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Guillaume Erard
11-28-2013, 01:55 AM
Hi everyone, here is the latest entry in Ellis Amdur's series "It Ain't Nescessarily So". This time, he discusses one of Aikido's great stories: Koichi Tohei defeating 5 judo champions (http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/articles/it-aint-necessarily-so-rendez-vous-with-adventure).

Demetrio Cereijo
11-28-2013, 09:06 AM
Clicking the link opens a page where it says:

Table './guilla8_gsedb/gse25_session' is marked as crashed and should be repaired SQL=INSERT INTO `gse25_session` (`session_id`, `client_id`, `time`) VALUES ('1c723148bf28e43994b8471bc5a97c43', 0, '1385651096')

Alex Megann
11-28-2013, 09:39 AM
Clicking the link opens a page where it says:

Same for me.

The Ki no Kenkyukai's IT department must have got its best hackers working day and night on that… :)

Alex

Demetrio Cereijo
11-28-2013, 11:42 AM
French version works

http://www.guillaumeerard.fr/aikido/articles/ce-n-est-pas-necessairement-vrai-rendez-vous-with-adventure

The Ki no Kenkyukai's IT department must have got its best hackers working day and night on that…
LOL

Bernd Lehnen
11-28-2013, 01:44 PM
French version works

http://www.guillaumeerard.fr/aikido/articles/ce-n-est-pas-necessairement-vrai-rendez-vous-with-adventure

LOL

Well,
I've just read it in french on G.E.'s website and, like always, Ellis does make a good point.

If I remember rightly, somewhere in an interview Chiba sensei brought up how surprised he had been that he was able to throw the Aikidoka at hombu so easily with his judo when he first started to learn the art. Then Tamura had come to hit him in the stomach and only this had made him rethink his attitude towards the whole thing. And that, years later when in danger, his body still had automatically reacted with judo, which he found regrettable because it should have been aikido by then.

Best,

Bernd

Carl Thompson
11-28-2013, 03:06 PM
Same for me.

The Ki no Kenkyukai's IT department must have got its best hackers working day and night on that� :)

Alex

I was able to read the English version last night. I'm getting the same error message now though.

Carl

Bernd Lehnen
11-28-2013, 03:32 PM
For the time being, in short( Ellis may correct me) and incomplete:

Tohei was a strong man. He defeated 5 Judo champions one after the other. Tohei was a former judoka himself. There is no evidence that he accomplished his feat on the ground of the ( as claimed by Kishomaru Ueshiba) invincibility/superiority of aikido. On the other hand, Tohei had trouble with a heavy man who (probably like Tohei) didn't really know how to fight and didn't react in a predictable way.

So what is left is a big discrepancy. Lore versus fact.

Best,
Bernd

Dazaifoo
11-28-2013, 03:51 PM
Interestingly enough TVGuide.com states that the episode of Rendezvous With Adventure following the Aikido one was a visit to a judo training school.

http://www.tvguide.com/detail/tv-show.aspx?tvobjectid=441677&more=ucepisodelist&episodeid=748358

I wonder how Herman "The Pot Roast King" Jensen fared against seasoned 1950s era judoka. From what I've been able to turn up the show was produced by a South African company (Sjambok Productions), and is exceedingly difficult to come by. But then again, someone did just find a bunch of lost Dr. Who episodes so we may yet see more of the legend of Herman, the man who went toe to toe with Tohei (I like that!) and lived to tell the tale.

Ellis Amdur
11-28-2013, 04:09 PM
The last one on the list is: "The ancient skills of Japan's samurai warriors. Lee Green narrates."

Guillaume Erard
11-28-2013, 05:07 PM
The problem has been fixed. Sorry about that.

Bernd Lehnen
11-29-2013, 02:26 AM
The problem has been fixed. Sorry about that.

Well,
how come that now there's a little difference of emphasis/de-emphasis in the French and English version:

L'hagiographie de l'aïkido a fait grand cas de la rencontre entre Tohei et les judoka en Californie. Je me souviens d'Ueshiba Kisshomaru citant cet évènement dans un de ses premiers livres comme une preuve de l'invincibilité de l'aïkido. « Rendez-vous with Adventure » a rendu cela tout à fait impossible à croire pour beaucoup d'observateurs extérieurs. Même si les judoka qui l'ont observé à l'époque de la manifestation à San Jose ont été profondément convaincus de sa puissance, l'aura presque mystique est venue de la déclaration de Tohei concernant Ueshiba : « C'est parce qu'il était relâché, en fait, qu'il pouvait générer autant de puissance. »

Aikidō hagiography once made much of Tohei's encounter with the judōka in California. "Rendez-vous with Adventure" made that utterly unbelievable to many outside observers. But the judōka who observed him at the time of the San Jose demonstration were utterly convinced of his power. The awe, however, came from his manifesting, in Tohei's statement regarding Ueshiba: "[…] because he was relaxed, in fact, that he could generate so much power."

Best,
Bernd

Ellis Amdur
11-29-2013, 02:37 AM
Bernd - It's an editorial error that needs to be fixed. I wanted the line "Je me souviens d'Ueshiba Kisshomaru citant cet évènement dans un de ses premiers livres comme une preuve de l'invincibilité de l'aïkido" cut because when I originally wrote the essay, I didn't recall where I'd read it. And just by chance, I found the quote literally hours before the essay was to go up. I asked Guillaume to take that sentence out. Apparently, he took out the English but not the French. I wanted it removed only because it reads like I didn't know where I read the quote, yet there it is above. Just style, that 's all.

The passage it refers to is quoted in its entirety earlier in the essay, the one where Ueshiba K. refers to Tohei in these terms: "This event was announced to all the world and the fact he defeated the five main players without any trouble—the giants whom he had not yet met—made him a hero in the United States and showed the true value of Aikido."

I doubt very much that the Aikikai received the newsletter of the Budokawi Quarterly Bulletin, an English newsletter. So this suggests that someone - Tohei himself or one of his partisans - recounted the story in such heroic terms.
Best
Ellis Amdur

Carl Thompson
11-29-2013, 02:37 AM
Apologies that this thread has (temporarily I hope) become one about whether or not the link to the original article is working, but ... FWIW, for my part, I'm getting it normally again:

http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/articles/it-aint-necessarily-so-rendez-vous-with-adventure

Thank you to Guillaume for your efforts (I'll have to actually speak to you next time I see you rather than just exchange the "gaijin nod" - always so busy these days but \‚µ–ó‚ ‚è‚Ü‚¹‚ñ)

Carl

Dazaifoo
11-29-2013, 07:26 AM
Just to introduce an additional perspective on Tohei's prowess vs Hawaiian judoka, here's an excerpt from Roy Suenaka's biography/training text Complete Aikido. Suenaka was a student of both Ueshiba and Tohei and Okinawan karate, jiujitsu, boxing, etc... The following is in regards to Tohei's first visit to Hawaii in February, 1953.

"Tohei Sensei's first Hawaiian aikido demonstration took place at the Nishi Kai and was attended by the Nishi Kai membership and invited guests, which included many of the area's prominent martials artists, among them Yukiso Yamamoto; karateka "Koa" Kimura (who would later shift his study to aikido and ally himself with Tohei's Ki no Kenkyukai before breaking away to found his own organization); judoka Kazuto Sugimoto; noted kendoka and respected local business-man Isao Takahashi; and judoka and Okinawan Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler Oki Shikina. Suenka has vivid memories of this important event:
"[The demonstration observers] took part in the demonstration and, naturally, they resisted, they tried to really, really overthrow [Tohei Sensei], and they couldn't do it; he threw those guys around like nothing. Tohei Sensei was a bear. He was about five-feet three-inches tall, and at that time probably weighed about 180 pounds, so he was a bear-a big, little man- extremely powerful, and these guys could not hold him down. Even… Oki Shikina… he was thrown around, and said, 'My, this guy is phenomenal.' His demonstration was very impressive. But, at the same time, everyone who stepped onto the mat with him was very respectful of who he was, and why he was there. They tried hard to throw him, but they didn't come at him full-force, as in a street-fighting situation. It was a very controlled situation." (Emphasis mine)

Now, I no longer have my hard copy of the book, (I had to copy this excerpt from Google books) but I do recall that Suenaka addresses the Tohei vs Herman fiasco, and that Suenaka excuses the performance due to the considerations mentioned (lack of ukemi know-how, not wanting to injure a foreign guest, etc.). That last bit from above though, "they didn't come at him full-force, as in a street-fighting situation. It was a very controlled situation." That makes one wonder, was Tohei was demonstrating ki (or aiki?) against set waza or engaging in a light randori? What was the blind spot that allowed him to get taken down by Herman? Or was it all just performance anxiety in front of a camera crew with the Doshu watching.

On the other hand, what did Herman know? (I'm really starting to love that guy!)

In any case I will definitely have to pick up another copy of the book, if only to read his recollections about Ueshiba vibrating the dojo late at night with his chanting and other IHTBF nuggets.

Ellis Amdur
11-29-2013, 11:46 AM
Scott - thanks for the reference. It is always funny when Tohei or Ueshiba are described as small and frail.
BTW - this calls for a Terry Dobson story. I'd tell it in his voice:
For a couple years, I was Tohei's guy. He actually offered to 'give' me America. I had only been studying a couple of years, but he said that I should go home and he'd make me the head of American aikido. I told him I didn't think I was ready. . . or maybe I thought America wasn't ready (heh heh). Anyway, there was this one time, Tohei took me along to a presentation he was giving to some ladies society--I don't know, flower arranging or something. So there I was, and Tohei, he had a little spiel.
"With the power of ki, I am undefeatable. Even a giant foreigner like this one is helpless against the power of ki. Stand up. Stand up. Shomen-uchi! Don't hold back. Nothing you could do could harm me."
And I was thinking, "You are my teacher, and I love you more than anyone but O-sensei, and I know you are invincible, and I won't hold back" and I came charging off the floor and I hit him right between the eyes. He stiffened like a poleaxed steer and fell over. Out. Eyes rolled back in his head.
I was just standing there, wringing my hands, thinking, "I just killed my teacher." and the ladies were all whispering and staring at me. I think he was out for thirty seconds.
Then he woke up, got to his feet, and he yells, "You idiot. Don't you know anything? You did it wrong. Hit me again!." So I tried, and this time, he threw me some way or other. Tohei was great that way. Just acted like nothing happened at all.

Chris Li
11-29-2013, 12:02 PM
Scott - thanks for the reference. It is always funny when Tohei or Ueshiba are described as small and frail.

Quite a few of the old Hawaii guys were surprised by how small, and how young, Tohei was when he first arrived.

Best,

Chris

Ellis Amdur
11-29-2013, 04:03 PM
Short, I'll agree - small? ---not really (http://members.aikidojournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/unbendable-arm.jpg).

Like fighting a fireplug

E

Chris Li
11-29-2013, 04:29 PM
Short, I'll agree - small? ---not really (http://members.aikidojournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/unbendable-arm.jpg).

Like fighting a fireplug

E

Next to our Samoan boys - still small. :D According to Kozo Kaku (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/post-war-aikido-rival-warlords-hawaii/) - only 143 pounds (65 kg) when he came to Hawaii, even in proportion to his height (5' 3") that's not very big.

Best,

Chris

Dazaifoo
11-29-2013, 04:33 PM
I remember one of the new students watching Suenaka throw his deshi saying something like "Wow, that's a small hakama!" Good eyes there son.

Ellis Amdur
11-29-2013, 04:36 PM
Well, just to be totally pedantic, Hawaiian boys, mostly (same size , though), so your point is taken. (http://www.hawaiian-roots.com/immigrants.htm)

Samoans
The Samoan migration to Hawaii was unique in that the Samoans did not come as plantation workers and they were the only significant group of Polynesian migrants to Hawaii. The first large group of Samoans came to Hawaii in 1919 when the Mormon temple was built in Laie on Oahu's northeastern shore. In 1952 about 1,000 Samoans arrived in Hawaii. It is estimated that in the 1970s that there were more than 13,000 Samoans and part-Samoans resident in Hawaii, the majority of them on Oahu.

Still, that man is perfectly built to be a bench-press champion (short arms, barrel chest).

E

Dan Rubin
11-29-2013, 05:02 PM
For what it's worth, at http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=640

Excerpt from "My Aikido Interlude," by Robert W. Smith,
Aikido Journal #115 (1998) (I believe that it's also in Smith's book, Martial Musings):

Despite my analytical problems with aikido, I have to assume that Ueshiba was a singular figure. The evidence for this is his top student Koichi Tohei. I first heard of Tohei at the First U.S. Judo Tournament in San Jose, California, in 1953. Some of us were chatting about the judo and one veered off with the information that an expert in something called aikido was present from Hawaii and would demonstrate his art. Rumor had it that this Tohei had defeated the top fighters of Hawaii before securing a teaching niche there.

Later, in a lull in the program, here came Tohei, a little man with a smile bigger than he was. He took the stage and submitted to varieties of insult to his person. Three big judoka simultaneously put locks on his neck and both arms. He tossed them airward with abandon. Next he demonstrated rare proficiency in stick work (bojutsu). All this was interesting and pleasant to watch. The main course, next up, left us flabbergasted. Tohei stood and invited five black belt judokas to have at him simultaneously. Fifteen lined up and five fanned out and jumped him. This was no multiple attack choreographed so that the defender had enough time and space to deal with each attacker singly. The meretricious stuff that bores and stultifies. Not a bit. The surrounding circle hit Tohei almost in unison. He moved amongst them throwing them in all directions, even into each other. Up they got, tried again, and down they went. Three were greedy and tried thrice only to hit the mat again. After that enthusiasm waned and the group desisted.

Though Tohei was said to have a high judo rank, his throws didn't resemble judo techniques. He seemed to do things like tewaza (throws using only one's hands) and wrist twists with such élan that murmurs of ki spread through the awed audience. Everything dissolved in front of his gentle rapid applications. Big Jim Nisby, a giant judoka and former California All-State footballer, one of the five attackers, attempted a driving tackle from fifteen feet. Tohei put out a light hand and stopped Jim dead in his tracks, then, in almost the same movement, pushed him into the pile of bodies. It was all marvelous.

Ellis Amdur
11-29-2013, 06:48 PM
Dan - thanks. I'd hope to contact Jim Nisby (he played for the Pgh Steelers in the Big Daddy Lipscomb era, and hearing stories about that was even more interesting), but sadly, he's already died.
It's yet another, fuller perspective from Smith.

But even here, I wonder how reliable is his "eye" - He writes:
rare proficiency in stick work (bojutsu).

Tohei did not have "rare proficiency in stick work" he twirled a jo. Any majorette at any college could do far better than that, and if twirling was proficiency at bojutsu, then how about this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZOJoV6H2UM)?

Anyway, lest there be any confusion, I've no doubt whatsoever that Tohei did something marvelous - witness the accounts of those who were there, in addition to Smith.

But it all leads back to the question. Given that this was so, what about Herman??????

Best
Ellis

RonRagusa
11-29-2013, 10:18 PM
But it all leads back to the question. Given that this was so, what about Herman??????

Ya know... maybe Tohei was just having a bad day.

Ron

Chris Li
11-29-2013, 10:43 PM
But it all leads back to the question. Given that this was so, what about Herman??????

Best
Ellis

He could have (as was noted elsewhere) been having a bad day.

More likely, it shows how hard it really is to control someone who has no idea what they're doing without hurting them (or being willing to hurt them). All the Judo guys were used to this stuff - they knew how to protect themselves, knew when to bail, and Tohei knew that they knew, so he could just do whatever. With Herman, not so much.

If anything, it gives lie to the myth of controlling an attacker without causing injury more than it says anything about Tohei's skill level, IMO.

Best,

Chris

Dazaifoo
11-29-2013, 11:20 PM
Rare video of Herman vs a Hawaiian wrestler. (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5ScSyG85FEM)
Happy Black Friday y'all!

Cady Goldfield
11-29-2013, 11:29 PM
Rare video of Herman vs a Hawaiian wrestler. (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5ScSyG85FEM)
Happy Black Friday y'all!

:D
Curley Joe DeRita for da win!

sakumeikan
11-30-2013, 12:01 AM
Rare video of Herman vs a Hawaiian wrestler. (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5ScSyG85FEM)
Happy Black Friday y'all!

Dear Scott,
Great,stuff. Your a man with my warped sense of fun.The Three Stooges;I spent my misbegotten youth laughing my socks off [not that I always had socks ].They contributed much to my abnormal brain development.YUK YUK. Cheers, Joe.

ryback
11-30-2013, 12:11 AM
Maybe Tohei had a bad moment, a bad split second is all it takes to end up lying on the mat. Maybe he was so concentrated to protect his partner that he neglected protecting himself. It could happen to anyone, so why is it so difficult to understand that?
Maybe it is the need to serve the modern martial arts trend of "debunking" legends of the past, a trend created by some so called leading authorities, who are simply claiming the opposite of what everyone else is saying for decades.
Good, let's be trendy then. How about debunking the debunkers?
Who is kicking Tohei's control over his opponent? At least one person who does, has admitted that once, during practice, he lost his temper and almost killed his practicing partner after removing his Men. So he judges Tohei's control, while he can't even control himself.
And how about Terry Dobson? He hit and knocked unconscious Tohei, right? I've seen him on film practicing with o sensei and he can barely move, but he was so great that he knocked down Tohei? Great story coming from one of the most disrespectful, liers in aikido. O sensei opened his door to him and that was Dobson's way of saying "thank you". Some warrior's code of honour.
Tohei, o sensei and all the great masters left a huge legacy. But of course, debunking anything from UFOs to martial arts, can truly help people sell a lot of books, so keep up the good work!

Bernd Lehnen
11-30-2013, 05:49 AM
Maybe Tohei had a bad moment, a bad split second is all it takes to end up lying on the mat. Maybe he was so concentrated to protect his partner that he neglected protecting himself. It could happen to anyone, so why is it so difficult to understand that?


There you're right.
It could happen to anyone. And this is the point that has to be made to hold things in balance. This is just what gives everyone this pinky tiny bit of chance in any real encounter, however much superior and better equipped or trained your enemy/opponent might be.

But you ought to admit that those myths, blown up over decades now, have been prone to invoke the superiority of one art over all the others, depending on who promotes the myths of his art. That a single art is superior to all others surely is, if not nonsense, certainly further from truth than saying that it's mainly the man who gives value to his art (like it's mainly the fight in the dog and not the dog in the fight that decides).

May be, we perceive this a little bit more in the internal arts like aikido and daito-ryu than in the others here in this forum, because this is exactly the forum where we put our attention on aikido and related arts.

And what Chris said

More likely, it shows how hard it really is to control someone who has no idea what they're doing without hurting them (or being willing to hurt them). All the Judo guys were used to this stuff - they knew how to protect themselves, knew when to bail, and Tohei knew that they knew, so he could just do whatever. With Herman, not so much.

If anything, it gives lie to the myth of controlling an attacker without causing injury more than it says anything about Tohei's skill level, IMO.

Best,

Chris


You wouldn't deny this, would you?:)

Best,
Bernd

Demetrio Cereijo
11-30-2013, 05:53 AM
Who is kicking Tohei's control over his opponent? At least one person who does, has admitted that once, during practice, he lost his temper and almost killed his practicing partner after removing his Men. So he judges Tohei's control, while he can't even control himself.
And how about Terry Dobson? He hit and knocked unconscious Tohei, right? I've seen him on film practicing with o sensei and he can barely move, but he was so great that he knocked down Tohei? Great story coming from one of the most disrespectful, liers in aikido. O sensei opened his door to him and that was Dobson's way of saying "thank you". Some warrior's code of honour.
Tohei, o sensei and all the great masters left a huge legacy. But of course, debunking anything from UFOs to martial arts, can truly help people sell a lot of books, so keep up the good work!

Add me to the list of people who thinks Tohei martial skills have been seriously overrated. BTW, I don't sell books.

Lee Salzman
11-30-2013, 08:03 AM
There you're right.
It could happen to anyone. And this is the point that has to be made to hold things in balance. This is just what gives everyone this pinky tiny bit of chance in any real encounter, however much superior and better equipped or trained your enemy/opponent might be.

But you ought to admit that those myths, blown up over decades now, have been prone to invoke the superiority of one art over all the others, depending on who promotes the myths of his art. That a single art is superior to all others surely is, if not nonsense, certainly further from truth than saying that it's mainly the man who gives value to his art (like it's mainly the fight in the dog and not the dog in the fight that decides).

May be, we perceive this a little bit more in the internal arts like aikido and daito-ryu than in the others here in this forum, because this is exactly the forum where we put our attention on aikido and related arts.

And what Chris said

You wouldn't deny this, would you?:)

Best,
Bernd

There is also something to be said for the element of surprise. Aikido is still very alien in mechanics to judo, and definitely at the time just alien to pretty much anyone. If the judoka in question, however skilled, had no chance to watch Tohei beforehand and get a rough idea of the shape/nature of his responses and the level of competency he had with them, especially since Tohei, by contrast, definitely knew the sort of judo they were capable of... then it is not too much of a surprise outcome that they might be overwhelmed. So the question is, if the five judoka had even 10 minutes to watch Tohei do aikido beforehand - assuming they had not the opportunity - and an advantage Herman did have, how would they do?

Mary Eastland
11-30-2013, 08:09 AM
I think he was brave to get involved in the situation at all. Many teachers would not put themselves in that position. Especially while someone else was taking pictures or filming.

Mary Eastland
11-30-2013, 08:19 AM
On another note, I don't see why you would say this was an inept performance. Everyone has times when they don't do as well as they might like. A moment does not define a life's work.

Everyone is fallible. Thank you, goddess, that my worst moments were not caught on tape.

I wonder, sometimes, what Jesus would say about what has been done in his name. You can't help what people say about you once you have passed.

I am not defending Tohei...I don't really care what people think about him...I am interested in what you wrote about him as a reflection on you. Why do you consider that moment embarrassing?

philipsmith
11-30-2013, 09:34 AM
Interesting discussion on all sides.

i remember Chiba Sensei telling me about an encounter between Tohei and a sumitori who "challenged" either Tohei personally or Aikido generally (It was a long time ago and late at night after a few drinks).

He said that Tohei Sensei defeated him but was very brutal - adding that of course there were no cameras present, his opponent was Japanese and Tohei was really pissed off with him.

Maybe Toheis encounter with Herman reflects his PR skills as much as anything else.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-30-2013, 10:02 AM
i remember Chiba Sensei telling me about an encounter between Tohei and a sumitori who "challenged" either Tohei personally or Aikido generally (It was a long time ago and late at night after a few drinks).

He said that Tohei Sensei defeated him but was very brutal - adding that of course there were no cameras present, his opponent was Japanese and Tohei was really pissed off with him..

Chiba told the same story here:

Q:What about Master Koichi Tohei of the Ki Society?

A:Yes, Tohei Sensei is very good. He is small but very powerful. I saw him take a challenge from a wrestler once.

Q:Sumotori or Western style?

A:Western style. Two brothers - Germans I think from Argentina - and they were enormous! They had to bend over to avoid hitting their heads on the gate-post of the Hombu. This was the only time that O'Sensei accepted a challenge for Hombu. These people were travelling the world with a film crew and were challenging different Martial Arts masters. They had been to the Kodokan (Judo HQ), but the Judo men had not been able to handle them. So they challenged the Aikido Hombu. When they arrived I met them and brought them in. Inside the dojo were O'Sensei Kisshomaru Sensei, and Tohei Sensei who was then the Chief Instructor to the Aikido Foundation. O'Sensei nominated Tohei to go first, as he was so strong. So the wrestler crouched in a low posture with his hands out stretched in front of him, and just moved in a circle around Tohei Sensei for a long time. Tohei Sensei was very relaxed and just followed his movement, and eventually cornered him. Just as the wrestler began to move Tohei leapt upon him, threw him to the floor, and bounced his head for him. Tohei Sensei then pinned him down with his hand blade extension, which, as you may have heard, is very powerful. This guy could not move, and his brother declined to try Tohei for himself, so that was that. Apparently at the Kodokan the Judo men advised them not to make a grab for an Aikido Master. That is why he circled Tohei Sensei for so long.

http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/others/chiba.html

I suspect Chiba Sensei was talking about the Rendezvous with Adventure guys. This event happened the same year Chiba Sensei started Aikido (he was 18 years old Aikido noob in 1958) and probably misunderstood Hermann's name with German nationality.... assuming he was really there when this happened.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-30-2013, 10:04 AM
Many teachers would not put themselves in that position. Especially while someone else was taking pictures or filming.
I could even give names.

philipsmith
11-30-2013, 10:48 AM
Chiba told the same story here:

Q:What about Master Koichi Tohei of the Ki Society?

A:Yes, Tohei Sensei is very good. He is small but very powerful. I saw him take a challenge from a wrestler once.

Q:Sumotori or Western style?

A:Western style. Two brothers - Germans I think from Argentina - and they were enormous! They had to bend over to avoid hitting their heads on the gate-post of the Hombu. This was the only time that O'Sensei accepted a challenge for Hombu. These people were travelling the world with a film crew and were challenging different Martial Arts masters. They had been to the Kodokan (Judo HQ), but the Judo men had not been able to handle them. So they challenged the Aikido Hombu. When they arrived I met them and brought them in. Inside the dojo were O'Sensei Kisshomaru Sensei, and Tohei Sensei who was then the Chief Instructor to the Aikido Foundation. O'Sensei nominated Tohei to go first, as he was so strong. So the wrestler crouched in a low posture with his hands out stretched in front of him, and just moved in a circle around Tohei Sensei for a long time. Tohei Sensei was very relaxed and just followed his movement, and eventually cornered him. Just as the wrestler began to move Tohei leapt upon him, threw him to the floor, and bounced his head for him. Tohei Sensei then pinned him down with his hand blade extension, which, as you may have heard, is very powerful. This guy could not move, and his brother declined to try Tohei for himself, so that was that. Apparently at the Kodokan the Judo men advised them not to make a grab for an Aikido Master. That is why he circled Tohei Sensei for so long.

http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/others/chiba.html

I suspect Chiba Sensei was talking about the Rendezvous with Adventure guys. This event happened the same year Chiba Sensei started Aikido (he was 18 years old Aikido noob in 1958) and probably misunderstood Hermann's name with German nationality.... assuming he was really there when this happened.

Hi Demetrio,

no he wasn't. The late night discussion was prompted by my response to the "Rendevous" encounter and was described as a private matter. Sensei was also quite specific about it degenerating into a very physical and ill-natured encounter.
As I said dont underestimate the PR face of the Aikikai (even Chiba Sensei)

Demetrio Cereijo
11-30-2013, 11:13 AM
Of course Aikikai or Chiba Sensei PR should not be underestimated, but sometimes the same event seems to have gone totally different depending on who is telling it.

For instance, now we're talking about Chiba Sensei, one can compare his version of his encounter with Tai Chi master Wang Shu Jin:

O.K. then. I was in a big demonstration of Martial Arts in Tokyo in the early 1960's, and Tai Chi Chuan was being shown by Mr. Wang. He was from Taiwan and he was very big indeed. He became quite famous later in Japan. Well, at the end of his display he had a number of Karateka line up in front of him, and each of them punched him in the belly. It had no effect on him. I was not impressed. I would have done something else (Sensei demonstrated a groin kick and face punch whilst saying this).
So, anyway two of my private students were also studying Tai Chi under Mr. Wang, and they were very impressed with him. They invited me to come along and see him. Eventually I accepted and went to watch his class. At the dojo my students introduced us, and he politely asked me to show some Aikido. Even though his words were warm it was still a challenge! Well, we faced each other, and Master Wang made something like Sumo posture with his hands outstretched. I stood and waited for an opening. This went on for some minutes until he moved forward to push me. So I met him, made Tai Sabaki (body evasion) and took his wrist with Kote Gaeshi, (wrist crush/reversal)...his wrist made a loud snapping noise as I applied it. Even though I applied Kote Gaeshi strongly and injured him, he did not go down. Master Wang snatched his wrist from me, and challenged me immediately. So this time he pushed me with both hands in the belly, and threw me quite a distance across the room. I landed, but I also did not go down. It was an amazing throw. My students then came between us, and that was that.

And Terry Dobson's version:

Wang started teaching in the grounds of Meiji shrine, and somewhere along the line a group of non-Japanese around Donn Draeger started training with him. Draeger learned some pa-kua, Wang would also show some Hsing I, but mostly he taught t'ai chi. Among this group was Terry Dobson, who was a live-in student of Morihei Ueshiba of aikido. Terry's direct senior was Chiba. Wang was doing demos in Japanese martial arts demonstrations and as Ken Cottier put it, "here you'd have all these startched Japanese in their crisp kiekko gi and their crisp snappy movements and then out would come this fat Chinaman in grey flannel slacks and suspenders and he'd start doing impossible slow t'ai chi and he'd turn around and this ass as big as the moon would waft across the stage and then he'd challenge all comers to have a go at him and the young karate boys would be rabid and he'd let them punch his stomach or kick him in the groin and he'd just laugh it off but heaven help you if you tried to punch his head. He made it clear that that was out of bounds, and if you broke the rules, then he'd become, shall we
say, active."

Terry stated to me, (I'm quoting as best as I can remember) "the uchi-deshi at honbu, particularly Chiba, started giving me a raft of **** that I was being disloyal to O-sensei by studying with Wang, and I asked O-sensei, and he said, 'sure, do what you want' but they wouldn't let up so I said, "why don't you come and check him out for yourself." So Draeger and me took Chiba, Saotome and Tamura. Well, we walked in, and Wang scopes out Chiba right away, like he knows who has the attitude here, takes one look, and says, 'come here boy.' Seriously, Wang's over sixty, paid lots of dues, is a religious leader and all, and here comes these punks, as far as he's concerned, in their twenties, copping an attitude. So Wang lets Chiba punch him in the stomach. Nothing. Chiba tries again. Nothing. Well, now Chiba loses his temper, half turns away, and then tries to sucker punch him, thinking it's timing. This time Wang sucks the fist into his belly and then drops, he gives it back, Chiba's arm goes shooting back behind his ear, and he's shaking his wrist in pain. Wang then let Chiba kick him in the groin. Nothing. So Chiba loses it, grabs Wang's wrist and puts a nikkyo or kote-gaeshi on it, some wrist lock. I don't know what Wang did, it was too fast, but Chiba slams on the floor and Wang's doing something to him with one hand and he's screaming in pain. Finally Wang lets him up and
says, "You've got a little chi, why don't you come back when you acquire more?" Then he turns to Tamura and Saotome, who were standing there with their backs against the wall, and says, "you want to try." They both shake their heads and we all went home. They never gave me **** about Wang again. . . . Far as I'm concerned, Chiba lost his chance at salvation right there. He should have quit everything and sat at Wang's feet.

Which one is the accurate one?

ryback
11-30-2013, 11:29 AM
There you're right.
It could happen to anyone. And this is the point that has to be made to hold things in balance. This is just what gives everyone this pinky tiny bit of chance in any real encounter, however much superior and better equipped or trained your enemy/opponent might be.

But you ought to admit that those myths, blown up over decades now, have been prone to invoke the superiority of one art over all the others, depending on who promotes the myths of his art. That a single art is superior to all others surely is, if not nonsense, certainly further from truth than saying that it's mainly the man who gives value to his art (like it's mainly the fight in the dog and not the dog in the fight that decides).

May be, we perceive this a little bit more in the internal arts like aikido and daito-ryu than in the others here in this forum, because this is exactly the forum where we put our attention on aikido and related arts.

And what Chris said

You wouldn't deny this, would you?:)

Best,
Bernd

I agree of course and to be honest I think that only under very specific circumstances an aikidoist can defend himself without harming his attacker. I know that in a real fight, I would harm my opponent and it is naive to believe otherwise, because in real fighting situation you don't have the luxury of choice.
Maybe, just maybe there are great masters out there who can win every fighting scenario without causing any damage, I really don't know because I don't have that ability so I can talk neither for, nor against that potential...

Alister Gillies
12-01-2013, 06:15 AM
I think that we need to bear in mind that arguing from a particular case to a general statement of truth is not a reliable form of reasoning, and leads more often than not to a false premise: that Tohei was not as great as he is often made out to be is a case in point. But I don't think that Ellis is very confident about saying this, as he points out in an after-word to the essay:

"To date, I have published everything, either research or speculation, with considerable confidence in my conclusions. I certainly have had a number of people disagree with some of my assertions, but I've always stood on what I feel is very solid ground. Not so in this essay. I wrote it, however, provoked by what has seemed to be unfounded confidence on the other side. On the one hand, Tohei Koichi is superhumanly powerful, fighting five champion judoka, and on the other, an embarrassingly inept performance."

We all know the joke about Pedro the carpenter and the donkey :) It is a form of discourse beloved of journalists and relies upon existing distorted views to sell copy. I am not sure what Ellis hoped to achieve by writing this, apart from making clear his ambivalence about Tohei. On the one hand Ellis went to the trouble of getting and verifying accounts of Tohei that attest to his talent, but on the other he places undue emphasis on a single piece of film that shows Tohei in a less than glowing light.

There is a lack of balance in this essay. The evidence presented is more for than against Tohei. In terms of rebutting the "unfounded confidence on the other side", it doesn't actually do this. This really is an essay about Ellis' own ambivalence towards Tohei, and does not have the vigour of conviction either in its argument or in its tentative conclusions.

Cady Goldfield
12-01-2013, 08:39 AM
Demetrio,
Accurate, shmaccurate. Dobson's version is the one that makes me laugh till my sides hurt. So, that's the one I believe...

Of course Aikikai or Chiba Sensei PR should not be underestimated, but sometimes the same event seems to have gone totally different depending on who is telling it.

For instance, now we're talking about Chiba Sensei, one can compare his version of his encounter with Tai Chi master Wang Shu Jin:

O.K. then. I was in a big demonstration of Martial Arts in Tokyo in the early 1960's, and Tai Chi Chuan was being shown by Mr. Wang. He was from Taiwan and he was very big indeed. He became quite famous later in Japan. Well, at the end of his display he had a number of Karateka line up in front of him, and each of them punched him in the belly. It had no effect on him. I was not impressed. I would have done something else (Sensei demonstrated a groin kick and face punch whilst saying this).
So, anyway two of my private students were also studying Tai Chi under Mr. Wang, and they were very impressed with him. They invited me to come along and see him. Eventually I accepted and went to watch his class. At the dojo my students introduced us, and he politely asked me to show some Aikido. Even though his words were warm it was still a challenge! Well, we faced each other, and Master Wang made something like Sumo posture with his hands outstretched. I stood and waited for an opening. This went on for some minutes until he moved forward to push me. So I met him, made Tai Sabaki (body evasion) and took his wrist with Kote Gaeshi, (wrist crush/reversal)...his wrist made a loud snapping noise as I applied it. Even though I applied Kote Gaeshi strongly and injured him, he did not go down. Master Wang snatched his wrist from me, and challenged me immediately. So this time he pushed me with both hands in the belly, and threw me quite a distance across the room. I landed, but I also did not go down. It was an amazing throw. My students then came between us, and that was that.

And Terry Dobson's version:

Wang started teaching in the grounds of Meiji shrine, and somewhere along the line a group of non-Japanese around Donn Draeger started training with him. Draeger learned some pa-kua, Wang would also show some Hsing I, but mostly he taught t'ai chi. Among this group was Terry Dobson, who was a live-in student of Morihei Ueshiba of aikido. Terry's direct senior was Chiba. Wang was doing demos in Japanese martial arts demonstrations and as Ken Cottier put it, "here you'd have all these startched Japanese in their crisp kiekko gi and their crisp snappy movements and then out would come this fat Chinaman in grey flannel slacks and suspenders and he'd start doing impossible slow t'ai chi and he'd turn around and this ass as big as the moon would waft across the stage and then he'd challenge all comers to have a go at him and the young karate boys would be rabid and he'd let them punch his stomach or kick him in the groin and he'd just laugh it off but heaven help you if you tried to punch his head. He made it clear that that was out of bounds, and if you broke the rules, then he'd become, shall we
say, active."

Terry stated to me, (I'm quoting as best as I can remember) "the uchi-deshi at honbu, particularly Chiba, started giving me a raft of **** that I was being disloyal to O-sensei by studying with Wang, and I asked O-sensei, and he said, 'sure, do what you want' but they wouldn't let up so I said, "why don't you come and check him out for yourself." So Draeger and me took Chiba, Saotome and Tamura. Well, we walked in, and Wang scopes out Chiba right away, like he knows who has the attitude here, takes one look, and says, 'come here boy.' Seriously, Wang's over sixty, paid lots of dues, is a religious leader and all, and here comes these punks, as far as he's concerned, in their twenties, copping an attitude. So Wang lets Chiba punch him in the stomach. Nothing. Chiba tries again. Nothing. Well, now Chiba loses his temper, half turns away, and then tries to sucker punch him, thinking it's timing. This time Wang sucks the fist into his belly and then drops, he gives it back, Chiba's arm goes shooting back behind his ear, and he's shaking his wrist in pain. Wang then let Chiba kick him in the groin. Nothing. So Chiba loses it, grabs Wang's wrist and puts a nikkyo or kote-gaeshi on it, some wrist lock. I don't know what Wang did, it was too fast, but Chiba slams on the floor and Wang's doing something to him with one hand and he's screaming in pain. Finally Wang lets him up and
says, "You've got a little chi, why don't you come back when you acquire more?" Then he turns to Tamura and Saotome, who were standing there with their backs against the wall, and says, "you want to try." They both shake their heads and we all went home. They never gave me **** about Wang again. . . . Far as I'm concerned, Chiba lost his chance at salvation right there. He should have quit everything and sat at Wang's feet.

Which one is the accurate one?

RonRagusa
12-01-2013, 10:01 AM
I agree of course and to be honest I think that only under very specific circumstances an aikidoist can defend himself without harming his attacker. I know that in a real fight, I would harm my opponent and it is naive to believe otherwise, because in real fighting situation you don't have the luxury of choice.
Maybe, just maybe there are great masters out there who can win every fighting scenario without causing any damage, I really don't know because I don't have that ability so I can talk neither for, nor against that potential...

Even if the goal of prevailing in a conflict without harming the attacker will prove to be out of reach for the vast majority of us it is, nevertheless, a worthy goal to strive for in our training. The precept of least possible harm forces us to look at our practice in ways that we otherwise may overlook; quite possibly to our detriment from a developmental standpoint.

Ron

Ellis Amdur
12-01-2013, 10:13 AM
I think that we need to bear in mind that arguing from a particular case to a general statement of truth is not a reliable form of reasoning, and leads more often than not to a false premise: that Tohei was not as great as he is often made out to be is a case in point. But I don't think that Ellis is very confident about saying this, as he points out in an after-word to the essay:
There is a lack of balance in this essay. The evidence presented is more for than against Tohei. In terms of rebutting the "unfounded confidence on the other side", it doesn't actually do this. This really is an essay about Ellis' own ambivalence towards Tohei, and does not have the vigour of conviction either in its argument or in its tentative conclusions.

Allister - Not exactly. My first task was to find out, as best I could, what happened in San Jose. I'm satisfied, particularly with the account from Roy Suenaka, that I have gotten much closer to the truth.
"[The demonstration observers] took part in the demonstration and, naturally, they resisted, they tried to really, really overthrow [Tohei Sensei], and they couldn't do it; he threw those guys around like nothing. Tohei Sensei was a bear. He was about five-feet three-inches tall, and at that time probably weighed about 180 pounds, so he was a bear-a big, little man- extremely powerful, and these guys could not hold him down. Even… Oki Shikina… he was thrown around, and said, 'My, this guy is phenomenal.' His demonstration was very impressive. But, at the same time, everyone who stepped onto the mat with him was very respectful of who he was, and why he was there. They tried hard to throw him, but they didn't come at him full-force, as in a street-fighting situation. It was a very controlled situation."

I'm absolutely clear for myself that Tohei was not "as great as he is often made out to be." He was great in one area - but not in another. Where I am tentative is why - my surmised is that it was a lack of skill at aikido technique based on the statements of two of his younger associates and my counting up of his hours of actual training. That's where I'm tentative - the why. I know of a two accounts where Tohei avoided fights or crossing-hands with top-level people - confrontations that he, in a sense, engendered by public claims of his invincibility. I also note, as I describe in my memories of Kuroiwa sensei of his own experience, that Tohei was happy to put a "hit" out on him, but not deal with him face-to-face.

The Terry Dobson's story? It's just funny - it wasn't a cheap shot on Terry's part- he did what he was told, and Tohei, mind elsewhere, wasn't ready. "hit me shomen -uchi" - and he did.

I think I was quite fair in trying to figure out something that has a larger issue - that training internal power is not, alone, a panacea as martial artists. This is relevant because some, in our small renaissance of training in this area, are doing just that. If one wants to be effective as a martial artist, one needs a delivery system - and Tohei, evidently, was incomplete in this area - something he more or less stated himself. (in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest).

All I am tentative about is the indisputable fact of Herman. Why? I watch boxers "have a bad day" - this is a fractional difference of timing, or stepping in when they should have circled. This was far beyond that - and is jarring in light of the Aikikai's use of him defeating five judo "champions" simultanously, a story that had to come from Tohei himself.

And BTW, as for someone tearing things down--let's start with this. A brag that one can defeat five big champion judoka at once is quite an "assault" on judo. Regarding another essay, a statement that Shioda learned real aiki from Horikawa rather than his own teacher of eight years of direct instruction, is an assault on that relationship (my essay leading, now, to a far more nuanced idea that he may - just may - have received a nudge through a single contact that enabled him to put some pieces together - and we aren't even sure of that). The latter leads to a fruitful discussion on how important paying attention to the smallest thing one is taught - that we, too, might pick up something that can change - radically our own practice (like Sunadomari sensei radically changing his aikido after hearing O-sensei make a single sentence about the purpose of aikido technique as getting out the sediment of the joints, where others, at the same training, heard nothing important). And in regards the Tohei story, perhaps it may lead some of us to not "throw out the baby with the bathwater" - in other words, that whatever IS we may train, if we love martial arts, we maintain training in technique as well, in some way, on some level. I may tear down myths, but I hope I build up - - - - us.

Ellis Amdur

Chris Li
12-01-2013, 10:51 AM
I think I was quite fair in trying to figure out something that has a larger issue - that training internal power is not, alone, a panacea as martial artists. This is relevant because some, in our small renaissance of training in this area, are doing just that. If one wants to be effective as a martial artist, one needs a delivery system - and Tohei, evidently, was incomplete in this area - something he more or less stated himself. (in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest).

Is that really an issue at all for most people - is anybody really disputing the truth of that? I haven't seen anyone really advocating for internal power alone with no delivery system, except for some folks (for example, those interested in the health effects) that aren't interested in delivery systems at all.

Best,

Chris

Demetrio Cereijo
12-01-2013, 11:25 AM
I haven't seen anyone really advocating for internal power alone with no delivery system, except for some folks (for example, those interested in the health effects) that aren't interested in delivery systems at all.

Chris, please.

Chris Li
12-01-2013, 11:33 AM
Chris, please.

I'm not sure that I get your point - can you show me an example?

People should keep in mind that most of the discussions on Aikiweb are between people who already have a delivery system. It just isn't working very well for many of them.

Best,

Chris

Demetrio Cereijo
12-01-2013, 11:42 AM
Contemporary aikido as a delivery system?... fine then, I can live with that.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-01-2013, 11:53 AM
And BTW, as for someone tearing things down--let's start with this. A brag that one can defeat five big champion judoka at once is quite an "assault" on judo.

On American Judo, I'd say.

Tohei (or the Aikikai) wisely chose not to try that in Europe. People like Mochizuki Minoru, Abe Tadashi or Abbe Kenshiro were more appropiate to deal with european judoka, and lets not forget what Mochizuki told Ueshiba after his european adventure.

Lee Salzman
12-01-2013, 11:54 AM
I'm absolutely clear for myself that Tohei was not "as great as he is often made out to be." He was great in one area - but not in another. Where I am tentative is why - my surmised is that it was a lack of skill at aikido technique based on the statements of two of his younger associates and my counting up of his hours of actual training. That's where I'm tentative - the why. I know of a two accounts where Tohei avoided fights or crossing-hands with top-level people - confrontations that he, in a sense, engendered by public claims of his invincibility. I also note, as I describe in my memories of Kuroiwa sensei of his own experience, that Tohei was happy to put a "hit" out on him, but not deal with him face-to-face.

The Terry Dobson's story? It's just funny - it wasn't a cheap shot on Terry's part- he did what he was told, and Tohei, mind elsewhere, wasn't ready. "hit me shomen -uchi" - and he did.

I think I was quite fair in trying to figure out something that has a larger issue - that training internal power is not, alone, a panacea as martial artists. This is relevant because some, in our small renaissance of training in this area, are doing just that. If one wants to be effective as a martial artist, one needs a delivery system - and Tohei, evidently, was incomplete in this area - something he more or less stated himself. (in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest).

All I am tentative about is the indisputable fact of Herman. Why? I watch boxers "have a bad day" - this is a fractional difference of timing, or stepping in when they should have circled. This was far beyond that - and is jarring in light of the Aikikai's use of him defeating five judo "champions" simultanously, a story that had to come from Tohei himself.

And BTW, as for someone tearing things down--let's start with this. A brag that one can defeat five big champion judoka at once is quite an "assault" on judo. Regarding another essay, a statement that Shioda learned real aiki from Horikawa rather than his own teacher of eight years of direct instruction, is an assault on that relationship (my essay leading, now, to a far more nuanced idea that he may - just may - have received a nudge through a single contact that enabled him to put some pieces together - and we aren't even sure of that). The latter leads to a fruitful discussion on how important paying attention to the smallest thing one is taught - that we, too, might pick up something that can change - radically our own practice (like Sunadomari sensei radically changing his aikido after hearing O-sensei make a single sentence about the purpose of aikido technique as getting out the sediment of the joints, where others, at the same training, heard nothing important). And in regards the Tohei story, perhaps it may lead some of us to not "throw out the baby with the bathwater" - in other words, that whatever IS we may train, if we love martial arts, we maintain training in technique as well, in some way, on some level. I may tear down myths, but I hope I build up - - - - us.

Ellis Amdur

That's building quite the straw man. Can you simultaneously cite Tohei "in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest", especially as Tohei also claims that he learned his IP regimen from sources other than Morihei Ueshiba in the first place, yet use this to somehow disprove others claiming that there are sources closer to home of esoteric technical skills and that these are vitally important beyond what Tohei taught?

That said, I would like to echo Chris Li, I don't know who is saying the delivery system doesn't matter. It would be more correct to say the delivery system doesn't matter if there is nothing to deliver in the first place, and as most of us are at no loss for delivery systems, what issue needs to be presented to the community more? Hey, I do both IP/aiki and judo, I'd be the first one to admit I'd be absolutely defenseless against my training partners if I didn't have competency in judo, but they're already teaching me the judo, but certainly not that other thing...

Kevin Leavitt
12-01-2013, 11:58 AM
I'm not sure that I get your point - can you show me an example?

People should keep in mind that most of the discussions on Aikiweb are between people who already have a delivery system. It just isn't working very well for many of them.

Best,

Chris

I think a big part of the argument is that Aikido as a deliver system is a big part of the problem. I personally feel that over arching it is a confused delivery system that doesn't necessarily know what it wants to deliver.

I am contemplating writing a essay on the "the myth of the narrative". i.e...people like stories with happy endings and they like stories of hope. I personally feel that what attracts many to aikido is wrapped up in the promise of the narrative of aikido and what it will deliver.

My concern with the whole IS/IT thing was not the validity of the training, but the relative value of it and the expense of other things martially for myself. I have opted to spend "some time" on IS/IT training as an isolated practice but most of my time on the basics of a good solid deliver system.

I suspect as I get older, that this will shift some. However, I hope to find mentors in this area that talk from experience and can crosswalk from foundational skills of a solid "deliver system" to IS/IT skills and how you balance all this. I think though that is will be a integrative practice and not a separate one.

However, I don't think you will get there without a solid deliver system that delivers what it is supposed to deliver, has an immediate feedback loop built into it, and can be measured fairly objectively.

Kevin Leavitt
12-01-2013, 12:14 PM
In October 2004, I experienced dissonance in a most unexpected manner when I encountered an Army Combatives Instructor and a few students. After spending 15 years in Martial Arts, and 10 years in Aikido, I donned the Spear Suits and proceeded to have my ass handed to me over and over again for the next few hours by Soldiers that had only been training for less than 6 months in Army Combatives.

I learned that I could not fight really and that I had always thought I could fight since I had entered Toughman contest back in the day, done lots of point sparring in TKD, and Karate Tournaments. Faced with an opponent determined to really hurt me, I found that I was lacking.

What I found out was my delivery system had not prepared me for this kinda situation. We implemented weapons and everything....I had no answers really.

So, I had to look hard at what I was doing, reassess, and adapt my training to allow me to train in a manner that provided proper feedback for fighting.

It did not mean that my Aikido training was a waste of time, quite the contrary, there was much I learned that gave me an advantage to learn at a very rapid rate once I adopted a new delivery system. Frankly, there is a lot that I did in AIkido that was very, very good and tactically sound...it was just not delivered in a way that addressed the alive dynamics or elements of fighting.

So, today, I have developed my own delivery system that apportions my time in various ways. I feel today, more so than 10 years ago, I can articulate and demonstrate across a much wider spectrum of conflict and fighting how various things work and don't work. I can better assess, I think, what is worth spending my time on and what is not worth spending my time on.

For me, the delivery system makes all the difference in the world. If it does not deliver what it is supposed to deliver, then you are going to get incorrect feedback and confirm the wrong things. When presented with things that are contrary to what your "confirmed belief system", then you will experience dissonance.

Dissonance is most upsetting as at first, we don't know what to do with it since it has tore down our beliefs and we don't have an adequate adaptive delivery system.

I think this is further complicated, when we have a Narrative that is so strong that what we experience is counter to that narrative.

Chris Li
12-01-2013, 12:32 PM
I think a big part of the argument is that Aikido as a deliver system is a big part of the problem. I personally feel that over arching it is a confused delivery system that doesn't necessarily know what it wants to deliver.

That's an argument with the purpose of the delivery system, IMO, and not with the IP-delivery system combination that I'm talking about.

Frankly, any delivery system is just fine, if it takes you where you want to go - but that won't be the same place for many people.

Kyudo, for example, works just fine as a delivery system for IP skills, and many people are quite happy training in it for their entire lives. OTOH, most people would find that delivery system useless in real-life practical applications and are happy to admit it.

Best,

Chris

Ellis Amdur
12-01-2013, 12:35 PM
Chris - I've had conversations about this with several teachers, in regards to their own students. One described how his student abandoned, for the most part, training in the fighting techniques of his school, and after several years, was much harder to throw, but his weapons training had gone backwards, as had his taijutsu. This discussion has always been rife - push hands is not a fighting technique, it's actually a way to hone IS/IT in motion. And some CMA teachers express the same concern - that students assume from solo training and push hands (or 'push tests') alone, that they are able to engage in combat. I know of a number of people who have stopped training in their martial art - and certainly not doing cross-training for testing - focusing solely on IS/IT, and asserting that they are more 'fighting fit.'

Demetrio - I believe that 'contemporary aikido' - which technically does not really appear that different pre-war - is lacking without IS/IT for most people. There are the top-level guys - Nishio sensei, for example or ....oh heck, take your pick - who used aikido as their primary delivery system, and were or are clearly formidable without IS/IT (my take on Nishio sensei is that he clearly saw and experienced what O-sensei was doing, got no instruction whatsoever, and rather than trusting to osmosis, went wherever he could and tried to replicate the effect without IS/IT). My perspective, frequently stated in print and in person is that aikido technique is the delivery system of IS/IT, and without the latter, it is problematic in a number of levels. OTOH, a friend of mine recently went on a dojo tour and had a wonderful time at three different dojos, and then went to a fourth for what was stated was an aikido class, but he grumpily returned to my house saying that all they did for the entire class was push-tests and talk.

Lee - That's building quite the straw man. Can you simultaneously cite Tohei "in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest", especially as Tohei also claims that he learned his IP regimen from sources other than Morihei Ueshiba in the first place, yet use this to somehow disprove others claiming that there are sources closer to home of esoteric technical skills and that these are vitally important beyond what Tohei taught?
That said, I would like to echo Chris Li, I don't know who is saying the delivery system doesn't matter. It would be more correct to say the delivery system doesn't matter if there is nothing to deliver in the first place, and as most of us are at no loss for delivery systems, what issue needs to be presented to the community more? Hey, I do both IP/aiki and judo, I'd be the first one to admit I'd be absolutely defenseless against my training partners if I didn't have competency in judo, but they're already teaching me the judo, but certainly not that other thing...

I can't believe that you think your statement applies to me. I wrote HIPS, remember? You somehow are now reading that I am criticizing IS/IP training? There is not one statement anywhere that I've written where I "use this to somehow disprove others claiming that there are sources closer to home of esoteric technical skills and that these are vitally important beyond what Tohei taught?"
I train IS/IP every day, and it has transformed my Araki-ryu and Toda-ha Buko-ryu. (as soon as I finishing writing this, I'm going out to my dojo to do just that). The techniques, which largely look exactly like they did before, are the delivery system. it's like I put a turbo-engine into an old Packard (now if I can change out the 'body' to something more connected that doesn't squeak so much on sudden turns, I'd be getting somewhere). And Tohei is not a "straw man," he's an example - of something that has been discussed in martial arts circles for ages- and now I hear it again from various teachers, vis a vis students. I covered the positive side of IS/IT HERE (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22175&highlight=Amdur) - with full respect to aikido and/or other martial systems. C'mon, too much high dudgeon. I get this too much --I write something and people say, "This doesn't apply to me," but respond as if I criticized them personally. OTOH, maybe that's a testament to good writing ;) I speak to you even when I'm not speaking to you. :)

Kevin - yes. I agree.

Ellis Amdur

Alister Gillies
12-01-2013, 02:12 PM
Ellis, If I am sure of anything it is that no one is as great as they say - except perhaps Mohamed Ali - and no one is ever as great as others claim either. The truth is usually more prosaic and lodged in between the rocks. As far as aiki is concerned, I am inclined to feel (my gut feeling) that, if Sokaku Takeda is to be believed, that he did not show it openly because it was easy. After all, if something is so difficult, then it would not need to be hidden in the first place. It would, by definition, be inaccessible to most people. In my experience the single thing that holds most people back in aikido is their inability to get out of their own way. Why should aiki be any different. BTW I still think you have a sneaky liking for Tohei:) .

Kevin Leavitt
12-01-2013, 02:29 PM
That's an argument with the purpose of the delivery system, IMO, and not with the IP-delivery system combination that I'm talking about.

Frankly, any delivery system is just fine, if it takes you where you want to go - but that won't be the same place for many people.

Kyudo, for example, works just fine as a delivery system for IP skills, and many people are quite happy training in it for their entire lives. OTOH, most people would find that delivery system useless in real-life practical applications and are happy to admit it.

Best,

Chris

I agree....if it takes you to where you want to go. My position or thesis is that Aikido as a delivery system is a confused one. That is, it purports to be a marital art, to deliver martial skill, yet, in many experiences it fails to do that. Okay, some may offer a counter argument that it is NOT about martial skill, but a delivery mechanism for IS/IT skills, I get that, but a survey of the masses would most likely say it is a martial art.

Kyudo I think is a better example, as it is a concentrated practice and provides the person immediate feedback in the form of arrows hitting a target.

Judo is a good system as it also provides feedback.

In both these cases, IP/IT practice complement or are contributory. In the case of Aikido, I am not so sure it does this. I believe it is a confused delivery system for most. Aikido seems to be a concentrated practice to transmit IP/IT skills as a primary practice whereas, Judo and Kyudo it is a secondary or supporting practice. You have an environment which offers you an "honest" measure of your training.

One might offer as a counter that the various "Ki test" such as push hands, pushing on Jo staffs, etc offer an honest measure of training. I say no. IMO those things are fine for creating a feedback environment to improve your IS/IT skills, but it is a carefully controlled feedback process and does not equate to an highly adaptive or constantly changing condition environment that something like Kyudo or Judo would represent. You must be able to make use of your training in an alive situation of some sort.

I think in order to claim success, the ultimate delivery system must be integrative. it must allow you to do something else. Maybe lifting boxes at work, shooting arrows, throwing in a tournament, olympic weightlifting etc.

However, when you take a integrative perspective, the algebra changes. IS/IT skills take a level of priority. That is, "How much time or effort do I spend on this stuff?" What are the gains and how does it ultimately cause me to be better at "X"?

Chris, I suspect we are saying the same thing maybe? I don't support though that ANY delivery system will do. I think there are MANY that do, but there are some that do not contribute much as the practice becomes to diluted or unfocused to really result in any integration into "real life".

I think this is true of many practices such as Aikido and Tai Chi.

Kevin Leavitt
12-01-2013, 02:47 PM
Here is a little vignette. I was at a IS/IT seminar of a well respected guy in the business...one of the "big five" back about 6 years ago when alot of this stuff was being heatedly discussed on Aikiweb.

I ran into this guy at the seminar that I knew from the forums and threads on a few sites and he came up and introduced himself to me. He didn't waste anytime and got right to the point. Said that he'd followed my post and discussions over the years, which is always scary for me cause I wonder about what I write sometimes! lol! He asked me what I thought about this IS/IT stuff and really what he was after was trying to determine how much time I thought it was worth investing in IS/IT training.

I told him that I was really impressed with what was being taught at the seminar and I definitely could see some value in it. The hard part for me was integrating it in my training.

What he was really driving at though was trying to affirm his own practice and priorities. So I asked him point blank what he was doing and what did he want as a desired end state.

He said something like "well i want to be somewhat martially effective in the end". I asked him what his primary martial practice was. He said he had none. That his IS/IT coach had told him that it was a waste of time to study a martial system until he'd mastered the IS/IT stuff and in the long run he'd save himself a lot of time and frustration.

At that point, I was kinda at a loss for words as I had no idea how to respond immediately. But, I asked him what he generally thought of me, and if he though I might be able to handle myself martially. He responded that yes, he figured that I was probably good to go in that area.

So, I then asked him if he thought i'd wasted the last 10 years of my life studying what I'd studied without the knowledge of IS/IT, and if I never studied it at all would I still be martially effective 10 years from now?

So I concluded with him "So which one of us is wasting time?" you or me?

There really was no answer to that question other than, I was comfortable with my abilities martially and he decidedly was not. IMO, he was confused as to what he was doing and why.

It had nothing to do with the validity of what was being taught at that seminar as it was some of the best training I had ever received. In the end though, it is all about relative value and priorities and knowing where to spend your time to reach what end state.

Carl Thompson
12-01-2013, 04:00 PM
I think I was quite fair in trying to figure out something that has a larger issue - that training internal power is not, alone, a panacea as martial artists. This is relevant because some, in our small renaissance of training in this area, are doing just that. If one wants to be effective as a martial artist, one needs a delivery system - and Tohei, evidently, was incomplete in this area - something he more or less stated himself. (in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest).

I think this really needed to be said. Ifve only ever trained one evening with a gvettedh IP teacher but I came away with the impression that the focus of the training was on developing graw kokyuh while training the method of deployment was something that comes later and is more personal to the student. This fits in with the gwater being poured into a bottleh and "IP vs. technique" image I get from posts on this forum regarding IP.


Frankly, any delivery system is just fine, if it takes you where you want to go - but that won't be the same place for many people.

Kyudo, for example, works just fine as a delivery system for IP skills, and many people are quite happy training in it for their entire lives. OTOH, most people would find that delivery system useless in real-life practical applications and are happy to admit it.


Is that place aikido if the delivery system is kyudo?

Carl

Chris Li
12-01-2013, 04:47 PM
Is that place aikido if the delivery system is kyudo?

Carl

Well...no...but I'm not sure what your point is...

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
12-01-2013, 04:53 PM
Chris - I've had conversations about this with several teachers, in regards to their own students. One described how his student abandoned, for the most part, training in the fighting techniques of his school, and after several years, was much harder to throw, but his weapons training had gone backwards, as had his taijutsu. This discussion has always been rife - push hands is not a fighting technique, it's actually a way to hone IS/IT in motion. And some CMA teachers express the same concern - that students assume from solo training and push hands (or 'push tests') alone, that they are able to engage in combat. I know of a number of people who have stopped training in their martial art - and certainly not doing cross-training for testing - focusing solely on IS/IT, and asserting that they are more 'fighting fit.'

Well of course, there are always examples around of students with delusions of some degree or another, internals are hardly immune to that - but if you ask me it's not a major conundrum for most of the folks that I run into.

Best,

Chris

Demetrio Cereijo
12-01-2013, 06:26 PM
Demetrio - I believe that 'contemporary aikido' - which technically does not really appear that different pre-war - is lacking without IS/IT for most people.
And I believe that only with insane amounts of IS/IT prewar aikido was something... and no amount of IP/IS is going to make budoka from dancers. No disrespect for real dancers intended. And yes, technically pre and post war aikido look almost the same, but the practitioners mindset is different: young guys at militaristic imperial Japan are not post 60's counterculture western petty bourgeoises fascinated by the exotic East. This makes great difference.

There are the top-level guys - Nishio sensei, for example or ....oh heck, take your pick - who used aikido as their primary delivery system, and were or are clearly formidable without IS/IT

There will be always exceptions to the rule, outliers who probably would have feen formidable even if they had only practised knitting. Interestingly, your example -Nishio Sensei- had a serious background in other arts, he had a delivery system (in the sense Kevin and I understand the term) he could build on. Kuroiwa Sensei also comes to mind as another example.

Carl Thompson
12-02-2013, 02:24 AM
Well...no...but I'm not sure what your point is...

Best,

Chris

No special point. I'm think we're on similar pages. You once wrote:

Hi Jun,

I certainly appreciate all of your efforts to keep things peaceful.

However, you must appreciate that many Aikido folks, many of them in your own organization, are of the opinion that this Internal Training is the core of their Aikido training - that it is Aikido - and that it was practiced and taught by Morihei Ueshiba.

You may not agree with that, and that's fine, but by creating a ghetto for all discussion on that topic you are also taking a public stance that you categorically disagree with those opinions. Is that your real intent?

Perhaps we (as in the Aikikai "we") could have a seperate "Ki in Aikido" forum so that we can seperate out all those troublesome Ki Society folks and keep the discussion focused on "real" Aikido.

I just wanted more info on what you think aikido is. We may actually share similar opinions. The devil is in the details though. Osensei had one purpose (and ideally, purpose should dictate form), other arts have other aims (literally in the case of kyudo).

Best regards

Carl

Bernd Lehnen
12-02-2013, 05:07 AM
And I believe that only with insane amounts of IS/IT prewar aikido was something... and no amount of IP/IS is going to make budoka from dancers. No disrespect for real dancers intended. And yes, technically pre and post war aikido look almost the same, but the practitioners mindset is different: young guys at militaristic imperial Japan are not post 60's counterculture western petty bourgeoises fascinated by the exotic East. This makes great difference.



On this website, if you click on Q&A, scrolling down, you will find a comparison game of Paul Wollos: daito-ryu aikijujutsu versus aikido.

極傳武塾 - 大東流合氣武術研究會台灣道場
http://www.daitoryu-taiwan.com/buyokan-old/Q&A.htm
If, by and large, one equates the described daito-ryu aikijujutsu with prewar aikido and the described aikido with contemporary aikido, things may take on some additional colour.

Best,
Bernd

Demetrio Cereijo
12-02-2013, 06:41 AM
On this website, if you click on Q&A, scrolling down, you will find a comparison game of Paul Wollos: daito-ryu aikijujutsu versus aikido.
Lots of debatable statements there.

Regards.

Kevin Leavitt
12-02-2013, 07:17 AM
Two things stand out to me that I think are worth debate with respect to the website Bernd posted:

Aiki is the goal of Daitoryu research – a technique how to prevent the opponent from using power at the moment of contact. It is the study very similar to Internal Force development. Before one learns more about Aiki, one relies on momentum, leverage, etc

AND

Techniques are learned with emphasis on details and precision.

This is just my opinion, but my philosophy on a proper delivery system requires that the system deliver some degree of martial proficiency. That is, the goal of the system is to martially effect something given a set of conditions.

A completely different paradigm than what is offered here with the goal being to learn aiki. Aiki is a means to the end...not the end state itself. This is what baffles me about why people would spend so much time learning a bunch of useless techniques if they never looked at effect as the primary consideration for study!

This mindset, of course, informs the second quote above: Techniques are learned with emphasis on details and precision.

To me this translates to techniques are the path to aiki. How is this ANY different than what the aikido model would represent? There is virtually no distinction in his comparison between what he proposes is Koryu and Gendai forms of the same system!

I thought Koryu systems were all about martial effect. That is, how to be proficient in fighting giving a set of conditions. The systems of study were developed to defeat people on a field of battle. I don't think centuries ago they were confused about that. IMO, this website has revised that drastically, which significantly affects the outcome of training.

For me, techniques are taught solely to gain efficiency or effect. If you approach training in this manner, you still care about detail and precision, but it takes on a whole new meaning when your prime directive REQUIRES you to be evaluated on application in conditions that approach reality in some degree. In actuality what is observed during kata or technique training may not appear to be any different from one paradigm to the next, but the SYNTHESIS of actual application in a non-cooperative environment might differ significantly since the training end states are different.

As I read through the comparison provided, I fail to see any real difference between what he purports to be DRAJJ and Aikido. Again, I anticipated the differences would have been end states. That is, DRAJJ focused on martial efficiency as an endstate and sought to preserve the old methods of training (Koryu), and Aikido focused solely on the development of character, person, and aiki on a more philosophical bend. However, it seems to be no real distinct difference IMO.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-02-2013, 08:36 AM
I thought Koryu systems were all about martial effect. That is, how to be proficient in fighting giving a set of conditions. The systems of study were developed to defeat people on a field of battle. I don't think centuries ago they were confused about that. IMO, this website has revised that drastically, which significantly affects the outcome of training.

Hi Kevin,

You have to consider the effects of peaceful Edo era in the evolution of Koryu bujutsu training and in the warrior class itself.

I'd suggest you to read 'Some Thoughts on the Emergence and ‘Aesthetic Asceticism’ of Ryūha-bugei' by Alexander Bennet (Butoku Kiyoo # 26, pg.59. Kojushikan University) and 'The Intangible Warrior Culture of Japan: Bodily Practices, Mental Attitudes, and Values of the Two-sworded men from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-first Centuries' by Anatoliy Anshin (PhD dissertation. UNSW 2009).

Chris Li
12-02-2013, 09:15 AM
I just wanted more info on what you think aikido is. We may actually share similar opinions. The devil is in the details though. Osensei had one purpose (and ideally, purpose should dictate form), other arts have other aims (literally in the case of kyudo).

Best regards

Carl

Probably another thread - but those kinds of threads rarely go well. :D

Best,

Chris

Kevin Leavitt
12-02-2013, 09:29 AM
Thanks Demetrio, I will do that. Frankly I don't know much about Japanese Koryu. I have my own thoughts about the tensions of maintaining warrior skills and ethos in times of peace. The US military is entering that period now. We are beginning to fight the same battles that have been fought for centuries. For example, there are advocates of marginalizing Army Combatives training to a lower tier of training as well as other types of training that have proven useful over the last decade.

The Bottomline I think is that once warriors are no longer needed, the population simply wants them to go away as they are a reminder of things they don't want to remember and they cost a lot to maintain. Faced with that, I am sure there is a call to revise the narrative to expound upon the "peaceful" benefits both tangible and intangible of the martial training.

chillzATL
12-02-2013, 09:31 AM
I find the idea that Tohei used body skill and movement to fend off the Judo players, rather than aikido techniques as we know them, to be far more impressive. At least it supports the notion that he could use that body skill to power the techniques if needed, at least to some degree. That's more aiki than 99% of the aikido out there, IMO.

As for the old guy, who would want to be in that situation? I've put a shihonage on someone who tried to punch my head off, but then looked like an idiot who can't do anything while playing with friends who want to "see some aikido". Life is an onion.

Cliff Judge
12-02-2013, 12:12 PM
As I read through the comparison provided, I fail to see any real difference between what he purports to be DRAJJ and Aikido. Again, I anticipated the differences would have been end states. That is, DRAJJ focused on martial efficiency as an endstate and sought to preserve the old methods of training (Koryu), and Aikido focused solely on the development of character, person, and aiki on a more philosophical bend. However, it seems to be no real distinct difference IMO.

You are probably just seeing the guy's bias - he really worked hard to get into the Sagawa line, obviously he was after the magic Aiki experience. If you read more of his page, it seems like he is actually primarily concerned with martial effectiveness.

Kevin Leavitt
12-02-2013, 02:00 PM
Thanks Cliff...I'll look closer.

Rennis Buchner
12-03-2013, 06:50 AM
Hi Kevin,

You have to consider the effects of peaceful Edo era in the evolution of Koryu bujutsu training and in the warrior class itself.

I'd suggest you to read 'Some Thoughts on the Emergence and ‘Aesthetic Asceticism' of Ryūha-bugei' by Alexander Bennet (Butoku Kiyoo # 26, pg.59. Kojushikan University) and 'The Intangible Warrior Culture of Japan: Bodily Practices, Mental Attitudes, and Values of the Two-sworded men from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-first Centuries' by Anatoliy Anshin (PhD dissertation. UNSW 2009).

Not to derail the thread, but I feel the need to address this point. I have not read Bennet's piece, but his writing is usually pretty solid. Anshin's dissertation (and the book he later released by reorganizing it) on the other hand I would not really recommend. He makes a few claims about Tesshu that are interesting, but the, to put it bluntly, poor scholarship of much of the rest of it make trusting those points very difficult. By all means read it, but read it with a fairly large dose of salt.

We now take you back to your regularly scheduled discussion on Tohei and his degree of aiki-manliness...

Rennis Buchner

Kevin Leavitt
12-03-2013, 08:49 AM
Thanks Rennis, I've already derailed it, so no need to apologize. Thanks again for the comments, I plan on digging this up and learning more about it.

Ecosamurai
12-03-2013, 10:39 AM
especially as Tohei also claims that he learned his IP regimen from sources other than Morihei Ueshiba in the first place,

This issue comes up from time to time and it's a myth that Tohei got his IS chops from anyone other than Ueshiba. In the interviews on Aikido Journal he clearly states that he got it from Ueshiba not other places he studied. Subscription required: http://members.aikidojournal.com/public/interview-with-koichi-tohei-2/

Mike

Bernd Lehnen
12-04-2013, 06:06 AM
This is just my opinion, but my philosophy on a proper delivery system requires that the system deliver some degree of martial proficiency. That is, the goal of the system is to martially effect something given a set of conditions.

….

I thought Koryu systems were all about martial effect. That is, how to be proficient in fighting giving a set of conditions. The systems of study were developed to defeat people on a field of battle. I don't think centuries ago they were confused about that. IMO, this website has revised that drastically, which significantly affects the outcome of training.

For me, techniques are taught solely to gain efficiency or effect. If you approach training in this manner, you still care about detail and precision, but it takes on a whole new meaning when your prime directive REQUIRES you to be evaluated on application in conditions that approach reality in some degree. In actuality what is observed during kata or technique training may not appear to be any different from one paradigm to the next, but the SYNTHESIS of actual application in a non-cooperative environment might differ significantly since the training end states are different.

As I read through the comparison provided, I fail to see any real difference between what he purports to be DRAJJ and Aikido. Again, I anticipated the differences would have been end states. That is, DRAJJ focused on martial efficiency as an endstate and sought to preserve the old methods of training (Koryu), and Aikido focused solely on the development of character, person, and aiki on a more philosophical bend. However, it seems to be no real distinct difference IMO.

It's debatable wether DRAJJ is a Koryu and, even if it's concerned with great effectiveness, wether the martial aspect is rather limited or restricted on purpose.
BTW, is there any indication that Aiki based arts like DRAJJ or Aikido have proven any martial value in the more recent cross-cultural conflicts from the Falkland war to the conflict in Afghanistan?

Of course, we could also debate wether Takeda revised an old Koryu system or wether he invented whatever he did on the ground of his knowledge of a special body-training-method that may have enabled him to develop Aiki and - combined with his former training in Koryu stuff - to take on contemporary challengers with success and after some time what he did was named DRAJJ.
(Stanley Pranin, Ellis Amdur and recently the revised translations by Chris Li, who obviously informed his translations via his training with Dan Harden and others, should have brought clearer light into all this.)

It is now a widely held belief that O Sensei Ueshiba learned about this method through Takeda and chased this Aiki during his entire lifetime via this DRAJJ.
If we presume that Tohei was able to catch part of this from Ueshiba, then this might have led him to his insistence on Ki and his teaching paradigm and his good command over his body.

Now to the topic at hand:
If we carefully watch the videos of "Rendez-vous with adventure" and the video of O Sensei with Americans on the rooftop, we might suspect that his actions affect these strangers quite less effectively than his own disciples. If now we drew an analogy to Tohei and the five Judoka versus Tohei and Herman the foreigner, we might conclude, that Aiki based arts - without adapting them - are more effective on people who by cultural heritage or otherwise are trained to react in a specific way.
With this assumption and with the additional restriction on Tohei that "the foreign guest" isn't to injure we wouldn't need a bad day for Tohei to see him face those difficulties.

Just musing...

Best,
Bernd

Demetrio Cereijo
12-04-2013, 10:30 AM
Not to derail the thread...

Not to derail it more but, I've pointed to what is (or was, I haven't checked lately) cheap and easily available. Of course Anshin work is not perfect but he is not the only to point how Edo bujutsu ryuha evolved from Sengoku combatives to "flowery swordmanship" (Friday goes even farther in "Off the Warpath"). Of course there are better scholar works about how japanese warriors became, in a relatively short time, paper pushers lacking combative skills.

Of course, and in my experience, when this is pointed to a practitioner of a classical school their answer is usually something on the line of "Yes, Edo era bujutsu schools lost their combative value, except the one I belong to".

Now on topic: I think Bernd makes a good point in his latest post.

Kevin Leavitt
12-04-2013, 11:32 AM
Bernd wrote:

If we carefully watch the videos of "Rendez-vous with adventure" and the video of O Sensei with Americans on the rooftop, we might suspect that his actions affect these strangers quite less effectively than his own disciples. If now we drew an analogy to Tohei and the five Judoka versus Tohei and Herman the foreigner, we might conclude, that Aiki based arts - without adapting them - are more effective on people who by cultural heritage or otherwise are trained to react in a specific way.
With this assumption and with the additional restriction on Tohei that "the foreign guest" isn't to injure we wouldn't need a bad day for Tohei to see him face those difficulties.

Nice analysis. I think this is spot on in my book.

Keith Larman
12-04-2013, 11:35 AM
If we carefully watch the videos of "Rendez-vous with adventure" and the video of O Sensei with Americans on the rooftop, we might suspect that his actions affect these strangers quite less effectively than his own disciples. If now we drew an analogy to Tohei and the five Judoka versus Tohei and Herman the foreigner, we might conclude, that Aiki based arts - without adapting them - are more effective on people who by cultural heritage or otherwise are trained to react in a specific way.
With this assumption and with the additional restriction on Tohei that "the foreign guest" isn't to injure we wouldn't need a bad day for Tohei to see him face those difficulties.

Just musing...

Best,
Bernd

I sometimes joke that watching the Herman video is Aikido's Rorschach test. :) The interpretations are always interesting and reflect a great deal more upon the commentator's background than maybe what's actually in the video.

That said we recently had a new young guy join our dojo. Enthusiastic, willing to put it out there. Falling skills still developing and clearly no prior experience in martial arts. He comes in strong and hard but gets that stiff, teetering, falling over awkwardly appearance very quickly. So he can be a challenge to work with assuming you're a) trying to teach him something and b) you don't want to see an injury. I was thinking about all this stuff a few days ago when I saw him in a class. I watched the instructor more easily lay him down gently, even if it was often not exactly what the instructor was trying to teach. The less experienced students often aborted or froze up because of his lack of "proper" ukemi.

I remember other beginners who were bigger, stronger, and even more willing. And yeah, it can end up looking much like the now famous Herman. One guy I remember would try grabbing me on both wrists then pull down putting his face directly in front of my hips. I kept thinking I should either ask him on a date or knee his nose out the back of his head. Of course that's not terribly aiki, but I wonder often what you'd see if someone pulled something like that with the elder Ueshiba (and no one was filming). I suspect there would be a mess on the mat.

Anyway, my rambling point here is that could be all sorts of stuff going on, not the least of which would be training and/or cultural assumptions. Other sources of discussion could be whether things many today consider "non-aikido" like a strong knee to the face might really belong in aikido as an assumed thing. Remember that many of the early Aikido guys came with prior knowledge in other arts. So are we also looking at "let's add in this aiki stuff to power and refine some of our techniques. But yeah, if the dude is gonna stick his face right in front of your knee, obviously, "blend" your knee with his face 'with ki'."

I can think of all sorts of ways to interpret this video and how it all fits in to the larger narrative about Aikido. Some love to bring it up saying Tohei wasn't all that good. Others like to point out the limitations on Tohei. Some use it to criticize aikido at large. Others use it as an example of how even in an ugly situation with limitations it can still control to some extent. So... Shrug. And shrug some more.

Clearly Tohei was a strong man. Powerful. And by all accounts powerful in many ways beyond just muscle. A favorite comment of a sensei of mine who trained with him was that his kotegaeshi felt like someone put a pallet of bricks on your wrist, just very gently. Beyond that, well, I'll leave it up to those who actually got significant hands on with the man since I realize now I'm looking at the same set of tea leaves seeing what I want to see... :)

hughrbeyer
12-04-2013, 02:26 PM
One guy I remember would try grabbing me on both wrists then pull down putting his face directly in front of my hips. I kept thinking I should either ask him on a date or knee his nose out the back of his head. Of course that's not terribly aiki...

So this puzzles me. In our dojo, it would be perfectly appropriate for a senior to tell a junior that they've put themselves in a martially moronic position, perhaps mime the strike they've opened themselves to, and give them some hints on how the attack they're doing can be accomplished more effectively and less self-destructively. If Sensei sees too much of it going on, he'll stop everybody and tell us all off for lacking martial awareness.

Is this not appropriate in other dojos? Are ukes expected to learn how to keep themselves out of trouble by osmosis?

Keith Larman
12-04-2013, 02:39 PM
So this puzzles me. In our dojo, it would be perfectly appropriate for a senior to tell a junior that they've put themselves in a martially moronic position, perhaps mime the strike they've opened themselves to, and give them some hints on how the attack they're doing can be accomplished more effectively and less self-destructively. If Sensei sees too much of it going on, he'll stop everybody and tell us all off for lacking martial awareness.

Is this not appropriate in other dojos? Are ukes expected to learn how to keep themselves out of trouble by osmosis?

Of course. I was talking about how a beginner who hasn't yet learned about those things will behave the first time they get out there. *OF COURSE* you show students the openings and problems. That's how they learn not to do those things. Herman didn't have that yet so it was a big, oafish attack with tons of openings. Just openings that for the most part would involve hitting him in the face or taking him down in a way that would likely injure an inexperienced person. Which was my point about how most of the early students in Aikido had prior experience in martial arts and would know better than to leave just gaping holes in their attacks.

And I will add that some people seem rather immune to advice about not leaving openings. Sometimes even after having it demonstrated in real time.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-04-2013, 02:40 PM
In our dojo, it would be perfectly appropriate for a senior to tell a junior that they've put themselves in a martially moronic position, perhaps mime the strike they've opened themselves to, and give them some hints on how the attack they're doing can be accomplished more effectively and less self-destructively.
This is what I've experienced too..

Cliff Judge
12-04-2013, 03:42 PM
It's debatable wether DRAJJ is a Koryu and, even if it's concerned with great effectiveness, wether the martial aspect is rather limited or restricted on purpose.
BTW, is there any indication that Aiki based arts like DRAJJ or Aikido have proven any martial value in the more recent cross-cultural conflicts from the Falkland war to the conflict in Afghanistan?


Also, remember there are different branches of Daito ryu and the nature of their training is different...there is even greater divergence than between different styles of Aikido. So your mileage will vary considerably when judging a focus on martial aspects.

As far as I am aware...there is very little "proof of martial value" of ANY martial art system in ANY conflict, whether cross or intracultural. Skulls of fallen swordsmen in the west of Japan who had their own tsuba lodged in their skulls due to the ferocity of Satsuma warriors is the only thing I can think of.

hughrbeyer
12-04-2013, 09:11 PM
*OF COURSE* you show students the openings and problems. That's how they learn not to do those things.

Okie-dokie then, we're on the same page. I wasn't getting that from your post.

Bernd Lehnen
12-05-2013, 06:00 AM
Tohei (or the Aikikai) wisely chose not to try that in Europe. People like Mochizuki Minoru, Abe Tadashi or Abbe Kenshiro were more appropiate to deal with european judoka, and lets not forget what Mochizuki told Ueshiba after his european adventure.

Well,

this time, it would have been only one instead of five but, obviously, they declined his request.

Just to remember Jon Bluming, a great budoka from Holland, the Netherlands.
He might have been on the same page with Ellis about this topic. Here's an excerpt of an Interview:

Q: To impress the Westerners who were attracted to martial arts, do you think that some Japanese personalities have greatly exaggerated their capabilities and historical facts with unbelievable stories?
 
A: Definitely yes! And the worst place is Asia. But there are plenty who really are what they say. Please allow me to tell you a funny example of this. My wife works for the Dutch-Chinese travel office. One day while I was waiting for her, I picked up a Chinese magazine about sports. I saw some Chinese wushu, and there was an article in memoriam of a 100-year-old Chinese wushu teacher who had passed away. He was very famous in his district because he had defeated a tiger with his bare hands many years before. I would have loved to talked to the man and taken some lessons from him, but I am afraid I would not have been able to keep a straight face! In another magazine, some time later, I found the same story. This time it was a black bear. Well, it's up to you guys to believe it or not. Some wushu people said they believed it, and that's the kind the money grabbers love so much because they pay a lot of money for this ****. I remember that Draeger Sensei took me to the Ueshiba dojo for aikido classes. I looked on in amazement. The movements were very nice, but on the street nobody is going to run around you and jump all over himself when taken by the wrist! I asked the sensei if I could fight one of his students or his son, but he told me they did not fight. I asked them if that's how they did their championships, but they said they didn't. So I told them that I could take dancing lessons in Holland. To be honest, in the modern fashion of aikijitsu, there are some very good and real street-fighting techniques that are useful. I even studied some, so that has changed for the better. This is simply an example to show you how those stupid stories come into the world.

Q: You seem to be very upset with people talking on the Internet. Why?
 
A: Because it is a very easy way for those cowards who don't have the courage -- and I would love to use another word -- to criticize and bad-mouth others who dedicate their whole lives to budo and have the scars to prove it. It is very easy to write and talk trash, but it's impossible to find one of these cowards who will show up and tell you things to your face so you can get back at them with your fist. Talk is cheap, and the Internet helps to make even cheaper!

Q: What do you consider to be the most important qualities of a successful budoka?
 
A: Honesty. In my dojo, there is no religious talk, no discrimination of any kind and there is no BS. All we do is train. Make the dojo a brotherhood, a sort of budo family. What you learn today you should show the others later and help the lower grades achieve a higher level by teaching them what you have learnt. Don't pick on the beginners just to show how good you are because they don't come to the dojo to be beaten up by a bully. It is especially important for the sensei to look for those kinds of bullies because they can screw up the whole dojo. Don't believe all the famous stories that turn out to be all lies.



You may read more about him on this website scrolling down to "Founder: Jon Bluming"

www.jigoku-dojo.com/‎

Best,
Bernd

Kevin Leavitt
12-05-2013, 01:00 PM
As far as I am aware...there is very little "proof of martial value" of ANY martial art system in ANY conflict, whether cross or intracultural. Skulls of fallen swordsmen in the west of Japan who had their own tsuba lodged in their skulls due to the ferocity of Satsuma warriors is the only thing I can think of.

Cliff, hope I am not missing your point, but thought I'd use it anyway to convey some thoughts.

Some of the proof might be anecdotal, but I think we can conclude that there are clearly formed martial training methods. Grossman addresses this extensively in "On Killing", and my friend Pete Jensen wrote his doctoral dissertation examining specifically the effects of hand to hand combat and looked at how participants felt their training impacted their survivability.

http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2499&context=utk_graddiss

A common theme in both their works spans not necessarily the techniques that are used, but the mental states, the mentality requiring a detachment from the enemy, the processing of information, the ability to make decisions quickly under stress, and the willingness to do what is necessary. Of course, technical/physical responses have been inculcated through training.

Of course both Grossman and Pete address military aspects of killing and one might conclude that this does not apply to civilian situations and therefore, is not relevant.

However, I submit that by it's basic definition ALL martial arts are about this, and the exact same issues would surface in any violent encounter that you would need to use your hands to defend yourself.

What I see as problematic is the "de-martialing" of martial systems to something other than what they were intended to do. This is a pervasive them in arts such as Aikido that tend to take on a philosophical bend or emphasize particular desired physical aspects such as KI development or IS.

When systems are "de-martialed" the become something else. It is no longer really an "effective, holistic martial practice. A different psychology is created, and of course, you will end up with a different end state than the original intent. Different priorities are placed on parts of the system, and whole parts of the system become ignored all together because they do not appear to compliment the "civil" mindset or philosophy that is being promoted.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. Apparently millions of people like these systems.

However, there are martial systems and practices today that produce the desired skill sets necessary to survive hand to hand encounters, and we have proof from those that have survived these encounters, even if it is anecdotal.

phitruong
12-05-2013, 01:54 PM
When systems are "de-martialed" the become something else. It is no longer really an "effective, holistic martial practice. A different psychology is created, and of course, you will end up with a different end state than the original intent. Different priorities are placed on parts of the system, and whole parts of the system become ignored all together because they do not appear to compliment the "civil" mindset or philosophy that is being promoted.


how is that different from take an army trained for combat/warfare and use it as a police force?

Kevin Leavitt
12-05-2013, 04:30 PM
Phi, I think martially there is no difference between a police force and a military force.

What separates police from Army/Military is the the authority and purpose. Some times it can be the same forces can be used for both. ie with National Guards and Gendarmeries. By definitions modern nation/states use militaries as a means to meet external political or national objectives or national will. Whereas police forces by definition are used internally to enforce laws of that nation, state, or jurisdiction.

So for me, they are both are elements of power used for different endstates.

take away the purpose and endstates and you really have the same basic elements....so no difference when we look at them martially.

However, the purpose of both may drive different tactics, techniques and procedures in the implementation of the spectrum of use of force. However, many of them may be the same as well.

Cliff Judge
12-06-2013, 07:42 AM
Cliff, hope I am not missing your point, but thought I'd use it anyway to convey some thoughts.

Some of the proof might be anecdotal, but I think we can conclude that there are clearly formed martial training methods. Grossman addresses this extensively in "On Killing", and my friend Pete Jensen wrote his doctoral dissertation examining specifically the effects of hand to hand combat and looked at how participants felt their training impacted their survivability.

http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2499&context=utk_graddiss

A common theme in both their works spans not necessarily the techniques that are used, but the mental states, the mentality requiring a detachment from the enemy, the processing of information, the ability to make decisions quickly under stress, and the willingness to do what is necessary. Of course, technical/physical responses have been inculcated through training.

Of course both Grossman and Pete address military aspects of killing and one might conclude that this does not apply to civilian situations and therefore, is not relevant.

However, I submit that by it's basic definition ALL martial arts are about this, and the exact same issues would surface in any violent encounter that you would need to use your hands to defend yourself.

What I see as problematic is the "de-martialing" of martial systems to something other than what they were intended to do. This is a pervasive them in arts such as Aikido that tend to take on a philosophical bend or emphasize particular desired physical aspects such as KI development or IS.

When systems are "de-martialed" the become something else. It is no longer really an "effective, holistic martial practice. A different psychology is created, and of course, you will end up with a different end state than the original intent. Different priorities are placed on parts of the system, and whole parts of the system become ignored all together because they do not appear to compliment the "civil" mindset or philosophy that is being promoted.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. Apparently millions of people like these systems.

However, there are martial systems and practices today that produce the desired skill sets necessary to survive hand to hand encounters, and we have proof from those that have survived these encounters, even if it is anecdotal.

I've read Grossman, but thanks for the link to your friends paper! I will check that out.

Berndt was asking if there was any evidence of Aiki-related arts being effective in actual conflicts. I guess I expanded the class of martial arts, but only to include other traditional, non-competitive arts in my mind. Obviously people have fought and there have been winners due to training and preparation for combat. Lately, I suppose I have been "open to the idea" that koryu bujutsu is not actually that type of thing (very firmly rooted in it though).

One thing that "de-martialling" a system can entail is a decoupling of it from the necessities of the battlefield with regard to the liklihood that death of one or more combatants is a fine outcome for the other. I'm wondering if you might be able to look at this as a positive, if the art were meant for the general population and not only professional warriors, people who may face a lot of conflict in their lives but rarely lethal conflict. In other words, what if you could have a martial art that had martial underpinnings, but dealt with conflict at a sufficiently abstract level that it could be useful for a middle manager trying to get more funding for his team, a lawyer trying to construct a winning argument, a parent or teacher of a difficult youth, or a police officer trying to de-escalate a situation? I suspect it would be harder to see where the rubber meets the road, but it might be a good thing to put out there.

Kevin Leavitt
12-06-2013, 12:31 PM
Figured I got it wrong Cliff! Thanks for clarifying.

Couple of thoughts to your last paragraph.

My friend Ron Donvito was the creator of the LINES system for the Marine Corps in the late 1980 and 1990s. LINE was all about creating the warrior mindset to overcome your enemy and bring to bear quick and lethal force. Ron has been very clear about that.

Marine Corps adopted MCMAP around 2001 to address the fact that Marines needed to be concerned with the spectrum of the use of force. The Army Combatives program has also been modified to also address Use of Force issues as well. Both systems recognize that there is a need for something other than simply creating death and destruction, although at the base, both systems want to inculcate the warrior ethos. That is, the willingness to meet with and confront violence.

So if you use these two systems as models of martial success, then it becomes necessary to address a very wide spectrum of interaction.

However, this is different than a "de-martialed" system that seeks primarily to develop traits and characteristics other than those mentioned above. You provide some good examples of "de-martialed" concepts. I think these things are fine examples of how we can draw from the shape and form of martial systems to find ways to help people in other areas. I think that these things are a positive outshoot or benefit.

I think there is some grey area we will find though. Such as the example of the police officer using his skills to de-escalate a potentially violent situation. Personally, I have found much value in my martial training.

However, I would argue that the police officer is a bad example. He has to have martial potential to back up what he is facing. It must exist, if it does not, then his words have no meaning what so ever.

If the mental aspects of say a "zen tai chi" practice help reduce the stress in a lawyer, or improve the mobility of a senior citizen...that is a fine thing indeed. But they do not need to necessarily do this through a martial system, they could achieve this through any number of means.

however, the reverse does not follow for those that need martial skill. They cannot practice a de-martialed system and be able to bring to bear the necessary skills in a violent encounter...so therefore, any value that they gain is really a false platform if that is indeed the need. (not sure if this makes any sense at all!!!!).