View Single Post
Old 07-02-2002, 05:34 PM   #11
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Kihon Waza

Originally posted by Steven
Hi George,

Help me out here partner. When you speak or basics, what to you mean? Are you speaking of the balance, hip and elbow power that is generated from the way we teach basic motion?
(Tai no henko and hiriki no yosei). Or more of a syllabus type of thing?

As you may know, we start with our basic posture which is foreign to a lot of Aikidoist, however everything we do flows from that. Being able to move in and out of this posture without balance checks is extremely important.

Or ... is this more of how we use our kihon dosa to teach body movement? Meaning, our kihon dosa uses the same posture as our stance, however the distance between the feet our greater and the hand position is different. However, the centerline and focused engergy remains the same.

Anyway, if you could elaborate on this, this would help me understand a bit more why Ikeda Sensei along with yourself, would be open to studying our basics.

Kind regards ...
When I first moved to Seattle after training with Saotome Sensei I was a Nidan. When Bookman Sensei came back from Japan and settled in Seattle I trained half time with him and half time with Mary Heiny Sensei. I found that Bookman Sensei had extremely clean and precise kihon waza. I got a chance to train with other students of Chiba Sensei and I drew the following conclusion: At an equivalent level their students tended to be more precise and cleaner in their execution of the kihon waza. They were very good at doing the same technique the same way each time with power and precision. But what we had in the ASU was the ability to link techniques together. When one technique didn't work we immediately moved into another. Also, when a partner tried to change the energy of his attack we had been taught that there were many variations and were capable of running a technique in any of four or five ways depending on what was appropriate. The Chiba students at the same level weren't as good at that.

So I found that I needed to go back and clean up the details on my basics which I spent about a year doing. I think Saotome Sensei expects that anyone seriously training will find out what areas aren't working as well as others and will fix the problems. He didn't teach in the step by step progession that Chiba Sensei did.

So when you see the Yoshinkan folks do their Aikido you will always see very solid foundational basics. They have a very specific training methoid to accomplish this and I think that Ikeda sensei was recommending that we in the ASU could use a bit of exposure to that method simply to balance off those things that we aren't as strong at as other styles. That doesn't mean that what we are doing isn't good.

We hosted a jo seminar at one point with Nishioka Sensei from Japan. He was teaching us how to do the basic strikes of jodo. There was a student visiting who was quite experienced at aikijo. This person had been trained in a dojo where every detail was drilled and little variation between students was acceptable. Our students were able to make a creditable effort to get what the teacher was doing even though it was quite different from what they usually did. But the guest was unable to make the shift from the technqiue as he had been taught in their dojo. Nishioka Sensei demonstrated over and over for this student but they literally could not see what the differences were between what they already new and what he was teaching. That was when I saw the benefit of training the way we did. Our students were never told there was only one way to do a technique. They were quite used to seeing several variations whenever we did any technique. So they were pretty good at seeing new things without filtereing through their preconceptions.

So each methodology has its advantages and disadvantages. Too much structure and you can get great basics without broad application and flexibility in technique. Too much emphasis on spontaneous application and free variation can lead to lack of precision and sloppy or weak technique. So Ikeda Sensei was saying we can learnb from each other so that none of us end up with areas in which we are deficient.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 07-02-2002 at 05:36 PM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
  Reply With Quote