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Old 04-18-2013, 10:59 AM   #26
jonreading
 
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
As to being "without foundation" - well, people from different ages are compared all the time without objective criteria. It's not a yes/no question. What do you think historians do? They evaluate people in the past, many times without solidly objective criteria.

Best,

Chris
Ted Williams is the greatest hitter of all-time. No drugs, no 350ft. fences, no strike zones the size of a small plate. Yet every year we hear about a "modern" best hitter ever. So yes, we constantly comparatively evaluate others in a manner that transcends time.

No one has surpassed Ueshiba Sensei in the sense that the over-whelming burden of the integrity and ethos of aikido was shouldered by him. Even today, mainstream aikido often relies on the ethos he established. Some of his early shihan would be the most likely candidates in that argument if you wanted to have it.

Technically, O Sensei not only transcended kata, but he was able to transcend the other Japanese systems and solicit appreciation from sister arts. I know of very few aikido people who have done that. Could Doshu look better [than O Sensei] doing irrimi nage? Possibly. Could he look better doing irrimi nage to any student from any other [Japanese] martial art? I am not sure if there is much evidence there... Some of the history folks may have a better idea of that.

Of course, this said, the political landscape of Japanese martial arts has altered, too. I am not sure if it is even possible to transcend martial art systems with the same scrutiny because there are so many more practitioners now.

Oh, and my dad could completely beat up O Sensei.

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Old 04-18-2013, 02:42 PM   #27
Dan Rubin
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Any discussion of the Asahi News demonstration should take into account Phil Davison's analysis of the film:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=704

Last edited by Dan Rubin : 04-18-2013 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:35 AM   #28
JJF
 
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Ted Williams is the greatest hitter of all-time. No drugs, no 350ft. fences, no strike zones the size of a small plate. Yet every year we hear about a "modern" best hitter ever. So yes, we constantly comparatively evaluate others in a manner that transcends time.
Yep.. it's just so much easier to evaluate once you got statistics... "O-sensei were able to do 27 throws in one minute" just dosn't have the ring to it does it?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
No one has surpassed Ueshiba Sensei in the sense that the over-whelming burden of the integrity and ethos of aikido was shouldered by him. Even today, mainstream aikido often relies on the ethos he established. Some of his early shihan would be the most likely candidates in that argument if you wanted to have it.
Yeah. Here's a thought: Even though O-sensei undoubtly was a great martial artist and innovator, the image of him presented to us is always the result of a communication process. The Aikikai should honor his remarkable work, but they also need him as the common fulcrum for all Aikido acrosse the world. We all may honor one or the other shihan who have been defining for the type of Aikido that we do, but we all agree O-sensei was unique. If we - just for arguments sake - were to agree that he was not, and that some other sensei had surpassed him... then what? how would this change the landscape of Aikido - especially the Aikikai?

This is one of those interesting intersections between the Japanese way and the western tradition of (over-)thinking and analyzing... so I'll just shut up now and go do my suburi

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Oh, and my dad could completely beat up O Sensei.
Na-ah.. no way! but my dad could wipe you'r dad out any day... can too

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

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Old 04-19-2013, 03:11 AM   #29
Chris Li
 
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Quote:
J�rgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
Yeah. Here's a thought: Even though O-sensei undoubtly was a great martial artist and innovator, the image of him presented to us is always the result of a communication process. The Aikikai should honor his remarkable work, but they also need him as the common fulcrum for all Aikido acrosse the world. We all may honor one or the other shihan who have been defining for the type of Aikido that we do, but we all agree O-sensei was unique. If we - just for arguments sake - were to agree that he was not, and that some other sensei had surpassed him... then what? how would this change the landscape of Aikido - especially the Aikikai?
Sure he was unique, so is everybody else.

Just because people have made advances that Newton never dreamed of doesn't mean that Newton's achievements (for example) were any less important. I'm not saying that anyone has or hasn't done that in Aikido - but I'm saying that for it to happen is natural, and nothing to worry about.

I have no doubt that the Aikikai needs Ueshiba. The question is, do we need the Aikikai?

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-19-2013, 06:34 AM   #30
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Hi Chris:
who is we?

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Old 04-19-2013, 03:45 PM   #31
Chris Li
 
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

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Hi Chris:
who is we?
Well, "we" in the generic sense - anybody doing Aikido.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-19-2013, 04:01 PM   #32
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

In terms of technical skill and aiki, I do think that there are some who have surpassed Ueshiba, and that at least one of his peers under Takeda surpassed him in aiki as well. But in terms of Ueshiba's aikido, as a personal art and philosophy, I doubt that anyone has yet surpassed him... because it's Ueshiba's own personal aikido. How can that be duplicated?
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:52 PM   #33
graham christian
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

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Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
This may sound like a controversial question, but do you think there has been anyone who has surpassed O'Sensei's technical ability? (I'm thinking particularly of Ueshiba's uchideshi or the former and current doshu his son and grandson)

In this old footage of O'Sensei from 1930, his demonstration looks well "soft" - by that I mean his ukes look as if they are very compliant and their ukemi looks exaggerated. They seem to break fall very easily and very dramatically, especially in the hamni handachi waza.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV_wS_QX6pk

Also he seems to hold his arms out a lot, which make the techniques look unrealistic - it's not so much his uke attacking him but rather complying with his leading...much like a dance!

Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to criticise O'Sensei or Aikido - I have a deep respect for both - it's just that I have seen more convincing Aikido demonstrations that I would recommend to people as examples of the brilliance of this wonderful art over this. It's for that reason I dare to ask the question, because it strikes me odd that I would be more embarrassed to show a demonstration by the founder of Aikido than one of his students or current doshu. It's also got nothing to do with whose Aikido is more martially effective. That is not the point of my observation here. It's purely about technical ability.

If anyone can give an explanation as to what O'Sensei is doing in this old demonstration that I am missing, which would help me appreciate his technique here, I would be very grateful.
Hi Ewen.
Just to answer your question re: holding his arms out and the resultant apparency given to the observer. Another part of Aikido I haven't heard much said about on which I agree. In fact I have heard much said about how people putting their arms out or even hanging their arms out seems to many rather unreal and even 'mew age' sometimes. Many things I have heard but few fit my reality.

To fully understand I would say you would have to first agree or be aware of the fact that he,O'Sensei was in my opinion operating from a transcended level. In other words first let's say he was above the norm even the master norm. Now to get an idea of what he was doing when 'offering' his hand or arm I would advise listening to Hikitsuchi Sensei who was very adamant about what that part of his Aikido was and indeed demonstrated it.

So back to my opinion. There is harmonizing with the opponents motion, action, Ki etc. That in itself is hard enough then there is even 'above that'. In my opinion this is where O'Sensei called it devine. Here he is 'calling out' the persons Ki rather than harmonizing with their attack. Thus he is 'attracting the attack thus already causing it before the other has started it.

I believe there are Japanese terminology which mean this type of thing also but of course being so hard to understand yet alone believe then the translation of such terminology is open to many opinions as to its meaning and what O'Sensei meant by it. One such which I was told sounds very funny in English and all I can say is it means as I have said above. However no doubt someone here who specializes in language could no doubt give many ideas about it. The wording was"saki no saki no saki" (I bet Phi will love this one)

Anyway, on a practice level based on my way of Aikido and centre which I say invites and welcomes then the extending of the hand is actual and symbolic in offering and at the same time inviting, drawing the opponent to attack. It's also like presenting what the opponent wants ie: a target that he thus cannot resist for that is his aim ie: to attack the target. Thus a step towards this would be sen no sen etc.

Peace.G.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:36 AM   #34
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Graham,

Drawing out your opponent's/uke's attack in order to apply a particular waza is high level from my understanding and is something Yoshinkan Aikido uses from the dvds I have on this style of Aikido. It's something which I think is important in real life. A truism in the martial arts is fight your own fight. I see this principle in randori - the way you move, avoid, deflect and redirect the attacker's force and energy is in a way making them fight your fight. Unfortunately I don't think the way this old video of O'Sensei from 1935 is filmed, is the best example of this.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:51 AM   #35
graham christian
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
Graham,

Drawing out your opponent's/uke's attack in order to apply a particular waza is high level from my understanding and is something Yoshinkan Aikido uses from the dvds I have on this style of Aikido. It's something which I think is important in real life. A truism in the martial arts is fight your own fight. I see this principle in randori - the way you move, avoid, deflect and redirect the attacker's force and energy is in a way making them fight your fight. Unfortunately I don't think the way this old video of O'Sensei from 1935 is filmed, is the best example of this.
Hi Ewen.
It sure is high level for watching O'Sensei is watching high level of course. There are so many pluses in the video, enough for a book but to stick to the point of drawing out the opponents Ki and causing the shape of the attack both then I see it throughout the video.

In the first part from knees he is causing the persons 'reaction' which he then takes. That's pretty standard. In the tachiwaza he is both drawing out and leading. In the kokyu he is doing it even more pronounced and indeed he does randori there too. With the 'spear' and 'sword' the way he does it cannot be done without doing so. Hard to see maybe and hard to find someone from whom you could experience it too and get reality but nonetheless to me and so in my opinion it shines out clearly.

When you do Randori of course it looks like avoid, deflect and redirect etc. but you will find it goes beyond that eventually. Then there is no avoidance or deflection but pure motion causing the actions of the attackers giving them no choice but to act as you desire. That's high level randori. That's the 'magic' of Ueshiba's Aikido.

My thoughts.

Peace.G.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:17 AM   #36
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Sure he was unique, so is everybody else.
My point exactly - but much simpler put

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I have no doubt that the Aikikai needs Ueshiba. The question is, do we need the Aikikai?
well... Christopher... let's not start that discussion again As I recall we have somewhat different opinions on that matter

Great day to all

JJ

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Old 04-22-2013, 10:41 AM   #37
Chris Li
 
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

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J�rgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
My point exactly - but much simpler put
My point was that, if everybody is "unique" then saying that Ueshiba is "unique":

Quote:
J�rgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
We all may honor one or the other shihan who have been defining for the type of Aikido that we do, but we all agree O-sensei was unique.
Doesn't really mean anything.

Why not evaluate him by what he did (and didn't do) in a realistic historical context rather than insisting on placing him in a heirarchy?

Of course, for obvious reasons, the Aikikai would like to place him at the top of a heirarchy - but is that really useful?

As to the Aikikai itself - I'm not opposed to the Aikikai, I myself am a member of the Aikikai, but I do think that they need to do some serious thinking about where things are going if they want to survive in any kind of a meaningful way.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-22-2013, 11:36 AM   #38
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Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Quote:
Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
Yep.. it's just so much easier to evaluate once you got statistics... "O-sensei were able to do 27 throws in one minute" just dosn't have the ring to it does it?

Yeah. Here's a thought: Even though O-sensei undoubtly was a great martial artist and innovator, the image of him presented to us is always the result of a communication process. The Aikikai should honor his remarkable work, but they also need him as the common fulcrum for all Aikido acrosse the world. We all may honor one or the other shihan who have been defining for the type of Aikido that we do, but we all agree O-sensei was unique. If we - just for arguments sake - were to agree that he was not, and that some other sensei had surpassed him... then what? how would this change the landscape of Aikido - especially the Aikikai?

This is one of those interesting intersections between the Japanese way and the western tradition of (over-)thinking and analyzing... so I'll just shut up now and go do my suburi

Na-ah.. no way! but my dad could wipe you'r dad out any day... can too
I am glad some one got that reference...

My opinion is that at some level, aikido needs to embrace modern role models who represent a high level of skill, leadership and ability to navigate the emerging landscape of modern arts. Right now, I believe there to be a number of individual shihan making these steps. Not all of these shihan are linked to the Aikikai or other aikido organizations - this means lesser influence over the entirety of the aikido community. Part of O Sensei's influence was the result of a different landscape of aikido, over which he held significant influence.

Now, if O Sensei was declared "without equal" and opined his skill was beyond our conmprehension. Case closed. I think the argument here really focuses on the idea of a metric by which to critically assess the skill of our leadership. In November of last year, Saotome sensei took a few minutes to discuss his personal goal of elevating his senior students beyond his skill level, thus creating a real expectation that is driving both his instruction and the learning curve for his [senior] students. I applaud this model, not necessarily because it is right or wrong, but because sensei is clearly moving in a direction that indicates his expectation is that his students should surpass him.

Instantly, this changes the perspective we have when we are on the mat with sensei. He is now doing things and then looking at you, expecting you to get it. And what's worse is his teaching is becoming better... Dammit, I know he knows that I know how to do that technique... This puts some amount of pressure on performance that has existed in a lesser degree. "Well, he's sensei" isn't quite good enough to excuse [your] inability to so something now...

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