Ron Tisdale wrote:
The thing about differences in style can be very confusing. It's extremely rare (in my limited experience) to see someone proficient (or even appreciative) of styles as divergent as what you see here, and what you might see in a Chiba Shihan or Kanai Shihan video.
Ain't that the truth. This was one of the things I really liked about the AikiExpo that I attended. It also served to really call out some of those aiki-myths (like jujutsu is crude and simple and karate can't be subtle). These days I look at two primary things when evaluating someone visually, *and* I try to keep in mind that looks only tell part of it.
1) How specifically is nage moving? Are they generating power in a way that I can understand, is their footwork simple and intentional, do they look structurally sound? It also helps to know what the 'rules' are within their paradigm.
2) What is the effect of the encounter on uke? Are they planted and relaxed (bad) or is their balance compromised (good)? Do their attacks look credible (good) or overly cooperative (bad)? Along the same lines, do they look like they've been behaviourally conditioned to fall either through outright abuse or physical retribution (very, very bad, and very common)? Are they taking a lot of steps (I consider this bad) or are their movements fairly limited after the initial contact (mo betta)?
Ron, I knew you'd be interesting when you (a Yoshinkan guy) helped with a John Stevens seminar. That told me you were really looking for something and willing to step out of your paradigm to do so. There were a lot of people at the Expo (of all styles) that were quite unwilling to do that.