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Chris Knight 12-01-2011 06:40 AM

O Sensei observation
 
This may have been discussed before but as I'm a newbie, gonna ask anyway :)

In the vast majority of videos of O Sensei that I've watched, he is constantly throwing and even performing a lot of techniques with one arm in the air and one down to earth. I know this is part of tenchi nage etc, but he seems to incorparate this into the vast majority of body movements, and applications.

Is this part of the yin-yang element in aikido, and does this form part of in yo-ho or is this element more internally based...
I watched a lot of practitioners recently and a lot don't perform techniques like this , especially kokyu nages etc..

Another observation is that he constantly forms a spherical shape with his arms, not down by his sides like a lot of practitioners... I know there are clips like this of him, but I'm on about the vast majority of times

Is this to do with keeping the body like a sphere/ six direction training or am I completely off target??

Regards

ryback 12-01-2011 08:15 AM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Hi Chris! O-sensei used to say "enter form,exit form" and what he meant by that in my opinion is that as a beginer and for a lot of your first years in aikido training you should follow a form in order to learn the techniques and the basic principles of aikido.Once aikido has become a second nature through this process,you then become "free" of the form and you just execute the techniques without thinking. I believe that at the latest of his videos O-sensei is in such an advanced stage in his technique,that being absolutelly free of any form he is just using his Ki and aikido principles without any visible, obvious and clear "technique". Everything in aikido is internaly based,there is no separation between "technique" and "philosophy". Aikido is a non-resisting martial art.That is its philosophy and application simultaneously! It's a way to avoid any conflict and fighting but also a way to remain calm, peaceful and in harmony with the attacker even during a fighting situation. All of the above reflect my opinion through my experience in the years i am training in aikido which is the most important aspect of my life.But we must always remember that O-sensei is not an easy person to explain, so i just hope that my post helped you in some way...

genin 12-01-2011 10:14 AM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Perhaps that was just his style, sort of like a signature move. Or maybe he used his arms as reference points in order to more efficiently define his sphere of strength.

kewms 12-01-2011 10:26 AM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Chris Knight wrote: (Post 298487)
Is this to do with keeping the body like a sphere/ six direction training or am I completely off target??

Yes. And yes, the "tenchi nage" style movement has to do with balancing in yo ho. Both movements/positions also have internal implications.

Katherine

Chris Knight 12-01-2011 03:31 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Im presuming this pose has something to do with opposing spirals. however i thought this is common knowledge within aikido in general but not many practioners replicate it?? or i could just be presuming wrong? any thoughts

Ken McGrew 12-01-2011 03:34 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
For every video screen shot of O Sensei with one hand dangling, I can show you a screen shot of both hands engaged. O Sensei liked to throw people with fans. He liked to throw people while standing on the toe of only one foot. There's footage of him throwing kokyu nage hamni handachi and if you slow the video down enough you can see him move both hands up, back to seiza, then up again before Uke could grab. It's almost invisible to the naked eye. He was showing off. Not demonstrating the forgotten secret of Aikido.

Chris Knight 12-01-2011 03:52 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Do all those examples require exact timimg though ken. If so, what would happen if he was to fast or slow in reacting?

Gerardo Torres 12-01-2011 04:28 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Chris Knight wrote: (Post 298528)
Im presuming this pose has something to do with opposing spirals. however i thought this is common knowledge within aikido in general but not many practioners replicate it?? or i could just be presuming wrong? any thoughts

Hi Chris,

There's some recent discussion here about translations, spirals, kamae, etc., starting halfway on page 3:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...t=19947&page=3

-Gerardo

Ken McGrew 12-02-2011 11:54 AM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Chris Knight wrote: (Post 298532)
Do all those examples require exact timimg though ken. If so, what would happen if he was to fast or slow in reacting?

Chris,

I'm not sure I understand the question.

But I would say this. Take Musu Aiki is related to the ability to spontaneously change in a manner appropriate to the situation. I have never said that there is one right way to do Aikido. You need as many possible responses in your skill set as possible. In general, however, timing, distance, stance are always important. Even preferable. It's much better if Uke falls down largely from his own attack energy. If that doesn't happen then plan b. Then plan C. Etc. The problem is that once Uke's momentum has stopped he is therefore able to regain balance. Balance allows him to make new attacks and change. Thus the danger becomes less predictable and multiplies. It is always a good idea, then, to assume that he is hiding a knife in a real attack situation.

But I thought this was a discussion about O Sensei allegedly always showing the principle of in yo ho as evidenced by him leaving one hand dangling. I would suggest that from close examination of the videos of O Sensei that he does so the minority of the time and he does so basically to show off. As if he was saying, look my timing is so perfect that I can throw with a fan, while standing on one foot, with my other hand not even used.

Let me be clear, the spiral style tenchinage is fine, so long as you protect yourself from kicks, Uke changing the attack, or multiple attackers. It's a very nice exercise. But could get you killed if you are too invested in doing it just this one way.

kewms 12-02-2011 12:59 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Ken McGrew wrote: (Post 298615)
But I thought this was a discussion about O Sensei allegedly always showing the principle of in yo ho as evidenced by him leaving one hand dangling. I would suggest that from close examination of the videos of O Sensei that he does so the minority of the time and he does so basically to show off. As if he was saying, look my timing is so perfect that I can throw with a fan, while standing on one foot, with my other hand not even used.

So. What was it that allowed him to get away with "showing off" in that manner? Just excellent timing? Or was there more going on?

Katherine

kewms 12-02-2011 01:00 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Chris Knight wrote: (Post 298532)
Do all those examples require exact timimg though ken. If so, what would happen if he was to fast or slow in reacting?

Uke would have established a more secure grip, and would therefore have been more challenging -- but certainly not impossible -- to move.

Katherine

kewms 12-02-2011 01:02 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Chris Knight wrote: (Post 298528)
Im presuming this pose has something to do with opposing spirals. however i thought this is common knowledge within aikido in general but not many practioners replicate it?? or i could just be presuming wrong? any thoughts

Yes, opposing spirals are definitely involved.

I'm not going to speculate about what other aikidoka are or are not doing, but I've found thinking in terms of opposing spirals to be enormously helpful in my own practice.

Katherine

Gerardo Torres 12-02-2011 01:20 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Change the guy attacking O Sensei from a trained "uke" to say Tenryu the top wrestler or some of the Kodokan judoka he used to play with. Was O Sensei able to deal with these guys using "blending", "leading", etc.? Read the interviews and direct accounts, which describe O Sensei not being moved by active judo guys, or Tenryu feeling as if old Ueshiba's arm was made of iron. What was O Sensei doing to them? Why didn't he just blended, "showed off" waiving his fan, and let them fall by themselves?

Ken McGrew 12-02-2011 06:30 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Gerardo Torres wrote: (Post 298632)
Change the guy attacking O Sensei from a trained "uke" to say Tenryu the top wrestler or some of the Kodokan judoka he used to play with. Was O Sensei able to deal with these guys using "blending", "leading", etc.? Read the interviews and direct accounts, which describe O Sensei not being moved by active judo guys, or Tenryu feeling as if old Ueshiba's arm was made of iron. What was O Sensei doing to them? Why didn't he just blended, "showed off" waiving his fan, and let them fall by themselves?

I dont understand what part of simple English that people find so difficult to follow.

1) O Sensei did a variety of things in different circumstances.
2) Sensei's ability to ground out significant force was one thing he could do. Tae Chi masters do things like this too.
3) the fact that O Sensei did what you describe some of the time does not mean it was the end all be all Aiki or that what most of us take Aiki to be is wrong.
4) if these guys were trying to stab him he would have done something different.

graham christian 12-02-2011 06:45 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Interesting thread. I would say it does show his preference for kokyu myself.

As for correct timing then obviously yes for that's all part and parcel of good Aikido. If timing was out it would have the same effect as when any principle is out----trouble.

As for yin and yang, the basics of, well then that's obviously there too but it's there in every movement and technique in Aikido so it's not a particular sign of said videos.

Regards.G.

Chris Li 12-02-2011 06:50 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Graham Christian wrote: (Post 298670)
Interesting thread. I would say it does show his preference for kokyu myself.

Not so much - here's part of an interview with Yasuo Kobayashi (the original is in Japanese only):

Quote:

Q: Is that so - did that have the freestyle (jiyu-waza) demonstrations so common in Aikido at that time?
A: No, that began after the examination system was established. When the membership began to increase a system of kyu and dan examinations was instituted, and the uchi-deshi would take ukemi. However there were never more than around 5 uchi-deshi, so they could not partner up with the expanding number of students, so the students were made to partner with each other for ukemi. At that time freestyle was added as an item on the examination. We held demonstrations from the time that I started, but since basic techniques alone were thought to be boring it was decided to show kokyu-nage as well. Until that time kokyu-nage was not done often in the dojo.

Q: Why was that?
A: O-Sensei did not like kokyu-nage very much. "What good is simply throwing around people like that?" was his thinking. However it was good for training, so it was added to the normal practice. Aiki-nage was much the same - behind the scenes of how freestyle became introduced these kinds of things happened. While we're discussing this, as far as I know koshi-nage was not practiced much in the beginning. After Nishio and Kuroiwa researched it independently other instructors began to steal their techniques.
Best,

Chris

graham christian 12-02-2011 07:07 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 298671)
Not so much - here's part of an interview with Yasuo Kobayashi (the original is in Japanese only):

Best,

Chris

Hold on. So Kobayashi knew what Ueshiba was thinking? That's quite a skill.

Now let's investigate this further.1) Ueshiba didn't like it and said what's the point 2) But it was good for training. 3) So it was added anyway. Mmmmmm. Sounds like another who didn't quite understand something. (or maybe a mistranslation)

Plus Kokyu was emphasized by Ueshiba and as time progressed more and more so. Let's not confuse this with technique though and set kokyunage.

Lastly and more importantly I am giving an answer to Chris from my observations and I see the priciples of Kokyu at play. So who said what when means nothing to me. However if others see other things or principles in play then that is also interesting.

Regards.G.

Chris Li 12-02-2011 07:16 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Graham Christian wrote: (Post 298674)
Hold on. So Kobayashi knew what Ueshiba was thinking? That's quite a skill.

Now let's investigate this further.1) Ueshiba didn't like it and said what's the point 2) But it was good for training. 3) So it was added anyway. Mmmmmm. Sounds like another who didn't quite understand something. (or maybe a mistranslation)

Plus Kokyu was emphasized by Ueshiba and as time progressed more and more so. Let's not confuse this with technique though and set kokyunage.

Lastly and more importantly I am giving an answer to Chris from my observations and I see the priciples of Kokyu at play. So who said what when means nothing to me. However if others see other things or principles in play then that is also interesting.

Regards.G.

Well, he was talking about a public demonstration that Ueshiba had no part in planning. That it was added anyway says more about who was doing the planning than about Kobayashi's correctness. You might also think about why someone steeped in Takeda type paranoia would be showing something that he thought wasn't all that valuable (Saito talked about it too, it's not just Kobayashi).

Anyway, wouldn't Kobayashi seems to have a better chance of reading his mind then you?

Quote:

Graham Christian wrote: (Post 298674)
I would say it does show his preference for kokyu myself.

Best,

Chris

hughrbeyer 12-02-2011 07:25 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Chris Knight wrote: (Post 298528)
Im presuming this pose has something to do with opposing spirals. however i thought this is common knowledge within aikido in general but not many practioners replicate it?? or i could just be presuming wrong? any thoughts

It's not common knowledge at all in the wider aikido world. It's been discussed a lot on Aikiweb, but even here when the idea was first introduced it was not understood or accepted.

Calling the lower hand "dangling" suggests complete ignorance of what's really going on there.

graham christian 12-02-2011 07:39 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote: (Post 298677)
Well, he was talking about a public demonstration that Ueshiba had no part in planning. That it was added anyway says more about who was doing the planning than about Kobayashi's correctness. You might also think about why someone steeped in Takeda type paranoia would be showing something that he thought wasn't all that valuable (Saito talked about it too, it's not just Kobayashi).

Anyway, wouldn't Kobayashi seems to have a better chance of reading his mind then you?

Best,

Chris

No, Chris said he'd seen it in parts of many videos. Mind reading? Kobayashi? Depends how spiritual he is.

Once again you miss the point. Kokyu. Can you see it?

Regards.G.

Chris Li 12-02-2011 08:05 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Graham Christian wrote: (Post 298682)
No, Chris said he'd seen it in parts of many videos. Mind reading? Kobayashi? Depends how spiritual he is.

Once again you miss the point. Kokyu. Can you see it?

Regards.G.

I was referring to Kobayashi, and he was talking about 1956 - nary a video in sight. See all you like, I'm out of this one, too.

Best,

Chris

Gerardo Torres 12-02-2011 08:43 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Ken McGrew wrote: (Post 298668)
I dont understand what part of simple English that people find so difficult to follow.

Disagreeing with you does not equal a lack of English comprehension.

Quote:

1) O Sensei did a variety of things in different circumstances.
That's your theory. Some think that O Sensei's aiki was based on one single, fundamental idea, and that it informed everything he did (all external manifestations).

Quote:

2) Sensei's ability to ground out significant force was one thing he could do. Tae Chi masters do things like this too.
These skill are the result of a trained martial body. Ask Tai Chi masters if they turn off these skills under "different circustances". Ask anybody who has these skills if they default to "normal" movement or blending/leading under any circumstance. By their own admissions, once they have these skills they are expressed in all their movements.

Quote:

3) the fact that O Sensei did what you describe some of the time does not mean it was the end all be all Aiki or that what most of us take Aiki to be is wrong.
Perhaps what you perceive O Sensei doing "some of the time" is actually something that informs everything he did. I think it's a notion worth exploring... if we want to do his art.

Quote:

4) if these guys were trying to stab him he would have done something different.
You seem to be under the impression that the internal skills that O Sensei used to "ground significant force" are only useful for static drills and tricks. They're not; they will give you greater speed, stability, power and more sophisticated ability to manipualte forces -- in movement. Anyway when it comes to weapons, it's better to ask especialists what would work or not under a weapon attack. (By the way, did O Sensei teach tanto-dori, or was that a modern addition?)

Ken McGrew 12-02-2011 10:08 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Hugh and Gerardo,

You are engaging in Textbook circular reasoning. You believe that everything O Sensei did was based on this notion of in yo ho. Therefore you see Sensei throwing with the fan in one hand and the other dangling as evidence of in yo ho because your approach also calls for the hand to be down to balance the forces in the body. You ignore all the examples when his arms are not as you desire. I understand what is being claimed. I call it dangling to make a point. Beginners always leave an arm dead. I guess you'd say they know the secret of in yo ho.

Much of the time O Sensei threw without touching. The principles on display on those occasions were entering, timing, blending, and taking the mind.

That O Sensei did a variety of things to fit the situation is not an opinion. You can see this on the videos. He described what he was doing to his students. He gave interviews. He wrote. It's called take Musu aiki.

kewms 12-02-2011 10:16 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Ken McGrew wrote: (Post 298687)
Hugh and Gerardo,

You are engaging in Textbook circular reasoning. You believe that everything O Sensei did was based on this notion of in yo ho. Therefore you see Sensei throwing with the fan in one hand and the other dangling as evidence of in yo ho because your approach also calls for the hand to be down to balance the forces in the body. You ignore all the examples when his arms are not as you desire. I understand what is being claimed. I call it dangling to make a point. Beginners always leave an arm dead. I guess you'd say they know the secret of in yo ho.

That O Sensei did a variety of things to fit the situation is not an opinion. You can see this on the videos. He described what he was doing to his students. He gave interviews. He wrote. It's called take Musu aiki.

And you are creating a contradiction where there is none.

Yes, of course O Sensei did different things to fit the situation. But all of those things were driven by the same fundamental principles.

I never had the opportunity to train with O Sensei, but I'll bet the people who did would say that his off-side arm, "dangling" or not, was about as "dead" as a lightning bolt.

Katherine

Ken McGrew 12-02-2011 11:05 PM

Re: O Sensei observation
 
Quote:

Katherine Derbyshire wrote: (Post 298689)
And you are creating a contradiction where there is none.

Yes, of course O Sensei did different things to fit the situation. But all of those things were driven by the same fundamental principles.

I never had the opportunity to train with O Sensei, but I'll bet the people who did would say that his off-side arm, "dangling" or not, was about as "dead" as a lightning bolt.

Katherine

The principle of Aiki which means absolute non-resistance, manifested in timing, body positioning, leading, blending, Etc.


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