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Old 01-27-2011, 09:23 AM   #168
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Diana Frese wrote: View Post
Perhaps I can get away with re-entering this controvery, because in scrolling down and up I saw the quote from Lao Tzu and wonder if the blade is handy should I pick it up.

I've had no problem with anything you posted. I did just want to let you know that video looks a lot different on a fast computer than on a slow one.

I once visited a dojo where the students felt thretened because I actually struck with my sword where they were standing. This scared the bejeezus out of them. Then I noticed that whenever any of them attacked with a bokken, they actually attacked far wide of where nage was standing. And nage, therefore, developed a very poor sense of evading a sword strike.

The teacher stepped in to demonstrate and caught the "blade" of the bokken with his thumb and looked at the class as if to say, "Well, it doesn't work every time..." He would have had his thumb cut cleanly off.

So there was something fundamentally wrong with what he was teaching about sword evasion. It worked fine and looked good if the student swung wide (and if the observer failed to note that). But when the sword strike was true, the evasion was disastrous for nage. It was a serious problem with their fundamental understanding of irimi.

In Tony's case, it looked to be almost exactly the same error (1:45). And that's just in "ordinary" aikido training, which he claims is superior to IP training.

Well, show me some really good unarmed aikido if you want to say it's better than IP. When it isn't even really good "ordinary" aikido, it leaves me with a lot of doubt. And when that is all backed up with the evil eye....gimme a break!

Look at 2:21 for his version of a real IP skill: where Ueshiba and Shioda do the same thing without hands, he does something I guess he considers "just as good" by shoving with two hands. It'll pass if the observer doesn't know or doesn't notice. Ueshiba and Shioda, using IP, receive uke's force directly into their shoulders, to the ground, and rebound it straight into uke, so that he propels himself up and back. In Tony's case, nothing of the sort happens. It's all done with his shove and is accomplished by timing alone. If uke had been a bit earlier, Tony couldn't have successfully shoved him.

For serious knife defense errors, see how the blade is left at nage's throat, uncontrolled, time after time while nage develops the techniques: from 2:26 to 2:31. Nage does well with what she was taught. I just hope she never tries that in an actual situation of that kind. In this case, you have to look to the teacher.

Also, see 2:52.

I could say that's a mere randori error. Everyone does that...but it happens more if the fundamental instruction is riddled with subtle flaws. Strangely enough, IP training develops very subtle awareness...attention to small details, in other words. Also, see 3:02. I see that she actually is attempting to work the side of the blade, but it looks unneccessarily risky. And again, stopping it at 3:02, her hand is actually wrapping around the blade.

Okay. Emergency, life or death in a real situation, you might end up doing that unavoidably...but to train someone to do it is inexcusable. Again, she's pretty nicely skilled in general, but she is being taught some seriously dangerous mistakes and it may get her killed before she understands that and has a chance to correct it.

Also, see 3:05 and 3:41.

Overall, it looks like generally decent run-of-the-mill aikido, but Tony is no Dan Harden or Mike Sigman. And just as there are some dangerous gaps between the mats on his floor, there are some seriously dangerous gaps in what he's teaching. Ironically, it's a great analogy that everyone simply ignores those dangers the same as they ignore the gaps between the mats, skimming over them as if they aren't there. Just as those mats need to be safely secured for good training, the holes in the technique and teaching need to be taken care of before he steps out and criticizes others.

And for a teacher to come up and say repeatedly that far more capable people than he are "selling snake oil," well, it speaks for itself.

I hate to be so hard on Tony, but I have more concern for the lives and safety of his students than for Tony's ego.

Best to you.


"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"
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