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Old 01-18-2012, 07:18 AM   #17
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: A New Column: It Had to be Felt

Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
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

Thank you for filling in some of the "greys" in that picture. I had a feeling that the rivalries within Aikido at that time were quite nuanced. I remember you talking about that experience before when we were talking at one of the expos. I am hopeful that your writing about your ukemi experiences will enable other people to publicly share their experiences as well. I know of an upcoming project that will enable some "private" stories to become public now that some of the players have passed away. This information, like the stuff that you will share, will hopefully widen the breadth of knowledge about that time period, particularly since we read about so many mistaken impressions of what training in Aikido was like during that time.


Marc Abrams
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