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Old 03-21-2005, 09:33 AM   #9
Ellis Amdur
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Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 896
Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Funny thing about Shioda: Other aikido groups have referred to him (and Yoshinkan) as a "hard" style. This is probably for two reasons. First of all, there is the organized set of exercises, including solo movement exercises, which are practiced in counted cadence. Shioda developed this as a means of training large groups, and it has a "rigid" military air to it. Second, I believe, is that Shioda, in public demonstrations, was quite brutal to his uke, and that violence was reacted to as "hard." Shioda led strike-breaker thugs (with the support of GHQ) to stop unions from developing power in post-war Japan. But although this is all "hard-edged," it doesn't make his aikido hard.

I am amazed by how subtle his technique was. Particularly of note was his "irimi" - he occupied the uke's space a microsecond before they arrived, and had the ability to explosively "lock position." In priniciple (though not technique nor method), it resembled xingyi. Shioda used to jam his big toe into the mat at the moment of the throw, tightening all the muscles in the inside of the legs, making a powerful arch like a wishbone (Mike, I gotta take that PT course myself! All I have is images). I've spoken about this with David Rubens, and he corraborated that Shioda emphasized this as a means of generating explosive power.

Finally, there is something between a rumor and an account that Kodo Horikawa, known as one of the most subtle of the Daito-ryu technicians was a "visitor" to the Yoshinkan - that Shioda would clear the dojo on some evenings and study, in private, with Horikawa. I've seen this discussed on several forums, and although there will probably be no substantiation of the depth and nature of his possible studies, this may be a secondary source for Shioda's power, which, like Ueshiba, has not been achieved by most of his descendents. As far as I can tell, the very best of the next generation are Takeno and Chida in Japan, and their (and Shioda's) student, the amazing Robert Mustard in Canada.



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