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Old 07-26-2020, 02:02 AM   #1
Craig Moore
Location: Melbourne
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Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

A little while ago Chris Li posted a link to this YT clip on his Aikido Sangenkai FB page about a DVD on the Makkou Hou, or more commonly because dropping long vowels in romanisation is a thing these days, Makko Ho. (There's enough confusion between shikkou and shiko, but confusing shikkou on the mat with shikko on the mat would be even more embarrassing, but I digress.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7I4Ca2eGizk

A bit of reading later I find that these are the leg stretches commonly incorporated into Aikido warm ups I've seen in multiple styles. I also learnt that 9 out of 10 internet searches for ‘Makko Ho' lead to a modified set of 6 stretches (instead of 4) also called meridian stretches, linked to Chinese medicine ideas. It appears the original version had the less lofty aims of just regaining the flexibility of a child.

I know this won't be new for many. I was aware O'Sensei had met a number of people who created "health systems" of the era and incorporated bits he liked, one of the commonly referenced ones being the Nishi Shiki. It was an era where numerous health systems were created and made popular. But I hadn't heard that these leg stretches were one of those systems.

Funny thing, I mentioned to a fellow student at the dojo a while ago that I've just never been flexible in the hips and was noticing that despite training for quite a number of years, it impacted some of my Aikido. They turned around and said "You know you could do something about that". My reply was something along the lines of yeah, but then I'd have to stretch every day and I don't have time.

So last year I decided to do something about it. Read more info about stretching to add to what I'd seen over the years. Took some real interest in Stretching Scientifically by Thomas Kurz and other great info that of course I didn't really make use of. Was focusing on side splits stretching (I'd be lucky at that time to get my legs out to a combined angle of 80 degrees) because that's the way I'm least flexible. In my enthusiasm I pulled a tendon on the inside of my right knee. I could still train but it was a bit painful and I had to be careful with it. Took about 4 months to heal.

I was going to say 2 months or so ago, but looking back Chris' post was only just over a month ago. So after seeing that post I decided I hadn't got very far with my wish to increase my leg flexibility and maybe the simple leg stretches I was already familiar with from Aikido would at least be something. And hey, if they were actually an official health system, they had to be good . I've been doing them most days since.

Our dojo and pretty much every other that I've visited as well as seminars I've been to only do the first three stretches of the Makkou Hou (‘butterfly' with feet together, hamstring stretch leaning forward with legs together and leaning forward with legs apart). The fourth, leaning backwards in seiza, was always considered bad for the knees or too difficult. But in a seminar a few years ago with Masao Ishii Sensei (RIP) all four were included which I thought was interesting at the time. (In fact the whole seminar was unlike any other I'd been to and I really got a lot out of it.)

On a personal note, although I'm pretty comfortable in seiza, I've only ever been able to lean back about 45 degrees if I was lucky with that fourth stretch. The idea of laying back on the floor instantly brought forward the image of my knees and possibly hips and ankles ripping apart like chicken wings. I could support myself with my hands behind me on the floor, but not get low enough to rest on my elbows. Within 2 weeks or so of daily Makkou Hou I could get down on my elbows. Fast forward to now and after being already warm from an online training session our dojo ran yesterday, I did the set after the class and was utterly surprised to find I could lay back with my shoulder blades touching the floor. Now my knees were elevated, back was arched too much and my butt just still won't sit on the floor between my feet. I've got to now go back to elbows and let it develop further. But even with that bad form this is something I never thought I'd be able to do. I haven't pushed it in the last month but also don't have any existing injuries that might be a problem for some people and this particular stretch. I just did the set most days. Side split flexibility has improved a little bit too, but I'll have to be patient as that's going slower.

As a last comment, only in the era when western countries were lapping up eastern arts could you take your system that pieces together a few basic stretches, with a fancy name like the method toward truth (or how ever else you want to interpret 真向法) and travel from Japan to do a tour in America to teach it to other people. But it's working for me so far.

Last edited by Craig Moore : 07-26-2020 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 09-02-2020, 11:58 AM   #2
Walter Martindale
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Well... shucks. I don't really want to jump on this but.

You're pointing out that the romanization of Japanese long vowels is missed out in a lot of spellings, and then you turn "O" Sensei into an Irish man by using O'Sensei. I don't have a Japanese keyboard handy but the "O" is "honourable" (very roughly translated) and if "pronounced" in hiragana characters is only the "o" character. (I could be wrong, and perhaps Goldsbury sensei can correct me).
You're far from the only person who turns the founder into an Irish person and I apologise for jumping on this instance but in the context of using correct romanization, I thought it might warrant a note...
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:36 PM   #3
Craig Moore
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
Well... shucks. I don't really want to jump on this but.

You're pointing out that the romanization of Japanese long vowels is missed out in a lot of spellings, and then you turn "O" Sensei into an Irish man by using O'Sensei. I don't have a Japanese keyboard handy but the "O" is "honourable" (very roughly translated) and if "pronounced" in hiragana characters is only the "o" character. (I could be wrong, and perhaps Goldsbury sensei can correct me).
You're far from the only person who turns the founder into an Irish person and I apologise for jumping on this instance but in the context of using correct romanization, I thought it might warrant a note...
And I was so excited to see a reply to what I thought was going to be just a ghost thread. I'm still enjoying the stretches almost every day and am making progress in leg and hip flexibility that I've never made the effort to get before.

Fair call though Walter. "o" as in お元気,お水, etc. It's omizu or sometimes in language texts to distinguish the separation o-mizu, but not o'mizu. Same applies for "go" in ご飯,etc.

I'm so used to seeing many different versions of Morihei Ueshiba's commonly used title romanised, including capitalised with apostrophy like I did without even thinking about it, as well as quote marks like you have done above, hyphenated and other versions. Do we use capitals still as it's a proper noun name and is just the O capitalised or the S of sensei as well? Like Osensei or OSensei? Or do we add the hyphen to be O-Sensei? 'Correct' romanisation would have none of any of that, no "O", 'O', O- or O'. Instead of the "o" just being the honourific particle, I've also seen it written in Japanese as 大先生 as different to お先生 which would romanise as Ousensei or using a macron Ōsensei. A Google search shows O-Sensei or O Sensei probably is most common but O'Sensei pops up enough to show I'm not the only one to have used it.

You did bring a smile to my face with the Irish reference. I hadn't heard that before but love it. In future posts that reference the founder, I'll be sure to get it right, to be sure, to be sure.
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Old 09-02-2020, 09:34 PM   #4
Walter Martindale
Location: Edmonton, AB
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

I still don't know what "right" is. And yes, I've seen it with the "dai" kanji for sensei, too. Calling Peter Goldsbury!
W
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:03 PM   #5
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
I still don't know what "right" is. And yes, I've seen it with the "dai" kanji for sensei, too. Calling Peter Goldsbury!
W
Before Peter jumps in, I would like to say that I have only every seen it written 大先生 and pronounced with a long "O".

For context, I have spent 7 years in Japan and work as a Japanese to English translator.
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:18 PM   #6
Craig Moore
Location: Melbourne
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

In true Japanese style I think there's a few "right" ways. Just had a flick through some of my books to check sources that may be better edited/published than the internet. In my limited library O Sensei and O-Sensei seem to be prevalent. Some of my books only refer to his name or to him as the Founder with no mention of O-Sensei. The only bilingual one is Budo Commentary.... by Saito Sensei and it has 大先生 on the Japanese page with O-Sensei on the English side. Ellis Amdur and Budo Training in Aikido also use the hyphenated version, while Center the Power of Aikido and another have no hyphen. Training With The Master has Ō-Sensei just to add the macron as well as the hyphen. My couple of Japanese only books seem to use 開祖 or his name directly, but could've missed 大先生 with only a quick look.

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Before Peter jumps in, I would like to say that I have only every seen it written 大先生 and pronounced with a long "O".

For context, I have spent 7 years in Japan and work as a Japanese to English translator.
Thanks Robin. And hi! We met when you visited the dojo I train at a number of years ago. So if we're going to be pedantic then most romanised versions are wrong without the long "O".

Ah, languages! All in good fun.
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Old 09-02-2020, 11:06 PM   #7
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Quote:
Craig Moore wrote: View Post
In true Japanese style I think there's a few "right" ways. Just had a flick through some of my books to check sources that may be better edited/published than the internet. In my limited library O Sensei and O-Sensei seem to be prevalent. Some of my books only refer to his name or to him as the Founder with no mention of O-Sensei. The only bilingual one is Budo Commentary.... by Saito Sensei and it has 大先生 on the Japanese page with O-Sensei on the English side. Ellis Amdur and Budo Training in Aikido also use the hyphenated version, while Center the Power of Aikido and another have no hyphen. Training With The Master has Ō-Sensei just to add the macron as well as the hyphen. My couple of Japanese only books seem to use 開祖 or his name directly, but could've missed 大先生 with only a quick look.

Thanks Robin. And hi! We met when you visited the dojo I train at a number of years ago. So if we're going to be pedantic then most romanised versions are wrong without the long "O".

Ah, languages! All in good fun.
Hi Craig,

There are many different forms of Romaji. Do some reading on the Hepburn method, the modified Hepburn method, the kunrei method, etc. Some methods differentiate long vowel sounds and some don't. Given that there are so many ways to do it, I don't really care which method people use as long as they are consistent.
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Old 09-02-2020, 11:16 PM   #8
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Quote:
Craig Moore wrote: View Post
My couple of Japanese only books seem to use 開祖 or his name directly, but could've missed 大先生 with only a quick look.
Just out of interest, when were your Japanese books published? It seems that 大先生 has fallen out of vogue in recent years in favour of 開祖, and I've only heard older teachers use the word 大先生. That's an area where Peter may be able to help us.
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:12 AM   #9
Craig Moore
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Fairly familiar with various forms of romaji. Like you I'm not too fussed which sort people use, although I follow what I was taught in Japanese classes. They were late 90's but I didn't study enough, was and still am hopeless. Grammar and structure I could remember, but I've got a terrible memory for vocab so couldn't and still can't barely string a sentence together. I've always had an interest since all that time ago and have been finally making some effort as time allows in the last few years to get back into learning.

The only books I have in Japanese are 規範合気道基本編 and 規範合気道応用編. The print editions are 1997 and 2001 respectively, so I suppose they're getting old now. Versions with the covers currently shown here:
https://www.mercari.com/jp/items/m25212412625/

Very interesting what you say about 大先生 potentially falling out of favour over 開祖.
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Old 09-03-2020, 12:28 AM   #10
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Quote:
Craig Moore wrote: View Post
Fairly familiar with various forms of romaji. Like you I'm not too fussed which sort people use, although I follow what I was taught in Japanese classes. They were late 90's but I didn't study enough, was and still am hopeless. Grammar and structure I could remember, but I've got a terrible memory for vocab so couldn't and still can't barely string a sentence together. I've always had an interest since all that time ago and have been finally making some effort as time allows in the last few years to get back into learning.

The only books I have in Japanese are 規範合気道基本編 and 規範合気道応用編. The print editions are 1997 and 2001 respectively, so I suppose they're getting old now. Versions with the covers currently shown here:
https://www.mercari.com/jp/items/m25212412625/

Very interesting what you say about 大先生 potentially falling out of favour over 開祖.
Both of those books were published after 大先生's death, though. I suspect that the change in terminology was directed by the first doshu.
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Old 09-03-2020, 11:46 AM   #11
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Actually, I think Kaiso is simply a more formal style for writing. Given that one could approach O-sensei and say, "Hello O-sensei" - it's personal, while Kaiso "The Founder" puts a magisterial distance to the man.

Regarding the actual subject of your initial post - I recall seeing a video on YouTube of Sunadomari sensei of Kyushu smoothly going through these exercises. That would be a good reference for doing them properly.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 09-03-2020, 05:37 PM   #12
Craig Moore
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Actually, I think Kaiso is simply a more formal style for writing. Given that one could approach O-sensei and say, "Hello O-sensei" - it's personal, while Kaiso "The Founder" puts a magisterial distance to the man.

Regarding the actual subject of your initial post - I recall seeing a video on YouTube of Sunadomari sensei of Kyushu smoothly going through these exercises. That would be a good reference for doing them properly.

Ellis Amdur
Thanks Ellis. That makes sense too.

I'm a bit of a fan of Sunadomari Sensei's style purely based on video (never had an opportunity for exposure to anyone from Manseikan). I'll have a look back through the videos and see if I can find the one you mention.

I enjoyed watching the recent two part dialogue videos with you posted by Aikido Alive London too. Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:19 PM   #13
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

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Craig Moore wrote: View Post
Thanks Ellis. That makes sense too.

I'm a bit of a fan of Sunadomari Sensei's style purely based on video (never had an opportunity for exposure to anyone from Manseikan). I'll have a look back through the videos and see if I can find the one you mention.

I enjoyed watching the recent two part dialogue videos with you posted by Aikido Alive London too. Thanks!
Thank you. That was a very enjoyable dialogue with Dan Messico, and Bjorn Saw.

I had a brain glitch. I admire Sunadomari sensei as well. But I was actually thinking of Suganuma sensei, in regards to the Makko-ho.

Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 09-03-2020, 06:23 PM   #14
Craig Moore
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Thank you. That was a very enjoyable dialogue with Dan Messico, and Bjorn Saw.

I had a brain glitch. I admire Sunadomari sensei as well. But I was actually thinking of Suganuma sensei, in regards to the Makko-ho.

Best
Ellis Amdur
Appreciate the correction. I would've kept looking for hours!
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Old 09-04-2020, 02:59 AM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

The Chinese kanji is
真向法

with the kana syllabary giving:
まっこうほう

In Roman script I suppose this would be makkouhou, if you follow the rules strictly and allow that a long o can be rendered as ou and not as oo. Makkoohoo is frowned upon because of the fact that anything in Roman script becomes an English word, with undesirable influences of English spelling and pronunciation rules.

As for the Founder, on the Internet I tend to call him by his name: Morihei Ueshiba, with the second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Number 3 is Moriteru and Mitsuteru will be Number 4. I have never gone in for the O prefixes, though the Irish apostrophe is sometimes amusing: a bit like O'Shaunessy, but shorter.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 09-04-2020 at 03:12 AM.

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Old 09-04-2020, 11:39 AM   #16
akiy
 
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Hi folks,

Here's a link to a thread a while back back on how "O-sensei" is written in Japanese (翁先生 and 大先生) with contributions from Peter Goldsbury, Christopher Li, and others:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=204021

-- Jun

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Old 09-04-2020, 05:15 PM   #17
Craig Moore
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Re: Makkou Hou / Makko Ho

Thanks Peter and Jun.

And I see the little joke in my original post has been used before.
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