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Old 07-17-2008, 08:54 PM   #151
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Heck Peter, if I'd married a Japanese woman years earlier all this would have been old news to me!

LOL
Gernot
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Old 07-17-2008, 09:00 PM   #152
Allen Beebe
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

I always thought that one of the valid explanations (not excuses mind you) for the Japanese military's abuse of POW's, "liberated" citizenry, etc., was the abusive treatment that Japanese children . . . on down to Japanese soldiers received unquestioningly and passed along unquestioningly at the time. Unfortunately, but not too surprisingly, this mindset survived the war in some folks and found fertile ground in certain sectors of the martial arts. This behavioral disorder has even successfully been exported and reproduced in other countries under the guise of 'Traditional Japanese Martial Arts Training.'

Another story, I read but can't remember where, that relates to Peter's post was of O-sensei being brought to military trial for breaking a senior officer's hand. The case was dismissed when it came out that HOW Ueshiba had broken the senior officer's hand was by standing obediently, and obligingly, at attention while the officer in question hit Ueshiba on the head with his fist, thereby breaking his hand! I seem to recall that Ueshiba explained that he had trained his head by beating it against rocks and such, but pleaded innocent to intentionally breaking the officer's hand . . .

Gives a whole new meaning to 愛打、 har, har, har!

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 07-18-2008, 06:21 AM   #153
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Peter's remarks regarding bentatsu and tekken seisai bring to mind an interesting book I read some time back, "Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers" (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, 2006, University of Chicago Press). There is a lot of anecdotal material in her book that attests to the treatments Peter cites (definitely, there was no love involved here), and it provides some interesting insights into the authoritarian Japanese government during WII, the symbolic position and role of the emperor, and the harsh treatment of and expectations of ultimate sacrifice that young men were expected to make not for their homeland and people, but for their emperor.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:53 AM   #154
Allen Beebe
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I wasn't at Iwama. In fact, I never went. Because when I trained aikido, it was a guarantee that someone like Inagaki would try to cripple you - NOT in a fair fight, but, say, in the middle of a technique and you gave up the pin, and were waiting to tap out, and he would ignore the tap and rip out your shoulder. I'd already had the attempt made at another Iwama affiliate dojo.
This is not combat - nor a fair fight. It's obscene cowardice. And lest someone is offended that I mentioned Inagaki's name, I truly don't care. Saito sensei was quite fine with this, himself. Because it happened over and over again. Right in front of him. A friend of mine, a white belt who happened to be big, went Iwama all starry-eyed, and was crippled for life - he could no longer functionally bend his right arm. That was in Saito Morihiro's class.
My friend, Terry Dobson, worked out with Inagaki during one of Saito Morihiro's trips to Tokyo. Terry told him he had a separated shoulder, so "let's go easy," and Inagaki waited for nikkyo pin, which Terry gave him and Inagaki ripped the pins out of the bone.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the Iwama big-guys tried, in very studied fashion, to tear out my shoulder on shihonage, saying that he just wanted to show me something, moving very slowly, saying, "no need to take a break fall," and then suddenly tried to bridge my arm and tear it up. I was ready - forewarned by Terry - and took the fall, and then we had some - - - discussion.
More recently, Isat at a table at the aiki-expo listening to Saito Hitohiro bragging to others how they used to beat up guys from Honbu when they came to Iwama to train, but, and this is a direct quote, "It was done out of love, to give them a sense of how things should really be done."
You know, everyone made a big deal about the Ueshiba family taking back Iwama after Saito Morihiro's death. "Oh, it's politics." OR, "The Ueshiba family always resented Osensei's special relationship." Well, payback's a bitch, isn't it. This is the place Tokyo guys went to get injured. At the shrine. Yeah, if you were in-house, like some of my friends, things were fine. But, the place was a cesspool of cheap-shot violence.
Aikido is love? Or it's not. Fine. Nice debate. But Janne, who was a force of nature, did not deliberately set out to hurt people. I worked out with him a fair amount. But he would not accept cheap gratuitous attempts to injure or shame him.
I apologize for the rant. But one thing that has always offended me about aikido is that, often, what is used as "evidence" of aikido's real power is not one-on-one face-to-face, fighting, for whatever that's worth, but at least it's clean - but going backall the way back to Osensei and Yukawa in front of the emperor, it is cheap, nasty sucker punching and locking of people who trust you. Aikido is love? I guess, sometimes, it's also domestic violence - and far too many people call that love too.
The domestic violence reference got me thinking - if I remember correctly Ellis related on another thread that sexual abuse is not statistically passed on, in other words the victim doesn't statistically become a "carrier." However, violent abuse is statistically passed on, statistically victims of violent child abuse have a statistical tendency to grow up and become abusers themselves. [Please correct me if I'm wrong here because it is important.]

With that in mind, we read that Takeda Sokaku was physically abused in the process of learning. According to one story floating around at least Ueshiba was in tears the first time he got "handled" by Takeda. These could have been tears of embarrassment, frustration, or not entirely unlikely, pain. Later we hear stories of injuries at Ueshiba's hands and his temper is rather famous. Finally, there are student's of O-sensei that are rather infamous along the same lines. Is this a domestic abuse skeleton in the closet of Aikido? Or perhaps it is a domestic abuse Pink Elephant in the middle of the dojo that nobody talks about?

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:02 AM   #155
Zach Trent
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Two ideas that I think are at odds:

Quote:
Joseph Pielech wrote: View Post
I would even go further: junk is junk and that was, indeed, junk... A sad display indeed, especially for someone who has been living in Japan and training in aikido as long as I have.
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I would simply say that all of the really interesting stuff out there is the stuff you don't understand.
As a new student of Aikido, I can't pretend to speak with any authority about the contents of the video posted above. However, the first lesson I learned from Aikido is that it isn't wise to make decisions about the art without being open, relaxed, and able to harmonize with what you experience.

Honestly, I missed out on Aikido training for about six months because I went and watched some you tube videos and remarked to myself how canned, impractical, and goofy the practitioners looked. If I had watched the Abe Sensei video above at that point, it would have only added to my inability to fathom what the art is about.

Watching the video after about 8 months of training does not allow me to guess about what is happening, but I have learned that making assumptions about what I see only stunts my ability to grow and be challenged in this art.

An offshoot of that lesson that I learned is that I can trust people not to waste their (and other's) time- If someone has trained for years and years, I can trust that they are training a certain way for a reason, and I can learn from them, even if what they are teaching makes no sense to me as to why I would want to learn it (at least in Aikido, I am not about to apply this principle to all walks of my life).

If I may- I had the privilege of taking a class with Ledyard Sensei about two weeks ago at ASU summer camp, and that class put me in a better place to watch this video and not dismiss it. I hope that I have the chance to train with him again.

Thanks,

Zach, Brattleboro VT
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:03 AM   #156
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Peter's remarks regarding bentatsu and tekken seisai bring to mind an interesting book I read some time back, "Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers" (Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, 2006, University of Chicago Press). There is a lot of anecdotal material in her book that attests to the treatments Peter cites (definitely, there was no love involved here), and it provides some interesting insights into the authoritarian Japanese government during WII, the symbolic position and role of the emperor, and the harsh treatment of and expectations of ultimate sacrifice that young men were expected to make not for their homeland and people, but for their emperor.
Cady,

The book you mentioned is a sequel to an earlier book by Emiko Ohnuki Tierney, which contains much of the argument. The title is Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms and Nationalisms: The Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History, published in 2002. These two books have led to another book, much more 'journalistic' than Ohnuki-Tierney, but none the worse for that. The title is Blossoms in the Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze, by M G Sheftall, published in 2005.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:17 AM   #157
Jason Mayo
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
For all I know you're right. However, considering what accounts I've been reading about Seiseki Abe, I'm assuming there's something more to it than mere theatrics.
Accounts are fine, stories are great, but witnesses dont make good storytellers, especially in the aikido world (c'mon, we all know shioda sensei told some real doozies). Can you honestly say youve never seen anyone just take fake ukemi? Never seen anyone just fall down when nothing happened? We all want to believe amazing things are possible, but isnt it more likely that this is whats happening here?

Even with more martial techniques, do you really think its neccesary to do a breakfall on any technique other than koshi-waza?

(sorry ive been gone for a while!!)
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:33 AM   #158
Jason Mayo
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

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Robert John wrote: View Post
Er... I've been to Abe's dojo, and trust me, the Ukemi that his students put on even without the cameras rolling would win the Oscar for overacting

I feel pretty comfortable with saying that because I got to see the reaction of one of his long time students reaction of my own stuff when we had a bit of private time. That kind of overacting just gets ingrained :-p
Was reading thru all the posts i missed and thank you for this one, finally some honesty!!
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:35 AM   #159
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
Can you honestly say youve never seen anyone just take fake ukemi?
Yes, I have seen that.

Quote:
Never seen anyone just fall down when nothing happened?
Yep, seen that too...

Quote:
We all want to believe amazing things are possible, but isnt it more likely that this is whats happening here?
Quite possible...so if you don't like it, and don't see a point to it, don't do it.

Quote:
Even with more martial techniques, do you really think its neccesary to do a breakfall on any technique other than koshi-waza?
Yes. At least in the yoshinkan. Shihonage kuzushi, some versions of kotegaeshi nage, aiki-nage, iriminage and others.

Hey, if the vid in question doesn't float your boat, just say so and move on.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:38 AM   #160
Haowen Chan
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post
An offshoot of that lesson that I learned is that I can trust people not to waste their (and other's) time- If someone has trained for years and years, I can trust that they are training a certain way for a reason.
This is just offloading responsibility for making your own personal training decisions onto another person. What if that person also did the same, and so on...?
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:02 PM   #161
Zach Trent
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

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Haowen Chan wrote: View Post
This is just offloading responsibility for making your own personal training decisions onto another person. What if that person also did the same, and so on...?
Well- I suppose you are correct, but from my perspective I have to offload that responsibility onto someone, as I do not know Aikido.

My point is that if an instructor is doing something that is puzzling or counter-intuitive to me, I am willing to still try and learn from them. I highlight that as a lesson I have learned because Aikido seems puzzling to me at times...not sure if I'm on a limb on that one.
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:07 PM   #162
Aikibu
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

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Jason Mayo wrote: View Post
Was reading thru all the posts i missed and thank you for this one, finally some honesty!!
Whew...I am glad you caught that too! Now if you could only figure what Aikido is and how it works you might be restored to sanity.

Because according to your post. Most of the rest of us are liars. LOL

William Hazen
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Old 07-18-2008, 04:59 PM   #163
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
Jason Mayo wrote: View Post
Accounts are fine, stories are great, but witnesses dont make good storytellers, especially in the aikido world (c'mon, we all know shioda sensei told some real doozies).
I don't think Aikido folks are any different from most other folks. People are ignorant by nature. I understand that even the most perceptive of folks miss things. Human nature seems to readily allow one understanding to obfuscate another...except for me of course, I'm the exception that proves the rule.

Quote:
Can you honestly say youve never seen anyone just take fake ukemi? Never seen anyone just fall down when nothing happened? We all want to believe amazing things are possible, but isnt it more likely that this is whats happening here?
I'm the wrong person to ask. I've got very little experience here. I've seen lots of things I didn't understand though. A perfect example was the first time I saw Aikido waza in person. It looked completely fake, but I'm one of the more open-minded people I know so I gave it a try a few years later when I had the opportunity. I still train there whenever I get the chance to. I'm far from being even a mediocre student of Aikido, let alone the Martial Arts, but what I've learned at my dojo has been useful to me in everything from soccer to scrapping around with my buddies to my job in construction...not to mention the intagibles.

Quote:
Even with more martial techniques, do you really think its neccesary to do a breakfall on any technique other than koshi-waza?
Assuming we share the same meaning of what a breakfall is, yes: any time someone throws but doesn't let go. But, learning to land on the ground (break a fall) from a variety of movements is pretty useful stuff in my opinion.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 07-18-2008 at 05:08 PM.

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Old 07-18-2008, 11:55 PM   #164
Charles Hill
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
All will be revealed in a future column .
Very much looking forward to this, Professor. With Mr.Amdur's post(which parallels many stories I have heard and things I experienced at Honbu) an obvious question is how much was Morihei Ueshiba aware of things that were going on? How did the situations at both Iwama and Tokyo change on the death of the Founder?

For example, there was a rather large guy training at Honbu when I was there in the mid-late 90's who was always very rough with his partners. People who trained regularly avoided him so it was usually unsuspecting visitors whom he injured. One time during K. Ueshiba's class, he was trashing his partner when Doshu started walking by. Suddenly this guy was throwing his partner very soft and kindly. Doshu walked by and he went back to the violence.

A few weeks later at Doshu's class, he was paired up with a certain senior shihan who smashed this guy into the mat the whole hour. The thought in my head was "the cycle of violence continues."

Charles
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:37 AM   #165
eyrie
 
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
The thought in my head was "the cycle of violence continues."
Hmmm... so much for the "Art of Peace"... I can beat the crap out of you and be completely at peace with myself.

BTW... can we split all the digressions on "violence under the pretext of love" to it's own thread please...

Ignatius
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Old 07-19-2008, 11:17 AM   #166
Allen Beebe
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

I've read, and have been told, that during the Kobukan era folks would regularly come in for "Dojo Arai." On occasion, when more formidable "guests" would come in, their "interview" would end with them literally broken. In these cases O-sensei would come out and scold his student for injuring the "guest" when his art was not meant for such violence. After the guest had left the founder would invite the "defending" student into his back office offering him a cup of tea and congratulating him on his fine performance . . .

Tatemae/Honne

This of course was a "challenge match" (not the typical cheap shot that Ellis described) and all parties involved knew it.

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
. . . an obvious question is how much was Morihei Ueshiba aware of things that were going on? How did the situations at both Iwama and Tokyo change on the death of the Founder?

Charles
Perhaps an extreme reframing of the question would help one to draw their own conclusion: "Did the body guard assigned to protect the assassin by the fanatical/ultranationalist backing religious 'god father' know that people got hurt in his dojo where members of the ultranationalist underground did at least part of their planning that used terror as a tool?"

If he did or didn't, does it make the described behavior any more or less condonable? We can't change the past, but we can learn from it. What should one do now?

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 07-19-2008 at 11:19 AM.

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Old 07-19-2008, 02:06 PM   #167
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
Hmmm... so much for the "Art of Peace"... I can beat the crap out of you and be completely at peace with myself.

BTW... can we split all the digressions on "violence under the pretext of love" to it's own thread please...
Good idea, Ignatius. I just started that thread.
Thanks,
Jen

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 07-19-2008 at 02:12 PM.

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Old 07-19-2008, 04:42 PM   #168
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

The problem I think a lot of us have is that we think any martial arts training is real. It's all fake, or we'd all be dead and crippled.

I recall a time I was personally offended by aikido and it's BS laffy taffy wrist throws. Years ago ('95?) I went to the aikikai to try aikido (at the time I was studying kung fu) and they asked me to stand in line, grab some dude's wrist, and fall when he pointed to the floor. I wonder what the look on my face was like. I was used to full contact sparring. Convinced everyone around me was a punk and or a fool, I retreated to bloody noses and swollen ankles.

After a few years of getting kicked in the knees and doing a gazillion squats and horse stances, I developed a chronic injury that stopped me from kicking (mostly). Sick of the chinese martial arts world and bored to tears by boxing I went back to aikido out of desperation.

It was rough going, accepting the format and training methods and the fact that it's a fixed game. But now I see the beauty and the brilliance of it. How refined and thoughtful it is, enabling people of all practice styles and abilities to co-habitate. I can use to to teach kids, to break up fights, and to explain everything that makes martial techniques effective without coming off as overly aggressive.

Aikido is one of the best tools around for teaching and studying the underlying principals of the arts, because it's so darn fake on the mat and so freakin' real in the world we live in.
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Old 07-20-2008, 03:33 AM   #169
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Soft and hard

Sometimes in discussions on what kind of aikido works or not, I get the feeling that we talk about different forms of aikido that should not really be compared.

There are, of course, many ways to train aikido, and I strongly believe that it is good to try more than one of them. Such as gotai and jutai, for example. Gotai is from a static position, where uke is expected to grab hard and use some resistance, whereas jutai is in movement, where it might actually be dangerous for uke to resist or try to stop the technique.

There is also a very soft way of training, where the principles of rhythm and flow are investigated further. Many of the performances that make spectators very doubtful are of this nature. But in that kind of training, uke is supposed to accept the impulses felt through tori's actions.
Still, it is very meaningful training, since it leads to a deeper understanding of subtleties at work in aikido. Simply put: your gotai technique will get stronger by it.

Also, I think it's important to understand that aikido people easily go into ukemi, when they get out of balance. People without such training would stumble around instead, or just collapse to the floor. So we should not expect every ukemi in aikido to be the result of a mighty force from tori, but as a safe and natural reaction in uke.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:22 AM   #170
DH
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Re: Soft and hard

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
... I get the feeling that we talk about different forms of aikido that should not really be compared.
There is only one Aikido.
And all must compare themselves to it. Everything else is just simply another person's dilema and it doesn't matter. Your aiki is strong, or it is week. Call it shugyo or gong-fu-no matter. Regardless of who's mat or what art you face or even just life-It's your own hard work that will fail or prevail and no one else's. What else matters?
It's why Ueshiba saw aikido everywhere and acknowledged it as such. Then shouted that people in his own dojo were in fact not doing Aikido!
And it's why you can see so much Aikido and say "That's not Aikido." To me it's clear as a bell (pun intended).
Makes perfect sense.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:20 PM   #171
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Re: Soft and hard

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
There is only one Aikido.
We're not even sure that there is only one universe.

Good for you that you figured it all out. Me, I would like to be entitled to my doubts and uncertainties, without which I would not be able to discover anything but what I already think I know.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:02 PM   #172
DH
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Stefan
You missed the point entirely.
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:41 AM   #173
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
Er... I've been to Abe's dojo, and trust me, the Ukemi that his students put on even without the cameras rolling would win the Oscar for overacting

I feel pretty comfortable with saying that because I got to see the reaction of one of his long time students reaction of my own stuff when we had a bit of private time. That kind of overacting just gets ingrained :-p
Hey Rob,
I had much the same experience once. I was at a seminar with a guy who did a lot of "energy work". I got paired with one of his senior students. I decided to try some of what I had seen the "big guy" do and low and behold... I was blowing this fellow across the room with pulses through my extension.

That's when it all became clear... What stood between me and great mastery of the art was my defective ukes...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:55 AM   #174
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
That's when it all became clear... What stood between me and great mastery of the art was my defective ukes...
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:58 AM   #175
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Re: Seiseki Abe Sensei video....whats going on here?

Ricky beat me to it, but still ;
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
That's when it all became clear... What stood between me and great mastery of the art was my defective ukes...
Nail on the head!
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