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Old 01-30-2008, 04:39 PM   #1
aikidoc
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

Hi Mike. I Agree. How do you define power-release skills? That is an interesting description and I'm curious if we have the same impressions. I put it in the kokyu category.

Personally, and no offense to his students, but my impression of Shioda's technique was the opposite. He seems very abrupt and rough with little aiki displayed-like his iriminage where he takes the guy by the chest and literally slams him into the ground. Again these are my impressions. This may have to do with differing definitions of aiki.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:03 PM   #2
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

Quote:
John Riggs wrote: View Post
Hi Mike. I Agree. How do you define power-release skills? That is an interesting description and I'm curious if we have the same impressions. I put it in the kokyu category.
Hi John:

Well, it's difficult to purely separate the kokyu-force-skills from the ki-skills/conditioning, but generally I'd agree that power-release would fall into a "kokyu" area. In this case though, the basic jin force is indeed supplemented by the "breath" and "timing" in a sudden way. So the term "kokyu" becomes more appropriate (in my mind) than just the basic force-skill "jin" ("kei"). "Sudden release of power", maybe. I've seen Ueshiba do some of this, but a few of the times he was an old man, so I couldn't get a good read on how well he might have done it when he was in his prime.
Quote:
Personally, and no offense to his students, but my impression of Shioda's technique was the opposite. He seems very abrupt and rough with little aiki displayed-like his iriminage where he takes the guy by the chest and literally slams him into the ground. Again these are my impressions. This may have to do with differing definitions of aiki.
I'm pretty sure, from what you're saying, that the difference has to do with our definitions of Aiki. Shioda (in his videos) often likes to take all sorts of odd ways of blending his force with Uke's and do them over and over again. He absolutely delights in it, quite obviously. I'd have to show you what I mean, but while I see what you mean by abrupt and rough, he's actually a real kokyu-power fanatic and nothing he does strays away from "blending" with the opponent's force.

That's what confuses a lot of people about what "aiki" means. They look for some smoothe "blending" of *techniques* and tend to miss that the blending is really of the forces by mentally manipulating your own forces. Hence, even when O-Sensei demonstrates bouncing someone off his thigh or his chest... or when he held himself immoveable against Tenryu's push or when he simply tenkan's into irimi-nage... all of those things are the same core "aiki". "The secret of Aikido", as he told Tenryu.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:15 PM   #3
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

Sort of what Mike has already said, but at a more basic level one shouldn't confuse 'aiki' with style or in Shida's case -- a small guy can't afford to give an even break. I would add that in aikido we should never give anyone an even break so I applaud Shioda for a clear demonstration of that point.

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Old 01-30-2008, 09:01 PM   #4
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Sort of what Mike has already said, but at a more basic level one shouldn't confuse 'aiki' with style or in Shida's case -- a small guy can't afford to give an even break. I would add that in aikido we should never give anyone an even break so I applaud Shioda for a clear demonstration of that point.
I'm not sure I agree with the small guy comment. Kato sensei always seems to be in the right place or opening without having to knock the crap out of you. he's in position where he could but his movement is so smooth and to the point that you know you have been had. His comment in a recent interview was that O'Sensei told him it was not about dynamism but soul. Sensei is not very big.
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Old 01-31-2008, 11:05 AM   #5
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Re: Power-Release Skills

If I had the option to chose, I would chose BOTH Shioda sensei AND Kato Sensei...judging from what I see on their vids.

I have seen Kata Sensei "float" people like pretty much no one else, actually seeming to lift them clear off the ground with little or no sign of strain. At his age and build, absolutely amazing.

Shioda uses many of the same skills in a VERY different way. His power releases often seem to be very targeted, abrupt, and devastating.

I like having both options. And I work to combine them the best I can, with a LOT of room for improvement. A lot of the difference for me personally is in the attack I get from uke. There is a marine at one dojo where I train whose attacks are crisp, sharp, and direct, with a lot of power. The result is that he REALLY flies when I do irminage, and when I do zanshin, I don't have to drop into a deep stance to really thrust him out...he shoots out almost on his own. Legs in the air on the entry, shoots out at an angle down to the mat on the zanshin. But the same thing can basically be done much softer with a different attack...sometimes I can even do it really slowly, and still achieve the dramatic legs flying up in the air on a slow entry.

By having both available, I believe I may eventually be a more complete martial artist. So in spite of the obvious differences when observing Kato S. and Shioda S., I have great respect for both methods, and I think the power they show is at base...the same. So I find no need to critisize one or the other.

Best,
Ron (please understand I'm still new to this stuff...I can't do it anywhere near consistently yet)

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 01-31-2008 at 11:08 AM.

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Old 01-31-2008, 11:36 AM   #6
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Re: Power-Release Skills

I also think drawing them in and redirecting their force by directing the forces in you is a take-off of that basic power, but is of a higher level. It's why I tell people to stop doing things to uke, manage yourself to manage them. If you can draw-in and change yourself- his force is either zero'd out or even adds to it. If you can then split a directed force out, they rarely have time or a chance to *feel* what is coming- they are just down, or controlled, or out. Ueshiba seems to have mostly done away with the drawing-in potentials and is more concerned with casting away-and that, by not using a downward directed force but mostly in an outward one-at least on film. By and large it remains a criticism of him by a few schools in DR -that he left much of the power potential behind. I'd bet it was by choice. Once he realized what he could do he didn't need to make folks violently breakfall by capturing their centers and drawing in and over, or be dropping them straight down. He could let them roll away while not being able to cause him or themselves much harm. Thus his abilties gave power to his vision/ his vision was then validated by his abilties.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 01-31-2008 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:25 PM   #7
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Re: Power-Release Skills

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I also think drawing them in and redirecting their force by directing the forces in you is a take-off of that basic power, but is of a higher level. It's why I tell people to stop doing things to uke, manage yourself to manage them. If you can draw-in and change yourself- his force is either zero'd out or even adds to it. If you can then split a directed force out, they rarely have time or a chance to *feel* what is coming- they are just down, or controlled, or out. Ueshiba seems to have mostly done away with the drawing-in potentials and is more concerned with casting away-and that, by not using a downward directed force but mostly in an outward one-at least on film. By and large it remains a criticism of him by a few schools in DR -that he left much of the power potential behind. I'd bet it was by choice. Once he realized what he could do he didn't need to make folks violently breakfall by capturing their centers and drawing in and over, or be dropping them straight down. He could let them roll away while not being able to cause him or themselves much harm. Thus his abilties gave power to his vision/ his vision was then validated by his abilties.
Cheers
Dan
Hmmm ... of course, Ueshiba could have captured a religious "high" by rolling people away rather than down and in. Maybe by doing things his way, he felt more in touch with the Universe and it wasn't so much that he cared about the harm/no harm aspect. The harm/no harm might have been a byproduct rather than the primary reason.

Sort of like, hey, man, like, I get high when I play with this energy and toss it back out. But, like, a total drag when I have to drop it down and in. Man, ain't much fun in that. I don't get, like, high or nothing. Oh, yeah, and like, if you do it my way, you get to be part of the universe. And, uh, like, do no harm. yeah, like, that's it. You don't have to harm them. Peace and love man.
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:11 PM   #8
aikidoc
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Ron:

I agree. Kato sensei's approach is definitely different than most I have seen. As a student of his, it is a challenge to figure out what he's doing. He definitely floats the energy up (that was the first thing we noticed and I confirmed that with him). I equate this approach somewhat to the power release concept. He draws the energy (from what I can tell) more of in a centripetal manner with the energy going circular and up. This floats the uke, i.e., feet leave the ground. Uke is unweight so much in a circular fashion and up that they cannot keep their feet on the ground. I actually like this approach more than cutting down and then bringing them back up. It's like cutting out a step. I feel like I have better control of the uke. It's power release because there is a strong hip turn while raising the uke with the legs and arms together and then releasing the uke's energy. You could add power at the end by cutting down strongly but the uke is already on the way down. His iriminage is one of the clearest examples.

He even takes the block in an upward fashion on a yokomenuchi attack so the block is not abrupt but timed in such a fashion that as contact is make the forearm/elbow guides or rolls the energy upward and with iriminage it is easy to slip in next to the attacker without an abrupt block and then execute the iriminage. His footwork is also unique on executing hip movements.

When you use your hips and legs correctly it is easy to lift the uke with little strain since you are using their energy by changing it and directing it up. You just help them out.
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:14 PM   #9
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Dan:

Your comments are pretty much what Kato sensei does-he controls himself to control the uke. As Ellis Amdur pointed out a while back, he never breaks form no matter what the uke does. controlling your own center and hips and drawing the uke into that power seems to make it more effortless.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:00 PM   #10
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Hi John.
[quote=John Riggs;198368]Dan:

Your comments are pretty much what Kato sensei does- QUOTE]

Nope. I know this won't go over well, but I'm satisfied after watching him move. I can understand you thinking its hips and legs and turning and positioning and all that. I'm watching him tilt and break and at one point bleed-off and the exhibited classic aikido hanmi which leaves so much open to being counter thrown due to inherent structural failures. In fact most Koryu people familiar with classical weapons do NOT move that way.

So, no, none of what he does is how I move or express movement. I see nothing to do with what I am doing to make aikiage. But I'd always leave some things open till I felt it.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 01-31-2008 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:46 PM   #11
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

Quote:
John Riggs wrote: View Post
I'm not sure I agree with the small guy comment. Kato sensei always seems to be in the right place or opening without having to knock the crap out of you. he's in position where he could but his movement is so smooth and to the point that you know you have been had. His comment in a recent interview was that O'Sensei told him it was not about dynamism but soul. Sensei is not very big.
Believe what you want, but that's all just style to me. Don't know anything about Kato sensei, but assuming he is "aiki-ing" (so to speak) whatever he does with that is merely his style and choice i.e. not essential to said "aiki-ing". On the other hand Shioda is Shioda and alive or dead I wouldn't tell him he's wrong. Ending it clearly, cleanly and decisively is a perfectly valid choice and I would say it is the martial choice.

-Doug Walker
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:20 PM   #12
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Dan: I'd have to see what you were refering to-is it a video of a seminar or youtube? Yes, there are some classic aikido things he does but his approach seems to be different to me. I have seen a lot of other shihan and a lot of what he does is different.
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:23 PM   #13
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Doug, I was not suggesting Shioda was wrong.
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:48 AM   #14
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Quote:
John Riggs wrote: View Post
Dan: I'd have to see what you were refering to-is it a video of a seminar or youtube? Yes, there are some classic aikido things he does but his approach seems to be different to me. I have seen a lot of other shihan and a lot of what he does is different.
Hi John
I was intrigued and hopeful to see something new, so I googled him and watched a slue of videos. I didn't like what I saw. There are indicators of what a connected body is doing in motion-more's the point- of what it doesn't do, that can be seen. His use of weapons and movement is pure aikido and doesn't express proper structure. It bleeds off power delivery and the way he carries his frame it leaves off-balancing openings tangential to his focus. There are reasons to train cross-line work and have a stable central pivot. You can deliver penetrating power, while being very difficult to counter throw. It makes the saying of Takeda Sokaku come to life "Leave no openings."
So I was pointing out that as far as I could see he was in fact NOT doing what I do, even if you think he is saying what I say. Does that make sense? That said- I -always-leave room for IHTBF (it has to be felt).

Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:12 AM   #15
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Re: Power-Release Skills

John, watching this conversation drift, I was thinking about what you asked, all the sundry replies, etc., and I think the problem is that we don't yet have a settled vocabulary. I've never felt Kato Sensei do anything, so it's difficult to reply, but generally speaking the basic power of "power-release" skills is the same basic power used to "float" someone. The saying is "There are many jins ("learned force skills), but there is only one jin".

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:15 AM   #16
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Mike: the vocabulary commonality is definitely an issue. We may be saying similar things but differently. I agree with your comment on the floating. What seems to work best for me when I try it is to use the legs to generate the power (especially like with iriminage) and the hip rotation combined and then unloading (sort of sink, spin and unweight). THe rotational movement and drawing the uke into my center (more in and up-what I call centripetal force) all result in the uke's legs leaving the ground.

Dan. We are probably suffering a lot from what Mike refers to as common vocabulary. I'm not sure what you were able to find on the net. Unless someone has loaded stuff recently there was not a lot with sensei out there. Yes, his weapons are aiki-they are more designed in my opinion to train footwork and body movement. He purposely creates openings for the sequence.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:22 AM   #17
G DiPierro
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Re: Power-Release Skills

I myself have felt Kato and my opinion is that he has some skill but that he is not even close to the best I have felt, even in aikido. The way he lifts people up is impressive and does require some skill, but it seems to rely so much on the fact that uke is planning to take ukemi for him and is thus "giving" him the technique first. If he could do something like that in kaeshi-waza, for example, then that would be very different and evidence of something much more interesting.

Actually, what someone can do in kaeshi-waza against opponent trying to throw them strikes me as perhaps the best test of someone's real skill level in that you will find in aikido. It's as close as you get to knowing that the uke is not colluding with nage (consciously or otherwise) to make him look good.

Of course, the usual disclaimers apply -- I'm sure Kato didn't show me his best stuff because it's too dangerous/I'm not worthy/insert other excuse for why my opinion doesn't matter here.
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Old 02-01-2008, 12:32 PM   #18
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
Of course, the usual disclaimers apply -- I'm sure Kato didn't show me his best stuff because it's too dangerous/I'm not worthy/insert other excuse for why my opinion doesn't matter here.
It's good to see you've reached Harmony with others opinions of you here.

Great Discussion and in my brief 20 year experiance with Aikido there seems to be several ways to express the same kind of "aiki" power though I lean toward Sensei Hardin's expression of it in the sense that the execution of Aiki should not leave an opening to a skilled opponent. Traditional Aikido Hanmi is rife with these kinds of openings in Irimi and can lead to bad habits if one is not mindful through the entire technique.

When I practice with most Traditional Aikido folks the very first thing I see them do when I am Uke is give me thier center! They move their back foot off line in traditional Hanmi which causes the shoulders and hips to be off line. You can almost give just a slight tug and watch someone tumble. Under duress this habit causes Nage to take huge "steps" and they almost throw themselves.You can almost see why most Judoka and Grapplers seem puzzled with this appraoch in my opinion.

Nishio Shihan's Movements are all very small (most movements are a half step) and our back foot in Hanmi is pointed forward in the traditional Iai/Koryu "style". This seems to encourage the kind of power some of you are referring to.

William Hazen
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Old 02-01-2008, 01:08 PM   #19
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Re: Power-Release Skills

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
It's good to see you've reached Harmony with others opinions of you here.
The standard responses here to anything other than the typical self-delusional sensei worship are so cliched that they are trivially easy to predict. I'm just saving people the time and effort of working themselves up into a lather trying explain why anything that could be seen as a possible criticism of their teacher couldn't have any merit.
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Old 02-01-2008, 01:17 PM   #20
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Re: Power-Release Skills

I did not want to turn this into a discussion on Kato sensei by the way. I was simply trying to advance the discussion on power release with Mike. Having the opportunity to train more closely with him I obviously have my clouded experiences. GP-we've already discussed issues with you ad infinitum and I have no interest in revisting them. We will always have differing views about what took place at the seminar you reference. So be it.
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Old 02-01-2008, 01:26 PM   #21
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
The standard responses here to anything other than the typical self-delusional sensei worship are so cliched that they are trivially easy to predict. I'm just saving people the time and effort of working themselves up into a lather trying explain why anything that could be seen as a possible criticism of their teacher couldn't have any merit.
Whatever makes you happy.

William Hazen
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:59 PM   #22
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Re: Power-Release Skills

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John Riggs wrote: View Post
I did not want to turn this into a discussion on Kato sensei by the way. I was simply trying to advance the discussion on power release with Mike. Having the opportunity to train more closely with him I obviously have my clouded experiences. GP-we've already discussed issues with you ad infinitum and I have no interest in revisting them. We will always have differing views about what took place at the seminar you reference. So be it.
My opinion of Kato sensei is not based on whether you agree with me about what took place at the seminar I attended, but on what I have personally felt and observed in his movement, both in person and on video, in relation to what I have felt and observed from a number of other teachers, including (almost?) all of the aikikai 8-dans recently active in the US. In that context, my opinion is that Dan's assessment of what Kato can do is significantly more accurate than your own.

Although Dan is basing his assessment only on having seen video, which I find interesting given how strongly he objected to using video for this purpose previously, I have first-hand experience with Kato and don't see anything in what Dan wrote that I would object to. While you almost certainly have more direct experience with Kato than anyone posting in this thread, you also freely admit that it is a challenge for you to figure out what he is doing, which I think would make it difficult for you to claim any kind of authoritative position on the subject.

It seems to me that Kato is your only point of reference in this discussion, given how many times you have mentioned him, so my suggestion would be to go out and feel some other people, perhaps including certain people who are outside of aikido.
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:56 AM   #23
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Re: Power-Release Skills

GP: I'm not getting into this. Your assumption that Kato is my only reference is inaccurate. I have attended over 45 seminars with high ranking seminars and have felt most of them. I used to live in Southern California where you could just about attend seminars monthly. I said it was a challenge but did not say it was impossible.

Looks like it is drifting. Let's find a way to get it back. GP-please don't comment on my comments. I'm only interested in discussion the power release skills.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:11 PM   #24
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Re: Power-Release Skills

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Looks like it is drifting. Let's find a way to get it back. GP-please don't comment on my comments. I'm only interested in discussion the power release skills.
Fair's fair -- if you are going to reply to my posts on a public forum then you should be prepared for me to reply to yours. And if you are looking for discussion of power-release skills then you are in the wrong thread (despite the title). I just read through the thread again and there have been only three short paragraphs on that subject: the first paragraphs of posts 1, 2 and 15. The rest of the thread has been about Shioda and Kato and their aiki skills, and you were the one who initiated the discussion on both of them. As I alluded to in my last post, pretty much all of your posts in this thread have been talking about what Kato does (with the exception of the first one where you briefly ask about power-release and then get into what Shioda does).

Last edited by G DiPierro : 02-02-2008 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:45 PM   #25
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Re: Power-Release Skills

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
Fair's fair -- if you are going to reply to my posts on a public forum then you should be prepared for me to reply to yours. And if you are looking for discussion of power-release skills then you are in the wrong thread (despite the title). I just read through the thread again and there have been only three short paragraphs on that subject: the first paragraphs of posts 1, 2 and 15. The rest of the thread has been about Shioda and Kato and their aiki skills, and you were the one who initiated the discussion on both of them. As I alluded to in my last post, pretty much all of your posts in this thread have been talking about what Kato does (with the exception of the first one where you briefly ask about power-release and then get into what Shioda does).
It's time for you to step down from your self appointed title as a Shihan Certification Specialist. Everyone has heard ad naseum infinitum about your "experiance" on the subject.
If you don't like Kato thats okay by me really... I just don't want to read about it anymore.

William Hazen
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