View Full Version : Styles

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09-12-2002, 01:45 PM
What are the biggest differences between the different styles, and which do you like best (or study)?

Janet Rosen
09-12-2002, 02:47 PM
From what I've seen in the few years I've trained, by going to a variety of seminars with different styles of instructors, I'd say one big difference is in how things are taught: in other words, Yoshinkan type has a set curriculum, Ki Society focusses from the start on underlying principles that help do technique, USAF seems to focus on how to do the techniques, etc. So its largely a matter of how an individual learns best and what his or her goals are.

09-12-2002, 02:55 PM
Enjoy the similarities, celebrate the differences. They are more rare than you think.

09-14-2002, 06:04 AM
I've read, and would agree from the different dojos that I've visited that many style differences come from the when the different schools' shihans studied under O'Sensei.

Those who studied with him earlier tend to be a little more linear, a little more direct.... Those who studied with him as he got older tend to show more of the rounded movements.

Our dojo's style, Kodokan Aikido (http://www.geocities.com/satoshiizawa/), was started in the late 50's by Masanosuke Tanaka who was, if I understand correctly, a shinto priest who studied with O'Sensei under Omoto Kyo. This is reflected in the way our dojo bows in, and in the ideas that Tanaka shihan's son, who now heads the style, practices in his teaching.


09-14-2002, 07:21 AM
IME the biggest differences in styles are only in the mind.

To often there is an "you are either with us, or you are with the terrorists" mentality to be found between different styles. Yet the differences often arent that big as the (aiki)politicians want us to believe.

I have trained with people from different styles and from different dojo and beside some small differences in teaching methode (which, in my opinion, all have there advantages and drawbacks) I found no differences whatsoever. The differences are always in the people. Some from other styles are the best you can find while others from your own style come with a mentality that gives entire new meaning to the word sucking.

I have been in dojos where I was especially welcome because I came from a different style and they were genuine interested in my aikido. I have also been to dojos where I wasnt welcome due to my style and where the teacher and sempai had taken it upon themselfs to try to show me the error of my ways.

I have seen and felt sodokan people move like aikikai people and I have seen aikikia people holding friendly randori while trying to poke one another with a tanto.

Style is just another manmade thingy that is used to divided the world and put people in easy identifiable categories.

In my believe there is only one true (divine / heavenly) aikido and all forms/styles done by people are just an imperfect projection of the true aikido into our existence. (Hmm, that sounds more new-age-like than it was intended.)

09-14-2002, 12:18 PM
Well, i haven't had much experience with other dojos - the only other dojo than the one I train at regularly i've been to was an aikikai dojo in Aachen, Germany this summer.

It was aikikai, the dojo I train at was aikikai as well, so I expected no great difference - but I was very wrong. I can hardly imagine larger differences between two styles than I observed between these two aikikai dojos. Then again, Assae-sensei (the main aikikai instructor of Germany from what I understand) is said to simply have a very different interpretation of technique. . .In any case, is this common (large differences within one style)?

Bruce Baker
09-14-2002, 12:38 PM
Same chords but a different song?

I have seen the instructors who study under a shihan interpret the way to good aikido in different ways to attain the same goals. What is really weird, no matter how linear they train, or how differnt areas of training are stressed, eventually they all seem to perform the techniques exactly alike? How weird is that?

So, if you see of experience different roads to the same destination, remember ... in the end product, it all works the same.

The goals of fluentcy, strong centerpoint, extending energy, and blending with opponents all seem to be accomplished, although there are different roads to the destination.

Enjoy the visits to other dojos, styles of Aikido, they point out your strengths and weaknesses ... and sometimes you make some interesting friends, too.

09-14-2002, 12:56 PM
:) yup. visiting other dojo's certainly a fun - and interesting - experience

about aikido being performed the same - well, the principles are, of course, more or less the same, but the way they're applied may vary.

09-15-2002, 12:37 AM
Absolutely. MikeE has the idea above (not to mention I know who he is and where he lives.) ;)

One thing I've loved about aikido, no matter where you go, what group you work with, the principles are the same 99% of the time. We all learn about controlling the first move, or getting off the line, or weight underside in some way or another. I think this is particularly unique to aikido -- many styles, but very very similar.

So, the differences are minor -- they work to the same effect (hopefully), so enjoy them and benefit fully from the fruits they generate.

(I'm more like... a generated fruitcake.) :)

09-15-2002, 06:01 AM
I think all instructors teach a slightly different aikido which is 'their' aikido. In my opinion you have to develop your own aikido which will continuously evolve. I'd agree that Ueshiba did change post WWII, however I would consider it a refinement, and not necessarily due to old age/increased pacifism.

The more static styles are very good for developing basic understanding of techniques and ability to direct strength in an effective direction (minimising force). The more flowing styles teach timing, responsiveness (and ability to change technique in response to uke) and blending.

I've been struggling for a few years to bring these two styles together for myself. In my opinion, it is useful to learn basic static technique - it enables a technique to be forced on if necessary and a good understanding of the mechanics of indivdual techniques, and where potential strikes are available. However I believe real aikido is when we progress beyond that and can then be far more responsive to uke.

Interestingly aiki-jitsu progressed through 3 stages - the first stage incorporating lots of strikes and more linear, the second less strikes and more flowing, and the third, flowing.

I don't believe that learning just flowing at the start is the best way. If a strong opponent just locks out, stays stationary or changes it is very hard for a beginner to understand what to do or to think of even striking. You can be grabbed or forced into a stationary position. However, by the same token, staying in a very 1-2-3 step aikido with no ability to respond to ukes movements and trying to force a particular technique on them leaves nage with a very undeveloped sense of aikido.

Ueshiba spent years developing his aikido, I don't think we can instantly attain the same understanding of aikido. I think a good grounding in ability to strike, common pressure points, joint locks (jujitsu style) and other martial arts attacks is very useful for understanding the real potential, power and beauty of aikido.