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Old 04-26-2008, 02:26 AM   #1
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

First of all: honest to God, I do not want to start another "DOES AIKIDO REALLY WORK!?!!" thread. Please, please do not start that bickering here. Go add another post to the 1000+ on the "does aikido really work in a fight" thread.

However, the topic I'm after is somewhat related to that one: specifically, it sparked it. The whole MMA debate is what really got me thinking about what aikido techniques are. I'd always taken them at face value, and I think done them a disservice in the process: tsuki kotegaeshi is what you do when someone tries to punch you, obviously, and katadori ikkyo is what you do when someone (like a judo person) grabs your keikogi to throw you. It's occurred to me that, as far as anyone's been able to show, these statements are simply not accurate.

This begs the question: where did these techniques come from? Well, historically, it seems they came from Daito-ryu, which came from who-knows-where (but probably some koryu jujutsu).

Put another way: what were these techniques developed for? What sort of budo situation were they intended to address? Were they movement and timing drills without direct application? Some sort of weapon-related art? A (strangely kata-based) attempt to create a new system of gripfighting? Arrest and restraint techniques? Nonsense developed for bored peacetime samurai? What?
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Old 04-26-2008, 04:57 AM   #2
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Quote:
Paul Sanderson-Cimino wrote: View Post
Put another way: what were these techniques developed for? What sort of budo situation were they intended to address? Were they movement and timing drills without direct application? Some sort of weapon-related art? A (strangely kata-based) attempt to create a new system of gripfighting? Arrest and restraint techniques? Nonsense developed for bored peacetime samurai? What?
From.

http://www.aiki-buken.com/history.html

"In its earliest form, it is believed that the origin of aikido technique was first used by Yoshimitsu Shinra Saburo Minamoto, a famous samurai of the Seiwa Genji-han (descendent of Emperor Seiwa), approximately 900 years ago. It is said that Yoshimitsu and his brother Yoshiie dissected and analyzed the bodies of criminals and war dead at their home, Daito Mansion (Daitokan), and with this understanding of body and skeletal mechanics based the Daito ryu style of jujutsu. Yoshimitsu passed the art to his son Yoshikiyu Gyobu Saburo, who later moved to the Takeda region of Japan. The family resided in Takeda (Kai province) from the 1500's to the late 1800's and assumed the family name of "Takeda" and the "Kai-Genji" Takeda lineage.

Originally, aikijutsu had been developed as a combat art based primarily on "Toso" techniques (sword and spear) to be used on battlefields against other bushi (soldiers) wearing armor. At the time, jujutsu was practiced as a secondary study to the weapons arts. Within this type of jujutsu were additional levels of training, called aiki no jutsu and aikijujutsu, that were reserved for the higher ranking samurai. The jujutsu techniques could be used offensively, while the aikijutsu was strictly a designed to be a defensive art. The techniques evolved with the needs of the times and were handed down eventually to the aforementioned Kai-Genji Takeda family in the 16th century as "gotenjutsu", or martial arts for use inside a palace. Takeda Kunitsugu, founder of the Kai-Genji line and "Aizu Shinan-ban" (sword teacher to the Aizu clan), passed on the teachings to qualified members within the Aizu-han. Top retainers, lords and Generals from Aizu learned aikijutsu as a defensive art to be used while working within Edo castle (also called "hanza handachi" and "oshikiuchi"). Masayuki Hoshina, an instructor to the fourth Shogun Tokugawa Ietsuna at Edo castle, is said to have completed development of this art of oshikiuchi, which was later reunited with the Takeda families traditions in the Meiji period to become known eventually by the name Daito ryu.

Takeda Sokaku (pictured left) was raised in the Meiji era (1868-1912). During this time, major changes were occurring (the Meiji Restoration) throughout Japan that involved the assimilation of western ways and the expansion of international trade agreements, as well as the elimination of the "samurai" class structure, to insure that all people would be treated equally thereafter. Among changes made during the Meiji Restoration was, in 1876, a ban on the wearing of swords publicly. Seeing the effects of these new changes, Saigo Tanomo, believed to have instructed Sokaku in the art of oshikiuchi, advised Sokaku to modify the emphasis of Daito ryu (known by the name Daito ryu jujutsu until about 1922. Research indicates that "aiki" was added later to jujutsu at the suggestion of Omoto-Kyo leader, Deguchi Onisaburo) from that of being primarily a kenjutsu (sword) based art, to that of aikibujutsu; which focused more on taijutsu (unarmed techniques). As a result of these changes, and Sokaku's willingness to spread this previously guarded art form to the general public, the revised art of Daito ryu became very popular and Sokaku was crowned with the success of his idea as the "Chuko no So" (Revivor) of the art."

David

Last edited by dps : 04-26-2008 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 04-26-2008, 07:43 AM   #3
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

That's an interesting historical narrative, but I guess I'm talking on a more basic and specific level. The description above talks about its origins in "battlefield" arts, for armed and armored warriors. Is the idea then that aikido is based on grappling optimized for people wearing armor? I've never worn samurai armor, but my hunch is that it'd compel some changes from standard aikido movement.

Furthermore, I don't remember ever seeing Ueshiba-sensei or his students demonstrate in armor, or even move in a manner that seemed particularly reminiscent of someone in armor.

It's an interesting theory, though. Unfortunately, it seems rather hard to test. (You'd need to host some grappling matches with sets of armor.) Does anyone have knowledge of armored fighting methods from koryu studies? What are they like, technically?

Last edited by Paul Sanderson-Cimino : 04-26-2008 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:01 AM   #4
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

These seem to be questions that should be posed to people like Ellis Amdur.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:01 AM   #5
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Hi Paul,

I might approach your question with a pragmatic answer. Just like the old sage when introduced to an herb he did not recognize, he simply asks , what is it good for".

I have found and continue to learn that virtually every principle in Yanagi as a Koryu art can be discovered in the first technique: Ikkyo. The first layer of learning is the kata. Not always the best application against a trained grappler. But the many variations of how to control an outstretched arm is a larger study. You can begin with jujitsu application, move to aikijutsu and ultimately Aiki no jutsu.

But neither can you make the one technique a stand-alone project or combat strategy. If uke's arm bends in a judo form of "pong energy" (often seen in rondori as elbows slightly raised) the ikkyo principle of "anvilling" may suffice but then again, other techniques in your quiver may be calling out to you.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:18 AM   #6
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
These seem to be questions that should be posed to people like Ellis Amdur.
I'd love to hear something from Ellis Amdur; I'm a big fan of his writing. Not to speak for him, but my -impression- (which may well be incorrect) is that he views aikido as a study of body principles or something similar, blended with O-sensei's peculiar mystic beliefs.

However, I've heard it pointedly argued that top-level martial artists do not bother with "principle-based" training -- or rather, they learn their principles through the same techniques they employ in their competitions. E.g., top wrestlers don't do tai-chi to improve their takedowns, and champion kendoka don't devote a significant amount of their training time to kyudo. I know Jason DeLucia was talking about aikido as helpful to him, but I think he qualifies as merely an exception.

That said, intellectually it seems entirely reasonable that "principle-based" training could be helpful. Is it possible that martial artists from a hundred years ago -did- find principle-based training effective, and that's where aikido came from? If so, what kind of martial artists were they?

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Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
But neither can you make the one technique a stand-alone project or combat strategy. If uke's arm bends in a judo form of "pong energy" (often seen in rondori as elbows slightly raised) the ikkyo principle of "anvilling" may suffice but then again, other techniques in your quiver may be calling out to you.
Would it be fair to construe this as a vote for "aikido's about principles"? This leads me back to the quandry I mentioned above: while that makes perfect sense to me, I can't think of many people who claim to get demonstrably better at their type of budo through principle training in techniques unrelated to those they employ. I'm not sure that martial artists of old felt any differently.

If on the other hand you mean that aikido techniques were intended for fairly direct application in a judo-like grappling situation (with jackets), I'm curious to know more. It sounds like Shodokan aikido and Kodokan judo outlaw each others' techniques in their respective randori, and I haven't heard of any cross-style matchups.

Last edited by Paul Sanderson-Cimino : 04-26-2008 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:30 AM   #7
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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I have found and continue to learn that virtually every principle in Yanagi as a Koryu art can be discovered in the first technique: Ikkyo. The first layer of learning is the kata. Not always the best application against a trained grappler. But the many variations of how to control an outstretched arm is a larger study. You can begin with jujitsu application, move to aikijutsu and ultimately Aiki no jutsu.
The name "Yanagi-ryu" sounds familiar to me, but I can't quite place it. I checked on YouTube, and found this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvWiYcxTm2A

What's Yanagi-ryu's historical provenance, if I might ask? (e.g. armored, unarmored, self-defense, military) Does it contain many aikido-like techniques?

The video linked to above does seem to have a section of aikido-like grappling techniques, which seem to be presented as weapon disarms. Is that an accurate characterization?

Last edited by Paul Sanderson-Cimino : 04-26-2008 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:58 AM   #8
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Um, you could ask Ellis Amdur, but he might not be interested in repeating what he's already written.

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:09 AM   #9
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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Um, you could ask Ellis Amdur, but he might not be interested in repeating what he's already written.
I have indeed read and enjoyed those articles, but they seemed to be more about the history of aikido and Daito-ryu; they don't seem to directly address, "What the heck is a kotegaeshi for?" As I said earlier, I seem to recall Ellis Amdur saying on other occasions that he felt the techniques of aikido themselves are mostly movement exercises and such, of the tai chi variety, mixed up with O-sensei's spiritual and metaphysical beliefs.

There is the one mention of functional origin:

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
It is true that this, too, is congruent with the history of the general development of jujutsu - battlefield grappling, particularly kata trained on one’s knees or with a standing opponent against one kneeling, with the wearing of light armor imagined whenever practicing the kata, was morphed into jujutsu - self-defense tactics for unarmored individuals in peacetime or police actions. The desperate moves for survival when one prepared for trying to counter a stab with a dagger with empty hands - contingency moves for a worst case scenario - were flipped, so to speak, into the central methods of jujutsu systems. Hand-to-hand combat drill became self-defense.
If so, this is very unfortunate, in my book. These do not sound like great techniques to begin with ("desperate moves"), and they don't sound much like what few techniques have been devised in modern times for such desperate situations and found to be effective. It would be somewhat disappointing if aikido dojo everywhere were engaged in the dressed-up study of absurd old combatives-manual techniques.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:53 AM   #10
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

i can only speak of Yanagi Hara Ryu which is the specific Kortu I belong to. John Clodig, student of Don Angier, student od Kenji Yoshida, son and student of Kotaro Yoshida.

We are definitely principle based. Essentially we have about 160 techniques. But if you train only a handfull (40) with a focus on principles, you find yourself not really thinking of technique anymore. You just move and act using principles. Ikkyo in this respect, has a multitude of expressions. So does Kota Gaeshi. Kota is primarily a study of throwing through the forearm. Ikkyo- through an outstretched arm.

I am a pretty practical guy with 20 years of Jujitsu as well. A bodyguard by trade, if I did not trust the value of my training, I would move on in a heartbeat.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:04 AM   #11
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

1. Re a discussion of the origins of DR, more than a little at variance to the orthodox story - my book, Hidden in Plain Sight. I'm guessing publishing date will be in the fall.
2. Paul - the techniques were/are the best one could ever come up with regarding empty-hand vs. weapon. Nothing absurd about them. It's just that anyone of experience (those who made the kata) were not sanguine about their survival chances against an expert with a blade - but one still did what one could. They would still be applicable today in similar situations.
3. Jujutsu was an amalgam of those techniques, retrofitted, so to speak, + sumo + sophisticated body alignment/organization/ki-kokyu type training - each ryu emphasizing one or the other of these, and further researching them. (remember that most jujutsu ryu had a LOT of weapons training as well - sometimes far more than empty-handed training).
4. As I (and a few other notables ) have written, the ukemi side of training includes the absorbing of force, running it thru your body and then doing various things to take or regain advantage over tori (not going to repeat all those threads again! - please God, not again!). So I do think that Ueshiba adopted some of the particular techniques (kotegaeshi, for example) as training methods in "running forces," so to speak.

Anyway, bear with me. Whatever I have of worth to offer in this area will be bound in two covers, in, I think, the fall. The research and writing is done - I'm in the peer review process right now.
Best

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 04-26-2008 at 10:08 AM.

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Old 04-26-2008, 05:46 PM   #12
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Whoa! Thanks for taking the time to write a reply, Ellis. I've been fascinated by your other books and articles, so I'll be sure to give the new one a look. Good luck with the finishing process.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Paul - the techniques were/are the best one could ever come up with regarding empty-hand vs. weapon. Nothing absurd about them. (...) one still did what one could. They would still be applicable today in similar situations.
So to attempt to paraphrase: aikido techniques at their jujutsu core are weapon-taking methods. Then to really get aikido, it seems like you'd want to do a ton of serious weapons-taking practice. The problem that hits me about that is that...well. As you say, it's extremely hard to take a knife out of someone's hand. I don't think I've ever seen it done in person with a truly hellbent uke. (Then again, I have to say that most of the kokyu-nage-style throws that I've seen work were in the context of tantodori. Increased intensity -- I'm going to grab you and stab you -- and increased focus on one point -- the knife arm -- might be the cause? But this is all anecdotal.)

I saw this recently: http://youtube.com/watch?v=c0fPL4f3Eqc

So perhaps aikidoka should start doing these kinds of exercises, but with a keikogi? (To simulate the attire of the techniques' developers.) Perhaps this is what ikkyo, kotegaeshi, iriminage, and other such techniques are really optimal for? (Not that it'd necessarily be textbook; but by practicing ikkyo kata, you'd get better at taking knives.)

What about atemi in this context? I remember Ellis' suggestion about tracing through techniques looking for atemi points. This seems trickier to practice without bashing each other up quite a bit; although perhaps partial-force blows could work. (Not in a competition, but in a randori-style practice.) Soft knives don't seem like a bad idea; as has been discussed before, people tend to hold back quite a lot with an object in their hands in practice, for fear of injuring their partner. ("Here, just catch my arm and pin me, it's going to be safer." -- on a subconscious level.)

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Jujutsu was an amalgam of those techniques, retrofitted, so to speak, + sumo + sophisticated body alignment/organization/ki-kokyu type training - each ryu emphasizing one or the other of these, and further researching them.
As for aikido and body organization type principles, it sounds like older ryu definitely believed in the value of these things. Why is it that modern competitive martial artists don't find these give them an edge? Or perhaps they do ... maybe all that conditioning also has a body organization element to it, instead of just building strength and endurance?

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
We are definitely principle based. Essentially we have about 160 techniques. But if you train only a handfull (40) with a focus on principles, you find yourself not really thinking of technique anymore. (...) Ikkyo in this respect, has a multitude of expressions. So does Kota Gaeshi. Kota is primarily a study of throwing through the forearm. Ikkyo- through an outstretched arm.

I am a pretty practical guy with 20 years of Jujitsu as well. A bodyguard by trade, if I did not trust the value of my training, I would move on in a heartbeat.
So it sounds like this ryu is an example of a school that believes in principle-based training: the techniques may or may not have direct application, but by moving arms and such around in different ways, general grappling ability improves. Is that a fair characterization?
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:31 PM   #13
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

So to bring things to specifics: what, for example, would shomenuchi ikkyo (where nage begins with a rising shomenuchi strike towards uke) have been derived from? What sort of weapon-taking situation is this meant to describe?
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Old 04-26-2008, 07:02 PM   #14
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Paul - It's not so simple. We are talking about a 400+ year regress. Imagine a technique specifically for responding to a stab with a knife. (I never said, BTW, that the techniques were all "weapons taking"). Now, imagine it is adapted to empty handed attack (well-adapted or poorly). Now, add the fact that because there is not a weapon involved, you could combine it with a hip throw (you're not concerned about being stabbed), OR, someone realizes that one can take that technique, which may be martially inefficient and adapt it as a training method to hone everything from body displacement to internal strength. All of which leads to a flowering of a myriad of different jujutsu techniques in different ryu, with different specialties. 400+ years pass and Takeda Sokaku appears with his Daito-ryu, which, at least to Meiji jujutsuka, is remarkable (aiki, remember?). Because otherwise, it's just some wristy-twisty stuff. Then this is distilled down further AND altered in focus (centrifugal rather than centripital) and you have aikido.

As for ikkyo, it's my understanding that it's adapted from ippon-dori, the first tech in Daito-ryu.

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Old 04-26-2008, 07:09 PM   #15
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

....the good of shomenuchi ikkyo? Any of a plethora of things....taking a sword (one of those desparate unarmed vs armed moves)...or a knife overhand strike, or a club....Additionally it is an excellent training vehicle as Chris P talked about. You could teach ikkyyo directly against a contemporary strike such as a right cross or left hook, however, its my experience that younger students have much difficulty learning it that way because the line to them is difficult to see because its basically in a horizontal plane. The correct line is much easier to see in a vertical plane, which is shomenuchi ikkyyo. However, from what I have been able to see, many sensei rarely show the trainsition from vertical to horizontal plane (and may never have had it shown to them or figured it out for themselves). Its one of those layers that needs to be peeled back. In that sense the route of transmission by the koryu arts seems better. Select students are shoen the deeper layers of the art as opposed to the mass dissemination of lower levels of the art. In the end each person has to figure our aikido or any martial art for themselves. Thinking, experimenting, discarding, revisiting....serious students need to find a good teacher, but ultimately its up to the student to plumb the depths of the techniques and principles.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:02 PM   #16
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

I spent quite a while thinking about this response, because I'd like to avoid coming across as repetitive. I hope I was successful at that!

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Paul - It's not so simple. We are talking about a 400+ year regress. Imagine a technique specifically for responding to a stab with a knife. (I never said, BTW, that the techniques were all "weapons taking"). Now, imagine it is adapted to empty handed attack (well-adapted or poorly). Now, add the fact that because there is not a weapon involved, you could combine it with a hip throw (you're not concerned about being stabbed), OR, someone realizes that one can take that technique, which may be martially inefficient and adapt it as a training method to hone everything from body displacement to internal strength.
Point taken. It just kind of seems like: at the end of all that distortion away from "actual" martial arts, is there anything of value (as budo) left in aikido? Over the course of this convoluted historical legacy and repeated readaptation, has it become kind of like kyudo -- no longer bearing any relevance to firing a bow, but simply a symbolic and meditative practice? A tea ceremony where you fall down, as it were? This leads me to:

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
400+ years pass and Takeda Sokaku appears with his Daito-ryu, which, at least to Meiji jujutsuka, is remarkable (aiki, remember?). Because otherwise, it's just some wristy-twisty stuff.
I've heard it argued that modern aikido still teaches good things about body mechanics, timing, and so forth. I've heard similar arguments about tai chi and other Chinese internal styles. It makes perfect theoretical sense to me, but I don't see the empirical evidence. Certainly, it doesn't seem that abstracted internal training is necessary to become a top-notch martial artist. Competitive martial arts have taken off of late, and hardly anyone seems to be knocking on aikido's door for either internal or external material.

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Don McConnell wrote: View Post
In the end each person has to figure our aikido or any martial art for themselves. Thinking, experimenting, discarding, revisiting....serious students need to find a good teacher, but ultimately its up to the student to plumb the depths of the techniques and principles.
At present, I'm thinking I need to get good at judo before I can really "get" aikido. If aikido's about principles rather than specific techniques, it seems like one would need a "literal" base. This certainly seems a common story, although it may be historical accident: many aikido teachers seem to have started out with foundations in judo. I've also heard people argue that aikido is "high-level" martial arts training, which isn't really suitable for anyone who hasn't gotten good at the basics (judo, jujutsu, etc.)

In other words, I guess it's a bit like Pascal's wager (a bit): If I'm right, and aikido still has something to it as a martial art, maybe judo will let me understand that by giving me a basic context. If I'm wrong, and aikido has degenerated into total nonsense, I'll at least be on my way to learning something else. (Small consolation, admittedly, given how much I like aikido.)
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:10 PM   #17
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

[
Quote:
So it sounds like this ryu is an example of a school that believes in principle-based training: the techniques may or may not have direct application, but by moving arms and such around in different ways, general grappling ability improves. Is that a fair characterization?
Yes, Yanagi Hara Ryu is principle based. I entered the study of Yanagi as an insurance policy after becoming aware that my Kenpo (6th degree), Escrima (teaching certificate) and even my Jujitsu (4th degree) were essentially dependent upon speed strength and endurance. At the same time I was getting older, slower and less explosive. I needed to improve my efficiency rather revisiting basic fighting (with or without weapons).

It is my opinion that many Japanese arts and even Chinese arts as they are practiced today are deficient in concepts such as angling and zoning when performed in real-live environment contexts where actions are not choreographed. A second deficiency is that there is not enough focus on instinctive training in principles like (1) evade by 1/4 inch against a real knife (2) do not let flash or sound steal your eyes and mind. Most of this video you showed supports my thesis.

If you remember a few years ago, Frontsight Firearms in Pahrump, Nevada advertised that they would pay martial artists to interview with them to become part of their self defense program. I was the guy that moderated the interviews and wrote their initial curriculum. The process to almost 5 months. It is by no coincidence that I hired three Guros from the Filipino arts, and only one jujitsu instructor. Some Hakko Ryu teachers interviewed and several Jujitsu folks. I just had to go with what was going to work within the parameters of my mission. Felix Valencia of Valencia Lameco was chosen as the lead weapons instructor. He was undefeated in Dog Brothers as were every student he had brought to the games up to that point.

I did not put any Yanagi in the curriculum. Yet, I could make most of the curriculum work more efficiently because of the principles of movement I learned from Yanagi. I was Fifty years old and dealing with a lot of egos and 20-30 year olds. Yanagi was my real survival tool. I believe that any Aiki legacy-style that originated from Daito heritage would have had the same potential for me if I took the time to really study the following: Kote gaeshi, Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sanko, Gokyo, Shiho, Ippon Dori and Yanagi-specific techniques like Kiri Tori - Te Kube Skui- Tomoi Sonako Otoshi. These especially gave me an edge when we freeform grappled with a knife. But I never rushed in like a fool on the first face off. You have to look for (1) technical mistakes (2) breaks in timing and/or (3) gaps in concentration.

Still, you get cut. Just try to get cut once and then make the opponent pay the price. Change (shape shift) from the expectations that the other guy has about you.

We studied several knife threats (duelling, ambush, mass attack, etc). Each has their own issues in strategy and tactics.

As a sideline, herein is one of Joseph Arriola's specialties.... if people would just give him a chance and hear him. I have. He can take me to the next level of a 15 year study of knife fighting.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:41 PM   #18
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

'Felix Valencia of Valencia Lameco was chosen as the lead weapons instructor. He was undefeated in Dog Brothers as were every student he had brought to the games up to that point.'
Quoted from Chris above.

Hi Chris,
I trained with Felix and his stuff was so compatible with my aiki that I was amazed at the evolution of his skill and the efficiency of my aikido.
Good is good.

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Old 04-26-2008, 10:07 PM   #19
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
'Felix Valencia of Valencia Lameco was chosen as the lead weapons instructor. He was undefeated in Dog Brothers as were every student he had brought to the games up to that point.'
Quoted from Chris above.

Hi Chris,
I trained with Felix and his stuff was so compatible with my aiki that I was amazed at the evolution of his skill and the efficiency of my aikido.
Good is good.
When Felix interviewed, Brad Hansen (Mas Oyama Champion) and I were present. Felix brought a 65 year old student. After his talk, he asked if either of us were interested in knife scrimage with the old guy. I volunteered but was not a fool about it.

Felix and I became great friends, I thought his trying to suck us into making assumptions about an old guy was great strategy.

The Sayok guys came as well, Verrrry impressive and well thought out flow/cutting patterns. Ed Lake came with a team of kajukenbo guys from East Los Angeles. After doing his Dim Mak stuff, the team showed us some wonderful knife style.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:12 PM   #20
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Jennifer,

Did you get to train with Felixe's knife on a hallyard. Kind of like the Hwarangdo 6" stick on a 6" looped hallyard. The hallyard is always looped around the thumb or middle fingers. When the knife is pitched at you, it returns and ends back up in the grip of your hand. Takes practice, but you can dupe most anyone even if they have trained to judge range against a knife.
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:23 PM   #21
raul rodrigo
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

I'm a little mystified with the purpose of the questioning, Paul. If i understand correctly, you want to uncover the historical validity (or its practical effectiveness at its point of origin) of aikido techniques in order to help you decide if you should continue with aikido or stick to judo. It seems to me that those are separate questions: where it comes from, as opposed to why i should or should not do it. You can uncover the historical origins for the iaido kata, but it wouldn't help one decide if one should practice it or not. (Is iaido "practical"? If not, does it matter?) Only practice itself can uncover the reasons why or why not. At least, that would be my thinking.

To find empirical evidence of aikido's ability to teach or not teach internal skills, you'd have to have hands on experience of a teacher who does teach that. And lets face it, few do. But those that do manifest it would be worth checking out. Or perhaps, to leave aikido and enter the realm of principle-based, internal strength training, a session with Mike Sigman, the Aunkai folk, or the like would be good.

Last edited by raul rodrigo : 04-26-2008 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 04-27-2008, 02:15 PM   #22
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

A while back I asked a similar question and got not much of a reply. I wanted to know where the idea to train irimi and tenkan (2+2=4 techniques etc) came from. If you look at old vids of Ueshiba he does not seem to do this (maybe there are some I have not seen??). Does no one know who introduced this or why we do this? I think there was a reference to Kishomaru Ueshiba but even if so, why? If we cannot answer such simple questions ... Personally, I now think this (repeated irimi and tenkan) to be useful, but also limiting. (Tomiki do not train this way, Yoshinkan do in part, ... some do ... some don't etc.).

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Old 04-27-2008, 02:39 PM   #23
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
I'm a little mystified with the purpose of the questioning, Paul. If i understand correctly, you want to uncover the historical validity (or its practical effectiveness at its point of origin) of aikido techniques in order to help you decide if you should continue with aikido or stick to judo. It seems to me that those are separate questions: where it comes from, as opposed to why i should or should not do it. You can uncover the historical origins for the iaido kata, but it wouldn't help one decide if one should practice it or not.
In short, I feel like I shouldn't be practicing something (or perhaps more accurately, can't meaningfully practice something) unless I have some clue what I'm doing.

Imagine if judo throws were practiced as slow-motion tai chi type solo movements, and there was no concept of randori or paired practice. It might not even be clear that you were practicing throws: people might assume they were peculiar strikes. It'd be very hard to really understand judo, because you'd have no idea where the movements came from. "Is this really a good kick?" you might skeptically ask about o-soto-gari, seeing only a forward leg swing followed by a return. You might practice a forward reaping motion into a bag repeatedly, and be frustrated with why these kicking movements didn't seem to resemble anything like good kicking technique. "I guess it looks kind of like a knee strike, if I bend my leg" you think, but then you notice that from the beginning of time people have been told to practice with a straight leg, and none of the other elements of striking are taught. Needless to say, there'd almost certainly be no good judoka around.

Once you say, "These are ways for two people in jackets to throw each other", the light bulb goes on, and it becomes clear how to evaluate your technique. You stop throwing your leg forward at the bag. You no longer feel like you have a stupidly stylized kicking method; you have a perfectly functional and effective reaping method.

As has been observed repeatedly in the "aikido doesn't work oh noes" threads, nobody's ever been able to show that aikido techniques are functional in an empty-handed contest. So clearly, practicing aikido with the idea that you're learning how to throw an unarmed, keikogi-wearing person ("gi grappling") or an unarmed, lightly-clothed person ("no-gi grappling") with these techniques is as flawed as practicing osotogari against a bag thinking you're learning how to kick.

My thinking is that maybe aikido techniques are, as people have argued, an advanced grappling principles study, that gives you some new insights and some extra techniques for special situations. If it's an advanced grappling study, then you should probably understand basic grappling first.

An alternate theory is that aikido has something to do with koryu weapons methods; perhaps rather than a principles study, aikido techniques are just as "literal" as osotogari, as in, "if someone grabs your shoulder to stab you, katamochi ikkyo is a good counter; practice this by having someone grab your shoulder to stab you." If that's true, then it's possible that judo is totally irrelevant; what's really needed is some greater clarity of training methods, creating a freestyle format without excessive rules that pressure-tests aikido skills.

Does that make some sense? In short, I view the questions as interconnected because studying aikido without any idea what the function of the techniques is (throw, knife take away, knife retention, sword take away, sword retention, etc.) seems hopelessly inefficient.

Last edited by Paul Sanderson-Cimino : 04-27-2008 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 04-27-2008, 07:03 PM   #24
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
Jennifer,

Did you get to train with Felixe's knife on a hallyard. Kind of like the Hwarangdo 6" stick on a 6" looped hallyard. The hallyard is always looped around the thumb or middle fingers. When the knife is pitched at you, it returns and ends back up in the grip of your hand. Takes practice, but you can dupe most anyone even if they have trained to judge range against a knife.
Hey.... .....I didn't even know he was holding out on me until now!!! I guess it's a real compliment when a teacher DOESN"T show you their secrets. LOL.

No, we didn't do actually that. But now I know what to ask of him next time I see him.

I got to be his fall-girl for awhile, you know, and that's my bag.

Oh yeah, those kujukenbo guys sound like a hoot. Are you still in contact?

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 04-27-2008, 07:12 PM   #25
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
A while back I asked a similar question and got not much of a reply. I wanted to know where the idea to train irimi and tenkan (2+2=4 techniques etc) came from. If you look at old vids of Ueshiba he does not seem to do this (maybe there are some I have not seen??). Does no one know who introduced this or why we do this? I think there was a reference to Kishomaru Ueshiba but even if so, why? If we cannot answer such simple questions ... Personally, I now think this (repeated irimi and tenkan) to be useful, but also limiting. (Tomiki do not train this way, Yoshinkan do in part, ... some do ... some don't etc.).
Slightly veering to the right of the conversation, and I can't answer the origin element of your question, I'd like to comment on an advantage of the 2+2 training formula.

It evens out our brain and retrains it in a way that doesn't happen anywhere else. Same activity, same number.....different hands and sides. That's the catcher. The different hand same activity part. This, in other contexts, has been shown to release trauma from the brain and to re-route neural pathways. This may suggest that the use of our bodies in this way could re-train 'natural/neural' reponses. Perhaps even facilitate flow on both sides of the mind. In which case our system enters into a certain 'agreement' with itself. Now that's a technique.

I would also be curious to know who improvised/introduced this formula.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 04-27-2008 at 07:15 PM.

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