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Old 07-29-2011, 05:03 PM   #51
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
[crowd cheers]
It's game 42 of the Traditional Reformists vs the Institutional Purists! The Reformists score a point with "Because you don't understand in and yo" by pointing out that their training is based on these concepts! They pass the ball to Ueshiba in his strange photographic pose and desperate look in his eye. But Szczepan steals the ball and tries to score with "farting" and expression of distaste for the players on the other team. Looks like he didn't make the point! Then Graham fires a shot for the Institutionalists, suggesting that the idea of a Sensei expressing ideas covertly in a world where deshi are expected to "steal the technique" would be preposterous! Opinion stated... but point made? Mike Sigman scores for the Reformists again with the suggestion that yin and yang are the juicy core of many arts throughout history and that Ueshiba's doka match up with those arts' literature... can someone save this game for the purists?

Does anyone have an explanation for how the institution of Aikido does not need help in proving Ueshiba wrong that "we don't understand in and yo?" Where in the lineages of modern aikido can we point to this understanding? Step up the game, folks...

I am going to pull out my internet cable because I am clearly losing it.
Ha ha, very creative.

I suggest you understand better what 'stealing techniques' really means. Nothing to do with covertness. Except maybe to the westerner.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:14 PM   #52
David Partington
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Question Hidden in Plain Sight

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
And fascinating that so many are now training this way. Including Japanese shihan.
Having read some of the more recent posts concerning IP etc. and how more and more people are now training in it because they feel there is something missing from their aikido, is there any connection between the styles/teachers of these people? i.e. are they predominantly from one particular aikido "style/organisation" or are there students from all aikido "styles/organisation"?
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:29 PM   #53
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
I'm unclear how Ueshiba is doing anything particularly different than in most other art that use jin/kokyu and qi/ki skills. The important thing is differentiating Open and Close and what people are calling "winding" is really just a variation of the Yin-Yang formation of Open/Close. Maybe people should clarify (go into greater detail) about what it is that they think Ueshiba is doing.
Hi Mike - I wasn't suggesting that Ueshiba was doing something different from the "classic" open/close - yin-yang. Rather that he WAS doing it (which many people seem to deny), and further, what is interesting to me, that he was pointing it out. One of my areas of interest, in this regard, is pedagogy. How did Ueshiba teach this information - how did Takeda teach it - how DO others, from such modern greats as Chen Xiao Wang and Feng Zhi Qiang teach? How do they winnow out from all the people they teach those who they will really teach - Takeda and Ueshiba being very similar to the latter two men, in that they taught en masse If one doesn't follow the classic koryu model, where there is an established criteria of initiation into the "secrets" among people already selected, how does one decide when to teach the deeper levels of information.

Thus, giving Szczepan's jape far more respect than either it or he deserve, even if these photos prove nothing (even though Ueshiba also did so in a group photo as well, making a point to sit in a way that is not "correct" at all in two different contexts), Ueshiba either had remarkable skills or he did not, If that latter is not true, then:
1. Ueshiba was some kind of wild mutant talent and what he did is of little concern to aikidoka today (this is a position that many in the current hierarchy of the Aikikai have taken).
2. Ueshiba had some specific skills that he very deliberately did not share.
3. Ueshiba had certain skills that he only shared with people of his own choosing. If this, how did he choose? Then, how did he let people know he had such skills? Obviously, by doing remarkable things. How, then, did he establish to people that he wasn't a wild mutant? Perhaps he should have done what Mike and Dan are doing, each in their own way, simply mapping out what they know and teaching it as clearly and ably as they can. (non, non, non, mes amies, all of you, no thread drift about any disagreements on - well, you all know, so put that in another thread - I started this thread, so I hold the needle, and I'll stab you if I must ) .

For reasons worthy of a book - ahem - Ueshiba didn't do that. I am suggesting that he showed the whispers of his methodology and waited to see who would pick it up - and who would ask questions. Who would break one's own cultural rules, if that's what it took.
By the way, Kato Hiroshi shows that same winding, counterbalancing of opposing forces within his body in many of his techniques, so at least in that regards, he obviously was paying attention.

Final point back to Mike's statement/question- there are some who have asserted that Ueshiba was doing something different from Daito-ryu (or more largely, from the core skills of internal training known in China). As far as my opportunities to be hands on with people who allegedly learned that "real" aikido, from Tanaka Bansen to Shirata Rinjiro to more modern folks, I have not experienced anything different from what have been called "baseline core skills." However, I never had a chance to be thrown by Ueshiba - maybe if I had a chance to be thrown/locked/countered by Ueshiba and Sagawa and Horikawa, and they really showed the goods, maybe Ueshiba would have had something beyond and different. (I can only shrug, because I'll never know - I doubt it, though). There still is at least one individual whom I've not had a chance to meet, of whom I've been told has those "beyond/different than DR skills." I won't mention a name, but if I do meet him and such is shown to me, I'll want to shout it to the heavens. Barring something differently remarkable, my assumption is that Ueshiba skills are a particular variation on that common theme.

Aikido is, however, different, from other arts, in the way that Dan H. described, the delibarate release from helplessness and destruction that he pointed out is moralty expressed in aikido waza. (IE., through irimi, DR crumples one in a space too small to survive intact, and aikido - Ueshiba's aikido - releases the person, just as that point is reached). That, by the way, is the best case for continuing to train in aikido, rather than just dropping the aikido and doing pure "aiki"/IT training or aiki+MMA or whatever.

Paranthetically, I personally believe the single flaw in modern aikido in not the lack of "aiki," internal strength, though that is a component of the problem. A lack of ability in "aiki" could be named as a limitation in any combative activity.

The flaw in aikido is the emphasis on the aforementioned release without true irimi. True irimi must contain atemi, as Ueshiba himself emphasized. Aikido atemi, if it is authentic and not mere bonking someone with a punch, requires internal power - witness Shioda describing Ueshiba dislocating the hip of a judoka who tried to cheapshot him with a sudden throwing attack, merely by <apparently> placing a hand on his hip.

In other words, I strongly believe that the moral aims of aikido cannot fully be achieved without the internal strength training that Ueshiba emphasized. How can you be proud of releasing someone from jail if there were no bars in the first place?
Ellis Amdur

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Old 07-29-2011, 06:29 PM   #54
wxyzabc
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Dear Ellis and friends

While I can easily agree with a lot of what you have just written. I do think that some of the words people are choosing to use are confusing a lot of people from the offset and causing a lot of misunderstanding.

A lot of people are using the word 'power' here...as though this is the basic function of any interaction in aikido. This is "the" image a lot of people with no real experience of this (in aikido) are maybe getting....yet the ability to generate 'power' is only one facet of a multi sided jewel. Could I suggest the word "internal control" with the basic meaning of having the power/ability to easily control yourself and those you practise with.. might be more appropriate..especially at the stage most people seem to be at/want to/need to (?) practise at.

Regards the photo I would have to say that other than showing one side is open while the other closed.. yet still connected...there isn't much more there for people to grasp (unless they already know something..or is there??). Its not so different to just looking at a statue showing a form..any deeper significance is lost to the masses (me included)

There is a very big difference between 'showing' something and actually teaching someone the intricasies of the message so that they too can truly understand/do the same thing in a real way.

Strange to have to point this out (though others already have) but in the past those that got it under Ueshiba..clearly got it generally by going to another person with these/similar/or "related" skills and saying "well Ueshiba is clearly different...he's trying to convey some message but it's not one I can understand or translate in something physically meaning. Can you show and explain simply please???)...you can just imagine Shioda saying something like this to Koda

Is it wrong to say that a Japanese student wouldn't even consider the possibility of reaching the level of his teacher?? (while the relationship was maintained..hence some skill individuals going their own way) hence not questioning or doing further individual research (generally)...not even feeling they need to...don't rock the boat man.

Theres a lot to say on this subject, but generally as you know but maybe many maybe don't...the Japanese system is basically one of receiving. Strange concept in that many will just repeat what is "shown" without actually thinking too deeply about what they are doing or why they are doing it (is that only the Japanese?)...even what the purpose of their practise is??.

The teacher was also a receiver and doesn't feel compelled to offer much more to his errr hobbyist group that live in a peaceful country and don't need much in the way of true martial ability, now the swords have been thrown down. Even when they come up against someone vastly superior with true internal connection it's because either
they are special
they practised a long time
I dont know/don't want to know so I'll not even go there...lol

It's a whole can of worms this subject...it really is..

What I can say is that there are in Japan in aikido a few exceptional (Japanese) individuals whose level is vastly different...on a whole different level to what we generally call aikido or at least what I've experienced (and I've been around a bit)...able to operate on a wide range of different levels...without ukemi). Generally unknown they do their work quietly.
Please don't ask for names ..it's not my position to bring them into the spotlight unless they're happy to be there.

One told me quite a long time ago after I had just finished a basic waza based training session "you know..no one will actually teach you aikido unless they really need students"....go figure....lol
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:43 PM   #55
rob_liberti
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Survey says ... bing bing bing - Ellis you got the number 2 answer.

The number 1 answer for the flaw in aikido is that the organizations of aikido are based on loyalty and not truth.

Yeah, I said it. I mean it too, only because it is true.

Most don't know that they don't know. Some suspect, but will defer, deflect, deny - pretty much anything to protect the ego. Some love the truth so much, that it is worth it to them to challenge everything they know to find out about aiki, IP/IS, whatever you want to call it.

It's your life. Do you love the truth enough to go way out of your way to feel what "has to be felt" to understand?

I humbly suggest that the people in aikido who are not interested in aiki drop the persecution complex and go see for themselves. The only thing you have to lose is delusion.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 07-29-2011 at 06:47 PM.

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:49 PM   #56
Lee Salzman
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Re: we need you Szczepan

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Yeah, I more or less agree, Jonathan. It didn't mean much and the various signals of "yin-yang" are/were pretty widespread in Asian martial-arts (as you already know). Ueshiba would have known that, too, so I'd take it more as a signal that he was in the club, too, rather than a "here's a valuable clue" sort of thing. Same thing with a lot of the references in his douka..... using the correct words was an accepted way of titillating the readers who didn't know, while at the same time being a signal to the cognoscenti that his style adhered to the classical Yin-Yang, internal-strength, etc., dicta.

Mike
Mike, wouldn't that actually detract significantly from Ellis' points in the OP? If what O'Sensei knew he got by painstaking research of every little scrap of evidence he could examine from Takeda Sokaku's wake, then is there really some super-secret Asia-wide martial arts club O'Sensei got inducted into that he's trying to display membership in, especially given what we know about the animosity between the Chinese and Japanese at this time? Maybe he could be showing off to his Japanese contemporaries, but wouldn't it be rather doubtful he had any real focus on people or concepts outside of his local Japanese sphere? The fact that the Japanese sources from which O'Sensei learned may have historically derived from Chinese ones in some vague capacity isn't really a very interesting hypothesis at this time given the divergent flavor of expression, and it doesn't seem there is any strongly plausible link by which O'Sensei got his methodology directly from Chinese sources.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 07-29-2011 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:40 PM   #57
HL1978
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Re: we need you Szczepan

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I asked that question as you proposed in your first paragraph, about some teachers, not mine for he could.
Thats fine, I have no basis to judge your teacher.

Quote:
I could also see the founder was a special guy xo comparing other teachers to him was a bit silly no?
Not really, some of his contempories had the same skills didn't they? In particular some of the other students of his teacher.

Quote:
Now doing all sorts of wacky exercises that don't connect to waza? That's a false statement I'm afraid.
I'm referring to various warmup exercises, not particular waza. The warmups don't really look like the waza. I'm referring to funakogi undo, that spinning exercise, duck walking etc.

In the karate world, sanchin kata would be another example.

Quote:
Your final point in that paragraph says you did various martial arts but couldn't effect them on ip guys. Now that could be an interesting point if you mean that on all other people you could.
I'm certainly not a superlative martial artist, but I've won tournaments in various martial arts and won a state championship in swimming. These guys could do something which required more than mere athleticism, waza, or size. Akuzawa tossing me 15 feet with only the only visible movement being a pinky finger, while a "parlour trick", couldnt be done with size, strength or timing. I outweigh the guy, tower over him, and he gave me as much time as I wanted to break his pinky finger.

Quote:
Second paragraph says basically you did some Aikido but never met anyone like Ueshiba. Not surprising.
Yep, had hands on with hachidan level martial artists as well in various arts (kendo, iaido, karate etc). They don't move like him, or seem to understand what he was doing. See my comments on another thread about that.

On the otherhand, the people I have met in the IS/IP world do have some similarities in terms of movement, and can replicate the results on uncooperative people.

Quote:
Finally why Aikido? Well the whole ip thing would fit most martial arts, especially ones with holds etc. wouldn't it?
Many other arts (say judo, BJJ, karate) are considered "martially viable" in competition, yet we hear stories about people who were unable to affect Ueshiba or stories about Sagawa tossing olympic judoka while in his 80s. Aiki apparently overcomes athleticism and technique. Modern aikido apparently can't overcome athleticism and technique.

Quote:
So in conclusion, for those who never found the whys of basic exercises and their relationships to waza etc. then it would be useful up to a point, indeed for those it would be eye opening no doubt.

Regards G.
Well that brings us back to the whole hidden in plain sight thing doesn't it? The fact that people are replicating what was shown in the hombu dojo post war, yet aren't mini Ueshiba's would indicate a flaw in the process.
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:44 PM   #58
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Lee Price - let me address the points you make, in turn:
1. I do not agree with you that "internal control" is a better term. First of all, it is yours, an innovation, rather than the traditional language that the Japanese used. (Nairiki, aiki, etc.). Secondly, a careful reading of what I just wrote states clearly that aikido IS a multi-faceted jewel, so to speak, and that is why I state that "aiki" alone is not aikido, but without aiki, there is no aikido: the moral endeavor of aikido, as well as its waza, requires power, so to speak. To bring someone to the church, you need some electricity (denki) to light up the cross.
2. I agree with you re the photo - the same applies to this one. For most people, that those are the Buddhist sculptures at the entrance of the place of worship or tourism, for Akuzawa Minoru, they embody his endeavor. All I'm saying is that Ueshiba dropped a hint - and would be far more likely to teach someone the skills who actually paid clear attention to such hints. Or, put it another way, if I were studying with Mr. Akuzawa and he one day mused, "That picture of a nio-sama is really something, isn't it." Me? I would study it for days and weeks and start comparing what I saw in that picture with how Akuzawa moves, and try to embody that spirit in my own movement. And based on my experience with him, the degree to which I achieved that would have a direct result on what he'd teach me next.
3. Yes, the people such as Tohei, who went "outside" got "something." But people such as Shirata and Tomiki. Consider Kobayashi Hirokazu in Osaka, for example. His only teacher was Ueshiba, and there are accounts that he was another who had "got it." I dunno - never met the man, which I regret. But note the essay - I couldn't find the complete one in English, that references spirals controlled by tanden. As for Shioda asking questions of Horikawa, that's apparently, that's EXACTLY what he did - he brought the man to his own dojo and trained with him for two weeks - and one of several things happened. 1) It confirmed for him that Ueshiba taught him the real goods - that would be worth both time and money 2) he filled in one or more missing pieces (that would be worth time and money too) 3) he finally learned aiki, which Ueshiba hadn't taught him (and that would be worth time and money also) (honestly, I doubt the last, because how to explain Tomiki, Shirata and the like, and also and that Tenryu stated that Shioda was the closest to Ueshiba in skill. Now, let us take that last point for a moment though - whether Shioda learned to be closest to Ueshiba through Ueshiba or through Horikawa, he sure didn't look all that much like Ueshiba when he moved. So Tenryu was not talking about how he looked - he was talking about something else - something "internal," perhaps?
4. Lee, speaking as someone who trained with two traditional koryu teachers, you are incorrect regarding asking questions of one's teacher. One teacher in particular would take offense, at times, and then I'd ask again and he might get even more irriated - but later, often when intoxicated, he'd explain in detail what I asked. Other students never asked - guess who was taught in more depth? Sure, some traditional teachers in the old days might reply, "Idiot, shut up and train." BUT - were I that student, I would then watch very carefully what the teacher did next. In my experience, the answers were then presented, and when I could show THAT, I was ready to ask another question. The idea being, was I asking a question to fill the air, or did I really want to learn?
5. How about the idea of overcoming your teacher? There are two kinds of students: those who cannot conceive of overcoming their teacher, and those who can think of little else. Guess which ones get stronger? I studied one-on-one for many years with my Araki-ryu teacher. I was also training muay-thai and once time in a grappling clinch, I managed to get control of his head, and drove in three round house knees, which, had they fully landed (I pulled the blows, so I just thumped his brain a little) would have put him out. He stopped practice, said, "No one's ever done that to me before" (he beat the Japanese kick-boxing champion, Sawamura, in an in-house match once). Next week, we got in a clinch again, and I made my move, and just as I yanked his head, he cocked his hips, swept my standing foot before my knee connected and dropped me, punched me just hard enough in the head, and laughing, said, "Never twice, Ellis. Never twice." I trained 13 years at that level. The stronger I got, the stronger he got, and he liked me for the challenge.
6. Yeah, I know that there are a few remarkable martial artists, mostly unknown. Maybe, as you say, there are some unknown lights among the Japanese aikido community. I hope so. As for me, were I to study with one of them, I'd be focused on stealing everything he knew, I'd be thinking every day on how to beat him. Because I have direct experience with some teachers who reward the student who really wants to learn. If he didn't welcome that with respect and teaching, I'd walk away because every moment training would be a waste of time.

Yes, there are a lot of teachers - maybe most - like the one's you describe in your last paragraph - the swords have been thrown down, their students are hobbiests, etc. Given a chance to study piano with McCoy Tyner - or a lounge pianist, yes, most would prefer the latter, because the demands of truly learning what such a master knows would be too much. Maybe you'd have to walk away from your marriage, or at least cause it to suffer, because of the time demands. Maybe you couldn't take a job which would provide you with a nest egg for the future. But do you love the art enough to pay your dues, not take "no" for an answer, and as one Hassidic rabbi put it, "I didn't go to Lublin to hear the rabbi teach or listen to him pray. I went to watch him tie his shoes?" That's what it takes.
Ellis Amdur

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Old 07-29-2011, 07:53 PM   #59
Mike Sigman
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
In other words, I strongly believe that the moral aims of aikido cannot fully be achieved without the internal strength training that Ueshiba emphasized. How can you be proud of releasing someone from jail if there were no bars in the first place?
Ellis Amdur
A number of years ago I pointed out that Aikido is basically a member of the Asian martial-arts that use jin/kokyu/qi/ki/hara/dantien anyway you look at it. The debate has gone from "no it's unique" to a gradual understanding that Aikido is a variation of an important theme that encompasses body and mental development.

I always remember discussing the martial-arts of Taiwan with a friend of mine. We talked about Cheng Man Ching, Hong Yixian, Wang Shujin, and others. My friend, who was Chinese and raised doing martial-arts on Taiwan, pointed out that the martial-arts and the martial-arts masters that westerners were focusing on were the ones who got the press and who were courting western students.... many other better and lesser-known martial-arts experts simply never got the press.

All sorts of special traits were attributed to the chosen arts and masters, yet there were better ones out there and the chosen arts only represented variations of known martial-arts principles.... principles which westerners believed represented unique, almost magical ideals. I think pretty much the same thing goes on with most Asian martial arts, koryu, etc., when westerners are involved. Instead of a focus on the underlying and truly engrossing principles, everyone tends to go to "my art" or "my teacher" or "my exalted degrees". It becomes a study in psychology (witness some of the posts done in the name of 'oh look at me and my spiritually-chosen art).

What I'm saying about Ueshiba is along the same line as the Taiwan story.... he got some good press, but in reality what he was doing was just part of the same general principles. The fact that Ikeda, for instance, was working with a karate teacher (Ushiro) on kokyu should be an indicator that what I'm saying is not only true, but generally accepted by people who know a little bit (or more than a little bit, like Ikeda and most knowledgeable Asians). And the same thing is true of Takeda and many others.... no matter how special people would like to make them, they simply represents exponents of the general principles, etc., that everyone acknowledges in the front of their "secret manuscripts".

The real problem is that despite having been paying dojo dues for years and reading all the books and articles, most westerners seem to miss the larger picture and focus in one the chosen areas of the portrait that entice them. Yet to do that is to miss the whole point of the Tao.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:56 PM   #60
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Lee Salzman -
Quote:
Mike, wouldn't that actually detract significantly from Ellis' points in the OP? If what O'Sensei knew he got by painstaking research of every little scrap of evidence he could examine from Takeda Sokaku's wake, then is there really some super-secret Asia-wide martial arts club O'Sensei got inducted into that he's trying to display membership in, especially given what we know about the animosity between the Chinese and Japanese at this time? Maybe he could be showing off to his Japanese contemporaries, but wouldn't it be rather doubtful he had any real focus on people or concepts outside of his local Japanese sphere? The fact that the Japanese sources from which O'Sensei learned may have historically derived from Chinese ones in some vague capacity isn't really a very interesting hypothesis at this time given the divergent flavor of expression, and it doesn't seem there is any strongly plausible link by which O'Sensei got his methodology directly from Chinese sources.
ARGGGHHH - the Japanese term in In-yo. Everyone knows that it means yin-yang. Everyone knew what came from China. That old idea that Ueshiba independently got the goods from some Chinese martial art is done to death, and that's not what is being said. Merely that aiki, Daito-ryu, all the ryu owe this aspect of training in large part to a transmission of knowledge that goes back to continental asia which took place over many hundreds of years, from a variety of sources.

Mike is right that there is a recognizable core skill set. When Higoonna Morio traveled with Donn Draeger to Malaysia and demonstrated his Okinawan Goju-ryu to some top level Chinese martial artists, they said, in effect, "That's not karate. We've seen karate. You are doing what we do." And again, Okinawan Goju-ryu doesn't LOOK that much like Chinese martial arts, even the southern Shaolin from Fukien. But Higoonna sensei manifested enough of those core skills (IT) that what he did was different than the Japanese karate that the Chinese folks had previously seen.

Where I perhaps disagree with Mike (perhaps, I'm not sure) is that aikido as aikido has its own value. As does each and every martial art. Some may choose to quit training aikido and focus on either another martial art or simply IT training alone. That makes absolute sense. What if you want to stay within aikido and use IT to empower it - just like Ueshiba Morihei did?

Personally, I am training in IT methods to fuel my martial arts practice, be it Araki-ryu, Toda-ha Buko-ryu and even BJJ. All are becoming markedly more powerful, clearly better - without changing the external form in the slightest.

I'm actually working on an essay regarding aiki/IT training alone verses aiki/IT for aikido. Does aikido waza get in the way of training aiki? Can/should be just stop doing aikido waza? What becomes of one's aikido if one actually trains in aiki? Etc. Probably be finished in a few weeks.

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 07-29-2011 at 08:08 PM.

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Old 07-29-2011, 08:08 PM   #61
Mike Sigman
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
2. I agree with you re the photo - the same applies to this one. For most people, that those are the Buddhist sculptures at the entrance of the place of worship or tourism, for Akuzawa Minoru, they embody his endeavor. All I'm saying is that Ueshiba dropped a hint - and would be far more likely to teach someone the skills who actually paid clear attention to such hints. Or, put it another way, if I were studying with Mr. Akuzawa and he one day mused, "That picture of a nio-sama is really something, isn't it."
That picture of the Kongorishiki statues is basically the inhale and the exhale that uses the body for the power of the qi (not necessarily the jin/kokyu). It is, for all intents and purposes, the same inhale and exhale of the breathing exercises that Ueshiba and Tohei taught. All these things are one thing.

Note that the Kongorishiki statues were common in India, China, and Japan. The original god from whom the statue was developed was a Hindu god... yet the statue came via Buddhism. All of these studies of the body are ancient and have been highlighted for thousands of years. The fact that O-Sensei was promulgating the same principles indicates not a uniqueness, but a carrying forward of ancient tradition.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:38 PM   #62
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

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The fact that O-Sensei was promulgating the same principles indicates not a uniqueness, but a carrying forward of ancient tradition.
Yep. What's unique is not aiki: it is aikido.

Or put another way - What is unique is not ice cream. What is unique is Seattle's Molly Moon's salted caramel ice cream. (If some religion ever offers that as a reward in Heaven, I'm converting - oh my God).

Ellis Amdur

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Old 07-29-2011, 08:40 PM   #63
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

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Yep. What's unique is not aiki: it is aikido.

Or put another way - What is unique is not ice cream. What is unique is Seattle's Molly Moon's salted caramel ice cream. (If some religion ever offers that as a reward in Heaven, I'm converting - oh my God).

Ellis Amdur
I am defeated in the reality of your power with words. I bow to you.

M.
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:12 PM   #64
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Hya Eliis

Thanks for taking the time to respond. We are in total agreement on many things for sure. This is not an attack on anything/anyone I'm just trying to show a balanced view through my own experience/ perspective within aikido..only that. I may be wrong...it's very rare that anyone is continously right people often veer to one side of the scale even if they dont mean too.

Quote "I do not agree with you that "internal control" is a better term. First of all, it is yours, an innovation, rather than the traditional language that the Japanese used. (Nairiki, aiki, etc.)"

So what do the words Nairiki, aiki mean? and how could you translate them into English?...do they = power? do they = internal power?
Without a clear definition, everyone can select the best phrase for their own language...what do we aikido people think is the best phrase that people with no understanding... can understand without mental blocks against..lets say negative words/connotations?. To be fair not everyone here is using the word "aiki". Is it even important?

Quote "Secondly, a careful reading of what I just wrote states clearly that aikido IS a multi-faceted jewel, so to speak, and that is why I state that "aiki" alone is not aikido, but without aiki, there is no aikido"

Well there is and has been for sometime...it's just a different kind of aikido...that everyone can do. Is it Ueshiba's aikido...no..that much is clear. That aikido only exists in a few forgotton places these days perhaps. But as you yourself state it takes a certain kind of person/training/fanatism to even approach Ueshibas level. Do some of us try?..sure we do....do most..they probably can't for a whole host of reasons. Hence in a balanced world there is perhaps something for everyone...depending on what your needs are.

It's a great thing that the option/information is there for those that do want to climb to the heavens..so to speak. If you want to fight..then you probably wont be in any aikido...nb..Ueshiba caused damage outside of his dojo did he not?..was he practising his aikido at those times?. At a later date did he look back with regret? ...difficult questions to answer. Are the 10th dans also known to have broken bones etc? there are stages in anyones progress...for sure some will want follow some of those steps. Many will want/try to miss them for the very reasons stated above.

Quote "the moral endeavor of aikido, as well as its waza, requires power, so to speak. To bring someone to the church, you need some electricity (denki) to light up the cross."

what if the church goes to the people?..what is needed there?

Quote " Yes, the people such as Tohei, who went "outside" got "something." But people such as Shirata and Tomiki. Consider Kobayashi Hirokazu in Osaka, for example. His only teacher was Ueshiba, and there are accounts that he was another who had "got it."

Friends/uchi deshi training together?...some with special information from outside?...have you not considered that maybe there was some sharing/talking going on in closed circles when certain people started progressing beyond the norm? Is there anything that stops us thinking that Ueshiba didn't recommend certain people go elsewhere at certain times for more understanding..as Dan appears to do now? He was happy to promote those that did.

Quote "As for Shioda asking questions of Horikawa, that's apparently, that's EXACTLY what he did[/u] - he brought the man to his own dojo and trained with him for two weeks - and one of several things happened. 1) It confirmed for him that Ueshiba taught him the real goods - that would be worth both time and money 2) he filled in one or more missing pieces (that would be worth time and money too) 3) he finally learned aiki, which Ueshiba hadn't taught him (and that would be worth time and money also) (honestly, I doubt the last, because how to explain Tomiki, Shirata and the like, and also and that Tenryu stated that Shioda was the closest to Ueshiba in skill. Now, let us take that last point for a moment though - whether Shioda learned to be closest to Ueshiba through Ueshiba or through Horikawa, he sure didn't look all that much like Ueshiba when he moved. So Tenryu was not talking about how he looked - he was talking about something else - something "internal," perhaps?"

sure...the feeling is unmistakable..it's either there or it's not imho....though soft jujutsu can be veerryyy effective too

Quote "Lee, speaking as someone who trained with two traditional koryu teachers, you are incorrect regarding asking questions of one's teacher. One teacher in particular would take offense, at times, and then I'd ask again and he might get even more irriated - but later, often when intoxicated, he'd explain in detail what I asked. Other students never asked - guess who was taught in more depth? Sure, some traditional teachers in the old days might reply, "Idiot, shut up and train." BUT - were I that student, I would then watch very carefully what the teacher did next. In my experience, the answers were then presented, and when I could show THAT, I was ready to ask another question. The idea being, was I asking a question to fill the air, or did I really want to learn?"

Of course but are your two tradional koryu teachers aikido teachers? perhaps in other koryu there is a basic standard of information/information sharing? in aikido we know there was/is a huge range of ability/understanding....and willingness to share?

5. How about the idea of overcoming your teacher?

The whole Japanese hierarchial system would make that very difficult...those that excelled or exceeded would I feel be compelled/forced to leave. Unless you are training under an exceptional individual....perhaps very developed beyond the physical?

Kindest regards

Lee

Last edited by wxyzabc : 07-29-2011 at 09:15 PM. Reason: dont know how to use the quote function
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:40 PM   #65
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Nai--riki - literally means "internal power." "Ai-ki" = well, here's the question, isn't it? I'm actually in a position to say something here, because Toda-ha Buko-ryu was using the term "aiki" many generations before Daito-ryu. Documented. In the meaning of the school, it mean, "harmonizing/fitting together energy/power." The nuance, however, was power between two players, and was specific to what you were studying in a remarkable configuration of kusarigama vs. naginata.

Takeda's innovation, I think - along with some others of the same period (see writings of E.J. Harrison) was the use of the term to describe harmonizing the forces within oneself (albeit, kiai has long had that meaning). Ueshiba's innovation was to make a moral claim along with this. Hence, his alleged outrage when Tohei, after a night of debauchery demonstrated what Ueshiba believed in his later years was a manifestation of spiritual power and purification (given that he'd long known of these skills among his Daito-ryu peers, I think it is possible that he was in his dotage at this point - in other words, a little senile).

As for Ueshiba Morihei's aikido, I've written that one can attain a level of brilliance without a study of aiki - in other words, consider, within the 2nd generation paradigm, Nishio Shoji. But I have little tolerance for either (and I'm not talking about you here, I'm talking about my own endeavor):
1. "How dare you criticize what I'm doing by pointing out there is more - much more - and that the founder of the art I practice thought so too."
2. That my writing (and other's presentation) about said possibilities is an insult to those people whose interest is less than the pinnacle of the art.

The problem, as far as I'm concerned, when "the church goes to the people" is that it's usually watered down in the process.

Sure, maybe Ueshiba recommended people go "outside." He clearly didn't mind when they did. Terry Dobson started studying with Wang Shu Chin, and the other uchi-deshi were furious - accused him of betraying O-sensei, and so complained to the old man. Ueshiba said, basically, "I don't care." When further berated, Terry replied, "You just want to be Osensei's best deshi. I want to be Osensei."

Finally, the overcoming. Why would a man waste time with a teacher so small that he was threatened when his student became strong? Sure, they exist all over the place. Such father's exist too. I'm proud of the fact that I would never dare get in the ring to spar with my pro-boxer son. I so devoutly hope my students surpass me. But I will set the bar as high as I humanly can. They will have to stretch their sinews to the breaking point to catch me. And fwiw - in my experience, I knew lots of such teachers, in both koryu and in aikido in Japan. The others - the little ones - I didn't and don't even include in my definition of what is fully human.

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Old 07-30-2011, 12:42 AM   #66
Mike Sigman
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Nai--riki - literally means "internal power." "Ai-ki" = well, here's the question, isn't it? I'm actually in a position to say something here, because Toda-ha Buko-ryu was using the term "aiki" many generations before Daito-ryu. Documented. In the meaning of the school, it mean, "harmonizing/fitting together energy/power." The nuance, however, was power between two players, and was specific to what you were studying in a remarkable configuration of kusarigama vs. naginata.
Uh oh... I don't like the way those words are strung together, Ellis.... too coincidentally similar and in a cause-and-effect world I distrust coincidence. Add to that the fact that what we're calling "Aiki" ("He Qi" in Chinese) was known long, long ago in China and there's a good chance that it made it's way to Japan long ago, too. NOT that just because a person studied one of the arts with "Aiki" they'd know what "aiki" really is (how many existing people in Aikido really know?).

What I'm getting at, as one of many possibilities, is that Takeda et al were simply carrying forward something that was honestly known for a long time and the current "histories" simply don't have enough detail to make that clear.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:07 AM   #67
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

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What I'm getting at, as one of many possibilities, is that Takeda et al were simply carrying forward something that was honestly known for a long time and the current "histories" simply don't have enough detail to make that clear.
Mike - I agree. I wrote a book with that point, remember?

What I wrote about Toda-ha Buko-ryu having a patent on the word was tongue-in-cheek - at least in so far as it having imprimature. Just having fun claiming that because the word was used in an older context, it and I must have more validity.

E

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Old 07-30-2011, 01:31 AM   #68
Mike Sigman
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
What I wrote about Toda-ha Buko-ryu having a patent on the word was tongue-in-cheek -
True Toda-ha Buko-ryu does not use tongue-in-cheek because it is not really Aiki.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:19 AM   #69
graham christian
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Re: we need you Szczepan

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
Thats fine, I have no basis to judge your teacher.

Not really, some of his contempories had the same skills didn't they? In particular some of the other students of his teacher.

I'm referring to various warmup exercises, not particular waza. The warmups don't really look like the waza. I'm referring to funakogi undo, that spinning exercise, duck walking etc.

In the karate world, sanchin kata would be another example.

I'm certainly not a superlative martial artist, but I've won tournaments in various martial arts and won a state championship in swimming. These guys could do something which required more than mere athleticism, waza, or size. Akuzawa tossing me 15 feet with only the only visible movement being a pinky finger, while a "parlour trick", couldnt be done with size, strength or timing. I outweigh the guy, tower over him, and he gave me as much time as I wanted to break his pinky finger.

Yep, had hands on with hachidan level martial artists as well in various arts (kendo, iaido, karate etc). They don't move like him, or seem to understand what he was doing. See my comments on another thread about that.

On the otherhand, the people I have met in the IS/IP world do have some similarities in terms of movement, and can replicate the results on uncooperative people.

Many other arts (say judo, BJJ, karate) are considered "martially viable" in competition, yet we hear stories about people who were unable to affect Ueshiba or stories about Sagawa tossing olympic judoka while in his 80s. Aiki apparently overcomes athleticism and technique. Modern aikido apparently can't overcome athleticism and technique.

Well that brings us back to the whole hidden in plain sight thing doesn't it? The fact that people are replicating what was shown in the hombu dojo post war, yet aren't mini Ueshiba's would indicate a flaw in the process.
Hi Hunter.
Thanks for the reply.

May I say that the basic exercises do relate to waza and Aikido.

The failure to see this thus obviously leads to false statements. For example funakogi undo, tai sabake, ikkyo, as warmup exercises. Many don't see the connection but that's because they haven't progressed far enough. That's all. In my experience they haven't been taught the correct why's of those exercises in the first place.

I don't think any of his contemporaries had comparable skill at all. So we'll agree to disagree there.

There have been in the annuls of time many 'internal' ways of overcoming athleticism and size. What's new?

I reckon nearly all past great martial artists got drawn to these things and experimented with them and no doubt found some usage and incorporation for some aspects. Again, what's new about that?

This is the whole reason why I believe people think 'Aha, that's what O'Sensei was doing and hinting at'

I agree that it's normal for people to do this as they haven't explored that area, no different to the whole history of martial arts.

However I differ in respect that I say that is not Aikido or rather that is not O'Senseis Aikido. It can make people see and feel and know there is more to Aikido than they previously thought. That's all good. But that's still way behind what he was doing in my opinion.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:05 PM   #70
Marc Abrams
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

What if the problem that we are exploring is directly related to teaching methodology? If we look at the large number of people who took instruction from Takeda Sensei and then look at the number of people who actually got the "Aiki" skills from him, the number is very, very low. Takeda Sensei was O'Sensei's biggest influence and Aikido clearly came from Daito Ryu.

We have countless interviews of people talking about how difficult it was to understand what O'Sensei was doing and saying. We have such a wide range of "interpretations" on what O'Sensei was saying and doing. Clearly, O'Sensei was a remarkable martial artist who did get what Takeda Sensei was doing. I think that it also quite apparent to say that he was not effective in teaching his knowledge and skill set.

If O'Sensei was waiting for people to ask the "right" questions in order to move forward in their training AND the students were not asking the "right" questions, then at what point did O'Sensei have some responsibility to see to it that the transmission of knowledge did take place?

Put yourself in the position of teaching at a university level (or think back to your experiences with your professors). If a gross majority of the students are not getting the material, it is the fault of the professor for not teaching in an effective manner. Effective teaching methodologies are necessary in order to be successful at teaching information to students.

I think that informed people can agree that O'Sensei did not do a good job in conveying the necessary information that should have been passed on. I think that the same can be said for Takeda Sensei. I think that is why people are struggling mightily to "rediscover" the "Aiki" and put it back in it's rightful place in Aikido. To me, we face two big challenges. One, is to put the "Aiki" back into Aikido so that it more accurately represents that what was being done by O'Sensei. Second, and more important, is that we need to develop more effective teaching methodologies that are successful in teaching Aikido (after the Aiki has been put back in).

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:52 PM   #71
jester
 
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
On page 45 of HIPS, there is a picture of Hisa Takuma doing a dramatic version of the same thing.
Found the answer, never mind!

-

Last edited by jester : 07-30-2011 at 05:56 PM.

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Old 07-30-2011, 06:07 PM   #72
graham christian
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Teaching method. Ah, a valid point. Sounds reasonable.

First I think it's necessary to understand why a person would teach in such a way. As yet I have failed to see many who understand.

It seems so logical to say that a teacher should explain in such a way that the majority get it or should structure it in such a way.

in fact that's the basic premise of schooling and the education system is it not?

So back to why a person would teach in such a way.

To find the answer we must first stop putting down the teacher and assume such a teacher had a valid reason. Then and only then can we investigate from a different starting view.

Most reasons I see given are from a 'paranoid' view, a negative view ie: That the teacher was hiding something or keeping things secret etc. In other words they are saying he was a con man and thereafter go on a mission to find the secrets.

Now if you start from the view he was a compassionate sharing person, an enlightened person then you would have to face up to the fact that he would have a different problem in teaching.

How to get students who are so used to thinking in a certain way to see yet alone believe what you are constantly saying.

For you would see one major factor that most wouldn't want to confront. Time.

From where they are currently at to where they want to be.

When you tell them about love they run a mile or see no connection to martial arts. Oh dear, more time.

So where does this happen in the past?

Well we would have to look for enlightened individuals who spoke of love and compassion and universal harmony and such things and then see the problems they had in getting others to understand and apply those things.

Take Buddha or Jesus or Ghandi or Martin luther King or whoever and you will see lots taking to what was said but when it comes to following what was said is a different story. Thus you gey buddhists and christians and whoever fighting and killing in the name of that religion and person who in fact said the opposite. Even rules were put down to follow.

Thus a teacher may have to wait until he finds some who understand for one person who can understand or have a chance of understanding is better than a thousand numb-sculls who will just revert to the old ways.

One quality motion is worth a thousand 'correct' techniques.

One quality is worth a million qantity.

Regards.G.
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Old 07-30-2011, 07:05 PM   #73
Aikibu
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Been gone a while and now I am back YAY! All I can say is any discussion thread with Ellis is one I always read.

Thanks Sensei!

William Hazen
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:19 PM   #74
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
What if the problem that we are exploring is directly related to teaching methodology? If we look at the large number of people who took instruction from Takeda Sensei and then look at the number of people who actually got the "Aiki" skills from him, the number is very, very low...

We have countless interviews of people talking about how difficult it was to understand what O'Sensei was doing and saying... I think that it also quite apparent to say that he was not effective in teaching his knowledge and skill set.
Hi Marc -

You are assuming that both Takeda and O Sensei were trying to transmit their skill sets and that they failed in a large part because they were not very effective teachers. Is it not possible that they both had no intention of spoon feeding their students the information, preferring instead to provide only hints and sign posts and let those students who were able find their own ways?

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
If O'Sensei was waiting for people to ask the "right" questions in order to move forward in their training AND the students were not asking the "right" questions, then at what point did O'Sensei have some responsibility to see to it that the transmission of knowledge did take place?
Good question. Doesn't the answer depend on the nature of the "contract" entered into by both student and teacher?

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Put yourself in the position of teaching at a university level (or think back to your experiences with your professors). If a gross majority of the students are not getting the material, it is the fault of the professor for not teaching in an effective manner. Effective teaching methodologies are necessary in order to be successful at teaching information to students.
Apples and oranges comparison unless students expectations and teachers goals coincide. That is, did Takeda and O Sensei have the same goals as your average college professor and did their students have the same expectations as a typical college student?

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I think that is why people are struggling mightily to "rediscover" the "Aiki" and put it back in it's rightful place in Aikido.
Which may turn out to be the point of the whole exercise. The students of Takeda and O Sensei struggled to get "it" and apparently were not given the whole ball of wax on purpose. Is it possible that there is value and something profound to be learned from the struggle after all?

Just wondering.

Ron

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Old 07-30-2011, 09:27 PM   #75
David Orange
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Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
What if the problem that we are exploring is directly related to teaching methodology? If we look at the large number of people who took instruction from Takeda Sensei and then look at the number of people who actually got the "Aiki" skills from him, the number is very, very low. Takeda Sensei was O'Sensei's biggest influence and Aikido clearly came from Daito Ryu.
Well put, Marc.

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
We have countless interviews of people talking about how difficult it was to understand what O'Sensei was doing and saying. We have such a wide range of "interpretations" on what O'Sensei was saying and doing. Clearly, O'Sensei was a remarkable martial artist who did get what Takeda Sensei was doing. I think that it also quite apparent to say that he was not effective in teaching his knowledge and skill set.
Unless his aim was not to disseminate this knowledge widely. I can appreciate the perspective that it only passes to a deeply perceptive type of person even though that means that I would never have glimpsed this way at all. I saw all the waza at Mochizuki Sensei's dojo and even felt really strange power from time to time, I came away without a hint of the source of that power except that it would be achieved through Herculean (or Ueshiban) labor at the techniques of the visible art. When the samurai knew a secret, they really kept it secret...Hidden in Plain Sight, Indeed.

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
If O'Sensei was waiting for people to ask the "right" questions in order to move forward in their training AND the students were not asking the "right" questions, then at what point did O'Sensei have some responsibility to see to it that the transmission of knowledge did take place?
I think that under samurai heritage, he had no such responsibility. I usually felt the "strange power" mostly from Murai Sensei, who was the tiniest person at the yoseikan and trained with Ueshiba and Mochizuki at the old-days yoseikan. He used to laugh at me all the time and I really loved to train with him. But he was just a fantastic polishing of the type of thing that some other very small people around there had. I could only understand it as waza and now I hit the wall where waza was concerned. I saw the edge of the universe, where waza runs out against the inevitable decline of athleticism, and I had nothing to fall back on. I think the samurai ethic was to have compassion for me by accepting me as I was, not subtle enough to perceive the underlying power....and therefore not needing it for the particular problem I was working out.

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Put yourself in the position of teaching at a university level (or think back to your experiences with your professors). If a gross majority of the students are not getting the material, it is the fault of the professor for not teaching in an effective manner. Effective teaching methodologies are necessary in order to be successful at teaching information to students.
Well, now I'm thinking that Morihei didn't intend to teach the core to everyone. He taught the very few who could perceive and seize it without being told that it was there. The rest got waza and an "art" that represents the secret like a Bob Ross painting represents a snow-covered mountain where a nice little tree lives, or a beach where the sun shines through a breaking wave, just so...nice forms and images, but formulaic and imagistic....finally unreal....

So what Morihei left was not an art, but a mystery. And it looks like, these days, the mystery has begun to absorb more and more people: how could Morihei have developed his strange power when the art based on his living ability does not produce that power in many...maybe any....who train in it...

So is there maybe something deeper that has been left out of the "art"?

I believed for a long time that the whole answer was that the "art" was taught backward, from the waza to the the self. And now I see that that is true, but some of the waza don't even lend themselves to every person. And meanwhile...there is some non-waza teaching, based on some specific principles and skills that Ueshiba demonstrated....coming available from the Chinese side through Mike Sigman as well as from daito ryu through Dan Harden and dr/koryu from Minoru Akuzawa (Ark).

So after all the beating I have taken...I decided to check these guys out. The beginning of wisdom.

I guess the old saying is "when the student is ready, the teacher presents himself." And the subject matter comes with the teacher.

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I think that informed people can agree that O'Sensei did not do a good job in conveying the necessary information that should have been passed on.
Certainly, he didn't explicitly pass on all the information he could have, but I think he realized that not everyone should be privy to that kind of power. Maybe it was his experience with the Imperial Naval Academy that made him realize that maybe some people should never find out just how much power you can generate inside the self.

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I think that the same can be said for Takeda Sensei.
And I think he saw even more than Ueshiba that some people must never be allowed to understand certain types of power. And I think he passed the essence only to certain people he really loved. I think this comes from his experience of childhood abuse at the hands of his father and that that extremity was fed by his experience on battlefields as a child and in real sword fights as a young man. They really could not afford to let anyone understand what they were doing in those days.

But what he did teach was "mystery": that there was something there that waza did not account for.

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I think that is why people are struggling mightily to "rediscover" the "Aiki" and put it back in it's rightful place in Aikido.
Which means that Morihei and Sokaku were actually fantastic teachers. They left this shell of an "art" of people imitating their movement, which would leave the next generation wondering "What was the difference?" "What is the missing element?"

Of course, only really sharp thinkers like Ellis, Mike and Dan dug this without someone spoon-feeding it to them. I have benefitted from their near spoon-feeding to the readers of aikiweb and other forums for the past six or seven years that I've been paying attention to them.

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
To me, we face two big challenges. One, is to put the "Aiki" back into Aikido so that it more accurately represents that what was being done by O'Sensei. Second, and more important, is that we need to develop more effective teaching methodologies that are successful in teaching Aikido (after the Aiki has been put back in).
I guess that's true. I'm constantly drafting outlines of my evolving understanding of IP, but more than making a teaching method for others, I just want to take hold of aiki for myself and fully experience it. Maybe I need more spoon-feeding....or maybe I need to become more subtle....

My current position in life seems to favor becoming more subtle.

Thanks for your help in that.

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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