Re: John Cornish retires after 52 years of aikido
Thank you for your very kind comments which were duly passed on and we had a very enjoyable and memorable lesson.
It is interesting to note one of his older students (35-40 years of study) recently said to me John Cornish's style had changed over the years. This senior student had said John Cornish's technique originally was identical to Osawa Sensei's (this student had also had the privilege of seeing Osawa in full flow), which was renowned as smooth, circular and soft. This is understandable as Cornish Sensei was Osawa's Sensei's uke and his other major influence was Tohei Sensei.
Having seen Chiba Sensei on a couple of occasions his style seems to be strong and hard, yet both Chiba Sensei and Cornish Sensei studied at the Hombu at the same time under the same masters. Chiba Sensei was an uchi deshi whilst Cornish Sensei was a soto deshi (spending all the rest of his time at the Kodokan).
They also emphasize the same points, but they each have their own individual style.
According to this senior student over the years Cornish Sensei's technique became much 'harder'. I can bear witness to this as I was drilled into the mat numerous times (I am over 200lbs and soon realized resistance is futile). He also demonstrated 'soft technique kokyu nage' and once when I was foolish I resisted only to have a very sharp atemi to a locked arm (it took two weeks for my arm to feel better). He later explained what was considered to be 'soft' was actually very strong, but should only be used when the attack is a good attack and resistance often gives opportunities to atemi. This was one of the reasons I studied under him for over 15 years was his emphasis on good strong attacks (it is after all 50% of aikido practice).
My regards and best wishes to all