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Old 04-20-2013, 12:34 PM   #1
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

Another new blog, this time examining where the principles of aiki can be seen in the techniques of Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu. While Hakko Ryu forms of Aiki-Jujutsu place less stress on aiki than possibly Daito-Ryu or Aikido; I believe the principles are still there. From my own training aiki seems to be most connected to breaking balance in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu. Aiki is never talked about when explaining the waza (at least not at Shodan level), unless we are practising specific "aiki" variations. However, the principles of the circle, balance and posture and distance are. I believe all these principles are important to aiki both in Aiki-Jujutsu and Aikido, not just breaking balance. I hope my explanations are clear and concise.

http://myjujutsujourney.blogspot.co....i-jujutsu.html
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:40 PM   #2
Mert Gambito
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
Another new blog, this time examining where the principles of aiki can be seen in the techniques of Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu. While Hakko Ryu forms of Aiki-Jujutsu place less stress on aiki than possibly Daito-Ryu or Aikido; I believe the principles are still there. From my own training aiki seems to be most connected to breaking balance in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu. Aiki is never talked about when explaining the waza (at least not at Shodan level), unless we are practising specific "aiki" variations. However, the principles of the circle, balance and posture and distance are. I believe all these principles are important to aiki both in Aiki-Jujutsu and Aikido, not just breaking balance. I hope my explanations are clear and concise.

http://myjujutsujourney.blogspot.co....i-jujutsu.html
Ewen,

Hakkoryu includes principles and specific means by which to achieve aiki as core to the jujutsu and shiatsu aspects of the system. The opening section of the Hakkoryu shodan manual, which all mudansha first read, discusses kamae, eschewing use of force, and other qualities required for use of aiki, and use of ki specific to Hakkoryu through understanding of shiatsu (heck, the Hakkoryu public website even touches on these things openly).

Aiki Nage, for example, is a waza that appears early in the order of shodan-ge, and the spiraling in and yo that is required to create aiki is emphasized in that technique, building on the foundational in and yo of Hakko Dori (Hakkoryu's expression of Aiki Age, with emphasis on the atemi that generally differentiates Hakkoryu from Daito-ryu and aikido). Hakkoryu waza are ordered so that each informs its successors, so: Hakko Dori and Aiki Age, along with Atemi, lay the foundation for developing and using aiki, and ki via atemi, that are required for Te Kagami and the Osae Dori waza you mentioned in your blogpost.

Unfortunately, the degree to which these things are taught, and how they're taught, is a major mileage / kilometerage variable, as in Daito-ryu and aikido.

Mert
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:27 PM   #3
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Ewen,

Hakkoryu includes principles and specific means by which to achieve aiki as core to the jujutsu and shiatsu aspects of the system. The opening section of the Hakkoryu shodan manual, which all mudansha first read, discusses kamae, eschewing use of force, and other qualities required for use of aiki, and use of ki specific to Hakkoryu through understanding of shiatsu (heck, the Hakkoryu public website even touches on these things openly).

Aiki Nage, for example, is a waza that appears early in the order of shodan-ge, and the spiraling in and yo that is required to create aiki is emphasized in that technique, building on the foundational in and yo of Hakko Dori (Hakkoryu's expression of Aiki Age, with emphasis on the atemi that generally differentiates Hakkoryu from Daito-ryu and aikido). Hakkoryu waza are ordered so that each informs its successors, so: Hakko Dori and Aiki Age, along with Atemi, lay the foundation for developing and using aiki, and ki via atemi, that are required for Te Kagami and the Osae Dori waza you mentioned in your blogpost.

Unfortunately, the degree to which these things are taught, and how they're taught, is a major mileage / kilometerage variable, as in Daito-ryu and aikido.
Hi Mert,

Thank you for your reply and insight. Sadly I think some concepts are lost in translation sometimes. So for example "kamae" and "kuzushi" are never used in my club but posture and balance are. The same principles are being taught but there is no connection made to aiki. The issue I have is is that Aiki-Jujutsu is a Japanese martial art. If you don't use Japanese terminology to explain the principles behind the waza, then the concept of "aiki" can become lost and become just a name, merely a prefix added to Jujutsu. Likewise, we are constantly taught not to use strength, but again no connection is made to aiki...or even jujutsu for that matter. I want to know what distinguishes Aiki-Jujutsu from Jujutsu, hence my study. I believe aiki (though something to be internalized in practice) is a real martial concept. It puzzles me that it is not emphasised more in my club.
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Old 04-20-2013, 03:42 PM   #4
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Hi Mert,

Thank you for your reply and insight. Sadly I think some concepts are lost in translation sometimes. So for example "kamae" and "kuzushi" are never used in my club but posture and balance are. The same principles are being taught but there is no connection made to aiki. The issue I have is is that Aiki-Jujutsu is a Japanese martial art. If you don't use Japanese terminology to explain the principles behind the waza, then the concept of "aiki" can become lost and become just a name, merely a prefix added to Jujutsu. Likewise, we are constantly taught not to use strength, but again no connection is made to aiki...or even jujutsu for that matter. I want to know what distinguishes Aiki-Jujutsu from Jujutsu, hence my study. I believe aiki (though something to be internalized in practice) is a real martial concept. It puzzles me that it is not emphasised more in my club.
Yeah, what's something's called doesn't mean much in the greater scheme of things. I know that the Dentokan, KoKoDo and other arts that descended from Hakkoryu have changed nomenclature, and to varying degrees, the syllabus. Aiki Nage is still in the Dentokan's shodan-ge according to the Dentokan hombu's website. So, a natural question is, when Aiki Nage is taught, how is the definition, importance and role of aiki imparted to people who're learning that waza? This isn't something you necessarily have to publicly discuss here, if you're not comfortable doing so. But it is important for addressing what you're trying to resolve.

Now, after doing such investigation, if it turns out "aiki" is truly just an add-on term, then that is indeed too bad.

Last edited by Mert Gambito : 04-20-2013 at 03:45 PM.

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Old 04-20-2013, 04:48 PM   #5
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

don't get me wrong, I'm taught well. But as a brit living in England with English instructors who teach in English, sometimes I don't think we fully articulate the essence of the art, which is Japanese culturally and historically.
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:14 PM   #6
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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don't get me wrong, I'm taught well. But as a brit living in England with English instructors who teach in English, sometimes I don't think we fully articulate the essence of the art, which is Japanese culturally and historically.
Understood. Fortunately, it's not a barrier if there's underlying passion for and understanding of the subject matter.



There are Hakkoryu folks in the U.S., for example, who travel to Japan to train, even if a special event/training is not being hosted in Saitama. Fortunately, there are some quite accomplished teachers in the U.S. who are quite versed in Hakkoryu's internal aspects: and those are the folks who are ardent shiatsu practitioners.

Last edited by Mert Gambito : 04-20-2013 at 06:19 PM.

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Old 04-20-2013, 09:41 PM   #7
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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I want to know what distinguishes Aiki-Jujutsu from Jujutsu, hence my study. I believe aiki (though something to be internalized in practice) is a real martial concept. It puzzles me that it is not emphasised more in my club.
What distinguishes the two arts is muscle. The aiki-jujitsu art that I was cross training seperates the two levels by muscle. Once you get high enough into it, they then introduce the aiki. You re-learn the waza but with aiki involved. Some techniques stay the same while others add an extra step or two. If it is not emphasized in your club, you maybe are not high enough yet or that is something that you will have to investigate on your own using outside sources.
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:55 AM   #8
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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What distinguishes the two arts is muscle. The aiki-jujitsu art that I was cross training seperates the two levels by muscle. Once you get high enough into it, they then introduce the aiki. You re-learn the waza but with aiki involved. Some techniques stay the same while others add an extra step or two. If it is not emphasized in your club, you maybe are not high enough yet or that is something that you will have to investigate on your own using outside sources.
I appreciate that and it's probably true to a degree. There are several shihans in my club but not all of them either care to or are able to articulate the aiki side of the art. My senior shihan who has spent alot of time with Hobbs Sensei likes to lift the veil on the shihan kata more and introduce little nuances to students he feels are at a point where they can be shown it.
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:49 AM   #9
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

From Hakkoryu.com:
Quote:
Constant throughout Hakkoryu training is the concept of abandoning force. Muscular strength is not required in Hakkoryu. Instead, the techniques rely mainly on an understanding of anatomy and physiology, both the exponent's and his/her attacker. Disciples are encouraged always to relax both mind and body so that one's Tanden or Hara (center of gravity) settles in the proper place. Thus, body weight may be easily focused at various points during the execution of techniques. Should a disciple try to use strength alone, his/her body weight will not be focused properly, and techniques will be much less effective. Once a disciple can grasp and unconsciously practice this concept, progress becomes rapid.
Pretty straightforward admonition. The key is to devote whatever time and mental resources it takes to really understand this via jujutsu and shiatsu, with lots of time practicing both as discreet parts of the system and exploring the nexus between the two -- solo and paired.

Last edited by Mert Gambito : 04-22-2013 at 02:55 AM.

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Old 04-22-2013, 11:32 AM   #10
Devon Smith
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Mert Gambito wrote: View Post
From Hakkoryu.com:

Pretty straightforward admonition. The key is to devote whatever time and mental resources it takes to really understand this via jujutsu and shiatsu, with lots of time practicing both as discreet parts of the system and exploring the nexus between the two -- solo and paired.
Mert,

Glad you quoted it, as I would have done the same. About the only place "muscle" belongs in beginning the study of Hakkoryu is in one's wrist, and eventually we're supposed learn to negate that, too (I know, that sounds obscure). It took me a long time to embrace this, but it's key.

On a side note, we recently accepted a student who is built like like a brick outhouse (his trade is actually heavy masonry); you'd think he'd be the antithesis of relaxation. Turns out he has a significant background in a Chinese art called Wing Chun, and his ability to quickly learn correct posture and his ability to relax and "unuse" muscle is exemplary - he's going to be a quick study, I think. His biggest battle is proper use of his hands (grip) of all things, it's frustrating him a lot believe it or not!

Ewen,

The work you're doing to examine your jujutsu is exactly what every student should be doing to find out more. I don't know if you'll find what you're looking for with your school or not, as I don't have experience with them. Maybe compare notes with Richard Stevens who is also a member of your school with similar questions, he's also a member here.

Devon
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:38 AM   #11
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Mert,

Ewen,

The work you're doing to examine your jujutsu is exactly what every student should be doing to find out more. I don't know if you'll find what you're looking for with your school or not, as I don't have experience with them. Maybe compare notes with Richard Stevens who is also a member of your school with similar questions, he's also a member here.

Devon
Thank you.
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:37 PM   #12
Devon Smith
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Thank you.
You're very welcome. Reading your posts and your weblog makes me wish we weren't so far apart location-wise. If you're ever in the US near Michigan, please let me know ahead of time in case we can meet and spend some time together.

Devon
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:01 PM   #13
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Devon Smith wrote: View Post
You're very welcome. Reading your posts and your weblog makes me wish we weren't so far apart location-wise. If you're ever in the US near Michigan, please let me know ahead of time in case we can meet and spend some time together.

Devon
I'm humbled. Thank you for the invitation. I don't have any plans on visiting the US, but I am happy to make contacts and friends who I can learn from and interchange with in our study and practice and who knows what will happen in the future.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:04 PM   #14
Mert Gambito
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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I'm humbled. Thank you for the invitation. I don't have any plans on visiting the US, but I am happy to make contacts and friends who I can learn from and interchange with in our study and practice and who knows what will happen in the future.
Ewen,

I agree with the notion that exposure to Hakkoryu would be valuable: as first-hand reference to understand what's emphasized in Dentokan vs. its parent art, if nothing else. Training with Devon would definitely be worth the trip west.

Not sure if there are any Hakkoryu shihan in the UK.

Mert
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:58 PM   #15
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Mert Gambito wrote: View Post
From Hakkoryu.com:

Pretty straightforward admonition. The key is to devote whatever time and mental resources it takes to really understand this via jujutsu and shiatsu, with lots of time practicing both as discreet parts of the system and exploring the nexus between the two -- solo and paired.
Do you think this is the same in Kokodo Jujutsu?
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:50 AM   #16
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Do you think this is the same in Kokodo Jujutsu?
KoKoDo has gradually continued to differentiate itself from Hakkoryu over the years, but since KoKoDo is still a martial-and-healing system like Hakkoryu, I'd say the answer is yes.

When I was formally affiliated with KoKoDo, practicing kamae and developing spiraling within the kamae were emphasized by Irie Yasuhiro. Jamie Campbell and Ivo Belmans, two long-time KoKoDo shihan who were also affiliated with Hakkoryu in the past, also both emphasized the importance of practicing kamae -- though it was still up to the student to discover for himself / herself why this is important, and how to attain the qualities of relaxed strength. Ivo does quite a bit of traveling throughout Europe as KoKodo's main representative there. I would recommend you train with him as well, if the opportunity arises.

Last edited by Mert Gambito : 04-24-2013 at 11:58 AM.

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Old 04-24-2013, 12:24 PM   #17
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

do you know of any Kokodo clubs in the Kansai area of Japan? There's a club in Osaka according to the Kokodo website but as I don't know which part of Kansai I'm going to be living in yet, I was wondering if there were any alternatives?

I was thinking of transfering to Aikido when I move to Japan, however, one of my shihan's said he would ask Hobbs Sensei for a possible letter of introduction if he had any contacts in my area. I have no idea whether Hobbs would give me a letter or even if he has any contacts in the Kansai area, but as Aikido is not an art that falls under the Dentokan umbrella I would expect his links to be with Kokodo. However, that is just speculation on my part.
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:58 PM   #18
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

Ewen,

Please see my PM.

Mert
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:01 PM   #19
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

After a great deal of training in the system it makes more sense to refer to the Dentokan style as simply Jujutsu. Mainline Hakkoryu and KoKoDo seems to explore the concept of aiki in a way Dentokan does not. If you sat down and had a conversation about aiki with Hobbs sensei you would be presented with a viewpoint more in line with Karate-Do or Judo.

I've come to prefer the "mechanical" approach to aiki myself. I was initially caught up in the deep aiki/ip training concepts, but I find myself more interested in taking the other path. Kick them in the nuts, mochi mawari the crap out of their wrist and call it a day.
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:27 PM   #20
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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After a great deal of training in the system it makes more sense to refer to the Dentokan style as simply Jujutsu. Mainline Hakkoryu and KoKoDo seems to explore the concept of aiki in a way Dentokan does not. If you sat down and had a conversation about aiki with Hobbs sensei you would be presented with a viewpoint more in line with Karate-Do or Judo.

I've come to prefer the "mechanical" approach to aiki myself. I was initially caught up in the deep aiki/ip training concepts, but I find myself more interested in taking the other path. Kick them in the nuts, mochi mawari the crap out of their wrist and call it a day.
Well I've only had direct training from Hobbs once, at a seminar two years ago, but one of my shihans is a very senior ranking member of Dentokan, and often has anecdotes of his times training with Hobbs Sensei, so I think his teaching is a fairly good representation of Hobbs'. I would be inclined to agree based on my training that aiki is not really taught. However, as you mentioned Kokodo and Hakkoryu explore aiki in more depth and so I think it can be found in Dentokan, but you have to discover it for yourself. There's nothing wrong with having a strong foundation in Jujutsu and I like my training in Dentokan aiki-jujutsu and its emphasis on the Jujutsu waza. However, for me the martial arts are a path of learning and self-development, and I want to continue to pursue this path and not just tread water. Aiki, I believe is part of the path I have chosen through the martial arts and so therefore I want to learn how to develop it.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:02 PM   #21
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Well I've only had direct training from Hobbs once, at a seminar two years ago, but one of my shihans is a very senior ranking member of Dentokan, and often has anecdotes of his times training with Hobbs Sensei, so I think his teaching is a fairly good representation of Hobbs'. I would be inclined to agree based on my training that aiki is not really taught. However, as you mentioned Kokodo and Hakkoryu explore aiki in more depth and so I think it can be found in Dentokan, but you have to discover it for yourself. There's nothing wrong with having a strong foundation in Jujutsu and I like my training in Dentokan aiki-jujutsu and its emphasis on the Jujutsu waza. However, for me the martial arts are a path of learning and self-development, and I want to continue to pursue this path and not just tread water. Aiki, I believe is part of the path I have chosen through the martial arts and so therefore I want to learn how to develop it.
Here's a demo of Hakkoryu Niho Nage that can be used for reference and comparison: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v...type=2&theater

So, in one's respective art, what would be used to generate similar ukemi against someone who is bearing weight forward and down to defeat the Hakko Dori / Aiki Age?

Mert
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Old 04-30-2013, 03:05 PM   #22
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

Dentokan version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao2OKuVMnKw
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:12 PM   #23
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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Mert Gambito wrote: View Post
Here's a demo of Hakkoryu Niho Nage that can be used for reference and comparison: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v...type=2&theater

So, in one's respective art, what would be used to generate similar ukemi against someone who is bearing weight forward and down to defeat the Hakko Dori / Aiki Age?
Sorry but I don't exactly understand the question!?

What do you mean by "to defeat" the Hakko Dori/Aiki Age? If you mean what principles are employed to execute the technique, then it is the same - bodyweight and kuzushi.

This is the kihon waza version whereas the Hakkoryu demo appeared to be more of a henka waza version.

Last edited by aiki-jujutsuka : 04-30-2013 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:32 AM   #24
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

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What do you mean by "to defeat" the Hakko Dori/Aiki Age?
The uke is leaning forward, and pressing forward and down with his hands, frame and weight to keep the tori's / nage's arms pinned to the wall.

Mert
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:16 AM   #25
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Re: where is the Aiki in Dentokan Aiki-Jujutsu

I don't see any difference between dentokan and hakkoryu in this demo. However, the uke is wearing socks and so there is less friction on the mat, which aids the Shihan's escape. If it were the street with uke wearing shoes then it would be more difficult. With Nihonage I've always been taught to take posture first, keep body contact, while bringing their arm into your centre and get lower than your uke while tenkaning to break their balance.
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