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Old 01-08-2010, 11:02 AM   #1
MM
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"Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Starting on page 61, Ellis writes about oshikiuchi as part Chapter 2: the Birth of Daito ryu.

Just had a few questions.

Does anyone know how other martial arts (I guess mostly koryu) train in this manner. Ellis mentions Araki ryu but the person standing is the victor. I wondered if the person kneeling was on both knees as in Daito ryu and aikido or are they in a more half kneeling position? Other martial traditions?

Also, let's assume that Daito ryu's training of hanza handachi (defender on knees) isn't part of any oshikiuchi training. What then, is the reason for training in this manner? Considering Takeda had aiki, why would he train this way? Or did he?

Thanks,
Mark

Edit: Page 92 deals more with kneeling attacks, but really, couldn't the same type of training be done standing? Why specifically kneeling with both knees on the ground?

Last edited by MM : 01-08-2010 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:41 PM   #2
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Does anyone know how other martial arts (I guess mostly koryu) train in this manner. Ellis mentions Araki ryu but the person standing is the victor. I wondered if the person kneeling was on both knees as in Daito ryu and aikido or are they in a more half kneeling position? Other martial traditions?
Some speculation:

Kneeling was a tactic for closing distance against the wall of spear wielding soldiers.

http://www.myvideo.de/watch/6342310/...ste_Teil_14_16

Starting at 5:00

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Old 01-09-2010, 09:54 PM   #3
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Edit: Page 92 deals more with kneeling attacks, but really, couldn't the same type of training be done standing? Why specifically kneeling with both knees on the ground?
It takes out the instability factor present in unconditioned/unconnected legs. You get a direct path to the ground so you can focus on working the middle and upper body in a connected fashion.
Helps to connect the upper with the middle. Its not a bad training tool in the beginning.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:46 AM   #4
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Hi Mark
I'd agree with Rob. It helps in developing a direct connection to the ground in a shorter path. It also helps in getting a feel for eliminating the hip-bone "prowing" that ails so many martial artists when they move or exert power standing. You're already in a "seated" position and you learn to develop power with the upper and lower "breaking" and the hips coming forward. With Shikko (knee walking) you can learn to turn from the waist and open the hips and to lift the legs with the back (good luck with that-I've never seen it done correctly in aikido).
While I enjoy spending time correcting the way people connect, suspend and carry their weight, Nothing is so more fun and so clear than to show someone how exposed they truly are as "martial artists" simply from their moving "naturally."

Moving from Seiza V oshiki-uchi
We have to bear in mind that the JMA have a bit of a history (through Koryu) of learning to move and react from the floor-since they spent so much time there. That said, it's worth reviewing many koryu and look at the low percentage of seated waza in there total systems.
No one can prove the connection of oshiki-uchi to any defined syllabus and what it actually entailed, and the surviving schools of Daito ryu vary greatly in their own syllabus-to the point that I personally think any search for a single-source and undeniably defined corpus is waste of time. I think it is more likely that the entire body of work, all six schools (to include aikido) are nothing more that a collection of disparate waza based on body principles that were clearly different (I personally think superior-but that's argumentative as well) from the norm in the era Takeda was teaching.
As far as evidence either for, or against, oshik-uchi -I have never heard, read or seen any. The idea put forward by Tokimune that "The records were all burned during the Aikzu wars." is pretty thin considering the case they made that it was supposedly taught to protect "inside the castle walls." That would involve a hell of a lot of men coming to and from various postions in the domain (thus going back as well and presumably keeping their mouths shut). Add to that the relatively low standing of the the Takeda's and where and how they might have ever needed to learn these things.

Also worth considering is that many Koryu arts seemed to have learned and recorded methods to defeat other arts at that time- Example: Yagyu Shinkage ryu has a kata designed to defeat TSKSR's nanatsu-no-maki’s windings. Recognition of other arts and mutual growth is one of the reasons there is a certain “look” in Koryu. So the likelyhood that these supposedly secret waza remained unseen, unknown, unrecorded, and all the evidence burned is...well, you get the picture.
Any way once again considering this idea of protecting the Shogun/ Lord/ Daimyo/whatever with "secret waza a) Hanza handachi makes more sense than mutually seated waza. If it were their job to stop someone from killing the leader they sure as hell would get up to do so b) everyone would be wearing a weapon. This is another reason you see koryu that contain Kogusoku or koshi-no-marawi type waza having a significant section dealing with seated waza that are mostly weapons based. one example here

Military need V civilian need or hobby
Now, you can make an argument for oshiki-uchi as training to seize someone without killing them, or training to resist being seized for questioning etc, but other than being an unusual and somewhat inventive training model (still mostly done without employing a weapon in defense)…I wouldn’t want to be on that side of the argument either.
You can also make an argument that it was just for training the body only; I would agree that the model changes the body and is a hell of method to do so, but it's one and two step kata process is seriously limiting to a fuller range of body skills-that are there, but all but ignored.
Combatives spring from actual necessity, so in decifering statements of supposedly applied combatvie practicality its sort of like a detective's first and second rule
1. Follow the money
2. Look for a love interest.
I think DR fails any test for historical connection to applied battlefield or "professional" requirments. In practice and in end goals of practical Koryu combatives-I think DR is distinct and somewhat wierd art that seems more suited to civilian use.

That said, I've never been a fan of training seiza to learn anything. I think it's actually slower in developing real skill. This whole notion put forth by various JMA schools; DR, aikido, and Iai included, that it "strengthens the hips" I attribute to just more ill-defined, poorly transmitted and largely misunderstood information. I guess it's all a view- depends on what you actually understand and can really "do" with a broad range of combatives; with weapons and empty hand in more stressful environments.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 01-10-2010 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:00 PM   #5
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Dan's post - I'm in total agreement.

And - in the oldest koryu, iidori and hanza-handachi were simply simulations of very common situations that happened within combat - grappling.
a. we both hit the ground - I fall and pull you down, we slip, we are both struggling in the muck and find each other near, I'm down and injured and you kneel on me to cut my head, and I counter and we're rolling
b. The same, except one is on the feet attacking the other.

This, btw, with at least one weapon working. Why does it look so formal in so many schools? Because that's the way Japanese tended to encase their learning.

The "reversal" in schools like Daito-ryu (where the kneeling person generally defeats the standing, and few if any weapons are used) is an example of goshinjutsu/jujutsu - the earlier training was reversed to fit the 300+ years of mostly peace - and the earlier combative grappling with weapons was transmuted into jujutsu/self-defense.
And - perhaps coincidentally, perhaps by design, it became also apparent, as Rob and Dan write that this training allowed one to isolate out principals to work on in a focused manner.
Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-11-2010, 07:54 AM   #6
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

You know, I was so focused on a central point that I failed to mention the obvious; the actual intention of introducing training for what to do with slip and falls, takedowns, etc., and that there are very old arts that placed them there for a reason...cough!
Thanks for picking up on that.
Again though- and as you agree-they typically involve weapons of one of both parties. with the more recent arts developing the more civilian useages.

Mark
Regarding Takeda training in seiza and Hanza handachi; if reports are accurate, if the Takumakai's soden is accurate- then we have to assume Takeda trained from these positions as well as standing-which would be typical of Koryu.
It's hard to discuss since by every account neither Takeda or Ueshiba never repeated techniques! Which brings up a VERY interesting level of discussion because THAT is highly unusual in a culture that taught from kata.
What would that mean?
Why would that be?
What was the reason to break from such a strong tradition?
What could they have been doing?
Why were they doing it?
Why do five major students of Takeda all have different waza
with a central theme?
Was there ever a real central mokuroku?
Was it really only a principle based art with waza made up on the spot and repeated by various students in various places that created the syllabus?

What in fact was Daito ryu?
Was it ever "an art" or did it become an art in the process of Takeda's wonderings?
What has it become now in the established schools?
What does it mean for the modern era?
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 01-11-2010 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:20 AM   #7
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Great discussion. In addition to the questions Dan lists, I'd also add mine to the mix:

What are the salient checkpoints in both DR and Aikido for how waza looks AND how it feels (for both sides/participants)?

Were waza meant to be practiced ceremoniously or as improvisations?

If the former, what road or insights were they intended to reveal?

If the latter, what were the necessary baseline skillsets required of the practitioner in order to craft such improvisations?
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:23 AM   #8
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Thanks for all the replies.

I can understand the training from a position where one knee is down. Seems logical enough. It's the training with both knees down that seems ... weird.

For instance, this video of training in Iwama around 1960.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piO3rBHHkfI

Did that kind of training come from Ueshiba or did Takeda (and the other branches of Daito ryu) do that?

Tomiki's san kata starts with both knees down, but for the most part, you bring one off the ground. I think, historically, Tomiki took it from his Daito ryu training under Ueshiba.

So, it appears that this "seiza" type training came from Ueshiba. Anyone know for sure? Why?

EDIT: If Ueshiba was the one to modify training to include a lot of "seiza" type movements instead of "hanza handachi", then it would help explain some things. Takeda could have taught "hanza handachi" movements from older koryu techniques, but morphing them to his own personal ends, as Rob, Dan, and Ellis have noted.

Last edited by MM : 01-11-2010 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:46 PM   #9
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Well after watching the vid, I realized you sure can pack a mat with people when they're all on their knees. Could it be as simple as that? Would the older ways (pre-Takeda) be to teach in smaller groups (like one on one)-- so that with the advent of huge classes, something had to be done?

I read that the Sagawa dojo was very heavy on seated techniques, so I wonder about Ueshiba starting it.
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=242
The entire first month's curriculum is on the knees. (Does the author mean both partners on knees in zadori practice? I am interpretting it that way, but anyone with DR experience please tell me if that's wrong.)

Having read HIPS, I am appreciative of Daito-ryu probably being just Takeda doing whatever he liked. If for any reason he was fond of doing things from seiza, then his teaching may have heavily used them, regardless of historical context.
So, since Ueshiba and Sagawa (not friends) both used lots of seiza techniques.. (as long as my understanding of zadori is correct).. then I think it probably started with Takeda or earlier.
--JW
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:42 AM   #10
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Thanks for all the replies.

I can understand the training from a position where one knee is down. Seems logical enough. It's the training with both knees down that seems ... weird.

For instance, this video of training in Iwama around 1960.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piO3rBHHkfI

Did that kind of training come from Ueshiba or did Takeda (and the other branches of Daito ryu) do that?

Tomiki's san kata starts with both knees down, but for the most part, you bring one off the ground. I think, historically, Tomiki took it from his Daito ryu training under Ueshiba.

So, it appears that this "seiza" type training came from Ueshiba. Anyone know for sure? Why?

.
Don't know anything for sure, and probably never will - but I keep trying

As far as seiza wasa is concerned, I have ran across it in all the different Aikido styles I have trained with - and it is usually introduced at the beginners level. From what I was told, the reasons for that has been many ( much of which has already been mentioned in this post already) such as:

1. That it is traditional because the Japanese spent a lot on time in that position.

2. That is was from secret techniques taught in the palace for defense (oshikiuchi)

3. That is helps develop hip strength.

4. That it better helps to develop the upper body connection to ground while staying relaxed.

5. That the ukemi from this level was easier mentally and physically for newcomers.

6. Because that is the way is was passed down from DaitoRyu.

My personal opinion (which is based on nothing concrete, just my speculation and gut feelings) is that #1 is garbage; #2 - see answer to #1; #3 is maybe, but so what; #4 is true, but only effective with proper instruction from someone who understands IS; #5 is probably the most practical reason; and #6 is true, but does not mean anything without an explanation as to why, which I think is probably related to defense when attached in seiza or when the fight went to ground; where most of them end up in grappling.

As mentioned, just my opinions based on nothing more than my speculations.

Greg

Last edited by gregstec : 01-12-2010 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:00 AM   #11
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

It'd be kind of funny if Takeda did seiza work just to be a hard a$$. Looking at other jujutsu techniques where the person goes to the half kneeling position as they complete the technique, Takeda laughing and saying, "Yeah, so what? Can you do that with both knees staying on the ground?" And then proceeds to do so with very martial ability.
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:22 AM   #12
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
It'd be kind of funny if Takeda did seiza work just to be a hard a$$. Looking at other jujutsu techniques where the person goes to the half kneeling position as they complete the technique, Takeda laughing and saying, "Yeah, so what? Can you do that with both knees staying on the ground?" And then proceeds to do so with very martial ability.
Yes, it could be as simple as that. I have found on numerous occasions that very complex issues or questions generally do come down to a simple thing like you just described as the reason for seiza training - but unless we can actually get into Takeka's mind, all the answers will continue be just speculation

Greg
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:15 AM   #13
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
Yes, it could be as simple as that. I have found on numerous occasions that very complex issues or questions generally do come down to a simple thing like you just described as the reason for seiza training - but unless we can actually get into Takeka's mind, all the answers will continue be just speculation

Greg
Still some speculation, but with all the posts here, I did get some great answers. Thanks everyone.

Mark
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:06 PM   #14
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Hi all,

I have a question that has been bothering me since reading HIP and rose up again thanks to this thread -

(I hope Mr. Amdur/ Koryu guys may offer an explanation):

A)Assuming that these techniques(both kneeling/ kneeling person defeats standing etc') have little or no martial value and were not actual Koryu traditions (and made up by Takeda).

B)Assuming that Takeda had amongst his many students Koryu practitioners that had been exposed to various waza.

Is there any evidence of any of his students doubting the way and or contents of what was being practiced?
(I.E. the appearance of the waza/technique seeming peculiar illogical etc')

If not why?

1)They never asked questions that doubted the teacher (a culture thing).
2)Some had doubts but were willing to bare "fake"/"made up" waza in order to study the "goods" .
3)Were enchanted by Takeda's character and believed his stories.
4)Were mostly ignorant/countrymen that where uneducated.
5)Other.

Thanks,

Boaz.
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Old 04-18-2010, 01:45 PM   #15
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Boaz - it's not so simple, but I'll try to cover all your questions.
1. Kneeling & kneeling/standing techniques as done in classical koryu have very explicit martial intent. My opinion re DR technique is that they do not make logical sense as explicit martial techniques. (ie., if I'm indoors, attacking a daimyo, why grab the wrist of the unarmed bodyguard on the way?). However, I've suggested (somewhere in the book) that they have "implicit" martial virtue, as ways of training martial "internal training" while in a more stable posture. (The kneeling posture makes the body more stable than standing, at least if the knees are intact).
2. It's hard to doubt what a teacher tells you when he's so overwhelmingly better than you. If Takeda indicated that "this is the way to get powerful" and he was, it's hard to question. At the same time, I remember reading in Tomei no Chikara, Sagawa questioning if not deriding those practices.
3. As for your speculative alternatives as to why they might have been "unquestioning,"
a. I can believe that some never questioned the teacher (and of his thousands of students, only a few became top-rate, according to accounts
b. I could easily believe that some thought to themselves that they were learning a lot of extraneous material, but if the teacher is the only known conduit, and he's not offering a faster track, then one learns as one's taught.
c."enchanted by his character . . ." Now that I doubt - but they may have been enchanted by his power.
d. "ignorant countrymen" - that I don't believe. Many were members of the highest levels of society. Takeda's remarkable skill seems to be unquestionable.

Finally, I wonder if the explicit stories about the iidori and hanza-handachi methods being the guardian techniques of the palace even existed when Takeda was teaching. Again, that's something Sagawa doubted. I think Takeda simply taught, matter-of-factly, what he felt like teaching, and here, too, it was a HIPS phenomena. Either the student learned technique by technique, or realized that there was a common thread (aiki-age and aiki-sage) within all the various techniques.

Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 04-18-2010, 01:59 PM   #16
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
However, I've suggested (somewhere in the book) that they have "implicit" martial virtue, as ways of training martial "internal training" while in a more stable posture. (The kneeling posture makes the body more stable than standing, at least if the knees are intact).
It is easier to keep the feet, knees and hips aligned and stationary while kneeling so that whole body movement is generated from the waist not the hips.

David
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:50 PM   #17
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

David, why are you helping Ellis?
:^)
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:03 AM   #18
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
It is easier to keep the feet, knees and hips aligned and stationary while kneeling so that whole body movement is generated from the waist not the hips.

David
ORLY?

LOL.

Interesting thread fellas.

Unless stated otherwise, all wisdom, follies, harshness, malice that may spring up from my writing are attributable only to me.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:44 AM   #19
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - oshikiuchi

Mr. Amdur, thanks for your detailed response.

I hope I am not making a ( too) large logical leap here but,
If I understand you correctly if you look at the two groups the 'non-askers' and the 'thinkers' :
The 'non-askers' didn't ask just accepted but-
It seems as though even in "real time", the 'thinkers' amongst his students new that he wasn't teaching an old tradition, but something of his own creation (but still worth studying).

Did Sagawa mention in his book if he had doubted these waza in "real time"? or did he just contemplate in hindsight (always 20/20...)?
IIRC he was a direct student of Takeda. so he obviously new if Takeda claimed these waza to be ancient/new, principle based/application based etc'.

I am just getting more and more an impression that the DRę is not how it is perceived (as a whole system), but OTOH it does seem that the common themes were well based,integrated and had a tradition behind them.

Thanks,

Boaz.
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