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Cnaeus
11-14-2015, 03:13 PM
I have read a lot of opinions in the AikiWeb forums archives regarding the topic of Aiki. It seems like a lot of people consider "Aiki" to be a special ability used in some daito-ryu schools to negate the opponent's power and then toss him around effortlessly. These people also consider Aikido techniques to have somehow derived from this special skill through Osensei.
I would be curious as to what is the consensus in international Aikido circles regarding Aiki now, what was this Aiki and how does Osensei's aiki differ from daito ryu aiki?
Did Osensei change the Aiki used in daito ryu, and if he did, what could be his purpose with it?

JW
11-15-2015, 02:43 AM
what is the consensus in international Aikido circles regarding Aiki
HHHHHHHAAAHAHA.
I'd guess the consensus is either "I'm doing it right but you aren't," or if you are talking about within the aikikai, then more like "we're all doing it."

OK joking aside this interview (www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21392) with Olivier Gaurin (posted a while ago but I missed it... but mentioned recently on aikiweb) was refreshing to read, and I think, right on. See the section about Daito ryu, where he describes his understanding of how O-sensei learned aiki and then kind of hid it away later-- but never stopped using it within his own budo.

Cnaeus
11-19-2015, 03:03 PM
Thank you! As you have said the interview was right on. I must say I rarely encounter this level of insight and - indeed, wisdom - in Aikido cyrcles that Gaurin sensei showed in this interview. Even so, I am not fully convinced by his argument of high level aikido and high level daito ryu being the same. There are quite some daito ryu schools to begin with, defining aiki in different ways. Stanley Pranin wrote an article (http://aikidojournal.com/2015/09/28/aiki-the-term-we-toss-about-glibly-whose-meaning-no-one-agrees-on-by-stanley-pranin/) not long ago about the aiki of various daito ryu schools that he himself experienced, and in the comments section he says how based on his own experience the aiki of those schools vary greatly. So, if different daito ryu schools developed different aiki, then Osensei could also have developed a kind of aiki particularly for aikido...

JW
11-19-2015, 07:07 PM
Thanks, I hadn't seen that article (Aikido Journal has fallen off my radar since I let me subscription expire... silly me). Pranin says the definitions are discrepant, but then he paraphrases the definitions. To me, the paraphrased definitions all sound pretty similar.
I guess I feel like there is a core skill that is shared, but different exponents "show off" that skill differently.

As for Gaurin the comment about similarity-- I can see 2 easy explanations. Either he is expressing the "at the master level, all boxing becomes one..." (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/tetsutaka-sugawara-aikido-taiji/) idea, or if you take the "Murrayan" point of view, there is a more cynical interpretation: if the ability is rare, it is possible to have lots of experience but never encounter it. Thus you wouldn't really know what you are talking about regarding the "aiki" of the founders of two different schools you are comparing.

In the case of Gaurin sensei I lean away from the latter.

I don't have breadth of experience so you'll have to add salt...

Tim Ruijs
11-20-2015, 06:13 AM
"the only one on the tatami doing Aikido is O Sensei, we do something that looks like, but is not Aikido".
or something along those lines...

My inspirational teacher, Nobuyoshi Tamura, always said: one millimeter either side and you are not doing aikido.
When asked why the students could do what he did, Ueshiba, replied "because you do not understand yin yang"

obviously it is hard to grasp. I guess/suspect it is like riding a bicycle.
If you cannot you can hardly be explained what it is like. If you can, you understand.

Cnaeus
11-20-2015, 02:07 PM
Yeah, on one hand it is a fruitless speculation to talk about anyone's Aiki while we ourselves are unable to produce it. On the other hand I sometimes think about Aiki as a kind of an ideal that we strive to achieve even though we know we will most likely never be able to fully achieve it. Sometimes I think about techniques like a shooter thinks about the bull's eye; he aims at it, fires, and even though each time the shot lands somewhere else, his aim still remains the same. In other words, do you think there was a different "bull's eye" at which Osensei "aimed" his Aiki?
I have read lots of articles/blogs/forum posts on the necessity to fill today's aikido with daito ryu aiki or taiji internal power or some other martial skills from various other martial arts... and I was wondering if Aikido had some similar "set of skills" originally that Osensei tuned specifically for the purpose of Aikido, and thus was different from that of the daito ryu schools'.

Cliff Judge
11-20-2015, 03:31 PM
Well those Daito ryu guys don't all have the same story on what Aiki is either, remember.

Rupert Atkinson
11-20-2015, 05:34 PM
When I first went to Japan in 1989 my first aim was to do Daito Ryu. I had no clue where to look at first but did go visit a couple of places. What I saw was garbage - it was just wooden kata ... so I stuck with Aikido, Judo, and found another school of Jujutsu (Takeda Ryu) which I liked. Of course, you could say I didn't find real DR, but back then barely anyone had heard of it. The Jujutsu that I did find was in the phone book under Aikido so that was almost accidental. No one knew what JJ was either (ordinary people). In fact, I did four homestays and only one of them knew what Aikido was. Segal's movie pushed Aikido's name even in Japan.

Cnaeus
11-21-2015, 03:38 AM
Well, my assumption was that by "Aiki" we mean the "Aiki" displayed by the Sagawa-ha and the Kodokai schools of DR (for an example see this demonstration (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSxZHT5S7Ks) by Yusuke Inoue, head of Kodokai after Horikawa passed away) - I guess I have read too much "internal power" treads recently and it totally slipped my mind that these schools are actually not the "mainstream" DR...

Cliff Judge
11-21-2015, 05:01 AM
You would have to spend time in both of those schools to know with confidence that they are same thing. That's probably not going to happen.

And even if the term aiki refers to a manifest internal power that feels similar in both schools, their training methods may differ and the purpose of using aiki might be as different between them as it is between Aikido and Daito ryu.

In my personal experience doing different martial arts and sticking to them for awhile, at first you see matching patterns in both and its super exciting because you think you are seeing some overarching uber-principle, but after awhile, you realize nothing important is really the same. Ymmv.

Cliff Judge
11-21-2015, 11:49 AM
When I first went to Japan in 1989 my first aim was to do Daito Ryu. I had no clue where to look at first but did go visit a couple of places. What I saw was garbage - it was just wooden kata

In 1989, what had your level and quality of experience been that you were able to judge the quality of the kata you saw?

Rupert Atkinson
11-21-2015, 05:32 PM
In 1989, what had your level and quality of experience been that you were able to judge the quality of the kata you saw?

Good question. Almost. 10 years of Aikido (Tomiki (lotsa kata) and Aikikai) / Jujutsu / Kungfu / Judo + Judo kata, which I liked. I was training most days in my 20s. I was completely nuts. Helped run a couple of clubs. Started Judo as a kid (not too serious) before Aikido. I'll say it again - the DR I saw was garbage. No doubt there musta been some good stuff lurking somewhere.
I also went to see the yearly Kobudo demos at the Meiji Jingu. I was not impressed either. Lots of old guys trying to do stuff ... I could not believe how bad it was. I could tell that some of the younger ukes had skill, but they were not doing the demos. Seniority etc. That was just what I saw and thought. So I stuck with Aikido - it suited me - free and dynamic.

When I moved to Korea I went to the yearly martial arts festival. Also, tons of ridiculous stuff. Two old guys catching sword blades in their clapping hands etc. They were there every year. And so on. I did see a guy do suwari-waza on a tightrope - now that was something. I have a pic, a video even ... somewhere. And the Seonmudo Monks were good. But so much garbage.

In recent years I have seen/felt more people with great skill ...

Cliff Judge
11-28-2015, 11:01 AM
I'll say it again - the DR I saw was garbage. No doubt there musta been some good stuff lurking somewhere.


I am still curious what you had seen or heard about Daito ryu up until you saw it in Japan that led you to expect different than what you saw.

Rupert Atkinson
11-28-2015, 10:29 PM
I am still curious what you had seen or heard about Daito ryu up until you saw it in Japan that led you to expect different than what you saw.

Before I went to Japan I knew little of Daito Ryu. There was no YouTube back then. But I had attended various seminars. One was by a group of Japanese from Hontai Yoshin Ryu, as I remember. They were very impressive - soft and powerful - it looked like a fluid mix of Judo/Aikido/Jujustu. I guess I expected it to be something like that. But it was not.

Cliff Judge
11-29-2015, 06:57 AM
Neat. I did a little HYR with Stephen Fabian from NJ. He is a great teacher and an impressive swordsman.

My understanding is the first three sets of kata you learn in that system - the stuff they show publicly - were put together in the early 20th century and have a modern character to them. I never saw anything passed that.

There is also that friendship between Ueshiba and the Kukusin ryu headmaster....Kukishin ryu is maintained within HYR....some of those HYR kata really resemble Aikido kihon.

Why didn't you go to Utsunomiya or wherever to train with those guys??? They would probably have shown you all Ueshiba's secrets! :D

Rupert Atkinson
11-29-2015, 03:29 PM
Why didn't you go to Utsunomiya or wherever to train with those guys??? They would probably have shown you all Ueshiba's secrets! :D

Well, after mucho searching, I found myself doing Aikikai with Omura Hiroaki (Uchideshi of Ueshiba), Judo with Abe Shin (Olympic champion), Yoshinkan with Ando Tsuneo, and Takeda Ryu with Soke Nakamura Hisashi (at his home dojo). That kept me busy everyday, sometimes twice a day. I was travelling all over the place (got me a motorcycle).