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aiki-jujutsuka
04-13-2013, 03:41 PM
This may sound like a controversial question, but do you think there has been anyone who has surpassed O'Sensei's technical ability? (I'm thinking particularly of Ueshiba's uchideshi or the former and current doshu his son and grandson)

In this old footage of O'Sensei from 1930, his demonstration looks well "soft" - by that I mean his ukes look as if they are very compliant and their ukemi looks exaggerated. They seem to break fall very easily and very dramatically, especially in the hamni handachi waza.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV_wS_QX6pk

Also he seems to hold his arms out a lot, which make the techniques look unrealistic - it's not so much his uke attacking him but rather complying with his leading...much like a dance!

Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to criticise O'Sensei or Aikido - I have a deep respect for both - it's just that I have seen more convincing Aikido demonstrations that I would recommend to people as examples of the brilliance of this wonderful art over this. It's for that reason I dare to ask the question, because it strikes me odd that I would be more embarrassed to show a demonstration by the founder of Aikido than one of his students or current doshu. It's also got nothing to do with whose Aikido is more martially effective. That is not the point of my observation here. It's purely about technical ability.

If anyone can give an explanation as to what O'Sensei is doing in this old demonstration that I am missing, which would help me appreciate his technique here, I would be very grateful. :)

hughrbeyer
04-13-2013, 04:42 PM
First off, that vid is mislabeled. It's a piece of the 1935 Asahi News demo... google "1935 Asahi News aikido" and you'll find the full thing.

The way O-Sensei is holding his arms--and his whole body--is very interesting and deep. Also interesting how much less of that he manifests externally as he matures.

It is a demo, so of course his ukes aren't trying to screw up his techniques. But read some of his students' recollections of taking ukemi from him during that period if you doubt whether it really worked. Also see if you can dig out some of Dan Harden's old posts about how O-Sensei moves to see what you might be looking for. You've been around Aikiweb a while, you may remember some of them.

It's generally a problem that since Aikido doesn't require muscular effort, the best Aikido often looks fake. I don't know how to solve that one.

JJF
04-14-2013, 07:34 AM
It's like saying: does any fruit taste better than apples? You can't compare O-sensei to any other sensei. Once an Aikido master get to a certain level they start forming their own special style with emphasis on what they think is great.

O-sensei was unique, so is many sensei that you see today. In Japan and outside, in hombu dojo and in other styles. Some even went in very different direction with Aikido turning it into something new.

To judge who surpasses who.. well... It's not a question that can be answered I think.

Rob Watson
04-14-2013, 11:26 AM
If only osensei killed them all on film nobody would wonder ...

A martial art that transcends fighting ... what do you suppose it is supposed to look like?

aiki-jujutsuka
04-14-2013, 12:03 PM
If only osensei killed them all on film nobody would wonder ...

A martial art that transcends fighting ... what do you suppose it is supposed to look like?

how does Ueshiba's demonstration in this video transcend fighting?

Aikido eschews competition because competition creates conflict and ego. Aikido eschews violence because it believes in restoring harmony and protecting life rather than killing life. But does that mean that Aikido cannot respond to a realistic attack? Does that mean Aikido techniques don't hurt when pressure tested in a real assault?

Aikibu
04-14-2013, 01:21 PM
I would say yes...There are quite a few who have surpassed him. The trouble with a question like this is the baseline "How Awesome O'Sensei was"... trends toward deification of the man.

He was just a man who did something wonderful, and now he's long gone. So to get caught up in the myth of the messenger tends to deafen the message.

The other thing is technique...You get out of it what you put into it...If your goal's are realistic.. it MAY serve you well ( I have not found a way to dodge/stop bullets yet ;)). In my experience it has more to do with my spirit, and less to do with how well I can kick a** using a technique.

I have experienced the "spirit" of O'Sensei in many Martial Artists...and not just Aikido folks. He was just one of many to contributed to the paradigm shift away from Koryu to Gendai Budo where the purpose of learning a "Martial Art" was not just to destroy your enemies because (as he supposedly felt) That was a Zero Sum Game.

William Hazen

Mary Eastland
04-14-2013, 02:23 PM
How would you measure something like that?

Chris Li
04-14-2013, 05:08 PM
It's like saying: does any fruit taste better than apples? You can't compare O-sensei to any other sensei. Once an Aikido master get to a certain level they start forming their own special style with emphasis on what they think is great.

O-sensei was unique, so is many sensei that you see today. In Japan and outside, in hombu dojo and in other styles. Some even went in very different direction with Aikido turning it into something new.

To judge who surpasses who.. well... It's not a question that can be answered I think.

Sure it can, but you have to define what you mean by "surpasses".

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
04-14-2013, 07:17 PM
My thoughts are that the wrong question is being asked here, because Osensei was beyond technical skill, and he went beyond technical skill in the 1930s at the latest. He spent many decades performing in a regime that had nothing to do with technique.

RonRagusa
04-14-2013, 10:42 PM
Sure it can, but you have to define what you mean by "surpasses".


Surpasses - exceeds, beats, bests, outdoes, outshines, outstrips, tops. It's pretty evident what surpasses means. What you're really looking for is a set of criteria that can be applied equally to all Aikido practitioners so that when the criteria are met, or not, there will be no doubt as to who surpasses whom based on performance.

One problem is that any set of criteria you choose to implement cannot be applied to those who have passed on. Another problem is that unless your criteria can be quantified without ambiguity you must rely on judges to evaluate performance and determine the outcome. One needs only look to Olympic figure skating to see what a can of worms that route opens.

I agree with JJF that it's a question that cannot be satisfactorily answered, especially if you are trying to compare living people to dead people.

As an aside, if the question cannot be definitively answered then the claims that have appeared here on AikiWeb that there have been no to very few students of Aikido who can equal, let alone surpass the "greats", is without foundation since there are no objective criteria to base judgments on.

Ron

Chris Li
04-15-2013, 06:16 AM
Surpasses - exceeds, beats, bests, outdoes, outshines, outstrips, tops. It's pretty evident what surpasses means. What you're really looking for is a set of criteria that can be applied equally to all Aikido practitioners so that when the criteria are met, or not, there will be no doubt as to who surpasses whom based on performance.

One problem is that any set of criteria you choose to implement cannot be applied to those who have passed on. Another problem is that unless your criteria can be quantified without ambiguity you must rely on judges to evaluate performance and determine the outcome. One needs only look to Olympic figure skating to see what a can of worms that route opens.

I agree with JJF that it's a question that cannot be satisfactorily answered, especially if you are trying to compare living people to dead people.

As an aside, if the question cannot be definitively answered then the claims that have appeared here on AikiWeb that there have been no to very few students of Aikido who can equal, let alone surpass the "greats", is without foundation since there are no objective criteria to base judgments on.

Ron

It's very easy to formulate concrete criteria that can be applied to the past. For example, I could say "How many teachers have surpassed Morihei Ueshiba's teaching time in countries other than Japan?". Of course, that may not be what many people are looking for.

As to being "without foundation" - well, people from different ages are compared all the time without objective criteria. It's not a yes/no question. What do you think historians do? They evaluate people in the past, many times without solidly objective criteria.

Best,

Chris

RonRagusa
04-15-2013, 07:16 AM
What do you think historians do? They evaluate people in the past, many times without solidly objective criteria.

So it's pretty much all personal opinion which resolves nothing in terms of answering the question.

Ron

Chris Li
04-15-2013, 07:24 AM
So it's pretty much all personal opinion which resolves nothing in terms of answering the question.

Ron

Well, that's a bit extreme. No evaluation of a historical figure is going to be entirely objective - or entirely based on opinion. That doesn't mean the the answer isn't useful, or that it shouldn't be asked.

As I said, it's not a yes/no question, and the answer depends upon the meaning of "surpassed".

Best,

Chris

RonRagusa
04-15-2013, 08:07 AM
As I said, it's not a yes/no question, and the answer depends upon the meaning of "surpassed".

Well Chris, if it's not a yes/no question then there isn't a definitive answer to "Has anyone surpassed O Sensei?" (and I think the OP was asking the question with regard to technical expertise). If that's the case then fair enough. Subsequent statements regarding the abilities of others, with O Sensei being used as the so-to-speak standard candle of measurement, must be seen in the same light.

Ron

ryback
04-15-2013, 08:36 AM
This may sound like a controversial question, but do you think there has been anyone who has surpassed O'Sensei's technical ability? (I'm thinking particularly of Ueshiba's uchideshi or the former and current doshu his son and grandson)

In this old footage of O'Sensei from 1930, his demonstration looks well "soft" - by that I mean his ukes look as if they are very compliant and their ukemi looks exaggerated. They seem to break fall very easily and very dramatically, especially in the hamni handachi waza.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV_wS_QX6pk

Also he seems to hold his arms out a lot, which make the techniques look unrealistic - it's not so much his uke attacking him but rather complying with his leading...much like a dance!

Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to criticise O'Sensei or Aikido - I have a deep respect for both - it's just that I have seen more convincing Aikido demonstrations that I would recommend to people as examples of the brilliance of this wonderful art over this. It's for that reason I dare to ask the question, because it strikes me odd that I would be more embarrassed to show a demonstration by the founder of Aikido than one of his students or current doshu. It's also got nothing to do with whose Aikido is more martially effective. That is not the point of my observation here. It's purely about technical ability.

If anyone can give an explanation as to what O'Sensei is doing in this old demonstration that I am missing, which would help me appreciate his technique here, I would be very grateful. :)

This is a question that works like a black hole. It will swallow every answer and in the end all that one will be able to see is the dark emptiness.
Someone mentioned above that this question cannot be answered, i'd say that, in my opinion, this question cannot be asked. I don't mean that in a "taboo" sort of way because i think that anyone can be judged and analysed, but i mean it in a practical way.
In order to ask something like that you need to set the context and the criteria for this analysis, but in that case that is impossible.
Technical mastery should be judged by its effectiveness especially in a martial art, but effectiveness in what? Fighting? A martial artist cannot be judged only by that, but even if that was the case how can one judge one's effectiveness in fight by a video demo?
There are masters that have reached such a level where their Aikido is effortless and looks fake, so it has to be felt in order to be understood.
And yet we can never know if the way a master is demonstrating, is the way he would fight in a real self defence situation.
Most of all, we don't know all the teachers, do we? Perhaps there is someone 100 times better than o' sensei but he is teaching his few students in a basement dojo because this is his choice and his students are the only ones who know about him.
Even if we knew all the teachers in the world what would we do? Compare them?
Imaginary dialogue:
O1:I believe that Steven Seagal sensei is better than o'sensei because i have seen videos of him being a master already at the age of 30.
O2:Yes but i have seen videos of him being very fat at the age of 60 while o'sensei he was certainly not and that is hardly the way a master should look. Furthermore we know that o'sensei was practicing well into his 80s, will Seagal sensei be able to do that when he reaches that age?
O1:I disagree, Seagal had to surpass many obstacles being a westerner teaching in Japan while o'sensei was respected and had infuantial friends to help him spread Aikido.
O2:Yes but on the other hand o'sensei had to collect the pieces to make aikido while Seagal found it ready all he had to do was practice it.And he also became a movie star, he had all the time and money in the world in order to be able to practice, yet he became fat!
You see this is the point where such a comparison turns into a black hole and swallows every opinion that touches its event horizon.
As for the original question my personal answer would be: I hope so! Because without evolution the art will fade away.

Chris Li
04-15-2013, 04:37 PM
Well Chris, if it's not a yes/no question then there isn't a definitive answer to "Has anyone surpassed O Sensei?" (and I think the OP was asking the question with regard to technical expertise). If that's the case then fair enough. Subsequent statements regarding the abilities of others, with O Sensei being used as the so-to-speak standard candle of measurement, must be seen in the same light.

Ron

Sure, but you're setting up a straw man argument here - I don't think that anyone who's made such statements would say that it's a matter of objective fact.

On the other hand, I also think that there are people who are in very good positions to offer opinions on the matter that have made such statements - including people who were actually there.

Best,

Chris

bkedelen
04-15-2013, 06:38 PM
On the other hand, I also think that there are people who are in very good positions to offer opinions on the matter that have made such statements - including people who were actually there.

Which would, in turn, be an appeal to authority. The whole thing comes down to some fallacy or other.

Keith Larman
04-15-2013, 07:58 PM
Which would, in turn, be an appeal to authority. The whole thing comes down to some fallacy or other.

Well, a citation of an appeal to authority as a formal fallacy is often misused in popular usage. Formally all it means is that being an authority does not in and of itself make a stated proposition true. So as an expression in formal logic it is a fallacy. However, that said, I'll take the advice of my podiatrist on how to fix my ingrown toenail over the advice of the intoxicated, schizophrenic fella who was babbling on about spiders down near the post office this afternoon... No, the podiatrist isn't necessarily right just because he's a trained and an authority. But he's also vastly better positioned to have a more informed and substantiated opinion than the nut-case.

Lots of folk talk about who is good, not good, etc. I'll give the assessment of an experienced, well trained person who actually worked with various folk a greater weight over the assessment of a random guy on the internet who has never trained with any of them. It doesn't make them absolutely right, but... I would guess folk would hold your advice on computer networking and operating systems over mine any day of the week. As they rightly should. So you do your best, you weigh the relative merits and experience of the observers and you move on with the experiment...

Otherwise maybe I should just go ask the crazy fella to pull out that other ingrown nail for me. Hopefully he'll spit some cheap vodka on it first to make sure it's sanitary... ;)

JP3
04-15-2013, 09:45 PM
Hugh said this wonderful statement, "It's generally a problem that since Aikido doesn't require muscular effort, the best Aikido often looks fake. I don't know how to solve that one."

No kidding. Hugh nailed it. I've been on the receiving end of being ... umm pick your verb? Smashed, crushed, pulped, twanged, pulverized, broken (almost) and generally just thrashed by enough high-ranking dan grades around the country to know when I'm feeling the "real thing." And... in any of those situations, the people watching are saying to themselves, "Is {He/She} doing anything?" It looks like John's just giving him the technique there, just falling for the old guy out of respect. Doesn't look right, ya know...

When I crawl off the mat and am asked, I just tiredly glared at them and wheeze, "You go out there and try it. I'm out. Done. Wrung out."

The above is apropos of nothing, I think, it just needed being said.

Next thing that, IMO, needs to be said. It's sort of illuminatingly funny, I think.

Picture Seagal Sensei visiting O-Sensei during Ueshiba's waning years. Does anyone question that Steven would be in all ways highly respectful and humble in the old man's dojo? Not me. Steven has always carried himself as a very respectful martial artist, respecting other "martial artists." (See his interview for his idea of who qualifies, though).

As to the idea of "surpassing" one's instructors.... isn't that their goal?

RonRagusa
04-15-2013, 10:48 PM
As to the idea of "surpassing" one's instructors.... isn't that their goal?

When I was in high school I had a history teacher who taught exactly the same lessons from year to year. His method of presentation was to come into class, write a bunch of questions on the blackboard and then sit back while we students looked up the answers in our books. That was it, no discussion, no debate, no interpretation of the "facts" as they appeared in the book. His tests were composed of the same questions he wrote on the blackboard.

That man's growth as a teacher had stopped. His boundary of knowledge of the subject he was presenting was delineated by the contents of the pages between the covers of his textbook. Any student with a desire to go beyond that teacher's self imposed universe of knowledge could easily have surpassed him with a modicum of outside work.

An instructor, in any discipline, has by definition a broader universe of knowledge with respect to the subject matter than the large majority of students being taught (I am purposely ignoring genius outliers such as Einstein or Mozart). And as long as the instructor keeps growing that large majority of students will be playing catch-up.

While one of my goals as an Aikido instructor is to have my students eventually surpass me (whatever that may mean in the context of Aikido), I don't expect to see it happen until I eventually reach a plateau in my ability to continue growing in Aikido.

Ron

chillzATL
04-16-2013, 08:43 AM
There have certainly been people in aikido who have equaled or surpassed O'sensei in technical martial skill or fighting ability, but that wasn't what drew people to him either. In that regard, there doesn't seem to be anyone who has equaled him, much less surpassed him.

As for the outstretched arms and very "full" look that he presents in the video.... kind of odd that most basic practice rarely looks like that...

phitruong
04-16-2013, 09:09 AM
As for the outstretched arms and very "full" look that he presents in the video.... kind of odd that most basic practice rarely looks like that...

sheesh Jason, open a can of worm for bait aren't you? :)

sakumeikan
04-16-2013, 12:13 PM
There have certainly been people in aikido who have equaled or surpassed O'sensei in technical martial skill or fighting ability, but that wasn't what drew people to him either. In that regard, there doesn't seem to be anyone who has equaled him, much less surpassed him.

As for the outstretched arms and very "full" look that he presents in the video.... kind of odd that most basic practice rarely looks like that...

Dear Jason,
Since very few people nowadays know very little about O sensei and his technical /fighting abilities [except for a few videos/you tube clips]are you speaking from a position of authority when you make your statement?Cheers, Joe.

aiki-jujutsuka
04-16-2013, 01:09 PM
contrasting Ueshiba's demonstration of 1935 with this from Seishiro Endo Sensei in 2004, Endo Sensei's demonstration has many similarities but a very different feel. Endo Sensei makes the techniques look effortless, as if he's not putting any strength into them at all and yet the way he takes uke's posture and uses his hips as an obstruction when throwing feel far more "legitimate" than O'Sensei's techniques. I can see clearly that Endo Sensei is centred the whole time but the way he attacks the head, so as to take uke's balance shows he is in clear control and uke has to take ukemi. His internalization of the techniques still looks effective externally.

http://store.aikidojournal.com/seishiro-endo-8th-dan-grace-and-centeredness-at-the-2004-all-japan-aikido-demonstration/

chillzATL
04-16-2013, 02:44 PM
Dear Jason,
Since very few people nowadays know very little about O sensei and his technical /fighting abilities [except for a few videos/you tube clips]are you speaking from a position of authority when you make your statement?Cheers, Joe.

As much of a position of authority as anyone, Joe. As if anyone needs that to share their opinions on a man that we know a good bit about in regards to his martial career.

jonreading
04-18-2013, 11:59 AM
As to being "without foundation" - well, people from different ages are compared all the time without objective criteria. It's not a yes/no question. What do you think historians do? They evaluate people in the past, many times without solidly objective criteria.

Best,

Chris

Ted Williams is the greatest hitter of all-time. No drugs, no 350ft. fences, no strike zones the size of a small plate. Yet every year we hear about a "modern" best hitter ever. So yes, we constantly comparatively evaluate others in a manner that transcends time.

No one has surpassed Ueshiba Sensei in the sense that the over-whelming burden of the integrity and ethos of aikido was shouldered by him. Even today, mainstream aikido often relies on the ethos he established. Some of his early shihan would be the most likely candidates in that argument if you wanted to have it.

Technically, O Sensei not only transcended kata, but he was able to transcend the other Japanese systems and solicit appreciation from sister arts. I know of very few aikido people who have done that. Could Doshu look better [than O Sensei] doing irrimi nage? Possibly. Could he look better doing irrimi nage to any student from any other [Japanese] martial art? I am not sure if there is much evidence there... Some of the history folks may have a better idea of that.

Of course, this said, the political landscape of Japanese martial arts has altered, too. I am not sure if it is even possible to transcend martial art systems with the same scrutiny because there are so many more practitioners now.

Oh, and my dad could completely beat up O Sensei.

Dan Rubin
04-18-2013, 03:42 PM
Any discussion of the Asahi News demonstration should take into account Phil Davison's analysis of the film:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=704

JJF
04-19-2013, 01:35 AM
Ted Williams is the greatest hitter of all-time. No drugs, no 350ft. fences, no strike zones the size of a small plate. Yet every year we hear about a "modern" best hitter ever. So yes, we constantly comparatively evaluate others in a manner that transcends time.

Yep.. it's just so much easier to evaluate once you got statistics... "O-sensei were able to do 27 throws in one minute" just dosn't have the ring to it does it?

No one has surpassed Ueshiba Sensei in the sense that the over-whelming burden of the integrity and ethos of aikido was shouldered by him. Even today, mainstream aikido often relies on the ethos he established. Some of his early shihan would be the most likely candidates in that argument if you wanted to have it.


Yeah. Here's a thought: Even though O-sensei undoubtly was a great martial artist and innovator, the image of him presented to us is always the result of a communication process. The Aikikai should honor his remarkable work, but they also need him as the common fulcrum for all Aikido acrosse the world. We all may honor one or the other shihan who have been defining for the type of Aikido that we do, but we all agree O-sensei was unique. If we - just for arguments sake - were to agree that he was not, and that some other sensei had surpassed him... then what? how would this change the landscape of Aikido - especially the Aikikai?

This is one of those interesting intersections between the Japanese way and the western tradition of (over-)thinking and analyzing... so I'll just shut up now and go do my suburi :)

Oh, and my dad could completely beat up O Sensei.

Na-ah.. no way! but my dad could wipe you'r dad out any day... can too ;)

Chris Li
04-19-2013, 04:11 AM
Yeah. Here's a thought: Even though O-sensei undoubtly was a great martial artist and innovator, the image of him presented to us is always the result of a communication process. The Aikikai should honor his remarkable work, but they also need him as the common fulcrum for all Aikido acrosse the world. We all may honor one or the other shihan who have been defining for the type of Aikido that we do, but we all agree O-sensei was unique. If we - just for arguments sake - were to agree that he was not, and that some other sensei had surpassed him... then what? how would this change the landscape of Aikido - especially the Aikikai?

Sure he was unique, so is everybody else. :)

Just because people have made advances that Newton never dreamed of doesn't mean that Newton's achievements (for example) were any less important. I'm not saying that anyone has or hasn't done that in Aikido - but I'm saying that for it to happen is natural, and nothing to worry about.

I have no doubt that the Aikikai needs Ueshiba. The question is, do we need the Aikikai?

Best,

Chris

Mary Eastland
04-19-2013, 07:34 AM
Hi Chris:
who is we?

Chris Li
04-19-2013, 04:45 PM
Hi Chris:
who is we?

Well, "we" in the generic sense - anybody doing Aikido.

Best,

Chris

Cady Goldfield
04-19-2013, 05:01 PM
In terms of technical skill and aiki, I do think that there are some who have surpassed Ueshiba, and that at least one of his peers under Takeda surpassed him in aiki as well. But in terms of Ueshiba's aikido, as a personal art and philosophy, I doubt that anyone has yet surpassed him... because it's Ueshiba's own personal aikido. How can that be duplicated?

graham christian
04-20-2013, 08:52 PM
This may sound like a controversial question, but do you think there has been anyone who has surpassed O'Sensei's technical ability? (I'm thinking particularly of Ueshiba's uchideshi or the former and current doshu his son and grandson)

In this old footage of O'Sensei from 1930, his demonstration looks well "soft" - by that I mean his ukes look as if they are very compliant and their ukemi looks exaggerated. They seem to break fall very easily and very dramatically, especially in the hamni handachi waza.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV_wS_QX6pk

Also he seems to hold his arms out a lot, which make the techniques look unrealistic - it's not so much his uke attacking him but rather complying with his leading...much like a dance!

Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to criticise O'Sensei or Aikido - I have a deep respect for both - it's just that I have seen more convincing Aikido demonstrations that I would recommend to people as examples of the brilliance of this wonderful art over this. It's for that reason I dare to ask the question, because it strikes me odd that I would be more embarrassed to show a demonstration by the founder of Aikido than one of his students or current doshu. It's also got nothing to do with whose Aikido is more martially effective. That is not the point of my observation here. It's purely about technical ability.

If anyone can give an explanation as to what O'Sensei is doing in this old demonstration that I am missing, which would help me appreciate his technique here, I would be very grateful. :)

Hi Ewen.
Just to answer your question re: holding his arms out and the resultant apparency given to the observer. Another part of Aikido I haven't heard much said about on which I agree. In fact I have heard much said about how people putting their arms out or even hanging their arms out seems to many rather unreal and even 'mew age' sometimes. Many things I have heard but few fit my reality.

To fully understand I would say you would have to first agree or be aware of the fact that he,O'Sensei was in my opinion operating from a transcended level. In other words first let's say he was above the norm even the master norm. Now to get an idea of what he was doing when 'offering' his hand or arm I would advise listening to Hikitsuchi Sensei who was very adamant about what that part of his Aikido was and indeed demonstrated it.

So back to my opinion. There is harmonizing with the opponents motion, action, Ki etc. That in itself is hard enough then there is even 'above that'. In my opinion this is where O'Sensei called it devine. Here he is 'calling out' the persons Ki rather than harmonizing with their attack. Thus he is 'attracting the attack thus already causing it before the other has started it.

I believe there are Japanese terminology which mean this type of thing also but of course being so hard to understand yet alone believe then the translation of such terminology is open to many opinions as to its meaning and what O'Sensei meant by it. One such which I was told sounds very funny in English and all I can say is it means as I have said above. However no doubt someone here who specializes in language could no doubt give many ideas about it. The wording was"saki no saki no saki" (I bet Phi will love this one)

Anyway, on a practice level based on my way of Aikido and centre which I say invites and welcomes then the extending of the hand is actual and symbolic in offering and at the same time inviting, drawing the opponent to attack. It's also like presenting what the opponent wants ie: a target that he thus cannot resist for that is his aim ie: to attack the target. Thus a step towards this would be sen no sen etc.

Peace.G.

aiki-jujutsuka
04-21-2013, 07:36 AM
Graham,

Drawing out your opponent's/uke's attack in order to apply a particular waza is high level from my understanding and is something Yoshinkan Aikido uses from the dvds I have on this style of Aikido. It's something which I think is important in real life. A truism in the martial arts is fight your own fight. I see this principle in randori - the way you move, avoid, deflect and redirect the attacker's force and energy is in a way making them fight your fight. Unfortunately I don't think the way this old video of O'Sensei from 1935 is filmed, is the best example of this.

graham christian
04-21-2013, 08:51 AM
Graham,

Drawing out your opponent's/uke's attack in order to apply a particular waza is high level from my understanding and is something Yoshinkan Aikido uses from the dvds I have on this style of Aikido. It's something which I think is important in real life. A truism in the martial arts is fight your own fight. I see this principle in randori - the way you move, avoid, deflect and redirect the attacker's force and energy is in a way making them fight your fight. Unfortunately I don't think the way this old video of O'Sensei from 1935 is filmed, is the best example of this.

Hi Ewen.
It sure is high level for watching O'Sensei is watching high level of course. There are so many pluses in the video, enough for a book but to stick to the point of drawing out the opponents Ki and causing the shape of the attack both then I see it throughout the video.

In the first part from knees he is causing the persons 'reaction' which he then takes. That's pretty standard. In the tachiwaza he is both drawing out and leading. In the kokyu he is doing it even more pronounced and indeed he does randori there too. With the 'spear' and 'sword' the way he does it cannot be done without doing so. Hard to see maybe and hard to find someone from whom you could experience it too and get reality but nonetheless to me and so in my opinion it shines out clearly.

When you do Randori of course it looks like avoid, deflect and redirect etc. but you will find it goes beyond that eventually. Then there is no avoidance or deflection but pure motion causing the actions of the attackers giving them no choice but to act as you desire. That's high level randori. That's the 'magic' of Ueshiba's Aikido.

My thoughts.

Peace.G.

JJF
04-22-2013, 07:17 AM
Sure he was unique, so is everybody else. :)

My point exactly - but much simpler put :)


I have no doubt that the Aikikai needs Ueshiba. The question is, do we need the Aikikai?


well... Christopher... let's not start that discussion again ;) As I recall we have somewhat different opinions on that matter

Great day to all

JJ

Chris Li
04-22-2013, 11:41 AM
My point exactly - but much simpler put :)


My point was that, if everybody is "unique" then saying that Ueshiba is "unique":

We all may honor one or the other shihan who have been defining for the type of Aikido that we do, but we all agree O-sensei was unique.

Doesn't really mean anything.

Why not evaluate him by what he did (and didn't do) in a realistic historical context rather than insisting on placing him in a heirarchy?

Of course, for obvious reasons, the Aikikai would like to place him at the top of a heirarchy - but is that really useful?

As to the Aikikai itself - I'm not opposed to the Aikikai, I myself am a member of the Aikikai, but I do think that they need to do some serious thinking about where things are going if they want to survive in any kind of a meaningful way.

Best,

Chris

jonreading
04-22-2013, 12:36 PM
Yep.. it's just so much easier to evaluate once you got statistics... "O-sensei were able to do 27 throws in one minute" just dosn't have the ring to it does it?

Yeah. Here's a thought: Even though O-sensei undoubtly was a great martial artist and innovator, the image of him presented to us is always the result of a communication process. The Aikikai should honor his remarkable work, but they also need him as the common fulcrum for all Aikido acrosse the world. We all may honor one or the other shihan who have been defining for the type of Aikido that we do, but we all agree O-sensei was unique. If we - just for arguments sake - were to agree that he was not, and that some other sensei had surpassed him... then what? how would this change the landscape of Aikido - especially the Aikikai?

This is one of those interesting intersections between the Japanese way and the western tradition of (over-)thinking and analyzing... so I'll just shut up now and go do my suburi :)

Na-ah.. no way! but my dad could wipe you'r dad out any day... can too ;)

I am glad some one got that reference...

My opinion is that at some level, aikido needs to embrace modern role models who represent a high level of skill, leadership and ability to navigate the emerging landscape of modern arts. Right now, I believe there to be a number of individual shihan making these steps. Not all of these shihan are linked to the Aikikai or other aikido organizations - this means lesser influence over the entirety of the aikido community. Part of O Sensei's influence was the result of a different landscape of aikido, over which he held significant influence.

Now, if O Sensei was declared "without equal" and opined his skill was beyond our conmprehension. Case closed. I think the argument here really focuses on the idea of a metric by which to critically assess the skill of our leadership. In November of last year, Saotome sensei took a few minutes to discuss his personal goal of elevating his senior students beyond his skill level, thus creating a real expectation that is driving both his instruction and the learning curve for his [senior] students. I applaud this model, not necessarily because it is right or wrong, but because sensei is clearly moving in a direction that indicates his expectation is that his students should surpass him.

Instantly, this changes the perspective we have when we are on the mat with sensei. He is now doing things and then looking at you, expecting you to get it. And what's worse is his teaching is becoming better... Dammit, I know he knows that I know how to do that technique... This puts some amount of pressure on performance that has existed in a lesser degree. "Well, he's sensei" isn't quite good enough to excuse [your] inability to so something now...