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Old 03-20-2007, 02:38 PM   #3
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Hi Dave
I don't know anything about Feldenkras except that I have been approached tiwce by fellas who wanted to "fix my movements" and show me their Feldankras method.
Well, that whole idea shows they don't know Feldenkrais too deeply. It's just like your thing: it's a method you, yourself, have to apply to what you, yourself are doing. You take his exercises and try them and you find out little, bitty things you're doing that you might not have realized you were doing. You might or might not be able to reach a deeper level with what you've been doing after you, yourself, explore some of Moshe's movement exercises. I guess that depends on how deeply you've been looking at your own movement.

So, no, I wouldn't put much stock in someone who thinks he can fix your movement with his Feldenkrais. So I'd say read that article I linked to on the Training forum. It doesn't actually give that much information about the Method itself, but it shows how Moshe applied his observation and thinking to martial arts and teaching/learning of martial arts--remembering that his primary purpose with his Method was to teach optimal function of the human mind/body. More precisely, his Method taught how to teach yourself these things. And I repeat: it sounds very similar to what you're doing.

Dan Harden wrote:
Bujutsu movement is true to itself. I dunno about all this funny language and microscopic stuff or Gyrotonics natural movements in babies, and rotational dynamic models.
Like I've said many times, failure to recognize jargon doesn't mean you're not talking about the same thing. From your descriptions of what you do, I'd say "microscopic" movement describes it well--looking for almost imperceptible efforts, stopping those that aren't helping and activating those that do, to add up to total efficiency.

Gyrotonics and rotational dynamic models are outside my thinking. I do go for "gyromental" effort, but that's another thing entirely.

Natural movement in babies IS something I subscribe to, and there's a lot of that in Feldenkrais, but it's not necessary for this discussion.

Dan Harden wrote:
I'm a simple guy. I just put my hands on ya. That and if ya can't explain it to me standing there and show me how your doing it-I'm not going to be standing there long.
If I were a little younger, I would have quit my job already to come up there to your area and flip burgers while I come to your classes. Now I'm trying to work out a way to get up there. I won't bother you with the obstacles. I'm just going to work them out and get up there when I can. I've been reading and I'm convinced that you can do these things. I know I can't do them, but I'm also convinced that I can learn something of these things if I meet you. So that's that. My only difference is that I thing the old methods taught this over a lifetime. I also think 1) it's almost impossible to find that method any more; and 2) if you do find it, it's almost impossible to follow that way in this modern world, for many, many reasons. In any case, I'm sure at this point that it's too late for me to reach that level through the traditional method.

Dan Harden wrote:
I think most every guy here knows all too well what you mean about "Its all in the kata." "go do more, train harder, train smarter.
Well, I'm quoting Ushiro on that and everyone has been touting him as the proof of the universality of the skills between various arts. But HE said he got it through dedicated training in the kata. He gave no other reason. But what sets him apart from many other people who have done the same kata for twenty years or more, yet haven't developed the same kinds of abilities?

I say that where karate is concerned and also judo and aikido, we mainly are not seeing "the kata" as they are intended to be seen. For one thing, the outer forms are not really the same. The karate kata were introduced and propagated by people who had not been baked all the way through with them and then they promoted people and we have many generations of people with whom the content got a little shallower and a little shallower until, doing kata that you learned from them will not yeild the same results even with 20 years' effort because the original kata they gave you was not the original kata that was taught--and by that, I mean from the outer to the inner and all the way through instead of just surface "katachi" or shape of the postures and sequences.

With judo, I think the narrowing down of a given individual's repertoire of techniques and especially the development of right or left side over the other side has created an imbalance the prevents developing what you describe.

And in aikido? fugeddaboutit. I know there are pockets of people with something real, but the rest is a big old fat boy's overhauls. For the most part, it doesn't resemble budo aikido at all.

So just "doing the kata" in itself isn't enough. You have to put in the real effort to understand if you're not doing the real kata and to find the real thing if you're not and overcome the wrong learning. Ushiro seems to have gotten the real thing from the beginning, so he was able to skip the mis-learning (or experience it at a minimal level) and develop real content with every practice. So doing "the real kata" is, in my opinion, a valid way to get what you describe--to the degree that Ushiro is doing what you describe.

Dan Harden wrote:
I don't think you should overplay the Mochizuki thing. You know I was a fan but he really didn't train long with Ueshiba before he got his Hiden Mokuroku, nor the next one. I think it was six months or so. Try writing that out in a sentence today on the net.
I've pointed out before that it was less than a year. But how long did it take Tenryu before Ueshiba told him he didn't need to learn any more? Anyway, what you refer to was not the length of Mochizuki's association with Ueshiba--it was just how long he was uchi deshi at "the hell gym". Ueshiba gave him those scrolls on one of his many, many trips to Shizuoka, where he would stop off on his way home from Osaka. They said he used to stay in Shizuoka so long his son or someone would have to come and get him to come back to Tokyo. He would stay and sleep and eat and train at at the yoseikan because Mochizuki was a real kindred spirit. He often taught classes there. This went on quite a while. And when you read other masters' accounts of meeting Ueshiba, it's common for them to mention Mochizuki being there. I recently read an account of some well-known Japanese master's first introduction to aikido at the Iwama dojo. He went there to meet Ueshiba and one of the first people he saw there was Minoru Mochizuki. Sensei consulted with Ueshiba frequently, even after the war. When Sensei came back from Mongolia, Ueshiba sent Kisshomaru to Shizuoka with a big, square bamboo backpack loaded with vegetables and had Kisshomaru stay there for some time training with Mochizuki. And when Mochizuki was supposed to go to France, he went and told Ueshiba and Ueshiba said, "I had a dream that someone was going to introduce aikido outside Japan. So it was you!"

So that was a long, long relationship and Mochizuki was effectively 8th dan from 1932 until he was promoted to 10th dan by IMAF in 1978 or so.

Dan Harden wrote:
He also didn't do a demo at the 50th- he was the moderator.
Well that's saying quite a bit, even if they only let him be moderator at an event like that. But he's listed on the Aikido Journal tape as a participant.

Dan Harden wrote:
The only time his -guys- demo'd is because he got pissed at the way Kondo was demonstrating and using a sword. He had his men go out to their cars and get their swords and he did an impromtu sword demo. Stating "You Daito ryu guy's don't know Shit about swords."
Ha! That's Minoru Mochizuki!

Dan Harden wrote:
As for his apearence there being any sign of approval that he was a Daito ryu master level teacher... thats a stretch.
Well, it does indicate a deep relationship. But there is the booklet I mentioned. It was produced by Daito Ryu as some kind of commemorative. I think they have pictures of about ten guys and Minoru Mochizuki is one of them. There are far more well-known "masters"of daito ryu who weren't even pictured. Why would they include him in an official publication like that if he had only a tenuous connection to the art?

Dan Harden wrote:
Not to take anything away from Mochizuki mind you. Every source I knew called him a veery capable and cantakerous guy in that he was blunt and to the point. I have heard from a few guys that if you said you could do something he'd say "Really show me." And one fellow -a menkyo kaiden- was put in his place on the spot in no uncretain terms.
He liked to find people who could do something interesting, then have every person who came down the pike try them out. Someone new would come along and Sensei would call you over and say, "Hey, show this guy what you do." As uchi deshi in his dojo, I was often the guy he would call over to have the "interesting thing" demonstrated on.

Sometimes he did this to spread that interesting thing to as many people as he could. Sometimes it was more along the line of destructive testing, to keep new people working on it until he found someone who could break it. And there were always new people coming around from all over the world. So if you had something interesting, he would put you up against all kinds of people and see how they handled what you had and how your thing worked against them. He loved to see that kind of thing, to see new people's reactions and to see new approaches to a give problem. He was always curious and enthusiastic, even when he was very old.

Dan Harden wrote:
Some of those old budo guys were interesting characters even outside a dojo it seems.
He sure was.

Dan Harden wrote:
I know one Koryu jujutsu guy who got sick of a young MMA saying Japanese jujutsu is crap. In a restaurant parking lot he grabs him throws the guy and chokes him almost out cold and said "Where's your "street-fighting now?"
Budo guys...ya gotta love em.
And watch out for 'em, too. But that was one very interesting thing about Mochizuki. We might ought to call him "the first Mixed Martial Artist." Although people have combined methods for centuries, he took well-established arts and really blended them! His yoseikan was a really smoothie of high-level karate, judo, aikido, jujutsu and weapons. In an ordinary "aikido" randori, you could get a karate attack, a bo attack, a judo attack, a choke from behind, a bokken attack, foot sweeps, tackles--even a pistol sometimes! Of course, it wasn't competition. The goal was always to develop the people on the mat--not to beat them--but as the attacker, you had to give the defender all you felt he could handle and more if he was slow or fumbled around. It was an incredible place.

Anyway, I think you would enjoy reading Moshe Feldenkrais' interview and hearing his stories about Kano and street fighting in Palestine. And rather than having some guy try to fix you with the Feldenrais Method, you would probably get a lot out of seeing a Feldenkrais practitioner and doing an Awareness Through Movement class or getting what they call a Functional Integration session--a hands-on thing where you're lying on a massage table. Those things got me back on the mat at the yoseikan, doing sutemi with the black belts, after I had been hobbling around for some months with a cane--barely able to walk at age 38, much less get on a mat and do jujutsu!

Moshe's interview is fascinating and an adventure to read. Hope you'll take the time to go through it soon.

Best to you.


Last edited by David Orange : 03-20-2007 at 02:42 PM.

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