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Old 06-06-2006, 10:08 AM   #1
graham
 
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What style of Aikido am I doing?

I've finally found a club that I like, taught by a (7th Dan) student of Sensei K. Williams, who trained under Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. It is part of the Ki Federation of Great Britain.

However, I'm eager to learn as much as possible and want to discover the best books, DVDs etc. as well as delve into the history a bit more. The trouble is that British Aikido seems to be - how can I put it - frickin' childishly petty in its sectarian squabbles. I just come across something that sounds like what we're doing and then I read that the guy slates what we do, or is dissed by everyone else.

Anyway, my issue at the momentis that I'm not sure what style I'm doing. If you're familiar with the guys mentioned above, can you enlighten me.

At first I thought it was Aikikai, but now I'm pretty sure that it isn't. So, is it Aiki-Budo or aiki-jutsu, or what?

thanks.
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Old 06-06-2006, 12:30 PM   #2
James Kelly
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

the best person to ask is your sensei. if not, then the senior students at the dojo. the rest of us would just be guessing.
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Old 06-06-2006, 12:53 PM   #3
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Graham,
Since you mentioned that the club is part of Ki Federation of Great Britain, it's more thatn likely Ki Aikido.

Plus Ki
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Old 06-06-2006, 01:24 PM   #4
graham
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Well, that's what I thought, Larry, but I wasn't sure if "Ki Aikido" was an actual style (rather than a description or group of styles).

James, I asked the Sensei and he said, "It's just Aikido. This is what Abbe Sensei was taught before anyone even knew what Aikido was. He didn't even realise what he was being taught."

I guess I'm just as sceptical of that as if someone said their Kung Fu was just Kung Fu. "You know, the pure original version." I tend to think that the most approrpriate Japanese term at that point is, "bollocks." ;-)

But, maybe, given Abbe Sensei's clearly early introduciton to Aikido, there is some validity to the claim this time?
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:16 PM   #5
pezalinski
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Graham Old wrote:
...But, maybe, given Abbe Sensei's clearly early introduction to Aikido, there is some validity to the claim this time?
Hmm, Graham -- You are setting yourself up for a whole lot of frustration if you continue down this path. It leads not to knowledge or wisdom, but to fractious facts that are really irrelevant to your training. There are a lot of different styles of aikido, even within the same dojo, some times. My advice would be to just train diligently when you are in class, and think about what you've learned (or think you've learned, in my case) when you are out of class. And try to live a real life, outside of Aikido, too.

If you really need more materials -- ask your Sensei or Sempai for some recommended books and DVD's.

After a while, you will have accumulated enough information about Aikido and your instructor and his/her history and the history and lineage of his/her teachers that the answers to your current questions will be easier to find, since you will have a greater body of knowledge to attach them to.

Keep on training!



A little danger is a knowledge thing...

"Helping the planet make an impact on people, since 1985"
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Old 06-06-2006, 02:59 PM   #6
Ed Stansfield
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Hello,

As has already been said, it's more than likely Ki Aikido.

Quote:
graham wrote:
James, I asked the Sensei and he said, "It's just Aikido. This is what Abbe Sensei was taught before anyone even knew what Aikido was. He didn't even realise what he was being taught."
I'm a little surprised by this response. I can understand that someone might want to emphasise that Aikido all starts from the same point and we're all using the same principles etc but having said that, if someone asks you, why not just be upfront that you teach a specific style of Aikido?

I'm not in a position to comment on what's taught in the KFGB but it just seems a little odd to me for an instructor to say "its just Aikido" when it's a matter of (fairly public) record that Williams Sensei changed his system to the Ki style in the late 70s after studying with Tohei sensei.

Still, it might just be me misunderstanding what was said. There are certainly people in the KFGB that post on these forums and they may wish to wade in at this point and tell me to shut up . . .

Quote:
But, maybe, given Abbe Sensei's clearly early introduciton to Aikido, there is some validity to the claim this time?
I don't have much to add to the sensible reply that was posted above.

Oh, alright then, I do have a few things to say:

There's certainly plenty to read on the web about what the style of training under Abbe Sensei was like. However, even if that was the one, original, predating any and all other styles Aikido, there have certainly been a lot of developments since then. Not least, Williams Sensei's adoption of the Ki system.

There used to be quite a good interview with Williams Sensei on the web and I think it set out some of this ancient history - does anyone have a link?

Best,

Ed

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

Winston Churchill, 1930.
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Old 06-06-2006, 07:00 PM   #7
graham
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Thanks, foks.

Peter, I'm very much aware of the dangers of frustration and distraction that may lie down this path. That's one of the reasons I did not push my Sensei on this - as well as not wanting to be disrespectful.

I believe that my motivations are good in this. I'm not bothered about learning "pure" Aikido; I was just interestered in what I was learning. If the answer is "Ki Aikido" then I can live with that. However, I'd like to find out how such relates to what others call Aiki-Budo or aiki-jutsu.
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:26 PM   #8
Mark Uttech
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

I have a question for you Graham: "why?"
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Old 06-07-2006, 01:07 AM   #9
graham
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Just interested. Why not?
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Old 06-07-2006, 02:43 AM   #10
Mark Uttech
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Basically, Aikido has no style.
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:29 AM   #11
happysod
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Aikido has no style
totally agree, I mean black culottes with judo gi top, so last season darling (sorry Mark couldn't resist).

Graham, three possible areas for you -

a) the GB ki aikido website itself
b) do a search on aikiweb/aikido-l/budoseek or e-budo for style and have some fun reading the descriptions, contrary arguments and general slagging off
c) refine your question here so you start the discussion (slagging off etc.) such as "what differences could I expect between ..."

As for style, you're definitely doing Ki aikido which (depending on the poster) means you're either a complete fruitcake doing a form of martial dancing with pink fluffy kittens or lucky enough to be practicing a gentle dynamic version of aikido which embodies the true spirit of aikido and truly enhances your development as a person.

The normal consensus you will get unfortunately is that there's only one true aikido and unless they're in your dojo you're probably not doing it.

Yours a fellow fluffy pink kitten
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Old 06-07-2006, 04:21 AM   #12
philipsmith
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Dont worry about the title of your style but rather the quality of the teacher. Aikido is aikido and the "style" is realy a determinant of the teacher.

For example I have trained with both Yamaguchi and Arikawa Senseis; both Aikikai both teachers at Hombu; whose aikido was utterly different from each others. To say they were doing the same style would, in my opinion be nonsensical.

In the UK it seems that who you can or cannot train with is decided by some associations according to "style"; I have been refused permission to train in some dojos because I do "Aikikai aikido".

Actually I do my aikido, although of course that has been influenced by my teacher. Unlike other sports/arts aikido does not have a rigid set of technical rules which is both its strength and weakness.
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Old 06-07-2006, 04:23 AM   #13
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Ian,

I now imagine you training in a pink bunny suit. That's funny. That's very funny.

I wrote a little introduction to different styles of Aikido at http://www.york-aikido.org/aikido-styles.html You can have a read of that and it should give you some idea as to what and why there are more than one style.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-07-2006, 05:13 AM   #14
Mark Freeman
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Graham Old wrote:
I've finally found a club that I like, taught by a (7th Dan) student of Sensei K. Williams, who trained under Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. It is part of the Ki Federation of Great Britain.

However, I'm eager to learn as much as possible and want to discover the best books, DVDs etc. as well as delve into the history a bit more. The trouble is that British Aikido seems to be - how can I put it - frickin' childishly petty in its sectarian squabbles. I just come across something that sounds like what we're doing and then I read that the guy slates what we do, or is dissed by everyone else.

Anyway, my issue at the momentis that I'm not sure what style I'm doing. If you're familiar with the guys mentioned above, can you enlighten me.

At first I thought it was Aikikai, but now I'm pretty sure that it isn't. So, is it Aiki-Budo or aiki-jutsu, or what?

thanks.
Hi Graham,

if you've finally found a club that you like.. rejoice and practice

You are definitely practicing Ki Aikido as taught by Sensei Williams.

Ignore any slating that is directed at ki aikido, you are studying under a brilliant teacher who's history and lineage is impeccable.

The history of UK aikido is well documented and easily found, plenty of stuff out there.

My advice is, just continue with what you have found, become profficient and then make your own mind up.

If you can get to any of Sensei Williams's seminars, you will find them a joy to learn at. He teaches with a great sense of humour, patience and a deep understanding of aikido both 'old style' and ki aikido. I am bias, as I have been one of his students for 14 years, your own teacher has been with him much longer. You are fortunate to have found him.

As for books, I recomment Koichi Tohei's books as they will give you a good start. As for DVD's I'm not sure at this stage that they will be that useful aprt from as a curiosity of seeing what other teachers do. Don't use them as a training aid (yet)

I smile when I read some of the criticisms of ki aikido, as if all of us that practice it have somehow 'missed' the 'effectiveness' part of aikido. It is just rediculous to think that someone like Sensei Williams who was so profficient in the Abbe 'style' of aikido, somehow diminished his aikido by learning the 'ki' aspect of aikido.

It is true that Sensei Williams does not promote the 'martial' aspect of aikido. His main focus is on putting ki aikido principles into daily life, with the aim being, to enhance general well being. This does not mean that the aikido he teaches is 'ineffective' far from it

The teachers doing the 'dissing' are doing so from a base of 'lack of understanding' and intolerance that anything but their 'own' style is 'valid'. A sad reflection.

I hope to see you at a future seminar

regards

Mark
p.s. Say hi to Sensei Walters from me

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 06-07-2006, 05:21 AM   #15
Mark Freeman
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
As for style, you're definitely doing Ki aikido which (depending on the poster) means you're either a complete fruitcake doing a form of martial dancing with pink fluffy kittens or lucky enough to be practicing a gentle dynamic version of aikido which embodies the true spirit of aikido and truly enhances your development as a person.

The normal consensus you will get unfortunately is that there's only one true aikido and unless they're in your dojo you're probably not doing it.

Yours a fellow fluffy pink kitten
I quite like the idea of being a complete fruitcke it appeals to my warped sense of 'anti establishment', and as for dancing with pink fluffy kittens, quite a bit of fun I'd say.

"a gentle dynamic version of aikido which embodies the true spirit of aikido and truly enhances your development as a person".

I like this description, but then I would

cheers

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 06-07-2006, 08:27 AM   #16
Mark Freeman
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Yann Golanski wrote:
Ian,

I now imagine you training in a pink bunny suit. That's funny. That's very funny.

I wrote a little introduction to different styles of Aikido at http://www.york-aikido.org/aikido-styles.html You can have a read of that and it should give you some idea as to what and why there are more than one style.
The image of Ian training in a pink bunny suit brings tears to the eyes.

I liked your intro to different aikido styles Yann ( even though there are some that insist that they don't exist ), a decent encapsulation of each.

regards,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 06-07-2006, 08:48 AM   #17
DudSan
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Once I did read someone teling somewhere 'I do the Aikido´s style of Morihei ueshiba'. I had to smile at this assertion. And I agree with one here who said: Basicly Aikido has not style. I apologize if I offend anyone, but I think that styles are folklor. AIkido is only one thing. The differences are not so important. My opinion only.

Greetings guys
Dud
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Old 06-07-2006, 09:47 AM   #18
happysod
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Aikido is only one thing
Now if only we could all agree what that one thing was... While I agree with you and Mark that styles are unimportant, I have to say they do exist, even notionally between organizations or dojos. Even the names for techniques differ wildly and the approaches to teaching even such basic things as stance and simple movement are often enough for your "style" to be apparent to others. Certainly, the principles should be consistent, but the emphasis won't and while having no style, only aikido is definitely a great aspiration, it doesn't detract from the fact that they exist.

Yann, Mark, leave the bunny suit alone - you've never lived until you've had a furry kaitennage
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Old 06-07-2006, 11:09 AM   #19
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Graham Old wrote:
I've finally found a club that I like, taught by a (7th Dan) student of Sensei K. Williams, who trained under Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. It is part of the Ki Federation of Great Britain.

However, I'm eager to learn as much as possible and want to discover the best books, DVDs etc. as well as delve into the history a bit more. The trouble is that British Aikido seems to be - how can I put it - frickin' childishly petty in its sectarian squabbles. I just come across something that sounds like what we're doing and then I read that the guy slates what we do, or is dissed by everyone else.

Anyway, my issue at the momentis that I'm not sure what style I'm doing. If you're familiar with the guys mentioned above, can you enlighten me.

At first I thought it was Aikikai, but now I'm pretty sure that it isn't. So, is it Aiki-Budo or aiki-jutsu, or what?

thanks.
You really need to know more to have the answers mean anything. Technically aikijujutsu refers to Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu which was the style headed by Takeda Sokaku under whom O-Sensei studied.

Aiki-Budo would be the name Aikido had until about 1945 when the organization decided on Aikido as the better name. Inoue sensei, O-Sensei's nephew continued to use Aiki-Budo until well after the war when he changed the name to Shin'ei Taido. If I am not mistaken, the Yoseikan folks call their art Aiki-Budo although they clearly also consider it a martially oriented form of Aikido. It was started by Mochizuki Sensei.

There are people who use these terms currently who do so simply to distance themselves from what they see as too much New Age aikido. Bernie Lau Sensei in Seattle did this and calls his style aikijutsu even though his training was under Yohioka Sensei in Aikido.

Go to the Aikido Journal site and you can see the encyclopedia entry on Abbe Sensei. He did his training with O-Sensei before all of the post-war politics and splintering.

You also need to be aware that "styles" are different than "organizations". Shioda, Inoue, Mochizuki, Tomiki, and Tohei all started what are now recognized "styles". Nishio and Saito moved in that direction but I do not believe that the Aikikai headquarters organization under O-Sensei's grandson actually recognizes them as official "styles". Chiba Sensei and Saotome Sensei are both technically "Aikikai" in their organizational affiliation but both have their own organizations and their technique is so different that you could easily consider them as separate styles but they are not considered so from any officially recognized standpoint.

Basically, you are trying to use badly defined terms to get clarity on something which may not have much clarity. It is possible that your teacher is affiliated with the Ki Aikido folks which would make him part of Tohei's organization but Abbe himself was not a junior student of Tohei and I don't believe that he went with Tohei when the split happened so it would seem unlikely. I suspect that, like all of the old timers, he has his own organization, with its own way of doing things, doing its own promotions etc but not acting as a separate "style" in any way that would mean something.

The Japanese generally do not ask about these things in this way. They ask who is your teacher, how long have you trained? If they don't recognize the teacher's name they'll ask who his teacher was. If they don't recognize that name, it's not important enough to go further. Organizational stuff makes everybody crazy and either folks are fanatical about it or they try to ignore it as much as possible without too much in between.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 06-07-2006 at 11:11 AM.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:43 PM   #20
graham
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Mark, Ian, George, your contributions were particularly helpful.

Quote:
The Japanese generally do not ask about these things in this way. They ask who is your teacher, how long have you trained? If they don't recognize the teacher's name they'll ask who his teacher was. If they don't recognize that name, it's not important enough to go further. Organizational stuff makes everybody crazy and either folks are fanatical about it or they try to ignore it as much as possible without too much in between.
I think that probably explains most of it. In a way, subconsciously, I was thinking about friends and family with whom I've always discussed martial arts (my brothers and I have a Kung Fu background). I'm sure that they would ask, "What type of aikido is it?" and I would have felt pretty daft saying, "Er, well, it's just Aikido!"

However, the important thing is that I have found a club that I like, whose philosophy is the very reason I first got interested in Aikido (I am proud to be a complete fruitcake doing a form of martial dancing with pink fluffy kittens!) and who have a great instructor about 5 mins from my house. How cool is that?!

Thanks, again.

Mark, I'd love to make it to one of those seminars! I'll be sure to pass on your greeting.
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Old 06-08-2006, 03:56 AM   #21
Mark Freeman
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:

Basically, you are trying to use badly defined terms to get clarity on something which may not have much clarity. It is possible that your teacher is affiliated with the Ki Aikido folks which would make him part of Tohei's organization but Abbe himself was not a junior student of Tohei and I don't believe that he went with Tohei when the split happened so it would seem unlikely. I suspect that, like all of the old timers, he has his own organization, with its own way of doing things, doing its own promotions etc but not acting as a separate "style" in any way that would mean something.
An informative post as usual George, thanks.

An exerpt from an interview with Sensei Williams may help to fill in the gaps:
Quote:
Having gone his own way he moved to Wales, where he opened his own dojo, which was completely self contained, and which he named the 'Aikikai of Wales'. He remained there for eight years, effectively making a new beginning. He had had enough of the internal politics and disputation associated with the mainstream of the martial arts. In time, other clubs similarly disaffected gravitated towards Wales, and in this fresh environment of amity prospered and grew in size and strength . The truism "no man is an island" is particularly relevant at this juncture and is something of which Sensei Williams was only too aware: "I was on my own and I needed a teacher. And I had read that Koichi Tohei Sensei had broken away from the Aikikai ' so I traveled to Japan where I spent a month with Tohei Sensei and became fully affiliated with 'Shinshin Toitsu Ki Aikido".
Tohei Sensei knew and deeply respected Abbe Sensei and, since there was no fundamental difference between their teachings, there were few obstacles to overcome. Unfortunately, this was not always to be the case. But what interested Sensei Williams most was Sensei Tohei's method of teaching. Traditionally the Japanese would demonstrate techniques, then sit down and allow you to proceed without any further explanation. This was not Tohei Sensei's way, nor could Sensei Williams see any advantage to blindly following on in an imitative way. It could only be a hindrance to progress. As he explained: "They used to say 'just continue to practice'. But I wasn't satisfied with that I thought there had to be a non-Japanese explanation. As we are English speaking people, with a different culture, I tried to adapt the teaching of Aikido with that in mind. What I have done is to receive O'Sensei's teaching through my own teacher, Abbe Sensei, and to pass that on in a way that is more accessible."
Since the Japanese way of teaching is not really teaching as we understand it, Sensei Williams has assimilated Japanese practices, and given them fresh expression within our own cultural context. This is not in itself without irony, since it is a very Japanese thing to do, but more importantly is the result of some thirty five years of study.
Having spent ten years with Tohei Sensei, the inevitable happened and differences arose which could not be resolved - at least not without seriously undermining the development of Aikido in Britain. In the interests of securing the future of Aikido in this country, Sensei Williams once again said 'enough": "We are going to remain completely British and build from here. And we have. At the moment we are applying for planning permission to build a Headquarters Dojo, funded through the Ki Foundation Fund. . . and it's going well."
Sensei Williams' ambition is to assist in the spreading of Aikido, in the first instance, throughout Britain; secondly to lend assistance elsewhere in Europe; and finally to ensure that through a teaching centre, the quality of teaching remains both high and correct. In this way he feels that he will be passing on a way of life of which he is a grateful recipient. Yet he is not a driven man, nor is he possessed of a missionary zeal. He is a quiet and unassuming personality. A man both relaxed and at home in the world. There are no special requirements, as Sensei Williams pointed out, anyone can practice Ki Aikido: "If you want it you can stay on the mat; if you don't you can leave."
Graham (or anyone else), if you want a full copy of the interview PM with your email..

The interview was conducted in 1991, and since then the Headquarters dojo has been built and is fully functioning.

regards,

Mark

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Old 06-08-2006, 06:34 AM   #22
graham
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Thanks, Mark.
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:41 AM   #23
Mark Freeman
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Yann, Mark, leave the bunny suit alone - you've never lived until you've had a furry kaitennage
I look forward to the experience Ian, I just can't tell you how much

regards from me and the pixies

Mark

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Old 06-08-2006, 07:46 AM   #24
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Yann, Mark, leave the bunny suit alone - you've never lived until you've had a furry kaitennage
Furry?... Hum, that sounds like one perversion too far for me. At least there's no mention of plushies...

*shivers*

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-08-2006, 11:42 AM   #25
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
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Re: What style of Aikido am I doing?

Quote:
Yann Golanski wrote:
Furry?... Hum, that sounds like one perversion too far for me. At least there's no mention of plushies...

*shivers*
I'm not sure if Ian comprehends the concept of 'too far', he's one of these metrosexual types from the big city

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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