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Old 06-07-2010, 05:11 AM   #1
Jon Marshall
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Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Hello everyone,

This is my first new thread. Gleason Sensei said in an interview.

Quote:
Unfortunately, aikido today has lost its origin, or in other words, it has lost aiki. Koichi Tohei tried to remedy this situation by creating the ki-society but, unfortunately that approach was unsuccessful. It seems that, in his own depth of understanding, he did not grasp the difficulty of others understanding as well.
Full interview here. It's also discussed in a thread on the Websites section of this site.

Having done ki aikido for 12 years before switching to "traditional" (inverted comma's because my current club's fairly informal and sometimes unconventional), I'm interested in the differences, and why Tohei's dream of a superior training methodology doesn't seem to have come to fruition. I say this because if Tohei's approach was as good as he'd hoped, then there would, by now, be a body of (ki aikido) aikidoka with clearly superior aikido. My limited experience is that I've come across good and bad aikido wherever I've gone. Also, that there isn't much crossover, so it's hard to judge.

Switching to traditional, I initially struggled with strong grips (still do sometimes). Likewise, I found others who could not cope with light, sensitive ("ki") attacks. I currently think that versatility/adaptability is an important virtue. I love ki aikido and might go back to it, but would be interested to know what others think about the whole ki aikido project. In particular, those who have trained in both ki aikido and traditional, and those with some experience in internal skills (Oh no, not another IS thread!)

Gleason Sensei also said...
Quote:
Aiki jutsu today seems to be in the same boat as aikido. Its essence has been hidden to the extent that it can no longer even be found. It is not ultimately profitable to pass down the real article because then people don't continue to pay you money forever.
I could be wrong, but I never got this impression about Tohei. If anything, I think he was more proud of his training methodology than his aikido. So why aren't the ki aikido aikidoka the cream of the crop? Or are they? And why don't they train outside of their style? Or do they? And is it time for the 2 approaches to come together again - healing old wounds? Perhaps this is already happening.

Look forwards to hearing from you,
Jon

Last edited by akiy : 06-07-2010 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Fixed quote tags
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:45 AM   #2
Dazzler
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Hi Jon

Yes an interesting interview albeit a little out of date.

It does somewhat criticise the state of the nation, and probably rightly so.

Aikido has spread far and wide and to satisfy demand then there are 'teachers' with limited Aikido ability everywhere.

I don't see this as a problem when these instructors remain open and share their knowledge while being honest with students that they are not the be all and end all of Aikido and there is more...much more ...to learn.

This is an important part of the interview to me "WG: Once again, I believe that the answer here is to reinstate aiki back into aikido. "

Those that are open and honest and with an ear to the ground cannot fail to recognise that there is a growing movement for all of us to re-evaluate our Aikido and consider this.

You tongue-in-cheek mention 'IS' ..but the proliferation of posts here is having an impact - people 'out there' are challenging dojo activities with an awareness that IS , kokyu-rokyu or whatever is perhaps the end game for Aikido.

Consequentially - there are changes afoot, maybe not everywhere, but they are growing.

You also mention ki Aikido and traditional coming together again...an interesting thought.

Do you not think this is happening then?

I've been on courses with you in last couple of years - looking at the representation at these courses its clear that there is a coming together.

Aikido - whether through ki or traditional is Aikido. Full stop.

What differs is the training methodology - not the Aikido.

As an aside - What has been a problem is that people have focussed on the training methodology instead of the true goals.

People get hung up on doing a great ikkyo for instance instead of using ikkyo as a tool to develop martial base/skills.

Anyway - this is changing.

Look at the courses you attended recently...say Stephane Bennedetti or Yamashima courses.

Locally you've got representation from Bath Aikido Society with clubs in Bristol and Bath, from Templegate Dojo in Bristol and others who are 'traditional' whatever that is...but you've also got Alistir Gillies with a very strong ki federation background having a very positive influence on those that train with him.

Its a good thing and the south west and wales should see some quality instructors emerge over the next few years whose primary focus is not so much about agreeing how you get there..but agreeing where 'there' is in the first place

Cheers

D
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:25 AM   #3
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
What differs is the training methodology - not the Aikido.
That can only be true when you define aikido broad enough so that only the goal matters, not the means to achieve the goal. Or put differently, so that only the destination matters, not the road you took to get there. The problem with such a broad definition is that you'll have to include certain activities that are most definitely not aikido, precisely because of that broadness.

Anyhow, if it isn't your training methodology that defines your aikido, then what does?

Last edited by jss : 06-07-2010 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:29 AM   #4
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

The problem is O'Sensei's Aikido is splintered. The students of O'Sensei went out and taught their own version of Aikido and then their students went out and taught their own version of Aikido, etc. This continues as more people learn and teach their own version of Aikido.

It is human nature to put your own spin on the things you learn and teach others. It happens in all phases of life.

There is no total group remedy that will bring Aikido back to O'Sensei Aikido.

As an individual you can cross train in as many different styles of Aikido and variations inside those styles by attending many different dojos. Even this will not get you O'Sensei's Aikido but maybe closer.

You are going to have to be satisfied with developing your own Aikido.

After all that is what O'Sensei did.

David
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:35 AM   #5
Dazzler
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
That can only be true when you define aikido broad enough so that only the goal matters, not the means to achieve the goal. Or put differently, so that only the destination matters, not the road you took to get there. The problem with such a broad definition is that you'll have to include certain activities that are most definitely not aikido, precisely because of that broadness.

Anyhow, if it isn't your training methodology that defines your aikido, then what does?
Hi

Actually I'd say the definition is narrower. Those that broaden the definition call things Aikido when to me they aren't.

Including the training itself.

Loosely ...Training is the activities undertaken to learn to change the body and mind and in time to co-ordinate the two

You can stick two beginners together in a class and ask them to follow the teachers instruction.

Are either of them doing what I think of as Aikido?

I say no.

If being in an 'Aikido' class was all it took then press ups sit ups or any other activity used to warm up could be classified as 'Aikido'.

Again I do not think this is the case.

"Aikido" is performed by only the most skilled with the rest working toward this goal through a training methodology.

The training methodology is just the training methodology - It is very important of course but sadly all to often becomes the goal itself.

YMMV

Regards

D
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:46 AM   #6
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
The problem is O'Sensei's Aikido is splintered. The students of O'Sensei went out and taught their own version of Aikido and then their students went out and taught their own version of Aikido, etc. This continues as more people learn and teach their own version of Aikido.

It is human nature to put your own spin on the things you learn and teach others. It happens in all phases of life.

There is no total group remedy that will bring Aikido back to O'Sensei Aikido.

As an individual you can cross train in as many different styles of Aikido and variations inside those styles by attending many different dojos. Even this will not get you O'Sensei's Aikido but maybe closer.

You are going to have to be satisfied with developing your own Aikido.

After all that is what O'Sensei did.

David
Agree (I think)...but no harm at all in refocussing on the end game and revisiting all your Aikido resources to see if theres something you missed the first time through.

Thats the cool thing with this 'Hidden In Plain Sight' stuff...until your mind is ready to see it...you just can't see it.

And then suddenly the penny drops, you learn something new...and then realise it was there all along.

Regards

D
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:48 AM   #7
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

I don't know why or how someone would perceive the interview as dated. For many reasons I found it to be spot on, current and ground breaking.
I had dinner with Bill Saturday, and over drinks he not only expressed the same views but expanded on them. Considering where he has been and where he goes; I found his observations and views about Aikijujutsu and Aikido interesting, and spot on. Teachers say a lot of things and have their opinions. What I find interesting about Bill's opinions about aikijujutsu, and aikido and the state of affairs, is where they came from, what formed and continues to form them and what he continues to do in his own training to both investigate, validate and/or change them. And he is not alone.
Asking some senior teachers in Aikido something as simple as "What did you do, where did you go, who did you train with, what rooms did you stand in, in this past year, can result in some surprising answers. I think it is very good news that some seniors in aikido continue to do their research, be creative and remain very concerned with their personal growth and expressing their art.
I think these are interesting times. I can't wait to see what happens in the future with these arts.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:49 AM   #8
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Tohei's methods were definitely a step in the right direction and Aikido in general is weaker for not keeping them as its base. With that said, he definitely wasn't as clear as he could have been, but then again that's probably by design when you consider his upbringing. If taught correctly, what he was doing definitely makes for better, stronger Aikido.

You see more and more people going back and finding the value in what he was trying to get across (and other methods), but I really don't know what difference it's going to make to the aikido world in general. Most people probably don't feel there is anything wrong with what they're doing anyway, so why change?

It won't be until that type of stuff becomes a set part of the curriculum that you'll see any real changes, and even then only if people are actually getting good instruction and then spending some real time working on those things and testing themselves in some way outside of the waza in the dojo. Unless the Aikikai adopts them as a whole you won't see any major changes ever.
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:58 AM   #9
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I don't know why or how someone would perceive the interview as dated. For many reasons I found it to be spot on, current and ground breaking.
I had dinner with Bill Saturday, and over drinks he not only expressed the same views but expanded on them. Considering where he has been and where he goes; I found his observations and views about Aikijujutsu and Aikido interesting, and spot on. Teachers say a lot of things and have their opinions. What I find interesting about Bill's opinions about aikijujutsu, and aikido and the state of affairs, is where they came from, what formed and continues to form them and what he continues to do in his own training to both investigate, validate and/or change them. And he is not alone.
Asking some senior teachers in Aikido something as simple as "What did you do, where did you go, who did you train with, what rooms did you stand in, in this past year, can result in some surprising answers. I think it is very good news that some seniors in aikido continue to do their research, be creative and remain very concerned with their personal growth and expressing their art.
I think these are interesting times. I can't wait to see what happens in the future with these arts.
Cheers
Dan
A little out of date - as in 2 years old and not a recent interview,

As for content - very relevant.

Regards

D
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:31 AM   #10
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

A couple observations... If we grant that Tohei was on to something there are any number of groups who chart their lineage directly from Tohei. Ki Society is the self-evident example of course.

Over the years Ki Society starting doing a lot of different things (the taigi for example) and some groups split away. But not everyone who split from Ki Society (for any number of reasons) dropped the ki tests, training, etc. Some split away with an express intent of focusing *more* on those things.

I just wish people wouldn't paint with such a broad brush, sometimes. In *general* I would agree with it, however, I'd also caution that there are always outliers. There are lots of groups out there with varied degrees of focus on different things. So I would hesitate to generalize too much. Or maybe better, I'd try to stay away from absolutes.

That said... I do get what he's saying and agree.

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Old 06-07-2010, 11:44 AM   #11
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
William Gleason wrote: View Post
Aiki jutsu today seems to be in the same boat as aikido. Its essence has been hidden to the extent that it can no longer even be found. It is not ultimately profitable to pass down the real article because then people don't continue to pay you money forever.
What does he mean by Aikijujutsu?

Is he talking about Daito Ryu?
If so, to play devil's advocate...

DR may have many problems regarding the loss of its "Essence" but I don't think it's due to teachers stringing students along to keep the money rolling in.

In the previous generation of DR teachers (Sagawa, Horikawa, Hisa etc) I can't think of a single full time professional teacher, and in the current generation, apart from Kawabe of the Takumakai, all the "professional" teachers I can think of trained basically like Kato Sensei of the Aikikai, i.e they had full time jobs, trained in their free time (often at great personal expense) and started training/teaching full time after (sometimes early) retirement.

I respect Gleason Sensei's dedication to Aikido and practice, but isn't such a comment a little rich coming from someone who's taught Aikido professionally for the past three decades while "Aikijujtsu" has been essentially maintained and taught by amateurs?
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:09 PM   #12
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

This is interesting
Quote:
W. Gleason wrote:
..In later years, I learned that repetition isnšt always necessary in order to strengthen ki power...
From<
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:15 PM   #13
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

The globalization of aikido ( by K.Ueshiba. K.Tohei and others) and development of structured teaching to teach the millions of students resulted in producing and reproducing more and more empty forms without any regards to the content of the forms. Those forms were developed not only for entry level teaching, but, (what is the key for understanding of present situation) also for higher ranking students (3 dan and more).

Huge popularity of aikido has resulted in developing of the 'factories" where students are produced like a cars. Introduction the standards by the federations, has resulted in uniformity of behaviors and reactions high ranking students, and every deviation from such behavior is rejected. High ranking students very often are not able to handle in positive way those deviations in reaction, nobody taught them what to do in such situation. Because they are helpless, they reject it.

It happened despite of very clear message of the Founder, that highest level of aikido has no form, that the techniques are only the tools, not a goal in itself.

So if we want to visualize something very concrete, everybody started to produce empty wooden boxes, the only variation was a size. Today we call them different styles of aikido. Naturally Founder supposed that every instructor, like him, will fill up this box with his own development, but today such development is impossible, because of the uniformity of the behavior.

Other key element - teacher - student transmission became impossible thanks to increasing membership of the dojo. In fact, already with 30 - 50 students such transmission is highly improbable. And there are the dojos with much higher number of students!

Also, almost all aikido instructors today have daily jobs outside of aikido. If you add to that a teaching in the dojo, family, they have absolutely no time for their own development. So they are becoming the empty boxes, hardly preserving a form of techniques.

There is not much hope in this situation.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:22 PM   #14
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

So much of the evolution of this issue deals with semantics and politics. Usually, when lines are drawn in the sand, neither side is 100% right, and neither is 100% wrong. But the Japanese way of dealing with controversy doesn't soothe the wounds, it often makes them worse, and I suspect that, despite the efforts of many people to close the gaps, we will see a continuation of the status quo for some time (only my opinion, so take it for what it's worth...).
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:38 AM   #15
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Actually I'd say the definition is narrower. Those that broaden the definition call things Aikido when to me they aren't.

Including the training itself.

Loosely ...Training is the activities undertaken to learn to change the body and mind and in time to co-ordinate the two
So (the goal of) aikido is the coordination of body and mind? If I achieve this through training in e.g. singing, then I'm performing aikido?
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:23 AM   #16
Dazzler
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
So (the goal of) aikido is the coordination of body and mind? If I achieve this through training in e.g. singing, then I'm performing aikido?
If you can do so within a martial framework then maybe yes! Perhaps you could call it kotadama....

Heres an idea...why don't you tell us what was missing in Toheis Aikido that is present in say Tamura's.

Or vice-versa?

Training methodology are definitely different ..could you share how the end product is different?

Regards

D
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:37 AM   #17
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

I have seen and trained with people from the Ki Society who were guest at a seminar I went to. I must say that I was not impressed. That is not a slap in the face to Tohei Sensei, but it just goes to show that Ki Aikido has been watered down like the other styles.

Also, I know of a few Iwama style people who can deal with very strong grabs. But then again, Iwama style aikidoka are not the only ones who can deal with strong grabs.

I have a great deal of respect for Tohei Sensei. It is sad to see the state of Aikido nowadays. But rather than let it get to me, I have decided to take advantage of the many avenues we have in order to train my own aikido and to get back as much as possible, many of the aspects of aikido that are missing and have been lost. I have been able to do this by attending many seminars with different Shihans, reading interviews online and using youtube as a valuable tool. I have seen several videos of Tohei Sensei demonstrating his taiso excercises, which I had previously learned. They are invaluable and should be taught at every dojo. They are a great way to learn and improve your tai sabaki. Do you know that many aikidoka don't know what tai sabaki is? And people wonder why their entries are not good.

I also believe that in order to improve your aikido, you have to go back and figure out what is missing. Go to youtube and watch some Daito Ryu videos. Watch the Aiki-ju-jitsu videos and then some Yoshinkan and Saito Sensei videos and you will clearly see what is missing in most Aikido dojos nowadays. This is not the end-all to the problem, but it is a way to jump start what many people see as a serious problem with aikido. But all you can really do is work on YOUR aikido.

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Old 06-08-2010, 07:00 AM   #18
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Heres an idea...why don't you tell us what was missing in Toheis Aikido that is present in say Tamura's.
Or vice-versa?
I don't have enough experience with either gentleman's aikido to say where specifically the differences lie.

Quote:
Training methodology are definitely different ..could you share how the end product is different?
Different training methodologies will by definition result in different end products. That's why I disagree with your earlier statement that ki aikido and traditional aikido differ in methodology only, not in the end product. Aikido as such has very little to with my point, actually.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:03 AM   #19
Jon Marshall
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Thanks for your responses. Hi Daren, nice that you remember me. I was sorry to miss your big demo -- working. Yes, there is some crossover in our locality, but not that much.

I agree that these are interesting times for aikido, partly because it's possible that aikido is already an art in decline. The whole Internal Skills issue offers hope, and there are clearly lots of people looking (fumbling?) around for answers. I think ki aikido has certain things to offer, but my experience was of quite an insular culture -- though I don't assume that this is everyone's experience. But if the the lessons of ki aikido are to find their way into the contemporary melting pot, then its' exponents need to get out more. This situation may be different in the US where Tohei was such a massive influence anyway.

When people practice in a different way, they generally have to go through a period of struggle (at least I did), which is a bit bruising on the old ego. I think this is partly responsible for the culture of insularity I found within ki aikido, reinforced by an implication that others don't "practice with ki". Ki or no ki, I found that I had to go back and do more kotai training to build up more of a foundation. In fairness, I think lots of people are just happy with their practice and don't want to look elsewhere. Also, some senior teachers just want to train students who'll do as the're told and not be shopping around for other ways. Whilst I personally find this frustrating, it's up to them -- it's a voluntary relationship.

If aikido training is viewed as being on a firmness-lightness spectrum, then ki aikido clearly specialises on the light end, which is fine. Even though I used to get bored with ki testing and want to get on with the aikido, I can better see its' value now. But I don't think Aikikai will ever adopt Tohei methods as it would be politically untenable.

Bill Gleason made some other points too. That without the "jutsu" there's no "do", which is a particularly danger in ki aikido. When asked "What happens if someone doesn't feel ki?" my old teacher used to say "They get hit." Well he could hit (karate background and a mental ability to "turn it on"), but lots can't. And towards the end of the interview, Gleaso Sensei mentioned the need for HQ not to try to control aikido, which, with so much exploring and soul-searching going on, could hardly be more important.

Cheers,
Jon.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:07 AM   #20
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
So (the goal of) aikido is the coordination of body and mind?
It most certainly is. It is such a powerful way to train that entire arts have been named after the idea in China.
I think it is worth considering that Shihan with decades of experience think this method of training is the single most powerful tool they have ever encountered. Two of your senior teachers have told me they would trade every technique and past approach in their entire career ....for this.
Of course my response is "Why not have both?"
Quote:
If I achieve this through training in e.g. singing, then I'm performing aikido?
No, you're not. You might become a better singer though.

I agree that mind/body is not all of it, so I see your point. The trouble in communication arises when people cannot see that it is thee, single most, powerful aspect of Aikido. That it drives everything else. Have you ever wondered why the aiki arts, had such unusual approaches to movement? They were designed to be driven by aiki power. Without it, all you really have is a jujutsu system, and not a very good one at that. I think getting your hands on some people who have it is a good start, then getting your hands on people who really know what to do WITH IT in motion, might help to define things more clearly.

If people do not understand the idea of mind/body connection and the power it trains in their body, then they simply do not have aiki. It is that simple. I continue to sit at tables with teachers who have trained with Kisshomaru, Arikawa, Yamaguchi, Chiba, Yamada, Kannai, Tohei, Saotome, Satio, , on to DR's Kiyama, Okomoto, Kondo, etc., who all....to a man, say this is the most powerful training tool they have ever felt.... At this point I don't think that opinion is going to change much. Mind/ body connection is king in the martial arts.
Good luck in your training
Dan
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:38 PM   #21
Jon Marshall
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Hi Dan,

Can I ask you, as the aiki heavyweight on the thread, what, if anything, you think is of particular value from the Tohei approach? What's worth keeping or focussing on for those of us who don't currently have access to an aiki-qualified teacher?

And whilst I'm here, what are your thoughts on the effectiveness of (1) Zhang Zhuan standing chi kung and Yiquan, and (2) Feldenkrais Method, which you might know nothing about but I'll ask just in case (it's all about mind/body coordination, but perhaps lacks the sweat and tears for what you're talking about.)

Thanks for your time,
Jon.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:42 AM   #22
DH
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jon Marshall wrote: View Post
Hi Dan,
Can I ask you, as the aiki heavyweight on the thread, what, if anything, you think is of particular value from the Tohei approach? What's worth keeping or focusing on for those of us who don't currently have access to an aiki-qualified teacher?
Jon
Measuring or weighting these things can be difficult. I don't see myself as much of anything, much less an "aiki heavyweight." Remember that up until 2006 I trained in a closed dojo in the woods. I do what I do, and that's that. People can make of it what they will, it doesn't change what I am doing.

Getting into details about what I think about Tohei's method, is pointless and will only serve as fuel for some nebulous internet debate- one which will not benefit me in any way.
Let's just say that there are different methods people use to connect the body. Breath training and moving from the center is not a panacea to all that ails us. There are ways and means to connect the body, ways to use that connected body to cancel and absorb, also to issue, to load and release, to open and close, etc. There are also ways to absorb while issuing, to offline while entering. These things are done in a digit, in a limb, and/or with the whole body.
I have never seen Tohei express anything of what I am talking about as a totality or method of movement, nor have I seen him express the same type of spiral movement I see in Ueshiba. But, hey, I didn't live with the guy, I just watched him on video, read his book, felt some people who trained in Ki society, and watched others. If he were doing what I am doing I would have seen it, read it, or had others at least be able to discuss or understand what I was talking about. As for judging it I will leave that up to others.

Is it fair to call Tohei's method a failure, as some did here, because the ki society did not produce cookie-cutter people with power? If the goal is to produce guaranteed results then I think we could make a case that all martial arts have failed to one degree or another. But, then we could say that about dance, gymnastics, golf etc. At a point there needs to be an individual ownership that involves; talent, skill, work ethic, mental acumen, testing, practice and so on. It is far to complicated to make such simple statements. Let me say that Bills comments about Aikido being in such poor shape are not meant to be all inclusive; it was a generalization of the state of affairs, and most senior teachers I have spoken and trained with seem to agree. So in that regard, Bill's comment seems to be a consensus among the teachers I keep meeting.

At any rate when it comes to ki and moving from center, I think it is going to be as empty an endeavor in the future as it was in the past. Why, because I think history is just going to repeat itself. It is going to be interesting for some people to find out if moving from the center and moving with ki...is enough to get the job done, and this time in a more educated environment. In my opinion it is not. There are ways to train to connect the body and there are ways to train to move those connections and they are not all the same. People with internal power do not all move the same, and some have flaws in movement. Nothing else will do but getting out and about, testing methods and people and finding out what gels with your own goals and intentions. I recently had this discussion with some aikido teachers who are currently doing that very thing.

Quote:
And whilst I'm here, what are your thoughts on the effectiveness of (1) Zhang Zhuan standing chi kung and Yiquan, and (2) Feldenkrais Method, which you might know nothing about but I'll ask just in case (it's all about mind/body coordination, but perhaps lacks the sweat and tears for what you're talking about.)
Zhang Zhuan
I stand, and also move in extremely slow movement drills. Standing, slow movement with and without heavy weapons, and breath work, are the cornerstone of what I do.
It is what I do while I am standing,
how I move slowly and
how I breath...... that creates aiki power.
I haven't met anyone yet in aikido who I considered to be soft. Most are actually pretty hard. But that is just my personal experience so far. As I said in 97' on the aikido list, "Good Daito Ryu is very soft. It is more like Taiji than aikido." I think one of the key problems is that Aikido believes it is a soft art, mostly due to it's evasive circular movement. Being soft, while having the ability to generate power and control requires specific training. You don't just "get soft" by relaxing or from externally evading power and moving out of the way. It just doesn't work that way. Moreover, you won't find soft power that way, no matter how long you train. The aikido teachers I am training with are finding that true softness under pressure was harder to attain than they thought and is extremely beneficial to their own training goals.

Yiquan
I have met Yiquan people who were awful, and some who were good. Of the ones who seem to have gotten something out of their training; we seem to be able to talk shop quite nicely. I just did a seminar this last weekend and among the participants was a Yi quan guy. He tells me I verbally addressed and then physically expressed many of the concepts his Chinese teacher had imparted. He reads these pages so if he is interested, he can address your questions better than I could. FWIW I have sat at a table with two Yi quan guys, and while one was expounding on his training methods, the other guy looked at him like he was nuts. Sound familiair? I can tell you- for example- that I have talked with DR people who said to me "How could you have seen that out of this?" Where I responded "How could you have not?" I think like everything else in Martial arts; it appears to be a case-by-case basis.

Feldenkras
From what I have read...nope, I'm not interested.
From guys I have met..nope I'm not interested.
I had one fellow at a taiji get together watch me pushing hands with a bunch of folks and then come up and tell me he could improve my push hands and my moving from center. He was a feldenkras teacher. I said "Really, show me?" I then proceeded to move him all over with a finger, break his balance and deconstruct his posture, then had him try all of that on me. Then I asked him what he thought he could possibly teach me? So.... nope, I'm not interested.

I don't see how my opinions help in anyway. I think it's best if we all go out and form more of our own, but there ya go. The good news is that people are out there talking about this stuff openly, and there are plenty of experts out there teaching soft arts, along with some amatuers demonstrating and sharing whatever it is they do. It's an interesting time to be in the aiki arts, or any tradtional art for that matter.
Good luck in your training
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-09-2010 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:05 AM   #23
Jon Marshall
Dojo: Bath Aikido Society
Location: Bath
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Thanks Dan,

I thought you might bite at the "aiki heavyweight" - couldn't resist. Well I find your input helpful, and you have answered my specific questions fully, but I do understand that your opinions are not going to better connect my mind and body.

I do dabble in different arts, but aikido's my love, so I'm reluctant to take on new forms. That's one of the reasons I like Zhan Zhuang. I'm hoping that at some point a few Aunkai people will pop up in the UK as that seems pretty minimalist.

As for ki aikido (to keep on-topic), I don't think it's failed any more that any other aikido, but do I think the Tohei world-view will become a bit dated if the IS stuff gets successfully integrated.

Thanks again,
Jon.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:58 AM   #24
sakumeikan
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Hi All,
Whether Tohei Sensei and Shin Shin Toitsu aikido training methods are effective /practical or other wise for me is not an issue.
I think that some of the exercises illustrated in Books by Tohei Sensei can be very useful.I am however much more inclined towards Tohei Senseis' philosophical views as expressed in the original Aikido in Daily Life book.This book certainly made me look at my own situation in life from a slightly different perspective.I am grateful to Tohei Sensei for his efforts here.Prior to his defection from the Aikikai Tohei Sensei
was undoubtedly one of the foremost Aikidoka. He richly deserves his place as a great pioneer of Aikido.History should reflect his contribution to the Art.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:18 PM   #25
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Quote:
Jon Marshall wrote: View Post
Thanks Dan,

I do dabble in different arts, but aikido's my love, so I'm reluctant to take on new forms. That's one of the reasons I like Zhan Zhuang. I'm hoping that at some point a few Aunkai people will pop up in the UK as that seems pretty minimalist.

Thanks again,
Jon.
I have a small group of people in ICMA and Aikido who keep trying to talk me into a seminar in England. If I do one it will probably be like the ones I do now-not advertised, if you're interested let me know by P.M.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-09-2010 at 12:32 PM.
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