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Old 02-13-2012, 08:46 AM   #1
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
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Meetings

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Hi everyone, what a lovely day.

Just read through all the 'things' and 'thoughts' about me. Too many to discuss, especially as there is no thread with me as the title.

However, thank you all for your opinions, they are indeed revealing.

I have explained how I find it strange, this internet world and the Aikido people in it in as much as really don't get how meeting one of you folk is any different to meeting whoever approaches me in the real world, which I have always done. No problem.

However, as it seems like some 'necessity' I have said I would welcome any I consider an Aikido person.

A few are in the pipeline.

Today I met and trained with Mark Freeman.

A great day. A great person I may add. I cannot speak for him but suffice to say I had great fun.

We tried to fit in what we could in a three hour slot. Unfortunately my friend could only make it for the last ten minutes so he had five minutes only to 'experience' him.

So I finally met someone from the 'matrix' ha, ha.

Peace.

G.
Hi all,

as can be seen from Graham's post above, we met at the weekend and practiced together.

I know there are some out there who are keen to know how this went, so I will try to be as objective as possible in my reflections.

Firstly I'd like to thank Graham for making the meeting possible, having to fit in with my tight schedule, rather than me attending his regular sessions. He was most accommodating.

I enjoyed our time very much. We spent our time together, mostly looking at our own approaches to various aikido principles. On the whole, they were very similar with some minor variations. Somewhat as I expected, as both of our teachers were heavily influenced by Tohei.

Our practice was in an atmosphere of friendly enquiry, there was no ego or contest, which suited me down to the ground. My main reason for being there was part of my own desire to get out into the wider world, just to see what is on offer in the world of aikido. My journey overseas to meet some of the aikidoka I have come to know on aikiweb, starts in earnest, this summer.

I know that some of you may be itching for me to report that Graham's stuff is ineffective and of no martial value, and that he is practicing a form of aikido that should be labelled something else, due to the nature of the video's people have seen on youtube. Well, I may have to dissappoint you on that one.

I have always been facinated by the discussions on aikiweb regarding the 'martial effectiveness' of aikido. I have seen posts completely pooh poohing aikidoka like Watanabe Sensei, because some of his videos show him doing things that people say are 'not real' or fake. And yet the same teacher's aikido has been verified as effective by respected budoka like Ellis Amdur (would any here question his integrity?)

Aikido in my mind is not a fighting art, however it needs to be effective to hold it's head up in the MA community. Personally I'm much more interested in developing self, than proving how well I can fight.
I know some people in aikido (my own teacher included) do not focus on the self defence aspect as the primary reason for practice. Does this automatically exclude them from being martially effective, no of course not. Each individual teacher has his or her own approach and level of skill in an encounter.

So back to Graham... his aikido is no less martially effective than my own... Which proves nothing, maybe neither of us know what we are doing or talking about...that is possible, but in my trying to be modest mind, unlikely.

Graham is a bit of an anomily though, he is his own man teaching in his own way, using language that means what it means to him, which others may struggle with. And he can demonstrate in the flesh each of the principles he talks about. It's true that you don't meet many aikidoka wearing hats, but I have practiced with Sikhs who wear their hair under a cover as a matter of practice and belief, and both Graham and his friend who joined us later, are no different. What I did get from both of them was their long term committment to following their own path of 'budo is love', finding aikido as their chosen and apt vehicle to attain that goal.

And if I got into a physical skirmish in dear old London town where they live, I would like to have either of them there with me on my side.

Is Graham 'better' than my own teacher? No, but then few are.
Should Graham meet Dan? That is entirely up to Graham and his own choices.
Would Graham benefit from meeting Dan? Probably, I did, but again, personal choice.
Did I learn stuff from Graham? Yes, and I'm pretty sure he got to learn stuff from me too.
I'd happily go back and train with Graham again, as he is a nice guy, with a soft but strong presence.

Overall, a positive experience for me, great to meet such an individual, who walks his talk, and is happy to share what he has. We practiced with both full resistance and non-resistance, and both are happy with the fact that the path of aikido is one of non-resistance.

I hope all of my encounters when I start my travels and explorations are as cordial and productive.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:34 AM   #2
mathewjgano
 
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Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
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Re: Meetings

Quote:
I know there are some out there who are keen to know how this went,
Guilty as charged, Thank you, Mark! Glad to hear you guys had fun! Any chance you'll be making it to the Pac NW this summer?
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
sakumeikan
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,117
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Re: Meetings

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi all,

as can be seen from Graham's post above, we met at the weekend and practiced together.

I know there are some out there who are keen to know how this went, so I will try to be as objective as possible in my reflections.

Firstly I'd like to thank Graham for making the meeting possible, having to fit in with my tight schedule, rather than me attending his regular sessions. He was most accommodating.

I enjoyed our time very much. We spent our time together, mostly looking at our own approaches to various aikido principles. On the whole, they were very similar with some minor variations. Somewhat as I expected, as both of our teachers were heavily influenced by Tohei.

Our practice was in an atmosphere of friendly enquiry, there was no ego or contest, which suited me down to the ground. My main reason for being there was part of my own desire to get out into the wider world, just to see what is on offer in the world of aikido. My journey overseas to meet some of the aikidoka I have come to know on aikiweb, starts in earnest, this summer.

I know that some of you may be itching for me to report that Graham's stuff is ineffective and of no martial value, and that he is practicing a form of aikido that should be labelled something else, due to the nature of the video's people have seen on youtube. Well, I may have to dissappoint you on that one.

I have always been facinated by the discussions on aikiweb regarding the 'martial effectiveness' of aikido. I have seen posts completely pooh poohing aikidoka like Watanabe Sensei, because some of his videos show him doing things that people say are 'not real' or fake. And yet the same teacher's aikido has been verified as effective by respected budoka like Ellis Amdur (would any here question his integrity?)

Aikido in my mind is not a fighting art, however it needs to be effective to hold it's head up in the MA community. Personally I'm much more interested in developing self, than proving how well I can fight.
I know some people in aikido (my own teacher included) do not focus on the self defence aspect as the primary reason for practice. Does this automatically exclude them from being martially effective, no of course not. Each individual teacher has his or her own approach and level of skill in an encounter.

So back to Graham... his aikido is no less martially effective than my own... Which proves nothing, maybe neither of us know what we are doing or talking about...that is possible, but in my trying to be modest mind, unlikely.

Graham is a bit of an anomily though, he is his own man teaching in his own way, using language that means what it means to him, which others may struggle with. And he can demonstrate in the flesh each of the principles he talks about. It's true that you don't meet many aikidoka wearing hats, but I have practiced with Sikhs who wear their hair under a cover as a matter of practice and belief, and both Graham and his friend who joined us later, are no different. What I did get from both of them was their long term committment to following their own path of 'budo is love', finding aikido as their chosen and apt vehicle to attain that goal.

And if I got into a physical skirmish in dear old London town where they live, I would like to have either of them there with me on my side.

Is Graham 'better' than my own teacher? No, but then few are.
Should Graham meet Dan? That is entirely up to Graham and his own choices.
Would Graham benefit from meeting Dan? Probably, I did, but again, personal choice.
Did I learn stuff from Graham? Yes, and I'm pretty sure he got to learn stuff from me too.
I'd happily go back and train with Graham again, as he is a nice guy, with a soft but strong presence.

Overall, a positive experience for me, great to meet such an individual, who walks his talk, and is happy to share what he has. We practiced with both full resistance and non-resistance, and both are happy with the fact that the path of aikido is one of non-resistance.

I hope all of my encounters when I start my travels and explorations are as cordial and productive.

regards,

Mark
Dear Mark,
Glad you had a good time at Grahams.Just a few points.No one would dispute that Graham is not a nice guy.However so is my window cleaner but he cannot do Aikido.Another point you both come from Aikido sharing the same background [Tohei].So you must have something in common.
As far as you/Graham sharing knowledge etc is concerned I think most Aikidoka [who have open minds]would be more than happy to share each others views . experiences etc
For my own part Graham's Waza may be wonderful.I can only judge what he does by his You Tube vids.I am a person who prefers to meet someone and have a hands on approach. Until then I will reserve making any 'judgements'.
Both you and Graham do have my respect inasmuch you did indeed meet.This makes a welcome change.Perhaps others could learn from both of you ? Cheers, Joe.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:31 PM   #4
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
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Re: Meetings

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Guilty as charged, Thank you, Mark! Glad to hear you guys had fun! Any chance you'll be making it to the Pac NW this summer?
Take care,
Matt
Hi Matt,

I hope to be in the beautiful NW around August. I have a very old friend (he's not very old, the friendship is!) living around Bothell way, plus, George Ledyard is close by and Dan is visiting in August.

Maybe see you then,

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:16 PM   #5
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,504
United_States
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Re: Meetings

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
as can be seen from Graham's post above, we met at the weekend and practiced together.

I know there are some out there who are keen to know how this went, so I will try to be as objective as possible in my reflections.

Our practice was in an atmosphere of friendly enquiry, there was no ego or contest, which suited me down to the ground.

I know that some of you may be itching for me to report that Graham's stuff is ineffective and of no martial value, and that he is practicing a form of aikido that should be labelled something else, due to the nature of the video's people have seen on youtube. Well, I may have to dissappoint you on that one.

So back to Graham... his aikido is no less martially effective than my own... Which proves nothing, maybe neither of us know what we are doing or talking about...that is possible, but in my trying to be modest mind, unlikely.

Graham is a bit of an anomily though, he is his own man teaching in his own way, using language that means what it means to him, which others may struggle with. And he can demonstrate in the flesh each of the principles he talks about. It's true that you don't meet many aikidoka wearing hats, but I have practiced with Sikhs who wear their hair under a cover as a matter of practice and belief, and both Graham and his friend who joined us later, are no different. What I did get from both of them was their long term committment to following their own path of 'budo is love', finding aikido as their chosen and apt vehicle to attain that goal.

And if I got into a physical skirmish in dear old London town where they live, I would like to have either of them there with me on my side.

Is Graham 'better' than my own teacher? No, but then few are.
Should Graham meet Dan? That is entirely up to Graham and his own choices.
Would Graham benefit from meeting Dan? Probably, I did, but again, personal choice.
Did I learn stuff from Graham? Yes, and I'm pretty sure he got to learn stuff from me too.
I'd happily go back and train with Graham again, as he is a nice guy, with a soft but strong presence.
Very interesting, but I think we're really looking for one thing only in this account: did you feel anything in Graham that was comparable or at all similar to the kind of power you felt with Dan?

I believe you did say you'd met Dan and felt his work.

Please remember that this whole bunch of threads developed from Graham's claim that he could do everything Dan described doing (though he said that Dan was selling snake oil).

So how did Graham feel compared to Dan?

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:34 AM   #6
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
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Re: Meetings

Dear Mr. Orange.

Quote:
Please remember that this whole bunch of threads developed from Graham's claim that he could do everything Dan described doing (though he said that Dan was selling snake oil).
Please remember the above statement is completely false. I never use such terminology.

PM me if you have anything you don't understand for i will no longer respond to you or anyone on such matters.

Now, if you have any questions to do with my meeting or comparisons or otherwise for Mark then thats fine by me, carry on.

Regards.G.
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:45 AM   #7
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,504
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Re: Meetings

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Dear Mr. Orange.
Please remember the above statement is completely false. I never use such terminology.
Seems like you did. Yeah. You claimed you understand Ueshiba's power and that you can do the things he did. I don't want to look it up, but I might.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
PM me if you have anything you don't understand for i will no longer respond to you or anyone on such matters.
I didn't address you with my question and I didn't ask you to respond. You've made your claims and I have actually felt Dan and Ark, and I and many others have been wondering if there is any comparison for an objective person when they feel what you do. Mark knows aikido and he's felt Dan's particular kind of power. The question is, "Does Graham have any kind of power comparable to that?" If not, then we would have less reason to believe that you have any particular understanding of Ueshiba's method or abilities.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Now, if you have any questions to do with my meeting or comparisons or otherwise for Mark then thats fine by me, carry on.
Nice of you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:11 PM   #8
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
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Re: Meetings

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Seems like you did. Yeah. You claimed you understand Ueshiba's power and that you can do the things he did. I don't want to look it up, but I might.

I didn't address you with my question and I didn't ask you to respond. You've made your claims and I have actually felt Dan and Ark, and I and many others have been wondering if there is any comparison for an objective person when they feel what you do. Mark knows aikido and he's felt Dan's particular kind of power. The question is, "Does Graham have any kind of power comparable to that?" If not, then we would have less reason to believe that you have any particular understanding of Ueshiba's method or abilities.

Nice of you.

David
Hi David.
Now I see how you choose to think. Dan and Ark, power, Ueshiba. O.K. So now I know where you're coming from.

I will say once again what I said before which caused all kind of interpretations. I understand Ueshiba. And. I know Aikido. (save you looking it up)

Contrary to your reasoning I am always open and honest and straight but alas speak from my own terms of reference which appear to be different to some.

Now as far as my meeting with Mark went allow me to assist you even though I don't think 'power' is the correct aim for Aikidoka.

I will say I showed, demonstrated, certain principles which when I mentioned on here I was ridiculed more amusingly to me it seemed to annoy some. Now, as I recall and give you a few examples you will be aware that I do not know what it felt like at the other end of such so you can ask Mark for only he knows.

O.k. I have mentioned Koshi, the type of power associated and it's effect. This I showed and described to Mark.

I talked on here about how I give the feeling of 'nothing'. This I equate with a few different ways but one again I mention here Is Kokyu. I explained my view on it, showed and demonstrated.

I talk on here about the principle of non disturbance. I demonstrated this from being held in nikkyo.

We did a bit of many things and I am only mentioning here the ones which seemed to cause such commotion.

Showed what I was teaching in one of the sword videos. Then proceeded to face Mark empty handed while he held the bokken. Explained basically how I use 'sen no sen' basically, although those words were not used.

Now, if you pm Mark on those points I'm sure he'll tell you what he thought about such and can probably explain it much better than me.

Also I must add we did a bit with a jo, once again just to demo a principle. (in fact a few) One was to hold the jo and prevent the other from moving it or doing anything with it. I was showing my views of relationship to center, motion, center line and non disturbance.

Why I'm mentioning this is because when he did his 'turn' I was really impressed. The feeling I felt and the way it made me move was almost magical.

Another thing I found with Mark was a principle he had said on the forum that he followed and his teacher emphasised which was the principle of 'following'

He certainly did that when using non resistance in such a way that it makes you feel you can do anything to him yet if you are one iota away from 'perfect' you soon find out you can't and bump into what can only be described as a wall of center. Excellent. He sure has learned well from his teacher.

So there you are, although much was shared in such a short space of time and and every moment was fun I give you a few that seem to be misunderstood when I mention them in my own particular way. Maybe Mark can retranslate them for you.

And just to respond to Marks kind comments quickly as I'm off to training now, it was Amazing to meet a person who does too walk what he talks.

Regards.G.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:28 AM   #9
LinTal
Dojo: Aikido Terrey Hills
Location: Sydney
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 120
Australia
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Re: Meetings

It seems I've missed much during my absence here.

Self-awareness is essential. In all conflict, whether direct or indirect, intention and goal must be kept in mind.

It's refreshing to see a couple people remembering the basics of aikido.

The world changes when you do.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:50 PM   #10
TheAikidoka
 
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Dojo: Tenshinkan Dojo UK - mid sussex martial arts school
Location: Brighton
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 127
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Re: Meetings

Most wonderful to see people getting together and sharing in the spirit of Aiki.
The reasons why you got together in the first place I believe are not that really important (although ive not read them) the important thing is you both dropped the ego and decided to have a meeting of minds.

You are a both credit to this art that we share a love for and I commend you both on your openess to share and learn. Just wonderful. I have learnt something by this.

Thank you. Most wonderful indeed, I will go home with a big old smile on my face, knowing people can actually come together through this forum in aiki.
Well done both of you!

In Budo

Andy B
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:02 AM   #11
Thomas Campbell
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 407
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Re: Meetings

Mark--

Thanks for sharing your experience in meeting and working with Graham. That kind of open-minded exploration is necessary for people to test and evolve their own paradigms of practice. And frankly it's refreshing to see on this forum.

If I'm not in China this August, I'd enjoy meeting with you when you come to the PNW.

Cheers,

Tom
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:22 AM   #12
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
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Re: Meetings

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
Mark--

Thanks for sharing your experience in meeting and working with Graham. That kind of open-minded exploration is necessary for people to test and evolve their own paradigms of practice. And frankly it's refreshing to see on this forum.

If I'm not in China this August, I'd enjoy meeting with you when you come to the PNW.

Cheers,

Tom
Hi Tom,

I'd enjoy meeting you too, if you are there. I plan to be in Seattle around mid to late August.

I'll be in touch nearer the time.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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