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Old 08-01-2007, 12:52 PM   #51
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote: View Post
[snip]
It would not be surprising if there were [gasp] Chinese martial arts practitioners going to military school in Japan. Plus, there was quite a bit of contact between the ultra-right in Japan and the KMT revolutionaries in China. Who were often, martial artists....
And not just military school. For example (just of China-Japan MA exchange, not specifically with Ueshiba):

TANG HAO (1897-1959), also known as Tang Fansheng, native of Wu County in Jiangsu Province, famous martial arts historian. Born in a poor family, Tang was fond of literature and martial arts since childhood. After coming to Shanghai he worked as principal of Shang'gong Primary School; in Shanghai Tang learnt Six Harmonies Boxing (Liuhequan) from Liu Zhen'nan. Later he also studied Xingyiquan and Taijiquan from Li Cunyi and Chen Fake.

In 1927, suspected of being a Communist Party member, Tang was arrested but then, thanks to Zhu Guofu's help, released.

The same year Tang went to Japan to study political science and law; in Japan he learnt Judo, Ken-jutsu and other arts. After returning to China Tang hold a post of editorial department director at Central Martial Arts Academy (Zhongyang Guoshu Guan); in 1930 he led a Central Martial Arts Academy representation (incl. Zhu Guofu, Yang Songshan and others) to Japan on a tour of investigation; in 1936 Tang was defending Gu Liuxin and others in court (Gu and others were suspected of being involved in "Seven Gentlemen" case). In 1941, since Tang was still active as a lawyer in spite of the Japanese invasion, he was caught by Japanese soldiers, whipped and chased away to Anhui Province.

After liberation in 1949 Tang Hao returned to Shanghai and was appointed to many posts in political and sports organizations; in 1955 Tang was appointed an advisor position with the China State Sports Committee. Tang Hao wrote many books and articles on the history of martial arts and is considered a pioneer of the history of Chinese Martial Arts and Chinese sport. Tang became especially famous for his research on the history of Taijiquan - after examining Taiji classics, Chen clan manuals, family chronicles and other text, Tang Hao draw a conclusion that Taijiquan was created/compiled by Chen Wangting of Chenjiagou Village in Henan Province. At the same time he rejected traditional view of Zhang Sanfeng as the creator of Taiji Boxing."
[emphasis added]

http://www.chinafrominside.com/ma/ta...ngmanuals.html
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:57 PM   #52
DH
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
Didn't Ueshiba stop by Dan's barn?
Cute Tom
I'm the one that responded first and said "It can't be proved. The only ones who truly know are all dead.
What we have is only historical ties, which seem rather logical. Instead of jumping through hoops to make connections that have NO evidance whatsoever, we at least have a solid and proved connection to Takeda. And evidence that Ueshiba's DR peers who trained with Takeda and Uehsiba had the same skills if not better.
I'm sick of arguing it myself. It so damn logical its ridiculous. Instead we "look" for other sources that have that have little to zero connecting proof. But we see what we want to see I suppose
WHat is facinating is that Ueshiba gave credit, and never mentioned other sources. and all those around him kept pointing to Takeda as the source.
You'd think some other guy who taught him would have told someone about it since Ueshiba become so famous. And you'd think Ueshiba had trained, with someone else who'd know.
Of course he continued to train on his own and make discoveries. That's not the issue. Ths issue is where he got it from and just what exactly he was doing. All parties privey to that knowledge are dead.
Sorry Ellis.

Last edited by DH : 08-01-2007 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:07 PM   #53
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
Sequence is not causality.

You have one and a half facts onto which you have loaded a truckload of interpretation.

Fact one: Takeda awarded the Kyoju Dairi to Ueshiba in Ayabe.

Claim analysis: What Ueshiba had learned in Hokkaido and precisely how it was different from what he learned in Ayabe is pure supposition on your part. [snip]Why leap to conclusions?

Best,

FL
Similarly, Fred, broad-brush resemblance is not essential essence. At least Cady has 1-1/2 facts to support her truck. She is not making statements like "All Asian arts have these internal skills at the higher levels," without having practiced those arts' distinct training methods or speaking Chinese, Japanese, or the language of the Asian martial art in question.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:10 PM   #54
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Cute Tom
I'm the one that responded first and said "It can't be proved. The only ones who truly know are all dead.
What we have is only historical ties, which seem rather logical. Instead of jumping through hoops to make connections that have NO evidance whatsoever, we at least have a solid and proved connection to Takeda. And evidence that Ueshiba's DR peers who trained with Takeda and Uehsiba had the same skills if not better.
[snip]Sorry Ellis.
Agreed.

And I'm sorry as well to have contributed to the diversion of the thread, so I'll step off now. I know others will continue, though.
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:12 PM   #55
Marc Abrams
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

This thread kind of reminds me of people arguing that there is only one path to the top of Mt. Everest.

I think that we all can assume that there is some underlying level of Ki/Jin that people need to be able to display in order to perform an art to a level that people would describe as being an "internal art." I would argue that there needs to be some baseline natural physical abilities that a person would have to have. That person would then have to be exposed to good teaching in how to develop that "internal capacity." That person would have to practice those skills diligently. This would seem to apply regardless of the art being studied.

I think one of Stanley Pranin's greatest contributions to our art has been that he exposed us, via the Aiki Expos, to other arts, some without any link to D.R., which reflected deep understanding in, and ability to utilize those "internal principles."

I would think that it would not matter if my training came from Ushiro Sensei, the head of Systema, Koroda Sensei, my main teacher, Kondo Sensei, Mike, or Dan. As long as I was able to further develop my "internal skill sets" and could then apply them to my execution of Aikido, what difference would it make if I had never studied D.R..

I agree with Mike that this has become a fruitless argument. I would much rather learn from some of you how you evolved to where you have gotten and how that has changed your ability to do your chosen art. The overlap of the skill sets that I find in many of these accomplished martial artists with a high level of Ki/Jin development is what I look for in helping in my development in Aikido. Many of you have much to offer us in this regards.

Marc Abrams
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:32 PM   #56
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I'm sick of arguing it myself.
But you bring it up, regularly as clockwork, on a number of forums anyway, Dan.
Quote:
It so damn logical its ridiculous. Instead we "look" for other sources that have that have little to zero connecting proof.
No one is "looking for other sources". We're saying that from written documents it appears like there *could be* other sources and hence your constant assertion is not founded in fact, only speculation and Cady's probability. Fine. All you have to do is say that in your opinion, Ueshiba probably learned his ki/kokyu method from Takeda. If you want to assert it as fact, you need to be able to support it. If you'll notice it, that particular suggestion comes from more than one person.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-01-2007, 01:36 PM   #57
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
She is not making statements like "All Asian arts have these internal skills at the higher levels," without having practiced those arts' distinct training methods or speaking Chinese, Japanese, or the language of the Asian martial art in question.
Well, if you're taking a shot at me, rest assured that I have checked with a number of good sources, including Chen Xiao Wang, Liang Shou Yu, and others before I state something as fact. But then, if you go buy a book on any Asian art of note, you'll notice that the qi stuff is mentioned in the literature. They take pride in it, just like O-Sensei took pride in writing his oblique references to the same thing in Aikido. Of course, if you don't know mathematics, you'd probably question my assertion that adding and multiplication are in all branches of mathematics and ask me to prove it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-01-2007, 02:36 PM   #58
dps
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
We're saying that from written documents it appears like there *could be* other sources
Like from here?
http://www.crackerjack.com/games.php
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Old 08-01-2007, 03:32 PM   #59
Fred Little
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
Similarly, Fred, broad-brush resemblance is not essential essence. At least Cady has 1-1/2 facts to support her truck. She is not making statements like "All Asian arts have these internal skills at the higher levels," without having practiced those arts' distinct training methods or speaking Chinese, Japanese, or the language of the Asian martial art in question.
Thomas,

You appear to be confusing me with Mike, or confusing my argument against one proposition with an argument in favor of another one.

Any assertions I've made in the past have been considerably more limited than the one you reference, based on academic and/or practical experience of the distinct training methods I'm discussing, and informed by a decade of study of East Asian languages.

None of which speaks to what anyone else may or may not bring to their assertions.

Best,

FL
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Old 08-01-2007, 04:27 PM   #60
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Oh please, Mother of God... - not again!!! AGGHHGHGHGHGH ....
[Deep breath] Excellent piece, BTW. More please.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
The subject of what I'VE been writing and curious about is exemplified by the following quote of Okamoto Seigo.
"Kodo Horikawa Sensei used to say: 'Once you reach a level such as yours, you become able to execute your own techniques based on what I have taught you. I didn't learn all the techniques I do now from Sokaku Takeda Sensei.' Once you master a certain level and grasp the key points you become able to execute techniques of your own. Then these techniques of yours gradually sprout branches."
I am going to go out a limb here to pitch one for Ellis Amdur to hopefully expand on or critically deconstruct.

The thing that most plainly distinguishes O Sensei's art from DTR technically from my perspective, and post-dates his DTR training, certainly in the eyes of his son and in the words of his father on the realization of aikido is "...the old form of the posture in kenjutsu." While some have emphasized that Daito was a complete art together with sword forms, O Sensei specifically uses that phrase to describe the advent of Aikido, and his son, in The Spirit of Aikido, specifically distinguishes the admixture of the sword principles as the the key technical factor in the evolution. He ascribes his father's sword work mainly to Shinkage, which the experience of aikido and the reference to the "old form of the posture in kenjutsu" suggests is a natural fit to the sensibilities of the Yagyu muto techniques and the doctrine of katsujinto.

[deep breath again] (as an collateral aside to Amdur on a point he has tried to correct here before -- Wikipedia still has O Sensei being granted menkyo kaiden by Masakatsu in 1908 -- you may wish to edit it or comment)

Now what I think:

It is the attention to "form" and "posture" in this description that interests me in regard to the other word that many (including Amdur) have mentioned as their desire or goal -- "Power" -- power as they perceive O Sensei to have had power. And therein lies what I believe is a great misunderstanding of what Doshu's project was about.

The internal arts perspective of ki development as a change in the body's substantial neuro-physiological makeup may well be correct; it may also not be what the art is, exactly. Making a tougher, more responsive body clearly makes for more power.

But form is power also. And strength of form is superior to strength of material. Those are lessons of the sword as well as the architect.

Ellis Amdur very charitably addresses the problem set for Doshu at his father's death. As a sixteen year-old high school kid he played mediator to prominent Nationalists with whom his father philosophically disagreed during the War years. That was not a place to put a person whose basic temperament was -- unsubtle -- or lacking in careful thought.

The means he sought to translate that intent had to be couched in a manner that was perceptible and attractive to a audience, in Japan and around the world, that was, at best, initially likely to be indifferent to it. O Sensei dealt in some fairly esoteric, even idiosyncratic material concepts (even for modern Japanese). In attempting to formulate a means by which to make the proverbial "it" accessible to such a wide audience he had to answer some basic questions about the nature of the fidelity he would maintain:

1) Did those who followed O Sensei have to essentially duplicate his training journey or praxis, and

2) Did they have to replicate his personal understanding and concepts,

all in order to arrive at substantially the result intended by O Sensei for his followers on the path of aikido.

Plainly, a merely rote fidelity (however great a task that may have been) might have accomplished preservation of the bones of a few of the things that Ellis Amdur is looking for. I do not think that is the kind of fidelity Doshu decided on. O Sensei's dispensing with anything like a kata-type presentation in his teaching made plain it was not his intent to transmit it that way (if not impossible to derive secondarily). Pranin and Ellis Amdur seem to agree on that.

On the strength of what takemusu aiki purports to represent, I do not believe that O Sensei intended rote fidelity. He certainly did not make it possible or very probable to acheive, either. My question about Doshu and his task of developing aikido and spreading it, is whether there is anything intended by O Sensei to be kept that is "lost" in the art transmitted by his son in the sense that Ellis Amdur seems to mean.

In other words, is it the lack of knowledge, or a lack of practice that causes the present problem of "lesser" seeming aikido in some places these days. I tend to the latter and conclude that more practice leads to less problem. Expanding the art to the great mass of people results inevitably in the spread of dilettantish practice (at times - Guilty). So, more practice. If O Sensei had one motto it would be "Practice!"

Kata represent attempts to "code" the essence of an art. Doshu was left with no "code," and likely no way to "code" aikido in any traditional manner. Aikido is, in informational terms, very hard to code. That is to say, there is not any very obvious way to represent it rigorously in terms that are less than the whole of what it is. The variety and proliferation of attempts to code it by many exceedingly gifted students of the Founder, from many different perspectives, only prove the point.

Form and perception of form of a variable dynamic but clearly identifiable type is what Doshu expounded as the basis from which the creativity of techniques could spring -- from practice, not a secret formula or reducible knowledge. "Not being spoon fed," the knowledge comes intuitively from the form of action and from no other place.

That does not make it easy, but that also does not mean that there was any simpler way to do what Doshu set about doing. DTR techniques are the part of the rubric in which this essential form was laid originally, as are the weapons curricula of Saito or Saotome, and the basis for the ki explorations of Tohei. Given Ellis's initial plea to the Virgin, he may well understand when I say that while the rubric is always there and may change -- it should never be mistaken for the liturgy that never changes -- but is always new.

The form is to join oneself in one body with the opponent -- and from this to join all things within your perception as one body -- and this is aikido and nothing more. That does not tell you how to put into practice, of course. Many people initially have grave difficulty making a collection of their own limbs into one body, much less an opponent. This may be accomplished in a number of ways in solo or partnered practice. But the principles are the same in either case, and the learning may progress by practice along either gradient. The endless variations are but aspects of a single inchoate form, which does not have, and cannot have, one faithful, reducible concrete representation, individually or collectively.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 08-01-2007 at 04:36 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 08-01-2007, 04:30 PM   #61
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
Thomas,

You appear to be confusing me with Mike, or confusing my argument against one proposition with an argument in favor of another one.

[snip]
No, Fred, I wasn't confusing you with Mike. I intended to compare/contrast your characterization of Cady's "1-1/2 facts" and critique of her for leaping to conclusions with the breadth of another assertion about Asian martial arts.

I admire your fortitude with east Asian languages. I've embarked on the study of Chinese . . . it's fascinating and frustrating.
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Old 08-04-2007, 01:35 PM   #62
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
Great article Ellis, thank you.

I think the ways to the top of that mountain are unique to each individual. The "great ones" seem to have acheived their power in very individualized ways. We can learn the basics from good teachers but we must follow our own path to be great.
That is a beautiful summary, Ricky. And thank you, Mr. Amdur.
I would say that we are all 'the great one's' and good teachers help us to see/develop that baseline by way of this path. That is the basic, in my book( release date to be announced).

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:44 AM   #63
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
The story I cited elsewhere from Hal Sharp re Tomiki throwing the ripsnorting foreign kenkusei of the Kodokan, one-by-one with one hand - after saying he was going to show them aikido. And an interview I can no longer find, where Oba, Tomiki's closest disciple came back after seeing a demo of Daito-ryu which had, I believe the waza where a number of people pin the teacher, and with a single move, he throws them off. And Tomiki said, "Oh, I can do that," got a bunch of people together and did. But apparently Tomiki didn't like to present this stuff and I do not believe that he taught it - I don't think, actually, that he believed it was germane to what he was trying to develop any more than Kano Jigoro did for judo.
Not that I don't believe you. But, I did find corroborating material for the theory that Tomiki didn't think aiki was that "germane".

Found this on Aikido Journal:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=394

Nishimura Sensei: ... I believe that I am a man of foresight, you know. I encouraged Mr. Tomiki to start the art because I thought that the art was just wonderful. I myself didn't practice the art much, though. But Mr. Tomiki has been practicing for nearly 40 years. That's where he is so great. Ueshiba Sensei thought that Tomiki lessened the value of aiki, and Mr. Tomiki also had trouble with the Kodokan. However, he is a fine, serious man. He gradually attained proficiency in the art and now has many fine successors. He is now a university professor. One can continue to teach as a professor until the age of 70.

Sunadomari Sensei: I believe that Ueshiba Sensei misses his students from the old days. He often talks about them.

Nishimura Sensei: Well, we were all directly taught by Sensei. Also I was his first student from the judo world. Because Seishi told me to practice the art, I could do it with great confidence.

Mr. Tomiki is having a hard time in his position between judo and aiki, but as could be expected, he has cooperated with judoka. You must have a dojo to practice in, you know. The Judo Federations of Kita Kyushu aixd Yamaguchi Prefecture are now beginning to include aiki. In present-day judo, people as they age gradually lose physical stamina. This is the reason aiki is now being taught to judo 1st and 2nd dans. In this way they can continue to run the dojo. You have to be successful financially to run a dojo, you know.

Sunadomari Sensei: It seems so. Judo people have started to change their attitude toward aikido these days.

Nishimura Sensei: The credit should go to Mr. Tomiki. Whenever I meet judoka who know aiki, they all know it through Mr. Tomiki.
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:40 AM   #64
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
From the same Article:

Quote:
Sunadomari Sensei: The reason the two arts [DR v. Aikido] are completely different is because aikido is the art of the kami. ...

Nishimura Sensei: He was a genius. But he was not particularly good at organizing things.

Sunadomari Sensei: Such things are difficult for a genius like him.

Nishimura Sensei: He could not do things according to a set form. He always had to shed his old skin. Otherwise there would never have been any development of his art.
This relates to Ellis Amdur's complaint in the article under discussion that Kisshomaru Doshu seemed to abandon, or approach the teaching of the art in a manner not in keeping with, his father's established practices and purpose.
Quote:
Ellis Amdur, Aikido Journal Article wrote:
Ueshiba devoted hours of practice to solo exercises, both empty-handed and with weapons. This was too central an aspect of his father’s life for Doshu to have missed, and I’ve no doubt that his father taught him explicitly what he was doing. ... It is obvious, therefore, that the only thing Ueshiba Kisshomaru lacked was the mileage, because unless one puts in the miles, one will not develop the body, and without the body, one will not be able to develop the skills. ... It comes down to mileage and attention — both repetition with self-imposed mindfulness and a teacher who makes sure, one way or another, that you are doing it right. ...

Why didn’t Doshu put in the miles? Too late to ask, isn’t it? Maybe the work was too hard — too boring, too grueling, or too uninteresting.
There is in fact a larger purpose and methodology behind the "not doing things according to a set form." Doshu's approach from his own perspective resulted in the diversity of development within some bounds of commonality now seen within the world of aikido. This is precisely described by Motoori Norinaga, whose commentaries on Kojiki were so much a part of how O Sensei related to his defining mythology, his development of the prinicples of aikido and the "art of the gods." The analogy is drawn between Norinaga's approach to learning in intellectual terms and that of learning in physical terms. But given the discussion elsewhere about the natural development of movement and load efficiency knowledge in the body from just good old-fashioned labor of common types, (never mind explicit martial training), reading this, things may have gone very much as intended:

Quote:
First Steps Into the Mountains (Uiyamabumi) Motoori Norinaga 1798 wrote:
In life, there are many routes to pursue learning, not just one. Among these routes are, first, the diligent study of the Way, based upon the book on the Age of the Gods in Nihon shoki. This is called the Learning of the Gods and a student thereof is called a Scholar of the Way of the Gods. ...

[E]ach student learns according to his preferred way. The method of learning also varies according to the intentions of the teacher and his students.

A person who is determined to learn and begins to study has a preferred route from the beginning. Some choose the methodology by themselves, while others have no preconceived way of learning or understanding in this matter. They approach a learned teacher and ask, "Which Way should I take?" or "Which book should a novice read first? This is common and understandable.

You should begin studying your discipline in an orthodox manner, adopting a correct attitude; in this way you will not later deviate into erratic and improper directions. In addition, your learning will bear fruit sooner if the most effective methods are clearly outlined from the beginning. This is the most desirable way to approach scholarship.

Even when the energy expended is constant, there are advantages and disadvantages depending on the path and the methodology followed. But as for the choice of learning, a teacher should not force something onto a student; the choice should be left to the student's interests. No matter how much a novice he may be, a person who is determined to pursue scholarship is not entirely like an infant as regards his intellect. There is invariably a route in which he is interested and which accords with his ability. He likes some directions and is uninterested in others. Further, people are gifted by birth in some things and not in others. Success is seldom achieved in something that you do not like or are not gifted in, no matter how much effort you may put into it.

In any kind of study, it is easy enough to teach a method based on a set of superficial reasons, with the teacher instructing the pupil to follow this path or that. There is no way of knowing, however, whether the adopted method is indeed good, or whether against all expectations it may turn out to be unhelpful. So the method should not be forced onto a student; the choice should be left entirely to his preference. In essence, the most important and fundamental requirement is that learning be pursued for many years, sparing no effort, without ever becoming boring or fatiguing.

In this respect, any methodology is acceptable and it should not be a matter of great concern. Yet, however excellent your method of study, you will meet with no success if you are lazy and make no effort. . . .
from Nishimura, "First Steps. . . .", Monumenta Nipponica, 42:4,
Winter 1987, pp. 449 et seq.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 08-10-2007 at 11:54 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 08-10-2007, 12:48 PM   #65
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Not that I don't believe you. But, I did find corroborating material for the theory that Tomiki didn't think aiki was that "germane".
I think that possibly what Tomiki Sensei found that was not "germane" to the practice of what he was doing was the "theatrics" (my own term and view from having spent many years under the influence of Tomiki and his senior students) that many people did to demonstrate their "aiki"...

I think the nature of aiki and learning how to do it are contained in the kata. The problem is finding a teacher that has done the work and progressed through the system of kata using aiki as the primary component of the riai and katachi. It is not labeled with Chinese terms, but aiki exists within the system. I don't think Tomiki and others knew how to "teach" it, but he could surely do it and I don't think he left it out of his teaching method on purpose.

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-10-2007, 08:59 PM   #66
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
I think that possibly what Tomiki Sensei found that was not "germane" to the practice of what he was doing was the "theatrics" (my own term and view from having spent many years under the influence of Tomiki and his senior students) that many people did to demonstrate their "aiki"...

I think the nature of aiki and learning how to do it are contained in the kata. The problem is finding a teacher that has done the work and progressed through the system of kata using aiki as the primary component of the riai and katachi. It is not labeled with Chinese terms, but aiki exists within the system. I don't think Tomiki and others knew how to "teach" it, but he could surely do it and I don't think he left it out of his teaching method on purpose.
Hi Chuck:

We're all of us more or less reduced to the "I think...." perspective, since all we can do at this time is guess, based on what anecdotal indicators are left AND based on what is becoming more apparent about the ki and kokyu skills that seem to have been available in those earlier days.

Tomiki demonstrated that he also knew the "secret" methods of generating qi and jin power, in the basic sense, but whether he understood the "aiki" use of those powers is simply not clear from the available documentation. If someone wants to argue that Tomiki did indeed understand how to use the "aiki" variant of those powers, I'd be interested in hearing them explain how it's done... a "Catch 22" if there ever was one.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:24 AM   #67
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
... I'd be interested in hearing them explain how it's done... a "Catch 22" if there ever was one.
I'd also like to hear explanations from the seniors and the teachers I had that I definitely know had something extraordinary. Unfortunately, two of them are dead and the last two I'm sure would not enter into a conversation or discussion about the subject. I got cryptic things and visualizations for intent, etc. as I mentioned to you a couple of years ago. I'm doing my best to work with that and continue my practice and teaching as I was taught.

I do know what I saw Tomiki Sensei doing in 1966 and 67 that was not just mechanical connection, vectors, and timing, etc. I didn't feel his waza but I watched very carefully and have a pretty good eye. I did feel what a couple of his students could do and it felt very much like my teacher Mr. Li who I mentioned to you the last time you asked me pretty much the same question. I don't know any of Tomiki's students that are still active that seem to have what I saw him do on occasion.

I really have nothing of value to add via discussion boards to your knowledge base that I don't already teach in public to my students. I'm spending lots of time right now learning how to change what I do enough to protect a bum hip until its replaced.

Best of luck to you all in your search for more information.

Semper Fi,

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:39 PM   #68
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
I do know what I saw Tomiki Sensei doing in 1966 and 67 that was not just mechanical connection, vectors, and timing, etc.
Hi Chuck:

Unfortunately, I'm schizophrenic (and so am I), so I always have these conflicts going on within myself that try to argue both sides of any issue. Every argument I've ever had with physicists (during my engineering-training days), physiologists, etc., I've wound up losing when I took the position that something was outside of the normal rules of "mechanical connection, vectors, and timing", etc. My first thought, when reading your comment about things that are outside of these parameters, is "please explain how you know this". How about the idea that these things do indeed fall within the normal realms, but in ways that we as westerners are not normally familiar with? In other words, what we don't know may not be so mysterious once we know what it is.
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Semper Fi,
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Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:24 PM   #69
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
How about the idea that these things do indeed fall within the normal realms, but in ways that we as westerners are not normally familiar with? In other words, what we don't know may not be so mysterious once we know what it is.
I agree. I'm half rational, fairly well trained in scientific method, half artist/poet, and the other half mystic...

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-14-2007, 01:02 AM   #70
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Here's an interview with Tomiki where he discusses the rationale behind his thinking:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article...ghlight=Tomiki

Quote:
Pranin:We’ve actually come to an important point. There’s one thing I have a hard time explaining away and I am a skeptical person by nature, I like to see to believe. I don’t like to say, “Well, you know if he raises his hand all of his opponents just fall down.” However, I have in my possession films of Ueshiba Sensei. He takes a jo about 3 and 1/2 feet long and holds it out to his side. People come and push on it and he can hold them here from the side; from a perpendicular angle! That’s one thing. Another is this. He sits with his feet crossed underneath, hands relaxed three men come close before him and try to push him over. They can’t. Now either it’s all faked or people are doing it on purpose. If it’s true though I know of no physical principle which can explain those physical feats. This is why I wonder if what happened, was all faked or if he was at a very special “place?” I’ve seen these things on film with my own eyes….

Tomiki:This problem is one of modern physical education’s muscle training. It’s called isometrics. That is to say, by pushing or pulling you train either the outer muscles or the inner muscles. When you get perfect at this form of training you can hardly see any muscle movement at all during the exercise. When you can’t see any movement you are using the muscle very skillfully. But, in the educational field if you demand a similar level of perfection then you are making a big mistake. If anyone trains sufficiently it is possible to do it to some degree, but, of course, there are limits what a human being can do. Perfection is a problem of belief. Can we call it religious faith? If we have to disrupt our partner’s psychological state through some hypnotic technique it would not be a matter of religion as we usually think of the word. I for one, take the normal point of view that education appropriate for the general public is correct and I think aikido should be something usual, or normal, as well.
I am not clear whether Tomiki is talking about the *difference* between modern weight training and the bujutsu way of movement.

But I would *guess* that he's saying that doing things in the old fashioned way takes a zealot's sense of propriety and dedication, which is beyond the needs and dedication of the majority of university students. I.e. Tomiki is concerned with developing a phys. ed. program for 4 year university students, that allows them to measure themselves safely (randori/shiai) and not in developing human weapons.

My other thought (and I hope those of you who trained with Tomiki can shed some light on this) is that focusing on the ''parlor tricks" and ki stuff can draw the wrong kinds of students. That is, you get the people who want easy answers, and who are least likely to put things to the test, even in something as simple as an in house randori practice, much less shiai.

At least if you have a randori/sports kind of program, you draw in those of a moderately practical bent. I suppose the logic would be that the most serious of those practitioners would eventually pursue the traditional ways in an effort to maximize their practice.
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Old 08-14-2007, 01:31 AM   #71
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Tomiki Kenji
http://youtube.com/watch?v=uPhG6XA2f...elated&search=

He reportedly developed the solo exercises while a prisoner of war in Russia.

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Old 08-14-2007, 06:35 AM   #72
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

In Ellis's post he mentions the hard physical training involved in developing internal skill and gives examples of it. I wonder if Ellis you think that it is possible to lose such skill as your physical strength declines or if the physical conditioning only serves as a doorway to learning it and is not needed once such internal skill is possessed by someone?

I ask because it would relate to Ueshiba in his old age and I wonder if it had an influence on the post-war development of aikido. Also because of the list of examples given in the article and my own observations, namely: my girlfriend grew up on a farm and I know from talking to her mother (who I'll henceforth refer to as my mother-in-law for convenience sake even though we're not getting married for another year..) spoke of what she calls being 'farm-fit'. She too grew up on the same farm, a small-hold which is basically a hobby farm and is completely economically pointless, it can't make a profit. What this means is that there is no money to pay for farm workers and so all the work is done by the family, probably putting in more hours than an ordinary farm worker. Around the time my mother-in-law got married and had kids she moved away from the farm and when she moved back almost 10 years later found that she was exhausted most of the time because she was no longer what she called farm-fit. Sge'd lost that physical conditioning (hence the argument that it needs to be done every day...)

This of course ties in to what Dan and Mike and others refer to as solo training. For example, we went on a hike a few years ago, my girlfriend her twin and their friend, myself and the mother-in-law. Guess who was always ahead of us up the mountain calling down to us asking if we wanted a tea break? Yup the 46 yr old woman who moves 1000s of pounds of horse around most days when she's not chasing sheep. The difference being in no way related to size (she was the lightest and smallest of us climbing that day, and of quite slight build). That's just one example I could give others.

The other reason it intrigues me is that my own teacher had many jobs as a younger man that involved hard physical work, such as working on the railways. I've often wondered how much of a factor this is in his aikido. I mean he's solid as granite when he wants to be, but also impossibly soft and like a big hole in the world too when he chooses. I wonder if the solid as granite part is more attributable to hard physical training and the void-like quality to do with the internal skills he clearly possesses.... would a similar thing affect Ueshiba in his old age (I have noted how my own teacher at 65 is becoming more and more soft and void-like when you uke for him when compared to how he was ten years ago)? Is this a common process to other teachers?

All food for thought anyway, thought I'd share it.

Regards

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:28 AM   #73
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Re: "Farm Fit"---I've said this before, but normal muscle is capable of alot on its own. I've worked a number of manual labor jobs (most significantly as a bicycle messenger and loading trucks for UPS), and I can say that after a while you simply stop getting tired. There's a certain mental factor with those jobs, where you realize your body can do more than you think it can. While I was working those jobs, I was always the first man up the stairs and last to tire out, even with people who "worked out".

And that has nothing to do with the type of fascia-related skills Mike and Dan and all talk about. I'm learning to do some of that now, and its certainly different from the body mechanics I used in the past. So I don't automatically assume that "farm fit" has anything to do with internal skills.

And while I don't mean to discredit Tomiki, I have to say it's possible to execute those 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-man throws without internal skills. I've done a two man throw myself, and I've seen someone (who I don't think possesses this type of internal skill) do the larger throws as well. So I wouldn't hold that story, in-and-of-itself, as "proof" of internal skill.

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Old 08-14-2007, 07:53 AM   #74
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
And that has nothing to do with the type of fascia-related skills Mike and Dan and all talk about. I'm learning to do some of that now, and its certainly different from the body mechanics I used in the past. So I don't automatically assume that "farm fit" has anything to do with internal skills.
I know it doesn't, I view those as entirely separate things. The question I'm curious about is about the distinction between the two and how much of one you need to have the other. Is this part of the same distinction you hear between descriptions of the unnatural strength and power possessed by Ueshiba from predominantly before the war and the ghost-like feeling he apparently had when you took ukemi from him later in his life when he threw people but they couldn't figure out how he did it? what are the differences and what is the overlap? That's what I'm curious about. Farm-fit, bricklaying-fit lumberjack-fit whatever is only a part of the puzzle.

Mike

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Old 08-14-2007, 10:02 AM   #75
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Only got a few moments:
1. Mike - yes and no. The "yes" is that as we are not talking about magic, that even if we are working fascia, tendons, whatever, the muscles, if they atrophy, are going to not support movement. "No" in the idea that one remembers how to, for example, ride a bicycle years later, even if not having done so. Just my opinion, as I'm not a "how-to" authority - merely "so-I've-heard-and-am-trying-to-learn"
2. Timothy - your two man throw, or your acquaintance's more-man throw is equivalent to Tomiki if it is NOT done in the aikido environment. These were top-level judoka, who were absolutely non-compliant. Beyond that, of course, I've got no idea what Tomiki knew other than stories.
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