Re: What is AIKI ? - fantastic video
Michael, I understand where you come from. Believe me, I've not the patience for a lot of crap that goes around in the martial arts world.
To give you a perspective, I met Hakim sensei in 2001 in Singapore. Back then I was practising Hombu mould aikikai. During those days, either you fall or I break something of yours. I sought Hakim sensei in Singapore because he came with a contingent of commando looking dudes. Apparently they were the Indonesian Presidential Guards. At that point he was teaching them and the military police for a period of several years.
So I thought it would be fun to see what an army coach had to offer. He took me by surprise. Very soft, very elusive and ultimately impossible to resist. That is my best description.
In 2001, he hasn't even begun to exhibit these 'hocus pocus aiki' aikido yet. At that point in his life, his background was Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Yoshinkan, Daitoryu and Aikikai. It was after that he also studied under a lineage of Shin Shin Toitsu.
For a fact, most of the 'trick's' that he performs are basic Daitoryu Aiki stuff. Its very standard fare if you youtube Daitoryu a lot. Big difference here, uke doesn't fall into line because of anticipation of pain. They fall in line because it just happens. Don't ask me why.
As for the no touch. Its not waza. You don't feel like you get hit by an invisible force or something like that. He's not manipulating you remotely. Its just akin to you taking a step unto floor that suddenly isn't there. Its not magic.
Can I do it? Hardly. That's why I'm training as often as I can. He lives in another country after all and I don't print money on trees. Can his students do it. Yes. Several of them are able to do it, albeit to a lesser degree.
I'm not here as a messenger of truth or his Publicity Manager... I only cry foul if what someone says is different from what I understand it to be. There are no words that can teach you Aikido. You need to feel it yourself. Similarly here, no words I say will convince you. You are welcome to try it and make your own decision. A lot of people have done that.
Trust me, even in his country many people call him crazy. And this is Indonesia, where the spiritual elements of martial arts especially in Silat is a given.
With regards to Takeda sensei. Yes, sensei Hakim has attended classes at Takeda's home dojo. But he is not formally a student of his. That in itself is rare. Takeda sensei also visited Hakim sensei's dojo last year or the year before and that too is rare.
I too just trained with a sensei who was a long standing Yamaguichi student, just this couple of days back. No doubt, his students do not all feel or do aikido the way Yamaguichi does. Tissier, Endo, Takeda... they are all different yes? Is there a point? Osensei's students all came out different too. Yet, in what Takeda sensei does, I can see some similarities with Yamaguichi. So too in Endo sensei. Everyone picks up what comes easiest to them first. Takeda's art is soft and inviting. Do not mistake it for impractical. As for the no touch performances that he does... its been taken out of context.
What I'm going to say next is probably going to get me flamed for eternity...
Takeda sensei probably has hundreds of students under his various dojo's. Canada, Germany, Japan and Australia... that I can think off the top of my head. Maybe 90% of his students don't understand what he's doing and maybe only 1% can actually do what he does. Who said learning Aiki was easy? Is teaching it any easier?
The other thing is... if teaching Aiki is hard and learning it is harder, if that remains the emphasis of Aikido, there won't be many students left. That doesn't augur well for an international organisation you would think.
If I digress, I apologise. I just write as the thoughts come out. Anyway, Sensei Hakim teaches that we should make Spirit the center of our practice.
Aiki no Kokoro. The heart of Aiki.