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gwailoh
04-24-2005, 06:04 AM
Can anyone provide more details as to this story? Has anyone ever seen this video footage, or heard first-hand accounts of it? There was also a confrontation with a reporter, iirc, and the video of that was on the 'net somewhere -- any links to it?

Thanks folks!

" Koichi Tohei Sensei's first visits to Hawaii in the 1950's when Judo players challenged him and lost. This was far from friendly sparring matches. One occasion he was asked to take 4 Judo players at one time in front of an audience and wiped the floor with them. There was even video. This was a reason why many of the early aikido students in Hawaii had previously been Judo players."

rob_liberti
04-24-2005, 08:21 AM
You know, I'm all for aikido - but is is possible that Tohei simply was remarkably more senior to those folks in JUDO? I would love to see the video as well.

Rob

Chris Li
04-24-2005, 11:04 AM
You know, I'm all for aikido - but is is possible that Tohei simply was remarkably more senior to those folks in JUDO? I would love to see the video as well.

Rob

Tohei wasn't all that advanced in Judo - a nidan when he met Ueshiba and became his student, IIRC. In fact, one of the reasons that he was looking around was his inablity to defeat the larger Judo folks.

Best,

Chris

sanskara
04-24-2005, 03:55 PM
Tohei wasn't all that advanced in Judo - a nidan when he met Ueshiba and became his student, IIRC. In fact, one of the reasons that he was looking around was his inablity to defeat the larger Judo folks.

Best,

Chris

You might be privy to info I'm not, Chris. But my understanding is that at some point, he had little difficulty with Judoka and therefore left from lack of interest--not that there wasn't a period of struggle intermixed.

Regardless, there's a reason for weight classes in Judo, so problems with bigger opponents seems to be pretty endemic to the sport itself.

gwailoh
04-24-2005, 04:03 PM
I got some responses from different places i've posted this query:

--------------------------------------------------------

Kohei was in Hawaii in 1953 and he was familiar with judo because hehad done it as a child (continuing into university judo) before
starting in aikido.

"Tohei-sensei was born in 1920 and grew up in an upper class Japanese family, north of Tokyo. He was sickly as a child and was introduced to Judo and Zen by his father, a 4th dan in Judo, to try to strengthen his constitution. By fifteen, Tohei had acheived 1st dan in Judo and later 2nd dan (by 19)." (http://www.houstonkiaikido.org/society.htm)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And I got this reply from the Head of Hawaii Aikido.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Charlie,

In 1953 Tohei Sensei was in San Jose, California, promoting Aikido and wanting to draw attention to the art. He attended the All-American Judo Championships there. After the contest, when the 5 champions had been selected (from the 5 different categories), he stated that he would take all five of them on at the same time. He did so, and they were unable to hold him as he threw them in all directions. They were quite confused and disturbed that their strength and great skill meant nothing in the face of this small man. This was all recorded on the Pathe' News, which played in theatres before the movie in those days, and was shown on Maui. Here Shinichi Suzuki Sensei saw this video, shortly before Tohei Sensei came to teach the police on Maui, and Maui Ki-Aikido was born. Unfortunately we do not have a copy of the film and do not know who does.

Thanks for your interest, and keep up your training.

Aloha,

Christopher Curtis
Chief Instructor
Hawaii Ki Federation

Chris Li
04-24-2005, 07:21 PM
You might be privy to info I'm not, Chris. But my understanding is that at some point, he had little difficulty with Judoka and therefore left from lack of interest--not that there wasn't a period of struggle intermixed.

Regardless, there's a reason for weight classes in Judo, so problems with bigger opponents seems to be pretty endemic to the sport itself.

It's based upon his own statements in "Ki no Kakuritsu". He was unhappy with the focus on purely physical technique, and with his inability to deal with the larger Judo players, so he was looking around when he got an introduction to Ueshiba. To be more exact he says "Because I was small, when I had a match with larger opponents I couldn't equal them".

Anyway, problems with larger opponents are endemic to any martial art aren't they?

Best,

Chris

Nathan Gusdorf
04-24-2005, 08:08 PM
I did Aikido for the 2003-2004 school year, and then had to stop due to my water polo schedule. Now I am back and I'm very happy. One of the things I love about Aikido is the fact that there are no weight classes and that a weak old man can throw an opponent much taller heavier and stronger than him across the room. This de-emphasis of strength seems to set Aikido apart from most other martial arts. It is often compared to Judo, which I understand because of the joint-lock/grappling style of fighting however the approach seems to be completely different. Are there any other martial arts that have a similar approach that does not emphasize physical strength?

sanskara
04-24-2005, 09:23 PM
It's based upon his own statements in "Ki no Kakuritsu". He was unhappy with the focus on purely physical technique, and with his inability to deal with the larger Judo players, so he was looking around when he got an introduction to Ueshiba. To be more exact he says "Because I was small, when I had a match with larger opponents I couldn't equal them".
Chris

Here's some more grist for the mill:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=93&highlight=koichi+tohei

Also, having been away from judo for nearly two years, by the time I got my second dan, everybody else was already ranked fourth or fifth dan. Even many of the third dans had progressed so far ahead of me that they could throw me all over the place. That wasn't very interesting and it wasn't much fun, either.

Hoping to strengthen myself, I went home and started kicking lightly at the support pillars around the house. After doing that a couple of thousand times a day, though, the walls started to come down. My elder sister wasn't very pleased about that and made me go outside in the garden instead. After a few weeks I got so I could move my feet with the same agility and dexterity as my hands. I went back to the dojo and was able to throw everybody.

If Tohei's story is an accurate representation of his abilities--I have no idea if it is--he appears to have transcended the stage you mentioned. That's why when I asked you if you were privy to outside info, I thought you might know someone who was there.

Anyway, problems with larger opponents are endemic to any martial art aren't they?

And prison yards too.

tedehara
04-24-2005, 10:44 PM
Edited and Condensed from KI: A Road That Anyone Can Walk by William Reed

Tohei met a Japanese-American from Hawaii - Kyoto Fujioka. Fujioka invited to him to come to Hawaii to teach young people. After Fujioka are returned to Hawaii he looked for a sponsor and found one in Nishkai a health-oriented organization founded by and based on the teachings of Dr. Katsuzo Nishi. The Nishikai had members on all of the islands of Hawaii.

Tohei made his first trip to Hawaii in February of 1953. He traveled by himself on boat leaving Yokohama. He had no particular plan for gathering students in the beginning, except to show any wrestlers and black belt martial artists who came how easily they could be thrown. No challengers seem to come from among the professional wrestlers. The wrestlers had little to gain from such an offer and much to lose.

Dr. Kurisaki, the vice-president of Nishikai, asked if it was possible to handle more than one attacker using Aikido. Tohei replied that it must be possible if you use mind and body coordination, although he had never practiced aikido against more than one opponent at a time and nearly everyone he trained with was around his own size. Dr. Kurisaki asked for a demonstration and Tohei agreed. He found himself facing seven men, all of them 4th Dan or higher in Judo. There was even a 16mm camera to record the event.

On Dr. Kurisaki's signal, the seven men attacked. Tohei moved like mad, throwing and evading, until finally Dr. Kurisaki gave the signal to stop. Thinking he had terribly embarrassed himself, he was surprised to hear a great applause. Later, when he saw the film of the attackers, he himself was surprised at how smooth it looked. Doing a multi-person attack (randori) would become one of the trademarks of his teaching style.

In May 1953 the All American Judo Tournament sponsored by the AAU, was held at San Jose State College in California. Tohei gave an Aikido demonstration between matches. At his hotel was a message from a reporter who liked the exhibition, but since it was over quickly, had no time to take pictures or notes. He asked if Tohei could do it again on the last day of the tournament.

After giving his demonstration, Tohei found himself facing five Judo men in an impromptu randori. Dr. Kurisaki had mentioned that the five were not used to kicks and punches, so Tohei would not strike them. However, they could punch, kick and bite Tohei and would be attacking him at once from different directions. After the randori was over, Dr. Kurisaki mentioned how calm Tohei looked and the fact that he was even smiling through the whole event. Tohei replied that it was unintentional and he always smiled when he was in trouble.
:)

FWIW several sources have Tohei describing how he had to figure out Aikido against people who were much stronger and larger than himself, when he was in Hawaii.

sanskara
04-24-2005, 11:15 PM
Ted,

Thanks for the post. I didn't want to have to delve into the books and do the typing myself. I think Chris Curtis left out the Hawaii challenge in his e-mail. I wonder if that means there was also footage of the San Jose challenge, as he stated, or if he blended together Hawaii and San Jose into one event? I'm thinking the latter, given my conversations with some of the Hawaii crowd, including Suzuki Sensei some years back.

tedehara
04-24-2005, 11:52 PM
Ted,

Thanks for the post. I didn't want to have to delve into the books and do the typing myself. I think Chris Curtis left out the Hawaii challenge in his e-mail. I wonder if that means there was also footage of the San Jose challenge, as he stated, or if he blended together Hawaii and San Jose into one event? I'm thinking the latter, given my conversations with some of the Hawaii crowd, including Suzuki Sensei some years back.From what I can figure out, there should be two films, one for each event. Assuming they both survived the years.

Although Hawaii was the first time for Tohei to do a randori, there is a 1930's Japanese propaganda film of the founder doing a randori type demonstration.

For us, this is all history, but at the time it seems it was a pretty close thing. Those judo guys could have easily handed back Tohei's head on a platter, if he hadn't been able to figure out things on-the-fly.

Chris Li
04-25-2005, 12:26 AM
If Tohei's story is an accurate representation of his abilities--I have no idea if it is--he appears to have transcended the stage you mentioned. That's why when I asked you if you were privy to outside info, I thought you might know someone who was there.

When Tohei met Ueshiba? That was before the war, so there are very few people (nobody?) still around who might have been there. Anyway, my comments were based only on Tohei's own words from his own book.

Best,

Chris

kironin
04-25-2005, 12:32 AM
Are there any other martial arts that have a similar approach that does not emphasize physical strength?

any Jujutsu that is focused on self-defense rather than becoming a sport would fall in that line, including Judo. Just is a lot of Judo is taught at a rather low level. Aikido can recieve the same criticism nowadays too unfortunately.

and well, Systema would be another example.

and any martial art where the primary motivation is more about surviving than scoring points.

kironin
04-25-2005, 12:51 AM
From what I can figure out, there should be two films, one for each event. Assuming they both survived the years.

I wonder how many 16mm films of that type have survived from the 1950's? That film stock does decay. Is it rotting in some storage facility in the forgotten archives of someone's estate. Is it in a vault of some news agency ? How hard has anyone tried to track it down, I wonder.

The late Iwao Tamura Sensei talked about seeing newsreel in Japan of Tohei Sensei around 1954. He was being attacked by a large group of men and throwing them around with seeming effortlessness. It impressed him so much he sought out an aikido school. Turned out to be a Yoshinkan school, but he didn't understand the difference at the time.

Aristeia
04-25-2005, 02:10 AM
Regarding weight classes. Let's not get carried away into thinking Aikido is somehow superior because we don't have weight classes. The reason we don't have weight classes is because we don't have competition. A small guy can throw a big guy during the drilling phase of judo just as easily as he could perform an Aikido technique on him. It is when the opponent is resisting with motivation that weight classes become important. It would be the same with Aikido. When both combatants have training, physical attributes are vitally important, in any art, to think otherwise is dangerous fantasy.

sanskara
04-25-2005, 02:18 AM
I think you're reading something that's not there. I don't recall anyone suggesting that Judo is inferior to Aikido.

Aristeia
04-25-2005, 03:28 AM
I did Aikido for the 2003-2004 school year, and then had to stop due to my water polo schedule. Now I am back and I'm very happy. One of the things I love about Aikido is the fact that there are no weight classes and that a weak old man can throw an opponent much taller heavier and stronger than him across the room. This de-emphasis of strength seems to set Aikido apart from most other martial arts. It is often compared to Judo, which I understand because of the joint-lock/grappling style of fighting however the approach seems to be completely different. Are there any other martial arts that have a similar approach that does not emphasize physical strength?

That's the sentiment I was responding to. The beleif that the lack of weight class in Aikido is due to a something intrinsic in the art that takes away the advantage of size, rather than simply being due to the lack of sporting application (i.e. vs motivated resistance)

sanskara
04-25-2005, 03:32 AM
That's the sentiment I was responding to. The beleif that the lack of weight class in Aikido is due to a something intrinsic in the art that takes away the advantage of size, rather than simply being due to the lack of sporting application (i.e. vs motivated resistance)

Yep, my bad, someone did insinuate that. Your sentiments pretty much match mine on that one.

rob_liberti
04-25-2005, 07:32 AM
I got a kick out of Dan Mesisco (sp?) sensei talking about the first time he got to work out with a Samoan! He said he could move him (from center), but he suprised himself in doing so. He also mentioned that he wasn't quite over the shock of how the guy's hand enveloped Dan's entire forearm.

In a martial situation, it would be silly to say that size doesn't matter at all; but it would also be silly to say that size matters more good movement (which we should be learning in aikido). Take it to the nth degree, you are a million pounds, and so I move to the other side of the planet - I'm still safe.

Rob

rob_liberti
04-25-2005, 11:05 AM
but it would also be silly to say that size matters more good movement

Should read:

...but it would also be silly to say that size matters more THAN good movement

Sorry. I think I must have done one CTRL-Z too many.

kironin
04-25-2005, 11:22 AM
Size matters when you are trying to set up a competition because you are trying to negate size/strength differences in favor of technical skill. Weight classes exist because when you have two combatants, that is two people who have agreed to fight and stay engaged to the end, the longer the engagement lasts the more likely large physcial differences (size/strength/endurance) will trump technical skill. Especially true if you are agreeing to play the same game. Especially when the opponent is allowed to fall on a soft mat and the rules allow him to recover for another go.

In fairness to the Judoka, Tohei did know their game and he was playing a game they didn't know at a very high level.

A similar thing happened when the Gracies showed up with the UFC. They set up their game. Later it evolved so that others like Shamrock learned their game and came in physically bigger and stronger.


I don't think it is a delusion that a smaller person can take someone out in SD situation with technical skill. But if you expect to go toe-to-toe like John Wayne in "The Quiet Man", you had better be a physical match for their size.

sanskara
04-25-2005, 02:12 PM
That's a very good point, Craig. A lot of people do forget that Tohei had enough experience in Judo to have a pretty good idea of what these guys were going to do strategically, and that that consituted a significant advantage. Especially if they as challengers had never seen Aikido.

I would also add that no one I've talked to really thought of these challenges as anything even remotely approaching a life and death scenario (the unsourced quote at the beginning of the thread notwithstanding.) That sure, these Judoka tried hard to take him down (they didn't want to be shamed in front of their consituency.) But it was far from a knock down drag out fight, and somewhere between that and a friendly public relations indulgence--which means they didn't tank for him either.

I would contend that motives affect aggression levels, and that as cool as these stories are, we have no idea how differently this might have played out if they were really pissed at Tohei or had there been stronger incentive for these guys to win, say, in the form of substantial monetary remuneration, as in some of the high profile tournaments of today. None of this is meant to take away from Tohei's accomplishments, of course, a win is a win, and there's no way it could have happened "accidentally" so many times in a row, if the margin for error had been razor thin, and luck had simply been on his side.

In fact, if I recall correctly, once the first challenge took place in Hawaii and word got around, some Judo guys were upset that it was being said in the martial arts community that Judoka dropped like flies against Tohei because of the "superiority" of Aikido. Unless I'm remembering incorrectly, I believe it was just that annoyance that led to further challenges like the ones in San Jose. But without footage, we simply don't have enough info to judge the level of attack. All just food for thought...

jester
04-26-2005, 09:58 AM
Without a video documentation, myths and legends are born. I heard all kinds of stories about Gozo Shioda and JFK's bodyguard, then I saw the video and 90% of what I heard was incorrect.

The old saying is "Believe nothing of what you hear, and half of what you see".

rob_liberti
04-26-2005, 12:08 PM
You know, that is a good point.

There was a story about when Ikeda sensei attended a Chiba sensei seminar. One day, I overheard a friend telling someone else about what happened. I find the story telling to be farily credible - but he was not there. When I questioned him about the accuracy of the story he told me that he had heard it from one of Ikeda sensei's students "who was there". The funny thing is that I had also heard about that same event from another person "who was also there" - and was not one of Ikeda sensei's students, who gave me a much more balanced and reasonable retelling of what _he_ saw. I think that sometimes students just have stars in their eyes.

It makes you wonder about what really happened with some of the stories about O-sensei. Maybe, getting the information from a former uchi-deshi is not as reliable as we'd like to think.

Rob

NixNa
04-26-2005, 07:45 PM
You know, that is a good point.

There was a story about when Ikeda sensei attended a Chiba sensei seminar. One day, I overheard a friend telling someone else about what happened. I find the story telling to be farily credible - but he was not there. When I questioned him about the accuracy of the story he told me that he had heard it from one of Ikeda sensei's students "who was there". The funny thing is that I had also heard about that same event from another person "who was also there" - and was not one of Ikeda sensei's students, who gave me a much more balanced and reasonable retelling of what _he_ saw. I think that sometimes students just have stars in their eyes.

Rob

Hmm.. mm.. b..but..wwots the story??

rob_liberti
04-26-2005, 09:17 PM
I meant, I find the "story-teller" to be fairly credible in general.

Regardless, the story told by one side makes that side look better, and the story told by an impartial source seemed (to me) a bit more realistic. I wasn't there and so I am not really looking to create more myth and legend. I'm more interested in raising awareness. Sorry, I know that is not nearly as interesting as a good tall tale of heroics or whatever.

Rob

tedehara
04-27-2005, 02:04 AM
Actually, from what I could gather from William Reed's book, this whole thing was a set-up. Apparently Nishi Kai wanted Tohei to take on all challengers for money and would use the winnings to build a new dojo. Tohei agreed to accept challanges but not give them. When they couldn't find any takers, the offer was dropped.

Reed also mentions that a large Portugese man tried unsucessfully to move Tohei's unbendable arm. Tohei later learned the offer was $500 to anyone who could bend his arm. Reed is a member of the Ki Society and got this information from K. Tohei.

Another thing to note is that any challanges by outsiders to Honbu dojo after WWII were met by K. Tohei. So he did have experience in actual confrontations.

Talon
04-27-2005, 01:06 PM
So what really happened there? I was looking for this video and never found it. Do you have a link to i possibly? Tell us realisticly what occured there?



Without a video documentation, myths and legends are born. I heard all kinds of stories about Gozo Shioda and JFK's bodyguard, then I saw the video and 90% of what I heard was incorrect.

The old saying is "Believe nothing of what you hear, and half of what you see".

Michael Neal
04-28-2005, 07:46 AM
Yea I think the story is probably over the top, there is so much information that we don't know, for one, the rank of the Judoka he fought.

If there are any Aikidoka here that think they can take 5 Judoka on in randori I will be happy to set it up.

Joe Jutsu
04-28-2005, 07:43 PM
I don't think that the judoka's rank is as important as the fact that they were the five champions at their respective weight classes. I'm sure we've all known kohei aikidoka whose techniques might have been more effective than some of their sempai.

FWIW,

Joe

bryce_montgomery
04-28-2005, 09:54 PM
If there are any Aikidoka here that think they can take 5 Judoka on in randori I will be happy to set it up.

I can take them on!...

:uch:


Never said I'd be able to handle them....:D

Sorry,
Bryce

Misogi-no-Gyo
04-28-2005, 10:21 PM
Yea I think the story is probably over the top, there is so much information that we don't know, for one, the rank of the Judoka he fought.

If there are any Aikidoka here that think they can take 5 Judoka on in randori I will be happy to set it up.


...sure, why not...?

Dan Rubin
04-28-2005, 11:42 PM
When I questioned him about the accuracy of the story he told me that he had heard it from one of Ikeda sensei's students "who was there". The funny thing is that I had also heard about that same event from another person "who was also there" - and was not one of Ikeda sensei's students, who gave me a much more balanced and reasonable retelling of what _he_ saw. I think that sometimes students just have stars in their eyes.
Rob

So, basically, you heard the story from someone who was not there, and you heard the story from someone who was there. You find the latter more credible, as you should. :straightf

Dan

paw
04-29-2005, 06:39 AM
I don't think that the judoka's rank is as important as the fact that they were the five champions at their respective weight classes.

What's a "judo champion"? Someone who won a local city tournament? Someone who won a state tournament? Someone who won a regional tournament? Someone who won a national tournament? Someone who won an international tournament? Someon who won the Olympic gold medal?

And what organization was running the tournament? I know national champions in one judo organization that wouldn't even place in a regional tournament in another organization.


Regards,

Paul

rob_liberti
04-29-2005, 06:58 AM
Rob

So, basically, you heard the story from someone who was not there, and you heard the story from someone who was there. You find the latter more credible, as you should. :straightf

Dan

Just so we are clear, I'm not in any way trying to indicate that Ikeda sensei's students are less credible than others. That just happened to be a real event that made an analogy here. My point is that humans tend to get a bit starry-eyed when it comes to telling stories about people they greatly admire.

I have no doubt that the person who was relaying the story from someone who was there was doing an accurate job of re-telling what he heard. Just as I have no doubt that I remember quite well what I was told by another person who was also there.

I just meant to say that I found the re-telling from the party with no real attachment to either sensei or their reputation to be much more reasonable.

What I was trying to get at was that in absence of video footage of the Tohei events, I would be much more interested in a re-telling of the match from someone who was not Tohei's students, or the student of any of the Judo guys.

Rob

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 07:04 AM
...sure, why not...?


If you want I will ask some Judoka from New York if they would be interested in doing this.

If you came to Washington D.C I could probably set it up no problem.

Lyle Bogin
04-29-2005, 09:56 AM
Forgive me if that has been mentioned, but Robert W. Smith gives his eye witness account in "Martial Musings" (pg 46). Since Smith is a big critic of aikido and japanese martial arts in general (he was a judoka at the time of this contest), it is particularly interesting to read how Tohei did in fact take on 5 good judoka and put on quite a show. Smith's portrait of Tohei as a powerful martial artist is one of my favorites.

Misogi-no-Gyo
04-29-2005, 11:06 AM
If you want I will ask some Judoka from New York if they would be interested in doing this.

If you came to Washington D.C I could probably set it up no problem.


Hi Mike,

I am sure that if I had something to prove, I could go around the corner and grab 5 of the Grecco Roman wrestlers who train at the Olympic training center, but I just don't have anything to prove to myself at this point in my training. That doesn't say anything about tomorrow, as I may wake up and go down there and get them guys and prove a point... er to myself. Having said that, if there were 5 judoka who came around who really wanted to test things out, I guess I'd give it a whirl. Point is, where does it end? Someone will say that they weren't the right 5 guys, or blah, blah, blah. In any case, it would be interesting, fun to try and without a doubt deeply revealing on many levels. If I ever made it to Washington, I guess I would focus on giving Mr. Bush a piece of my mind rather than any 5 judoka. Both scenarios are equally pointless in my book, as I am sure that regardless of what I said or did, I wouldn't sway anyone one way or the other...


I tried sending you a private e-mail about a month ago regarding a 2003 post of yours on the Judo board, but I don't see it in my sent items... Did that come through?

.

Chris Birke
04-29-2005, 11:21 AM
I would love to see an aikido guy throwing 5 uncooperative judo guys around! Someone out there, do it for me!

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 11:35 AM
Shaun, I never got it. My email address has changed since I registered here, my new email is michael@michaelneal.net

You should not look at it as having something to prove, just as an experience. I guess I don't see things like this so much as a challenge match since randori is so much a part of Judo, it is just natural to Judoka. I think it would be entertaining to watch such an encounter regardless of who won it.

I would love to see an aikido guy throwing 5 uncooperative judo guys around! Someone out there, do it for me!

The problem is that you are very unlikely to ever see such a thing happen.

Bodhi
04-29-2005, 11:37 AM
Michael Neal wrote:
Yea I think the story is probably over the top, there is so much information that we don't know, for one, the rank of the Judoka he fought.

If there are any Aikidoka here that think they can take 5 Judoka on in randori I will be happy to set it up.




...sure, why not...?





I wanna play too!!! :drool: I'll rotate sides, Judo guys team for 1 melee, Aikido guys team for 1 melee, best out of 7 fights! Can i bring friends, they could really make it interesting! Instead of just haveing 1 guy vs 5, we could also have 2 guys vs 10, maybe even throw in some sticks an training blades like how we do melee in the Filipino arts! No protective gear, it goes until you quit, get tapped, or knocked out! Winner takes home all the Judo guys black belts, or all the Aikido guys hakamas, a free dinner at the
Sizzler, and bragging rights! This would be waaay cool, set it up! :D

Ron Tisdale
04-29-2005, 11:40 AM
since randori is so much a part of Judo, it is just natural to Judoka. Randori against five skilled opponants is natural to judoka? Wow, my already high estimation of the art just jumped a notch! ;)

I'm currious Michael, is it that you doubt what Tohei did, or are you saying he couldn't do it against the caliber of judoka out there today, or is it that you are saying no one could do it today? The evidence appears to say that it did happen...'course that doesn't mean it could be replicated today...

Ron

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 11:49 AM
Randori against five skilled opponants is natural to judoka? Wow, my already high estimation of the art just jumped a notch! ;)

No I did not mean to say that Judo randori deals with 5 opponents just that randori in itself is so much a part of Judo that having such an exhibition is really no big deal. While with Aikido there is so much resistance to the idea of competition.

I'm currious Michael, is it that you doubt what Tohei did, or are you saying he couldn't do it against the caliber of judoka out there today, or is it that you are saying no one could do it today? The evidence appears to say that it did happen...'course that doesn't mean it could be replicated today...

I think the story is likely overblown and if true the Judoka were probably of lower rank. And I also think that if I were to get even just 5 good local Judo competitors that there would be a very slim chance of any Aikidoka being able to dispose of them all. In fact, I am doubtful that many Aikidoka can dispose of just one Judoka of equal experience level.

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 11:50 AM
Michael Neal wrote:
Yea I think the story is probably over the top, there is so much information that we don't know, for one, the rank of the Judoka he fought.

If there are any Aikidoka here that think they can take 5 Judoka on in randori I will be happy to set it up.




...sure, why not...?





I wanna play too!!! :drool: I'll rotate sides, Judo guys team for 1 melee, Aikido guys team for 1 melee, best out of 7 fights! Can i bring friends, they could really make it interesting! Instead of just haveing 1 guy vs 5, we could also have 2 guys vs 10, maybe even throw in some sticks an training blades like how we do melee in the Filipino arts! No protective gear, it goes until you quit, get tapped, or knocked out! Winner takes home all the Judo guys black belts, or all the Aikido guys hakamas, a free dinner at the
Sizzler, and bragging rights! This would be waaay cool, set it up! :D

it sounds like fun to me minus the weapons, if I were to do something like this it would be done not to put down Aikido or have a bloody fight, just friendly randori, skill against skill.

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 12:03 PM
My point is most of the stories told about martial arts like this feats are wildy exaggerated, regardles of what art is claiming them.

I remember when the Gracies starting going into recreational Judo clubs with cameras and taping themselves beating them in randori and offering this as "proof" that BJJ was superior to Judo. However, they were matching top level BJJ practioners with decades of experience against average 2 day a week recreational Judoka.

I think this Tohei legend is probably comparable. Here is a legend in Aikido (with a great deal of Judo experience) taking on a few average Judoka, really does not prove anything to me about Aikido.

sanskara
04-29-2005, 12:39 PM
The official account is that the Judoka were all Yondan or above, it took place at the All American Judo Championships (not some regional event,) it may or may not prove anything about the effectiveness of Aikido; It's best to read the entire thread before commenting.

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 12:45 PM
Yea I must have missed that post before, now I am more sceptical than before. I need to see something like this today with my own eyes to believe it.

Ron Tisdale
04-29-2005, 02:01 PM
Why? Do you question the papers that reported it? The eye witnesses? If we produced one of the judoka themselves, and they gave a positive report, would you believe it then? A healthy dose of skeptisism is fine, but really now...lets not get all RMA here and require video. Did Rome fall? We don't have video of it...fer christ's sakes...

Ron

And personally I agree with James...it doesn't really say anything much about aikido...says a lot about the tactics that Tohei employed at that time in that situation though. If there was video...I'd love to study it.

RT (not taking on 5 judoka myself anytime soon)

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 02:13 PM
I do want to see the video to believe it, apparently it was filmed so it must exist somewhere.

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 02:24 PM
I do have some Judoka already interested in doing a similar challenge if anyone feels up to it.

Ron Tisdale
04-29-2005, 02:27 PM
If you make it up to Phila. we can train together...how about that?

:)

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 02:40 PM
I would be happy to train with you Ron, but I am not issuing a challenge to you or anything. I only have a little over 2 years experience in Judo.

But anyone who feels up to the 5 judokas I will be happy to try and arrange it, that is a hard task to accomplish and you certainly would not look bad if you failed. I also think it would be fun to have 5 Aikidoka against 1 Judoka to see what would happen there as well.

Ron Tisdale
04-29-2005, 02:48 PM
I also think it would be fun to have 5 Aikidoka against 1 Judoka to see what would happen there as well.

Ok, I'm up for that one!

Ron (smacking his lips and thinking 'take the shot!, take the shot! No one ever expects an aikidoka to do a double leg!') :>

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 02:51 PM
bear in mind I think the Judoka would have no chance either

sanskara
04-29-2005, 03:01 PM
I'll take a challenge if someone pays me enough and I get to make the rules. Otherwise, it's a whole lot of hassle with nothing in it for me--just sayin'.

The Tohei challenges are interesting because even years after the split, he remains a controversial figure. Gozo Shioda also was involved in challenges in Hawaii and elsewhere, and even broke some poor shmuck's arm with a Shihonage, if I recall correctly. But despite the absence of video, there isn't much call for proof. People were there, just like with Tohei, what's left to say? No one here on the Aiki side is buying into the crock that the system makes the martial artist.

If the level of today's Aikido doesn't exactly instill confidence in Judo practitioners enjoying the publicity that grappling arts are currently receiving in the media, who's really surprised? But every once in a while I'll come across a football game on TV where a single individual is able to actively defend against being tackled and taken down by eleven other atheletes, without performing any martial techniques, with one hand wrapped around a football they must maintain possession of, and running in one direction towards a known goal the defense has already set up a strategy to block.

Maybe if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it, or maybe I'd just take people's word for it, and move on to practice what suits my fancy--tough call, really.

Dan Rubin
04-29-2005, 03:47 PM
My point is that humans tend to get a bit starry-eyed when it comes to telling stories about people they greatly admire.

I agree. :hypno:

I have no doubt that the person who was relaying the story from someone who was there was doing an accurate job of re-telling what he heard.

I always doubt that. Too many games of "telephone" when I was a kid, I guess. :D

Dan

Charles Hill
04-29-2005, 05:40 PM
Hmm.. mm.. b..but..wwots the story??

We`re waiting!!!! Come on Rob, stop teasing us!!!:)

Charles

Zato Ichi
04-29-2005, 07:25 PM
bear in mind I think the Judoka would have no chance either

Well, that's pretty obvious no matter what your trained in: a five on one situation is a losing proposition. Hell, a two on one situation is going to be messy and over really fast in most cases in randori.

That being said, I think, given the respective maai of judo and aikido, the aikido guy would last a little longer (assuming everyone is roughly the same size, a big hulking tori against five normal size uke would change the dynamic somewhat).

I'm also curious - in a straight, one-on-one randori between a judoka and aikidoka, what exactly would be the rules? After all, its randori, not a street fight. My recollection of judo randori rules are a little fuzzy (it's been a long time since I've played) but I know the basics. But aikido? The Shodokan toshu rules are pretty restricting compared to judo rules, and I'm not familiar with any other kind of aikido randori rules.

Michael Neal
04-29-2005, 10:20 PM
I'll take a challenge if someone pays me enough and I get to make the rules. Otherwise, it's a whole lot of hassle with nothing in it for me--just sayin'.

Why in the world would someone pay you as well as let you make the rules?

Well, that's pretty obvious no matter what your trained in: a five on one situation is a losing proposition. Hell, a two on one situation is going to be messy and over really fast in most cases in randori.

That being said, I think, given the respective maai of judo and aikido, the aikido guy would last a little longer (assuming everyone is roughly the same size, a big hulking tori against five normal size uke would change the dynamic somewhat).

I'm also curious - in a straight, one-on-one randori between a judoka and aikidoka, what exactly would be the rules? After all, its randori, not a street fight. My recollection of judo randori rules are a little fuzzy (it's been a long time since I've played) but I know the basics. But aikido? The Shodokan toshu rules are pretty restricting compared to judo rules, and I'm not familiar with any other kind of aikido randori rules.

I agree that Aikido guys (that train multiple attacker randori on a regular basis) would be better than most judoka at mutiple attacker randori. This is because they train that scenerio. However, I think this would only apply to attacks by relatively unskilled opponents.

I am not sure how effective they would be against Judoka who generally do not over commit themselves and have supurb balance and skill. Most of the Aikido randori I have experienced or witnessed has been at least partially cooperative in nature with somewhat idealistic attacks.

One on one I have to give the distinct advantage to the Judoka who train randori every class and compete.
I am not sure what rules would be adopted, one solution could be to allow both the Aikidoka and Judoka to use any technique in their syllabus except for atemi, biting, eye gouging etc. Maybe restricting a few throws from each style that are particularly dangerous to the spine for caution.

I do think that both the Judoka and Aikidoka should have at least a rank of shodan so that the ukemi skills would be good enough to avoid serious injuries.

rob_liberti
04-29-2005, 10:52 PM
Charles, let it not be misconstrued that I don't disagree; thank you. (Seriously, sorry, but I the only good that serves is the stary-eyed student retelling message.)

Too many games of "telephone" when I was a kid,Well, maybe, I'm not an expert on memory. Maybe my logic is flawed here; but here is my reasoning:
1) The telephone game wouldn't be very interesting when only two people are playing - especially if they were both fairly bright.
2) Also, I think that people tend to remember stories - especially ones that are of interest to them for whatever reason a lot better than some random message in the telephone game. Try asking anyone who didn't see the last Tyson v. Hollyfield fight what happened, and see if they get the whole biting the ear thing right or if the story has mutated yet.

Either way, I'm going to back out of this thread.

Rob

Mark Tennenhouse
04-30-2005, 02:38 AM
More importantly, what about the Aikidoka of today??? Legends and stories are exciting but what about the weakness and impracticality of the Aikido we see practiced today?

Today, you will not see an Aikidoka capable of fighting a single skilled judoka, much less 5 Judoka at once.

If Aikido is so effective, why not use it in Judo matches? Why not use it in boxing or wrestling matches? Why not use it against the mixed martial artists that have almost no rules in their matches?

I believe the reason it's not seen in ANY kind of contest is that Aikido is simply not understood by today's instructors.
All of the instructors I've seen (including the top names from Japan, USA and France) teach Aikido as a cooperative Kata or drill. It's simply not taught or understood as a combat sport or practical combat art.

What instructor can show how to defeat a skilled wrestling attack or a skilled boxing attack or a skilled groundfighting attack using Aikido??
Where are the real inheritors of Aikido skill? So far, I've seen only imitators that work against cooperative partners. I want to see Aikido that works against a fighting opponent.

Who knows how to work against REAL resistance??

I have tested out my fellow Aikido instructors and students against realistic attacks on several occasions and they inevitably fail.
A few tests I use are collar grabs, side headlocks, rear chokeholds and rear bearhugs. I don't do these tests gently. I grab and hold tightly and move them around a little. The aikidoka don't practice against these kinds of tight rough holds so they can't handle the power and movement. I've tested legitimate black belts in Aikido this way and it's the same result..

Without drilling against real punching, against real shoves and clinching, against real holds and grabs like we see in wrestling or the mixed martial arts matches, how can any Aikidoka ever develop practical skills???
So instead of talking about how some legendary fighter could whip 5 Judoka, isn't it more important to ask what Aikido can do today?

Aikido is not being taught PROPERLY, that is realistically. It means that Aikido training has gone off in the wrong direction. It has become a kata based drill. Instead, it should be a practical combative sport and art.

Thanks,
Mark Tennenhouse

Zato Ichi
04-30-2005, 06:27 AM
Why in the world would someone pay you as well as let you make the rules?
You obviously haven't heard of Ashida Kim and the $10000 challenge! (http://www.ashidakim.com/10k.html) :D

rob_liberti
04-30-2005, 11:01 AM
Mark,

Exactly which top senseis from USA, France, and Japan did you put in a headlock? How exactly did you get into that position?

I have some friends who are not top senseis in Japan and I would love to see you try to put a side headlock on them. I'll be visiting Japan in April of 2006, please by all means join me. I would love to see that.

Good luck in your training.

Rob

tedehara
04-30-2005, 12:02 PM
I can understand the skepticism about what K. Tohei did when introducing Aikido to the U.S.. Today there are many "Grandmasters" and other self-proclaimed high level martial artists around the country. They can tell you stories that boost their accomplishments to legendary status. However those are just stories and they are all talk.

When K. Tohei did a randori against 5 higher ranked black belts in the AAU All American Judo Tournament at San Jose CA in May 1953, it was significant for several reasons. This was the first time people attacked him all at once. Before, the attackers would attack judo style, one at a time. This time because of instructions by the announcer, all five attacked at once. This was a large tournament with close to 2,000 spectators and film footage shot during the randori, so this was an early well documented American Aikido event. This was also the first time anyone had seen a randori done in this manner.

People have a hard time believing this today. This reminds me of when the Nazi concentration camps were discovered by the Allies in WWII. Eisenhower had all the Germans from the surrounding towns and villages marched through the camps, Ike knew that unless this was done, people would deny that those camps ever existed. Today people do deny or minimize the existence of those camps, despite the eye-witness accounts and documentation. So why should K. Tohei's accomplishments be treated any differently?

Multi-person attacks for testing usually start at black belt. This depends on the organization. For those who have never seen or tired it, you're like the road runner being chased by several coyotes around the mat. If you try to fight and stand your ground, you're cooked, so you need to keep moving. But suddenly that mat becomes really small and crowded.

It has been over fifty years since Aikido started in the U.S. It is a martial art that grew quickly in popularity because people found something worthwhile about it. They have also done extraordinary things to establish it here. They have sacrifice a lot. As an person practicing Aikido in the U.S., I'd like to say that I'm grateful for all their efforts and appreciate this inheritance they have created.

kironin
04-30-2005, 04:24 PM
Today, you will not see an Aikidoka capable of fighting a single skilled judoka, much less 5 Judoka at once.


well, it's always dangerous to make generalizations. I have tussled with a couple of skilled judoka and held my own. Now, was either of us trying to prove something, no. Did it go back and forth, yes. Did I have any trouble holding my own? no. Skilled ? we were both well trained black belts in our respective arts. Does it prove any thing ?
probably not.

since you live in Florida, I would suggest you go over to the Shindai Aikikai in Orlando and go play in their advanced classes.
They probably can help you out some on your quest.

mj
04-30-2005, 05:13 PM
....When K. Tohei did a randori against 5 ... Nazi concentration camps...
You may be stretching this slightly.

Misogi-no-Gyo
04-30-2005, 11:48 PM
....When K. Tohei did a randori against 5 ... Nazi concentration camps...

to which Mark Johnston replied
You may be stretching this slightly.

Were you implying that Tohei Sensei survived 5 Nazi Concentration camps, or that he did randori versus 5 Nazi concentration camp survivors? Or should I take it as you wrote it, that he did randori against 5 whole concetration camps? Well, at least I understand why it is so hard to get to see a copy of the video.

No Seriously, I think Ted makes a valid point, and isn't stretching anything accept the minds and the lousy arguments of the doubters, naysayers and the like... Of course, I wasn't there, but it is entirely possible that some of those from the concentration camps could have had some judo background. I mean that is what he was implying right?



.

RonRagusa
05-01-2005, 06:23 AM
Aikido is not being taught PROPERLY, that is realistically. It means that Aikido training has gone off in the wrong direction. It has become a kata based drill. Instead, it should be a practical combative sport and art.

Thanks,
Mark Tennenhouse
Mark -

You don't mention how long you have studied Aikido or your rank but it seems that you have an opportunity to fill a gap here. Instead of lamenting about how Aikido is taught why don't you start training students to learn Aikido as a purely fighting art? You can pare the art down to its essentials from a combat standpoint and concentrate on adapting technique to real situations. Just a thought.

Don_Modesto
05-01-2005, 10:06 AM
I can understand the skepticism about what K. Tohei did....People have a hard time believing this today. This reminds me of when the Nazi concentration camps were discovered by the Allies in WWII. Eisenhower had all the Germans from the surrounding towns and villages marched through the camps, Ike knew that unless this was done, people would deny that those camps ever existed. Today people do deny or minimize the existence of those camps, despite the eye-witness accounts and documentation. So why should K. Tohei's accomplishments be treated any differently?

Ike showed the evidence. Where's the evidence for Tohei's feat? Why has the film this marvelous moment never been released to the public?

It's quite sound intellectual hygiene to doubt tales so closely resembling mythology. Read all the revisionist history being done about karate, e.g., how this one was a giant (not!) and this one an illiterate buffoon (not!). See the revisionism necessary re: aikido vis a vis DR after Pranin's research. We have good reasons to doubt what we are told even (especially?) on the best of authority.

I commented on one of these boards once that a Jpn SHIHAN looked nervous during Hombu's annual demonstration and all sorts of folk came to his "defense"--he wasn't allowed to be human. I'll believe the Tohei thing when I see the film.

jester
05-01-2005, 03:00 PM
This was a large tournament with close to 2,000 spectators and film footage shot during the randori, so this was an early well documented American Aikido event.

OK, So where's the film?????

kironin
05-01-2005, 05:28 PM
Ike showed the evidence. Where's the evidence for Tohei's feat? Why has the film this marvelous moment never been released to the public?


Well, why did the marvelous little 5 and half minute 1967 film of Tohei Sensei tossing Yamada Sensei around and then whipping the jo around like the Energizer bunny on an overdose of speed only recently become publicly available? Stanely Pranin talked someone in to sharing their privately owned film after he became aware of it over 35 years later.

Dr. Kurisaki, the vice-president of Nishikai, asked if it was possible to handle more than one attacker using Aikido. Tohei replied that it must be possible if you use mind and body coordination, although he had never practiced aikido against more than one opponent at a time and nearly everyone he trained with was around his own size. Dr. Kurisaki asked for a demonstration and Tohei agreed. He found himself facing seven men, all of them 4th Dan or higher in Judo. There was even a 16mm camera to record the event.

On Dr. Kurisaki's signal, the seven men attacked. Tohei moved like mad, throwing and evading, until finally Dr. Kurisaki gave the signal to stop. Thinking he had terribly embarrassed himself, he was surprised to hear a great applause. Later, when he saw the film of the attackers, he himself was surprised at how smooth it looked.

Well, Dr. Katsuzo Nishi died in 1959. Dr. Kurisaki is probably not still alive. Nishi Kai seems to still exist in Japan (www.nishikai.net) but no evidence on the web of the organization still existing in Hawaii. Track down Kyoto Fujioka perhaps. You could start a fundraiser for Stanely Pranin to go to Hawaii and do some investigating to find the film reel or at least what happened to it.



You can wish people always had the foresight to preserve such films, but it doesn't alway happen.

Michael Neal
05-01-2005, 07:37 PM
One thing I do not doubt is that Tohei was an amazing martial artist with tremendous skill, and I do not doubt the ability of skilled Aikidoka to fight off multiple attackers. It is just that osome of these stories sound too fantastic too me, I am not being critical of Aikido.

gwailoh
05-01-2005, 08:45 PM
this was recently posted by an anonymous guest on the Judoforum thread on this topic. two highlights for me:

1. can anyone track down the first-hand-witnesses Robert W. Smith or 'Big' Jim Nesby, and speak to them about it?

2. Anyone have a link to the Tohei vs. Fat Reporter video?

-----------------------------------------------------------------

What I've done below is type out Robert W. Smith's first-hand account of this incident (from Martial Musings):

"Despite my analytical problems with aikido, I have to assume that Ueshiba was a singular figure. The evidence for this is his top student, Koichi Tohei. I first heard of Tohei at the First U.S. Judo Tournament in San Jose, California, in 1953. Some of us were chatting about judo and one veered off with the information that an expert in something called aikido was present from Hawaii and would demonstrate his art. Rumor had it that this Tohei had defeated the top fighters in Hawaii before securing a teaching niche there.

Later, in a lull in the program, here came Tohei, al little man with a smile bigger than he was. He took the stage and submitted to varieties of insult to his person. Three big judoka simultaneously put locks on his neck and both arms. He tossed them airward with abandon. Next he demonstrated rare efficiency in stick work (bojutsu). All this was interesting and pleasant to watch. The main course, next up, left us flabbergasted. Tohei stood and invited five black belt judokas to have at him simultaneously. Fifteen lined up and five fanned out and jumped him. This was no multiple attack chioreographed so that the defender had enough time and space to deal with each attacker singly -- the meretricious stuff that bores and stultifies. Not a bit. The surrounding circle hit Tohei almost in unison. he moved amongst them, throwing them in all directions, even into each other. Up they got, tried again, and down they went. Three were greedy and tried thrice only to hit the mat again. After that, enthusiasm waned and the group desisted.

Although Tohei was said to have a high judo rank, his throws didn't resemble judo techniques. He seemed to do things like te-waza tomoenage and wrist twists with such elan that murmurs of "ki" spread through the audience. Everything dissolved in front of his gentle applications. Big Jim Nisby, a giant judoka and former California All-state footballer, one of the five attackers, attempted a diving tackle from 15 feet. Tohei put out a light hand and stopped Jim dead in his tracks, then, in almost the same movement, pushed him into the pile of bodies. It was all marvelous."

It is noteworthy that this follows a passage in which Smith is extremely critical of aikido as a effective means of self-defence, so he's no starry-eyed believer in this stuff. Note too that he seems to know one of the attackers personally (would anyone be able to track this guy down, if he's still alive?). Given too that Smith was very well-connected in judo at the time, if the "fix was in", it seems almost inconceivable that he wouldn't have found out about it.

Before someone else brings it up as a counterargument, I should mention that Tohei is also infamous for what is one of the poorest demonstrations of aikido (a video clip of which is posted somewhere on the web, but the computer I was surfing on at the time was unable to play it). I think it involved some overweight middle-age reporter who asked to have a go at Tohei, and the guy gave Tohei a lot of difficulty. As I recall, Tohei had to revert to some judo techniques to overcome him. Was this at an earlier stage of Tohei's career when he still hadn't perfected his abilities? Or is it the case that he had to be spot on to perform at a very high level, and anything less than that and his abilities declined drastically. Or is this the actual evidence of his abilities and the multiple attacker stuff is fake? I suspect the skeptics will quickly assume the latter. For myself, I think an alternative explanation is more likely, such as he started off by trying to take it easy on the guy and then got himself into a bad position. There was obviously no danger of that happening in the multiple judoka incident. In fact, as I recall, Tohei himself had little confidence in his abilities the first few times he was tricked or pressured into doing these types of demos.

Don_Modesto
05-01-2005, 09:33 PM
One thing I do not doubt is that Tohei was an amazing martial artist with tremendous skill, and I do not doubt the ability of skilled Aikidoka to fight off multiple attackers. It is just that osome of these stories sound too fantastic too me, I am not being critical of Aikido.My sentiments, too.
What I've done below is type out Robert W. Smith's first-hand account of this incident (from Martial Musings):....It is noteworthy that this follows a passage in which Smith is extremely critical of aikido as a effective means of self-defence, so he's no starry-eyed believer in this stuff. Yes. This gave me pause when I read it some years ago. Still, something this fantastical?--I want to see it for myself. Sorry.
Before someone else brings it up as a counterargument, I should mention that Tohei is also infamous for what is one of the poorest demonstrations of aikido...it involved some overweight middle-age reporter who asked to have a go at Tohei, and the guy gave Tohei a lot of difficulty....Was this at an earlier stage of Tohei's career when he still hadn't perfected his abilities?
Actually, I hold Tohei in no little esteem precisely for bearing this humiliation. I don't doubt that he was holding back, the engagement was just too ridiculous. But he preferred to look foolish to hurting the old guy--don't doubt that myself and I respect him for such magnanimity

Thanks for taking the trouble for finding and posting that message.

sanskara
05-02-2005, 02:32 AM
I've watched the unedited version of Tohei versus the reporter several times and a few things occur to me (in no particular order):

1. This wasn't his best work, but there are still times when I'm quite surprised he was able to regain composure and balance when it otherwise appeared to be lost.

2. According to several who were there (Yamada and Chiba made statements similar to the following, if I recall correctly) it was a public relations indulgence and not a conventional match.

Ueshiba allegedly forbade Tohei from doing any Aikido. That meant no throws, locks, pins, nothing that would hurt the guy, who'd been training politely in the dojo for about a week and was not skilled at ukemi.

Supposedly, Tohei had no idea what Ueshiba expected him to do and just kind of wandered out onto the mat not knowing what to expect. He looks a little lost in the beginning of the engagement, when you can see him waving his hands a bit in the air before the journalist moves in and pushes him off the mat.

Incidentally, later in the Rendezvous With Adventure video you can see Ueshiba struggle to put a Nikkyo on the other journalist, but his ability is not in doubt, and it's clear he's also being polite to the gaijin.

3. Tohei wears a hakama. Who wears a hakama to a match? Maybe he did so for the sake of the camera, but I suspect he didn't know exactly what he was in for; the words "rough and tumble" may not have been completely understood, as that's how the journalists referred to the engagement.

4. Also allegedly, Ueshiba was furious with Tohei after the ordeal because he did repeatedly throw the journalist down, violating the restrictions placed on him. But it's clear he did not use Aikido to do so, and maybe he reasoned this would annoy Ueshiba less.

But regardless of how one feels about Tohei's performance, he was never taken down and he did repeatedly throw the journalist, eventually pinning him, even if it wasn't pretty or what one would expect from a tenth Dan.

Unfortunately, it's my opinion that it is precisely this video and the fact that Tohei markets to a more "New Age" crowd (at least in Japan) that gives people cause to doubt the other accounts of his martial prowess. All I can offer is that I've personally seen some of his top students work guys quite a bit bigger and better than this journalist.

Shiohira of San Francisco, for example, used to get challenges from boxers, wrestlers, and whoever walked into the Austin Street dojo, and as far as I know or saw, he never lost. And Tohei only promoted him to sixth Dan--something about his family name confounded future promotions, but that's another thread.

On a more personal note, I can also think of at least a few occasions where I went easy on someone who was testing me out on the mat, because they were a beginner and I didn't want to hurt them before they understood what we were doing. All I can say is I'm glad those times, or the ones where I taught someone a lesson they clearly deserved, weren't captured on film for all time as indicative of my ability or personality.

kironin
05-02-2005, 08:04 AM
Before someone else brings it up as a counterargument, I should mention that Tohei is also infamous for what is one of the poorest demonstrations of aikido (a video clip of which is posted somewhere on the web, but the computer I was surfing on at the time was unable to play it). I think it involved some overweight middle-age reporter who asked to have a go at Tohei, and the guy gave Tohei a lot of difficulty. As I recall, Tohei had to revert to some judo techniques to overcome him. Was this at an earlier stage of Tohei's career when he still hadn't perfected his abilities? Or is it the case that he had to be spot on to perform at a very high level, and anything less than that and his abilities declined drastically. Or is this the actual evidence of his abilities and the multiple attacker stuff is fake? I suspect the skeptics will quickly assume the latter. For myself, I think an alternative explanation is more likely, such as he started off by trying to take it easy on the guy and then got himself into a bad position. There was obviously no danger of that happening in the multiple judoka incident. In fact, as I recall, Tohei himself had little confidence in his abilities the first few times he was tricked or pressured into doing these types of demos.


The episode with the camera man you are refering to can be found in the video series Aikido Journal had of Morihei Ueshiba. It's a silly short lived American TV Show from the 1950's called "Randevous with Adventure" and has two guys in Safari hats wondering around Tokyo. They end up taking a personal lesson at Aikikai Hombu after interviewing Ueshiba Sensei with Tohei Sensei interpreting.

Have you ever had someone want to see if what you do works in a "real" fight, but is out of shape, can barely take of themselves, can't take a fall, no martial arts training (but thinks they can take you), after not getting the best of it desparately comes in to clinch like a sak of potatoes without really any offensive position, you have agreed not to wack them or otherwise do them any harm while they can try whatever comes to their mind ? That's exactly what it looks like and apparently was from accounts. Awkward and ugly, Tohei Sensei ends up pinning the guy's head to the mat with his hand. The guy is not harmed and squirms around on the ground helplessly.

and yes his political enemies did use it in an attempt to belittle him. which reveals more about their motives than it does about Tohei Sensei's abilities.

jester
05-02-2005, 10:48 PM
So what really happened there? I was looking for this video and never found it. Do you have a link to i possibly? Tell us realistically what occurred there?

Sorry for the late reply. It was in 1962, and was actually Robert Kennedy who was the Attorney General at the time and his wife.
The video I have seen shows Gozo Shioda throwing an uke a few times only using his body, then it cuts to one of Shioda's students trying to show a man (who could be the bodyguard, or an assistant to RFK) how to do Nikyo. The student does it on the Bodyguard as the clip starts, them the student reverses it, and the Bodyguard falls to the ground and almost rolls over kind of laughing.

It then shows an aikidoka showing RFK how to do it, then it cuts to a female aikidoka showing RFK's wife how to do the technique. RFK's wife doesn't seem to have a clue as to what is going on.

It was all innocent fun, and a big PR event with smiles and cameras everywhere.

I'll try to post it if anyone is interested, but it's really a disappointment after hearing all the stories about it. I didn't see Gozo Shioda showing anyone anything other than his 2 or 3 throws he did with his uke.

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I found this account on another web site, which I never witnessed on the tape:

1962 (age 47/48) Robert Kennedy visits the Yoshinkan. One of his body guards challenges Gozo and was immediately incapacitated. Popularity of Yoshinkan aikido jumped as a result of this visit and the media coverage that followed.

If this happened, why was it edited out? I think this is the type of hype that snowballs into grand stories. If it did happen, I would bet there isn't any video of it, just stories about someone who heard it from there friend who was there!!

bob_stra
05-03-2005, 09:55 AM
I too would be curious to see footage of this. Not for any sort of adversarial, He man, chest thumping thing but rather because I'd like to see how the "magician pulled the rabbit out of a hat".

You'd have to admit - dealing with 1 Yodan is hairy enough but 5 simultaneously? Hell! Book me a ticket to that show - I wanna learn how that's done!

So - is there video footage of this (or something similar) on the net anywhere? How exactly would such a thing be done given the transcript in message #73?

Sanshouaikikai
06-29-2005, 02:02 PM
Chris Li wrote:
Anyway, problems with larger opponents are endemic to any martial art aren't they?

Not in Muay Thai or Kung Fu...and if you have a problem with a larger opponent in those two arts...then you just suck! I mean...I'd like to believe that most arts have a solution to most, if not all situations, but in my experience and practice of the two above mentioned arts as well as watching a lot of MMA and Kickboxing competitions...those two styles can really show you how to take out a larger guy. If you don't believe me...check out the K-1 Asia Grand Prix Elimination in Seoul (or somewhere in Korea) Korea. It aired on PPV in February I believe. Anywho...the biggest star in the tournament was this Muay Thai expert from Thailand who destroyed everyone...and everyone he fought was like a foot taller than him. Heck...the last guy he fought was this Korean Ssileum Champ who was about 7'0'' tall and the Muay Thai dude was only 5'8" or 5'10". Anywho...the Muay Thai guy lost by unanimous decision...which I think was unfair 'cause he pretty much hurt the other guy numerous times...but you know how those south koreans like being unfair in international competition...remember the summer Olympics last year and the gold medal gymnastics scandal? lol!

Chris Li
06-29-2005, 02:38 PM
Chris Li wrote:


Not in Muay Thai or Kung Fu...and if you have a problem with a larger opponent in those two arts...then you just suck! I mean...I'd like to believe that most arts have a solution to most, if not all situations, but in my experience and practice of the two above mentioned arts as well as watching a lot of MMA and Kickboxing competitions...those two styles can really show you how to take out a larger guy. If you don't believe me...check out the K-1 Asia Grand Prix Elimination in Seoul (or somewhere in Korea) Korea. It aired on PPV in February I believe. Anywho...the biggest star in the tournament was this Muay Thai expert from Thailand who destroyed everyone...and everyone he fought was like a foot taller than him. Heck...the last guy he fought was this Korean Ssileum Champ who was about 7'0'' tall and the Muay Thai dude was only 5'8" or 5'10". Anywho...the Muay Thai guy lost by unanimous decision...which I think was unfair 'cause he pretty much hurt the other guy numerous times...but you know how those south koreans like being unfair in international competition...remember the summer Olympics last year and the gold medal gymnastics scandal? lol!

No matter the art, size and strength are always a factor. Also, you don't see many Muay Thai folks in their older than their 20's, their bodies tend to wear out.

Best,

Chris

Mike Sigman
06-29-2005, 02:50 PM
The episode with the camera man you are refering to can be found in the video series Aikido Journal had of Morihei Ueshiba. It's a silly short lived American TV Show from the 1950's called "Randevous with Adventure" and has two guys in Safari hats wondering around Tokyo. They end up taking a personal lesson at Aikikai Hombu after interviewing Ueshiba Sensei with Tohei Sensei interpreting. I think that demonstration for the cameras is way over-talked among people discussing Tohei. Tohei obviously didn't know exactly what to do with Lard-ass the American Journalist because the American was a clown... it was a put-on comedy and Ueshiba shouldn't have used Tohei for such a poorly-staged piece of malarkey. Anyone who publicly gauges Tohei's performance from that non-event will mark themselves.

FWIW

Mike