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-   -   Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go? (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17594)

MM 01-25-2010 09:25 AM

Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
There are some aspects of Ueshiba that seem to have disappeared in the aikido world.

1. One hand up, pointing upwards with one hand down, pointing downwards. (No reference thread)

In various videos of Ueshiba, one can see him in a very distinct pose. He has one hand up and one hand down. It is a distinct pose shared with the Daito ryu world as pictures of Hisa and Takeda have shown. Ueshiba can be seen in this pose throughout his life, even in his eighties.

If pictures capture Takeda, Hisa, and Ueshiba in this pose, then perhaps one can find some relevance to it. I would imagine some important relevance. And yet, in modern aikido, it has disappeared.

Why? What happened? Where did this aspect of Ueshiba's training go?

2. Push tests.
Reference Thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14991

In many accounts, Ueshiba was tested through push tests. Whether standing, in seiza, or sitting, people could not push him over. This is also a distinct feature of the Daito ryu world as video of Kodo Horikawa has shown. Ueshiba was videotaped in his later years doing this kind of demonstration.

If Horikawa and Ueshiba demonstrate this, then there is some relevance here. I would imagine something important is being shown. And yet, in modern aikido, it has either disappeared or been so watered down it isn't viable. Some schools derived from Tohei have "Ki tests" that emulate pushing, but so far, I've yet to see anyone actually push on people as was done with Ueshiba or Horikawa.

Why? What happened? Where did this aspect of Ueshiba's training go?

3. Weapons.
Reference thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15054

Ueshiba gave out scrolls of weapons proficiency. He studied weapons throughout his life, in one manner or another. IMO, he did a similar thing that Takeda did. He studied when he could, where he could and then took the portions he deemed valuable. (Really, this is an MMA approach.) He made his own way with weapons. He used a sword in either hand, just like Takeda. His jo whirled and swirled unlike anything else. In that, I can find no Daito ryu correlation.

Weapons, though, "seem" to have propagated into the modern aikido world. I put quotes around "seem" because most kendo people do not study aikido for its "taisabaki". Top kendo people do not credit modern aikido people for their skills. Somewhere, something changed.

Why? What happened? Where did this aspect of Ueshiba's training go?

4. Timeframe.
Reference thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14753

Why did it take so few years for the "Aikido Greats" to get very good? Why did all of their years of experience fail them when they initially met Ueshiba or Takeda? Why did they find something completely different than the world that they had trained in? If their vaunted martial skills were of any value, why follow Ueshiba when someone of that caliber should have been found in their own system/school? Their skills failed them completely. High level men were manhandled with ease.

Then, when they converted to the training of Daito ryu aiki, the skill set was built in a relatively short amount of time. Yet, the world looks upon modern aikido and laughs.

Why? What happened? Where did this aspect of Ueshiba's training go?

5. Testing.
Reference thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15035

All manner of men tested Ueshiba. Highly ranked men from kendo, sumo, karate, judo, etc tested Ueshiba. "Competition" for Ueshiba seems to have only meant the type used in Olympics, UFC, etc. IMO, "competition" never meant one couldn't handle a challenger. The type of "competition" that spurs one to do better was not looked down upon. Ueshiba was no pacifist.

Karate, sumo, and judo had very competent men within their systems. Some of these men tested Ueshiba and came away knowing they weren't as good as Ueshiba. Even Shioda accepted challengers in some manner. But, the modern aikido world is fairly insular. It is a school within itself.

Why? What happened? Where did this aspect of Ueshiba's training go?

chillzATL 01-25-2010 11:46 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Mark,

1. Would need a pic, can't recall exactly what you're describing.

2. I recall vids of Tohei in more recent years doing more Ueshiba like push demos. In our particular style (Ki society related off-shoot), we do them to the chest, hips, shoulders, etc, with varying degrees of force. All with the intention of allowing you to feel and ground that force and you're expected to be able to remain stable while taking more and more force as you advance.

3. I think he considered weapons a part of HIS Aikido and not exactly something that everyone needed in order to do Aikido, so he didn't really pass them on. My feeling is that they were something he used more as an extension or expression of what he was able to do rather than integral to building his ability.

4. frequency and intensity maybe? If you agree with much of what Ellis Amdur suggests in HIPS, that many of the students who got "it", did so by taking ukemi from him often, then it's likely that it's just a matter of frequency and intensity. Kind of like attending Gasshuku. It's almost impossible to improve in that week because of the intensity and amount of constant training involved. Imagine having that day in, day out, for years from the best of the best.

Of course there's also the possiblity of them learning things from him that simply haven't been passed on or things that they learned and weren't really aware that they learned it. Things they did, as a result of being around him, that they didn't see as training and didn't do once they were away from him. Maybe that's why the few who seemed to have it never seemed to get more of it once he was gone?

5. I think this is just a by-product of society these days. You don't really get challengers much anymore and I think most people are comfortable with what their Aikido is within the context of their own training. They don't feel the need to test it. Often those that do are still comfortable doing so within the dojo.

mickeygelum 01-25-2010 12:47 PM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Hey Mark,

Out the fricking window with the baby and bathwater!:eek:

Peace, love and yada-yada have replaced the martial attitude , so EVERYONE can be partake in Aikido, AikiBudo or whatever.

Funny thing, Tuhan and I have this discussion all the time, while "comparing" mechanics and concepts, as opposed to wrote techniques.

" Do not apply your crappy standards, to my skill ", remember that?

Train well,

Mickey

Eugene Leslie 01-25-2010 04:35 PM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Mr. Murray:

I'm just a lowly layman practitioner of modern day Aikido.
I read your questions as well as most of the Aikiweb links you provided.
You search for truths to be perfectly round. They're not.
I like Mr. Gelum's answers to your questions.
The men you keep mentioning were the last of the real Samurai and
I'm sure there were Samurai in centuries past, hardened by REAL fighting who could kick all their a**es with weapons involved.
I'm sure there are monks in the high mountains who can perform demonstrations of Ki to outmatch those of the characters mentioned.
Since there are more stars in the heavens then grains of sand on the earth and our lives are a wisp of smoke in comparison to eternal time, I would kindly suggest that you refrain from troubling yourself about the why's and discover yourself through the legacy these men have handed down.
You can even consider the use of firearms to be a martial art: then I guess Wyatt Earp to be the master butt-kicker.

Tim Griffiths 01-25-2010 06:55 PM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
1. As in http://www.westlord.com/wallpaper/osensei-021/? I associate this pose with an older Ueshiba who no longer planted people into the mat at the end of iriminage/kokyunage.

2. I grew up with the Ki Soc style "ki tests" which are grouped into different types, and in our dojo looked very similar to the recordings of O-sensei (pushing with the whole body weight, shoving etc). I've seen them done in a very weak fashion as well though.

3. I'm not sure exactly what you're saying here (I thought I did, then re-read it and the link a few times). Maybe this has more to do with the development of Kendo over the last 50 years?

4. These guys had been studying their own arts for a long time. When you're used to the way of studying a martial art, and committed to learning intensively from a good teacher, you can progress very rapidly.
(Anecdote time: I was training in a dojo in London and a new guy joined who was a trained dancer. First technique, he sat and watched the sensei demonstrate it, then got up and did it. Perfectly. Sensei showed a more advanced version, he did it. Next class, and next week, he could reproduce every technique from every class he'd attended, at a level that put most of the class to shame. Of course, his ukemi was less good, and he didn't always understand what he was doing, but his training gave him a massive head start on both learning a physical movement and the feel of the aiki between uke and tori).

5. How many people here, how many aikidoists in the world, are full time teachers (and I don't mean unemployed apart from teaching twice a week at the YMCA), voraciously studying both from other aikido sensei and other martial arts teachers? I probably know less than 10 people I'd say that about, but they relish challenges (at the least, someone is going to learn something - hopefully it will be them!). That's where its gone - don't look for it in a McDojo.
As an aside, the influences on someone looking to augment their aikido are very different to those Ueshiba had - BJJ, JKD, Krav Maga... I can't help thinking that a 'modern Ueshiba' would get sniffed at by the aikido community for not doing "real" aikido(TM).

iron horse 01-25-2010 07:09 PM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Great questions. Nobody is looking for the answers.

Erick Mead 01-25-2010 07:30 PM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251024)
There are some aspects of Ueshiba that seem to have disappeared in the aikido world.

1. One hand up, pointing upwards with one hand down, pointing downwards. (No reference thread) ... And yet, in modern aikido, it has disappeared.

Why? What happened? Where did this aspect of Ueshiba's training go?

Check. Got it.

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251024)
2. Push tests.
Reference Thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14991

In many accounts, Ueshiba was tested through push tests. Whether standing, in seiza, or sitting, people could not push him over.

Debatable -- buuut.... -- Kokyu tanden ho -- how is this NOT a "push test"? I call it "check" -- and any disputes are stylistic.

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251024)
3. Weapons.
Reference thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15054
Weapons, though, "seem" to have propagated into the modern aikido world. I put quotes around "seem" because most kendo people do not study aikido for its "taisabaki". Top kendo people do not credit modern aikido people for their skills.

Kendo? Boxing with glorified hashi ? :p

But, weapons? Roger. Check. Got it. :)

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251024)
4. Timeframe.
Reference thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14753

Why did it take so few years for the "Aikido Greats" to get very good?

Because they had nothing better to do? Literally, we have COMPLETELY lost the sense of the infinite distractions we are heir to, that our forebears could not possibly imagine. And .. ummmm.. post-war JAPAN?? -- not a big place for, um, idle pastimes...or idle anything, for that matter. :yuck:

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251024)
5. Testing.
Reference thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15035

All manner of men tested Ueshiba. "Competition" for Ueshiba seems to have only meant the type used in Olympics, UFC, etc. IMO, "competition" never meant one couldn't handle a challenger. The type of "competition" that spurs one to do better was not looked down upon. Ueshiba was no pacifist.

Laws on mutual combat and excessive or unreasonable force are not terribly friendly in this regard -- and subject to curious after-the-fact recasting -- by losers -- and with the rules that modern laws typically require -- well, do the math...

Carsten Möllering 01-26-2010 03:05 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
I'll try a short response.

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251024)
1. One hand up, pointing upwards with one hand down, pointing downwards.

Christian Tissier does this pose sometimes. His Teacher Yamaguchi also did it.
It can be a very good position of zanshin. But if you force it, it will hinder your technique. It will often be the result of doing a technique totally relaxed.
In our Training we deliberately try not to use it!

Quote:

2. Push tests.
The atari movements of Endo have something of those push tests. And we do some other things which remind me of the push-tests of Ueshiba.
We are not doing ki-Tests like ki aikido. It's different.

Quote:

3. Weapons.
My teacher is the German shibucho of the Sugino dojo.
Christian Tissier teaches the derivate of Kashima shin ryu he learns from Inaba Sensei. Who also teaches in Germay.
There is a lot of koryu weapons touching our aikido.

Quote:

5. Testing.
Tissier himself was activ in kickboxing, which is very popular in France. And trains with karateka of the national team.

Well: We often mix up with people of other arts or sports. We have seminars or we train together and have people of other arts or sports in our regular training.

No insular existence at all.

asiawide 01-26-2010 04:24 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Push test : I think many top aikido teachers do push-test too like Sugawara sensei.

Nicholas Eschenbruch 01-26-2010 04:31 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Mark,
You seem to have put great care into your exposition, yet your intention remains unclear to me. Why did you put these points, and not others (O-Sensei's spiritual practices for example)?

Are your hypotheses rethorical, or are you interested in a "historical" discussion/ refusal/ confirmation?

Are you interested in how others train? Or are you trying to tell us these are the most important areas, and we should train that way? What about your own training? Are these aspects absent from it?

And, the most confusing bit, how do you know "the aikido world"? Mine may be lacking in many ways, but it is certainly not insular.

Would you mind clarifying?

MM 01-26-2010 07:20 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Jason Casteel wrote: (Post 251033)
Mark,

1. Would need a pic, can't recall exactly what you're describing.

2. I recall vids of Tohei in more recent years doing more Ueshiba like push demos. In our particular style (Ki society related off-shoot), we do them to the chest, hips, shoulders, etc, with varying degrees of force. All with the intention of allowing you to feel and ground that force and you're expected to be able to remain stable while taking more and more force as you advance.

3. I think he considered weapons a part of HIS Aikido and not exactly something that everyone needed in order to do Aikido, so he didn't really pass them on. My feeling is that they were something he used more as an extension or expression of what he was able to do rather than integral to building his ability.

4. frequency and intensity maybe? If you agree with much of what Ellis Amdur suggests in HIPS, that many of the students who got "it", did so by taking ukemi from him often, then it's likely that it's just a matter of frequency and intensity. Kind of like attending Gasshuku. It's almost impossible to improve in that week because of the intensity and amount of constant training involved. Imagine having that day in, day out, for years from the best of the best.

Of course there's also the possiblity of them learning things from him that simply haven't been passed on or things that they learned and weren't really aware that they learned it. Things they did, as a result of being around him, that they didn't see as training and didn't do once they were away from him. Maybe that's why the few who seemed to have it never seemed to get more of it once he was gone?

5. I think this is just a by-product of society these days. You don't really get challengers much anymore and I think most people are comfortable with what their Aikido is within the context of their own training. They don't feel the need to test it. Often those that do are still comfortable doing so within the dojo.

Hello,

1. See Tim Griffiths' post. He found a picture.

2. There's quite a bit of variation in push tests.

Compare the light pushes here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gECo8H_mmPc

with a stronger push here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVCZf53XIE0

Compare those with how long Tohei trained and could withstand pushes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkVy569CAnI
Starting around 0:40.

In 10 years, shouldn't one be able to withstand pushes such as Tohei could? As Ueshiba could?

3. If Takeda and Ueshiba considered weapons worth training, why don't we have similar skilled people? After 20 to 40 years of training (well more than Ueshiba had when he was considered very good), there's really just two possibilities: Ueshiba was an exception or no one is training the way Ueshiba trained. Now, considering Takeda created a few men of exceptional martial abilities and that those men went on to create students of exceptional martial abilities, it would seem the former is a stretch to believe. The latter seems more likely.

Which leads us back to aikido's weapons work. If the training that Ueshiba received from Takeda to make him a great martial artist is missing, then that quality would also be missing from the weapons. Where do you find weapons training that shows using both hands? What quality of skill is needed to accomplish that? Who in aikido trains in this manner (where either hand is used)?

4. Actually, I believe the opposite. I don't think any number of years training as uke will ever get you to the skill level of Ueshiba. IMO, no amount of frequency or intensity as uke will gain you the skills.

And just how much hands on time did Ueshiba have with Takeda? Overall, not really that much. Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, etc?

5. Ueshiba taught men of all walks of life. He was tested by them, not just formally, but informally also. Does anyone think that when Tomiki met Ueshiba, if Ueshiba couldn't throw Tomiki 60 different ways by grasping his hand that Tomiki would have studied with Ueshiba? If Tenryu could have pushed Ueshiba over, do you think Tenryu would have studied with Ueshiba? When Ueshiba gave the demonstration in Manchuria and Ohba attacked earnestly, do you think anyone would have looked highly upon Ueshiba if he had done poorly? Why did very high ranking kendo people think highly of Ueshiba? Did they just swoon at his reputation or did they physically test his mettle in some manner?

At the end of the day, people from karate, judo, and kendo thought very highly of Ueshiba's martial skill. Compare that with today ... where people from judo, karate, and kendo laugh at aikido. Let alone the MMA world ...

MM 01-26-2010 07:24 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Michael Gelum wrote: (Post 251036)
Hey Mark,

Out the fricking window with the baby and bathwater!:eek:

Peace, love and yada-yada have replaced the martial attitude , so EVERYONE can be partake in Aikido, AikiBudo or whatever.

Funny thing, Tuhan and I have this discussion all the time, while "comparing" mechanics and concepts, as opposed to wrote techniques.

" Do not apply your crappy standards, to my skill ", remember that?

Train well,

Mickey

Hi Mickey,

Just wondering where some of Ueshiba's training went. Think about it. Ever see pics or vids of Tomiki in the pose I mentioned in #1? Shioda? So, why not? What happened? Or did they at some point? They're gone, so we can't ask them. But maybe some people might remember.

Or for example, my #2 point. Push tests. There's a video of Dr. Lee (Tomiki lineage) showing an exercise where two people are at arm's length. Each one has their right hand out, crossing and touching at the wrist. The information given is that one person steps forward and the other person steps backwards. But, what if that exercise was a push-out type exercise where the person "stepping backwards" wasn't supposed to move unless actually forced to move? So, in essence, there could have been an actual push test exercise to build the skill to withstand pushes. Anyone remember the creation of that exercise?

Perhaps things were altered, changed, modified. But, who remembers?

MM 01-26-2010 07:50 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Tim Griffiths wrote: (Post 251057)
1. As in http://www.westlord.com/wallpaper/osensei-021/? I associate this pose with an older Ueshiba who no longer planted people into the mat at the end of iriminage/kokyunage.

2. I grew up with the Ki Soc style "ki tests" which are grouped into different types, and in our dojo looked very similar to the recordings of O-sensei (pushing with the whole body weight, shoving etc). I've seen them done in a very weak fashion as well though.

3. I'm not sure exactly what you're saying here (I thought I did, then re-read it and the link a few times). Maybe this has more to do with the development of Kendo over the last 50 years?

4. These guys had been studying their own arts for a long time. When you're used to the way of studying a martial art, and committed to learning intensively from a good teacher, you can progress very rapidly.
(Anecdote time: I was training in a dojo in London and a new guy joined who was a trained dancer. First technique, he sat and watched the sensei demonstrate it, then got up and did it. Perfectly. Sensei showed a more advanced version, he did it. Next class, and next week, he could reproduce every technique from every class he'd attended, at a level that put most of the class to shame. Of course, his ukemi was less good, and he didn't always understand what he was doing, but his training gave him a massive head start on both learning a physical movement and the feel of the aiki between uke and tori).

5. How many people here, how many aikidoists in the world, are full time teachers (and I don't mean unemployed apart from teaching twice a week at the YMCA), voraciously studying both from other aikido sensei and other martial arts teachers? I probably know less than 10 people I'd say that about, but they relish challenges (at the least, someone is going to learn something - hopefully it will be them!). That's where its gone - don't look for it in a McDojo.
As an aside, the influences on someone looking to augment their aikido are very different to those Ueshiba had - BJJ, JKD, Krav Maga... I can't help thinking that a 'modern Ueshiba' would get sniffed at by the aikido community for not doing "real" aikido(TM).

Hello,

1. Yes, that's the pose. I've seen Ueshiba in that pose from his early years through to his later years. My question is in regards to where it went? I find very little info on Ueshiba's students in relation to this pose. One would think that if Ueshiba is seen doing a technique in this manner throughout his life, then his students would copy it in some form. Where did it go? Takeda and Hisa are photographed in this pose. If it was purely a Daito ryu "thing", then why is Ueshiba still doing it in his eighties? What is the significance of it? Which students have done this? If none, why not?

2. Yes, a weak fashion. Why is that? As I noted with a Youtube video in a previous post, Tohei doesn't accept a weak push. Ueshiba didn't. Horikawa didn't. Why do we accept that a weak push is okay ... after 20-40 years of training? Beyond that, how many schools actually have push tests, besides the Ki Society? Where did that training go? It was something Ueshiba did all his life.

3. I don't know of many schools, aikido or otherwise, that use the sword in either hand. Ueshiba is on video doing kata that way. There are accounts of both Takeda and Ueshiba training that way. I don't know and haven't heard of any modern high ranking kendo people training with an aikido person to learn their "taisabaki". Yet, somewhere, somehow, all of that happened with Ueshiba. There was a manner of training ... where did it go?

Perhaps, you're right in some way. Maybe the development of kendo over the last 50 years has created a split where top kendo people wouldn't train with an aikido person to learn "taisabaki". It's a possibility. The martial arts world has changed over the years.

4. Yes, that's the main point. A lot of people had been studying jujutsu, judo, kenjutsu, kendo, etc for a long time. Yet when they met Ueshiba, all that training didn't help them one little bit. Yet, somehow that training helped them to learn what Ueshiba was doing?

If that's true, then all those judo people who had years and years of experience should have learned from Mifune in a very short period of time. Yet, there are few judo people as skilled as Mifune.

Or closer to home ... all of the post war students of Ueshiba that had martial backgrounds, why didn't they become as skilled as Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata, etc? As Stan Pranin points out, none of them reallly studied all that long with Ueshiba. Timeframes are similar. Tohei mentions building his body strength up to rival his judo peers but that didn't help him with Ueshiba. What did Tohei do? Went to the Tempukai to learn ... His previous Judo training didn't help him.

It's a common theory that previous martial training helped, but so far, history doesn't support it all that well. A simpler answer is that there is a specific training paradigm to build the skill set that Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, etc had. One that was, as Ueshiba knew, "the secret of aiki".

5. I'm not very good a putting ideas into words. See my previous post to Jason Casteel for a better description of "testing". Aikido isn't looked upon very highly in the martial arts world of today. But, Takeda, Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc blazed paths across many martial arts. They were tested (again, not meaning formal challenges) by all manner of men. But, today, even most McDojo Karate schools laugh at aikido. What happened?

MM 01-26-2010 08:37 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Carsten Möllering wrote: (Post 251067)
I'll try a short response.

Christian Tissier does this pose sometimes. His Teacher Yamaguchi also did it.
It can be a very good position of zanshin. But if you force it, it will hinder your technique. It will often be the result of doing a technique totally relaxed.
In our Training we deliberately try not to use it!

The atari movements of Endo have something of those push tests. And we do some other things which remind me of the push-tests of Ueshiba.
We are not doing ki-Tests like ki aikido. It's different.

My teacher is the German shibucho of the Sugino dojo.
Christian Tissier teaches the derivate of Kashima shin ryu he learns from Inaba Sensei. Who also teaches in Germay.
There is a lot of koryu weapons touching our aikido.

Tissier himself was activ in kickboxing, which is very popular in France. And trains with karateka of the national team.

Well: We often mix up with people of other arts or sports. We have seminars or we train together and have people of other arts or sports in our regular training.

No insular existence at all.

Thanks for the reply.

I've seen video of Christian Tissier but never him in that pose. Do you know why he does that? Or why Yamaguchi did it? Zanshin only? More to it?

Can you say any more about your push tests? What kind do you do? It's interesting to hear that other schools are doing them.

It's why I asked the questions. It seems that parts and pieces of Ueshiba were divided among his students. It seems that no one got all of his training.

I know some schools did branch out somewhat and incorporated other martial arts into their studies. Nishio and Mochizuki come to mind. And I don't downplay any of that. But, Ueshiba training in karate was ... well, very little if any. Naginata, again, little if any. Kendo. Etc. Yet, Ueshiba was viewed as very good by quite a few high ranking people in those arts. And they didn't just go by his reputation. They met him. Tested him (not formal challenges). What is the difference?

MM 01-26-2010 09:00 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: (Post 251070)
Mark,
You seem to have put great care into your exposition, yet your intention remains unclear to me. Why did you put these points, and not others (O-Sensei's spiritual practices for example)?

Are your hypotheses rethorical, or are you interested in a "historical" discussion/ refusal/ confirmation?

Are you interested in how others train? Or are you trying to tell us these are the most important areas, and we should train that way? What about your own training? Are these aspects absent from it?

And, the most confusing bit, how do you know "the aikido world"? Mine may be lacking in many ways, but it is certainly not insular.

Would you mind clarifying?

Hello,

I don't really like getting into the "spiritual" aspect of Ueshiba and aikido at this point. At least with "aiki", IHTBF (It has to be felt) is somewhat possible. When you get into the spiritual, IHTBE (It has to be experienced ... directly) is the rule. And that's not exactly something one can do easily. More directly, who among us can get someone else to experience being one with the kami the way Ueshiba did?

If there's thousands of people at Aikiweb, I would think that some of them have knowledge outside of "known" areas. As Carsten Möllering noted, Tissier does train with that pose. I never knew that. So, to me, the question was worth the time writing it. Hopefully others who have seen or trained in that manner will post. Maybe they'll know why they do that kind of training.

Tohei and the Ki Society have push tests, yet those are hard to find in Tomiki or Shioda derived schools. Why? Ueshiba was known for having people push on him. What happened?

I'm all for a discussion. It isn't about these being the "most important" or telling people how to train. It's about comparison of what Ueshiba did or trained with the rest of the aikido world. Consider that Ueshiba had people push on him throughout his life. I would think that's something worth looking at. If your school doesn't do that, why not?

For example, say Shioda didn't train his students that way. That would be the disconnect so why did Shioda do it differently? Or let's say Shioda did but his top students didn't. Why? Somewhere there is a disconnect and a reason for it.

My own training?
1. In some aspect, yes.
2. Yes.
3. Working towards this, yes.
4. Definitely. No more 20+year techniques for me.
5. Not yet. My training changed just a few short years ago. Give me somewhere between 5-10 total and then yes.

Keith Larman 01-26-2010 09:01 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251080)
Hello,

1. Yes, that's the pose. I've seen Ueshiba in that pose from his early years through to his later years. My question is in regards to where it went?

Tenchinage. I was taught he liked to hold that pose at the end to emphasize the heaven/earth aspect.

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251080)
2. Yes, a weak fashion. Why is that? As I noted with a Youtube video in a previous post, Tohei doesn't accept a weak push. Ueshiba didn't. Horikawa didn't. Why do we accept that a weak push is okay ... after 20-40 years of training? Beyond that, how many schools actually have push tests, besides the Ki Society? Where did that training go? It was something Ueshiba did all his life.

Well, since we're an offshoot of ki society I suppose we're covered in your reply, but we push/pull test *everything* in Seidokan. During aikitaiso, techniques, even sword and jo work. And the expectation is that a student should rather quickly develop a stronger, more solid structure as they learn. So a weak push is all that a newb can handle so it is relevant there (test up to failure). But it is expected that an experienced student should be able to handle stronger and stronger pushes.

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251080)
3. I don't know of many schools, aikido or otherwise, that use the sword in either hand. Ueshiba is on video doing kata that way. There are accounts of both Takeda and Ueshiba training that way. I don't know and haven't heard of any modern high ranking kendo people training with an aikido person to learn their "taisabaki". Yet, somewhere, somehow, all of that happened with Ueshiba. There was a manner of training ... where did it go?

Depends on where you get your "swordsmanship". Virtually no koryu train "left handed" in the sword. Swords (not bokken) are actually asymmetrical in mounting. In other words, there is an "outside" and "inside" of the sword and the tsuka (handle) is built with the idea that the right hand is near the fuchi, left hand at the kashira. The mounts on the saya work only on the left side of the body due to the placement of the kurigata. Hence it is drawn and kept on the left side. Also, there was (and is) a tremendous cultural bias against "lefties". But then... Once you study traditional swordsmanship you'll find that it is *not* a one-handed weapon. Even the "single-hand" draw/cut is accomplished with both arms/hands being part of the movement. And the cutting is done from the hara using the entire body.

So I would have an issue with you comparing Takeda or Ueshiba's *bokken* work with sword work. They ain't the same. And the fact that most swordsmanship is done with a certain holding configuration in fact completely irrelevant to the idea of doing it on "one side only" since all the movements require both arms, hands and full body integration.

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251080)
5. I'm not very good a putting ideas into words. See my previous post to Jason Casteel for a better description of "testing". Aikido isn't looked upon very highly in the martial arts world of today. But, Takeda, Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc blazed paths across many martial arts. They were tested (again, not meaning formal challenges) by all manner of men. But, today, even most McDojo Karate schools laugh at aikido. What happened?

Lots of crappy Aikido. Shrug. Lots of crappy karate out there too. And judo. And everything else. Something getting popular doesn't necessarily bode well. However, it is a mistake to assume that an overall lowering of the mean due to a larger population of mediocre practitioners somehow precludes there being people still out at high levels. Just fewer.

MM 01-26-2010 09:54 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 251084)
Tenchinage. I was taught he liked to hold that pose at the end to emphasize the heaven/earth aspect.

Hi Keith,
Thanks for the reply. I could see tenchinage and that pose easily. But, what about kotegaeshi and that pose?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7Cfpay1X2c
Around 1:18-1:21

Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 251084)
Well, since we're an offshoot of ki society I suppose we're covered in your reply, but we push/pull test *everything* in Seidokan. During aikitaiso, techniques, even sword and jo work. And the expectation is that a student should rather quickly develop a stronger, more solid structure as they learn. So a weak push is all that a newb can handle so it is relevant there (test up to failure). But it is expected that an experienced student should be able to handle stronger and stronger pushes.

I agree wholeheartedly with you about the training. New people start with relatively weak pushes and you build up from there. How strong do you go? Push with everything you have? When we train, we run the whole range right now. If it's something new we're working on, we use a weak push. If it's something we've been doing and are getting better at, we ramp things up. At times, we push with aiki and that's when things get interesting. :)

Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 251084)
Depends on where you get your "swordsmanship". Virtually no koryu train "left handed" in the sword. Swords (not bokken) are actually asymmetrical in mounting. In other words, there is an "outside" and "inside" of the sword and the tsuka (handle) is built with the idea that the right hand is near the fuchi, left hand at the kashira. The mounts on the saya work only on the left side of the body due to the placement of the kurigata. Hence it is drawn and kept on the left side. Also, there was (and is) a tremendous cultural bias against "lefties". But then... Once you study traditional swordsmanship you'll find that it is *not* a one-handed weapon. Even the "single-hand" draw/cut is accomplished with both arms/hands being part of the movement. And the cutting is done from the hara using the entire body.

So I would have an issue with you comparing Takeda or Ueshiba's *bokken* work with sword work. They ain't the same. And the fact that most swordsmanship is done with a certain holding configuration in fact completely irrelevant to the idea of doing it on "one side only" since all the movements require both arms, hands and full body integration.

Points noted and taken. Let me adjust/edit my questions to pertain to bokken work for two-handed use. Why do you think Ueshiba trained that way, though? And I see you used virtually no koryu ... do you know of any koryu that do? I'd expect that they wouldn't train fully that way, but rather have aspects of either hand use.

Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 251084)
Lots of crappy Aikido. Shrug. Lots of crappy karate out there too. And judo. And everything else. Something getting popular doesn't necessarily bode well. However, it is a mistake to assume that an overall lowering of the mean due to a larger population of mediocre practitioners somehow precludes there being people still out at high levels. Just fewer.

True. And through the years, things changing so much could make it harder for someone of the skill level of Shioda, Shirata, etc to shine through. And some could want to stay hidden.

Nicholas Eschenbruch 01-26-2010 10:34 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Mark,
Thanks for your reply, that makes it easier for me to engage with your post. I guess I was a little sceptical at some stuff there I perceived as sweeping generalisations.

As for hands up and down, I may misunderstand you but I thought that was the standard form of tenshinage?

As for push exercises, we do them a lot in all sorts of ways. I have come to think of aikido as one continuous push test... All my teachers invite people to try and push them. And these exercises do come up as elements of "conversion stories" of people from other MA to aikido every now and then. :) (Yes, that does happen). I know that similar practices are definitely present within at least four other lineages of Aikido in Europe.

Timeframe: I am all with you there. It is my observation that for those who get really good, though it may be framed in a long training history, it happens as a radical transformation within a limited number of years. However, I still see that happen today. (Though nobody became O-Sensei yet, admittedly, and it has not happened to me yet.)

Testing: to be honest, I am highly sceptical of most of these stories, because I dont really believe "no holds barred" testing, apart from a few spontaneous situations, happened, and everything else ultimately comes down to push tests again, where a specific situation of some sort is arranged.

Ultimately, there is so much myth-making around O-Sensei and so little evidence, that I personally would rather not base my training on what I believe I can reconstruct what O-Sensei did, except in the broadest way. I do not mean to say one should not aim high though.

Weapons: I have too little expertise to say whether O Sensei was so much better than his students or people living now. And no time to gain that experience at the moment, unfortunately ☹

Spirituality: I see your point, I guess I asked because I find it remarkable that it is now believed by many that O-Sensei 's internal bodywork can somehow be isolated from its creator, time and place, put in a systematic framework and practiced by all who have the stamina to do it, while it is impossible to do the same with his spiritual "technologies", and those can thus be disregarded as hermetic. So the body is a human universal and the mind is not? But anyway...

As for how others regard aikido – as Keith Larman said, there is crappy aikido, crappy Karate, crappy anything out there. I am confident my practice either gives me what I need already, or I will go and get it somewhere else, so I am not too concerned about that.

Long post, but so was yours ☺

Carsten Möllering 01-26-2010 10:41 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
You will find the pose two times here. Watch 0:20 and 0:45.
Carsten

jxa127 01-26-2010 10:47 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Mark,

Have you read Ellis Amdur's Hidden in Plain Sight yet? If not, you really should. Your questions and Ellis's book complement one another very well.

I've got to say, this stuff is somewhat confusing. I trained for nine years at an Aikido Association of America dojo, where I got very good training based on a Ki Society mindset. Toyoda shihan was a disciple of Tohei's. So we did push tests and incorporated the four principles of mind-body unification:

1. Keep One Point
2. Relax Completely
3. Keep Weight Underside
4. Extend Ki

Now I'm at a dojo using Ellis Amdur's curriculum combined with specific internal strength training.

It's not a drastic change in principle, but in practice it makes a difference -- and that's a difference that gets to some of your questions.

For my own part, I interpreted the principles so that I would tend to float up above uke and use my mass to power through technique -- something that doesn't work well with good attackers. When I wasn't doing that, I would rely on timing (or my size) to provide kuzushi.

In other words, I thought I was doing what the founder taught (to Tohei, who taught it to Toyoda, who taught it to my instructor), but I wasn't really doing that at all. I'll take responsibility for my own failings, by the way. But, magnify my experience by a couple of million aikido students and teachers, it's not so hard to understand how things have changed. If the "old man," his son, and the founder's closest students have passed on and can't check our progress, then how can we even know we're doing the right thing?

Ellis, in his book, seems to say that unless, or until we can do what Ueshiba M. did, then we're really not at his level. It seems that your questions are along that same line.

Keith Larman 01-26-2010 11:30 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251089)
Hi Keith,
Thanks for the reply. I could see tenchinage and that pose easily. But, what about kotegaeshi and that pose?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7Cfpay1X2c
Around 1:18-1:21

Well, any time you're trying to develop a strong, connected body things like that will happen. Sometimes it gets exaggerated, however, and I think also we tend to look for what we *want* to see. Hard to say what exactly is happening there in that one snippet. And keep in mind there was all the time before that where he isn't in that exact pose. But I will say you can see as things ramp up his arms become more extended and connected to each other to create a more powerful upper body to handle the incoming forces and movements. Or am I missing something?

Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251080)
Points noted and taken. Let me adjust/edit my questions to pertain to bokken work for two-handed use. Why do you think Ueshiba trained that way, though? And I see you used virtually no koryu ... do you know of any koryu that do? I'd expect that they wouldn't train fully that way, but rather have aspects of either hand use.

Well, the problem here is that no one can speak authoritatively about all koryu because koryu by its very nature has a *lot* of things that are private. As an example, Toby Threadgill is a remarkably open and generous teacher in his seminars. However, it is understood that much of what he is teaching at the seminars is more or less "outer" stuff. The more detailed and in depth aspects are for members of the ryu only. And for all I know there are things only taught to the subsequent future menkyo holders. So no one can speak authoritatively about this stuff because so much is hidden.

That said the important distinction to make is whether you're training with a bokken to learn something about aiki and/or the bokken *or* if you're training with a bokken as a "substitute" for a live blade for reasons of training safety. If you are doing the latter holding a blade one-handed isn't a great idea if you're in a full-on contact conflict (or with a bokken). You won't be holding it long because not only can someone swing with more strength using two hands but they are also dramatically faster given the ability to "lever" between the hands. Watch T. Kuroda do his sword work. Or Toby -- the guy is not only fast but smoooooth. The blade move extremely quickly in both hands and you give up a lot going to a single hand grip. If you want a one-handed sword, well, that's what your wakizashi or tanto is for. There are the nito schools but again, katana in the right hand, wakizashi generally in the left. That's how they're worn, that's how they're drawn. And while "that's how they're worn" seems like a silly reason for a lot of stuff, the fact is that experienced swordsmen really don't argue about the which hand goes in front because it is one of those incredibly irrelevant things. Do it long enough and you realize it is a two-handed weapon and which hand is forward not an issue.

Now if the question is training with a bokken *as* a bokken, well, you do what you do. I don't personally know of any koryu that do much of anything left handed single grip with a full sized bokken. It is entirely possible, but I don't know of it.

But if we're talking about exercises, training, ki development, etc. then yes, I can think of instances where we've trained that way. But that is very different from classical swordsmanship which brings me back full circle -- what's the point of the question in the first place? Most koryu that have a sword component work very hard on good swordsmanship. And things tend to stay relatively consistent on proper sword grip and usage for learning it as a bladed weapon and not as a wooden club.

To me comparisons here make little sense. If the training with the bokken is ki development then you do whatever you do. If the goal is learning to use the sword, well, the weapon itself imposes some parameters on what you're going to do. So I'm a bit lost on why this is an issue or being brought up.

If you find some legit people doing "left handed" swordsmanship (which I suppose means someone drawing it from their right side), by all means I'd love to see it. Or one-handed katana usage. Like I said, some schools have "two" sword techniques (nito), but that's pretty much a different animal entirely. And the katana (the full-length sword) is always (as far as I've seen) in the right hand.

But again... I'm not sure what this has to do with aikido, training, or anything else. I don't see the connection.

MM 01-26-2010 11:31 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Carsten Möllering wrote: (Post 251094)

Thanks!

MM 01-26-2010 11:51 AM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 251101)
That said the important distinction to make is whether you're training with a bokken to learn something about aiki and/or the bokken *or* if you're training with a bokken as a "substitute" for a live blade for reasons of training safety.

(snip)

But if we're talking about exercises, training, ki development, etc. then yes, I can think of instances where we've trained that way. But that is very different from classical swordsmanship which brings me back full circle -- what's the point of the question in the first place?

In certain instances of kata, Ueshiba switches the bokken to a single grip in his left hand. Supposedly, Takeda did the same. Both Takeda and Ueshiba studied aiki and koryu. If what they're doing is aiki, it's a matter of what kind of body skill they're developing. If it came from koryu somewhere ... well, wouldn't that be interesting?

Now, skip forward to the students of Ueshiba developing weapons work. Some studied koryu, some took what Ueshiba gave them, etc. But, how many passed down that single, left handed use of the bokken?

Quote:

Keith Larman wrote: (Post 251101)
But again... I'm not sure what this has to do with aikido, training, or anything else. I don't see the connection.

Using a bokken in just the left hand in the Japanese martial world is uncommon. Yet we have at least two who did it. It's uncommon enough that someone should have asked why it was being done, where it came from, etc. As many have noted, there are no left handed swordsmen. But, we have left handed bokken usage. Strange.

Even stranger is that this element seems to have faded from the aikido world. Why? In your training, why did you do that? Where did you learn to use the bokken in the left hand?

Somewhere there is a connection on why Ueshiba and Takeda trained that way. Was it purely aiki training or a remnant of a koryu? Or both? Why has it mostly disappeared from modern aikido training?

Keith Larman 01-26-2010 12:08 PM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Well, I think you are maybe overthinking this. I suppose what you'd want to do is find a koryu that does this sort of single handed hold and switches hands in kata with a bokken. Again, the question would be whether the idea is the development of "aiki" (as a term for internal skills) or whether this was some sort of swordsmanship thing.

So first you'd need to find this sort of thing in koryu if you're going to make a connection to that.

If it was something that Takeda developed since he was pretty renouned for "doing his own thing", then it isn't exactly inconceivable that Ueshiba picked it up from him. Maybe it was part of their means of developing "aiki" but if you want to link it to koryu... You need to find it there as well. I've not seen it.

I'll also add that most sogo bujutsu (in my limited experience) tend to have common threads linking their empty hand arts to their sword (and other weapon) work. They tend to want to have their empty hand stuff working like their sword stuff and vice versa. Consistency across the range is key. So I could see aspects trained in either hand to illustrate the empty hand. As an example, I've seen one handed things done holding a bokken but usually presented in the context of someone grabbing your tsuka (to ideally prevent you from using it). You throw them from there. And in some of my training we'll switch hands/sides to work both sides. Then put the swords down and do a similar art on both sides to illustrate the connection between empty and and with the sword. I've also seen nikyo taught holding a bokken to illustrate the way the "ki" flows in the application of the technique. And so on.

The point here, however, is that this doesn't mean one would *ever* want to hold a sword in one hand or use it left-handed. It was just a part of an overall "big picture" in the training methodology. Tennis players spend a lot of time returning balls shot at them from tennis ball machines. They'll never play one in a real game, however...

But I'll admit to being a bit lost in what you're trying to get at. What is the importance as you see it of training single handed with a katana length bokken and doing it in both hands? Is it the only way to develop certain sensitivities and skills? Or is it one way of many?

chillzATL 01-26-2010 12:10 PM

Re: Where Did Ueshiba Morihei's Training Go?
 
Quote:

Mark Murray wrote: (Post 251077)
Hello,

1. See Tim Griffiths' post. He found a picture.

2. There's quite a bit of variation in push tests.

Compare the light pushes here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gECo8H_mmPc

with a stronger push here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVCZf53XIE0

Compare those with how long Tohei trained and could withstand pushes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkVy569CAnI
Starting around 0:40.

In 10 years, shouldn't one be able to withstand pushes such as Tohei could? As Ueshiba could?

3. If Takeda and Ueshiba considered weapons worth training, why don't we have similar skilled people? After 20 to 40 years of training (well more than Ueshiba had when he was considered very good), there's really just two possibilities: Ueshiba was an exception or no one is training the way Ueshiba trained. Now, considering Takeda created a few men of exceptional martial abilities and that those men went on to create students of exceptional martial abilities, it would seem the former is a stretch to believe. The latter seems more likely.

Which leads us back to aikido's weapons work. If the training that Ueshiba received from Takeda to make him a great martial artist is missing, then that quality would also be missing from the weapons. Where do you find weapons training that shows using both hands? What quality of skill is needed to accomplish that? Who in aikido trains in this manner (where either hand is used)?

4. Actually, I believe the opposite. I don't think any number of years training as uke will ever get you to the skill level of Ueshiba. IMO, no amount of frequency or intensity as uke will gain you the skills.

And just how much hands on time did Ueshiba have with Takeda? Overall, not really that much. Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, etc?

5. Ueshiba taught men of all walks of life. He was tested by them, not just formally, but informally also. Does anyone think that when Tomiki met Ueshiba, if Ueshiba couldn't throw Tomiki 60 different ways by grasping his hand that Tomiki would have studied with Ueshiba? If Tenryu could have pushed Ueshiba over, do you think Tenryu would have studied with Ueshiba? When Ueshiba gave the demonstration in Manchuria and Ohba attacked earnestly, do you think anyone would have looked highly upon Ueshiba if he had done poorly? Why did very high ranking kendo people think highly of Ueshiba? Did they just swoon at his reputation or did they physically test his mettle in some manner?

At the end of the day, people from karate, judo, and kendo thought very highly of Ueshiba's martial skill. Compare that with today ... where people from judo, karate, and kendo laugh at aikido. Let alone the MMA world ...

1. no clue on that one

2. I think most people just don't get the value in it AND/OR don't have anyone who can explain what it's all about, what they should feel or what they should be doing with what they feel.

It's something I plan to ask our sensei at summer camp this year. He trained with O'sensei and Tohei sensei and was one of Tohei's shihan when he split. He's also studied just about everything under the sun. I recall years ago at summer camp, we had gone down to the lake to do some misogi and he had us doing some push hands and such. He would come along and demo posture and things and have you push on him, really dig into him, and he was like a rock. I don't recall anyone else having that! Having had a chance to feel some of what people are doing today I'm looking forward to asking him lots of questions.

As someone else said, a lot of the principles in IS are similar to what I'm used to, but the practice is quite different. I'm interested to see how much of that difference is our failing for not paying better attention or if that's just a limitation of the Tohei's methods in general.

3. Again, I can't say the either Takeda or Ueshiba felt that weapons were integral to what they were teaching. Nobody, in either DR or Aikido seems to have gotten any consistant weapons training from either Takeda or Ueshiba. Heck, Ueshiba supposed even banned weapons practice at hombu for a period. Would have have done that if he thought it were all that important to what he was doing?

Maybe it's just one of those things that they both left out there for those who wanted it to find themselves? If not then honestly I think both had serious faillings as teachers. Despite the teaching system being what it was in those days, how could you feel something was all that important and not at least impart that message, if not actual instruction, with any real consistency?

4. This is really the big mystery in all of aikido. I mean we see that some people got SOME of what he had, even if it was only a sliver. How is it that they got that sliver, but never really developed it beyond that? You'd have to think they knew they had something more than just technique and if they were shown specific exercises to develop it, they would have stuck with it and became powerhouses like Ueshiba himself and not just faint shadows.

Oh and as for frequency and intensity I didn't mean that just from an ukemi standpoint. Those guys trained ALL the time. THey were getting probably 8+ hours of time with Ueshiba alone each day, much less what they were doing together after he left.

5. Well I think people just don't care. They're content to do Aikido for Aikido's sake and aren't particularly concerned with its efficacy. Some people feel that since O'sensei was tested and we're doing his Aikido, then what we're doing has been tested and that's good enough. Early on in my training I was content with the fact that my sensei's Aikido had been tested many many times and at the time that was good enough for me. He had the background to tell me if what I was doing was good enough. Beyond that it was up to me to train at a certain level to ensure that. When the time came and it was tested, it did work for me. Now, I'm not fool enough to believe that those experiences are universal, but I also know where I am in this world and where I am not. Too many people these days feel that MMA is the hallmark for what is effective and what isn't and I don't agree. Not everyone who paints seeks to be Rembrandt, but that doesn't cheapen what they're doing. As long as you're honest with yourself about your goals, it doesn't really matter. Now, the people who aren't honest with themselves, that's an entirely different story..


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