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Old 03-29-2007, 01:09 PM   #26
John A Butz
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

Erick, just to be clear, I was not directing my comments at any one individual. I am laying out my opinion as to the role of waza vs. principle. Opinions are like, well, you know the rest

I speak, as much as possible, from my own perspective and experience. I am not Dan or Mike, and frankly don't have any level of internal skills. I want to lay hands on those gents, along with Akuzawa, Ushiro Sensei, and a bunch of the aikido guys out there that are better then me (which includes pretty much everybody) in order to see if they do have something I don't have and to see if they can teach me to do it. I am completely comfortable with not being able to explain things in terms of mechanical physics, a subject that I have no grasp of. I wouldn't even be able to debate it intelligently with you, because you have a much more extensive background in the sciences then I do. I have no interest or ability to discuss with you how "internal power" is generated, on the level you are able to discuss.

In short, I ain't got a dog in that fight.

One day we may meet up on a mat somewhere, and have a friendly, meaningful talk about what we feel powers our waza. That is the only way I think any of these ideas can be transmitted. Otherwise, as you said, we are just perpetuating silliness.

The principles I am truly interested in are pedagogical, i.e. how can we train people to make them capable of being martialy viable and still be doing aikido.

Last edited by John A Butz : 03-29-2007 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 03-29-2007, 02:59 PM   #27
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
You'd also have to factor into that schedule regular visits to Osaka and Shingu. Presumably, one of the uchi-deshi would be travelling with him as otomo as part of his training, but that's not quite the same thing. Adding to that Gaku Homma's lamentation that folks tended to clear out of Hombu when they knew Morihei was coming in, one has to conclude that his contact with the bulk of the practitioners at Hombu was certainly considerably less than that of Kisshomaru, Tohei, et al.

FL
Hi Fred
That pretty much lines up with most of the interviews I've read with those training during that period.
I was more or less asking folks to think of him as a modern man. Think of what he was doing and the direct correlation between his actions and those doing much the same today. I want to see folks start believing that they can more closely aproximate his skills. To storm the walls and claim these skills for themselves. I love seeing the looks in their eyes when they do things they thought impossible. I have my own plans.
Thanks again.
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Old 03-29-2007, 03:02 PM   #28
Fred Little
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I love seeing the looks in their eyes when they do things they thought impossible.
That. Is. The. Best.

No question.
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Old 03-29-2007, 03:21 PM   #29
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
Cady,
I'm a bit curious. Do you practice MMA?
Yes, I do now. I come from a very traditional MA background, though, and was a "good soldier" for years despite growing frustration at the rigidity I encountered when trying to address the weaknesses of the arts I practiced. The need to be the most effective "combat artist" I could be is what drove me to explore other approaches.

I found a dojo where there was a deep and solid classical foundation, yet which had a flexibility to explore methodologies outside an institutional curriculum. The mode of learning was not enmired in repetitive kata, "technique worship" and ritual; rather, it was based in sound principles which were instilled from the get-go. Instead of walking through kata, from the start one was taught to match principle to free actions. It was a matter of "What works?" instead of "What is an accepted traditional technique for our system?"

Back then, I didn't know there was a name for this method, but now, of course, I reckon it's MMA.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 03-29-2007 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 03-29-2007, 03:47 PM   #30
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I for one am not being an advocate for MMA. It's just that Ueshiba was...in spades. Weird huh? Since I chose it.
That really isn't what I would focus on were I in Aikido and didn't have internal skills. In many ways you're just adding even more techniques to do...externally. But everyone decides for themselves.
The question is whether one should retread his path or move further toward his goal. They are not at all the same thing.

I am reminded of an old ditty:

Where e'er I fall at end of day,
Let others after come and say
'Where he fell, he points the way.'

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-29-2007, 03:54 PM   #31
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

Quote:
John Butz wrote: View Post
The principles I am truly interested in are pedagogical, i.e. how can we train people to make them capable of being martialy viable and still be doing aikido.
Then we agree in purpose -- if not in approach. I don't l fault any approach, I just think we are missing key elements of one potential approach that is as important in its own way as the hands-on demo of good kokyu is in applying it. The more, the merrier, as far as I am concerned. Criticism should be directed to the improvement of any approach that is offered, which is why I offer it. I am not attempting the pointless task of trying to establish one approach as "better" or worse than another. People are too individual for that to have any reliable meaning.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-29-2007, 06:08 PM   #32
Tim Mailloux
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Edward Karaa wrote: View Post
If Osensei was unhappy about the training, he obviously would have done something about it. I believe he did have the necessary power to do it, being the founder of aikido and all. However, in his lectures that were so boring for the deshi, he was talking about heaven and earth and the kami and the universe...etc. No one understood a word of what he was saying. That's why they were so eager to go back to practice instead of sitting in seiza for an hour listening to an incomprehensible speech.
No I don't think so! I have personally heard Chiba sensei recount several instances of when the deshi were training at Hombu dojo and O'sensei would barge into the dojo and yell at them for not doing "his aikido". No long lecture, he would just barge in, yell and then leave. Chiba also recounted that O'sensei knew they were not doing "his aikido" just by the sound of the deshi's practice. When O'sensei heard sounds of enless ukemi he knew that the deshi were only doing repetative waza, and thus not doing "his aikido".

Tim
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:17 AM   #33
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

If so it would be interesting for this thread to know how different was Osensei's aikido training from that practiced at the Hombu.
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:37 PM   #34
David Orange
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I for one am not being an advocate for MMA. It's just that Ueshiba was...in spades. Weird huh? Since I chose it.
Dan, you might ought to reconsider that idea. Mochizuki Sensei was definitely THE MMA guy from way, way back. He trained in aikido, judo, jujutsu, kenjutsu and actually blended them in his personal art.

And a lot of that came from seeing the broad range of arts practiced by Europeans when he lived in France for about three years in the early 1950s and where his son still lives. In France, Mochizuki Sensei faced boxers, fencers, savate, traditional western wrestling (with its own type of sacrifice throws) as well as knife throwers and such on top of people trained in judo and jujutsu.

Mochizuki came back to Japan and told Ueshiba, "We should be teaching a broader variety of attacks in aikido." And Ueshiba hit the ceiling. For him, the shomen uchi, yokomen uchi and the grabs were enough. He felt that aikido was broad enough without adding kicks and traditional jujutsu attacks, karate, boxing, etc. to the repertoire (and to the students' experience).

What you refer to as Ueshiba's MMA was really the traditional samurai style of training: sword, spear and jujutsu (plus the bayonet practice he picked up in the Army and which is central to aikido).

I've been absent from this board for awhile because I've been so busy working with Edgar Kruyning on his new book, "The Art of Ju-Jutsu," which is just going to the publisher. There, he shows not only traditonal aikido, judo, ju-jutsu and katori shinto ryu, but also grappling without gi--in wrestler's short-pants only. That's a full-range MMA approach that Ueshiba would not have liked (based on his response to Mochizuki after his return from Fance). And as far as internal skills, I'm told that Hiroo Mochizuki has the kind of penetration power with light strikes that I've seen described on these threads. So you'd have to get with Edgar to see what he says about that. He has told me that the traditional training all revolves around development of tanden. So the only way to know if he has it is hands-on interaction.

As to what Ueshiba would train in today? I think it would be daito ryu. Modern aikido is far from that and clearly very far from what Ueshiba was doing. But I can tell you, Edgar is the kind of guy he would hang out with. He was uchi deshi to one of Ueshiba's favorite uchi deshi and he loves to train.

Another thing, I don't see any indication that Ueshiba ever interacted with anyone from the kodokan except those people who came to him as students--including Mochizuki and Tomiki. And even though most of his top students, like Shioda and Tohei, were very skilled at judo before coming to him, I have never heard that Ueshiba ever went to the kodokan for anything. Kano went to him and apparently only that once.

If you want to see someone who really got the best that the yoseikan had to offer, Edgar Kruyning has it in spades and he can really do it justice.

Best to you.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 03-31-2007, 08:34 AM   #35
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
, and he both demonstrably and verbally kept talking about personal Aikido....your Aikido. Never corporate, company aikido.
It goes without saying that even if students are taught the same thing in a class, they will always turn out somewhat different, and their homework process will be different, all because of natural variation.

I personally don't care for the whole corporation analogy, but perhaps it fits in with MMA, at least judging from its moneymaking goals. When there's an aikido class $40/month for unlimited classes, and there's a BJJ/MMA class $200/month for 3 classes, it is clear something is up.

You know O'Sensei stressed non-competitions. How do you rationalize that to fit in the MMA mindset?

Justin

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 03-31-2007, 11:43 AM   #36
Aikilove
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

All this talk of that the founder shouted and scolded the deshi that they didn't do his aikido. I just don't get the idea that this equate his aikido was internal based and the deshi were not!
There are probably at least 10 times where the founder would sit and smile or walk by and smile while the deshi did regular suwari waza practice or regular tachi waza practise for every time the founder would scold them for not doing his aikido.
Take all the time in Iwama (even recorded on film!) where he would sit at the side while the deshi did endless repetition of shomen uchi ikkyo omote and ura waza. Or standing shomen uchi iriminage or koshi nage or what ever! Standard stuff that I still do to this day. He seemed more than happy to see them train like that.
Sure I would be the first in line if someone with Akazawas skill would be available simply because I could see it benificial in my aikido. But to say that it was the lack of that and only that that made Ueshiba scold his deshi in Tokyo I can't find any proof of.
Why can't it be as simple as he coming to see students exercises degenerating into judo or wrestling because they simply couldn't perform the technique properly or students doing flashy stuff either with our without weapons without having any proper base in solid technique:
- That is not my aikido!!!!
Did Saito teach like Ueshiba? No! Did Shioda? No! Both of them categoricaly stated that they had to change the way they were teaching (into a 1-2-3 manner) so that larger groups would learn the techniques. But it was still the teachniques that was the focal point for them. It was the techniques that Ueshiba had shown (and only those!) that they would teach while Ueshiba would sit at the side and smile. Not scold or get angry.
Maybe it was as simple as the change of techniques into something he wouldn't consider kihon version that made him go bananas!
I don't know. I certainly didn't touch the founder so that I could say for myself. I'm just speculating here based on the few things left like interviews with him and his student and some short clips of films. That's it. Oh yea, that and the techniques I practice on a daily basis supposedly straight from Ueshiba via Saito and his student.

/J

Last edited by Aikilove : 03-31-2007 at 11:47 AM.

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Old 04-01-2007, 12:23 PM   #37
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

I sometimes, in all the gathering of information and questions that I have encountered in the aikido world, wonder if it is impossible for people to chew gum and walk at the same time. Is it not possible to train in martial arts and consider universal concepts in the same body? Is it not possible to practice aikido and to reflect on nature simultaneously, rather than practice martial arts and only think about martial arts, train in martial arts, and talk about fighting efectiveness. I believe that this may lie some where in O'Senseis frustration with the student in Hombu. According to my instructor, Motomichi Anno Sensei, O'Sensei asked him to reflect on nature constantly. I believe more flexibility in pactice brings more flexibilit everywhere in your life. So, I guess we should keep relaxing, reaching, and exploring in all directions. Including, but not exclusive to, many (martial) art forms.
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:28 PM   #38
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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David Orange wrote: View Post
Dan, you might ought to reconsider that idea. Mochizuki Sensei was definitely THE MMA guy from way, way back. He trained in aikido, judo, jujutsu, kenjutsu and actually blended them in his personal art.

And a lot of that came from seeing the broad range of arts practiced by Europeans when he lived in France for about three years in the early 1950s and where his son still lives. In France, Mochizuki Sensei faced boxers, fencers, savate, traditional western wrestling (with its own type of sacrifice throws) as well as knife throwers and such on top of people trained in judo and jujutsu.

Mochizuki came back to Japan and told Ueshiba, "We should be teaching a broader variety of attacks in aikido." And Ueshiba hit the ceiling. For him, the shomen uchi, yokomen uchi and the grabs were enough. He felt that aikido was broad enough without adding kicks and traditional jujutsu attacks, karate, boxing, etc. to the repertoire (and to the students' experience).

What you refer to as Ueshiba's MMA was really the traditional samurai style of training: sword, spear and jujutsu (plus the bayonet practice he picked up in the Army and which is central to aikido).

I've been absent from this board for awhile because I've been so busy working with Edgar Kruyning on his new book, "The Art of Ju-Jutsu," which is just going to the publisher. There, he shows not only traditonal aikido, judo, ju-jutsu and katori shinto ryu, but also grappling without gi--in wrestler's short-pants only. That's a full-range MMA approach that Ueshiba would not have liked (based on his response to Mochizuki after his return from Fance). And as far as internal skills, I'm told that Hiroo Mochizuki has the kind of penetration power with light strikes that I've seen described on these threads. So you'd have to get with Edgar to see what he says about that. He has told me that the traditional training all revolves around development of tanden. So the only way to know if he has it is hands-on interaction.

As to what Ueshiba would train in today? I think it would be daito ryu. Modern aikido is far from that and clearly very far from what Ueshiba was doing. But I can tell you, Edgar is the kind of guy he would hang out with. He was uchi deshi to one of Ueshiba's favorite uchi deshi and he loves to train.

Another thing, I don't see any indication that Ueshiba ever interacted with anyone from the kodokan except those people who came to him as students--including Mochizuki and Tomiki. And even though most of his top students, like Shioda and Tohei, were very skilled at judo before coming to him, I have never heard that Ueshiba ever went to the kodokan for anything. Kano went to him and apparently only that once.

If you want to see someone who really got the best that the yoseikan had to offer, Edgar Kruyning has it in spades and he can really do it justice.

Best to you.

David
Mochizuki Shihan is not the only one. Shoji Nishio Shihan also took Aikido in a different more "Mixed" Martial Direction and I might add he did this with O'Sensei's blessing with The Founder telling him directly "You are the future of Aikido." Now that Nishio Shihan has passed... one can only hope that our Senior Yudansha continue to develop our Aikido and innovate it "into the future." Nishio Shihan scared people at Hombu but despite this our organization remains a member of the Aikikai in honor of Nishio Shihan's very personal relationship with the founder and his Deshi from the 50's. Two years before he passed the Japanese Government presented him with one of it's highest honors in recognition of his development of Aikido declaring him a "National Treasure."

Shoji Nishio's background included Iaijutsu, Jo-Jutsu, Kendo, Karate, and Judo and he developed his own Aikido based Iaido "Aiki Toho Iai" since he understand exactly what O'Sensei meant by "Aikido is the Sword." he always emphasized Cross Training, A proper Martial Spirit, and to measure our Aikido by how effective it is "against" other Martial Arts. "Aikido is Budo" was the way he like to put it adding "Anything else is just a dance."

Our Aikido sharply differs from Hombu and Iwama styles, in a number of areas starting with the footwork which is definately influanced by the various Koryu and Kenjutsu RyuHa

William Hazen

I sure hope more folks here in the US become willing to experiance his Aikido. It might quiet some of the background noise I constantly hear about Aikido's "effectiveness."

O'Sensei seemed to know where the future of Aikido was...Contrary to some opinions expressed here
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:29 AM   #39
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
O'Sensei seemed to know where the future of Aikido was...Contrary to some opinions expressed here
O Sensei's quotes and writings seem to be broad enough that you can cite him to justify any position possible. One could argue that he would love MMA or hate it and not misquote him in either case.

As to where he thought Aikido was going, who knows? He's dead; it's kind of dofficult to ask him. However, when you look at the illustrations in Budo Training in Aikido, which he wrote in 1933, it desn't look too different from what we see in many dojos today. You don't see the common kickboxing and grappling reference points most MMA people are familiar with. Sorry, they're not there. Likewise, when you go through the photos of him training at Hombu in the 1960s in Training With The Master, again, again, it doesn't look too different from what you see today. Photos of him from the 1930s make the same point. Maybe when the photographers left he said, "Ok! Off with the funny robes and no more of this bowing crap today. I want two minutes of shadow sparring and then we're rolling," but I doubt it. I think we'd have heard about this by now.

It is true that he said change and growth were part of Aikido. Evidence suggests that what he did was MMA is a reach IMO. I have nothing aganst MMA; I just don't think it looks like O Sensei was doing that.
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:28 AM   #40
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
However, when you look at the illustrations in Budo Training in Aikido, which he wrote in 1933, it desn't look too different from what we see in many dojos today. You don't see the common kickboxing and grappling reference points most MMA people are familiar with. Sorry, they're not there. Likewise, when you go through the photos of him training at Hombu in the 1960s in Training With The Master, again, again, it doesn't look too different from what you see today. Photos of him from the 1930s make the same point. Maybe when the photographers left he said, "Ok! Off with the funny robes and no more of this bowing crap today. I want two minutes of shadow sparring and then we're rolling," but I doubt it. I think we'd have heard about this by now.
Wow, that's a really limited conception of MMA. I think it's obvious that Dan Harden was talking about the mindset of mixed martial arts, not the outward appearance.

The MMA mindset is simply, "I will train and acquire whatever skills I need to in order to improve myself and my ability to handle whatever (martial) situation I may find myself in." These days, that means one needs to work on striking skills and defenses, kicking skills and defences, and grappling skills and defences, and using a combination of kata and live practice to improve those skills. And for those outside of the competitive sphere (because just because you're in competition doesn't mean you're into MMA, nor does being into MMA mean you are into competition), working on weapons is also part of the process.

One may say Dan is exaggerating to make a point, but you can see where he's coming from when you look at the history. In Daito-ryu he had a relatively (at the time) state-of-the-art grounding in grappling, but he was always looking outside for ways to supplement his skills.

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 04-02-2007, 12:57 PM   #41
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
O Sensei's quotes and writings seem to be broad enough that you can cite him to justify any position possible. One could argue that he would love MMA or hate it and not misquote him in either case.

As to where he thought Aikido was going, who knows? He's dead; it's kind of dofficult to ask him. However, when you look at the illustrations in Budo Training in Aikido, which he wrote in 1933, it desn't look too different from what we see in many dojos today. You don't see the common kickboxing and grappling reference points most MMA people are familiar with. Sorry, they're not there. Likewise, when you go through the photos of him training at Hombu in the 1960s in Training With The Master, again, again, it doesn't look too different from what you see today. Photos of him from the 1930s make the same point. Maybe when the photographers left he said, "Ok! Off with the funny robes and no more of this bowing crap today. I want two minutes of shadow sparring and then we're rolling," but I doubt it. I think we'd have heard about this by now.

It is true that he said change and growth were part of Aikido. Evidence suggests that what he did was MMA is a reach IMO. I have nothing aganst MMA; I just don't think it looks like O Sensei was doing that.
When it came to what O'Sensei said about the future of Aikido I did not rely on what he wrote... Just on what Shoji Nishio Shihan told us.

I don't think Nishio Sensei misundertood him.

As for the rest of the post I will leave that open to those who are better able to interpret "What O'Sensei meant."

respectfully,

William Hazen
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:52 PM   #42
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Wow, that's a really limited conception of MMA. I think it's obvious that Dan Harden was talking about the mindset of mixed martial arts, not the outward appearance.

The MMA mindset is simply, "I will train and acquire whatever skills I need to in order to improve myself and my ability to handle whatever (martial) situation I may find myself in." These days, that means one needs to work on striking skills and defenses, kicking skills and defences, and grappling skills and defences, and using a combination of kata and live practice to improve those skills. And for those outside of the competitive sphere (because just because you're in competition doesn't mean you're into MMA, nor does being into MMA mean you are into competition), working on weapons is also part of the process.
Ah. I see.

Then it's not MMA you want to look into but FMA -- Filipino Martial Arts. They already have the variety of weapons and study many emtpy hand areas. Aikido need not be mangled; you can keep doing that and cross-train in Kali. Done.
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Old 04-02-2007, 11:56 PM   #43
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
When it came to what O'Sensei said about the future of Aikido I did not rely on what he wrote... Just on what Shoji Nishio Shihan told us.

I don't think Nishio Sensei misundertood him.
Probably not. On the other hand, having more than one quote to go on is probably not a bad idea.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:47 AM   #44
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Wow, that's a really limited conception of MMA. I think it's obvious that Dan Harden was talking about the mindset of mixed martial arts, not the outward appearance.

The MMA mindset is simply, "I will train and acquire whatever skills I need to in order to improve myself and my ability to handle whatever (martial) situation I may find myself in."
And that simplicity of treatment brings a larger point into clearer focus, actually.

Aikido comprises O Sensei's attempt at transmitting his revelation of what he described as "True Budo." Acknowledging the possibility that even Aikido as transmitted may fail of its intended legacy here and there, he plainly distinguished a great deal of the things that he may have done and learned along the way in martial arts from his realization of what he described as "True Budo."

Which just again begs the far larger question I asked in a thread quite some time ago:

Is Aikido really about SELF-defense, or is it about something else, both in its intent and in its actual operation?

A mother does not hesitate to step in front of the oncoming car immediately to save her child. That lack of indecision or concern about SELF embodies the primary effectiveness of her action -- and only secondarily any "skills" or "waza" she may employ in saving him. Any residue of self-preservation in that circumstance destroys that immediate and complete commitment to entering the area of danger, and thus placing what ever her physical talents may be in a far less effective sphere of operation.

The old teaching of bushido was to disregard one's own life in the face of battle. This has been negatively viewed by some as a mere love of death. But there is a richer and more positive appreciation of that admonition.

O Sensei's characterization of "True Budo" as Love, is a realization that the only thing that motivates a complete, radical and immediate commitment to the area of danger is, in fact, love of the Other. Withholding a love of oneself and the caution that it represents in that circumstance is an additional burden, and a barrier to far more effective action. MMA seems a distraction from the task of breaking down that barrier, as does the nature of solo (dare I say solipsistic) training and the highly individualized pursuits that seems so characteristic of it.

If Aikido is not about defense of Self -- but about practicing a radical love of the Other -- then the whole MMA debate is just as much beside the point. If he was getting at something else altogether -- then "Skills" collectors are subject to the precisely same criticism as is levelled at the waza "collectors" they characterize in Aikido. Not to say that there are not legitimate issues of technical proficieny to be discussed.

But there is in fact a keen martial point to the adoption of radical love as a martial strategy -- as well as an attitude of living. It is not merely an aiki-fruity affectation, but a profound point that reaches deeply into the roots of tradition -- both East and West.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 04-03-2007 at 07:50 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:02 AM   #45
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
And that simplicity of treatment brings a larger point into clearer focus, actually.

Aikido comprises O Sensei's attempt at transmitting his revelation of what he described as "True Budo." Acknowledging the possibility that even Aikido as transmitted may fail of its intended legacy here and there, he plainly distinguished a great deal of the things that he may have done and learned along the way in martial arts from his realization of what he described as "True Budo."

Which just again begs the far larger question I asked in a thread quite some time ago:

Is Aikido really about SELF-defense, or is it about something else, both in its intent and in its actual operation?

A mother does not hesitate to step in front of the oncoming car immediately to save her child. That lack of indecision or concern about SELF embodies the primary effectiveness of her action -- and only secondarily any "skills" or "waza" she may employ in saving him. Any residue of self-preservation in that circumstance destroys that immediate and complete commitment to entering the area of danger, and thus placing what ever her physical talents may be in a far less effective sphere of operation.

The old teaching of bushido was to disregard one's own life in the face of battle. This has been negatively viewed by some as a mere love of death. But there is a richer and more positive appreciation of that admonition.

O Sensei's characterization of "True Budo" as Love, is a realization that the only thing that motivates a complete, radical and immediate commitment to the area of danger is, in fact, love of the Other. Withholding a love of oneself and the caution that it represents in that circumstance is an additional burden, and a barrier to far more effective action. MMA seems a distraction from the task of breaking down that barrier, as does the nature of solo (dare I say solipsistic) training and the highly individualized pursuits that seems so characteristic of it.

If Aikido is not about defense of Self -- but about practicing a radical love of the Other -- then the whole MMA debate is just as much beside the point. If he was getting at something else altogether -- then "Skills" collectors are subject to the precisely same criticism as is levelled at the waza "collectors" they characterize in Aikido. Not to say that there are not legitimate issues of technical proficieny to be discussed.

But there is in fact a keen martial point to the adoption of radical love as a martial strategy -- as well as an attitude of living. It is not merely an aiki-fruity affectation, but a profound point that reaches deeply into the roots of tradition -- both East and West.
Very nice post Erick! It's a very good question, what happens when you stop being afraid? What's left? This does not mean desensitizing yourself through severe training so you simply don't feel it any more or overlaying the fear with martial prowess so others can't expose your fear... It's what happens when you simply release it all and aren't fearful any more.

Aikido training is fundamentally about understanding yourself and understanding the unbreakable connection between you and everyone and everything else. Self defense capability is a by product of that training, not the point.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:32 AM   #46
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Aikido training is fundamentally about understanding yourself and understanding the unbreakable connection between you and everyone and everything else. Self defense capability is a by product of that training, not the point.
I agree George... Budo with it's self-defense aspect is certainly a by product of the training and when you add to that "do as little harm as possible"; I think the paradox leaves us with Kano's "Seiryoku Zenyo / Jita Kyoei."

Good discussion everyone, Thanks.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:48 PM   #47
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

This thread is really getting good. Shedding fear and embracing love as real and serious Aikido gokui appears to me to be consistent with what Joseph Campbell described as "walking the thread of the hero path".
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Old 04-03-2007, 03:57 PM   #48
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Aikido training is fundamentally about understanding yourself and understanding the unbreakable connection between you and everyone and everything else. Self defense capability is a by product of that training, not the point.
Yep, pretty much the same journey everywhere. Nicely stated. This type of attitude makes me believe in the future of Aikido as a true Budo not just another MMA. Deepest compliments and appreciation.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:42 PM   #49
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Aikido training is fundamentally about understanding yourself and understanding the unbreakable connection between you and everyone and everything else. Self defense capability is a by product of that training, not the point.
Thanks for the post Sensei.

Aikido helps develop the unbreakable connection between the Martial and the Spiritual. If you have no "self" (as I have been told over a dozen times by Roshi over the years LOL) there is nothing to "defend." Life then becomes "connection"

Bodhidharma would have loved Aikido I'll bet. LOL

William Hazen
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:41 PM   #50
Russell Pearse
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

Hi:

There has been some discussion about what O Sensei meant when he said “this is not my aikido”. While I cannot guess what he meant by this, it reminds me of a similar story that my sensei – Takayasu sensei, a student of Saito sensei – often relates. He said that when O Sensei passed the dojo at Iwama and looked in at what the students were doing, he would get upset if they were training in advanced techniques or variations. If however they were training in basic techniques, especially suwari-waza ikkyo or shiho-nage, he would be happy and would often stop to watch or join in.

The message Saito Sensei gained from this was the importance of the basic kihon techniques. And of course they trained in the basic techniques over and over in order to not incur O Sensei’s displeasure.

I agree with Jakob’s post that it is possible that O Sensei meant something as simple as concentrate on the basics.

Russell
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