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Old 11-08-2006, 07:33 PM   #26
Ketsan
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
Actually, Morihei's senior students at that time were known to take challenge matches to demonstrate the effectiveness of the art. Tohei did. Yamaguchi beat the young Saotome, then a judoka, which convinced him to take up the art. Later Saotome would be sent to take on challengers from other arts. So its not true that the Aikikai at the time refused challenges as a matter of principle. So the refusal of Mr. Bluming's request must have been due to another reason.
Perhaps it wasn't so much that Ueshiba refused the challenge but more stated his point of view on Aikido. If you think of Aikido as harmonisation then you can't fight someone, doesn't mean you wont through the floor though. To Mr. Bluming this would have been a fight to Ueshiba it might not have been.
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:37 PM   #27
raul rodrigo
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

But, Alex, Koichi Tohei did take on challengers upon the explicit instructions of Morihei. So at the time, the founder wasnt allergic to matches in general; at least one of those matches did take place inside the old Hombu dojo with Morihei watching.
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:58 PM   #28
ChrisMoses
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote:
Perhaps it wasn't so much that Ueshiba refused the challenge but more stated his point of view on Aikido. If you think of Aikido as harmonisation then you can't fight someone, doesn't mean you wont through the floor though. To Mr. Bluming this would have been a fight to Ueshiba it might not have been.
At the time it was relatively common for challengers to come to hombu dojo. It gets hard to defend when you take some challengers and not others. I can't find the reference, but I remember reading that Ueshiba also asked Kano Sensei never to send Mifune Sensei over as well, so it wasn't just a westerner thing.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:33 PM   #29
David Orange
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Quote:
Ryan Bertram wrote:
Mr Bluming was clearly taunting him, and Ueshiba was able to see though it.
I wouldn't say he was taunting him. He was just doing what pretty much every budo man did when he saw Ueshiba: he said, "Do that to me." Of course, he didn't believe Ueshiba could do that to him and, frankly, he might not have been able. This is a guy who had trained with Mifune and extensively with Mas Oyama, a big, solid guy who liked to fight for real--much bigger than Ueshiba. Ueshiba had nothing to gain by fighting him. But he also told him that he didn't fight, which he didn't. As a foreigner, Bluming might not have accepted the kind of demo that swayed Tenryu--a single grasp of his hand. Bluming would have wanted to take it as far as he could and Ueshiba would have been getting on up in years by then.

And Bluming did say that he later came to respect aiki-jujutsu. Oyama trained in daito ryu with Kotaro Yoshida, after all. And Bluming respects Edgar, who trained with Mochizuki, who was uchi deshi to Mifune as well as Ueshiba. If Bluming had met Ueshiba when Ueshiba was twenty years younger, Ueshiba probably would have accepted the challenge and probably would have made a much more powerful impression on him. Think what aikido would be like today if Bluming had trained extensively with Ueshiba instead of with Mifune.

As to Chris' comment that Ueshiba told Kano not to send Mifune over, Mochizuki sensei said that, technically, Mifune and Ueshiba were very close in level, both being able to throw almost anyone at will at the instant of contact.

Best wishes,

David

Last edited by David Orange : 11-08-2006 at 08:45 PM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 11-08-2006, 08:40 PM   #30
David Orange
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
David,
Kruyning sounds like one hell of a guy. Holland seems to produce some formidable fighters. I've noticed a lot of Dutchmen in k-1 for example.

Tim
Tim,

Of course, Anton Geesink, the first Olympic gold medalist in judo, was a Dutchman. So they have a tremendous judo society there, a long-established budo tradition. Edgar started training at 14 in a dojo that taught judo, karate, aiki-jujutsu and sword. He was soon working around the dojo to pay for his lessons, then teaching to pay for his lessons. When I met him, he was 24 and had been teaching for some years, having trained only with experts from the beginning. That makes a tremendous difference. Starting out with several years under someone who doesn't really know that much leaves a strong and deep influence that is very difficult to overcome, no matter whom you train with after that. In the Netherlands, it's hard to begin with someone who doesn't know much because their tradition was established long ago. Edgar started with great people and went on to train deeply with the real masters in Japan. You should check out his books. All-Round Budo includes a really interesting DVD.

Best wishes,

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:41 PM   #31
raul rodrigo
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
At the time it was relatively common for challengers to come to hombu dojo. It gets hard to defend when you take some challengers and not others. I can't find the reference, but I remember reading that Ueshiba also asked Kano Sensei never to send Mifune Sensei over as well, so it wasn't just a westerner thing.
In his memoirs, Yasuo Kobayashi, an 8th dan who was uchi deshi at the time, speaks of a very warm convivial dinner in 1958 or 1959 where Mifune and Ueshiba had a long conversation about the differences between aikido and judo. So the attitude of Ueshiba toward Mifune seems to have been respect and friendship, not avoidance. Actually, the two should have gotten along; Mifune's waza is the most "aiki like" of all the judoka I've ever seen.
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:06 PM   #32
eyrie
 
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Well, do we know for certain if it was Ueshiba? There is no timeframe referred to in that interview that would put that in context. If Bluming was at [the Kyokushikai] honbu in 1966, Ueshiba may not have even been there, nor do we know which "Ueshiba dojo" he was referring to...

Ignatius
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:21 PM   #33
Talon
 
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

nor which Ueshiba sensei..
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:27 PM   #34
raul rodrigo
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Ignatius and Paul are right. It could have been Kisshomaru, in which case the refusal to fight a challenger would have been more consistent with what we know.
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:32 AM   #35
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
Ignatius and Paul are right. It could have been Kisshomaru, in which case the refusal to fight a challenger would have been more consistent with what we know.
That would probably have been the case!
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Old 11-09-2006, 05:25 AM   #36
Ketsan
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
But, Alex, Koichi Tohei did take on challengers upon the explicit instructions of Morihei. So at the time, the founder wasnt allergic to matches in general; at least one of those matches did take place inside the old Hombu dojo with Morihei watching.
I'm not disputing that, I'm saying that what Bluming took as a refusal might not have been a refusal to accept the challenge but more a statement of how he or one of his students was about to defeat Bluming. Kinda like "I'm not going to fight you, I'm going to blend with you and defeat you that way"
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Old 11-09-2006, 07:00 AM   #37
Cyrijl
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Maybe it was O sensei and he just knew he could not win a physical confrontation. I think all of these rationalizations are a little ridiculous. I am not saying he may have been afraid to fight. He might have just know that he was physically outmatched. No matter what anyone may say. Size does matter when skill levels are equal (and alot of times when they are not)

melior est canis vivus leone mortuo
Bog svsami!!!
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Old 11-09-2006, 08:02 AM   #38
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
In his memoirs, Yasuo Kobayashi, an 8th dan who was uchi deshi at the time, speaks of a very warm convivial dinner in 1958 or 1959 where Mifune and Ueshiba had a long conversation about the differences between aikido and judo. So the attitude of Ueshiba toward Mifune seems to have been respect and friendship, not avoidance. Actually, the two should have gotten along; Mifune's waza is the most "aiki like" of all the judoka I've ever seen.
Dang that is some good info! Thanks a million!
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Old 11-09-2006, 08:03 AM   #39
Mike Grant
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

And where's the mileage in beating up an 85 year old anyway-even if he was one of the greatest martial artists ever. If it was him, he had nothing left to prove by that time.

On the other hand, I have a video of his son teaching a class at hombu in the early 1960s and it looks like he'd be in serious danger of getting blown away if somebody opened the door and there happened to be moderately strong draught.

Credit where credit's due, Kisshomara built a strong and successful organisation and thereby secured his family's financial future and provided an umbrella for a variety talented martial artists to propogate their version of aikido, but let's not get the tatemae mixed up with honnae here. I think we all know why he wouldn't accept challenges.

Just to anticipate the enraged posts: no I never 'took ukemi' from Kissomara. But I'm betting that virtually nobody on this forum ever met his father, yet alone took ukemi from him, and yet people would accept that he was a martial arts genius based purely on word of mouth and what they've read in books and seen on video/DVD.
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Old 11-09-2006, 10:21 AM   #40
Cyrijl
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Mike,
Cheers for putting in better words what I wanted to get across.

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Old 11-09-2006, 12:49 PM   #41
Neil Yamamoto
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

I was debating posting since this will probably just inflame things, but I'll go ahead and post anyway. This will be long, so please excuse the length of this and the grammer, I'm writing this on the fly.

What this post is for is to make clear some of what took place and what happened as Bluming told me, not what people would like to infer without knowing enough details. This interview in discussion is a condensed version of an interview I helped edit. I'll add some information to what's discussed here as to what happened.

Jon Bluming sent an email to Joe Svinth and I asking to help clean up his answers to an interview eventually printed online by Kung Fu Magazine. Joe simply didn't have time; I did and helped out a bit. If I take the time to dig around in another computer, I could find the whole file, but I don't want to take the time, so to steal a line from a movie "Let me sum up".

Jon Bluming went to visit numerous dojo with Donn Dreager. This included not only Aiki Kai hombu but karate dojo as well as koryu dojo and other judo dojo. The timetable was his first trip to Japan in the late 1950's to 1961. From here on in, I'll just refer to him as "Bluming" since he prefers "Jon" or "Bluming" and is OK with "sensei" and most of use who know him have all fallen into just referring to him by his last name.

As Bluming told the story to me, when he went to each place he wanted to get hands on feel of the art. Of course, Bluming phrases things so well, he says it as "I want to fight so and so". Did he challenge one of the Uyeshiba family? Yes, it was actually Kisshomaru this was directed at.

It wasn't so much he wanted to actually fight; it was the same thing he would have done in a judo dojo -- "Let me see--feel how it works." This came about after he was told he couldn't try Aikido since it was "Too dangerous". So as is typical of Bluming then and now, he goes to the top and says "Show me, let me fight you."

And yes, the way it was told to me via Joe Svinth and by Bluming was "If I wanted to see men dancing, I would have gone to a gay-homo bar." According to Bluming, there was laughter from those present and then it was social time. Yeah, crude and politically incorrect as well. I've heard worse from people in all walks of life and seen worse behavior out of a lot of aikido sensei who have been idolized here in the United States.

You must remember this is the take of a guy who was in the Kenshusei program at the Kodokan. This is the top 25 competitive judoka in the world going at each other for 2 or more hard training session a day. (In addition to his Kyokushin Karate training with Mas Oyama and Kenji Kurosaki, Shindo Muso Ryu jodo with Takaji Shimizu and Ichitaro Kuroda, weight training with Donn Draeger and Isao Inokuma- 1964 Olympic Gold medal winner.)

This is the take of a man who at 16 was on the front lines of the Korean War with the US second Infantry as a part of the Dutch Marines serving under the US command. He served two tours of duty in Korea. Read about some of the battles at Outpost Erie and Arsenal to get an idea of what this was like.

From Bluming's point of view, it had to work on him and be functional. Anything else was not worth his time. Context of how people look at their martial art/budo is what drives the perception and understanding. Creates a lot of misunderstandings doesn't it?

For what it's worth, the same thing happened at the Goju Ryu with Yamaguchi when he went to visit. He went and after observing class, Gogen Yamaguchi asked him what he thought. Bluming replied it looked good but wanted to try it, so "I want to fight your son." Gogen looked at him and shook his head and said "Too big!" and laughed. Bluming said he had more respect for that honest answer than the one of "Too dangerous" that he got at the Aikikai.

As another perspective, Bluming was watching Toby Threadgill demonstrate Shindo Yoshin Ryu before heading out to dinner on Sunday evening. Bluming's comment to me was "It's very pretty. He does know that won't really work?" I explained some of Toby's background in karate, Muay Thai, and his fight against armed muggers in his home. Bluming nodded and said "Good Man" and the topic of "not working" never came up again in regards to Toby and Shindo Yoshin Ryu.

Don't blow this up into a challenge to all of aikido's validity. Bluming does not do aikido nor does he care to. He simply was looking at it from a different point of view. His perspective is different than that of the aikido that he saw. His mistake at Aiki Kai Hombu was he expected it to have the same goals, purpose and methods as his experience in Judo training. It didn't then and it doesn't now.

He changed his mind about aiki based arts partially due to Bernie Lau and I and what we were doing. He was told about Bernie and his time undercover as a cop, and watched me and how people interacted with me on his trips out to Seattle. The topic of "That won't work" didn't arise. What did arise was what he thought I could do to reinforce what I knew and what budo meant to me over lunches and dinners and sightseeing.

There are several aikidoka who belong to Bluming's International BudoKai as well as being his friends. Bluming's take when he was here in Seattle in 2001-2002 was Aikido was not for fighting, but some people were able to make it work in real fights. So, his viewpoint now is different from what he was seeing in the 1950's-1960's point of view expressed in the interview. Pretty realistic view in my opinion.

Bluming was quite aware of the importance of preserving someone's vision of budo and had no disagreement with aiki arts. He got along extremely well with Bernie Lau and several others in aikido or with aikido backgrounds that attended the seminar. What he does disagree with is what he calls "Monkey Business" and false claims of what the art is teaching or claims to teach and what people try to do with their positions of responsibility in budo arts.

No, he's not to everyone's liking and can be offensive to many people. Yet he's one of the few people I admire in budo. Bluming is at times a bit of a braggart, but he will tell you the truth even when it makes him look bad. I mean really bad. He's even got proof in most every case of the stories that seem highly unlikely in the form of newspaper articles, witnesses, and even a few police reports. And it makes for some brilliantly funny stories.

He's also a larger than life character who embraces life and really tries to help people. He gets burned sometimes by people taking advantage of his kindness. And yet he still tries to help people. He's got strong points of view and he's got no problem with someone disagreeing with him. He takes what he does seriously and at over 70 years of age, makes most sensei of similar age I've met seem quite inept from a functional point of view in my opinion.

Read the seminar review by Kevin Lam and Kaizen Taki that's been published online in the Real Fighting Magazine (and Bujin Design's seminar reviews) web-site for an aikidoka point of view on Bluming.
http://www.realfighting.com/0102/jbsem.htm

I'm not in touch with him as I should be, I've let communication slide and that's my fault. Life happens, work overwhelms with time demands, My girlfriend has some health issues that take time as well, and I've spent the last few years cleaning up problems I have inherited as part of responsibility for in Bernie Lau's Icho Ryu.

In my opinion, a lot of budo, not just aikido, could benefit by some of Bluming approach; it's frankly more honest and real to those who know him and far more meaningful. Besides, how can you not like someone who starts getting tears in his eyes while telling you great stories about Kyuzo Mifune, Ichitaro Kuroda, and Donn Draeger over a bowl of ramen in your favorite Japanese restaurant?

Neil Yamamoto
Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club and Icho Ryu Chief Fluffy Bunny
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Old 11-09-2006, 01:05 PM   #42
Mike Sigman
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

I don't personally know any of the characters involved, but I agree Kisshomaru is/was not Morihei, by any means. And I don't know Bluming, although he sounds like a fun guy. What I do know is that nowhere in Asia do you walk up and get to try on the top dog without going through some of the students first, as a general rule. I know there was an exception when Kumar Frantzis went up and Challenged Feng Zhi Qiang, but that's the only one I know of. So that has to be factored in. Without having been there, I take all of these anecdotes with a grain of salt.

My 2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-09-2006, 05:27 PM   #43
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Quote:
It wasn't so much he wanted to actually fight; it was the same thing he would have done in a judo dojo -- "Let me see--feel how it works." This came about after he was told he couldn't try Aikido since it was "Too dangerous". So as is typical of Bluming then and now, he goes to the top and says "Show me, let me fight you."
Exactly as I imagined from the first when I read the interview. Thanks Neil for confirming.
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Old 11-10-2006, 09:26 AM   #44
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Thank you Neil for that post. It says it all.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:24 PM   #45
David Orange
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Bluming and Edgar Kruyning

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
I have two photos of Bluming and Edgar together
I didn't post the pics I had because they're from Edgar's book and I didn't have permission to put them up, but here are some links to pics on this site:

http://www.karateinfo.nl/stages/stag...ng16052004.php

http://www.karateinfo.nl/images/stag...6052004_18.jpg

http://www.karateinfo.nl/images/stag...6052004_24.jpg

http://www.karateinfo.nl/images/stag...edgar_demo.jpg

And Edgar is a big aikido man, so, obviously, Bluming has nothing against aikido for its own sake. He just believes in realistic training and Edgar is a great example of that.

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.esotericorange.com
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Old 11-23-2006, 07:18 AM   #46
Takuan
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

"So I told them that I could take dancing lessons in Holland."

That is so disrespectful, shame on him for saying that. He obviously has no idea what aikido is about and he shows that he is no master in his art. There is no way you would hear that kind of cynic criticism from the true budo masters, like Funakoshi, Ueshiba or Kano Senseis. Very dissapointing.
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Old 11-23-2006, 11:08 AM   #47
Basia Halliop
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Re: Jon Bluming Interview

Well, someone had apparently just implied they couldn't actually let him see for himself how it worked and what it was because it was too dangerous and he'd get killed or something (not really a compliment to him). Either that, or they meant that they were devoting their lives to the study of budo and were leaders in it but never fought because they were afraid of getting hurt (not really a compliment to themselves). Whowever said it, if that's what they said, does come off sounding a bit ridiculous, to say the least. Either way... this guy at least seemed to have a sense of humour .
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