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Old 03-21-2005, 09:56 AM   #11
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Ellis Amdur wrote:
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.
Shioda's codification of principles is the best I've seen. I re-read some portions of "Total Aikido" last night and once again I was impressed. More on "hard" below.
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.
IF, as I speculate, the source of the "ki" knowledge in Japan came via Gempin or other visiting/immigrating Chinese, the almost certain probability is that it represents one of the general Shaolin approaches (there are a number of them) to qi. Because something is "Shaolin" (often called "external") does not mean it is not as sophisticated or as subtle as something "internal", by any means. They're all simply variations on the same basic themes. Shioda's use of the big toe, leg, etc., would indicate that his "ki" is of the Shaolin variety and your story (rumour, I realize.. but we work with what we've got) of Horikawa would provide a possible factor contributing to the "hardness" of Shioda's body mechanics. Let me emphasize again that I see all these approaches as variations on a few simple themes. Even Tohei's ki pronouncements are probably derived from a Shaolin source... I see nothing that suggests the body mechanics of the "internal" styles. Shaolin qi practices can be very "soft" ... depends on how you want to develop and use them.
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.
I'd like to see Mustard. Maybe after I get back from Frankfurt.

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