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Old 06-27-2002, 02:27 AM   #26
Chris Li
 
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Straight Face Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by mike lee
When aiki-ken and aiki-jo is practiced, the attacker is never struck, although the attacker's weapon occassionally is stuck.
Depend where you train. Since there's really no standard aiki-jo or aiki-ken it's impossible to make a blanket statement.

I've got plenty of videos of M. Ueshiba cutting his opponent with Aiki-ken, BTW. The aiki-jo and aiki-ken that M. Saito taught (and are probably closest to what M. Ueshiba was doing in the latter years) certainly do cut and strike the opponent at times.

I won't comment on your other remarks.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-27-2002, 02:32 AM   #27
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Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by mike lee Not the kind of chap that most of us would want to have as a friend.

In fact, I avoid such people like the plague, because not only do they end up creating trouble for themselves, but they also try to involve those around them in their juvenile charade.

It would be better to walk 100 miles alone than 1 mile with a fool.
Hmmm. Ok at this point let's hear a bit more about your training. How long have you been at it, who are your teachers.

Chris has been very clear about his background. He trains right in the heart of things including Aikikai Honbu - have you ever even visited? He reads the words of Ueshiba M. and his students in the language they were written and has a good understanding of the culture from which they originate. He applies a critical eye rather than whimsical fantasy.

More to the point - I look forward to meeting him and would be very happy to walk that mile.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-27-2002, 04:01 AM   #28
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by mike lee


Although the vast majority of those who practice aikido can understand this principle, as we can see from one certain lost soul on this thread, violence and distructive thinking rule his life. Rather than trying to reach a level of understanding, he chooes to obstinately remain obtuse. Not the kind of chap that most of us would want to have as a friend.

In fact, I avoid such people like the plague, because not only do they end up creating trouble for themselves, but they also try to involve those around them in their juvenile charade.

It would be better to walk 100 miles alone than 1 mile with a fool.

It is not entirely clear to me who this 'lost soul' is, but if it is Mr Li, I would disagree.

I know him only through his posts in this and other discussion forums, but I very rarely have anything to disagree with. Like Mr Li, I live here and have come to realise the importance of going back to the sources and studying them in the language in which they were written. Coming to live here was the result of a conscious decision, made on the basis of 10 years aikido training with 4 different teachers.

Since coming here I have got to know well some people who were very close to the Founder, including his son Kisshomaru Ueshiba and his grandson the present Doshu. Oh and also the 9th dan shihan who has been mentioned in earlier posts. I have learned from Arikawa Sensei the importance of studying how O Sensei lived and what he said about the world and the place of aikido within it and when we meet, this is usually what he likes to discuss.

I do not want to sound elitist, but this is not something for everyone. Uprooting oneself and coming to live in another country, especially a country like Japan, is a major wrench. Nor would I say that the person who trains hard under one teacher for his / her entire aikido career is wrong.

Training is fundamental, but when I train I am conscious of being part of a living tradition, with people like Doshu, his father, and Arikawa Sensei trasnmitting this tradition from its source. I personally think it is very important to combine good training with a study of the source, including what the people above said and say about the source. And then come to my own conclusions about what is best for my own training.

So I do not think there are any 'lost souls' on this thread and I have not been aware of any spitting either.

Best regards to all,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-27-2002, 06:29 AM   #29
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Re: Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR

More to the point - I look forward to meeting him and would be very happy to walk that mile.
Well see, now I'm blushing... .

Anyway, if you're up in Tokyo let me know - we actually plan to move back to Honolulu next spring, once we work our way through the paperwork.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-27-2002, 06:33 AM   #30
George S. Ledyard
 
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O-Sensei's Aikido

I remember seeing a science fiction movie in which a group of people found some old artifacts and from them began to infer all sorts of meaning. Eventually they had a quite sophisticated culture all built on the ideas that they saw as coming from the "ancestors".

There are only about thirty pages or so of the writings of O-Sensei in English. Yet I have seen, on a number of occasions, well meaning Americans say that this Sensei or that Sensei (students of the Founder for ten years or more) clearly didn't understand what O-Sensei meant. Huge conceit.

People like Chris Li and Professor Goldsbury are fortunate enough to be able to read what O-sensei and his son Kisshomaru wrote in Japanese. In addition they train or have trained with people who spent many years directly under the Founder. I suspect that they have as good an idea about what the Founder actually said about Aikido as anyone I know.

In my own case I have had to go off of my teacher's descriptions of his time with the Founder. Fortunately he distilled much of this into his book, Aikido and the Harmony of Nature. It is quite clear to me that there are many people who have read the small amount of what was translated in English about the Founder and have from that have formed their ideas about what the Founder believed. I think that in many cases these ideas have more to do with what they would like to believe than what the real truth is.

When you listen to people like Chris discuss alternate readings of a translation of something the Founder said you can see that a small difference can communicate quite a different intention. Those of us who do not possess the Japanese skills to make these distinctions would do well to listen to those who do.

Saotome Sensei was quite clear when he told us that the Aikido that O-Sensei put out before the public was not necessarily reflective of what he taught his Deshi. Once again we have people looking at O-Sensei videos, of which there are a number of hours, and they form a picture of what O-Sensei's Aikido teaching was about. Now I have seen a number of videos with various demonstrations by Saotome Sensei. If one were to go strictly by the videos of his demos (not his instructional tapes) one would form a very incomplete picture of what he taught us and no picture of how he taught it.

I think precisely the same is true of O-Sensei. There simply isn't enough of his writings, which aren't extensive even in Japanese, or enough of him on video, to have any real understanding of what he did or did not believe. Those of us who started training after O-sensei passed away and could not spend time with him can only go by what our teachers, who did spend years exposed to his teaching of the most direct sort, tell us.

It's possible that Saotome Sensei, Hikitsuchi Sensei, Nishio Sensei, etc. didn't understand the Founder. I suppose that it's possible that after twenty five years I haven't understood Saotome Sensei. What seems unlikely is that someone who did not train under the Founder, does not read Japanese, did not even train under a teacher that trained directly with the Founder will have a better idea of the Founder's meaning and intentions than any of the aforementioned people.

One of the things about this forum that I like is that I get to hear the opinions of people who have more knowledge than I do. When I hear them say things that contradict what I have thought about a subject, I reexamine the basis of my own opinion. It would be a waste of a wonderful resource to decide that they were fools I didn't want to listen to.

What always has struck me about the really vocal Peace and Harmony crowd in Aikido is how aggressive some of them are about their beliefs. They can be incredibly condescending, even insulting about the superiority of their beliefs. They tend to be very good at making friends with people who are already of like mind and terrible at communicating with folks who entertain different ideas. Eric Hoffer's true believer.

I remember one of my friends coming back from a seminar with a teacher who was really active in the Peace movement and taught a very soft and non-violent style of Aikido. My friend was one of the sweetest folks I knew and would never hurt a fly. Two hours on the mat with these folks and he came back and said that it was all he could do to not punch his partner out. Now that's creating World Peace! But it was true. I knew many people who trained with these folks and they said the same thing. Their beliefs in Peace and Love were so aggressive that they brought out precisely the opposite emotions in people who otherwise seldom had thoughts like that.

If you really want to see Aikido in action on the Forum look at how Goldsbury Sensei expresses his opinions without ever ceasing to be a gentleman. He is never deriding or insulting, never aggressive. I am still working on this and am clearly not as good at it as he is.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 06-27-2002 at 06:37 AM.

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Old 06-27-2002, 06:44 AM   #31
Chris Li
 
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Re: Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury


It is not entirely clear to me who this 'lost soul' is, but if it is Mr Li, I would disagree.
I quite often feel lost, myself...

I've been thinking about the discussion, and the basic point of disagreement seems to be over the "built in harmony" assumption. That is, there is a segment of the Aikido world, including some of M. Ueshiba's students, who appear to believe that the techniques were physically altered in such a way that Aikido technique harmony and peaceful resolution are built into the techniques themselves, "idiot-proofed" against violence, in a manner of speaking, unlike other "violent" approaches such as kicking or striking (although I'm still not sure how that concept gets around swordwork...). Anyway, I don't buy that argument, although I once did, years ago.

Did you get to M. Saito's funeral? A couple of people that I know went up, but they said it didn't seem to be as crowded as they had expected...

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-27-2002, 08:30 AM   #32
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I've split this thread into a different title as well as into the Training Forums, as the subject matter was starting to change so much from its original intent.

-- Jun

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Old 06-27-2002, 08:41 AM   #33
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Re: Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Li


I quite often feel lost, myself...

I've been thinking about the discussion, and the basic point of disagreement seems to be over the "built in harmony" assumption. That is, there is a segment of the Aikido world, including some of M. Ueshiba's students, who appear to believe that the techniques were physically altered in such a way that Aikido technique harmony and peaceful resolution are built into the techniques themselves, "idiot-proofed" against violence, in a manner of speaking, unlike other "violent" approaches such as kicking or striking (although I'm still not sure how that concept gets around swordwork...). Anyway, I don't buy that argument, although I once did, years ago.

Did you get to M. Saito's funeral? A couple of people that I know went up, but they said it didn't seem to be as crowded as they had expected...

Best,

Chris
You're going back to Hawaii? Gosh. Well, we really ought to meet before then. Jun, when are you next in Japan? Perhaps we should have a get together of a Japan Aikiweb group, like they do over on E-budo.com. Or you and I could meet up with the other Peter (the one in Himeji, whom I've also never met) and walk the extra mile together.

I regret that I could not attend Saito Sensei's funeral. I have classes here late on Friday evening and early on Monday morning: it's the luck of the class timetable draw for this year. Japan is a long narrow country and I am at the wrong end for ease of travel to places north of Tokyo.

Yes, I do not buy the "built-in harmony" assumption either and never have believed it. (The fact that one of my earliest teachers was K. Chiba perhaps explains this). I have always been taught that peace and harmony is something you have to work at yourself: the teacher or techniques don't do it for you.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-27-2002, 10:28 AM   #34
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Put it away

Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Baker
I am going to see if I can corner John Stevens, author and teacher, in July, and see what he thinks about this whole thing. [/b]
The best time for this type of question will be at the book signing on July 12th at the Barnes and Noble off route 309 in Montgomeryville. Open discussion welcome!

Ron Tisdale
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Old 06-27-2002, 10:38 AM   #35
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Question Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by mike lee

It would be better to walk 100 miles alone than 1 mile with a fool.
Hmmm, for someone who professes such an attachment to harmony, those are some *really* interesting statements...

Ron Tisdale

"Harmony at the expense of one is not harmony"... (paraphrased) Yukio Utada
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Old 06-27-2002, 12:12 PM   #36
Bruce Baker
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Reason for no Hitting

Come on guys, you should know the reason Aikido has broad no hitting policys ...

Aikido correctly puts you near pressure points that could cause injury or death.

Those little points on your body that cause bee sting pain when pressed just right? Yeah, they do connect to bodily functions, and they will cause big problems if you hit three just the right way on the same meridian, which is incredably easy if you slow down your Aikido and take a look at where you are in relation to your opponent as you do a technique?

Damn! You are right there where you want to be!

I don't have much use for sensei's who abuse students for their own personal training ... blindly thumping them until they get a physical shutdown ... don't like it at all.

But if you want to see reason's behind strikes with weapons, hand to hand, or even see what has been preserved right in the open with Aikido ... think pressure points on meridians.

Sharp weapons are another field of study, maybe that is why O'Sensei would tell his students that they had already been down that road, go back to practice ...

Why do you think I brought up this thread in the first place?

It was because I am integrating more and more of my early Wally Jay practice into my Aikido, especially weapons work, let alone the stretching exercises.

You don't always have a weapon with you, but you have your arms and legs ... sometimes that is all you will have to protect yourself or keep yourself from harm ... learn to use them.
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Old 06-27-2002, 03:30 PM   #37
Chris Li
 
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Re: Reason for no Hitting

Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Baker
Come on guys, you should know the reason Aikido has broad no hitting policys ...
Broad no hitting policys? When did that happen? I'll agree that Aikido is not a striking art in the sense that Shotokan Karate is a striking art, but plenty of respected Aikido instructors use strikes, including M. Ueshiba.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-27-2002, 03:35 PM   #38
Chris Li
 
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Re: Re: Re: Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury

You're going back to Hawaii? Gosh. Well, we really ought to meet before then. Jun, when are you next in Japan? Perhaps we should have a get together of a Japan Aikiweb group, like they do over on E-budo.com. Or you and I could meet up with the other Peter (the one in Himeji, whom I've also never met) and walk the extra mile together.
Sounds good to me. We debated on the move for a long time, but finally made the decision that it would be better overall. Still, I have until my daughter finishes fourth grade (next year March), so there's still some time.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-27-2002, 06:48 PM   #39
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Re: Re: Re: Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury
Jun, when are you next in Japan? Perhaps we should have a get together of a Japan Aikiweb group, like they do over on E-budo.com. Or you and I could meet up with the other Peter (the one in Himeji, whom I've also never met) and walk the extra mile together.
What a great idea - I was already thinking of wrangling an invitation to your dojo opening (hasn't happened just yet has it?). Chris - I will be in the Tokyo area end of July but I am also sure there are other opprotunities. There was an Aikido-l seminar in Japan already that was very successful.
Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury
Yes, I do not buy the "built-in harmony" assumption either and never have believed it.
A me too here - I see a strong distinction between the moral and the physical. In other words how you apply the former to the latter. The physcial techniques do not change.
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Lee
Rather than trying to reach a level of understanding, he chooes to obstinately remain obtuse.
Strange I would say the same about you - you are aggressively right and anyone who doesn't agree with you is obtuse. Where is your attempt to understand.

Last edited by PeterR : 06-27-2002 at 06:57 PM.

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Old 06-27-2002, 07:02 PM   #40
Chris Li
 
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR

What a great idea - I was already thinking of wrangling an invitation to your dojo opening (hasn't happened just yet has it?). Chris - I will be in the Tokyo area end of July but I am also sure there are other opprotunities. There was an Aikido-l seminar in Japan already that was very successful.
I was in Hawaii during the last one

I'm not sure I have the time to set up anything along the lines that YAP (Yet Another Peter) Boylan did, but anybody's welcome (of course) to train where I train (mostly smaller dojo), or we could sneak you into Aikikai hombu . Alternatively, we could just go get a drink...

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-27-2002, 07:13 PM   #41
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Li I'm not sure I have the time to set up anything along the lines that YAP (Yet Another Peter) Boylan did, but anybody's welcome (of course) to train where I train (mostly smaller dojo), or we could sneak you into Aikikai hombu . Alternatively, we could just go get a drink...
I got into serious trouble over the last Aikido-l seminar. Teaching a segment with an Ikkyu where there were a Godan in Judo and Sandan in Yoshinkan doing the same. Shihan saw the schedual and literally forced one of our Sandans to attend. Ah well - a good time was had by all.

That weekend I will have attended a Yudansha seminar - a beer sounds just fine. My worry is about getting back to Aioi. It is probable that the weekend might not work out either.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-27-2002, 07:30 PM   #42
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: strike

Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR

I got into serious trouble over the last Aikido-l seminar. Teaching a segment with an Ikkyu where there were a Godan in Judo and Sandan in Yoshinkan doing the same. Shihan saw the schedual and literally forced one of our Sandans to attend. Ah well - a good time was had by all.
Know what it feels like . Last time I got tricked into teaching a class up here was at one of the dojo that I train at run by a husband-wife team. Of course, 5 minutes after I got started the husband (who got his san-dan from Gozo Shioda in 1971, when I was 7 years old, and then switched to Daito-ryu) walks in, followed by at least three other folks senior to me who trickled in after him. No luck trying to give the class away, though...

Quote:
That weekend I will have attended a Yudansha seminar - a beer sounds just fine. My worry is about getting back to Aioi. It is probable that the weekend might not work out either.
No problem, just let me know - I'll email you my home phone seperately.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-02-2002, 08:34 AM   #43
Bruce Baker
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Overview of purpose

I have given this thread a few weeks to see if I could view it again with new eyes ... and I have only a few words to add.

The purpose of Aikdo was to provide a means of protection without resorting to means that would kill or severly injure another human being.

I think it has accomplished this purpose.

The fact that we train, incorporate other styles of MA's into our cross training, or understand the more violent potential for Aikido merely brings into perspective our renewed dedication to use less violent means to neutralize violence.

I cannot deny that in finding the result of Aikido O'Sensei did not explore or seek understanding of more violent martial arts.

I find enlightenment in understanding the aspects of Aikido's roots, and the evolving jujitsu that compliments many of our basic Aikido pillars. Even the understanding that all martial arts have pressure point applications that are designed to kill is the study of finding less life threatening defenses, such as those of Aikido, that neutralize such attacks.

So, if the final analysis of fighting is to injure, maim, and kill, the goal of Aikido is to neutralize and bring harmony without death or major injury.

As observed, the capability of dumping someone on their head is always there, just as causing injury through joint lock, or using pressure points is always there, but we generally find lesser ways of violence, don't we?

I would say, that once you have trained in small circle jujitsu, you will appreciate Aikido even more, but you will think a bit differently ... more broadly than before.

I have seen in other threads, the benefits of static training in certain Aikido schools and long term studies in stances, basics, and position, but these are also found in many karate schools, such as my former kempo training. Sometimes I wish I could interrupt the class and correct the movement and balance we do not detail in my present classes, but that is the way of learning by letting experience teach instead of words.

Enough rambling.

The purpose of this thread was to explore bringing back variations of Aikido that other styles have taken and improved, and ... if you had seen more than I have in bringing Wally Jay's small circle jujitsu to your attention?

It would seem diversion to history of Aikido is still the main theme, rather than focusing on the present training of our Aikido and the evolving terrain of today's martial arts.

If there is anyone who is interested in this subject, then please post your thoughts.

If not, then I guess this thread is done.

Thanks for your interest on this subject.
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Old 07-02-2002, 03:48 PM   #44
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Re: Overview of purpose

Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Baker
The purpose of Aikdo was to provide a means of protection without resorting to means that would kill or severly injure another human being.
Hmm, I wouldn't say so, but YMMV.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-02-2002, 04:37 PM   #45
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Re: expansion or denial?

Quote:
Originally posted by mike lee

Nevertheless, I know of one aikido instructor who boasts of teaching his aikido students boxing, while at the same time admitting that he can't pull off aikido techniques against bigger, stronger men. I have to wonder if he is not utilizing violent arts to make up for his lack of skill in aikido. While this individual claims to venerate O'Sensei and boasts of his lineage in the art of peace, he at the same time practices arts of violence in his aikido dojo and introduces them to his aikido students. This appears to demonstrate a major lack of understanding on this teacher's part.
You know it is possible that this teacher wishes that his students be capable of really executing a skillful attack so that when they train they can attain a higher level of skill than one can dealing with the typical Aikidoka who can not do a strike that would do anything but annoy you.

This same teacher might have been referring to doing training for a group of club security people who were three hundred plus pounds of solid muscle and high pain tolerance. The goal was not to throw them down or defend oneself from an attack by them, all of which this instructor could do. Instead the goal was to force the subject to vacate a room against his will (that's what bouncers do) without inflicting injury on him. You are probably right that it would be this teacher's low level of expertise that kept him from casting these guys out the door with ease. I believe that he is still working on his technique to rectify this inability. The security folks involved obviously didn't think he was too deficient in his understanding as they have set up a schedule for continued training with this instructor. They might not realize that he is so spiritually and technically undeveloped (something bar bouncers find very important). Perhaps you should warn them.

It is amusing to see that so many people seem to think that Aikido is the art of conflict resolution but they do their level best to remove any conflict from their training. I guess I fail to see how you practice conflict resolution when there is no conflict, develop skill in self defense when there is only incompetent or at best simplistic attack lacking any intention, develop the ability to stay centered under stress by removing any stress from the training. In such a closed environment you might think you have attained some sort of skill but if you leave the safe confines of your own dojo and venture forth you will find that that skill is an illusion, wishful thinking as Clint George Sensei says.

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Old 07-02-2002, 04:44 PM   #46
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Re: Re: expansion or denial?

Quote:
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard

You know it is possible that this teacher wishes that his students be capable of really executing a skillful attack so that when they train they can attain a higher level of skill than one can dealing with the typical Aikidoka who can not do a strike that would do anything but annoy you.
Shigeru Egami (who was actually a Karate guy) said of the early days with Funakoshi that nobody had very good blocks because nobody could attack very well. As people's attacks improved so did their blocking. Makes sense to me...

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-02-2002, 04:54 PM   #47
akiy
 
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In the same vein, Ushiro sensei (7th dan, Shindoryu Karate) made a comment at the Aiki Expo that if aikido people learned how to attack more intensely, it could only raise the level of the art in its entirety.

-- Jun

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Old 07-03-2002, 08:24 AM   #48
Paula Lydon
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I agree wholeheartedly that I'd like to see Aikidoka attack--with a corressponding level of control and skill--with more intensity AND realism. Many are intense but still not realistic, or lack control, or have little or no understanding of the interplay of energies. Obviously, this can only happen at a higher level of training, and does with some people, but if beginners were brought up along these lines I think it would raise Aikido to a new level. IMHO

~~Paula~~
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Old 07-11-2002, 11:32 PM   #49
PhiGammaDawg
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quote

from an interview from Seagal Sensei

Q: Well, I think so, but what I'm saying is that I think that most of the people I've ever come in contact with that practice Aikido probably either wouldn't or certainly wouldn't want to believe that he (OSensei) was a violent person.

Seagal Sensei's answer
I'm not saying that O'Sensei was a violent person at all. Besides, violent is a limited word and in French and in German and in Spanish and in a lot of different languages they have a word that denotes heavy, fast moving action, like in Japanese we say "Hageshi!". Violent sometimes has a negative connotation in English that's attached with something bad. Like when you look at my Aikido you may call it violent. But nobody is necessary getting hurt.

"Saki yakitachi o nukeba, masu masu masurao no kokoro wo togu bekari keri."
--"Before you draw the tempered blade, first temper and purify your own soul."--
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Old 08-16-2002, 05:28 PM   #50
Chris Li
 
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OK, there seems to have been misinterpretation of one of my comments at the beginning of this thread:
Quote:
I know a student of Morihei Ueshiba's who was also a golden gloves boxer who integrates boxing techniques with his Aikido and does so very well, thank you, "arts of violence" or not. M. Ueshiba practiced with a sword (but he I'm sure that he was very peaceful as he sliced his partners into tiny pieces...), he practiced with a bayonet - how "non-violent" is that?
Apparently, this comment has been interpreted to mean that I:
Quote:
espouse using violence in their practice to compensate for their lack of understanding or skill in aikido.
However, if you read just a few lines down from the original quote (the one that I made) you see that I had made a further explanation:
Quote:


Why is punching or kicking someone inherently more "violent" then throwing them on their head? And what's wrong with a damaging joint lock if you thereby prevent some greater injury to yourself or your opponent?
More specifically, I was responding to the argument that punching and kicking are in and of themselves violent, that to study such things is to study violence, things that I don't believe to be true.

There can be little argument that M. Ueshiba practiced striking, all the way through the 1960's, there can also be little argument that he trained in things like the sword through that time. If punching and kicking are inherently violent, how much more so must be the sword, which is designed, not to control, but to kill or injure? And yet the founder of the "art of peace" apparently saw no conflict with that, nor with including atemi in his technique, nor in teaching spear or bayonet techniques.

I believe that there is an ethic in Aikido, but I also believe that that ethic is contained in the practitioners, not the techniques.

Best,

Chris

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