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Old 07-25-2007, 11:26 PM   #26
wxyzabc
Location: Japan
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Hya Peter

Quote "And if you combine aikido training with koryu training, the possibilities for good training are even better"....now were talking

Any advise/info on where to obtain this...are we talking in Daito Ryu or similar?

Regards quality of aikido in Japan I would say it has both ends of the spectrum....from my humble perspective anyway I have possibly seen the finest and the worst aikido ever in this country. Until something finally "clicks"...thats if it ever does... perhaps the lack of actual teaching in some places results in what I call "knife and forked wazado"

But truly I have witnessed some exceptional aikido here...

Regards

Lee
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Old 07-26-2007, 12:02 AM   #27
PeterR
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Yes - I don't have the depth of Peter G.'s experience but I usually cringe when someone makes blanket statements about where the best aikido is. Strange coincidence that it usually is found where that person happens to reside. Gah.

Of the three aikidoists who impressed me most - only one is not in Japan but then I usually live there.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:56 AM   #28
Chris Li
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Michael DiFronzo wrote: View Post
Believe me, depending on who you train with, you may be very disappointed in the quality of aikido in Japan. Don't forget most of Osensei's uchi deshi left Japan to teach. The Aikido in US in allot of places is actually better. Don't get caught up in, its Japan its better. That is not true anymore, 40 years ago, absolutely, ;now, no way. Doshu, is 3rd generation, he never trained with Osensei, and all the uchi deshi were gone by the time he was an adult. I trained with Kanai Shihan and all the Shihan in the USAF, and let me tell you, it doesn't get much better than that anywhere on earth.
I actually have films of Moriteru Doshu training with the founder. Of course, as Peter said, some of the giants never left Japan, and he grew up around Yamaguchi, Tada, Osawa, Arikawa and others. In contrast, many of the "uchi deshi" left when they were relatively young and inexperienced.

In any case, Japan is like anywhere else, some of the Aikido is good and some of it isn't so good - it depends where you go.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-26-2007, 03:44 AM   #29
raul rodrigo
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
With respect, I
Personally, I have not been very satisfied with training in the Hombu. It is too big, too impersonal, too unwelcoming to visitors--and too faction-ridden. However I have never trained there longer than a week at a time. There are other dojos in the metropolitan area and also other dojos in Osaka, Tohoku, Kyushu and the Kii penninsula. And if you combine aikido training with koryu training, the possibilities for good training are even better.
I have been told that the major Hombu teachers like Yamaguchi had their teaching slots at Hombu and also kept small dojos where they worked intensively on waza with long time students. H. Tada has Gessoji. A friend of mine studied at Gessoji under Tada and Tsuboi. So I was once told that rather than study at Hombu, the better strategy is to pick out a Hombu teacher one wanted to follow/study under, and establish ties so that one could study with him at the outside dojo, where there is more continuity, personal instruction, and more of a sense of community than in Hombu itself. Would that sound like a fair assessment to you?

best,

R
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:20 AM   #30
Joe Bowen
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Michael DiFronzo wrote: View Post
Believe me, depending on who you train with, you may be very disappointed in the quality of aikido in Japan. Don't forget most of Osensei's uchi deshi left Japan to teach. The Aikido in US in allot of places is actually better. Don't get caught up in, its Japan its better. That is not true anymore, 40 years ago, absolutely, ;now, no way. Doshu, is 3rd generation, he never trained with Osensei, and all the uchi deshi were gone by the time he was an adult. I trained with Kanai Shihan and all the Shihan in the USAF, and let me tell you, it doesn't get much better than that anywhere on earth.
Hmmm, sounds like some Playa hatin going on.... But seriously, Michael, having been practicing outside the US for the past 10 or so years in Asia and now Europe and having been a visitor on numerous trips to various dojos across the US, I'd also have to disagree with your statement. I don't know what your personal experiences training in Japan have been which would lead you to your conclusion, but the tone of your statement, clearly seems to me that your exposure to aikido training in Japan is limited.
I don't even believe your statement about 'Most' of the uchideshi leaving Japan is a true statement. Off the top of my head I can name only about 10 uchideshi (including Terry Dobson) who left Japan and about 14 who didn't, and I don't even have the comprehensive chart of all of O'Sensei's Uchideshi that Aikido Journal puts out.
Now I'll agree with you that there are several 'hidden gem' places to train in the US. I cannot speak to training in the NE Aikikai but I do know some folks who train there and they speak highly of it. So be proud of where you have trained and who you train with but do not be so negative about training in Japan. It still is a good place to go, and living/ training overseas is an experience that I would recommend to everyone....
Regards, Joe
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:55 AM   #31
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
I have been told that the major Hombu teachers like Yamaguchi had their teaching slots at Hombu and also kept small dojos where they worked intensively on waza with long time students. H. Tada has Gessoji. A friend of mine studied at Gessoji under Tada and Tsuboi. So I was once told that rather than study at Hombu, the better strategy is to pick out a Hombu teacher one wanted to follow/study under, and establish ties so that one could study with him at the outside dojo, where there is more continuity, personal instruction, and more of a sense of community than in Hombu itself. Would that sound like a fair assessment to you?

best,

R
Yamaguchi, Tada, Arikawa and Fujita had/ have been coming to Hiroshima for many years, so I have had the benefit of training under these shihans on more relaxed and intensive home ground, rather than in the Hombu.

The Hombu is not at all a bad place to train, but it requires a lot of getting used to. The advantage is that if you stick with training there, you will be really able to practise your own aikido, rather than trying to replicate that of any particular teacher. I have a friend who has trained in the Hombu for about 50 years (still only 7th dan), but one cannot detect the obvious influences of any particular shihan. He has trained with everybody and received his 3rd dan from O Sensei himself.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:29 PM   #32
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Yes - I don't have the depth of Peter G.'s experience but I usually cringe when someone makes blanket statements about where the best aikido is. Strange coincidence that it usually is found where that person happens to reside. Gah.
It makes me cringe too. My first dojo (in the UK.) was awesome and gave me a great introduction to the art, but even as a beginner, I knew that good Aikido was not exclusive to any one country, dojo or instructor.

It's worth noting that Aikido is an international art with its roots in Japan. The Hombu is an important part of those roots for many people. The last few times I trained there, I did so with practitioners from all over the world. I also trained with locals, who regularly train with practitioners from all over the world (in my opinion -- a situation very beneficial for standards). These instructors also regularly train with people from all over the world (not to mention that some, including the Doshu have trained with the founder -- again not usually a hindrance regarding standards). If we were to assume that for some reason, Japanese dojos (particularly the "Mecca" dojos like the Hombu) had lower standards than other countries, we would actually be judging quite a lot of people around the globe, not just the often-stigmatised Japanese and thus we risk hoisting ourselves with our own petards.

For some, coming to Japan is like a holy pilgrimage, and a chance to train within the country and culture from which Aikido sprang, possibly with people who trained with the founder or at least his former protégés. I've heard instructors thank the people who make the effort to come and train here time and time again, not just for honouring them in coming, but for their valuable contribution to the art. It's also worth bearing in mind that these instructors are often dispatched to teach seminars around the world so many practitioners of Aikido in those countries are being judged here too. It's a shame, because from the Japan side of things, I have experienced nothing but respect towards foreign practitioners.

It would be very convenient for one's own dojo, in one's own country to be "the best" but Aikido is not a competition and belongs to the world. If your local really is the best, I would suggest the Hombu as a good place to come and share that greatness with the rest of us. What distinguishes Japan is that it is the primary culture from which the art came and is home to some of its Meccas and founding instructors and thus a rightly popular nexus. Quite a few people like me choose to leave jobs and lives behind to train here. It is a good place to meet the excellent sensei easily rather than waiting for them to visit me and I know that I can still train with amazing people from not just my own country, but many others too.

I'm really looking forward to going to the Hombu again soon. For the record, the Doshu and other instructors gave instructions during the classes I've attended so far and at his seminars here in Iwama. I personally feel like I'm in Aiki-heaven here and I never want to take any of it for granted. If I have any criticism of the Hombu, it is just the fact that the Doshu's asageiko is too popular, although it is good for awareness when there are so many people on the tatami!

Kind regards

Carl
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Old 07-27-2007, 08:31 AM   #33
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Yamaguchi, Tada, Arikawa and Fujita had/ have been coming to Hiroshima for many years, so I have had the benefit of training under these shihans on more relaxed and intensive home ground, rather than in the Hombu.

The Hombu is not at all a bad place to train, but it requires a lot of getting used to. The advantage is that if you stick with training there, you will be really able to practise your own aikido, rather than trying to replicate that of any particular teacher. I have a friend who has trained in the Hombu for about 50 years (still only 7th dan), but one cannot detect the obvious influences of any particular shihan. He has trained with everybody and received his 3rd dan from O Sensei himself.

Best wishes,

PAG
Peter,
Would you say your friend has his "own" style?
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