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Old 01-12-2012, 05:10 PM   #26
sakumeikan
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Re: bokken suburi questions

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hi Joe,
I disagree completely with this statement. Hands are only transmitters (of power or directions and they work in equal degree for transmission, otherwise your cut will be unbalanced and body not harmonized). Power of the cut is created by putting your ‘weight/intend' into the sword, it can be done in many different ways depending of you advancement level. Simply stated, you let sword cut by itself, if you put a particular attention to any part of your body (particularly hands), you start to force a cut and you lose all sophistication.
Hi,
By all means disagree if you feel so inclined.I was attempting to give a few pointers to the questioner.I was not describing every aspect of swordwork.IMO a beginner has to start somewhere.A few basic tips can I hope help.However I assume that you are a competent swordsman and perhaps my few comments in this matter are inept in your opinion?Not too worry, I am not trying to teach my granny how to suck eggs in your case. Cheers, Joe.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:16 PM   #27
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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David Santana wrote: View Post
anyway, if we can get back to the OP, do you think we should practice suburi as taught by Saito Sensei or the weird one being taught by that certain person? my Sensei said that he was taught that way too by his sensei so my Sensei also teach that suburi. in one hand I want to respect my Sensei and practise his way of suburi so that when the time comes when I need to perform it, I will be able to. on the other hand, I don't want to ingrain a wrong form into my muscle memory..

what do you think I should do? Sensei won't be coming to dojo and teach for about a month so I can't ask him about this.. also, I don't want to waste time postponing practice. I'm burned up right now and I don't know if I'll still have the same urge to practice suburi anymore if I don't start soon...
Expect your Sensei to want you to do it the way he/she last showed you. Practice that. Although there is no harm in undertaking some exploration of other ways of doing things, if only for contrast.
Regards
Keith

Enjoy the journey
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:30 AM   #28
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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David Soroko wrote: View Post
I think that Katori Shinto ryu is beautiful but as you say, It's not aikido. How do you reconcile your weapons training with your taijitsu?
I myself don' t practice TSKSR. But a lot of people around me do, because my aikido teacher also teaches it.
The swordwork we do is what Christian Tissier teaches, who was student of Inaba Minoru sensei. Plus we do some forms of aiki ken also.

But TSKSR inspires me a lot.
Mostly because it made me understand how important precise movements, postures and use of the body are. Precisely working on one's own body: This is very similar to what Endo sensei teaches. First tuning and building one's own body. Not relying on what uke does but creating connection or the relationsship from within ones own body.

And it teaches how "the ki things" can be learned on a bodily, down to earth way. No esotericism but just moving your shoulder a little bit here, your toe a little bit there - et voilà. This also relates to the teachings of Tissier: First work on your body, on your structure, on your correct movement.

So it is not certain forms or waza of TSKSR which are interesting to me. There is no maki uchi in aikido, the hanmi is different and so on. But the way of how to use one's body is interesting and helpfull to me.
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:08 AM   #29
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Re: bokken suburi questions

As you build up your understanding of the art, taking parts from Katori Shintoryu and others from Kashima Shinryu (via Christian Tissier and Inaba Minoru ) and yet others from Seishiro Endo and Yamaguchi Seigo and still others from your direct teachers, as you integrate all these parts in yourself applying your own judgement, how far off do you think you are from Aikido? Here by Aikido I mean any form of Aikido practiced while the founder was alive, that is closest to what you do.

I think that this question is pertinent to any Aikido practitioner nowadays (myself included) but especially to those who are reaching into other arts to supplement their training.

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Old 01-15-2012, 05:52 AM   #30
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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... how far off do you think you are from Aikido? Here by Aikido I mean any form of Aikido practiced while the founder was alive, that is closest to what you do.
Interesting. Actually I think, that just this is a good way to come near to what aikido "is". And this way is not that eclectic like it seems when you describe it. It follows a certain common thread and the parts of it are closely interwoven. So it's a kind of logical "progression" within a certain thread of the transmission of aikido.
(Please see PM.)

But:
Quote:
I think that this question is pertinent to any Aikido practitioner nowadays (myself included) but especially to those who are reaching into other arts to supplement their training.
Why do you think this to be pertinent?

I have to admit, that my image of aikido is more influenced by certain teacher who are still living.I don't know whether this is right or wrong, but I simply notice that I don't have the intention to "become like Ueshiba". But I indeed have the aim to be able to do "what XY does". Or "what YZ shows".
It was in the year 2009 when I saw, what I, myself, think aikido really to be.

It think this is very closely connected to what Ueshiba taught. But, I can't deny that, It is not him, who gives me my image of aikido.

He is the founder of the ryu. But a ryu is a living entity, a flowing rive. I think?
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:35 PM   #31
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Re: bokken suburi questions

To justify my position, I need to make two points

1. As a body of knowledge passed from person to person, Aikido isn't "self-correcting". For example, an instruction set on how to produce a specific origami shape is self-correcting in that if some of the instructions get garbled up, the result will be so obviously broken that the garbled instruction set will not be passed on to another person. (This example is from The Greatest Show on Earth by R. Dawkins, here is a relevant wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetics).

Aikido, generally speaking, is not self-correcting; a student may miss a detail from her teacher's demonstration and not pass it on to her student, another student may wilfully modify things (perhaps because the world has changed and the ethos needs to be adjusted to the new reality) and pass that on, etc...

I think that the first point is self evident, the second one may be less so

2. Aikido is martially effective. This is necessary but maybe not sufficient. Regardless of other things Aikido brings to the table (health benefits, world piece, etc...) it has to be effective. If it isn't, everything else collapses in a cloud of self delusion. Some people may disagree with this - I have no problem with that, we are simply don't have a common ground as we don't practice the same discipline. Some people may say that this effectivity business covers a lot of grey area. This may be true but does not imply that everything is as effective as anything else (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I) For example if nage/tori exposes his back so it can be struck by the uke, he isn't practicing a martial art (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWBmEHzbOXI) but some sort of acrobatics.

I suppose that some might disagree, but this is how I think about these things.

So how would an Aikido practitioner, who accepts points one and two, think about assimilating influences from other martial arts?
As far as the first point is concerned, these introduce mutations to the body of knowledge that is likely to persist in future generations. This may or may not be a bad thing in itself but in the larger scheme of things it reduces the fidelity of the transmitted information.
Regarding the second point, most of us are salesmen, software engineers, nurses, mechanics and clerks with just enough free time on our hands to dabble in martial arts, maybe twice a week, maybe less. There is very little in our background to support a rational evaluation of martial effectiveness of this technique or that move.

For me, having accepted points one and two, proper training consists of following as closely as possible my teachers and being honest about my abilities to improve or change the art for the better.

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Old 01-16-2012, 04:05 AM   #32
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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David Soroko wrote: View Post
1. As a body of knowledge passed from person to person, Aikido isn't "self-correcting".
Yes. Isn't this the reason why we have kihon no kata and emphasize so much on doing and transmitting "correct" kihon waza? (At least I know it this way.)
And also: Isn't this the reason why the gradings up to yondan are "simply" technical examinations and are - at least in our federation - held openly and by a committee of teachers? To meet a certain "standard"?
And, at last: Isn't this the reason why it is said to be so very important to have a personal teacher-student-relationship over years? Isn't this why knowing one's own "lineage" or "line of tradition" is held high?

I think this "institutionalisation " of transmitting aikido is important. Because aikido isn't "self-correcting" it needs a kind of corrective.

That said

Quote:
... a student may miss a detail from her teacher's demonstration ...
Isn't this what happened from the beginning on?

Quote:
... another student may wilfully modify things ...
Isn't it more usual that modifying happens unwittingl? Just because of maybe having shorter or longer arms or something like that.

So yes: Transmitting the original knowledge is crucial. But isn't it also self evident that everything in the world changes to a certain degree?

For my part, I am known as a "ultra-traditionalis aikidoka".
And the parts of the puzzle I described above are - in my eyes - vehicles to understand and being able to give on the tradition, the knowledge we got from our teachers. It's - in my eyes - a way of looking deeper into the art, not a way leave it.

Quote:
2. Aikido is martially effective. ... Regardless of other things Aikido brings to the table (health benefits, world piece, etc...) it has to be effective.
Yes.

Quote:
So how would an Aikido practitioner, who accepts points one and two, think about assimilating influences from other martial arts?
Again, for my part, I don't think it to be helpfull, interesting or necessary to assimilate or integrate influences from outside. But I don't think aikido to be an isolated and unique entity. It is a budo. And other budo simply exist beside it. And sometimes an aspect of another budo casts a light on a cerstain aspect of aikido and helps to better understand it.
And this has always been the case, I think. Aikido never has been isolated. Haven't there been connections to various other ryu / budo all over the time?
And sometimes they help to get back to the roots or to reveal a modification, which is only to be seen from the outside.
So I think: This also can be a form of corrective and help to better understand and better hand on the original tradition of aikido.

Quote:
For me, having accepted points one and two, proper training consists of following as closely as possible my teachers
That is exactly, what I try to do. ;-) And what my teacher did: Following his teacher(s).
I don't think, that this "method" of growing, understanding and passing on the given tradition is beyond dispute?
Isn't this way the other way is called "disgraceful"? (Although it can be the right one for certain students. )
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:45 AM   #33
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Re: bokken suburi questions

Relaxed Concentration by an old Master. Watch and learn....

http://youtu.be/OKMRcLyBlmg

G.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:47 AM   #34
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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That is exactly, what I try to do. ;-) And what my teacher did: Following his teacher(s).
I don't think, that this "method" of growing, understanding and passing on the given tradition is beyond dispute?
Well, actually I tried to say that this "method" is beyond dispute.

... interestinge mistake ...
..."There is no happenstance!" as it says in my business ...
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:21 AM   #35
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I myself don' t practice TSKSR. But a lot of people around me do, because my aikido teacher also teaches it.
The swordwork we do is what Christian Tissier teaches, who was student of Inaba Minoru sensei. Plus we do some forms of aiki ken also.

But TSKSR inspires me a lot.
Mostly because it made me understand how important precise movements, postures and use of the body are. Precisely working on one's own body: This is very similar to what Endo sensei teaches. First tuning and building one's own body. Not relying on what uke does but creating connection or the relationsship from within ones own body.

And it teaches how "the ki things" can be learned on a bodily, down to earth way. No esotericism but just moving your shoulder a little bit here, your toe a little bit there - et voilà. This also relates to the teachings of Tissier: First work on your body, on your structure, on your correct movement.

So it is not certain forms or waza of TSKSR which are interesting to me. There is no maki uchi in aikido, the hanmi is different and so on. But the way of how to use one's body is interesting and helpfull to me.
Interesting points, Carsten.

My own feeling is that it is indeed very useful to study a varied range of other disciplines, but that certain ways of using the sword lend themselves more or less well to particular approaches to aikido. For instance, most teachers in the lineage of Yamaguchi Sensei practise the kesagiri cutting style (and a few teach more advanced katas) from Kashima Shinryu, rather than the "Aikiken" of Saito Sensei. Examples of this are Tissier Sensei, Gleason Sensei and Yasuno Sensei (though an interesting exception is Yamashima Sensei who, although profoundly influenced by Yamaguchi, practises Yagyu Shinkage-ryu swordwork). Similarly, most people who follow Chiba Sensei also practise his sword katas, as the way of moving the body is the same.

As I have been trying to follow Kanetsuka Sensei's developing aikido over the years, I have found the body movements involved in kesagiri more and more helpful to me, as they feel very consistent with the way he makes the connection with his partner. At the same time, I find it increasingly difficult to do the more tightly-controlled Saito-style swordwork to my own satisfaction, as it feels much less natural to me, and doesn't "fit" very comfortably with the way I want to take my aikido practice.

I wonder whether your liking for TSKSR is precisely because it is in a fundamental way separate from aikido - it wasn't developed in order to inform a particular way of doing aikido technique, so in a sense you can take what you like from it. I would be interested in your thoughts - do you find there are any movements in TSKSR which you feel are incompatible for any reason with the way you understand aikido? Do you think it would be difficult to practise both that way and your teacher's kesagiri cutting?

Alex

Last edited by Alex Megann : 01-16-2012 at 05:26 AM.
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:42 AM   #36
Cliff Judge
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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1. As a body of knowledge passed from person to person, Aikido isn't "self-correcting".

2. Aikido is martially effective.
I believe that 2 supplies the feedback for self-correction, and that refutes 1.

If not, then you are making a third assertion:

3. Aikido must have a certain form or else it is not "true" Aikido. Therefore, even if what a practioner does is martially effective, and was attained using Aikido training methods, then it is not at all Aikido.

I don't see much use in that idea.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:03 AM   #37
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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I believe that 2 supplies the feedback for self-correction, and that refutes 1.
Saying that what you practice is martially effective is not the same as being martially effective. As (in general) there are no objective "effectivity tests", what remains is some sort of theoretical reasoning which is performed (if it is performed at all) within a group of like minded, and not very martially savvy people with the unsurprising general agreement and backslapping.

If your experience is different I salute and congratulate you. In this case, could you share the procedures you use to "self-correct"?

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Old 01-16-2012, 08:29 AM   #38
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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David Soroko wrote: View Post
Saying that what you practice is martially effective is not the same as being martially effective. As (in general) there are no objective "effectivity tests", what remains is some sort of theoretical reasoning which is performed (if it is performed at all) within a group of like minded, and not very martially savvy people with the unsurprising general agreement and backslapping.
It sounds as though you are saying that Aikido training is not an environment conducive to actually knowing whether or not one's Aikido is martially effective; it is actually conducive to FOOLING oneself into believing that ineffective Aikido is effective.

So how can you make your second assertion, that "Aikido is martially effective?" You've admitted that you have no way of knowing this.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:36 AM   #39
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Re: bokken suburi questions

Easy,

Aikido is martially effective, but there are a lot of people, fooled by the training methodology, who think erroneously they are martially effective.

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Old 01-16-2012, 08:54 AM   #40
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
It sounds as though you are saying that Aikido training is not an environment conducive to actually knowing whether or not one's Aikido is martially effective; it is actually conducive to FOOLING oneself into believing that ineffective Aikido is effective.

So how can you make your second assertion, that "Aikido is martially effective?" You've admitted that you have no way of knowing this.
That was sloppy wording, I admit; the martial art of Aikido is effective. I endeavour to make my Aikido effective too.

As to knowing, certain things are obviously such, that continually allowing them in the training invalidates the whole thing, these are exposing yourself to counters, depending on the uke to hold on, etc... . There is more to be said on this but first, will you provide us with the self-correcting procedures you use in your training? I assume you have something to this effect since you stated that Aikido is self correcting.

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Old 01-16-2012, 09:14 AM   #41
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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David Soroko wrote: View Post
That was sloppy wording, I admit; the martial art of Aikido is effective. I endeavour to make my Aikido effective too.

As to knowing, certain things are obviously such, that continually allowing them in the training invalidates the whole thing, these are exposing yourself to counters, depending on the uke to hold on, etc... . There is more to be said on this but first, will you provide us with the self-correcting procedures you use in your training? I assume you have something to this effect since you stated that Aikido is self correcting.
I've been trained to be aware of openings to counters, and I have trained myself to be aware to what extent my uke is choosing to take ukemi or going along with what I want them to do; the thing with uke holding on is a great example, I really hate that and I strive to minimize that. I don't think this is rocket science at all. You just have to be honest with yourself about who is responsible for the ukemi, and learn how to feel what is going on.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:15 AM   #42
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Easy,

Aikido is martially effective, but there are a lot of people, fooled by the training methodology, who think erroneously they are martially effective.
This makes sense. I hear there are Aikidoka out there who spend years training with static wrist grabs before they work on anything flowing.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:39 AM   #43
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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I've been trained to be aware of openings to counters, and I have trained myself to be aware to what extent my uke is choosing to take ukemi or going along with what I want them to do; the thing with uke holding on is a great example, I really hate that and I strive to minimize that. I don't think this is rocket science at all. You just have to be honest with yourself about who is responsible for the ukemi, and learn how to feel what is going on.
I totally agree with the honesty remark. As to this being the mechanism for self-correction in transmission of the body of knowledge that is Aikido, I don't think it does the job because it absolutely depends on the student.

To my mind Judo, has more of the self correcting quality where the basic waza is laid down by the Kodokan and pretty much everything else is enforced by the competition rules. As long as the rules don't change the art will not change that much. When rules are modified, the practitioners will adjust to optimize their Judo with regards to the new rules.

This is just an example, I do not claim that adding competition to Aikido is the way to go.

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Old 01-16-2012, 09:48 AM   #44
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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This makes sense. I hear there are Aikidoka out there who spend years training with static wrist grabs before they work on anything flowing.
I've heard that too.

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Old 01-16-2012, 09:57 AM   #45
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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I totally agree with the honesty remark. As to this being the mechanism for self-correction in transmission of the body of knowledge that is Aikido, I don't think it does the job because it absolutely depends on the student.

To my mind Judo, has more of the self correcting quality where the basic waza is laid down by the Kodokan and pretty much everything else is enforced by the competition rules. As long as the rules don't change the art will not change that much. When rules are modified, the practitioners will adjust to optimize their Judo with regards to the new rules.

This is just an example, I do not claim that adding competition to Aikido is the way to go.
So, if you believe that a subjective process of constantly examining your technique as you do it to see if it "feels" martially effective is insufficient for really knowing whether or not your Aikido is martially effective, how do you know that "Aikido is martially effective?" I'm still curious about that.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:24 AM   #46
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Re: bokken suburi questions

You misunderstand, I believe that "subjective process of constantly examining your technique" does not provide enough support for a high fidelity transmission of Aikido knowledge.

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Old 01-16-2012, 12:22 PM   #47
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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David Soroko wrote: View Post
You misunderstand, I believe that "subjective process of constantly examining your technique" does not provide enough support for a high fidelity transmission of Aikido knowledge.
I don't disagree with this statement at all. What is does support very well is the discovery of new knowledge that is specific to each practitioner.

But what is the Aikido knowledge that you think is inadequately transmitted, if it is not stuff that can be self-corrected in the crucible of hard, honest practice in the dojo?
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:00 PM   #48
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Re: bokken suburi questions

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
This makes sense. I hear there are Aikidoka out there who spend years training with static wrist grabs before they work on anything flowing.
It's funny, makes sence to me too. I heard there are aikidoka who spend years doing flowing waza and have never ever worked with a solid static grab.

Enjoy the journey
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:37 AM   #49
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Re: bokken suburi questions

All this business about self correction and effectively came about from me trying to justify why I think that borrowing from other martial arts is problematic.

If like me you think that Aikido is not self correcting, here is something to consider. On piece of paper mark a point and label it with your name. Connect it to a new point labeled with a name of your teacher. Connect this point to a new point labeled with the name of your teacher's teacher. Continue until you connect to a point labeled "Ueshiba Morihei", this is you lineage. If you have more then one path connecting you to the founder, perhaps you can choose one as the most significant.
Regardless, on every hop between teacher and student, due to imperfect transmission, information is lost and the further away you are from the source, the less the thing that you have resembles the original.

I don't make a value judgement here, not saying that this is good or bad. It just follows logically from the assumptions.

A few things can be said about this

1. Some people practice in a way as to minimise information loss, they mimic their teacher in minutest detail, suppress their own desire to introduce innovations, accommodate their likes and dislikes, etc...
This maybe true, but from my experience, the vast majority doesn't train this way.

2. Perhaps it isn't that bad that things change, wasn't the founder himself a "changer", isn't this what shuhari is all about?
Perhaps, but consider that the founder dedicated all his life to budo. He simply did nothing else, didn't have a proper job, just budo. As did Takeda before him. Innovation coming from people with this kind of credentials is valid. From people with lesser, credentials - you decide.

3. Maybe fidelity can be restored. Maybe one can look at his teachers teacher (or even higher up the path to the source) and obtain something her direct teacher missed.
This probably happens occasionally but I doubt that this is enough to reverse the global trend.

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Old 01-17-2012, 07:57 AM   #50
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Re: bokken suburi questions

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and fleshing them out, David.

I largely do as you say - I try to absorb what my teacher shows me when I get to train with him, without filtering it through a critical thinking process. But for my part, there are two significant issues that almost necessitate my exploring other arts:

1) The thought of ever being able to transmit what my teacher teaches me to students of my own at some point in the future is utter hilarity. I'm really just hoping to be able to help other students out with understanding something.

2) What I get from my teacher is totally incomplete. He doesn't teach much technique at all and he hasn't bothered much with systematization of his Aikido for years. He just shows us aiki.

I think that's quite a bit different than what you and Iwama stylists have available to you in your tradition. I think there is a "mandate" that is a little different too. It really seems like my path is to invent my own Aikido from the ground up. It seems as though Saito Sensei, on the other hand, left a system behind that is more like koryu. In that there is a scaffolding that you are expected to climb for quite a ways before you realize you have to get off of it and climb the rest of the way on your own.

Koryu have some lessons that should interest you because you can see what happens when you take a system down through a dozen or more generations. The system outlives the specific, subjective experience of studying under the teachers of generations past. A few generations after the founder has passed on you see that the concern is more for correctly transmitting the kata, and all of the knowledge that they encapsulate, than for correctly transmitting the teachings of the founder or a certain headmaster.

I am kind of fumbling trying to finish this post but I've watched the video of Saito Sensei performing the first suburi, and his son doing the same, and I basically want to say that Hitohiro does not seem to be tensing his shoulders at the end of his cuts. I'd look to him rather than his father for at least this one minor point.
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