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Old 11-04-2000, 09:06 AM   #1
glen
Dojo: Suenaka School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta
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I have a question that may seem to obvious, but I am new to Aikido so please bear with me.
My question is why are there so many different styles of Aikido? Don't they all originate from O'sensei? Is one any more correct to what O'sensei wanted us to learn than the other?
One explanation I have received is that different styles are due to when students of O'sensei broke off their trainig with him. So does that mean the Iwama style is the most correct since it would be the one closest to his time of passing?
Any enlightenment will be greatly appreciated. And no offense is intended to any of the styles.

Glen Bolling
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Old 11-04-2000, 10:19 AM   #2
JJF
 
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Hi Glen!

Concider this: A man writes a book. A couple of hundre people reads this book. Some of them once some of them twice and some of them even more times. One day the author dies and all the copies are burned. Each of the readers starts to rewrite the book - each from their own understanding of the book and each adding their own small extras. Some claim they have made an exact copy, some claim they have bettered the book and some claim they have left out passages that either didn't work, had no mening or was of no interest to them.

All the books might be great litterature, some of them even great art and they will certainly have a lot in common with the original book - but not two of them will be completely identical to each other or to the original.

Aikido is in a constant state of development. I think, that most people in Aikido agree that sticking to one interpretation of what 'true Aikido' is would prevent Aikido from fulfilling one of it's main purposes which is to be adapted to the world of the current time. Aikido changes with time and with each and everyone who practices Aikido. Your own conception of Aikido is probably unique in this wide world but in a manner just as valid as anybody elses.

A teacher once said to me (in fun) that the time your Aikido is the very best is when you enter the dojo the first time, because you at that point haven't learned anything wrong yet. From that point it is just one long hard job to try and weed out the errors - little by little gettig you closer to a goal you will never reach. A rather gloomy view - ehh ?

Hope this helped.


- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 11-07-2000, 06:46 PM   #3
Uresu
Dojo: Komurokwai kin kuso aikijutsu
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Quote:
glen wrote:

My question is why are there so many different styles of Aikido? Don't they all originate from O'sensei? ....
O Sensei didn't invent anything new, he studied various martial arts and then decided to 'create' aikido. Ueshiba sensei studied Aiki Jutsu for over 30 years along with Japanese fencing and many other martial arts.

Like many modern martial arts it has it's origins firmly based in another.

Jujutsu -> Judo
Kenjutsu -> Kendo
etc...

So with a martial art that was highly ecclectic in its conceptions and creation. Why even try to look at all these aikido 'styles'.

Instead, if you are seeking something a little more true to the roots, then with all respect, try jojutsu (etc) for weapons and maybe aikijutsu.

Split the discplines back into their original forms and then maybe a little clarity will help you choose the right path.

Just as O sensei did.

Wes Harris

Centre, centre, centre.
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Old 11-13-2000, 06:39 AM   #4
ian
 
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Wes, I have done some Aiki-jutsu, and I would say it is very different from aikido. It depends what you mean by invent. Although the 'techniques' are similar, the feeling of doing many of the techniques and the principles are different. Also, didn't Ueshiba 'invent' irimi-nage?

Glen,
It is always difficult to compare any martial arts or styles because there are inevitable similarities as well as differences. You will see the same in other martial arts (there are many styles of karate - although these seem more formalised and they are less likely to train together than they would in aikido).

Aikido is different from many martial arts to the beginner because it is more about perfecting technqiue rather than learning new ones (learning the techniques is relatively quick compared to being able to do them effectively). Also, the fact that in aikido we have to blend with an opponent (rather than doing set kata) makes aikido very personal to the individual. Each Nage and Uke has their strengths and weaknesses. As you train you use what works for you; but this will mean you will also teach what works for you.

Ian
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Old 11-14-2000, 03:45 PM   #5
Uresu
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Quote:
ian wrote:
Wes, I have done some Aiki-jutsu, and I would say it is very different from aikido.... Also, didn't Ueshiba 'invent' irimi-nage?
Hmm, I hate to break this to you and I know it will infuriate a lot of people, but. Ueshiba Sensei didn't 'invent' jack.

Sorry

Wes

Centre, centre, centre.
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Old 11-15-2000, 02:43 AM   #6
ian
 
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hmmm,
you may be correct in a broad sense, just as William Shakespear stole all his ideas from other playwrites. However I think the system known as aikido is easily distinguishable from such things as jujitsu or aikijutsu. e.g. when I did aikijitsu there was no such thing as moving off centre line, and any irimi movement defending from a shomen-uchi did not involve blending, but did involve bruises.

The question of originality remains; you could consider some of the techniques are really just weapons techniques without the weapon - however the style, application and aim are different. Does this make it different? You've also got to accept that aikido has a philosophy which directly relates to its method of self-defence, which other martial arts don't seem to have.

Ian

P.S. I presume you do aikijitsu, so you may be able to confirm or refute this (if so, did your sensei's pick up aspects of aikido?) - this may come down to the fact that martial arts all have similarities, but emphasise different aspects.

[Edited by ian on November 15, 2000 at 02:49am]
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Old 11-15-2000, 06:33 PM   #7
Uresu
Dojo: Komurokwai kin kuso aikijutsu
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[quote]ian wrote:
hmmm,
you may be correct in a broad sense, just as William Shakespear stole all his ideas from other playwrites.


Really? All of them?

However I think the system known as aikido is easily distinguishable from such things as jujitsu or aikijutsu.

Do you think it's that easy?

e.g. when I did aikijitsu there was no such thing as moving off centre line...

Maybe not in the aikido way. Aikido is a very modern art and it is based on the way we move today. ie the way we walk, with our arms swinging as we put forward the opposite leg. This twisting of the body makes for very awkward and ineffective moving off of centre line.

If you use the traditional bushi way of movement (hitoemi : lit "centre line") then you walk with a perfectly balanced and centred stance, ie no twisting.

This is why most beginners of aikiwhatever find shiko difficult, you simply cant perform shiko well if your body twists. Also moving from standing to shiko is also much easier when adopting hitoemi.

Opening the posture from this movement is also more effective as it encourages you to make a turn through a central axis using two pivot points instead of one. i.e. in surawe waza the right knee and left foot. This in turn leads to a quicker opening of posture and tori may leave their technique until later in ukes attack.

We all know the feeling of being scared because we were utterly convinced that the atemi you just delivered WAS going to hit, and the subsequent feeling of being totally useless when we find ourselves so far into the attack the neutralisation is over before we know where we are.

I know I do


and any irimi movement defending from a shomen-uchi did not involve blending, but did involve bruises.

Now this does make sense, many of the irimi into shomen uchis, involve an irimi. I know that might sound obvious but its true. In my oppinion the aikido form of irimi ikyo from shomen uchi is great, it's effective and I love it. But is it really an irimi? Comments?

You've also got to accept that aikido has a philosophy which directly relates to its method of self-defence, which other martial arts don't seem to have.

Ueshiba Sensei was a budhist monk. Classical martial arts + buddhist thinking = Martial arts with a philosophy = Aikido. It just about the math

P.S. I presume you do aikijitsu,

Judo, jujitsu and aikido too. I find doing them all makes it easier to spot the differences, similarities and crossovers between them. Plus it's fun.

so you may be able to confirm or refute this (if so, did your sensei's pick up aspects of aikido?)

Okay, i'll say this and I know it will sound arrogant.

Ueshiba Sensei taught
Chiba Sensei taught
Poole Sensei taught
My Sensei(s)

So they may have picked up a bit

This may come down to the fact that martial arts all have similarities, but emphasise different aspects

Excellent point, I saw a Wu Shu demonstration the other day with shiho nage in it. At least I think it was Wu Shu? Lion Dance? Anyone?

It's great to be able to talk to other intelligent people about this kind of thing.

Look for forward to hearing other peoples POV's.

Wes Harris

Centre, centre, centre.
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Old 11-16-2000, 11:56 AM   #8
Zach Hudson
Dojo: Siskiyou Aikikai and Aikido Habatakukai
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O'Sensei and religion

Wes said: Ueshiba Sensei was a budhist monk. Classical martial arts + buddhist thinking = Martial arts with a philosophy = Aikido. It just about the math.

I'm just being nitpicky, but O'Sensei wasn't Buddhist. His religion was Omoto-Kyo, which I believe is a branch of Shinto.

Zach
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Old 11-16-2000, 05:58 PM   #9
Uresu
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Re: O'Sensei and religion

Quote:
Zach Hudson wrote:

I'm just being nitpicky, but O'Sensei wasn't Buddhist. His religion was Omoto-Kyo, which I believe is a branch of Shinto.
I honestly didn't know. I thought I'd either read or heard somewhere that he studied bbudhist theology at some temple somewhere and assumed that he was a buddhist. I appologise and will check on my sources.

Thanks.

Wes Harris

Centre, centre, centre.
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Old 12-14-2000, 06:17 AM   #10
Anne
Dojo: Kiel University/VfL Fosite Helgoland
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Do symbol

I saw a kind of "family tree" somewhere where the students of O Sensei were "divided" into three generations, depending on when during O Sensei´s teaching they were studying in his dojo. His students "grew up" and founded their own dojos. But students who were at O Sensei´s dojo in the early days of aikido had trained in a somehow different aikido than the students of the last generation because O Sensei never stopped improving aikido.
I think it´s natural that all these students developed their own style in some degrees because they were training at different times. If you see demonstrations by different sensei and compare them with old videos of O Sensei, you can still tell this "generation effect". Apart from the fact that O Sensei himself incouraged his students to try out their own ideas to improve aikido in general.

Anne

"You have to do difficult things to grow." (Shoji Nishio Sensei)
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Old 12-14-2000, 01:17 PM   #11
torokun
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Re: Re: O'Sensei and religion

Quote:
Uresu wrote:
Quote:
Zach Hudson wrote:

I'm just being nitpicky, but O'Sensei wasn't Buddhist. His religion was Omoto-Kyo, which I believe is a branch of Shinto.
I honestly didn't know. I thought I'd either read or heard somewhere that he studied bbudhist theology at some temple somewhere and assumed that he was a buddhist. I appologise and will check on my sources.

Thanks.

Wes Harris
O-Sensei was involved for a short period of time with an esoteric sect of buddhism when he was young, and I believe it was the Mikkyo sect. They practiced a lot of meditation and mudras (interlocking fingers in different positions for meditation), etc. Later, he got into Omoto-kyo and was pretty much entirely Shinto in his beliefs.

--torokun
(Trevor)
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Old 12-30-2000, 04:43 PM   #12
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
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Red face History, Originality & the Present

1. Morihei Ueshiba changed what he called his art a few times, however, he finally settled on the name Aikido.

2. By the late 1940's and early 1950's Tomiki and Shioda broke away from Ueshiba to establish their own organizations.

3. Throughout the 1950's up to 1970, the primary style was that practiced and taught by Morihei Ueshiba, Kissomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei as the primary conveyors. This is not to give slight to others not mentioned, but these were the three main lights.

4. In the early 1970's Koichi Tohei startd Ki No Kenkyukai Shin Shin Toitsu Do Aikido.

5. During the 1960's and 1970's the main "Hombu" school (Aikikai) has sent instructors to various parts of the world. Oftentimes these would then start up an organization in their area and give it a name with themselves as the head. Each would pledge allegiance to the Aikikai and each could be as different from all of the others under the same rubric of Aikikai as say and Yoshinkai and Ki Society dojo might be from each other.

6. Primarily during the 1980's and 1990's many "national" organizations have been born because the natives of the particular country had disagreements with either Japan or the head of the branch organization. Some very highly regarded aikidoka have chosen to not be affiliated with any organization.

7. O' Sensei's religion and beliefs were in the Omoto Kyo sect of Shinto, a fairly esoteric sect even for Shinto. However, he made it clear that Aikido, while embodying his understanding of some of the theology of this sect, was not Omoto Kyo and that it was not necessary for Aikidoka to belong. Quite the contrary he made enough statements throughout his life that he saw Aikido as helping all religious systems to fulfill their highest goals of establishing peace.

Finally, all of these various pieces of history, mythology and traditions which surround Aikido have been debated for quite some time. One of the problems stems from O' Sensei in that he might relate the same event differently on different occasions. Another problem is that his students like many students around the world, oftentimes heard what they wanted to hear and ignored what they did not understand or thought was "old fashioned". The consequence of these natural occurences has been different emphases by different Aikidoka.

All provides a beginning answer to the basic question of why there are so many different styles of Aikido.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 01-08-2001, 05:25 PM   #13
Syniq
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In the spirit of humility...

...and recognizing that I have not "studied" martial arts (or history, for that matter), it would seem to me that Aikido (or any MA) is not a limited set of specific instructions but rather something you learn and apply as necessary to a given situation and is "open to interpretation."

Isn't that why it's called an "Art"?



Cody

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As I live and learn,
is:
Dig and be dug
In return." --Langston Hughes
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