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Old 12-01-2013, 06:15 AM   #40
Alister Gillies
Location: Taunton
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 33
United Kingdom
Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

I think that we need to bear in mind that arguing from a particular case to a general statement of truth is not a reliable form of reasoning, and leads more often than not to a false premise: that Tohei was not as great as he is often made out to be is a case in point. But I don't think that Ellis is very confident about saying this, as he points out in an after-word to the essay:

"To date, I have published everything, either research or speculation, with considerable confidence in my conclusions. I certainly have had a number of people disagree with some of my assertions, but I've always stood on what I feel is very solid ground. Not so in this essay. I wrote it, however, provoked by what has seemed to be unfounded confidence on the other side. On the one hand, Tohei Koichi is superhumanly powerful, fighting five champion judoka, and on the other, an embarrassingly inept performance."

We all know the joke about Pedro the carpenter and the donkey It is a form of discourse beloved of journalists and relies upon existing distorted views to sell copy. I am not sure what Ellis hoped to achieve by writing this, apart from making clear his ambivalence about Tohei. On the one hand Ellis went to the trouble of getting and verifying accounts of Tohei that attest to his talent, but on the other he places undue emphasis on a single piece of film that shows Tohei in a less than glowing light.

There is a lack of balance in this essay. The evidence presented is more for than against Tohei. In terms of rebutting the "unfounded confidence on the other side", it doesn't actually do this. This really is an essay about Ellis' own ambivalence towards Tohei, and does not have the vigour of conviction either in its argument or in its tentative conclusions.
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