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Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-09-2003, 10:00 PM
My first question: Are they any available surveys showing the 'style' affiliations of those who read aikiweb? (Including those who do not identify with a style, or belong to a 'small' or lesser-known style.)

Second: In addition, I'm curious. Any Yoshokai people out there? Anyone who's even heard of this style? Or perhaps trained under Kushida-sensei when he was a part of Yoshinkai? (A purely personal question, really.)

Third: There seem to be many different styles of organization. There are strictly centralized ones, kept under the close guidance of the leadership. Then there are those that seem to have little to no effect on how the dojo operates; far less than the individual teacher and his/her own 'lineage'.

I'm certainly not trying to start an argument on this matter, but the political science student in me in particular is curious about how these different modes of organization influence training.

akiy
12-09-2003, 10:32 PM
I don't know how relevant this might be, but I asked, "What style of aikido do you currently practice?" as a poll question back in April of 2000:

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=3

-- Jun

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-09-2003, 10:38 PM
Thank you very much. That's just the sort of poll data I was curious about. (It just occurred to me that polls are on file, and I could have just browsed them...wow. I overlook the obvious sometimes.)

sanosuke
12-10-2003, 01:00 AM
yoshokai? just heard of it. perhaps you could explain about it a bit more :).

zachbiesanz
12-10-2003, 01:09 AM
I practiced at a Yoshokai dojo for a summer a couple years ago. It was one of the strangest experiences of my Aikido life.

The teaching style seemed painfully 'robotic', that is, without flow; yet when I asked why they immediately released pins at the first tap rather than hold for a few seconds to give uke a good stretch, I was told that not letting go right away was "too martial". They always marvelled at how flexible my shoulders were. In Mankato, pins are considered to be great opportunities for stretching.

To be fair, I understand that the step-by-step aspect of their teaching style is to emphasize effective movement (e.g. ensuring that you have reached uke's balance point), and that flowing movement is still the end product, but the clunkiness I was taught there was simply not fun for me.

There were a couple other factors there that just weirded me out, but I won't get into it.

When asked if I would like to pay to join AYANA so I could pay to test (I think they started at 8th kyu), I politely declined.

zachbiesanz
12-10-2003, 01:14 AM
yoshokai? just heard of it. perhaps you could explain about it a bit more :).
The style is remarkably similar to Yoshinkan. Hmm, so is the name... Politics strikes again?

I guess I'm speculating because I don't know the overall, higher level history between Yoshinkan and Yoshokai, but the dojo of those affiliations that I'm familiar with don't like to acknowledge one another's existence.

At the dojo I know, it could very well be personal, as they're in the same area.

Ron Tisdale
12-10-2003, 10:09 AM
Kushida Sensei was a high ranking member of the yoshinkan. I believe he had a lot of influence on the development of the basic movements we see taught through-out the yoshinkan (cross-step in body change, elbow power #1,2, etc.). He also was one of the first main japanese (yoshinkan) shihan to relocate to the states, and several others followed him (Kimeda Sensei, Utada Sensei, and others). We have a shodan from the Kushida Sensei days that trains with us regularly, and someone who got their shodan with us who started with one of Kushida Sensei's students in michigan.

There was indeed a political split (if you search the yoshinkan newsgroup on yahoo archives you can get a sense of what happened). I really don't feel any need to get into that. Some of the senior students I know from the Doshinkan tested under Kushida Sensei...he was known to be extremely strict in his standards, and both he and his son are considered quite remarkable, as far as aikido goes.

Ron

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-10-2003, 12:27 PM
Ah. Did you train at the Kobukan, Zach?

Those are good points about the flow and pinning. This is probably a new topic, but I will briefly reply, and we can start a new discussion on the technical aspect if people are interested.

We do in fact progress towards flow, but for various reasons, we begin with 'making the dots', then start 'connecting them'. (I believe this, along with the 'by-the-count' method, was created partially due to Kushida-sensei's experience teaching the Tokyo police, when he had to instruct very large groups of people at one time.) I agree, it can look silly at first. And people from the Iwama dojo I train at thought my kamae (hanmi) was hysterical. ^_- Heehee. Glad to amuse.

I think they may have been concerned that you'd continue pressing the pin (I'm particularly thinking about nikkajo-osae here) and possibly injure the joint. Also, sometimes new people tap out when it hurts more than they can stand, rather than properly tapping out when it /begins/ to hurt. This would mean that holding the pin would be keeping them in intense pain, rather than (as would be the case with a better uke) keeping them at a point of some discomfort. Perhaps with caution, that'd be a good way to build strength and flexibility of the joints. I think I'll give it a try.

Thanks for the insights, Zach. Also, thank you to Ron, for the information.

ross_l
12-10-2003, 12:36 PM
Osu Paul,

I currently train at the Genyokan in Ann Arbor. I havenít seen another Yoshokai aikidoka post here but maybe there are others still lurking.

I am curious, it says your dojo is Carleton Aikido (Yoshokai) and Aikido of Pleasant Hill (Iwama). Where did you train first? Iíve always suspected that Iwama style and Yoshokai would be comparable in their emphasis on buki-waza. Do you find this to be true?

I'm sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy your training Zach. Everybody is different and I'm glad you found a style that you enjoy.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-10-2003, 12:53 PM
Osu!

^_^

Wow, you're very lucky. I and others envy you. ^_- (For training at the Genyokan regularly.)

I began aikido at Carleton College (Yoshokai) last year. If I had to say, I would consider myself primarily a 'Yoshokai aikidoka', though I greatly appreciate the Iwama dojo here and Louis Jumonville-sensei for his excellent instruction.

Although I have no third example, I see much more emphasis on buki-waza in Yoshokai. We do it every class at Carleton, whereas we only do it once a week in Iwama (although that once-weekly class is dedicated solely to buki-waza.)

There is certainly a difference in teaching style. At Carleton, we generally do one or maybe two techniques per class. (This varies more in Advanced.) In Pleasant Hill, we frequently do 5 or 6 techniques (I think?) per class. Also, while there are clear 'pause points' for purpose of instruction, it is more flowing from the start, whereas Yoshokai would probably break some of those more complex motions down into several parts for instruction. In addition, Jumonville-sensei utilizes a more classical teaching method. Sometimes, he'll do an entire class without speaking, to build observation skills.

In terms of technique, I notice that Yoshokai includes many more 'lead-around' openings (180 degree pivots all over the place. ^_-) Iwama seems to have few of those. They also do not often use the ubiquitous Yoshokai 45 degree pivot.

They begin every class with tai no henko (one wrist grasp from gyaku hanmi, bring hands in so that fingers point to center, 180 degree pivot), tai no henko ki no nagare (which seems to change it to ai hanmi with a cross-step-in opener for uke, and more flowing) and kokyu-ho (something like a both-hands-on-one-wrist-grasp side-step-in-throw). They end each class with kokyu-dosa (a 'breath method' in Yoshokai.)

They also do no basic movements, except for a 'two step' (kind of like a cross-step-in-180 degree pivot, only they don't sweep the leg around extended, but instead cross step back directly.) Their ukemi consists of a forward roll (similar to a #1), a backward roll (not like Yoshokai-style...like a forward roll in reverse, with hands together the entire time; a more 'internal' feeling) and a 'high fall', which isn't so much like a jumping breakfall as it is a generic term for a jumping breakfall sort of slap-landing.

They also do considerably more jiyu-waza; often at the end of every class. In addition, rather than choosing a single partner for the entire time, they choose a new partner for each technique.

Oh, and they don't say 'Osu', they say 'Onegai shimasu' - literally, something like "I request a favor".

It's easy to list what they don't do, or what specifically differs from Yoshokai; it's harder to describe the general different feeling. I can say how it's not Yoshokai, but harder to say what it is itself.

Greg Jennings
12-10-2003, 12:53 PM
People should be aware that local standards differ. In my dojo and many I've been to, one is expected to release the pin the instant uke taps, if not when they see uke ready to tap.

So, I (10 years training) don't tap till I've had what I want from the pin. When I tap, it's time to let go.

I warn people if they hold the pin past the tap.

If they persist, they'd better have on a catcher's mask...

FWIW,

Janet Rosen
12-10-2003, 03:36 PM
In my dojo and many I've been to, one is expected to release the pin the instant uke taps, if not when they see uke ready to tap.(SNIP)I warn people if they hold the pin past the tap.

If they persist, they'd better have on a catcher's mask...
Yep. I can't imagine having to rely on somebody counting the frequency or duration of my taps to decide when I've been properly controlled OR am in pain OR am about to be injured.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-10-2003, 04:14 PM
Oh! I can't believe I forgot. I was so busy talking about 45 degree pivots and such that I forgot about a /very/ striking difference. They don't really have detailed ukemi laid out for techniques. When you are being tested, you are never uke. Nage's motions are laid out, but aside from a few tips, uke is pretty much left to do whatever. It's a different style of training that way. Combined with less by-the-count, and the fact that partners are pretty much free to figure out the technique that was just demonstrated, there's something of a more decentralized tone to how it works.

In some ways, I miss Akira-sensei's classic phrase:

"Uke, /flexible/."

Candidate for biggest understatement ever. ^_-
Although I hear it in my head whenever Jumonville-sensei stops a shihonage juuuuust before the throw. (By the way, they don't do the high-speed shoulders-down-first ukemi for shihonage. Another interesting technical point here, they don't seem to do shihonage advanced-style.)

pbaehr
12-10-2003, 10:59 PM
The way I was trained it's the uke's responsibility to know when they're done. As soon as they tap we release the pin under the assumption that they've reached their limit. (I practice aikikai style aikido by the way.) I always wait until I've reached the limit of my flexibility to tap out and rely on nage not to push it much further.

On a somewhat related note, regarding different styles of aikido, does anyone know a good web page that contrasts the different kinds? I'm curious to see what variations are out there.

Lone Swordsman
12-11-2003, 01:27 AM
The Aikido FAQ does a reasonable synposis of the styles.

http://www.aikidofaq.com/introduction.html

Anyway, my dojo also uses taps to signal the limit. In fact, if you're not inflicting pain, you're probably not doing the move correctly. Pain isn't the goal, of course. But an uke is unlikely to do something radical if you can move a centimetre and cause agony.

ross_l
12-11-2003, 07:59 AM
Osu Paul,

Thanks for your insight into Iwama style Aikido! You can really tell the differences between how the two styles are taught. Send me an e-mail if you want to talk things Yoshokai off the forum.

-Ross

Greg Jennings
12-11-2003, 08:28 AM
Osu Paul,

Thanks for your insight into Iwama style Aikido! You can really tell the differences between how the two styles are taught.
Paul has given you a nice peephole view.

You can't really understand Iwama aikido, though, till you really understand the 4-layer pedagogical method. Katai, yawaratai, ryutai, kitai.

I've been around 10 years and I don't have a good handle on the subtleties yet.

Best,

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-11-2003, 12:35 PM
Osu! I'll send you an email. Curious to hear how things are at the Genyokan.

Of course, I'm only giving the field report as an Iwama (and Yoshokai, for that matter) novice. I notice I sound amusingly like some anthropologist from a few centuries ago describing some exotic people. ^_-

Greg, where might I find information on the Iwama teaching method?

Greg Jennings
12-11-2003, 01:35 PM
Greg, where might I find information on the Iwama teaching method?
I wish I knew of a *really* good book or online source. Unfortunately, I don't.

The "Takemusu Aikido" and, if you can beg one from someone, the "Traditional Aikido" by the late Morihiro Saito Sensei have some information.

Oddly, I understand that some of John Stevens Sensei's seminars cover the progression. If he's talkinging about diamonds, willows, water and air/vacuum, that's what he's talking about.

You might get some interesting tangential information from reading Chiba Sensei's article on Saito Sensei's passing and the subsequent discussion over on Aikido Journal.

If you get a chance, check out some of the video of Daito Ryu. I'm not making any comparisons on technique, I'm just saying that Daito Ryu is the progenitor of aikido and that there are interesting insights to be gained in comparing aikido and Daito Ryu training to another classical jujutsu.

That said, I've gotten the deepest layer of understanding (not that it's very deep in an absolute sense) from speaking 1 on 1 with my teacher, Goto Sensei.

I think your best bet is to catch Jumonville Sensei in a talkative mood and say something like "Sensei, I think I understand the difference between kihon and ki-no-nagare, but what are the differences between ka/ko-tai, yawara/ju-tai, ryutai and kitai?".

I think the whole subject is very much like an onion; peel off one layer and there is another and another.

Oh, well, that's why I study aikido. It's just so fascinating...

Regards,

Ron Tisdale
12-11-2003, 02:17 PM
Oddly, I understand that some of John Stevens Sensei's seminars cover the progression. If he's talkinging about diamonds, willows, water and air/vacuum, that's what he's talking about.
Yep, but don't ask me for details. Stevens Sensei does use that language, and even his test techniques are broken up that way.

Ron

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-11-2003, 02:23 PM
I recall reading something like that from him. I actually use the terminology (hopefully somewhat accurately) when talking to other students.

What I recall is that 'diamond' is very solid, step-by-step basic technique, and then it gets more flow-y. Then again...now that I think of it, diamond vs. willow sounds more like omote vs. ura. Hmm. Anyway. The way I've historically used it is explaining that although it may seem silly that we do so many 'make the dots' forms early on, it's because it gives a solid foundation when you try to 'connect the dots'.

Thanks for the advice. I'll try asking him sometime. Interestingly, I heard him mention just last night that there's a progression from kihon to ki-no-nagare to takemusu aiki.

Greg Jennings
12-11-2003, 02:54 PM
I recall reading something like that from him. I actually use the terminology (hopefully somewhat accurately) when talking to other students.

What I recall is that 'diamond' is very solid, step-by-step basic technique, and then it gets more flow-y. Then again...now that I think of it, diamond vs. willow sounds more like omote vs. ura. Hmm. Anyway. The way I've historically used it is explaining that although it may seem silly that we do so many 'make the dots' forms early on, it's because it gives a solid foundation when you try to 'connect the dots'.

Thanks for the advice. I'll try asking him sometime. Interestingly, I heard him mention just last night that there's a progression from kihon to ki-no-nagare to takemusu aiki.
We're on the same page.

When I spoke to Goto Sensei, *if I understood correctly* he did say that katai and ryutai are omote and that yawaratai and kitai are their ura, respectively. *BUT*, he was speaking in the sense of omote as "the obvious" and ura as "the obscured, not-easily seen".

I also believe, but haven't explicitly asked, that kitai is the same thing as "takemusu aiki".

In Jumonville Sensei's demonstration, I would expect differences in static vs. dynamic attack, Sensei's timing and WRT how much of a grip he allows uke to attain and(possibly) a definite difference in Sensei's footwork. I think all that will end up resulting in progressively increased "flow".

Please let us know your observations! It's a most interesting topic.

Best regards,