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Old 01-17-2012, 09:04 PM   #14
Ellis Amdur
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Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 909
Re: A New Column: It Had to be Felt

Mark - that's very possible - but I think there'd be more exceptions than "rules." Some of the other teachers close to Tohei in seniority just weren't the hurtin' kind (I have no knowledge of Osawa sensei hurting anyone - but Kuroiwa sensei told a remarkable story where Tohei offended a very dangerous old swordsman, and Osawa sensei went alone in the man's dojo - with some of Nishio sensei's students waiting in the street, interestingly enough - to proffer apologies, prepared to accept whatever might come. Who was strong is always such an interesting question.

I can think of several of Tohei's peers, who wouldn't have cared a whit what he thought. The junior tough guy instructors, of course, would have cared a lot.

I think it is very possible that various instructors played out their own rivalries on the students of another, or used their student to do the same. I saw this, and I experienced it. I had one guy (in the Iwama system) try to break my arm, right in front of his own instructor, to establish that Iwama-style was better than what my teacher, Kuwamori, offered. I know that because that teacher spoke disparagingly of my teacher, even though he'd gotten a hand-written note requesting that I could train there. He did that in front of his <boy> and the attempt to break my arm happened right afterwards (literally, "let me show you something. This is the way we do shihonage. No, you don't have to take a break-fall. Just relax, it's SAFE!!" and at that word, he tried to bridge my arm and snap it. I knew he was going to do that, took the ukemi, came back in his face, and we had a ---discussion). Finished the class, never went back.

Pathetic stuff, really. But my experiences, by and large, were clean. I hope to do justice to those experiences, in the main, because that's what I mostly got - some of the best days of my life, with some of the best men I ever met.

Ellis Amdur

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