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Old 06-02-2005, 08:57 PM   #13
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Aiki Expo 2005 Reviews?

The session I attended with Matsuoka was enjoyable and I greatly appreciated his enthusiasm and willingness to try something new and appear as less than the "perfect master" we see with so many folks so carefully choosing UKE (I really distrust demonstrators who don't flub once in a while; I've seen teachers intimidating UKE into submission). But I don't think he's where he needs to be to demonstrate what he was working on. I felt his technique and it isn't compelling yet. I think I saw Bruce Bookman doing what Matsuoka was trying (and no doubt WILL accomplish sometime) and I know from the UKEMI that Ushiro, Threadgill, and Ikeda do it, too.
I can't say this often enough... the teacher who has an active process going on has my highest respect. Not only is Matsuoka Sensei in the midst of a profound overhall of his Aikido (I gather it's making his seniors crazy as they now have to try to stay with him and relearn what they thought they knew) but he is willing to go out in a public forum and lay the whole process out there for you to see. He isn't sharing finished technique at this point, he's sharing the process and that includes all the rough edges and parts that aren't quite integrated and the places where it's close but not there yet. And he does so without hesitation in an atmosphere that can be quite unkind when the sharks get going (a la reviews of Gleason sensei's class).

For me, I loved it because he is working on precisely the same issues which I have been focusing on for the past five years. I had no doubt that I was looking at a teacher who is on the threshold of real mastery, if by that one meant fully integrating a set of principles to the point where they become part of yourself on a deep level. Taking ukemi from him was the closest thing to grabbing Ikeda Sensei that I've felt from anyone. Not quite there yet but really close to coming together.

I would heartily recommend training with this man! The fact that his process is not necessarily complete at this point should not keep anyone away because he is way ahead of most students of the art at this point and even if he stopped developing today, it would take many years before the average student was able to get to where he is now. I am very excited about staying in touch with Matsuoka Sensei and sharing in his process.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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