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Old 04-25-2011, 10:45 AM   #51
Cliff Judge
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Quote:
James Wyatt wrote: View Post
With regards to training it is quite simple, "each to their own". Everyone should find a sensei who they like, respect and feel comfortable with. It is also important to remember being tori is only 50% of the practice. In O'Sensei' s class everyone had to give a proper and committed attack. Therefore 50% of your class and tuition should be on the attack and the ukemi.

Whilst I have trained with a concentration on kotai, it is also balanced with jutai and some ryu tai. Kotai is not about strength, it is about technique. I am 6'5'' and 210 lbs and have been thrown around like a rag doll by some very slight people and found excruciating pain in the application.

I have respect for all styles, some focus on the martial and some on the art. I believe martial comes first and the art will follow.
I'm with you until that last sentence. What you describe does not sound very martial at all. I believe you are postponing martial training until you have developed a certain amount of kokyu power.

Last edited by Cliff Judge : 04-25-2011 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:59 AM   #52
James Wyatt
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Is it a postponement of martial training? No, it is possibly the most "martial" training as you learn how to strike and where to strike, how to strangle etc. If you can do the technique against a good attack, then you progress. The more experienced go harder and quicker, so it moves from kotai to jutai etc.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:40 AM   #53
James Wyatt
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Another point to consider is the fact at Iwama and at the Hombu students were totally immersed. Therefore, Saito sensei may have achievedsandan in three years, but given the quantity and quality of tuition and partners, is it any surprise?
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:36 PM   #54
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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James Wyatt wrote: View Post
Another point to consider is the fact at Iwama and at the Hombu students were totally immersed. Therefore, Saito sensei may have achievedsandan in three years, but given the quantity and quality of tuition and partners, is it any surprise?
I think that you're overestimating the level of immersion. I know plenty of people who practiced in Japan no more than an hour a day but got to san-dan in around four years.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-25-2011, 12:42 PM   #55
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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James Wyatt wrote: View Post
Another point to consider is the fact at Iwama and at the Hombu students were totally immersed.
Not as inmersed as you think, especially in early post war times.

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Old 04-25-2011, 01:13 PM   #56
James Wyatt
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Perhaps some were not totally immersed, but I believe Saito Sensei would have been.

Back to the topic of the original post. My point is O'Sensei devoted his life physically and spiritually to aikido. Everyone and everything else is a derivation. If you want to follow his path, follow his guidance with dedication and hard practice.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:36 AM   #57
Lee Crockett
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

A lot of interesting comments on the thread, but my point in the initial thread has become more apparent in the discussion.

As I stated, the original students of O’Sensei, after he died, all went off and started teaching their own interpretation of what O’Sensei had disseminated.

All except M. Saito, who stated repeatedly that his focus on training was to preserve the techniques the founder had left in their form before the founder died.

This training, preserved today in Iwama, is hard strong Kotai training, for which M. Saito was told that all students were to train in this way until 3rd Dan before Jutai, Ekitai and Kitai training which focuses more on Kokyu Royku,

Even on this thread we have had statements how this sort of training would be boring and that it wouldn’t attract many students. And that is true. Students today want to throw people around to take large ukemi, using momentum and strength rather than focus on the basics found in Kotai.

And here we have the essence of my point. This type of hard, solid training was CHANGED by the first Doshu into the training we see today, where movement is made before any contact.

There has been reference to the fact that movement is blending, well im sorry, but this is not the blending that the likes of Kanshu. Sunadomari are on about.

This type of blending takes control of Uke totally, resulting in the combination of Tori and Ukes Centre.

I know from my own training that moving before a contact does not result in the blending of centres. It might make a contact at the contact point, but it does not take TOTAL control of Ukes centre.

This can only be achieved by solid Kotai training.

If you cannot take total control of Ukes centre, then you cannot throw that person.

Anyone who has trained with me will tell you I am a total sceptic about things working. I have to FEEL them work before I believe them. I am quite strong but more significantly very stiff. 99% of students cannot even do basic techniques on me. And I don’t mean I deliberately oppose the movement, I apply neutral strength.

But my instructor, no matter how strong I hold, or the strongest members of the club, he does the techniques effortlessly. It’s not muscle on muscle, its soft, blending and taijitsu, some of which I am now starting to develop myself.

This is what I believe the Founders Aikido to be, and this is what I want to pursue. But let’s not kid ourselves that which is being promoted today is the Founders Aikido.

It is a derivation from the fist Doshu.

It’s nice to know that others share the same goal too.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:41 AM   #58
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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A lot of interesting comments on the thread, but my point in the initial thread has become more apparent in the discussion.

As I stated, the original students of O’Sensei, after he died, all went off and started teaching their own interpretation of what O’Sensei had disseminated.

All except M. Saito, who stated repeatedly that his focus on training was to preserve the techniques the founder had left in their form before the founder died.
Virtually every student of Ueshiba that I've ever trained with claimed to be teaching exactly and faithfully what the founder had taught to them. That includes Kisshomaru.

OTOH, I heard Saito say clearly that there were things that he had changed - don't just take my word for it, it's in some of the public interviews too.

FWIW...

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-26-2011, 02:28 AM   #59
Lee Crockett
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Christopher Lee -then you know information i dont.

In the video clips i have seen of M. Saito, he clearly states that it is his duty to preserve the teachings of the Founder without his own interpretation for future generations.

If we ASSUME, this to be mostly correct, then Iwama Aikido should be the closest to what the Founder taught, when we know that Iwama Aikido is very different to the Hombu.

They shouldnt be that different.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:20 AM   #60
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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Christopher Lee -then you know information i dont.

In the video clips i have seen of M. Saito, he clearly states that it is his duty to preserve the teachings of the Founder without his own interpretation for future generations.

If we ASSUME, this to be mostly correct, then Iwama Aikido should be the closest to what the Founder taught, when we know that Iwama Aikido is very different to the Hombu.

They shouldnt be that different.
Well, there indeed seems to be information you dont have - have you read Peter Goldsbury's columns on this site, for example? Ellis Amdur's book "Hidden in Plain Sight"? If not, you would probably find it helpful, though it would challenge your assumptions. At least the idea that Morihei Ueshiba taught something structured that could be truthfuly and exactly replicated is somewhat dated in the light of that research. It rather sems he left "parcels" of instruction to different students according to - well, we really dont know according to what ...

Saito Sensei himself is on record as having said he came up with some forms long after O-Sensei's death at the occasion of some prestigious aikido demo.

If you assume that whatever someone says on video about the legitimacy of their own work to be automatically true, well, I am sorry but I will call that a little naive. Though, just in order not to be misunderstood, I have greatest respect for the Iwama lineage, and practice with Saito students regularly.

You might also do some more research on the lineages of at least Seiseki Abe Sensei and Hikitsuchi Sensei, and on Hirokazu Kobayashi. It's not a case of Iwama vs Honbu, really.

And so on.... really most of this discussion feels a little dated somehow.... if you like to believe that what Saito did was the best because Saito said so, go ahead. If you are really looking for a greater picture, I am afraid you have reading to do.

I wont repeat myself on static vs. non static....
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:20 AM   #61
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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If we ASSUME, this to be mostly correct, then Iwama Aikido should be the closest to what the Founder taught, when we know that Iwama Aikido is very different to the Hombu.

They shouldnt be that different.
And if we don't accept assumptions as proof?

And if Iwama is different from Hombu because both are products of different personal interpretations of O Sensei's Aikido?

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Old 04-26-2011, 03:54 AM   #62
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

A lot of reading and no experimenting to find out what really works is really the goal? Does it really matter who said what? What does matter is one practices against fully resisting ukes, it seems to me to be the only way to find out.... the moment of truth?
I dunno I've only been at it for the last 36 years and there seems to be less harmony in "Aikido" than ever before. I think the message is you have to do the hard before you can ever really achieve the soft, ying and yang and all that....?
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Old 04-26-2011, 09:24 AM   #63
Chris Li
 
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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Lee Crockett wrote: View Post
Christopher Lee -then you know information i dont.

In the video clips i have seen of M. Saito, he clearly states that it is his duty to preserve the teachings of the Founder without his own interpretation for future generations.

If we ASSUME, this to be mostly correct, then Iwama Aikido should be the closest to what the Founder taught, when we know that Iwama Aikido is very different to the Hombu.

They shouldnt be that different.
I posted this response on another thread years ago, these are quotes from public interviews with Morihiro Saito:

"When I starting teaching myself I realized O-Sensei's way of teaching would not be appropriate so I classified and arranged his jo techniques. I rearranged everything into 20 basic movements I called "suburi" which included tsuki (thrusting), uchikomi (striking), hassogaeshi (figure-eight movements) and so on so it would be easier for students to practice them."

"O-Sensei would get angry if we practiced in a one-two-three manner. His way of teaching might be good for private instruction but when you have to teach 30 or 40 students all together the one-two-three method is the only one effective. This was why I gave each of the suburi movements a number."

"O-Sensei's method may have been good for private lessons but not for teaching groups."

"He used me for explanations and for showing forms. I created the 31 jo movements from this."

"I used to teach the jo as a 27 or 28-movement form, but ended up with the 31-movement form as I found this was easier for students to understand."

There is also a published quote from Kisshomaru Ueshiba where, in his own words, he clearly stated his intention to "preserve Aikido as his father taught it".

One more thing (and maybe the most important thing) to consider is what it is that Ueshiba was actually doing, and whether copying exactly the outer form and appearance is actually sufficient to duplicate that.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-26-2011, 10:30 AM   #64
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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There is also a published quote from Kisshomaru Ueshiba where, in his own words, he clearly stated his intention to "preserve Aikido as his father taught it".
Hi Chris
Good points
I think it is important to differentiate what Kisshomaru said from what he actually produced. I know of no credible source that ever stated that Kisshomaru's aikido was anything like his fathers-not that it isn't obious. What we see from the family is more or less a bland template- lacking the real power that had made his fathers movements incredibly powerful and viable.
Administratively, the son created a framework and preserved an organizational model. Preserving the fathers actual aikido? In that....he failed.

Quote:
One more thing (and maybe the most important thing) to consider is what it is that Ueshiba was actually doing, and whether copying exactly the outer form and appearance is actually sufficient to duplicate that.
It isn't.
I've not met or seen a current aikido teacher yet who possesses a clear understanding of how to teach their people to develop power and aiki. If there is someone out there- I would love to see it and test their methods out.
So the question of the day is whether we let the millions doing it poorly...mostly because of the poor Japanese teaching model... continue to re-define it?
Or do we tell them to keep their teaching model for themselves and we set about fixing it ourselves, to give it back the power it once posessed?
All the best
Dan
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:59 AM   #65
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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Hi Chris
Good points
I think it is important to differentiate what Kisshomaru said from what he actually produced. I know of no credible source that ever stated that Kisshomaru's aikido was anything like his fathers-not that it isn't obious. What we see from the family is more or less a bland template- lacking the real power that had made his fathers movements incredibly powerful and viable.
Administratively, the son created a framework and preserved an organizational model. Preserving the fathers actual aikido? In that....he failed.
Absolutely. He made certain choices for certain reasons - whether that's good or bad depends on what you think is important. It's important to note that neither Kisshomaru nor Moriteru have any personal students.

In any case, the point is that just about everybody claims to be preserving Ueshiba's Aikido - and most of them believe it.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
It isn't.
I've not met or seen a current aikido teacher yet who possesses a clear understanding of how to teach their people to develop power and aiki. If there is someone out there- I would love to see it and test their methods out.
So the question of the day is whether we let the millions doing it poorly...mostly because of the poor Japanese teaching model... continue to re-define it?
Or do we tell them to keep their teaching model for themselves and we set about fixing it ourselves, to give it back the power it once posessed?
All the best
Dan
Like the man said .

See you in July - some interesting stuff going on around here .

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-26-2011, 11:38 AM   #66
Cliff Judge
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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It isn't.
I've not met or seen a current aikido teacher yet who possesses a clear understanding of how to teach their people to develop power and aiki. If there is someone out there- I would love to see it and test their methods out.
That's something I find interesting in what these guys are talking about, Dan. They're advocating a training methodology that devotes a lengthy period of time to just doing paired, static, wrist grab type scenarios where one person bears down and the other person is supposed to, over time, develop the ability to move through the technique without using muscle power.

I don't think its the "True O Sensei Way of Aiki" and I don't think its got much to do with martial training, but it seems to me that it might be a very good way to develop a stable structure that can deliver soft power in different directions.

It sounds like what I have heard the Roppokai do as basic exercises, and it sounds like the ICMA method of soaking in and storing chi.
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:06 PM   #67
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Hello Cliff
Using wrist grabs to "develop" IP/aiki is grossly inefficient to the point of being ridiculous. There are explicit means to get there ...much faster.
And storing chi and moving energy is done solo...and doesn't require wrist grab either. All in all the entire training model needs to be revamped to get anything that is both faster and more powerful.
what I see is catch as catch can and hope for the best.
I threw the japanese teaching model out the window.
We are better.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 04-26-2011 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:11 PM   #68
James Wyatt
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Another point is O'Sensei's aikido changed with age and personal development. It is often said his pre-war aikido was comparatively hard.

With regards to differing training regimes, each to their own. My sensei studied under O'Sensei and his aikido is very martial and hard, but that is what you get after almost 60 years of perfecting the basics (he also flows very well).
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:33 PM   #69
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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Hello Cliff
Using wrist grabs to "develop" IP/aiki is grossly inefficient to the point of being ridiculous. There are explicit means to get there ...much faster.
And storing chi and moving energy is done solo...and doesn't require wrist grab either. All in all the entire training model needs to be revamped to get anything that is both faster and more powerful.
what I see is catch as catch can and hope for the best.
I threw the japanese teaching model out the window.
We are better.
Dan
Hi Dan,
What about it makes it so inefficient? Do you think it promotes too much arm-based strength? I can certainly see how it might add a whole new set of variables for translating the power of hara, complicating matters. I can't claim any real understanding, but I do remember a moment after doing some katadori movements where I felt like I gained an insight into how to move with more "whole-body" feel (even though I know my best "whole-body" movements are pretty lousy). Something akin to that maybe?
Take care,
Matt
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:34 PM   #70
Keith Larman
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

FWIW, I'm doing the Aikido taught to me by my teachers as filtered through my own understanding and abilities. I come from a lineage that traces back to O-Sensei via Tohei via R. Kobayashi via my current instructors. But *my* aikido is now also informed by all those years of training, my own understandings, and also input from people like Goldsbury, Amdur, Ledyard, Harden, Threadgill, Sigman, and others found here and elsewhere.

None of us are doing O-sensei's aikido in one sense. In another sense we're all doing it. And everything in between.

Me, I focus on trying to be as honest to myself as possible about what I'm doing, why I do it, and what I'm hoping to learn. I am thankful to O-sensei for getting the ball rolling as well as he did as well as to his successors in various realms.

For me any further discussion is more or less like arguing about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. I've played with guys who float, fluff and get all new-age mystical about the silliest of things (to my view). I've also played with guys from some groups who make Tony W look like a light and gentle fella -- brutal! Me, I'm following the path in front of me. Which was formed by the path I took to get here. Mine.

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Old 04-26-2011, 02:02 PM   #71
Cliff Judge
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Keith, buddy, please pay attention. What the the OP really meant the thread to be about was that Iwama style Aikido is the only true Aikido and if you do anything other than static practice before sandan you are an impatient child who will never have the skills of...whoever it was that he likes. You are, furthermore, doing some kind of aiki budo jutsu and not the true soft lethal Aikido that comes, interestingly, from only the hard, basic training.

I know you are probably wondering how this thread can have gone on for so long if the OP obviously has his mind very thoroughly made up and the answer is, well, because he waited until we were about a page in before he came clean.
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:11 PM   #72
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

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Keith, buddy, please pay attention. What the the OP really meant the thread to be about was that Iwama style Aikido is the only true Aikido and if you do anything other than static practice before sandan you are an impatient child who will never have the skills of...whoever it was that he likes.
Of course, but everyone of any quality knows that the "real" stuff was what Tohei did, after all he was made Chief Instructor by the Old Guy himself! No, wait, it was Tomiki who was teaching the "real deal" (tm). After all, he learned when O-sensei was young and vital! No, wait, it was ...

Sigh...

Now how many shihan can fit on the head of a pin? Hmmm, let me count the ways...

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Old 04-26-2011, 02:50 PM   #73
James Wyatt
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Different styles are different, still aikido. My old sensei had Osawa Sensei in the morning, Tohei Sensei and Waka Sensei in the afternoon and O'Sensei when he was at hombu. He also trained under Tomiki sensei and Mifune sensei at the Kodokan. He always said they were all different, but still aikikai.

Martial arts all obey basic principles. Watch the judo itsutsu no kata.

I now train under a sensei who spent over eight years as uchideshi to Saito sensei. Iwama?

It is all aikido. Look for and study the similarities and you will find aikido.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:16 PM   #74
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Quote:
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Hi Dan,
What about it makes it so inefficient? Do you think it promotes too much arm-based strength? I can certainly see how it might add a whole new set of variables for translating the power of hara, complicating matters.

I can't claim any real understanding, but I do remember a moment after doing some katadori movements where I felt like I gained an insight into how to move with more "whole-body" feel (even though I know my best "whole-body" movements are pretty lousy). Something akin to that maybe?
Take care,
Matt
I face a whole bunch of people who....
"Remember a moment too....gained an insight into whole body feel, or think they felt this thing....or sort of got this feeling....or had this great night when things were clicking...."and so on and so on.
If people can not recite chapter and verse what they did and did not do,.,both internally. in connection or with aiki and also in waza ...then what does that say?

FWIW, I said wrist grabbing was a grossly inefficient training tool, it takes to long and is no guarantee of anything anyway.
Why spend forty years guessing- under groups of teachers that often treat us like second class citizens who don't understand because we're not Japanese or worse still ...apologize and tell us they only know how to teach by us stealing their technique.
Only to one day meet someone who is better than you and who can explain the how, why, and where ....in English..and save you decades?
All training and all Aikido is most certainly NOT the same..
Just say'n
Dan

Last edited by DH : 04-26-2011 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:05 PM   #75
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Re: Are we really doing O'Senseis Aikido?

Quote:
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I face a whole bunch of people who....
"Remember a moment too....gained an insight into whole body feel, or think they felt this thing....or sort of got this feeling....or had this great night when things were clicking...."and so on and so on.
If people can not recite chapter and verse what they did and did not do,.,both internally. in connection or with aiki and also in waza ...then what does that say?

FWIW, I said wrist grabbing was a grossly inefficient training tool, it takes to long and is no guarantee of anything anyway.
Why spend forty years guessing- under groups of teachers that often treat us like second class citizens who don't understand because we're not Japanese or worse still ...apologize and tell us they only know how to teach by us stealing their technique.
Only to one day meet someone who is better than you and who can explain the how, why, and where ....in English..and save you decades?
All training and all Aikido is most certainly NOT the same..
Just say'n
Dan
Hi Dan,
Thanks for the reply. I probably shouldn't have even mentioned my experience. I was just interested in hearing specifically what it is about wrist grabbing that makes it ineffective, and thought it might relate. Considering my lack of ability I should have probably assumed it didn't and stuck with the question itself.
So it's just ineffective? No specific reasons why?
Take care,
Matt
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