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Old 12-05-2001, 06:58 PM   #1
Mike Haber
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A Question About Isoyama Shihan?

If anyone has seen this great aikidoka before, please describe his aikido for me and please tell me if his aikido technique is pretty similar to Seagal's aikido?

Thanks

Sincerely,

Mike Haber
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:09 PM   #2
akiy
 
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The only time I've seen Seagal's aikido is on video tape so I can't say much about it.

I've been to one of Isoyama sensei's seminars and found him to be a nice man whose aikido is, to be brief, quite effective. I wrote a review on my experiences at the seminar:

http://www.aikiweb.com/about/seminars/isoyama0400.html

An excerpt from the above review:

Quote:
My first time up as uke for him during the weekend (it seemed he liked to use me and my dojomates quite often through the weekend, probably because we were bouncy enough) was for suwariwaza nikkyo ura. Talk about crisp, effective technique! Whoosh, wham! My face nearly hit the mat in trying to go down for the nikkyo. His transition from the nikkyo at the shoulder to the pin was quick and had absolutely no openings that I could feel.
Perhaps those people in Japan who have trained more with him can comment?

-- Jun

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Old 12-05-2001, 11:59 PM   #3
Peter Goldsbury
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Isoyama Shihan's aikido is like a good speech: short, sharp, and to the point. There are no surplus movements and no wasted energy. I have seen Steven Seagal's aikido only once and that was at the All-Japan Demonstration a few years ago. Mr Seagal had many ukes, who all seemed to fall about him (I do not imply this as a criticism, by the way). Mr Isoyama used just one uke and always waited for him to attack, with loud kiai. Watching his trademark ganseki-otoshi/kataguruma, one could clearly see the attack and the very clear, direct response. In irimi-nage, Isoyama Shihan seems to favour a direct atemi with the throw and sometimes lifts uke off his feet, while Arikawa Sensei, for example, grasps you firmly round the neck and takes you down, right down.

But this is just my personal opinion.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 12-06-2001, 12:50 AM   #4
Mike Bissonette
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I have had the pleasure of taking Ukemi for Isoyama Shihan on his visits to our Dojo.
His technique is just as has been described and the result is you feel great! You get up smiling and the next day you still feel great with no after effects, to me that showed how terrific his technique is.

I've only seen Seagal Sensei in movies and two brief tapes but I have trained with other students of Isoyama Shihan including my Sensei, Fujiko Tamura Gardner, and their technique closely follows Isoyama Shihan's technique.

Michael Bissonette
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Old 12-07-2001, 01:33 PM   #5
Mike Haber
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Mr. Goldsbury and Mr. Bissonette?

Did Isoyama Shihan learn his aikido directly from the founder or was more of his learning under Saito Shihan in Iwama?

Thanks

Sincerely,

Mike Haber
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Old 12-07-2001, 05:25 PM   #6
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Haber
Did Isoyama Shihan learn his aikido directly from the founder or was more of his learning under Saito Shihan in Iwama?

Thanks
My understanding is that Isoyama Shihan started aikido in 1949, when he was 12 and still at school. He joined the children's class which had recently begun at the Iwama dojo. These classes were taught by the Founder personally and he taught each person individually. There were no tatami. Nor many students, probably for that reason.

At some point Isoyama Shihan would have joined the main classes, and trained until he joined the Air Self Defence force in 1958, when he was 21. The Founder did not begin to venture out of Iwama until around 1955.

Saito Morihiro Shihan was around 21 in 1949 and trained with the Founder as often as his '24-hours on: 24-hours off' job with the railway permitted. Presumably, as in any other dojo, he would have looked after the children and helped to train the younger students as they got older.

There are one or two photographs of Iwama students in this period and the 'pioneering spirit' comes over pretty strongly, at least to me. You know, students few in number, but bound together by very close ties of loyalty, mutual support etc.

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 12-07-2001 at 05:27 PM.

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Old 02-07-2002, 11:26 AM   #7
Mike Haber
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Mr. Goldsbury?

Do you feel that the taijutsu and bukiwaza that was taught in Iwama was different from that which was taught at Hombu Dojo by K. Ueshiba Doshu and K. Tohei Sensei?

Sincerely,

Mike Haber
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Old 02-07-2002, 05:48 PM   #8
Largo
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Question Describing aikido

I`ve noticed a lot of posts asking for descriptions of so-and-so`s aikido. How exactly are you supposed to describe it? Also, what is the point? I don't mean this as a criticism...I just don't exactly get what these posters are looking for.
So, to these posters, I have a question. What is YOUR aikido like? What is your sensei`s aikido like? (I mean, if you see them every time you train, you have a good idea, right?)

Largo
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Old 02-08-2002, 08:48 AM   #9
Mike Haber
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Largo

Is that Key Largo?

Sincerely,

Mike Haber
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Old 02-09-2002, 12:38 AM   #10
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Mr. Goldsbury?

Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Haber
Do you feel that the taijutsu and bukiwaza that was taught in Iwama was different from that which was taught at Hombu Dojo by K. Ueshiba Doshu and K. Tohei Sensei?
Hello Mike,

You ask about my feelings concerning the taijutsu and buki-waza taught in Iwama and Hombu.

It depends partly on the time frame. Immediately after the war, Kisshomaru Ueshiba also taught in Iwama and Morihiro Saito later taught Sunday classes at the Hombu for many years. I think there was very little buki-waza taught at the Hombu and the Founder had some pretty definite views on the matter of riai (理合い), the principles governing the relationship between aikido training and weapons.

As for taijutsu, if, for example, you look at Kisshomaru Ueshiba's early books on aikido (e.g., "Aikido", published in Japanese in the late fifties, I believe, though the English translation was published later), there are lots of detailed explanations of basic, with foot diagrams etc. The techniques, though circular, were clearly executed vigorously. Compare, this with the early books of Morihiro Saito, for example, Volume 3 of "Traditional Aikido", and there is still the same detailed explanation of basics. Perhaps there was slightly less emphasis on circular movements. Though my opinion is somewhat unfashionable, I do not think the differences are such that one talk of two distinct 'styles'.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-13-2002, 04:32 PM   #11
Mike Haber
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Re: Re: Mr. Goldsbury?

Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury


Hello Mike,

You ask about my feelings concerning the taijutsu and buki-waza taught in Iwama and Hombu.

It depends partly on the time frame. Immediately after the war, Kisshomaru Ueshiba also taught in Iwama and Morihiro Saito later taught Sunday classes at the Hombu for many years. I think there was very little buki-waza taught at the Hombu and the Founder had some pretty definite views on the matter of riai (理合い), the principles governing the relationship between aikido training and weapons.

As for taijutsu, if, for example, you look at Kisshomaru Ueshiba's early books on aikido (e.g., "Aikido", published in Japanese in the late fifties, I believe, though the English translation was published later), there are lots of detailed explanations of basic, with foot diagrams etc. The techniques, though circular, were clearly executed vigorously. Compare, this with the early books of Morihiro Saito, for example, Volume 3 of "Traditional Aikido", and there is still the same detailed explanation of basics. Perhaps there was slightly less emphasis on circular movements. Though my opinion is somewhat unfashionable, I do not think the differences are such that one talk of two distinct 'styles'.

Best regards,
Peter,

Thanks for the reply. So you would clearly diagree with this paragraph from Mr. Pranin then:

The aikido seen commonly today differs considerably from that developed by the founder during the Iwama years in the following respects. Atemi (strikes to vital points) have been de-emphasized or eliminated. The number of techniques commonly practiced has been reduced. The focus on irimi (entering) and initiation of techniques by tori [person executing the technique] has been lost, and the distinction between omote and ura blurred. Practice of the aiki ken, jo, or other weapons is infrequent or nonexistent. Aikido, although still considered as a budo by some, retains little of its historical martial effectiveness due to the soft, casual nature of practice and as such has been transformed into what could be better called a health or exercise system.

Sincerely,

Mike Haber
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Old 02-13-2002, 07:39 PM   #12
Edward
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Re: Re: Re: Mr. Goldsbury?

Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Haber


So you would clearly diagree with this paragraph from Mr. Pranin then:

The aikido seen commonly today differs considerably from that developed by the founder during the Iwama years in the following respects. Atemi (strikes to vital points) have been de-emphasized or eliminated. The number of techniques commonly practiced has been reduced. The focus on irimi (entering) and initiation of techniques by tori [person executing the technique] has been lost, and the distinction between omote and ura blurred. Practice of the aiki ken, jo, or other weapons is infrequent or nonexistent. Aikido, although still considered as a budo by some, retains little of its historical martial effectiveness due to the soft, casual nature of practice and as such has been transformed into what could be better called a health or exercise system.
This is pure marketing for Iwama style, but unfortunately, why do they always have to criticize other styles in order to promote theirs?
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Old 02-13-2002, 08:49 PM   #13
Peter Goldsbury
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Hello Mike,

Your reply, and that of Edward, is one reason why I emphasised the time frame. I have never regularly practised in Iwama and the grounds I have for talking about aikido in Iwama are the various classes and training seminars I have attended over the years taught by Morihiro Saito Sensei. Though I am inclined to think that the aikido taught by Saito Sensei in such classes and seminars is not so different from what he does in his home dojo.

From your earlier post, I assumed you were thinking about Iwama and the Tokyo Hombu between 1949, say, and 1955, which was when the Founder left Iwama on a much more regular basis than hitherto. There are people like Arikawa Shihan who trained regularly in both places and, except for the Founder's own training with ken and jo, there was little difference in pactice between the two places.

I think the preoccupation with an "Iwama style" has come about only since the publication of Saito Sensei's "Traditional Aikido" in 1973 and this preoccupation has been much more prevalent outside Japan than here. One reason for this is that the "style", if it exists, is clearly centred around one person, Saito Sensei, and this is not the case with the Aikikai Hombu. I for one knew nothing of it until well after the book came out and I have been training with weapons ever since I started aikido in the late 1960s.

So I cannot say whether "the aikido seen commonly today" in Iwama differs from that elsewhere. What I do know is that my own training in aikido, both before I came to Japan and also here in Hiroshima, has included much atemi, tori's initiation of techniques and weapons training. But I doubt you would say I practise Iwama-style aikido.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-14-2002, 09:28 AM   #14
Mike Haber
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Mr. Goldsbury?

Quote:
Originally posted by Edward


This is pure marketing for Iwama style, but unfortunately, why do they always have to criticize other styles in order to promote theirs?
Maybe because it is true?!

Sincerely,

Mike Haber
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