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Old 05-16-2013, 01:27 AM   #1
Leonaiki
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Saito sensei's method

Philippe Voarino, the author of the Kajo series (now fully translated) begins with this new series a study of Morihiro Saito sensei's method.

The first article has a strong and maybe controversial point: the method is not Aikido.

Enjoy, share, comment...!

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Old 05-16-2013, 04:52 AM   #2
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Great article. Waiting for the next.

OTOH: Voarino Sensei looks better with moustache.

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Old 05-16-2013, 02:41 PM   #3
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Leon Bournazel wrote: View Post

The first article has a strong and maybe controversial point: the method is not Aikido.
He's right, but it's the same with any other teaching methodology.

If somebody tells he is doing the aikido of any sensei, I tell him he just follows his method, but he never does his aikido.
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Old 06-02-2013, 02:10 AM   #4
Leonaiki
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Hi all,

The second article of the series is now available.

What is the link between ikkyo and nikyo and why can't they be applied in the same direction ? ;-)

Enjoy, share, comment !
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:35 AM   #5
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Hello,

The third article of the series is now available at this address .

So what is the link between nikyo and sankyo? And which consequence if if is applied in the same direction as ikkyo omote?

Enjoy, comment, share...!

Cheers
L

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Old 06-13-2013, 01:56 PM   #6
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Re: Saito sensei's method

So I read these articles. Twice. Even after second read I can’t find any revolutionary ideas, only some very obvious statements. Pretty basic level of describing simplistic biomechanics.

I couldn’t find even smallest explanation about Aikido. Everything is about The Method. What author is describing are the minor adjustments to the deadly static form (kihon).

Author is trying to describe adjustments – hellas – adjustments are NORMAL part of any technique execution, even in kihon practice. You would not do the same form of kihon with 2 meters tall slim uke and with 1.5 m 150 kg uke, would you? Why author is wasting his time for such triviality?

This form of kihon is quite inefficient anyway. Even beginner can see it with naked eye.
Let’s start with the posture of uke. All way down uke is never unbalanced. His legs support strongly his center. Tori is so much occupied with wrist manipulation and keeping his hands in front of his own belly that he forgot to attack uke center. Because uke bended his upper body from hips down doesn’t mean he is unbalanced LOL

During the execution of the form, tori is walking in parallel with the line of his uke feet. It means he is allowing uke to turn his hips – consequently it means a possible counter. So we can see here a major opening in the technique. This opening should be fixed BEFORE we can start talking about uke’s wrist and elbow.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:21 AM   #7
Leonaiki
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Re: Saito sensei's method

HI all,

A bit of reading for the WE: the 4th article of the series is available.

Enjoy, comment, share...

Nagababa, indeed the series is about the method not AIkido itself (yet). The articles precisely point out the fact the kihon shown is uneffective.

May I suggest you ask P.Voarino direct on TAI? Best.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:19 AM   #8
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Leon Bournazel wrote: View Post
Nagababa, indeed the series is about the method not AIkido itself (yet). The articles precisely point out the fact the kihon shown is uneffective.

May I suggest you ask P.Voarino direct on TAI? Best.
My point is that the kihon HE is presenting is also ineffective. He is proposing slight modification on the surface without even touching weak foundations where the principle of unbalancing is not applied correctly.
You invited us to discuss and now redirecting discussion somewhere else

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:57 PM   #9
Leonaiki
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
My point is that the kihon HE is presenting is also ineffective. He is proposing slight modification on the surface without even touching weak foundations where the principle of unbalancing is not applied correctly.
You invited us to discuss and now redirecting discussion somewhere else
From my experience, it is VERY effective... It allows an instant adaptation to circumstances from one single initial movement.
What PV explains is that ikkyo to yonkyo are evenly distibuted on a downward spiral. When you rotate all techniques fall quite naturally from ikkyo, minimal rotation to yonkyo max rotation. The simplicity of the priciple behind is quite stunning, one entry, one rotation, many possibilities according to circumstances.

The kajo series may be of a great help to undesrtand the logic behind these related movement as explained in "Budo".
I can only but invite you to read them with an open mind, after all it's free knowledge and you can make honey out of it if you feel it is of some value, otherwise, discard it.

As for redirecting you to TAI website, it is only a matter of convenience, of course you will do as you like

Best.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:46 PM   #10
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Freaky! Re: Saito sensei's method

I just looked at the "Mistakes" pages on the site and it seems that the first Doshu didn't learn much from his father and needs Uncle Saito's help to improve his aikido. Where do we go wrong with our children!

Andrew Barron
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:59 AM   #11
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Leon Bournazel wrote: View Post
From my experience, it is VERY effective... It allows an instant adaptation to circumstances from one single initial movement.
What PV explains is that ikkyo to yonkyo are evenly distibuted on a downward spiral. When you rotate all techniques fall quite naturally from ikkyo, minimal rotation to yonkyo max rotation. The simplicity of the priciple behind is quite stunning, one entry, one rotation, many possibilities according to circumstances.

The kajo series may be of a great help to undesrtand the logic behind these related movement as explained in "Budo".
I can only but invite you to read them with an open mind, after all it's free knowledge and you can make honey out of it if you feel it is of some value, otherwise, discard it.

As for redirecting you to TAI website, it is only a matter of convenience, of course you will do as you like

Best.
To have a real discussion on the forum it is not enough to write "yes it is really effective" -- as we don't have any common definition what ‘efficiency' in aikido is LOL And!! even in the same dojo, what is efficient for a beginner may not be efficient for more advanced student.

Instead, please read my post carefully, I wrote few arguments from biomechanical point of view. Could you please address these arguments?
Thanks!

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:41 PM   #12
Leonaiki
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
To have a real discussion on the forum it is not enough to write "yes it is really effective" -- as we don't have any common definition what ‘efficiency' in aikido is LOL And!! even in the same dojo, what is efficient for a beginner may not be efficient for more advanced student.

Instead, please read my post carefully, I wrote few arguments from biomechanical point of view. Could you please address these arguments?
Thanks!
I am afraid I won't for I am not the auhor of the articles. I just want to let people know they exist. This was posted in the website section for that very reason and whilst we may talk about it, I don't feel qualified to answer your interesting questions.

Best
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:26 PM   #13
Leonaiki
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Re: Saito sensei's method

The fifth article of the series is available.

Gambarimasho....!
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:24 PM   #14
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Saito was, of course, very close to the Founder. On the other hand:

Quote:
Saito sensei lived 23 years with O sensei in Iwama, from 1946 to 1969 he had the privilege to train alone with the Founder on a daily basis,
Is not quite right. Especially after 1955 Ueshiba was in Iwama a third to half the time, or even less, at times. He spent quite a bit of time travelling - Osaka, Wakayama, Shingu, even Tokyo (especially towards the later 1960's).

Also Saito himself was working 24 hours on, 24 hours off - which means that he could train with Ueshiba at most every other day.

Put those together and you get an average access of maybe two days a week over those 23 years (maybe less) - which is still quite good, but quite a long way from daily.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-20-2013, 12:18 AM   #15
Leonaiki
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Saito was, of course, very close to the Founder. On the other hand:

Is not quite right. ...which is still quite good, but quite a long way from daily.

Best,

Chris
On a personal level I have to agree we you, at least partially.

My view on it is that Saito sensei was a pure product of O sensei's teaching from A to Z. And despite everything, he was probably amaong all students one of the few who had the closest relationship with M. Ueshiba. in French language "quotidien" has the added notion of familiarity, closeness, personal, close relationship, intimate, I guess this was worth being mentionned.

Besides, a quantitative centered approach may be not the most relevant view, after all there must have been some folks in Iwama who came training with O sensei every evening in the dojo, can it be said they received or understood more because of the quantity?

Somehow the 23 years span is an Iwama common place/meme that has been used often as some kind of proof or sign of some kind of "superior" transmission. In itself the figure is surely significant but my view is that it hides (or reveals rather) the quality of the transmission, otherwise Morihiro wouldn't have been renamed and made guardian of the place O sensei called "home"...
(Cf. G. Homma in an interview or article, I can't remember)

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Old 06-20-2013, 01:29 AM   #16
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Leon Bournazel wrote: View Post
On a personal level I have to agree we you, at least partially.

My view on it is that Saito sensei was a pure product of O sensei's teaching from A to Z. And despite everything, he was probably amaong all students one of the few who had the closest relationship with M. Ueshiba. in French language "quotidien" has the added notion of familiarity, closeness, personal, close relationship, intimate, I guess this was worth being mentionned.

Besides, a quantitative centered approach may be not the most relevant view, after all there must have been some folks in Iwama who came training with O sensei every evening in the dojo, can it be said they received or understood more because of the quantity?

Somehow the 23 years span is an Iwama common place/meme that has been used often as some kind of proof or sign of some kind of "superior" transmission. In itself the figure is surely significant but my view is that it hides (or reveals rather) the quality of the transmission, otherwise Morihiro wouldn't have been renamed and made guardian of the place O sensei called "home"...
(Cf. G. Homma in an interview or article, I can't remember)

Saito's not alone in this, of course, there are plenty of teachers whose students (and sometimes the teachers themselves) exaggerate their credentials. I've always thought that stating credentials that just aren't factually correct undermines the very real achievements of the people in question.

Of course - part of Morihiro's guardianship may have been that he was the only one there and was living on the property (and had been for some time) - that would make him the obvious choice doesn't it? And it doesn't require a hypothetical quality of transmission.

It get's trickier when you start talking about the quality of the transmission - just about everybody has a reason or reasons why their particular transmission is better/deeper/more authentic than the next guy's.

Why not just forget about it and just base what we're talking about on what they actually did and showed?

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-20-2013, 02:07 AM   #17
Leonaiki
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Saito's not alone in this, of course, there are plenty of teachers whose students (and sometimes the teachers themselves) exaggerate their credentials. I've always thought that stating credentials that just aren't factually correct undermines the very real achievements of the people in question.

Of course - part of Morihiro's guardianship may have been that he was the only one there and was living on the property (and had been for some time) - that would make him the obvious choice doesn't it? And it doesn't require a hypothetical quality of transmission.

It get's trickier when you start talking about the quality of the transmission - just about everybody has a reason or reasons why their particular transmission is better/deeper/more authentic than the next guy's.

Why not just forget about it and just base what we're talking about on what they actually did and showed?

Best,

Chris
One preliminary point: I really don't care about the controversy between Iwama and AIkikai or any Aikido tribe... That must be said because I absolutely won't take side here, I really don't give a flying you know what.

Agree on all that as long as everybody agrees on the fact we are all reasonning on hypothesis... maybe he was the only one around, maybe he was not, everything is in the "maybe" for us... the fact is that he was chosen, what else can we say?
Understanding (and accepting) all dimensions and aspects of a situation or relation in which we weren't involved is tricky, maybe even more if we are involved, ...

I wasn't implying that this transmission is better than any other one, which is the last of my concerns. I have chosen mine and good luck to all others. At some point one needs to trust our predecessors and their choices, they must have had good reasons... If you feel in your practice that the method is useful, you come to trust its author more and more I suppose. At least it works like that for me.

And I agree we should focus on more pragmatic aspects. Maybe a fine achivement of M.Saito's method is that even after years, we still find hidden gems, digging layers after layers as these articles show in a very pragmatic, technical way IMHO.

Best,
L

(Love your blog BTW, I'm compiling various bits of info which seem to reveal an uderlying Central Unique Truth - no I 'm joking - but at least something interesting :-)
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Old 06-20-2013, 04:34 AM   #18
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Re: Saito sensei's method

One missing detail from the analysis of gokkyo in method #5 is that Ueshiba appears to be performing the technique from shomen uchi while Saito is performing it from yokomen uchi. The entrances into the techniques are different.

For a video, look up the Aikido Alive London youtube account, check out their videos of Saito Sensei, yokomenuchi, shomenuchi, and tanken dori. The tanken dori video has gokkyo at the end and is quite direct. The others feature the gokkyo techniques, omote and ura, around the four and a half minute mark or so.

One of my other big problems with this type of analysis is drawing conclusions off of a limited number of pictures from Ueshiba's staged for posterity stills against stills taken of Saito performing techniques in motion. Are there any pics of Ueshiba bringing uke to the mat? Hard to tell just what is going on from two pairs of photos, and when compared to the far more dynamic 1935 Ueshiba film the Budo photo series seems rather a staid affair. "Oh, gokkyo eh? Very well, have at me."

I admire what Voarino Sensei has done in finding correlations between groups of techniques and movements, I think there's a lot of good material to be had there. That said, there are certain things I just can't get behind. For example, in the Kajo series, the whole shebang about the 23 degrees rotation of the earth being a keypoint for understanding the true nature of Aikido because O'Sensei once said something about the rotation of the planet.

This is then spun into being the key to understanding the secret of the whole Kajo system, but only if we stretch the number of degrees up from 23 to 30, because Ueshiba said in Budo that one must open your legs in a Roppho (60 degrees) stance. BOTH legs open to sixty degrees, and because 30 and 30 is sixty, we now are using the tilt of the earth's rotation to stand in roppho! Except when roppho means 6 directions, which it does a few kajos later. Or something, it gets kind of fuzzy.

I'll give this a try too. Well, 23 and 23 is 46... Where did the extra 14 degrees go?!? Perhaps if we round that up to 15, double it because of omote and ura being TWO different directions, then we'll get thirty, one for each leg! Which brings us back to 60 degrees! Roppho!

You see. There's just a little too much of that kind of thinking scattered throughout the analysis to really wow me. Yes, the human body moves along certain vectors and if bones twist this way or that you'll see how they connect in motion. Agreed and well done, keep up the good work. As for the rest I'm reminded of the Honorable Louis Farrakhan and his amazing numerological speechifying at the Million Man March back in the day. (Dear non-US readers, please google it, its a scream). Less of that and more of the other.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:56 AM   #19
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Leon Bournazel wrote: View Post
One preliminary point: I really don't care about the controversy between Iwama and AIkikai or any Aikido tribe... That must be said because I absolutely won't take side here, I really don't give a flying you know what.

Agree on all that as long as everybody agrees on the fact we are all reasonning on hypothesis... maybe he was the only one around, maybe he was not, everything is in the "maybe" for us... the fact is that he was chosen, what else can we say?
Well, it's not about Tokyo/Iwama, this kind of thing goes around everywhere.

The fact is...this guy got tenth dan, so did that guy over there, the other guy over there got menkyo kaiden, the guy on the other side over there was asked to be the successor, the one over there had this or that kind of special relationship, it goes on and on, all supported by "facts".

It's hard (IMO) to justify an understanding by reference, not even to a third party, but by reference to one's relationship to that third party.

Anyway, I always enjoyed training with Saito in Iwama, FWIW...

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-20-2013, 01:16 PM   #20
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Terry Dobson told me once:
Quote:
Osensei had this certain thing he did where, when he showed you something, you got the clear impression that he was saying between the lines: "Right here, I'm teaching you the real thing. These other guys, they really can't get it, so I just show them what I can to keep them occupied. But I'm teaching you the real goods." Ellis, I honestly believe that he said that to me and meant it. I also believe that every other deshi of Osensei experienced the same thing. I'm the only one, though, that thinks that's funny.[
Ellis Amdur

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Old 06-21-2013, 12:59 AM   #21
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Terry Dobson told me once:
Quote:
Osensei had this certain thing he did where, when he showed you something, you got the clear impression that he was saying between the lines: "Right here, I'm teaching you the real thing. These other guys, they really can't get it, so I just show them what I can to keep them occupied. But I'm teaching you the real goods." Ellis, I honestly believe that he said that to me and meant it. I also believe that every other deshi of Osensei experienced the same thing. I'm the only one, though, that thinks that's funny.[

Ellis Amdur
This can happen every time a really high quality teacher, while teaching you on a personal basis, gets a grip on you from the inside and if you're not level headed enough, you start to feel exceptional.

May be, here we find one of the top motivations of many to give all and continue to adhere to and adore this special teacher for the rest of their life. They probably have him on their mind then every day even if, in fact, they had access to his teachings only now and then.

This would explain a lot.

Best
Bernd
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Old 10-12-2013, 04:24 AM   #22
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Eventually the last article on Saito sensei's methodology written by Philippe Voarino

http://www.aikidotakemusu.org/en/node/919

With many apologies for being so late, this has been a very busy summer.

Enjoy.

L
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Old 10-12-2013, 05:45 AM   #23
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Re: Saito sensei's method

Quote:
Leon Bournazel wrote: View Post
Eventually the last article on Saito sensei's methodology written by Philippe Voarino

http://www.aikidotakemusu.org/en/node/919

With many apologies for being so late, this has been a very busy summer.

Enjoy.

L
Not to quibble, but the "Ogen Sensei" quoted in the article is actually Kiichi Hogen, and the quote cited actually comes from a book that he possessed.

FWIW, I think that the argument that Morihei Ueshiba intended to designate Morihiro Saito as the protector of the technical method is a bit of a stretch. I do believe that Saito took that as his personal mission.

Best,

Chris

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