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Old 04-24-2006, 12:17 PM   #1
Jim Sorrentino
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia, Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Washington, DC
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 216
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Re: Any instructors here ever challenged?

Greetings All,

Here is an open invitation to Dan Harden:

Mr. Harden, we have ever met, nor have I ever seen you on film. However, I've read many of your posts on AikiWeb, Aikido Journal, e-budo, and SwordForums. When it comes to aikido, your posts all seem to have a similar theme and tone. The theme is the ineffectiveness of most, if not all, aikidoka (but not aikido itself). The tone is one of provocative derision. A good example is in your post # 36 in this thread where you say, "I would guess that most folks -the vast majority perhaps- haven't a clue about what their Aikido has been trying to teach them in regards to body skills. At its root it can be practically unstoppable. If you knew what you were doing."

This most recent discussion of challenges to instructors is typical. Also typical is your unwillingness to discuss your background. Back near the beginning of this thread, one of the posters asked you about your aikido training, and why you stopped. You have yet to answer this question. I (and anyone else who uses a search engine) can surmise that you study (and teach) Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-Ryu and Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu. So why not just say so, name your teachers, and state your level of experience?

A while back on Aikido Journal, you and Mike Sigman had a long discussion (in response to one of Ellis Amdur's blogs) about the internal training that aikido either offers, or fails to deliver. If I remember correctly, you claimed to be able to do the "jo trick", which I understood to be Morihei Ueshiba's demonstration in which he held out a jo while several people pushed on it, directing their force perpendicularly to the length of the jo. After holding the jo in place for several moments, O-Sensei then "removed" it, resulting in the unbalancing of the pushers. Can you do that? If so, have you been able to teach anyone else to do it?

Also in post #36, you said, "A judoka throwing you should feel like he is trying to throw a statue. A jujutsu going for a double or single leg should be drilled into the ground. Your throws should not be throws that express anything but formless projections. Your strikes should be devastating with the ground and your center alive in your hands. I've not met the man who has fought me who has not been convinced otherwise. And I stopped training in Aikido long ago, before making Shodan. That being said, I would simply stand in front of anyone you care to pick in Aikido, of any rank, and I will do Aikido waza and I will not be thrown or locked."

I propose that we arrange for you to teach a seminar at my dojo in Arlington, Virginia. Like all seminars that I host, it would be open to aikidoka (and practitioners of other aiki-based arts) of all ranks and levels of experience, regardless of organization or affiliation. In the interests of safe and vigorous training, I would limit the number of participants to 80 (60 if we're going to do a lot of weapons work).

If you successfully teach the participants how to do what you say you can do (as well as the jo trick, if that is part of your repertoire), then my dojo will reimburse your expenses and pay you a reasonable honorarium, which you and I will agree on in advance. But if you don't succeed, then we won't.

By the way, I have never invited anyone to teach at my dojo sight unseen.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino