Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-30-2011, 11:05 PM   #76
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
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.
I dunno.... I think the biggest impediment to beginning internal strength is learning to move in a way that is not intuitive, a way that is different from the way you have moved all of your life.

And say that someone gets some basic jin.... from there on, without a good teacher of someone showing the way, they tend to stop at different levels of controls and results. There are a lot of people on this forum that are doing a number of different things that they're calling jin/kokyu. That's why the topic needs to be so thoroughly explored at first. Anyone who can't do basic jin/kokyu well or purely cannot logically be doing techniques with 'internal strength'. They wind up doing 'muscle jin'. Strong, but ot really internal strength. There's a lot to internal strength.... if the basics aren't done correctly then the high spots (which have never been discussed on this forum) can't be reached.

So what it all boils back down to that question I often ask about how much of the total Takeda or Ueshiba knew .... how much they knew has an effect on what got transmitted downhill and also exactly how the art is defined in terms of body skills.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2011, 11:27 PM   #77
Budd
 
Budd's Avatar
Dojo: Taikyoku Budo
Location: Williamsville, NY
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 931
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
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.
I'll be very interested to read this - especially given that I've spent over a year mostly working on just aiki/IT training while being a tourist at various gyms/schools (MMA/fencing/BJJ) and taking a sabbatical from aiki-do training other than to work on your fundamental vectors/shapes (ikkyoku through gokyoku) as part of my basic means for expressing aiki.

At this point I'm sort of interested in doing aiki-do again, whether it means I start my own study group or go hide amongst some other school, I'm not sure, yet. But I'm leaning towards the former.

Anyways, looking forward to the essay.

Best/Budd
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 09:35 AM   #78
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Well put, Marc.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
David:

I understand the mindset of the teachers from that time period and could appreciate that position as reflective of an integral part of that time period. However, there were some notable changes that put the "old ways" to the test.

Traditional martial teachings were done on a much, much smaller scale and typically within one community. It was almost like a re-created family system where the "children" spent a substantial part of any day with the "parent" learning all sorts of lessons. there were oaths and secret teachings that only certain people seem to get.

Takeda Sensei traveled most of the time, teaching from one place to the next, while teaching a very large number of people things. This situation was a game-changer in my mind that made the old teaching paradigm not really effective. Add to that Sagawa Sensei's message in the book "Transparent Power" about hiding the "Aiki" teachings.

O'Sensei allowed (or his son- depending upon who you speak to) the teaching of Aikido to reach an international audience. It seems to me that O'Sensei's teaching style was not that different than that of his teachers. This would them compound the transmission problems.

The deshi and later, junior instructors, seemed to work very, very hard at trying to learn what O'Sensei was doing. These were a bunch of very, very intense, motivated, hard-working people who really wanted to learn. If so few of them seemed to get a "majority" of the teaching, then this model is destined for failure as the teaching of Aikido expands throughout the world.

We all work very hard at trying to get what we can from our teachers. We all struggle hard at trying to discover how to get the "goods." None of us want or expect to be spoon-fed the "stuff." However, I think that if we step back and look at the large scale model of Aikido today, we should be forced to find a better way to learn and teach Aikido. I do not think that the percentages of the people who actually get most/all of the "stuff" will change greatly. Statistics rarely lie (only the people who use them do that). We should be trying to fix the part of the transmission model that does not work on the scale that Aikido does today, while preserving those aspects that are beneficial.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 11:19 AM   #79
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
David:

I understand the mindset of the teachers from that time period and could appreciate that position as reflective of an integral part of that time period. However, there were some notable changes that put the "old ways" to the test.

Traditional martial teachings were done on a much, much smaller scale and typically within one community. It was almost like a re-created family system where the "children" spent a substantial part of any day with the "parent" learning all sorts of lessons. there were oaths and secret teachings that only certain people seem to get.

Takeda Sensei traveled most of the time, teaching from one place to the next, while teaching a very large number of people things. This situation was a game-changer in my mind that made the old teaching paradigm not really effective. Add to that Sagawa Sensei's message in the book "Transparent Power" about hiding the "Aiki" teachings.

O'Sensei allowed (or his son- depending upon who you speak to) the teaching of Aikido to reach an international audience. It seems to me that O'Sensei's teaching style was not that different than that of his teachers. This would them compound the transmission problems.

The deshi and later, junior instructors, seemed to work very, very hard at trying to learn what O'Sensei was doing. These were a bunch of very, very intense, motivated, hard-working people who really wanted to learn. If so few of them seemed to get a "majority" of the teaching, then this model is destined for failure as the teaching of Aikido expands throughout the world.

We all work very hard at trying to get what we can from our teachers. We all struggle hard at trying to discover how to get the "goods." None of us want or expect to be spoon-fed the "stuff." However, I think that if we step back and look at the large scale model of Aikido today, we should be forced to find a better way to learn and teach Aikido. I do not think that the percentages of the people who actually get most/all of the "stuff" will change greatly. Statistics rarely lie (only the people who use them do that). We should be trying to fix the part of the transmission model that does not work on the scale that Aikido does today, while preserving those aspects that are beneficial.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
Hi Marc,
If we look at some historical information, a few things sort of stand out as peculiar.

First, Takeda taught several people aiki. Most notably:
Taiso and Horikawa Kodo
Nenokichi and Yukiyoshi Sagawa
Yoshida Kotaro
Morihei Ueshiba
Takuma Hisa

Takeda had a verified teaching ability and had verified students who "got" aiki. I don't much care how many he taught. If he produced one student, that can be an exception, but to produce at least 7 means he had a definite teaching style or syllabus for transmitting aiki.

Then, we read this little gem from Transparent Power by Tatsuo Kimura.

"The elder Sagawa, who sometimes had a fiery temper, would take what he learned from Takeda and try it out on strong and mean-looking construction workers he came across. He quickly realized that if you lacked the sort of aiki that Sokaku Takeda possessed, none of the techniques would work against a persistent opponent. So Sagawa's father said to Takeda, "I'm already so old, I think it would be better if you'd teach me Aiki instead of techniques."

This is most likely *before* Takeda started training Ueshiba. Takeda had already split his teaching into two groups: techniques and aiki. He had a teaching methodology for both. He had a methodology for teaching aiki that could definitely be passed down to his students because ...

Sagawa created Kimura
Kodo created Okamoto and another.
Ueshiba gave something to Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata, etc.

The one, critical problem with Ueshiba versus the rest of his peers is Ueshiba's spirituality. He hid all this "hidden in plain sight" stuff in esoteric terms most of the time. So much so that his students naturally ignored him when he was talking.

Robert Frager notes, I puzzled over statements like, "When you practice Aikido, you stand on the floating bridge between heaven and earth," and "Put the Shinto Goddess 'She-who-invites' in your left foot and the God 'He-who-approaches' in your right foot."

Mochizuki goes on to say that Ueshiba wouldn't explain but would rather say it came from God.

Yada yada yada...

And you have to remember that Sokaku Takeda was the mother of all badness. These were his students, not his peers. So when Takeda said don't teach the secret of aiki but to one or two, those students listened.

If Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba had wanted to, they could have created as many students of aiki as they wanted. Takeda created at least 7. 7 people went through training, sometimes alone, sometimes together, and they knew the teaching methodology. I believe they knew what to teach and how to teach to create aiki.

But, we're getting off topic here ...
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 04:00 PM   #80
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Hi Marc,
If we look at some historical information, a few things sort of stand out as peculiar.

First, Takeda taught several people aiki. Most notably:
Taiso and Horikawa Kodo
Nenokichi and Yukiyoshi Sagawa
Yoshida Kotaro
Morihei Ueshiba
Takuma Hisa

Takeda had a verified teaching ability and had verified students who "got" aiki. I don't much care how many he taught. If he produced one student, that can be an exception, but to produce at least 7 means he had a definite teaching style or syllabus for transmitting aiki.

Then, we read this little gem from Transparent Power by Tatsuo Kimura.

"The elder Sagawa, who sometimes had a fiery temper, would take what he learned from Takeda and try it out on strong and mean-looking construction workers he came across. He quickly realized that if you lacked the sort of aiki that Sokaku Takeda possessed, none of the techniques would work against a persistent opponent. So Sagawa's father said to Takeda, "I'm already so old, I think it would be better if you'd teach me Aiki instead of techniques."

This is most likely *before* Takeda started training Ueshiba. Takeda had already split his teaching into two groups: techniques and aiki. He had a teaching methodology for both. He had a methodology for teaching aiki that could definitely be passed down to his students because ...

Sagawa created Kimura
Kodo created Okamoto and another.
Ueshiba gave something to Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata, etc.

The one, critical problem with Ueshiba versus the rest of his peers is Ueshiba's spirituality. He hid all this "hidden in plain sight" stuff in esoteric terms most of the time. So much so that his students naturally ignored him when he was talking.

Robert Frager notes, I puzzled over statements like, "When you practice Aikido, you stand on the floating bridge between heaven and earth," and "Put the Shinto Goddess 'She-who-invites' in your left foot and the God 'He-who-approaches' in your right foot."

Mochizuki goes on to say that Ueshiba wouldn't explain but would rather say it came from God.

Yada yada yada...

And you have to remember that Sokaku Takeda was the mother of all badness. These were his students, not his peers. So when Takeda said don't teach the secret of aiki but to one or two, those students listened.

If Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba had wanted to, they could have created as many students of aiki as they wanted. Takeda created at least 7. 7 people went through training, sometimes alone, sometimes together, and they knew the teaching methodology. I believe they knew what to teach and how to teach to create aiki.

But, we're getting off topic here ...
Mark:

I do not consider this off topic at all. With all of the people that Takeda Sensei taught, he only gave "Aiki" to 7 people! If Sagawa, Kodo and Ueshiba Sensei wanted to create as many aiki students as they wanted to and did not do, then why? If Aikido was suppose to be spread to the world with "Aiki" missing then why?

I tend to take a more benign explanation of them being "stuck" within a teaching style and paradigm that did not bode well for large scale dissemination of the the core of the art. I would be curious to hear Ellis Amdur's take on this.

Marc Abrams
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 04:30 PM   #81
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 815
Offline
Regarding Pedagogy - Takeda Sokaku

Takeda Sokaku - well, we have to start with Takeda Sokaku's character: the profoundly impaired ability to attach, and further, to "settle." He did not keep on the move to "feed his family." Tokimune's own account describes long periods where he sent no money home, not even a letter. Takeda was simultaneously something "new," in the way he taught, but also something profoundly old - the koryu-type sensitivity to revealing secrets. (By the way, one other person not mentioned much is Takeda Sue, his wife, who was teaching DR along with Ueshiba at the Omoto headquarters). It is my guess that Takeda truly welcomed the students who "found it out" (otherwise, he would have cut off relations with Sagawa and Horikawa, for example - and note that he tried to stay connected with Ueshiba, dispatching Sagawa, I believe, to check on his well-being after the 2nd Omoto incident) - but his paranoia also engendered internal recoil as well. That story of his backed against a way, demanding that Mochizuki drink the tea first was not, I believe, posturing. He truly lived that way. This would, I believe, make him truly reluctant to explicitly teach aiki, although he was quite willing to teach jujutsu.

Note that he did settle, so to speak, to a considerable degree with Horikawa Kodo - they apparently had an ease of relationship that we don't get a sense of re some of the other big names. I think he gave Horikawa almost a decade of instruction.

I think a final component has to do with my thesis that Takeda was, at minimum, chuko no so, a "refounder" of the older principles that he received either by means of the history I describe in HIPS, chapter 2, or some other means. This knowledge was so hard-won, so that, at least in the circles he travelled, he was pretty much the only one left with such skills. I can well understand the reluctance to simply hand this over, as if to say, it isn't worth anything unless you've sweated blood for it.
Quote:
BTW, an alternative read of Ueshiba's outrage at Tohei doing ki-tricks after a night on the town - perhaps it wasn't so simplistic as Ueshiba being a naive religious nut who forgot how he learned such skills. Rather, if Ueshiba had "converted" such training as part of his spiritual expression, perhaps his fury was that it came too easy and cheap to Tohei - and that he had cheapened it as mere "tricks."
Speaking personally, I have actually had an internal struggle myself when I've discovered a principle within my own koryu - when I show it and a student or associate doesn't pick it up, my first impulse, right or wrong, is a kind of anger that they want to be spoon-fed. In my own training, where one of my teachers was very parsimonious with instruction, and the other simply didn't explain a lot of things, I DID steal things - and the particular process enabled me to learn in a different fashion. I learned all the way down to "mid-brain" - a pseudo-instinct. Because of that, I can, for example, pick up any object and know how to move with it in a Toda-ha Buko-ryu or an Araki-ryu context. I know immediately the "capabilities" of the object as a weapon. It's in my bones, so to speak. In this context, it may well be that Takeda Sokaku understood very well what he was doing - that the only way to achieve superlative skills was a kind of internal alchemy (and if you've ever read texts on European alchemy - the "work" both being primitive chemistry and an allegorical study on spiritual development - the images that are frequently used are torturous.).

  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 05:02 PM   #82
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 815
Offline
Pedagogy - the Next Generation

As I wrote in Dueling with Osensei, Hong Yi Hsiang (very powerful teacher in Taiwan) said to me words to the effect of, "Be careful who you study with, because who he is will stick to you (will become you). I can definitely testify to this in my own training history - at least in so far as involvement with teachers with whom I was a deshi. I think that it is indisputable that Takeda's personality imbues the "aiki" arts, blending, if you will, with the character of the person.

Sagawa Yukiyoshi - I asked Stan Pranin if, having met Sagawa and being truly impressed with him even at his advanced age, if he wished he could have studied with him. He exclaimed something to the effect of, "No. He was a horribly unpleasant man." In Kimura's account as well as Masuda's, he does come off as both harsh and self-preoccupied (this may be a component of how he got so good). By Sagawa's own account, he did steal techniques (interesting that his father is alleged to have learned aiki, so Takeda, too, may have taught differently at different periods). Takeda's suspicion dovetailed well with Sagawa's arrogance and selfishness as well. He simply did not teach the "real" goods until the last years of his life. And forgive me if I am wrong, but the other students - not Kimura - who have posted on YouTube - do not display that they learned something of substance. Perhaps it's an IHTBF issue - but I've been disappointed. At any rate, Sagawa's pedagogy was nil - until his last years. At the same time, in Transparent Power, Kimura does name other members of the group with respect.

By the way, I've seen a continuation in that selfishness in that group: a) Takahashi refused to allow his book on Sagawa translated, when I contacted the publisher, saying that information wasn't for non-Japanese b) a non-Japanese, a member of a group of a student of Sagawa, lied to me about the most trivial aspect of Sagawa's history (that he had a menkyo in Araki-ryu, details of which I was curious). That fact is in print, with a copy of the ceritificate in a book! But he liked, rather that, thereby, allowing me a "pretext" for direct contact with his teacher.

Ueshiba - REmember that Ueshiba was already very religiously focused pre-war as well. But he apparently taught more explicitly. Remember the mountain gasshiku that Tenryu describes, where Ueshiba taught explicitly such skills. Several of the "remarkable" pre-war shihan describe Ueshiba announcing to them that he was - on an individual basis - going to teach that person the "skills." In this sense, Ueshiba could be considered liberal in how much he taught, not stingy.

BUT - Let's say he did. Did the person learn them? Did he or she put in the time? (One could ask Mike Sigman or Dan Harden or Akuzawa Minoru or x, y or z, how many of the people that they have explicitly taught information to learned at a level that would be expected if they really practiced hard).

I do believe that Ueshiba, too, was affected by Takeda's teachings - not that he was paranoid, but that he was very close with what he would teach. These men were of a period where it was explicitly taught, "isshin denshin," which means, in effect, one person direct transmission. TEaching more openly the gokui would feel very strange, that old adage that "knowledge shared is power lost"

Finally, if Ueshiba considered aiki to be part of his spiritual endeavor, then anyone learning it, I imagine, should, in his mind, follow his path. So I do think he left hint after hint - and some of his students picked up some or a lot, but he may have made it too difficult, because the aiki was subsumed into this larger endeavor.

Horikawa - Horikawa seems, by account,the most well-rounded of the "big three," a high - school principle, married for many decades, content to live in his hometown. What little I've been told about his teaching style, however, is that he, too, limited whom he taught and how much he taught - and this is definitely continued within the Kodokai. On one level, this could mean that he - and his fellows - considered ALL of DR to be important, not just the aiki. They were not doing aikijutsu(TM), they were doing Daito-ryu aikijutsu, and this required the kata, the jujutsu, the reigi, the community, the dojo, all of it. So the conservatism may have simply been that this is how one learned Daito-ryu. In other words, one went in the door to learn Daito-ryu, not "aiki."

Hisa Takuma - clear step-by-step pedagogy, so codified that they tried out that of Takeda Tokimune, and returned to their own Soden. Yet, I must ask. Are Hisa and his successors believe to have learned aiki? (I have heard hearsay from students of the Takuma-kai which suggest not). No disrespect. I do think it is a fair and open question if those skills were and are part of that school.

Apologies if this is all somewhat inchoate, but I think we can view several factors in the pedagogy:
1. A tried-and-true tradition in which only a very few will ever be taught (koryu focus which these guys subscribed, even if they broke the mold somewhat in what and how they taught)
2. A tried-and-true tradition that the only way to learn is to set up the "steal this technique" situation. One learns skills in a different way when taught this way, because one has to struggle so intensively to figure it out.
3. A grasping paranoia (or more mundanely, an extreme wariness), which imbues the Daito-ryu arts and it's off-shoots to this day, in which the teachers view the students as "stealing and keeping" the secrets.
4. Normal human stuff - one has something special and doesn't want to give it up, particularly if that special thing you have is the main reason people hang around you.

Just some thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.
Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 07-31-2011 at 05:13 PM.

  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 07:05 PM   #83
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Regarding Pedagogy - Takeda Sokaku

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
[u]I think a final component has to do with my thesis that Takeda was, at minimum, chuko no so, a "refounder" of the older principles that he received either by means of the history I describe in HIPS, chapter 2, or some other means. This knowledge was so hard-won, so that, at least in the circles he travelled, he was pretty much the only one left with such skills.
Hi Ellis:

You're speculating, but so am I..... I actually think there were various circles of people/teachers/practitioners who were in the know on these things. If nothing else, I can think of the anecdote where Ueshiba would go to various dojos and exclaim that he knew how the Sensei, etc., did something. What I think has been missing has been (1.) written indicators that these things were done (it would be a no-no to write about these skills) and (2.) what written indicators there were were missed by translators, historians, and so on.

Think about E.J. Harrison's acquaintance Nobuyuki Kunishige.... if you read the book there seems to be an indication that Kunishige was revealing something to Harrison that was there in the background but not often revealed to foreigners, etc. In other words, I think this "it was there, not spoken of much, and certainly not shown to foreigners" is more what happened with Takeda et al, and not so much that Takeda had semi-unique knowledge.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 07:22 PM   #84
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Then again, how many of Takeda Sokaku's disciples are generally believed to have gotten to a superlative level? Assuming that some quietly learned and kept to themselves, are there, perhaps, ten? As for Ueshiba K., I took ukemi for him a number of times, and although he has an admirable precision of technique (he could hit a waki-gatame like a machine), I never experienced anything that would lead me to believe that he "got" what his father was reputed to have had. Then again, perhaps he was hiding it . . .
He may have been hiding it. An American Sensei I was under once told me a story many years ago. He was a person who once lived in Japan and went to the Aikikai Hombu dojo to see if the art worked so he wouldn't waste his time in Aikido if it wasn't real. He actively resisted the shihans in every class he took when he was called for ukemi. He told me that he was able to stop almost all the shihans at one time or another. He quickly gained a reputation for being a trouble maker. He told me that he was able to stop one famous shihan and that the person was so upset, that he kicked him out of the class and publicly said to the whole class that "no one was to train with this foreigner!"

One day though, he said that he was in Kisshomaru Ueshiba's class and that Kisshomaru called him for ukemi. He said that as he approached him, he said to himself, " I'm going to break this little old man in half!" When he attacked, he said that Kisshomaru Sensei took him down and that he didn't know what he did but that the pin felt like someone had placed a car on top of him. He was trying to rise was was helplessly pinned and was having trouble breathing. As I remember this Sensei, he was in fact, extremely athletic and very strong and was really knuckle headed enough to try something like that. I for one believed him and since then, I have always believed Kisshomaru Doshu may have known something he didn't use gratuitously.
Best,
Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 07:36 PM   #85
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Ellis:

Very cogent and precise comments! They still raises questions (maybe impossible to answer) regarding teaching pedology in context to the larger goals.

The Koryu (s) that you represent are based upon a very close-knit model of student-teacher relationship, based upon a very strict passing on of not only technique and principle, but they are embedded within the culture milieu with which they arose. How successful would that teaching model be it it were to be treated like a gendai budo?

Aikido spread very quickly, on a large scale, by people who were struggling in their own right to try and understand what their teacher was doing. Then their students opened school and tried to pass on what they knew while they were still trying to grasp what their teachers were doing......

You asked the important question to Mike, Dan, and Akuzawa in regards to how many of their students are working as hard as they are to try and get their stuff. The bell-shaped curve (in statistics) seems to always remain robust...... That is why I raised the issue in regards to teaching methodology. Based on such a wide level of exposure, based upon the reality contained within the bell-shaped curve, there is an added importance in developing a teaching methodology that is more effective in helping to transmit information so that it does not become lost in the "times of sand." There will always be just a small percentage of people who are willing to rise to to level of "really getting it." It seems to me the in order to not permanently "lose" important components within an art, there needs to be the meeting of three components. One, the teacher who is willing and able to fully transmit knowledge. Two, enough students so that there will be the very few that are willing to commit to fully learning. Three, the meeting of points one and two.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 07:43 PM   #86
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
England
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

How about do YOU hide things from certain students and if so when and why?

How about do you not show certain things and if so when and why?

How about some introspection?

How about if you knew and were a master at let's say pressure points and the deadly effects of using such, would you teach such to the majority who are looking to harm and disable opponents?

Who would you teach such things to and when?

How about when they are ready to ACTUALLY understand what I'm saying they will understand what to ask?

Arrogance blames others for not learning. Arrogance blames teachers for not teaching. Humility learns and there's no such thing as stealing.

Regards.G.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 07:44 PM   #87
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
You asked the important question to Mike, Dan, and Akuzawa in regards to how many of their students are working as hard as they are to try and get their stuff. The bell-shaped curve (in statistics) seems to always remain robust...... That is why I raised the issue in regards to teaching methodology.
I don't know about this continued shibboleth of Mike, Dan, Akuzawa, Ikeda, Ushiro, and so on. In my view there is some crossover of basic jin skills (how much, undeterminable), but other than that these things people are teaching are very different.

The question of difficulty starts at simple jin... that's the first hurdle and that's where so many people flounder. Then comes the teaching approach (if any.... some people simply stop at jin/kokyu) for the qi-proper development, hara, and so on. The constant equation of everyone doing the same thing is, IMO, confusing for beginners so it should be avoided. Maybe if the topic is a bit more specific than what a supposed number of people are all doing at the same time?

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 07-31-2011 at 07:53 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 07:47 PM   #88
gregstec
Dojo: Aiki Kurabu
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,110
United_States
Offline
Re: Pedagogy - the Next Generation

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post

Just some thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.
Ellis Amdur
Gee, Ellis, most folks on a Sunday afternoon take a nap or kick back at the pool or beach with a few cold ones - but you sit there and ponder up gems like the above for us poor confused folks to contemplate over the next few days - have you considered getting therapy for this apparent affliction and/or addiction

On a serious note, great stuff as usual - keep it coming !

Best

Greg
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 07:48 PM   #89
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 815
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Jorge - I really hope that was/is true. Seriously! That would be wonderful, the modesty that that would require, NOT decking all the shihan who treated him, often, with little respect, in the service of a new vision.

(That, by the way, is what Oba sensei said of Tomiki - that he could do aiki - remarkable things - but disliked showing them because they countered his vision of a budo for the common man, who didn't have an entire lifetime to learn such things).

Mike - I agree with you. AND - Takeda was apparently considered remarkable even those circles as well, and this is based on who enrolled to study with him. That said, yes, I recently got a letter from a fellow training in a koryu, in reply to my asking about IT in the ryu and he said that they do not have that kind of study BUT, one old man, 90 years told him, 'this is the way we do things now, but in Meiji and Taisho, they did it this way . . . " and showed breathing methods no longer done.

Yes, I believe it was rife at one point (first chapter of HIPS) - but it truly had almost been abandoned by 1900, thanks in part to the ascendency of judo (and kendo). Think how much more rare they would have been when Ueshiba hit the big time in the late 1920's. (Which leads to a reference to that absolutely hilarious post on the judo forum - can't find it now - where a judo scholar was discussing how the Saigo Shiro tales cannot be found in any written reference until Ueshiba hit Tokyo, the writer speculating that Ueshiba was a like a zombie risen from the grave, showing some of those legendary skills that USED to be in Kito-ryu and Tenshin Shinyo-ryu, and the judo politicians had to say, "we've always had them too."

BTW - Ueshiba was actually saying something different - "In Aiki, we do it this way," contrasting his skills with what was being presented.

Mike - just caught your last note. Don't get me side-tracked. I wasn't saying each is teaching the "same thing" (other than the other shibboleth that there is just one baseline set of skills at the root of all of this stuff). I was simply saying that each teacher who is presenting a set of not commonly known training methods to achieve certain effects that THEY can do - how many of their students have learned - can do what the teacher can do? And is that merely a fault of pedagogy, or even in the relatively open way it's being taught - few learn it, either due to lack of talent, or more likely, lack of mileage. Tohei, in an interview compared Japanese and American students, saying the Japanese don't ask any questions, and will simply repeat what they are taught, 1000's of times. And if they learned it wrong, they'll just repeat the mistake until the end of time. Of Americans, he said that they will ask 1000's of questions, then nod, do it once or twice, and then say, "got it" and sit down. Over-generalizations, to be sure, but subtract out the ethnicities, and you do have two very likely reasons that the students don't catch the teacher, even when taught clearly.

Best
Ellis

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 07-31-2011 at 07:56 PM.

  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 07:48 PM   #90
JW
 
JW's Avatar
Location: San Francisco CA USA
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 510
Offline
too many cooks = bad

I don't think Ueshiba wanted too many cooks in the kitchen. He didn't teach to many, and here's what he got:

A worldwide phenomenon that bows daily to both his visage and his cause. They are inspired by the beauty of the images (David O.'s term regarding waza) they have been given. They look to those who can excel at neutralizing violence with admiration and devotion. The population of aikidoka has grown at a dramatic rate. They have built a culture more or less centered on the ideals that he espoused, and are together in an endless journey, paying tribute to him and his works every day.

Sounds great. (Especially from the spiritual point of view where his spirit is fed by the energies of his followers... through us, he lives forever.)

There's a fine line: no more people with skills like him, and the movement will dissolve and fade over time, as people stop believing in it. Too many people like him, and the movement fractures and people forget about him and his cause, instead following all these other greats. No more unified family.

What is best from Ueshiba's point of view? A bunch of people who really believe and really try, but still all end up being together in skill level. The bigger this culture of people grows, the better, and the longer it lasts, the better. The more inspired they are the better. So, rare gems every few decades is best, to keep it alive yet unified.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 07:51 PM   #91
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
How about do YOU hide things from certain students and if so when and why?
If somebody already knows all the answers, is "already doing that", "did it with Tohei", and so on, why impose yourself and show them anything? "Hide" probably has too much of an emotional index. "Not showing them what they already purport to know" might be better.

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 08:00 PM   #92
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mike - I agree with you. AND - Takeda was apparently considered remarkable even those circles as well, and this is based on who enrolled to study with him. That said, yes, I recently got a letter from a fellow training in a koryu, in reply to my asking about IT in the ryu and he said that they do not have that kind of study BUT, one old man, 90 years told him, 'this is the way we do things now, but in Meiji and Taisho, they did it this way . . . " and showed breathing methods no longer done.
OK, I take the point, but having seen so many expose's during my lifetime, I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Takeda syndrome comes mainly from the people for whom it profits to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare, the essential details tend to be more humdrum.

Whether Takeda was seen as remarkable in all circles is a good question to explore sometime.... as an ante, I'll bet it was a smaller circle than you'd think from the currently-available legends. Take Hong YiXian whom you recently mentioned... in Taiwanese martial-arts circles he was not seen as nearly the big-dog as westerners and his loyalists see him. There were some very famous "name" martial-artists on Taiwan who would have nothing to do with foreigners (and thus are almost never mentioned), yet the adulation goes to Hong and others with whom foreigners were able to interact.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 08:14 PM   #93
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I don't know about this continued shibboleth of Mike, Dan, Akuzawa, Ikeda, Ushiro, and so on. In my view there is some crossover of basic jin skills (how much, undeterminable), but other than that these things people are teaching are very different.

The question of difficulty starts at simple jin... that's the first hurdle and that's where so many people flounder. Then comes the teaching approach (if any.... some people simply stop at jin/kokyu) for the qi-proper development, hara, and so on. The constant equation of everyone doing the same thing is, IMO, confusing for beginners so it should be avoided. Maybe if the topic is a bit more specific than what a supposed number of people are all doing at the same time?

FWIW

Mike Sigman
Mike:

Imagine putting all of those people in a room at the same time and coming to a agreed-upon definition of what it is that you are talking about....... I would suggest that part of the confusion for beginners comes from the fact that the people you mentioned do not seem to talk to one another, let alone get to the point of agreeing to points of view. Sad, but true reality.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 08:38 PM   #94
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
United_States
Offline
Re: Pedagogy - the Next Generation

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Sagawa Yukiyoshi - He simply did not teach the "real" goods until the last years of his life.

and

Apologies if this is all somewhat inchoate, but I think we can view several factors in the pedagogy:

2. A tried-and-true tradition that the only way to learn is to set up the "steal this technique" situation. One learns skills in a different way when taught this way, because one has to struggle so intensively to figure it out.

Just some thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.
Ellis Amdur
Sagawa started teaching actual exercises for aiki late in his life and at least one of his students started getting it.

Takeda supposedly said, "I never show the techniques in the presence of others since they are very easy to learn."
(http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=477)

Given some basic knowledge of how some of these exercises might have been taught, I would have to say that Takeda really did have a teaching methodology for aiki. I'm not arguing any of the other points you made, just that I don't think your #2 is entirely correct.

I think it is more likely that Takeda withheld teaching further exercises for developing advanced skills in aiki unless a student actually progressed in the basic ones. Not saying that Takeda came outright and told his students this. He probably didn't, but just watched and kept track of those who put in the work and then showed them a few more things for aiki. Then waited and watched.

But, I don't believe Takeda set up the "steal this technique" situation. I think he was way too controlling to ever allow anyone to get a chance to do that. I think his personality wouldn't allow it and he kept very good track of who got what and when.

Mark
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 08:48 PM   #95
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
1. I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Takeda syndrome comes mainly from the people for whom it profits to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare, the essential details tend to be more humdrum.

2. There were some very famous "name" martial-artists on Taiwan who would have nothing to do with foreigners (and thus are almost never mentioned), yet the adulation goes to Hong and others with whom foreigners were able to interact.
Mike Sigman
Well sure
In return:
I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Chinese "big dog" syndrome, comes mainly from those who profit to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare these "known Chinese names" prove to have methods as "humdrum" as their Japanese contemporaries.
And since the Chinese are even more legendary for not telling foreigners anything of value one can only ask what any foreigner really knows, and how many mistakes and holes they have in their game, that they are sure are spot on. I have met more than a few now who trained in China and came back. I can't imagine the lessor lights and hobbyists who only trained in workshops.
Just say'n
Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 08:57 PM   #96
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Imagine putting all of those people in a room at the same time and coming to a agreed-upon definition of what it is that you are talking about....... I would suggest that part of the confusion for beginners comes from the fact that the people you mentioned do not seem to talk to one another, let alone get to the point of agreeing to points of view. Sad, but true reality.
Why not put everyone in a room with some known world-class experts. True, those kind of experts tend to smile and be polite and not care what you say, but I think you'd find that their view of complete skills is different than a lot of the people you'd like to see in one room. Just to be clear, a lot of "internal strength", "hard qi", and other skills are reasonably commonly seen at various Chinese expositions, tournaments, and what not. Most people don't even know what the full range encompasses so how should their coming to an agreement fulfill all that much?

Right now, if I say "what about such-and-such", fairly well-known skills in the spectrum of Chinese martial-arts, most of the people present would simply go quiet. My point being that even though many people think all that is "Hidden in Plain Sight" has now been revealed, I think that things are just getting started.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 09:01 PM   #97
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Chinese "big dog" syndrome, comes mainly from those who profit to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare these "known Chinese names" prove to have methods as "humdrum" as their Japanese contemporaries.
Hence Draeger and many others talking about Chinese martial-artists being invited over the last century to teach in Japan? How many Japanese martial-artists have been invited to teach in China? How about Hong YiXian being invited to teach/demo by Okinawan Uechi Ryu experts, etc.?
Quote:
And since the Chinese are even more legendary for not telling foreigners anything of value one can only ask what any foreigner really knows, and how many mistakes and holes they have in their game, that they are sure are spot on. I have met more than a few now who trained in China and came back. I can't imagine the lessor lights and hobbyists who only trained in workshops.
Heck, I can imagine lots of things, but I'll stick to the topic at hand.

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 09:37 PM   #98
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

I think certain questions and observations need to be thought through and explored a little more thoroughly. Some observations and comparisons (on all matters, there are so many being thown out) should not be given quite the validity that people are offering out of hand.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Takeda syndrome comes mainly from the people for whom it profits to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare, the essential details tend to be more humdrum.
1. So The Takeda syndrome?
The essential details of Takeda's legendary skills were humdrum?
2. And only offered for those who profit?
Let's explore that. This -double assertion-would be based...on what?

Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 09:43 PM   #99
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I think certain questions and observations need to be thought through and explored a little more thoroughly. Some observations and comparisons (on all matters, there are so many being thown out) should not be given quite the validity that people are offering out of hand.

1. So The Takeda syndrome?
The essential details of Takeda's legendary skills were humdrum?
2. And only offered for those who profit?
Let's explore that. This -double assertion-would be based...on what?

Dan
Let's not let simple semantics get in the way. A "bet" as an opinion is not an "observation" nor is it an "assertion". Reading Comprehension 101.

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2011, 10:00 PM   #100
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Hidden in Plain Sight - Indeed!

You called a bet and stated your assertion.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: I'll handily place the bet that a lot of the Takeda syndrome comes mainly from the people for whom it profits to do so. Usually when the legends are laid bare, the essential details tend to be more humdrum.
You placed the bet. I'll call it.
Where does this new gem come from? Unless you're talking out of your hat, state your argument for such a comment. Everyone else has at least attempted some support for their posts.

Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-31-2011 at 10:14 PM.
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Budo Bear Patterns - Sewing pattern for Women's (and Men's) dogi.



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hidden in plain sight page 115 ewolput General 10 09-12-2010 05:31 AM
"Hidden in Plain Sight" - ukemi as a training tool jss Supplies 16 09-03-2009 03:47 AM
Ellis Amdur's "Hidden in Plain Sight" Prepublication Sale AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 64 08-27-2009 02:15 PM
Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10 Peter Goldsbury Columns 200 02-04-2009 07:45 AM
O'Sensei's sight suren General 5 07-28-2004 06:41 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:42 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate