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Old 12-30-2013, 07:06 AM   #3
Ethan Weisgard
Dojo: Copenhagen Aiki Shuren Dojo
Location: Copenhagen
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 142
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Re: Maruyama Shuji's ("That's not my aikido," REDUX

It seems to me that in order to try to reach the level of the master, one should try to follow in his footsteps. Modern aikido often seems to be an attempt to imitate O-Sensei's final level of Aikido, sometimes without following the progression of training that O-Sensei did. There is a clear, step-by-step pedagogical system containing the three levels of training: gotai / kihon (basic. static forms), juutai / awase (blending forms) and ryutai / ki no nagare (flowing forms). In the Iwama lineage you learn to put your techniques in order using kihon, then you learn blending with the awase forms, and then you learn more flowing forms of the techniques doing ki no nagare. Suwari waza creates a very stable kihon form because it makes it so necessary to use your hips correctly - you can't use your height or weight advantage as in tachi waza. If you can do flowing forms in suwari waza, or even better hanmi handachi, then you will gain very strong stability in your hips as well as learning how to flow under quite difficult circumstances (shikko!). Suwari waza is a very important training tool, and I'm sure that this was O-Sensei's reason for emphasizing the importance of this training. Kokyu nage are high level techniques - in a sense they are O-Sensei's jiyu waza codified, or indexed so to speak. So if he felt that people were trying to train at this level but were not actually there yet, then I can imagine he would have been angry. For a music analogy: It's a lot like trying to play Coltrane sax solos when you can't do your scales yet. The same thing goes, as I see it, regarding the discussion about weapons training: it was said that O-Sensei scolded people at Hombu Dojo for training weapons - he apparently saw them doing advanced weapons forms. It seems that what he saw was that people were not settled enough in their basic weapons forms and were still trying to do the advanced level training. So it seems that he told people that they were not allowed to train weapons. This didn't mean that they shouldn't train weapons at all, but merely that they should follow the program, and start from the beginning. So in finishing, it's a good idea to try to follow the progression of training that O-Sensei himself did. Of course we can't do it as strictly or severely as he did in his time, but the pedagogical progression is there for us, and that can lead us quite a bit of the way.
In aiki,
Ethan Weisgard
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