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-   -   If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me... (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5404)

Mark Balogh 04-23-2004 04:42 AM

If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Hi Everyone,

I have always trained in the Aikikai and I would like to know if anyone has done this for a long period and then trained in Iwama (or vice versa). Or maybe you have done both styles at the same time.

I have always had a soft spot for the Iwama style. I like what I have heard Saito Sensei say on video, I LOVE the weapons (and practise them) and the syllabus seems so comprehensive.

Could you tell me a bit about other Iwama Sensei's and there approach? I have taken a course with an Iwama 6th Dan but have not seen anyone above that level (have heard a lot about Inagaki Sensei though).

I'd like to hear your FRANK opinions on Iwama training and what it is like to train on Iwama mats. I have done some Iwama courses and asked friends this, but I'd like more opinions. My opinions on Aikikai are...

Pros: Fantastic access to a various styles of aikido, Sensei's usually have excellent sensitivity skills and balance taking ability, there is a lot of flexibility and constant development going on.
Cons: Sometimes training can be unmartial, lack reality/depth (people fall without you doing anything), can be a bit clicky/snobby!

I am really interested in what you have to say so please tell me all! Thanks in advance. :)

Yann Golanski 04-23-2004 06:09 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Find a sensei you can learn from and not a style. If your heart is set for a style, go to their hombu and train there.

Go and train at both for a month, then decide which one is going to be your main dojo and which one you'll cross train in. Or just choose one.

Mark Balogh 04-23-2004 06:17 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
I already have a sensei I can learn from, I am teaching and running a dojo in his association. He is an excellent teacher, has amazing skill and has been very good to me. I am just intrigued by Iwama and have heard many things, but would like to hear it from people who really know. Please don't give me a lecture, I am fairly familiar with the aikido world and have trained hard for a number of years.

jducusin 04-23-2004 06:44 AM

In defense of Aikikai...
 
Quote:

Mark Balogh wrote:
My opinions on Aikikai are...
<snip>
Cons: Sometimes training can be unmartial, lack reality/depth (people fall without you doing anything), can be a bit clicky/snobby!

I'm sorry to hear that it sounds like doing Aikikai in your neck of the woods is rather unrealistic, ineffective, and a bit of a drag. I wouldn't, however, write off all of Aikikai in general based on your experiences in it so far --- I can strongly vouch from my own at the current Aikikai dojo I train in that what we do contradicts every single "Con" you've listed for Aikikai on a regular basis. (Incidentally, we've even got one student who trains mostly in Iwama at another dojo and comes to ours to supplement his training; he's said that he finds folks at our dojo willing to train harder than at his home dojo :D) As alluded to earlier, it all depends upon your Sensei.

You're more than welcome to visit our dojo and train here if you're ever in Winnipeg, Canada --- in the meantime, good luck in finding a dojo you like in your area!

Jamie
www.nwaikikai.com

Mark Balogh 04-23-2004 06:49 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Jamie,

I was speaking in general and what I have seen over the years, obviously the variety in Aikikai can mean lots of different flavours. I was not talking about my current association which is a very fine group of Aikidoka.

I'd love to go to Canada soon so I might look up your dojo in the future! :)

Yann Golanski 04-23-2004 06:56 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Quote:

Mark Balogh wrote:
I am just intrigued by Iwama and have heard many things, but would like to hear it from people who really know.

I mistook your question. My apologies.

Quote:

Mark Balogh wrote:
Please don't give me a lecture, I am fairly familiar with the aikido world and have trained hard for a number of years.

I'm sorry you mistook my comments as a lecture. They were not intended as such.

Mark Balogh 04-23-2004 06:58 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
No problems Yan, thanks for replying. :)

Greg Jennings 04-23-2004 07:14 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
In my mind what makes the Iwama "style" interesting is the structured pedagogical method. As far as any other demographic, I think you'll find the same wide spectrum within Iwama dojo as any other.

Inagaki Sensei is, I'm told by my two instructors who have both trained with him, very good. I look at him in films and really admire his precision. I won't comment further.

Regards,

Mark Balogh 04-23-2004 07:22 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Greg,

That's great thank you, I wish you would comment more though! :D

justinm 04-23-2004 08:46 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Hi Mark, I've never training in Iwama based aikido (although I understand it is part of Aikikai?) however I gather it has some significant similarities to Yoshinkan aikido, in terms of static forms and teaching style. I was training under Aikikai for a long period before changing to Yoshinkan so could comment on my experiences doing that - feel free to email me off list.

Cheers
Justin

markwalsh 04-23-2004 09:42 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Dear Mark,

There is a seminar not so far away from you in Brighton soon. The teacher was an uchi deshi of the late great Saito sensei and comes highly recomended. The club hosting it is an established aikikai club, and are lovely.

Matthew Hill Sensei, 4th Dan.
Sunday 23 May
King Alfred Centre, Kingsway, Hove.
£15
All styles welcome
Please bring bokken and jo.

Best Reagrds,

Mark (a differnt one).
:)

Mark Balogh 04-23-2004 09:54 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Thanks VERY MUCH Mark, I have put that date in my diary. :)

Greg Jennings 04-23-2004 10:12 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Quote:

Mark Balogh wrote:
Greg,
That's great thank you, I wish you would comment more though! :D

Oh, I'll talk with you about the Iwama teaching method, etc. till I'm blue in the face. I'd also be happy to ask that type of question to Goto Sensei for you.

I just won't say any more about Inagaki Sensei other than to say that everything I've heard is very positive from my perspective.

One thing I will say is what is publicly available: Saito Sensei originally introduced Witt Sensei (when he first went to Iwama) to Inagaki Sensei something like "This is Inagaki. He's 3rd dan aikido, 8th dan fighting".

There was also a quote that he worked his way through college as a bodyguard.

FWIW,

markwalsh 04-23-2004 01:04 PM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
No problem. More course here:

http://www.tomhume.org/gems/Seminar.pdf

markwalsh 04-23-2004 01:06 PM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Details was the missing word.

Jon Sharp 04-23-2004 10:25 PM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Hi Mark

I originally trained in Hombu style Aikikai for 2 years, but since having moved location I was forced to look for another dojo. The only Aikikai affiliated dojo near me was Iwama ryu so I started going there and have been training there for almost three years now.

The main difference I found is the comparitive lack of awase training in Iwama style compared to hombu. Although we train in awase, the emphasis is much more on hard techniques - as in from a strong grab or stationary attack. The reason behind this is too strengthen your basics thoroughly enough to allow a natural development in speed and intensity.

I also found that there was a surprising lack of similarity in the techniques of the same name. Of course the basic principles are the same, but the motions differ considerably. There is of course a much larger emphasis on weapons in Iwama than in Hombu.

Basically I can only speak for my dojos, but the pros and cons as I see them are:

In iwama style I was pleased that the training was very particular about accuaracy - very picky about every body movement, so that you really have to make sure everything is in the right place. Also the weapons training is great and the fact that you train from a really hard grab or solid attack means you can actually learn to move an unwilling uke despite their best efforts - oh and there is a lot of atemi in Iwama style.

In Hombu style, my dojo was very geared towards free flowing and natural techniques, a lot smoother than Iwama style. Some of the techniques that I was fond of such as Hanmi hantachi suwari waza shiho nage (ura) don't appear in the iwama syllabus which I think is a shame. I also really enjoyed the strong emphasis on ukemi in Hombu. In iwama, you are not "taught" to take ukemi, but are expected to develop it yourself from taking techniques. Some of the folk in my dojo didn't particulary look forward to some of the throws.

I can only speak from my experience in 2 dojos, so if I have misrepresented these styles then apologies. I actually would like to train in both, as well as visiting a Ki society dojo sometime as well.

Hope this helps

dion 04-25-2004 01:10 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
I have trained in both and decided to dedicate to aikikai, iwama was too soft for me and I felt aikikai weapons were better for me. I don't think styles/systems are the issue, I think it's the particular instructor and what the individual is looking for in aikido.

my instructor in the iwama style was great but I felt it lacked the "hardness" I was after. I don't think one is better than the other just different.

I could go on and on but I don't want to bore everybody.

Richard Cardwell 06-16-2004 06:28 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Oof. If I'd had to invent all of my own ukemi, I'd definitely have been injured. That said, perhaps it's more natural- provided that a technique isn't carried out on someone who hasn't figured out how not to get hurt. I suppose it's a matter of acceleration, both physical and mental.

Aviv 06-26-2004 03:38 PM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
My suggestion would be to try to go to a seminar with Saito Hitohiro Sensei. He has several European seminars each year. You'll see and feel Iwama-style in the flesh. Also, if you are serious about this inquiry, it would be possible for you to go to Iwama and be uchideshi for a 10+ day period.

ze do telhado 04-27-2006 09:43 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
I agree with aviv...
if you really want to compare it...go to both hombu dojos..or try to attend to seminars from Hitohiro sensei and Moriteru doshu.. see for yourself

Hanna B 04-27-2006 02:24 PM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Go on and try it. Whether doing two styles at the time works or not probably largely depends on the people involved.

I have travelled through a couple of different Aikikai flavours, and also spent a summer - not more - in an Iwama dojo. I brought "home" with me two important things: first, preciseness and details in bokken work. Although I did not like all in the Iwama teachers way of dealing with bokken, it was great to always be given time for suburi before going into partnered work. Second, preciseness in hanmi. I did my first aikido term in Nishio type of aikido, where they do not stand in normal hanmi but their feet is more like in kendo or iaido. When I transferred to this other Aikikai dojo, noone seemed to care much about the details in where I put my feet - byt the Iwama teacher did. Coming back to my Aikikai dojo, I realised that a couple of the people whose aikido I thought highly of had a very similar hanmi leading to very similar foot positions in some conditions. Getting my feet on that line really made a difference for my aikido.

It was difficult to come back, though. The main teacher of my "home" dojo did not look too mildy on my "iwama-isms" - he never said much about it, only a couple of things at a couple of occasions, but I knew I had been "unfaithful". The experience of another place also made me look at some things in the dojo with more critical eyes. In the end, I travelled further to the Endo sensei line of aikido where uke should follow and make sure to stand in a good position rather than resist. It is a completely other set of pedagogics than Iwama. In a way these two types of aikido build skills in different ways, you eat the cake from opposite sides.

During my time in the Endo type of aikido I also worked continously with a teacher who worked with resistance as a method, as Iwama style and many other lines of aikido do. I felt it good to combine these two approaches - but I much prefer to have them separate. I believe in both these ways as valid, but have difficulties in believing in the "inbetween" ways where people resist a little bit like they feel like, and have no real system for how and when they should resist.

This was probably not the kind of answer you asked for... but it is mine.

david evans 04-28-2006 08:20 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Mark,

I am currently training in Iwama style aikido, having trained for a number of years in Aikikai; for me it is the better training method. It provides a firm foundation to build technique from which flowing movements are made stronger and more effective.

Also, the weapons component of all classes not only provides variety, but further understanding of open-hand techniques.

Simply, I feel more confident in this manner of training.

koz 05-02-2006 12:25 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
In my experience, I've trained at some aikikai dojo which are more Iwama-like than some Iwama-style dojo I've visited in my wanderings.

My biggest criticism, my own opinion naturally, of Iwama-style is the paint-by-numbers and 'one size fits all' approach to training. But I've also seen this lack of responsiveness at many an aikikai dojo as well.

At the end of the day you have to make your training your own, then distinctions between aikikai and Iwama-style etc are no longer relevant.

KerstineElnegaard 05-02-2006 07:00 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Quote:

Jon Sharp wrote:
...Some of the techniques that I was fond of such as Hanmi handachi suwari waza shiho nage (ura) don't appear in the iwama syllabus which I think is a shame. I also really enjoyed the strong emphasis on ukemi in Hombu. ..snip

Hi Jon, I just wanted to comment on this. I train Takemusu Aikido, which is part of Aikikai. Here in Europe, this is what used to be called Iwama Ryu. Hitohiro Saito Sensei's style is now called "Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shuren Kai" as far as I am aware, and is not Aikikai affiliated. I am not certain which style the original poster is asking for. In the dojos I have trained in, hanmi handachi shiho nage ura waza (and omote waza) are taught, and are definitely part of the curriculum.

Regarding style. I train in the Iwama style because I am attracted to the harder training which defines the dojos of this style in my "neighbourghhood". This is just how it is here, and that porbably varies after where you go.

Some people that I have experienced that I would suggest you see are Ulf Evenås (from Sweden and Shihan in Takemusu Aikido)

Mark Larson (America)
Lewis de Quirós
Pia Moberg
Lasse Andersson

KerstineElnegaard 05-02-2006 07:17 AM

Re: If you have trained in both Aikikai and Iwama, please help me...
 
Quote:

Jon Sharp wrote:
...Some of the techniques that I was fond of such as Hanmi handachi suwari waza shiho nage (ura) don't appear in the iwama syllabus which I think is a shame. I also really enjoyed the strong emphasis on ukemi in Hombu. ..snip

Hi Jon, I just wanted to comment on this. I train Takemusu Aikido, which is part of Aikikai. Here in Europe, this is what used to be called Iwama Ryu. Hitohiro Saito Sensei's style is now called "Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shuren Kai" as far as I am aware, and is not Aikikai affiliated. I am not certain which style the original poster is asking for. In the dojos I have trained in, hanmi handachi shiho nage ura waza (and omote waza) are taught, and are definitely part of the curriculum. Oh yeah, and ukemi is highly emphasised as well...

Regarding style. I train in the Iwama style because I am attracted to the harder training which defines the dojos of this style in my "neighborhood". This is just how it is here, and that probably varies after where you go.

Some people that I would say represents the Takemusu Aikido(Iwama) style as I see it are:
Ulf Evenås (Sweden)
Ethan Weisgard (Denmark)
Mark Larson (America)
Lewis de Quirós
Pia Moberg (Sweden)
Lars Göran Andersson (Sweden)

Most of these people have spend periods as uchi deshi in Iwama under Saito Sensei. The people with the reputation as "old" warriors of this bunch are Mark and Lars Göran (Lasse).
I have heard Mark Sensei complain about his forearms getting thinner by the day. Not like back when he was in Iwama, and his "battleweight" was 130 kg. Mind you, his forearm is like both my forearms put together, and then some :rolleyes:

I realize that you are from UK, and unfortunately don't know of anybody there personally. I have heard about a guy called Justin Christou from England. But I know that there is a seminar coming up with Ulf Evenås in London quite soon.

Hope this helps... Kind Regards
Kerstine


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