Ron Tisdale wrote:
Thank you to Clarke, Ellis, Steven, and Peter for chiming in! Quite a lot of information. I have heard on pretty good authority that Shioda Kancho continued his Daito ryu training for some period of time after his training association with Ushiba Sensei ended. Basically, it is said that he chased everyone out of the dojo to train with Horikawa Sensei. Some comments on this can be found here: [snip]
I have no dog in this hunt about Horikawa and Daito Ryu, so I won't go into it too much other than to say I consider the two arts so close as to be indistinguishable, *in their essentials
*. Just like in all arts, there are variations between instructor, some are better than others, some move differently, etc., but the *essentials* that are done by the high-level practitioners appear to be pretty close. Again, though, there is that question of ki, kokyu, etc.
I'd be interested in Mike's (and others) take on what usage of 'ki' and kokyu they see in any video of Daito ryu demonstrations, particularly in this case, the Kodokai.
I have to concur with the comment I've seen and heard a number of times.... the way Shioda moves and does Aikido is different from what I see in so many Yoshinkan practitioners. I'd make an offhand guess that the systematization of Aikido that Shioda invented also resulted in people not doing quite what he himself learned to do and it shows. But I don't want to go off on that tangent; I just throw my *opinion* in FWIW.
In terms of Ki and Kokyu, that appears to be as much of a focus to Shioda as does his Aikido techniques. Maybe even more so, watching how he delights in showing off the kokyu things. In my opinion, learning Aikido with "enough to get by" ki and kokyu is an absurdity... Aikido without a strong emphasis on ki and kokyu is like Aikido in which you learn shihonage but you only rarely make token attempts at nikkyo and sankyo and other controls because you see no point in overemphasizing "controls".
While Tohei uses ki/kokyu things as an integral part of the way he moves during all his Aikido (and all his daily motions, etc.), Shioda seems to delight in "tricks" that can be done with the manipulation of kokyu, etc. Reading his books, I got the impression from his systematization that his level was so-so, but better than most people. Watching him in person, I realize that his kokyu manipulation (in conjunction with his uncanny, lightning-fast "feel" for where someone's empty spot is) is quite high. He's impressive.
The question about Shioda is now, for me, to fine-tune exactly what he knew, where he learned it, etc., if I ever can pin those things down. From what Shioda does, I can generally tag what he can do by how he does the things he shows, but this one aspect of down-power is troubling because if he's doing it in a more sophisticated way than I can see (I don't think so, but I always have to allow for the possibility that I'm missing something), then the puzzle gets deeper.
To more directly address your question, I'd say that what I've seen and read by Shioda has largely increased my respect of what full-blown Aikido really means to the big dogs. Seriously. Shioda's take on Aikido (plus a lot of his anecdotes showing O-Sensei could do these things, too) is quite similar to real Taiji (not what you see practiced in the West), too. The "neutralize the attack and apply technique through timing", etc., is the same basic idea. The neutralizations and response in real Taiji are quite small in comparison to the larger "swirling" things you so often see in Aikido, but Shioda's Aikido reconciles that disparity nicely, IMO.
As I mentioned, I only have the DVD "Shingi Denju" (which has a lot of historical footage, so it's a nice overview) to go by, but there's a lengthy section of Shioda demonstrating very clever and direct jin/kokyu applications (even using his keiko-gi as the transmitter in some cases) that's really interesting. It raised my eyebrows to see that level of control used in Aikido. It would have been a high level of control in just about any art that I know of.