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Old 05-19-2010, 09:47 AM   #1
dps
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Nobody Does It Better ?

Not counting the spiritual side of Aikido, do think that there is anyone who was or is better at Aikido then O'Sensei was?

David
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:01 AM   #2
aikishihan
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Irrelevant and inapplicable question.

The Founder disavowed competition with others.

We should understand, and not compete with his legacy and his purpose.

O'Sensei was a "one of". So was his Aikido. Both he and his creation are now in the province of history, and well beyond the reach of lesser ambitions and misguided musings.

Let us take his true teachings to heart, and strive to make our own respective Aikido the best that we can make it, as he taught us to do.

Last edited by aikishihan : 05-19-2010 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:16 AM   #3
RED
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Everyone has their own Aikido. I don't know if it is fair to grade between Aikidoka or not. Everyone has their own Aikido. I've seen students of the same teacher... not a one looks exactly alike in their Aikido.

MM
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:23 AM   #4
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Everyone has their own Aikido. I don't know if it is fair to grade between Aikidoka or not. Everyone has their own Aikido. I've seen students of the same teacher... not a one looks exactly alike in their Aikido.
Martial arts in general changes. Each person in a dojo may be taught the same way, but each person adapts it to suit them. They each have their own distinct flavor. Each interprets their teachers lessons a bit differently. I mean, look at the differences between O'Sensei's uchideshi! There are major differences. Not to mention how O'Sensei's teachings evolved over time and his techniques softened. An early student of O'Sensei probably has "harder" aikido then one of his last students.

It is the same with my sensei. He continues to change and grow, and thus his teachings will change along with it. Different generations of students I guess you could say. Even in my dojo, you will see different ways of doing things. Some are more aggressive, others more passive (yet still positive). Some people take hard ukemi and others have this soft round ukemi.

That is what is so great about martial arts. No two are exactly alike, though they may be quite similar. To answer the original question as to who is better then O'Sensei, I would venture to guess no one, but that is just a guess.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:41 AM   #5
Cliff Judge
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

I couldn't imagine Aikido being as engaging or rewarding for me if I really thought it were possible to get to the final summit.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:48 AM   #6
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Question is a loaded one. Who is 'better' at aikido; the person who is a highly skilled technician with in-depth knowledge of the philosophical and guiding principles of aikido and budo but is kind of a jerk and lives a miserable life (because he feels entitled and superior due to his training and skill), or the person who is simply a good technician, but even better teacher who enriches the lives of everyone he/she touches and actually lives his in-depth knowledge of budo/aikido's guiding principles?

Last edited by Adam Huss : 05-19-2010 at 11:49 AM. Reason: spelling

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:53 AM   #7
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Cliff, I would argue that one can't ever reach the final summit of kata...let alone all of aikido (or the entirety of any martial art)! How boring would it be to master something by plugging yourself into a computer like in the Matrix? Growth is developed through struggles along the journey...not the technical knowledge received (in my opinion anyway). We have a saying at my dojo...growth can not come without some element of risk and persevering through something that is difficult. That would be eliminated if you just 'mastered' something off the bat.

Nice very intuitive comment!

A

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Old 05-19-2010, 01:50 PM   #8
RED
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Ashley Carter wrote: View Post
Martial arts in general changes. Each person in a dojo may be taught the same way, but each person adapts it to suit them. They each have their own distinct flavor. Each interprets their teachers lessons a bit differently. I mean, look at the differences between O'Sensei's uchideshi! There are major differences. Not to mention how O'Sensei's teachings evolved over time and his techniques softened. An early student of O'Sensei probably has "harder" aikido then one of his last students.

It is the same with my sensei. He continues to change and grow, and thus his teachings will change along with it. Different generations of students I guess you could say. Even in my dojo, you will see different ways of doing things. Some are more aggressive, others more passive (yet still positive). Some people take hard ukemi and others have this soft round ukemi.

That is what is so great about martial arts. No two are exactly alike, though they may be quite similar. To answer the original question as to who is better then O'Sensei, I would venture to guess no one, but that is just a guess.
I was told once that martial arts can fall roughly in 3 divisions:

1-Living, in-use, or still developing arts.
2-Competitive sports based on martial technique.
3- Martial Traditions.(kendo, iaido etc.)

I have heard arguments that Aikido falls into the 3rd category. However, when I see how it is still growing and developing and evolving, I have to make some argument that it belongs to the 1st category.

MM
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:01 PM   #9
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Chuck Norris, of course !
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:10 PM   #10
RED
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

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Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
Chuck Norris, of course !

MM
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:42 PM   #11
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

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Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
Chuck Norris, of course !
"Underneath Chuck Norris' beard is another fist!"


What did O-Sensei have underneath HIS beard??

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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Old 05-19-2010, 03:21 PM   #12
Jonathan
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

I don't think O Sensei transmitted his Aikido well enough to be able to say, David. I'm pretty certain that the Aikido practiced today isn't what OSensei was doing. Consequently, it is impossible to assert that someone does Aikido better than the Founder of the art. We can't compare ourselves to the standard of OSensei's Aikido because we don't fully understand what it is.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:51 AM   #13
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Not counting the spiritual side of Aikido, do think that there is anyone who was or is better at Aikido then O'Sensei was?
This would first require a clear definition of what "Aikido" is in the context of your thread, and then remove any "spiritual side" so that people can have a point of reference.

Over the years that I've been on Aikiweb one thing that has been constant is that there is no single, shared definition of Aikido.

Aside from that, to answer the question we would need some objective means of measuring "betterness" per se. Last time I checked this is not a very common practice either in Aikido.

Imho.

Best
LC

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Old 05-20-2010, 02:55 AM   #14
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I was told once that martial arts can fall roughly in 3 divisions:

1-Living, in-use, or still developing arts.
2-Competitive sports based on martial technique.
3- Martial Traditions.(kendo, iaido etc.)
Where would Koryu fall into this list?

Best
LC

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Old 05-20-2010, 07:47 AM   #15
dps
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
This would first require a clear definition of what "Aikido" is in the context of your thread, and then remove any "spiritual side" so that people can have a point of reference.

Over the years that I've been on Aikiweb one thing that has been constant is that there is no single, shared definition of Aikido.

Aside from that, to answer the question we would need some objective means of measuring "betterness" per se. Last time I checked this is not a very common practice either in Aikido.

Imho.

Best
LC
Can we then say that no one does Aikido better than anyone else? For example; do you do Aikido better than Maggie?

Last edited by dps : 05-20-2010 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:06 AM   #16
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Can we then say that no one does Aikido better than anyone else? For example; do you do Aikido better than Maggie?
Where are you going with this, David? What's your purpose in asking an unanswerable, angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin question in the first place, and in asking this very personal question to follow on? What are you trying to establish?
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:24 AM   #17
dps
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Where are you going with this, David? What's your purpose in asking an unanswerable, angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin question in the first place, and in asking this very personal question to follow on? What are you trying to establish?
Just a question to generate thought and discussion.

Not necessarily an unanswerable question. Is that your answer, that it is unanswerable?

Are you better than O'Sensei? Are you better than your sensei? Are any of your students past or present better than you?

David
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:34 AM   #18
dps
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

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Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Irrelevant and inapplicable question.

The Founder disavowed competition with others.

We should understand, and not compete with his legacy and his purpose.
Yes, but lack of competition does not mean you cannot judge ones ability against another.

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
O'Sensei was a "one of". So was his Aikido. Both he and his creation are now in the province of history, and well beyond the reach of lesser ambitions and misguided musings.
O'Sensei was human and a mere misguided mortal like the rest of us.

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Let us take his true teachings to heart, and strive to make our own respective Aikido the best that we can make it, as he taught us to do.
Which in my understanding there was no restriction on striving to be better than him.

David
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:35 AM   #19
dps
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Everyone has their own Aikido. I don't know if it is fair to grade between Aikidoka or not. Everyone has their own Aikido. I've seen students of the same teacher... not a one looks exactly alike in their Aikido.
But can you say that one person's Aikido is better ( in a martial sense ) than another's?

David
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:37 AM   #20
dps
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I couldn't imagine Aikido being as engaging or rewarding for me if I really thought it were possible to get to the final summit.
Is O'Sensei the final summit?
David
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:57 AM   #21
Garth Jones
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

I don't see a good way to quantify 'better' even 'better in a martial sense.' 'Martial sense' sort of implies the ability to win fights. Then we would have to agree on what sort of fights (cage matches, duels at dawn, fighting off a surprise attack from three ninjas, etc.).

So in order to decide if I am a 'better' aikidoist than Maggie (sorry to pick on you Maggie!) we would each have to fight a statistically significant number of opponents (say, MMA fighters of various experience levels) tally the results, and then we would know which of us was 'better.' IMHO that's a pretty silly thought experiment.

What I think we can do is compare levels of experience and depth of understanding, but only where the differences are really obvious. Thus I safely say that Saotome Sensei's depth of understanding vastly exceeds mine and that my understanding (after 22 years of training) vastly exceeds that of the 6th kyus in my dojo. After that the differences get much harder to describe. I have trained with sempai that do not have the understanding of some technique or movement that I do but are still overall 'better' and I learn new aspects of aikido from gifted kohei all the time.

In the end I the that Takahashi Sensei said it just right - all we can do is strive to make our aikido the best it can be.

Can that 'best' rival O'Sensei? Sure. It won't for most of us - he was an extraordinary individual, but I don't see why it isn't possible.

Cheers,
Garth
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:10 AM   #22
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

I've never understood why Aikido people have such a hard time answering a question like this, but the simple fact is no, nobody has come close to being as good at Aikido as the founder was. Jonathan's post does a perfect job of explaining why, IMO, that is too.
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:12 AM   #23
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

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Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
Where would Koryu fall into this list?

Best
LC
I suppose martial tradition. Unless it is still heavily in use for training officers or modern military, then the first.

MM
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:20 AM   #24
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
But can you say that one person's Aikido is better ( in a martial sense ) than another's?

David
I don't think so.
I mean we are all learning. O'Sensei admittedly said he was still learning.
We can have favorites. We can have teachers that we think are superb and want to learn from...and we can have Aikidoka that doesn't impress us. But to grade it seems decisively not Aiki.
My dislike of one guys Aikido is my own prejudice. I'm Aikikai, I like Aikikai. Thus I love Aikidoka that use soft ukemi, wide movements, and exaggerated entrances. With that said, with those sets of preferences, I've never been impressed with Suenaka style, or Yoshinkan. And it isn't because those styles, or practitioners have bad Aikido...it is my because of my prejudices and preferences.

Now objectively does a 6th kyu have bad Aikido...maybe, they technically don't have any Aikido yet.

But I was told something once that I'm thinking is true these days, "The Shodan test simply means that you now know enough of the basics to start training in Aikido." I believe you aren't really training in Aikido until Shodan..you are just trying to get down the fundamentals. And you are most likely not even starting to really develop "your Aikido" until after Shodan... my federation doesn't consider you to have your own "Aikido" as a complete student until sandan.

MM
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:03 PM   #25
aikishihan
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Re: Nobody Does It Better ?

Hi David,

Thank you for responding to my rather terse statements.

It is my perspective that, while imminently human and fallible, the Founder of Aikido represented a most unique example of individual effort and accomplishment in his lifetime. He never apologized, or rationalized his "work in progress" that lasted until he died. Rather, it was for the very reason you gave that he "was human, and a mere misguided mortal like the rest of us" that drove him to excellence.

In life, there is no lack of competition for anything we seek to attain or accomplish. It verily appears to be a constant scenario of "survival of the fittest", where the victor gets to write history.

I see no need to artificially invent "competition" where, for me, it is not needed or appropriate, nor when it is beneficial to no one except one who is in desperate need of a "win". I believe that we can use our powers of judgement for far better uses, such as who our elected leaders should be, and be doing for us.

The Founder made it abundantly clear that he himself was on a personal journey towards excellence, and that he remained woefully behind in his quest. Nonetheless, he fought the good fight, and did not go gently into that good night.

HIs, along with other great mortals we can name, was a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, not for us to attempt to 'better", but to honor by doing our own level best as we see fit to do. It was always his wish that his students would reach their own respective levels of achievement, not in competition against one another, but in competition for the betterment of themselves, and of manknd.

Yes, you are correct in your viewpoints regarding fallibiity, ambition and opportunity. Perhaps we would all would do better by comparing our own respective progress, not against an eminent and enigmatic historical figure, but with that unlimited potential that lies dormant within ourselves, needing only the courage, vision and energy to try.
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