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Old 03-03-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
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"Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Posted 2010-03-03 10:34:30 by Jun Akiyama
News URL: http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?s...&article=68362

This article entitled "Aikido instructor has shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal" highlights Hiroshi Isoyama sensei (8th dan).

From the article: "Isoyama recounted how he'd surprise the Americans with victories against men twice his size. He said his feats were so remarkable that U.S. Army doctors wanted to examine him to figure out how the smaller Japanese man was beating such larger men."

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Old 03-04-2010, 02:14 AM   #2
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

There is a bit of a macho spin on things in this article but it's an interesting tribute. I think Stanley Pranin's interview on AJ gives a better view in sensei's own words.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=102

Carl
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:16 AM   #3
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

This is him right?

I didn't know there was a kids class in Iwama. Can you imagine being 12 and getting hands-on instruction from Ueshiba at that time? Must have been awesome.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:25 PM   #4
Charles Hill
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAhBPa6-CJ4]
I didn't know there was a kids class in Iwama. Can you imagine being 12 and getting hands-on instruction from Ueshiba at that time? Must have been awesome.
Hi Jonathan,

It is my impression that there was ONLY a kids class in Iwama most of the time. The only people over 15 were visitors.
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Old 03-04-2010, 05:35 PM   #5
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
Hi Jonathan,

It is my impression that there was ONLY a kids class in Iwama most of the time. The only people over 15 were visitors.
Interesting, so what about Saito, and other senseis like INagaki, Hirosawa, etc? Are they counted as teachers rather than students in the context of what you mean? (I am thinking of this story: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...300#post211300 )
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:09 PM   #6
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

I agree with what Kaaru Ojisan said about the Stan Pranin article. As I read this one I immediately thought back to the Aikido Journal article. It is much more Aiki. Also, I think this one puts too much emphasis on his connection with Steven Seagall. The part about the army docs wanting to examine Isoyama Shihan was quite interesting though. I have met Isoyama Shihan a couple of times and and trained with him at only seminar but even in his current state, his Aikido is amazing. Jonathan, I am a little confused by your link, it appears to be a discussion about the All Japan Aikido Demonstration.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:54 PM   #7
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Chris Farnham wrote: View Post
Jonathan, I am a little confused by your link, it appears to be a discussion about the All Japan Aikido Demonstration.
I was thinking of the italics part, about crushing the bucket (sorry it is a weird way to do the reference-- I just had this memory of all these tough guys training together at the Iwama dojo, and that story came to mind, from back in my memory)
I thought it was a story of training days in Iwama. My point was I'd always thought of a group of adults in Iwama, didn't know about the kids stuff.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:05 PM   #8
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
I was thinking of the italics part, about crushing the bucket (sorry it is a weird way to do the reference-- I just had this memory of all these tough guys training together at the Iwama dojo, and that story came to mind, from back in my memory)
I thought it was a story of training days in Iwama. My point was I'd always thought of a group of adults in Iwama, didn't know about the kids stuff.
That story comes from David Alexander Sensei's Iwama Monogatari, which features Isoyama Shihan. Inagaki Shihan also started at 12 under Osensei and the entry age for the dojo remains 12 (or junior high school age) to this day, although there is now a "Sports Shonendan" for elementary-age students in Iwama Budokan. In any case, as was pointed out, Morihiro Saito Sensei started training under the founder at 18 and the founder lived in Iwama for a long time, so there were plenty of adults and even women in his classes. I think people trained hard, but the founder made sure it was in the spirit of Aiki.

From the Iwama Monogatari:

Quote:
What To Do With Your Free Time
I bumped into Isoyama-sensei on a train one day when I was returning to Iwama from Tokyo. We talked about a bunch of things. One that is especially memorable was his advice on how to use free time.
He advised that if you are totally exhausted from training, and have a little free time, don't waste it resting, use it for more training.
And people wonder why he's so formidable?
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:11 AM   #9
Charles Hill
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Hi guys,

One thing I have learned about Aikido history, the way people say it was and the way it was are often very different. Of course, unless we have a time machine, there is no way to know exactly what happened.

Iwama is and was a Japanese rural farming community. Anyone who was involved with the farming would not have been able to spare the time for much training. Saito Sensei worked for JR, I believe. He worked non-stop for a week or so and then took time off a week or so to be with O'Sensei. Hirosawa Sensei was a relative of Saito Sensei's.

Another important element is that O'Sensei was considered an odd duck by the locals. In a rural farming community in Japan, that is the kiss of death. Remember, Morihei Ueshiba was not a local. In fact, he spoke with a strong Wakayama dialect that would have been difficult for the locals to understand.

In my understanding, when O'Sensei was alive, there were a few people crazy for training (the sensei mentioned above) and a bunch of local kids.

Iwama was largely used for training camps (gasshuku) by university clubs and Self-defense Forces clubs (via Isoyama Sensei). Also, some of the other Shihan stayed there for extended training, Shioda Gozo, Chiba Kazuo, etc.

Of course, this is all my understanding derived from the sum total of my experience. Others with a different experience are naturally going to have a differing understanding.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:31 AM   #10
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Interesting opinions...you can see similarities of Saito Shihan in his movement.

Train well,

Mickey
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:40 PM   #11
Michael Varin
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

I love aikido demos.

They are all uke. . .

Which makes it funny that many of the "best" nage often have so much bravado.

But, I guess, it's all part of the show.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:00 AM   #12
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
I love aikido demos.

They are all uke. . .

Which makes it funny that many of the "best" nage often have so much bravado.

But, I guess, it's all part of the show.
Agreed. But if your going to put on a "show", it is important to remember that's what it is and not start believing that you're invincible. Not saying that's the case here, but I can find that "bravado" a little much.

What I really find disturbing are some of the comments on Youtube from people who seem to have an aikido background, both from people who think the demo is brutal to those who think it shows the true martial integrity of the art. Can't they tell what they're seeing? It's a demo and not really out of the ordinary for aikido with the exception of the heights uke is falling from (an Isoyama trademark from the various demo clips I've seen of him).

Jonathan Olson
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:49 PM   #13
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
One thing I have learned about Aikido history, the way people say it was and the way it was are often very different.
Charles, what kind of evidence do you have to support your own version? Ideas of Osensei only teaching kids in Iwama and locals giving him the kiss of death seem kind of arbitrary and fly in the face of so many respected testimonies, not least of which is Chiba Shihan's:
http://www.aikidoonline.com/articles...rial_Saito.php
Quote:
A large portion of the membership at Iwama Dojo consisted of local farmers, hard workers who spent all day in the field. They had thick bones and great physical strength combined with a peculiar local character known as "mito kishitsu", a type of manliness close to gallantry. Altogether it was quite an opposite culture from Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. Because it is in the capital of Japan, Hombu's membership consists of white-collar workers, intellectuals, businessmen, politicians and university students
Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
Of course, unless we have a time machine, there is no way to know exactly what happened.
Claims can be cross-referenced, chronology can be checked and logic can be applied.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:56 PM   #14
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

woah, woah, woah, settle down there, Carl. This is aikido, no thinking allowed. Please take your new-fangled analysis, with all of its logical thought processes, to some other corner of the interwebs.

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

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Old 03-08-2010, 04:14 AM   #15
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Claims can be cross-referenced, chronology can be checked and logic can be applied.
Hi Carl,

I really like this sentence, to which I would add, " and we would still never be certain what really went on."

As you likely are very aware of, the Hombu vs. Iwama attitude was and still is very strong. I believe that Chiba Sensei was playing into that. My claims are just that, mine and I certainly understand that others are going to have different ideas. My claims are based on cross-referencing other's claims and applying logic. I attended the 70 year anniversary gasshuku and was able to practice with and talk to a few old timers as well as listening to the many speeches.

My logic application comes from my years of living in a community very much like Iwama as part of a farming family stretching back 18 generations (at least that is what my grandfather-in-law claims!). For example, I do not believe that many full time farmers would have had the time to train in any serious matter.

As an example of the locals' attitude, there is an interview with Saito Sensei and how he first encountered O'Sensei. He says something like hearing about this strange old man. Everything thing else I have heard as well as applying my own experience jives with this.

I do believe that Iwama has produced some excellent, wonderful Aikidoka. (Inagaki Sensei, in particular, was very kind to me.) I also believe that Iwama has a certain reputation to live up to and that many of these individuals had a part in making it as well as continuing it, even if certain truths have to be altered a bit.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:06 PM   #16
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
...to which I would add, " and we would still never be certain what really went on."
That sounds like a great way to get out of jail.

So if someone was 12 when they entered the founder's dojo in 1949, can we really be certain that they were 13 in 1950? Or adult a few years later? What hours do farmers work (i.e.: did they work in the dark)? Did any of the deshi have other jobs? All these questions can be answered beyond a reasonable doubt. Your case on the other hand requires us to take a whole raft of things on trust in your opinion.

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
As you likely are very aware of, the Hombu vs. Iwama attitude was and still is very strong. I believe that Chiba Sensei was playing into that.
There was a "vs. Attitude" between the hombu and a children's class? One of the many testimonies you are contrasting is that of Nidai Doshu, who described the building of a dojo of about 30 tsubo as local people were drawn to come and train.
Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
As an example of the locals' attitude, there is an interview with Saito Sensei and how he first encountered O'Sensei. He says something like hearing about this strange old man. Everything thing else I have heard as well as applying my own experience jives with this.
If this is the article you mean, it is Osensei's techniques that are described as strange, not the founder http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=199
Quote:
Saito Morihiro Sensei wrote:
But there was this old man doing strange techniques up on the mountain near Iwama. Some people said he did Karate and a Judo sensei told me it was called "Ueshiba-ryu Judo."
It might be better to separate this line of discussion into a thread of its own if you wish to continue.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:40 AM   #17
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
It might be better to separate this line of discussion into a thread of its own if you wish to continue.
No thanks Carl. I made a one line comment and from then on responded to questions. I am going to guess that the questions in your last post were rhetorical and so pass on answering them. If they weren't, let me know and I will try to answer them. Please understand, I have no case, just some ideas based on my experience.
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:18 PM   #18
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

No worries Charles and I am sorry if I dogged you with too many questions. You are quite entitled to your opinions and are under no obligation to justify them to me. This conversation would perhaps be better conducted over a drink in a nice Japanese establishment. Do send me a message if you find yourself in Iwama sometime.
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:25 PM   #19
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Re: "Aikido instructor shared skills with soldiers, Steven Seagal"

Absolutely, Carl. Thanks.
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