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Old 12-03-2011, 06:25 PM   #32
Ken McGrew
Dojo: Aikido at UAB
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 202
Re: O Sensei observation


You once again brought ASU into the debate after the history of your doing so. That was with a certain intent in mind.

I respect your clever use of language here. If I disagree with you then I admit I'm incompetent. If I don't agree O Sensei is demonstrating the secret of in yo ho then I'm incompetent. You can watch O Sensei in slow motion and see that he does a variety of things. Not every part of his body was always being put to a crucial purpose in every single situation.

Ledyard Sensei has chimed in apparently in support of your post. He presents himself as the final authority on what Saotome Sensei teaches. Clearly he has lots of experience and a certain take on things. Other teachers equally so have a different take but wont post on here for obvious reasons. The reality is that Sensei teaches a multitude of responses. It can be documented in videos. He also describes Aiki as blending with energy and intent. This can be painstakingly documented by quoting him. Ask him if he accepts the various claims that you and others are advancing. Ask him if he has changed his views about the things he wrote, said in the videos, or said in person. I dont think he has changed his views. I hear he spoke about these things this weekend in Chicago. Aikido is not one thing. It is not even always about connection. Usually, sure, but not always. It is not mostly about irimi. It is equally about tenkan. It's about take Musu aiki.

When I look at videos of people who are reportedly doing something based on in yo ho that is not or at least less about the mainstream notions of aiki I can see even greater dependence on the central importance of timing, leading, blending, and so forth, because they are more committed to the choice they made than they would have to be in larger circle Aikido. I also see highly cooperative ukemi. For example, Uke holding on. I also see certain patterns of Ukemi. People think that Uke responds naturally but it is culturally conditioned. If you travel you experience the variety of ukemi out there. So really I see little that is superior. Just different. Everything has strengths and weaknesses. As the situation changes you must change. This is the primary lesson of kumitachi 4. By the way, baseball bat attackes are real and they are big.

It's good to explore a variety of approaches so you have more to draw upon. Internal stuff is also fine. All the claims that are made are problematic. As if IS were the only way Etc. As if all the things that O Sensei said suddenly don't apply.

Why not pick a video clip of something you like and then describe what you see both Uke and Nage at each stage. Then others can respond if they see the same thing.

Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Ken: Have you understood yet that I'm not attacking you? I'm not using my "association with the ASU" to say anything about you, good or bad. I've made no claims about you or your practice at all, and if you're reading my posts that way, you're misreading them. I'm using your posts as an opportunity to meditate on my practice and what it suggests about the relationship between the IP/IS work and traditional Aikido, in the hopes that this might be useful to someone--possibly even you. In the above post, I was celebrating my discovery of the stream of Aikido shared by Gleason and Saotome, and sourced back to Yamaguchi. You didn't enter into it except in a "Huh. This is odd" kind of way.

Here's an attack if you want one: You can't possibly be as incompetent as your posts suggest. No dan grade in the ASU can possibly believe O-Sensei's free hand is "dangling" in any of his techniques. No one can seriously believe the remarks you call attacks were intended as such. I've found dan grades in the ASU to be strong, soft, centered, and connected. I'd be very surprised if you were the exception.

So quit fighting with me, okay? I'd be perfectly happy to discuss timing, blending, and positioning with you if you'd just put your dukes down.

George Sensei: Thanks for your thoughtful post. Your reflections on how Saotome has addressed these concepts is very helpful.

I agree with everything you said about the spiritual aspect of the large movements. It's my belief also that O-Sensei simply didn't separate the martial and spiritual streams of his thought.

But I'd argue that in the same way, the large movements practice both aspects. When I do a big, open movement to receive an attack, I'm practicing an attitude of mind towards conflict, and ultimately towards my interaction with the world. But I'm also (these days) practicing the IS concept of "opening" the body, using that motion within myself to unbalance uke. And that's the same motion I'd be using in a smaller or static situation. So I don't see any conflict either on the martial or on the spiritual side.

Last edited by Ken McGrew : 12-03-2011 at 06:40 PM.
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