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Old 09-02-2008, 04:14 PM   #1
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Taisabaki and Ueshiba

This is taken from Aiki News Issue 087

There is an article with Interviews with Nishimura and Sakurai.

Quote:
Nishimura Sensei wrote:
People who had done kendo were deeply interested in Ueshiba Sensei's taisabaki (body movement) and came to learn from him.
Up to now, I've been reading articles and thinking taisabaki was actually, as the article put in parenthesis, body movement. You know, how the body moved physically. But, the longer I thought about it, the more I wondered if they didn't mean the internal structural body skills.

I mean kendo people and high ranking kendo people already trained how to move. Really, I can't see them going to Ueshiba just to relearn how to move their body in their kendo practice. So, if it isn't basic body movement, then what was it? A way of moving the body that kept them centered on contact, perhaps? Core body structure in movement? Hmmm ...
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:05 PM   #2
Kent Enfield
 
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Up to now, I've been reading articles and thinking taisabaki was actually, as the article put in parenthesis, body movement. You know, how the body moved physically. But, the longer I thought about it, the more I wondered if they didn't mean the internal structural body skills.
Well, sabaku doesn't mean "move". It means something more along the lines of "handle/deal with/manipulate", so while it does mean things like "step to the left with your left foot", that's not *all* it means.

Though they often get glossed over at lower levels, and I've not seen any indications of a purposeful curriculum for teaching body skills directly, at higher levels, there seems to be lots of attention to small details that affect how one moves and generates power: tension in the legs, alignment of the hips and spine, etc. It wouldn't surprise me at all for kendo people to visit someone who moves well to see if they could learn how to improve their own movement.

Kentokuseisei
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:48 AM   #3
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

I think it could be interesting to also mention Karate pioneer Konishi Yasuhiro (S. Nishio's Karate instructor iirc) and his Tai Sabaki kata.

"The Influence of Morihei Ueshiba

Konishi Sensei and his wife also studied under Morihei Ueshiba, who was still teaching Daito Ryu Aikijujitsu at that time. Konishi Sensei considered Ueshiba Sensei to be the best martial artist he had ever known. Konishi Sensei carried this opinion throughout his lifetime. Having already trained in karate for a number of years, Konishi Sensei demonstrated the kata Heian Nidan (which he learned from Funakoshi Sensei) to Ueshiba Sensei. However, Ueshiba Sensei remarked that Konishi Sensei should drop such nonsense for such techniques are ineffective. This comment came as a blow, since Konishi Sensei believed in karate and that held Ueshiba Sensei's opinions in the highest regard.

Konishi Sensei felt that karate still had much value and that he had the responsibility to develop it. Thus, he requested that he be allowed to continue training in karate, intending to develop the techniques so that it would be acceptable to the great teacher. After many months of research and training, Konishi Sensei developed a kata called Tai Sabaki (Body Movement). He based this kata on karate, but incorporated principles found in the teachings of Ueshiba Sensei. Though the new kata did not contain any complex movements, it consisted of a chain of actions, with no pause after each action. After the demonstration of this kata by Konishi Sensei, Ueshiba Sensei remarked that, "The demonstration you did just now was satisfactory to me, and that kata is worth mastering."

Later, Konishi Sensei developed two other kata based on the principles of Tai Sabaki. The three kata became known as Tai Sabaki Shodan, Tai Sabaki Nidan, and Tai Sabaki Sandan."
Shindo Jinen Ryu, by Howard High

(bold and italics are mine)

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Old 09-03-2008, 06:42 AM   #4
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post

Later, Konishi Sensei developed two other kata based on the principles of Tai Sabaki. The three kata became known as Tai Sabaki Shodan, Tai Sabaki Nidan, and Tai Sabaki Sandan."
Shindo Jinen Ryu, by Howard High

(bold and italics are mine)
Interesting information. I was looking at those kata on youtube. Looked like he used the Heian series with some changes in the hand techniques and shorter stances. shotokan folks tend to be very "stiff legged" with their kata. I wondered what O Sensei would say if he saw the kata from the shorinryu (pinan series) approaches. shorinryu folks liked to deliver power quick, short and mobile and can generate lots of power through their body whip.
As far as taisabaki goes, I preferred the shorinryu approaches; they used short cat stance and natural stance.
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:58 AM   #5
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

Quote:
Kent Enfield wrote: View Post
Well, sabaku doesn't mean "move". It means something more along the lines of "handle/deal with/manipulate", so while it does mean things like "step to the left with your left foot", that's not *all* it means.

Though they often get glossed over at lower levels, and I've not seen any indications of a purposeful curriculum for teaching body skills directly, at higher levels, there seems to be lots of attention to small details that affect how one moves and generates power: tension in the legs, alignment of the hips and spine, etc. It wouldn't surprise me at all for kendo people to visit someone who moves well to see if they could learn how to improve their own movement.
Thanks Kent,

It makes more sense to me if I think of it as body manipulation or even body handling.

If Ueshiba could get kuzushi from the touch at the end of a bokken, I think kendo people would be very interested in that. It wouldn't be the physical movement, really, that they would be interested in, but rather the body manipulations that Ueshiba was doing to get that kind of kuzushi on contact, even from the tip of a bokken.
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:36 PM   #6
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Thanks Kent,

It makes more sense to me if I think of it as body manipulation or even body handling.

If Ueshiba could get kuzushi from the touch at the end of a bokken, I think kendo people would be very interested in that. It wouldn't be the physical movement, really, that they would be interested in, but rather the body manipulations that Ueshiba was doing to get that kind of kuzushi on contact, even from the tip of a bokken.
You would think so, but its a hard sell.
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:00 PM   #7
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

Mark,

Back to kendo, you could also check the relationship between Ueshiba Morihei and Nakakura Kiyoshi.

From what the late Kanai Sensei says in this interview it seems Ueshiba looked into kendo/kenjutsu practitioneers as possible succesors. First Nakakura, later Mochizuki (who started kendo at the early age of five).

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Old 09-03-2008, 07:22 PM   #8
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Mark,

Back to kendo, you could also check the relationship between Ueshiba Morihei and Nakakura Kiyoshi.

From what the late Kanai Sensei says in this interview it seems Ueshiba looked into kendo/kenjutsu practitioneers as possible succesors. First Nakakura, later Mochizuki (who started kendo at the early age of five).
Cool, thanks!
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:34 PM   #9
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

Mark,

I've shared this on other posts, but, it was relayed to me by students of Nakakura Kiyoshi that when asked, "How can you remain so successful in Kendo Shiai into your later years?" He replied, "It is due to my Aikido training under Ueshiba sensei."

This is a pretty bold statement to make to a bunch of Kendoka, and obviously Nakakura Kiyoshi wasn't doing Aikido waza in his Kendo shiai.

FWIW,

Allen

BTW, there is an interview of Nakakura Kiyoshi by Stan and also a brief interlude related in Shioda's Shugyo book.

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 09-03-2008 at 10:35 PM. Reason: BTW

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:30 AM   #10
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

There is also the example of Mikami sensei who did one armed kendo in Hawaii in the old days.
How did he survive in keiko and shiai with one arm? Taisabaki.

-Doug Walker
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:01 PM   #11
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
You would think so, but its a hard sell.
When you have a moment, might you please expound upon your perspective, here... Thank you.

Best in training to all...

.

Last edited by Misogi-no-Gyo : 05-22-2009 at 03:08 PM.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:11 PM   #12
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

FWIW, I haven't heard of tai sabaki being used in reference to "internal body skills".

If that's what the kendoka meant, why didn't they say they went to him to learn kokyu, kokyu-ryoku, or ki no nagare or some other more likely term?

In aikido, tai sabaki usually refers to body movement, sometimes to footwoork (ashi sabaki). While aikido tai sabaki surely includes "whole body movement" and whole body movement does go hand in hand with internal skills - it doesn't really include internal skills, in my opinion.

I suppose the kendoka meant tai sabaki in the normal sense. However, I believe what made Ueshiba's tai sabaki exceptional was his timing, and I think that's what the kendoka were probably after. If it was his internal power they were seeking, then why didn't they just say so? After all, many of Ueshiba's students and admiriers talked about his great ki or breath power.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:48 PM   #13
Rennis Buchner
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

Quote:
Al Gutierrez wrote: View Post
FWIW, I haven't heard of tai sabaki being used in reference to "internal body skills".

If that's what the kendoka meant, why didn't they say they went to him to learn kokyu, kokyu-ryoku, or ki no nagare or some other more likely term?
While not in aikido circles, I have heard the term tai sabaki used in refering to internal body skills. I've come across a few sensei here in Japan who have made the point that tai sabaki is more or less the gateway to said skills. With that being said, I would also say that the majority of people in Japan I have come in contact with generally just view the word as general "body movement". The impression I get is that it is one of those terms that could be as general or as deep in meaning as you are willing to find in it, much like meaning of "kokyu" can shift in practice and meaning the deeper you get into your given art or how for many people the term "katsujinken" is an abstract budo ideal for peace, while for others it is a concrete and applicable approach used to manipulate the enemy in combat. A lot of budo related terminology can have as much meaning and depth as you are willing to find in it and because one group uses the term one way does not mean that others do not find different nuances in the word.

Rennis Buchner
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:22 PM   #14
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

I think it was Josh Lerner here or somewhere else who said in the West everyone agrees that they experience the universe the same way, but disagree on the best terminology to describe it, while in East everybody uses the same terminology but each person believes that only they really know what the terms really mean. A generality, of course, but with a kernel of truth in there, I think.

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:58 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
I think it was Josh Lerner here or somewhere else who said in the West everyone agrees that they experience the universe the same way, but disagree on the best terminology to describe it, while in East everybody uses the same terminology but each person believes that only they really know what the terms really mean. A generality, of course, but with a kernel of truth in there, I think.
I don't know who said it but (having read a couple of times over now a great book on the divergence of classic western and eastern medicine and the conception of the body) its an interesting generality to play with in my head for a while so thanks for bringing it up,

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:18 AM   #16
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

Quote:
Al Gutierrez wrote: View Post
If that's what the kendoka meant, why didn't they say they went to him to learn kokyu, kokyu-ryoku, or ki no nagare or some other more likely term?
They did use "some other more likely term." Kokyu (other than straightforwardly meaning breathing), kokyu-ryoku, and especially ki no nagare are not part of the normal jargon of kendo. Taisabaki is.

Kentokuseisei
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:28 PM   #17
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Re: Taisabaki and Ueshiba

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Shaun Ravens wrote: View Post
When you have a moment, might you please expound upon your perspective, here... Thank you.

Best in training to all...

.
Hi Shaun, I am unsure of your familiarity with kendo so let me lay out a few concepts below without going into too much detail about proper kendo. I also should mention that kendo has, for a variety of reasons mostly left its swordsmanship roots and evolved into something a bit different, yet it still has much of the language referring to internal skills, but lacking an explicit method of training them.

In kendo, like most other martial arts, control of a "center line" between opponents is a fundamental concept. When watching a kendo match, this fight for control of a center line is a bit more visible than in other martial arts in that if one person does not have control and attacks, they essentially run into the other persons shinai (negating the attack), or the person having control of the line can implement whatever waza they choose to control the opponent and cut. Likewise, you can feel your opponents intent via contact with the other persons shinai.

for example the two 8th dan kendoka in the below video fight for the center line, as shown by their shinai's moving back and forth,until one player has control and attacks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjzVJdk-G_w

Its already a well known mantra in kendo, that using arm/shoulder to power your cuts is bad. Likewise, trying to fight for control over the center line using arm strength is not the way to go as your opponent can readily feel your strength and use it against you. Kendo players are encouraged to "move from their center", attack their opponents center, use their legs to power their cuts without any discussion how to route that power to the sword, and body strike through their opponent. There are plenty of clues in the kata as well, but I haven't met anyone yet, though I imagine there are people out there who link those hints there to armoured practice. Most seem to refer to the concept of ki-ken-tai ichi as a timing concept, yet 80 year old guys with slow reflexes and little arm strength are able to hit harder than college age students. With some guys you would not want behind the wheel of an automobile and probably can't carry a full load of groceries to their house, something other than "superior timing" is enabling them to generate that kind of power and take center.

At one seminar (an iaido one) a senior Japanese instructor even went over how to train it, giving some rather surprising clues and made the point that one must take the time to study ones own body via internal training if you want to get to a higher level.

The problem is,outside of that single instance, no one has ever talked about how to build that level of skill, how to route power from the middle/legs to the shinai, been able to explain why the stance of high ranking guys is completely different than that of younger ones, and that just doing suburi for 30 years you will get there.

To get back to your original question with regards to why it is a hard sell kendo: in my own opinion, being able to unbalance your opponent via your shinai by connecting and manipulating their center, to generate enough power to disarm your opponent, to be able to cut the wrist strong enough to force your opponent to drop their shinai and bodystrike to unbalance your opponent are all very effective ways to maintain, obtain, and control the center line to defeat your opponent.

The problem is that the cuts, or strikes are no longer as strong as they used to be as kendo has evolved into something different which is much more along the line of current day karate point sparring. An idealized strike is given a point (proper expression of ki-ken-tai ichi as timing rather than whole body power). The level of contact that would result from using body skills at high power is not acceptable, and no longer necessary with the current ruleset. Being able to push your opponent around isn't looked very favourably either.

Pre-war kendo players used to be told generate enough power to cut from the head to the anus with a men strike (See the kendo reader by Noma Hisashi), though in current day form points will be awarded for far far less. Likewise when someone is disarmed, the other person has only a few seconds to score a point, while the other person may simply grabs them and receives a foul (a possible way to loose via fouls or points, but more often than not I have not seen judges award a point when the disarmed person is struck several times). Additionally, the targets in kendo are limited as it is a safety issue, so bodystriking someone so they loose their balance likely means they land on the ground, or are bent in such a position where those targets can not be hit and thus while one could conceivably strike a killing blow in such a situation would be unlikely to receive a point from a judge.

When focusing on instruction, most beginning kendoka have a very hard time sorting out how to swing properly and footwork, but it would seem to me that these skills have a place later on, but one is expected to figure out how to do it on their own.
Someone could be quite effective though by turning down the amperage and playing within the ruleset.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:02 PM   #18
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"After I Turned 50, I started the *real* discipline"

Moriji Mochida, the last 10th dan...

Quote:
I wanted to perform Kendo using my mind and my spirit
What do you suppose he meant? Has anybody studied this gent?

vid link after the jump: Moriji Mochida, the last 10th dan...

Josh
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:48 AM   #19
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Re: "After I Turned 50, I started the *real* discipline"

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
Moriji Mochida, the last 10th dan...

What do you suppose he meant? Has anybody studied this gent?

vid link after the jump: Moriji Mochida, the last 10th dan...

Josh
I like what happens at 1:03 in that video

I'm not sure if its IS powering that technique, but that seems like a good place to apply it. Namely, unbalance your opponent's incoming attack and cut them.
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