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langenoir
02-07-2017, 10:17 AM
I mean, I don't know about you guys, but that's not the Aikido I'm learning.

https://www.facebook.com/1456027077981725/videos/1683235258594238/
http://theskepdick.com/post/143385694244/the-classic-style-of-bullshido

Michael Hackett
02-07-2017, 12:43 PM
What do they call that stuff that is created after a horse eats a bunch of alfalfa?

Michael Hackett
02-07-2017, 12:46 PM
What do you call the stuff that is created when a horse eats a bunch of alfalfa?

fatebass21
02-07-2017, 02:05 PM
The funniest part is at 30 and 45 seconds....the girls in the background

Michael Hackett
02-07-2017, 03:59 PM
Yes, the women in the background were entertaining too.

PeterR
02-08-2017, 04:32 AM
Put someone in a hakama and you assume its aikido. Does anyone know the background here.

grondahl
02-08-2017, 04:38 AM
Looks like Watanabe with the mustache.

Carl Thompson
02-08-2017, 06:25 AM
Looks like Watanabe with the mustache.

Yes, it's 'the Jedi' Watanabe Sensei, who I believe is now retired. I attended his class in the Hombu once :D

PeterR
02-08-2017, 07:32 AM
Shudder

hunglea
02-08-2017, 08:38 AM
Never met this Sensei. There's a lot of strange things in this world. Does it look silly? Yes. Martially viable/effective? ....

Anyway, it would still be interesting to experience first hand whatever (if anything) it is that's going on there between the instructor and student. Skepticism is healthy, but so is willingness for "hands on" experience if it's available and won't physically harm me. Pun not intended.

Dan Rubin
02-08-2017, 10:48 AM
Aikido Journal presents Nobuyuki Watanabe, 8th dan, at 1987 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL-Iv_VDQ-Q

"Uploaded on Oct 21, 2010

"Nobuyuki Watanabe is an 8th dan instructor at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. He is known for his soft, no-touch style of aikido that leaves viewers scratching their heads about his technique. This particular demonstration is closer to a more traditional style where the usual aikido techniques are easily recognizable."

fatebass21
02-08-2017, 11:26 AM
Thanks for the link Dan. It makes a bit more sense now.

grondahl
02-08-2017, 01:14 PM
There is even a IHTBF Column about him: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20997

Peter Goldsbury
02-08-2017, 03:54 PM
I took uke for Watanabe Shihan a few years ago. There is a comment right after Ellis Amdur's IHTBF article and this bears close reading. My aikido was once calle rambo aikido, not by Watanabe but by Asai, also mentioned in the comment. (Rambo does not refer to the cinema character, but is a Japanese term [乱暴], meaning wild and violent.)

It should also be realized that some people play to the gallery at the annual All-Japan Aikido Demonstration and do things that would never be tolerated in a dojo.

Dan Rubin
02-08-2017, 04:22 PM
I've known a couple of teachers whose students went to extremes to take miracle ukemi, or to closely follow instructions for questionable budo. The teachers rewarded the students with smiles of approval, but I felt like those teachers were really laughing at them.

Hilary
02-08-2017, 05:04 PM
In the dojo I would bow out and walk back to the dressing room. Here I would say that watching (even the 20 seconds I viewed) this was a colossal waste of life, and for that matter why am I even replying to this crap? Well I already logged on and wrote it, so I will leave it, but I leave mourning my lost minutes.

StefanHultberg
02-09-2017, 05:08 AM
Yes, it's 'the Jedi' Watanabe Sensei, who I believe is now retired. I attended his class in the Hombu once :D

What was your experience of it ???

Many regards

Stefan

lbb
02-09-2017, 06:46 AM
I would say, why are you wasting your time even talking about it? Seriously. The only time i see aikido like this is when someone posts a youtube link saying "ha ha ha this is stupid". Why even waste the click?

langenoir
02-09-2017, 09:40 AM
I guess the point of this is because I saw it online the other day and got really frustrated. I'm new to Aikido, but not martial arts. It just gets frustrating when I'm the net and I see people making fun of something I'm working hard at and I thought maybe the forum would say something positive to take my mind off it.

shuckser
02-09-2017, 10:18 AM
If you want something positive, well I guess you could say the people in the video are having fun.

Are you having fun?

GovernorSilver
02-09-2017, 11:50 AM
I guess the point of this is because I saw it online the other day and got really frustrated. I'm new to Aikido, but not martial arts. It just gets frustrating when I'm the net and I see people making fun of something I'm working hard at and I thought maybe the forum would say something positive to take my mind off it.

I'm new to Aikido as well.

My first impression was they were all just hamming it for the camera - a "piss-take" as some one call it.

The background info revealed in the IHTBF thread - by Ellis Amdur, no less! - puts it in perspective quite nicely.

There are plenty of good Aikido dojos out there. The more I go to class, the more I realize how there is to learn and get a handle on. I find less and less time to waste looking for "bad" Aikido.

hunglea
02-09-2017, 01:19 PM
I guess the point of this is because I saw it online the other day and got really frustrated. I'm new to Aikido, but not martial arts. It just gets frustrating when I'm the net and I see people making fun of something I'm working hard at and I thought maybe the forum would say something positive to take my mind off it.

I think you will continue to get frustrated if you invest in/pay attention to negative comments on youtube or similar places. Find what you enjoy about the Aikido practice and keep on going.

I am still very new to Aikido as well but have been fortunate enough to have met some amazingly skilled people. I am not discouraged by video demos such as the one in this thread of Watanabe Shihan. Actually, I would truly like to have a first hand experience (with Watanabe Shihan) if possible because you never know what one can learn so yes it has to be felt (IHTBF).

Cass
02-10-2017, 01:55 AM
I am curious about the background of Watanabe shihan and other senseis that teach the "soft" style of Aikido and how they came to this style. I was reading not long ago about Endo Seishiro because he had a transition from a harder style of Aikido in his youth to a softer one after a bad injury to his shoulder at 30 once Yamaguchi sensei said to him "You’ve been doing aikido for 10 years now, but now you have only your left arm to use, what are you going to do?". What I observe now with a lot of softer Aikido is that it is the yin to harder styles yang. Whilst in other types of Aikido you can force and bumble your way through a technique with strength and speed, with softer styles there is a lot of focus on connection with your partner and balance, you can't really "wing it". That is not to say that I understand it entirely, as often times like in this video it seems to my untrained eye that the technique no longer exists after a certain point, without contact or much movement from nage. Yet the two senseis I have heard of and seen that demonstrate (Endo and Watanabe) are both 8th Dan with the Aikikai which I find curious. To obtain such a high rank they must know their stuff and have contributed greatly to Aikido's progression, yet their Aikido style is so controversial.

Also I would urge people though to maintain an open mind. Aikido is all about unity and harmony on the path that we all follow and we should maintain an aiki approach even to things that do not align with us on a personal level (applicable both to "soft" aikido and "harder" styles that lean toward aikijutsu). I am constantly surprised that the mindset of others under this art is to react aggressively toward things that are different than what they know. Try to be better than the youtube commenters that comment on all aikido videos along the lines of how the art is in general "bullshit" and "not effective". As for me, my sensei teaches a very different style to this softer Aikido but when Seishiro shihan comes here in a few months I am strongly considering attending his seminar, I don't know if it is for me (or if it will even help me at this early stage) but better to keep an open mind, no?

StefanHultberg
02-10-2017, 02:20 AM
I took uke for Watanabe Shihan a few years ago. There is a comment right after Ellis Amdur's IHTBF article and this bears close reading. My aikido was once calle rambo aikido, not by Watanabe but by Asai, also mentioned in the comment. (Rambo does not refer to the cinema character, but is a Japanese term [乱暴], meaning wild and violent.)

It should also be realized that some people play to the gallery at the annual All-Japan Aikido Demonstration and do things that would never be tolerated in a dojo.

Dear Sir

I would love to hear more about your experiences when taking ukemi from various honoured teachers. I have speculated much about the (sort of) topic of this thread and also plagued the aikiweb community about my thoughts on aikido and time - which is just a metaphor for the investigation into "true reality" by means of aikido. "True reality" can be understood (in a very limited way) through theoretical physics, aikido, meditation, mathematics, perhaps altered states of consciousness in an ayahuasca-hut in Peru. Many avenues and many possibilities. Many pitfalls.

To me aikido has become the main vessel towards insight, illumination - minute as it might be.

When it comes to the clips shown in this thread there is one that seems more playful and one that seems more martial. I would love to know more about the setting, the situation. Even more I would love to feel being thrown by someone who is a, sort of, no touch supersensei. Is it true? Does some of it work?? Is there anything there at all???? Do I have to become more sensitive??? If I become more sensitive to the jedi-style aikido - maybe it could make me more of a martial artist (in the true martial sense) even if the jedi style be completely hopeless in a "martial sense".

Could training in what we see here provide more insight on the marvellous workings of ki? Perhaps.

Now, back to the start - what did the ukemi feel like. Have you experience no touch throws - what happened? What was it like?

Oh, to go back in time and be thrown by O Sensei :)

Many many regards & thank you for your time.

Stefan Hultberg

StefanHultberg
02-10-2017, 02:50 AM
I am curious about the background of Watanabe shihan and other senseis that teach the "soft" style of Aikido and how they came to this style. I was reading not long ago about Endo Seishiro because he had a transition from a harder style of Aikido in his youth to a softer one after a bad injury to his shoulder at 30 once Yamaguchi sensei said to him "You’ve been doing aikido for 10 years now, but now you have only your left arm to use, what are you going to do?". What I observe now with a lot of softer Aikido is that it is the yin to harder styles yang. Whilst in other types of Aikido you can force and bumble your way through a technique with strength and speed, with softer styles there is a lot of focus on connection with your partner and balance, you can't really "wing it". That is not to say that I understand it entirely, as often times like in this video it seems to my untrained eye that the technique no longer exists after a certain point, without contact or much movement from nage. Yet the two senseis I have heard of and seen that demonstrate (Endo and Watanabe) are both 8th Dan with the Aikikai which I find curious. To obtain such a high rank they must know their stuff and have contributed greatly to Aikido's progression, yet their Aikido style is so controversial.

Also I would urge people though to maintain an open mind. Aikido is all about unity and harmony on the path that we all follow and we should maintain an aiki approach even to things that do not align with us on a personal level (applicable both to "soft" aikido and "harder" styles that lean toward aikijutsu). I am constantly surprised that the mindset of others under this art is to react aggressively toward things that are different than what they know. Try to be better than the youtube commenters that comment on all aikido videos along the lines of how the art is in general "bullshit" and "not effective". As for me, my sensei teaches a very different style to this softer Aikido but when Seishiro shihan comes here in a few months I am strongly considering attending his seminar, I don't know if it is for me (or if it will even help me at this early stage) but better to keep an open mind, no?

Thank you for expressing many of my thoughts much much better than what I would have been able to myself. Let's try to maintain open minds :)

All the best

Stefan Hultberg

Carl Thompson
02-10-2017, 03:16 AM
What was your experience of it ???

Many regards

Stefan

It was just one class in 2008. He waved his arms around as in the video and appeared to remote-control uke from a couple of metres away. I didn't really have any interaction with Watanabe sensei himself though. I have got a funny story about some hardcore Iwama uchi deshi going to his class and getting picked as uke, but you'll have to ply me with beer to get that one out of me.

:D

PeterR
02-10-2017, 03:44 AM
Grumble - and sometimes the emperor is not wearing clothes.

It really does not matter if it was a lark or serious. It was filmed, put out in the world, and become a focus of derision.

StefanHultberg
02-10-2017, 05:04 AM
It was just one class in 2008. He waved his arms around as in the video and appeared to remote-control uke from a couple of metres away. I didn't really have any interaction with Watanabe sensei himself though. I have got a funny story about some hardcore Iwama uchi deshi going to his class and getting picked as uke, but you'll have to ply me with beer to get that one out of me.

:D

Hahaha, so worth it. I will stock up.

:)

Stefan

grondahl
02-10-2017, 07:36 AM
I am curious about the background of Watanabe shihan and other senseis that teach the "soft" style of Aikido and how they came to this style. I was reading not long ago about Endo Seishiro because he had a transition from a harder style of Aikido in his youth to a softer one after a bad injury to his shoulder at 30 once Yamaguchi sensei said to him "You’ve been doing aikido for 10 years now, but now you have only your left arm to use, what are you going to do?". What I observe now with a lot of softer Aikido is that it is the yin to harder styles yang. Whilst in other types of Aikido you can force and bumble your way through a technique with strength and speed, with softer styles there is a lot of focus on connection with your partner and balance, you can't really "wing it". That is not to say that I understand it entirely, as often times like in this video it seems to my untrained eye that the technique no longer exists after a certain point, without contact or much movement from nage. Yet the two senseis I have heard of and seen that demonstrate (Endo and Watanabe) are both 8th Dan with the Aikikai which I find curious. To obtain such a high rank they must know their stuff and have contributed greatly to Aikido's progression, yet their Aikido style is so controversial.

As for me, my sensei teaches a very different style to this softer Aikido but when Seishiro shihan comes here in a few months I am strongly considering attending his seminar, I don't know if it is for me (or if it will even help me at this early stage) but better to keep an open mind, no?

I have never heard anyone call Endo controversial in the same sense as Watanabe (or anyone else that does no thouch magic bohoo-stuff). I would highly recommend his seminars as well, beware that you probably wont be doing a lot of waza and that the expectations regarding ukemi can differ greatly from what you are used to.

jonreading
02-10-2017, 12:08 PM
I would make a couple of collective comments:
Aikido has a presence in the greater martial arts community. Providing clarity and confirmation about instruction is important to helping the aikido community keep its house in order and manage its relations with the greater martial arts community. This responsibility cuts both ways, both on the part of the publisher and the consumer.

In context, these videos may make sense to someone, somewhere. But without context...
It isn't wrong to verify what you see or ask for clarification about what you see. I think sometimes we see, or feel, or have an experience about which we are so excited that we publish our thoughts without understanding what happened. The publication, therefore, can't provide the context necessary to clarify what is going on and the next thing you know... bullshido.com.

Here on aikiweb, we can communicate with each other to verify what is going on and provide critical feedback for the larger community. I am not sure we want to keep an "open mind" because we want to keep pressure on our publishers to understand they have an obligation to tell us what they are doing. But we want to be fair and discerning.

A broken clock is right twice a day... I think these are good examples of "how to loose credibility in an instant"; whether they actually portray quality aikido is mute because non-aikido people will never look deeper than the video.

robin_jet_alt
02-10-2017, 02:57 PM
I am curious about the background of Watanabe shihan and other senseis that teach the "soft" style of Aikido and how they came to this style. I was reading not long ago about Endo Seishiro because he had a transition from a harder style of Aikido in his youth to a softer one after a bad injury to his shoulder at 30 once Yamaguchi sensei said to him "You’ve been doing aikido for 10 years now, but now you have only your left arm to use, what are you going to do?". What I observe now with a lot of softer Aikido is that it is the yin to harder styles yang. Whilst in other types of Aikido you can force and bumble your way through a technique with strength and speed, with softer styles there is a lot of focus on connection with your partner and balance, you can't really "wing it". That is not to say that I understand it entirely, as often times like in this video it seems to my untrained eye that the technique no longer exists after a certain point, without contact or much movement from nage. Yet the two senseis I have heard of and seen that demonstrate (Endo and Watanabe) are both 8th Dan with the Aikikai which I find curious. To obtain such a high rank they must know their stuff and have contributed greatly to Aikido's progression, yet their Aikido style is so controversial.

Also I would urge people though to maintain an open mind. Aikido is all about unity and harmony on the path that we all follow and we should maintain an aiki approach even to things that do not align with us on a personal level (applicable both to "soft" aikido and "harder" styles that lean toward aikijutsu). I am constantly surprised that the mindset of others under this art is to react aggressively toward things that are different than what they know. Try to be better than the youtube commenters that comment on all aikido videos along the lines of how the art is in general "bullshit" and "not effective". As for me, my sensei teaches a very different style to this softer Aikido but when Seishiro shihan comes here in a few months I am strongly considering attending his seminar, I don't know if it is for me (or if it will even help me at this early stage) but better to keep an open mind, no?

There is a difference between keeping an open mind and allowing yourself to be duped. That is not to say that I have any issues with softer styles. I practice one of the softer styles. The head of the style is very soft, but also incredibly good. You also mentioned Endo-sensei. I have done seminars with him, and he is also incredibly good. However, what I see from Watanabe sensei is nothing like what I see from those two. It's just fanciful. Looking at older footage of him, at least it has some basis in reality, but like Ellis said in his IHTF column, it lacks the sharpness and precision of some of the better aikidoka like Endo-sensei. As for his ranking, I have no idea as to the reasons behind it, but rank is not always commensurate with ability.

Anyway, to paraphrase, keeping an open mind does not require one to give equal value to everything that is presented to them. 16 years of training has at least given me the ability to know good aikido when I see it (even if it isn't the style that I'm currently practicing) and differentiate it from bad aikido.

Peter Goldsbury
02-10-2017, 09:09 PM
Hello, Mr Hultberg,

Thank you for your mail.

Before I give my own experiences, some preliminary comments are necessary.

Aikido, in the form adopted by the Aikikai and shown by Watanabe Shihan, eschews any form of competition, real or imagined. One result of this, in my opinion, is the existence and development of certain problems. One problem (1) is the clear discernment of quality; the other (2) is a consequence of the vertical social structure and ranking system: it might be called ‘The Adoration of the Sensei.’

I am certainly not the first person to have perceived the first problem. One of the Founder’s early students perceived it and developed a system to combat it. This person was Kenji Tomiki, and his blending of the waza with a limited form of competition was the occasion of the first major postwar division in aikido. However, an important caveat is necessary here: the reasons why Morihei Ueshiba forbade competition (championship matches: 試合 shihai, in Japanese) and why Kenji Tomiki thought some form of competition was necessary are quite different.

Another Japanese term is kyousou (競争) and, and to the extent that we can discern this through his discourses, this was most certainly not forbidden by Morihei Ueshiba. But you would need to examine his discourses to see this: and you will receive no guidance from any aikido organization, certainly not from the Aikikai.

My answers follow to the matters raised in your post. They are signaled PAG.

Dear Sir

I would love to hear more about your experiences when taking ukemi from various honoured teachers. I have speculated much about the (sort of) topic of this thread and also plagued the aikiweb community about my thoughts on aikido and time - which is just a metaphor for the investigation into "true reality" by means of aikido. "True reality" can be understood (in a very limited way) through theoretical physics, aikido, meditation, mathematics, perhaps altered states of consciousness in an ayahuasca-hut in Peru. Many avenues and many possibilities. Many pitfalls.

To me aikido has become the main vessel towards insight, illumination - minute as it might be.

PAG. Investigating ‘true reality’ through aikido would require a separate discussion. If you look through the various examples in Ellis Amdur’s IHTBF columns, you will see a wide variety of experiences, all of them authentic, in the sense that they contain insights, but also have the perceptual limitations, of those who took ukemi from the teachers concerned.

The Hombu teachers from about whom I have the clearest memories of ukemi are Tada, Yamaguchi and Fujita and the reason is that all of these visited Hiroshima regularly and gave seminars, but in a setting that allowed more hands-on contact than a Hombu class. Of these three, the one who was in any sense closest to what is exhibited by Watanabe Shihan was Seigo Yamaguchi, in the sense that he obviously wanted feedback from you—and adapted what he gave you to the feedback you gave him. The other two were different, in the sense that they felt they had to give you a certain inherited transmission, regardless of any feedback you might have to give.

The only other experience I have had that was in any way similar to that which I had with Yamaguchi Shihan was partnering Morihiro Saito Shihan with jo and bokken, but this was done through the weapons. (I recommend you discuss this with your fellow countryman Ethan W. at some point.)

When it comes to the clips shown in this thread there is one that seems more playful and one that seems more martial. I would love to know more about the setting, the situation. Even more I would love to feel being thrown by someone who is a, sort of, no touch supersensei. Is it true? Does some of it work?? Is there anything there at all???? Do I have to become more sensitive??? If I become more sensitive to the jedi-style aikido - maybe it could make me more of a martial artist (in the true martial sense) even if the jedi style be completely hopeless in a "martial sense".

PAG. I took uke from Watanabe Shihan a few times when I trained at the Hombu in the late 1980s and the way he executed the waza was typically ‘Hombu’ in the sense that it conformed to a pattern that I suspect stemmed from Kisshomaru Ueshiba. It was in no sense ‘no touch’ and followed a recognizable pattern. In Hiroshima, we also followed a pattern, but this was based on the model given by the Hiroshima instructor and was different in some respects. As you progress in aikido, your perceptions of what is happening in each waza should become more acute and you should know with increasing precision where your body is and what it is doing / what is being done to you. On occasion, after being thrown by Yamaguchi Shihan I could not exactly work out what had happened – and I was 5th or 6th dan rank at the time. This never happened with Watanabe Shihan, or with Endo Shihan for that matter.

Could training in what we see here provide more insight on the marvellous workings of ki? Perhaps.

PAG. It is very important to distinguish ‘the marvelous workings of ki’ from the equally marvelous workings of Koolaid. Differing interpretations of the former became another issue that split the Aikikai, when Tohei broke away from Kisshomaru and formed his own organization. It is also noteworthy that this split was a consequence of widening differences that occurred much earlier, when Morihei Ueshiba was still alive and active, but he gave no guidance at all and left it to the two protagonists to work things out by themselves. The rest is history.

The problem with Koolaid is a consequence of what I earlier called the ‘Adoration of the Sensei.’ In my experience, people go through severe intellectual and emotional contortions to persuade themselves that their Sensei (usually with a capital ‘s’) never makes mistakes and part of this contortion is the undue importance given to the role of uke. Ukes, especially in Japan, are trained to conform totally to a received image of their role and this accounts for some of the antics you see in the video. There is a story of a certain Japanese instructor in the UK who was blocked in mid-waza by a very strong uke, who thought it his duty not to go unless thrown. The instructor immediately concluded that there was a major challenge to his standing as an 'uchi-deshi of O Sensei' and issued a challenge to a duel with swords, knowing that the uke would be outmatched. The issue was resolved another way, but the uke was (wrongly, in my opinion) made to feel that he had made a major mistake. I think this lack of honesty adds to the problem of Adoration of the Sensei, for the only accepted course of action then is a complete spilt, with no further communication – and adoration becomes the complete opposite.

Now, back to the start - what did the ukemi feel like. Have you experience no touch throws - what happened? What was it like?

Oh, to go back in time and be thrown by O Sensei :)

PAG. Well, yes, but I would like to have experienced his training in the early Kobukan years and in Iwama, before he became established as O Sensei.

Many many regards & thank you for your time.

Stefan Hultberg

PAG. Not at all. Best wishes,

Mary Eastland
02-11-2017, 06:13 AM
I would like to feel it.

jamesf
02-14-2017, 12:24 AM
Without further context (e.g. the missing audio track), my first impression was that it certainly looks phony! However, I'm willing to give it a benefit of a doubt, not so much as "no touch" waza on the part of the sensei, but maybe some sort of connection exercise on the part of the student. Something along the lines of "See if you can follow my intention, onegaishimasu!"

Even if it was a connection exercise that had a useful purpose, I'd say it was a poor decision to film it just do to how easily it could be misunderstood.

StephanS
02-17-2017, 02:49 AM
The problem with Koolaid is a consequence of what I earlier called the ‘Adoration of the Sensei.' In my experience, people go through severe intellectual and emotional contortions to persuade themselves that their Sensei (usually with a capital ‘s') never makes mistakes and part of this contortion is the undue importance given to the role of uke. Ukes, especially in Japan, are trained to conform totally to a received image of their role and this accounts for some of the antics you see in the video. There is a story of a certain Japanese instructor in the UK who was blocked in mid-waza by a very strong uke, who thought it his duty not to go unless thrown. The instructor immediately concluded that there was a major challenge to his standing as an 'uchi-deshi of O Sensei' and issued a challenge to a duel with swords, knowing that the uke would be outmatched. The issue was resolved another way, but the uke was (wrongly, in my opinion) made to feel that he had made a major mistake.
Been there, done that.
But isn't there a point to it?? (Aka here comes the Koolaid: )
Let's start with the most obvious case: An uke that does absolutely nothing but standing straight, not even acknowledging the existence of tori. In Karate this would be the most trivial thing, you'd punch that guy, case closed. In Aikido, we could certainly fell such an uke with eg Irimi Nage, but would you call that Aikido? Felling a passive person? I wouldn't. On the other hand, Aikido is supposedly a defensive martial art and luckily for us there is no such thing as a permanently passive attacker.
So there is such a thing as wrong ukemi! The most common version (there might be others, but this is the one that comes to my mind right now) is an uke that attacks a little bit and than at some point retreats into a stable position against the technique that tori is supposed to execute. Again in karate you'd just punch that guy. In Aikido we seem to do your techniques on uke's attacks, not on uke itself. So an uke that stops attacking leaves us quite helpless (seemingly unable to perform), but doesn't present a worthy challenge either.
(Continuing with the Koolaid: )
So uke should retain an attacking spirit or an attacking relation to tori! (In advanced free sparing there is a point in practicing also with an uke that switches between attacking and defending spirit, because that gives you the opportunity to work on this winning-in-an-instant concept.)
So what is the nature of this attacking relation? I guess, every teacher has a different view on that. And that's the reason why the ukemi and therefore the technique looks so different with different teachers. (At the core, it's this attacking relation Aikido and really every martial arts strives to solve. So this shapes the ways uke performs her attacks which creates the structure tori can work with.)
Some teachers prefer a mechanical relation, some an abstract one others en esoteric one, even others one that is not really an attacking relation but a general human-to-human relation. Not all ideas about attacking relations hold their own in the face of real conflict or in all kinds of real conflict. Doesn't mean they don't have valid/interesting/profound points to teach. (But that doesn't mean these points are relevant to your idea about how conflict works or where you want to go with your Aikido/martial art).
So at an advanced level, the first and by far not the easiest question to look to answer is: what is my partner/teacher's idea of the attacking relation!
(The reveal)
So is Watanabe's idea relevant to a "real conflict" (aka my/your ideas about conflict or at least training)?
I'm still trying to figure that out! He's a former rough Aikidoka, gone physiotherapist, trying to figure out what O-Sensei was talking about, having 50+ years to (r/d)efine his position!
Until five years ago i used to train in a dojo that followed him. The video is filmed in Birach/Germany. I used to train at his seminars there. I'm fairly certain, i was in the vicinity of the camera at the point of filming the clip. (more information on his seminars (http://www.kenbukai.org/en/courses/)). The clip is classic Watanabe, that's how he works.
You probably look at the video and think for a minute "WTF??". I've been wondering the same thing for over a decade now. It's a very productive question for me ;)
(severe intellectual contortion out)

sorokod
02-19-2017, 05:32 AM
There is a full continume for the uke between ignoring everything and a full on Stockholm syndrome. There is a interval between these two extremes where practice can take place.
That things are not binary doesn't mean that everything is valid.

StephanS
02-19-2017, 11:39 AM
There is a full continume for the uke between ignoring everything and a full on Stockholm syndrome.
Actually, the skill to stockholmsyndrome attacker fits perfectly into the Aikido agenda.
That things are not binary doesn't mean that everything is valid.
<AdorationsOfSensei>Oh, Watanabe is valid!</AdorationsOfSensei>
The interesting part is to figure out in what way exactly.

Not everything has to be russian para military approved (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymq_bpDg3zI).

sorokod
02-19-2017, 03:16 PM
Actually, the skill to stockholmsyndrome attacker fits perfectly into the Aikido agenda..

Sure, if it provides captive audience and all expenses paid trips to Germany


<AdorationsOfSensei>Oh, Watanabe is valid!</AdorationsOfSensei>
The interesting part is to figure out in what way exactly.

Not everything has to be russian para military approved (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymq_bpDg3zI).

I was pointing out the dodgy argument you employed, a special case of False-Dilemma fallacy (https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/94/False-Dilemma) and didn't say Watanabe's practice wasn't valid (it isn't in my opinion, not even martial art, let alone Aikido).

The bearded Russian gentleman has a funny mix of (pseudo) kokyu exercises and Russian nationalism. Not paramilitary by the way - just a sports club with an Aikido connection to Watanabe Nobuyuki.

StephanS
02-20-2017, 12:27 AM
I was pointing out the dodgy argument you employed, a special case of False-Dilemma fallacy (https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/94/False-Dilemma) .
So the False-Dilemma-fallacy is to present only two options where many exist. While my "Watanabe is valid" may seem to do such a thing the next sentence "the question is in what way" shows (was meant to show) that there are many possible valid ways. So i wouldn't say that i employed a false dilemma.


I ... didn't say Watanabe's practice wasn't valid (it isn't in my opinion, not even martial art, let alone Aikido).
Well, you kind of implied it, and now you made it rather explicit.
By the way, i agree with you that not every kind of Aikido (or whatever else) is to my liking. Or that i find it applicable in a meaningful way.


Not paramilitary by the way - just a sports club
"paramillitary" goes indeed to far. I was referencing the casual use of camouflage.


The bearded Russian gentleman has a funny mix of (pseudo) kokyu exercises and Russian nationalism. ... a sports club with an Aikido connection to Watanabe Nobuyuki.
You're right, Egor here (no racial slur, the teachers name is actually Egor, if i remember correctly) is actually Watanabe's first uke in the original clip this whole thread started with.
I got the impression that it's easier to assume that something it's "street prove" when practiced in camouflage. You don't seem to fall into that trap, though.

To conclude: You think Watanabe's practice is phony ("not even [a] martial art, let alone Aikido"), while i still value the (extended) experience.

Riai Maori
02-20-2017, 03:05 PM
This hocus pocus video is absolute nonsense and devalues the Martial Art of Aikido. Iwama Aikido, Nage initiates the attack to draw a response from Uke followed with lots of Atemi through out the technique from Nage. There is a dark side to Aikido.

StephanS
02-21-2017, 03:34 AM
This hocus pocus video is absolute nonsense and devalues the Martial Art of Aikido. Iwama Aikido, Nage initiates the attack to draw a response from Uke followed with lots of Atemi through out the technique from Nage. There is a dark side to Aikido.
Hi Richard,
given your username i assume that you train within Riai Aikido (http://aikido.org.nz/teachers/). I actually visited four dojos in NZ, when i was there on holiday in 2009. Also in Wellington and Auckland (and Nelson and David Lynch's dojo. But i assume David Lynch is not related to your head teacher Henry Lynch?) but i don't think those where the Riai dojos.
You're line seems to work much with Robert Nadeau. It would be interesting to know, what he thinks of Watanabe's Aikido!

Riai Maori
02-24-2017, 12:34 AM
Hi Richard,
given your username i assume that you train within Riai Aikido (http://aikido.org.nz/teachers/). I actually visited four dojos in NZ, when i was there on holiday in 2009. Also in Wellington and Auckland (and Nelson and David Lynch's dojo. But i assume David Lynch is not related to your head teacher Henry Lynch?) but i don't think those where the Riai dojos.
You're line seems to work much with Robert Nadeau. It would be interesting to know, what he thinks of Watanabe's Aikido!

Kia Ora Stephan. I started Aikido with Riai, but now train Iwama. Riai do not train in weapons. Attended seminars with Nadeau Sensei and David Lynch (Yoshinkan). Nice to hear you trained while visiting our Country. My sentiments are from my own experiences and the references on attack are how we are taught in our dojo.:)

Demetrio Cereijo
02-24-2017, 06:24 AM
Iwama Aikido, Nage initiates the attack to draw a response from Uke followed with lots of Atemi through out the technique from Nage.
Thats not exact.

There is a dark side to Aikido.
Sure, but it is not in the Iwama style.

Riai Maori
02-24-2017, 11:59 AM
Thats not exact.

Sure, but it is not in the Iwama style.

In all due respect, I have never seen you training at our Dojo. You can speculate all you want. These are some of the fundamentals that we are taught in our Dojo.

sorokod
02-25-2017, 05:26 AM
So the False-Dilemma-fallacy is to present only two options where many exist. While my "Watanabe is valid" may seem to do such a thing the next sentence "the question is in what way" shows (was meant to show) that there are many possible valid ways. So i wouldn't say that i employed a false dilemma.


A special case of false dilemma:

1. you present a single option (there is only one correct way of being uke)
2. You easily disprove 1 (Let's start with the most obvious case: An uke that does absolutely nothing ... So there is such a thing as wrong ukemi!)
3. You conclude that you have proven that any way of doing whatever is correct or who is to say or....(I guess, every teacher has a different view on that)

Demetrio Cereijo
02-25-2017, 06:36 AM
In all due respect, I have never seen you training at our Dojo.
With all due respect, I don't even know where it is.

You can speculate all you want. These are some of the fundamentals that we are taught in our Dojo.
For sure, but when you start to be taught intermediate and advanced waza, you'll see how the statement you made and I quoted is wrong.

And regarding Watanabe sensei video, Iwama style people should not, IMO, call what he does nonsense when there are Iwama people like Hirosawa sensei doing the same.

Carl Thompson
02-27-2017, 02:10 AM
And regarding Watanabe sensei video, Iwama style people should not, IMO, call what he does nonsense when there are Iwama people like Hirosawa sensei doing the same.

I think one thing that differentiates Hirosawa Sensei is that if someone does grab him as hard as they can, he can still move. He is still, at his core, one of Osensei's Iwama shihans.

Another difference is the underlying method Hirosawa Sensei uses to do his no-touch stuff. I think he overdoes it, but it is possible to lead people through intention. Osensei did it. Saito Sensei described and is known to have demonstrated kitai form and I've seen other significant students of Osensei in Iwama do it too - BUT, only in one-off instances.

One analogy I've heard is the school-prank, in which you try to sit down and someone suddenly takes the chair away. Once you know the chair will be pulled away, the practice becomes collaborative. This is where I think Hirosawa Sensei ends up in the same territory as Watanabe or Endo Senseis, but that isn't all there is to him.

StephanS
02-27-2017, 05:15 AM
A special case of false dilemma:
1. you present a single option (there is only one correct way of being uke)
i can play the logical fallacy game as well :cool:
This seems like a Straw man fallacy to me (but i assume by accident, so no bad blood here).
You say, i presented a single option of what to do and than you attack me for that. But that's not, at least how i see it, what i did:
I'd say, i presented a single option of what not to do, thereby stating that such a thing as false ukemi exists. I say nothing about how many kinds of wrong or right ukemi exist. The only thing i state is that not every kind of Ukemi is correct and thereby allow for the possibility that the uke in Peter's story was indeed wrong.

Now for elaboration that is not deducible from what i said until now.
1) That the sensei assumed bad intentions on side of the uke and challenged him for a duel was clearly an overreaction.
2) We talked about two extreme kinds of ukemi: total blocking and following everything ("Stockholm Syndrome"). There are probably more extreme kinds of ukemi, but let's concentrate on those two.
I'd like to divide both kinds into a reactive and closed-off version (these are all kinds of shades here). "Reactive" means (in the context of my argument) that uke reacts to what tori is doing. While closed-off referes to an uke that (almost) blends out tori.
a) Reactive blocking would be an uke that initiates an attack and than defends against uke's defense by adapting to uke. While i can be asked i what way uke still represents an attacker that Aikido is supposed to be build against (on "the street" when the other guy stops attacking and starts defending, why not let him go??), it at least means that tori screwed up the winning-in-an-instance thingy. So there is something to be learned/practised here.
b) Reactive total following: uke follows every impulse of tori. While there is no big achievement in getting such an uke to the ground, tori can from obvious to non-obvious means to do so, making the task more challenging in the process. Uke, while not presenting a specific problem to tori, can learn what tori's idea of an ideal scenario is. So if tori is advanced uke can experience, while following unconditionally, what tori's basic assumptions are. (Tori's impulses still have to lead to uke ending up on the ground.) On the downside unconditional following can be completely boring/pointless if tori has no "interessting"/relevant insights (e.g. Tori says "lie down on the floor", uke lies down on the floor. While this is strictly speaking a no-touch technique, there is just nothing advanced to be learned here).
c) closed-off blocking: uke attacks and than just stands still stiffly, most likely waiting that "Aikido is done to him". While this might be acceptable/common for the beginner level of other martial arts (that incorporate attacks), Aikido just has nothing in it's repertoire to train in this situation. Not even gotai makes much sense on an stiff opponent. You'd learn to handle the wrong thing. No fight was ever won by stiffness alone (while you might have stiff opponents in a fight, you only get completely stiff people on in training. Yes, it's a pretty strong claim and maybe too strong, but you should get the idea).
d) closed-off following: uke ignores tori as well and just does the steps s/he has learned to take. Impulses of tori are ignored or not even noticed. In the best case at least uke presents a nice form. But it's a dead form. Not even kata-training should be like this. (I'd say kata-training should be providing/reacting to the expected impulses that generate the form.)

So in my eyes the problem has less to do with blocking/following behaviour but with reacting to/ignoring your partner. I clearly prefere a mostly following kind of ukemi. It's supprising how often i still end up in "yes, i want to follow, but that's just too imprecise"-kind of moments :p

Coming back to Watanabe's training. Yes, ukemi there ends up close to the extreme of reactive following, but he has insights to transmit that way.

Demetrio Cereijo
02-27-2017, 05:43 AM
Hi Carl.

I do not really disagree with your post, but I'm a bit tired of fellow Iwamaers acting like they know everything and have seen everything.

grondahl
02-27-2017, 05:47 AM
One analogy I've heard is the school-prank, in which you try to sit down and someone suddenly takes the chair away. Once you know the chair will be pulled away, the practice becomes collaborative. This is where I think Hirosawa Sensei ends up in the same territory as Watanabe or Endo Senseis, but that isn't all there is to him.

Why would you put Endo and Watanabe in the same territory to begin with? Are you confusing him with Takeda Yoshinobu?

sorokod
02-27-2017, 04:08 PM
The only thing i state is that not every kind of Ukemi is correct

That is so obviously true, that taking the time to set up a demonstration of its correctness is suspicious to me. Suspicious in the sense that indeed, "who is to say" what is correct or incorrect.

We talked about two extreme kinds of ukemi: total blocking and following everything ("Stockholm Syndrome").

Seems that you are implying that I presented this as a dichotomy and think that one of them is correct - both are obviously silly.

A participant in a conflict balances two contradictory goals:

1. To achieve an objective which can be: inflicting physical damage, taking away the opponent's freedom of movement, etc...

2. To do so while incurring an acceptable level of damage.

While there are infinite combinations and ratios of 1 and 2 that depend on personalities, objectives, time of day and so on, fundamentally this is it. Situation in which one or the other are completely absent are not (to use your expression) "interesting" in the martial context. The kind of training seen in the video, the one you call "Reactive total following", manages to drop both 1 and 2 and so martially irrelevant.

While the contradictory goals are very simple and even primitive, the balance of the two, causes an emergence of a connection between opponents where each interprets and and reacts to the actions of the other in the context of 1 and 2. Here is how such connection looks like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9EpY6PirZw . You may even say that this a study in staying connected.

I may be completely off the mark but it seems that Watanabe is interested is examining some sort of laboratory-distilled, 100%-pure connection while doing away with the "unnecessary baggage", the "baggage" that in my opinion gives birth to the real thing and without which the whole exercise is devoid of content.

Carl Thompson
02-27-2017, 09:17 PM
Why would you put Endo and Watanabe in the same territory to begin with?
I would agree that Endo Sensei isn't as OTT with his no-touch stuff but both are leading their opponents in a similar way in my opinion. I write this having witnessed both teachers first hand, including taking ukemi for Endo Sensei. People whose opinions I trust have taken ukemi for Watanabe Sensei.

I think Hirosawa Shihan strays into the same territory, but his foundation is still connection through intention.
Are you confusing him with Takeda Yoshinobu?
No, but I think he is doing this kind of thing too.
Hi Carl.
I do not really disagree with your post, but I'm a bit tired of fellow Iwamaers acting like they know everything and have seen everything.
They're almost as bad as people who talk about internal strength and… (shudder)… REAL AIKI. :D

grondahl
02-28-2017, 01:38 AM
I would agree that Endo Sensei isn't as OTT with his no-touch stuff but both are leading their opponents in a similar way in my opinion. I write this having witnessed both teachers first hand, including taking ukemi for Endo Sensei. People whose opinions I trust have taken ukemi for Watanabe Sensei.

I think Hirosawa Shihan strays into the same territory, but his foundation is still connection through intention.


I have also taken ukemi for Endo (everybody that visits one of his seminars have), but I have never actually seen him do any no touch-stuff, either live or on Youtube. I have not grabbed him in an Iwama-fashion but I have done that with several of his swedish students and I would say that most of them can move from a strong grip at least as well as Iwama students on the same level.

StephanS
02-28-2017, 03:54 AM
That is so obviously true, that taking the time to set up a demonstration of its correctness is suspicious to me. Suspicious in the sense that indeed, "who is to say" what is correct or incorrect.
I set this up in reaction to Peter's "the uke was (wrongly, in my opinion) made to feel that he had made a major mistake". I wanted to say, that maybe uke did a mistake (of course i wasn't there, but Peter was :p ), although not a major, but a common one (for beginners).


A participant in a conflict balances two contradictory goals:
1. To achieve an objective which can be: inflicting physical damage, taking away the opponent's freedom of movement, etc...
2. To do so while incurring an acceptable level of damage.

The problem is that you don't know what level of damage your opponent is about to dish out. And i'm pretty sure your lizard brain is telling you, that if you go in to hurt the other guy, the other guy can/will hurt you too, if given the chance. So you better go in with all your force.
That's the major difference between martial sport and martial art. A strategy that gives a a 66% chance of winning is totally ok in a sport (you'll win by points) but evolution took probably care of all lizards that deemed this acceptable in a life-and-death encounter (which is potentially every single one).
That's also (imho) the reason Aikido works bad inside a ring, it's simply not made for a too rational of a situation. (Well, that and that most professional fighters train way more. But that's why professional fighters don't choose to try to make Aikido "work" in the ring.)
The kind of training seen in the video, the one you call "Reactive total following", manages to drop both 1 and 2 and so martially irrelevant.

I disagree, not that the training in the video drops both points, but that it's therefore martially irrelevant. The medium of transmission of martially relevant information has not to be martially itself, e.g. reading "The Art of War" can improve my understanding of a martial situation. In the same way Watanabe's training can provide you with insights (i'm deliberately foggy here because i'm still working on the details of what these insights might be :p ) that are relevant within a martial context as well.


Here is how such connection looks like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9EpY6PirZw . You may even say that this a study in staying connected.
Looks good.


I may be completely off the mark but it seems that Watanabe is interested is examining some sort of laboratory-distilled, 100%-pure connection while doing away with the "unnecessary baggage", the "baggage" that in my opinion gives birth to the real thing and without which the whole exercise is devoid of content.
Sounds good, with the exception that i'd say the "baggage" gives birth to the application, while the 100%-pure connection is telling us something (yeap, i'm foggy again) about humans per se.
(either that or this is my "severe intellectual contortion")

Carsten Möllering
02-28-2017, 03:54 AM
I would agree that Endo Sensei isn't as OTT with his no-touch stuff... I am practicing with Endō sensei for over ten years now. I have never experienced "no-touch -stuff" from sensei. Nor from one of his students. Actually I've heard him say very often that he does not like it. On the contrary: He teaches strong grips for uke.
Thad said, I would be very interested when and where you did Endō sensei see doing "no-touch-stuff"? or even experienced that?

My direct teacher here in Germany practiced with Yamaguchi sensei and also with Watanabe sensei during his years in Japan.
He can explain, what the no touch exercises of Watanabe sensei mean. He himself can reproduce some of it. And he can teach it.
It isn't mystic stuff, but has developped from the very clear kihon waza, Watanabe sensei teaches.

The thing the girls try to practice is not that spooky. It's a simple way of extending to the fullest, which will make uke collapse ... if done right.

I think, it's hard to judge something you don't know by experience ...

Demetrio Cereijo
02-28-2017, 05:36 AM
They're almost as bad as people who talk about internal strength and… (shudder)… REAL AIKI. :D
Touché.

Carl Thompson
02-28-2017, 06:08 AM
I am practicing with Endō sensei for over ten years now. I have never experienced "no-touch -stuff" from sensei. Nor from one of his students. Actually I've heard him say very often that he does not like it. On the contrary: He teaches strong grips for uke.
Thad said, I would be very interested when and where you did Endō sensei see doing "no-touch-stuff"? or even experienced that?
It was just one seminar, which a friend and I were very fortunate to be allowed to attend in Nagoya. There were a lot of people there, but I got picked out as uke twice. The second time did not go so well. He began the training with the atari principle for the first half and was doing barely-touching into no-touch (a matter of centimetres) by the end. That was where things didn't go so well for me as his uke. I'm still not sure what was expected of me.

I have also taken ukemi for Endo (everybody that visits one of his seminars have), but I have never actually seen him do any no touch-stuff, either live or on Youtube. I have not grabbed him in an Iwama-fashion but I have done that with several of his swedish students and I would say that most of them can move from a strong grip at least as well as Iwama students on the same level.
Perhaps my experience was rare. I only trained with him for one seminar. In any case, whether it is a couple of metres, a couple of centimetres or touching, my feeling is that both Watanabe and Endo Senseis are being blended with by uke. That may end up happening with Hirosawa too when he and his uke get carried away, but I think his core method of connection is different.

I think, it's hard to judge something you don't know by experience ...
This is true and I do try to keep an open mind regarding what Endo Shihan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpDcNdB_r80) is doing.

Currawong
02-28-2017, 07:06 PM
I recall going to Endo Sensei's classes at Hombu many years ago, and more than once he picked out a big and very strong foreigner (name forgotten, but that he gave me concussion has not been) to practice with, whom even he was challenged to, but not incapable of moving.

I can see a teacher developing a higher degree of precision and sensitivity in their practice, but also taking it over the edge to the point it gets silly, as seems to have happened with a few teachers. I can't help but feel that if a teacher moves their hands, weaponless, and their uke, still a few feet away, falls over, that is ridiculous.

Something like Aiki-ken would be an exception, since to avoid injury such sensitivity is important, and contact is most certainly not desired if tori goes for your face with the pointy end.

My concern, watching the students, and remote dojos of one, is that they then adopt a slight-touch or even no-touch practice method that becomes the norm, at the expense of all-round capability that includes strong grabs, among other things. That is, they are imitating the style of movement rather than developing the same capabilities as their teacher, and not practice anything much more than a form of dance.

arturolczykowski
03-21-2017, 10:22 AM
https://youtu.be/WN9V4PFUdqg

This is how it ends in real life :-)

Physasst
03-27-2017, 02:14 PM
I call BS. I get that people are working on internal stuff at times, but this is nonsense. I love Tissier Shihan's discussion on this.

http://www.christiantissier.com/tissier_articles-01.html

Sensei Tissier : They are two different things. On the one hand people who talk about ki, and on the other the ones who practise aikido like Sensei Watanabe. He developed something in which he is especially interested in: it isn’t a ki work but one of anticipation, sensations, whether you like it or not, or whether it works or not. It works when you know the code, but martially it doesn’t work. Being in Japan I worked a lot with him, Watanabe wasn’t like this before. He is a physically solid practicant who wanted to develop something different. I think that if I were head of an examination table I wouldn’t take what he produces.