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Old 11-29-2013, 11:29 PM   #26
Cady Goldfield
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Scott Burke wrote: View Post

Curley Joe DeRita for da win!
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Old 11-30-2013, 12:01 AM   #27
sakumeikan
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Scott Burke wrote: View Post
Dear Scott,
Great,stuff. Your a man with my warped sense of fun.The Three Stooges;I spent my misbegotten youth laughing my socks off [not that I always had socks ].They contributed much to my abnormal brain development.YUK YUK. Cheers, Joe.
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Old 11-30-2013, 12:11 AM   #28
ryback
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Maybe Tohei had a bad moment, a bad split second is all it takes to end up lying on the mat. Maybe he was so concentrated to protect his partner that he neglected protecting himself. It could happen to anyone, so why is it so difficult to understand that?
Maybe it is the need to serve the modern martial arts trend of "debunking" legends of the past, a trend created by some so called leading authorities, who are simply claiming the opposite of what everyone else is saying for decades.
Good, let's be trendy then. How about debunking the debunkers?
Who is kicking Tohei's control over his opponent? At least one person who does, has admitted that once, during practice, he lost his temper and almost killed his practicing partner after removing his Men. So he judges Tohei's control, while he can't even control himself.
And how about Terry Dobson? He hit and knocked unconscious Tohei, right? I've seen him on film practicing with o sensei and he can barely move, but he was so great that he knocked down Tohei? Great story coming from one of the most disrespectful, liers in aikido. O sensei opened his door to him and that was Dobson's way of saying "thank you". Some warrior's code of honour.
Tohei, o sensei and all the great masters left a huge legacy. But of course, debunking anything from UFOs to martial arts, can truly help people sell a lot of books, so keep up the good work!
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Old 11-30-2013, 05:49 AM   #29
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
Maybe Tohei had a bad moment, a bad split second is all it takes to end up lying on the mat. Maybe he was so concentrated to protect his partner that he neglected protecting himself. It could happen to anyone, so why is it so difficult to understand that?
There you're right.
It could happen to anyone. And this is the point that has to be made to hold things in balance. This is just what gives everyone this pinky tiny bit of chance in any real encounter, however much superior and better equipped or trained your enemy/opponent might be.

But you ought to admit that those myths, blown up over decades now, have been prone to invoke the superiority of one art over all the others, depending on who promotes the myths of his art. That a single art is superior to all others surely is, if not nonsense, certainly further from truth than saying that it's mainly the man who gives value to his art (like it's mainly the fight in the dog and not the dog in the fight that decides).

May be, we perceive this a little bit more in the internal arts like aikido and daito-ryu than in the others here in this forum, because this is exactly the forum where we put our attention on aikido and related arts.

And what Chris said

Quote:
More likely, it shows how hard it really is to control someone who has no idea what they're doing without hurting them (or being willing to hurt them). All the Judo guys were used to this stuff - they knew how to protect themselves, knew when to bail, and Tohei knew that they knew, so he could just do whatever. With Herman, not so much.

If anything, it gives lie to the myth of controlling an attacker without causing injury more than it says anything about Tohei's skill level, IMO.

Best,

Chris
You wouldn't deny this, would you?

Best,
Bernd
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Old 11-30-2013, 05:53 AM   #30
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
Who is kicking Tohei's control over his opponent? At least one person who does, has admitted that once, during practice, he lost his temper and almost killed his practicing partner after removing his Men. So he judges Tohei's control, while he can't even control himself.
And how about Terry Dobson? He hit and knocked unconscious Tohei, right? I've seen him on film practicing with o sensei and he can barely move, but he was so great that he knocked down Tohei? Great story coming from one of the most disrespectful, liers in aikido. O sensei opened his door to him and that was Dobson's way of saying "thank you". Some warrior's code of honour.
Tohei, o sensei and all the great masters left a huge legacy. But of course, debunking anything from UFOs to martial arts, can truly help people sell a lot of books, so keep up the good work!
Add me to the list of people who thinks Tohei martial skills have been seriously overrated. BTW, I don't sell books.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:03 AM   #31
Lee Salzman
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
There you're right.
It could happen to anyone. And this is the point that has to be made to hold things in balance. This is just what gives everyone this pinky tiny bit of chance in any real encounter, however much superior and better equipped or trained your enemy/opponent might be.

But you ought to admit that those myths, blown up over decades now, have been prone to invoke the superiority of one art over all the others, depending on who promotes the myths of his art. That a single art is superior to all others surely is, if not nonsense, certainly further from truth than saying that it's mainly the man who gives value to his art (like it's mainly the fight in the dog and not the dog in the fight that decides).

May be, we perceive this a little bit more in the internal arts like aikido and daito-ryu than in the others here in this forum, because this is exactly the forum where we put our attention on aikido and related arts.

And what Chris said

You wouldn't deny this, would you?

Best,
Bernd
There is also something to be said for the element of surprise. Aikido is still very alien in mechanics to judo, and definitely at the time just alien to pretty much anyone. If the judoka in question, however skilled, had no chance to watch Tohei beforehand and get a rough idea of the shape/nature of his responses and the level of competency he had with them, especially since Tohei, by contrast, definitely knew the sort of judo they were capable of... then it is not too much of a surprise outcome that they might be overwhelmed. So the question is, if the five judoka had even 10 minutes to watch Tohei do aikido beforehand - assuming they had not the opportunity - and an advantage Herman did have, how would they do?

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 11-30-2013 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:09 AM   #32
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

I think he was brave to get involved in the situation at all. Many teachers would not put themselves in that position. Especially while someone else was taking pictures or filming.

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Old 11-30-2013, 08:19 AM   #33
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

On another note, I don't see why you would say this was an inept performance. Everyone has times when they don't do as well as they might like. A moment does not define a life's work.

Everyone is fallible. Thank you, goddess, that my worst moments were not caught on tape.

I wonder, sometimes, what Jesus would say about what has been done in his name. You can't help what people say about you once you have passed.

I am not defending Tohei...I don't really care what people think about him...I am interested in what you wrote about him as a reflection on you. Why do you consider that moment embarrassing?

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Old 11-30-2013, 09:34 AM   #34
philipsmith
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Interesting discussion on all sides.

i remember Chiba Sensei telling me about an encounter between Tohei and a sumitori who "challenged" either Tohei personally or Aikido generally (It was a long time ago and late at night after a few drinks).

He said that Tohei Sensei defeated him but was very brutal - adding that of course there were no cameras present, his opponent was Japanese and Tohei was really pissed off with him.

Maybe Toheis encounter with Herman reflects his PR skills as much as anything else.
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:02 AM   #35
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Philip Smith wrote: View Post
i remember Chiba Sensei telling me about an encounter between Tohei and a sumitori who "challenged" either Tohei personally or Aikido generally (It was a long time ago and late at night after a few drinks).

He said that Tohei Sensei defeated him but was very brutal - adding that of course there were no cameras present, his opponent was Japanese and Tohei was really pissed off with him..
Chiba told the same story here:
Q:What about Master Koichi Tohei of the Ki Society?

A:Yes, Tohei Sensei is very good. He is small but very powerful. I saw him take a challenge from a wrestler once.

Q:Sumotori or Western style?

A:Western style. Two brothers - Germans I think from Argentina - and they were enormous! They had to bend over to avoid hitting their heads on the gate-post of the Hombu. This was the only time that O'Sensei accepted a challenge for Hombu. These people were travelling the world with a film crew and were challenging different Martial Arts masters. They had been to the Kodokan (Judo HQ), but the Judo men had not been able to handle them. So they challenged the Aikido Hombu. When they arrived I met them and brought them in. Inside the dojo were O'Sensei Kisshomaru Sensei, and Tohei Sensei who was then the Chief Instructor to the Aikido Foundation. O'Sensei nominated Tohei to go first, as he was so strong. So the wrestler crouched in a low posture with his hands out stretched in front of him, and just moved in a circle around Tohei Sensei for a long time. Tohei Sensei was very relaxed and just followed his movement, and eventually cornered him. Just as the wrestler began to move Tohei leapt upon him, threw him to the floor, and bounced his head for him. Tohei Sensei then pinned him down with his hand blade extension, which, as you may have heard, is very powerful. This guy could not move, and his brother declined to try Tohei for himself, so that was that. Apparently at the Kodokan the Judo men advised them not to make a grab for an Aikido Master. That is why he circled Tohei Sensei for so long.

http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/others/chiba.html
I suspect Chiba Sensei was talking about the Rendezvous with Adventure guys. This event happened the same year Chiba Sensei started Aikido (he was 18 years old Aikido noob in 1958) and probably misunderstood Hermann's name with German nationality.... assuming he was really there when this happened.
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:04 AM   #36
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Many teachers would not put themselves in that position. Especially while someone else was taking pictures or filming.
I could even give names.
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:48 AM   #37
philipsmith
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Chiba told the same story here:
Q:What about Master Koichi Tohei of the Ki Society?

A:Yes, Tohei Sensei is very good. He is small but very powerful. I saw him take a challenge from a wrestler once.

Q:Sumotori or Western style?

A:Western style. Two brothers - Germans I think from Argentina - and they were enormous! They had to bend over to avoid hitting their heads on the gate-post of the Hombu. This was the only time that O'Sensei accepted a challenge for Hombu. These people were travelling the world with a film crew and were challenging different Martial Arts masters. They had been to the Kodokan (Judo HQ), but the Judo men had not been able to handle them. So they challenged the Aikido Hombu. When they arrived I met them and brought them in. Inside the dojo were O'Sensei Kisshomaru Sensei, and Tohei Sensei who was then the Chief Instructor to the Aikido Foundation. O'Sensei nominated Tohei to go first, as he was so strong. So the wrestler crouched in a low posture with his hands out stretched in front of him, and just moved in a circle around Tohei Sensei for a long time. Tohei Sensei was very relaxed and just followed his movement, and eventually cornered him. Just as the wrestler began to move Tohei leapt upon him, threw him to the floor, and bounced his head for him. Tohei Sensei then pinned him down with his hand blade extension, which, as you may have heard, is very powerful. This guy could not move, and his brother declined to try Tohei for himself, so that was that. Apparently at the Kodokan the Judo men advised them not to make a grab for an Aikido Master. That is why he circled Tohei Sensei for so long.

http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/others/chiba.html
I suspect Chiba Sensei was talking about the Rendezvous with Adventure guys. This event happened the same year Chiba Sensei started Aikido (he was 18 years old Aikido noob in 1958) and probably misunderstood Hermann's name with German nationality.... assuming he was really there when this happened.
Hi Demetrio,

no he wasn't. The late night discussion was prompted by my response to the "Rendevous" encounter and was described as a private matter. Sensei was also quite specific about it degenerating into a very physical and ill-natured encounter.
As I said dont underestimate the PR face of the Aikikai (even Chiba Sensei)
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:13 AM   #38
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Of course Aikikai or Chiba Sensei PR should not be underestimated, but sometimes the same event seems to have gone totally different depending on who is telling it.

For instance, now we're talking about Chiba Sensei, one can compare his version of his encounter with Tai Chi master Wang Shu Jin:
O.K. then. I was in a big demonstration of Martial Arts in Tokyo in the early 1960's, and Tai Chi Chuan was being shown by Mr. Wang. He was from Taiwan and he was very big indeed. He became quite famous later in Japan. Well, at the end of his display he had a number of Karateka line up in front of him, and each of them punched him in the belly. It had no effect on him. I was not impressed. I would have done something else (Sensei demonstrated a groin kick and face punch whilst saying this).
So, anyway two of my private students were also studying Tai Chi under Mr. Wang, and they were very impressed with him. They invited me to come along and see him. Eventually I accepted and went to watch his class. At the dojo my students introduced us, and he politely asked me to show some Aikido. Even though his words were warm it was still a challenge! Well, we faced each other, and Master Wang made something like Sumo posture with his hands outstretched. I stood and waited for an opening. This went on for some minutes until he moved forward to push me. So I met him, made Tai Sabaki (body evasion) and took his wrist with Kote Gaeshi, (wrist crush/reversal)...his wrist made a loud snapping noise as I applied it. Even though I applied Kote Gaeshi strongly and injured him, he did not go down. Master Wang snatched his wrist from me, and challenged me immediately. So this time he pushed me with both hands in the belly, and threw me quite a distance across the room. I landed, but I also did not go down. It was an amazing throw. My students then came between us, and that was that.
And Terry Dobson's version:

Wang started teaching in the grounds of Meiji shrine, and somewhere along the line a group of non-Japanese around Donn Draeger started training with him. Draeger learned some pa-kua, Wang would also show some Hsing I, but mostly he taught t'ai chi. Among this group was Terry Dobson, who was a live-in student of Morihei Ueshiba of aikido. Terry's direct senior was Chiba. Wang was doing demos in Japanese martial arts demonstrations and as Ken Cottier put it, "here you'd have all these startched Japanese in their crisp kiekko gi and their crisp snappy movements and then out would come this fat Chinaman in grey flannel slacks and suspenders and he'd start doing impossible slow t'ai chi and he'd turn around and this ass as big as the moon would waft across the stage and then he'd challenge all comers to have a go at him and the young karate boys would be rabid and he'd let them punch his stomach or kick him in the groin and he'd just laugh it off but heaven help you if you tried to punch his head. He made it clear that that was out of bounds, and if you broke the rules, then he'd become, shall we
say, active."

Terry stated to me, (I'm quoting as best as I can remember) "the uchi-deshi at honbu, particularly Chiba, started giving me a raft of **** that I was being disloyal to O-sensei by studying with Wang, and I asked O-sensei, and he said, 'sure, do what you want' but they wouldn't let up so I said, "why don't you come and check him out for yourself." So Draeger and me took Chiba, Saotome and Tamura. Well, we walked in, and Wang scopes out Chiba right away, like he knows who has the attitude here, takes one look, and says, 'come here boy.' Seriously, Wang's over sixty, paid lots of dues, is a religious leader and all, and here comes these punks, as far as he's concerned, in their twenties, copping an attitude. So Wang lets Chiba punch him in the stomach. Nothing. Chiba tries again. Nothing. Well, now Chiba loses his temper, half turns away, and then tries to sucker punch him, thinking it's timing. This time Wang sucks the fist into his belly and then drops, he gives it back, Chiba's arm goes shooting back behind his ear, and he's shaking his wrist in pain. Wang then let Chiba kick him in the groin. Nothing. So Chiba loses it, grabs Wang's wrist and puts a nikkyo or kote-gaeshi on it, some wrist lock. I don't know what Wang did, it was too fast, but Chiba slams on the floor and Wang's doing something to him with one hand and he's screaming in pain. Finally Wang lets him up and
says, "You've got a little chi, why don't you come back when you acquire more?" Then he turns to Tamura and Saotome, who were standing there with their backs against the wall, and says, "you want to try." They both shake their heads and we all went home. They never gave me **** about Wang again. . . . Far as I'm concerned, Chiba lost his chance at salvation right there. He should have quit everything and sat at Wang's feet.


Which one is the accurate one?
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:29 AM   #39
ryback
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Smile Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
There you're right.
It could happen to anyone. And this is the point that has to be made to hold things in balance. This is just what gives everyone this pinky tiny bit of chance in any real encounter, however much superior and better equipped or trained your enemy/opponent might be.

But you ought to admit that those myths, blown up over decades now, have been prone to invoke the superiority of one art over all the others, depending on who promotes the myths of his art. That a single art is superior to all others surely is, if not nonsense, certainly further from truth than saying that it's mainly the man who gives value to his art (like it's mainly the fight in the dog and not the dog in the fight that decides).

May be, we perceive this a little bit more in the internal arts like aikido and daito-ryu than in the others here in this forum, because this is exactly the forum where we put our attention on aikido and related arts.

And what Chris said

You wouldn't deny this, would you?

Best,
Bernd
I agree of course and to be honest I think that only under very specific circumstances an aikidoist can defend himself without harming his attacker. I know that in a real fight, I would harm my opponent and it is naive to believe otherwise, because in real fighting situation you don't have the luxury of choice.
Maybe, just maybe there are great masters out there who can win every fighting scenario without causing any damage, I really don't know because I don't have that ability so I can talk neither for, nor against that potential...
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:15 AM   #40
Alister Gillies
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

I think that we need to bear in mind that arguing from a particular case to a general statement of truth is not a reliable form of reasoning, and leads more often than not to a false premise: that Tohei was not as great as he is often made out to be is a case in point. But I don't think that Ellis is very confident about saying this, as he points out in an after-word to the essay:

"To date, I have published everything, either research or speculation, with considerable confidence in my conclusions. I certainly have had a number of people disagree with some of my assertions, but I've always stood on what I feel is very solid ground. Not so in this essay. I wrote it, however, provoked by what has seemed to be unfounded confidence on the other side. On the one hand, Tohei Koichi is superhumanly powerful, fighting five champion judoka, and on the other, an embarrassingly inept performance."

We all know the joke about Pedro the carpenter and the donkey It is a form of discourse beloved of journalists and relies upon existing distorted views to sell copy. I am not sure what Ellis hoped to achieve by writing this, apart from making clear his ambivalence about Tohei. On the one hand Ellis went to the trouble of getting and verifying accounts of Tohei that attest to his talent, but on the other he places undue emphasis on a single piece of film that shows Tohei in a less than glowing light.

There is a lack of balance in this essay. The evidence presented is more for than against Tohei. In terms of rebutting the "unfounded confidence on the other side", it doesn't actually do this. This really is an essay about Ellis' own ambivalence towards Tohei, and does not have the vigour of conviction either in its argument or in its tentative conclusions.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:39 AM   #41
Cady Goldfield
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Demetrio,
Accurate, shmaccurate. Dobson's version is the one that makes me laugh till my sides hurt. So, that's the one I believe...

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Of course Aikikai or Chiba Sensei PR should not be underestimated, but sometimes the same event seems to have gone totally different depending on who is telling it.

For instance, now we're talking about Chiba Sensei, one can compare his version of his encounter with Tai Chi master Wang Shu Jin:
O.K. then. I was in a big demonstration of Martial Arts in Tokyo in the early 1960's, and Tai Chi Chuan was being shown by Mr. Wang. He was from Taiwan and he was very big indeed. He became quite famous later in Japan. Well, at the end of his display he had a number of Karateka line up in front of him, and each of them punched him in the belly. It had no effect on him. I was not impressed. I would have done something else (Sensei demonstrated a groin kick and face punch whilst saying this).
So, anyway two of my private students were also studying Tai Chi under Mr. Wang, and they were very impressed with him. They invited me to come along and see him. Eventually I accepted and went to watch his class. At the dojo my students introduced us, and he politely asked me to show some Aikido. Even though his words were warm it was still a challenge! Well, we faced each other, and Master Wang made something like Sumo posture with his hands outstretched. I stood and waited for an opening. This went on for some minutes until he moved forward to push me. So I met him, made Tai Sabaki (body evasion) and took his wrist with Kote Gaeshi, (wrist crush/reversal)...his wrist made a loud snapping noise as I applied it. Even though I applied Kote Gaeshi strongly and injured him, he did not go down. Master Wang snatched his wrist from me, and challenged me immediately. So this time he pushed me with both hands in the belly, and threw me quite a distance across the room. I landed, but I also did not go down. It was an amazing throw. My students then came between us, and that was that.
And Terry Dobson's version:

Wang started teaching in the grounds of Meiji shrine, and somewhere along the line a group of non-Japanese around Donn Draeger started training with him. Draeger learned some pa-kua, Wang would also show some Hsing I, but mostly he taught t'ai chi. Among this group was Terry Dobson, who was a live-in student of Morihei Ueshiba of aikido. Terry's direct senior was Chiba. Wang was doing demos in Japanese martial arts demonstrations and as Ken Cottier put it, "here you'd have all these startched Japanese in their crisp kiekko gi and their crisp snappy movements and then out would come this fat Chinaman in grey flannel slacks and suspenders and he'd start doing impossible slow t'ai chi and he'd turn around and this ass as big as the moon would waft across the stage and then he'd challenge all comers to have a go at him and the young karate boys would be rabid and he'd let them punch his stomach or kick him in the groin and he'd just laugh it off but heaven help you if you tried to punch his head. He made it clear that that was out of bounds, and if you broke the rules, then he'd become, shall we
say, active."

Terry stated to me, (I'm quoting as best as I can remember) "the uchi-deshi at honbu, particularly Chiba, started giving me a raft of **** that I was being disloyal to O-sensei by studying with Wang, and I asked O-sensei, and he said, 'sure, do what you want' but they wouldn't let up so I said, "why don't you come and check him out for yourself." So Draeger and me took Chiba, Saotome and Tamura. Well, we walked in, and Wang scopes out Chiba right away, like he knows who has the attitude here, takes one look, and says, 'come here boy.' Seriously, Wang's over sixty, paid lots of dues, is a religious leader and all, and here comes these punks, as far as he's concerned, in their twenties, copping an attitude. So Wang lets Chiba punch him in the stomach. Nothing. Chiba tries again. Nothing. Well, now Chiba loses his temper, half turns away, and then tries to sucker punch him, thinking it's timing. This time Wang sucks the fist into his belly and then drops, he gives it back, Chiba's arm goes shooting back behind his ear, and he's shaking his wrist in pain. Wang then let Chiba kick him in the groin. Nothing. So Chiba loses it, grabs Wang's wrist and puts a nikkyo or kote-gaeshi on it, some wrist lock. I don't know what Wang did, it was too fast, but Chiba slams on the floor and Wang's doing something to him with one hand and he's screaming in pain. Finally Wang lets him up and
says, "You've got a little chi, why don't you come back when you acquire more?" Then he turns to Tamura and Saotome, who were standing there with their backs against the wall, and says, "you want to try." They both shake their heads and we all went home. They never gave me **** about Wang again. . . . Far as I'm concerned, Chiba lost his chance at salvation right there. He should have quit everything and sat at Wang's feet.


Which one is the accurate one?
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:01 AM   #42
RonRagusa
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
I agree of course and to be honest I think that only under very specific circumstances an aikidoist can defend himself without harming his attacker. I know that in a real fight, I would harm my opponent and it is naive to believe otherwise, because in real fighting situation you don't have the luxury of choice.
Maybe, just maybe there are great masters out there who can win every fighting scenario without causing any damage, I really don't know because I don't have that ability so I can talk neither for, nor against that potential...
Even if the goal of prevailing in a conflict without harming the attacker will prove to be out of reach for the vast majority of us it is, nevertheless, a worthy goal to strive for in our training. The precept of least possible harm forces us to look at our practice in ways that we otherwise may overlook; quite possibly to our detriment from a developmental standpoint.

Ron

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Old 12-01-2013, 10:13 AM   #43
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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I think that we need to bear in mind that arguing from a particular case to a general statement of truth is not a reliable form of reasoning, and leads more often than not to a false premise: that Tohei was not as great as he is often made out to be is a case in point. But I don't think that Ellis is very confident about saying this, as he points out in an after-word to the essay:
There is a lack of balance in this essay. The evidence presented is more for than against Tohei. In terms of rebutting the "unfounded confidence on the other side", it doesn't actually do this. This really is an essay about Ellis' own ambivalence towards Tohei, and does not have the vigour of conviction either in its argument or in its tentative conclusions.
Allister - Not exactly. My first task was to find out, as best I could, what happened in San Jose. I'm satisfied, particularly with the account from Roy Suenaka, that I have gotten much closer to the truth.
Quote:
"[The demonstration observers] took part in the demonstration and, naturally, they resisted, they tried to really, really overthrow [Tohei Sensei], and they couldn't do it; he threw those guys around like nothing. Tohei Sensei was a bear. He was about five-feet three-inches tall, and at that time probably weighed about 180 pounds, so he was a bear-a big, little man- extremely powerful, and these guys could not hold him down. Even… Oki Shikina… he was thrown around, and said, 'My, this guy is phenomenal.' His demonstration was very impressive. But, at the same time, everyone who stepped onto the mat with him was very respectful of who he was, and why he was there. They tried hard to throw him, but they didn't come at him full-force, as in a street-fighting situation. It was a very controlled situation."
I'm absolutely clear for myself that Tohei was not "as great as he is often made out to be." He was great in one area - but not in another. Where I am tentative is why - my surmised is that it was a lack of skill at aikido technique based on the statements of two of his younger associates and my counting up of his hours of actual training. That's where I'm tentative - the why. I know of a two accounts where Tohei avoided fights or crossing-hands with top-level people - confrontations that he, in a sense, engendered by public claims of his invincibility. I also note, as I describe in my memories of Kuroiwa sensei of his own experience, that Tohei was happy to put a "hit" out on him, but not deal with him face-to-face.

The Terry Dobson's story? It's just funny - it wasn't a cheap shot on Terry's part- he did what he was told, and Tohei, mind elsewhere, wasn't ready. "hit me shomen -uchi" - and he did.

I think I was quite fair in trying to figure out something that has a larger issue - that training internal power is not, alone, a panacea as martial artists. This is relevant because some, in our small renaissance of training in this area, are doing just that. If one wants to be effective as a martial artist, one needs a delivery system - and Tohei, evidently, was incomplete in this area - something he more or less stated himself. (in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest).

All I am tentative about is the indisputable fact of Herman. Why? I watch boxers "have a bad day" - this is a fractional difference of timing, or stepping in when they should have circled. This was far beyond that - and is jarring in light of the Aikikai's use of him defeating five judo "champions" simultanously, a story that had to come from Tohei himself.

And BTW, as for someone tearing things down--let's start with this. A brag that one can defeat five big champion judoka at once is quite an "assault" on judo. Regarding another essay, a statement that Shioda learned real aiki from Horikawa rather than his own teacher of eight years of direct instruction, is an assault on that relationship (my essay leading, now, to a far more nuanced idea that he may - just may - have received a nudge through a single contact that enabled him to put some pieces together - and we aren't even sure of that). The latter leads to a fruitful discussion on how important paying attention to the smallest thing one is taught - that we, too, might pick up something that can change - radically our own practice (like Sunadomari sensei radically changing his aikido after hearing O-sensei make a single sentence about the purpose of aikido technique as getting out the sediment of the joints, where others, at the same training, heard nothing important). And in regards the Tohei story, perhaps it may lead some of us to not "throw out the baby with the bathwater" - in other words, that whatever IS we may train, if we love martial arts, we maintain training in technique as well, in some way, on some level. I may tear down myths, but I hope I build up - - - - us.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 12-01-2013 at 10:17 AM.

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Old 12-01-2013, 10:51 AM   #44
Chris Li
 
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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I think I was quite fair in trying to figure out something that has a larger issue - that training internal power is not, alone, a panacea as martial artists. This is relevant because some, in our small renaissance of training in this area, are doing just that. If one wants to be effective as a martial artist, one needs a delivery system - and Tohei, evidently, was incomplete in this area - something he more or less stated himself. (in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest).
Is that really an issue at all for most people - is anybody really disputing the truth of that? I haven't seen anyone really advocating for internal power alone with no delivery system, except for some folks (for example, those interested in the health effects) that aren't interested in delivery systems at all.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-01-2013, 11:25 AM   #45
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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I haven't seen anyone really advocating for internal power alone with no delivery system, except for some folks (for example, those interested in the health effects) that aren't interested in delivery systems at all.
Chris, please.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:33 AM   #46
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Chris, please.
I'm not sure that I get your point - can you show me an example?

People should keep in mind that most of the discussions on Aikiweb are between people who already have a delivery system. It just isn't working very well for many of them.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-01-2013, 11:42 AM   #47
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Contemporary aikido as a delivery system?... fine then, I can live with that.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:53 AM   #48
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
And BTW, as for someone tearing things down--let's start with this. A brag that one can defeat five big champion judoka at once is quite an "assault" on judo.
On American Judo, I'd say.

Tohei (or the Aikikai) wisely chose not to try that in Europe. People like Mochizuki Minoru, Abe Tadashi or Abbe Kenshiro were more appropiate to deal with european judoka, and lets not forget what Mochizuki told Ueshiba after his european adventure.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:54 AM   #49
Lee Salzman
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I'm absolutely clear for myself that Tohei was not "as great as he is often made out to be." He was great in one area - but not in another. Where I am tentative is why - my surmised is that it was a lack of skill at aikido technique based on the statements of two of his younger associates and my counting up of his hours of actual training. That's where I'm tentative - the why. I know of a two accounts where Tohei avoided fights or crossing-hands with top-level people - confrontations that he, in a sense, engendered by public claims of his invincibility. I also note, as I describe in my memories of Kuroiwa sensei of his own experience, that Tohei was happy to put a "hit" out on him, but not deal with him face-to-face.

The Terry Dobson's story? It's just funny - it wasn't a cheap shot on Terry's part- he did what he was told, and Tohei, mind elsewhere, wasn't ready. "hit me shomen -uchi" - and he did.

I think I was quite fair in trying to figure out something that has a larger issue - that training internal power is not, alone, a panacea as martial artists. This is relevant because some, in our small renaissance of training in this area, are doing just that. If one wants to be effective as a martial artist, one needs a delivery system - and Tohei, evidently, was incomplete in this area - something he more or less stated himself. (in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest).

All I am tentative about is the indisputable fact of Herman. Why? I watch boxers "have a bad day" - this is a fractional difference of timing, or stepping in when they should have circled. This was far beyond that - and is jarring in light of the Aikikai's use of him defeating five judo "champions" simultanously, a story that had to come from Tohei himself.

And BTW, as for someone tearing things down--let's start with this. A brag that one can defeat five big champion judoka at once is quite an "assault" on judo. Regarding another essay, a statement that Shioda learned real aiki from Horikawa rather than his own teacher of eight years of direct instruction, is an assault on that relationship (my essay leading, now, to a far more nuanced idea that he may - just may - have received a nudge through a single contact that enabled him to put some pieces together - and we aren't even sure of that). The latter leads to a fruitful discussion on how important paying attention to the smallest thing one is taught - that we, too, might pick up something that can change - radically our own practice (like Sunadomari sensei radically changing his aikido after hearing O-sensei make a single sentence about the purpose of aikido technique as getting out the sediment of the joints, where others, at the same training, heard nothing important). And in regards the Tohei story, perhaps it may lead some of us to not "throw out the baby with the bathwater" - in other words, that whatever IS we may train, if we love martial arts, we maintain training in technique as well, in some way, on some level. I may tear down myths, but I hope I build up - - - - us.

Ellis Amdur
That's building quite the straw man. Can you simultaneously cite Tohei "in his statements that all he paid attention to in regards to Ueshiba was his relaxation, and he ignored the rest", especially as Tohei also claims that he learned his IP regimen from sources other than Morihei Ueshiba in the first place, yet use this to somehow disprove others claiming that there are sources closer to home of esoteric technical skills and that these are vitally important beyond what Tohei taught?

That said, I would like to echo Chris Li, I don't know who is saying the delivery system doesn't matter. It would be more correct to say the delivery system doesn't matter if there is nothing to deliver in the first place, and as most of us are at no loss for delivery systems, what issue needs to be presented to the community more? Hey, I do both IP/aiki and judo, I'd be the first one to admit I'd be absolutely defenseless against my training partners if I didn't have competency in judo, but they're already teaching me the judo, but certainly not that other thing...
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:58 AM   #50
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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I'm not sure that I get your point - can you show me an example?

People should keep in mind that most of the discussions on Aikiweb are between people who already have a delivery system. It just isn't working very well for many of them.

Best,

Chris
I think a big part of the argument is that Aikido as a deliver system is a big part of the problem. I personally feel that over arching it is a confused delivery system that doesn't necessarily know what it wants to deliver.

I am contemplating writing a essay on the "the myth of the narrative". i.e...people like stories with happy endings and they like stories of hope. I personally feel that what attracts many to aikido is wrapped up in the promise of the narrative of aikido and what it will deliver.

My concern with the whole IS/IT thing was not the validity of the training, but the relative value of it and the expense of other things martially for myself. I have opted to spend "some time" on IS/IT training as an isolated practice but most of my time on the basics of a good solid deliver system.

I suspect as I get older, that this will shift some. However, I hope to find mentors in this area that talk from experience and can crosswalk from foundational skills of a solid "deliver system" to IS/IT skills and how you balance all this. I think though that is will be a integrative practice and not a separate one.

However, I don't think you will get there without a solid deliver system that delivers what it is supposed to deliver, has an immediate feedback loop built into it, and can be measured fairly objectively.

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