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Old 08-31-2013, 08:24 PM   #201
Keith Larman
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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This should really be a different thread, but I'll bite here. I have never seen any convincing evidence that Aikido movement is based on any style of kenjutsu. If there ever was a connection, I think it was lost a long time ago. I think Aikido movement is based on what works well with the human body at the ranges that Aikido is practiced.
I'll bite as well because I think there is something really odd about the original comment about daito ryu and swords.

The word daito in sword parlance simply means, well, large sword. Dai or O (ya know, O-sensei) means "big or large or great". The kanji for To here means "sword". It is often used if you're referring to the large sword in a daisho (meaning long and short sword "set"). So the katana is a daito while the tanto or wakizashi of a set is the sho (or shoto).

My understanding is that daito in Daito Ryu refers to a different kanji entirely for To. Something along the lines of "Great East". Same dai, different to.

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Old 08-31-2013, 08:37 PM   #202
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I'll bite as well because I think there is something really odd about the original comment about daito ryu and swords.

The word daito in sword parlance simply means, well, large sword. Dai or O (ya know, O-sensei) means "big or large or great". The kanji for To here means "sword". It is often used if you're referring to the large sword in a daisho (meaning long and short sword "set"). So the katana is a daito while the tanto or wakizashi of a set is the sho (or shoto).

My understanding is that daito in Daito Ryu refers to a different kanji entirely for To. Something along the lines of "Great East". Same dai, different to.
Keith, you are quite correct. The "daito" of Daito Ryu is 大東 (great south) while the the other is 大刀 (big sword). 大刀 is a pretty uncommon usage. Usually they go with 太刀(big sword) or just katana 刀. I will add however that usage rules in kanji are a mess, and I don't ever expect to fully understand them.

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Old 08-31-2013, 09:02 PM   #203
Devon Smith
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

Correction: 東 = East.

Devon
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:07 PM   #204
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Speaking as a former classical voice student, I can assure everyone that opera is still opera, even when it is watched -- and even performed -- outside of an opera house and in casual clothes.
You don't have to be a fat lady with a shield and horned helmet?!
There still is a universal terminology for music, and a subset of that for opera, no?
The terminology, and music itself, allows opera singers and musicians from around the world to speak the same language, whether their native tongue is Japanese, English, Khmer or Italian.

But, would you perform an Italian opera in Nordic attire? Or Wagnerian works dressed as the cast of "Carmen"? Wouldn't something be missing, graphically, if you just did these works in street clothes? How would you be able to tell who the characters were, or where they were, or their stations in life? Opera is opera with or sans attire or opera hall, but it's even more so when it is dressed in the trappings that its composers had in mind when they wrote the pieces.

With martial disciplines, we can learn just the physical skill set, or we can incorporate a cultural and historic context to what we're doing as a way of stepping from the workaday world into a training environment in which our adherence to rei, specialized terminology and dress become a form of meditation that enhances our focus. That's how I see it, at least, and in that context it is not outdated or ludicrous at all.
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:50 PM   #205
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
You don't have to be a fat lady with a shield and horned helmet?!
There still is a universal terminology for music, and a subset of that for opera, no?
The terminology, and music itself, allows opera singers and musicians from around the world to speak the same language, whether their native tongue is Japanese, English, Khmer or Italian.

But, would you perform an Italian opera in Nordic attire? Or Wagnerian works dressed as the cast of "Carmen"? Wouldn't something be missing, graphically, if you just did these works in street clothes? How would you be able to tell who the characters were, or where they were, or their stations in life? Opera is opera with or sans attire or opera hall, but it's even more so when it is dressed in the trappings that its composers had in mind when they wrote the pieces.

With martial disciplines, we can learn just the physical skill set, or we can incorporate a cultural and historic context to what we're doing as a way of stepping from the workaday world into a training environment in which our adherence to rei, specialized terminology and dress become a form of meditation that enhances our focus. That's how I see it, at least, and in that context it is not outdated or ludicrous at all.
Your opera analogy breaks down in light of the way opera is often performed. Many modern opera companies (even world-class ones like the Lyric in Chicago) got bored with traditional costumes and sets a long time ago. I've seen Pagliacci performed in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and The Barber of Seville performed in a dream world where furniture floats near the ceiling.

Next, I don't think anyone in this thread is arguing that anything is outdated or ludicrous. The question at hand is: if you take certain things away from aikido that are not part of the physical, technical practice of the art, is it still aikido? And when you say, "Opera is opera with or sans attire or opera hall," it sounds to me like you think the answer is yes.

In regards to your specific point about terminology, I think most activities that are widely practiced internationally have a language that serves as their international medium. Russian tennis players know English tennis terminology, German fencers know French fencing terminology, and I, an American musican, know Italian musical terminology. International terminology is a useful thing to have. We keep it around, I think, because it's useful, not because it is sacred or essential.

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Old 08-31-2013, 11:02 PM   #206
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Keith, you are quite correct. The "daito" of Daito Ryu is 大東 (great south) while the the other is 大刀 (big sword). 大刀 is a pretty uncommon usage. Usually they go with 太刀(big sword) or just katana 刀. I will add however that usage rules in kanji are a mess, and I don't ever expect to fully understand them.
Actually daito is used rather often in the world of those interested in the history of the Japanese sword and/or collecting of nihonto. If it's any more clear, daito is a generic term for long sword. Tachi refer to the earlier swords worn edge down slung from hangers. The "daito" of this period are called tachi in specific because of both their shapes and also their functional mode of wearing. Tachi will have the smith's signature on the "other" side of the nakago as compared to katana of later history (worn edge up). Many tachi were shortened from their originally very long and graceful shapes in to shorter versions more amenable to the "new style" of wear. So given that context collectors will tend to refer to any blade longer than a wakizashi as a daito especially if they're trying to avoid making any assertion as to more specifics about its provenance. So a marvelous suriage'd Go Yoshihiro I was quite honored to have spent time studying a few years ago was a tachi shortened at some point and remounted as an uchi katana. It is a daito as it was still longer than a wakizashi. Is it a tachi still? Is it a katana? It depends on how you look at it. It was originally a tachi suriage'd (shortened) into a size amenable to wearing as a katana. But still a daito.

As I said it is also quite commonly used when you have sword either forged as a set with a long and short blade *or* you have a long and short sword *mounted* to go together as a matched set. Both together are considered a daisho with the daito being the long sword, the shoto being the short one. The daito could be a katana or tachi. The shoto could be a wakizashi or tanto.

So in the collecting/studying nihonto crowd daito is a rather generic term simply meaning "long sword". There are more specific words for specific examples of long swords.

Yeah, it's that kanji thing again. And not to mention a greater than 1000 year history with all sorts of terms going in and out of vogue. You can go nuts keeping track of the various terms that often refer the bloody near the exact same thing.

Attached is one of my favorite pictures ever. There is a kanji that looks *similar* to the kanji on his shirt that is pronounced the same that means "samurai". Unfortunately the kanji he has actually means hemorrhoid.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:18 AM   #207
Janet Rosen
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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When I read you, I think that the question you are answering can be replaced, "When coming to an opera theatre in shorts instead in a tuxedo, the opera is still an opera or something else?
exactly!

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Old 09-01-2013, 12:21 AM   #208
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Your opera analogy breaks down in light of the way opera is often performed. Many modern opera companies (even world-class ones like the Lyric in Chicago) got bored with traditional costumes and sets a long time ago. I've seen Pagliacci performed in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and The Barber of Seville performed in a dream world where furniture floats near the ceiling.

Next, I don't think anyone in this thread is arguing that anything is outdated or ludicrous. The question at hand is: if you take certain things away from aikido that are not part of the physical, technical practice of the art, is it still aikido? And when you say, "Opera is opera with or sans attire or opera hall," it sounds to me like you think the answer is yes.

In regards to your specific point about terminology, I think most activities that are widely practiced internationally have a language that serves as their international medium. Russian tennis players know English tennis terminology, German fencers know French fencing terminology, and I, an American musican, know Italian musical terminology. International terminology is a useful thing to have. We keep it around, I think, because it's useful, not because it is sacred or essential.
Thank you for saying what I was thinking, and saying it better than I would have.

Janet Rosen
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:33 AM   #209
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

And after going off on that *long* tangent about daito, kanji, and the inherent danger of reading in to things via translation, I forgot to mention the one thing that was more relevant to this thread (although I think it all is relevant, actually, and symptomatic of the thinking that causes debate where none is really necessary). If you look at the history of the Japanese sword it was a history that constantly morphed, shifted, and at a few times was almost completely lost. Floods ravaged Bizen at one point wiping out a lot of sword making "technology". The relative peace of the Tokugawa era actually ushered in a great deal of changes in swords, some of which many complain resulted in inferior swords (hence the prized status of Koto (the old sword era) as compared to "Shinto" (the new sword era). And of course there was the Meiji restoration, the prohibition on wearing swords, and then of course WWII which almost completely decimated the craft. However, things went on, things changed, and new stuff emerged. Meaning for anything that is alive in a new day and age is touched in some manner by the time. Even koryu arts see subtle changes over time -- the real difference is that they've been around longer. Swords *were* influenced by foreign imports such as foreign steel (the so-called "Namban steel") as an example. And the transition from wearing swords as tachi, slung low from hangers to wearing as uchigatana (thrust through the obi edge up) didn't happen overnight. It took over a century (or maybe longer) for the "style" to complete the change. And I would bet you could find someone who still slides on all the old armor and wears a tachi hung from the belt instead. The point I'm making is that every change probably generated the same debate we're seeing here, with the "traditionalists" saying "it's just not swordsmanship anymore" or whatever. And they'll list the reasons why including how it's tradition, how doing it this way rather than that way teaches different lessons.

So they quibble about what to call this new fangled thing. But over the long term, well, whatever evolves and whatever sticks ends up being whatever it is called. Sure, the debate can be important if we're concerned with losing important things or if we feel that something critical to the very "soul" of the art is being lost -- The introduction of mass produced blades in WWII followed by the allies banning weapons, swords included, was almost the death of the traditional sword craft (thank God IMHO exceptions were eventually made for traditional craft). And yet even today in the traditional craft the very exceptions that allowed the traditional craft to survive the aftermath of WWII are the things modern smiths often push up against, bristling at what they see as stagnating rules preventing creativity and experimentation, all critical for the survival of an art.

Anyway, things evolve. Things do what they do. Heck, the analogy of a river flowing is used to describe traditional ryuha as it is. It flows, it changes slowly, it sometimes takes a hard left turn. It is the nature of the beast. And saying "oh, that's not *really* this or that" strikes me as short sighted and a narrow point of view. History will decide in the long run. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be extremely careful about shifting too much too fast -- of course. I've got stories about that problem as well in Japanese swords. Mistakes, omissions, losses of critical information due to those who really shouldn't be innovating deciding they know what they're doing. Heck, there is no shortage of examples of people like that on this forum IMHO.

But enough rambling for me for today. Have a great day everyone!

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Old 09-01-2013, 01:47 PM   #210
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Correction: 東 = East.

Devon
Thanks Devon. I have once again proven that I am directionally impaired in all the languages I speak.

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Old 09-01-2013, 01:51 PM   #211
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Actually daito is used rather often in the world of those interested in the history of the Japanese sword and/or collecting of nihonto.

<snip>

So in the collecting/studying nihonto crowd daito is a rather generic term simply meaning "long sword". There are more specific words for specific examples of long swords.

Yeah, it's that kanji thing again. And not to mention a greater than 1000 year history with all sorts of terms going in and out of vogue. You can go nuts keeping track of the various terms that often refer the bloody near the exact same thing.
.
Ok, I'll take your word for it. I mostly hang out with sword swingers and a few smiths in Japan. I don't really do much with the collecting crowd. Amongst the sword swingers I know, I haven't run into the term much at all.

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Old 09-01-2013, 05:00 PM   #212
Keith Larman
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Ok, I'll take your word for it. I mostly hang out with sword swingers and a few smiths in Japan. I don't really do much with the collecting crowd. Amongst the sword swingers I know, I haven't run into the term much at all.
I haven't heard it used often in the sword swinger crowd myself. I hear it conversationally occasionally among collectors, however.

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Old 09-01-2013, 05:46 PM   #213
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Thank you for saying what I was thinking, and saying it better than I would have.
Aww, shucks.

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Old 09-02-2013, 03:13 AM   #214
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Anyway, things evolve. Things do what they do. Heck, the analogy of a river flowing is used to describe traditional ryuha as it is. It flows, it changes slowly, it sometimes takes a hard left turn.
What a lovely comparison! Traditions changes to fit modern times and the most important factor of it is people IMHO. Something that can't adapt to modern times near by oblivion. But it's still question: is traditions itself changes or traditions gets new shape only?
Have practice aikido in clothe other than keikogi influence on aikido traditions? Seems to me it's personal attitude more than rule.

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Old 09-02-2013, 12:50 PM   #215
Scott Harrington
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

Long Thread, some meandering.

On the comparison on Koryu and Western Gun Shooters (generally 19th century American.)

There is an organization SASS -- Single Action Shooters Society, that involves dressing in period costume of the west, complete with gamblers, whores (excuse me -- prostitutes), ladies, cowboys, lawmen, and shootists. Good for some history, TV show history, some fiction, and some laughs. BUT they compete with something called LIVE AMMO for accuracy and speed in matches (against targets, of course). So they are very capable in shooting Shotguns, Winchesters, and Colt six gun revolvers. Very Competent. Some koryu do not even cut things. Some do.

Aikido is a late 20th century construct derived from a late 19th century Jujutsu derived from much earlier sources. It is a pleasant mix of philosophy, body movement, smattering of Japanese culture, on occasion weapon works, and jujutsu techniques with several different operating systems (ki, flowing, muscular, technique driven, aiki (supposedly) and a veritable mix of the previous.

From NLP (neuro linguistic programming), we get the theory that as we eliminate various big and small factors you should be able to distill the actual operating principle. What you do with the remnant is up to you.

Japanese culture / clothing is just as applicable as Western Clothing. Example - six gun shooting depends on single action mechanical firing system which requires a certain kind of holster and loading pattern (holds six, load five).

Modern pistol shooting have gone to automatics with magazines and has its own peculiarities -- some applicable to the street, police, and military -- some not so.

Most Martial arts are attracted to an art, not just by its techniques / operating system but also its cultural roots. Some end up being Japanopiles / Sinophiles / Whateverphiles. Some do not.

Back to NLP, it is rare for a martial art to be taught without certain rules (damage usually results in impromptu or unorganized practice). Cultural roots usually provide this in some manner (bowing, partner practice, etc.)

On a side note, "the 2 reps on a side, let's change" to me is the WORST training method out there. No coach or music teacher or circus trainer would EVER follow this system.

In closing, on the Western gun fighting draw competition, Takeda ryu actually does this in a competition form with drawing swords. Go figure.

In double closing . Statement by Demetrio Cereijo "There's no collar & elbow grip tradition in japanese jujutsu." -- This is wrong on so many levels.

Scott Harrington
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:54 AM   #216
Lorien Lowe
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

A couple of people have mentioned school or military uniforms, but I didn't see anyone really get into *why* schools and the military require uniforms (it's late, I'm tired, I might have missed it). Part of the reason that schools require uniforms is that it makes all of the students look similar, regardless of their backgrounds. A person could wear pants with the crotch at their knees and their underwear showing outside the dojo, but when they put on the dogi they're just another student, no different from the guy who wears a business suit outside of the dojo. The military uniform is an extension of that, with internal rank added: the guy who usually wears the baggy pants might be a sandan, and the business man a gokyu, and their relative ranks in the dojo are broadcasted as different from their relative ranks outside of the dojo in part because of their training uniforms. For most humans, hierarchy matters even if it's not as overtly observed as in the dojo. Some other ranked, universal exercise clothing would also work... but, as someone else already said, why fix what ain't broken?

Another thing that people are touching on but haven't (as far as I have picked up on) completely elucidated is that what we do every day in the dojo isn't necessarily the same thing as what we do 'in real life' or 'on the street.' If we execute a technique on a drunken guy at a party without bowing to him, it might or might not be 'aikido' but whether or not it's aikido doesn't have much to do with the presence or absence of a bow in that case. On the other hand, if you *almost always* or *almost never* bow while training in aikido, I think that will impact your overall practice and whether or not you should consider it 'aikido.'

apologies if I'm rehashing things that have already been discussed.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:18 AM   #217
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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In double closing . Statement by Demetrio Cereijo "There's no collar & elbow grip tradition in japanese jujutsu." -- This is wrong on so many levels.
I'm not even going to dignify that with a response.

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Old 09-05-2013, 07:00 AM   #218
Cliff Judge
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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I'm not even going to dignify that with a response.
I am just going to assume it is a language barrier thing that makes you seem to be confidently asserting erroneous facts when in reality you have no idea what you are talking about.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:44 AM   #219
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

Language barrier, ignorance or awareness about traditional jujutsu having been developed in (and for engagements in) a weapons culture (where collar & elbow gripping the opponent Judo style meant being gutted), you can assume what you want... or provide koryu jujutsu densho to show how Judo style gripping was common and widely used before Kano and how I have no idea about what Im talking about.

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Old 09-05-2013, 08:39 AM   #220
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

Yagyu Shingan ryu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzTCQk2KHyQ

Takenouchi ryu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3ijOM7wxeo

Techniques from eri dori are extremely common among armored systems. They are so prevalent, in fact, that grabbing an opponent by the collar and throwing them down was clearly a standard battle tactic.

As for sode dori, quite common among the jujutsu systems that accomodated plains-clothes situations, such as Tenshin shin yo ryu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_9MtlLsrjU

(nice one at 3:48).

Daito ryu has a number of kata with sleeve grabs as well.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:43 AM   #221
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

I wear a hakama.

It is made of a blended permanent-press fabric.

Debate. Discuss.

(or better yet...eh, never mind)
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:59 AM   #222
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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Yagyu Shingan ryu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzTCQk2KHyQ

Takenouchi ryu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3ijOM7wxeo

Techniques from eri dori are extremely common among armored systems. They are so prevalent, in fact, that grabbing an opponent by the collar and throwing them down was clearly a standard battle tactic.

As for sode dori, quite common among the jujutsu systems that accomodated plains-clothes situations, such as Tenshin shin yo ryu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_9MtlLsrjU

(nice one at 3:48).

Daito ryu has a number of kata with sleeve grabs as well.
There's no collar and elbow gripping in these clips.

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Old 09-14-2013, 09:35 PM   #223
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

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There's no collar and elbow gripping in these clips.
Oh. Well then I agree with your whole thing.
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:52 PM   #224
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

When I put on a hakama and bow, does it mean the same thing to me as it does to someone whose culture that belongs to? I doubt it. I doubt it would even if I became fluent in Japanese and lived in Japan (though I might get closer). It means something but what I am not sure. If aikido is not techniques, nor clothing, nor manners....maybe it's practice. Maybe it's empty.

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Old 09-16-2013, 11:52 AM   #225
jonreading
 
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Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
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Re: Is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
There's no collar and elbow gripping in these clips.
To be fair, I do not think I can recall seeing a judo match where uke grabs tori with a classic lapel/sleeve grab. I have only seen that classic grab when performing kata. Usually, I see a single grab that works its way into a sleeve/lapel right before a throw. I cannot advocate for a point of origin, but I feel sorry for the poor sucker that grabs with two hands without kuzushi.

This is one of our judo guys, Mark Fletcher:
http://youtu.be/QkZfwvAfyv0
For those of you that know Mark, he is scary.

You can see him work his grab in this clip; he actually breaks back to a single grab to advance to a back grip, too.

I bring this up to illustrate 2 things:
1. While judo is commonly thought of a Japanese, it is a world sport that has been influenced in tradition by countries other than Japan Just look at how badly the Olympic Committee can screw up the sport... So does that mean it is not Judo? Notwithstanding sport v. kodokan
2. I think we can (and do) mistake tradition with instruction. Both of them get screwed up with application. For example, if I do not teach striking in aikido, does that mean:
A. There is no striking in traditional aikido
B. Your basic knowledge of striking is sufficient to exclude that instruction
C. If performed correctly, waza in application rarely needs striking
D. I do not know striking and have excluded it from the curriculum
I have heard all three options expressed by aikido instructors at some point, even recently. Option D is unfortunate, but true.

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