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Old 12-12-2000, 04:15 PM   #78
torokun
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, CO
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 11
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Ai symbol Re: Re: What Aikido Lacks...

Magma: First I'd like to say -- great post. I appreciate being able to talk about these things reasonably... Thanks for your opinions. I'd like to ask you about some of the things you suggest...

Quote:
Magma wrote:
...let's say... ...have I done aikido? Sure, you can't nicely categorize it in terms of attack and responding technique ("leading cross-punch kokyunage"), but the aiki principles were there, and I WAS still doing aikido.
Yes. That's right, but basically in my post, I was referring to "aikido" as a martial system that in general teaches certain techniques and uses certain methods of training. I do agree that you can handle far more various situations than those that you specifically practice during an aikido class, but why not teach these in class too? Of course, they're not the fundamentals, which i agree must be mastered first, but later, why should teachers not incorporate more various attacks into class instruction?

To answer your questions about where I've trained, I've trained in D.C. a lot with Saotome Sensei and those that teach for him, as well as in Boulder with Ikeda Sensei, and in Baltimore with Chuck Weber Sensei (5 dan), and others. I've been to seminars by these teachers, and sometimes they branch out from these fundamentals into boxing punches, or something like that, but it's not a part of everyday practice. That's all I'm saying.

Quote:

The bottom line on this one is if you don't see enough realism or variation in your attacks, make up your mind that you will train on these things, or ask about these things.
I think that this is a great suggestion, and I don't think that I'm really hung up on technique per se. This would be my answer to anyone who were to ask me the same question... But when they ask "why don't we do this in class?" I don't have an answer. I've tried to work with people and practice these things during class, but even yudansha don't like it because they think we should practice what the teacher is teaching -- a respectable attitude, but again, I must now go outside of class to practice these things...


Quote:

The bottom line on this one is that I would suspect that you haven't been in aikido long enough to grasp the scope or genius of its footwork "system" as you call it. Regardless of your time spent training, I would recommend Ikeda Sensei's tape on Iriminage, as it breaks down footwork into manageable tools that can be put together in more complex arrangements later.
OK, I may have over-emphasized this point. I have been taught specific footwork for a number of techniques, including a direct iriminage, some kokyunage, tenchinage, etc. But there are some areas that I've asked about and never gotten a clear answer on, such as the footwork while executing a spinning iriminage, or a spinning kotegaeshi... Maybe it's just that the teachers I mention above never explicitly talked about these things. But why not? You mention Ikeda Sensei's video -- I haven't seen the iriminage one yet, but I would be surprised if it is as you say, since I've never heard of Ikeda Sensei teaching this in class. Why not?

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May I submit that the reason that you haven't found the instruction on breathing that you seek is specifically because you are looking in books? The learning is in the doing, not in the reading-about-someone-else-doing.
On this point, I've looked in books and elsewhere, because the teachers I've mentioned don't teach specific methods to develop this in class (or in the seminars and camps I've been to)...

Quote:
At my dojo and others that I have visited, there is a strong emphasis put on breathing and the development thereof. From drills of sounding out abdomen-focusing syllables ("yee" and "toh"), to breath control drills much like Zen meditation with wood blocks...
This is great, but since I don't know where you train, and I've never seen a dojo practice these things regularly, I'm still convinced that this is not very common in aikido...

I also agree that breathing is very important to aikido, which is why I'm disappointed that Saotome and Ikeda (and their senior teachers) do not teach more about this during class...

Quote:
I guess what really gets me is that you say that "aikido doesn't teach this or that." Aikido doesn't teach; people do.
Point taken. But what I mean to convey here is my opinion that most aikido dojos do not cover this material in class...

Man, this is a lot to cover... whew...

Quote:

A teacher that doesn't understand centeredness or connection with uke isn't a person you should be learning from...
True... Although the teachers I've trained with are well respected and prominent in the community...

I wasn't talking about connection with uke here, but rather the internal connection of one person's body by itself... the connection of the hand to the foot, through the whole of the body... and like I said, I think the high level aikidoka do have this to varying degrees, but it's not taught clearly -- Don't you agree that usually teachers say "Extend ki", or "Keep connected here", where they could say "Look, when you twist your arm like this, you feel the connection with your shoulder... This is what we mean by 'connected'...". Maybe your teachers go over these points, but the teachers I've trained with are very ambiguous about it...

Quote:

And as for strikes being practiced separately... they are. I've been in classes of suburi where that is all we do with maybe one technique the whole night.
You mean open hand strikes? Wow. I've never been in a class like that. Never. Now, I think that's great. But I still don't think that this is common in the art.

Let me know what you think...




--torokun
(Trevor)
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