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Old 01-10-2007, 04:32 AM   #26
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

If we limit the "technical curriculum" of Aikido to Ueshiba Morihei alone in this case we would still have a vast difference in the technical repertoire of the students he produced since what he taught to each of his students were somewhat different, being tailored to what he thought the student was capable of based on his evaluation of the abilities of the student and which of these would allow for quality practice in certain types of techniques.

For example, I understand in the book Budo written by Ueshiba M. there are photos of him doing ne waza (ground grappling) and from my information based on a pretty high ranking Aikikai Hombu style Sensei, this aspect of Aikido was only taught to literally a handful of students by Ueshiba M. Neither his son nor grandson have ever shown these techniques as being part of the Aikido curriculum from my understanding (though I can be wrong) and only one or two Shihan are alive today who actually know of this part of Aikido training under Ueshiba M.

I wonder if during his development of Aikido into what it is today that Ueshiba M. had a strict curriculum of techniques. We know the Daito Ryu had a list of areas of proficiency and in the earliest days (times of Ueshiba Ryu Aikijujutsu and Aikibudo) the Daito Ryu technical list would have been more prominent. But as he started making the art more of his own can anyone say for certain whether he at any time set out to create a defined and distinguished technical curriculum for what is and is not Aikido? Or did he merely state in principle what Aikido is and is not. There is evidence to support the latter approach imho.

Regards.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 01-10-2007 at 04:34 AM.

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Old 01-10-2007, 06:04 AM   #27
DonMagee
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Martial arts are ment to evolve over time. Some become useless or un-needed and are submitted to the realm of history. Some stay modern and evolve to meet changing needs. Learning how to properly fight with a broadsword in chain mail is a purely historic art. Learning MMA is a purely modern evolving art.

In the hand to hand side of martial arts, less evolution takes place, but evolution takes place none the less. For example, guns did not exist until recently, I'm sure samurai did not have gun disarms in their techniques. In the past you may of needed to worry more about a spear then a folding knife, in the future you may need to worry about plasma cutting beam weapons, or some other weird self defense device. The attack mindsets have also changed over time. Modern day attackers have a certain idea of what a fight is. This is due to the culture they grow up in. Some cultures have a history of one on one pride fights to settle your differences, other's believe in drive by shootings, or group beatings. So your martial arts training needs to evolve to deal with common attacks typical in your area. I also beleive that a higher levels, martial artists should be trained to understand and deal with highly trained attackers. Because of this I think you should also focus attention on the more popular martial arts, and learning their techniques and making sure your art is capable of teaching you to defend against them. For example, if judo was the most popular martial art in your area, learning to deal only with strikes is probably not going to help you that much if you face a trained attacker. Likewise learning to deal only with grabs and lunge punches is not going to help you much in an area filled with boxing schools.

So I guess in order to stay relevant, a martial art has to evolve. It has to change, and it needs to be open to new ideas and better ways to approach old ideas. Obviously at some point Ueshiba has to have this same mindset, otherwise he would of just stuck with his parent art. Instead he took new ideas, and what he perceived to be better approaches to old ideas and created aikido. Kano did the same with judo.

I think each one of us is tasked to do the same, even on a micro scale. This is how martial arts stay relevant.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:50 AM   #28
raul rodrigo
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
So there's a certain amount of wiggle room, but does this mean "Aikido can have anything we want it to"? Maybe; maybe not. If its distinct identity is compromised, then maybe not. I feel very strongly thattinkering with a system is something one should be careful about.
I agree. I don't think aikido can mean anything we want it to. I think there are still boundaries to what the term means and we should be vigilant about that.

What I am objecting to is the idea that aikido is only what Kisshomaru and Moriteru said/say it is. I am saying that we can broaden our net and include the various waza and teachings from the uchideshi of the Founder--without necessarily staying within the "technical/political limits" of the Aikikai.

For instance, I have gotten some very useful ideas from the Yoshinkan side and from the prewar aikibudo waza. These are things that would be outside the pale if we were to apply the Kisshomaru standard that Justin apparently insists on, yet they do have great value even to those within the Aikikai.


best,


RAUL
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:35 AM   #29
Larry John
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Re: What happens AFTER the pin?

Kevin,

Are you finally comin' back to the States?

Larry
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:44 AM   #30
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Hey Larry! Yes I am! I just got of of the phone with my office in Arlington.

Right now I am looking for a house in Arlington area so I am close to the office and the Dojo. Should be there around 1 JUL. I might be at the dojo earlier this spring when I have a few TDY trips.

Can't wait to get back to train in that art that has no kicks.
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Old 01-10-2007, 11:45 AM   #31
Alfonso
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

hi Raul I'm not sure that you're giving full credit to the Doshu. He had more formal swordsmanship than O Sensei had, and there's plenty of evidence of him working with jo and bokken as well.

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 01-10-2007, 11:54 AM   #32
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Sure there is (evidence of jo and bokken, as well as swordsmanship). But he also led the charge in weapons work not being part of the aikikai syllibus [in general]. Raul's point (at least to me) seemed to be more inclusive of other styles and earlier versions of aikido, not 'running down the doshu'...or not giving him enough credit.

Seemed a very valid post and point to me. Others may want to narrow down the scope of aikido because it suits a particular slant they are pushing...but me, I'd rather be as broad and inclusive as possible. The different flavors of aikido have always been a blessing to me. I understand that people being what they are, different organizations will have different focuses, strengths and weaknesses. Part of life.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:47 PM   #33
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

I see this discussion over an article written many years by one person (yes a person) as pointless.

It is kinda like trying to get from the East Coast to the West Coast. One guy says, hey I am going to follow the route that Lewis and Clark did with the same type of boats. Another says...why would you do that when you could fly?

If the answer is, well you can't do that because Lewis and Clark discovered how to get there first, and they used boats and they said that if you are going to get to the west coast, you need to follow the river, and planes were not part of their journal entries.

Here are the original journal entries to prove that airplane are not in their curriculm.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/JO...s9.html#chpt28

Doesn't it seem kinda silly when put this way. What is the point of it?

If something is additive and helps us better facilitate things (journey or discovery), then why do we need someone that was an expert 40 years ago to tell us how to do it today? Are their not now people that have expanded on that knowledge base?
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:04 PM   #34
dbotari
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I see this discussion over an article written many years by one person (yes a person) as pointless.

It is kinda like trying to get from the East Coast to the West Coast. One guy says, hey I am going to follow the route that Lewis and Clark did with the same type of boats. Another says...why would you do that when you could fly?

If the answer is, well you can't do that because Lewis and Clark discovered how to get there first, and they used boats and they said that if you are going to get to the west coast, you need to follow the river, and planes were not part of their journal entries.


Doesn't it seem kinda silly when put this way. What is the point of it?

If something is additive and helps us better facilitate things (journey or discovery), then why do we need someone that was an expert 40 years ago to tell us how to do it today? Are their not now people that have expanded on that knowledge base?
Kevin,

If you are arguing that its the destination that is the goal, then I agree with you - use the plane. But I believe that MA is about the journey (especially DO arts), so the process or journey is important because it affords the opportunity to develop. If I took the plane I miss the journey by boat and the experiences captured therein. I will admit that the plane ride will also contain experience just not the same. So if the goal is to travel the path of these men (Lewis & Clark) you need to follow their path. If all you want to do is to get to the destination (West Coast) book your flight.

Did i make my point clearly?

Best,
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:23 PM   #35
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Yes, I thought of this too....it does make sense.

However, I am thinking about the argument that Justin is offering with citation to Ueshiba.

If the journey is important....then that implies, to me, that you want to discover and experience things for yourself.

Therefore, you might follow a similar route as a template or map. But along that journey you might experience some different things. It might snow, it might not, the river might flood. Indians are gone today and there are damns on the rivers. These things would mean you'd get a similar experience, but not identical.

Also, it also implies that you want to take the journey and indeed are seeking to understand the journey...hence you'd have to do a little more than read about someone elses journey.

you'd have to do a little more than observe other's journey and then tell them they are wrong because you've read Lewis's and Clark's journals and they see and did things differently, therefore, you don't know what you are talking about.

Even if you are taking the journey...it simply will not be the same even though you'd ultimately reach the same destiny, which today..would even look much different then it did when they did it!
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:42 PM   #36
statisticool
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Tim Miranda wrote:
Justin, does your assertion include ukemi skills? Some styles practice responses to various kick attacks, and in order to practice those responses, one might assume that (basic) lessons on how to deliver those kicks might be part of aikido practice in those styles.
My pasting what the Ueshibas wrote (hardly my assertion) stands. They apparently hold that learning to kick is not part of the main syllabus of aikido.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:45 PM   #37
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
I wonder how aware Justin is of just how varied aikido is? Or maybe he would be, if he actually spent some time learning aikido.
Yours would be better if you took the time you spent on an attempted petty personal fued and practiced.

All I can do is point to the Founder of aikido, and to what the lights of modern aikido clearly stated, and to the observation that not all things are taught in aikido cirriculum.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:46 PM   #38
statisticool
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
So in a dojo run by a senior and well respected uchideshi of Morihei, kicking was taught. Between Chiba and Justin Smith, I know who i would rather believe.
Between Chiba and several Ueshibas (you know, the actual founders of aikido), I know who I'd rather believe.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:48 PM   #39
statisticool
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
I think there are still boundaries to what the term means and we should be vigilant about that.
OK, great. So feel free to list some of the things that you don't feel are covered in aikido cirriculum to provide some more examples.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:51 PM   #40
statisticool
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I see this discussion over an article written many years by one person (yes a person) as pointless.
But not just any ol person; the founder's son, and his son. That is, the people on the planet who are closet to original aikido. That, to some, is hugely significant.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:53 PM   #41
statisticool
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
If the journey is important....then that implies, to me, that you want to discover and experience things for yourself.
We always, in anything we do, experience things for ourself.

So what can we add to aikido and still have it be aikido? Hitting heavy bags? A ground game comparable to BJJ? Kicking comparable to taekwondo? Knife fighting? Nunchakus? Removal of all philosophy? Where are the boundaries?

A secret of internal strength?:
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Old 01-10-2007, 04:33 PM   #42
Chris Birke
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

The boundaries vary depending on who you ask, and when you ask them. They shift constantly.

If you were to sum all of the different opinions into an average, it wouldn't serve well because some of the more important opinions are radical. You'd have to weight the different opinions before you average them, and that would only create a bias subject to another discussion, clearly.

By and large, the consensus agrees that kicking is involved in Aikido, though not a primary focus. A tenet of Aikido is a holistic and inclusive mindset with regard to techniques. Even if that is not actively demonstrated in the recorded set of techniques, those techniques exist to demonstrate the method of learning Aikido, and are not complete Aikido itself.

You would not assume a book on maths with the problems 1+5 = 6, and 3-3 = 0 is teaching only those particular solutions. Clearly such books are meant to teach the relationships of the signs, not just those particular expressions, such that one could answer future unknown problems. The same applies to Aikido.

If you want to make generalized statements about what Aikido is, you must qualify them with the method you used to restrict the definition. "Aikido as it is practiced in north America" "The Aikido of the founder" "combat Aikido."

Last edited by Chris Birke : 01-10-2007 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 01-10-2007, 04:45 PM   #43
raul rodrigo
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote:
hi Raul I'm not sure that you're giving full credit to the Doshu. He had more formal swordsmanship than O Sensei had, and there's plenty of evidence of him working with jo and bokken as well.

No, Alfonso, I mean no disrespect to Doshu; there are many photos showing him in the 1950s acting as uketachi for his father in some ken kata. He did have some training with the sword. I meant that the sword and the jo were not part of his aikido teaching whereas they were a huge part of his father's teaching. Doshu had a preference regarding ken and jo; it does not necessarily have to be ours. We can take the route chosen by Morihei and other uchideshi; I think our aikido will be enriched by it.

R
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Old 01-10-2007, 05:10 PM   #44
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

I think some people are struggling because of the notion that the doshu of an art is the be all and end all of its technical arsenal. But a person does not become doshu because of pure technical prowess. Its essentially political, which is an important role. Moriteru today is not the pinnacle of the Aikikai; he is its center, and he performs that function well. But his father was not the most technically proficient student of Morihei; I think we can name quite a few uchideshi who more closely approximate what Morihei could do. My own preference is to delve more deeply into the teachings of those uchideshi and their deshi (such as Saito, Chiba, Saotome, Yamaguchi, etc) while still maintaining the political affiliation with and loyalty to Aikikai Hombu. In other words, the technical parameters of aikido and its political structure are different spheres.

An analog can be found in judo. Jigoro Kano was its founder, but Kyuzo Mifune was for many years its technical pinnacle, the living exemplar of what the principle of ju was.

Last edited by raul rodrigo : 01-10-2007 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:08 PM   #45
jeff.
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

an important part of what justin seems to be missing regarding the ueshiba family is this: they allow several shihans to teach at hombu who do not teach their exact version of aikido. they respect the differences. and i've heard from multiple people that defenses vs kicks (and thus proper kicking) are taught there from time to time (perhaps even on a regular basis by some shihan). perhaps someone who has trained at hombu recently, or who trains their regularly could give their thoughts on this?
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Old 01-10-2007, 07:28 PM   #46
David Orange
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
...the founder's son, and his son. That is, the people on the planet who are closet to original aikido.
Well, Justin, those people are not close at all to "the original aikido."

Looking back to the 1920s and 1930s, it was a very different animal.

For one thing, the people training back then were almost all very experienced martial artists. And that doesn't mean people who took lessons three or four times a week. That mean professional warriors who did not rely on firearms, but on the sword, the spear and hand-to-hand methods. And they were not typically very nice or tolerant of each other when it came to fighting methods or tactics. Like Toshishiro Obata described, these were the giant boulders at the source of the stream. They ground together with a crashing sound.

How could the modern aikido resemble that early aikido in any way? Who is practicing now? Accountants, physicists, psychologists, most of whom get offended quickly by the idea of strength, much less its appearance. Even the really rugged people who train today don't have the giant boulders to crash around with, even if they want it.

No, the aikido of Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba is a far different thing from "original aikido." Not to say that it's a bad thing, but very different. Mostly in that many things have been removed. Someone talked of the development of aikido and judo being about finding new things and evolving the arts, but in fact, it was mostly about clipping out things. In judo, this resulted in a fine art of physical education that can develop the mind and emotions as deeply as the body through all-out, full-power free-fighting that is nonetheless much safer than the arts from which it came and which could not allow such full-spirited competition.

With aikido, though, I'm not sure that the clipping really resulted in a more useful art, especially as the clipping continued through the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and into the current millieu.

In Mochizuki Sensei's dojo, every training began with practice of four main kicks and several main hand strikes, practiced first in form, then on the bag. In randori, you were apt to face a karate punch or kick, a bo, a knife, a bokken or rubber-covered sword or club; even a pistol. If you did not overtake the attack in the first instant, you would be hit, especially with the rubber sword or club. Else, you would be swept off your feet or otherwise thrown with judo. Many people said that this kind of practice was not even aikido, but Mochizuki Sensei said "No one does Ueshiba's aikido."

Many people believe that Morihei Ueshiba perfected aikido over the last several years of his life and achieved a final product that was perfect, and which he wanted everyone to do. But one fellow who promoted that claim admitted that, in a desperate situation, he would do whatever it took to kill the guy.

Real aikido cannot be a neutered cat that lies around the dojo. It is something that can stand up to tigers on its own merit. I doubt that Moriteru Sensei would refuse to kick someone on abstract principle if the refusal meant that he would lose his life.

Best to you.

David

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Lao Tzu

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Old 01-10-2007, 07:34 PM   #47
David Orange
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
So what can we add to aikido and still have it be aikido? Hitting heavy bags? A ground game comparable to BJJ? Kicking comparable to taekwondo? Knife fighting? Nunchakus? Removal of all philosophy? Where are the boundaries?
If the oponent kills you, it removes all your philosophy. Is the philosophy worth more than your life, itself? Maybe a true philosophy is, but truth can only be built on truth and any philosophy that ignores the truth, sets you up to be murdered.

Speaking of knife fighting, when Mochizuki Sensei was in France, he was frequently challenged and he usually took the challenge right away. But once a fellow challenged him and he said, "If I come to fight you, I'll bring a pistol."

"Why?" the fellow asked.

Mochizuki told him, "Because I've heard that you're an expert in knife-throwing and I know you'll bring your knives, so I'll bring a pistol."

"Well," the guy said, "if you bring a pistol, I'll bring a rifle."

Sensei told him, "If you bring a rifle, I'll bring artillery."

In short, he was realistic in judging risk. He wasn't going to give his attacker the advantage and his life on the line at his own disadvantage. As Yoshimitsu said, "Aiki is setting the sure conditions for success."

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 01-10-2007, 08:38 PM   #48
eyrie
 
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Remind me not to bring a knife to a gun fight... especially with David...

Ignatius
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:46 PM   #49
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Come to think of it... does Aikido have a strict curriculum?

I know Yoshinkan does (personal observation), but Aikikai?

So many wide range of Shihan that teaches with different methods, which at times create political rifts among them (personal observation).

Some of them finally broke off and create their own organization.

Some of them are set aside, still affiliated with Aikikai but stays quiet and distance themselves from the organization.

Some of them get along with the organization, though they still teach their own "style".

Again, these are based on personal observation and I'm not going to name names.

Many different shihans focus on different things. For beginners it gets confusing to study under multiple shihans. As we progress, we will find the underlying principles and philosophy of those techniques. Instead of looking for differences, we now tend to look for similarities, principle and philosophy wise.

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Old 01-10-2007, 11:00 PM   #50
xuzen
 
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Re: Within the Parameters of Aikido?

Wow, for someone who does not train in aikido, Justin sure is very opiniated on the subject at hand. Sigh... such is the power of the internet, one can surf the net, and read all about a certain subject and voila, become an 'opinion leader'.

Boon.

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