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Old 05-14-2009, 12:54 PM   #1
NagaBaba
 
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O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
PAG. O Sensei certainly expected correct attacks and also correct ukemi from his deshi, or he did not call on them very often.
The quote is from Peter A Goldsbury.
As this is first time in my short life I've learned that O sensei expected some particular form of ukemi, I'd like to know more about it.

Anybody believes that O sensei could do the techniques only with particular behavior of uke?Me, I don't believe such thing.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
 
Old 05-14-2009, 01:14 PM   #2
Ron Tisdale
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Hmmm...I don't think that is what Peter said at all...

I think there is an aikido journal article about a deshi from the old days that later went with Tomiki...his name begins with an o I believe. The article stresses how angrey Ueshiba Sensei was with the way he attacked. But Ueshiba still threw him...and it was widely considered one of his best demos.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 05-14-2009 at 01:16 PM.

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Old 05-14-2009, 02:07 PM   #3
Dan Rubin
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Ron

You're referring to Hideo Ohba. The account of his ukemi for O Sensei at a demonstration in Manchuria can be found here:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=408

Dan
 
Old 05-14-2009, 02:25 PM   #4
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Yes Dan, absolutely. Thank you!
Best,
Ron

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Old 05-14-2009, 02:27 PM   #5
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Hey S,

So, are you saying that uke should, in the context of regular training, be able to attack any way they want (speed, force, type of strike etc) and that, at a certain level, a senior should be able to deal with it no matter what? If so, are you saying that doing kata, in the context of regular training, is an incorrect, or at least, less than optimal way to train?

Curious,

Russ
 
Old 05-14-2009, 05:46 PM   #6
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hmmm...I don't think that is what Peter said at all...

I think there is an aikido journal article about a deshi from the old days that later went with Tomiki...his name begins with an o I believe. The article stresses how angrey Ueshiba Sensei was with the way he attacked. But Ueshiba still threw him...and it was widely considered one of his best demos.

Best,
Ron
Hmm. I was reading about Ohba sensei earlier this week. Ueshiba sensei can't have been to ticked off at him. He awarded Ohba sensei a godan in Aikido in 1942 (errr. was it still aikibudo then?), anyway after the Manchuko demo, and rokudan the following year. Dates are according to his Wikipedia bio.

Love this part "He is quoted as saying Ueshiba was a little stiff but he knew then he was in the presence of a true master. "

Pat
 
Old 05-15-2009, 06:05 AM   #7
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

According to the article he was pretty livid at the time. But hey, I've been ticked off at people who the next day were still my best friends. It happens

Best,
Ron (still eagerly awaiting Peter's response...)

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Old 05-15-2009, 06:53 AM   #8
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post

Best,
Ron (still eagerly awaiting Peter's response...)
Hi Ron,

I think Peter means exactly what he said. I remember reading posts and/or articles about it. That when Ueshiba wanted an uke, you had to know what attack he wanted or he didn't call on you again. But I can't find any of the posts/articles again.
 
Old 05-15-2009, 07:19 AM   #9
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Hi Ron,

I think Peter means exactly what he said. I remember reading posts and/or articles about it. That when Ueshiba wanted an uke, you had to know what attack he wanted or he didn't call on you again. But I can't find any of the posts/articles again.
Edit time ran out:

Found this:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...ack#post183743

Quote:
Peter Goldsbury wrote:
I myself have heard from Ueshiba's deshi that taking ukemi for O Sensei was of crucial importance. Skill in (1) reading his intentions as to what kind of attack he wanted and (2) understanding and exploiting the openings he gave became a yardstick for the deshi themselves (individually, once again) to measure their own proficiency.
 
Old 05-15-2009, 07:36 AM   #10
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Hi Mark,

I was referring to the "slant" that Mr. S. put on his interpretation of Peter's words.

Quote:
Anybody believes that O sensei could do the techniques only with particular behavior of uke?Me, I don't believe such thing.
This allows the imputation that Peter said such a thing. I do not think he *did* say such a thing, nor do I think that it is implied by what Peter *did* say.

I think the story about Ohba Sensei shows that point of view (the opposite of what Mr. S implied) particularly well.

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-15-2009, 07:52 AM   #11
Charles Hill
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Anybody believes that O sensei could do the techniques only with particular behavior of uke?
Sorry but this shows that you don't understand the method of transmission in Japanese aikido. It is very clear (in Japan, at least) that during a class there are two lessons being taught. One is for all those watching, this is how we move our hands and feet, etc. The other is for the person taking ukemi, this is how it FEELS.

Prof. Goldsbury can certainly explain what he meant if he wishes, but I wonder if it might not fall on deaf ears if you don't understand the distinction in the first place. The idea is that O'Sensei expected correct ukemi because he was transmitting something directly to that person, not because he was interested in showing whether he could do a technique or not to the peanut gallery.
 
Old 05-15-2009, 08:25 AM   #12
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Hello Mark, Ron,

Well, I have had the benefit of talking at length to those like Tamura and Tada Shihans, who were senior deshi of Morihei Ueshiba and took ukemi very often, and also to present shihans in the Hombu who regularly take ukemi for the present Doshu. The point here is that, in their estimation, the ukemi had to match the waza as exactly as possible, in the sense that O Sensei's / Doshu's practice was / is a living textbook of the art. So there is a need for immense sensitivity here, of interpreting as closely as possible the signals transmitted through movements, actions, even subtle, unexpressed intentions.

This is what I meant, when I stated in another thread that ukemi was the ura-gawa of waza. I think this aspect is completely divorced from any idea of tanking, or the intensity of the attack you make. If you think of the various waza, like 1-kyo, 3-kyo, shiho-nage, kote-gaeshi, there is an 'ideal form' of both waza and ukemi (the ukemi has to be 'correct': has to match the waza, otherwise either uke or tori would be injured). Aikido 3D is a clear, but unsubtle, example of such an ideal form, which is probably taught to beginners in every aikido dojo on the planet.

I have also had the benefit of spending many hours discussion with Ellis Amdur. You might remember his Aikido Journal blogs, which will soon appear, transformed, in his next book. Takeda, Sagawa and Ueshiba all taught their art by means of executing waza, which required their deshi to take ukemi. This method of teaching was a reversal of the standard koryu method. Why?

After Szczepan's initial post, I trawled thougth Stan Pranin's Aikido Masters for evidence about Ueshiba's early teaching methods. Junior recruits had to do chores and watch training before being allowed to do anything. I cannot remember the source, but I have read that deshi were also required to spend a lengthy period taking ukemi before being allowed to do any waza themselves. Why would this be necessary, if not to teach the sensitivity required to match the waza with the 'correct' response?

If you add the 'body memory / sensitivity', gained from ukemi to the power gained from personal training, you have a very potent combination. Opinions are mixed about Sokaku Takeda's visit to Ayabe in the early 1920s. One version has it that Takeda was invited, and spent all his time teaching Ueshiba 'aiki' skills, in order that Ueshiba could handle the young seamen who came from Maizuru to train in Ayabe. The other version has it that Takeda came unannounced and that Ueshiba was a dutiful deshi, but there was very little technical input.

Consider such a scenario. Both Takeda and Ueshiba allowed their deshi to attack them at any time, but it was also pretty well built into the equation that they would not be defeated. Takeda seems to have interpreted this convention much more strictly than Ueshiba--and I wonder, really, how strongly Morihei Ueshiba used to attack Sokaku Takeda. He obviously did, but the results were rarely recorded. Similarly, if you are a deshi and Master Ueshiba says, 'You can attack me any time', when do you, a relatively raw deshi, actually do this? When he is taking his bath, having dinner, or taking tea (the attack and defence being Araki-ryu style)?

When the deshi accompanied O Sensei on his trips to Shingu, or Kyushu, or Osaka, I do not think that making unprovoked attacks, in a railway carriage, for example, was in the forefront of their minds. Similarly with demonstrations in front of the Imperial family and the Court. In the dojo, they had to be focused on--yes--attacking correctly and taking correct ukemi. However, given the Daito-ryu / Aiki-budo dojo culture of 'stealing' knowledge, the deshi had to learn by experience. 'Unprovoked attacks' at 'any time' were really a tatemae.

Note that in all these cases, ukemi involved being thrown or being pinned. However, ukemi really means 'receiving (with the) body' and this entails neither being thrown nor being pinned. This is something that Mark will understand, I think, from his training with Dan Harden. My own (very private) view, which I am still working on, is that the concept of ukemi is as wide as that of waza (which does NOT mean 'technique').

Best wishes,

PAG

EDIT. Charles has ably summed up what I stated at greater length.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Hi Ron,

I think Peter means exactly what he said. I remember reading posts and/or articles about it. That when Ueshiba wanted an uke, you had to know what attack he wanted or he didn't call on you again. But I can't find any of the posts/articles again.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 05-15-2009 at 08:31 AM.

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Old 05-15-2009, 09:13 AM   #13
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Thanks Peter!

I am eagerly awaiting any conclusions you come to from your ... additional? training.

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-15-2009, 10:05 AM   #14
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Peter, many thanks for your insight.

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Old 05-15-2009, 10:59 AM   #15
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Mark, Ron,
Hello Peter. Thank you for the reply. As usual, you brought up some very interesting points.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I have also had the benefit of spending many hours discussion with Ellis Amdur. You might remember his Aikido Journal blogs, which will soon appear, transformed, in his next book. Takeda, Sagawa and Ueshiba all taught their art by means of executing waza, which required their deshi to take ukemi. This method of teaching was a reversal of the standard koryu method. Why?
Ah, well, then, let me play Devil's Advocate.

What if there really wasn't a reversal at all?

http://www.koryu.com/library/tnishioka1.html

Quote:
Nishioka Tsuneo wrote:
Uchidachi must have the spirit of a nurturing parent. Uchidachi leads shidachi by providing a true attack; this allows shidachi to learn correct body displacement, combative distancing, proper spirit, and the perception of opportunity.
The senior leads the junior to progressively get better. The senior guides and the junior learns.

If we look at Takeda and Ueshiba's model as one of aiki, we find that in the very initial encounter of the training paradigm that they have set up, they are, in fact, uchidachi. They are the "losing" side. With aiki, the encounter is dealt with internally, so the outside physical appearance is not what one would normally see. With that in mind, we have to look at what is going on in the training itself -- the internal aspects. Ueshiba is coming from a "losing" side in that he is being attacked and must deal with the situation. Using aiki, his "ukemi" model is to appropriately match and then for him, change/redirect/alter/whatever that energy. The junior, or "uke" then finds himself in a very different position than one that he started in. Ueshiba guides him along the internal path of aiki.

As with koryu (I'm guessing), the training provides a situation where the junior must progressively get better by the guidance of the senior.

As with Ueshiba (at least in the pre-war training), those juniors such as Shirata, Shioda, etc, were being provided with a situation where they must progressively get better. Aiki, an internal quality, must be built such that the junior changes his "ukemi" model from one of rolling and falling to that of *not* rolling and falling.

Anyway, some thoughts I've been mulling over after being provided some interesting ideas on the matter.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
After Szczepan's initial post, I trawled thougth Stan Pranin's Aikido Masters for evidence about Ueshiba's early teaching methods. Junior recruits had to do chores and watch training before being allowed to do anything. I cannot remember the source, but I have read that deshi were also required to spend a lengthy period taking ukemi before being allowed to do any waza themselves.
I seem to remember reading that, but, like you, I can't recall where. Ah, found one of the references. It's from Aikido, The Way of Harmony by Stevens and Shirata. Link to google books is here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=wbk...esult&resnum=3
 
Old 05-15-2009, 11:44 AM   #16
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Russ Qureshi wrote: View Post
Hey S,

So, are you saying that uke should, in the context of regular training, be able to attack any way they want (speed, force, type of strike etc) and that, at a certain level, a senior should be able to deal with it no matter what? If so, are you saying that doing kata, in the context of regular training, is an incorrect, or at least, less than optimal way to train?

Curious,

Russ
Hi Russ,
Yes, a senior should be able to deal with it no matter what, of course respecting aikido ideas as expressed by O sensei. This is a key process for development of aikido today.

I believe there is no kata in aikido. If somebody does kind of kata, it is counterproductive and a nonsense in the context of O sensei teaching..

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
 
Old 05-15-2009, 11:55 AM   #17
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

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Charles Hill wrote: View Post
Sorry but this shows that you don't understand the method of transmission in Japanese aikido. It is very clear (in Japan, at least) that during a class there are two lessons being taught. One is for all those watching, this is how we move our hands and feet, etc. The other is for the person taking ukemi, this is how it FEELS.

Prof. Goldsbury can certainly explain what he meant if he wishes, but I wonder if it might not fall on deaf ears if you don't understand the distinction in the first place. The idea is that O'Sensei expected correct ukemi because he was transmitting something directly to that person, not because he was interested in showing whether he could do a technique or not to the peanut gallery.
Hi Charles,
It is a nice theory, but today everybody agree that O sensei didn't teach, and even wasn't interested at all if anybody can learn something from him. It works against the idea that he wanted to pass some knowledge to his students.

The fact that somebody wants to FEEL a technique from him and adjusts his own ukemi for that goal, doesn't prove at all that that requirement comes from O sensei himself.You are trying to inverse a logic here, sorry.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
 
Old 05-15-2009, 12:05 PM   #18
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
According to the article he was pretty livid at the time. But hey, I've been ticked off at people who the next day were still my best friends. It happens

Best,
Ron (still eagerly awaiting Peter's response...)
True enough
Being ambushed by one of your own deshi at a demo could get your hackles up, I imagine. I expect that having another well respected martial artist come up to you right afterwards saying what a great demo it was, could go a long way towards soothing those ruffled feathers ....

Pat
 
Old 05-15-2009, 12:12 PM   #19
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
...
Consider such a scenario. Both Takeda and Ueshiba allowed their deshi to attack them at any time, but it was also pretty well built into the equation that they would not be defeated. Takeda seems to have interpreted this convention much more strictly than Ueshiba--and I wonder, really, how strongly Morihei Ueshiba used to attack Sokaku Takeda. He obviously did, but the results were rarely recorded. Similarly, if you are a deshi and Master Ueshiba says, 'You can attack me any time', when do you, a relatively raw deshi, actually do this? When he is taking his bath, having dinner, or taking tea (the attack and defence being Araki-ryu style)?

When the deshi accompanied O Sensei on his trips to Shingu, or Kyushu, or Osaka, I do not think that making unprovoked attacks, in a railway carriage, for example, was in the forefront of their minds.
...
'Unprovoked attacks' at 'any time' were really a tatemae.
Peter,
I thought there was just such an incident recorded in Gozo Shioda's interview in Aikido Masters. I don't have the book handy, so this is a somewhat hazy recollection.

I believe while travelling by train, Shioda sensei was wondering if he dared give Ueshiba sensei a whack while he appeared to be asleep. Ueshiba's eyes popped open and he said something like "A kami just warned me that Shioda was going to try to hit me".

So maybe not at the forefront of the deshi's minds, but the thought at least occurred to one of them.

Pat

Last edited by akiy : 05-15-2009 at 12:23 PM. Reason: fixed quote
 
Old 05-15-2009, 12:18 PM   #20
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hi Russ,
I believe there is no kata in aikido. If somebody does kind of kata, it is counterproductive and a nonsense in the context of O sensei teaching..
My experience is Aikido is limited, so allow me to ask:

Does not most aikido training consist of prearranged attack and defense?

There is randori in Aikido of course, but it doesn't seem that that is the primary means of training, from what I've seen.

Pat
 
Old 05-15-2009, 12:31 PM   #21
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Mark, Ron,

Well, I have had the benefit of talking at length to those like Tamura and Tada Shihans, who were senior deshi of Morihei Ueshiba and took ukemi very often, and also to present shihans in the Hombu who regularly take ukemi for the present Doshu. The point here is that, in their estimation, the ukemi had to match the waza as exactly as possible, in the sense that O Sensei's / Doshu's practice was / is a living textbook of the art. So there is a need for immense sensitivity here, of interpreting as closely as possible the signals transmitted through movements, actions, even subtle, unexpressed intentions. .
I understand that they wanted to learn something from him and it was the only way to learn by feeling, as O sensei didn't explain techniques from technical point of view.
However I don't believe it was intention of O sensei to teach his students all these subtilities after IIWW.At that point of time he wasn't interested in physical aspect of practice anymore.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
This is what I meant, when I stated in another thread that ukemi was the ura-gawa of waza. I think this aspect is completely divorced from any idea of tanking, or the intensity of the attack you make. If you think of the various waza, like 1-kyo, 3-kyo, shiho-nage, kote-gaeshi, there is an 'ideal form' of both waza and ukemi (the ukemi has to be 'correct': has to match the waza, otherwise either uke or tori would be injured). Aikido 3D is a clear, but unsubtle, example of such an ideal form, which is probably taught to beginners in every aikido dojo on the planet..
I think you are trying here to develop kata-like practice (aka 'ideal form' of both waza and ukemi). This is a very clear contradiction to the idea of controlling an attacker from the moment when idea of attack is raised in his head.You still make clear difference between nage and uke. This makes impossible the spontanous execution of the techniques even after 50 years of intensive practice. If you don't go through this rather primary dualism, you will never be able to FEEL the unity of the World and communicate with Kami.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
After Szczepan's initial post, I trawled thougth Stan Pranin's Aikido Masters for evidence about Ueshiba's early teaching methods. Junior recruits had to do chores and watch training before being allowed to do anything. I cannot remember the source, but I have read that deshi were also required to spend a lengthy period taking ukemi before being allowed to do any waza themselves. Why would this be necessary, if not to teach the sensitivity required to match the waza with the 'correct' response?..
It was a very simple filter to reject casual students, and keep only serious ones. You are still not able to provide a single prove that O sensei taught ukemi('correct' or even ANY ukemi) to his students.
I don't believe S. Takeda taught ukemi to his students neither LOL

If I remember well from the conversations with O sensei students, nobody taught even how to roll forward or backward at the time.
Some of them consider today's ukemi teaching as a important pedagogical mistake.

In general I think you are looking at the problem from the point of view of students of O sensei.
Try this:
Put yourself at his place for the moment - and think if the way how the students receive your techniques has the smallest importance for you.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
 
Old 05-15-2009, 12:42 PM   #22
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Pat Togher wrote: View Post
My experience is Aikido is limited, so allow me to ask:

Does not most aikido training consist of prearranged attack and defense?

There is randori in Aikido of course, but it doesn't seem that that is the primary means of training, from what I've seen.

Pat
Hello Pat,
When you start to learn play music, let's say piano, the teacher ask you to play DO RE MI FA SOL LA SI DO. Many times. Then you have to do many other very technical exercises (i.e. passages). But what is the real goal of all this preparation? Will you play DO RE MI FA SOL LA SI DO all the rest of you life?
Yes some ppl will do the prearranged attack and defense for the rest of their life.

But you Pat, you will play MUSIC. Simply don't take the appearance for the real stuff

Last edited by NagaBaba : 05-15-2009 at 12:46 PM.

Nagababa

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Old 05-15-2009, 12:43 PM   #23
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Does not most aikido training consist of prearranged attack and defense?
Oh NO! Don't get Mr. S. started on the great kata debate!

If I remember correctly, I absolutely hated him for a full day after that! It was some time ago on e-budo, but I still remember it....fondly

B,
R

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Old 05-15-2009, 12:59 PM   #24
Pat Togher
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 88
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Oh NO! Don't get Mr. S. started on the great kata debate!

If I remember correctly, I absolutely hated him for a full day after that! It was some time ago on e-budo, but I still remember it....fondly

B,
R
Sorry Ron!
Right then, back to ukemi!

Pat
 
Old 05-15-2009, 01:02 PM   #25
Pat Togher
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 88
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Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hello Pat,
When you start to learn play music, let's say piano, the teacher ask you to play DO RE MI FA SOL LA SI DO. Many times. Then you have to do many other very technical exercises (i.e. passages). But what is the real goal of all this preparation? Will you play DO RE MI FA SOL LA SI DO all the rest of you life?
Yes some ppl will do the prearranged attack and defense for the rest of their life.

But you Pat, you will play MUSIC. Simply don't take the appearance for the real stuff
Lol.
Thank you Szczepan.

I was just making a comparison to my (also limited) training in Judo and somewhat more extensive training in Tae Kwon Do.

Pat
 

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