Michael Fooks wrote:
And yeah Erik, I was going to mention the koichi thing. It weirds me out when caucasians take on too much japophilia - taking on a japanese name is at the height. We're not japanese so why pretend to be? It's one step away from LARPing.
This used to bother me a little too. My roomate thought Barrish Sensei was Japanese when he heard him speak over the phone because he spoke with a Japanese manner to it. I've heard him speak in a very typical "US" accent as well. To me it makes more sense when you consider the fact that he's a trained Shinto priest who inherited the Ideta Aikijujitsu Ryu from a Japanese man...I've known plenty of people who adopted the mannerisms of those they deal with most commonly, and I've found myself adopting the verbage of those I'm around, though to a lesser extent perhaps. Personally, I see nothing wrong with things like this because ultimately they mean very little, if anything important at all.
As for the video, in general I'd say interactions like that are more about developing the sense of connection (and a subsequent responsiveness) to tori than they are about making people move however you want. Sensei Barrish has described waza as a sort of dialogue...to me this denotes responsiveness on both "sides" of the interaction...or to quote some, both should have "aliveness." Certainly people latch on to particular aspects of training and make them more than they should. I tend to be a "tanker," probably because I tend to focus on ukemi, but I've seen sensei get frustrated when i simply fell down. I lost my balance, but he seemed to think I shouldn't have fallen so quickly and was plainly annoyed by it.
His is a style that doesn't suit everyone. It is highly spiritual in orientation and for some reason that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Having grown up in a trailer park in south Everett, I can appreciate those who are put off by the "new-age"-like quality of kotodama, and the like, but such things are not necessarily exclusive to budo. I don't know where it falls on the continuum of good and bad self-defense, but I've benefited greatly from the training and have some outside validation which tells me I'm learning something both usefull and profound.