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Old 09-28-2006, 11:41 PM   #76
clwk
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
I don't this is the kind of "rock" Ledyard Sensei is talking about. Sure, if you just tighten up your body structure by "locking" up the skeletal system with muscular tension, then you become a tottering-easily unbalanced-statue. This is what an untrained person would do, but then again, I don't think anybody is talking about unbalancing or moving untrained individuals here. If your weight is sunk down in a more relaxed and dynamic way, meaning being responsive to pushes/pulls/application of energy, and running that into your feet, then you become very immovable.
Hmmm. It's kind of awkward, since I don't want to argue with you about what George said; he can probably speak for himself. I'll try to address what you're saying though, and we can leave George mostly out of it. (He's welcome to chime in, of course.) My first comment would be - what does 'very immovable' mean in this context?

Quote:
MIchael Young wrote:
But, like Ledyard said, this requires a complete pulling inward of your own energy, nothing flowing outward, only toward the ground, and no response to your partner's energy except toward you own structure.
Let's focus on that statement. To start with, I'd say the terminology is a little vague, so do correct me if you feel you need to. Despite a kind of 'general consensus', I don't think 'pulling inward of your own energy' and 'nothing flowing outward', etc. are really adequately descriptive (without establishing that we agree about what we're talking about) - but I'm pretty sure I can guess what you mean.

It *seems to me* that if you are going to (stand a reasonable chance to) resist attempts to move you (by someone who knows how to push) that you do have to have something 'flowing outward'. Incidentally, I would call that something 'force', and I would say 'directed' rather than 'flowing'. You might call this nit-picking, and you might say this is a tautology, but . . . whatever your 'flow' is supposed to be, if it's restricted from dynamically meeting the incoming force, then I think you are still describing a toned-down version of the 'rock'. I didn't choose that word, nor the word 'hunker'. These were the terms I was responding to. In my understanding, the style of connection required to (semi-)statically resist a push (for demonstration purposes) wouldn't really be described as 'hunkering', 'inward-directed' or like a 'rock'. In fact, I would describe it in quite the opposite way, as: 'expansive', 'outward-directed', and like a 'spring' (pun intended). If anything, you have to become 'light' to do this thing. (I'm not even saying I'm great at it, by the way - just that I have a clear idea about what it is.)

It seem obivous that we are describing different activities - even though both are ways of resisting a push. I *agree* that what you are describing is 'a lot of BS!' (not my words) - but my point was that this is not really what 'immoveable' is about.

To recap, George described something that sounded dumb, and he *said* it was dumb. I agreed but said there was something more interesting that might be confused with the dumb thing. You pointed out that George's 'dumb' thing was more sophisticated than I was giving it credit for. And finally, I'm saying, okay . . . but - that's still not what I'm talking about. For the record, do you think the method you described is 'dumb', or is it worth cultivating?

I think it comes down to what you said here:
Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
I don't think anybody is talking about unbalancing or moving untrained individuals here.
If 'hunkering' down and 'nothing flowing outward' and 'no response to your partners energy' are the 'training' for what you're describing, then it starts to become a question of what you mean by 'untrained'. Was O Sensei 'hunkered' down when he resisted a push on the side of his bokken? Or was there maybe something more to that little exercise? I'm actually curious to hear what you think.

-ck
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Old 10-02-2006, 01:29 AM   #77
Michael Young
 
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
It's kind of awkward, since I don't want to argue with you about what George said; he can probably speak for himself.
I could understand why you would say that...there is a type-o in the line you were responding to, it says:

Quote:
I don't this is the kind of "rock" Ledyard Sensei is talking about.
It should have read:

I don't THINK this is the kind of "rock" Ledyard Sensei is talking about....

My fingers not keeping up with my brain again ...apologies.


Quote:
To recap, George described something that sounded dumb, and he *said* it was dumb. I agreed but said there was something more interesting that might be confused with the dumb thing. You pointed out that George's 'dumb' thing was more sophisticated than I was giving it credit for. And finally, I'm saying, okay . . . but - that's still not what I'm talking about. For the record, do you think the method you described is 'dumb', or is it worth cultivating?
In a martially dynamic situation, yes its dumb. Is it "dumb" in a training situation? That depends on the situation, and for most training situations, yes, again its dumb. I think Ledyard Sensei covered the reasoning in his post, so I don't want to rehash it. Is it worth cultivating?...yes, to some extent I think so, but most of us have more of a problem with the other stuff and it requires a lot more training than becoming an unmoving, unresponsive, lug. I don't think being a lug is something all that sophisticated either, although it does take a bit of training. The problem with assuming the type of non-energetic, collapsing of energy that's being talked about (yes, I still think that is what happens, with the only "outflow" being tactile response which really isn't energy outflow IMO), gives neither partner the ability to find the "aiki".
The thing I was mostly addressing in my last post is that the human body, when in a decent postural stance, IS, or fairly easily can become, very stable (for a number of reasons). The "number of reasons" part can get into a lot of semantics in language and terminology and I think we would end up talking in circles, so I'll just leave it at that. Can the stable stance be broken? Of course...its just not usually going to be easy on the person who is getting their stance broken. Are there deeper levels to becoming more stable, or perhaps more accurately "responsively stable" ? I think so, but I don't think that a very high level of sophistication is what is required to become (for lack of a better term) a "lug".

Of course I could be wrong...and I'm sure Ledyard Sensei will be more than happy to correct me when he is here in San Antonio in a couple of weeks (SHAMELESS SEMINAR PLUG )

FWIW
Mike
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Old 10-03-2006, 02:20 PM   #78
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Szcepan's criticisms are interesting for me as I feel that a number of the Shihan whom he admires are in the "collusion" category. As an example, their waza always look the same no matter the size or temperment of the attacker. Also many Shihan's uke will stop in the middle of an attack even if they are in a dangerous position, and wait for the teacher to "do" the technique. I have a video of one of these Shihan in which he loses connection with his uke, who stands up. The Shihan gives him a "look" (the look my mother often gave me when I messed up) and the uke put himself back into a precarious position so the Shihan could finish the technique!

Just one guy's opinion, but Endo Shihan is the best Aikido practitioner I have ever felt or seen. There are some interesting articles on his Saku Dojo's website. I highly recommend them.

Charles Hill
This is a very good discussion; I have finally a bit of time to read almost all posts. The list is too long to replay for everyone. After explanation of Peter G. we can see better a Japanese context of aikido practice. This can be a key of misunderstanding and may be also a key to understanding how and why hombu aikikai changed 'set up' for uke's role in aikido practice.

If one look at video with O sensei, he never did a demo this way, his moves were pretty direct, very linear. I believe it was a direct result of intensive weapons practice. Yes, ppl who don't do weapons tend to do thousand circles and spirals, only god knows why, before finally producing some kind of throw or pin.

Another aspect is "what is the goal of a demo?". For me -- it is only other training tool, so when one of my teachers does a demo, I can learn something. It has very practical value, for teacher and for us, his students.
If a demo is kind of show off, when high level teacher demonstrates something that can't be repeated or understood by anyone but him, even by 6th dan students, is it completely useless. What is worse, when he pretends to do a kind of magic, and he needs to accomplish it with special, very cooperative and anticipating uke. If uke can't help him produce spectacular results, he simply is never asked again to attack instructor -- because suddenly his technique is loosing ‘magic' aspect and became ordinary, may I say, basic technique. And all charisma is gone.

All following quotes are from George S. Ledyard:

Quote:
People think that power represents the expression of the martial side of Aikido.
Yes, to develop aikido at his highest level one must be able to produce a lot of power in order to be independent of attacker's will.

Quote:
It's about placing the attacker in an off balance position in which you can strike him and he cannot respond.
Yes, and this is another reason to develop very powerful techniques. Other choice is to find extremely cooperative uke who will put himself off balance. I think this is preferred choice of very many aikidoka who pretend to be able to do the techniques exactly as O sensei did in the end of his life.

Quote:
He is studying how to completely join with the attacker.
I can't agree more. It is very common conviction in this line of practice, specially in France : we are studying a movement. It is nothing wrong when fresh beginner study aikido movements. He needs cooperation, slow motion and all this stuff….but when high ranking ppl still study movements after 30 years, and never do a martial technique it make me wonder what are they study and why? If we compare a speed of executing technique by 3 dan aikido who ‘study technique' all his life and 3 dan of judo during competition, we may better understand how false is this premise. And let's not forget that judo guy is able to do it with attacker that counter and resist actively!!!!!!!
As I said earlier -- pure illusion all this ‘studying technique'.


Quote:
This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS!
Don't get excited too much. I never wrote such thing. However, it is very important body skill. Not to prove that your techniques is wrong, but simply to protect himself against bad technical skills. Also, if I can do it, it means that your technique has an opening and is not perfect yet LOL. Normally, if you are able to maintain a right connection, I can't redirect your leading, isn't it true?

Quote:
People with limited understanding think that the "hard stuff" is the martial stuff. It's really the soft stuff that has the "goods". If you understand the soft stuff, power comes easily and effortlessly
.

O sensei didn't start from soft power. No one who started training from soft power ever became great martial artist. Because this approach leads to nowhere.

Last edited by NagaBaba : 10-03-2006 at 02:24 PM.

Nagababa

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Old 10-03-2006, 02:48 PM   #79
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Good post Szczepan. I often agree with what I think you mean, but often don't agree with how you say it... if that makes any sense at all! I suspect that you'd enjoy training with us at the Jiyushinkan. Drop in and visit anytime.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 10-03-2006, 04:42 PM   #80
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
The problem with assuming the type of non-energetic, collapsing of energy that's being talked about (yes, I still think that is what happens, with the only "outflow" being tactile response which really isn't energy outflow IMO), gives neither partner the ability to find the "aiki".
I will agree with you that we probably have too many terminological issues to make any headway in this discussion. What exactly you mean by 'energy outflow', 'tactile response', and 'aiki' is just too difficult to tell. In case it's unclear, all I am saying is that I think there is a mode of 'immovability' which is sophisticated, not 'lug-like', and a *valuable* skill, well-worth cultivating if you are trying to develop 'aiki'. It may not always be appropriate to shut down your partner's waza, but the core skill involved would *also* allow you to take extremely light, responsive ukemi if you wanted to. I would argue that developing these kind of unsual skills is probably *more* valuable than trying to 'flow' - and that 'flow' is what I am imagining when you talk about 'energy outflow'. I am *not* saying that one should be stiff or even static, but that the real ability to 'flow' is dependent on the ability to connect the parts of the body extremely well and to guide forces within the body in an extremely precise way - and that these properties can be cultivated well under the rubric of 'immovability'.
Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
I think so, but I don't think that a very high level of sophistication is what is required to become (for lack of a better term) a "lug".
I have no doubt that this is true, and I will try one more time: you are describing a kind of 'luggish' stasis and saying that it is easy to attain. I believe you, but *I* am saying that this luggish stasis is not the most sophisticated thing out there, and probably not as immoveable as you think; and I am furthermore saying that the difference between your luggish stasis and what I am talking about (as an ideal) is meaningful and worth cultivating. You can't have your cake and eat it too. We both agree that the lug thing is easy and useless, but you can't really take the position that what I am describing is also easy and useless if you think what I am describing is the lug thing. Well, you could, I suppose . . . but you'd need to be pretty confident you knew what I was talking about - and from what you say, it sounds like you might not.
Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
Of course I could be wrong...and I'm sure Ledyard Sensei will be more than happy to correct me when he is here in San Antonio in a couple of weeks (SHAMELESS SEMINAR PLUG )
Do you mean 'correct' you if you're misrepresenting his position - or 'correct' you if you're arument is flawed? I will point out that if you are representing his position accurately, he will probably not correct you on any flaws in the argument. I might be reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are not defending George's argument so much as his personal stance (so to speak) - and that you'll take whatever position he espouses. Correct me if I'm wrong.

-ck
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Old 10-03-2006, 05:02 PM   #81
Michael Young
 
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
If a demo is kind of show off, when high level teacher demonstrates something that can't be repeated or understood by anyone but him, even by 6th dan students, is it completely useless.
Just like O'Sensei used to do...hmmm, maybe it does have value even if everyone in the room can't understand or replicate it. Personally I'm glad that O'Sensei left behind some demonstration of what he was doing...even if everyone who watches it can't replicate it, or even understand (those poor 6th dans). Maybe the demos have an intrinsic value beyond the limited perspective of the viewer.

Quote:
However, it is very important body skill. Not to prove that your techniques is wrong, but simply to protect himself against bad technical skills. Also, if I can do it, it means that your technique has an opening and is not perfect yet LOL
Again...hmmm.. if you punch and I'm standing beside you with my hand in your face, and you aren't responding because you don't want to be thrown and I haven't "taken your balance", then this is O.K.? You've somehow shown me my technique isn't perfect? You don't have to respond to this? After all, its only a hand and I'm not going to hurt you, right? I mean how much damage can my little old hand do (particularly if I'm not "powerful")? Somewhere in there I was supposed to apply my power through physical contact and take your balance, and I didn't do that, right?.

O.K. now, imagine I had a 3 inch razor sharp blade in my hand...gonna move now, or stand there "unthrowable"? Doesn't take much power now does it? Nope, I'd bet you a whole lot of money you move your head, and if you have any intelligence, your whole body...and imagine, just for a second, that this would place you in a position of non-balance. Oooops, I forgot you're unthrowable from this "soft stuff." Of course, I really don't have a 3 inch blade in my little old hand do I? Hmmmm, I wonder if my 2.5 inch finger could penetrate your eye?...nah, your probably right, that could never happen

Sorry about the sarcasm, but this argument could go on and on, and while I'm under no delusion that Nagababel will be convinced that maybe there is a little more to movement and off-balancing than copious amounts of power applied to a person, maybe its still good for the discussion.

Quote:
O sensei didn't start from soft power. No one who started training from soft power ever became great martial artist. Because this approach leads to nowhere.
Interesting, because I would say;
No one who started training from hard power and never graduated beyond that ever became a great martial artist*. This approach leads to stagnation and a limited perspective.
O'Sensei graduated to something beyond just using power.

I doubt a great swordsman concentrates on mastering his art through the pursuit of a more and more powerful cut.

*disclaimer: I've never met every great martial artist...whatever that is

FWIW
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Old 10-03-2006, 05:46 PM   #82
Michael Young
 
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
In case it's unclear, all I am saying is that I think there is a mode of 'immovability' which is sophisticated, not 'lug-like', and a *valuable* skill, well-worth cultivating if you are trying to develop 'aiki'.
I completely aggree.

Quote:
I am *not* saying that one should be stiff or even static, but that the real ability to 'flow' is dependent on the ability to connect the parts of the body extremely well and to guide forces within the body in an extremely precise way - and that these properties can be cultivated well under the rubric of 'immovability'.
Again, I agree: I have been actively seeking out training methods to build just such skillsets.

Quote:
I would argue that developing these kind of unsual skills is probably *more* valuable than trying to 'flow'
Sorry, I don't agree with that. I think one s just as valuable as the other. Athough I would say that the skill of being responsive and "unmovable" in a relaxed connected manner is not practiced most places as much as "flowing" is. I also think that many places don't even have methodology in place to practice those things (fodder for another discussion)

Quote:
I am *not* saying that one should be stiff or even static, but that the real ability to 'flow' is dependent on the ability to connect the parts of the body extremely well and to guide forces within the body in an extremely precise way - and that these properties can be cultivated well under the rubric of 'immovability'
I would say I do agree with that partly, but without actually putting it into practice would be like studying how to stand correctly with a sword, but never actually swing it and respond in a martial situation. You can watch someone play piano all day long, listen to it over and over, study as much music theory you want, practice your scales over and over again...all essential things, but if you never actually try to play Mozart, you'll never be able to play Mozart...O.K. I know that just opened a whole new tangent.

Quote:
We both agree that the lug thing is easy and useless, but you can't really take the position that what I am describing is also easy and useless if you think what I am describing is the lug thing. Well, you could, I suppose . . . but you'd need to be pretty confident you knew what I was talking about - and from what you say, it sounds like you might not.
I never said that what you are describing is easy and useless, and never stated that...in fact (I'll state again) from your post the thing I disagreed with was that you originally stated someone standing in a stable posture was easy to move....I think we're arguing the same thing to some extent. Nuff said on that from my side, too many of these discussions devolve into semantics.

Quote:
Do you mean 'correct' you if you're misrepresenting his position - or 'correct' you if you're arument is flawed? I will point out that if you are representing his position accurately, he will probably not correct you on any flaws in the argument. I might be reading this wrong, but it sounds like you are not defending George's argument so much as his personal stance (so to speak) - and that you'll take whatever position he espouses. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Um, thanks for pointing out that he wouldn't correct me if something I said aggrees with something he said.
The only reason I'd take anyone's stance on anything is if I think what they're saying is correct. I've been lucky enough to have a lot of exposure to Ledyard Sensei and he has been very instrumental to my understanding of a lot of things. Just to be clear, I'm not espousing what someone says to be a sycophant. You said something I didn't agree with or felt needed further discussion and understanding, thus I responded. Would I take Ledyard Sensei's advice on something he corrects me on? You bet I would, because he can demonstrate he knows what he is talking about to me, and he wouldn't give an opinion if it wasn't considered and backed up with experience/knowledge. I've had enough exposure to him to know this about him. How bout you? Have you met Ledyard or had the opportunity to train with him? Have you met me, and know anything at all about my personality? I don't know jack about you C.K. nor have I been condescending or insulting to you, just carrying on a discussion. Would I espouse any position Ledyard takes? Not if I didn't think it was correct, and have a reasonable explanaton to back up my thoughts.
I hope that corrects your veiled insult and accusation that I'm somehow unable to think for myself, because I won't respond any further to that line of questioning. Back to regularly scheduled programming.
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Old 10-03-2006, 06:12 PM   #83
clwk
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
Sorry, I don't agree with that. I think one s just as valuable as the other. Athough I would say that the skill of being responsive and "unmovable" in a relaxed connected manner is not practiced most places as much as "flowing" is. I also think that many places don't even have methodology in place to practice those things (fodder for another discussion)
All I mean is that if you can really stand in a way that converges on the immoveable idea, then it is easy to 'flow'. The opposite is not the case, so if I had to pick one method or the other exclusively, I would take the standing. *Fortunately*, we don't have to make that choice - and I *do* practice Aikido and value the ukemi as arguably the most important part of the training.
Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
I would say I do agree with that partly, but without actually putting it into practice would be like studying how to stand correctly with a sword, but never actually swing it and respond in a martial situation.
Yes and no, in my opinion. Yes - because, of course - you do have to practice with 'situations' and to some extent learn about techniques, etc. On the other hand, the *main* thing to cultivate is more of a state than a set of conditioned-responses - a state which entwines mind and body, and in which (theoretically!) the naturally correct response arises to any particular 'martial puzzle'. I am *not* saying you can arrive at that point without training with situations and techniques or that I have arrived there - but I think *a lot* of what you need to do to get there has very little to do with learning and practicing techniques as such. I think that is supported by O-Sensei's predilection for training methods which were not evidently martial.
Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
I hope that corrects your veiled insult and accusation that I'm somehow unable to think for myself, because I won't respond any further to that line of questioning. Back to regularly scheduled programming.
Actually, Michael, I don't think there was a veiled insult. I said it *sounded* like you were behaving in a certain way, but I wasn't sure. The paragraph in which you were supposed to have cleared it up left me confused about whether you were just "taking George's side" or not. For the record, I don't think you would need to interpret my observation as an insult if you were. That you feel it would be an insult suggests that must *not* have been what you meant. So what you were initially saying is that you would ask George to 'correct' you on whether you were expressing his position correctly - so as not to misrepresent him? I'm genuinely confused about what you meant, and there's no necessary insult in either answer.

I think you can see how it would be confusing if I stepped into a potential disagreement you were having with, say Sczepan, and ended my response with "I'll just check with Sczepan to see if I'm making any mistakes." I don't mean to insult you or George. I'm just trying to get a bead on what you're saying.

If you think my identifying the position I thought you *might* be taking is insulting, please just tell me that it's not your actual position. That's why I said 'I might be reading this wrong', and 'Correct me if I'm wrong.'

-ck
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Old 10-03-2006, 07:59 PM   #84
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Let me clarify what I meany by the highly technical term of "hunkering down" and "being like a rock or rocklike".

Many folks resist by tightening up and blocking the flow of the technique. In doing so this tension makes it impossible for them to protect themselves against the atemi. Someone who tightens his arm can't use that arm to protect against a strike.

It is abolutely possible to develop very strong centering technique and be very difficult to move. One does this by learning to relax have proper body alignment. Mike Sigman would be very hard to move but he is very relaxed and quite sensitive to his opponent.

If one is tight, he is feeling himself, if one is relaxed, one is feeling the opponent. That doesn't mean "floaty" but it doesn't mean that one is still fluid enough to protect ones openings.

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Old 10-03-2006, 11:17 PM   #85
clwk
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
Let me clarify what I meany by the highly technical term of "hunkering down" and "being like a rock or rocklike".
The first time I read that, 'rocklike' came out 'crocodile' in my head. I believe that *is* the official terminology: 'hunkering down like a crocodile.'

Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
Many folks resist by tightening up and blocking the flow of the technique. In doing so this tension makes it impossible for them to protect themselves against the atemi. Someone who tightens his arm can't use that arm to protect against a strike.
Yes, that is exactly what I thought you meant.

Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
It is abolutely possible to develop very strong centering technique and be very difficult to move. One does this by learning to relax have proper body alignment. Mike Sigman would be very hard to move but he is very relaxed and quite sensitive to his opponent.
Yes, and that is exactly what I was talking about. It seems we have no disagreement. This was a long road to get there, but I'm all for gratuitous brouhahae.

-ck
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:17 PM   #86
Michael Young
 
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
On the other hand, the *main* thing to cultivate is more of a state than a set of conditioned-responses - a state which entwines mind and body, and in which (theoretically!) the naturally correct response arises to any particular 'martial puzzle'. I am *not* saying you can arrive at that point without training with situations and techniques or that I have arrived there - but I think *a lot* of what you need to do to get there has very little to do with learning and practicing techniques as such. I think that is supported by O-Sensei's predilection for training methods which were not evidently martial.
This is something I would absolutely agree with. Having a repertoire of A+B=C is pretty much worthless. Learning technique is only part of the basic vocabulary of the art, not the art itself, they are a way of studying the principles. I would also agree that simply practicing the techniques has little (or at least, not as big a role that is generally emphasized) to do with learning Aikido. I don't think that the discussion (at least to me) has as much to do with nage's role as it does uke's. Of course the overlap is inherent in the art: where does the study of ukemi and the study of technique begin and end? The answer to me is in the principle, which is studied on both sides. The "flow" side of ukemi, to me, is where I begin to understand the feeling between the two partners, of what is happening. Obtaining this "natural state" is a job not only of the nage side, but also the uke. This is hard for an uke to accomplish when he becomes the proverbial "lug" (tight unmovable, as opposed to relaxed unmovable, taking from what Ledyard Sensei just said) and just stands there waiting for the torque, strike, slice, kiss, or whatever, when in a martially untenable position.
There is definite and necessary value in studying how to "unify" your body, feel your partner, and "ground them out". Like I said before, I don't think it is studied enough. A person should spend countless hours trying to "learn" their body and how to manipulate their structure correctly, then apply it to an interactive training process (particularly as nage). Its completely possible to use this skill to ground-out, shut down, control, or simply not be thrown by your nage when taking the role of uke...but then you've just switched roles and become nage haven't you? Is this appropriate in a training situation? It can be if that is the agreed upon interaction (after all we do have something called kaeshi-waza), but it sure as heck ain't appropriate under most training circumstances, and can be completely detrimental to the training process when not agreed upon...for both partners. The idea that I'm going to train to "not be thrown" all the time isn't going to get anyone anywhere. Granted, I don't think this is what you are advocating C.K (although it seems others are), so take what I'm saying as just elaboration for the sake of discussion. Its also not the appropriate thing to do in an embu either...an uke resisting the technique being applied is just asking for it during such a demonstration. I've seen shihan adjust with purposefully resistive, non-flowing, uke on a few occasions when demonstrating technique...it was never very pretty for the uke.

So as not to digress off topic, I'll address the "insult" issue in a PM.
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Old 10-04-2006, 12:10 AM   #87
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

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Michael Young wrote:
Of course the overlap is inherent in the art: where does the study of ukemi and the study of technique begin and end?
At the point that kaeshi waza happens automatically, whenever uke refrains from forcing himself to 'take the fall' - or that's my take. In other words, when ukemi dissolves into spontaneous disarming of Nage's committed attack, then the principle of protection through completely yielding has been realized. In theory, mind you.
Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
The "flow" side of ukemi, to me, is where I begin to understand the feeling between the two partners, of what is happening.
I agree, and I think that most people have the problem of not being able to 'flow'. What I am saying is that the flow, as good as it is, and important as it is - especially from a mental perspective - actually contains a kind of disconnection. Think about it this way: if you take 'flow' to its logical extreme, if you perfect it, then how does Aikido differ from ballroom dancing (apart from the steps). The answer is: it doesn't. I think being *able* to flow to an arbitrarily perfect degree is a baseline requirement of ukemi, but I don't think it's the pinnacle. I think that in order for the uke-nage dynamic to be martially communicative, there needs to be more than just flow: there needs to also be the ability to 'unflow' at will. If uke can flow so well that nage does not feel him, and can unflow so well that nage cannot move him, then he is ideally suited to a) protect himself if need be, and b) give nage *exactly* the feedback appropriate to nage's ability and requirements of the time. This dichotomy carried into the realm of real physical conflict resolves the sometimes-confusing discussion about protection the attacker v.s. protecting oneself. a) has to come first, but if the skill level is there to treat your attacker as a training partner, then sure . . . go ahead and give him b). But the appropriate feedback to a real attack might not be pleasant - because a real attack does not conform to the etiquette which *should* prevent both real agressive and passive-aggressive ukemi in the dojo. We're after mock aggressive, with an asymptotic approach to *appearing* to be real. (See comments below.)
Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
Its also not the appropriate thing to do in an embu either...an uke resisting the technique being applied is just asking for it during such a demonstration. I've seen shihan adjust with purposefully resistive, non-flowing, uke on a few occasions when demonstrating technique...it was never very pretty for the uke.
I'm not commenting on the discussion in general because I haven't followed it closely, but as far as the video goes: the problem with the ukes is not that they are not resisting, or that they are flowing. It's a matter of degree, I suppose. It doesn't matter to me *at all*, but I think that if they *tightened up* their ukemi, then it would showcase Endo's skill even more. It's not a big deal, ballroom dancing is beautiful, and if you know Aikido, you can see what's going on. I don't think you can judge Endo too strongly by his ukes' skill level anyway. If that was too vague, let me be direct: his ukes could be more connected and anticipate the throws less. This would give him the opportunity to exert greater control, display more power, and would look more martially interesting - while still allowing them to take their breakfalls (which are good, of course). It would still be obviously cooperative, but it could just be tightened up a little bit.

Let's put it this way. With a little more practice, they could get it down so it didn't look so fake. We all know it's real anyway, so why spoil the illusion that is embu with the obviously over-the-top dance moves. I suggest some blood capsules, and maybe a couple of antique sugar vases which he could break over their heads at strategic points.

-ck
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Old 10-05-2006, 11:18 AM   #88
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

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Chuck Clark wrote:
Good post Szczepan. I often agree with what I think you mean, but often don't agree with how you say it... if that makes any sense at all! I suspect that you'd enjoy training with us at the Jiyushinkan. Drop in and visit anytime.

Best regards,
Thank you Chuck for invitation, it will be pleasure to practice with you when time will allow me for long travels.
take care

Nagababa

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Old 10-05-2006, 11:43 AM   #89
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
Just like O'Sensei used to do...hmmm, maybe it does have value even if everyone in the room can't understand or replicate it. Personally I'm glad that O'Sensei left behind some demonstration of what he was doing...even if everyone who watches it can't replicate it, or even understand (those poor 6th dans). Maybe the demos have an intrinsic value beyond the limited perspective of the viewer.
O sensei was a founder, so his understanding of the art was far superieur to ours. His actions can't be mesured in the same way as ours.
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Michael Young wrote:
Again...hmmm.. if you punch and I'm standing beside you with my hand in your face, and you aren't responding because you don't want to be thrown and I haven't "taken your balance", then this is O.K.? You've somehow shown me my technique isn't perfect? You don't have to respond to this? After all, its only a hand and I'm not going to hurt you, right? I mean how much damage can my little old hand do (particularly if I'm not "powerful")? Somewhere in there I was supposed to apply my power through physical contact and take your balance, and I didn't do that, right?. .
I'd say like that: in any moment after first contact uke should't be in balance until he hits the tatami. This is nage job to be sure about it. If uke, even for a half a second regain his balance, nage is done, doesn't matter what he(nage) thinks he is able to do after.
The reason is simple: result of such situation can't be predicted at all. So nage allowed to return to the situation from before beginning of the attack which is waste of time and effords.
Quote:
Michael Young wrote:
O.K. now, imagine I had a 3 inch razor sharp blade in my hand...gonna move now, or stand there "unthrowable"? Doesn't take much power now does it? Nope, I'd bet you a whole lot of money you move your head, and if you have any intelligence, your whole body...and imagine, just for a second, that this would place you in a position of non-balance. Oooops, I forgot you're unthrowable from this "soft stuff." Of course, I really don't have a 3 inch blade in my little old hand do I? Hmmmm, I wonder if my 2.5 inch finger could penetrate your eye?...nah, your probably right, that could never happen .
I see you have great imagination. Congratulations. It will not, however, help you in any way to master aikido.
Aikido is not about dreaming samurai-like fantasy.
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Michael Young wrote:
Interesting, because I would say;
No one who started training from hard power and never graduated beyond that ever became a great martial artist*. This approach leads to stagnation and a limited perspective.
O'Sensei graduated to something beyond just using power.

I doubt a great swordsman concentrates on mastering his art through the pursuit of a more and more powerful cut.

*disclaimer: I've never met every great martial artist...whatever that is

FWIW
Your knowledge about O sensei direct students martial background is very limited. ALL his early students were high skilled martal artist BEFORE they start aikido training. They didn't build their power by doing meditation, 'studying movement' or dreaming. It was done by very hard physical work during long time. This is not the case today. 99.99% aikido beginners are weak physically and have no powerful spirit. It is not surprising that first thing to do is to build it -- and the best way to do it is by developping a power in execution aikido techniques. More sophisticated skills(as Endo sensei presents in this video ) may be develop only later on this strong fundation.Or not -- not everyone is able to develop such skills. But at least they will have good basics.

What Yamaguchi and Endo sensei propose is reinversed process - they want to build sophistication without any basics. This is very funny.

Nagababa

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Old 10-05-2006, 12:42 PM   #90
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

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Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
What Yamaguchi and Endo sensei propose is reinversed process - they want to build sophistication without any basics.
Where/when did they propose this?
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Old 10-05-2006, 02:45 PM   #91
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

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I see you have great imagination. Congratulations. It will not, however, help you in any way to master aikido.
I wasn't aware that carrying a 3 inch blade in hand could only be carried out by a samurai. I work in a rough area of town, in a job that exposes me to rough people on a regular basis. I never know what their carrying, and a 3 inch blade is certainly within the realm of possibility. But I'm sure its completely safe in your little corner of the world though. Who's fantasizing now?
I do try to have a good imagination though (thanks for the congrats)...I imagine that when I'm in a martially untenable situation I'm going to respond, not stand there waiting for someone to push or pull me off balance when a strike COULD be far more dangerous to my personal well-being. Even though I know that my fellow practice partners aren't going to purposefully hurt me inside the dojo, I still treat it AS IF they could. This is the time to "flow" and move yourself, this is the time for nage to take advantage of that situation and take uke's balance.
Oh yeah, insofar as my imagination goes, you forgot this part of my statement,
Quote:
I really don't have a 3 inch blade in my little old hand do I? Hmmmm, I wonder if my 2.5 inch finger could penetrate your eye?...nah, your probably right, that could never happen
Or is it convenient to just ignore the fact that it doesn't actually take much "power" to do someone some damage and that they should pay attention to such things?
Quote:
'd say like that: in any moment after first contact uke shouldn't be in balance until he hits the tatami. This is nage job to be sure about it. If uke, even for a half a second regain his balance, nage is done, doesn't matter what he(nage) thinks he is able to do after.
I agree...but what is "first contact".. just physical? Unfortunately a lot of what I have seen (and originally practiced in my old federation) only saw Aikido as a physical interaction between two people. It basically gets reduced to some kind of wrestling match where everything becomes a matter of waiting for your partner to torque, twist, push or pull, at the point of physical contact. I think uke's mind has to be disrupted before physical contact is made. If you practice as an unresponsive uke though, you can simply ignore the fact that your nage is already in a space to strike you, etc., and simply not move when, if it was a real situation, you would have (unless you've stupidly trained yourself not to).
Another problem with this purely physical response of "power must be applied" to balance breaking is, how much of uke's balance do you need to have broken? I can think of one Shihan in particular who likes his uke's bent in half, in a completely open position, but there they must wait until the "power" is poured on...just plain stupid on uke's part. But hey, better to train your body to absorb punishment than to actually just fall down and get the hell out of dodge, right? I'm still trying to retrain that ridiculous habit out of my body, and I haven't practiced that "style" in quite a few years now.
Quote:
O sensei was a founder, so his understanding of the art was far Superior to ours. His actions can't be measured in the same way as ours.
So the logic is, that if we can't understand something he did, or do it in the perfect manner that he did it in, then it is wrong for us do so? Well, guess we all better just quit doing embu now...heck I guess Aikido too. Just admit that there might be other reasons why O'Sensei, and pretty much every one of his top students did/do demonstrations. Remember this is your statement that I was addressing:
Quote:
If a demo is kind of show off, when high level teacher demonstrates something that can't be repeated or understood by anyone but him, even by 6th dan students, is it completely useless.
I'm pretty sure O'Sensei could be considered a high level teacher. I doubt he was expecting people to understand everything about what he was doing, but maybe he thought there was value in showing it anyway...or maybe he was just showing off (I know, blaspheme!!).
Quote:
Your knowledge about O sensei direct students martial background is very limited.
Wow, I am amazed that you could know that piece of information about me, especially considering we've never met...nor did I comment at all about what any of O'Sensei's early students knew or didn't know in what I wrote. I wonder what these immensely powerful students came to learn from O'Sensei though?..yeah probably just how to use more and more power, I doubt that any of them ever tried to use a something different that they learned while practicing with O'Sensei.
Quote:
What Yamaguchi and Endo sensei propose is reinversed process - they want to build sophistication without any basics. This is very funny.
I too wonder where you got this piece of information...I'm sure you were their direct students for many years, right? Or possibly have trained with some of their direct students? I tell you what, Gleason Sensei is a direct student of Yamaguchi...go see him at a seminar at the very least, heck try to get your hands on him and supply some "good-old-fashioned-resistive-ukemi", I'm suuuurrrrree that you'd find he is lacking in basics and "power"

Last edited by Michael Young : 10-05-2006 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:11 PM   #92
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

I am going to regret wading in here, but are you guys even talking about the same thing when you say 'power'?

And I'm kind of unclear on the argument against needing to take balance -- if uke is just standing there and nage is relying on eye-gouging or a knife what's to stop uke from eye-gouging or knifing nage first? Then doesn't it all just become a matter of who can eye gouge faster?

I assume this is really not what you're trying to say, but I start to picture an interpretation where someone could practice in such a way that they never actually successfully escape a pretend 'attacker' unless the pretend 'attacker' is at that moment practicing how to cooperate better with them (which sounds like a non-attacker??), all the while nage saying, 'if this was real I would knife him" -- in which case why not drop the 'aikido' and spend the time on practicing knife skills and eye-gouging speed? I really suspect that's not what you're actually getting at, but it's getting confusing to follow.

I'm not sure you're even arguing about the same thing, though... I seem to recall being in Montreal a couple of months into starting Aikido and practicing with Stephane and hearing a lot of "Relaxe! Relaxe!" (that's french for relax ) "Relax your shoulders! Keep moving! Do something! Don't make your body rigid, it just gives them a lever!", and so on...
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Old 10-05-2006, 10:08 PM   #93
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

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I am going to regret wading in here,
C'mon in, the water's fine

Quote:
I assume this is really not what you're trying to say, but I start to picture an interpretation where someone could practice in such a way that they never actually successfully escape a pretend 'attacker' unless the pretend 'attacker' is at that moment practicing how to cooperate better with them (which sounds like a non-attacker??), all the while nage saying, 'if this was real I would knife him" -- in which case why not drop the 'aikido' and spend the time on practicing knife skills and eye-gouging speed? I really suspect that's not what you're actually getting at, but it's getting confusing to follow.
You are correct, that is not what I'm trying to say. Let me clarify and hopefully state my position better:
-Uke should deliver attacks with precision and intent, and they should have their balance while doing so
-If nage doesn't respond correctly (assuming both practitioners are working at a more than beginner level), then uke shouldn't just throw away their balance and fall to the ground, making it some kind of dance
I hope that clears up that I am not advocating weak attacks, weak balance on uke's part, or reinforcing ineffective technique for nage by just falling down.
That said, neither should uke be resistive to being moved when in a MARTIALLY UNTENABLE position (that's the key to why it doesn't turn into uke just resuming the attack from a different position). I was using the knife, and eye gouging, as an example of why this resistive behavior on uke's part is just plain stupid. All to often I have been at places where the uke attacks, nage responds by moving to a shikaku with proper timing, then the uke just stands there as rigid as possible, waiting for nage to "do" something to him/her...this is only possible in a training environment and is a completely dishonest reaction from uke. Ledayard Sensei gave a perfect example of it in a post earlier on in this thread:

Quote:
I had a guy at camp do that to me... he was quite pleased that I "couldn't" move him. But why would I? The moment I felt him ground out, I slid behind him and had both my hands on his face with my fingers on his eyes. When you ground out and make yourself immoveable like that you are simply making yourself a non-moving target. If you are tense you cannot protect your suki (openings). That has nothing to do with good martial arts..

This precisely answers your question of:
Quote:
if uke is just standing there and nage is relying on eye-gouging or a knife what's to stop uke from eye-gouging or knifing nage first?
Uke is not in a position to do anything if he/she doesn't move, while nage is. Uke purposefully stopping the flow of technique when in a bad position is a bad idea.
I am not advocating that nage not take uke's balance...but let's be honest, if uke knows what is coming, and knows that nage is not actually going to strike, then most people with a modicum of training can begin resisting and fighting the technique, usually very successfully. There a many dojo's where this is the training method taught for uke, and nage is expected to get uke moving again through a series of purely mechanical manipulation (twisting, torquing, pulling, pushing). Lo and behold this type of training then spills over to the nage side...instead of concentrating of the centerline, timing, and putting themselves in martially effective positions, nage starts to reach out and grab appendages and concentrate on technique over principle. I'm not theorizing about this, I've experienced it a bunch in my training background. There is essentially a whole Aikido organization that practices and teaches this way (not naming names, sorry won't go there). Like I said in my last post, I've seen people literally bent almost in half backwards, (feet on the ground with the top of their head barely off the mat), a nage that placed them the uke in that position standing directly over them, and still the uke is resisting falling down. Why? What purpose does it serve to train your uke's to do that? What does it say about the uke martially? Maybe its so that nage can get the "bone-crunching" instant self-gratification of pummelling someone hard into the ground.
Quote:
...are you guys even talking about the same thing when you say 'power'?
You'd probably need to go back and read the entire thread to get a handle on that. There have been some great posts in it on that very issue. Its worth reading the whole thread, its a good one with lots of interesting discussion, and I know I'm enjoying it...even if I am being a smart @#$ in some of my responses (mostly to Naga though, I tend to respond in kind ). For me, these issues are very relevant to my current training focus.
Quote:
I seem to recall being in Montreal a couple of months into starting Aikido and practicing with Stephane and hearing a lot of "Relaxe! Relaxe!" (that's french for relax ) "Relax your shoulders! Keep moving! Do something! Don't make your body rigid, it just gives them a lever!", and so on...
Fantastic (fantastique, en francais ) good advice.

-Mike
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Old 10-05-2006, 11:40 PM   #94
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Pretty demo. Now try doing that with someone who is stiff arming you and trying their very best not to cooperate with you; IMO very different result altogether.

However, all is not lost, I see a very smoothly executed Tai Otoshi around 1' 22" of the clip. Very relaxed and effective. I too was caught with Tai Otoshi like this in my randori.

Other than that, all I see is the typical go with the flow cooperative ukes.

Boon.

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Old 10-06-2006, 01:04 AM   #95
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

I've been reading (and skimming) this thread with interest. I have been a student of Nakao sensei for the last year and can confirm what Bryan has had to say. Rather than just following, when taking uke for Nakao sensei you are compelled to keep moving, a bit like travelling down a steep hill at speed. In this sense, as uke I feel I have to keep going and see the throw through to its' conclusion because I'm already falling over anyway, and his nage will eventually give me an opportunity to do so in a way that i can cope with.
There is also no opportunity to effectively block his technique, because if you don't give a commited attack he will go straight through you. Using what feels like pure hara, he will literally pin you against the dojo wall (whilst smiling) until you start attacking.
Furthermore, although incredibly soft, the best way I can describe the initial connection with Nakao sensei is like trying to push a very big boulder (this time up a hill!), never feeling that you are really anywhere near upsetting its' centre of gravity. In this way, you are presented with two choices, attack or not, of which attacking seems the more sensible one.

All the best
Ross
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Old 10-06-2006, 02:38 AM   #96
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Hi Ross,

Not trying to hijack the thread but did we meet when I was over at Easter? Was it you that came and drank coffee with me and Brad after keiko?

Please give Nakao sensei my best regards and tell him I'll see him in the spring.

regards
Bryan

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Old 10-06-2006, 11:05 AM   #97
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

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Pretty demo. Now try doing that with someone who is stiff arming you and trying their very best not to cooperate with you; IMO very different result altogether.
It seems to me this has turned into the classic argument between different schools of thought when it comes to aikido.
Those who believe you should be able to control and throw someone no matter what they are or are not doing to you. The other is that why throw or try to move something that is giving no energy or "attack" they are not hurting you what's the point?
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Old 10-06-2006, 07:48 PM   #98
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Stiff arming would not give any different result with Endo. Man, I have been there and saw the muscle aikido guys try to give him a hard time. They ended up bouncing harder than the best uke. He has found the true essence of aikido. When I said it was like grabbing a truck, I meant it. The guy has a presence that you can feel across the room.

When we discuss this it is very hard to comprehend. We are so far down on the ladder of understanding. It is sometimes easier to discredit or label it cooperation instead of actual technique. I have collectively practiced martial arts for 15 years. With the majority in BJJ and aikido, I am just now finding my place on the martial arts ladder. Endo, and others like him, has found a level way beyond a typical students experience. One day I hope I can get it. These "masters" have done this for many many years. Not a couple of hours a week, more so a couple of hours a day, every day. So keep that in mind when trying to discredit what we don't understand. This isn't directed at any poster, more so to everyone.
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Old 10-07-2006, 02:56 AM   #99
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
What Yamaguchi and Endo sensei propose is reinversed process - they want to build sophistication without any basics. This is very funny.
Szczepan,

I've been in classes with Endo sensei where he has done nothing but ikkyo the whole time. The classes I've attended with him at Hombu dojo always consisted of basic techniques. If you go onto the Sakura dojo website and read the articles written by Endo Sensei you will find that he very much advocates basic technique.

For one who hasn't trained with either person I don't see how you can qualify your statement above, certainly not from a video clip, that is funnier still. You seem to have a constant desire to criticize other peoples aikido, I can't help thinking that with this blinkered view you are the one that's missing out .

rgds
Bryan

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Old 10-07-2006, 07:20 AM   #100
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Bryan Bateman wrote:
Szczepan,

I've been in classes with Endo sensei where he has done nothing but ikkyo the whole time. The classes I've attended with him at Hombu dojo always consisted of basic techniques. If you go onto the Sakura dojo website and read the articles written by Endo Sensei you will find that he very much advocates basic technique.

For one who hasn't trained with either person I don't see how you can qualify your statement above, certainly not from a video clip, that is funnier still. You seem to have a constant desire to criticize other peoples aikido, I can't help thinking that with this blinkered view you are the one that's missing out .

rgds
Bryan
Hello Bryan,

The issue of Atheists, Believers and Agnostics has been an issue ever since Yamaguchi Sensei evolved his distinctive way of doing aikido in training seminars. I think the same issues exist for Endoh Sensei and for Isoyama Sensei (though in a different way).

If some shihan is posted on video, well, this opens out the discussion to the aikido 'chattering classes'. This is unavoidable, in my opinion. I think Stephane has a valid point, based on the videos.

In Hiroshima we have a whole stock of videos of Yamaguchi Sensei giving training seminars over a long period. They are not demonstrations (unlike the Endo video being discussed here), but the content is pretty similar, because Yamaguchi Sensei did not make much difference between his aikido in class and his aikido in demonstrations.

Actually, I think you are being too hard on Szczepan. Of course, he does not need my support to buttress the quality of his aikido. But it was very good to meet him in Tokyo and to see that he is an aikido mortal, just like the rest of us.

PS. Any chance of a get-together on your next visit to Japan--in Himeji or Hiroshima?

P A Goldsbury
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Hiroshima, Japan
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