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Old 06-22-2012, 01:20 PM   #1
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What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Hi George. I started a new thread because you talked about a bunch of different "stuff".

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Arts with competition solve some of this issue. For instance, my wife Genie is a former national champion fencer. She finds the lack of real verification of skills in Aikido to be quite frustrating. In fencing, it didn't matter that her teacher, who was a French fencing master, bemoaned the Russian reworking of the art and loss of style he loved. In competition it was simple. If you depressed the little switch on the tip of your epee by striking your opponent before the other guy did, then you scored. If you did that more times than the other guy, you won your match. Period. Folks who wanted to pretend to be better than they really are had to stay away from competition because their technical deficiencies become instantly obvious because they can't score.

Now I am not saying that we should institute a system with competition in Aikido generally. As in Western fencing, Judo, or Tae Kwon Do you can see a loss of form in favor of the tricks that can score based on how the rules shape what works and does not work in competition.
I do agree. I think there should be some alteration to aikido training to allow for something like what you talk about above. In fact, many years ago while training in the Jiyushinkai, their randori came close to this kind of thing. Very well structured, very well implemented, and allowed for uke to show holes. I'm not sure how that has evolved, but knowing Chuck Clark and the gang, it's probably gotten better.

Generally, though, aikido randori is more about getting out of the way and tossing someone aside. It doesn't stand up well to the more realistic attacks.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
The form of Aikido is important, in fact it is precisely the form of Aikido that makes it Aikido and not just Aiki.
Why does the form of the aiki arts stand out? Why did the Japanese Organization in 42 decide to label them something different? What caused this to happen?

The manner and form in which the attacker, or uke, responded to Ueshiba, Takeda, Horikawa, Sagawa, etc was very different. The body responses from uke was not "normal". As an aside, if you watch Mifune, you can see that his partners do not respond the same either. So, something was happening to cause these uke to move differently. Koryu jujutsu wasn't showing these attributes. Judo (except for certain people) wasn't showing these attributes. Why Daito ryu and Ueshiba ryu?

We now know that it was specifically, primarily, completely, and fully the body skill of aiki which did this. So the form of aikido back then was primarily aiki. Had it not been Japanese jujitsu, kenjutsu, that Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa studied and instead had been boxing, MMA, etc, what do you think they would have looked like?

Fast forward to Kisshomaru Ueshiba and the form of aikido changed -- I call it Modern Aikido. (I feel like a broken record here. Not saying this was good, bad, right, or wrong.) Now, we have a technique based form which sets the view of what aikido looks like. No more does the core body skill of aiki play a part in determining the form of aikido. Instead, it is set and cemented in outward physical techniques that can be visibly seen and ranked.

And this important distinction, this pivotal change is what is creating a very deep and rough time for aikido today. Do you stick to the form of aikido from Modern Aikido or do you attempt to use the form of aiki for aikido? We can see from history, that to use the former is to invite complacency and cooperative training into the mix. To use the latter is to remold Modern Aikido such that the form may not look the same. ever. For example, given two years, a person can be trained with enough IP/aiki to negate 99% of aikido joint locks. How then, can tests be administered if joint locks are negated? What happens to the form when joint locks no longer work? That is just the tip of the iceberg. Where do we go from here?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
You can see how someone like Dan Harden, whose "aiki" is at a very high level, moves and manifests his technique. His focus is very much on what works, and works against opponents who might be from any given style of martial art. So his "aiki" doesn't have the form that would make it Aiki-do.
Hmm ... has anyone ever seen what Yoshio Kuroiwa's ukemi looked like when he trained with Ueshiba? Wouldn't that be interesting to see? How about Shioda when he was tested for his high grade? Shirata and Ueshiba after the war? Or do we go by the testing set in place by Kisshomaru's Japanese shihan and Modern Aikido? The former, I would bet, was distinctly different. And in that paradigm, I would also imagine Dan's aiki to fit exactly. The latter? No.

Mark
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:40 PM   #2
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Speaking of randori…Forgive me if this is a crazy idea (I literally had a dream about this last night…too much aikiweb before bedtime) – I dreamt that we were in a randori seminar where we were learning to attack as a group. Ledyard sensei was yelling at us, telling us not to attack like some crazy samurai movie mob, but was actually teaching us how to attack in a tactical manner as a group. Has anyone ever heard of this? I imagine law enforcement practices unarmed restraints as a team? Could this be adopted to aikido? It always seems crazy that once the instructor claps, all the ukes just rush in like video game zombies. There’s got to be a smarter way to attack right? Has anyone ever had/taught a class on the best way to attack as a group?

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Old 06-22-2012, 02:18 PM   #3
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

If the form of aikido was not techniques, explain why they all, all the way back to Takeda, have this consistent list of techniques that were taught and cataloged? Didn't Takeda, in some fashion, charge per technique? Now I fully understand the notion that has been floated that perhaps all those techniques were just the result of contact with Takeda. Maybe those reactions happened so frequently that they kind of became techniques that were taught in the static way we're familiar with them, but explain the obvious similarity in what all those branches down from Takeda are doing? We have Hisa who recorded what he was learning and confirmed that what Ueshiba taught him matched what Takeda came in and taught afterwards. We have Budo Renshu and Budo, which validated what Saito was doing and then we have modern aikido, which looks like what they were all doing.

Regardless of whatever body usage and conditioning that they hoped to get across to a very very select few students, the mode of practice certainly seems to be consistent and clear.

Quote:
For example, given two years, a person can be trained with enough IP/aiki to negate 99% of aikido joint locks. How then, can tests be administered if joint locks are negated? What happens to the form when joint locks no longer work? That is just the tip of the iceberg. Where do we go from here?
Against unskilled people sure. Could you resist Dan or some of his more skilled students putting a joint lock on you? You've previously stated that Bill Gleason is one of the few people who can get joint locks on you, so obviously you can't completely negate it. It's skill and conditioning vs. skill and conditioning, still. If everyone is doing the same thing, or working in that direction, it fits just fine.

Quote:
Hmm ... has anyone ever seen what Yoshio Kuroiwa's ukemi looked like when he trained with Ueshiba? Wouldn't that be interesting to see? How about Shioda when he was tested for his high grade? Shirata and Ueshiba after the war? Or do we go by the testing set in place by Kisshomaru's Japanese shihan and Modern Aikido? The former, I would bet, was distinctly different. And in that paradigm, I would also imagine Dan's aiki to fit exactly. The latter? No.
what accounts do we have to suggest that it would look any different than what we've seen? None of the old videos of any of these guys support it being drastically different and if there was any lingering disdain for that mode of practice, none of them bothered to change it.
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:29 PM   #4
Chris Parkerson
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Quote:
Andy Kazama wrote: View Post
Speaking of randori…Forgive me if this is a crazy idea (I literally had a dream about this last night…too much aikiweb before bedtime) -- I dreamt that we were in a randori seminar where we were learning to attack as a group. Ledyard sensei was yelling at us, telling us not to attack like some crazy samurai movie mob, but was actually teaching us how to attack in a tactical manner as a group. Has anyone ever heard of this? I imagine law enforcement practices unarmed restraints as a team? Could this be adopted to aikido? It always seems crazy that once the instructor claps, all the ukes just rush in like video game zombies. There's got to be a smarter way to attack right? Has anyone ever had/taught a class on the best way to attack as a group?
Check out the Filipino use of the wedge in sayoc or bahala Na. Both systems were used against japanese encampments during WWII. The attacks were normally at about 3:00 AM, silent and the preferred weapons were the Filipino version of the machete.

They were devastating as Guerilla fighters. Cutting a trail of blood and then disappearing into the jungle as japanese were waking up from the commotion and still disorganized.

Best,

Chris
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:36 PM   #5
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Quote:
We now know that it was specifically, primarily, completely, and fully the body skill of aiki which did this. So the form of aikido back then was primarily aiki. Had it not been Japanese jujitsu, kenjutsu, that Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa studied and instead had been boxing, MMA, etc, what do you think they would have looked like?

Mark
Mark, I probably would look something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN89wVzj4W8

But even though the internal training gives one the greater strength and resistance to attack, and thus a very unarguable disctinct advantage, a lion's heart and a strategic punch can change an outcome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWcvS...eature=related

Now, to training myself. It is Bahala Na night with my eskrima buddies.

The definition of Bahala Na?...... "Come What May."

Best to you,

Chris

Last edited by akiy : 06-22-2012 at 03:38 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:48 PM   #6
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Quote:
Andy Kazama wrote: View Post
Speaking of randori…Forgive me if this is a crazy idea (I literally had a dream about this last night…too much aikiweb before bedtime) – I dreamt that we were in a randori seminar where we were learning to attack as a group. Ledyard sensei was yelling at us, telling us not to attack like some crazy samurai movie mob, but was actually teaching us how to attack in a tactical manner as a group. Has anyone ever heard of this? I imagine law enforcement practices unarmed restraints as a team? Could this be adopted to aikido? It always seems crazy that once the instructor claps, all the ukes just rush in like video game zombies. There’s got to be a smarter way to attack right? Has anyone ever had/taught a class on the best way to attack as a group?
The hospital I work at has a restraint course for handling pyshiatric patients. The nurses are taught to work as a team, four staff each grasping a limb plus one to control the head and prevent biting. Planning and communication is essential so there are no double ups.

I believe that some of the limb pins are derived from aikido (ikkyo) and the instructor is a former aikido teacher but I missed the chance to do the course myself. I do note that it takes 5 people to safely pin a genuinely resisting patient without harm on either side!

However, they are able to do perform these restraints regularly on the ward. So, having properly trained and co-ordinated multiple attackers wouldn't help your aikido randori, it would be an unperformable practice!

Last edited by davoravo : 06-22-2012 at 06:56 PM.

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Old 06-22-2012, 10:40 PM   #7
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
If the form of aikido was not techniques, explain why they all, all the way back to Takeda, have this consistent list of techniques that were taught and cataloged? Didn't Takeda, in some fashion, charge per technique? Now I fully understand the notion that has been floated that perhaps all those techniques were just the result of contact with Takeda. Maybe those reactions happened so frequently that they kind of became techniques that were taught in the static way we're familiar with them, but explain the obvious similarity in what all those branches down from Takeda are doing? We have Hisa who recorded what he was learning and confirmed that what Ueshiba taught him matched what Takeda came in and taught afterwards. We have Budo Renshu and Budo, which validated what Saito was doing and then we have modern aikido, which looks like what they were all doing.
I don't think that anyone has proposed that there was not a transmitted technical curriculum. OTOH, both Takeda and Ueshiba stressed that the techniques themselves were not very important. Once you forget that things start to go south, IMO. You start with these guys and you end up with this guy - they look alike, but that's where the resemblance ends.

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
what accounts do we have to suggest that it would look any different than what we've seen? None of the old videos of any of these guys support it being drastically different and if there was any lingering disdain for that mode of practice, none of them bothered to change it.
That's a longer conversation - but I'll say that it's not that hard to generate different effects from the same position without any visible outward change. That's not necessarily a matter of any kind of internal power - although it can be.

Here's some food for thought, from Yukiyoshi Sagawa (from "Aikido no Ogi, translated from the Japanese):

Quote:
At the end of the day, our goal is the creation of an Aiki body, if you can create an Aiki body then however you move will be become a technique, become Aiki.

If you move it becomes Aiki. Our goal is the creation of an Aiki body. It's not about individual techniques. The body itself becomes Aiki.

However closely you watch my Aiki from the outside you will not understand. That's because I remove the power from my opponent through internal movements that do not show in the outer form. Now I am able to remove the enemy's power no matter where on my body I am grabbed. The source of this begins from a simple principle, but nobody understands. You can see whether somebody understands by watching their Aiki-age.
Sagawa, by the way, also had a large technical curriculum - there's no real conflict there.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-22-2012, 11:32 PM   #8
Ellis Amdur
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Mark - you wrote:
Quote:
Why does the form of the aiki arts stand out? Why did the Japanese Organization in 42 decide to label them something different? What caused this to happen?

The manner and form in which the attacker, or uke, responded to Ueshiba, Takeda, Horikawa, Sagawa, etc was very different. The body responses from uke was not "normal". As an aside, if you watch Mifune, you can see that his partners do not respond the same either. So, something was happening to cause these uke to move differently. Koryu jujutsu wasn't showing these attributes. Judo (except for certain people) wasn't showing these attributes. Why Daito ryu and Ueshiba ryu?
This is incorrect. What actually happened is this: The Nippon Butokukai had a dilemma. They had "divisions" - the judo division, the kendo division, etc. But there were a lot of independent grappling ryu, both koryu and modern. If, for example, they made a jujutsu division, then all the schools that called themselves koshi no mawari, kogusoku, kempo, torite, yawara, etc. would be miffed. Or, if they called it, yawara, the same problem. Daito-ryu and Ueshiba-ryu aikibudo were just two of maybe a hundred schools in the same boat. So the committee came up with a name that NO ONE could claim. Daito-ryu was either jujutsu or aikijutsu, and what Ueshiba was doing was aikibudo.

As far as an ordinary Japanese budoka was concerned, "aiki" was a term that could mean whatever they intended it to mean. Each division of Daito-ryu means something different by it, for example.

And "aikido," contrary to your thesis, merely meant to the Butokukai, a grab-bag term to hold all the non-judo, non-sumo grappling ryu, a term that would offend no-one.

However, it never took hold, except Ueshiba et al chose to use it themselves.

This is not a counter - or even a discussion - of your larger thesis.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 06-22-2012 at 11:35 PM.

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Old 06-22-2012, 11:54 PM   #9
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Hi Christopher,
Where Sagawa describes being able to see it in their aiki age, could you describe more about what you think that might mean?
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:02 AM   #10
Chris Li
 
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Hi Christopher,
Where Sagawa describes being able to see it in their aiki age, could you describe more about what you think that might mean?
Take care,
Matt
Sagawa, Takeda and Ueshiba all held in common the view that aiki age (kokyu-ho) demonstrated some of the core principles of what they were trying to do.

Here I'm assuming that he means that he would be able to evaluate people's understanding of those principles by watching them perform aiki-age. Can it be seen? Maybe, if you know what you're looking for - more likely, it's the difference in the effect on the partner, IMO.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-24-2012, 08:41 AM   #11
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I don't think that anyone has proposed that there was not a transmitted technical curriculum. OTOH, both Takeda and Ueshiba stressed that the techniques themselves were not very important. Once you forget that things start to go south, IMO. You start with these guys and you end up with this guy - they look alike, but that's where the resemblance ends.
Thanks Chris, great pic! I agree completely. I know first hand the frustration of being corrected on form when what you were doing worked, was stronger and felt "right" in regards to other things you may or may not be doing. The form should serve to allow you to feel certain qualities in you while connecting to, moving and controlling another person. Once you start feeling those qualities outside the techniques, it should be more about replicating those qualities in order to complete the technique rather than strict adherence to form, hopefully against people who are using those same qualities to make it more difficult on you. All these various types of waza and randori are just ways to test your ability to maintain those qualities in a variety of faster, more unpredictable ways, and hopefully more spontaneously as a result of those qualities being a part of you, infinite technique!

That has to be the goal and form in which these arts (DR too) were meant to be practiced. There just aren't a lot of logical options left to explore and we should probably accept that there was no secret, hidden teaching or practice method and it wasn't about direct fighting skill or realism. While the internals and aiki were lost, the outward form of it is pretty much what we know it as today. If people want more from a fighting perspective or active-ness, they should go outside and get it. Ueshiba didn't seem to care that Shioda went out and got in fights to test himself and Shioda didn't feel the need to bring some replication of that back into his art. It seems to me that if the internals and aiki are there and you're doing aikido as we know it, you're doing what they (Ueshiba, Takeda, etc) wanted, though they really seemed to only want or expect that from a very small number of students.

Since Mark doesn't respond to his own drive-by posts, I'll ask you. Is the form of practice he mentioned more common than my experience tells me it is? The whole "I made this movement, now you fall" type of thing? I know it's out there, I've experienced a little of it first hand, but most of it is what I've seen online. If so, then I can see where someone could see the form of aikido as being broken, but more of what I've experienced I would at least call decent aikido. Maybe not what I would want to be doing, but closer to that than the worst of what I've seen. At least something with enough weight to it to support the internals. Thanks.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:05 AM   #12
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Thanks Chris, great pic! I agree completely. I know first hand the frustration of being corrected on form when what you were doing worked, was stronger and felt "right" in regards to other things you may or may not be doing. The form should serve to allow you to feel certain qualities in you while connecting to, moving and controlling another person. Once you start feeling those qualities outside the techniques, it should be more about replicating those qualities in order to complete the technique rather than strict adherence to form, hopefully against people who are using those same qualities to make it more difficult on you. All these various types of waza and randori are just ways to test your ability to maintain those qualities in a variety of faster, more unpredictable ways, and hopefully more spontaneously as a result of those qualities being a part of you, infinite technique!

That has to be the goal and form in which these arts (DR too) were meant to be practiced. There just aren't a lot of logical options left to explore and we should probably accept that there was no secret, hidden teaching or practice method and it wasn't about direct fighting skill or realism. While the internals and aiki were lost, the outward form of it is pretty much what we know it as today. If people want more from a fighting perspective or active-ness, they should go outside and get it. Ueshiba didn't seem to care that Shioda went out and got in fights to test himself and Shioda didn't feel the need to bring some replication of that back into his art. It seems to me that if the internals and aiki are there and you're doing aikido as we know it, you're doing what they (Ueshiba, Takeda, etc) wanted, though they really seemed to only want or expect that from a very small number of students.
If you look at most martial arts through history, the 2nd generation after the founders tends to be much more form oriented. It's easier to transmit, and (probably) that's what most people think they're interested in. In Daito-ryu there were certainly forms of training that fell by the wayside despite being, perhaps, more substantive than the purely technical approach. That's why, IMO, when Ueshiba said that the technique itself really isn't that important - he meant it. Honestly, I don't think that a technically focused approach will ultimately get you where you want to go (OTOH, it's also important to have a strong technical repertoire - how's that for a catch-22? ).

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Since Mark doesn't respond to his own drive-by posts, I'll ask you. Is the form of practice he mentioned more common than my experience tells me it is? The whole "I made this movement, now you fall" type of thing? I know it's out there, I've experienced a little of it first hand, but most of it is what I've seen online. If so, then I can see where someone could see the form of aikido as being broken, but more of what I've experienced I would at least call decent aikido. Maybe not what I would want to be doing, but closer to that than the worst of what I've seen. At least something with enough weight to it to support the internals. Thanks.
The fact that so many people discuss it online tells you how rare it is, IMO.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-24-2012, 09:05 PM   #13
Chris Parkerson
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I don't think that anyone has proposed that there was not a transmitted technical curriculum. OTOH, both Takeda and Ueshiba stressed that the techniques themselves were not very important. Once you forget that things start to go south, IMO. You start with these guys

Chris
someone earlier in another thread said there is only one Budo?
Is this the ideal? I bet we may get there again in another 20 years. Here's the protocol:

1) walk 7-10 miles a day and give up your car
2) throw away the TV and air conditioning (especially in the dojo)
3) drink the purest water you can find
4) eat from the garden you tend and your allottment of rice
5) no processed sugars
6) work an outside job that includes physical labor
7) train like the Dog Brothers do.
8) survive the coming war

Whose game?

An invitation from

Chris

Last edited by Chris Parkerson : 06-24-2012 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:02 PM   #14
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
No more does the core body skill of aiki play a part in determining the form of aikido. Instead, it is set and cemented in outward physical techniques that can be visibly seen and ranked.
You paint with a very broad brush here Mark. Your statement may apply to the Aikikai, but the Aikikai isn't all of Aikido. From my early days with Maruyama sensei what you call the "core body skill of aiki" was an integral part of our training. In those days the form of training was modeled on the Ki development exercises originated by Tohei sensei. Even after leaving Ki Society, Sensei continued to emphasize and expand upon the idea that strength comes not from the repeated external application of technique but from the development of what became to be known as correct feeling (coordination of mind and body); that is internal strength that goes beyond what can be achieved with muscle alone.

As far as I know the Kokikai organization continues that tradition today. And I and my students have continued to explore the internal side of our own training in the 11 years since leaving Kokikai. I'm not commenting here on the effectiveness of my efforts or the success of Sensei's application of correct feeling, only that your statement is too sweeping in its scope.

Ron

Last edited by RonRagusa : 06-24-2012 at 10:05 PM.

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Old 06-25-2012, 10:35 AM   #15
MM
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Re: What makes the form of "aikido" ... aikido?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mark - you wrote:

This is incorrect. What actually happened is this: The Nippon Butokukai had a dilemma. They had "divisions" - the judo division, the kendo division, etc. But there were a lot of independent grappling ryu, both koryu and modern. If, for example, they made a jujutsu division, then all the schools that called themselves koshi no mawari, kogusoku, kempo, torite, yawara, etc. would be miffed. Or, if they called it, yawara, the same problem. Daito-ryu and Ueshiba-ryu aikibudo were just two of maybe a hundred schools in the same boat. So the committee came up with a name that NO ONE could claim. Daito-ryu was either jujutsu or aikijutsu, and what Ueshiba was doing was aikibudo.

As far as an ordinary Japanese budoka was concerned, "aiki" was a term that could mean whatever they intended it to mean. Each division of Daito-ryu means something different by it, for example.

And "aikido," contrary to your thesis, merely meant to the Butokukai, a grab-bag term to hold all the non-judo, non-sumo grappling ryu, a term that would offend no-one.

However, it never took hold, except Ueshiba et al chose to use it themselves.

This is not a counter - or even a discussion - of your larger thesis.

Ellis Amdur
Thanks Ellis. Brings up a few questions for me, but nothing important enough (nor related to aikido) to actually voice.

Mark
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