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Old 09-17-2004, 06:02 PM   #26
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Chris: Thanks for the info. But then, if we have a working definition of what Aikido is, then why do we have so many interpretations even within the central structure of the Aikikai?

LC
Because very few people (even Japanese people) actually read Takemusu Aiki?

Any way, most of the interpretations within, say, the Aikikai, have to do with technical differences. The interesting thing about about Takemusu Aiki is that Ueshiba doesn't speak about technique at all - not a single time in an entire book devoted to defining what Aikido meant to him.

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-17-2004, 06:18 PM   #27
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

On the second thought... Maybe non-competitiveness is not a form, but the spirit of Aikido...
I'm wondering why Tomiki sensei chose to introduce competition in Aikido. I'll have to search the web for this...
BTW, my apologies if the passage I brought up was also translated incorrectly (as the case with the title of the book).

Last edited by suren : 09-17-2004 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 09-17-2004, 06:36 PM   #28
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Quote:
Suren Baghdasaryan wrote:
On the second thought... Maybe non-competitiveness is not a form, but the spirit of Aikido...
I'm wondering why Tomiki sensei chose to introduce competition in Aikido. I'll have to search the web for this...
BTW, my apologies if the passage I brought up was also translated incorrectly (as the case with the title of the book).
He talks quite about about his reasoning in "Budo-ron", Japanese only, but also a worthwhile read.

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-17-2004, 06:49 PM   #29
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

I am not so sure that we can excuse all that is being brought up in the thread by noting the differences in translation between the words "best" and "standard." That is to say, no one ever comes up with a standard that they thinks sucks or even that they think is second best, etc. (Personally, I find the word "standard" way more problematic than the word "best.") Hence, "standard" may not be all that different a word from "best." Besides, though possible, it is also hard to imagine that Hombu, the author, etc., played no role whatsoever in selecting the English title. So maybe "best" and "standard" are amounting to the same thing in the end. Either way, the effect that "standard" is having in regards to what Hombu is putting out nowadays (i.e. a growing homogeneity of technical execution) makes it obvious that it remains a politically charged term.

Another reason why translation differences may not mean as much as they should is that the book does within its text, as was quoted, makes use of delineations that try to distinguish the legitimate from the illegitimate. One could have called the book "Just My Take on Aikido," and if the author still goes on to make those kind of statements, the book overall, I believe, is still open to denying the art's bountiful and varied history, and thus open to the charge of misplaced fundamentalism. (Let us not forget that the martial tactic of "aiki" was not a Ueshiba invention.)

In my experience, a lot worse things go on in the Aikido world at large that totally qualify as being antithetical to the "Spirit of the Founder" than competition. By the author's (Ueshiba's) definition, a whole lot then would have to be considered "not Aikido." In that same vein, it would not be too hard to make a case against fundamentalism, against efforts to determine the legitimate and the illegitimate, etc., as violating some of the Founder's key philosophical understandings concerning Nature, the Universe, and the nature of Man, and thus his art. It is hard to imagine that the Founder wanted everyone doing the same Aikido, or doing his Aikido.

dmv
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Old 09-17-2004, 07:09 PM   #30
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
I am not so sure that we can excuse all that is being brought up in the thread by noting the differences in translation between the words "best" and "standard." That is to say, no one ever comes up with a standard that they thinks sucks or even that they think is second best, etc. (Personally, I find the word "standard" way more problematic than the word "best.") Hence, "standard" may not be all that different a word from "best." Besides, though possible, it is also hard to imagine that Hombu, the author, etc., played no role whatsoever in selecting the English title. So maybe "best" and "standard" are amounting to the same thing in the end. Either way, the effect that "standard" is having in regards to what Hombu is putting out nowadays (i.e. a growing homogeneity of technical execution) makes it obvious that it remains a politically charged term.
Well, since Moriteru Ueshiba's seal appear on every yudansha certificate issued by the Aikikai I would say that he certainly has the right to issue a book under such a title. The actual word used is "kihan", which I translated as "standard". The connotation of the word is "normal". It seems to me that hombu has always tried to present a certain basic middle line in terms of technique and allow Aikikai affiliated instructors to act with a great deal of freedom around that center.

Calling it a "politically charged term" is something of an exaggeration, don't you think? Nobody's complaining about the implications of Yamada's "Aikido Complete", or Shioda's "Total Aikido".

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
In my experience, a lot worse things go on in the Aikido world at large that totally qualify as being antithetical to the "Spirit of the Founder" than competition. By the author's (Ueshiba's) definition, a whole lot then would have to be considered "not Aikido." In that same vein, it would not be too hard to make a case against fundamentalism, against efforts to determine the legitimate and the illegitimate, etc., as violating some of the Founder's key philosophical understandings concerning Nature, the Universe, and the nature of Man, and thus his art. It is hard to imagine that the Founder wanted everyone doing the same Aikido, or doing his Aikido.

dmv
You really shouldn't read too much into it, it's a short answer in a FAQ section, not a treatise on the state of Aikido worldwide.

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-17-2004, 07:17 PM   #31
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

I think in the case of art it's impossible to say that one style it better or more authentic or more standard, etc. You can't compare two artists. Who is better Van Gogh or Salvador Dali? Who is more authentic or standard? Why artists do not have competitions?
On the other hand there could be personal opinions and preferences about particular artist or style. But there is no absolute measure.
I do not see any reasons for a person to quit one style in order to enjoy training in other as you should not hate Dali in order to enjoy Van Gogh.
P.S. Dali and Van Gogh has been used just as examples
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Old 09-17-2004, 10:44 PM   #32
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Because very few people (even Japanese people) actually read Takemusu Aiki?

Any way, most of the interpretations within, say, the Aikikai, have to do with technical differences. The interesting thing about about Takemusu Aiki is that Ueshiba doesn't speak about technique at all - not a single time in an entire book devoted to defining what Aikido meant to him.

Best,

Chris
Good point Chris. But imho the differences I have experienced within Aikikai also have not so much to do with technique. I have experienced dojos under the Aikikai with very diverse ways of training methodology, philosophical views as per that of the Founder etc. I still believe Aikido, whatever it is supposed to be, has a lot to do with one's personal interpretation of the core concept of Harmony with Energy. Ueshiba M.'s interpretation was only one - based on his education level, training history, personality, life view etc. I think he knew this and as a result encouraged his students to find their own path to understanding the concept, using his life and training as merely a guide. He even encouraged Tomiki to read the holy book of Omoto Kyo, which Tomiki did, but he did not infuse his interpretation of Aikido with the Omoto Kyo philosophy to the extent that Ueshiba M. did. It was just Tomiki's take on the thing, as it is for all instructors of Aikido everywhere today imo. The observer effect cannot be avoided, so "purity" is a very tricky thing to define. There will be similarities and there will be differences.

Suren: Regarding your point of non-competitiveness as not being part of the spirit of Aikido, it depends on how far one wants to take the concept. As I indicated either in this thread or elsewhere, competitiveness and contentious motivations are existent in many styles of Aikido dojo, including Aikikai. The only thing is that it is not as clearly stated, organised or as obvious as done in Shodokan.

It has been said by Ueshiba M. that Aikido "encompasses and purifies everything" if this is the case, it is also meant to work in "competitive" environments, whether that be on a mat, at work, in the home or at school etc. To me it is about transcending the baser instincts that may expose themselves as a result of competition and a contentious approach to life. These instincts however, do not only show themselves when we compete on a mat, but in other situations in life where our "comfort zones" or sense of security of the ego are challenged. In fact, without understanding the nature of how he functions under the pressures of a competitive reality I'd hazard to say that the Aikidoka is not experiencing the fullness of his training experience, hence in a way, without competition there may be no achievement of Takemusu Aiki. Maybe this is why competition is existent in much of Aikido, even if it is not as obvious in some other places, as it may be subconsciously understood that some aspects of this way of training are a necessary part of existence. The mere act of separating a group and defining what is pure for whatever reason is a form of competing with one's peers to define and protect the conceptual ego of what is supposed to be "pure Aikido" in someone's eyes. Not all competitions and conflicts are contests - reminds me of something I read in "Aikido in Everyday Life."

I think Senshin has a good point as well.

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 09-18-2004, 05:45 PM   #33
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Hey Richard, I agree totally on your point above. There may be exclusion of certain groups for certain reasons. I think Ueshiba M. himself used to interview folks before teaching them Aikido so as to get a feel for the character of the person who wanted to learn. But the case I'm, referring to is sort of like "we walk the one true path and you are not worthy" which to be honest I have heard before from one person, but even among those who believe they walk the one true Aikido path, they tend to be willing to "convert" the "heathens" to their way of doing things y'know?
I mean, we don't discriminate when folks from other styles like Karate, Judo etc. come to train with us, why should we discriminate within Aikido itself? It's just something that's a bit shocking to me is all.

LC[/quote]

Hi Larry. Yes, I understood the point you were making. I felt as I wrote the post the necessity of writing that not all exclusiveness results from some sort of spiritual arrogance, but from very practical concerns for the success of any given person who may want to join. This is usually an up-front thing from the beginning and shouldn't result in a person's feeling "less than human" if they are turned away or that further friendship is prohibited from the parties involved. It still is a very big world with many other opportunities and people to know.

The "holier than thou" attitude you are more concerned with is a tough deal to get hold of as far as understanding how it works and why it seems to grow and be successful. I think one of the best beginnings one can make is to look at oneself and try to identify one's own weakness and inclinations with regard this attitude. This, and reading some history or sociology of how these movements start and grow.
Ignorance just isn't bliss for long. You picked a hard and challenging thing to get your grabbers-on in this I think. Good luck and I share your concerns about this topic.
And YES! it is very shocking and can result in bad mojo for everybody.

Last edited by Richard Elliott : 09-18-2004 at 05:49 PM.

Respectfully, Richard
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Old 09-19-2004, 02:48 AM   #34
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Larry

If a dojo thinks it's the correct and true path, why are they kicking people out instead of bringing them in and trying to "convert" them? This just seems silly, why turn people away when you could potentially get them on your side? Most of the time i have a pretty high tolerance for people who believe their style is superior, what bugs me about it is the way they go about treating others.

Best of luck to your friend in finding another dojo.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 09-20-2004, 09:49 AM   #35
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
By the way - do/did you train in Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido?
Yes, I've trained in Houston with Karl Geis for almost 10 years. I've been to a few seminars with Tsunako Miyake Shihan, but never trained in any other Tomiki dojo.

I'd like to go to the World Champions in Tokyo next year to meet with other students and teachers.
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Old 09-20-2004, 08:26 PM   #36
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Thumbs down Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Quote:
Tim Jester wrote:
Yes, I've trained in Houston with Karl Geis for almost 10 years. I've been to a few seminars with Tsunako Miyake Shihan, but never trained in any other Tomiki dojo.

I'd like to go to the World Champions in Tokyo next year to meet with other students and teachers.
Hi Tim,

I've trained with a couple folks who have trained with K. Geis or his students. Generally nice folk with pretty effective technique.

I'm hoping to make Tokyo next year as well for the Internationals. Maybe we'll meet up then.

Richard: I understand what you are saying and I concur. My personal method for dealing with the "holier than thou" crowd is to give them a little reality check in exactly what makes them think they are so "holier than thou" to begin with. Basically I challenge and show the holes in their paradigm (be it Aikido, economic class, race, religion etc.) and then blow the holes wide open in front of them and their peers so that they may see why in fact we may not be so different after all. Of course there are those whose blinders are so effective that even this is met with a degree of denial that maintains the status quo. If this happens to be the result, then I honestly wish them good luck and warn those who they don't want near them not to go near.

Luckily, this Sensei is not in my coutnry, so I don't have to deal with him. It's a shame though that this exists in something where learning can come from any quarter and any person.

Gambatte and Domo Arigato all.

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 09-22-2004, 01:49 AM   #37
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

I had a similar account once. I had to go abroad for a couple of month; arriving at the new place i searched for a Ki no kenkyukai dojo, but there weren't any around. So i decided to check out other aikido dojos in the vicinity and found a Yoshinkan dojo. I told the instructor my intent to train there, but hearing i was from another style he declined, the reason being it's just different. (Back then i didn't know much about the differences of the styles, but i guess that's a good enough reason). In the end i found an Aikikai dojo that didn't mind about what style i trained in, and i had a great time practicing there.

Back in my dojo, it is advisable to not accept students who are still practicing in other style, because it most likely will create a conflict in the student themselves, thus gaining no development in neither the styles.

My thoughts, maybe there is another reason (other than "that's not aikido") the instructor in LC's story decline to have the young mudansha train there.

Imho Viggo Mortensen should've played Last Samurai!
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Old 09-22-2004, 03:09 AM   #38
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Interesting thread.

Doshu once said to me that the reason the Aikikai symbol was a tree was because Aikikai Hombu was the root of all Aikido and all the other "splinter groups" were in fact branches off the same root. His concern seemed to be that without an understanding of "root" Aikido people couldn't find their particular branch.

In the same conversation he also said that it didn't matter what "branch" of Aikido people did as long as they were practising Aikido.

Doesn't sound Holier than thou to me.
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Old 09-22-2004, 03:43 AM   #39
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

It's always a sad sight to see, grown men and women shaking their hakama in anger at the thought of differences in aikido...

Wulan, couldn't disagree more, sounds like the problem is fundamentally the teacher not the student. The idea that cross-training within the same ma is anathema is ludicrous. I can envisage a cocky kyu grade who always says "but in dojo x we do it like this" being annoying, but if you can't deal with that sort of standard bollocks, why are you teaching?

Phillip, I prefer to be thought of as a twiglet than a branch - slimmer and tastier too (marmite fans unite!)
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Old 09-22-2004, 03:51 AM   #40
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

I think a good case could be made for a student of a particular style of Aikido not regularly practicing another style of Aikido for at least a couple of years.

In both the Shodokan and Yoshinkan system there is a very defined way of training and it is tough enough getting a dedicated beginner to move correctly within the system. Probably the same could be said for other styles with a highly refined teaching curriculum - Iwama comes to mind.

Then there is the question of learning from two masters.

I'm a great fan of dojo visiting and cross-training but within limitations.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-22-2004, 04:34 AM   #41
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Peter, I can understand where you're coming from, but I think you're actually underestimating a lot of students. If a student wasn't progressing and they were cross-training (either in another ma or different style) then I'd possibly advise them to consider concentrating on one or t'other.

However, I'm a big believer in a student-teacher concensus so it's the "by fiat" option that instructors in ma often adopt that I object to, it's the old [bad kung-fu dubbing]you have dishonored my family and my clan and now you must leave [/bad kung-fu dubbing]

Finally, progression in aikido? Nasty yardstick to try and figure out, where do you draw the line between natural incompetence and other ma influences? I prefer to let them do what they want, if they've made a rod for themselves, it'll soon show and they'll learn more by making the decision than having it imposed on them.

[ot - Jun, anychance of an English rather than Yank spell-checking option sometime please... I now have no idea on how to speel honur]
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Old 09-22-2004, 06:16 AM   #42
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Hi Ian;

I suggest don't demand. Beginning students are often exploring - trying to find what fits them best. Yet at the same time they are put into all sorts of confusing and sub-natural (based on their previous experience) stances. What a student does with my suggestions is up to them.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-22-2004, 06:27 AM   #43
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Peter, if you felt I was putting you in the "by fiat" camp I apologise - you're a shodothug, but I believe a fair and gentlemanly thug...

Close but slightly off-topic - just started jujitsu (I know - dumb or what) and I'm finding it really difficult to adapt my ukemi to their more offensive style (what is this thing called a kick..?), anyone got any suggestions on how to unlearn blendy-style rolls quickly before I exasperate the poor lad who's teaching
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Old 09-22-2004, 09:06 PM   #44
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
anyone got any suggestions on how to unlearn blendy-style rolls quickly before I exasperate the poor lad who's teaching
:evil laugh:

However, I do find that the ukemi that one does is allowed by Tori in the sense that if the technique changes often you can not do what you are used to doing. I wouldn't worry about it.

And no worries about the fiat - just explaining my position.

Last edited by PeterR : 09-22-2004 at 09:12 PM.

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Old 09-22-2004, 09:26 PM   #45
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
anyone got any suggestions on how to unlearn blendy-style rolls quickly before I exasperate the poor lad who's teaching
Yeah, let him throw you harder, until it reaches the point where you're doing ukemi just to survive and the thought of "blending" is nowhere to be found.

On the thought of rolling and visiting dojos, I remember visiting a Yoshinkan dojo and the Sensei had a real problem with my rolling technique. I would let one of my legs fold under me to stand up quickly and easily. After he saw me do this a few times, the guy went on to lecture the class for a few minutes about why "we don't roll like Ninja in Yoshinkan" (implying that my roll was one of those) and went on to show how we're supposed to roll keeping the legs straight, which is something we also do, I just didn't feel like doing it in that situation. Imho, one's ukemi is modified to fit the situation, there are many ways to roll.

Oh well, there goes another Shodo-heathen throwing a monkey wrench into the people's peace and harmony.

LC

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Old 09-22-2004, 10:04 PM   #46
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Thing is Larry (the Shodo-Ninja) we tend to be pretty anal about keeping the leg straight ourselves. Go into a Judo dojo and it tends to be the one thing they pick up on also. I guess this answers Ian's question - learn to straighten that leg.

Nariyama Shihan once tore me to shreds for folding that leg in - he was seriously worried about knee damage. I had just got back to Japan from a stint in Canada and I guess had fallen under the influences of an Aikikai dojo.



Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
On the thought of rolling and visiting dojos, I remember visiting a Yoshinkan dojo and the Sensei had a real problem with my rolling technique. I would let one of my legs fold under me to stand up quickly and easily. After he saw me do this a few times, the guy went on to lecture the class for a few minutes about why "we don't roll like Ninja in Yoshinkan" (implying that my roll was one of those) and went on to show how we're supposed to roll keeping the legs straight, which is something we also do, I just didn't feel like doing it in that situation. Imho, one's ukemi is modified to fit the situation, there are many ways to roll.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-23-2004, 12:01 AM   #47
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major thread deviation

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
Nariyama Shihan once tore me to shreds for folding that leg in - he was seriously worried about knee damage.
On Bruce Bookman`s video, he teaches that to fold the leg in on a breakfall puts less pressure on the knee if one`s fall were not perfect (meaning if the foot hits the mat before the rest of the leg.) How would folding the leg cause problems?

Charles Hill
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Old 09-23-2004, 12:03 AM   #48
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
I had just got back to Japan from a stint in Canada and I guess had fallen under the influences of an Aikikai dojo.
You mean there is still a chance for you?
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Old 09-23-2004, 12:17 AM   #49
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

I understood the danger to be an inadvertent twisting of the knee.

I suspect this is more likely during an ushiro ukemi in response to a forceful push (ie shomen-ate) which was the situation where Nariyama tore a new oriface for me and also when thrown down in a Judo style throw.

In relatively easy mai ukemi I can see your point but even here at least one of your legs is still projected out so the added safety is minimal if in fact it exists. I just thought the folded leg was easier to do.

No chance - no way - forget it. I walked that path and found in wanting.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-23-2004, 01:47 AM   #50
kironin
 
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Re: Aikido Separatism / Fundamentalism?

It seems to me there are situations where a straight leg could present risks to the knee as well.

It would be a mammoth project but it would be nice to see some sort of systematic analysis of the biomechanics of various falls, the assumptions going into them, the sorts of tractories they handle best, how fault tolerant they are to the joints of the body when timing off, etc.

When various claims are made I wonder if motion and stress analysis tests would really come to the same conclusions.

anyway, an inter-style ukemi seminar ?
there's a thought that would stress the mind and body. Hear people's justifications for various ways of taking ukemi back to back and then have an open mat discussion afterwards.


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