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Old 02-20-2007, 03:04 PM   #618
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 910
Re: Baseline skillset

Erick Mead wrote: View Post
O Sensei was speaking, not of "non-opposition to natural laws" that lets balls bounce, but of "absolute non-resistance" to the physical force of an actual opponent or attacker:
There is nothing in this that remotely hints at "bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground. He specifically speaks of avoidance, of being "outside" the effective power of the opponent, of the opponent becoming powerless -- just as Inaba Sensei said, "Making his power "Zero." He is describing a different set of principles.
Erick, I really think you're missing some genuinely great stuff in that article you linked to. It's so obvious to me, that the fact that you don't get it doesn't give me much hope that even my pointing it out to you will help you see it, but perhaps a few others (or perhaps you) will.

First let's talk about your often quoted, "absolute nonresistance". Here's the line from the article:
B: Then, in that sense, there is Aiki in Judo, too, since in Judo you synchronize yourself with the rhythm of your opponent. If he pulls, you push; if he pushes, you pull. You move him according to this principle and make him lose his balance and then apply your technique.

O Sensei: In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.
So yes, OSensei does use what is translated as "absolute nonresistance". However, I don't think you quite get what (IMHO) he really means here. In fact, I think you're making a similar mistake to the interviewer in his followup question:

B: Does that mean ~o no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)

O Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.
Avoiding an attack does not equate to absolute non-resistance, nor does intercepting an attack pre-emptively, nor does using an attacker's force against them. All of these scenarios still accept an attacker and a defender. OSensei is claiming that Aikido is something other than that, specifically "a partner you control". Wow, did anyone else just catch that? That doesn't sound much like blending with an attack. Unfortunately, it's my opinion that this is way too far over the heads of most people. I'm more interested in what got OSensei to this headspace than the headspace itself. Like my old guitar teacher used to say, "You wanna sound like VanHalen, you gotta learn Clapton."

So let's look at some other parts of this thing. Earlier you stated that, "There is nothing in this that remotely hints at "bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground. " I call shenanigans…
B: Then, does that mean that you were associated with Tenryu for some period?

O Sensei: Yes. He stayed in my house for about three months.

B: Was this in Manchuria?

O Sensei: Yes. I met him when we were making the rounds after a celebration marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the government of Manchuria. There was a handsome looking man at the party and many people prodding him on with such comments as, "This Sensei has tremendous strength. How about testing yourself against him?" I asked someone at my side who this person was. It was explained to me that he was the famous Tenryu who had withdrawn from the Sumo Wrestler's Association. I was then introduced to him. Finally, we ended up pitting our strength against each other. I sat down and said to Tenryu, "Please try to push me over. Push hard, there's no need to hold back." Since I knew the secret of Aikido, I could not be moved an inch. Even Tenryu seemed surprised at this. As a result of that experience he became a student of Aikido. He was a good man.
(Emphasis mine) Quite frankly, that doesn't sound much like avoiding the line of the attack, but does sound an awful lot like, ""bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground." Further…

C: Were there any episodes while you were at the Toyama School?

O Sensei: Strength contests?...One incident took place, I believe, before the episode with the military police. Several captains who were instructors at the Toyama School invited me to test my strength against theirs. They all prided themselves in their abilities, saying things like: "I was able to lift such-and-such a weight," or "I broke a log so many inches in diameter". I explained to them, "I don't have strength like yours, but I can fell people like you with my little finger alone. I feel sorry for you if I throw you, so let's do this instead." I extended my right arm and rested the tip of my index finger on the end of a desk and invited them to lay across my arm on their stomachs. One, two, then three officers by themselves over my arm, and by that time everyone became wide-eyed. I continued until six men lay over my arm and then asked the officer standing near me for a glass of water. As I was drinking the water with my left hand everyone was quiet and exchanging glances.
Again, not a lot of avoidance of a line of attack, but for lack of a better phrase, ""bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground." What else is in here?

B: Was he the same Mihamahiro of Takasago Beya Sumo Wrestling Association?

O Sensei: Yes. He was from Kishu Province. When I was staying at Shingu in Wakayama, Mihamahiro was doing well in the Sumo ranks. He had tremendous strength and could lift three rods which weighed several hundred pounds. When I learned Mihamahiro was staying in town, I invited him to come over. While we were talking Mihamahiro said, "I've also heard that you, Sensei, possess great strength. Why don't we test our strength?" "All right. Fine. I can pin you with my index finger alone," I answered. Then I let him push me while I was seated. This fellow capable of lifting huge weights huffed and puffed but could not push me over. After that, I redirected his power away from me and he went flying by. As he fell I pinned him with my index finger, and he remained totally immobilized. It was like an adult pinning a baby. Then I suggested that he try again and let him push against my forehead. However, he couldn't move me at all. Then I extended my legs forward, and, balancing myself, I lifted my legs off the floor and had him push me. Still he could not move me. He was surprised and began to study Aikido.
Again, it sure sounds like he's ""bouncing" incoming forces from the ground back to the attacker, or interposing your own structure between the force and the ground."

Now, let's make a list of modern aikido teachers who we feel would match the same feats against comparable partners? Yeah, that's about the same list I have… And that's why so many of us are looking elsewhere, because this is the kind of stuff that people like Akuzawa are doing right now and they're willing to show people what they did to get there.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
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