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Old 07-25-2012, 09:21 AM   #1
philipsmith
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

I still remeber my first Aikido experience with Chiba Sensei.

I was a 12 year old boy and Sensei had come to take a junior course at our dojo. As he was staying at our family home he knew my name and so was called out to take ukeme.

He inspired me then to continue my Aikido journey and having been on the mat with him again yesterday continues to do so some 42 years later.

A remarkable man who; although not perfect by any means; has been such an influence on Aikido over the past almost 50 years.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:50 AM   #2
akiy
 
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

The above post has been moved from the "It Had to Be Felt #24 - Chiba Kazuo" column thread as the post is not congruent with Ellis's wish for the "It Had to Be Felt" series:
  • Follow-up posts should be substantive, striving to equal the depth of the original essay. Simply agreeing with the writer, or a brief comment that, yes, the teacher in question was really powerful or had a wonderful shihonage or the like, are not congruent with the purpose of this archive.
Further information on the "It Had to be Felt" series may be found in his introductory column thread.

Thanks,

-- Jun

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Old 07-25-2012, 12:52 PM   #3
sakumeikan
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
The above post has been moved from the "It Had to Be Felt #24 - Chiba Kazuo" column thread as the post is not congruent with Ellis's wish for the "It Had to Be Felt" series:
  • Follow-up posts should be substantive, striving to equal the depth of the original essay. Simply agreeing with the writer, or a brief comment that, yes, the teacher in question was really powerful or had a wonderful shihonage or the like, are not congruent with the purpose of this archive.
Further information on the "It Had to be Felt" series may be found in his introductory column thread.

Thanks,

-- Jun
Dear Jun/Akiyama Sensei,
Mr Smith [Phil]over the years has been uke at many of Chiba Senseis courses in the U.K. I think that while the comments he made might be brief , they are valid nevertheless. Having known Chiba Sensei and been uke for him on many occasions myself and been an uchideshi in San Diego Aikikai , to describe Chiba Sensei as powerful [in his early days ]man, very charismatic and a teacher who inspires people is as complete an analysis of Senseis art as one could wish for..He was/is a remarkable man , his weapon work is wonderful, his body art superb. In a word ,and Mr Ellis would agree here, Chiba Sensei is very sincere , at times he could be quite severe.He always leads from the front and last but not least he demands high standards of committment from his students.I ask myself what more does one need to glean an insight into the the character and art of Chiba Sensei?To merely say Chiba Sensei is tough etc in no way captures the essence of the man . Joe.
Ps Phil, I meet Chiba Sensei tomorrow[Thurs ].
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:50 PM   #4
Hellis
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Jun/Akiyama Sensei,
Mr Smith [Phil]over the years has been uke at many of Chiba Senseis courses in the U.K. I think that while the comments he made might be brief , they are valid nevertheless. Having known Chiba Sensei and been uke for him on many occasions myself and been an uchideshi in San Diego Aikikai , to describe Chiba Sensei as powerful [in his early days ]man, very charismatic and a teacher who inspires people is as complete an analysis of Senseis art as one could wish for..He was/is a remarkable man , his weapon work is wonderful, his body art superb. In a word ,and Mr Ellis would agree here, Chiba Sensei is very sincere , at times he could be quite severe.He always leads from the front and last but not least he demands high standards of committment from his students.I ask myself what more does one need to glean an insight into the the character and art of Chiba Sensei?To merely say Chiba Sensei is tough etc in no way captures the essence of the man . Joe.
Ps Phil, I meet Chiba Sensei tomorrow[Thurs ].
Joe

I agree with you, I thought Smith Sensei offered some valuable input, to have trained as a school boy with Chiba Sensei and to be a Shihan with the same teacher many years later is quite an achievement.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`.
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:39 PM   #5
MM
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

I would disagree with all three of you and agree with Jun/Ellis.

If you reread Mr. Smith's post, this is what you get:
At 12, I was called out to take ukemi.
Chiba inspired me than and now.

That's about it.

If you go back and reread every single other IHTBF column, you get a taste of what it would have been like to have been there. It creates an atmosphere that helps you put yourself in their place. It does that by describing what the feeling was like, the technique was like, the strength, the presence, the emotions, the pain, etc. Mr. Smith's post lacked all of that.

As Ellis stated: "Follow-up posts should be substantive, striving to equal the depth of the original essay. Simply agreeing with the writer, or a brief comment that, yes, the teacher in question was really powerful or had a wonderful shihonage or the like, are not congruent with the purpose of this archive."

Unfortunately, Mr. Smith's post was not substantive. While the post may have been valid, it gave the readers nothing at all of Chiba. I look forward to a more substantive post by Mr. Smith about Chiba.

I would also say that Mr. Black's post in the Kanai column should be moved. It lacks substantive content.

Mark
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:09 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

With all due respect to several writers who have posted follow up to some of the long essays, I agree with Mark Murray.
The validity of the follow up writer's experience is not the crux of the issue, it is that what they have chosen to write is lacking in detail for us as readers to have a sense of "what it was like."

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:01 PM   #7
sakumeikan
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
With all due respect to several writers who have posted follow up to some of the long essays, I agree with Mark Murray.
The validity of the follow up writer's experience is not the crux of the issue, it is that what they have chosen to write is lacking in detail for us as readers to have a sense of "what it was like."
Dear Janet,
I cannot speak for the others but putting it simply it was at times gruelling.My body was always aching after a session with Chiba Sensei.Sensei pushed you to your limit.The atmosphere was electric.I remember a Summer School when Chiba Sensei arrived late after the opening of the class .I felt his presence before I saw him,when he entered the dojo.Another time was at the opening of a dojo ceremony..Chiba Sensei in his capacity as a Zen monk chanted out sutras .He then did basic Kihon waza.Later after the ceremony he indicated he had called down the spirit of O Sensei.All Ii can say is this the atmosphere in the dojo was electric.
There was always a sense of danger when you acted as Uke for Chiba Sensei.You had to be really up for it.At times when I made any movement to establish contact with him,Chiba Sensei seemed to disappear and the next thing I knew i was biting the dust or being pinned down.
Fortunately I was much younger then , and I was always anxious to practice with him.In sitting Kokyu Ho for example I could not budge him.His movements in the 70s were like a panther, fast and he could cover a considerable distance on his knees quicker than anybody I have ever seen.
Weekend courses were hard, very little sleep, no hotel beds like today.I slept in hedges, tatami and outside the Chiswick dojo in the rain, trying to sleep inside a paper sack.Driving down to overnight to London ,one time,with my training partner, fell asleep, I also fell asleep at the wheel .I was rudely awakened by my car bouncing off the central road barrier.We were nearly at our destination.Tiredness and night driving got to us.That was before the Aikido session even started.This incident was a log time ago.Nowadays the guys of today get hotels, showers, big dinners.Chiba Sensei and his wife had a hard time , living in rented flats etc.While in Sunderland he barely managed to pay the rent for his room at the Y.M.C.A. As Henry Ellis said the it was hard times for Sensei..To this day Chiba Sensei hates the place.He was also possibly the only Japanese person in Sunderland at the time.Things improved when he moved to London.The dojo in Earls Court was always lively,During this period Chiba Sensei invited other Shihan to train his group.Sure was exciting training with people like Tamura, Saito, Kanai ,Sugano, Shibata, Sekiya Senseis to name but a few.

Nowadays Chiba Sensei has mellowed .His classes are excellent.Chiba Sensei can be very funny at times There is a lot of humour in his classes nowadays..As most people are aware he was subject of a stroke a few years ago and of course he is over 70 now.Although he has mellowed, now and again the 'young Chiba Sensei' reappears .Although he can give you a real talking to/and when required a quiet slap on the wrist, my own view is this, his bark is worse than his bite.What we have here is a man who imo has a complex character,partly old time Samurai, with a warriors mentality, yet at the same time a man who can be generous,humourous,self sacrificing, intense, deeply philosophical [his writings on Aikido are profound].All in all he is one of a kind. I am very fortunate to be one of his oldest students .Forty years + has passed and I can say that it has never been boring when Chiba Sensei is around.Cheers, Joe.

Ps Off to meet Chiba Sensei at University of Worcester on Thurs.Also meeting with Miyamoto Sensei from Hombu dojo.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:24 PM   #8
sakumeikan
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I would disagree with all three of you and agree with Jun/Ellis.

If you reread Mr. Smith's post, this is what you get:
At 12, I was called out to take ukemi.
Chiba inspired me than and now.

That's about it.

If you go back and reread every single other IHTBF column, you get a taste of what it would have been like to have been there. It creates an atmosphere that helps you put yourself in their place. It does that by describing what the feeling was like, the technique was like, the strength, the presence, the emotions, the pain, etc. Mr. Smith's post lacked all of that.

As Ellis stated: "Follow-up posts should be substantive, striving to equal the depth of the original essay. Simply agreeing with the writer, or a brief comment that, yes, the teacher in question was really powerful or had a wonderful shihonage or the like, are not congruent with the purpose of this archive."

Unfortunately, Mr. Smith's post was not substantive. While the post may have been valid, it gave the readers nothing at all of Chiba. I look forward to a more substantive post by Mr. Smith about Chiba.

I would also say that Mr. Black's post in the Kanai column should be moved. It lacks substantive content.

Mark
Dear Mark,
It was 1.Exhausting 2.Painful at times.3.Mentally exhausting.4,Dangerous.5.Stimulating like a drug.6.An experience unlike anything I have ever known
Chiba Sensei? A force of nature .Powerful. fast , intense .He overwhelmed youand can get angry at times. At the same time he is humourous, kind, loyal, charismatic,very intelligent and extremely well read., artistic.
How was it to be his Uke/or attend his classes?Stimulating,a bit like facing a tiger, hard on the body, but absolutely wonderful.Ah, how I wish I could turn the clock back earlier times.
Cheers, Joe.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:40 PM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Joe, thank you for taking the time to share some memories/history.

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:12 PM   #10
MM
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Joe, thank you for taking the time to share some memories/history.
Same here. That's the kind of post I look for in the IHTBF columns. Maybe Jun can move it over.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:11 PM   #11
Ellis Amdur
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Hello folks - I could post in my column #1, but maybe this will help, as there is a debate about content in replies here. First of all, thank you Mark and Janet for "getting it."

Jun moving a post (either on his own, based on the column criteria, or at my request) is definitely NOT ostracism or punishment. It is maintaining the integrity of a specialized section of Aikiweb. Think of it this way: if I grab one of my old philosophy texts that I used in grad school off the shelf and leaf through it, there will be lots of yellow highlights, exclamation points, and marginalia (little notes in the margin). The post that starts this thread and a similar one not-yet-moved in the Kanai thread are of this nature. It is possible that my highlights may be of interest to those trying to trace my process of development in reading Merleau-Ponty or Levinas, but beyond that, it just distracts anyone else when they try to read the book.

Look, I could have started an independent blog, like, for example, Chris Li or Jamie Yugawa's excellent efforts, which can easily be self-moderated. But I wanted to attempt creating an archive here, because there are so many people enthusiastic about the type of individuals who are described in this column. But because it is a discussion forum, people are used to the idea of "liking" a post, of joking in response, or, of course, arguing. Badinage, debate, putting out personal agendas, or what really amount to what would be in a conversation, a nod of approval.

That's what this thread, for example is for. Threads such as this also give those who have not felt a teacher to add their thoughts, and those who disagree with a columnist's perspective (beyond posting their own account), to do so here, where the columnist can, if they choose, engage in debate.

My goal is simple. Imagine ten, twenty, thirty, forty years from now, a person sees that wonderful photo of O-sensei projecting Tada sensei through the air. Or perhaps they read Chris Li's blog/translation. They can go to this archive and read what it felt like to work with Tada sensei. It's my hope that each of these threads will have four, five, ten rich accounts. Consider some of the threads that have been amplified - Saotome sensei's, for example. I can read several of the other accounts, and think to myself, "that's different from what I felt." But whether he simply showed that other writer something different, or it's due to the different physical/martial skills possessed by the writer(s), it's a more complete, fleshed out perspective, that will vitally augment viewing film. Films, alone, don't cut it. Some people look great, when they are not. Others look mundane when they were, in fact, brilliant.

Now, all that said, I will say that I continue to be surprised that someone can read as rich an account as Henry's or Peter's, come to the posting rules and either ignore them or not get them. But then again, this IS a discussion forum, and to have one column with a different "culture" and set of rules can sometimes be difficult - Kuwamori sensei was equally bemused when I walked out the bathroom on several occasions wearing the "toilet slippers," an utter faux pas in Japan (and if you don't read French, that is a VERY good pun).

Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 07-26-2012, 09:45 AM   #12
Janet Rosen
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

I should add...it may also be that some folks may not be aware of HOW to spin off a new thread related to a post, so the most natural thing for them to do is make a comment and wait for Jun to spin it off...just a thought.

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:02 AM   #13
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Janet - please no. That requires more moderating that either Jun or I would prefer. And as you see, each time a post is moved, there is, on some people's part, a perception that the poster is being censored, or something political is going on.

t's quite simple to read the criteria for posting. As far as "spinning off" a new thread - all it means is to START a new thread, and people are doing that all the time.
Ellis

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Old 07-26-2012, 11:24 AM   #14
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

I hesitate to post this, but because it was specifically mentioned as being understood as part of a forum like this, in a thread like this: I've really enjoyed these columns! They are exactly the kind of thing I've wanted to read for a "long" time. Even though I know words and impressions always fall short in important ways, I do believe there is a lot that can be gained through the descriptive process.
So while I'm here and thinking about it, thank you to everyone for providing an insight into your direct experiences and impressions with these pillars of Aikido history! In this specific case, thank you Henry Ellis Sensei for giving such a detailed account of one of the Aikido personalities I've always been fascinated by!
I eagerly look forward to these columns; they're probably my favorite thing on Aikiweb right now and it's due to the format as well as the content.
Sincerely,
Matthew Gano

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:32 AM   #15
sakumeikan
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

For everyone,
Mr Ellis/Mr Eastman /the late Mr Haydn Foster Senseis were promoted by Chiba Sensei in recognition of their contributions to U.K. Aikido.In Mr Ellis/Mr Eastmans case the award was Shihan certification.In Mr Fosters case posthumous 7th Dan Aikikai. The event took place at the Hut after the British Euopean Summer School 2011 held in Worcester.
Congratulations all round, Cheers, Joe.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:07 PM   #16
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Thank you Amdur Sensei for an interesting write up on Chiba Sensei. Also thanks for keeping us in suspense (One degree of separation). Are you going to fill in the blanks sometime in the future on these 2nd hand stories?

One little candle can light 10,000 candles- Koichi Tohei Sensei
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:43 PM   #17
Ellis Amdur
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Re: It Had to Be Felt #24: Chiba Kazuo: "There We Were, Two Handsome Young Men"

Jamie - no I won't. I'm looking for more first hand accounts. Even if I quoted someone accurately AND they were accurate in their report, it'd be gossip. And as soon as we that starts, the entire purpose of the columns would be defeated.

To be sure, if someone "formally" interviews someone who had first hand experience, that is welcome. As I posted before, I very much hope that people are able to interview folks who actually took ukemi for Ueshiba Morihei - or one of the Daito-ryu luminaries - or senior aikido teachers - with the fine-grained questions that would actually contribute to the project.

Best
Ellis Amdur

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