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benny 06-20-2000 11:35 AM

Hi all, I have a question.

I've been doing the tomiki variety of aikido for almost a year now. When I go to university in october, I will be changing to what I believe is an aikikai dojo.

Now, obviously the basics of each style are the same, (rolling etc.), but I noticed that the requirements for promotion through the kyu grades are different. In tomiki you have to know kata, whereas in aikikai you have to perform certain techniques. I guess my question is to what extent are belts recognised between styles? For example, I'll know the first ten tomiki kata and a few kotegaeshi variations, but I won't be able to perform ikkyo to the level of a fifth-kyu.

Thanks for your help!


Chuck Clark 06-20-2000 11:47 AM

Benny,

I practiced Tomiki-ryu for many years and still use his kata system as a base for my training.

I think that "ikkyo" is built into the foundation of: aigame ate, gyaku gamae ate, and gedan ate for example. The Tomiki version of those waza are answers to "what if" ikkyo doesn't work. If you're doing the kuzushi properly for those waza, you should'nt have trouble with ikkyo.

A bit of advice: Don't look so much at the differences in the two practice methods, give attention more to the similarities. There are way more similarities than differences.

Good luck!

BC 06-21-2000 11:07 AM

I've only practiced Aikikai style, so I don't know much about the differences between that and Tomiki style, but I would agree with Chuck that you should focus more on the similarities than the differences. This helped me a little when I started aikido after practicing other martial arts for several years. Based on my experience and understanding, ranks between the styles might not be officially recognized, but I think your new practice partners would recognize and/or respect your experience in Tomiki. Best of luck!

Shipley 06-26-2000 03:39 PM

I made the same transition after six years of training a mostly-tomiki style in Seattle. I found that while many of the details differed, the basics applied well. The Junanahon techniques encompass most of the standard aikido techniques found everywhere, except, of course, irimi-nage (or sayo-nage), however that technique is seen in the Koryu dai Ichi twice if my memory serves me well, so you may have at least seen it in your previous dojo.

As for your rank transferring, that will vary considerably from dojo to dojo, but you will find that even if they do not recognize your current rank they will most likely at least put you on an accelerated testing schedule until you reach your old rank. Of course, my saying it does not necessarily make it so...

Enjoy your shift in ryu. I am finding it an often frustrating but always rewarding experience. There is much to learn in the differences.

Paul





Quote:

Originally posted by benny
Hi all, I have a question.

I've been doing the tomiki variety of aikido for almost a year now. When I go to university in october, I will be changing to what I believe is an aikikai dojo.

Now, obviously the basics of each style are the same, (rolling etc.), but I noticed that the requirements for promotion through the kyu grades are different. In tomiki you have to know kata, whereas in aikikai you have to perform certain techniques. I guess my question is to what extent are belts recognised between styles? For example, I'll know the first ten tomiki kata and a few kotegaeshi variations, but I won't be able to perform ikkyo to the level of a fifth-kyu.

Thanks for your help!



akiy 06-26-2000 11:26 PM

It's all aikido, any way...

-- Jun

Nick 06-29-2000 07:44 AM

Agreed, it is all Aikido, but Tomiki Aikido is based on judo (my dad got me their book on accident- he thought it was the one I'd been looking for). Also, by my instructor's and O-sensei's definition, since Tomiki Aikido is competitive, it's not Aikido. Don't get the idea that my instructor dislikes Tomiki style or anything- he was quoting O-sensei as to say that all Aikido should be taught in total cooperation with one other.

Hope this doesn't get me into too much trouble-

-Nick

Chuck Clark 06-29-2000 08:29 AM

I think the only thing Tomiki sensei "based on judo" was how he described principle and set up his teaching syllabus.

When you get right down to it, good judo and good aikido are essentially the same thing.

By the way, many of the Tomiki people do not take part in the shiai aspect of that system.

benny 06-29-2000 11:32 AM

I was under the impression that Tomiki invented a style of aikido that people in the west could follow. In Japan, a person might spend the first sixth months practising just ukemi, and then go on to ikkyo for the next six etc. Because westerners are, in general, less patient, Tomiki created a system of kata that incorporate all these basics in a 'fun' way. I suppose competition is another way of making aikido more attractive to people...

Overall, I think people who study Tomiki-ryu end up being just as good aikidoka as those who studied other styles, it's just that they've taken a different path.

Chuck Clark 06-29-2000 11:48 AM

I have been around Tomiki Aikido in one way or another for a long time and have never heard that he was motivated by helping "Westerners learn aikido."

I have heard from his own lips that he wanted everyone to be able to learn aikido in ways that were easier to understand. The tournament aspect was intended to interest young people in aikido and perhaps they would stay around and learn to do more than the tournament style.

He was one of those human beings who really did not see people in racial categories.

DJM 07-08-2000 03:38 AM

Benny,
I'll agree with Chuck (except about good aikido = good judo, I don't know enough about either to agree/disagree).
I'm studying Tomiki Aikido now, but I did do Aikikai a few years ago (gap in between due to injured knees) and I'm more impressed by similarity between the two than any differences..
Essentially, from an initial practical angle, I found 3 major differences to a beginner practicing:

1 - Tomiki style favours evasion as the first part of the technique, whereas there's a higher propensity towards defending your centre without evasion in Aikikai
2 - There's a better structured way of learning ukemi in Tomiki Aikido
3 - Most techniques are done from grips in Aikikai, and from a strike in Tomiki

These are based primarily upon my experiences at 2 dojo, so may be peculiar to my own circumstances. BUT, the two styles tend to converge to a common point at the highest levels - after all to quote Jun (and myself from e-budo) Aikido is Aikido, styles don't really matter all that much, since the principles are the same across the board. I'd suggest just concentrate on seeing what this new spin on Aikido you'll encounter can teach you..

As to Tomiki being all about being competitive, very few of the people at my dojo have any desire to enter shiai. We see kakarigeiko as a way of testing your Aikido, but it's always, always, done in the spirit of cooperation. We help each other improve our Aikido..


dbgard 07-08-2000 09:01 AM

I liked one of your posts here Chuck
 
Chuck,

you wrote: [...tournament aspect was intended to interest young people in aikido and perhaps they would stay around and learn to do more than the tournament style...]

I think you have brought up a good point here. I believe this also touches on the graphic violence sometimes displayed by Seagal Sensei in his movies. The transition of something so pure as aikido into a world chuck-full of impurities must be a gradual one. I played several sports growing up, and I'm a pretty good golfer (though mediocre at the other sports I've played.) I think a tournament style of aikido may have helped bring karate-ka, judoka, etc. into the world of aikido. Trying to classify the world truly into East and West is quite a delicate-perhaps impossible-task. I was born in the USA, I've always lived in the USA, I look like the prototype American boy, but I've never really had that competitive "killer instinct". I think that is something which is learned through traumatic experiences in ones life, whether they live on the island of Fiji, on an oasis in the Sahara Desert, in an igloo in sub-zero climates, or in Peoria, Illinois. When I stepped on the Aikido Path, I had very little to unlearn, some - but very little - anger to overcome. I had found my "happy place" or sanctuary if you will. I realized my true religion most closely resembled Buddhism, so I consider myself Buddhist. We have limited space right now at the FSU Aikido Club in Tallahassee, but if anyone honestly believes they can't find peace in their own dojo, I'm certain Evans Sensei, E.T. Sensei, and Page Sensei will welcome you once we get a little more space.

A little more seaweed salad for thought,
Drew G.


Aiki1 07-08-2000 09:17 AM

Quote:

DJM wrote:
Aikido is Aikido, styles don't really matter all that much, since the principles are the same across the board.

Here's a personal observation - I've seen and/or practiced many different styles of Aikido over the years, from Ki Society to Aikikai to "Saotome-style" to "Seagal-style" to Iwama to Tomiki and more, and I have found that although similar or the same words are used to describe or explain the principles, in actuality they can be very, very different in how they work; so much so that the essence of the art being practiced is actually different.

I'll give one example - in some styles of practice, sometimes a throw is achieved because if the uke doesn't take the fall, he/she will get struck. The fall is to a large degree a product of the uke protecting him/herself. In some other styles, like mine for instance, this is a completely unacceptable method and process. So here's an example where the principle is completely opposite....

There are many other examples that I have seen and experienced.

Just an interesting topic of discussion for me.

AikiTom 07-08-2000 09:25 AM

I agree with you, Larry. An example. I'm in an independent, yet traditional, dojo. A friend of mine moved to another area for med school, and became involved with a "federation" style and came back to practice recently. I've been to some of their schools, and they emphasize uke keeping "connection" to nage even as he falls, as in a kokyu-ho exercise, which is very unnatural to me. (My beleif is it's nage's duty to keep the connection if the technique is to be real.)
At any rate, he came back, and when a technique didn't work that way, he tried to muscle me through it, which to me showed that an altered emphasis can result in one dojo in unnatural practice (and false-sense-of-security results) that doesn't translate across the board to other dojos.
So, I agree :)

Aiki1 07-08-2000 09:36 AM

Quote:

AikiTom wrote:
I've been to some of their schools, and they emphasize uke keeping "connection" to nage even as he falls, as in a kokyu-ho exercise, which is very unnatural to me.
I've seen this too, and other things like it where, in a sense, too much depends on the uke, and I also think it can be problematic.

The thing about principles in Aikido, well, my experience is that sometimes people think they're learning them and they aren't necessarily. Not to be negative, but truthful, I have had many black belts in other styles of Aikido come through my dojo over the years, and we welcome everyone. Many times what I've seen is that they rely on superficial things to make technique successful. When you take that away, which tends to happen in a different setting than what one is used to, particularly at my school where using muscle will get you absolutely nowhere, many of the visitors were completely lost. They in fact didn't have any deeper knowledge of Ki, connection, Aiki, and kinesthetic response and reaction to actually get what was going on. This isn't the case all the time at all, but it has happened.

This is a very interesting subject to me. I don't mean to be critical of other styles, I have learned great things from every single one that I have practiced. At the same time, I have also experienced the above more times than I like to admit.

[Edited by Aiki1 on July 8, 2000 at 09:39am]

DJM 07-08-2000 12:55 PM

Quote:

Aiki1 wrote:
Quote:

DJM wrote:
Aikido is Aikido, styles don't really matter all that much, since the principles are the same across the board.

Here's a personal observation - I've seen and/or practiced many different styles of Aikido over the years, from Ki Society to Aikikai to "Saotome-style" to "Seagal-style" to Iwama to Tomiki and more, and I have found that although similar or the same words are used to describe or explain the principles, in actuality they can be very, very different in how they work; so much so that the essence of the art being practiced is actually different.

I'll give one example - in some styles of practice, sometimes a throw is achieved because if the uke doesn't take the fall, he/she will get struck. The fall is to a large degree a product of the uke protecting him/herself. In some other styles, like mine for instance, this is a completely unacceptable method and process. So here's an example where the principle is completely opposite....

There are many other examples that I have seen and experienced.

Just an interesting topic of discussion for me.

Larry,
I have to disagree here. What you're talking about is a difference in technique, and perhaps temperament, not principle..
We came across this in a seminar last weekend, where Ken Cottier Sensei described some different 'styles' of Irimi nage. One was favoured by Tohei sensei, where the finger moved in to poke the eye of uke. There was a shift away at last moment so there would be no contact, but uke doesn't know that - or more specifically his body doesn't. You get a similar effect to what you describe above - uke throws himself, but it obeys the same principles as a 'normal' irimi nage, which is to get a reaction from uke and to magnify it.. Another example of this was Chiba sensei's technique which almost resulted in him having to pick uke up off the mat to finish the throw after a very forceful first movement. Still the same principles, but a very different temperament..
Peace,
David

Aiki1 07-08-2000 01:19 PM

I understand why you say that, but in fact, I am actually talking about the deep principles that are fundamental to both the inner approach and how the techniques are actually achieved - i.e., through Aiki, which at the fundamental level of principles, is very different soemtimes from style to style. The principles of what some would call taking the center, leading, and achieving a throw are approached very, very different in reality. So different sometimes that in words they can be the same - but that is about it.

AikiTom 07-08-2000 01:24 PM

DJM, in my humble opinion, what you say MAKES Larry's point rather than countering it.
He's saying that little poke-in-the-eye gimmicks can't be counted on BECAUSE they are gimmicks and ignore/miss the principle behind the move. For instance, how would Tohei do that with a 6'4" uke? Kick him in the knee to bend him over, and then poke at his eye? :)
What's problematic here to me is that the simplest technique is to me the superior one, if for no other reason than that the more things you put into it, the greater the chance for error in what is already an unpredictable situation.
1) The Tohei example depends on too much. (I will say though that I've done no-touch kokyu/irimi-nages which are beautiful when you strike exactly toward the eyes to get an autonomic reflex where they throw themselves back,but you can't always count on hitting that anymore than finding the pain point in an old-fashioned yonkyo.)
2) I've seen Chiba Sensei in a number of videos do the technique you mention, but again it's dangerous in the sense that it's not efficient - once they're going down face-down, why do you need to reverse it? An unnecessary move,,a little show-boat-y to me. It almost require a very violent front-down move and an equally violent backward response to uke to work. Again, imho, simpler=better.

Aiki1 07-08-2000 01:40 PM

AikiTom wrote:
Quote:

DJM, in my humble opinion, what you say MAKES Larry's point rather than countering it.
He's saying that little poke-in-the-eye gimmicks can't be counted on BECAUSE they are gimmicks and ignore/miss the principle behind the move. For instance, how would Tohei do that with a 6'4" uke? Kick him in the knee to bend him over, and then poke at his eye? :)

Ha! That's funny.

Quote:

What's problematic here to me is that the simplest technique is to me the superior one, if for no other reason than that the more things you put into it, the greater the chance for error in what is already an unpredictable situation.
1) The Tohei example depends on too much. (I will say though that I've done no-touch kokyu/irimi-nages which are beautiful when you strike exactly toward the eyes to get an autonomic reflex where they throw themselves back,but you can't always count on hitting that anymore than finding the pain point in an old-fashioned yonkyo.)
2) I've seen Chiba Sensei in a number of videos do the technique you mention, but again it's dangerous in the sense that it's not efficient - once they're going down face-down, why do you need to reverse it? An unnecessary move,,a little show-boat-y to me. It almost require a very violent front-down move and an equally violent backward response to uke to work. Again, imho, simpler=better.

I agree. Also, there are many people (some boxers for instance) who will not respond to atemi like that. I use atemi, but I know it's limitations. It in and of itself is not a principle, but a tool.

DJM 07-08-2000 04:31 PM

Quote:

AikiTom wrote:
DJM, in my humble opinion, what you say MAKES Larry's point rather than countering it.
He's saying that little poke-in-the-eye gimmicks can't be counted on BECAUSE they are gimmicks and ignore/miss the principle behind the move. For instance, how would Tohei do that with a 6'4" uke? Kick him in the knee to bend him over, and then poke at his eye? :)
What's problematic here to me is that the simplest technique is to me the superior one, if for no other reason than that the more things you put into it, the greater the chance for error in what is already an unpredictable situation.
1) The Tohei example depends on too much. (I will say though that I've done no-touch kokyu/irimi-nages which are beautiful when you strike exactly toward the eyes to get an autonomic reflex where they throw themselves back,but you can't always count on hitting that anymore than finding the pain point in an old-fashioned yonkyo.)
2) I've seen Chiba Sensei in a number of videos do the technique you mention, but again it's dangerous in the sense that it's not efficient - once they're going down face-down, why do you need to reverse it? An unnecessary move,,a little show-boat-y to me. It almost require a very violent front-down move and an equally violent backward response to uke to work. Again, imho, simpler=better.

Tom,
I agree with some of what you're saying, but not all ;)
My main point of disagreement(!) is that the Tohei Sensei thing IS a gimmick.. If it doesn't work the move turns into a regular irimi nage - i.e. same principles, merely with a tweak to make it potentially easier..
Incidentally the version of irimi nage that was shown was the tenkan version - head is nicely in place for the poke..
As for Chiba Sensei, I actually agree with you, but I know that my Aikido is limited enough for him to be using the same principles, and that I'm simply not seeing them..

On a general level I'll also agree that simpler tends to be better, but in specific circumstances more complex can be better. It all comes down to nage not choosing the technique, but uke.. If complex is what's demanded by uke's attack, posture, size and maai then complex is what you do...
My 2p worth ;)
Peace,
David

AikiTom 07-08-2000 09:33 PM

Quote:

DJM wrote:

It all comes down to nage not choosing the technique, but uke.. If complex is what's demanded by uke's attack, posture, size and maai then complex is what you do...
My 2p worth ;)
Peace,
David

David, check out thread called "Who decides?" in the "Aikido:General" forum here. This was the subject of a question I started the thread with. :)

P.S. 2p is actually worth more than 2 cents, thus a more valuable opinion! :)


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