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ChrisHein 01-06-2013 05:04 PM

Koryu and Aikido
 
Over the last five years or so I've had a growing interest in Koryu. While actually studying a Koryu has been logistically impossible for me, I've read everything written or translated into english on Koryu martial arts that I can find. I've found this has really opened up my understanding of A my Aikido practice quite a bit.

I was wondering how many Aikido Dojo's outside of Japan have a Koryu practice along side their Aikido practice. I'm also interested in hearing how they feel that practice influences/informs their Aikido training.

Thanks!

Carsten M÷llering 01-07-2013 04:03 AM

Re: Koryu and Aikido
 
My teacher was a student of Sugino Yoshio and his d˘j˘ is the shibu of the Sugino d˘j˘ in Germany.
So a lot of his aikid˘ students also practice TSKSR.
There is no "mixing" of both ryű. But with regard to Sugino sensei being a student of Ueshiba and teaching aikid˘ in his own right - as does Sugino Yukihiro now - I think there was a kind of "conversation" between both aspects.

Another aspect in my context here is the kenjutsu taught by Inaba Minoru sensei. Regarding the debate about Inaba's swordwork I don't want to judge "how ko"ryű it is. And I leave it to you, whether this fits to your question or does not.
Anyway the aikid˘ of Christian Tissier shihan is heavily influenced by this school of kenjutsu. And he does not hesitate to state this in his seminars. So during my first years of aikid˘ it was this swordwork that I learned when we had weapons classes. (The sword of Saito sensei was not really taught by my teachers.)
I know a lot of his students who practice this kenjutsu unattached to their aikid˘. And Inaba sensei comes to Germany on a regular base for teaching his sword.

The official shibu of KSSR does not allow people who practice aikid˘ to join the d˘j˘.

Then we have Ono ha itto ryu here: There is a teacher who teaches aikido (aikikai affiliated), daito ryu aiki budo and itto ryu. His federation is not very big, but mos students who do aikid˘ with him, also do aikid budo and ken jutsu to a certain degree. I have never practiced in one of their d˘j˘.

Cliff Judge 01-07-2013 08:21 AM

Re: Koryu and Aikido
 
I am not sure why you asked about dojo outside of Japan that teach koryu alongside Aikido...that's a question that has a pretty complex answer which may not actually be that useful. Sometimes you will have a teacher who does more than one martial art, he or she may teach them alongside each other, or may have two separate programs. What is probably most common is that a koryu group and an Aikido group will share space and have some students in common.

The dojo I train at is strictly Aikido but That Other Fine Dojo With The Very Nice People Just Up the Road, the Capital Aikikai, has a Katori Shinto ryu group affiliated with Tetsuzan Sugawara there. Sugawara Sensei is a Nanadan in Aikido, was issued a teaching certificate in Katori Shinto ryu that makes Westerners on the internet angry, and has been practicing Tai Chi for a long time also. I don't train with the man but I believe there is a bit of integration in his approach between the arts. I am also impressed by how warm and caring he is with his students who are spread all over the world. Not that you are asking but anybody looking for an integrated koryu-aikido approach, I'd look for a Sugawara group straight away.

In general, the thing about koryu is, you don't mess with it. I mean you can. but it is silly to do so, because the environment that informed koryu is gone. Most Aikido traditions are more open-ended. So if you get into koryu and don't drop Aikido, Aikido becomes a setting in which you can - carefully and subtly - explore the principals you are picking up in your koryu. You are probably screwing up if you go in reverse. So while Aikido will give you habits you need to break for the benefit of your koryu training, your koryu training will give you nothing but interesting stuff to play with in Aikido (though you need to be careful because you can hurt people bad if they aren't expecting your wack koryu technique).

Weapons arts can seem very distantly, or abstractly, related to Aikido, particularly for the period when you are learning the movements and burning them in. Sometimes it is just impossible to relate the two, way more effort than it is worth. If I ever took up Shindo Muso ryu, for example, I would have to put down the Aikijo for good, because the two systems seem so different to me that it is ridiculous. My own sword training gives me nothing but interesting things to consider when I am practicing Aikido sword, on the other hand. In particular, I have a sense of timing and distance now.

But on the other hand, koryu jujutsu arts are REALLY interesting training for Aikido people. There are a number of jujutsu techniques that are basically "ur-techniques" and form the technical underpinnings of Aikido and Daito ryu before it. Studying these techniques in classical form lets you suddenly see where the Aikido techniques came from. Sometimes you can also understand why they have changed, so you can continue to practice them as Aikido techniques, but with a bit of restored correctness here and there. Learning to take relaxed, compliant, but aware Aikido ukemi is a great benefit to koryu jujutsu practice IMO also.

lbb 01-07-2013 09:01 AM

Re: Koryu and Aikido
 
Quote:

Cliff Judge wrote: (Post 321643)
Weapons arts can seem very distantly, or abstractly, related to Aikido, particularly for the period when you are learning the movements and burning them in. Sometimes it is just impossible to relate the two, way more effort than it is worth. If I ever took up Shindo Muso ryu, for example, I would have to put down the Aikijo for good, because the two systems seem so different to me that it is ridiculous.

To me, too. There just seem to be some different basic assumptions going on. I'm keeping an open mind (going on seven years now) towards aikijo, but so far it just hasn't caught fire in my heart. I wish I still had the opportunity to study Shindo Muso, but I think you're right -- if I did, the Aikijo would just seem wrong, wrong, wrong.

ChrisHein 01-07-2013 02:09 PM

Re: Koryu and Aikido
 
Some good responses. Thanks.

One of the main reason's I got interested in looking at Koryu. Is because they informed me of a different kind of martial arts context. As Cliff Judge said-"because the environment that informed koryu is gone".

While it's clear that Aikido is not a koryu, Ueshiba created a system that was so influenced by Koryu, that I think it's almost impossible to understand technical Aikido with out spending some real time trying to understand the techniques of many Koryu systems. Jujutsu systems have the most in common with Aikido, but many of the Koryu I've looked at, share much "flavor" with Aikido.

I think when we study something, at first we use comparison to do that. So when many people first start Aikido, that want to compare it to something they may already know more about. Something like Boxing, wrestling, Karate, Kendo or Judo, is probably something most of us were more familiar with when we started training Aikido. I think this comparative influence shades much of what we think Aikido is.

I find systems like Boxing, wrestling, Karate, Kendo and Judo less like Aikido, then many of the Koryu I've looked at (only from outside study though). This is a very interesting thing to me.

Marc Abrams 01-07-2013 02:30 PM

Re: Koryu and Aikido
 
Quote:

Chris Hein wrote: (Post 321675)
Some good responses. Thanks.

One of the main reason's I got interested in looking at Koryu. Is because they informed me of a different kind of martial arts context. As Cliff Judge said-"because the environment that informed koryu is gone".

While it's clear that Aikido is not a koryu, Ueshiba created a system that was so influenced by Koryu, that I think it's almost impossible to understand technical Aikido with out spending some real time trying to understand the techniques of many Koryu systems. Jujutsu systems have the most in common with Aikido, but many of the Koryu I've looked at, share much "flavor" with Aikido.

I think when we study something, at first we use comparison to do that. So when many people first start Aikido, that want to compare it to something they may already know more about. Something like Boxing, wrestling, Karate, Kendo or Judo, is probably something most of us were more familiar with when we started training Aikido. I think this comparative influence shades much of what we think Aikido is.

I find systems like Boxing, wrestling, Karate, Kendo and Judo less like Aikido, then many of the Koryu I've looked at (only from outside study though). This is a very interesting thing to me.

Chris:

Aikido was most heavily influenced by Daito Ryu, which was and is not a koryu. O'Sensei was able to observe some Koryu practices (historical accounts point to a very limited exposure). It is highly likely that he was not exposed to a lot of the hidden teachings that simply are not shown to outsiders. In that context, making comparisons from "uneducated eyes" can be very misleading. I think that we are best off leaving comparisons to be done AFTER we have gained a fairly substantial body of knowledge in the areas that we are looking to compare. I see this problem surface in the "IP Wars" (my term for the petty bickering that goes on). What we think we see and know, truly is lacking and misleads us.

I do think that people who study Aikido and engaged in formal Koryu training have a variety of opinions as to the overlap and lack thereof. Many of them will not talk about this because of their oaths to secrecy in studying a koryu. I think that trying to get good at any one art (let alone a couple of them- as some of us are apt to try and do) is quite a life-time of accomplishments. Looking back over my years of training, I recognize that many of my previously held beliefs and comparisons, I no longer agree with and am more likely to be quiet and simply to and learn what I can about whatever I am doing.

Happy New Years!

Marc Abrams

ChrisHein 01-07-2013 03:03 PM

Re: Koryu and Aikido
 
It's not so much the Koryu themselves that I believe was important. It's the situations that they were trying to address. They were very interested in what is now a time gone by. I believe Ueshiba had interest in these older times, and the kinds of situations that the warrior class found themselves in. It is well known that Ueshiba enjoyed having different exponents of Koryu come to his Dojo and demonstrate there arts.

I'm not trying to say that Ueshiba was highly experienced in anything other then Daito Ryu and his own art, but his interested, and the kind of techniques that he choose to put into his system reflect much of what can be found in Koryu martial arts.

These things are different and the feeling of the system is different then what you would find in most "modern" martial arts.

Cliff Judge 01-07-2013 03:51 PM

Re: Koryu and Aikido
 
Quote:

Chris Hein wrote: (Post 321675)
I find systems like Boxing, wrestling, Karate, Kendo and Judo less like Aikido, then many of the Koryu I've looked at (only from outside study though). This is a very interesting thing to me.

Note that these five things are all games.

ChrisHein 01-07-2013 03:58 PM

Re: Koryu and Aikido
 
Quote:

Cliff Judge wrote: (Post 321682)
Note that these five things are all games.

YES!

Travers Hughes 01-08-2013 03:24 PM

Re: Koryu and Aikido
 
Quote:

Chris Hein wrote: (Post 321675)

While it's clear that Aikido is not a koryu, Ueshiba created a system that was so influenced by Koryu, that I think it's almost impossible to understand technical Aikido with out spending some real time trying to understand the techniques of many Koryu systems. Jujutsu systems have the most in common with Aikido, but many of the Koryu I've looked at, share much "flavor" with Aikido.

I've often thought this too. In particular, I've thought that he was enamoured by the sogo bujutsu elements of koryu. It's interesting how time have changed. We now hail a cross-trainer who incorporates unarmed and armed separate systems together and finds underlying similarities as a genius, whereas in earlier sogo bujutsu training this is a given and there is little need to go outside the ryu.


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