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Old 04-24-2001, 11:13 AM   #26
Karl Kuhn
Dojo: New City YMCA/Chicago Shodokan
Location: Chicago
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 18
Well, there seems to be a good deal to address here. Late me start by saying that I am concerned about the following:

Ubaldo wrote: " Karl Kuhn said that "I had no experience". " Now, that is a direct quote attributed to me that is a complete fabrication and it troubles me.

I belive you were referring to the following quote that appeared earlier in the thread:
Original Quote:
Ubaldo wote "it's very common to see winners jump and strut like peacocks around the arena, with a savage happiness in their faces, whilst losers get out absolutely dismayed."
I wrote "Now, that makes good copy, but it does not accurately reflect the experience of Randori Shiai. I would caution against people making sweeping generalizations about something they have not experienced. I would also suggest that while some events are like that described, many more are not."

The spirit of my reply may very well have been misinterpreted and for that I apologize. By "experienced" I meant spent some time with and participated in. You have said that you attended an event or two and while you are free to draw conclusions, I still think it is important to understand that many of us do not consider that enough of the picture to make a fair assesment. Again, no where did I say "you had no experience".

The central point in my concern about "experiencing" the method is this: Randori is central to Tomiki's ideas on Aikido education. It is not a thing thrown on to hype up kids or reward "competative" behavior. It is at the core of the educational model. Tomiki was quite clear in this, Kata and Randori work together to create a students aikido. The events that are held are celebrations of Aikido that allow participants an opportunity to better their Aikido. To suggest anything else betrays a lack of understanding or an agenda.

Frankly, I don't have to "prove" anything to you but I would be happy attempt to answer the questions to posted.

a) prove to me that Shodokan's competitions do not usually present bad techniques
Easy. I'll meet you in Osaka in October for the big shindig and you can see for yourself :^) Seriously though, the Embu Kata portion of the competitions presents lovely technique. The techniques in randori are seldom as "pretty" but you can certainly tell when they are successful. The nature of randori is such that the successful techniques have beauty all their own, but it is not as easy to "see" for most people.

b) show me numbers demonstrating the increase of championships and tournaments
Why are you so concerned with the numbers of participants? I have read with great interest your posts on a number forums these past couple of years and respect your passion for Aikido and envy your time to research and post as you have ;^) Osaka will be the biggest yet, but VA last summer could have been better attended.I'm not sure what you are looking for here.

c) prove to me that Toshu Randori wasn't tried and abandoned
This is very interesting in that the question of Toshu and it's inclusion has been the subject of some questions recently- only on the internet and mostly by people that have not attended an event. There is a very simple answer-it was never abandoned. What happened in the US is that the host city has historically has had a good deal of say as to what the event looked like and Toshu was often not included. I believe that this was done both to provide enough time for the seminar days, the Embu Kata and the Tanto Randori and also, because there was not the same level of familiarity with it. It is important to remember that Shodokan Aikido is quite young and it's precense in the US even younger and we are playing a bit of catch up, if you will. This is important to keep in mind if one is trying to judge the method by viewing an event in any given region, not everyone is getting right. Plus, Tanto Randori is easier to judge, play and more fun, IMO.

Also, you wrote:
"But I would remind you that competition, in Tomiki Aikido, never really took hold."

Sorry, this is an unfortunate distortion. Again, Tomiki was very clear about his educational method and this is celebrated worldwide in seminars/competitions. To suggest otherwise is suspect, imo.

Now, there are groups and individuals that have found value in Tomiki's work and use it to some degree in their practice. That's great, that's what it is there for. The two groups you mentioned are not internationally based organizations (they seem to be primarily located in the American south)and I have not had the pleasure of working with them. I have heard great things about the Jiyushinkai from a friend/ senior instructor, however.

I hope this helps,


BTW, turned 33 last week and feeling every bit the spring chicken, thank you very much:^}

Karl Kuhn
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