Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan
I would like to say that I'm very skeptical of either/or points of view -- though I'm not saying that both/and points of view are the solution to every crisis. Let me say this then: I feel a blanket blessing is just as likely to be in the wrong as a blanket damning is likely to be in the wrong.
There are many "slogans" going around now in the thread, things that any aikidoka would be hard-pressed to disagree with -- no matter what "side" they might fall on here. For me, that is always a sign that we have stopped questioning ourselves and started just accepting our own assumptions. I mean, who would ever say, "Aikido is about smashing people or torquing their joints," or who would disagree with the position that higher levels of Aikido would entail more effortless movement, etc.????
I have made some comments akin to Mr. S's in this thread, though I have joined Charles in his keen observation regarding the (apparently) opposite side as well. Let's go back a bit… Chiba told another aikidoka (Peter) to pay attention to someone that today, for some, is on the other side of some fence. I think that right there tells you something -- that, at the least, Chiba saw things differently that folks of our generation might (i.e. folks that see Chiba as torquing the crap out of joints and/or that see Yamaguchi as soft). I do not think Chiba was thinking then or now in terms of either/or. (Note: It was asked if he was influenced by Yamaguchi. In my opinion, that would be a definite yes -- especially if you look at the young Yamaguchi, like in that clip they have of him at Hombu over at AJ.com. You got similar stances, similar angles of attack, and even similar postures concerning the torso and hip relationship.)
Now, I can concede, somewhere down the line, the training environments -- i.e. the assumptions of each training environment -- started to focus on one thing over another. BUT, at one time, folks saw what was common. I think that is what we should be trying to do as well. It is my position that slogans are one sure way to make sure no one sees what is common -- becoming blind to how folks we are now talking about saw things differently from us. What we should be doing, in my opinion, is peeling away those damn assumptions that have come to define our training environments one-way vs. another. It is the "vs." that is the problem.
Now, I am not talking about having three days of flowing practice and four days of wrist torquing practice per week. I am suggesting that folks try to hold things to a sense of the universal -- well this is what I try. A good place to start is with the slogans themselves -- since they always try to be universals. For example, "It's about placing the attacker in an off balance position in which you can strike him and he cannot respond." Who would ever disagree with this? Not me! So, I accept it and seek to bring it into my training, but now I must go on to see if I am doing it or if it is something that is happening but that has nothing to do with me -- has only to do with the assumptions of my training environment. As I said, in that video clip, and in a lot of places all over where Mr. S would not feel so at home, you do not have "placing the attacker in an off balance position…" Instead, you have some sort of subconsciously controlled "uke" putting himself where he can be taken off balance, struck, or thrown. This is not quite the same thing -- in fact, it is very different. After this, if one is not careful, you simply have this slogan, which is perfectly valid, covering up something that is invalid (e.g. running around nage for no reason). The result is an end to questioning things, which in the end leads to a misunderstanding of everything.
Of course, the same thing can be done (and should be done) with the observations rightly pointed out by Charles.
p.s. okay - that's it for me - been very bad - sorry - I'll be unable to reply - busy with studies (too busy).