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Old 11-02-2010, 12:52 AM   #226
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Hi folks, remember me?
Topic Two: Aikido and Aikido-lite plus (at no extra charge!) pre/post war Aikido.

Before reading on, please remind yourself that I am sharing my own views and opinions, not trying to debate anyone here. George, I also have no doubt that you will disagree with this statement, you may even (rightfully) take offense. In my mind, Aikido IS Aikdio-lite. The awesome art we all think of in association with Ueshiba Morihei happened before 1942. When O-Sensei retired and handed over Aikido to his son (and Tohei Sensei), Aikido (and Aikido-lite) was born. Before that, I see one man's flavor of Daito Ryu aiki-budo. I believe Doshu simplified the curriculum to the point that it was possible to do without using any "aiki" as I currently understand the term. Unfortunately it was that iteration of the art that has spread worldwide and is what most folks practice today. I really appreciate Mark Murray's lengthy and well researched quotes, they very much echo my own view of what being a post-war uchideshi meant and what specific contact those people had with O-Sensei or his immediate teaching. Being and uchideshi meant sleeping at the dojo and training very hard every single day. It did not mean that you were a personal student of O-Sensei who followed him every where 24/7 365. Well over 90% of the Aikido I see today is simply very cooperative jujutsu. It can be a great workout and a source of real and profound joy, but I do not see or feel any aiki in it.
Hi Chris,
I don't get offended... I know exactly what you are saying. Depending on your point of view it is either quite correct or somewhat irrelevant. But definitely not wrong.

There were never more than a handful of folks who trained under Ueshiba in the 20's and 30's. There is no question that these folks were great. O-Sensei was, by all accounts pretty much a genius, while I would still allow for the fact that there were others around who did know what he knew i.e. Takeda, Sagawa, etc.

But, other than reading everything written in English on these folks, (not hard to do as there isn't that much) and pretty much seen every video, my only direct experience of Aikido and aiki came from my teacher Saotome Sensei. I don't want to get into my opinion of some of the other post war deshi, some were amazing and some weren't, in my opinion, very good at all.

But Saotome Sensei is an absolutely amazing Aikido practitioner. This man, in my opinion, represents the very best that post war Aikido produced. His Aikido sure as hell had "aiki". For most of my career I was literally over twice his body mass and I still have 100 pounds on him. He could throw me effortlessly, using no more effort than Toby or Howard or Don. He just couldn't explain what he did. Some of us have spent well over thirty years figuring it out. From the standpoint of someone who has spent his whole life training, I'd die happy if I could be any where near that good. Was O-Sensei better? Saotome Sensei says yes to that... but I have seen nothing from any pre-war Aikido teacher that would put Saotome Sensei in the second tier.

So, no matter what the debates about pre-war or post-war, or Aikido not having the "goods", I personally have seen an Aikido that I would be more than satisfied being able to do. And not a single American I have ever seen, aside from Angier Sensei, is doing anything with the sophistication that he is. Of course a few of my friends are yonger and getting better so who knows by the time they are in their seventies like Sensei is. I guess I would be at all surprised if they get that good, maybe better, no reason they couldn't... There are individuals who may do certain things well, like the Internal Power guys... fabulous stuff and quite possibly they can hit you harder than Saotome Sensei can... But when we start talking about the complete package of all the things that make a martial artist, the physical, the mental, the ability to shift from empty hand to weapons at will, you name it, I'd feel I died and gone to heaven to be as good as Saotome Sensei.

These discussions about the 30's art being better... Well,better for certain things, perhaps. But I have come to really appreciate many of those very things that others dislike about our art. As I have said before, I think that Aikido impracticality was intentional. I do not think it was meant to be about fighting, although the principles can be used that way. I see nothing in the arts with which I am familiar hat can touch your heart the way Aikido can. Many have a better methodology, some have more sophistication in one area or another. But I simply think that people are wrong when they look at the spiritual / philosophical side of the art as something that wasn't there in the thirties and got added on later. For O-Sensei, it was always there and became central to the art after the war.

So in terms of principles based training, Aikido comes off rather badly compared to Daito Ryu and the Aiki Budo of the thirties. But as an art that has the possibility of really speaking to people, that could, if better taught, really be a practice of tremendous depth, with a heart to it that other arts perhaps intentionally don't have, I am sticking with Aikido. I fully intend to master and pass on an Aikido, like my teacher's which isn't by any stretch, Aikido lite.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:30 AM   #227
MM
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Hi George,

Let me start by saying that I am *not* dismissing Saotome sensei or his skills. Or for that matter, even his personality -- I am told he is a great person.

But, the notion that most post-war students had extensive hands-on time with the founder ... it's very hard to support. Don't take that as meaning post-war deshi weren't skilled. As you noted, some were, some weren't.

As for pre-war vs post-war ... egads, it's nearly identical in regards to hands-on training. You should see the small amount of notes I have on it. There was no extensive hands-on training with Ueshiba Morihei then, either.

Which begs the question, what was different? How did Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, etc get so good so quickly? You can't just say it was the Daito ryu training because we have thousands studying with Takeda and not getting good, you have the whole Modern Daito ryu world that is pretty much in the same boat as the Modern Aikido world (all technique and no internal skills), yet there were people who *did* get significantly better.

We can definitely say it wasn't the overall length of training. There are people who have trained 2-3 days a week for 40 years and aren't at the level of Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, Mochizuki, etc.

We know that Shioda and Tomiki trained in 5-10 years and got very good. We know that many of the "Giants of Aikido" came from the pre-war period. I have notes that show that those pre-war students didn't have extensive hands-on time with Ueshiba either.

By deduction, we can rule out training for lengthy times per week over the course of decades, training for very short times per week over the course of decades, knowing hundreds of techniques, and not having extensive hands-on training.

What's left then is my theory: Ueshiba during the pre-war period was not yet fully developed in both his martial abilities (aiki) and the Oomoto kyo doctrine (spirituality). He was a work in progress in those years. When those pre-war students trained with Ueshiba, they were seeing, having it explained, and hearing the training in somewhat more simplified terms. These pre-war students were able to "steal" the working knowledge of how to start training aiki. Not the complete package, mind you, (read the Sagawa book and notice how he spent long years trying to become "sticky" because Takeda wouldn't teach him) but enough. It wasn't the techniques nor extensive hands-on time, but a very specific manner of training that had to be explicitly shown.

As the years passed and Ueshiba became more proficient in both, his explanations became more ... spiritual. Or as many said, they didn't know what he was talking about. That created a very large obstacle to learning aiki. Of course, you can also theorize that Takeda was angry that Ueshiba was showing people the "secrets" and Ueshiba just started using spiritual terms to hide his attempts to teach people aiki.

That brings us back full circle to "Is two Days a week enough"? I think you covered the answer very well for Modern Aikido. No need to repeat what you've already said throughout this thread. For Ueshiba's aikido, the answer is no. Neither in partner training, nor in solo training. Ueshiba and Sagawa were prime examples of just how much *correct* training was required.
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:55 AM   #228
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Enough...

... to have worth and deserve respect? Most definitely.
... to contribute to the finances and statistics of the dojo and thus support others? Definitely.
... to make practice meaningful for oneself on some level? Sure.
... to have a positive impact on other people's training and on the dojo community? Quite possibly.
... to have a negative impact on other people's training and on the dojo community? Quite possibly.
... to get beyond shodan? Apparently depends where you train, but certainly not far beyond that.
... to contribute decisively to an atmosphere of really intensive, devoted high-level training? Unlikely.
... to become a full-fledged instructor? Hopefully not.
... to get some proficiency in the advanced technical aspects of the art? Quite unlikely.
... to do justice to the complexity of the art? Very unlikely.
... to deserve the attention of a master teacher? No, unless she feels like it anyway.
... to become a master teacher? Definitely not.
... to ensure the full transmission of the art in one's own person? No way.

So that sums it up for me, it's been interesting, and unless Maggie really humbles me with the information how long she has been training and thus forces me to apologize, I am out of here.
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:01 AM   #229
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
Enough...

... to have worth and deserve respect? Most definitely.
... to contribute to the finances and statistics of the dojo and thus support others? Definitely.
... to make practice meaningful for oneself on some level? Sure.
... to have a positive impact on other people's training and on the dojo community? Quite possibly.
... to have a negative impact on other people's training and on the dojo community? Quite possibly.
... to get beyond shodan? Apparently depends where you train, but certainly not far beyond that.
... to contribute decisively to an atmosphere of really intensive, devoted high-level training? Unlikely.
... to become a full-fledged instructor? Hopefully not.
... to get some proficiency in the advanced technical aspects of the art? Quite unlikely.
... to do justice to the complexity of the art? Very unlikely.
... to deserve the attention of a master teacher? No, unless she feels like it anyway.
... to become a master teacher? Definitely not.
... to ensure the full transmission of the art in one's own person? No way.

So that sums it up for me, it's been interesting, and unless Maggie really humbles me with the information how long she has been training and thus forces me to apologize, I am out of here.
That sums it up quite nicely. Should hopefully be the last word on the matter but I know better.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:00 PM   #230
lbb
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
Enough...
That makes sense to me.

There are a couple (at least) of threads in this conversation that I think are worth following up on...but not, I think, here or right now. Maybe later. Many thanks to all for their replies and the effort that went into them...I did read them all, and many of them gave me ample food for thought. When that's the case, sometimes you need to just chew on things for a while.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:05 PM   #231
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
Enough...
I agree that this was a very nice summary! Good discussion and lots to think about.

Pauliina
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Old 11-02-2010, 05:52 PM   #232
dps
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Quote:
Eric Melanson wrote: View Post
Hey all, I am Eric, new to Aiki Web, and relatively new to Aikido. I was wondering how many days a week the average person in Aikido trains? My dojo is two days a week. But after you feel comfortable you can stay for the intermediate class which is directly after the beginners class. I think I could do with more. At least 3 days a week. Is two days enough?
Hello Eric and welcome to Aikido and Aikiweb. You posted a good question that brought about a vigourous debate.

I wonder how many of the people posting on this thread read your personal information and tailored their answer to your question. As what often happens here on Aikiweb the original poster gets lost in the discussion as everyone pulls out their soapboxes to stand on and express their opinion. (Personally I prefer a plastic milk crate.)

It seems that your dojo only offers beginners classes two times a week anyway and if your sensei thinks that is what you need then I would accept that. If as you said you can pick up another class then that would be good.

Don't be in too much of a hurry to learn, but make a commitment ( not measured by how often you are in the dojo) to practice Aikido for a very long time.

dps

P.S. Did you ask your sensei what he thought. It would be interesting to know what he thinks.
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:33 PM   #233
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
As what often happens here on Aikiweb the original poster gets lost in the discussion as everyone pulls out their soapboxes to stand on...
Dang and I thought I was just getting taller!
Masakatsu Agatsu, dammit! Masakatsu Agatsu!!!

...I think I may have just made a new verb.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:08 PM   #234
danielajames
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Chiming in a bit late... but enjoying the dialogue so far

The scientific literature suggests that around 4,000-10,000 hours is generally required to gain expertise in a skill. Thats a lot of aikido classes especially, if you factor in that a lot of the time in classes is overhead and not actual practice. At once or even twice a week thats around a 25yr, process assuming active learning can be maintained.

Beyond that and relative to the debate. Early experiences are said to be the most powerful in learning and an opportunity that can be capitilised through intense training at this stage of development.
Blocked learning (repetitive drills, kata?) on the other hand have limited value with emerging expertise in a skill and can infact hinder development whilst breeding a false sense of confidence. You see this most often in the old hands at the dojo just chuggin' it out with the same technique year after year and never taking on anything new within.

best,
dan
(doomed to be a hobbyist but yearning for more)

PS my insights from elite sport if helpful here

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:13 PM   #235
tarik
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Thanks to all for the entertaining thread.

Thanks to Mr. Ledyard for expressing some thoughts that I largely agree with regarding transmission.

Best,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:39 PM   #236
oisin bourke
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Quote:
Daniel James wrote: View Post
Chiming in a bit late... but enjoying the dialogue so far

The scientific literature suggests that around 4,000-10,000 hours is generally required to gain expertise in a skill. Thats a lot of aikido classes especially, if you factor in that a lot of the time in classes is overhead and not actual practice. At once or even twice a week thats around a 25yr, process assuming active learning can be maintained.

Beyond that and relative to the debate. Early experiences are said to be the most powerful in learning and an opportunity that can be capitilised through intense training at this stage of development.
Blocked learning (repetitive drills, kata?) on the other hand have limited value with emerging expertise in a skill and can infact hinder development whilst breeding a false sense of confidence. You see this most often in the old hands at the dojo just chuggin' it out with the same technique year after year and never taking on anything new within.

best,
dan
(doomed to be a hobbyist but yearning for more)

PS my insights from elite sport if helpful here
That's a really interesting blog. I'm currently studying a bit of psychology and the learning and cognitive areas are fascinating.
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:59 AM   #237
SeiserL
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

As a three day a week hobbyist for 16 years with minimal skills, I still feel committed and am having a good time.

IMHO, its the quality of the intent and practice, not the quantity of days or weeks that makes for commitment.

But, when you can have quality and quantity under an instructor that can keep you humble and learning new skills and principles you have the best of the situation.

Linguistics would look for the referential index: Enough according to who? Enough according to what standard and for what purpose?

Great question and discussion, compliments and appreciation to all.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:57 AM   #238
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

I wanted to thank everyone for this thread. There are too many times when content is lacking or vituperation seems to predominate on forums like this. I think this exchange represents what is best about AikiWeb. There was a lot of divergent opinion on a subject that people clearly care a lot about. I think that everyone got to see the issue from a perspective that was different than his own. And for the most part, everyone stayed fairly calm and civilized, especially given the amount of investment people have on this topic in particular.

As is usually the case, far more people read these posts than posted themselves. I had a number of e-mails and PM's from various teachers of Aikido who reflected my concerns about its survival in a time when the predominant training paradigm is so different from what we perceive as necessary to be competent. One teacher pointed out to me that Chiba Sensei in his Birankai does actually require his instructors to re-certify periodically, which I think should be universally adopted.

Anyway, I think this was a very good exchange reflecting the views of a number of different groups within the Aikido community. Maybe no one changes anything about how they do thins or even changes his thinking, but at least people understand each others outlook better. That's how the forums should work.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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