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Old 11-11-2011, 08:41 PM   #176
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Other people need to "soften their language?" I seem to recall it was someone else who called everyone else here "Cowards" when he didn't understand the difference between splitting off a thread and censoring. Here's something that would help civil discourse: when you make a mistake and issue an insult in the course of it, you take it back when you realize you were wrong. Because you were wrong.
The posts by Dan and others have been insulting in tone and substance all along. Towards myself and others. They generally don't even have the respect to address senior instructors, Doshu, or O'Sensei with their rightful titles. I responded in kind.

To run away from the debate and claim that I'm off topic when I was responding to their communications towards myself... I think I used the right name for that.

Last edited by Ken McGrew : 11-11-2011 at 08:46 PM.
 
Old 11-11-2011, 08:42 PM   #177
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
Lee, the argument that Dan and others have made is not that teachers have failed to communicate what they knew but that modem Aikido is 1) no good, and 2) no one after O'Sensei (or maybe Saito Sensei) could do Aikido as O'Sensei wanted. It's not a straw man that I've set up. It is what they have said. They've made numerous claims. When I disproved their arguments they did not answer. They still haven't answered. Now Chris, and yourself, are pretending the bold claims weren't made.

Your claims that both Ikeda and Saotome Sensei's see "the inadequacies" of their art is not what they have told me.
Ken

Please be careful about what you state in my name. Careful reading of my post will show that just is not the case ...my opinions and understanding...are my own.
You have a bit of a bee in your bonnet, so I feel I do not wish to continue this conversation with you or say much else...I'm stepping out now... but for the record I've always admired Saotome sensei's aikido...his beautiful expression of the art is wonderful

Kindest regards

Lee
 
Old 11-11-2011, 08:51 PM   #178
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
Lee Price wrote: View Post
Ken

Please be careful about what you state in my name. Careful reading of my post will show that just is not the case ...my opinions and understanding...are my own.
You have a bit of a bee in your bonnet, so I feel I do not wish to continue this conversation with you or say much else...I'm stepping out now... but for the record I've always admired Saotome sensei's aikido...his beautiful expression of the art is wonderful

Kindest regards

Lee
I directly quoted you. What in the world do you think I took out of context?
 
Old 11-11-2011, 08:56 PM   #179
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
We said pick one point and start from there - you are all over the place with you arguments and you continue with your arrogance even after numerous attempts by those you attacked to move on in a more civil manner. You continue to place Saotome and Ikeda up on a level as someone to emulate with no fault - well, I have had hands on both of them, and not to demean them in any manner as they both are very talented, but neither one has what Dan has as far as aiki - and there are other senior 5th and 6th dan ASU members that feel the same way as is evidenced by them training with Dan as well.

As I said, if you don't agree, and cannot discuss in a civil and logical manner, move on - this stuff is not for you.

Greg
You should really retract this before you put ASU students in the position of appearing to agree with you.
 
Old 11-11-2011, 08:57 PM   #180
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
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The posts by Dan and others have been insulting in tone and substance all along. Towards myself and others. They generally don't even have the respect to address senior instructors, Doshu, or O'Sensei with their rightful titles. I responded in kind.
We're not in Japan, we're not Japanese, and we're not speaking Japanese. In English it's not uncommon to refer to famous people without their titles in a casual conversation - I don't see any particular reason to alter that practice simply because the people we're talking about happen to be Japanese.

And guess what - it's pretty common to refer to them without their titles even when in Japan, speaking to Japanese people in Japanese - this in conversations with Japanese shihan.

You said that you'd bring up the quote about religion, but I haven't seen it. Also, I asked you to bring up the quotes that you were referring to when you referenced a "change in tone" so we could discuss it. Maybe it would be best to continue the previous discussions before moving on to more accusations.

Best,

Chris

 
Old 11-11-2011, 09:05 PM   #181
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
We're not in Japan, we're not Japanese, and we're not speaking Japanese. In English it's not uncommon to refer to famous people without their titles in a casual conversation - I don't see any particular reason to alter that practice simply because the people we're talking about happen to be Japanese.

And guess what - it's pretty common to refer to them without their titles even when in Japan, speaking to Japanese people in Japanese - this in conversations with Japanese shihan.

You said that you'd bring up the quote about religion, but I haven't seen it. Also, I asked you to bring up the quotes that you were referring to when you referenced a "change in tone" so we could discuss it. Maybe it would be best to continue the previous discussions before moving on to more accusations.

Best,

Chris
You admitted to arguments that O'Sensei's Aikido wasn't tied up with the spiritual. That was what I meant to say. You and Dan have not as far as I see denied that he was spiritual in general. That his Aikido was tied up with his spiritual beliefs is well known for the reasons I outlined earlier. Read Take Muso Aiki.

You know full well that Dan, Mark, and yourself, and others, have used very strong language to allege that those of us in modern aikido are not talented and not doing O'Sensei Aikido. Everyone else knows it too.
Look at the post immediately above.

I have responded at length to all these attacks with an open heart (but not passive demeanor). I am not going to rewrite the things I've written. My questions and counter evidence have been spelled out in detail. If you want to start with just one issue (after ive been bombarded with so many) then pick one yourself.
 
Old 11-11-2011, 09:16 PM   #182
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

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Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
We said pick one point and start from there - you are all over the place with you arguments and you continue with your arrogance even after numerous attempts by those you attacked to move on in a more civil manner. You continue to place Saotome and Ikeda up on a level as someone to emulate with no fault - well, I have had hands on both of them, and not to demean them in any manner as they both are very talented, but neither one has what Dan has as far as aiki - and there are other senior 5th and 6th dan ASU members that feel the same way as is evidenced by them training with Dan as well.

As I said, if you don't agree, and cannot discuss in a civil and logical manner, move on - this stuff is not for you.

Greg
I asked Greg to withdraw this post. He did not so I will respond. It is not fair to put students in this situation. Because people want to explore does not mean they think Dan is better than their teacher.

I am not calling anyone faultless. I'm not even entertaining the debates about who is better or worse than others. I cite Saotome Sensei because his teachings contradict the arguments Dan and others have made. I cite him for the same reasons they cite Saito Sensei. They both trained extensively with O'Sensei. I cited Saotome Sensei because he quotes O'Sensei on the proper training approach. Not to say anything about his ability next to Dan's ability.

When people like Dan say that all postwar Aikido is not good Aikido and not the Aikido O'Sensei taught they insult all postwar teachers. Should I apologize for demanding that such statements be backed up with stronger evidence than they've provided? It's not so much to ask given their statements.
 
Old 11-11-2011, 09:26 PM   #183
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

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Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
You admitted to arguments that O'Sensei's Aikido wasn't tied up with the spiritual. That was what I meant to say. You and Dan have not as far as I see denied that he was spiritual in general. That his Aikido was tied up with his spiritual beliefs is well known for the reasons I outlined earlier. Read Take Muso Aiki.
First of all, it's "Take Musu Aiki", not "Take Muso Aiki". I've read it in Japanese, but I can only assume that you haven't read it, since there is no English translation. Yes, John made a partial translation, but even he admits that the translation is highly abridged for an English speaking audience (there's nothing wrong with that).

Secondly, we admitted to arguments that the source of his martial power, the engine that powered his technique, was not his spiritual practice, but rather the Aiki of Daito-ryu. That's something quite different.

As the man said:

Quote:
「私の武産の合気は、宗教から出て来たのかというとそうではない。真の武産から宗教を照らすのです。未完の宗教を完成へと導く案内であります」

"It would not be correct to say that my Takumusu Aiki emerged from religion. True budo illuminates religion. It guides incomplete religion to completion."
Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
You know full well that Dan, Mark, and yourself, and others, have used very strong language to allege that those of us in modern aikido are not talented and not doing O'Sensei Aikido. Everyone else knows it too.
Look at the post immediately above.

I have responded at length to all these attacks with an open heart (but not passive demeanor). I am not going to rewrite the things I've written. My questions and counter evidence have been spelled out in detail. If you want to start with just one issue (after ive been bombarded with so many) then pick one yourself.
I don't recall making any particular "attacks", or seeing much detailed evidence. And I really don't see the post above as being particularly strong or insulting in anyway.You say "everybody knows", but the only people posting here don't seem to know it...

You're stepping into a conversation that has been going on for more than 15 years and asking that it be justified from the very beginning - your very first post had so many questions in so many directions that I woudn't even know where to begin. I'd be happy to discuss any particular point - pick one and let's go.

Best,

Chris

 
Old 11-11-2011, 09:37 PM   #184
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
When people like Dan say that all postwar Aikido is not good Aikido and not the Aikido O'Sensei taught they insult all postwar teachers. Should I apologize for demanding that such statements be backed up with stronger evidence than they've provided? It's not so much to ask given their statements.
Mr. McGrew,

Had you read *all* of the posts, you would have found quite a few of your answers. Had you read *all* of the posts, you would have realized we were not making some of the statements you attribute to us. Had you been more polite, I might have dug up some of the posts for you.

Instead, you want us to believe that you read about 4000 posts (just mine and Dan's) in 48 hours, which is about 1.4 posts a minute for two days straight with no breaks. (Reference posts #36 and #38 in this thread.)

I'm not sure of the patience of others, maybe they'll still answer your posts. But, as of this post, I will exercise my option of putting you on ignore. I wish you the best in your training.
 
Old 11-11-2011, 09:47 PM   #185
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

went back and read an old thread which had quite a few folks http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14063

memory lane. there was a time when jim sorrentino took exception to dan; rob liberti and sigman; david orange and IS folks in general; and the endless arguments between dan and mike. all these heated exchange brought back fond memory which i don't have to remember, since there is a search function in the forum. i remembered thinking what in the god name these folks talking about and made all these wild claims. i decided to go and experienced their stuffs. to date, i have not get the chance to experience a number of these folks, but the ones that i had, they actually walked the walk better than they talked the talk. i sometimes wondered how many of these folks who had debate with dan, mike, rob john, and so on, who went out and get their hands on these folks and changed their mind soon after. i tell ya, ego is a strange thing, just like waffle for breakfast and that just wrong; ham, egg, sausage and bacon for moi!

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
 
Old 11-11-2011, 10:02 PM   #186
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Are you denying that the available English translations of Take Musi Aiki are essentially accurate? Because they describe O'Sensei moving outside of this plain to the bridge between heaven and earth in order to perform Aikido techniques. You also admit his referring to having been inspired or possessed by a deity. This deity was related to how he believed he discovered the secrets of Aikido. So,you seem to concede the point. Even the interviews I posted, I believe, make some reference to his spiritual beliefs and Aikido. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Saotome Sensei has written and taught about the spiritual aspects of O'Sensei's Budo. I discussed this with him in November. He wrote out for me what OSensei saw as the relationship between the physical body, Ki body, and astral body. As a direct student he should know. If I recall correctly Tohei Sensei also discussed this. Religious traditions are found in dojos and practice in Aikido even if people don't know their origins. All of this goes to refute the claim that Aikido was not religios for O'Sensei. Dan and others deny the religious aspects in order to deny the importance of Ki (see the interviews I provided) and in order to argue that it was not Ai Ki Do but rather Aiki Do. This was the spiritual issue.

The argument that Aikido was not a new art but only Daito-ryu is likewise contradicted by what O'Sensei wrote and said (see the interviews I provided) as well as what direct students like Saotome Sensei wrote and said. You are free to argue that he was wrong Etc. but you are not free to put words in his mouth that contradict what he really taught. I am not denying the lineage to Diato-ryu. But given what O'Sensei said and what Saotome said and wrote, I am arguing that O'Sensei claimed it was a new art. Saotome has a section on the differences between them in Harmony of nature and also discusses the differences in his videos. In particular i am arguing that the cooperative training approach was new and highly significant. This was the origins issue.

In both cases you have based your arguments largely on new translations you've done. The words that you would change don't seem to amount to much so far as changing the meaning of whole passages, assuming your translations are beyond debate which I do not accept (for example, was it Ki, power, or Ki power). That other things may be mistranslated doesn't prove that they are mistranslated. The translation you provide here, assuming its correct, doesn't dispense with the bulk of evidence to the other side. It becomes an outlier. Even O'Sensei could say things differently than he intended to on occasion. I thing he was trying to say something about universal religion verses sectarian understandings of it. Why not look to the interviews in Japanese? Any translation errors there will be easy to spot given they are spoken and written modern Japanese. This was the translation issue.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
First of all, it's "Take Musu Aiki", not "Take Muso Aiki". I've read it in Japanese, but I can only assume that you haven't read it, since there is no English translation. Yes, John made a partial translation, but even he admits that the translation is highly abridged for an English speaking audience (there's nothing wrong with that).

Secondly, we admitted to arguments that the source of his martial power, the engine that powered his technique, was not his spiritual practice, but rather the Aiki of Daito-ryu. That's something quite different.

As the man said:

I don't recall making any particular "attacks", or seeing much detailed evidence. And I really don't see the post above as being particularly strong or insulting in anyway.You say "everybody knows", but the only people posting here don't seem to know it...

You're stepping into a conversation that has been going on for more than 15 years and asking that it be justified from the very beginning - your very first post had so many questions in so many directions that I woudn't even know where to begin. I'd be happy to discuss any particular point - pick one and let's go.

Best,

Chris
 
Old 11-11-2011, 10:05 PM   #187
Ellis Amdur
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Jeez, lighten up! But keep weight underside

Such high dudgeon! About what? As Stanley Pranin noted recently, Ueshiba Morihei was ALREADY doing blending exercises, cooperative training in the 1935 film. And, he was, simultaneously, doing things that none of his students ever reached.

Oda sensei, Tomiki sensei's right hand man, in the famous demo in Manchuria, attacked Ueshiba with everything he had, backed by expertise in judo, karate, and aikibudo - and Ueshiba handled him with electric, sharp techniques that awed the audience - AND - he was furious with Oda for attacking in a way that he had to use such methods, wanting to show, instead a method blended, not stirred. He was only soothed from his rage by the admiration of the formidible naginata teacher Sonobe Hideo. He didn't want to use what I think we can assume is classical Daito-ryu - but he had to use such methods then to handle a "for-real" attack by an expert.

But the other point is this - Osensei was doing - and WANTED to do - post-war aikido in the prewar period.

Now where does this leave us. I honestly think it is very likely that Ueshiba's post-war personal innovation was to successfully imbue Daito-ryu aiki WITHIN his blending, cooperative form. (This is what is hidden in plain sight, not that he secretly had a pocketful of other waza). Whether he was right or not, I dunno, but I think Osensei thought his postwar accomplishment was the ability to use sharp aiki WITHIN blending - as the t'ai chi masters say, "a needle in cotton."

And this is the failure of modern aikidoka. Osensei's practice method and his techniques are imitated with grace, brilliance and often, considerable power. But most are using their bodies (nervous system, connective tissue, muscles, and the will and breath that drive the former) in a different way from Ueshiba. In my book, I refer to the waza as the bottle - the question is what it is filled with.

Since Dan Harden, among those offering internal training, is the whipping boy of some recent threads, I'll cite him for a moment: all he's offering is aiki training. I think I'm not going to have him jump on my head, feelings hurt, were I to say he has no interest in personally doing aikido waza. BUT - he is asserting this - and I think correctly: that if one acquires skill in aiki, it could be contained WITHIN classical aikido technique, be it nikkyo, kokyunage or any other limb-twining variation, if that's the way you want to use it. In other words, Ken, there is absolutely no requirement in what Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, Minoru Akuzawa, to name three, are teaching, that there be any abandonment of classical aikido practice or technique, if that's what you want to do.

And by the way, I took ukemi for Saotome on many occasions back in the 70's. And I lived in Terry Dobson's dojo for close to a year. And I much admire what both of them can/could (respectively) do on the mat and outside as well (Terry used a pure blending technique when he disarmed the chainsaw wielding logger in the bar in Vermont he was bouncing at). BUT - nothing they do/did merits the kind of awe in expert martial artists (respect, yes - awe, no) that Ueshiba inspired among the very best in Japan.

So one is either content to be religious about it - Ueshiba was a kami, and we mere mortal, or we can say, as Dobson snarled at the other uchi-deshi when they tried to stop him from jumping the fence to study with Wang Shu Chin, "All of you guys want to be Osensei's best student. I wanna be Osensei."

Best
Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 11-11-2011 at 10:10 PM.

 
Old 11-11-2011, 10:07 PM   #188
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Mr. McGrew,

Had you read *all* of the posts, you would have found quite a few of your answers. Had you read *all* of the posts, you would have realized we were not making some of the statements you attribute to us. Had you been more polite, I might have dug up some of the posts for you.

Instead, you want us to believe that you read about 4000 posts (just mine and Dan's) in 48 hours, which is about 1.4 posts a minute for two days straight with no breaks. (Reference posts #36 and #38 in this thread.)

I'm not sure of the patience of others, maybe they'll still answer your posts. But, as of this post, I will exercise my option of putting you on ignore. I wish you the best in your training.
It is very strange to find a discussion forum where people won't discuss the statements they make but rather tell people to go read the history. When they take the time to read through the history, which they never expected someone would actually do, they don't have a response to the specific questions that he presents based on that reading.
 
Old 11-11-2011, 10:18 PM   #189
Ken McGrew
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Re: Jeez, lighten up! But keep weight underside

If this is what and all they were claiming I would not complain. I understand what Aiki is and believe it is found in many arts. I am not against internal exercises Etc.. As i have said, what Dan is doing may be good and may be complimentary to Aikido. Unfortunately they have made lots of claims that basically dismiss "modern Aikido" and so forth. They have basically argued for abandoning Aikido training approach. More than anything I am pushing back against the idea that Aikido training can be competitive.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post

Since Dan Harden, among those offering internal training, is the whipping boy of some recent threads, I'll cite him for a moment: all he's offering is aiki training. I think I'm not going to have him jump on my head, feelings hurt, were I to say he has no interest in personally doing aikido waza. BUT - he is asserting this - and I think correctly: that if one acquires skill in aiki, it could be contained WITHIN classical aikido technique, be it nikkyo, kokyunage or any other limb-twining variation, if that's the way you want to use it. In other words, Ken, there is absolutely no requirement in what Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, Minoru Akuzawa, to name three, are teaching, that there be any abandonment of classical aikido practice or technique, if that's what you want to do.

Best
Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ken McGrew : 11-11-2011 at 10:21 PM.
 
Old 11-11-2011, 10:44 PM   #190
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
Mathew, point to a post when I deny the existence of Aiki in Aikido.
That's not what I suggested. I was addressing the idea that is often put forward: that, whatever O Sensei was doing, it might not be present in modern Aikido. I'm saying read that kind of rhetoric with a grain of salt because in the past I know I've read things too literally, or read parts of a comment which seemed extraordinary until compared with other remarks that seemed to balance them out. In the past I've read people saying there's "no" aiki in Aikido. Strictly speaking there is. The question then is to what degree, but I have almost no frame of reference for that. There is a strong argument that internal training methods were a major part of O Sensei's practice but that most people today have little to no depth of training in them. It's all relative so it's almost pointless to quantify it, in my opinion, but given the kind of testimony I've seen from highly experienced people, I think there's something to it.

Quote:
I have provided two interviews in this discussion where O'Sensei describes his religious beliefs. I have pointed to religious symbols in most dojos that we have as tradition from O'Sensei. This shows he was religious. If people are going to claim the translations are completely wrong then they need to back that up with new translations. The comment you are referring to about budo being beyond religion seems to indicate that he was beyond denominational thinking. That is he trained the true religion.
I'm not touching anything about "true" religion! Mine was a family of Huguenots so we like to avoid that kind of verbage...keeps our heads in place longer.
Sounds like some newer translations are being worked on though, so hopefuly they'll be available soon.
I'm not religious, but I am spiritual. According to an atheist friend, I'm religious because I incorporate religious things in my practice. Semantics can be difficult...and on aikiweb for some reason they seem to cause all kinds of trouble.
Take care,
Matt
ps- thank you, Mr. Amdur, for another comprehensive and illuminating post!!!

Last edited by mathewjgano : 11-11-2011 at 10:47 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
 
Old 11-11-2011, 10:52 PM   #191
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
Are you denying that the available English translations of Take Musi Aiki are essentially accurate?
Wrong again, it's not "Take Musi Aiki", just as it wasn't "Take Muso Aiki", it's "Take Musu Aiki".

Basically, there are no complete English translations, accurate or otherwise. Sonoko Tanaka did a bit of the early sections for AikiNews (now Aikido Journal) and John Stevens published a highly abridged version that he himself called "Take Musu Aiki Lite" - there's nothing wrong with that, he published it for popular consumption. I talked to him about it before it came out, he lives down the street from me.

Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
Because they describe O'Sensei moving outside of this plain to the bridge between heaven and earth in order to perform Aikido techniques. You also admit his referring to having been inspired or possessed by a deity. This deity was related to how he believed he discovered the secrets of Aikido. So,you seem to concede the point. Even the interviews I posted, I believe, make some reference to his spiritual beliefs and Aikido. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Saotome Sensei has written and taught about the spiritual aspects of O'Sensei's Budo. I discussed this with him in November. He wrote out for me what OSensei saw as the relationship between the physical body, Ki body, and astral body. As a direct student he should know. If I recall correctly Tohei Sensei also discussed this. Religious traditions are found in dojos and practice in Aikido even if people don't know their origins. All of this goes to refute the claim that Aikido was not religios for O'Sensei. Dan and others deny the religious aspects in order to deny the importance of Ki (see the interviews I provided) and in order to argue that it was not Ai Ki Do but rather Aiki Do. This was the spiritual issue.
I think that there's rather more technical information contained in Take Musu Aiki than is generally thought, although there's plenty of the other stuff too. Again, nobody ever argued that Ueshiba wasn't religious. As to religion as a source of technical power - see my response below.

Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
The argument that Aikido was not a new art but only Daito-ryu is likewise contradicted by what O'Sensei wrote and said (see the interviews I provided) as well as what direct students like Saotome Sensei wrote and said. You are free to argue that he was wrong Etc. but you are not free to put words in his mouth that contradict what he really taught. I am not denying the lineage to Diato-ryu. But given what O'Sensei said and what Saotome said and wrote, I am arguing that O'Sensei claimed it was a new art. Saotome has a section on the differences between them in Harmony of nature and also discusses the differences in his videos. In particular i am arguing that the cooperative training approach was new and highly significant. This was the origins issue.
Daito-ryu training is no less cooperative than modern Aikido training is. Cooperative training is hardly a revolution in Japanese martial arts, which are mostly kata based.

Nobody ever said the Ueshiba's art as a whole was not different from Daito-ryu. What we're talking about is the technical part, the engine that drives the technique.

Show an example of technical prowess that Ueshiba was capable of or demonstrated that was not present in Daito-ryu. If you can do that then there may be a basis to argue for a separate technical source.

Saying it's different/revolutionary/new isn't unusual in Japan - that's how the beginning of many classical ryuha came about, handed down from the gods or the tengu.

Quote:
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In both cases you have based your arguments largely on new translations you've done. The words that you would change don't seem to amount to much so far as changing the meaning of whole passages, assuming your translations are beyond debate which I do not accept (for example, was it Ki, power, or Ki power). That other things may be mistranslated doesn't prove that they are mistranslated. The translation you provide here, assuming its correct, doesn't dispense with the bulk of evidence to the other side. It becomes an outlier. Even O'Sensei could say things differently than he intended to on occasion. I thing he was trying to say something about universal religion verses sectarian understandings of it. Why not look to the interviews in Japanese? Any translation errors there will be easy to spot given they are spoken and written modern Japanese. This was the translation issue.
Frankly, I'm not interested in arguing translation issues on any detailed level unless you can speak and read Japanese. It's just pointless. I'm not selling anything, really, take the information or not, it's up to you.

Best,

Chris

 
Old 11-11-2011, 10:55 PM   #192
hughrbeyer
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Golly, this thread moves fast. I'm nearly at the point of thinking Ken's not reachable, but what the hell--I have a glass of Talisker's at my elbow and I'm not ready for bed yet. Ken, do you really want an answer? Cuz this is my best shot at giving you one.

Part of the problem is nobody can speak for "Dan's people", not even Dan. We can all speak only for ourselves, and we're all someplace slightly different. It's the low-quality Kool-Aid Dan uses.

However, having drunk the Kool-Aid to some degree, here are my thoughts on the issues you've raised. Mine only, in fact I know some other IP guys disagree with some of this:

Cooperative practice: All martial training is cooperative to some degree. When I took up boxing, the first time I put the gloves on with my trainer, you know what? He didn't knock my block off.

The problem people see is that so much of Aikido training is so cooperative that not only does your technique not have to work, but you get no feedback that it's not working. As a result the training becomes entirely ineffective.

It's also a complete misunderstanding of O-Sensei's intent, as I understand it. He forbade competition not because we're all supposed to be too full of sweetness and light to compete, but because as soon as you impose rules you have a sport, not a martial art. His art was supposed to be too fierce for competition, not too gentle.

Many modern Aikido dojos have gotten so much into the "art of peace" thing, they've lost sight of this fact. "Katsujinken" is first and foremost a sword--once you've understood that, then it can give life. Cooperative practice is fine to learn the move, but then it has to get more and more realistic if you're going to advance in your technique, until finally you're honestly trying to clobber the guy while staying centered and able to deliver a follow-up blow, and they're honestly throwing you, and you take the fall because it's really the best way out of an unsafe situation.

O-Sensei's spirituality: Of course O-Sensei was both spiritual and religious, and of course he talked of Aikido as a way to bring peace. But understand his language here in terms of his context as a Japanese budo man born at the beginning of the last century.

When O-Sensei spoke of "not trying to win" (referencing the 1957 interview, and thanks for posting it, it's a while since I last read it and it merits re-reading) he didn't mean that winning didn't matter. When he talked of budo being love, he didn't mean to give up to your opponent. He was perfectly capable of talking peace and love and then breaking his uke's arm on the mat through his vigorous technique--just as a Zen master can talk about compassion and detachment one moment and be shouting at his student over their stupidity the next.

In O-Sensei's case, he was using very traditional budo language to talk about the attitude of conflict--that being overly concerned for the outcome undercut your ability to be effective in the moment. "When my enemy raises his sword, I am already behind him, ready to strike him down" (paraphrasing, sorry) -- there's no need to be concerned about winning because you control the situation before it starts. "The state of continuous victory," to quote from the interview.

In the interview, O-Sensei says there is no attack in Aikido--yet his own demonstrations contain atemi. So he must be talking about the attitude, not the physical action. An attitude of love, while you're throwing uke across the room. And when he gets up, you're both laughing.

When people say his religion doesn't matter to Aikido, I believe they're mostly talking about Ooomoto specifically. Aikido as a spiritual practice is different from O-Sensei's religious background. And don't make too much of mirrors on the shomen--lots of things are carried on as tradition without any commitment to the original meaning.

Similarly for the quotes about being the embodiment of the Kami. Even a Christian might say they were inspired by or filled by the Holy Spirit. It's a great mistake to take religious language as literal language. Religious language is always, at base, poetic--the language of myth.

Blending: The problem with blending is that it's always limited. If uke is in control of their own movement, it doesn't matter whether you blend with it or not--they can choose when to stop or reverse their movement. Same with trying to use uke's momentum. This is why so many Aikido dojos get into attacks where uke throws themselves off balance with their own strike--because we think we're supposed to blend and so we try to make it possible for our partner to do it. If you don't do this in your dojo, good on you. If you do, I'm sorry, but other martial artists are right to laugh at you.

But O-Sensei says you never oppose your opponent's power. Isn't that blending? Well, no, not as it's typically taught. I'm not depending on uke's movement to defeat uke. I'm meeting it--whether it's a fast punch, a static grab, or a pull--and using whatever energy uke put into the attack to make a connection and use that connection to own their balance. Ultimately, this is a ki connection, though you don't have to use that term if you don't find it helpful. But if you do, you can understand how the no-touch throws work--you're making the ki connection before the physical connection and using that to lead their balance. You can see this clearly in O-Sensei's own no-touch throws.

This isn't even surprising, if you understand O-Sensei's own words. You don't oppose uke's force, so you don't put any power into the point where you and uke connect. That being the case, it doesn't actually much matter whether you're even physically touching at that point.

Incidentally, some of O-Sensei's demos make a clear distinction between blending and taking balance. Look for some of the video where O-Sensei meets a shomenuchi by stepping into the strike with a turn that leaves him standing pretty much parallel to uke but with his back to him. There's blending but no balance break, and uke typically stands there with a silly look on his face (notice that O-Sensei's ukes almost never throw themselves off balance). Then, O-Sensei turns the move into an actual technique and shows how he can add a ki connection, take balance, and make an actual technique of it.

Origins of Aikido: As I said upthread, this is a bit of a red herring. In the interview, O-Sensei talks of teaching "Aikido" to Tenryu in Manchuria. This was clearly before the war, therefore before the term "Aikido" was even coined, and while O-Sensei was still teaching Daito-Ryu. Yet O-Sensei says he "knew the secret of 'Aikido'". Clearly, he's not using the term to mean the formal, defined art with a separate syllabus as it existed after the war.

I think he means here the same thing as he means when he says Takeda "opened my eyes to budo"--that Takeda taught him the skills and insights that make budo effective: the aiki skills that Dan is teaching, and that derive from the same source. But he thought those skills were the core and the specific Daito-Ryu techniques were window dressing that could be (and to some degree were) discarded at will.

I would speculate that he was searching for a purer or more immediate expression of those skills, and that what he did in developing Aikido was a paring away of elaborate and technically intricate technique in order to express the core skills more directly--Matisse to Takeda's Picasso. I think he did see cooperative practice and ukemi as important elements of practicing these skills.

What I think he didn't foresee was that the big throws would become so seductive that people would focus on them to the exclusion of the core skills that he knew were required to make his Aikido martially effective. So his students neglected the solo exercises for the flashy throws. So: "This is not my Aikido."

Translations: The best specific example is in the kamae thread. I'm not gonna hunt it--you should have done so already--but the basic story is that O-Sensei wrote or had written in his manual "Budo" a term ("roppo") describing a specific stance. It seemed to mean "open the feet in 6 directions" but the translator (Stevens) didn't know what that meant and asked Saito Sensei, who just said, "Oh, it means hanmi." So Stevens translated it as "stand with your feet at 60 degrees to each other" (paraphrasing throughout, but I have the sense). There were additional passages that he didn't understand at all, and rather than put a bunch of gibberish into his book he just left it out.

But it turns out that "6 directions" is a well-known concept in the internal arts, with a specific meaning. So the translation buried a link to a traditional body of martial knowledge.

Other, similar passages have been cited--e.g. moving in opposing spirals. One passage talked about putting Izanami in your left foot and Izanagi in your right, which is completely baffling if you don't know how Izanami and Izanagi are pictured as spiraling around each other and how spirals are used in martial movement. But when you have all the pieces, they lock together like a jigsaw puzzle, so much so that they self-evidently go together.

Jeez, this is way too long for a forum post. But it's late and my glass is empty, so I'll put it up as is. Anybody who gets through it, I'll buy you a glass of Talisker's if we ever meet.
 
Old 11-11-2011, 11:19 PM   #193
Chris Li
 
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Very nice post - I just have two comments.

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Similarly for the quotes about being the embodiment of the Kami. Even a Christian might say they were inspired by or filled by the Holy Spirit. It's a great mistake to take religious language as literal language. Religious language is always, at base, poetic--the language of myth.
I think that Ueshiba's belief in possession was quite literal. Check out http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=108

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Translations: The best specific example is in the kamae thread. I'm not gonna hunt it--you should have done so already--but the basic story is that O-Sensei wrote or had written in his manual "Budo" a term ("roppo") describing a specific stance. It seemed to mean "open the feet in 6 directions" but the translator (Stevens) didn't know what that meant and asked Saito Sensei, who just said, "Oh, it means hanmi." So Stevens translated it as "stand with your feet at 60 degrees to each other" (paraphrasing throughout, but I have the sense). There were additional passages that he didn't understand at all, and rather than put a bunch of gibberish into his book he just left it out.

But it turns out that "6 directions" is a well-known concept in the internal arts, with a specific meaning. So the translation buried a link to a traditional body of martial knowledge.

Other, similar passages have been cited--e.g. moving in opposing spirals. One passage talked about putting Izanami in your left foot and Izanagi in your right, which is completely baffling if you don't know how Izanami and Izanagi are pictured as spiraling around each other and how spirals are used in martial movement. But when you have all the pieces, they lock together like a jigsaw puzzle, so much so that they self-evidently go together.

Jeez, this is way too long for a forum post. But it's late and my glass is empty, so I'll put it up as is. Anybody who gets through it, I'll buy you a glass of Talisker's if we ever meet.
There are two translations, the later one is the "Takemusu Edition" by Saito that was (I believe) translated by Stan Pranin. The earlier one was translated by John Stevens.

The Saito edition included the "6 directions" quote, but cites it as a possible reference to stepping in Kabuki.

The Stevens edition leaves out "6 directions" all together and translates "always open your legs in 6 directions" as "always open your feet at a 60 degree angle".

Both translations leave out some important material about spiraling through the legs when stepping - the Founder describing how to stand and move, how to hold the body, in clear technical language, if you have the background to understand the context. Seems very foundational, and very important, to me. More importantly, the same references appear in Daito-ryu, and then back into Chinese martial arts, which demonstrated the technical lineage. There's more, much more then we can go into here.

Best,

Chris

 
Old 11-11-2011, 11:28 PM   #194
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Please give me a break on typos. It's late here. Small keyboard. Migraine.

This is not an answer regarding the religious teachings of O'Sensei and their relationship he argues they had to his Aikido. If these translations are fine:
http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/0...tanley-pranin/
Then you are conceding the spiritual basis of O'Sense's Aikido. He argued it was the source of his Aikido. The secret of Aikido in fact. See the interviews I posted earlier. See what Pranin's Sensei translated above. See What Saotome Sensei wrote based on his teachings. You haven't made the case. You are engaging in circular reasoning.

Dan has made posts against the Ukemi in Aikido. Others have made similar statements in this discussion thread inspired by their time with Dan. So which is it that you folks believe? People including Dan have argued that Aikido is just Takeda in O'Sensei, even in this discussion thread. O'Sensei said his Aikido was not technically derived. What do you mean by the technical engine? I'm not engaging inthe debate you are trying to engage me in. I'm not debating whether O'Sensei developed an art based on a different "engine.". I'm arguing that O'Sensei argued, and his direct students like Saotome Sensei argued, that his art was fundamentally different in its practice and source of power. You can argue that he was wrong. Just don't put words in his mouth. He did not agree with your position. He argued that it was Ai Ki Do. Not Aiki do. You have not made the case for your positions. You've simply repeated your claims. That's not evidence.

On to whether there are meaningful differences between the arts, aside from what O'Sensei believed, I have already responded to the claim that O'Senseis Aikido was only about breaking internal balance and body conditioning with no relationship with Uke needed (Paraphrasing Dan here). As I stated, no touch so called god techniques are different, the intent is different (to escape and resolve the conflict without revenge and with minimum injury), and the emphasis on the attackers energy as the engine is different (I know there's some of this in Diato-ryu but not like in Aikido). I don't train Diato-ryu but don't make the mistake of thinking I haven't trained with people who have. Aikido is different.

As most of your claims seem to be based on alleged translation errors, and you won't discuss them with non-Japanese readers, then no one can ever question your claims unless they can read Japanese. That's a pretty dishonest way to debate.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Wrong again, it's not "Take Musi Aiki", just as it wasn't "Take Muso Aiki", it's "Take Musu Aiki".

Basically, there are no complete English translations, accurate or otherwise. Sonoko Tanaka did a bit of the early sections for AikiNews (now Aikido Journal) and John Stevens published a highly abridged version that he himself called "Take Musu Aiki Lite" - there's nothing wrong with that, he published it for popular consumption. I talked to him about it before it came out, he lives down the street from me.

I think that there's rather more technical information contained in Take Musu Aiki than is generally thought, although there's plenty of the other stuff too. Again, nobody ever argued that Ueshiba wasn't religious. As to religion as a source of technical power - see my response below.

Daito-ryu training is no less cooperative than modern Aikido training is. Cooperative training is hardly a revolution in Japanese martial arts, which are mostly kata based.

Nobody ever said the Ueshiba's art as a whole was not different from Daito-ryu. What we're talking about is the technical part, the engine that drives the technique.

Show an example of technical prowess that Ueshiba was capable of or demonstrated that was not present in Daito-ryu. If you can do that then there may be a basis to argue for a separate technical source.

Saying it's different/revolutionary/new isn't unusual in Japan - that's how the beginning of many classical ryuha came about, handed down from the gods or the tengu.

Frankly, I'm not interested in arguing translation issues on any detailed level unless you can speak and read Japanese. It's just pointless. I'm not selling anything, really, take the information or not, it's up to you.

Best,

Chris
 
Old 11-11-2011, 11:34 PM   #195
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

The fact that technical instructions were intermingled with the spiritual writings makes the point that for O'Sensei they went together. You're making my point here.
Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Very nice post - I just have two comments.

I think that Ueshiba's belief in possession was quite literal. Check out http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=108

There are two translations, the later one is the "Takemusu Edition" by Saito that was (I believe) translated by Stan Pranin. The earlier one was translated by John Stevens.

The Saito edition included the "6 directions" quote, but cites it as a possible reference to stepping in Kabuki.

The Stevens edition leaves out "6 directions" all together and translates "always open your legs in 6 directions" as "always open your feet at a 60 degree angle".

Both translations leave out some important material about spiraling through the legs when stepping - the Founder describing how to stand and move, how to hold the body, in clear technical language, if you have the background to understand the context. Seems very foundational, and very important, to me. More importantly, the same references appear in Daito-ryu, and then back into Chinese martial arts, which demonstrated the technical lineage. There's more, much more then we can go into here.

Best,

Chris
 
Old 11-11-2011, 11:46 PM   #196
Ken McGrew
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Hugh, comments like does Ken really want an answer are meant to be dismissive. Not a nice way to begin.

I basically agree with your description of both basic and advanced Ukemi training. It is not what others have said (Dan posted years ago why would anyone choose to fall down in response to a strike). I disagree to some extent. Uke can teach Nage by taking Ukemi that is idealized, to draw out the proper movement over time. This is what O'Sensei told Saotome Sensei. I'm going to repeat that. This is what O'Sensei told Saotome Sensei. This is the unity of opposites in infinity. There are schools where people fall down for no reason. They are not the majority. That doesn't happen in general in ASU or USAF. By the way, O'Sensei showed techniques where people fell from the force of their own attack. This is not fake or phony. This is the highest level of Aikido that even O'Sensei could not do every time.

Let me describe the highest level irimi Nage that Saotome can do. He had a Karate master punch him in the face as fast and hard as he could. He was able to draw the attacker off his feet With a gentle brush of his arm so he was literally horizontal feet first. Then he did an elbow strike before gravity took Uke down. I saw this along with at least 50 other people. This was not fake. This is Aikido at the highest level. This is not Diato-ryu.

Atemi is not an attack. The point O'Sensei was making is that the attacker provides the energy. As he said the attacker breaks the harmony of the universe and is thus at a disadvantage. Both spiritually and physically. The attacks itself an opening. Non-resistance refers to not allowing the attacker to regain his balance. There are many ways to accomplish this. If Uke stops his movement it is possible to change within the technique or between techniques. This is take Musu aiki. If they resist you can change with the resistance. This is called oyo henka. Attacking an Aikido artist should feel like falling into quick sand. The more you struggle the sooner you fall.

A big part of this for O'Sensei was related to Karma. Aikido resolved the karma delimma. We don't have to agree, but that's what he believed. You just can't separate the spiritual from the art.

Last edited by Ken McGrew : 11-11-2011 at 11:59 PM.
 
Old 11-11-2011, 11:54 PM   #197
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Re: Jeez, lighten up! But keep weight underside

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They have basically argued for abandoning Aikido training approach. More than anything I am pushing back against the idea that Aikido training can be competitive.
Where have they done this? I've been on the mat with Dan, and didn't get that impression. The dojo where I train actively promotes seminars with Dan, and the chief instructor is quite outspoken in his opinion that competition is unproductive. If "Dan KoolAid" exists, the people I train with are swimming in it, but I'd say the dojo is less competitive than many I've visited.

So my response to this whole thread is mostly bafflement. From where I sit, you are beating the living $#@% out of a strawman that has little or no resemblance to the actual training I've experienced.

Katherine
 
Old 11-11-2011, 11:59 PM   #198
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Well Ken, I wish you the best of luck with your approach. I'm out.

Best,

Chris

 
Old 11-12-2011, 12:06 AM   #199
Ken McGrew
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Re: Jeez, lighten up! But keep weight underside

I am responding to their posts over the years and also in this discusion.

I am not responding to their training as it is secretive I have not seen it directly.

Please just describe what they are doing and how it is different than Aikido and contains what they claim is lacking even in original students of O'Sensei.


Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Where have they done this? I've been on the mat with Dan, and didn't get that impression. The dojo where I train actively promotes seminars with Dan, and the chief instructor is quite outspoken in his opinion that competition is unproductive. If "Dan KoolAid" exists, the people I train with are swimming in it, but I'd say the dojo is less competitive than many I've visited.

So my response to this whole thread is mostly bafflement. From where I sit, you are beating the living $#@% out of a strawman that has little or no resemblance to the actual training I've experienced.

Katherine

Last edited by Ken McGrew : 11-12-2011 at 12:11 AM.
 
Old 11-12-2011, 12:08 AM   #200
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Re: Ueshiba's Aiki

Quote:
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Dan has made posts against the Ukemi in Aikido. Others have made similar statements in this discussion thread inspired by their time with Dan. So which is it that you folks believe?
So. You are taking a stand against the Evil Dan Conspiracy because he questions aikido ukemi? Seriously?

Katherine
 

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