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Old 08-22-2010, 11:48 PM   #26
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Videos just don't tell the story. I became so disappointed with aikido after a few years of training. My disappointment was that I'd heard of this founder, Ueshiba, who was so powerful and dynamically strong, yet I didn't perceive anything approaching that level of power even among my teachers. Even in videos of Ueshiba, it seems easy to criticize, because his aikido, like everyone else's, seems to follow a pattern of collusion. I've asked if the whole thing was a giant con.
The greatest evidence to me of his power and skill has always been the respect of powerful budoka who were his peers. I just found another reference here.

Please note that these were not "aikido students." They were young military policemen on the way to war - most with some degree of skill in other arts.
Once again, we return to the fact that what Ueshiba M. was doing was different. And notice this. "when he caught ahold of your hand" - not, "when you grabbed his wrist."
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Ellis Amdur
I would not discount his physical strength. Most of his life was about acquiring physical strength and power.

David
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:17 AM   #27
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

When we finally get over this hero worship/fantasy, the Aikido community will make some good forward progress. Until then...

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Old 08-23-2010, 01:22 AM   #28
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I'd disagree - if it was just natural talent and hard work, there would be many people who were Ueshiba's equal:
1. The Japanese army he was in was a modern army, complete with rifles, machine guns and cannons.
2. Many of his aikido students took challenges. I'm aware of some of the uchideshi inviting challengers upstairs to the fourth floor dojo at the Aikikai back in the seventies.
3. The uchideshi at Honbu dojo had the time to practice all day if they wished. It's not just a matter of practice (I don't want to dredge all the other threads into this one, but the whole issue that has, at times, consumed Aikiweb and has certainly been the subject of the last few years of my research is that it's not just practice hours, it's what you are practicing. And my assertion all along has been that Ueshiba didn't practice (or teach) what most of his followers did. It's not just "natural talent and hard work." Some of the shihan I met were both. Some of those shihan got as good as is humanly possible within the training paradigm they had. Ueshiba (and yes, the top Daito-ryu people) were using a different training paradigm.
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Ellis Amdur
1. I don't consider rifles, and cannons to be emblematic of a modern army; I think stuff like gunships, laser-guided missiles, and tanks are.
In the sense that the Japanese army of 1905 was not modern relative to today, therefore, o'sensei's life is one that is unique, as it has been consigned to history.
I believe he was nicknamed 'king of the bayonets' in the Russo-Japanese war; in a modern army, I think significantly less time is spent on training in hand-to-hand/close-quarters combat, as a result of technological advances.

As means of killing others have become more advanced and detached from the act, so mass slaughter has increased - e.g., the killing of Jewish people by the Nazis.

2. I don't dispute that - i've heard that newly-qualified black belts at the Yoshinkan HQ would deliberately pick fights with yakuza in order to test themselves; what I said was that whereas o'sensei was in the habit of challenging others to fights on his journey towards creating aikido, once he had created it, the/his ethos was one which promoted avoiding conflict.

3. I didn't say it was just a matter of practice.

Regards

- Graham
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:34 AM   #29
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
Don't you think that the superiority of o'sensei to all subsequent aikidoka can be attributed to the unique life he led, in a world which no longer exists?
But we don't need to recreate O-sensei's life with our own. Do we need to recreate Euclides his life with our own to be able to surpass his geometry? Do we need to recreate Muhammad Ali's life to become a great boxer?
I honestly believe that we if we research O-sensei's life and training methods, we should be able to improve upon it. Meaning we would be spending less time training to achieve the same level of skill. (Assuming the same amount of talent, to whatever degree that's a relevant factor.)
I mean, O-sensei invented aikido, so he must have wasted quite some time investigating what later turned out to be dead ends. That alone is reason to believe that if we are being taught correctly, we should be able to reach O-sensei's skill faster than he did himself.

Quote:
I.e., he was a man of means - hence he did not have to work, and so could freely devote his time to budo
If you really want to, you have plenty of time to train.
And did O-sensei really devote all his time to budo? Or did he spend a lot of time praying, chanting and farming as well? How important were these activities for his skills?
Important question: do you want to become O-sensei? Do you want to achieve the same level of sprituality? Or the same level of arm-breaking skill?

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he was in the army - in a conflict in which more modern means of killing were not at the fore
Ok, so more training of a specific kind. Or do you think one needs to kill some people with their bare hands to become O-sensei?

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he lived in a society in which the martial arts were studied/practiced very seriously by others,
With the internet and modern means of transportation I think I have better access to serious martial arts practicioners than Ueshiba did.

Quote:
and conflicts/challenges took place fairly regularly (granted they do nowadays, but not really among aikidoka - they are deliberately avoided, where possible).
There are enough MMA gyms and bad neighbourhoods nowadays.

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Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
I believe he was nicknamed 'king of the bayonets' in the Russo-Japanese war; in a modern army, I think significantly less time is spent on training in hand-to-hand/close-quarters combat, as a result of technological advances.
So you're implying a large part of Ueshiba's skill comes from his bayonet training in the army?
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:10 AM   #30
Daniel Lloyd
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
When we finally get over this hero worship/fantasy, the Aikido community will make some good forward progress. Until then...
Agreed with Chris, after all he was still just a man. We are all human. We don't have superpowers - no matter how much you dip yourself in radioactive waste.

(my 2 cents, no offense)
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:17 AM   #31
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
But we don't need to recreate O-sensei's life with our own. Do we need to recreate Euclides his life with our own to be able to surpass his geometry? Do we need to recreate Muhammad Ali's life to become a great boxer?
I honestly believe that we if we research O-sensei's life and training methods, we should be able to improve upon it. Meaning we would be spending less time training to achieve the same level of skill. (Assuming the same amount of talent, to whatever degree that's a relevant factor.)
I mean, O-sensei invented aikido, so he must have wasted quite some time investigating what later turned out to be dead ends. That alone is reason to believe that if we are being taught correctly, we should be able to reach O-sensei's skill faster than he did himself.

If you really want to, you have plenty of time to train.
And did O-sensei really devote all his time to budo? Or did he spend a lot of time praying, chanting and farming as well? How important were these activities for his skills?
Important question: do you want to become O-sensei? Do you want to achieve the same level of sprituality? Or the same level of arm-breaking skill?

Ok, so more training of a specific kind. Or do you think one needs to kill some people with their bare hands to become O-sensei?

With the internet and modern means of transportation I think I have better access to serious martial arts practicioners than Ueshiba did.

There are enough MMA gyms and bad neighbourhoods nowadays.

So you're implying a large part of Ueshiba's skill comes from his bayonet training in the army?
I find your analogies to be inapt. In the cases you cite, their life experiences were not germane to their skill (to my knowledge); in o'sensei's, I believe they were.

There's a zen saying:

'Ninety-nine failures are part of the one success.'.

'Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.'

- Albert Einstein

I see these as very relevant when discussing the general matter of skill in an art - aikido, in this case. So while you talk of knowledge, and training methods, and the worthlessness of mistakes in teaching, I hold the contrary view that innovators tend to possess the same knowledge as their forebears and contemporaries, but surpass them in imagination/creativity - a unique perspective, essentially.
I think that having near-death experiences, killing people, and suchlike, tend to give insight, and alter your perspective - in the case of Dostoevsky, for instance, this is beyond refutation.

I don't know: why do empires - such as those of Ghenghis Khan and Alexander the Great - collapse once the figurehead dies, if the individual matters not?

Given that to o'sensei (if i'm not mistaken) praying, chanting, farming, and aikido were all to the same end, I think that he devoted all his time to budo - in fact, I think I recall a quote from him which goes something like 'My entire life is aikido'.
I also note the religious practices which are used in aikido:

http://www.budodojo.com/chinkon-kishin.htm

Well, I think the fact that he fought in a war, and one which saw him less detached than some tend to be nowadays, is relevant when considering someone's understanding of martial arts, and matters of life and death. Maybe i'm a dick though, eh?

Wow: really? I heard, for example, that Sokaku Takeda was staying in a village once, and there had been a spate of robberies by a bandit. So he took to walking alone at night through the fields. A few days later, the man's body was found with a snapped neck.
I don't know who you train with, though - maybe this guy's experiences are old hat nowadays...they aren't in my country, though.

I'm not disputing the fact that you can go and have a fight with someone if you want.
I merely pointed out that o'sensei did not practice aikido throughout his entire life (it seems to me, anyway), as he taught it; if you are an advocate/devotee of aikido, you will have the goal of aikido in mind when you act, and so won't act contrary to it; if o'sensei always had this viewpoint, he wouldn't have done the stuff that people who do aikido nowadays don't do.
My own understanding is that, much as when martial arts were used for centuries in the civil wars of Japan solely to kill others, o'sensei had a similar outlook as to their purpose.
However, as time passed, and society changed/stabilised, martial arts came to be seen as philosophical practices; as having a vital social purpose, and whatnot; o'sensei came to a similar conclusion, regarding budo as an expression of love - as a means of protection for the innocent/society, rather than just a means of killing. So going out and having a scrap for a bit of fun/to satisfy your ego, is out.

...no: you misunderstand me again.
I am implying that being a martial artist in the sense of having faced death, and having killed men using your training, is quite a rare thing nowadays, and might - just might - have been an event that had some sort of effect on the man's life.
Facing your own mortality and taking another's life does occassionally do that, I think.
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:17 AM   #32
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
In the cases you cite, their life experiences were not germane to their skill (to my knowledge); in o'sensei's, I believe they were.
How can you tell? Perhaps it just seems that way, because there isn't a martial/religious organisation in their honor?

Quote:
I see these as very relevant when discussing the general matter of skill in an art - aikido, in this case. So while you talk of knowledge, and training methods, and the worthlessness of mistakes in teaching, I hold the contrary view that innovators tend to possess the same knowledge as their forebears and contemporaries, but surpass them in imagination/creativity - a unique perspective, essentially.
I think that having near-death experiences, killing people, and suchlike, tend to give insight, and alter your perspective - in the case of Dostoevsky, for instance, this is beyond refutation.
If you want to practice the Aikido of O-sensei, you do not want to be an innovator to Aikido as O-sensei was to Daito-ryu. So I don't see the relevance of your comments regarding innovation.

Quote:
Given that to o'sensei (if i'm not mistaken) praying, chanting, farming, and aikido were all to the same end, I think that he devoted all his time to budo - in fact, I think I recall a quote from him which goes something like 'My entire life is aikido'.
I was replying to your comment that "he was a man of means - hence he did not have to work, and so could freely devote his time to budo". If farming can be budo, sure several other activites can be budo as well. So one does not need to be a man of means to devote one's life to budo, one just needs to find a job that would qualify as 'budo'.

Quote:
I also note the religious practices which are used in aikido:
http://www.budodojo.com/chinkon-kishin.htm
Those are as much physical as religious practices, btw. In my opinion, the physical aspects are more on topic here than the religious ones.

Quote:
I merely pointed out that o'sensei did not practice aikido throughout his entire life (it seems to me, anyway), as he taught it; if you are an advocate/devotee of aikido, you will have the goal of aikido in mind when you act, and so won't act contrary to it; if o'sensei always had this viewpoint, he wouldn't have done the stuff that people who do aikido nowadays don't do.
That's a bit of a rotten deal, now isn't it? To become O-sensei, he followed steps A, B, C and D, after which he created Aikido. He then decides B and C are against aikido dogma. That would be fine if O-sensei had created a method consisting of step A', D, E and F leading to his skill level, but I'm affraid that's not the case. So if I want to be like O-sensei, I can do A and D, but not B and C and will never achieve O-sensei's skills. Or I can do A, B, C and D, achieve his skills, but then I wouldn't have been practicing aikido?
Unless one would argue that just doing A and D is fine and one does not need to develop the same powers as O-sensei acquired by doing B and C. If that's the case, we'd need to start a different thread as this one is about his power.

Quote:
I am implying that being a martial artist in the sense of having faced death, and having killed men using your training, is quite a rare thing nowadays, and might - just might - have been an event that had some sort of effect on the man's life.
Facing your own mortality and taking another's life does occassionally do that, I think.
Agreed, but the question remains what are your goals in practicing aikido and to what degree is having such experiences required to achieve those goals? If they are relevant, you should be searching for those experiences. Otherwise you're lying to yourself about your practice.
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:33 AM   #33
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Please note that these were not "aikido students." They were young military policemen on the way to war - most with some degree of skill in other arts.
Once again, we return to the fact that what Ueshiba M. was doing was different. And notice this. "when he caught ahold of your hand" - not, "when you grabbed his wrist."
Best
Ellis Amdur
In relation to this I wonder how much training Iwata Sensei had had at the time he met Ueshiba? Ellis you describe him as a peer of the founder but if I recall correctly Iwata Sensei didn't begin his iaido training in earnest until the 1950s, so after WW2 (i.e. after he met Ueshiba). I think he had some experience with it prior to WW2 and was a reasonably experienced kendoka before WW2, I may be recalling this incorrectly though. So a budoka, yeah but I wouldn't go so far as calling him a peer at the time of their meeting during the war.

Just a thought.

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:18 AM   #34
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Mike - that's a fair enough critique. But I can recall martial artists from my young days who, then, blew me away and now I think, "Ehh?" Yet there are a few others about whom my perspective hasn't changed in the slightest (like Donn Draeger). Iwata sensei was still in awe of Ueshiba 40-50 years later.
I cited him as one more example of what is, to me, the most interesting evidence of skill. Other top-level martial artists, such as Haga Jun'ichi, who was at the peak of his skill at the time he was associated with Ueshiba had a similar view.
I similarly wonder if a film of Takeda Sokaku ever surfaced if we would experience a similar disappointment to that which I (and others) have voiced re Ueshiba's aikido, that it looked fake. I certainly have had that reaction to most Daito-ryu that I've seen on film (lots on YouTUbe these days).
Back to two things: "it has to be felt" - fair enough. But some are no longer around. So, if Takeda's contemporaries, or Horikawa's or Sagawa's were in awe of him - and they were NOT his students - that seems to be powerful evidence that they had something special.
And the only reason I'm interested in this at all is not "hero worship." Obviously, if I wrote a book called Dueling with Osensei: Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior-Sage, that's not my "problem." I'm simply interested in gleaning technical training information of those who manifested remarkable power - "aiki." And I'm interested because of the evidence that it existed/exists.
Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 08-23-2010, 08:32 AM   #35
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Yes, and I'm talking about the person who said that the only way to achieve any of those things was by letting your ego die.
Are we really talking about the same man? Now, let me go back to my cave and read what the people who know will have to say.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:22 AM   #36
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I similarly wonder if a film of Takeda Sokaku ever surfaced if we would experience a similar disappointment to that which I (and others) have voiced re Ueshiba's aikido, that it looked fake.
From an interview with Sokaku which can be found at the Aikido Journal website

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article...light=bokuden:

Sokaku performs some techniques for the journalist who reports :

"The technique was so perfectly executed it left one somewhat unsatisfied. I was shown about ten matches of this type but the techniques were so quickly applied I couldn’t see how he managed the throws or pinned his adversary to the point he wasn’t even able to moan.

“It looks like a rigged match, doesn’t it.”

“Yes, it does,” I blurted out without thinking."

(Personally, I'm convinced that there's filmed footage of Sokaku somewhere. Whether we'll ever see it is another matter.)

The full interview is included in Stanley Pranin's book on Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu. It makes an excellent companion volume to Amdur's "Hidden in Plain Sight".

Last edited by oisin bourke : 08-23-2010 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:35 AM   #37
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Oisin - Thank's for the reference. There was a film taken by the Asahi Newspaper, during Takeda's time in Osaka. I recall this discussed in another of Stanley's articles, perhaps one of the interviews with one of the Takumakai shihan.
I've heard rumors that that film - or even another one - is still in existence. And that those who are holding it will not release it to "outsiders," which means "anyone who isn't us." (I don't mean the Takumakai, btw). But given these are just rumors, nothing more to say.
Regarding the Asahi film, at least, I wonder if anyone has undertaken an exhaustive search through their old film archives, if they survived WWII.
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Ellis Amdur

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Old 08-23-2010, 09:57 AM   #38
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

I think that there are two separate, yet related issues.
1) You have to have a certain natural predisposition to reach certain levels at anything. That is the nature aspect.

2) You have to have really good teaching and training methodologies (or discover them for that matter). That is the nurture aspect.

The unique combination or who O'Sensei was, along with what he was exposed to, created the martial arts "giant" that he became. We are all interested in learning, discovering, uncovering...... the aspects of his training that we can apply to what we are doing. Even with all of that, we will all have certain limitations, based upon the unique set of genes/dna/... that will impact where we end-up. There is a lot to be gained by learning what we can do to develop the "Aiki power" that O'Sensei had. We will also discover our own ceilings through life-long practice and hopefully practice. The bell-shaped curve of life will always be what it is.

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:17 AM   #39
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Other top-level martial artists, such as Haga Jun'ichi, who was at the peak of his skill at the time he was associated with Ueshiba had a similar view.
As did Hideo Sonobe "who was said to be without peer in Japan or anywhere in the use of the Naginata." At the 1939 Open Martial Arts Demonstration in Manchuria she watched Hideo Ohba's all-out attacks against O Sensei, and told him: "Mr. Ueshiba I have never seen more wonderful techniques than what you showed today. They were fantastic!" When O Sensei asked her what she liked best, "she replied that she liked the 'connections' (tsunagari) between techniques," a comment that Ohba did not understand. http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=408

More praise from one of O Sensei's peers, and also a reminder that to masters of any art, what's most impressive is often something that is meaningless to the rest of us.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:32 AM   #40
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Are we really talking about the same man? Now, let me go back to my cave and read what the people who know will have to say.
I don't know if we are talking about the same man,because you haven't given your opinion on the matter, therefore I don't have a point of contrast. But by your reaction, I'd fain a guess that we are not thinking about the same thing what so ever, which is why I asked if you even understood what I said.

Why do you live in a cave?

MM
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:38 AM   #41
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Maggie - Sorry, but for a man who may have said "let your ego die" (I don't recall reading that anywhere, but among the volcano of words that he uttered, why not?), he used the word "I" in writing and pronouncements about himself as much as anyone I've ever read.
That's actually a good point. That's why I previously called him a normal human being. Like us all, we seldom live up to our own ideals.
This is why I constantly protest that he was a normal man, who through the capabilities of a normal human being was able to accomplish spectacular results.
I think with the right set of conditions, every ordinary person can be successful at which ever endeavor they choose.

Being great at Aikido does take more than just practiced movements, I agree, there is something else to it. My opinion is that you shouldn't take the human spirit for granted.

MM
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:56 AM   #42
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Why do you live in a cave?
We do live in caves down here in Spain.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:09 PM   #43
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
We do live in caves down here in Spain.
hmm, well that explains a lot.

MM
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:14 PM   #44
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
We do live in caves down here in Spain.
Lucky you, at least you have internet....up here, we have to send our messages using pigeons...

ps. sorry for OT

Nagababa

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Old 08-23-2010, 12:23 PM   #45
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Dan - Thanks for the reference. And as I pointed out in HIPS (page 185-186), Sonobe was apparently enthralled because Ohba, thinking that anything less would be rude, attacked in an unrestrained, 100% manner, which "forced" Ueshiba to use what can only be considered Daito-ryu, rather than his innovations which had, perhaps, profound symbolic import, but less martial value.
Ueshiba was quite "wroth" with young Ohba, until Sonobe sensei praised him.
In an interview with Okumura sensei on Aikido Journal
Quote:
In aikido, performing partners usually have some kind of agreement. However, Ohba Sensei attacked Ueshiba Sensei seriously, which turned out to have a positive result. Apparently, a naginata teacher called Sonobe [Hideo Sonobe, famous master of Jikishinkage-ryu] praised Ueshiba Sensei and told him, "The demonstration you gave today was the best I have ever seen." This remark made Ohba Sensei, who had been feeling that the whole world was against him, feel greatly relieved. At that time I was a student and I saw this demonstration. The demonstration was as serious as any I have ever seen. I could tell that it was not a prearranged demonstration at all.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:26 PM   #46
jonreading
 
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Videos just don't tell the story. I became so disappointed with aikido after a few years of training. My disappointment was that I'd heard of this founder, Ueshiba, who was so powerful and dynamically strong, yet I didn't perceive anything approaching that level of power even among my teachers. Even in videos of Ueshiba, it seems easy to criticize, because his aikido, like everyone else's, seems to follow a pattern of collusion. I've asked if the whole thing was a giant con.
The greatest evidence to me of his power and skill has always been the respect of powerful budoka who were his peers. I just found another reference here.

Please note that these were not "aikido students." They were young military policemen on the way to war - most with some degree of skill in other arts.
Once again, we return to the fact that what Ueshiba M. was doing was different. And notice this. "when he caught ahold of your hand" - not, "when you grabbed his wrist."
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Ellis Amdur
1. I believe that O'Sensei was an extraordinary martial artist. O'Sensei was recognized for his talent from/by his peers and the country itself on several occasions.
2. I believe the skill set of O'Sensei's aikido is not matched in aikido today. I am not sure that O'Sensei chose to disseminate his aikido in its entirety. I also think there are many individuals who understood to a greater or lesser extent, the aikido O'Sensei demonstrated but I am not convinced those individuals chose to disseminate that aikido in its entirety either.

I think O'Sensei chose to disseminate a curriculum that omitted aspects of his aikido, for [personal or] professional reasons he felt benefited the art. Additionally, I think some aikido people have chosen to elevate the spiritual focus of aikido above its application. Mix in competency issues with dissemination over 40 years and you are left with a confusing hodge-podge of techniques that work for some but not for others.

I think there are some aikido people out there who look back into the techniques and find the elements O'Sensei and his leading instructors did not disseminate. I also think these aikido people are separating the functional components of aiki from the "budo" that dominates many of our dojo curriculum. I think there is value in critically reviewing pre-war aikido. I think there is value to critically comparing karate, jujitsu, and other arts against similar movements and principles in aikido. I think there is value to scientifically analyzing aikido movement and its [relative] mechanics. I believe O'Sensei (and his leading students) chose to place a burden on future students to seek these extra puzzle pieces in their pursuit of better aikido. To the extent I have seen this new curriculum and education emerge, I am encouraged.

To beg the question, what if this new style of learning empowered aikidoka to actually fight their way out of a [collective] paper bag?

Last edited by jonreading : 08-23-2010 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:41 PM   #47
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Maybe you think this is out of place here, but I thought this a wonderfully insightful post from Gernot H. about Budo and Bujutsu.
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Gernot Hassenpflug wrote: View Post
Maybe this will help you get some direction (or at least the motivation to go out and look for some). My teacher said the other night that the difference between Budo and Bujutsu is like night and day.

Budo is like a religion: the practitioner takes some mental construct, a set of principles, and keeps those in mind as an ideal, and then goes through stylized moves that allow him or her to feel as though they are putting those ideals into physical motion and instilling discipline in themselves (budo is intended for social benefit). With that there is some exercise for the body. However, no great development of the body ever happens, nor detailed understanding of it; ergo, the understanding people find from doing budo is really not very deep at all. This is Shin-gi-tai in the order expressed in the phrase.

Bujutsu, on the other hand, does tai-gi-shin, exactly the opposite: the practitioner forces his or her body to undergo specific exercises that change the body and give him or her some deep understanding of the body, to great detail. As that understanding develops, the body can be used to perform so-called techniques (which are not really special movements, but only the body in motion according with the understanding given the practitioner), and finally, when the practitioner is really powerful, he or she may decide to no hurt or harm an opponent and use the training as a kind of ascetic exercise.

Thus, budo and bujutsu are sort of polar opposites.

Regards, Gernot
So Aikido is Budo, right? I read that a lot. Is it also Bujutsu? Was it? Does it need to be? Is it good it isn't? I'm curious what our seniors think on this.

What about the 'body transformative nature' in practice? Is it lacking? Is it present? etc.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:46 PM   #48
Lee Salzman
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think there are some aikido people out there who look back into the techniques and find the elements O'Sensei and his leading instructors did not disseminate. I also think these aikido people are separating the functional components of aiki from the "budo" that dominates many of our dojo curriculum. I think there is value in critically reviewing pre-war aikido. I think there is value to critically comparing karate, jujitsu, and other arts against similar movements and principles in aikido. I think there is value to scientifically analyzing aikido movement and its [relative] mechanics. I believe O'Sensei (and his leading students) chose to place a burden on future students to seek these extra puzzle pieces in their pursuit of better aikido. To the extent I have seen this new curriculum and education emerge, I am encouraged.

To beg the question, what if this new style of learning empowered aikidoka to actually fight their way out of a [collective] paper bag?
The problem you come to is, what if what you are analyzing for reverse-engineering purposes in the first place is a mockery of the original thing? If we are working from the assumption that actual viewable demonstrations of Morihei Ueshiba are rare, that many of the people who did encounter him in person are dead by now, that of those who are alive none felt they could equal him let alone pass what they saw onto their students, then all the the scraps we are working with are suspect.

It's like analyzing a photograph of a vehicle and trying to figure out how to build a working internal combustion engine from it. All we have are echoes of what the thing was, but the actual thing that powered it is nowhere to be found. To invent it from first principles just doesn't seem to be happening. I'm not saying, "abandon hope all ye who enter here", but just that several generations of aikidoka later, and despite cross-pollination with many disciplines, we are farther than we are closer.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:13 PM   #49
Cliff Judge
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

Has this been discussed before: what if Osensei really had no conscious understanding of what he was doing? What if he had some type of nerve damage when he was a boy and the fact that he could organize his neuro-muscular system in such a way as to project this amazing internal power was a result of that?

For better or for worse, my faith in my own teacher having the goods is pretty resolute; but in my darker times I wonder if he even knows how he can do the things he can do. Those who can do, do, those who can't teach, the western saying goes, but why do we assume in the aikido and greater japanese martial arts community that everybody who has talents for DOING things are going to have the slightest idea how to teach them?
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:24 PM   #50
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Ueshiba Morihei's power

CLIFF - the problem with this theory is that:
a) If this was so, his skills would not be replicable, and yet, the senior members of Daito-ryu had the same skills. Contemporaries, same teacher, same skills (yes, some variations, etc).
b) I think I've established in HIPS (sorry, broken record here), that he DID have an organized body of training. Just that he did not, post-war at least, deliberately pass the skills on, and when he demonstrated them - people didn't pay attention.

People wonder, then, why Ueshiba Kisshomaru didn't get the skills then. If his father was truly old school, if the son didn't ask AND if he didn't demonstrate his interest by training as hard as his father, then he wouldn't be taught. OR - he was taught, but didn't put in the hours of practice. (Unlike, we can assume, Gozo Shioda, whom Tenryu stated was closest to Ueshiba in skills - and this is important because they were utterly different in both physical make-up and character.
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