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Old 05-23-2008, 01:35 PM   #1634
Thomas Campbell
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 407
Re: Baseline skillset

Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
With all due respect, Dennis (and my respect for you is considerable), I have watched Ueshiba in randori, in the 1935 Asahi film to be precise, and seen him stand still and have a person bounce off him. Twice. Well, that's not entirely true. He did move forward ever so slightly, just as the uke reached him.

Shioda does the same thing at about the 2:30 mark in this clip.
Phil Davison over at the Aikido Journal forum made an interesting observation the other day about watching the 1935 Asahi film at what may be closer to the actual speed it was originally filmed at, and how that may change the conclusions a viewer would draw:

Apart from martial arts, I'm a video editor by trade.

I've been watching the 1935 film from the Asahi News dojo, and I thought I noticed something wrong. The motion is wrong. They have the jerky motion that you can see in incorrectly transferred silent film.

The professional film standard is 24 frames per second (fps), however you can get acceptable motion at lower speeds. If you shoot at 18 frames per second the result looks OK, although not quite as smooth, and you use less film. Film is expensive. There is no way of knowing what speed an old film was shot at since many cameras were adjustable.

If the 1935 film was shot at 18 fps and then transferred to video at 24 fps this equates to a 33% speed increase, that's a little faster than the way Jackie Chan movies are shot.

So to test this I took the DVD apart and changed the speed to 75% (which is how the math works out) and discovered to my surprise a whole new look on the material.

I am sure the speed is correct when slowed to 75% because when viewed slower the fast movements are still very fast, and the flow of all the movements is much more natural. When seen faster everyone's footwork is almost superhumanly fast, most notably between the techniques as they are getting into position. If you watch the flapping of the hakama they look more natural at 75%.

This will require further study, but here are a few observations -

Ueshiba Sensei's kiai is audible. In two of the multiple grab techniques (e.g. the last technique in the film) on the 24fps video there is a sound like someone trod on a cat's tail. When the speed is lowered the pitch of the audio drops a little as well. The squeak becomes a rather frightening kiai.

The energy level exhibited by Ueshiba ramps up gradually during the film. The opening suwariwaza looks rather casual, the closing section looks much more energetic. Ueshiba looks like he is taking the injunction from the book Budo "Fill your body with ki" seriously.

The overall feel is quite different. The energy does not look nearly so electric. At first I was quite disappointed, but having watched it at the corrected speed I'm starting to revise my opinion. The energy exhibited is different, not necessarily worse. It's very interesting when viewed alongside Ellis Amdur's 'Hidden in pain sight' blogs.
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