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aiki-jujutsuka
08-14-2012, 11:20 AM
Hi there, as my username suggests I don't actually practice Aikido, I'm actually a brown belt in Aiki-Jujutsu. My style is based on Hakko Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu, which shares a common root art with Aikido in Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu. This thread isn't about which art is better - I have alot of respect for Aikido and from what I've seen there are many similarities between our two arts. Rather I am curious as to whether it is worth my while to explore Aikido as a natural extension to Aiki-Jujutsu; so I have a few questions...

From the clips I've seen on youtube Aikido seems to place more emphasis on motion than Aiki-Jujutsu. In Aiki-Jujutsu the majority of our techniques are performed from a static position. Is Aikido therefore better for conditioning and fitness?

I have watched (and been inspired by) randori in Aikido, something we don't do in Aiki-Jujutsu and something I am very eager to experience. Is randori a fundamental part of all Aikido or does it differ from club to club? Is it only for Dan grades? There are a few waza techniques for multiple attackers in Aiki-Jujutsu but they are only found in the Dan grade syllabus and again they are all from a static position.

Although I love training in Aiki-Jujutsu sometimes I get frustrated by how light our training is - no-one takes ukemi very hard and other than at gradings I rarely break a sweat. This may or may not be down to my own club so I don't want to make generalizations about Aiki-Jujutsu but how hard do you train in Aikido? I've seen some hard ukemi on youtube is this typical of Aikido training?

I know a little about Morihei Ueshiba's own training in Daito-Ryu before developing Aikido and feel that my Aiki-Jujutsu would help me pick up Aikido quickly, however I don't want to have a rose-tinted view of Aikido that may not match up with reality. I look forward to getting to know people and read your responses. :)

lbb
08-14-2012, 11:53 AM
On the point of conditioning and fitness: I would look elsewhere than in any martial art if this is a major goal of yours. Yes, martial arts training does involve exercise, but the goal of any martial art is something than conditioning and fitness. If that's a major reason why you're considering aikido, I would instead design a systematic program whose sole focus is conditioning and fitness.

Cliff Judge
08-14-2012, 01:26 PM
You should find yourself an Aikido dojo that is softer and less techniqe-oriented, but preferably one that has an instructor who is a good technician and can exchange notes with you. Give it a year or two and see whether or not it helps your jujutsu!

aiki-jujutsuka
08-14-2012, 04:07 PM
Thank you for the responses so far. There is an Aikido club in my home town that says it teaches Traditional Aikido but I am not sure what that really means? Can anyone elaborate?

Dave de Vos
08-14-2012, 04:16 PM
I can only speak for the dojo where I train.

Our classes take 90 minutes. The warming up is light, it's actually more loosening and activating the body than warming up. But we move a lot and ukemi in particular quickly warms up the body. So most of us will sweat, even when the weather is cold. My gi is usually soaked when class is over.

Randori may not mean the same thing in different styles and dojos. In our dojo randori means multiple attackers. There is also jiyuwaza (freestyle), which in our dojo means that nage has some freedom of choice about which technique to apply. Sometimes we train with uke having some freedom of choice about his attack (I don't know if that kind of training has a name).

In our dojo it depends on the teacher and the amount of space on the mat and the composition of the class how often we do this kind of training. I train two times a week and about once or twice a month we train multiple attackers and / or freestyle techniques and / or freestyle attacks for about 15 minutes near the end of a class. Lower rank students also participate, but I don't think we do it with novice students.

Anyway, I really enjoy the the extra intensity of this kind of training and I wish we'd do it more often.

odudog
08-14-2012, 08:55 PM
I am going to assume that you are at a lower level in your aiki-jujitsu trainging. This is the reason for your training slow. If your aiki-jujitsu is done well, then your partner gets seriously crunched. You need to really know what you are doing in your aiki-jujitsu to prevent this from happening while moving at a good pace.

Aikido techniques were changed so that they could be done at a good pace but without crunching your partner. Even with this said, this varies with the style of aikido practiced and the outcome that a dojo/Sensei desires. We do have some techniques that were not changed so you have to be in total control to not crunch your partner.

I cross trained in aiki-jujitsu style. My mentor crunched me with several techniques even though he held back just to teach me the flavor or mentality of the technique being taught.

Basia Halliop
08-14-2012, 09:31 PM
Thank you for the responses so far. There is an Aikido club in my home town that says it teaches Traditional Aikido but I am not sure what that really means? Can anyone elaborate?

That could mean almost anything, since many people of many different styles believe that their style is the most traditional and it's everyone else who's moved away from the original :).

Regardless, though, the best way to know what it means or in fact to answer any of your questions is to stop by at the dojo you're thinking of and watch a class or two.

Alex Megann
08-15-2012, 04:08 AM
Thank you for the responses so far. There is an Aikido club in my home town that says it teaches Traditional Aikido but I am not sure what that really means? Can anyone elaborate?

Your profile doesn't say where you are based, but in the UK, at least, "Traditional" is often used to mean Aikikai/Iwama (in fact anything that isn't Tomiki/Ki/Yoshinkai). It is also used by groups who have a long history of practising aikido, but aren't affiliated to the Aikikai. I have on accasion met people who say what they do is "traditional aikido" but not "Aikikai style", often with a dismissive curl of the lip as they say the latter.

There is an additional (but less common) connotation: because Morihiro Saito's first series of books were entitled "Traditional Aikido", some Iwama groups use the phrase as a kind of trade mark.

I personally don't like the description - I can't see how a martial art like aikido that only has three generations of history can be "traditional" in any meaningful way, beyond abiding by the common etiquette of Japanese martial arts...

Alex

JJF
08-15-2012, 04:44 AM
Could you supply a web-adress to the dojo? then we could take a look and give you a better interpretation of the term 'traditional' used in the specific context.

On topic: Aikido differs A LOT. from very soft to very hard. From emphasis purely on technique and footwork to flow and dynamics and further on to the very selfdefence oriented - and all the different combinations in between. It usually comes down to 'the pedigree' of the dojo and - not the least - the the sensei in charge.

Aikido can be really really good for your overall health, but it is not a given. Some do pushsups and weightlifting to become physically strong. Some do ki-exercises for hours.

Regarding randori - it is usually only for the more advanced students, but we do 'limited randori' where you train the feeling of moving and taking initiative in the situation. It is good cardio training for both the person doing the waza and those attacking.

Aikido does however tend to be a little difficult in the beginning so it wont be a good workout until you get the basics down. Depending on ability, the people in the dojo and prior MA experience this might take anything between a few months up to years.

Best thing to do is to go observe a class - or maybe even join in - in what ever dojos that may be in your area, and then take a few days to mull it over. You should find a place that give you what you want, and where you enjoy the way it is given to you.

You might even find something that you didn't expect you would like. One of my students wanted to be like Steven Seagal and took little interest in the weapons work we do - but he's slowly warming up to it, and is actually thinking about buying an iaito for more serious sword practice. So stay open minded :)

Good luck with it

JJ

aiki-jujutsuka
08-15-2012, 05:58 AM
I am going to assume that you are at a lower level in your aiki-jujitsu trainging. This is the reason for your training slow. If your aiki-jujitsu is done well, then your partner gets seriously crunched. You need to really know what you are doing in your aiki-jujitsu to prevent this from happening while moving at a good pace.

Well I have been training for 2 years and am a brown belt (we grade every 4 months). As much as I love the art I can get frustrated by the way my instructors teach. The problem with my club is that it is relatively small but with a wide range of ages and ability. We have teenagers and pensioners and white belts to black. For different reasons my instructors never train that hard. I've been to several seminars where we have trained harder so I know that my experience is not the norm for all Aiki-Jujutsu clubs but the other clubs are too far to travel to regularly and it would end up costing me alot each week in time and petrol (I'm from the UK).

That's not to say the wrist locks aren't applied properly - my wrists get really sore after an evening of Nidan or Shodan and depending on the instructor they can really crank them on! However, whenever we practice otoshi's or Kote-Gaeshi we never really get to practice our ukemi properly. This is more what I am referring to when I say we practice 'light'.

@ JFF here's the website: http://www.aikidocircle.com/aboutus.html

Thank you for all the feedback, I appreciate that Aikido is not taught uniformly from club to club and that finding the right club/dojo/instructor is important. I am not put off by the fact that Aikido may be difficult to pick up initially for the beginner as I feel it is similar for Aiki-Jujutsu (the first grading is purely Sureware waza, which puts many people off who are not interested in the traditional aspect of the art).

SeiserL
08-15-2012, 08:36 AM
As an Aikidoka, I have really enjoyed training opportunities in Aiki-jujutsu and Daito-ryu.

Seeing the same things from a different perspective is always useful.

Richard Stevens
08-15-2012, 03:21 PM
Ewen, do you practice Dentokan Jujutsu? Your name seems familiar. Aikido and Hakko-Ryu training methods are fundamentally different. Hakko-Ryu, especially mainline, almost exclusively focuses on paired kata training and is far less "organic" than many of the popular styles of Aikido.

With that being said you're also going to see a large variation in training methods between dojo's that practice offshoots of Hakko-Ryu (like Dentokan and KoKoDo). Our training regularly includes "spirited" jiyuwaza and randori training, while many other Dentokan groups tend to focus more on kihon-waza.

We have some Aikidoka that train with us and there is definitely a benefit in participating in both arts. Jujutsu practitioners can certainly benefit from the movement found in Aikido.

You might try searching for some Roy Dean articles as he has written a bit about training in both Aikido and Seibukan Jujutsu (another off-shoot of Hakko-Ryu).

Rob Watson
08-15-2012, 07:22 PM
: http://www.aikidocircle.com/aboutus.html (http://www.aikidocircle.com/aboutus.html)

Chiba, Saito, Tamura and Nishio covers a lot of ground! All vigorous in their approach. Followers of the Saito methods generally include randori quite a bit even at beginning levels. One could easily find much worse places to train.

aiki-jujutsuka
08-16-2012, 07:01 AM
Ewen, do you practice Dentokan Jujutsu? Your name seems familiar. Aikido and Hakko-Ryu training methods are fundamentally different. Hakko-Ryu, especially mainline, almost exclusively focuses on paired kata training and is far less "organic" than many of the popular styles of Aikido.

With that being said you're also going to see a large variation in training methods between dojo's that practice offshoots of Hakko-Ryu (like Dentokan and KoKoDo). Our training regularly includes "spirited" jiyuwaza and randori training, while many other Dentokan groups tend to focus more on kihon-waza.

We have some Aikidoka that train with us and there is definitely a benefit in participating in both arts. Jujutsu practitioners can certainly benefit from the movement found in Aikido.

You might try searching for some Roy Dean articles as he has written a bit about training in both Aikido and Seibukan Jujutsu (another off-shoot of Hakko-Ryu).

Yes I do train in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu and from your description it is very accurate, we almost exclusively train paired kata style. While training methods are fundamentally different they are still based on a symbiotic relationship between uke and tori. I enjoy training in the waza techniques of Aiki-Jujutsu, however I feel that the art could benefit from incorporating randori into the training methodology but perhaps it would be too difficult an adjustment to make without making the kata work more organic as you said?

Correct me if I'm wrong but from my observations Aiki-Jujutsu seems to concentrate on what to do once the uke has a firm hold of tori, whereas in Aikido it is more about intercepting uke's attack creating the motion?

Incidently, I am a huge fan of Roy Dean, I think he is an inspirational martial artist and I own a couple of his dvds - art of the wristlock and white belt bible. He is one of the reasons I am pursuing cross-training in Aikido.

grondahl
08-16-2012, 07:47 AM
. Followers of the Saito methods generally include randori quite a bit even at beginning levels.

This is by no means a universal rule.

Richard Stevens
08-16-2012, 08:36 AM
Yes I do train in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu and from your description it is very accurate, we almost exclusively train paired kata style. While training methods are fundamentally different they are still based on a symbiotic relationship between uke and tori. I enjoy training in the waza techniques of Aiki-Jujutsu, however I feel that the art could benefit from incorporating randori into the training methodology but perhaps it would be too difficult an adjustment to make without making the kata work more organic as you said?

Correct me if I'm wrong but from my observations Aiki-Jujutsu seems to concentrate on what to do once the uke has a firm hold of tori, whereas in Aikido it is more about intercepting uke's attack creating the motion?

Incidently, I am a huge fan of Roy Dean, I think he is an inspirational martial artist and I own a couple of his dvds - art of the wristlock and white belt bible. He is one of the reasons I am pursuing cross-training in Aikido.

How far have you gotten into the curriculum? I feel like once you get into Sandan and Yondan things start to make more sense and you can start to see how the kihon-waza can be applied in varying situations (especially with attacks that require you to enter/receive/blend). We do practice a great deal of oyo-waza which really helps things make sense in my opinion.

However, I totally see your point in regards to the attacks in the paired kata. It involves a great deal of static positioning. You have to keep in mind though the intention of the training method is to be able to learn to perform the technique as flawlessly as possible in a short amount of time. With that in mind it is much easier to learn Ude Osae Dori if the attack is a grab as opposed to gedan tsuki. If a strike is coming you have to factor in how to receive that strike. That adds more to the equation. The KISS theory applies.

It was explained to me that this is why in each set you go from seated to half-standing to standing. When you first learn to perform the technique there are less variables involved in the interaction between tori and uke. By the time you progress to the standing versions of the techniques you should feel fundamentally comfortable and have a good feeling of how your posture should be and how to use your hips to move uke. Imagine if you first learned how to do Ude Osae Dori standing as opposed to seated. If you couldn't manage to take uke's center you could simply cheat and step out to force them to break their posture. However, in seiza you are forced to learn the proper method or the technique.

Could you perform Ude Osae Dori from a strike? If you have a strong grasp of the kihon-waza, of course. However, you have to be in an environment where you have the opportunity to experiment with responding to various attacks (jiyu-waza/randori). If your group focuses exclusively on the kata you may want to bring up the issue. Myself and another yudansha in our group decided we wanted to include more jiyu-waza in our training so we took it upon ourselves to work on it together.

aiki-jujutsuka
08-16-2012, 09:51 AM
Thank you for your interest Richard, I have graded in the Shodan kata and learnt the Nidan kata, which I will need for my 1st Brown and 1st Dan gradings. We have had a little training in the Sandan and Yondan katas but it will be years before I can grade in them.

I wish someone would have explained the logic of learning the sureware waza first for the importance of mastering the technique as none of my instructors explained this to me. Usually they explain the historical context of the techniques (why we are kneeling) but from memory they've never linked that to the logic of minimizing the variables and the progression of moving from seated to standing.

We don't practice Jiyu-waza at my club, we do practice variations and they are a requirement for the grading but I tend to get frustrated with the balance between kata and variations. We grade every four months but we usually spend at least a good month after each grading doing variations (with self-defence applications in mind), Dan grade kata or ground work and then training for the next grading seems rushed as we have to polish the kata, learn new variations if necessary and knife-defence variations for the senior kyu grades.

odudog
08-16-2012, 08:49 PM
....whereas in Aikido it is more about intercepting uke's attack creating the motion?....

This all depends on your point of view. As a person learning Aikido, I have always thought of the kihon waza as being that I have messed up and that is why my partner was able to grab my wrist. It is much harder to do the technique from kihon waza than from oyo waza.

aiki-jujutsuka
08-17-2012, 11:59 AM
This all depends on your point of view. As a person learning Aikido, I have always thought of the kihon waza as being that I have messed up and that is why my partner was able to grab my wrist. It is much harder to do the technique from kihon waza than from oyo waza.

Thanks for the insight. It is interesting you talk about from an Aikido perspective you feel that you have "messed up" if your partner is able to grab you; on a similar note my instructors have touched upon counters but it's something I've asked for more training in. For me now that I am a senior kyu grade I want my techniques to become natural - like an extension of myself if you will, rather than having to rely on textbook 'set ups'. Whenever we are taught techniques or variations they're usually taught with such sanitized finality, meaning if your opponent grabs you, do this and the confrontation will be over! But in reality we may mess up the technique and our attacker may be able to resist forcing us to change and adapt to the situation. I feel in my club more needs to be done on linking techniques and experimenting with different hypothetical scenarios.

aiki-jujutsuka
08-19-2012, 07:10 AM
One more thing: I've heard it said that Aikido is a path whereas Aiki-Jujutsu is a set of techniques but both Hakko Ryu and Kokodo are conscientiously humanitarian in their application of Jujutsu and incorporate Shiatsu healing, which I believe is a requirement for all Shihans. So is the difference more superficial than has been made out? I think Hakko Ryu would consider itself a Budo the same as Aikido.

Robert Cowham
09-02-2012, 03:01 PM
A couple of points:

One of my students did his shodan with Paul Barker in 2002. He has since moved around and practiced in other places. The good side is that he has excellent movement and techniques and good basics. The bad side is organisational - in order to promote him to nidan (long overdue) I first had to recommend him for shodan aikikai (with relevant payment of fees and membership) in January, and will be able to recommend him for nidan at the end of this year - grading politics is a pain, but worth being aware of - depending on what you want to do with said grades (and it becomes important when you start having your own students - what system will you be plugging them in to?)

Regarding building up a sweat during practice - this varies significantly in the style involved. If that is something you like, then for example a Tissier sensei associated dojo is likely to give you an excellent workout! As it was put to me after I had taught a class in an affiliated dojo "you work on relaxation from the start - we work on it when you are exhausted from practice..."

It takes all sorts, and I would recommend regular seminars and/or visits to other dojos to ensure you get a good overview of what's on offer.

Enjoy your search!

aiki-jujutsuka
09-03-2012, 02:39 PM
Thank you Robert,

I would love to move to Japan next year and while I love my AJJ training, I am very tempted to take up Aikido over there as I very much doubt my Dentokan AJJ rank would be recognized. From what I know of Hakko Ryu/Kokodo Jujutsu there are not that many clubs across the country and so Aikido may be more available, but also Aikido seems to offer a little bit more in terms of waza and randori.

However, I do have another Aikido related question - in AJJ we have shodan, nidan, sandan and yondan katas. Though I am many years from training grading in yondan I wondered if Aikido had its equivilent? Do you use the kakoon grip (sp?) in Aikido and if so at what level?

Richard Stevens
09-04-2012, 08:40 AM
Ewen, the grip you are referring to (gakun) is similar to what you would feel from an Aikidoka applying a yonkyo technique. There is a particular member of the Indianapolis Aikikai who has done it to me and it is just as painful as Hobbs-Sensei's.

Some styles of Aikido feature kata training, but many seem to be more organic in their methods (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Hakko-Ryu..........Aikido..........Daito-Ryu

Shodan.......... .....Ikkyo.............Ikajo
Nidan..................Nikkyo...........Nikajo
Sandan...............Sankyo.........Sankajo
Yondan...............Yonkyo.........Yonkajo

Have you considered Yoshinkan? It may suit you well.

Richard Stevens
09-04-2012, 08:45 AM
One more thing: I've heard it said that Aikido is a path whereas Aiki-Jujutsu is a set of techniques but both Hakko Ryu and Kokodo are conscientiously humanitarian in their application of Jujutsu and incorporate Shiatsu healing, which I believe is a requirement for all Shihans. So is the difference more superficial than has been made out? I think Hakko Ryu would consider itself a Budo the same as Aikido.

It might interest you to know that Okyuama wasn't a legitimate Shiatsu practitioner. He never had proper training. However, Irie-Sensei went to school and is a licensed Shiatsu practitioner. Hobbs-Sensei learned Shiatsu through his Kokodo Jujutsu training. I think it is more accurate to say that legitimate Shiatsu training is a part of Kokodo.

pastor michael wolfe
09-04-2012, 10:30 AM
From pastor michael wolfe

I have thirty plus years in martial arts training--Karate-do, Aikido, and Ki-Aikido. I agree that few martial arts classes provide a strong conditioning work out. The pace of giving instruction and then practicing in not conducive to a long time period of fast paced activity. You should create your own workout for heart and lung work.

As for effectiveness, everyone is always asking this question. Does Aikido work? I wold ask--Does it work and is it effective for what? I have found that I "use" my aikido almost daily. I use it for stress. I use it for relaxation. I use it to be a better person in my work and family. Now I actually once used it to escort a man in the park away from a group of children having a birthday party. extending ki and speaking calmly, I was able to take his arm and guide him away. There was no conflict. I think this was what O'Sensei would have envisioned for his aikido.

What can I say?

Pastor Michael Wolfe

aiki-jujutsuka
09-04-2012, 01:35 PM
Ewen, the grip you are referring to (gakun) is similar to what you would feel from an Aikidoka applying a yonkyo technique. There is a particular member of the Indianapolis Aikikai who has done it to me and it is just as painful as Hobbs-Sensei's.

Some styles of Aikido feature kata training, but many seem to be more organic in their methods (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Hakko-Ryu..........Aikido..........Daito-Ryu

Shodan.......... .....Ikkyo.............Ikajo
Nidan..................Nikkyo...........Nikajo
Sandan...............Sankyo.........Sankajo
Yondan...............Yonkyo.........Yonkajo

Have you considered Yoshinkan? It may suit you well.

Thank you, this is most helpful. So Yonkyo relates to Yondan! On a superficial level my two favourite katas thus far are Nidan and Yondan. I have begun training in Nidan, which I will need for my last brown grading and my 1st dan but I've only had a taster of Sandan and Yondan. Thank you for correcting me on the gakun, I just couldn't think how to spell it. :o

As to the 'organic' nature of Aikido training, how often would you train in the above techniques? Do they correspond to dan grades as in AJJ or is it different? I don't really know much about the grading system in Aikido.

I know it sounds like I am very focussed on grading, which is just another means to an end not an end in itself but it's just that as a kyu grade I am rarely taught anything beyond Nidan and would really like more training in the latter techniques.

Richard Stevens
09-04-2012, 02:48 PM
Here is a link to the Aikikai Hombu grading chart. It might help you get an idea of what to expect.

http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/gradingsystem.htm

It sound like the dojo you are training at may not be the best fit for you. Does your group include any Kokamishin training? Have you brought your concerns to the head of your group?

aiki-jujutsuka
09-04-2012, 04:00 PM
Here is a link to the Aikikai Hombu grading chart. It might help you get an idea of what to expect.

http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/gradingsystem.htm

It sound like the dojo you are training at may not be the best fit for you. Does your group include any Kokamishin training? Have you brought your concerns to the head of your group?

Thanks for the link I will look at it when I have more time. As for my dojo I have mixed feelings - I in fact go to two Dentokan AJJ clubs, one on a wednesday and one on a friday. The reason I go to two is that both clubs only meet once a week and so for more regular training I go to both (as do many others including some of the instructors). The downside to this is that you get different sensei's teaching different things in different ways, which when you are training for a grading can be very confusing - Nihonage is a perfect example, they each have slightly different ways and preferances for how the technique should be performed.

The wednesday club used to be Nigel Goodier's club and he used to be head sensei there; he still teaches regularly but he has stepped down as head instructor. Nigel holds the rank of Hachidan-Kaiden and due to his close connection with Hobbs Sensei his instruction on kata is taken as gospel. I feel very privileged to be taught by Goodier sensei but as he no longer runs the club he's not there every week and is often travelling to instruct Dentokan clubs overseas. Personally I feel Nigel's approach is closest to that of Hobbs Sensei.

Something else that Nigel infact brought to my attention after my last grading was that here in the UK we are the only clubs within Dentokan who grade in both variations and kata. While Hobbs Sensei gave permission it was an innovation introduced by the Ipswich (East Coast) club. Since learning this I have had very mixed feelings about why we grade differently as our grading practice is split between kata, variations and knife defence. There are times when I feel one or all three suffer because of this. That is not to say I don't think variations are important - when I first began training it was the most exciting thing for me, but now I realize the importance of kata and mastering the form.

Neither of my two clubs practice Kokamishin-Ryu; from my knowledge only Lloyd Allum Kaiden Sensei of the Ipswich dojo teaches Kokamishin-Ryu and indeed the Ipswich dojo is the hombu for Kokamishin-Ryu in the UK. Hobbs Sensei came over to Ipswich last year and taught a seminar on Kokamishin-Ryu so I have some training in it but due to the fact that the Ipswich dojo is about 45-50 mins from my town I do not train there regularly, as it is I already commute to my two clubs, which are closer.

Regarding my concerns I have gently voiced some of them before, but I don't think anything will change. Our clubs seem to be too influenced by Ipswich to mirror those of the USA branch of Dentokan. The frustrating thing is that there are not that many Dentokan AJJ clubs in the UK, most of them are concentrated around East Anglia so I have very little choice if I want to continue with the art. As long as I am living here in the UK I definitely intend to carry on training in AJJ but I will probably convert to Aikido if I moved.

I am also very interested in Daito-Ryu AJJ and would potentially cross-train if it became a possibility, but I still think I would make Aikido my primary art in future.

Richard Stevens
09-05-2012, 09:08 AM
In regards to "variations" during testing are you referring to oyo waza (applied techniques). Our testing is the same as yours then. I actually enjoy the inclusion of both applied techniques and knife defenses. It keeps training more interesting. If we only practiced basic kata and nothing else I think it would get pretty boring. Our group also practices Kokamishin so a lot of those techniques find their way into our "applied" curriculum. Interestingly a number of Kokamishin techniques are very similar to Aikido.

aiki-jujutsuka
09-05-2012, 10:03 AM
In regards to "variations" during testing are you referring to oyo waza (applied techniques). Our testing is the same as yours then. I actually enjoy the inclusion of both applied techniques and knife defenses. It keeps training more interesting. If we only practiced basic kata and nothing else I think it would get pretty boring. Our group also practices Kokamishin so a lot of those techniques find their way into our "applied" curriculum. Interestingly a number of Kokamishin techniques are very similar to Aikido.

We never use the term oyo waza but applied techniques sounds very like variations. Don't get me wrong I think applied techniques and knife defenses are very important both to the art and self-defence; knife defence is one of my favourite things to do because I think it is so useful and it really tests your reactions and muscle memory. Perhaps I have not found the harmony and balance between them in myself. The month or so leading up to a grading is quite a stressful time just because there is so much to practice and sometimes when you don't have a regular uke it is hard to feel like you are making progress because you have to constantly adjust to a new body type/strength/agility/skill level etc. I think that is what has caused my training to suffer (if indeed it ever has suffered) the most not having a regular training partner.

Mert Gambito
10-24-2012, 07:30 AM
Late to this thread, but some clarifications are clearly in order.

It might interest you to know that Okyuama wasn't a legitimate Shiatsu practitioner. He never had proper training. However, Irie-Sensei went to school and is a licensed Shiatsu practitioner. Hobbs-Sensei learned Shiatsu through his Kokodo Jujutsu training. I think it is more accurate to say that legitimate Shiatsu training is a part of Kokodo.

Given that Okuyama, and other pioneers of "shiatsu" were concurrently learning and codifying their respective approaches to shiatsu during the early 20th century, the burden of proof for being "legitimate" for those pioneers is obviously different than what it's been since the 1950s, when shiatsu certification began, according to various online sources (Hakkoryu was formalized in 1941, but Okuyama had been teaching an integrated system of jujutsu and shiatsu for some years prior).

The key acid test for being "legitimate", of course, is does it work and have a track record? Several generations of those who have studied and received Hakkoryu Koho Igaku Shiatsu as part of our training know it does, so lets defer to a public testimonial from someone of note outside of the ryu whose credibility is well established among many if not most members of this website (scroll down to the section titled "Unsolicited Endorsement"): http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=9&highlight=Hakko+ryu

And, for what it's worth, formal licensure (and formal massage and/or shiatsu training needed to get licensed) is required in many countries / legal jurisdictions to legitimately practice shiatsu -- Hakkoryu's variant or otherwise -- as a commercial therapist.

Bottom line: in the course of my studies of Hakkoryu jujutsu and shiatsu, including instruction from Yasuhiro Sensei as a Hakko Denshin Ryu / KoKoDo student, I can attest that shiatsu is an integral and effective component of both KoKoDo and mainline Hakkoryu.

Regarding the original poster's conundrum, I wish you all the best in finding satisfaction in your training. If you enjoy the Dentokan curriculum in general, then perhaps take a cue from Mr. Stevens and work with like-minded students on more dynamic applications of the techniques and principles (outside of the dojo, if necessary).

Richard Stevens
10-24-2012, 08:33 AM
We never use the term oyo waza but applied techniques sounds very like variations. Don't get me wrong I think applied techniques and knife defenses are very important both to the art and self-defence; knife defence is one of my favourite things to do because I think it is so useful and it really tests your reactions and muscle memory. Perhaps I have not found the harmony and balance between them in myself. The month or so leading up to a grading is quite a stressful time just because there is so much to practice and sometimes when you don't have a regular uke it is hard to feel like you are making progress because you have to constantly adjust to a new body type/strength/agility/skill level etc. I think that is what has caused my training to suffer (if indeed it ever has suffered) the most not having a regular training partner.

Have you visited any other dojos yet? I'm curious as to hear how you felt experiencing a different art. A recent experience has solidified my view that we are just practicing Jujutsu.

aiki-jujutsuka
10-24-2012, 09:32 AM
Have you visited any other dojos yet? I'm curious as to hear how you felt experiencing a different art. A recent experience has solidified my view that we are just practicing Jujutsu.

Thanks for asking, no I haven't visited another dojo yet; there is an Aikido club in my home town that meets on a Saturday morning which is the most natural club to start cross-training in. However, I have a grading coming up next month and so have been concentrating on my AJJ. Currently I have decided to focus on my AJJ until I get to shodan and then begin cross-training when I have a better foundation in AJJ. I do watch a lot of Aikido/Jujutsu videos on youtube and pick up the odd dvd occassionally too, to supplement my learning. I have been very impressed with the Aikido Howcast tutorials just recently.

What was your recent experience and how did it affirm your view between the connection of Aikido and (Aiki)Jujutsu? :)

Richard Stevens
10-24-2012, 10:00 AM
I was supposed to grade for nidan in September, but I haven't been able to train as regularly the past couple of months due to grad school and teaching a course so I'm putting it off until next year. I've never been in much of a rush to grade. Good luck with your exam. One word of advice: slow down. Give yourself some time between techniques to gather yourself.

I've recently felt like referring to what we do as Aikijujutsu was inaccurate. Working with a high-level Daitoryu practitioner this past weekend confirmed that. It is "mechanical" Jujutsu. Yes, it is complex and we incorporate concepts of kuzushi, etc., but I don't feel like there is "aiki" like you see in Daitoryu. I concede that I haven't trained with Irie-Sensei, but from what I gather from those who have is that he has really polished, excellent Jujutsu. I'm not sure he would argue with that considering he named his art KoKoDo Jujutsu. Okuyama named his art Hakkoryu Jujutsu for the same reason, I would assume. If he would have received higher level instruction in Daitoryu that may have changed things.

aiki-jujutsuka
10-24-2012, 01:03 PM
thank you for your insights. From the Daito-Ryu AJJ dvds I own, their kata seems similar to the Dentokan/Hakkoryu version; do you think that the emergence of Aikido as the dominant aiki art in Japan has had an impact in the evolution of Daito-Ryu AJJ? From what I've heard there are some Daito-Ryu schools that go under the name Aikido in Japan.

I agree with you though Hakkoryu and Kokodo don't include aiki in the name of their art and this probably is a reflection of their style of Jujutsu. I do think that the aiki in Dentokan AJJ is subtle compared to Aikido; in fact just last week we had an evening of practising aiki techniques because our instructor thought we needed to understand the aiki in our art better.

I am enjoying my AJJ more now, I am not worrying about the grading (although I am still eager to do well and pass naturally).

Mert Gambito
10-24-2012, 07:42 PM
Okuyama named his art Hakkoryu Jujutsu . . . I would assume. If he would have received higher level instruction in Daitoryu that may have changed things.

Okuyama's receipt of kyoju-dairi in Daito-ryu is nothing to sneeze at (given in absolute terms relative to the number of people Sokaku Takeda trained, this was a rare accomplishment), nor is the time he spent training directly with Takeda.

Also, a long-time publicly divulged core tenet of Hakkoryu's pedagogy is that "Hakkoryu unites martial arts and medicine so as to show clearly they are but one and the same". Given that Daito-ryu "aiki", as defined and/or expressed by any of the major legitimate lineages, is not reliant on shiatsu or kyusho-jutsu, it makes sense, as a licensed (Daito-ryu) aiki-jujutsu instructor, that Okuyama understood the difference between what he was teaching under Takeda's banner and what he planned to teach going forward -- and so chose his words carefully when branding his new art (of course, this does not mean that aiki was excluded as a notable aspect of Hakkoryu).

Richard Stevens
10-24-2012, 08:08 PM
thank you for your insights. From the Daito-Ryu AJJ dvds I own, their kata seems similar to the Dentokan/Hakkoryu version; do you think that the emergence of Aikido as the dominant aiki art in Japan has had an impact in the evolution of Daito-Ryu AJJ? From what I've heard there are some Daito-Ryu schools that go under the name Aikido in Japan.

I agree with you though Hakkoryu and Kokodo don't include aiki in the name of their art and this probably is a reflection of their style of Jujutsu. I do think that the aiki in Dentokan AJJ is subtle compared to Aikido; in fact just last week we had an evening of practising aiki techniques because our instructor thought we needed to understand the aiki in our art better.

I am enjoying my AJJ more now, I am not worrying about the grading (although I am still eager to do well and pass naturally).

To be honest with you I'm confused as to the application of the term "aiki" at this point. After experiencing the type of aiki utilized by the Ginjukai it is clear that Hakkoryu doesn't have these types of body skills, even at the highest levels. Is our art simply lacking aiki or do we have a different "flavor" of aiki?

I'm curious as to how your instructor explains aiki techniques to your group. Does he talk about connecting your center to uke's or moving them off their center? The aiki seminar I attended promoted a concept in regard to center that I'd never heard before, which made complete sense and is different from what I've seen in Hakkoryu or Aikido.

If I recall correctly I once listened to a lecture by Stanley Pranin where he discussed speaking with a number of Daitoryu instructors who referred to their arts simply as Aikido.

Richard Stevens
10-24-2012, 08:23 PM
Okuyama's receipt of kyoju-dairi in Daito-ryu is nothing to sneeze at (given in absolute terms relative to the number of people Sokaku Takeda trained, this was a rare accomplishment), nor is the time he spent training directly with Takeda.

Also, a long-time publicly divulged core tenet of Hakkoryu's pedagogy is that "Hakkoryu unites martial arts and medicine so as to show clearly they are but one and the same". Given that Daito-ryu "aiki", as defined and/or expressed by any of the major legitimate lineages, is not reliant on shiatsu or kyusho-jutsu, it makes sense, as a licensed (Daito-ryu) aiki-jujutsu instructor, that Okuyama understood the difference between what he was teaching under Takeda's banner and what he planned to teach going forward -- and so chose his words carefully when branding his new art (of course, this does not mean that aiki was excluded as a notable aspect of Hakkoryu).

How far along did Okuyama progress in the Daitoryu curriculum? It is my understanding that he trained under a "journeyman" and not someone high-level. Did he progress past the Hiden Mokuroku? If Okuyama did have aiki skills derived from Daitoryu did he simply withhold teaching them?

Can your clarify your statement in regard to Daitoryu aiki not being reliant on shiatsu or kyusho? Are you implying that Okuyama may have possibly combined his shiatsu and kyusho with aiki he learned through Daitoryu training and developed a different flavor of "body skills"? If so, I find the concept fascinating.

Looking at the Hakkoryu curriculum it would make sense that Okyuama simply took what he learned of the Hiden Mokuroku and threw in some shiatsu/kyusho and called it a day.

Mert Gambito
10-24-2012, 11:39 PM
Hi Richard,

Hosaku Matsuda, who is often cited along with Takeda as having taught Daito-ryu to Okuyama, by numerous accounts also was awarded kyoju-dairi by Takeda. So, even though he's not a relative household name in these discussion circles compared to others who were awarded the same certificate or menkyo-kaiden, that doesn't automatically mean he wasn't at least adequately, if not comparably skilled.

As for the Daito-ryu Hiden Mokuroku influencing the kihon waza, it also seems to be the foundation for the various Aikido styles (Aikikai, Tomiki, Yoshinkan, etc.) regardless of when in the 20th century they were founded -- and Morihei Ueshiba was considered no slouch regarding aiki.

A safe bet is that Okuyama's "aiki" was similar to that of mainline Daito-ryu (a position Andrew Bryant supports) vs., for example, what you experienced from Howard Popkin. Even if that's the case, then the difference, again, lies in the nexus between the jujutsu and shiatsu -- so yes, a "different flavor of body skills", but that's what Hakkoryu has maintained all along.

Richard Stevens
10-25-2012, 07:51 AM
That is quite interesting. I was not aware that Matsuda received kyoju-dairi from Takeda. Considering big names like Sagawa, Hisa, and Ueshiba received that licensure it seems pretty significant. If I recall correctly to receive kyoju-dairi you have to know the hiden mokuroku and aiki no jutsu techniques. That would mean that Matsuda had significant exposure to Daitoryu aiki. Did he spend a significant amount of time with Takeda?

Chris Li
10-25-2012, 12:00 PM
That is quite interesting. I was not aware that Matsuda received kyoju-dairi from Takeda. Considering big names like Sagawa, Hisa, and Ueshiba received that licensure it seems pretty significant. If I recall correctly to receive kyoju-dairi you have to know the hiden mokuroku and aiki no jutsu techniques. That would mean that Matsuda had significant exposure to Daitoryu aiki. Did he spend a significant amount of time with Takeda?

Sokaku Takeda gave a number of people the Kyoju Dairi license, including Matsuda.

FWIW...

Best,

Chris

Richard Stevens
10-25-2012, 12:36 PM
If what I read was accurate he gave kyoju dairi to 18 individuals. I guess my question is whether receiving kyoju dairi in and of itself is evidence of a high level of proficiency?

DH
10-25-2012, 12:50 PM
To be honest with you I'm confused as to the application of the term "aiki" at this point. After experiencing the type of aiki utilized by the Ginjukai it is clear that Hakkoryu doesn't have these types of body skills, even at the highest levels. Is our art simply lacking aiki or do we have a different "flavor" of aiki?.

Its a mistake to define the core skills of any art by a sampling of its adepts.
Sad.....but true.
The DR people I meet are just flummoxed as any sampling of Aikido people. Blame it on the teaching or the students or the model..whatever. Lets just be an active part in taking more control and restoring the power there once was.
Dan

Devon Smith
10-25-2012, 03:15 PM
Hi folks,

I was asked by Richard to read this and give my input, so here I am.

A hello to Mert, I enjoyed meeting you in New Jersey last month at the Hakkoryu Embukai, hope to see you again.

As I wrote to Richard in a private message earlier, I wish you could read my twelve year old posts on e-budo.com about the "is there aiki in Hakkoryu" subject. I'm still a student, but in hindsight reading my words back then is both amusing and embarrassing.

Hakkoryu was and is a "jujutsu" for the vast majority who study, and the techniques are taught in a way that's not tough to grasp, and this is by design. Receiving a fourth degree black belt in Hakkoryu only means that a person has received and is (according to their Shihan) proficient in the Shodan, Nidan Sandan and Yondan-gi waza sets, which are not lengthy.

That's it. The intent was and is that the individual should be infused with decent jujutsu techniques. It seems that Shodai Soke Okuyama's goal was to prepare people quickly for their own self-defense, which became particularly important for people in Occupied Japan at those times, but reserved an incredible amount of teaching for those who stayed with him and persevered.

For a lot of years I was a frustrated Yondan and sought out the answer to my question "where is the aiki?" Shogen Okabayashi was the one who answered my question and shared with me. He also impressed upon me that I was too stupid to realize it then, and I should work harder in my own school, but like many of us, I had little patience. I was, and still am an idiot sometimes. In the end, his advice rang true for me.

In Hakkoryu, the Shihan Jikiden is the first time we get some lessons about ourselves, the body, what have you. With the Kaiden teachings it goes further.

Sandaikichu (three big pillars) is a whole new ball game. It answered all my questions and now I am the one who feels like a beginner all over again after 33 years.

Is there "aiki" in Hakkoryu?

MAYBE, it depends on you. Good news, it's good jujutsu!

If you want more than that, how far do you want to go?

Devon

aiki-jujutsuka
10-25-2012, 04:01 PM
Hi folks,

I was asked by Richard to read this and give my input, so here I am.

A hello to Mert, I enjoyed meeting you in New Jersey last month at the Hakkoryu Embukai, hope to see you again.

As I wrote to Richard in a private message earlier, I wish you could read my twelve year old posts on e-budo.com about the "is there aiki in Hakkoryu" subject. I'm still a student, but in hindsight reading my words back then is both amusing and embarrassing.

Hakkoryu was and is a "jujutsu" for the vast majority who study, and the techniques are taught in a way that's not tough to grasp, and this is by design. Receiving a fourth degree black belt in Hakkoryu only means that a person has received and is (according to their Shihan) proficient in the Shodan, Nidan Sandan and Yondan-gi waza sets, which are not lengthy.

That's it. The intent was and is that the individual should be infused with decent jujutsu techniques. It seems that Shodai Soke Okuyama's goal was to prepare people quickly for their own self-defense, which became particularly important for people in Occupied Japan at those times, but reserved an incredible amount of teaching for those who stayed with him and persevered.

For a lot of years I was a frustrated Yondan and sought out the answer to my question "where is the aiki?" Shogen Okabayashi was the one who answered my question and shared with me. He also impressed upon me that I was too stupid to realize it then, and I should work harder in my own school, but like many of us, I had little patience. I was, and still am an idiot sometimes. In the end, his advice rang true for me.

In Hakkoryu, the Shihan Jikiden is the first time we get some lessons about ourselves, the body, what have you. With the Kaiden teachings it goes further.

Sandaikichu (three big pillars) is a whole new ball game. It answered all my questions and now I am the one who feels like a beginner all over again after 33 years.

Is there "aiki" in Hakkoryu?

MAYBE, it depends on you. Good news, it's good jujutsu!

If you want more than that, how far do you want to go?

Devon

This is most insightful and thank you for your honesty. As a practitioner of Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu, which has close links to and roots in Hakkoryu I found this explanation of the methodology and rationale of the Hakkoryu curriculum of great usefulness. I am also encouraged to hear that there is still a wealth of martial and aiki knowledge and skills to learn past Yondan. As a Dentokan AJJ practitioner I want to continue for as long as I can in my study of Aiki-Jujutsu and pray that I may one day be able to reflect upon 33 years experience. :)

Devon Smith
11-05-2012, 07:26 PM
This is most insightful and thank you for your honesty. As a practitioner of Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu, which has close links to and roots in Hakkoryu I found this explanation of the methodology and rationale of the Hakkoryu curriculum of great usefulness. I am also encouraged to hear that there is still a wealth of martial and aiki knowledge and skills to learn past Yondan. As a Dentokan AJJ practitioner I want to continue for as long as I can in my study of Aiki-Jujutsu and pray that I may one day be able to reflect upon 33 years experience. :)

Ewen,

I'm sorry for the late reply.

You're very welcome, I'm happy to have offered some insight into things here if it's of use.

Please understand though that my comments only reflect my own experience. I don't have any experience with Dentokan other than having enjoyed some great correspondence with Mr. Hobbs in the past; we share some background including the late Shogo Kuniba.

I don't know how the Dentokan teachings compare to the Hakkoryu curriculum, so you may or may not receive the same input and/or experience I have.

Devon

aiki-jujutsuka
11-06-2012, 03:07 AM
thank you for the reply Devon,

from what I know Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu is basically Hakkoryu Jujutsu with some slight variations in the kata and changes to a few names here and there. At least that is the impression I am given by the senior Shihans at my club.

aiki-jujutsuka
11-06-2012, 03:47 AM
You can find videos of the waza from Shodan-Yondan katas on the Dentokanhombu website below, maybe if you get some time you can watch a few and compare them to their Hakkoryu counterparts.

http://www.dentokanhombu.com/2.0/waza.htm

Devon Smith
11-11-2012, 01:52 AM
Hi Ewen,

My point is that you and I don't know what comes after 1-4 for you.

Devon

aiki-jujutsuka
11-11-2012, 06:00 AM
sorry, I understand what you mean now. Yes naturally I don't know the Okuden teachings.

Mert Gambito
11-19-2012, 06:44 PM
Gentlemen,

Thanks for chiming in with clarifications. Nothing much more to add for Ewen's purposes, except to reiterate that Hakkoryu and the Dentokan have notable philosophical differences despite strong outward similarities (in particular: shiatsu training is mandatory in Hakkoryu at a certain level, whereas it was not carried over to the Dentokan), so I suspect there would be a notable contrast between the arts in what lies down the road.

Devon -- The pleasure was mine meeting you for the first time. Thank you for your fine instruction and patience during the embukai. Adams Sensei spoke highly of you following shihan review and testing, and I certainly understand why.

Dan -- As always, your recent "coaching" in Honolulu was beyond enlightening. I hope your trip to the Big Island this time around was relaxing as well as a good time on the mat.

Chris -- Another get-together to train at the beach during sunset later today? Will it ever get old?? . . .