View Single Post
Old 09-26-2006, 11:30 AM   #48
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Breaking balance is done by anticipating uke. Have you seen any situation where uke was surprised? -- of course not. See, this is a key for observation. No surprise, so uke can anticipate in positive way, but also can make counter or simply block a technique. . No surprise, so nage can't break balance for real.
As someone who clearly prefers the "force of nature" style of Aikido I can see why you wouldn't like this. I am sorry but you are wrong about this. The surprise is defintely there when you deal with someone like Endo. It's not in the timing changes or some violent assault on the partner's structure, which is what you are used to. Endo, Yamaguchi, Takeda, Saotome Senseis all focused on "absorbing" the power of the attacker. You grab them and you feel nothing. Your balance breaks and you are not sure why, you can't figure out where your power went.

People think that power represents the expression of the martial side of Aikido. Having trained with some folks who come from older classical aiki backgrounds, I can tell you that the truth is exactly the opposite. They will set you up and dump you and you won't even feel it coming. I know I sound like a broken record on this, but since Mr Sczepan consistently maintains the opposite poistion on this, I think someone has to hold up this end.

This stuff was never about empty hand combat. These techniques were based on both people being armed. There is no point to wasteful expenditure of power trying to hurl people to the ground. In the martial stuff the idea was to drop the attacker virtually straight down so that one could access ones sword and finish the attacker. This would happen without you being aware of the setup so that you wouldn't execute a counter.

All this got changed in Aikido when the spirals got larger and the movements became very open and flowing. There were reasons for that but they had absolutely nothing to do with being more martial. Kuzushi isn't about throwing someone, although the technique might be a throw if one chooses. It's about placing the attacker in an off balance position in which you can strike him and he cannot respond. A throw is simply a strike you are choosing not to do.

Endo Sensei's interest is largely about how one uses the principles of aiki to absorb the attacker's energy at the instant of physical contact. He isn't interested in smashing people or torquing their joints. He is studying how to completely join with the attacker. I have taken ukemi from him and I can tell you that it's like grabbing air. I equal more than two of him in body mass and he moves me effortlessly.

This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS! Anyone can cut his outward energy flow and hunker down and get immoveable. Once you collapse your energy field like that, you might as well be a rock. I had a guy at camp do that to me... he was quite pleased that I "couldn't" move him. But why would I? The moment I felt him ground out, I slid behind him and had both my hands on his face with my fingers on his eyes. When you ground out and make yourself immoveable like that you are simply making yourself a non-moving target. If you are tense you cannot protect your suki (openings). That has nothing to do with good martial arts.

People with limited understanding think that the "hard stuff" is the martial stuff. It's really the soft stuff that has the "goods". If you understand the soft stuff, power comes easily and effortlessly.

I realize that no amount of talking about this will change Szepan's mind. There are plenty of folks he can train with who will fulfill his greatest desires to be smashed and torqued. It is clearly his nature to do things this way and he has found his teachers. But others should not fall into this trap of thinking that this stuff is the highest level of Aikido.

If anyone gets a chance to train with Endo Sensei, Takeda Sensei, Saotome Sensei, Gleason Sensei or any of the other decendents of the Yamaguchi influence, please do so. It will open your eyes (if you are open to it, anyway) to what is possible.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 09-26-2006 at 11:32 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
  Reply With Quote