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Old 02-09-2007, 10:41 PM   #76
Peter Ralls
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Dan

I'm sorry, but this is going to be a very long winded post to try and cover the issues you brought up. I think the first step in learning kokyu is figuring out that it exists, and that physical technique will only take you so far. I am not saying that just feeling kokyu is an efficient method of learning and developing kokyu, I am simply saying that by experiencing O'Sensei's kokyu, his students, trying to figure out what he was doing, developed what they have.

I do not believe, based on what I have been told, that O'Sensei taught a specific, structured method to develop kokyu skills. You state that O'Sensei did learn such a method from Takeda Sokaku, but chose not to teach it. I do not know whether this is the case or not. My experience in aikido is that to develop kokyu, you have to go outside the box of the traditional training methods you typically find in Aikikai aikido.

I absolutely agree with you that aikido, with it's separation of roles into uke and nage, create a completely different training dynamic than MMA or Judo. I think that this separation, and the way we train a single technique at a time, does open the door for a certain kind of idiotic gamesmanship on the part of a few individuals that, in my experience, is unique to aikido.

None the less, in terms of abusiveness, I have trained in judo a bit, and BJJ a bit, and if you are training with someone a lot bigger than you, or a lot better than you, and they are a malicious jerk, you have just as much chance of getting injured as in aikido. And if you stay within the rules of training in those arts, you can fight back, but against a much bigger or better opponent, you probably aren't going to be able to stop them from hurting you. I've seen plenty of injuries in both judo and BJJ, and just like aikido, some of them were pure accidents, and some of them were the result of malicious or reckless behavior on the part of one of the partners.

I have related my experiences with Arikawa Sensei, and given my opinion on what I think he was trying to accomplish. I think that he had the philosophy of "no pain no gain." But to me, that alone does not constitute abuse. No one made me, or anyone else, go to his class. I chose to do so. And though taking falls for Arikawa Sensei was definitely intense, frightening, and painful, he never injured me, nor do I remember seeing him cause injury to his ukes. Now, I am not saying he didn't cause injury to people from time to time, but I didn't see it. Now, there were a hell of lot if injuries in his classes, but in my recollection they were from all the students going at it with each other. To me, an abusive teacher is one that is hurting their students because they like to hurt people, or because they become angry, or to show off and boost their ego by dominating other people. I never saw that in Arikawa Sensei.

Now, please don't think that I am advocating his training method. I am not. My personal opinion is that it leads to unnecessary injuries, is martially ineffective, and doesn't develop good mental health. But that is only my opinion. I know other people who believe that kind of training is essential, and choose to do it. I further think that it is unjust to paint Arikawa Sensei as a brutal abusive monster based on his philosophy of teaching and training. I think things are a little more complex than that.

So again, it falls back on what each of us individually defines abuse as. I probably fall pretty much in the middle ground of aikido training. I believe in training vigorously most of the time, softly part of the time, and high intensity part of the time. I believe that high intensity training has to be structured very carefully to avoid injuries. Now, I know lots of aikido people from different dojos. I know aikido people that think I train way too hard, and that I am violent and abusive. I know other aikido people that think I train too softly, and am a wimp. So what's the truth? I think it is going to differ with each person, based on their belief of how to train.

So Ellis and I can each go to Arikawa Sensei's classes and come out with with a different opinion based on our different beliefs. Or maybe our beliefs aren't even that different, but we each had a different perception of what was going on, based on our experiences. But Dan, I have to wonder, what was your experience with Arikawa Sensei that you base such vehement statements on? Did you actually have a bad experience with Arikawa Sensei, or are you equating something you heard with behavior you have witnessed with some other aikido teacher? If the latter is the case, I think that you are being unfair to Arikawa Sensei.
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:37 AM   #77
David Hall
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Some very interesting stuff in this thread.

Ellis Amdur wrote:
Quote:
Arikawa sensei's uke - Niall - I wonder if he a) is still in Japan b) might not have some valuable things to say/write about Arikawa sensei.
Does anyone have contact details for Niall?
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Old 02-10-2007, 08:09 AM   #78
Aikilove
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Within a month Jan "Janne Yondan" Hermansson, 7 dan aikikai Shihan, will publish his biography (in Swedish for now). Jan was somewhat of the same breed as Arikawa and seems to remember him with fondness. He was in Japan and trained aikido in Tokyo and elsewere between 1965 and 1980.

I was told that stories about his encounters with various shihan will be included. Should make for an interesting read.

/J

Jakob Blomquist
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Old 02-10-2007, 02:37 PM   #79
TomW
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Peter Ralls wrote:

I do not believe, based on what I have been told, that O'Sensei taught a specific, structured method to develop kokyu skills. You state that O'Sensei did learn such a method from Takeda Sokaku, but chose not to teach it. I do not know whether this is the case or not. My experience in aikido is that to develop kokyu, you have to go outside the box of the traditional training methods you typically find in Aikikai aikido.
The pre-war aikibudo of Shirata Sensei has several solo exercises and paired kata designed specifically to teach kokyu skills among other things, including kokyu-dosa of all things. I don't know how much of these kata were passed on from O'Sensei or are Shirata S.'s creation, I'll have to ask.

In my experience, I agree with you about the typical Aikikai training methods and kokyu as I understand it. Of course YMMV.

Tom Wharton

Last edited by TomW : 02-10-2007 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 02-10-2007, 03:58 PM   #80
Ellis Amdur
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Photo of Arikawa Sadateru on Aikido Journal

A question to those who would know. Is this a DR technique, or simply something that Arikawa sensei arrived at on his own?


http://www.aikidojournal.com/potd.php?page=153

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Old 02-10-2007, 04:06 PM   #81
DH
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Daito ryu
It is a double arm pin meant to be used to decapitate or pin and leave the standing fellow free to draw a sword or continue to defend. Done correctly-this is not a well done version- the forward leg pins the arms leaving the hands free. The forward leg can bend at the knee enveloping both the upper and lower arms. It can also seal the breath and cause allot of pain.
Its like other jujutsu waza. The actual ability to pull it off on a fully resisting opponent can be dicey.
While we're on the subject much of Shioda's stock in trade stuff like the chest bounce off, the throat thing, the knee swival, and toe and side of foot press are all Daito ryu as well.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-10-2007 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 02-10-2007, 04:37 PM   #82
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Thank you Dan - which leads to a simple curiousity. Arikawa sensei was, by report, passionately loyal to Ueshiba Morihei - and he started post-war, in 1948. Did he learn this Daito-ryu technique from Ueshiba - which means, even after the war, he was still training and teaching in a much wider range of techniques or did he "jump the fence?" My speculation is the former. My reason is his response to someone else who did a "non-aikido" technique. Kuroiwa Yoshio told me that when he introduced his unique form ofl "hip throw" in a demonstration- (a technique that only he could bring off in free-style) - Arikawa confronted him and told him to stop doing that technique, saying that what he was doing was "not aikido." Kuroiwa, amused, said to me that he replied that Osensei was his exemplar, that his techniques were an ongoing creative process, and that he'd stop only if Osensei personally told him to. Otherwise, he refused. He continued to do his technique without interference or reprecussion - and I think there was a simple reason for that. Arikawa sensei very definitely knew how to hurt people - his ability as a man who could actually fight , however, is something I do not know. Kuroiwa, on the other hand, was a seasoned street fighter and semi-pro middleweight boxer, with several hundred bouts before he started aikido. Which does lead me to wonder if Arikawa sensei, like others I can think of, only hurt people in a very specific, circumscribed context.

Best

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 02-10-2007 at 04:45 PM.

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Old 02-10-2007, 05:14 PM   #83
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Photo of Arikawa Sadateru on Aikido Journal

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
A question to those who would know. Is this a DR technique, or simply something that Arikawa sensei arrived at on his own?


http://www.aikidojournal.com/potd.php?page=153
If it is the same technique (and I am used to the pinning with the leg version, but it depends on what you do it from), I first saw it used by Rinjiro Shirata here in Japan, who talked about such techniques being "prewar". Everything that Dan states, including the difficulty of pulling it off with a non-cooperative uke, rings true from my own experience. However, I know that Arikawa Sensei was a good friend of Katsuyuki Kondo and used to watch his training, but he (Arikawa) once stated to me that he had not actually trained in DR.

I am sure the provenance is DR, but I also believe that much of what would nowadays be more strictly DR was practised in aikido dojos and it was only with the emphasis on kihon techniques, with the ambiguity implied by this term, that this other stuff was lost. Well, it is not completely lost, since it is still practised in some aikido dojos.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-10-2007 at 05:20 PM.

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Old 02-10-2007, 05:42 PM   #84
raul rodrigo
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

I believe Yamaguchi shihan was in pretty much the same position as Arikawa葉hat of being an early postwar student who learned in the old Hombu dojo some DR waza that hadnt yet been taken out of the official syllabus. I've seen video of him doing things葉he two-arm pin, the asagao no hana (morning glory) hand position, slipping behind a shomenuchi and grabbing both of uke's hands, etc葉hat are apparently (in my limited knowledge) DR. Of course, being who he was, the waza seem much more languid and circular than when a man like K Kondo does them. I havent seen video of him using the leg in the two arm pin the way that Arikawa does, though.
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Old 02-10-2007, 06:39 PM   #85
Chris Li
 
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
I believe Yamaguchi shihan was in pretty much the same position as Arikawa葉hat of being an early postwar student who learned in the old Hombu dojo some DR waza that hadnt yet been taken out of the official syllabus. I've seen video of him doing things葉he two-arm pin, the asagao no hana (morning glory) hand position, slipping behind a shomenuchi and grabbing both of uke's hands, etc葉hat are apparently (in my limited knowledge) DR. Of course, being who he was, the waza seem much more languid and circular than when a man like K Kondo does them. I havent seen video of him using the leg in the two arm pin the way that Arikawa does, though.
Since when is there an official syllabus?

Kisshomaru often used asagao, which shouldn't be surprising, since virtually everything (on the technical side) in the Aikido curriculum comes from Daito-ryu.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-10-2007, 06:49 PM   #86
raul rodrigo
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Since when is there an official syllabus?

Kisshomaru often used asagao, which shouldn't be surprising, since virtually everything (on the technical side) in the Aikido curriculum comes from Daito-ryu.

Best,

Chris
Since Hombu had a testing system that focused on certain waza and not on others that also came from DR. i meant the standard approach to waza, the curriculum that is embodied these days in the books and videos of Moriteru. the same standard approach that no longer includes DR material like bouncing away a push to the chest that you see in Shioda and in the 1935 Asahi demo of Morihei. Asagao isnt shown in nearly all the aikido books i've seen (except in a book by Yamaguchi's deshi, William Gleason) and hasnt been taught by any of the shihan i have had the good fortune to meet.

Last edited by raul rodrigo : 02-10-2007 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:16 PM   #87
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Not to speak for Chris, But I think his point-and mine, is that everything-in its technical syllabus is Daito ryu.
Some? Many? Most?
No...everything.
Ueshiba was not only handing out Daito ryu scrolls but teaching the art openly. Change a name, change its origins? Nope.

Including, but not limited to, the internal aspects that most -it seems- will not openly show, but were in fact what gave the arts it reputation to begin with. Remove them and it would not have gotten off the ground.
Again its why, following traditional models, it can be considered Ueshiba-ha Daito ryu, without even a second thought.

Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:19 PM   #88
raul rodrigo
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

No argument there about the origins, Dan. I was only talking about how some DR material got eliminated from mainstream aikido instruction, and now only survives in a few of the traditions left by some shihan.
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:24 PM   #89
Chris Li
 
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
Since Hombu had a testing system that focused on certain waza and not on others that also came from DR. i meant the standard approach to waza, the curriculum that is embodied these days in the books and videos of Moriteru. the same standard approach that no longer includes DR material like bouncing away a push to the chest that you see in Shioda and in the 1935 Asahi demo of Morihei. Asagao isnt shown in nearly all the aikido books i've seen (except in a book by Yamaguchi's deshi, William Gleason) and hasnt been taught by any of the shihan i have had the good fortune to meet.
My point about the syllabus was that the hombu testing system is not really a "syllabus", which would be an outline of material to be covered, so much as it is a set of very minimum requirements. That is, Aikikai members are required to cover at least what is on the list - but the list doesn't even touch on 90% of the practice in most Aikikai dojo that I've trained at.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-10-2007, 07:26 PM   #90
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
No argument there about the origins, Dan. I was only talking about how some DR material got eliminated from mainstream aikido instruction, and now only survives in a few of the traditions left by some shihan.
Since there's really no standard curriculum in Aikido, people practice (and teach) more or less what they like, or what they see other people practicing, and the other stuff falls by the wayside. One reason for a structured curriculum that you see in many (most) martial traditions is to prevent that from occurring.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-10-2007, 07:43 PM   #91
raul rodrigo
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Since there's really no standard curriculum in Aikido, people practice (and teach) more or less what they like, or what they see other people practicing, and the other stuff falls by the wayside. One reason for a structured curriculum that you see in many (most) martial traditions is to prevent that from occurring.
Okay, i get your point. This is one of the advantages of judo, that they have this structured curriculum, and a consistent core of knowledge is preserved. There are higher levels that the shihan will only teach yudansha, but there is always agreement on what the basic waza are.
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Old 02-10-2007, 08:21 PM   #92
Peter Ralls
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Jan Hermansson, AKA "Jan the Swede". The Americans and English at Hombu when I was there used to call Jan "The foreigner's revenge." That should be a very entertaining book. I wonder if he will relate his escapades on the fire escape.
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Old 02-10-2007, 09:01 PM   #93
raul rodrigo
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Peter Ralls wrote:
Jan Hermansson, AKA "Jan the Swede". The Americans and English at Hombu when I was there used to call Jan "The foreigner's revenge." That should be a very entertaining book. I wonder if he will relate his escapades on the fire escape.
Would this have to do with his holding "one of the people training at Hombu dojo, known for being cruel to beginners," out from a window, and asking "Hard or soft?"



R
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Old 02-10-2007, 09:13 PM   #94
Peter Ralls
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Yes, but actually, since it happened before I arrived at Hombu, and I didn't actually witness it, just heard about it, I think that I should not say anything more about the subject. I have embarrassed myself in the past by relating stories that I heard about but didn't actually witness, so I think I shall endeavor to keep my big yap shut.

Peter
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Old 02-10-2007, 09:48 PM   #95
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Oh Lord - I used to train with Jan when I was 24-25 years old. Actually,the proper nickname was "The Swedish Meatball." Jan was, per Donn Draeger, originally a skinny kid, but he simultaneously started weight training with Donn and he got a job at Tokyo's only Swedish Smorgasboard, which included as much as he wanted to eat. Or so the story goes. Honbu dojo had canvas covered tatami, that were infested with mold, and when one took ukemi, the mats exhaled fungus. I had asthma. I very frequently thought I would die of lack of oxygen in some classes. Jan had a side job as a professional wrestler - or, once again, so the story goes - but at any rate, he liked to practice such waza on me. He'd throw me in an irimi-nage, for example, and then execute a flying pancake on top of me (did I mention that he was, to the best of my memory, about 5'10" (I really can't estimate the height of short people below 6'), and at least 280, if not 300 pounds, with the widest back I have ever seen in my life. He'd smack on top of me like a huge - - - - - meatball - and all the mold impregnated air would gush out of my asthmatic lungs and I'd wheeze, my legs and arms twitching. Jan, perplexed at my lack of movement, would always say, in a heavy Swedish accent, "Choost bench press me oop! Choost bench press me ooopp!" I gasp and try and he wouldn't move. Finally he'd get up, shaking his head sadly. I'd get up too. Then, god help me, we'd do it again.
I remember telling this account to Donn Draeger at the time, and then HE shook his head sadly at me, looking perplexed, and said, "But Jan's like a big turtle when you get him on his back."


Best

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Old 02-10-2007, 10:34 PM   #96
crbateman
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
...to the best of my memory, about 5'10" (I really can't estimate the height of short people below 6'), and at least 280, if not 300 pounds...
Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
...like a big turtle when you get him on his back.
OK Ellis... I'm starting to resemble some of these remarks!
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Old 02-11-2007, 06:59 AM   #97
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Jepp, that's Jan, and maybe not irrelevent to the topic. He would by some be considered a bully and/or abusing training partner, and by other some kind of hero.

Here's a segment already published, as a teaser, from the book that I tried to translate as best as I could without spending any time on it.
Quote:
I also trained a lot for Tohei. He was somewhat of a legend already back then, and the one most known of in aikido. His aikido was more like a dance, a soft dance. Up and down. I liked him. We were a couple of guys, perhaps six or seven, who took extra classes with him in another dojo.
We each pitched in some money and it was fun. He had a lot of interesting things going on.
The limitation about him was that he would show one thing, then talk, then show something else and when it was time to train he would break after 20 seconds. He then started to talk and show some more and there was no time to actually train. It became, so to say, enervating. One would like for them to show, talk and then let you train it for a while.
But he had a lot of interesting things going on. He made me think in different lines about training. On could say in a (more) functional way. It was functional aikido. That is scenario based: What do I do if the person sitting there suddenly stands up and try to clock me in the face? Things like that. And the opposite scenario: What do I do if he doesn$B!G(Bt want to stand up and I want him to? That type of scenario you had to film, visualize and build on.
If someone is sitting on a chair, there are aikido techniques you can use to prevent him from standing up. Then he will not be able to get up. It also depend on if the chair has an arm rest or not. You have to do different things depending on all situations like that.
It$B!G(Bs the same if someone sitting at a table is trying to stand up. If the person tries to stand up, and I don$B!G(Bt want him to, I have to know how he has to use his body standing up that position. The guy try to stand up and punch me in the face, but I stand behind him and to his side and apply iriminage grip on his neck and against the jugular vein. He will then not be able to stand up.
These days you apply iriminage at the neck or the collar, but people generally have strong necks, so it might not be possible. Then you have to know what to do.
Iriminage should be like brushing off the cuff links against the shoulder. The movements should simply be like when you brush off your cuff links against the shoulder. Then one doesn$B!G(Bt need the pressure against the jugular vein. But it$B!G(Bs there and one should know the principle.
If the person doesn$B!G(Bt want to stand up but I want him to, well then it$B!G(Bs the sankyo principle on the fingertips that does it. I will then control his whole body.
But one has to be careful however. If one come in to abrupt there will be a counter reaction, like when you touch a clam, it will close or a hedgehog, it will roll up. If instead I come in calmly and relaxed and say: Hey isn$B!G(Bt it time to stand up, and the person rejects, I use the sankyo-principle. And then there is only one way to go. Straight up toward the sky! He will stand up.
It was a lot of stuff like that Tohei showed. Applications of sequences that appear now and then, so to say. Like $B!H(BAikido in real life$B!I(B or functional aikido. He didn$B!G(Bt just do ki-exercises and unbendable arm and that sort of thing. At least not back then.
There are others when he went to Iwama in the 70's to visit one of his favourite teachers (Saito Sr.) and ended up giving one of the students there a serious concussion with an iriminage version where he simply lifted the guy up and slammed him down the mat (after the guy consistently tried to counter Jan's techniques). Oni san (Saito sensei's wife) was apperently furious, but Saito himself didn't seem to care one bit. In fact they all had a party that night.

And there's the time where he trained with Chiba (whom he also have high regards for) and countered Chiba's Iriminage, just stepping back and lifted him off the mat. All in good fun (from Jan's perspective - 'We have to have some action right?'). Chiba ended up challenging Jan for a "duell" outside! The class teacher apparantly stopped the whole thing.

Etc etc.

Jakob Blomquist
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Old 02-11-2007, 07:05 AM   #98
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Rommel Miel wrote:
Arikawa Sensei is in the The 8th International Aikido Congress (Sept. 2000) Video produced by Aikikai Hombu Dojo. This is the only video that I saw him in action. Are there any others?

Mel
Arikawa Sensei taught at every IAF Congress held in Japan in which I was involved, but there are tapes only of the 7th and 8th Congresses. They were made by Elcom and were/are available from the Aikikai Hombu. His uke at the 8th Congress was his student Niall, who has been mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, almost all of what he said was lost in the 'translation': I think the lady simply realized that she couldn't really say anything useful.

Much of it is slow and deliberate, but then he does something unforeseen and dramatic, rather like in the photo Ellis mentioned above. The DR provenance is so clear that in my opinion it hardly needs to be argued. However, since other Hombu shihans did/do similar techniques (though not quite in the combine-harvester manner of Arikawa Sensei), I do not think that what he showed was solely the result of his visits to Kondo Sensei's dojo and Abashiri.

Actually, as Arikawa Sensei got older, he became softer but more good-humored and on his visits to Hiroshima he would occasionally tie people in knots just for fun: the sort of stuff that John Goss did at the Aiki Expo. Again, clearly of DR provenance.

Whether you call this 'DR' or 'aikido' depends on the value you give to the 'correctness of names', as Plato once argued.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-11-2007 at 07:17 AM.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:02 AM   #99
柘植富安
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Some very interesting stuff in this thread.

Ellis Amdur wrote:

Quote:
Arikawa sensei's uke - Niall - I wonder if he a) is still in Japan b) might not have some valuable things to say/write about Arikawa sensei.
Does anyone have contact details for Niall?

Nile is still in Japan. I will make him aware of this thread but I doubt he will participate.

Last edited by 柘植富安 : 02-13-2007 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 02-19-2007, 06:52 PM   #100
dxnguyen
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Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Raul,

There is a famous photograph of Terry in western clothes sitting in sitting in seiza presumably listening to O Sensei discoursing from a book. Or he might have just been reading the book in silence. One cannot help wondering, what is this guy doing here? .
I saw a video clip on YouTube from which this picture was taken. Dobson was taking notes while O Sensei was talking.

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