Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: Crazy Ki demonstration by Barrish Sensei
If you all may humor me for a minute, so that I may make this point, what if you looked at the video and forgot about the ending of whatever waza he was doing, instead concentrating on the beginning of that waza. This is not an unusual request, after all, since we have all realized it is the beginning of every waza that determines (as a natural consequence) what happens in the end. In other words, if you get the beginning right, be it a fencing match, a knife fight, a fist fight, an arrest, whatever, you are pretty much assured that whatever happens in the end will mostly likely not only happen but happen in the best possible way. So forget for the time being how the uke are landing, their "consequential" direction of travel, their height, and/or the degree of rotation in their breakfalls. Additionally, forget trying to look at each waza as if it is a narrative of sorts, as something with a successive middle and ending. Instead, just focus on the beginnings -- noting that there is in fact a total disregard for middles and endings altogether in the demonstration -- seeing that it is really all about beginnings, about multiple beginnings.
If you look at each beginning, aside from the natural movement (with others have already rightly noted), you will see that some very high levels of "awareness" are present (my word for what I am seeing). In my opinion, one doesn't have a shot at any waza -- aiki or otherwise, but especially aiki waza -- without this level of awareness being developed. Meaning, if one wants to talk about real, this, for me, is where that debate should happen -- especially in a demonstration. In other words, just because a guy does hard, fast,and logically applied koshi nage in a demonstration, it don't mean he is real (i.e. can apply it under live, aggressive, and violent conditions). However, if there is this practitioner out there that has developed this level of awareness, heck, it almost doesn't matter what he/she does -- it's pretty much guaranteed to work (even doing nothing). So, from that perspective, it's real.
I suggest starting with the blindfolded demonstration -- seeing how the timing and placement of his beginnings (e.g. when/where entering, when/where striking, when/where turning, etc.) is actually occurring at a level rarely (if ever) seen before. That skill alone, I would suggest is, is enough to make any martial artist, whatever their slant, say "Whoa!" From the blindfold demonstration, go back to the other demonstrations -- where he is doing jiyu waza -- and you will see this same example of skill, time and time again.
Based on the uke reactions, I feel this is what they are trying for, and actually developing. I think, once they get this, they sort of don't care what is actually happening. Perhaps we should not either.
As a side note: Having our slant on Aikido be geared toward law enforcement applications, I would say in some respects we are at the opposite side of where Barrish is on the Aikido spectrum. However, not only for the reasons mentioned above, I can admire what he has accomplished with his practice -- even being motivated by it -- because I can also chime in with Peter here. I too have worked with one of his students in the past. His Aikido is not at all like mine -- not at all. However, it is very clear that he is very skilled and I would allow him to teach at my dojo any day of the week. He has that same natural movement -- moves very much like his teacher (me seeing Barrish for the first time here in this video just now). Additionally, he is one of the nicest gentlemen I have ever met.
Last edited by senshincenter : 01-02-2007 at 08:29 PM.