Dojo: Wasabi Dojo
Location: Houston, TX
Join Date: Mar 2013
Re: Tomiki Kenji's Attribution of Ueshiba's Skill to "Muscular Training"
Taking a huge step of ... something, I'll try to put myself into Tomiki's boots and answer the previous question, trying to conceive of his background in education, physical training, and his analytically and rationality-based mindset, if you'll allow me that luxury.
And, I'll slip into anecdote to explain what I'm going to say. Sorry in advance.
If you folks have ever had the pleasure to train with Howard Popkin (daito-ryu) guy from West Hempstead, NY) you'll be able to immediately know where I'm going. No Jun, it's not daito oriented, it's aiki.
I went to an aiki-related clinic in OKC (Windsong Dojo) at which Howard was the principal instructor. He was talking primarily about the relationship between his daito stuff and our own Tomiki stuff, and the cross-over in places and differences in others, like one point of pressure/control vs. our aikido's (usual) 2, and judo's (usual) 3. He had the opportunity to warm everyone up one morning, and he dicided to take us through the internal stuff he'd been doing as learned from Dan harden for a couple of years and enjoying. Tough stuff, actually. Yes... isometrics.
People tend to poo-poo isometrics for some reason, I don't know why. They can leave an Olympic-level athelete lying on the floor like a beached trout in 3 to 4 minutes, you know.
Anyway, there we are, about 50 of us scattered about the mat, doing these things which are sort of hindu-ish, yoga-ish I suppose, not having ever done anything hindu-ish in exercise, and only watching cute girls doing yoga and thinking "You ain't gonna catch me doing that," so I skipped it except for the pleasant spectating.
So, we finish this seminar, and in the afterglow of a fun 3-day deal, a few of the hard cases are sitting around in the Windsong anteroom off the mat room, and I ask something, probably dumb, about "I know that stuff we did was probably good for us, in a fitness sense, but is it useful in a defense sense, other than just - a better developed body defends itself better - sense?" Howard laughed, jumped up and said, "Well, you're not a little guy, do you think you can knock me down?"
OK, anyone with any sense and more than a year on the mat knows that's a bear trap waiting to spring, right? So, I sort of demurred, and Howard just laughed, "No, not like a scrap. Let's do this thing. I stand here and don't do anything, and you come up and push me down. Hell, just try to push me back."
So, I look at him, and think, "Really?" Howards no willowy guy, he's ... maybe 5'9" or so, and not so slim, so maybe he's pushing 2 bills, and I'm more than a bit more in both directions, so I think, "Something is about to happen to me."
So, I ask, "Do we need to go out on the mat?"
He laughs at me again, and says, "Nah, you just put your hand on my chest somewhere, and shove, and I'll try not to let you move me."
(Ratio is 6'3 & 225# vs. 5'9" & ~195#)
Picture Howard standing with his arms at his sides, stance is square. As far as I can (and anyone else, I asked afterwards), and he is just grinning at me, waiting.
He says, "no punching, that's cheating. I've only been doing this a couple of years." I grunt, and put my hand on his left shoulder, heel of my palm against his clavicle, and start to put my push on him.
It didn't feel like "nothing" was happening, I could feel his body doing... something, but he didn't move, he just stood there grinning.
I think about it, my not doing anything. I contemplate the angle I'm pushing at, and since I'm taller, I think, "Maybe he's dropping it into his heels since I'm giving him a down vector..." and shift my knees, dropping my waist to push parallel to the floor.
I shift my hand to push on his sternum, then relax and move back to farther outside his clavicle.
"Are you going to really try?" he says.
So, I laugh, and give him the whole thing, driving forward off the back leg, unbendable arm, exhalation on the body drop, small cough of power release.
My arm starts to tremble, lower back is starting to shake, and my drive leg is telling me that it'd like to quit and go get a beer.
I drop my head forward, finishing with a complete bridging of my body into Howard's chest at what is approaching a 45-degree angle, and then he laughed again.
"Check this out, it'll blow your mind."
And then he started picking up first one foot, then the other. I am not kidding. If I'd been watching it on TV, I'd have been saying, "Oh, that's BS. The guy really isn't pushing, he's just standing there." But ... I wasn't.
So, I said all of that to say this. Was what Howard was going to me, demonstrating some IP which could be used to hold his position a "trick" or was it "useful?" I've no idea. Do I think that someone who could use that at need "make it useful" in a self-defense context, you bet your bananas.
So, now, to Tomiki's statements, first about isometrics, then about tricks of stage performers.
Does it matter?