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grasshopper73
05-25-2004, 11:34 AM
Could someone please explain the technical/philiosophical differences between the ASU and USAK ? I would like to know more about both as to make a decision on which to join.

Thanks in advance.

BC
05-25-2004, 11:43 AM
What is the USAK?

grasshopper73
05-25-2004, 11:49 AM
I'm sorry , I meant USAF.

Bronson
05-25-2004, 12:47 PM
I'd say not to make your decision based on other people's experiences. Go to the local schools and take a few classes with the resident sensei of both. Pick the instructor/dojo/class you like the best and don't worry about which org. they're affiliated with.

Heck, visit all the available instructors. You may find a completely independant teacher or one that is affiliated with a smaller org. that is the perfect teacher for you. I'm much more concerned with the ability of the person who I'm going to be learning from directly than what "style" he does.

But that's just me.

Bronson

grasshopper73
05-25-2004, 01:16 PM
Bronson,

Thanks for the reply. My intrest in the ASU is from limited knowledge, I believe that they perform techniques with two swords which intrests me. But I seek knowledge from members of both organizations due to my choices are limited and driving time will be involved.

I'm not looking for who is better, but who is closer to the original teachings ? I may not be wording all of this right but I hope you understand.

Jorge Garcia
05-25-2004, 01:21 PM
I understand what you mean but think that everyone claims to be the closest to the original teachings.
Best wishes,

kironin
05-25-2004, 02:39 PM
I understand what you mean but think that everyone claims to be the closest to the original teachings.


Yeah, forget USAF and ASU, let me tell you why we are closest to the
original teachings!

:D :D :D

grasshopper73
05-25-2004, 03:02 PM
Let me put it this way....if I had a choice between ASU or USAF , what would be the main differences I would encounter. It's not entirely possible for me to trave to both to try them out....I'm just looking for some info on the web first. Hope that clarifies....I understand that a lot of organazations may feel they are superior and really not looking for that.

What I am looking for is technical or philosophical differences between the two.

Thanks

Alfonso
05-25-2004, 05:07 PM
I understand the Hakama etiquette is different. ASU allows mudansha to wear Hakama.

, frankly the advice given is good, look at the instructors and how you feel in those classes as a better guide than any advice you get on the web.

maybe if you listed the instructors you're considering? may be known to folks here, and may drum up more enthusiasm in a response?

Greg Jennings
05-25-2004, 05:42 PM
To reiterate what most have been saying:

There is a great deal of variation between teachers in both (all?) organizations. So, it's the teacher that matters, not the organization.

Hope that's succinct,

George S. Ledyard
05-25-2004, 05:56 PM
Let me put it this way....if I had a choice between ASU or USAF , what would be the main differences I would encounter. It's not entirely possible for me to trave to both to try them out....I'm just looking for some info on the web first. Hope that clarifies....I understand that a lot of organazations may feel they are superior and really not looking for that.

What I am looking for is technical or philosophical differences between the two.

Thanks

Just behind choosing your dojo by picking the closest one listed in the phone book, is picking your dojo by organization as the worst ways to make this decision.

Find a teacher whom you like, who is well trained and as experienced as you can get. If you can find a Shihan that's ideal. A direct student of one of the Uchi Deshi is great. Whatever. Find the best instructor you can, check him out and see if his style appeals and if you like his senior students. If so train there.

I am a student of Saotome Sensei and therefore ASU but I would never tell you to pick a junior ASU dojo head over a dojo from another organization run by someone very senior. If you know enough to want to follow a particular teacher that's one thing. In some cases that might mean moving to where that teacher is. But it wouldn't make sense to join an ASU dojo run by a shodan when you had a 6th Dan instructor from some other organization available, unless you found that you really disliked that senior guy for some reason.

Find the Teacher first.

grasshopper73
05-25-2004, 06:04 PM
Thanks to all for the replies.

I agree that a dojo should not be joined just because of convience of distance or organization.

I am really trying to ask what are the philosophical differences and technical between the ASU and USAF.

The closest school that I know of to me Aikido of Cincinnati(USAF). It is a beautiful dojo with very nice people. I only trained for a very short time 10-15 classes before I had to stop. I would like to rejoin studying Aikido and I'm just trying to educate myself between the two choices.

Thanks again.

George S. Ledyard
05-25-2004, 06:24 PM
Thanks to all for the replies.

I agree that a dojo should not be joined just because of convience of distance or organization.

I am really trying to ask what are the philosophical differences and technical between the ASU and USAF.

The closest school that I know of to me Aikido of Cincinnati(USAF). It is a beautiful dojo with very nice people. I only trained for a very short time 10-15 classes before I had to stop. I would like to rejoin studying Aikido and I'm just trying to educate myself between the two choices.

Thanks again.

The problem is that it depends. If you study with a direct student of Saotome Sensei there would certainly be differences between that teacher and a direct student of Chiba Sensei. But both organizations have far more people who have joined up and weren't originally students of one of the big guys than those who were. By the time you get to the students of the students who are running things there might be little or no real difference between the teachers you are comparing despite being members of different organizations.

Really down and dirty, and I do mean really a painful generalization, the ASU style as epitomized by Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei (who by the way do not look like each other) is a lighter, smaller, more atemi oriented style while the USAF style generally is bigger, and focuses on large, powerful, kokyu throwing techniques and strong locking.

But, at the risk of over repeating, it's going to depend on the teacher whether this is even relevant.

grasshopper73
05-25-2004, 06:53 PM
Again, I appreciate everyone's time.

I feel like we may be spinning our wheels here a little. I understand and agree that every teacher under any organization is going to teach a little different ..per se. To restate my question in hopefully the best way:

Are there any philosophical or technical differences between the ASU or USAF, including the inclusion or exclusion of weapons training ?

Again, I understand that this can vary from teacher to teacher. I'm just looking for broad generalizations in both organizations.

George began to answer this for me when he stated "down and dirty". Those are the kinds of responses I am seeking.

Thanks for all the input.

giriasis
05-25-2004, 07:17 PM
The problem is that a lot of people probably haven't trained in both associations to give you a good idea. I think the best way to look at it is that ASU reflects the teaching of Saotome, Ikeda and USAF reflects the teachings of Yamada/Chiba/Sugano. I believe ASU has a specific weapons curriculum and in USAF we do weapons and have requirements to know tanto tori, jo nage, jo tori, and tachitori for tests ikkyu and up.

But the problem comes in is that I train in USAF and we are very atemi and martially driven, but other USAF dojos may not be. Some USAF dojo may have a specific weapons curriculum and others are more freeform (like mine) and others just don't. I've trained with folks from ASU dojos at seminars and found that their aikido is not that significantly different from what we do.

Also, the folks at Cincinatti Aikikai are very good, and have always been impressed with the students from there when I meet and train with them at seminars.

Greg Jennings
05-25-2004, 08:05 PM
Since you're in that area and ask about weapons, you should also check out Yellow Springs Aikido. http://www.ysaohio.com/ .

Very structured, very methodical, very different from what you would have experienced at Aikido of Cincinnati.

BTW, I've trained with McGinnis Sensei and liked his feel very much.

Regards,

rachmass
05-26-2004, 05:19 AM
You are Cincy? Geee, Charlie McGinnis Sensei is one of my all time favorites! His dojo is top-notch, and there are a number of highly qualified teachers there in addition to McGinnis Sensei. There is Arif Mehter Sensei, 6th Dan, who started his practice 40+ years ago, as well as some senior yudansha. The dojo has somewhere around 150 members, which is HUGE, and the space is also enormous. I haven't met anyone at that dojo whom I don't like, and I visit Cincy on a regular basis. The folks there were instrumental in my preparation for my last test (taking huge amounts of their time to help me, as I had no one to help me prepare in my dojo) and were generous to a fault. I HIGHLY recommend checking them out!!!

Dennis Hooker
05-26-2004, 05:27 AM
Well let's see. In the ASU the men are more handsome the women better looking and the children above average. Of course we have better table manners too and we don't kick dogs off'n the porch. Our musical talents are far superior and most off of us have finished high school.

Other than that we tend to be somewhat alike. In fact most of us old-timers were USAF before moving over to a Sensei that we more closely identified with our ideals of Aikido. Just as others choose their Shihan's that represented their ideals.

G DiPierro
05-26-2004, 06:25 AM
Russ,

Since you don't seem to be getting many answers to your question despite the fact that you have asked it four times, I will give you my opinions based on a good deal of practice in both organizations. ASU technique tends to be softer with more emphasis on maintaining connection between uke and nage. USAF technique tends to be harder with more emphasis on copying form. Philosophically, the ASU incorporates more religious elements, specifically Shinto ones, while the USAF takes a more practical approach. The ASU has standard weapons kata for jo and bokken that are required for dan promotion. The required bokken forms are all one sword; a few ASU teachers occasionally teach nito but it is not common. The USAF also does weapons but there is no standard system. Each teacher has their own techniques and they are not usually required for promotion. The ASU also tends to practice weapons more frequently than the USAF: in some ASU dojos up to 50% of class time will be devoted to weapons.

The dojo you mentioned, Aikido of Cincinnati, is fairly characteristic of the USAF model as I described it, though practice there is not quite as hard as it is in some other USAF dojos. If you would like any more detailed information or opinions about this dojo you would have to contact me privately. As far as I know, there are no ASU dojos in that general area. In fact, I don't know of any other currently active aikido dojo in or near Cincinnati. I think the next-closest one is the Imawa-style dojo in Yellow Springs, which is about an hour away.

grasshopper73
05-26-2004, 08:26 AM
Giancarlo,

Thank you very much. That's the kind of info I was looking for. I have sent an email to the dojocho requesting a meeting @ Cincinnati Aikido. It's about 45 minutes from me but I know it's worth it. I'm going to keep a training diary and I'll probably share my begginers notes here.

Thanks again.

Mark Uttech
05-26-2004, 11:12 AM
[B]Aikido is completely individual. If you find a dojo that works for you, you have a chance to study. But see? you still have to go somewhere. In gassho, tamonmark

BC
05-26-2004, 02:08 PM
Well let's see. In the ASU the men are more handsome the women better looking and the children above average. Of course we have better table manners too and we don't kick dogs off'n the porch. Our musical talents are far superior and most off of us have finished high school.

Wow, between you and Mr. Ledyard (USAF not atemi oriented?), it's getting pretty deep in here. Time to get out the bulldozer... :O

George S. Ledyard
05-26-2004, 05:06 PM
Wow, between you and Mr. Ledyard (USAF not atemi oriented?), it's getting pretty deep in here. Time to get out the bulldozer... :O

A) Dennis is joking! Ah say that's a joke son... that's a joke!

B) I never said anything like the USAF wasn't atemi oriented; what I said was that the ASU in general is more atemi oriented. A lot of their technique is simply atemi as an end in itself. When I trained in a Federation dojo (Bookman Sensei under Chiba Sensei) for several years they did not do this type of technique much at all. In fact the one time I taught at an instructor's seminar under Chiba Sensei I hit a number of people in the head because they weren't used to moving out of the way and taking a fall from that type of response. On the other hand, I was chastised by Shibata Sensei for taking a break fall out of kotegaeshi instead of hanging in there and letting him torque on me. Saotome Sensei would have hit me for hanging in there like that. Different set of expectations...

I did state that the Federation was more focused on large and powerful kokyu throwing techniques. I trained with Saotome Sensei every day for five years and I had never taken a break fall from an iriminage until I trained with Bookan Sensei. I seldom had to break fall out of shihonage. When I trained at the Federation dojo these falls were standard fare. This has to do with the angles at which nage throws and what the desired end result of the technique is.Saotome Sensei said that "inside every throw is a strike you are choosing not to do". He seldom throws hard, he is setting up an atemi line and putting you in a position in which you can't defend against it.

I am not making any judgement about this one way or another. One of the reasons I hesitated to answer this young man is that everybody always gets their knickers in a twist whenever you compare anything. They always assume one thing needs to win out over another.

I do have enough exposure to make a decent shot at explaining this as I trained for a couple of years with a top Federation style teacher (Bookman Sensei. 6th dan now), had some good exposure to Chiba Sensei via seminars (I was running a dojo in his Western Region of the USAF), and have a Shidoin Certificate through the Federation as well as having trained under Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei for almost thirty years.

grasshopper73
05-26-2004, 05:11 PM
George, Would love to hear more from your experiences. You wrote " inside every throw is a strike you are choosing not to do" . Thats really a great insight.

DanD
05-26-2004, 05:18 PM
Russ,
IMHO, you'll not get what you want here. Bronson and others already said that you should try. I can only join and second (...third...fourth....) that. Even if you will get to the bottom (I doubt that) of some philosophical ideas and differences.....it'll not look and mainly feel always the same on the mat.
TRY, TRY, TRY. It'll feel way better.

Dennis Hooker
05-27-2004, 03:39 PM
Robelt, where the hell did you get "USAF not being atemi oriented" in my post?


Wow, between you and Mr. Ledyard (USAF not atemi oriented?), it's getting pretty deep in here. Time to get out the bulldozer... :O

BC
05-28-2004, 12:03 PM
George - I understand Dennis was joking.

Dennis - I had been referring to a previous post by George, not anything you said.

Once again, my attempt at some good-natured ribbing was not evident in my typing. I apologize for any offense - rest assured none was intended.

George, I understand your references to your experiences with USAF style differences. That said, in our dojo (also USAF), we don't always share the nuances that you describe. We do utilize atemi, don't breakfall as much, and generally don't do as many of the big, flat-spin, kokyunage throws. What can I say, we are in the "middle coast," and had a different shihan? Vive la difference!

Regards,

cguzik
05-28-2004, 12:18 PM
George, Would love to hear more from your experiences. You wrote " inside every throw is a strike you are choosing not to do" . Thats really a great insight.

Russ,

Check this out:

http://www.aikieast.com/atemi.htm

Chris

George S. Ledyard
05-28-2004, 12:58 PM
That said, in our dojo (also USAF), we don't always share the nuances that you describe. We do utilize atemi, don't breakfall as much, and generally don't do as many of the big, flat-spin, kokyunage throws. What can I say, we are in the "middle coast," and had a different shihan? Vive la difference!

Regards,
I understand... That's why I initially wasn't replying at all to this fellow's question about "Organizations". Look at the teacher! Anything else is just a generalization which will end up being just as inaccurate as true.

BC
05-28-2004, 01:05 PM
I understand... That's why I initially wasn't replying at all to this fellow's question about "Organizations". Look at the teacher! Anything else is just a generalization which will end up being just as inaccurate as true.

I completely agree!

Dennis Hooker
05-28-2004, 02:52 PM
Take a look here on this web site for a full disclosure on the differences in Aikido, I think you will be surprised at the real reason for such variation

http://www.aikiweb.com/humor/hooker2.html

Dennis Hooker
www.shindai.com