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Old 02-22-2012, 12:30 AM   #1
dapidmini
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Hombu Culture

I heard that the Senseis in Aikikai Hombu Dojo only teach 2-3 techniques for each class and they only teaches basic techniques (katatedori, somenuchi : ikkyo, nikkyo, shihonage, etc). and they never trains bukiwaza. is it true?

my Dojo is considering to train like in Hombu.. so I'd like to know more about the culture in hombu..

thanks in advance
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:33 AM   #2
kewms
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Re: Hombu Culture

Why don't you ask your instructor what he means by "train like Hombu?" If that's his model, then his perception of it matters more to your training than the reality.

Katherine
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:19 AM   #3
Alex Megann
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Re: Hombu Culture

Here is the Aikikai Hombu Dojo grading syllabus.

There is a mention of "tantodori" and "jodori" for nidan and sandan, but I didn't see any weapons being taught when I was there for a few days, and I gather that they are not taught in the regular classes.

Alex

Last edited by Alex Megann : 02-22-2012 at 04:22 AM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:32 AM   #4
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
Here is the Aikikai Hombu Dojo grading syllabus.

There is a mention of "tantodori" and "jodori" for nidan and sandan, but I didn't see any weapons being taught when I was there for a few days, and I gather that they are not taught in the regular classes.

Alex
There's really no weapons at all taught in any of the hombu classes.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-22-2012, 07:56 PM   #5
odudog
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Re: Hombu Culture

No weapons taught at any of the classes that I attended. From what I have picked, you need attend the senseis' outside dojo to learn weapons.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:56 PM   #6
Gary Petrison
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote: View Post
No weapons taught at any of the classes that I attended. From what I have picked, you need attend the senseis' outside dojo to learn weapons.
Yes, this is exactly what Yokota Shihan told us this past weekend during the seminar he taught here in Hilo.

He teaches weapons to his students at a local gymnasium (we were fortunate to have him instruct us for two early morning weapons classes). So, while there are no weapons classes at Hombu, there is significantly proficient instruction available nearby.

What a GREAT seminar it was; he flew to Honolulu this morning and will be instructing on Oahu next weekend!
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:20 PM   #7
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Re: Hombu Culture


"The Hombu Dojo is like a box of chocolates… You never know what you're gonna get."

Except Forest Gump didn't look at that card which explains what all the chocolates are.

Similar to the chocolate-box menu, there is at least a list of teachers at the Hombu which might give you an idea of what to expect if you have "tasted" them before. Even then, the sheer number of visitors to the Hombu makes for a huge variety. I am wary of making assumptions about the place even after several visits. If you go to a particular shihan's class, there might be a large clique of those who exclusively enjoy that "flavour" but you really don't know who you might end up training with. People from all over Japan and the rest of the world (all with various lineages and standards) call by the Hombu as visitors. The regulars have no choice but to train with these people and I'd say that any of them that have been around for a while get to experience all kinds of standards and styles even if they do favour one particular teacher. It is a very busy melting pot of aikido. Like anywhere else it has its pros and cons. It is often very crowded so I think people look out for where they are throwing more, but sometimes it is too crowded to throw at all. I think this is one reason why there are few changes of partner since it is time-consuming when there are so many people on the mats (although I have attended classes where we changed). It could also be a factor that makes weapons training rare. Another is the official view of weapons as supplementary rather than basic. Whether you agree with that or not is irrelevant when you consider the afore mentioned variety. If Doshu Sensei favours one lineage over another, where does it leave the others?

The grading syllabus relates directly to that point. That very variety within the Aikikai should make having only a minimum set of requirements obvious. Maybe some get through just on those minimums but I doubt someone close to their shihan would be put forth for a grading unless he or she could also meet that shihan's own particular requirements. If those additional requirements (which for some includes weapons training) were required across the board, where would that leave the other teachers and their (often different) requirements?

It seems to me that the Hombu tries to stand in the centre where we all can overlap. It has standards but it's there to bring us all together, not just make everyone do carbon-copy aikido of one particular teacher. Osensei is gone and even when he was around, that wasn't possible. I see the Hombu as a nexus.

Kind regards

Carl
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:03 AM   #8
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Gary Petrison wrote: View Post
Yes, this is exactly what Yokota Shihan told us this past weekend during the seminar he taught here in Hilo.

He teaches weapons to his students at a local gymnasium (we were fortunate to have him instruct us for two early morning weapons classes). So, while there are no weapons classes at Hombu, there is significantly proficient instruction available nearby.

What a GREAT seminar it was; he flew to Honolulu this morning and will be instructing on Oahu next weekend!
Hmm, I've never seen him outside of Hombu - do you know where he learned his weapons (since we know it probably wasn't Hombu...)?

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-23-2012, 06:05 AM   #9
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
"The Hombu Dojo is like a box of chocolates… You never know what you're gonna get."

Except Forest Gump didn't look at that card which explains what all the chocolates are.

Similar to the chocolate-box menu, there is at least a list of teachers at the Hombu which might give you an idea of what to expect if you have "tasted" them before. Even then, the sheer number of visitors to the Hombu makes for a huge variety. I am wary of making assumptions about the place even after several visits. If you go to a particular shihan's class, there might be a large clique of those who exclusively enjoy that "flavour" but you really don't know who you might end up training with. People from all over Japan and the rest of the world (all with various lineages and standards) call by the Hombu as visitors. The regulars have no choice but to train with these people and I'd say that any of them that have been around for a while get to experience all kinds of standards and styles even if they do favour one particular teacher. It is a very busy melting pot of aikido. Like anywhere else it has its pros and cons. It is often very crowded so I think people look out for where they are throwing more, but sometimes it is too crowded to throw at all. I think this is one reason why there are few changes of partner since it is time-consuming when there are so many people on the mats (although I have attended classes where we changed). It could also be a factor that makes weapons training rare. Another is the official view of weapons as supplementary rather than basic. Whether you agree with that or not is irrelevant when you consider the afore mentioned variety. If Doshu Sensei favours one lineage over another, where does it leave the others?

The grading syllabus relates directly to that point. That very variety within the Aikikai should make having only a minimum set of requirements obvious. Maybe some get through just on those minimums but I doubt someone close to their shihan would be put forth for a grading unless he or she could also meet that shihan's own particular requirements. If those additional requirements (which for some includes weapons training) were required across the board, where would that leave the other teachers and their (often different) requirements?

It seems to me that the Hombu tries to stand in the centre where we all can overlap. It has standards but it's there to bring us all together, not just make everyone do carbon-copy aikido of one particular teacher. Osensei is gone and even when he was around, that wasn't possible. I see the Hombu as a nexus.

Kind regards

Carl
Great response, Carl. My thoughts verbalized quite clearly. Thank you.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:34 AM   #10
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
It seems to me that the Hombu tries to stand in the centre where we all can overlap. It has standards but it's there to bring us all together, not just make everyone do carbon-copy aikido of one particular teacher. Osensei is gone and even when he was around, that wasn't possible. I see the Hombu as a nexus.

Kind regards

Carl
Doshu almost always teaches essentially the same class. He always give the same demonstration. This sets the tone for Hombu, from which the wide range of styles in past years is gradually disappearing (whether this is good or bad depends on your view of what Hombu ought to be doing).

You're absolutely right, the Ueshiba family has settled on a very bland, neutral style - the hub of a wheel only works because the hub is empty.

I understand their reasons for doing this, and it might actually be the best way to maintain a large international group of widely varying styles - but I'm not sure that (as in the original post) I'd want to pattern a smaller individual dojo in this style.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-23-2012, 09:21 PM   #11
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
You're absolutely right, the Ueshiba family has settled on a very bland, neutral style - the hub of a wheel only works because the hub is empty.

I understand their reasons for doing this, and it might actually be the best way to maintain a large international group of widely varying styles - but I'm not sure that (as in the original post) I'd want to pattern a smaller individual dojo in this style.

Best,

Chris
Hello Chris

Thanks for your comment.

I didn't give the opinion "bland" to be right about but I'm with you regarding the neutrality and the likely necessity for it. They have the more individual shihans, satellite dojos and branches for the other stuff.

Quote:
Joseph Bowen wrote: View Post
Great response, Carl. My thoughts verbalized quite clearly. Thank you.
Cheers. Glad to help.

Carl
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:28 AM   #12
roadtoad
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Re: Hombu Culture

Almost all weapons forms seen now in the west came out of Iwama, and even that didn't happen until Saito wandered out of japan in 1985 or so.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:49 AM   #13
Fred Little
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Ike Spenser wrote: View Post
Almost all weapons forms seen now in the west came out of Iwama, and even that didn't happen until Saito wandered out of japan in 1985 or so.
My initial exposure to aikido weapons (1985-6) had a component of Saito, in the form of the 31-count solo kata, but all of my initial instruction in partner practice traces back to Nishio, during the same period. Having subsequently had some additional experience with weapons forms derived from the Nishio, Hikitsuchi, and Saito lines, in addition to those of Saotome Sensei, with which I'm most familiar, I am not convinced of your assertion.

It is fair to say that Saito Sensei's partisans have always had a missionary fervor, not only about Saito Sensei's weapons forms, but about the centrality of those weapons forms to aikido training of all kinds, but there remains a difference between what some wish to be true and what is actually true.

In fact, I don't think it will be clear which approach to aiki-ken and aiki-jo has proved to be the most fit, in terms of survival, for another twenty or thirty years. In the meantime, make mine koryu.

My two cents.

FL

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Old 03-07-2012, 09:51 AM   #14
Chris Li
 
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Ike Spenser wrote: View Post
Almost all weapons forms seen now in the west came out of Iwama, and even that didn't happen until Saito wandered out of japan in 1985 or so.
Well...Saotome was teaching quite a lot of weapons (only partially Saito derived) when I started in 1981, and Nishio and Chiba each had their own weapons systems which aren't really related to Iwama that closely.

Tohei also had some fairly simple weapons - again, only dimly related to Iwama, that he taught in the US from the 1950's.

Best,

Chris

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Old 03-07-2012, 11:06 AM   #15
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Tohei also had some fairly simple weapons - again, only dimly related to Iwama, that he taught in the US from the 1950's.

Best,

Chris
We have 5, 8, 21 and 31 move kata. I've always assumed they came that way from Tohei. They are quite similar to Saito's kata that I've seen, with only minor differences here and there.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:36 PM   #16
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Re: Hombu Culture

No, the 31 jo kata and all the other ones you mention came from Saito, authorized by Kissomaru Ueshiba, of course. Saito took years trying to get all the jo basic moves into one kata. and he finally came up with the one you see.
My school was in Asuma Air Basse, under Isoyama, uchideski at Iwama since he was 12, the youngest 6th dan aikika ever (25) So, we were learning Iwama style as early as 1963.
.We were technically under Saito, because o'sensei wanted Saito to teach Isoyama, but we never saw Saito, unless we went to Hombu, Saito couldn't come to Asuma, he didn't have a military pass.
We did a lot of techniques different than Saito. Techniques that Isoyama thought were more like the way o'sensei wanted them.done.
Nishio was older, eleven years older than Saito, and his techniques are great. Very powerful. He learned them all from o'sensei, of course.
Where and when and how Nishio spread his techniques to the west, I don't know, but I think they were mostly from seminars..
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:32 PM   #17
Janet Rosen
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
We have 5, 8, 21 and 31 move kata. I've always assumed they came that way from Tohei. They are quite similar to Saito's kata that I've seen, with only minor differences here and there.
There IS a 21 count jo kata that is specifically Tohei's, not Saito's.

Janet Rosen
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:11 PM   #18
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Edited

Quote:
Ike Spenser wrote: View Post
No, the 31 jo kata and some of the other ones you mention came from Saito, authorized by Kissomaru Ueshiba, of course. Saito took years trying to get all the jo basic moves into one kata. and he finally came up with the one you see.
My school was in Azuma Air Base, under Isoyama, uchideski at Iwama since he was 12, the youngest 6th dan aikidoka ever (25) So, we were learning Iwama style as early as 1963.
.We were technically under Saito, because o'sensei wanted Saito to teach Isoyama, but we never saw Saito, unless we went to Hombu, Saito couldn't come to Azuma, he didn't have a military
Nishio was older, one year older than Saito, and his techniques are great. Very powerful. He learned them all from o'sensei, of course.
Where and when and how Nishio spread his techniques to the west, I don't know, but I think they were mostly from seminars..
I've been trying like mad to edit my post, I made a lot of mistakes on the first one,
Sorry.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:19 PM   #19
Chris Li
 
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Re: Edited

Quote:
Ike Spenser wrote: View Post
I've been trying like mad to edit my post, I made a lot of mistakes on the first one,
Sorry.
I had always understood that the 31 came directly from Ueshiba - just the counting added by Saito. Curiously, Saito was also adamant that Ueshiba would not have approved of the counting.

Best,

Chris

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Old 03-07-2012, 05:31 PM   #20
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Re: Edited

Quote:
Ike Spenser wrote: View Post
I've been trying like mad to edit my post, I made a lot of mistakes on the first one,
Sorry.
I don't think it will let you edit after somebody has replied to it. I have been caught by this too. Anyway, I won't point out any mistakes
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:38 PM   #21
roadtoad
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Re: Hombu Culture

After o'sensei died, a lot of changes came to aikido. The new doshu, Kissomaru, gave Saito one position, that of developing weapons forms.
I never heard o'sensei comment on the counting of techiques, you may be right, but, on the other hand, he counted, techniques himself, ikkyo, nikyo, etc.
Kissomaru didn't teach too many weapon techniques, because he tried to be true to the later wishes of his dad, and make 'ki' be the most important part of the art,
The weapons techniques just make you 'bad'. It seems to me that aikido never caught on so large in the west until those weapon techniques came out there.
All those techniques in the 31 jo kata came from o'sensei, but Saito developed it. He'd been working on that kata for years. We went through many 'warm-up' katas before he got to that one.
Still had to be approved by Kissomaru before it could be spread out into the world, however.
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:26 PM   #22
Chris Li
 
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Ike Spenser wrote: View Post
After o'sensei died, a lot of changes came to aikido. The new doshu, Kissomaru, gave Saito one position, that of developing weapons forms.
This I have never heard - what's your source?

Quote:
Ike Spenser wrote: View Post
I never heard o'sensei comment on the counting of techiques, you may be right, but, on the other hand, he counted, techniques himself, ikkyo, nikyo, etc.
But not step by step - anyway, the comment on counting out the steps of the kata came from...Saito himself. I heard him say it more than once. It's even on some of the videos, I think.

Best,

Chris

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Old 03-07-2012, 11:33 PM   #23
LinTal
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I heard that the Senseis in Aikikai Hombu Dojo only teach 2-3 techniques for each class and they only teaches basic techniques (katatedori, somenuchi : ikkyo, nikkyo, shihonage, etc). and they never trains bukiwaza. is it true?

my Dojo is considering to train like in Hombu.. so I'd like to know more about the culture in hombu..

thanks in advance
I noticed that the techniques were used primarily as a vehicle for complex concepts. Hence, while the technique branch may have been expected, the classes were challenging in their own right. Of course the nature of principles behind the techniques varied between the teachers and their preferences, so many people chose to limit their training to a few, if not one, main teacher.

Some very similar things to my home dojo, which was welcoming as a new visitor, but not much that was controversial or experimental. Maybe 10 minutes per technique, which got in around 4 varients.

The world changes when you do.
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:02 AM   #24
JJF
 
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Re: Hombu Culture

Quote:
Ike Spenser wrote: View Post
No, the 31 jo kata and all the other ones you mention came from Saito, authorized by Kissomaru Ueshiba, of course. Saito took years trying to get all the jo basic moves into one kata. and he finally came up with the one you see.
My school was in Asuma Air Basse, under Isoyama, uchideski at Iwama since he was 12, the youngest 6th dan aikika ever (25) So, we were learning Iwama style as early as 1963.
.We were technically under Saito, because o'sensei wanted Saito to teach Isoyama, but we never saw Saito, unless we went to Hombu, Saito couldn't come to Asuma, he didn't have a military pass.
We did a lot of techniques different than Saito. Techniques that Isoyama thought were more like the way o'sensei wanted them.done.
Nishio was older, eleven years older than Saito, and his techniques are great. Very powerful. He learned them all from o'sensei, of course.
Where and when and how Nishio spread his techniques to the west, I don't know, but I think they were mostly from seminars..
I feel compelled to comment on this. I don't think Nishio sensei got his weapons work directly from O sensei. I think each and every aikido sensei that uses weapons does so based on their own reflection.

In Denmark one of the major branches of Aikido is primarily (almost exclusively) influenced by Nishio sensei, and last weekend we had a seminar where Takemusu aiki, our 'nishio branch' and a sensei teaching from a third influence each gave a one hour lesson. Quite interesting to see all the similarities and the small differences and the impact they had on each and everybodys approach to Aikido.

Anyway - Nishio sensei often said that O-sensei claimed aikido was founded in the way one moves with the japanese sword, but also that he rarely gave examples. Therefore it was up to each and everyone to do your own interpretation of this knowledge. That is one of the reasons Nishio sensei took up Iaido and Jodo, and he used this to form three distinct set of practices. One is jo-sabaki and to-sabaki - that is techniques performed very much like in tachi-waza but while holding a weapon. This is seen somewhat similar but not entirely the same in other styles as far as I know.

Also he developed a set of ken-tai-ken / ken-tai-jo katas. Paired katas where two people learn basic footwork and understanding of maai through working with weapons. Some of it has similarities to kendo-kata. I believe these are unique for aikido inspired by Nishio sensei. Other senseis have different katas along the same line, but with a different set of moves. This also underlines the changes Nishio sensei proposed in tachwaza in order to evolve irimi and technique along the lines he thought was important.

Finally he also developed a number of sword katas deviced with the purpose of giving us basic knowledge in how to move with at japanese sword. For a long time they were recognized as iaido-kata's and iaido gradings were given to his students. However this changed and Nishio sensei started giving grades in his own system. Today it is organized in a seperate association and is known as 'Nishio Aikido Toho'. It is not a prerequisit for training Aikido, but many people still train this alongside their aikido training.

The reason Aiki-toho and the ken-tai-ken / ken-tai-jo of Nishio sensei is so heavly used in Denmark and a number of other western countries or regions roots in the fact that Nishio sensei for almost two decades where the main influence here - unless you were part of the Takemusu organisation and therefore looking towards Iwama and Saito sensei instead. I think that Denmark to a certain extend was the 'sandbox' of Nishiosensei where he could see how his aikido would develop when it was not influenced very much by other styles. He constantly continued to change and adapt his aikido and related weapons systems, and I think he enjoyed leaving a new set of forms with us and then come back one year later to see how they had developed in the meantime.

I regret that the above completely neglects the fact that other styles are represented in Denmark- Ki-aikido just to name one. I just wanted to emphazise the fact that Nishio had a group of followers here that were a good testing ground for his weapons work.

There is a lot more to this story - but I hope it shed at least a little bit of light on the weapons systems of Nishio sensei.

Sincerely

JJ

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Old 03-08-2012, 07:48 PM   #25
roadtoad
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Re: Hombu Culture

That's very nice, you're right of course. There must be a zillion sword, jo kaziwaza, etc. schools in japan. Very few independent jo schools, usually jo techniques resemble the style that you're in. Karate jo looks like karate, etc.
Its said that o'sensei got his major sword training from Aiaido sp? I've talked to people from other sword styles, they all pretty much consider o'sensei a sword man. You can learn katana stuff anywhere in japan, as well as develop your own techniques.
O'sensei never stopped anyone from going to other schools. In fact, you're right, o'sensei liked it when you learned stuff from another school.
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