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Old 01-06-2010, 02:15 AM   #101
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Quote:
So, you may be misunderstanding. I don't think anyone is claiming kenjutsu is superior to proper aikiken as a comprehensive part of aikido training....unless as an aikidoka you also want to be a swordsman. The controversy occurs the other direction, when someone doing aikiken, mistakenly believes aikiken to be "kenjutsu" and believes themselves to be a qualified swordsman.
Mr. Threadgill, I do not know you personally but I know your credentials and have seen you demonstrate your art. I have no argument with what you say, in fact, after working with Obata sensei for some years, i completely agree that there are far too many Aikidoka and even instructors who state that what they do is a sword based art but show little understanding of what a real sword is or how it behaves. Your point about some koryu systems having little bearing upon aikido is also what i am alluding to in response to some peoples sweeping statements that using a sword will improve aikido. As you say that depends on the aiki principles involved, (or not, as the case maybe). I have a tiny experience with Katori Shintoryu which tells me that a more complete weapons system would most likely have more bearing upon aiki arts than a purely sword based practise. There is currently a growing number of karate practioners who believe that many not understood movements in kata are actually ura forms of weapon arts. When these movements are dispensed with by modern practioners due to the overly utilitarian mindset, training aspects of whole body practise are lost. However mindlessly repeating a movement that cannot be related to either it's combat origin or it's body training value is pointless. I see this in both aikiken and some swordwork as well.
with respect, Alec Corper

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Old 01-14-2010, 06:08 PM   #102
otomo
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

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Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
The shotgun waza and TASER waza was excellent though, reminding me of the old adage about not bringing a knife to a gunfight.
LOL!!! too true, too true
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:22 AM   #103
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

I apologize for entering the post so late and have found the discussion fascinating. As an instructor of aiki-weapons I am perhaps more generous in my thinking. Nizam Taleb sensei is fond of saying that "the sword is subtle..." Cutting through water soaked mats is a useful representation of flesh and bone. Practicing against a tire helps stabilize one's cut. Still, were someone to give young Muhammad Ali a sword I would be inclined to run. His reflexes might mitigate any knowledge that his opponent has. At our dojo we continually examine the "martial logic" of a kata or technique and practice fluid variations so that the final cut is decided by who executes their movements most effectively rather than the prescribed roles of uke and nage. Still, as was stated by many posts, the purpose of aiki weapons is to reveal weaknesses in hand technique. The combination of the focus that a stick descending toward one's head commands and the obviousness of a misaligned sword are a complete raison d'etre for the art, and attempts at comparing its efficacy in "real" battle versus other sword arts are negated (in my mind) by the "ali effect."
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:15 PM   #104
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Quote:
Ed Shockley wrote: View Post
I apologize for entering the post so late and have found the discussion fascinating. As an instructor of aiki-weapons I am perhaps more generous in my thinking. Nizam Taleb sensei is fond of saying that "the sword is subtle..." Cutting through water soaked mats is a useful representation of flesh and bone. Practicing against a tire helps stabilize one's cut. Still, were someone to give young Muhammad Ali a sword I would be inclined to run. His reflexes might mitigate any knowledge that his opponent has.
Mr Shockley,

Sorry but that has not been my experience at all. I teach kenjutsu all over the world and have had direct experience with world class competitive athletes who have chosen to pick up swords. Their first experience at attempting to handle a sword is usually quite disconcerting. On only one occasion has a world class competitor I know picked up a sword for the first time and not looked completely maladroit. Even then this individual would not have been competent enough in its handling to engage a trained adversary. To assume that physical prowess in one arena necessarily transfers to another might seem logical but in my experience with swords, such thinking belongs in fanciful fairy tales or celluloid blockbusters. Not one person I have met who excelled in a empty handed art like karate or kickboxing had the intuitive skills to pick up a sword and demonstrate a level of practical ability that could threaten even a moderately trained swordsman. There are simply too many differences between the paradigm of pugilism and edged combat.

No matter how romantically desired, the fact remains that the Tom Cruises of the world successfully engaging a samurai after limited exposure to kenjutsu is the perview of Hollywood fantasy, not reality.

Ali vs Yojimbo = One very dead boxer.

(Tongue firmly in cheek)

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:41 AM   #105
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

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Ed Shockley wrote: View Post
Still, as was stated by many posts, the purpose of aiki weapons is to reveal weaknesses in hand technique.
It's been printed that Ueshiba would "study" a sword art, then say something to the effect of, this is how to do that with aiki. Toss in some information about Daito ryu aiki being a body skill that Takeda passed on to Ueshiba. Put it together and I would think that "aiki weapons" is how one who has aiki (the body skill) would actually use a sword differently than other sword arts that do not have aiki. That would be one purpose of aiki weapons.

Another purpose would be to actually use weapons with aiki (again, the actual body skill), which is significantly harder than training a body to use aiki. (And this type of skill does help to explain why top kendo people went to Ueshiba to learn "taisabaki".)

IMO,
Mark
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:32 AM   #106
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Yet another possiblity is "this is how we do it in aiki" was perhaps just another example of a man seeing the surface of something, and without penetrating to its depths started to "fix" it. After all 8:05 to 8:28 of this clip does not show a man with an overabundance of skill with the sword.

Josh Reyer

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Old 02-03-2010, 09:05 AM   #107
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Yet another possiblity is "this is how we do it in aiki" was perhaps just another example of a man seeing the surface of something, and without penetrating to its depths started to "fix" it. After all 8:05 to 8:28 of this clip does not show a man with an overabundance of skill with the sword.
No argument about Ueshiba seeing the surface and not penetrating the depths. I don't think he wanted to, which is why he merely watched and then stated how he'd do the same thing with aiki. But the aiki he meant was Daito ryu aiki. Ellis writes about this skill and koryu in his Hidden in Plain Sight book. I don't believe it was that common -- hence my comparison for Ueshiba using aiki versus sword arts that didn't have aiki. But, I should have said, people in sword arts that didn't have aiki. While not common, that doesn't mean non existent.
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:20 PM   #108
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Quote:
Ed Shockley wrote: View Post
I apologize for entering the post so late and have found the discussion fascinating. As an instructor of aiki-weapons I am perhaps more generous in my thinking. Nizam Taleb sensei is fond of saying that "the sword is subtle..." Cutting through water soaked mats is a useful representation of flesh and bone. Practicing against a tire helps stabilize one's cut. Still, were someone to give young Muhammad Ali a sword I would be inclined to run. His reflexes might mitigate any knowledge that his opponent has. At our dojo we continually examine the "martial logic" of a kata or technique and practice fluid variations so that the final cut is decided by who executes their movements most effectively rather than the prescribed roles of uke and nage. Still, as was stated by many posts, the purpose of aiki weapons is to reveal weaknesses in hand technique. The combination of the focus that a stick descending toward one's head commands and the obviousness of a misaligned sword are a complete raison d'etre for the art, and attempts at comparing its efficacy in "real" battle versus other sword arts are negated (in my mind) by the "ali effect."
So far in the dojo I've never even touched a live blade .... well , maybe once. After a solid whack square in the forehead with a bokken and suffering no ill effects I got much better at my technique. I don't think I'll repeat that with a live blade nor let Mr. Threadgill go after me with a bokken either. Well, OK Mr. Threadgill can go after me with a bokken but only if he promises that it will be a learning experience (and not really hurt that much).

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

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Old 02-03-2010, 07:12 PM   #109
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
After all 8:05 to 8:28 of ...this clip does not show a man with an overabundance of skill with the sword.
Hi Josh,

Could you clarify what makes the sword-work in this section of the clip less than overabundant in skill?

Thanks

Carl
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:56 PM   #110
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Hi Josh,

Could you clarify what makes the sword-work in this section of the clip less than overabundant in skill?

Thanks

Carl
Very little whole body integration. He cuts with the hands, jerking his head back. His lower body is not stable, it's almost as if the sword's pulling him, rather than him cutting with the sword. He does a couple flourish-y one handed sweeping cuts that don't have proper hasuji. Some of his cuts are rushed and abbreviated. Plus he's doing a long solo sword kata, something that is virtually unheard of koryu kenjutsu, and as far as I know, does not exist in any of the arts he may have been exposed to (Ono-ha Itto-ryu, Jikishinkage-ryu, Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, Kashima Shinto-ryu, and Kendo). The way it abruptly stops leads me to suspect that he was making it up extemporaneously, although the form would eventually be solidified enough to be passed on to Shirata, who did something very similar.

All that said, paraphrasing Rufus from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, "He does get better."

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:26 AM   #111
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Thanks Josh.

The observation regarding his body movement seems quite significant. My concern was not so much the idea that it wasn't good kenjutsu. In that respect I liked this comment:

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
Aikiken is what it is. It is intended to improve ones aikido but it is not swordsmanship. It is not intended to be swordsmanship so it is unfair to saddle it with such a purpose.
However, the integration of the body... again I want to look at the purpose of what he is doing in the clip. I've seen the video before and initially thought it looked like a nascent happogiri but because of the fervour and abandon of its execution I am also reminded of the twenty-eight cuts ceremony in which the founder would cut seven times from the points of the compass. Could the demonstration in this clip be more related to kagura-mai?

Thanks again for your reply

Carl
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:19 PM   #112
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
.... The way it abruptly stops leads me to suspect that he was making it up extemporaneously, although the form would eventually be solidified enough to be passed on to Shirata, who did something very similar.
I assume this is what you're referring to: video clip

Allen can speak more definitively on this (if he chooses) but there is no connection between what Ueshiba did in the 1935 Asashi News film and what Shirata Sensei did in the above video.

Tom Wharton

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Old 02-05-2010, 12:29 AM   #113
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

I have purposefully chosen not to participate in this discussion because a) defining Aiki Ken seems about as slippery (and as ultimately doable) as defining Aikido,* and b) those definitions seem to me best left to the the individual most closely associated with the terms.

As for what I was taught by Shirata sensei, I find it strikingly similar, if not identical, to what I've been taught by Threadgill sensei. I was taught some kata that are unique to our school and many kata that are directly derived from older Koryu. As with the taijutsu I learned, there was no mistaking the intention or ultimate purpose of their execution. While not aiming, or claiming, to be a complete school of Kenjutsu, Kenjutsu (and other weaponry) is included to at once synergistically inform and educate the body and mind to realities faced and the skills demanded while being operational within that context.** Further similarities exist as both arts do this while necessarily and simultaneously putting equal emphasis upon their respective spiritual cores which are fundamental to each art's identity.

Of course Threadgill sensei is best qualified to comment on the Kenjutsu, and other elements that comprise Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu. Unfortunately Ueshiba Morihei is no longer able to do the same for Aikido so we are left with his writings, what direct students gleaned from his teaching, and other far more distantly related opinions.

As I mentioned at the opening of this post, I have, to date, purposefully chosen NOT to participate in this thread as I *personally* don't find such discussion particularly productive. I reluctantly post now due to an amalgam of comments that seemed to me to call for a response of some kind on my behalf. However, all of my comments can, and should be, taken for what their worth.

All the best,
Allen

*In other words, many of us will assume 1) we know what we are talking about, and 2) that we are talking about the same thing, while in reality we almost certainly are not!

**BTW success in this type of training naturally calls for a teacher uniquely qualified to pass on such knowledge. I think it readily apparent that knowledge of the specific body skills, tactical and psychological components etc. associated with such training obviously doesn't just "fall out of the sky upon someone" just because they pick up a stick or a sword. Consequently, I think that the knowledge is either there to be had, or it isn't. "Props" are secondary exemplars, not the containers of knowledge. Furthermore, as for arts that grew synergistically as a product of an amalgam of complimentary inputs, I think one can see that once the root wisdom/knowledge is gone, it's gone. Any attempt at reconstruction via a collection of similar props will at best be similar and not "of the original." In other words, a direct progeny is, by definition, the product of the forebears' and not just from something genetically similar, much less something dressed alike.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-05-2010, 12:17 PM   #114
Toby Threadgill
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Hi,

A quick clarification is in order. The term aiki-ken is rather problematic itself because no one has provided a clear definiton of what it is.

There are aikidoka swinging bokken with no exposure to genuine kenjutsu. There are aikidoka swinging bokken with real, albeit limited exposure to genuine kenjutsu. Then there are aikidoka swinging bokken who hold actual teaching licenses in kenjutsu.

Are they all doing aiki-ken or are only some of them doing aiki-ken? Interesting question for you aikidoka out there to ponder?

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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Old 02-05-2010, 02:26 PM   #115
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
Hi,

A quick clarification is in order. The term aiki-ken is rather problematic itself because no one has provided a clear definiton of what it is.

There are aikidoka swinging bokken with no exposure to genuine kenjutsu. There are aikidoka swinging bokken with real, albeit limited exposure to genuine kenjutsu. Then there are aikidoka swinging bokken who hold actual teaching licenses in kenjutsu.

Are they all doing aiki-ken or are only some of them doing aiki-ken? Interesting question for you aikidoka out there to ponder?

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
Pondering Awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:17 PM   #116
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
Hi,

A quick clarification is in order. The term aiki-ken is rather problematic itself because no one has provided a clear definiton of what it is.

There are aikidoka swinging bokken with no exposure to genuine kenjutsu. There are aikidoka swinging bokken with real, albeit limited exposure to genuine kenjutsu. Then there are aikidoka swinging bokken who hold actual teaching licenses in kenjutsu.

Are they all doing aiki-ken or are only some of them doing aiki-ken? Interesting question for you aikidoka out there to ponder?

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
I would say that Saito Sensei's sword work would have to define what might be called "orthodox" aikisword. He was a tremendous systematizer of the vast repertoire of O-Sensei's sword work.

On the other hand, not everyone in Aikido followed Saito's system. Tamura, Chiba, Nishio, and Saotome Sensei's didn't.

So to my mind, aiki sword is sword done utilizing the same principle as empty hand. The sword is an extension of the body. Control of the opponent's blade is done using the same principles as empty hand ikkyo. In other words you run a spiral that allows you to rest your body weight on the opponent, or in this case his sword. It is about controlling the space that the attacker needs to be in to successfully cut you. Taking that space before the attacker can take it. Aiki sword should be the study of "irimi" mental and physical.

I think that, if one can;t say exactly how the sword work you are doing relates to an equivalent empty hand principle, then one isn't doing Aiki sword, regardless of whose style it is. It is just as possible to do sword work with no aiki as it is to do ordinary Aikido with no aiki. O-Sensei used to come out of his office and yell at the students for doing what he called "stick whacking" (whatever the Japanese equivalent is).

I once read an interview with Kanai Sensei in which he said something along the following lines...
Quote:
In kenjutsu you train to the point which your body becomes one with the sword. In aiki sword you train until the sword simply becomes an extension of your body.
I think I understand what he meant and I agree up to a point but I think that, in the end both Aiki ken and kenjutsu strive to make the sword an extension of the mind, so on that level they should come together.

If Aiki sword work is done properly, I think that it should be something an experienced kenjutsu practitioner would look at and go "that's great, up to a point..." What we do isn't kenjutsu but it should look solid to anyone who does sword, just not complete. If it doesn't it probably isn't good aiki ken. Way to much sword work in Aikido is just stick whacking with no sense of how it relates to empty hand.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:45 PM   #117
JW
 
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

I feel like Threadgill sensei's important question still stands-- but in light of Ledyard sensei's points, it could be expressed in another way: functionally, rather than experientially.

What is aikiken, when there are:
-Aikidoka doing legitimate kenjutsu for kenjutsu's sake
-Aikidoka doing legitimate kenjutsu as a way of exploring aiki concepts
-Aikidoka doing movement that falls short of fully solid kenjutsu, but are legitimately exploring aiki concepts
-Aikidoka whacking sticks, claiming to practice aiki concepts, but not being able to elaborate on that claim

...among the other obvious combinations.
Lots of aikidoka (like me) would probably be not qualified to determine which category he is in.
--JW
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:39 PM   #118
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Hi,

I think Ledyard sensei provided a very lucid and insightful answer to my question. It was exactly what I was hoping someone would say. Ultimately the delineations I outlined are irrelevant. What is relevant is whether the bokken is manifesting aiki principles in a manner that is consistent with aikido taijutsu waza. I think this is an important distinction for every aikido practitioner to keep in mind when he picks up a bokken. Aiki-ken is not kenjutsu because its not trying to be kenjutsu. Aiki-ken and kenjutsu are separate arts with significantly different goals.

There is a certain unfair snobbishness among some kenjutsuka who observe aiki-ken and always find it lacking. Any critical observations related to aiki-ken should not be related to practical swordsmanship, but instead be related to the absence of clearly expressed aiki taijutsu principles in the execution of technique. Since many kenjutsuka have little familiarity with aikido, their criticisms are unfounded. The presence of realistic sword handling may be seen as a superior manifestation of aiki-ken by some, but it should not be deemed mandatory because such skills are not necessarily part of aiki-ken's training goals.

So...Aiki-ken vs Reality? Mostly irrelevant....

Thank you Ledyard sensei, for such a insightful response to my public musings.

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Last edited by Toby Threadgill : 02-08-2010 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 02-09-2010, 11:19 AM   #119
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Just poking my nose in at this point to comment:

This thread is an excellent example of what I like to see and learn from and take part in on the web... Thanks and appreciation to everyone that can and do take part.

Chuck Clark
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:45 PM   #120
Allen Beebe
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I would say that Saito Sensei's sword work would have to define what might be called "orthodox" aikisword. He was a tremendous systematizer of the vast repertoire of O-Sensei's sword work.
He was a tremendous systematizer of the vast repertoire of O-Sensei's sword work in a particular given time and place. And, as always, do we have evidence that O-sensei cared about having his . . . anything . . . systematized? It would seem not when he declares "There is no kata in Aikido" Which would explain why . . .

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
On the other hand, not everyone in Aikido followed Saito's system. Tamura, Chiba, Nishio, and Saotome Sensei's didn't.
They are not bad students of the "system" they just recognize there is no tomb of truth that defines orthodoxy.

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
So to my mind, aiki sword is sword done utilizing the same principle as empty hand.
What principle is that? Would it be Aiki?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
It is just as possible to do sword work with no aiki as it is to do ordinary Aikido with no aiki.
So the defining characteristic that sets Ken jutsu and Ju (tai) jutsu apart from Aiki-ken, and Aiki tai/ju jutsu is Aiki.

Seems clear enough and the verbiage seems to be ostensibly condoned by O-sensei since he presumedly used the terms as referents to what he did . . . with Aiki . . . didn't he?

And there is Aiki-jo, Aiki- yari, Aiki-naginata, Aiki pig sticker, Aiki Kua (Japanese Hoe), and Aiki-mochi hammer (I forget what they are called but remember O-sensei had to have his hoe and hammer specially made because he'd blow apart regular ones.)

So problem solved!

And we all know what Aiki is right? I mean most of the participants in this forum teach Aiki . . . something, right?

(Of course everyone agrees that Aiki isn't kata or some predefined waza because as O-sensei so famously stated "there is no kata in Aikido." Whereas Aiki is most definitely 90% or 70% atemi (depending on who one asks) because O-sensei said that Aikido is 70-90% atemi. I guess the other 10-20% of Aikido is Love because he said that too . . . unless of course one is striking with Love in which case Aikido could be 70-90% love/atemi and 10-20% something else. Maybe the other 10-20% is Joy because in O-sensei's word play Ai=Love and Ki=Joy, so it probably is 70-90% striking/love, and 10-20% Joy! And it is a very strong love too because when O-sensei was first asked to write rules for the Hombu he wrote something along the lines of "One strike can kill in Aikido . . . ")

Oh boy, I'm beginning to tire myself out.

Well, anyway, at least we have the Aiki thing nailed down! Everyone can see that. Even folks outside Aikido can see that!


~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:07 PM   #121
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

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Well, anyway, at least we have the Aiki thing nailed down! Everyone can see that. Even folks outside Aikido can see that!

Actually, (and seriously), I think everyone can debate aiki online (especially those who don't have it) ...

But in the hands of someone who has an appreciable level of skill in aiki, it only takes a very short time with direct hands-on experience to come to an understanding of what aiki really is -- all debate is gone.

Refer to my post #105 here.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...&postcount=105

Spirituality ... that's a whole different topic...
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:43 PM   #122
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

OK, so let's just go nuts and start asking more questions . . .

If Aikido isn't a full system of Ken, Jo, Yari, Naginata, Tanto, Ju, etc. Jutsu and it shouldn't pretend to be . . .

And if it is a Do but it isn't a Ken Do, or a Jo Do, or a Ju Do . . .

If it is strictly speaking an Aiki Do . . .

And if that Aiki Do wasn't just another "new religion" which were so abundant at the time, but rather a proven means providing martial advantage significantly different from those provided and taught in the many, many other competing (and I mean competing in the physical as well as the commercial sense) dojo at the time. .

That would explain why, in O-sensei's time, there were notable Kendo/jutsu ka, Jodo/jutsu ka, Judo/jutsu ka that took pains to study under him and called him sensei. . .

It doesn't explain what that "Aiki" was that was so unique. And judging from what gets the most "hits" on Aikido forums these days today's "Aiki" doesn't exactly inspire confidence in its practitioners nor admiration and desire from outside observers. Perhaps todays "Aiki" is different?

If this weren't so, threads such as "Aiki (insert name here) vs Reality" probably would not exist. Rather, discussions would probably be more along the lines of, "I don't care what you call it . . . where can I learn THAT!"

It is a open secret that in O-sensei's time (of actively teaching) individuals regularly came to the dojo and "questioned Aiki" in a concretely physical way. Often these "questions" were answered by students of O-sensei under his supervision. I know of no time when these guests were "disappointed" with the answer they received. (Although I can understand how such incidences might wish to be quickly forgotten if they occurred.) My understanding is that if an injury resulted the student would be publicly scolded and then privately complimented for representing the dojo. These were students of O-sensei. Perhaps they relied upon their previously acquired skills? Or perhaps they actually got a little "Aiki" from their teacher as represented by stories of Tomiki, Shioda, etc? What happened between now and then?

What happened between the time when O-sensei wouldn't hesitate to face off with a military Kendoka who questioned his ability with a sword, best the man, and then experience a spiritual epiphany to top off the day, and the time when Aikidoka publicly question their art's veracity and have to have the specifics of their art explained to them by those outside the art? What happened?

If O-sensei hadn't had, what he called "Aiki," would he have been able to to attract the individuals he did with his rather obscure religious lectures? Could he have done it with "principles" prevalently shared with other Budo? Could he have done it if he couldn't walk his talk?

I'm told that Aikido is on the decline. What is the difference between Aikido when it was on the incline and Aikido today?

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:56 PM   #123
Allen Beebe
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

I posted without seeing Mark's Murray's post.

However, I think if one knows even a little of Aikido's history one wouldn't doubt Mark when he says:

"But in the hands of someone who has an appreciable level of skill in aiki, it only takes a very short time with direct hands-on experience to come to an understanding of what aiki really is -- all debate is gone."

We read it over and over again from those that encountered the Aiki greats!

So what? Were all those guys lying? Were all of those guys push overs? Were they all swayed by the eloquence of these individual's persuasive (unintelligible) words?

". . . And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if "Aiki", he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if "Aiki", perhaps, means a little bit more." (Thanks Dr. Seuss!)

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:17 PM   #124
JW
 
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

What makes taijutsu so special that we can say, "It's ok to have fake/improper sword work as long as we are improving our taijutsu with it" anyway?

I'm ready to get behind "it's not about the sword work," but only because I am ready to get behind "it's not about the taijutsu either."

If we are on the mat to learn aiki, then ok. But aiki can be used in partner dance as much as it can in martial arts. If we are going to use it in a martial setting, then why should we settle for less than correct martial practices? I'm in favor of aikiken being critiqued by kenjutsu folks and being made correct kenjutsu.
Then, if had at first been incorrect kenjutsu but with aiki, after this correction it could become correct kenjutsu with aiki. If we are going to teach sword, we should teach sword.

Same with the jujutsu, it shouldn't be a joke to anyone. Mediocre jujutsu with aiki at the heart isn't as good as good jujutsu with aiki at the heart. And there shouldn't be different standards for empty hand vs weapon. My opinion.
--JW
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:32 PM   #125
Toby Threadgill
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Re: Aiki-Ken vs reality

Okay,

Who put the quarter in Allen Beebe? I didn't.....

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
II'm ready to get behind "it's not about the sword work," but only because I am ready to get behind "it's not about the taijutsu either."

If we are on the mat to learn aiki, then ok. But aiki can be used in partner dance as much as it can in martial arts. If we are going to use it in a martial setting, then why should we settle for less than correct martial practices? I'm in favor of aikiken being critiqued by kenjutsu folks and being made correct kenjutsu.

If we are going to teach sword, we should teach sword.
Sometimes I think people jump into a discussion without gettiing a sense for the flow of the whole thread..........

So......Jonathan,

Do you believe Ueshiba intended aikido to include authentic kenjutsu training?

Are you suggesting all aikido instructors should be teaching aiki-ken that is the same as authentic kenjutsu?

If you are, I believe you are on pretty shaky ground.

As far as I know Ueshiba never represented aikido as including actual kenjutsu training. Ueshiba himself was not a competent kenjutsuka and never formally studied kenjutsu in any depth. Did Ueshiba draw or employ a shinken regularly? If not, I propose he was uninterested in kenjutsu beyond employing a bokken to demonstrate and emphasize complimentary principles to those utilized in aikido taijutsu waza. If that's the case then it IS predominantly about taijutsu. Face it, aikido like Daito ryu is a taijutsu based art. It is not a sogo bujutsu.

If you want to be a aikidoka who is also a competent swordsman, thats fine and dandy...... Train in kenjutsu in addition to aikido. But what if you just want to be an exceptional aikidoka and could care less about kenjutsu? Aiki-ken can be an important training aid. Correct me if you think you have evidence to the contrary, but from everything I've read, I would conclude that those who trained closest with Ueshiba in aikido do not believe he demanded his creation include actual kenjutsu training....hence the existence of aiki-ken as a distinct area of study separate from kenjutsu.

I know cross country skiers who train on specialized roller skates to improve their endurance and skiing technique. They are not interested in roller skating per se. Roller skates are just a tool uitilized in pursuit of a different end. It can be the same with aiki-ken. Aiki-ken can be an indispensable tool utilized to create an exceptional aikidoka. There's also nothing wrong with kenjutsu being employed in the same way, but the claim that for aikido to be used in a martial setting, it must include authentic kenjutsu seems unsupportable. I simply see no evidence that kenjutsu is mandatory in the creation of an exceptional aikidoka.

I feel like a broken record.....

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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