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Old 04-28-2010, 12:55 PM   #7
Scott Harrington
Location: Wilmington, De
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 86
Re: "Transparent Power" Book

Transparent Power is a book that made me TOTALLY mad, upset and a lot p***ed mad , frustratingly mad. Ranting to the wife mad. However, I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in Aikido and Daito-ryu. Huh??!?!

First reading
-- I wanted to smack Sagawa upside the head but he's dead and also I would never have been able to do that without flying across the room. Basically, he said you can't learn Ďaiki' for two reasons. The first is you haven't trained with him (and oh, by the way it was really hard to get to train with him besides Japan being far away and so on.) So there. The second reason is even if you had a chance to train with me you would never train as hard as Sagawa did so forget it. So there.

After nearly throwing the book across the room and several profane statements, I took a break, looked at the pictures of him in the book and sulked. Waited a week. Sulked some more. Then I read it again.

Second reading -- Once again, it clearly comes out that Takeda Sokaku was the SOURCE of "aiki' and while neat historical debating points, he clearly could do "aiki" and Sagawa was lucky to train under him and discover the first crack in the teaching wall at 17 which would lead to his mastering Daito-ryu in all its parts.

And then it hit me. Hidden in all the paragraphs of "you will never get it" were clues. Some blatant, some obscure, and probably some still hidden, but there were things to do to begin to learn "aiki" - if you did certain things.

I was really P***ed now. Why hadn't he just written out the clues, why hadn't other teachers told me this stuff, why did I give a damn? But, I went to the dojo, tried some stuff, did some drills and training at home, compared it to other stuff instructors in the IS world had mentioned and slightly, slowly, I could get a glimpse of the elusive "aiki". Couldn't do it but I could see something.

Third reading -- Just reviewed the historical stuff mentioned about Daito-ryu and Takeda Sokaku, along with Sagawa teaching, training and getting better. Good stuff, which didn't upset me.

Fourth reading -- Back to the clues, I have adopted some of them. Sagawa was a physical-fitness nut but even he realized that specialized exercise and drills were the road to better "aiki" for anyone interested. The vessel needs to be constructed to hold the art.

In a weird way, after you get past the "nah nah nah, you can't do this" Sagawa sensei is actually quite positive if you are really interested. An elder Aikidoka friend (in his 70's) bought the book after reading in it that Sagawa said his best gains were at the same 70's mark. He talks about if you find a better way, don't think about lost time, just start doing the better way. Duh!

Kimura sensei, who basically transcribed and edited this work, did a great job. Sure, I'd love for him to say, "It's done like this," but I don't think he can. Takeda Sokaku was a bad teacher (whether by choice or ability is a neat conundrum.) There is much that can only be learned by being shown and not by reading a book.

So, put up with some frustration and read this --several times. It is not really transparent but quite dense.

Scott Harrington
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