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Old 08-02-2012, 07:37 AM   #26
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Sorry Szczepan,
I like the humour and the show of it, most people that have reached his rank take themselves far too seriously. As to his aikido. It may not be the prettiest I've seen, but it looked more stable and less sloppy than much of what I've seen you do.
It is very true, my aikido sucks and you prove it every time when I'm facing your attacks. But I it is still a big pleasure to practice with you!. LOL I promise to work harder to improve myself.
Thanks JO.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:29 PM   #27
Ellis Amdur
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A brief note on Hannah's post

Actually, the "charter" is not so strict as Hannah supposes here:
Quote:
The charter for the colums says they are supposed to deal with taking ukemi for teachers. Surely Hermansson has done quite a bit of teaching, but he never was known as one of the major teachers over here. He never even had his own dojo... always residing in dojos run by people junior to him, and never having a big crowd fo followers.
For example, when I write about taking ukemi for Ueshiba Moriteru, he and I were fellow students. I've implicitly defined ukemi in the widest sense - a relationship in which one "receives" the "body" of the other. As I discuss in HIPS, at what should be part of all aikido, uke becomes nage, and nage becomes uke. Therefore, reciprocal practice falls within the rubric.

Furthermore, status alone does not define whom I wish to discuss - nor whom I request others to discuss. For example, were it not for a recent interest outside Japan, few would know about Hiroshi Kato. I will sometimes ask people to discuss individuals about whom few are aware - yet they illustrate something worth discussing, in their lives, their aikido or both. Jan was such a significant figure in the Aikikai - Endo sensei would not, I'm sure, have publicly referred to anyone who enrolled in the dojo before him as "sempai," although that would surely be true.

Finally, back to the reciprocal practice question. The best hour of aikido practice I ever saw in my life was in 1977. I was injured, if I recall, and was watching from the side during Doshu's class. Chiba sensei was practicing with a French then 4th dan - it might have been Franck Noel, but I'm not sure. One hour of continuous joyful very rigorous motion. They practiced equally. With all the images of Chiba sensei that one may have in one's head - or experiences one might have had (I'll be posting in the Chiba IHTBF column later), this image is probably absent. The practice was clean, extremely high level, and without ego. I sat there in envy. Were I to have had such an opportunity, that experience too would be part of my writing on Chiba sensei.

Hence posts such as Carsten's, which describe "de-ai" - a meeting on the mat - are very welcome, as long as they fit the other criteria in the column.

Finally, there are other videos of Jan - here's ONE - I suggest a small YouTube search to flesh out your viewpoint a little more, if you are so inclined.

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Old 08-02-2012, 02:50 PM   #28
Cliff Judge
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I’m not blind, when I see excellent technique I say ‘excellent’, if I see a misery, I say “it is a misery’.
But you seem to only post about when it is the latter. This is why every post of yours I have ever read on any of the forums has made me feel miserable.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:20 PM   #29
David Yap
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
But you seem to only post about when it is the latter. This is why every post of yours I have ever read on any of the forums has made me feel miserable.
hahahaha....
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:34 AM   #30
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
But you seem to only post about when it is the latter. This is why every post of yours I have ever read on any of the forums has made me feel miserable.
Please stay on the topic, personal attacks are not welcome here on the forum.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:45 AM   #31
MM
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Please stay on the topic, personal attacks are not welcome here on the forum.
That was nowhere near a personal attack. In fact, your post in this thread is closer to a personal attack. Let's revisit this, shall we?

You:
Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
fat and out of shape ukes who don't know how to attack correctly and efficiently...
So, calling people fat and/or out of shape isn't a personal attack? Tell me, what does a person's weight have to do with how they attack or implement aikido techniques? Perhaps if Wang Shujin were alive, you could let him know what you think. Or talk to Chiba about his encounter.

Now, let's look at Cliff Judge:
Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
But you seem to only post about when it is the latter. This is why every post of yours I have ever read on any of the forums has made me feel miserable.
First sentence indicates his view of what you post. Absolutely no personal attack. Second sentence gives his feelings when he has read your posts. Again, absolutely no personal attack.

Perhaps instead of throwing stones from inside the glass house, you should practice polishing the mirror?
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:45 AM   #32
Fred Little
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Please stay on the topic, personal attacks are not welcome here on the forum.
Dear Szczepan,



All the best!

FL

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Old 08-03-2012, 10:50 AM   #33
akiy
 
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Watch your tone, folks. Stay away from personal attacks.

Thank you,

-- Jun

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Old 08-30-2012, 11:06 AM   #34
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
It was in 1980. I had been in the USA for a year. On my return to Sweden, I immediately started hearing rumors about this guy who had spent a bundle of years in Japan, training aikido. He was 4 dan, which was higher than any other Swedish grade at that time.

Everybody was in awe, because of the grade, because of this sudden reappearance of someone who was among the very first Swedes to practice aikido, and also because he was so tremendously strong and powerful, I was told. From the descriptions he sounded like some kind of superhero -- or supervillain, for that matter.

I found it strange that so many aikido students were flabbergasted by what sounded like a simple brute. Well, it would soon turn out that my impression was all wrong.

A while after my return to Sweden, Ichimura, who was our shihan at that time, had a seminar. I went there and practiced with many of the old friends (though not so old in those days, alas) and some people I had not seen before.

At the end of a class I paired up with one of those strangers, for suwari kokyuho. A middle-aged man, not big at all but far from tiny. He had a hakama on, so he must have trained for more than the year I had been gone. Swedish aikido was not that big in those days, so most of us had met repeatedly.

Well, I thought, he might have avoided seminars and such before he got his hakama, hiding in the dojo to which he belonged. Or I had just forgotten a few faces during my absence. Little did I know.

Anyway, we started the exercise. He made the movement and pushed me down. During seminars, I usually didn't resist that much, because that tended to frustrate many practitioners. I settled for letting them do their thing, with just a hint of resistance, so that they'd at least show some commitment. Usually, they were fine with that, happily unaware of my compliance.

The same seemed to be true for the stranger in front of me. He did it once, twice. But then he leaned over and asked with a gentle voice:

"Excuse me, but is there more?"

Nobody had asked me that before. We started getting at it with a lot of energy and delight. Immediately it was clear to me that this guy hadn't put the hakama on anytime recently. He might have been born with it.

As we were enjoying ourselves -- probably making some noise, I don't know -- Ichimura came up to us and said with a smile:

"Stefan, you should have had him with you in America."

He was making a joke. I had told Ichimura earlier about the tendency to what I would call competition in some American dojos. Coming as a stranger, I sometimes had the feeling that the dojo members got into some King of the Hill, when I came there as a visitor. It might have been me. Anyway, I got so fed up with it that when I got to New York Aikikai, I appeared without a hakama and told people who asked that I was a beginner, having trained "a little."

When Ichimura made his little joke, the man in front of me -- until then so gentle -- cut him short with quite a sharp voice:

"We're training!"

Ichimura jumped back and mumbled something apologetic. Then I thought to myself: This must be that 4 dan everyone talks about.

Indeed it was. That's how I met Jan Hermansson.

We had additional times of fun at that seminar, where I got to experience what had amazed everybody. His techniques were like iron. There was no escaping them, no little gap in his execution where one could try to counter them (which would have been a bad idea).

He was not that easy to swing around. I remember entering a shihonage, and when I held his arm in the position right before the throw -- normally quite a superior position -- I halted, my whole body and mind realizing that I couldn't rock this boat. There was no way I could bring him down. He was not a boat, but a rock.

"Why did you stop?" he asked. "You're doing it right."

So, I applied a little pressure on his arm, and he sat down on the tatami, sort of leisurely. I had nothing to do with it.

It turned out we were neighbors, living in the same suburb to Stockholm, so we quickly became friends and have been since. I was honored to have both of his sons practice for a while in my dojo. Oddly, the one who did it the longest developed a style that reminded increasingly of his father's aikido, although the boy trained for me. Blood is thicker than perspiration.

Jan is strong. No doubt about that. And, as he has pointed out with a smile when we talked about it: "Strength is good to have, too." But what has always impressed me the most is the precision by which he moves his body, and of course, the energy by which he springs into action.

But I bet that the former is the main ingredient in Jan's tremendous capacity. Whatever the attack is and whatever technique he applies on it, immediately he positions himself optimally for it. He always has his whole body in line with what he's doing. And then he goes for it, like there's no tomorrow. When you're his uke, you feel it and your body will remember it for quite a while.

As if that's not enough, he also has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. Training with him is like being an explorer in a strange land, with a native guide. We start by doing what the instructor of the class might have shown, but after no more than a round or two of it, Jan says:

"You can do like this, too."

And he starts a seemingly endless line of variations, most of them surprising, some of them very far indeed from the original technique -- but all of them exciting, if that's the word, and none failing.

Jan is a very modest man (yes, really), and he's prepared to make any effort for everybody learning and having a good time on the tatami. Oh, he's quite good at participating in the fun after it, as well. To the seminar parties, he often comes equipped with all that's needed to make a proper Irish Coffee, and he wouldn't dream of keeping it to himself. That's keiko.

Jan Hermansson is the senior of Swedish aikido, being one of the two who started to experiment with it back in 1961. But he has never made claims to any position of power, never cared for titles or any other regalia of which the world of budo has far too much. When someone calls him sensei, he just says: "My name is Jan."

Again, that's keiko. It's what he's about. So, I'm not holding my breath for the moment when I can actually throw him with a shihonage.
This brought a tear to my eye. It also made me want to reclaim my Swedish heritage and go train in Sweden with you guys.

Great story. Great post.

Conrad Gustafson
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:58 AM   #35
oisin bourke
 
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post

The late lamented Ken Cottier couldn't sit in seize because of arthritis resulting from an old knee injury, and found it uncomfortable to move between sitting and standing, but when you practised with him you always had the feeling that this was someone who could kill you faster than you could blink (but, luckily for you, chose not to).
I took ukemi for Ken Cottier Sensei at a seminar about ten years ago. He gave me this "shocking" technique that dropped me straight down. I had no idea what he was doing at the time. Looking back, I think he was sharing some of his most potent knowledge with anyone who was interested.

Looking at the video, Jan obviously learned a lot of old style stuff, very daito ryu, so a lot of these old timers were exposed to a lot of deep stuff, and, contrary to some theories, maybe it all didn't go over their head. The late Alan Ruddock and Henry Kono also come to mind in this regard, Mary Heiny too. So the questions I have are ; where did Jan learn this stuff and who taught him? And why did he choose to demonstrate this stuff at the apex of his career?

Last edited by akiy : 08-30-2012 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old 08-30-2012, 02:22 PM   #36
Aikilove
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

A couple of years ago a biography of Janne H was released. Alas, only in Swedish for you non swedish speakers out there. There are a lot of gems in this one, let me tell you!
One of the more fun ones-which, btw, he also relayed to me personally at a party-was about one of his encounters with Chiba K. on the canvas of the mat's of Hombu dojo.

As a side note, these encounters, i believe, also speaks numbers to those who have not met him, but still find it relevant to judge his technical abilities based on a spoof demo.

The encounter in question went about in the same way as it did most times with Janne. He would work out with his partner, Chiba K. in this case, and if an opportunity for some fun revealed itself he wold take it. Chiba was about to perform Iriminage when Janne simply just ducked under and took Chiba's back, lift him up, bear hug style, and let him down outside the mat. His words, my translation: "One has to be able to have some fun, no, but Chiba he went bananas and wanted to fight. The instructor stepped between though..."

Recently Okumura S. Sensei (you know, the senior most instructor at hombu dojo before he died 2008 after present Doshu) was asked about this particular event in an interview about Janne's life in Japan. He simply said: (My translation) "That, if anything, indicate the level of Hermansson's skill, if he could pull that off on Chiba." I like the fact that he didn't with a word indicate if he felt it was an in-appropriate behaviour on Janne's part. Okumura Sensei was old school...

Ellis wrote about his travels to Yoshinkan dojo and Iwama dojo. The latter of the two, at least, has calmed down dramatically since many years, due to the fact that Saito M. sensei would clearly loose face anytime anything happened with a guest. Janne himself is way to modest and humble to talk down on any teacher or school, but he really liked both Yoshinkan school and Saito M sensei. It was simply good hard training to him. He wouldn't classify them as different styles. Not back then at least.
About that one time in Iwama, he says that he was working out with one local hot-head there who would try to reverse Janne's iriminage. Janne kind of lost his temper after a while of that and simply lift the man up and dropped him down (pro-wrestling style on his upper back/head). The guy was K.O:ed and, while Saito M himself wasn't present, Mrs Saito apparently got mad about it! According to Janne Saito M himself didn't care much about it (he had himself to blame so to speak). They all had a party in the evening but Janne still decided to leave the following morning. Saito M. was old school too...

/J

Jakob Blomquist
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:47 PM   #37
David Orange
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I thought the post by Carsten on the IHTBF column was beautiful and apt for this thead.
Take care,
Matt
That whole thread is impressive and inspiring.

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

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 08-30-2012, 10:02 PM   #38
David Orange
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

Quote:
Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
This brought a tear to my eye. It also made me want to reclaim my Swedish heritage and go train in Sweden with you guys.

Great story. Great post.

Conrad Gustafson
A very nicely written story by Stefan, isn't it.

Sounds like a very good place.

And a great teacher.

Last edited by David Orange : 08-30-2012 at 10:06 PM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:11 PM   #39
Basia Halliop
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Re: Jan Hermansson Videos

IMO, I'm not sure you can really tell all that much, positive or negative, from that video. It doesn't look like it's an actual aikido demo, it's a slapstick comedy routine inspired by aikido.

Exaggerated silliness and fumbling and bumbling and overacting all makes for better slapstick.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 09-13-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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