels if you just want to play.

YOUNG NADIA COMANECI
No! I want to be a champion!

BELA KAROLYI
I have a confession to make to you. I've been playing too. When I first met you I only knew four sports. I wasn't even a real gymnastics coach So instead of teaching you what I don't know. I wanna teach you what I do know. I will teach you how to have a runner's strength. The cunning of a handball player, and how, like a boxer to be fearless of pain. Are you interested? [Nadia nods] I'm talking about a lot of work, total concentration, total committment, don't take up my time and then quit.

YOUNG NADIA COMANECI
I'll never quit.

BELA KAROLYI
No one has ever worked as hard as I'm going to work you.

YOUNG NADIA COMANECI
I shall work.

BELA KAROLYI
You do, and you will be the best in the world

jackie adams
04-06-2012, 11:39 AM
Thank you everyone again, and hope no one will take offense to this, because really life is too short to argue. It is better to have a good day, than not.

A person's personal teaching/coaching/mentoring (what a sensei is) style in no way dictates their ability to teach. Those who don't have the right attitude to work hard to succeed quit and seek someone or something else who will give them information on their terms, which usually is of lesser quality and degree, they usually don't become champions. A teacher who caters to student demands spares the rod. Some capitalize on that in form of exploiting students via by pay or adulation. But too tough of a teacher also can drive talent away, and cause other problems. Two sides to every coin. Many good students today have other commitments, demands, and responsibilities who can't devote time and effort to being a champion. Ideally, then the middle road is best for student and teacher. Yes, there will be less students becoming champions, but many who will enjoy and appreciated it. That is my opinion.

It has been a pleasure have people to are willing to converse.

Marc Abrams
04-06-2012, 12:27 PM
Thank you everyone again, and hope no one will take offense to this, because really life is too short to argue. It is better to have a good day, than not.

A person's personal teaching/coaching/mentoring (what a sensei is) style in no way dictates their ability to teach. Those who don't have the right attitude to work hard to succeed quit and seek someone or something else who will give them information on their terms, which usually is of lesser quality and degree, they usually don't become champions. A teacher who caters to student demands spares the rod. Some capitalize on that in form of exploiting students via by pay or adulation. But too tough of a teacher also can drive talent away, and cause other problems. Two sides to every coin. Many good students today have other commitments, demands, and responsibilities who can't devote time and effort to being a champion. Ideally, then the middle road is best for student and teacher. Yes, there will be less students becoming champions, but many who will enjoy and appreciated it. That is my opinion.

It has been a pleasure have people to are willing to converse.

Jackie:

I do not agree with your position. You need a teacher with the capacity to teach as much as you need a student with the capacity to learn. You need a teacher who does teach ans much as you need a student who does learn.

marc abrams

lbb
04-06-2012, 12:34 PM
http://cdn.withourbest.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/No-Farms-No-Food.png

Something to think about.

gregstec
04-06-2012, 03:37 PM
You know, one thing that is neglected is what it takes to be a good student. Consider Takeda - he was willing to get his teeth busted out (making himself embarrassed to smile for the rest of his life) just to learn what it felt like to try a certain technique against a real spear. Would you? Consider Ueshiba, who struggled for twenty + years with a teacher who was NOT congenial on a personal level. Kamata, one of Ueshiba's oldest deshi stated that one of the strongest impressions he had about Ueshiba was his exemplary conduct towards his teacher every time he came to Tokyo - and say what you will, I doubt there are many, if any, who could have tolerated the way Takeda treated Ueshiba on an emotional basis. Eventually, it exploded - and its a lot to ask that such a fraught situation would have ended gracefully. (And I know from whence I speak, having lived 13 years in a someway analogous situation). Would you tolerate decades of incessant stress at never pleasing one's teacher and having him shame you on a regular, public basis as being incompetent (note Sugino's account of Takeda handily dispatching some judoka in a late life demo and as he was doing so, deriding them in loud, demeaning words).

Consider how MUCH work it would take to achieve Takeda's skill or Ueshiba's. As I noted in HIPS, Chen Xiao Wang, another great one, simply abandoned building a larger house for his family, because it cut too much into his training time.

So these guys were difficult personalities. Tough. There's a new movie out on Japan's greatest sushi master - and I cannot recall how many years it takes before one of his disciples is ever allowed to TRY to make the egg sushi and how many thousands of rejections of the product. The meticulous attention to detail, the endless repetition.

I've been teaching koryu for twenty-five years, and I'm actually regarded in some quarters as a GOOD teacher. Yet no one is close to me - yet. Why? No one is willing to throw away enough of their lives to make what I offer the central fact of their existence. Why should I teach step two or three when a person, years in has not learned step one. And contrary to the complainers, perhaps the teacher has made numerous attempts to show the student, but they are too willful or lazy or blind to see it. That's certainly been my experience - and it applies even when I've looked them in the eyes and said, "you need to do this in the following order."

Consider all the talk about Sagawa not teaching the real goods until he was very old. And the consensus is that he was a withholding, selfish man. Maybe so. But maybe, just maybe, he had criteria - he'd show something - maybe once - but maybe deliberately let a student "inadvertently" see him doing one of his solo exercises in the garden, one that should, with enough practice, produce an effect. And he watches, and sees no change and sees the student is not really his student, because he'd consider what his teacher was doing as important, but no, all he wants is more instruction on nikajo - the angle of the lock, etc. Perhaps Sagawa said that he began to teach openly, but like a lot else, this may have been misdirection. Perhaps Kimura simply manifested enough progress that there was a POINT in teaching openly. And interestingly, the consensus in some quarters is that after he started teaching openly, only Kimura really got "it." So it made little difference.

Perhaps each of these great men simply said, "I got it. My teacher got it. And I learned the same way my teacher learned. And here it is." HIPS. And perhaps a skill rooted in a pre-modern time requires a pre-modern mind, and that even meticulous, supportive, rational explanation and demonstration will take a student no further than the old-school way. How about if Ueshiba having his deshi carry his bags, which was exactly what Takeda did - and how he expected his students to awake in the middle of the night, just when he did to attend to him - was an essential component to greatness?

And even if it's not - People have cited Dan H., for one example, and how open he is to teaching all he knows and what a nice guy he is (hi, Dan). For those who are actively studying with him, how many are putting in a fraction of the hours he put in (and probably still puts in?). Repeat? Are you? Or do you have excuses, like work, a sick child, a spouse going through emotional troubles, a job that you have to go to, or you'll be evicted from your home? Trivial things - at least if you want to be great.

So yeah, he's a nice guy and you probably have a much more enjoyable time studying with him than you would have with Takeda Sokaku, or Sagawa or Ueshiba, but are you really getting better? I don't mean a little better. How many of you are putting two hours a day dedicated practice? Three? Four? How can one criticize anyone as not being a "good" teacher unless they have offered the bare minimum requirement of getting good? Much less getting great? Getting great requires monomania, which is not the most prosocial trait. I recall a story of a Chassidic rabbi who, when talking of his teacher, said something like, "Everyone said they went to study with him to hear his exegesis on the Talmud, to learn the Kabala, I just went to see him lace up his boots."

To be sure, Ueshiba, post-war, was not Ueshiba pre-war in his teaching style and when he got very old, his pre-occupations were different. (Interestingly, read Shirata's memories in AJ - he stated that Osensei taught Yukawa directly and specifically). But this entire discussion smacks to me of a little too much entitlement - "these guys don't make it easy." I'm increasingly coming to the opinion that whether the teacher explains openly or not makes little difference, as long as they manifest it in a way that the student can see it. I think the "good" teacher will have the same low number of great students as the "not good or skilled" teacher. This method of teaching was common in Japan and in China and for hundreds of years produced superlative martial artists. In xingyi, one might only learn pi ch'uan for several years. The student's dedication demanded the teacher instruct more - not the student "deserving" to be taught because they want it. The only thing that would make a teacher "not good," is IF a student did catch what was HIPS and manifested it's effect, if the teacher didn't honor that by offering him more.

In short, if you are not willing to practice many hours a day, and willing to take damage to your own life, if you are not willing, perhaps, to not attend as much to your children or your spouse, if you are not willing to sacrifice an opportunity at certain employment because the low paying job you have now gives you more opportunity to train, then you'll never be great. I'm not saying you should do those things, whoever you are - but if greatness is what you want, then sacrifice is the requirement. It is no accident that entry into an old ryu started with the shedding of one's own blood (keppan).

Points well presented, as usual. Maybe the question should not be Ueshiba's teaching ability but more his teaching desire. It is difficult to assess an ability without a clear set of measurable criteria, and I don't think we have that here. And, as you point out, the student plays an equally important role in measuring ability as well. IMO, it takes a desire from both parties to be successful, coupled with a certain level of aptitude. I don't care how much ability and desire a teacher may have, the true success of his teaching will be based on the qualities of the student. As I mentioned before, I don't think Ueshiba had a mission to teach - I believe he was more interested in his own leaning.

As a student of Dan's, I understand what you are saying there and I can only tell you Dan is a training monster - he just won't stop. Personally, I know I can not put in the same amount of time he does, but being retired, I guess I have more time than most to put into it, and I also try to incorporate aiki principles in all my movements even when not specifically doing an exercise, but even at that, I fall short of Dan's efforts, Bottom line is that I don't want to achieve greatness nor do I want to be Dan, I want to me and I enjoy the challenge of learning without a specific goal to be great - however, everything is relative, so I guess to those that have no skill in this area at all, I imagine someone will a little skill just may appear great to them :)

Greg

jackie adams
04-06-2012, 03:47 PM
Thank you everyone again, and hope no one will take offense to this, because really life is too short to argue. It is better to have a good day, than not.

A person's personal teaching/coaching/mentoring (what a sensei is) style in no way dictates their ability to teach. Those who don't have the right attitude to work hard to succeed quit and seek someone or something else who will give them information on their terms, which usually is of lesser quality and degree, they usually don't become champions. A teacher who caters to student demands spares the rod. Some capitalize on that in form of exploiting students via by pay or adulation. But too tough of a teacher also can drive talent away, and cause other problems. Two sides to every coin. Many good students today have other commitments, demands, and responsibilities who can't devote time and effort to being a champion. Ideally, then the middle road is best for student and teacher. Yes, there will be less students becoming champions, but many who will enjoy and appreciated it. That is my opinion.

It has been a pleasure have people to are willing to converse.

Everyone, I am so sorry. I was rushed and needed to attend to other things at the time I was trying to compose and edit my thoughts. I am embarrassed by the results of the lack of my attentiveness.

I hope I will not be judged harshly and given a second chance.

Not wanting to sound like an over zealous disciplinarian rooted in dictatorship with a flair for the masochist after posting the Korolyi quotes, was a concern of mine. A concern I want to extinguish from the minds of everyone here.

After reflection and review, I thought to soften it up a bit to avoid misunderstanding by giving an explanation centered around the middle road. The purpose was to avoiding confusion with things I said before. I want to stress I still support the onus and responsibility of learning is still placed upon the student as a component integral to success.

A major ingredient to the student's success in obtaining skill is discipline; the willingness to work hard and be dedicated under demanding conditions leads to success. The more effort you put in, the greater amount of success there is. I do believe the more disciplined students under someone like Korolyi makes champions. Modern daily lives are very demanding. My hope is not want to inadvertently diminish the efforts of disciplined and dedicated students. Students who are good and talented people making the effort to the best of their abilities to succeed under restrictions of modern daily life.

Making a champion grade Aikido practitioners at the level of the Founder- or anyone in martial arts including MMA, a student must be more than dedicated to constant practice under an environment of great discipline and difficulty. Under current modern conditions that would be very difficult for most people. Champions do take the hard road, they don't take the easy road to success. I don't think anyone is given skill, I too believe it is earned though blood and sweat.

I am grateful to everyone for their patience and understanding. Have a great weekend or the rest of the weekend where ever you be.

Ellis Amdur
04-06-2012, 04:01 PM
Greg - the bottom line is, did Ueshiba teach? The answer is - yes. I, personally, do not particularly want to teach. But I have an obligation to teach, incurred when others felt obligated by my sincerity, to teach me.
When we talk (myself among them) about Ueshiba's failure to pass on what he knew - how about if raw talent and hours of training are the difference? Some assert that Shioda or Shirata or Mochizuki or Tomiki had some understanding of what Ueshiba had. Not as much, but some. They didn't equal him. So two questions:
1. Did they train as hard as he did? Because if they trained 5000 hours and he trained 50,000, there WILL be a difference
2. Were they talented? Some people are better than others. Some are a better breed. You have thoroughbreds and you have nags. And a highly trained nag will be special, perhaps, but never equal a highly trained thoroughbred.

Most people will never be very good. They will not "eat bitter," as the Chinese saying goes, and even among those who will, most will never have the innate talent to amount to much.

Ouch.

But only in a martial art like aikido could that result in hurt feelings or offense. In boxing, there is an understanding that truth is inescapable in the ring. There an innumerable people who train their hearts out. Only a few become champions. Does this mean that Angelo Dundee, Freddie Roach or Cus D'Amato were not good coaches?

What it comes down to is most of you will NEVER train hard enough, and of those who will, most do not have the talent.

Ellis Amdur

P.S. Even without the talent, those who train hard enough will be something special none-the-less. I played basketball against Bill Bradley, Sam Jones (I scored on him twice :) ), George Karl, Geoff Petrie, John Hummer, Tom McMillan, and I think a few other pros. None of them were close to Michael Jordan - some were not even top-level talent. Yet each of them were unbelievable! Not great - that's how far Takeda or Ueshiba was from a top-level pro. So, perhaps we ought to reconsider this "no-a-good teacher thing" - because making pros who can stop the room is something in itself, even if they aren't literally <stars>.

P.P.S - but all of this is irrelevant if you are not willing to grind your gears to bare metal to get to the top.

lbb
04-06-2012, 04:43 PM
P.P.S - but all of this is irrelevant if you are not willing to grind your gears to bare metal to get to the top.

Your gears, and everything and everyone around you. Everything you have, and much that is not yours. If we're talking truth here, let's tell the truth that these "masters" were carried by others -- often by people who got no thanks and no acknowledgment, who were themselves denied opportunity. As much as I respect sacrifice, I have deeply ambivalent feelings about "mastery", which seems inevitably built on the backs of other people. "Live simply so that others may simply live" -- perhaps that's the best way to be, and to hell with "mastery".

dalen7
04-06-2012, 04:47 PM
I'm asking if he didn't understand basic teaching methods or was too crazy to stick to them. Or did he actually have some degree of pedagogical skill? In the latter case, did he deliberately choose not to use it in order to keep the goods to himself?
Carl

First, Im no historian - there are those here who can go into the smallest details about the founder.

However, my own journey through Aikido has me looking at it as a missing piece to a larger puzzle.
The full picture is Judo, Aikido, BJJ, and Thai Boxing for atemi.

Sound familiar? ;)

Personally the founder took an art and took a chunk of it and left the rest.
Same can be said about BJJ that they took the ground portion of Judo [if you watch the old videos]
And I suppose modern Judo can be said to have gotten rid of the ground portion.
[At least its not what you typically see or think of when you hear the name Judo]

And it all came back together in MMA.
MMA allowed what wasnt practiced in Judo [though they had it, just not in competition] which is full on atemi.

BJJ, unlike Aikido was tested against resistance.
The only Aikido move I can think of right off that you can see potentially being pulled of is Rokkyo, or the "standing arm lock"

With the acception of kotegaeshi perhaps being used on a surprised person who is a white belt.

Does not mean its useless... its is more about range though.
Aikido closes the range, and from there you go quickly to the ground with Koshinage, Judo type moves. [So we will just say Judo] And on the ground its BJJ.

In a way the founder may have 'hurt' things by not being more clear about where he was coming from.
Or perhaps he was clear, but people made Aikido out to be what it was not meant to.
Or a little of both.

The guys he first taught all had dan ranks, if Im not mistaken, in other arts such as Judo, etc.
In fact I believe even the founder first taught ground work as well. [not talking about knees]
Could be wrong though.

When you take an art and strip it to your liking and others come in without the knowledge you have - it begins to miss some key elements that you may well take for granted as base knowledge that everyone has... everyone who has a black belt already in Judo, etc. ;)

So misperceptions sneak in, and are not dealt with as at the same time a lively hood and 'new art' is being built up. Marketing is marketing no matter what day and age you live in. No matter how true it is.

There is the fact, or so it would seem, that his religion played a big role in it.
For some [Christians, not all] there is the perception that Aikido is 'evil' as they use spiritual power to flip people. [Talk about not knowing what is going on and misperceptions.] But the whole religious bit feeds into this.

Along that line, his religious views tied in with his stage of martial arts practice.
And what worked for him, with the foundation he had, may not work for others - at least not in a defense sort of way.

And it leads to embarrassing videos like on youtube when you believe your ki is actually moving people and you offer money to a MMA fighter who can beat you. [yes, I know he was not an Aikido guy - as Im sure most of you will know what video Im referring to], but the mentality is there.
[Would the founder be like the guy on youtube?]

Not tested, and years go by and you believe your own untested theories based on people who throw themselves.

So, no he was not a good teacher from my personal view point.
But that does not mean he was wrong... he did what he felt he needed to, and that too is fine.

Peace

Dalen

gregstec
04-06-2012, 06:26 PM
Greg - the bottom line is, did Ueshiba teach? The answer is - yes. I, personally, do not particularly want to teach. But I have an obligation to teach, incurred when others felt obligated by my sincerity, to teach me.
When we talk (myself among them) about Ueshiba's failure to pass on what he knew - how about if raw talent and hours of training are the difference? Some assert that Shioda or Shirata or Mochizuki or Tomiki had some understanding of what Ueshiba had. Not as much, but some. They didn't equal him. So two questions:
1. Did they train as hard as he did? Because if they trained 5000 hours and he trained 50,000, there WILL be a difference
2. Were they talented? Some people are better than others. Some are a better breed. You have thoroughbreds and you have nags. And a highly trained nag will be special, perhaps, but never equal a highly trained thoroughbred.

Most people will never be very good. They will not "eat bitter," as the Chinese saying goes, and even among those who will, most will never have the innate talent to amount to much.

Ouch.

But only in a martial art like aikido could that result in hurt feelings or offense. In boxing, there is an understanding that truth is inescapable in the ring. There an innumerable people who train their hearts out. Only a few become champions. Does this mean that Angelo Dundee, Freddie Roach or Cus D'Amato were not good coaches?

What it comes down to is most of you will NEVER train hard enough, and of those who will, most do not have the talent.

Ellis Amdur

P.S. Even without the talent, those who train hard enough will be something special none-the-less. I played basketball against Bill Bradley, Sam Jones (I scored on him twice :) ), George Karl, Geoff Petrie, John Hummer, Tom McMillan, and I think a few other pros. None of them were close to Michael Jordan - some were not even top-level talent. Yet each of them were unbelievable! Not great - that's how far Takeda or Ueshiba was from a top-level pro. So, perhaps we ought to reconsider this "no-a-good teacher thing" - because making pros who can stop the room is something in itself, even if they aren't literally <stars>.

P.P.S - but all of this is irrelevant if you are not willing to grind your gears to bare metal to get to the top.

Hi Ellis, I never said Ueshiba did not teach, I said I believed his primary mission was not teaching; two different things. I think he taught to those that showed a certain level of talent, but really left the core development of the skills to the student; Of course, all this opinion is pure speculation based on nothing but opinion :) The basic formula for success in any endeavor is talent (aptitude) x attitude (amount of effort) simple formula really - a person with 5 for aptitude and 10 for effort is the same as a person with 10 for aptitude and 5 for effort - both equal 50. Granted, with all things considered equal in the aptitude area, the person with more effort will have more success. Another point to consider in this equation is the problem with working too hard on the wrong thing; that just will not lead to the desired results. Personally, I think a lot of the talent in the aiki area was simply based on luck. There was no obvious road map to follow and I believe that some folks just stumbled on to a few things that worked and then they ran with that - and some were just more lucky than others. I agree that in order to be successful, you just got to have that ‘fire' in you to continue, and if your direction is not getting the results you want, move into another. When I started down this path in the mid 70s, I was looking for that aiki magic, and when I did not find it, I moved on - that is why I am a relative nobody with no long history (or rank) in any organization, but I think I did accumulated some things along the way to place in my ‘bag of tricks' My path has sort of been like Dan's, but he has been way more successful than me in accumulating skill, so maybe there is something to that level of effort after all :)

P.S. Glad to hear you played with Bill Bradley; was that before or after he went into politics :)

Greg

Ellis Amdur
04-06-2012, 06:37 PM
Bradley - I was at a basketball summer camp - he was the special guest - he was my hero.

E

gregstec
04-06-2012, 07:31 PM
Bradley - I was at a basketball summer camp - he was the special guest - he was my hero.

E

Yeah, being an old fart (like you :)) I really liked him as a player and was disappointed he went into politics; I thought he deserved better than that :)

Greg

Tenyu
04-06-2012, 09:02 PM
We 'd (me anyway) all like to know your references
And source materials for the above opinion(s)

Aikido Journal's six DVD collection (http://www.aikidojournal.com/shop/index.php?category=7&subcategory=1) of Ueshiba and Aikido Classics 1: Postwar Greats. If Takeda could do what you see in these videos he wouldn't have posed the picture I linked earlier.

mathewjgano
04-07-2012, 12:20 AM
Aikido Journal's six DVD collection (http://www.aikidojournal.com/shop/index.php?category=7&subcategory=1) of Ueshiba and Aikido Classics 1: Postwar Greats. If Takeda could do what you see in these videos he wouldn't have posed the picture I linked earlier.

Why wouldn't he have?

mathewjgano
04-07-2012, 12:52 AM
I recognize I'm in no position to add ANY weight to what Ellis said (I also agree with Pal Benko that his Gambit is a good option in chess:D), but it is exactly how I feel about the nature of greatness with regard to the teaching/learning interaction. It's because of this kind of thinking that I tend to place more emphasis on what the student is doing than what the teacher is doing. Teaching ability is important, don't get me wrong, but I believe the ability to learn plays a greater role...generally speaking.
FWLIW
Good night, folks!

Garth
04-07-2012, 08:49 AM
Ellis Amdur

P.S. Even without the talent, those who train hard enough will be something special none-the-less. I played basketball against Bill Bradley, Sam Jones (I scored on him twice ), George Karl, Geoff Petrie, John Hummer, Tom McMillan, and I think a few other pros. None of them were close to Michael Jordan - some were not even top-level talent. Yet each of them were unbelievable! Not great - that's how far Takeda or Ueshiba was from a top-level pro. So, perhaps we ought to reconsider this "no-a-good teacher thing" - because making pros who can stop the room is something in itself, even if they aren't literally <stars>.

P.P.S - but all of this is irrelevant if you are not willing to grind your gears to bare metal to get to the top.

Michael Jordan
Few take into account his committment and work ethic
He was cut from his high school team
So there was a huge turn around in attitude towards work
George Brett was another

And then finding the right coaches or people
In your life is a whole another set of circumstance
But I tend to think with an awesome work ethic
The people will find u
Greg

gregstec
04-07-2012, 09:29 AM
Few take into account his committment and work ethic
He was cut from his high school team
So there was a huge turn around in attitude towards work
George Brett was another

And then finding the right coaches or people
In your life is a whole another set of circumstance
But I tend to think with an awesome work ethic
The people will find u
Greg

You would tend to think and hope so - but IMO, you make your own destiny and sitting around waiting for it is not the way to go - if you want someone to find you, you just got to put yourself in the place they are looking :)

Greg

MM
04-07-2012, 09:46 AM
Or possibly apples and oranges ...

Do we look at aiki training as similar to being a Jordan? Or to being a world class pianist? How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

I will never be a world class musician in any form. Nor would I ever be Jordan. But, we are talking specialties with what a person *does*, not what a person *is*. There is a major difference in the two.

Aiki training, as espoused by the greats, changes your body. What you do with it ... well, that's your choice. As far as the training goes, you do the correct training, you get better. The more obsessive compulsive you are about the training, the better you get. The more correct your training, the better you get. You can be obs/comp about the incorrect training all you want but it won't get you there.

Personally, I've seen non-martial people start aiki training and get better. I've seen people with long histories of martial arts start aiki training and be at the exact same level as the non-martial people.

We aren't talking about what a person *does*, like play basketball, play violin, throw a football, box, etc. We are talking about what a person *is*. Fundamental difference. Understand that aiki training changes how a person's body/mind/spirit works internally, not how a person utilizes one's body in an external, physical environment.

Course, after aiki training, it does change how a person uses their body in an external, physical environment, but that's a completely separate topic. Aiki training is internal. It is shown and taught, sometimes very detailed, sometimes not. But, no amount of taking ukemi for Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa, etc will get you aiki ... unless you were taught.

And that is where we are now ... did Ueshiba really teach the secret of aiki to anyone? He, Sagawa, and Horkawa went through the training. They knew what to say and do to get others started in aiki training. That, I think, is firmly laid out. There was a reason why Sagawa's father went to Takeda and said, teach me aiki, not jujutsu. The path to aiki training was laid out for them by Takeda. They knew what it took to create others like them.

But, did they? If not, why? Were they capable as teachers? Given history repeats itself, does future represent past? In other words, if there are hundreds learning aiki right now in a long distance training environment and they are getting better, then that means they are not only being taught how to train, but get others started. If that can be done now, why not back then?

Takeda tossed the Japanese training model on its head, why just think he did so in one small manner (uke model). Could he not have also had a very explicit way of training aiki? That was able to be passed along so others could teach it? Didn't he say his training was easy to steal?

It could be as simple as Ueshiba wanting to be a great budo teacher and not wanting anyone else to steal his limelight. So, he left clues here and there but didn't overly teach. Maybe Sagawa liked being the big bad and didn't want competition. Could be lots of reasons why they didn't teach, but their ability to teach aiki? I think they had that. I think the question should be, Why Didn't They Teach?

jackie adams
04-07-2012, 12:20 PM
Greeting everyone,

I am enjoying many of the comments, it seems the discussion has gone in several different directions from its origin.

Did anyone teacher teach "aiki" to anyone else. That really is an impossible question to answer. The first problem is in the definition, depending on a definition it is yes, or no. The man that started all this aiki thing is Takeda. He is the gold standard. Problem is, we have no idea of how good Takeda was. The only recorded information we have access to publicly is really his students account. I would consider others, like the ones he killed using aiki can't say a thing, as they are dead.

Ever since Takeda died people have really no idea of his skill. Creating the question of how it compares to his students aiki, who had Takeda's aiki. Was it the Founder who defined Takeda's aiki or not.

There is a world of speculation based on Takeda's student's accounts. I have been exposed to many definitions of what aiki is or isn't, as we all have; people's opinion on or off the mat. Who really knows Takeda's aiki. His students did, like the Founder and the other thousands of people he taught. Yet, no one comes up with a discernible standard definition everyone agrees upon. The Founder included, I believe had no interest in doing so because that would place all the credibility in one man's hands.

Sadly to say some have taken the ambiguity of aiki and exploited it selfishly instead of objectively and altruistically for the purpose of the truth. They really muddy the water even more.

When there isn't allot known about a well known person's life and personality, people fill in the gaps with speculation and assumption. It is human nature to try and complete the puzzle. Very little known about Takeda's personal teaching style making it ripe for speculation. What is known of Takeda's aiki points with in the context of the times, how he thought of himself and the life-style he lived. They did call him the "Last Samurai." Many of the Founder's deshi feared him, and disliked him. He was demonized in Aikido because of that for generations. Again furthering the mudding of the water of the definition of aiki.

The next logical step then to find a definition of aiki is to look at Takeda's students ability. There are said to be somewhere around 30,000 students of Takeda's. Now who got Takeda's knowledge and who rose to the top, and who got both is the question. Traditionally, it would be his youngest son who would get "the goods." One of Takeda's students thinks differently, and there are where a couple of other students whose skill surpassed Takeda's son. Both of those students claimed their aiki surpassed Takeda's. Each student displayed a different skill unlike each others. Those comments need to be taken in context, as we don't know why the purpose for those comments where. Making assumptions would further muddy the water more. It would then be wise to see these comments showing that even Takeda's students had different definitions of aiki.

This leads us to the Founder, who had a role in Takeda finding the right lexical for his ability. Even with that we can't measure the Founder's aiki to that of Takeda's based on finding lable, which isn't a definition. What we can measure the Founder's aiki up against several other accomplished Takeda students to form a definition. The issue with that is there is no common experience agreed upon to define aiki. What results is individual definition competing to be the definition. An effect of compounded is the students of each student of Takeda's divide in to camps who enforce their instructor's aiki as being "it." We move farther and farther way then in defining Takeda's aiki and what aiki is.

I will not mention the input of others on the outside of the situation confusing the definition aiki with their definition and skill. It only distracts and further confuses the issue.

Awkwardly put, language helps us define aiki. But only in part in its limitation to describe an action in words to verbally communicate to others an experience. Ideally, it is the combination of language and experience for a common experience we can all agree upon as a definition. Will we never know what the gold aiki standard or definition is to be. Rather then ending there, a greater gap of knowledge is created, what did Takeda pass on or not pass on to his students including the Founder. The Founder was talented no doubt. Out of thousands of students he did raise to the top level. A level where he still sits alone. As Matt said and I do agree, it is all academic, because it really is about individual success. It has occurred to me, maybe this is why there is no standard lexical definition. The definition then is seen in Takeda, and the Founder who could put their skills to a measurable skill use and not at a theoretical use.

Thank you everyone. Have a good day.

Mark Mueller
04-07-2012, 01:26 PM
Jackie, Well said.

gregstec
04-07-2012, 02:23 PM
Greeting everyone,

I am enjoying many of the comments, it seems the discussion has gone in several different directions from its origin.

Did anyone teacher teach "aiki" to anyone else. That really is an impossible question to answer. The first problem is in the definition, depending on a definition it is yes, or no. The man that started all this aiki thing is Takeda. He is the gold standard. Problem is, we have no idea of how good Takeda was. The only recorded information we have access to publicly is really his students account. I would consider others, like the ones he killed using aiki can't say a thing, as they are dead.

Ever since Takeda died people have really no idea of his skill. Creating the question of how it compares to his students aiki, who had Takeda's aiki. Was it the Founder who defined Takeda's aiki or not.

There is a world of speculation based on Takeda's student's accounts. I have been exposed to many definitions of what aiki is or isn't, as we all have; people's opinion on or off the mat. Who really knows Takeda's aiki. His students did, like the Founder and the other thousands of people he taught. Yet, no one comes up with a discernible standard definition everyone agrees upon. The Founder included, I believe had no interest in doing so because that would place all the credibility in one man's hands.

Sadly to say some have taken the ambiguity of aiki and exploited it selfishly instead of objectively and altruistically for the purpose of the truth. They really muddy the water even more.

When there isn't allot known about a well known person's life and personality, people fill in the gaps with speculation and assumption. It is human nature to try and complete the puzzle. Very little known about Takeda's personal teaching style making it ripe for speculation. What is known of Takeda's aiki points with in the context of the times, how he thought of himself and the life-style he lived. They did call him the "Last Samurai." Many of the Founder's deshi feared him, and disliked him. He was demonized in Aikido because of that for generations. Again furthering the mudding of the water of the definition of aiki.

The next logical step then to find a definition of aiki is to look at Takeda's students ability. There are said to be somewhere around 30,000 students of Takeda's. Now who got Takeda's knowledge and who rose to the top, and who got both is the question. Traditionally, it would be his youngest son who would get "the goods." One of Takeda's students thinks differently, and there are where a couple of other students whose skill surpassed Takeda's son. Both of those students claimed their aiki surpassed Takeda's. Each student displayed a different skill unlike each others. Those comments need to be taken in context, as we don't know why the purpose for those comments where. Making assumptions would further muddy the water more. It would then be wise to see these comments showing that even Takeda's students had different definitions of aiki.

This leads us to the Founder, who had a role in Takeda finding the right lexical for his ability. Even with that we can't measure the Founder's aiki to that of Takeda's based on finding lable, which isn't a definition. What we can measure the Founder's aiki up against several other accomplished Takeda students to form a definition. The issue with that is there is no common experience agreed upon to define aiki. What results is individual definition competing to be the definition. An effect of compounded is the students of each student of Takeda's divide in to camps who enforce their instructor's aiki as being "it." We move farther and farther way then in defining Takeda's aiki and what aiki is.

I will not mention the input of others on the outside of the situation confusing the definition aiki with their definition and skill. It only distracts and further confuses the issue.

Awkwardly put, language helps us define aiki. But only in part in its limitation to describe an action in words to verbally communicate to others an experience. Ideally, it is the combination of language and experience for a common experience we can all agree upon as a definition. Will we never know what the gold aiki standard or definition is to be. Rather then ending there, a greater gap of knowledge is created, what did Takeda pass on or not pass on to his students including the Founder. The Founder was talented no doubt. Out of thousands of students he did raise to the top level. A level where he still sits alone. As Matt said and I do agree, it is all academic, because it really is about individual success. It has occurred to me, maybe this is why there is no standard lexical definition. The definition then is seen in Takeda, and the Founder who could put their skills to a measurable skill use and not at a theoretical use.

Thank you everyone. Have a good day.

Well, the one point you are pretty solid on is that there is a lot of speculation from many different sources on Takeda's life and aiki skills since I do not think anyone here has had first hand experience in that area. However, I disagree with your opinion as far as how much we do know about Takeda. There has been a lot of independent corroboration on many things that paint a good picture, and even though no one here has had first hand experience with Takeda, there a few here that have had first and second hand experience with some that have.

Greg

MM
04-07-2012, 03:03 PM
Did anyone teacher teach "aiki" to anyone else. That really is an impossible question to answer.

There is a world of speculation based on Takeda's student's accounts. I have been exposed to many definitions of what aiki is or isn't, as we all have; people's opinion on or off the mat. Who really knows Takeda's aiki.


The sad truth of the matter is that if you think like the above ... if you think there's a lot of various definitions for aiki ... if you think aiki means moving around to blend with someone ... if you think aiki is an elusive concept defined by each individual ... you're wrong because you have never experienced Takeda's aiki or anyone who had it.

If you think you have, then go find a professional wrestler who is over 6 feet tall and weighs at least 240 pounds. Sit down and have that wrestler do whatever he can to push you over. When he fails, then with a flick of your hand, throw that wrestler down. Can you (plural) or any of your teachers do that? No? Why not? Perhaps you should take a good, hard look at all those myriad definitions of "aiki" that you're using or have heard. Maybe they aren't correct.

These are the related articles/stories about Ueshiba meeting Tenryu from Aikido Journal:

1. Aiki News Issue 001:
2. Aiki News Issue 019:
3. Aiki News Issue 023:
4. Aiki News Issue 025:
5. Aiki News Issue 049:
6. Aiki News Issue 076:

What did Ueshiba say about Tenryu failing miserably to push him over? Tenryu couldn't because ... Ueshiba knew the secret of aiki. How does your definition of aiki fit into just sitting there and not being pushed over by a professional wrestler doing his best to make you fall?

When you meet someone who has true aiki, it is as different from other martial arts as the sun is to the earth. So, now looking back to Ueshiba and Tenryu, who of Ueshiba's students could replicate that test? The very one in which Ueshiba stated outright that Tenryu failed because Ueshiba knew the secret of aiki. Now, we get back to the question of Ueshiba's teaching ... or not, as the case may be.

Tenyu
04-07-2012, 06:27 PM
But, we are talking specialties with what a person *does*, not what a person *is*. There is a major difference in the two.

Aiki training, as espoused by the greats, changes your body. What you do with it ... well, that's your choice. As far as the training goes, you do the correct training, you get better. The more obsessive compulsive you are about the training, the better you get. The more correct your training, the better you get. You can be obs/comp about the incorrect training all you want but it won't get you there.

We aren't talking about what a person *does*, like play basketball, play violin, throw a football, box, etc. We are talking about what a person *is*. Fundamental difference. Understand that aiki training changes how a person's body/mind/spirit works internally, not how a person utilizes one's body in an external, physical environment.

Course, after aiki training, it does change how a person uses their body in an external, physical environment, but that's a completely separate topic. Aiki training is internal.

related excerpt (http://ascentofhumanity.com/chapter2-3.php) ::::

The ascent of humanity is a descent into a language of conventional symbols, representations of reality instead of the integrated vocal dimension of reality. This gradual distancing, in which and through which language assumed a mediatory function, paralleled, contributed to, and resulted from the generalized separation of man and nature. It is the discrete and separate self that desires to name the things of nature, or that could even conceive of so doing. To name is to dominate, to categorize, to subjugate and, quite literally, to objectify. No wonder in Genesis, Adam's first act in confirmation of his God-given dominion over the animals is to name them. Before the conception of self that enabled dominion, there was no naming—none of the original vocalizations were nouns.

Fascinatingly, ancient languages were far less dominated by nouns than modern languages: from the ancient nounless original language, it is claimed, by Neolithic times only half of all words were verbs, declining to less than ten percent of words in modern English.xiii The trend continues to this day, with the growth of passive and intransitive uses of verbs that objectify and abstract reality by saying, in effect, A is B. Language has evolved toward an infinite regression of symbols, words defined in terms of each other, that distances us from the world. Significantly, some indigenous languages apparently lack a word for "is", as the shaman Martin Prechtel claims for at least two Native American languages.xiv I have also noticed that Taiwanese, an ancient Chinese dialect firmly based in a preindustrial society, has an amazing profusion of descriptive action words that do not exist in or have disappeared from modern Mandarin and English. In English the same tendency manifests as a gradual supplanting of the simple present by the present progressive ("I am walking" instead of "I walk").

A few modern thinkers have sought to reverse or undo this trend. Alfred Korzybski, in his monumental tome, Science and Sanity, spends over a thousand pages reproving us for our wanton use of the "is" of identity, which reduces things to other things, proposing what he believes is a new "non-Aristotelean" mode of thought. He was apparently unaware that numerous mystics (such as Lao Tze) preceded him in this insight by thousands of years. Nonetheless, writing in the 1920s, Korzybski was ahead of his time, and helped to launch the movement known as neurolinguistic programming that seeks to induce mental health (sanity) through new language patterns. More recently, the physicist-sage David Bohm has proposed a new mode of language he calls the rheomode, aimed specifically at recovering the dwindling verb form and thereby fostering an understanding of the universe in terms of process rather than thing. "The Rheomode" is the first chapter of his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, in which Bohm attempts to introduce his interpretation of quantum mechanics. We might understand him to imply that the rheomode is the only way of speaking that is consistent with the true nature of physical reality, which is a fundamentally unified and interconnected whole. In Bohm's view, the artificial division of the world into subject and object is, at bottom, incoherent. I am not a separate I, I am the universe "Charles-ing".

gregstec
04-07-2012, 07:26 PM
related excerpt (http://ascentofhumanity.com/chapter2-3.php) ::::

The ascent of humanity is a descent into a language of conventional symbols, representations of reality instead of the integrated vocal dimension of reality. This gradual distancing, in which and through which language assumed a mediatory function, paralleled, contributed to, and resulted from the generalized separation of man and nature. It is the discrete and separate self that desires to name the things of nature, or that could even conceive of so doing. To name is to dominate, to categorize, to subjugate and, quite literally, to objectify. No wonder in Genesis, Adam's first act in confirmation of his God-given dominion over the animals is to name them. Before the conception of self that enabled dominion, there was no naming—none of the original vocalizations were nouns.

Fascinatingly, ancient languages were far less dominated by nouns than modern languages: from the ancient nounless original language, it is claimed, by Neolithic times only half of all words were verbs, declining to less than ten percent of words in modern English.xiii The trend continues to this day, with the growth of passive and intransitive uses of verbs that objectify and abstract reality by saying, in effect, A is B. Language has evolved toward an infinite regression of symbols, words defined in terms of each other, that distances us from the world. Significantly, some indigenous languages apparently lack a word for "is", as the shaman Martin Prechtel claims for at least two Native American languages.xiv I have also noticed that Taiwanese, an ancient Chinese dialect firmly based in a preindustrial society, has an amazing profusion of descriptive action words that do not exist in or have disappeared from modern Mandarin and English. In English the same tendency manifests as a gradual supplanting of the simple present by the present progressive ("I am walking" instead of "I walk").

A few modern thinkers have sought to reverse or undo this trend. Alfred Korzybski, in his monumental tome, Science and Sanity, spends over a thousand pages reproving us for our wanton use of the "is" of identity, which reduces things to other things, proposing what he believes is a new "non-Aristotelean" mode of thought. He was apparently unaware that numerous mystics (such as Lao Tze) preceded him in this insight by thousands of years. Nonetheless, writing in the 1920s, Korzybski was ahead of his time, and helped to launch the movement known as neurolinguistic programming that seeks to induce mental health (sanity) through new language patterns. More recently, the physicist-sage David Bohm has proposed a new mode of language he calls the rheomode, aimed specifically at recovering the dwindling verb form and thereby fostering an understanding of the universe in terms of process rather than thing. "The Rheomode" is the first chapter of his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, in which Bohm attempts to introduce his interpretation of quantum mechanics. We might understand him to imply that the rheomode is the only way of speaking that is consistent with the true nature of physical reality, which is a fundamentally unified and interconnected whole. In Bohm's view, the artificial division of the world into subject and object is, at bottom, incoherent. I am not a separate I, I am the universe "Charles-ing".

Ya know, this looks a lot like some of the gobbly gook that shows up in my SPAM folder every once in a while - I give the sources of these things the attention they deserve :freaky:

Greg

jackie adams
04-07-2012, 10:25 PM
Well, the one point you are pretty solid on is that there is a lot of speculation from many different sources on Takeda's life and aiki skills since I do not think anyone here has had first hand experience in that area. However, I disagree with your opinion as far as how much we do know about Takeda. There has been a lot of independent corroboration on many things that paint a good picture, and even though no one here has had first hand experience with Takeda, there a few here that have had first and second hand experience with some that have.

Greg

Hello Mr. Steckel, I hope your day is going well.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I believe you are correct that there is much documented on Takeda's life. What is recorded talking about Takeda's aiki it is too vague for an exact definition we need. Takeda's aiki is a mystery. It is lost to time as his students have passed away. No one made the attempt to record it for the purpose of exacting a purposeful definition. Takeda's aiki is ambiguous to us today, for now. Someday, maybe, some evidence may arise that defines Takeda's aiki. The evidence will be definitive and not speculative. It will not be another party's account. Yes, we know much about Takeda's life. Defining aiki as originally conceived by Takeda well that isn't possible, well publicly for now. I am not holding my breath.

Thank for allowing me a response.

Henrypsim
04-08-2012, 12:20 AM
Ya know, this looks a lot like some of the gobbly gook that shows up in my SPAM folder every once in a while - I give the sources of these things the attention they deserve :freaky:

Greg

Greg,

Thank God I am an implant American and English is not my mother tongue. Such is my excuse for being so uneducated. The stuff is way over my head! Sorry.

Tengu859
04-08-2012, 12:21 AM
Hello Mr. Steckel, I hope your day is going well.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I believe you are correct that there is much documented on Takeda's life. What is recorded talking about Takeda's aiki it is too vague for an exact definition we need. Takeda's aiki is a mystery. It is lost to time as his students have passed away. No one made the attempt to record it for the purpose of exacting a purposeful definition. Takeda's aiki is ambiguous to us today, for now. Someday, maybe, some evidence may arise that defines Takeda's aiki. The evidence will be definitive and not speculative. It will not be another party's account. Yes, we know much about Takeda's life. Defining aiki as originally conceived by Takeda well that isn't possible, well publicly for now. I am not holding my breath.

Thank for allowing me a response.

Don't worry next time I'm in Osaka at the Asahi Dojo, I'll smuggle out a copy of the film of Takeda from the late 1930's showing him and all his aiki glory...!!! :0)

ChrisW

jackie adams
04-08-2012, 09:28 AM
Don't worry next time I'm in Osaka at the Asahi Dojo, I'll smuggle out a copy of the film of Takeda from the late 1930's showing him and all his aiki glory...!!! :0)

ChrisW

Thank you Mr. Western, I didn't want to say it myself. It is kind of one of those things, because some treat it as rumor and debate its existence. If you do smuggle it out, let's hope it is him using aiki and not jujutsu.

Tengu859
04-08-2012, 10:10 AM
Thank you Mr. Western, I didn't want to say it myself. It is kind of one of those things, because some treat it as rumor and debate its existence. If you do smuggle it out, let's hope it is him using aiki and not jujutsu.

I think it's aiki no jutsu...Happy Easter to you and your family, and all of aikiweb!!!
Thanks
ChrisW

jackie adams
04-08-2012, 11:20 AM
Hello everyone again,

This discussion fascinates me. There has been some great well written and thought out comments main.

Being aware of the rumor a film existing of Takeda's, maybe someday seen by the public, YouTube! Until then all the public has is personal interpretations of Takeda's abilities. The difficulty presented with personal interpretation is accuracy.

I am aware of one certain story of Takeda's aiki being used with a bath towel. It was witnessed by the Japanese public of the time. I don't know where the account was first penned or the author. My speculation is it was a third party. The account of the eye witness say Takeda put "aiki in" a bath towel to make it rigid, turning it into a weapon fighting off attackers. Years later the event was interpreted by John Stevens differently, who basically said the towel was limp when used as a weapon. Perspective plays a huge factor interpretation accuracy. Making defining Takeda's aiki all that much harder.

An undefined aiki, opens the door to all kinds of personal interpretations. A film helps pin things down, but it doesn't make it definitive. A popular phrase used is, "you have to feel aiki, to understand aiki" when defining aiki. Maybe not the exact phrase, but it gets the idea across. People understand that to communicate aiki isn't something you can write down, it is something you have to feel an aspect important to definition. The danger of that is we loop back to personal interpretation. Even if a film exists and is seen by the public, Takeda's aiki will still be debated. The only exception I see is in the film is if Takeda does something remarkable like transform the state of a towel. A feat that can't be compared to any of his students. A film does reduce the number of personal interpretations, and speculations

Aiki as I have come to know it, is invisible. Aiki isn't seen. When aiki is demonstrated by the caliber of the founder, what we see is the result the control of the attacker in someway. Depending on how the attacker reacts and is controlled is used to measure aiki. The more control there is over the attacker eliciting a high level of violent and contorted reactions will have people saying that is aiki. Amplifying that effect is when, we see the person using aiki have their movements go undetected by an observer or go against the rational understanding of movement. A common thing I hear is, how did that teacher 5'5 105 lbs teacher throw that 6'2' 270 lbs student so effortlessly barely moving at all. I remember watching a film of the Founder for the first time thinking along the same lines, being told that was aiki. I didn't realize at the time, I couldn't see what was creating the grand results. Of course it was the Founder's interpretation of Takeda's aiki. Because aiki is invisible in terms of Takeda's use, it makes it even harder for a Takeda definition, visual observation is enough.

Takeda has passed away, it is impossible to completely define aiki. We will never know completely what Takeda defined as aiki. It is lost to time. Some will argue this isn't true, that we can define aiki. Stressing we know what aiki is as a result of this or that teacher's ability. I see that. But those teacher's aiki is an interpretation of either Takeda or of his student's abilities. Obviously, not everyone has the same interpretation, some are better than others. I am comfortable saying that interpretation changes greatly farther removed from the source, Takeda. The interpretation changes even greater way from the source when it is based on outside speculation. The further away from the source the greater the margin of interpretation and change, the more we move away from an accurate definition. It is my personal belief for this reason, there is great stress put on the preservation of technique. Preserving technique done in the same way as Takeda, unaltered works great for technique, but it hasn't worked so well for preserving Takeda's aiki.

The concept of aiki predates Takeda, with no single definitive definition. Takeda didn't create a definitive definition beyond his life that wasn't subjected to personal interpretation. I believe we will never really know Takeda's aiki. In his efforts to protect his abilities by being secretive, I don't think he was aware of the pandora's box he created that would be so readily opened.

I do enjoy reading everyone's opinion and thoughts. Am very thankful for this opportunity.

gregstec
04-08-2012, 11:22 AM
Hello Mr. Steckel, I hope your day is going well.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I believe you are correct that there is much documented on Takeda's life. What is recorded talking about Takeda's aiki it is too vague for an exact definition we need. Takeda's aiki is a mystery. It is lost to time as his students have passed away. No one made the attempt to record it for the purpose of exacting a purposeful definition. Takeda's aiki is ambiguous to us today, for now. Someday, maybe, some evidence may arise that defines Takeda's aiki. The evidence will be definitive and not speculative. It will not be another party's account. Yes, we know much about Takeda's life. Defining aiki as originally conceived by Takeda well that isn't possible, well publicly for now. I am not holding my breath.

Thank for allowing me a response.

Hello Jackie,

You must have a Customer Relations/Service background - you are way too polite for this type of environment; loosen up a bit and start using people's first names :)

As far as Takeda's aiki is concerned, I think more of it is becoming clear due the efforts of some folks revisiting old translations and looking at them from a renewed perspective based on other knowledge of aiki and IS/IP that has been coming to light from those actively pursuing the internal skills.

Greg

jackie adams
04-08-2012, 11:23 AM
I think it's aiki no jutsu...Happy Easter to you and your family, and all of aikiweb!!!
Thanks
ChrisW

Thank you, and to yours as well, Happy Easter. Yes, you are correct. Aiki no jutsu and not jujutsu.

Ellis Amdur
04-08-2012, 11:36 AM
I am aware of one certain story of Takeda's aiki being used with a bath towel. It was witnessed by the Japanese public of the time. I don't know where the account was first penned or the author. My speculation is it was a third party. The account of the eye witness say Takeda put "aiki in" a bath towel to make it rigid, turning it into a weapon fighting off attackers.

Oh, please God. Jackie, you are writing a lot of good, thought provoking stuff - but as soon as the laws of physics are violated, . . .That one's like Ueshiba being asked if he could do ninjutsu and suddenly he teleported to the top of the stairs and when asked to do it again, he berated his students, saying that each time he did it, he took ten years off his life. (I bet he had to practice more than a few times before he got it - if it hadn't been for that damn trick he'd have lived several thousand years!).

As for the film:
1. Stan Pranin first reported publicly that the Takumakai filmed Takeda - as I recall, Takeda didn't even grasp what a film was. He's made numerous inquiries and has found nothing.
2. I heard a rumor that the film - or another one - was owned by the Kodokai. The person who told me the story could not have seen it - but said he had heard a first person account of someone who had. I sent an inquiry to one of the top split-off shihan from the Kodokai and he sent back (true or false) that he'd never heard of such a thing.
3. One reason I doubt that the Takumakai had such a film is if they did, I strongly believe their DR would be different in execution and methodology. One of the leading Takumakai shihan stated in an interview that they and Yoshinkai were doing, essentially, the same thing. (waza different, execution the same).

Best
Ellis Amdur

Tengu859
04-08-2012, 12:05 PM
Hey Jackie,

On a more serious note, Takeda Sokaku with 30,000+ students must have had something. As far as what his aiki was like, we will most likely never know :0( . I truely don't think a film of him exsists(but deep inside, I hope somehow there is).

That being said, if you have not picked up a copy of HIPS by Ellis Amdur, do so. He really paints a vivid and human picture of Takeda Sokaku. Not to mention all the wonderful information on Ueshiba sensei. I've read it twice through already. It's a great refrence work to take your personal training in all different directions...all the best.

Thanks
ChrisW

jackie adams
04-08-2012, 12:31 PM
Oh, please God. Jackie, you are writing a lot of good, thought provoking stuff - but as soon as the laws of physics are violated, . . .That one's like Ueshiba being asked if he could do ninjutsu and suddenly he teleported to the top of the stairs and when asked to do it again, he berated his students, saying that each time he did it, he took ten years off his life. (I bet he had to practice more than a few times before he got it - if it hadn't been for that damn trick he'd have lived several thousand years!).

As for the film:
1. Stan Pranin first reported publicly that the Takumakai filmed Takeda - as I recall, Takeda didn't even grasp what a film was. He's made numerous inquiries and has found nothing.
2. I heard a rumor that the film - or another one - was owned by the Kodokai. The person who told me the story could not have seen it - but said he had heard a first person account of someone who had. I sent an inquiry to one of the top split-off shihan from the Kodokai and he sent back (true or false) that he'd never heard of such a thing.
3. One reason I doubt that the Takumakai had such a film is if they did, I strongly believe their DR would be different in execution and methodology. One of the leading Takumakai shihan stated in an interview that they and Yoshinkai were doing, essentially, the same thing. (waza different, execution the same).

Best
Ellis Amdur

Mr. Amdur hello, thank you for replying.

Oh no that is not where I was going at all. But, in a way I was. You provide a great example of what I was getting at commenting on personal interpretations and speculations of events and abilities. You are are using my point in a different context. Then there is something else you touched on something again concerning different perspectives and speculation. If a film does exists, I said it would only be part of the picture. You can't feel Takeda's aiki through a film. This may align in thought with yours, a film would change things. People could make limited comparisons giving a better idea of what Takeda defined as aiki. Again that is based on what techniques he is doing in the film, aiki no jutsu vs. aiki.

I personally find it hard to believe Takeda couldn't comprehend what a film was, I don't think he was at all primitive. He did allow people to take pictures of him, thus comprehended that. What he may not have comprehended is the technology, how film was developed, how cameras worked, and why. Which isn't an uncommon form people with technology even today. This falls into what I was saying about the problems that arise from interpretation and speculation that muddy the waters.

Opps.. I accidentally fell again upon the matter of interpretation and speculation. It will be raised that Takeda was illiterate. The assumption made would be he was stupid, and had no clue to penned Japanese language. The matter is than what is defined as illiterate, lacking any or limited formal education or the complete inability to read? He did travel alone all over Japan, he had contact with people, he had to have some command of reading the language over his lifetime. Even if people wrote things out for him. It is unrealistic to think otherwise he had no command of reading, or some ability to write what so ever, especially during the 1900s -1940s Japan.

Thank you for your time in expressing your thoughts. I enjoyed your comments.

jackie adams
04-08-2012, 01:34 PM
Mr. Mueller, thank you.

Garth
04-08-2012, 05:53 PM
You would tend to think and hope so - but IMO, you make your own destiny and sitting around waiting for it is not the way to go - if you want someone to find you, you just got to put yourself in the place they are looking :)

Greg

Yes, that is why I said it is a whole different matter.
Living in turn of the century Japan would have helped our search for aiki.
But i dont have a time machine.
Besides basketball is a easily defined and taught game
The people who make it a way of life, separate themselves from the people at the mall pretty quickly.
Eat , sleep , sh*t, B ball and you get good.
We can train "Aiki"like crazy, but we have to be rechecked by the few new coaches we have found to make sure we are doing it right.
The work ethic is more than half the battle(maybe , maybe not) but it is the starting point to most good learning.
"make your own destiny/ or luck" , I am a big fan of this , so far though, I am 50/50 at it.
Stuff happens even with the good work ethic. Good and Bad
Abraham Lincoln's quote applies here,
"There are no extraordinary men, only men who place themselves into extraordinary circumstances"
too which I would add(if I may be so bold), "Over and over again"

Greg

jackie adams
04-08-2012, 08:21 PM
Hello Jackie,

You must have a Customer Relations/Service background - you are way too polite for this type of environment; loosen up a bit and start using people's first names :)

As far as Takeda's aiki is concerned, I think more of it is becoming clear due the efforts of some folks revisiting old translations and looking at them from a renewed perspective based on other knowledge of aiki and IS/IP that has been coming to light from those actively pursuing the internal skills.

Greg

Mr. Steckel, thank you. As a result of Aikido, I came to appreciate etiquette, using it in my daily life. I wish them the best of luck in those translations and endeavors.

Have a good evening.

DH
04-09-2012, 04:15 PM
Too much interesting stuff to respond to and not enough time. I don't know why I was brought into the discussion but.....

Overall I agree with the idea that it isn't always the teacher. I do not agree with the stress placed on failure being so much the fault of the student though. It is a good point, but there needs to be a balance in the discussion. Of course the students need to do the work. In stressing (maybe intentionally OVER stressing to balance the discussion?) the students lack- it diminishes the need or value of good information. We are talking about a series of some pretty significant people coming out of Takeda's line. And going back and looking at his eimoroku-they were the ones attending more. Were -they-the small minority being actually taught the truth as DR's dogma espouses?
In other words what if it was only partly to do with them, the other part being..they were given useful information by a teacher-Takeda.

Bit of an interlude here.
I have never agreed with the idea that big guns got it from steal this technique. Why? Simple I saw, witnessed and trained in real information across two cultures? I didn't steal a thing. I was told. And I watched a Japanese teacher tell me about solo training drills, and a totally different way to look at the body, breath power and how to do it...etc. and not others....over and over. So at least ...I...knew that there was real information to be had that was being kept back. Now consider, what happened to everyone else in that room? They went on to be seniors, And I don't know of one of them who would compare with the few given the better information. Yet every one of them would tell you "You had to steal the technique and there was no explicate teaching like that."
Where does that leave us in reviewing and vetting my statement as true or bullshit? I say there was and is real information to be given. What do we know to vet that statement-testimony of others

What did Tokimune tell Stanley?
"We were told to teach only one or two people the real art." I watched it happen in front of my face.

Sagawa
What did we find out about Sagawa, years later?
What did Sagawa say as well? "We were told to teach only one or two people the real art."
He admitted in his 90's that he got his aiki from solo training. What did he say about that?
That in 60 years......he never taught it!
He revealed that Takeda told him not to talk about it (meaning Takeda did it and showed him the model)
He admitted that he never taught anyone till near the end of his career.
He also said never teach white people
As an aside have you ever met a grandmaster level Internal artist who was NOT Asian????
Any of this sound familiar enough to vet my statement?

Tokimune
Shihan of the Takumakai goes to Tokimune to get aiki
What does Tokimune teach him? Solo training drills and paired forms
Later he tells that same shihan that his people don't do them, interestingly enough the Shihan can't get the Takumaki people to do them either.
Tokimune stated he never taught any of his students.....who supported him for decades...he only taught Kondo.
Any of that sound familiar enough to vet my statement?

Okomoto
Okomoto has drills that only a very few people have seen. I was floored at what they were composed of. One of which is a modification of my and Arkuzawa's push out drill. Surprise.

Shirata
Stunning collection of power building exercises and winding-more akin to Chinese work. Where did he get it? Ueshiba.
More real information that was not stolen...it was taught. Yet...with Shirata, it was NOT given to his supposed big shot deshi, but oddly revealed to other lessor lights. When Shirata tried to give it to the post war deshi...what do we know. It was banned by Doshu!
More real informations, kept hidden.
What do you think is happening with that training now? It is being trained again and here we have modern students improving at a much faster rate than their other studies because of Shirata's legacy. I will be the first to say those students didn't really understand the depth of it, but that didn't change what Shirata's work was and what it was intended to do, did it? It was -real information.

I am making a stand that there was and is real information that could have been given out and it was not. It was and is being held back on purpose and given to just a few. The hold back is happening in a big way in China-right now.

Last point
3. I do NOT agree with Ellis's comment that even if there were better teaching it wouldn't help much and the results would more or less be the same. I not only do not agree I have and will continue to put up or shut up several people who have trained under me. Their power and skill is demonstrable and has been shown to hundreds of teachers all over the states in various levels depending on their time in
Here is the key point.
*Having been given real information, they and others are progressing, and I have yet to meet any Shihan who can duplicate the teaching model or the results.

Which, now reveals that the statement I made here in 2006 "Give me five people and I will train them for five years. I will then put them up against people who have trained with top Japanese Shihan for twenty years....." Has proven true.
What made the difference? The quality of real information that made the giants in budo...giants in the first place.

Most people in budo will never get the heart of Budo, and it is not all their fault. It was in large part, teachers not teaching. There was real information withheld and/ or with a poor teaching model and/ or a language barrier, that greatly hampered any real progress in aiki. The quality of that particular information I am discussing has a pedagogy then and now of changing people and in a far more consistent way than anything I have ever seen coming out of the popular model in Traditional Martial Arts.

I will be more than happy to review this issue again in another five years. From Hobbyist to professional there are very serious people training this and showing that it is in fact the quality of information offered them that made a difference in their expression of their art.

DH
04-09-2012, 04:38 PM
Edit last paragraph:

I will be more than happy to review this issue again in another five years.
There are very serious people (who were very serious before they started down this road) training the material I claim Ueshiba and Takeda and Sagawa were talking about -that are going to demonstrate that it is in fact the quality of information offered them that made a difference in their expression of their art, not their efforts alone.
Dan

mathewjgano
04-10-2012, 12:11 PM
[The idea that] if there were better teaching it wouldn't help much and the results would more or less be the same.

Good points. Based on what I've been told in my schooling, all other things being equal, there is no substitute for good teaching. Emulation is a much quicker road than innovation. Like you say, time will tell. "Greatness" seems like it might require something different, but whatever the case, it seems clear the explicit teaching of these practices gets the foot in the door quicker.

A quick question regarding ukemi:
Does being moved around by people exhibiting aiki have a similar effect as the spiraling of the solo exercises? If we can develop the body by moving in certain ways, can we be developed by others moving our body in those same ways?
Take care,
Matt

DH
04-10-2012, 12:51 PM
Good points. Based on what I've been told in my schooling, all other things being equal, there is no substitute for good teaching. Emulation is a much quicker road than innovation. Like you say, time will tell. "Greatness" seems like it might require something different, but whatever the case, it seems clear the explicit teaching of these practices gets the foot in the door quicker.

A quick question regarding ukemi:
Does being moved around by people exhibiting aiki have a similar effect as the spiraling of the solo exercises? If we can develop the body by moving in certain ways, can we be developed by others moving our body in those same ways?
Take care,
Matt
I don't follow the ukemi model, or trying to make a four legged animal -with-uke or any of that. It makes me slow. Instead I move me and they are late in responding and trying to cathc up.
The results from training that way are different in various people's responses; an Aiki person jumping around (DR, Aikido) a judo guy changing position, to an MMA guy doing God knows what in response. In light of that...why oh why, would I give a rip about "the response."
Ueshiba was spot on that it was never....ever...about uke. "The mystery of aiki is revealed? In spiral energy." It is in you, changing you, to create In /yo. In light of that- the answer to the second past of your question is, yes! Spiral energy nuetralizes everything. The fun part is what comes after!!

Love me/ hate me whatever.....I am consistent. From before the internet on Aikido list till now. And I still think the vast majority in these arts have almost completely missed it. Full speed in the wrong direction....away from Ueshiba's model. I agree with Ellis that we cannot truly recreate Takeda and Ueshiba. That being said... good grief we have a lot of evidence as to what they were pointing too. And on a scale of 1-10, I see our way as a hell of a lost closer to 10 then the present practices in the aiki arts.
Dan

mathewjgano
04-10-2012, 04:46 PM
I don't follow the ukemi model, or trying to make a four legged animal -with-uke or any of that. It makes me slow. Instead I move me and they are late in responding and trying to cathc up.
The results from training that way are different in various people's responses; an Aiki person jumping around (DR, Aikido) a judo guy changing position, to an MMA guy doing God knows what in response. In light of that...why oh why, would I give a rip about "the response."
Ueshiba was spot on that it was never....ever...about uke. "The mystery of aiki is revealed? In spiral energy." It is in you, changing you, to create In /yo. In light of that- the answer to the second past of your question is, yes! Spiral energy nuetralizes everything. The fun part is what comes after!!

Love me/ hate me whatever.....I am consistent. From before the internet on Aikido list till now. And I still think the vast majority in these arts have almost completely missed it. Full speed in the wrong direction....away from Ueshiba's model. I agree with Ellis that we cannot truly recreate Takeda and Ueshiba. That being said... good grief we have a lot of evidence as to what they were pointing too. And on a scale of 1-10, I see our way as a hell of a lost closer to 10 then the present practices in the aiki arts.
Dan
It is fun! My experiences are very limited so it's hard for me to know the lay of the land, but I'm grateful for all the discussions I've been able to read here. At the very least they serve as good food for thought...they've definately added to my enthusiasm for my own training.
It's interesting to consider that training with Ueshiba (i.e. people with aiki) could "accidentally" develop the same or similar qualities. I wonder to what extent this might have played a role in things.
p.s. And for the record, Dan, I love ya. :D

DH
04-12-2012, 07:06 AM
It is fun! My experiences are very limited so it's hard for me to know the lay of the land, but I'm grateful for all the discussions I've been able to read here. At the very least they serve as good food for thought...they've definately added to my enthusiasm for my own training.
It's interesting to consider that training with Ueshiba (i.e. people with aiki) could "accidentally" develop the same or similar qualities. I wonder to what extent this might have played a role in things.
p.s. And for the record, Dan, I love ya. :D
Hi Bud
It is easier today to "discover" the lay of the land than at any time in the past. There are any number of good people teaching publicly, and many times you don't have to join a system in order to learn.

I don't agree with the idea of accidentally developing the IP/or aiki stuff as it defies all logic. That particular body technology is old and it shares too many common characteristics in different arts. How do you explain people going from Sam Chin, and then Toby Threadgill, or what I teach and then going to Bagua and Taiji teachers, or training with Ark or with people who trained with Shirata, and then we hear people stating there is so much in common? How did they all arrive with specific power building technology? How does that work? (Those comparisons are actually happening in real life). There you have China to Japan, and Koryu opposed to gendai, sharing common themes. You have to see past the trappings of the martial art aspect -as the outward expression is so different- to see different cultural roots, different lines within those cultures, coming up with similar ....to exact technology....and...it is teachable.

Now add in the aiki gang from Takeda's line, having modern students who can talk shop with Taiji Masterclass teachers.The fact that this training exists today, is in itself, a compelling argument that this stuff we talk about was preserved, taught and is being taught today. I keep repeating that this is a very good time to be in Budo. Pick a culture, but you have very good chances of going to teachers such as named above, and not only learning how to build a martial body, but also learning entire systems, Koryu, gendai, Chinese, Japanese or otherwise. Those options were not so easily available in the past. Ellis's comments then come to the fore...
There they are staring us in the face, and being shown to us...what are we going to do with it? ;)
Dan

jackie adams
04-12-2012, 09:24 AM
It is fun! My experiences are very limited so it's hard for me to know the lay of the land, but I'm grateful for all the discussions I've been able to read here. At the very least they serve as good food for thought...they've definately added to my enthusiasm for my own training.
It's interesting to consider that training with Ueshiba (i.e. people with aiki) could "accidentally" develop the same or similar qualities. I wonder to what extent this might have played a role in things.
p.s. And for the record, Dan, I love ya. :D

Good day everyone, hope everyone is doing well. Spring-time is here and I hope everyone's spirits are up.

Is there a like button? Or at least an emoticon with a thumbs up.

Matt, I know you are addressing your comment to someone else. If I may, I would like to say right on! Chef, your serving up a hearty nutritious food for thought meal. Knowing your comments not directed to me, I would like to share my thoughts you inspired.

Personally, I am not of the teacher-dependent mind-set school. Disagreements may arise from others when I say, I think Aikido today generally is too teacher dependent. Students need to explore, indulge in independent study, discovering things on their own. Micro-management teaching, where every little detail is explained doesn't allow the student to think for themselves. Exploration is a great thing to experience because when you discovery something on your own it is exhilarating, thrilling. You remember it longer, and have greater enthusiasm and motivation.

A teacher's role during a student's exploration is to be a guide. A teacher in this process is best to stimulate the learning process as a guide keeping the student in the right direction. Socratic teaching proven success works beautifully. It has become an old teaching, time tested method and standard. "Socratic teaching it still the most powerful, teaching tactic." It is something people have learned to be accustom to when learning. I could be wrong but I sense a variation is used by Asian martial arts teachers. Spoon-feeding teaching is fine to a point, it is not the only way, and it is proven not to build independent thinking minds, but dependent minds. Great teachers like Socrates didn't have dependent students. Great information on Socratic teaching.http://lonestar.texas.net/~mseifert/crit3.html (http://lonestar.texas.net/~mseifert/crit3.html)

Allowing students to explore, they challenge themselves working though a problem to its solution. The rewards are their own. I am cheerleading Matt's comments. Though I don't think when talking about learning that there are no such things as accidents, the result is still enthusiasm. A great value to training and being in the art of Aikido because it also leads to continued motivation.

A common detrimental situation, students and teachers both fall into the trap that the teacher knows everything and does have all the answers.

Thank Matt, and all the readers for allowing me to express my thoughts. Have a wonderful day and wish everyone good health.

MM
04-12-2012, 10:03 AM
Jackie Adams,

Ueshiba created Shioda and Tomiki in about 5 years. How has you training/learning/teaching paradigm/environment held up compared to that? In 5 years, are you standing out among budo people like Shioda did? Maybe you should explicitly compare your training to Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc. How you trained, where, how long, with whom, etc in comparison to the above named aikido greats.

Otherwise, it's just keyboard talk about some great product that does it all ... Without any provable results. Takeda had provable results. Ueshiba had them before the war. You?

Mark

jackie adams
04-12-2012, 10:58 AM
Jackie Adams,

Ueshiba created Shioda and Tomiki in about 5 years. How has you training/learning/teaching paradigm/environment held up compared to that? In 5 years, are you standing out among budo people like Shioda did? Maybe you should explicitly compare your training to Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc. How you trained, where, how long, with whom, etc in comparison to the above named aikido greats.

Otherwise, it's just keyboard talk about some great product that does it all ... Without any provable results. Takeda had provable results. Ueshiba had them before the war. You?

Mark

Hello Mr. Murray, thank you for responding.

I maybe confusing an issue here. I could be misunderstanding Matt. I apologize for any confusion. I support the idea of independent learning, teacher guided learning along with "mirco-management teaching" information- there is no negative conations indented. Looking at the Founder, his teaching style includes those things.

I agree with you, the Founder was a good teacher, his teaching ability was good. Your comments detail the view the Founder was a good teacher. Your comments work great in past comments I have made. This leads me to the confusion of your tone.

I enjoyed but read late Mr. Harden's comments between Matt and my comments. I am not sold on the idea people can't learn aiki on their own, what ever it is. In an older comment, I quoted a student earlier whose teacher said in a nut shell, the teacher didn't teach him anything, the student learned it all himself. I have high regard for this student and his skill. You can't take away a person's talent, and abilities. There are simply talented people who don't need much instruction. Other people do. I understand what Mr. Harden is getting at. I think it is a balance, between amount of instruction, too much not a good thing, or not enough. Teaching ability is related, know the right about of instruction and the right environment for optimal learning.

Everyone it has been great, I enjoy all the comments.

MM
04-12-2012, 11:59 AM
Jackie Adams,
I have reiterated Stan Pranin's work, I have not posted an opinion of my own. You have and I asked for you to compare your history with that of Ueshiba's. Ueshiba is a known person as are his top students. You are stating training and teaching paradigms which, at times, contradicts history. Posting your history will give a baseline.

As for the idea of learning aiki on it's own ... Compare Ueshiba pre war as an active Daito ryu teacher versus retired Ueshiba post war where 90% of the students were training under Kisshomaru and/or Tohei. Who are the giants of aikido? Why is it that 40+ years later of learning on our own (no Ueshiba), we have no aikido greats?

phitruong
04-12-2012, 12:17 PM
I am not sold on the idea people can't learn aiki on their own, what ever it is. .

folks can learn aiki on their own. who taught the first masters? however, it's very difficult. your profile said you located in CA. Dan and others give regular seminars in CA (nobody comes near my way) so maybe you should try to attend one or two and see if your opinions still hold. you have heard of the phrase that mentioned quite a bit on the subject of aiki, IS/IP - It Has To Be Felt (IHTBF).

Gary David
04-12-2012, 01:04 PM
Everyone it has been great, I enjoy all the comments.

Jackie
Curious about your background and your training tree as it were. Who was your first teacher and who have you touched since? Who has had the greatest impact on you journey? It would help the discussion and level set a continuing point.. Where in California are you located? Maybe a meetup could be arranged with some of he folks out here doing this stuff?
thanks
Gary

mathewjgano
04-12-2012, 02:14 PM
Please forgive the short, mixed reply. I'm nursing part two of body-aches and chills.
I don't agree with the idea of accidentally developing the IP/or aiki stuff as it defies all logic.
What I meant to ask was, if Ueshiba could put those spirals into another person's body, would it develop their structure? I'm guessing it wouldn't likely develop aiki unless they were actively engaging it within themselves. If it did develope their structure, I could see how that might've informed aspects of later teaching methods.

I could be misunderstanding Matt.
You're describing my thoughts on teaching in general pretty succinctly. In terms of creating motivation for learning and guiding toward personal autonomy or some kind of personal actualization in the student, yes I think O Sensei was a good teacher. People clearly gained a lot from him, regardless of the issue of aiki/inyoho. In terms of teaching specific ciriculum (e.g. inyoho) it sounds like many people don't think he did a very good job in teaching it to a lot of people. Being the level of experience and skill I am, I can only guess.
Take care folks!
Matt

jackie adams
04-12-2012, 04:33 PM
Please forgive the short, mixed reply. I'm nursing part two of body-aches and chills.

What I meant to ask was, if Ueshiba could put those spirals into another person's body, would it develop their structure? I'm guessing it wouldn't likely develop aiki unless they were actively engaging it within themselves. If it did develope their structure, I could see how that might've informed aspects of later teaching methods.

You're describing my thoughts on teaching in general pretty succinctly. In terms of creating motivation for learning and guiding toward personal autonomy or some kind of personal actualization in the student, yes I think O Sensei was a good teacher. People clearly gained a lot from him, regardless of the issue of aiki/inyoho. In terms of teaching specific ciriculum (e.g. inyoho) it sounds like many people don't think he did a very good job in teaching it to a lot of people. Being the level of experience and skill I am, I can only guess.
Take care folks!
Matt

Hello again everyone, I hope the day is treating everyone well.

Matt, wheeeww....thanks I was really concerned I misunderstood what your were saying. I agree with you 100%. The Founder was a good teacher and without him...well we all in Aikido would be doing something else. I too am not either at a level of skill to eliminate guessing. I am flattered when people think I am definitive. Uncomfortable when that happens I proper to correct politely telling them am not. Thanks Matt, have a great day, take good care of yourself.

jackie adams
04-12-2012, 04:40 PM
folks can learn aiki on their own. who taught the first masters? however, it's very difficult. your profile said you located in CA. Dan and others give regular seminars in CA (nobody comes near my way) so maybe you should try to attend one or two and see if your opinions still hold. you have heard of the phrase that mentioned quite a bit on the subject of aiki, IS/IP - It Has To Be Felt (IHTBF).

Mr. Truong, thank you for the invite. I would look forward to that. You'll have to excuse my ignorance, I am not familiar with IS/IP, or your seminars. Maybe we should work the details out privately, not to bore people with such details.

Mr. Truong, thank you again.

Byron Foster
04-12-2012, 09:17 PM
From Dan Harden
Sagawa
What did we find out about Sagawa, years later?
What did Sagawa say as well? "We were told to teach only one or two people the real art."
He admitted in his 90's that he got his aiki from solo training. What did he say about that?
That in 60 years......he never taught it!
He revealed that Takeda told him not to talk about it (meaning Takeda did it and showed him the model)
He admitted that he never taught anyone till near the end of his career.
He also said never teach white people
As an aside have you ever met a grandmaster level Internal artist who was NOT Asian????
Any of this sound familiar enough to vet my statement?


I bought a book from a well know Wushu instructor living in Vancouver Canada. I had a few classes with him years ago.

Qigong Empowerment. A guide to Medical, Taoist Buddhist Wushu energy cultivation.

In the preface, the author Shou-yu Liang makes the following interesting statement:

"There are other methods that we have not had my teachers' permission to present in this volume. We have, therefore, refrained from presenting them at this time. When my teachers grant me the permission, we will present them to interested individuals".

So one interpretation of this is that the old men back in China were okay putting some harmless stretching and breathing techniques for health into a book to share with everyone, but they were no okay with a book that may be called "Techniques to develop powerful martial artists".

The last sentence "When my teachers grant me the permission, we will present them to interested individuals" is really interesting. He is not saying that when they get permission to teach "the goods", it will not go into a book for everyone to read, but will be doled out to a few "interested individuals".

This really seems to support the above statements by Dan Harden regarding the willingness of traditional teachers to share the true foundations of their arts.

http://www.amazon.com/Qigong-Empowerment-Medical-Buddhist-Cultivation/dp/1889659029

Personal review. Actually the book is quite good for what it is. I am confident that people smarter than me will be able to figure some things out from this book.
:)

phitruong
04-13-2012, 08:05 AM
Mr. Truong, thank you for the invite. I would look forward to that. You'll have to excuse my ignorance, I am not familiar with IS/IP, or your seminars. Maybe we should work the details out privately, not to bore people with such details.

Mr. Truong, thank you again.

Jackie, i think you misunderstood my statement. i mentioned other folks give seminars. i don't. other folks have thing to teach. i have things to learn. if you check the Event section of the Non-aikido traditional section of the forums, you will see various names on there. Many of those folks are light years ahead of me and many others. although, they don't work regularly with aikido, but what they teach can benefit any type of martial arts. good luck on your journey.

gregstec
04-13-2012, 08:09 AM
Hello again everyone, I hope the day is treating everyone well.

Matt, wheeeww....thanks I was really concerned I misunderstood what your were saying. I agree with you 100%. The Founder was a good teacher and without him...well we all in Aikido would be doing something else. I too am not either at a level of skill to eliminate guessing. I am flattered when people think I am definitive. Uncomfortable when that happens I proper to correct politely telling them am not. Thanks Matt, have a great day, take good care of yourself.

Well, even with him, most in Aikido are doing something else then his Aikido - just saying :D

Greg

gregstec
04-13-2012, 08:17 AM
From Dan Harden

I bought a book from a well know Wushu instructor living in Vancouver Canada. I had a few classes with him years ago.

Qigong Empowerment. A guide to Medical, Taoist Buddhist Wushu energy cultivation.......

Personal review. Actually the book is quite good for what it is. I am confident that people smarter than me will be able to figure some things out from this book.
:)

I have a copy of the book as well and find it very usefull and clear. There is a section in there on Martial Qigong, but I like the section on Taoist Qigong the best. I find the methods in that part very simple and unclutered and easy to follow as well as effective for basic qigong practice.

Greg

mathewjgano
04-13-2012, 11:29 AM
Hello again everyone, I hope the day is treating everyone well.

Matt, wheeeww....thanks I was really concerned I misunderstood what your were saying. I agree with you 100%. The Founder was a good teacher and without him...well we all in Aikido would be doing something else. I too am not either at a level of skill to eliminate guessing. I am flattered when people think I am definitive. Uncomfortable when that happens I proper to correct politely telling them am not. Thanks Matt, have a great day, take good care of yourself.
Hi Jackie,
In my opinion, what made him good has more to do with the personal value his direct students had in their experiences. He was good; he was bad; he was human.
From what I understand, it had more to do with his son and the various shihan for why so many of us practice Aikido today, but to be sure, if not for O Sensei and his ability to demonstrate something that was perhaps a step or two above the norm, "Aikido" might not be here. Same for Takeda sensei. These were guys who put their craft on display so others could at least begin to approach it, even if perhaps they didn't always do much more than that.
When I look at the few shihan I've learned anything about, Tomiki sensei comes to mind as the archetypical teacher. He seems to have systematically broken things down in terms of how to teach, although many would argue the Tomiki Ryu isn't much better off than many other Aikido systems, in terms of IP.
Regarding Socrates' approach to teaching: he always seemed to have a clear idea in mind, even if he took some time in getting there. I always got the feeling that his questions were rhetorical, so while he would allow the other person to find their own way through the logic, he always established very clear directions for how that should come about. So while he provided that learning environment to induce critical thinking, he also spoon-fed the context. It was as if he built large room of learning and kept placing a new stone in front of the "student" as they walked along together toward it, giving the illuson that they came up with the answer themsleves while actually being pulled along in very definite directions.
By today's standards (based on my studies in the field of Education..which I should add are also low-level), I think that so many of Ueshiba's deshi describe not really understanding him is pretty good grounds for criticising his role as teacher...again, by today's standards, at least. I remember a math teacher I had once who really knew what she was doing (phd in math is pretty accomplished), and while she could inspire us to enjoy how math could be used, she wasn't good at teaching us how to understand the parts she was teaching. She would just demonstrate to us how she worked out the equations and seemed to put little effort into finding new ways of getting the students who didn't get it to understand. To those who perhaps had greater mathematical proclivity (or whatever made her lessons successful where they were), she was a great teacher, but to thse who (for whatever reason) didn't pick up on what she was presenting, she was not a good teacher. She was a mathematician more than a teacher. Very similarly, O Sensei was, I think, a student of budo more than a teacher. To the extent this might be true I can't find fault, though. He was from a very different time and cultural situation than we are today. Perhaps his best teaching trait was in demonstrating how to be a good student?
Anyhoo...my two bits.
Take care,
Matt

jackie adams
04-13-2012, 12:12 PM
Matt, how are you feeling today? I hope your are not under the weather and your health has returned. Thank you again for your reply and sharing your thoughts with me.

Best wishes and the best of training.

mathewjgano
04-13-2012, 12:24 PM
Matt, how are you feeling today? I hope your are not under the weather and your health has returned. Thank you again for your reply and sharing your thoughts with me.

Best wishes and the best of training.
Hi Jackie,
I'm feeling better and better, thank you! And it was my pleasure; thank you for the chance to think about it more deeply!
Hope your day is going nicely!
Take care,
Matt