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Old 12-05-2011, 03:20 PM   #26
Keith Larman
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

I wish I could remember the exact quote and who said it, but I had it on my wall in my office for years when I did psych research. Paraphrased it essentially said that every experiment is biased simply by the questions we decide to ask. Very Heisenberg, but I'm not finding it...

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Old 12-05-2011, 03:21 PM   #27
Keith Larman
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I can't speak for anyone else, but my point is just the opposite: that nuances, subtleties, and details are critical because the objectively reportable facts don't tell you much. But also that those nuances and subtleties will be filtered by the person telling the story.
Same here.

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Old 12-05-2011, 05:43 PM   #28
crbateman
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

I certainly feel like I continue to learn from teachers long past, and not just MA's, but in many other arenas as well. This is because I tend to examine problems or situations with an eye (or ear) to the thought of "What would Prof. so-and-so think?" or "How would Sensei what's-his-name approach this?". I often don't have my own answers, but can formulate them from my perceptions of those past teachers, and examination of what their wisdom on the subject has impressed upon me. It may be old knowledge re-lived, but it seems more like fresh learning to me.

I would stop short of saying that this could be characterized or claimed as long-term time-in-training, but it certainly represents a continuation of the relationships.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:13 PM   #29
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

One final point comes to mind. Actually a couple:
1. When I trained in the Aikikai, the uchi-deshi were Shibata, Seki, Miyamoto (and I believe Yasuno, although I don't recall if he was living in the dojo). They were clearly considered a different breed - I'm not saying that each of them were the best three young aikidoka at the time, but they had a special status, in part because they were assistant instructors, and second, because they lived/breathed/ate aikido.
2. When I first started training at Honbu, I was living at the Kuwamori Dojo. My visa letter was actually signed by Doshu, at the request of Terry Dobson. I thought this made me a "deshi" of Honbu dojo. I was there a week, and someone asked me my particulars. I said that I was an uchi-deshi of Kuwamori Dojo, but also a deshi at Honbu. After ascertaining that I did live at the former, he said, re the latter, you aren't a deshi here. You don't have a personal relationship with anyone in the Ueshiba family, they aren't feeding you - you just take classes here.
3. About a year later, I was eating/drinking with Shibata & Miyamoto at a local restaurant, and Shibata said, "You are around here all the time. Would you like me to put in a word for you so you can live in the dojo?" I thought about that long and hard - I'd taught the younger Osawa to lift weights, all the teachers were calling me out for demonstration ukemi in their classes - but I was already focusing on other training, so I decided not to do it. The option was there. And it was not, "would you like to become a professional assistant teacher of the Aikikai, groomed to teach classes, etc." It was a recognition of seriousness about training, and an offering of an opportunity to do more.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 12-05-2011, 07:22 PM   #30
raul rodrigo
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

Ellis, who was the dojo enforcer in your day?
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:59 PM   #31
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

I guess you are recalling something I wrote in a previous thread, Raul.

So I arrived in Japan in January of 1976. I had an introduction to Kuwamori Dojo from Saotome Mitsugi. I had a letter to Honbu from Terry Dobson and I didn't know that this was not very important or noticed. So, one morning, Kuwamori Yasunori gts up and says, "let's go to Honbu dojo." But Yasunori was always late and he never got up early.

So we walk into Doshu (nidai) class 20 minutes late. Doshu sees him, calls us over, and says, "You never get up this early. What are you doing here for - late?" Kuwamori says, "Well, this young guy is living at my dojo now. He's a student of Saotome sensei." (This, by the way, was the height of the rift between Saotome and Dobson with the Aikikai)

Now to me, this was a problem. Saotome and I, at that time, had become, in a strange way, kind of friends, but he was not my teacher. And I knew whatever was first said about you was who you were, forever, in Japan. So, I interrupted and in very broken Japanese, said, "Excuse - please. Not Mr. Saotome student, No, you big mistake. Terry Dobson student."

Doshu looks up at me - and he had to look up a long way, given our heights, considers me for a minute and calls over Shibata Ichiro. He says, Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah Terry Dobson, blah, blah Terry Dobson. And the next thing I knew, I was grabbed and smashed and crushed and mangled, and every technique I tried, he stopped, and I thought I might die.

So, Kuwamori had a good time working out with someone and at the end of the class, walks up to me, laughing, and says, "Ellis-kun. I gotta go home and sleep. Why don't you stay the day. I'll see you this evening at class."

So, I'm just hanging around in the half hour between classes - no one knows me, no one's talking to me, and just before the next class starts, Shibata walks over with Seki, saying, "Blah, blah, blah Saotome, blah Dobson, Saotome, Blah, blah, blah, blah." And then class started and Seki grabbed and smashed and crushed and mangled me, but because he was a different kind of guy, he guided me, sort of through the proper form of a technique when it was my turn to throw.

Next day I'm back. Doshu's class. I walk in and Doshu looks at me, and there's Miyamoto, grinning like a demented jack-o-lantern, and he looks at Doshu and Doshu nods, and class starts and he grabs me and I didn't get to do nage. He did all the throwing - continuously for one hour, half the time I was taking ukemi on the wooden floor off the mat, and sometimes on the walls, and everyone just gave us a lot of room, and Doshu watched benignly.

Second class - some sixth dan I never saw again. He was watching Miyamoto manhandling me, and he grabbed me for Osawa sensei's class, and he threw me - I counted - 264 shihonage in one hour (and that was not a technique that Osawa called for - and truly, that time I thought I'd die - I was prepared to throw myself out the window in case I began to throw up on the mat). And then Friday, and I only went to Doshu's class, and some other sixth dan, I don't know who, he just did yonkyo on me for the entire hour (that wasn't the technique for that class either, and his forearms were bigger than my biceps, I could barely get my hands around his wrists - he let me try on him, one out of twenty - but I couldn't make an impression, and by the end of the hour, it felt like two very sensitive areas of a man's body had split up and migrated, one settling in each wrist, and I couldn't even use chop-sticks to eat, cause my fingers wouldn't work (and all the while, I was taking evening classes at Kuwamori Dojo).

After that first week, it was just normal rugged practice. The answer, I guess, is that there was a collective enforcement - they were just making sure, before I did anything.

Doshu started regularly calling me out to take ukemi for him in waza demonstrations, about two months later.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 12-05-2011 at 08:03 PM.

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Old 12-05-2011, 08:50 PM   #32
raul rodrigo
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

Great story, Ellis. They were a different breed indeed—authorized to fold, spindle and mutilate.

I asked because a Japanese teacher of mine once had a run-in with Miyamoto in Hombu in the late 1970s during Watanabe's class. M seems to have wanted to put my Japanese teacher in his place. This man was responding to M in kind, though, and the pace escalated until Watanabe had to intervene. It is stories like these that make me realize the truth of Tissier's statement: "In those days, Miyamoto only trained to destroy his partner."
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:23 PM   #33
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

But notice that I was not injured the entire week. (I do have other stories, to be sure, but that one, Doshu just decided to drop me in the washing machine, just to make sure that I didn't shrink under high heat).

E

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Old 12-06-2011, 02:20 AM   #34
David Yap
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
...It is stories like these that make me realize the truth of Tissier's statement: "In those days, Miyamoto only trained to destroy his partner."
I attended his class at the 9th IAF in Tokyo. Nothing has changed by then. There was this ramen place across the road from the hostel where we frequented during the seminar. I believed that it was after the farewell dinner when a few of us, after having our favorite ramen, happened to see a not quite sober M on the other end of overhead walkway coming towards us. We stopped in our track and could feel ourselves melting into the side railings, not uttering a sound or making any slight movement as he passed us by.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:55 AM   #35
raul rodrigo
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

To be fair, David, Tissier himself says that today Miyamoto is a different man. And when I took uke for him in Hombu, he was gentle. But to demonstrate waza for that class, he had some big Caucausian ukes who took quite a pounding. As did the deshi, Uchida, who was assisting him for that class.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:48 AM   #36
Marc Abrams
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

It is beyond comical when you hear people who genuinely know nothing of what training at the Hombu dojo was like, wax on about the peaceful air of Aikido under the guidance of O'Sensei. Ellis' historical recounting is consistent with all of the other people who trained there. The totality of that history paints an entirely different picture than the one that delusional crowds likes to believe and goes a long way in helping people to understand how their teacher evolved into the people that they are today.

Marc Abrams
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:56 AM   #37
Keith Larman
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

I think it also makes another point that many would do well to consider. History is almost always a mess of memories, victor-bias (the winner writes the history), random chance (some end up "important" simply because of who they were around), etc. So in the end I thank the guys Stan Pranin for taking the time to record as much as he could going back to original sources (and by that I mean not just interviews, but finding substantiation (and otherwise) for things he learned. Training logs, etc.). What this leaves a fella like me is to consider the variety of people I know and have learned from and then I get my flabby butt out and train with as many people from within and from without as I can, feeling, learning, listening, trying to empty that sometimes resiliently full cup of mine. Less chat, more mat as they say, because on the mat it's kinda hard to argue with someone you simply can't move. Or someone who can reach in to your center and move you but none of the tricks up your own sleeve can seem to find their center.

So I go to seminars. I go learn. I find all sorts of value in a variety of people. Some, not so much. Others, quite a bit.

And I end up subscribing to Stan's site to try to expand my background and more subtle, nuanced understanding. But in the end... It's to the mat again.

There is a real history. Then there are all the ways it was perceived. Then there was how it was explained in private. And then there was how it was explained in public. Over time hopefully an open minded somewhat objective person will get some clue as to what was really going on.

And then it's to the mat again... Cause that's where the final questions get answered. Or at least the final questions that matter to me...

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Old 12-06-2011, 08:09 AM   #38
Chris Li
 
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
It is beyond comical when you hear people who genuinely know nothing of what training at the Hombu dojo was like, wax on about the peaceful air of Aikido under the guidance of O'Sensei. Ellis' historical recounting is consistent with all of the other people who trained there. The totality of that history paints an entirely different picture than the one that delusional crowds likes to believe and goes a long way in helping people to understand how their teacher evolved into the people that they are today.

Marc Abrams
From an interview in Japanese with Yasuo Kobayashi:

Quote:
When being thrown by O-Sensei power would be added to the center of your body. When we were thrown in normal practice it would feel like a ball bouncing, but only with O-Sensei it would feel as if we were being crushed when being thrown. That was extremely mysterious.
Best,

Chris

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Old 12-06-2011, 09:23 AM   #39
David Yap
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
To be fair, David, Tissier himself says that today Miyamoto is a different man. And when I took uke for him in Hombu, he was gentle. But to demonstrate waza for that class, he had some big Caucausian ukes who took quite a pounding. As did the deshi, Uchida, who was assisting him for that class.
Have you experienced his double or triple nikyo?
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:02 PM   #40
raul rodrigo
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Re: Terry Dobson's Training History

Quote:
David Yap wrote: View Post
Have you experienced his double or triple nikyo?
No, but a good friend of mine, a yudansha from British Birankai, has felt Miyamoto's waza many times. Punishing, he says.
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