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Old 09-21-2009, 11:05 AM   #20
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Ellis, Mark
Interesting comments

I personally find the comments of his research after the Ayabe period (with Takeda) being taken up and focused with defeating Judo as almost hilarious (in a good way). He learns aiki, and in the process keeps taking it out for a spin and testing it on Judo guys
He experiments, trains with koryu and changes things even more, then he quits and goes his own way. It is so familiar to me that it is almost surreal.

The Judo experiments, methods and conclusions are not as “original” as many here were led to believe either. Interestingly, or should I say not surprisingly Ueshiba’s teacher Takeda Sokaku used Judo guys and once made a very public display of defeating a bunch of 5 and 6th dans. I covered some of my opinions in that "Judo counters" thread here on aikiweb. Suffice to say that some of the DR people (current or former) reading that thread found it interesting to read of Ueshiba’s magical “discovery” of things he was taught that are still currently taught in DR (I am not panning Ueshiba here- but rather the people who write these sorts of articles). What Ueshiba was actually stating were several rather well known DR principles that were taught to him and were taught then as now. So, getting to read them as either his “discovery” or his “research” or being asked to believe that he had to go elsewhere to discover something he was already shown is simply ridiculous. Of course someone without any understanding of DR could say “This exists over here and over there too. So therefore HE must have, or could have or needed to go over there to get it.” Yet here we all sit reading Ueshiba-a former DR teacher- reciting DR 101 and people saying “Wow what a genius.”
It may be genius all right. But at least that portion (no not all)- I will assign to the one who deserves the credit, Takeda Sokaku.

But this leads us to another point. Is it, or can it be taught today? More’s the point, is Ellis’s idea of how to become them or even surpass them valid? If so how?
Just who and what are the current people in DR doing?
Who is fighting with “aiki-in the body” instead of waza?
Who can demonstrate aiki against a myriad of MAers in open sparring?
How about with weapons; traditional or newer ones against men well versed in them?
Again, I think there is a different level of understanding to be had in going through the process and coming out the other side. One that is easily dismissed, or talked over on the web or in the written word but cannot be so easily dismissed in person.

Time and training -or time-in, in their training
Ueshiba went from cowering and crying in the corner in front of Takeda’s aiki in 1915 to the makings of a budo giant after 1922. That’s just seven years of part time work with Takeda and full time work on his own! Seven years folks!
This is stunning to focus on. We need to take it…and chew on it before swallowing, and think it through.
Let’s get off the “worship the budo giants wagon” and living in days gone by and consider what is possible. Consider what is happening today. Right now!
Consider the changes that are happening in people training this right now.
We have heard the same words from many teachers in Aikido today that are virtual echoes from the past.

“I had my eyes opened to true Budo”
“After 40 years I can’t believe I missed it.”
“I’ve never felt this level of aiki power before.”
“No one teaches this directly.”
“Grabbing you is like grabbing an iron bar”
How can you disappear and hit like a hammer at the same time?”
The point is that these comments; echoes from the early 1900’s, are happening again…today!
Now consider that many of these people are improving at a much faster rate than they ever thought possible. Consider that some of them are seeing an immediate result in their practice. Again, consistent with Takeda and Ueshiba they are stating that the aiki makes all these weird waza happen that otherwise would not, and could not, happen before. Further, that they can move much more efficiently in a free environment undeterred by their opponent. All this from training with a lesser light, a virtual nobody in aiki. Now, imagine, training for hours every day, with Takeda standing there and explaining real details of what is going on the in the body to you day after day, then offering detailed solo training with descriptions of what to do!

I am not as much concerned with Ueshiba’s progress during 1922 but in just the few years that followed. He was taught and he was a diligent student.
You may freely dismiss him a genius and all that and think you will never be able to do what he did and therefore stop trying. I don’t believe it for a minute. In fact I would have loved to have challenged him, Takeda and anyone else in the aiki arts just using…aiki. Why? I am looking past them and daring to believe. I think we need to stop looking at their skill level as unattainable and focus more on what IS possible.
As Ellis put it “How to be them”…in so many steps.
It is not going to "found" in going to the dojo and taking ukemi and going through the ranks. That's for the Budo wallpaper you use to experiment on.

Last edited by DH : 09-21-2009 at 11:13 AM.
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