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timcraig
02-21-2003, 10:41 PM
Did anyone see "The way of the warrior" on discovery channel tonight? It made me sad to hear someone say that aikido was the art the samurai used. The name aikido wasn't used until 1942....

Dirty Dogi
02-22-2003, 12:53 AM
Yeah I watched it. I was glad they finsihed off with aikido. That sensei kind of evened out all the killing and neck breaking styles.

I thought they were talking about Idiao(sp?) at first as the samauri style, then they went into aikido as a "counter" for the samurai style.

He had some good technique too, but one of his ukes seemed to be trying a little to hard for the Tv cameras.

Kelly Allen
02-22-2003, 01:48 AM
I'm not sure if this was the same one, but I saw a program recently on the top ten martial arts. About half the arts were misrepresented in some way. When Aikido came up as number five there was more Iaido than Aikido. They too depicted it as the art of the Samuri

Mel Barker
02-22-2003, 10:07 AM
It made me sad to hear someone say that aikido was the art the samurai used.
Why did it make you sad?

Mel

timcraig
02-22-2003, 12:36 PM
Because Aikido didn't really come into being until 1942, when O-sensei named it.

Sure, you could use the a square is a rhombus argument (that aikido is jujitsu), but I think it's a little misleading to say that the samurai actually used aikido. Misleading people makes aikido as a whole look bad.

Mel Barker
02-22-2003, 03:51 PM
Because Aikido didn't really come into being until 1942, when O-sensei named it.
Does that mean Ueshiba's pre-war students are still doing Daito-ryu?

Mel

JimAde
02-23-2003, 09:02 AM
Did anyone see "The way of the warrior" on discovery channel tonight? It made me sad to hear someone say that aikido was the art the samurai used. The name aikido wasn't used until 1942....
I was watching this by myself and nearly burst a blood vessel when I didn't have anyone to vent at :)

I don't expect a show like this to go in-depth on a martial art's history, but they should at least get the facts they do use right. If they had spent ten minutes looking on the web they could have been more accurate.

I enjoy a lot of Discovery channel programming, but they don't seem to have much journalistic/scientific integrity.

timcraig
02-23-2003, 11:58 AM
Does that mean Ueshiba's pre-war students are still doing Daito-ryu?
If they were taught the same things he taught after the war, then I would say they were doing "aikibudo" and "aikinomichi"(what he called aikido before he decided on the name "aikido"-from aikidofaq) if they continued to train after the war, then they were doing aikido. But that's just IMHO. There's still no chance the samurai were doing aikido.

Josh Mason
02-24-2003, 12:33 AM
I liked the Discovery channel's segment about Aikido. Sure, it was inaccurate in some things but really, how many times do you get to see something about Aikido on television? I was completely thrilled.

I was like "LOOK MOM AND DAD! That's AIKIDO! YEAH! That's some of the same stuff WE DO! Look at that IRIMINAGE! OOOH OOOH... THERE'S SHIHONAGE!!! YEAH ALRIGHT MAN!"

Kevin Masters
02-24-2003, 09:45 AM
I liked the Discovery channel's segment about Aikido. Sure, it was inaccurate in some things but really, how many times do you get to see something about Aikido on television? I was completely thrilled.

I was like "LOOK MOM AND DAD! That's AIKIDO! YEAH! That's some of the same stuff WE DO! Look at that IRIMINAGE! OOOH OOOH... THERE'S SHIHONAGE!!! YEAH ALRIGHT MAN!"
Me too!:D

Of course it was sensationalised because it was on Teevee. How many Aikido Dojos are actually built to replicate Shogun period palaces? And one of the Uke's almost crashed into the water cooler. Ow.

It was a nice change after seeing the guys punching that lady in the throat. CombatKi seems more like a college drinking game than a martial art to me. LOL

Isn't that how Houdini died?

Kev.

ian
02-24-2003, 12:46 PM
I think part of the allure of martial arts to newbies is this ancient mystical knowledge thing and any relation to the samurai. At a pub quiz once 'aikido' was the answer to the question; which ancient japanese martial art uses the attackers own energy against them?

I've just got to the stage now when I just nod and say yeh, its an ancient martial art using mystical powers handed down from the gods and you can kill a crowd of people without even touching them, or even having to think about it.

Josh Mason
02-24-2003, 01:10 PM
Combat Ki is retarded.....

"Alright bad guy.... I'm gonna stand here and let you punch me repeatedly in the neck."

With Aikido you don't have to worry about getting hit.

JimAde
02-24-2003, 01:41 PM
Combat Ki is retarded.....

"Alright bad guy.... I'm gonna stand here and let you punch me repeatedly in the neck."

With Aikido you don't have to worry about getting hit.
For extensive discussion on Rod Sacharnoski and his group/art, go over to http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/index.php and search the forums for either Rod Sacharnoski, Combat Ki or Juko-kai. Bring a cup of coffee; there's a lot to read. :freaky:

John Boswell
02-24-2003, 02:18 PM
I saw both the "Top Ten" show on The Learning Channel and this one on Discovery Channel. Both were disappointing to me, but were good enough to get a general idea out there to the layman.

As for this particular show, I'd like to mention how so many people love to ask the question "Is Aikido combat practicle?" all the time and then you look at CombatKi and see these guys psyching themselves up to take a punch. Now, I ask you: which is more practicle??

As for the 6th Dan who demonstrated Aikido in this show, though he was very good at what he did... he used his center and ki so well he hardly touched the Uke and thus made it look WAY too easy and effortless and "fake". It should have been emphasised even more how much training he had to undergo to get where he is today.

Oh well, any attention Aikido gets is attention on "Us" and off of other MA's. I really think Aikido is headed into a new age. Really.

Steven
02-24-2003, 05:53 PM
If this is the same program I saw, with Kensho Furuya, I was very disappointed with the way Aikido was portrayed. No offense to Kensho Furuya or his students, but their portion was awful. Beautiful dojo though.

I could name at least a dozen other Aikido instructors in Southern California that could have done a better job. He was out of breath, sweating a lot after very little movement and like John said, looked "WAY" too fake.

My wife, who has seen been watching me for over 17 years, even stated that if she had never seen Aikido before, she would never consider it after seeing that demonstration.

btw: Here's their URL

http://www.aikidocenterla.com/

twilliams423
02-25-2003, 11:42 AM
Since I was a participant in this segment as well as having been involved in several other filmings at ACLA, I thought I'd contribute my perspective.

First of all, yes it is a beautiful dojo. Probably this is one of the reasons these kind of shows want to film here. But beyond the look of the place, there is some serious training going on too.

If Sensei looked out of breath or was sweating, I wouldn't be suprised. Although the segment was only a few minutes in length in its final version, the filming lasted for a couple of hours at least! I know I was sweating. In fact, we sweat and breathe hard in every class. Don't most of the rest of you?

Also, his uke is 4th Dan (now 5th dan), and I can assure you that he gives 110% in his attacks all the time, not just for the cameras. He is fast, strong and very good. Sensei demands this of all us. There is no faking it. If it looks too easy for Sensei, think about what that really means. I was there, there was no theatrical enhancement. This is the way we train.

As for there being at least a dozen better instructors in So. Cal. I don't know, maybe. I find that statement pretty hard to accept. I've been training in the LA area for 15 years. I know there are some good instructors around, but.... I'm a teacher myself, I certainly wouldn't put myself in that category.

These kinds of programs are created for the general public's consumption. They almost always come out about the same. They're a form of entertainment. They certainly aren't meant to be a serious treatment of martial arts. The people who produce them and write the narrations have no knowledge of the subject. They serve up what they think will sell.

The Dojo participates as a service to help spread awareness of traditional Aikido training. People are stimulated by the programs to check out the art. So to that extent, they serve some positive function.

Sincerely,

Tom Williams

Kent Enfield
02-25-2003, 12:55 PM
Since I was a participant in this segment as well as having been involved in several other filmings at ACLA, I thought I'd contribute my perspective.Then you might be able to answer a question I have. Where is Furuya sensei's iaido rank from? Nowhere on the dojo's website does it say.

And why do the chuden waza as two-person exercises? If you want to do two-person forms, just do the two-person forms (tachiuchi no kurai, tsumiiai no kurai, etc.).

twilliams423
02-25-2003, 01:48 PM
Kent,

Sorry I can't help out with your questions. I don't practice Iaido and don't know enough about it.

Tom

Thorin
02-25-2003, 03:57 PM
Thanks Tom for your great letter. I enjoyed the tv show (understanding that it was edited by the show and made for the general public). You have a very nice dojo and a dedicated Sensei.

JimAde
02-26-2003, 08:48 AM
These kinds of programs are created for the general public's consumption. They almost always come out about the same. They're a form of entertainment. They certainly aren't meant to be a serious treatment of martial arts. The people who produce them and write the narrations have no knowledge of the subject. They serve up what they think will sell.
<rant>

This, in fact, is my exact beef with the Discovery channel (not Furuya sensei or his school). They purport to be producing documentaries and scientific programming. If they can be so far wrong about the basic history of Aikido (which is readily available) then how can I believe anything they say? :grr:

</rant>

Ok. I'm done now. I feel much better. :)

Kelly Allen
02-27-2003, 01:09 AM
You know what they should have is a martial arts channel. Or a week long series on martial arts. There are so many of them out there, And lots are so unique, that an hour long show could be produced for each art. I'd watch!

Bronson
02-27-2003, 02:07 PM
You know what they should have is a martial arts channel.

You know I swear I read in some magazine somewhere that this very thing is going to offered by some cable tv providers. Anyone else heard anything?

Bronson

SmilingNage
02-28-2003, 12:19 AM
I was wondering where sensei Kensho Furuya got his rank from. I dont see him listed in IAF. So I was wondering where and who bestowed his rank upon him.

Anyone know?

Kelly Allen
02-28-2003, 12:50 AM
You know I swear I read in some magazine somewhere that this very thing is going to offered by some cable tv providers. Anyone else heard anything?

Bronson
After I posted I found this at http://www.martialway.com/. I hope my cable provider offers it.

Dave Dean
03-04-2003, 11:46 AM
I have to say that, as questionable as Discovery Channel stuff can be (don't get me started on their Egyptology programs!) -- seeing that segment is one of the catalysts that pushed me toward getting started.

My roommate started last September and has been very enthusiastic -- but you have to *see* Aikido, nobody can *describe* it for you. I had this idea that it was "like Judo" but with more mumbo-jumbo. I was picturing tons of breakfall practice, grappling, getting leverage, etc. like the YMCA Judo classes I took as a kid. Which just isn't very interesting to me anymore. I don't want to *struggle* with people, that's too much like my job. :)

Getting to actually see Aikido sparked my interest enough to watch one of my roommate's classes, which really helped me see what it is that makes Aikido special. As a result, I'm starting with the next beginners' group in April :)

So it's sort of that "any publicity is good publicity" thing.

Besides, after that segment on "Combat Ki", Aikido looked very, very good :D

JimAde
03-04-2003, 12:51 PM
After I posted I found this at http://www.martialway.com/. I hope my cable provider offers it.
I saw this on the web a while ago and got all excited about it, too. But look at the date on the article: Thursday October 10. I haven't heard anything about it since, and a Google search for "black belt channel" (with the quotes) turned up no results.

I think this idea is dead. :dead:

Bronson
03-04-2003, 01:36 PM
I think this idea is dead.
Maybe not.
Blackbelt TV, scheduled to launch in March 2003, will also broadcast a variety of organized fights, including International Judo Federation tournaments, USA World karate championships, World Boxing Federation fights and Muay Thai kickboxing bouts.

It isn't scheduled to begin until this month. Maybe it'll happen yet.

Bronson

JimAde
03-04-2003, 01:58 PM
I hope you're right, Bronson. I just figured if it was going to launch soon there'd be some kind of hype on the Web. And if Google can't find it, it's not out there :)

Jonathan
03-04-2003, 02:11 PM
I saw the "Top Ten Martial Arts" show a couple of weeks ago on TLC and was nonplussed by most of it -- including the Aikido segment. I do believe that Furuya (sp?)sensei is very skilled at Aikido (I know that, at least for a time, he trained under Kisshomaru Ueshiba sensei), but I must say that my friends who saw him on TLC were more impressed by his great girth than by his aikido. They all commented that it was difficult to take aikido seriously when it is represented by someone, billed as a "master", whose training was not sufficient to prevent such obesity. On my part, I know nothing of Furuya sensei's training so could not counter these comments. An unfortunate, but not unexpected, reaction to Furuya sensei, I think.

timcraig
03-04-2003, 02:13 PM
http://www.blackbelttv.com/

jducusin
03-05-2003, 01:40 AM
They all commented that it was difficult to take aikido seriously when it is represented by someone, billed as a "master", whose training was not sufficient to prevent such obesity. On my part, I know nothing of Furuya sensei's training so could not counter these comments. An unfortunate, but not unexpected, reaction to Furuya sensei, I think.
Hi Jon, :D

I believe I've got a counter for you. Weight control research over the past two decades or so has shown that regardless of diet or level of physical fitness, a person will generally stay within the same weight range throughout their life due to genetic factors. Which explains why many people, despite keeping up a healthy and active lifestyle, remain "overweight". If you're interested in learning more about it, look up "Set-Point Theory". It's a widely-accepted explanation of the process that the body goes through to maintain it's genetically-predetermined weight range, and you'll undoubtably find more info using those keywords.

I also agree that the reaction to Furuya sensei was probably not unexpected, which makes it a pretty sad reflection on the superficiality of our society. It's a shame that a person's skill would not be taken seriously merely because of their physical appearance. Hehehe...from what I recall of that book you lent me, Terry Dobson wasn't exactly that fit-looking a guy either! ;)

Jamie

Kelly Allen
03-05-2003, 05:04 AM
To me it only proves that any body type can excel at Aikido.

JimAde
03-05-2003, 08:14 AM
http://www.blackbelttv.com/
WooHoo! I was wrong! I'm not usually this happy about being wrong... :D

Now I just have to call my cable company and deal with their ever-helpful customer support :rolleyes:

SmilingNage
03-05-2003, 08:42 AM
Hey! No hero bashing, Terry Dobson writings are a personal favorite of mine LoL.

He was sick towards the end. But he was in shape enough to be scouted as a Ny Giant lineman as well as a bouncer in his younger years

jducusin
03-05-2003, 08:49 AM
Hey! No hero bashing, Terry Dobson writings are a personal favorite of mine LoL.

He was sick towards the end. But he was in shape enough to be scouted as a Ny Giant lineman as well as a bouncer in his younger years
Hey William,

Hehehe...no bashing intended---I quite admire Terry Dobson; he led an interesting life, and had great stories to tell. :) I just couldn't think of anyone else off the top of my head who was both high ranking and had a large physique. I figured he was a pretty good example of how you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover!

Dave Dean
03-05-2003, 09:08 AM
Furuya sensei's physique was actually encouraging to me -- it was good to see that Aikido isn't reserved for 18 year olds with perfect build. :)

jducusin
03-05-2003, 09:45 AM
Furuya sensei's physique was actually encouraging to me -- it was good to see that Aikido isn't reserved for 18 year olds with perfect build. :)
Glad you mentioned it, Dave. I know a lot of folks who would definitely be inspired by and above all, less intimidated by the martial arts, seeing someone of their physique achieve what these men have.

Kensho Furuya
09-07-2003, 08:47 AM
Thank you for all of your comments. First of all I really dread doing these interviews for these cable programs but I would like to point out the they come to us because we are one of the most recommendated dojos in the area by other martial arts which recognize us and think very highly of us and always refer them to us. We do not solicite these shows. And I am quite sure, as you clearly state, there are many, many more qualified Aikidoists than me to do this work. I think I am not well-known or popular in the Aikido community today because I generally stay very much to myself in my dojo - quite a long time ago, I decided to divorce myself from all of the politics and intrigues which unfortunately plague Aikido and for this reason stay very quiet and very much to myself. Also, my own students in the dojo are as about as much as I can handle. This is all I have to say about this. I do have a great deal of contact with other martial arts and martial arts teachers and thru my humble efforts have given them the understanding that Aikido is an extremely effective martial arts. I have also worked as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department Civilian Martial Arts Advisory Council and thru them have had contact with the top martial artists in the country and we have discussed and shared special seminars with other martial arts demonstrating and teaching Aikido and clearly showing the effectiveness of Aikido. This may be why they seem to pick my tiny dojo and we are often recommended. (When I see discussions in the website questioning the effectiveness of Aikido - and I always quite puzzled and wonder what kind of training they have undergone.) Getting back to the point, I reluctantly consent to do these programs because I always believe that Aikido should have more press and more exposure to the general public- it is a worthy art. These shows always tend to emphasize the so-called spectacular and popular arts and never fail to feature such arts as ninjutsu and Shao Lin Kung fu and many eclectic, modern martial arts today. Aikido is always sadly missing. I only do these for this reason and receive no compensation whatever, I might add. I should like to let you know that I have received hundreds of emails and letters from the general public all over the country and the world who have watched these shows and immediately looked up and joined their local Aikido school. This is what makes me very happy and the only reason I might continue to do them.

These cable units come in the dojo with their cameras and lights and take all day. We have to be so careful they do not dirty or damage the mats and lay carpets and boards everywhere. It is a lot of trouble for my students. I sit there in the hot lights for hours being interviewed and one must always be very careful what one says. They always manage, without fail, to edit out anything important you might say and leave in anything stupid that inadvertently slipped out of your mouth. The interviewer generally has no concept of martial arts or Aikido and usually has the same popular notions and misconceptions of martial arts as the general public. At the same time you are being interviewed, you are also trying to educate the interviewer about what martial arts and Aikido really is. Once you are interviewed for hours, they only use a few seconds or minutes of the entire taping, you have no control of whatever is put into the show once the interview is finished. You never see the show until it is aired. They always add in their own views and interpretations and I am always, always disappointed how easily they get all of the facts mixed up. I apologize very deeply that they made some mis-statements about Aikido. I try so very hard to prevent this. . . . Everything is up to them and as much as they say they want to produce a serious and accurate show, ultimately, it boils down to what sells and what is flashy and spectacular and what they think the audience wants to see.

Age, old injuries, weak knees from too much suwari waza in my younger days, a bad back from a terrible auto accident, too much time trying to make a go of the dojo and keeping the rent paid and my own inner inclination to be lazy all contribute to my being out of shape and have no excuse for this. I am very sorry this offends you. And I apologize that my physical appearance offends you. Being born Japanese and in this country several years after the WWII, I am used to having my appearance offend people who didn't like the Japanese or as I was referred to, "Jap." My mother also suffered a great deal of discrimination as well. She wanted to raise me so I would be more easily able to assimilate into this culture but somehow I only become more interested in my roots and heritage. I have always hoped that in this day and age, we have moved away from such notions as judging people by their personal appearance. It was the death sentence to even appear to be Jewish during the war in Europe and the Blacks have suffered so much throughout our history here. Japanese before and after the war have also suffered very silently. Although much progress has been made and I thought there was more understanding in regards to this, I am dismayed to find it here in the Aikiweb and among fellow Aikidoists today. I guess we, as human beings, still need much more work here. I suppose this is human nature that we must always put down the other person. I have not met many of you here in this website and because I stopped travelling and doing seminars about 20 years ago, I suppose I am not a familiar face in the Aikido community. But although I haven't met you, Mr. Miranda, I pray for you and your lovely wife for the very best that Life has to offer and you have my compassion and understanding and my friendship - always in Aikido.

To address another question, I started my Kendo traning at 8 yrs old. And soon after started Iaido training under my teacher, Yoshinobu Takiguchi. I have continued Iaido training under many various teachers who have been few and hard to find. I first met 2nd Doshu in 1962 and trained at Hombu Dojo in 1969. I slept in the Instructors Room and took every class each day and attended specials for some of the younger instructors, all 5th Dan and above. I have studied under many teachers but the late 2nd Doshu, the late Kisaburo Ohsawa Sensei, the late Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei, Sadateru Arikawa Sensei and Mitsunari Kanai Sensei are my great inspirations and influences in Aikido and in my life. I was ordained as a Zen monk in 1988 and spoke at the United Nations regarding Aikido in 1989. I am the author of a video series on Aikido and a book. Three more books are in the works and I was author of long running column in a martial arts magazine in which I tried to promote Aikido and its understanding. I do have legitimate certificates of rank in Aikido and Iaido and actually quite a few other martial arts. I hope this answers your questions and comments. I will still continue to promote Aikido as best as I can with my less than adequate talents and if I continute to offend you, please ignore me. I would be very, very grateful for that. Btw, I showed a very gentle, flowing Aikido in that particular segment because I wanted to emphasize a contrast to other martial arts which emphasize more flashy kicking and yelling and punching as you well know and always see. Generally, my dojo is known as a more hardcore dojo where the training is much more strict than usual for today. After 45 years in Aikido, I can do Aikido at many different levels and in many different styles with emphasis on many different aspects of the art in a very broad scope. I fear your views on Aikido might be a little too narrow-minded. One common point in my training however is that all attacks are real and made with intent to make contact. Finally, in these cable segments, no Aikido was rehearsed or planned, everything was taped in one shot (take) spontaneously. Finally, my intent was to introduce Aikido to the general public and encourage those who have never seen Aikido before, not to practicing Aikidoists and Aikido experts - you people do not need someone like me. I am afraid my second crime outside of my physical appearance may have been to be too simplistic and superficial in my explanations. Thank you for bearing with me and having patience with me. May God bless you and O'Sensei's Great Spirit always protect and guide you. In Gassho, Rev. Kensho Furuya

jducusin
09-07-2003, 10:25 AM
Rev. Furuya Sensei,

Thank-you for taking time out of your busy schedule to address questions here on Aikiweb!

Please know that your contributions to the art of Aikido are greatly valued by many people, and I hope that you will come to disregard those who are so ignorant as to judge you by your appearance. As you can see by some of the comments in this thread, there are many aikidoka who are inspired by your example and truly appreciate all your efforts.

Many regards,

Jamie D. Gaden

Steven
09-07-2003, 11:11 AM
I wrote to Furuya Sensei privately and expressed my sincere apologizes if my statements were offensive to him. My statements were targeted at the program and I stand by them. The PROGRAM was terrible and mis-portrayed Aikido.

My comments have nothing to do with Furuya Sensei his school or race and everything to do with Discovery Channels terrible job at portraying what Aikido is really all about.

Obviously from Furuya Sensei's statements, he too feels a bit portrayed by DSC final product and my assessement of him personally was off base. I accept that hence my apology. Sorry I'm not so perfect like those who come here and post and call people ignorant. Guess I'm not the only one with first impression problems.

Hopefully when I'm in L.A. in a couple of three months, I'll be able to express my thoughts personally to Furuya Sensei.

...Peace...

jducusin
09-07-2003, 11:58 AM
Sorry I'm not so perfect like those who come here and post and call people ignorant. Guess I'm not the only one with first impression problems.
Steven,

To clarify --- I was referring to the latter part of the thread and those who were judging Furuya Sensei by his physical appearance, not (as you must have assumed) his "television appearance" (that you expressed disatisfaction with earlier in the thread).

My comments were meant directly in response to Furuya Sensei's apologies for his physical appearance. I do not believe that anyone should have to apologize for how they look; rather, I believe in the ideal that we need to accept others for who they are. What I meant was that people who choose to judge someone by their physical appearance alone are ignorant in that they willingly overlook a person's true value as a human being with skills, knowledge and experience that they can learn from.

I understand why you're feeling rather sensitive, Steven, and perhaps a little like you're "under fire", which is why you misinterpreted what I said so very easily. I'm sorry you took offense to something that sincerely had nothing to do with you at all.

Take care,

Jamie

Kensho Furuya
09-07-2003, 02:00 PM
Whenever these shows air on cable, I am always impressed with the fact that there are still so many people out there who have never heard of Aikido or who have heard of the Aikido name but have never seen Aikido and many who have wanted to practice Aikido but don't know where to go to find a dojo or teacher. I think as Aikidoists, we assume that everyone by now has heard of Aikido and generally knows what it is about. This is, by far, not the case. Because I am in downtown Los Angeles, I don't get many students as a result of these cable show airings but I know there are many who look up dojos in their own neighborhoods or come to this website and others searching for information. If these shows have the tiniest redeeming value of introducing Aikido to the general public or encouraging new, aspiring students to begin practice, I am happy.

I should also like to add that I have refused four shows just because they were so badly organized and not well thought out and I got into trouble with the film crews when they came to the dojo, but after hearing what they wanted to do, I just sent them back home. Most of these shows are done by independent companies who then sell their shows to the cable stations like Discover, A&E and History, etc. . . so they are only committed to anything they think they can sell to the stations. They are almost never done out of the pure love of martial arts or Aikido on their part, for them it is only a business. I don't know how many hands the tapings must pass through before the completed show is finished and ready for airing but they never seem to come out the way you may have intended your own segment to be. Many times, what you say may appear to be completely reversed from what you intended to say. Anyways, everyone should know, I am sure, that much of what you see in the mass media must be taken with a grain of salt. I really try my best but it is not easy and when I say something to them, they immediately talk about time, money and deadlines.

At the very least, however, I have never received any negative feedback from the general public about Aikido and I must say that, in almost all cases, when our Aikido segment is put in with other martial arts, our Aikido always comes out on top and with the most positive and most favorable impression. For this, I am very grateful. Again I say that I do wish I could be in more control over what they finally air about Aikido and correct any mistakes but, at least, it is a rare opportunity to give out the name of Aikido to the public and this has done some good. If, in the future, you may find that something that I have done is not up to your standards, please know that I am, at least, trying my best. I should add at this point, that, despite the results, I have worked with many many nice people who do these cable shows and they, too, always leave our dojo with a most favorable impression of Aikido so I am very grateful to them to give us a chance to mention Aikido on tv. Without this friendship and mutual understanding, it is very easy for them to ignore Aikido completely.

Finally, there is so much more interesting and thoughtful subjects to discuss about Aikido and I would hope that we can direct more focus to topics of techniques, idealogy, the philosophy of Aikido, its history, traditions and O'Sensei's teachings and the art of other respected teachers, and on and on. . . . . It is unfortunate that we must spend valuable on something like this. I always hope that more qualified people than myself can bring Aikido to the public and increase their awareness and interest in such a wonderful art as ours.

There is an old Chinese saying, "Even if you write one word, write it as if one thousand people will see and read it."

I hope this discussion and other such discussions will end here on a note of friendship and mutual understanding and, by all means, in the spirit of true Aikido. Thank you very much,

Kensho Furuya
09-07-2003, 03:03 PM
Btw, by some coincidence, this just arrived on my email:

Date: Sun Sep 7, 2003 12:36:06 PM US/Pacific

To: aclafuruya@earthlink.net

Subject: About training classes

hi, this is Cem A... from Turkey.

last year i saw your dojo and your classes on

discovery channel. i'm interested in your aikido

classes .do you have classes for foreigners? i mean is

there period for the students like me which wants to

come from abroad ? or do you have any schedule ... regards.

I get this kind of email all of the time. Many times, they are too far away to train in my school, but I always hope they will find some nice dojo where they can begin their Aikido practice. I will try to help them in their search. Thank you again,

PeterR
09-07-2003, 06:56 PM
I get this kind of email all of the time. Many times, they are too far away to train in my school, but I always hope they will find some nice dojo where they can begin their Aikido practice. I will try to help them in their search. Thank you again,
Unfortunately these e-mails are very common and the desire to learn AIkido is not sincere. I have recieved more of those e-mails in the past three months than I have students.

Lan Powers
09-07-2003, 08:58 PM
I actually enjoyed seeing aikido presented for the public to view..:rolleyes:

So little out there for us who live on the fringe....(west TX)

I have no doubt that the media has presented the least applicable, and most out-of-context of all material they have gathered from a full day of grueling filming.

Another case of good material, poorly presented.

My respect for Furuya Sensei grows with each kind, and humble post.

Regards

Lan

John Boswell
09-08-2003, 03:15 PM
Furuya Sensei,

I was pleased to read your responses to this thread. You cleared up a lot of questions that many of us here had.

Despite my understanding of film making and such, it completely slipped my mind that they would edit a show in such a way as to make it more fantastic and work around proper comments and leave in the "not so important" things. I will confess, though my post on page one of this thread did not judge you on your size, in my mind I did make such an evaluation and I apologize. I have no room to talk being too big myself. And with bad knees to boot, should have known better.

Thank you for your comments above. Post here anytime and continue to use your best judgement in how you run your dojo. Like you and others have said, many people were reached via the show, and were introduced and since started in Aikido. And that's always a good thing.

Domo aregato gaeshimasu

SeiserL
09-08-2003, 03:37 PM
Say this show several times. Was grateful that Aikido was included. Thought Furuya Sensei did an excellent job. A friend of mine was on the mat with him.

Having been around the media I know how intrusive and uncontrolable they are. Nothing is perfect.

My personal compliments and appreciation to anyone trying to get more exposure to our art and attempting to spread Aikido.

Let television go and get back to training.

jxa127
09-08-2003, 03:48 PM
Furuya sensei,

My degree in college was in communications, and I learned a bit about journalism and TV/Radio production. I quite agree that the TV show producers ought to have better research, and that the editing process can make anything incomprehensible. (I very seriously doubt the ability of any TV show to produce reliable documentary material any more. As a result, I've not had cable TV for almost seven years.)

Anyway, thanks for sharing your perspective on the whole process.

For what it's worth, my first introduction to aikido was through a role-playing (D&D) magazine with an article about martial arts a character could use. The description for aikido was pretty facinating and it stuck in my head. This was when I was in middle school. A few years later, the G.I. Joe comic book series had a character who knew aikido. Again, it pricked my interest. Finally, when I was in high school, I enjoyed some of Segal's early movies and was again enthralled by aikido.

Compared to those strange sources of inspriation, a TV show with an actual, highly experienced instructor showing good technique sounds like it would be exceptionally cool for those who (like me) are predisposed to finding out more about aikido.

I'll have to see if I can get my parents to tape it if it comes on again.

Regards,

-Drew

Kent Enfield
09-08-2003, 03:52 PM
Where is Furuya sensei's iaido rank from?To address another question, I started my Kendo traning at 8 yrs old. And soon after started Iaido training under my teacher, Yoshinobu Takiguchi. I have continued Iaido training under many various teachers who have been few and hard to find. . . . I do have legitimate certificates of rank in Aikido and Iaido and actually quite a few other martial arts. I hope this answers your questions and comments.Since I'm the one who asked about the source of your iaido ranks, I'll respond.

I don't mean any offense, but this doesn't actually answer the question. Is your iaido rank from the All Japan Kendo Federation, the All Japan Iaido Federation, or somewhere else? If "somewhere else," where specifically?

Kensho Furuya
09-08-2003, 10:04 PM
Btw, someone also asked about my rank in Aikido - this is, of course, from Aikikai Hombu Dojo, received from 2nd Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei. Sorry, I forgot how many years ago that was. . . . . Thank you.

Bogeyman
09-10-2003, 09:25 PM
I feel that there is another point that Furuya Sensei brought up that I noticed in a number of public demos. Furuya Sensei mentioned showing basics that show what the art and at the same time gain interest in the art is while doing these documentaries. IMHO many of the demos that I have seen show flashy, powerful aikido that, while generally well done and quite impressive, leaves the audience saying "I can never do that". What looks good to us is different from people that are being introduced to the art and sometimes we need to simplify to get these people to join. In our dojo we depend heavily on public demos for recruiting because at a university we lose people to graduation all of the time to keep enrollment up. We have found that when we get flashier and more advanced the less successful our recruiting has been. Just my $.02.

E

Kensho Furuya
09-11-2003, 01:07 AM
I am really grateful to so many of you for your understanding. I have really agonized in doing these cable shows - but I went ahead anyways because if I did not do them, these companies would probably cover some weird, off the wall Aikido which would not give a decent representation of Aikido at all. I really thought and hoped that these shows would go unnoticed by the Aikido population because they are really for the general public who have never seen or have known of Aikido before. I tried not to show myself too much and used my students, who are younger and more good-looking than me, as much as possible!

One point I wanted to add to all of this conversation is that if I show a very strong, aggressive Aikido, emphasizing its combat effectiveness - we are immediately lumped together with all kinds of other martial arts including full-contact sports and competitions and everything else you see on tv and in the media which they call "martial arts" but is nothing like what our art of Aikido is. The general public, many of whom are seeing Aikido for the first time, are automatically comparing us to the other martial arts also presented in these shows. These viewers have the same experience that you well know about seeing all the action-martial arts films, Kung Fu movies, contact-fights in La Vegas, etc. and everything which is so distant from what we understand and do in Aikido. Most of the readers here are all experts in Aikido, but we must appreciate that those in the general public who know nothing of martial arts or Aikido often lump everything together and assume that one martial art is not too much different from the next.

Part of my intention is to keep Aikido from automatically being lumped into the rest of all this "stuff," we see today. So, I decided to just show very simple basic Aikido, what a dojo should look like - it is not a wrestling ring, and its discipline and how we practice. For trying to be low-key, we still received a very good and warm response from many people. I am so happy that one of you in the last entry to this section here could appreciate this!

For example, in one instance, the interviewer was surprised when I insisted that they show the students cleaning the dojo after practice. I thought they would cut it out of the show but for some reason they left it in the final cut. There was a great deal of positive response to this from the public because they could see that Aikido was more of a discipline and a Path of self-cultivation - as opposed to a sport or more commercial form of martial arts. Trying to show the circular, blending movements in Aikido in just a few seconds was difficult to tape well and for even the cable crew to understand. If we show too soft of a movement, the public will interpret Aikido as just an exercise, if we show Aikido as too hard or too dynamic - Aikido will be interpreted as a "fighting" art or competitive sport. Not knowing what will be left in and what they will cut out on the editing room floor in the final cut creates even greater difficulties and challenges to out-think them and work in such a way, that in the very worst scenario, they will still have a decent idea of what Aikido is. I hope that if any of you have occasion to do one of these shows, you will begin to appreciate some of the challenges and points that you always must keep in mind. . . . . I am really grateful to many of you for your support, understanding and foregiveness in my efforts. Some of your harsh criticisms of me personally are probably well justified here in this website, but I worry very much how such criticisms will negatively effect the morale and attitude of my students who are totally innocent but did work very hard to help me in these projects. I am not a movie actor, by no means, I still am an Aikido teacher and my main concern is the practice of my students and I would hate to see anything like these criticisms here jeopardize their training or make them discouraged with their practice. Although it is a wonderful thing to be able to express your opinions and ideas so openly and honestly here. My main and singular duty and love is to my students. Many, many thanks again.

Talon
09-11-2003, 11:08 AM
Sensei Furuya

I ususally keep quiet on these boards as I am of the belief that if you listen you will learn and absorb while when your talking youre not listening.

I must say that I have seen one of these Martial Arts documentaries. I believe it was the "Top 10 Martial Arts" on TLC where your dojo was featured. I really thought you portrayed and displayed Aikido in a most admirable fashion. It certainly looked different and most humane of all of the other martial arts that were featured.

I never really payed attention to your personal appearance, yet I can say that I did pay attention to your beautiful Dojo and discipline and respect of your students. I'd love to visit your dojo and train with you if I'm ever in the area, even though I don't think that wil be happening anytime soon. In any event, I believe you and your students did a very good job at representing Aikido even though the producers of the show may have gotten a few things mixed up.

Bronson
09-11-2003, 11:28 AM
I am really grateful to many of you for your support, understanding and foregiveness in my efforts.
With all due respect I think you have it backwards. It's the aikido community who should be grateful to you and your students for the time and effort you put in showing aikido to those people who may have missed it.

That said I'm going to use this opportunity to offer one small piece of constructive (I hope) criticism that I heard more than one person voice. A few of the aikido practitioners I know who watched this felt the piece could have been about iaido. I have just started practicing iaido and love it but I would tend to agree with these people. I'm willing to bet that while iai practice may be an integrated part of training in many aikido dojo that it is not in the majority of them. If you are trying to give newcomers a sense of what they may find if they seek out aikido it may serve them better to focus on aikido.

That's just my opinion. You're still the person taking the time to actually help spread the art. If you want to do it differently I'm really in no position to tell you otherwise :D

Thank you for your time, efforts and understanding.

Respectfully,

Bronson

Kensho Furuya
09-11-2003, 12:53 PM
Many thanks, I really appreciate your generous thoughts. My students do a lot because these tapings usually take a good 4-5 hours and often longer (a whole day and sometimes two or three) and a few of my assistants have to take a day-off from work just to participate. It is really a great sacrifice for them to lose a day's pay, they have my sincere gratitude.

The film crew, of course, have no idea of the importance of the tatami mats for our training, so we have to be constantly aware and very careful that our mats are not damaged in any way by the equipment and by so many people trampling around all over the place. This gets to be a lot of tiring work after several hours for my students to monitor. For the film crew, it is just a "floor" so what is the big deal? This is how non-practitioners usually think.

Of course, within this taping time, we cover a great deal of territory, such as the warm-up exercises, ukemi, breathing exercises, the full range of Aikido techniques and we usually include Aiki-ken, Kumitachi, Jo and a great deal of Iaido because we have a very good group of Iaido students here. In a long, arduous two-hour interview, I cover a great many areas of Aikido and I prefer to especially emphasize the philosophy of O'Sensei and Aikido as a non-violent, non-competitive art. It is difficult to encourage them to understand that Aikido is not, like many other disciplines, a sport or simply another combative fighting system. Of course, from the look and atmosphere of the dojo itself, they begin to feel that Aikido is something more traditional and something much more profound than what they are accustomed to seeing. The beauty of the dojo helps to convey the spirit of Aikido as a more refined art, I am happy to say, and I use it as a good lead in here.

I wish they would have included more of the information I gave about O'Sensei and Aikido as a great martial art. I would have liked them to include more Iaido as well, but we have no control over this.

As an example, you might be unaware of this but the interviewer in the final product you see aired on tv or cable is not the person who interviews me. There is first a writer or researcher with his ideas, then there is an interviewer who talks to me and he has his own ideas, slant and impressions and than all of this goes to the editor who cuts out and leaves in whatever he chooses to make the show. They get another interviewer (the voice), sometimes a celebrity or someone I have never met, to talk and ask the questions according to what the editor has provided as a rough draft of what will be shown. Then, my answers and responses are added in last to coordinate with the final questions posed. Many times, what I say, has really nothing to do with what is asked on the show. These shows go through some many different hands and numerous editings so what is taped originally is often completely lost.

In other words, I am talking to a totally different person and whatever I say is taped and later edited in to match the final questions and dialogue and made to fit what they finally decide as the end product. This is why occasionally my responses do not seem to really match what is being said or asked. By clever editing, they can give your words any slant they choose. For someone who has never seen Aikido before or to someone who is not familiar with how these shows are made, never realize that the final product is, by far, very different from what was actually said and done. For me, personally, I often do not even want to see the final product because I know it is not even "me!"

I don't want to criticize these programs too harshly because they do serve a very useful and welcome purpose to help get Aikido out into the public - we rarely have this kind of opportnity - we do not share the same "type" of popularity as Tae Kwan Do, combat or contact fighting, wrestling or Ninjutsu or Kung Fu which we see very often in the mass media. Their original intention, of course, as they say, is to show a more "true" or "realistic" depiction of what the martial arts are. However, the final product is always decided with the intent to make money and show a profit - they are a business as they tell me and they need to sell their product. These stations often do not make all of the programs they show themselves. There are many small production companies to create these programs in a format which they hope these stations will buy up. Ultimately, the fact that the program airs means that it was successfully sold to the station programing director. This is generally how it all works. I should also like to say that when these film crews leave the dojo, they are always so complimentary of Aikido and tell me how impressed they are with the art. They are very, very nice people and they are all just doing their jobs as best they can. Many thanks again,

Kensho Furuya
09-11-2003, 01:02 PM
Btw, I forgot to address your comment about Iaido. I teach and practice Iaido as a separate art from Aikido. I never mix them up although I have many students who study both arts. In my dojo, Iaido practice are separate classes and a separate organization from Aikido. In these shows, they somehow both get smudged together.

SeiserL
09-12-2003, 07:46 PM
Sensei Furuya, IMHO you have nothing to explain, justify, or apologize for. You had an opportunity to expose many people to the art and you did an excellent job.

There will always be sceptics and critics, even here.

Aikido can only be expereinced, never explained. It is not a spectator sport. Neither is life.

Bogeyman
09-12-2003, 07:52 PM
Lynn,

That is very well put and I agree wholeheartedly. We can never make everyone happy, just do the best we can.

E

norman telford
09-13-2003, 01:18 PM
sensei furuya i would just like to say i enjoyed the tv program any exposure aikido has on tv has to be good even if the the program makers get it mixed up