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Old 06-16-2004, 12:11 PM   #23
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Aikikai vs Iwama

steff miller wrote:
One thing i love about Iwama compared to the other styles ive worked with, is that i feel the grips and attacks are so effective. But so they should be. I always felt that when i trained in other styles the grips were usless as they only seemed to be there so i could do a tech.
In Iwama you cant move or strike when gripped properly, so you learn to move around a strong attack first and also learn how to control with grips. Apperentl this is one of the fastest ways to learn and become powerful, by giving the attacker the upper hand and holding very strong through out the tech, you will find mistakes very very quickly
Both myself and my other club teacher have used aiki for real but we both used grips. he used kata dori, as he held almost side on the guy could not touch him. I used mortodori, once again becuase i wasnt standing directly infront og him he could not punch or kick although he certainly tried. THATS ENOUGH EVIDENCE FOR ME.
I don't get why the Iwama folks think that they are the last bastion of Kiai, strong attacks, and weapons. Saotome Semsei was one of the last uchi deshi, staying at the Aikikai Honbu Dojo until after the death of the Founder. When I trained with him in Washington, DC I literally had no hair on my arms around the wrist from being grabbed so hard by my partners when we did static technique. We did kiai all the time, struck each other as hard as we could, etc. Weapons work was a daily practice at that dojo.

I've trained a bit with Chiba Sensei (well known as an example of wimpy Aikikai Aikido) as well and am friends with one of his early senior students, Bookman Sensei. Bookman Sensei is one of the strongest Aikidoka I have ever trained with (at least as strong as any Iwama student I've met), has extensive weapons work, as all of Chiba Sensei's seniors do, and is quite capable of doing a Kiai. I've seen films of Tamura Sensei. Seems very much in the same veinů

So where did this myth originate? I keep looking around at all of O-Sensei's uchideshi seeking the ones who fit the Iwama description of "Aikikai Aikido" and they are nowhere to be found. This is some sort of myth that Iwama folks like to tell themselves because it makes them feel special and privileged to have studied under Saito Sensei. Well, guess what? You don't have to run down other folks practice in order to feel gifted that you found a teacher who was perfect for you. Saotome Sensei was and continues to be the source of my Aikido inspiration. He was the perfect teacher for me. But I am perfectly willing to admit that there are other approaches and other teachers who are wonderful. Every person who had the great fortune to train with a direct student of the Founder has received a great gift. Most people will not have such an opportunity. This, our way is better than the others attitude is not at all in keeping with what O-sensei wished for the future of his art.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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