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Old 05-19-2009, 01:00 PM   #56
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Hi guys
The way we train here is more in line with -I suspect- the way-Takeda taught to concrentate on the body first. This results in a body that cannot be taken down without great effort- sacrificing your body. I think it is the reason that he produced some incredibly powerful men and Ueshiba-by comparison never did.
I think Takeda taught what he knew, Ueshiba knew more than he taught
I think the goal was to tell your inner sutdents to concentrate on their bodies. The end result should be powerfully evident on contact The body is to be trained to be supported by giving a negative with a supported positive, in many directions at once, rotationally, front and back, up and down, over and under. For us there is simply no way, or any need for us to give two negatives or two positives and throw ourselves. It ceases to have any meaning to do so. I would have to actually concentrate and make myself fall apart inside in order to fall down like that. What is revealed when training your body this way is THEIR center. And we find they are the ones who are ever increasingly revealing their centers to us. On contact their centera are open and can be manipulated. Since all of this is and can be incorporated into daily training its seems axiomatic to all that is aiki and all that is aikido.

Naturally I think it is a better way to train, it doesn't involve just the exercises or simple standing, or breath power only, it is a combination of all of that in movement. In my view it moves far closer to Ueshiba's goals of having the ability to cancel out real aggression than most of what I have seen these days. Of course it will alter the training model for most dojo not to take ukemi that way. I know of several aikido teachers who have said "That's it! I don't care what anyone says" and are bringing this training into the requirements of their dojo training from now on. I think it is going to make them and their students very capable players across the board against any art in a far shorter time frame-as I have always said it would. Again, it is worth stating it is also healing and healthy for the body, well into old age and continues to build in power when most people are starting to fall apart.
Again, it IS ukemi -just of a different order.
I have just spent the last five days with Ushiro Sensei (Shindoryu). One of the powerful things (one of many) that I came away with was what Dan mentioned about one's energy being able to be utilized simultaneously in many directions. With Ushiro Sensei, it is like a 360 degree force field that he can utilize to disperse your attack and also to make his own attack "unreadable." His system centers on the use of Kata (solo training) to develop the body skills that Dan talks about. His utilization of kata is very much like what Dan describes in his approach to training and is far removed from the "kata shell" that exists in many other training paradigms. Each movement in a kata has different levels of "tests" against attacks so as to verify one's progress.

I personally do view Aikido waza as a form of kata. Within each "waza" is a set of body movements, based upon certain principles. These "waza" have different levels and component parts can be tested to verify one's progress. I also view ukemi as a kata and use it accordingly, to help raise the level of my own development.

I greatly appreciate the efforts of those (Dan included) who are actively exploring different ways of addressing the development of Aiki skills. I look forward to having an opportunity to experience Dan's training paradigm. I can say that Ushiro Sensei has a paradigm that works as well and it exists within a traditional approach. I can vouch for the success of this teaching paradigm because I have worked with Sensei's senior students and can attest to the development of Aiki skills in their execution of their art.

Marc Abrams