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Old 11-28-2019, 08:27 AM   #1
Dothemo
Dojo: Canberra
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Iwama or Takemasu

Hello folks,

I was wondering if anyone could please tell me the difference between Takemusu (or Iwama) style aikido compared to other styles? Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:04 AM   #2
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Quote:
Edward Matthews wrote: View Post
Hello folks,

I was wondering if anyone could please tell me the difference between Takemusu (or Iwama) style aikido compared to other styles? Thanks in advance.
Hi Edward.

Can you tell me the difference between English and all over European languages?

Each style has its own way of doing things, which is nuanced and cannot be summed up in a forum post, so no, I can't.

P.s. I'm still grumpy.... Sorry about that.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:28 PM   #3
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Ueshiba Morihei taught differently (different material, a different style of teaching) in each major center of aikido and to various major teachers. Therefore, those who learned at the Kobukan (Shioda, Iwata, Shirata, for example) learned one method. Ueshiba taught two major teachers in Osaka (Tanaka Bansen and Kobayashi Hirokazu and they were quite different). Sunadomari, who went to Kyushu, the teachers in Shingu and of course, those at Iwama, who centered around Saito sensei each learned things differently.
You can easily see this by looking up films of major shihan on YouTube (and better yet, training with someone from the various subbranches).
Some people assert that this was because Ueshiba was 'tailor-making' the best style suited for each person, but this breaks down when one sees that he taught a specific method in various areas. Iwama, for example. Those at Iwama can assert that they learned the true O-sensei style, yet he was teaching different styles during the same time period in different locale. For this reason, I believe that Ueshiba did this deliberately, using his students as crash-test dummies, to emphasize certain principles to see what the limits of those principles would be if emphasized.
Ellis Amdur

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Old 12-01-2019, 08:28 PM   #4
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Ueshiba Morihei taught differently (different material, a different style of teaching) in each major center of aikido and to various major teachers. Therefore, those who learned at the Kobukan (Shioda, Iwata, Shirata, for example) learned one method. Ueshiba taught two major teachers in Osaka (Tanaka Bansen and Kobayashi Hirokazu and they were quite different). Sunadomari, who went to Kyushu, the teachers in Shingu and of course, those at Iwama, who centered around Saito sensei each learned things differently.
You can easily see this by looking up films of major shihan on YouTube (and better yet, training with someone from the various subbranches).
Some people assert that this was because Ueshiba was 'tailor-making' the best style suited for each person, but this breaks down when one sees that he taught a specific method in various areas. Iwama, for example. Those at Iwama can assert that they learned the true O-sensei style, yet he was teaching different styles during the same time period in different locale. For this reason, I believe that Ueshiba did this deliberately, using his students as crash-test dummies, to emphasize certain principles to see what the limits of those principles would be if emphasized.
Ellis Amdur
And further, I think, that he only could drive on to this extent, because the underlying driving device actually was independent from any style and form.
Best,
Bernd
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:11 AM   #5
jamesf
Dojo: Kitsap Aikido, Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Quote:
Edward Matthews wrote: View Post
Hello folks,

I was wondering if anyone could please tell me the difference between Takemusu (or Iwama) style aikido compared to other styles? Thanks in advance.
I took the liberty of checking your old posts to try to get a better idea of what perspective you might be looking for. I see you are a former Yoshinkan-style practitioner, so I'll focus more on the more-obvious technical differences. I'll leave any philosophical differences to those much wiser than I.

I'm guessing you probably already know that "Iwama style" and "Takemusu Aikido™" usually refer to the late Morihiro Saito-shihan's style and lineage. It is probably also worth mentioning, that although his son, Hirohito Saito, broke off from Aikikai, many dojos that carry the Takemusu name and Morihiro Saito lineage are still affiliated with Aikikai, whether directly or through a regional organization that is itself affiliated with Aikikai.

As the others already pointed out, Ō-Sensei taught differently to different students at different times, and those that became instructors themselves had different points of emphasis in their instruction method, and this too is true within Aikikai itself. Even so, I'll use "Aikikai Hombu style" as a sort of third point of reference.

So, in general, Aikikai (Takemusu/Iwama here included), like Yoshinkan, generally uses hanmi stance for most waza; most Aikikai instructors are generally less rigorous about the shape of hanmi than Yoshinkan. Similarly, Aikikai waza does not usually begin with hands raised in a guard position (not counting offering an arm to grab); a few instructors might use it, but not so much in the Saito-lineage. There's also not much in the way of the "by the numbers"/"stop motion" training you might be familiar with from Yoshinkan.

Now for Saito-lineage compared to Aikikai Hombu:
1. Iwama-style tends to prefer to first teach waza from strong static holds then teach flowing style ("ki no nagare") later, while Hombu tends to teach a lot of flowing style from the beginning.
2. For most Aikikai branches, uke will be the only one to initiate an attack. For shomenuchi, in particular, Iwama-style will often have tori/nage initiate, rather than uke.
3. For weapons work, Aikikai Hombu mostly limits it to weapons taking and throwing (e.g. tantodori, tachidori, jodori, jonage). Iwama-style has these too, but goes further in teaching how to actually use bokken and jo (though not nearly as extensive as a koryū system), with many drills, both solo and partnered (both partners armed).

Anyway, this is just my take on what I've seen and experienced so far. Your own experience may vary.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:21 AM   #6
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Quote:
James Frankiewicz wrote: View Post
2. For most Aikikai branches, uke will be the only one to initiate an attack. For shomenuchi, in particular, Iwama-style will often have tori/nage initiate, rather than uke.
Hi James,

I think you might have accidentally reversed uke (person who takes ukemi) and tori/nage (person who receives the attack/throws) here. If so, I concur with your point.

Regards

Carl
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:55 AM   #7
jamesf
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Hi James,

I think you might have accidentally reversed uke (person who takes ukemi) and tori/nage (person who receives the attack/throws) here. If so, I concur with your point.

Regards

Carl
No mix-up. However, I did intend to point out what from a na´ve, outer perspective, seems to be a role reversal in "Iwama style" regarding shomenuchi, and only shomenuchi, where the strike is NOT launched by uke, but by tori ("the one who siezes [the initiative]"), a.k.a. "nage" ("the one who throws"), a.k.a. "shite" ("the doing hand/role"). Uke instead blocks the strike (typical high block), but is then thrown or pinned. In Saito-sensei's literature he usually refers to the situation where uke launches shomenuchi as "shomenuchi komi", with this being the less common case in his system.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:04 PM   #8
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Quote:
James Frankiewicz wrote: View Post
No mix-up.
Actually, my mix up. I should have read more carefully. Apologies.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:25 PM   #9
jamesf
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Actually, my mix up. I should have read more carefully. Apologies.
No worries, no offense taken.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:45 AM   #10
Dothemo
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Thank you so much to all, I'm definitely indeed slowly figuring out the difference between Yoshinkan and Takemusu, very excited about it.

Who ever thought Aikido could be so vast and multi faceted. I of course read the Wikipedia articles online before asking my original question and I must say the mention in the wiki of "coarse techniques" and "modified technique" are fascinating to me, apparently briefly shown to students (although not fully practiced) to show harm that could be done - and ways to perform techniques that can't be countered by other Aikidoka, presumably for last ditch self defense efforts. I haven't actually seen/can't find examples of these yet.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:55 PM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
 
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

Quote:
Edward Matthews wrote: View Post
Hello folks,

I was wondering if anyone could please tell me the difference between Takemusu (or Iwama) style aikido compared to other styles? Thanks in advance.
Hello. I have read the whole thread and this post is an adjunct to Ellis Amdur's post as well as yours.

I have had the benefit of training with several teachers, one of whom was K Chiba. Chiba was a Hombu live-in student, but was sent to Iwama to recover from an injury. He hurt his back permanently from an ukemi, because he tied his hakama at the back and not at the front. He landed on the knot and injured his spine. I was curious about this, since one of the 'received traditions' in aikido is that Iwama training is very hard -- and therefore the very last place to recover from a serious injury.

During World War II Morihei Ueshiba retired to Iwama and stayed there, away from the gaze of the occupation authorities. Another 'received tradition' is that Morihei Ueshiba 'gave' the Tokyo dojo to his son Kisshomaru and regarded Iwama as his main base. The meaning of 'gave' here is somewhat controversial, since it is suggested that he did not really 'give' him the dojo, but only lent it to him for safekeeping during the war. This 'received tradition' is strengthened by the fact that Ueshiba actually sought advice from one of his students about whether he could 'take back' the 'Tokyo dojo' from Kisshomaru. He decided not to, and the conclusion is that he regarded the present Hombu as Kisshomaru's domain. One consequence is that the training at both places went in different postwar directions.

I am not going to explain the differences here, or the reasons for the differences. If you have chance, look at the aikido practiced by two of O Sensei's students, both with the rank of 9th dan. One is Morihiro Saito and the other is Hiroshi Tada. If you like to read aikido books, then compare Budo Renshu, if you can find it, with the more plentiful texts written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and his successors at the Hombu. The present Doshu once explained to me that he was bound by his position as Doshu only to show and teach what he called Kihon waza (basics). I suspect that his father also believed this and I saw his son recently give a clear demonstration of such waza.

So I suppose this is a family tradition.However, the traditional way of training in Iwama is also traced back to O Sensei. One explanation of this is that in Iwama, Morihei Ueshiba gave clear and detailed explanations to the rugged farming types in the Iwama dojo, which was his home dojo, whereas he did things differently with the more sophisticated types in Tokyo -- which was Kisshomaru's dojo, anyway.

One final note. Be careful how you deal with the O in O Sensei. The Japanese is 大先生 and the 大 is an honorific, given to some very important items and activities in Japanese life. An honorific is also given to 糞尿, but I will leave you to look up the meaning of the characters. The combined terms are not often used as such, and the latter character 尿 is usually given the term shikou, but this is always given the honorific O. An apostrophe, as in O'Sensei, is incorrect.

Best wishes.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 12-06-2019 at 08:59 PM. Reason: Spelling

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Old Yesterday, 06:17 AM   #12
Peter Goldsbury
 
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Re: Iwama or Takemasu

I should add that the kanji for the honorific given to O Sensei is different from that given in other cases. The one for O sensei is dai (大), but there is also 御, which can read as o.

P A Goldsbury
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