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Old 05-02-2001, 07:39 PM   #1
Yoshiman
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Saito's Aikido Style?

Please describe Saito Morihiro's Iwama Aikido?

Thanks

Yoshiman
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Old 05-02-2001, 11:17 PM   #2
AikidoSteve
Dojo: Foothills Aikido, Evergreen, Colorado
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Ai symbol

From the four Saito Seminars I've been fortunate enough to participate in, I feel Saito Shihan is as close to O- Sensei as I will ever get. I find Saito Shihan's efficiency of movement - stunning. If you ever get the chance to go to one of his seminars I highly recommend it. I'm not certain I'm qualified to classify or discuss his style. But if I tried, I'd say he is in the middle of the spectrum. His movements/style isn't too tight or too large, but just right.

Yours in Aikihood

Steve Nelson
Confront the enemy with the point of your sword against his face.
-Miyamoto Musashi, "A Book of Five Rings"
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Old 05-03-2001, 05:57 AM   #3
TAC One
Dojo: Aikikai Valsugana
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Smile What's the point of aikido, then?

Quote:
Originally posted by AikidoSteve
From the four Saito Seminars I've been fortunate enough to participate in, I feel Saito Shihan is as close to O- Sensei as I will ever get.
What's the point of aikido then? To get close to O'sensei? To get just like him?

= ???

(forgive my bad english, pls)

TAC One


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Old 05-03-2001, 06:11 AM   #4
Aikilove
Dojo: Lunds Aikidoklubb
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Cool

Hi! After reading alot of article about different "styles" of Aikido, I have come to the conclusion that the styles is nothing but different teaching methods toward the same goal, created by people training with o-sensei. They trained, learned and started teaching themselves. Since o-sensei's wanted to transmit principles through his techniques, it wasn't easy for Kisshomaru, Saito, Tohei etc. to find a way to teach themselves in order to transmit o-sensei's principles in a good way. They all individually found their own pedagogic system e.g Tohei focused on Ki development, Kisshomaru focused on fluidity (ki no nagare) and Saito focused on the relationchip between weapon techniques and body movement (riai) as well as the importance in training the basic techniques. ( I'm aware of the incomplete description, but this is the short version!) They all however have the same goal - to transmit o-sensei's principles of Aikido to their student's in the most effective way.
I fully agree with AikidoSteve, and find the Saito sensei's teching method fully satisfying. I regulary go at seminars at clubs with a more Hombu dojo style (aikikai if you will), and allways come back with new angles of approaching my training.

Jakob Blomquist
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Old 05-03-2001, 06:50 AM   #5
andrew
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I gather, due to staying by O Senseis side for 23 years, Saito tried to duplicate exactly everything he was taught. You can see obvious differences between various masters- (I'm told by a Spanish friend that Yamada uses big movements while Tamura uses small movements that are difficult to see, for instance. He attends a summer school with them both in France each year.) Saito decided to try and preserve exactly what O Sensei did in his Aikido, and how he did it.
I don't think his point was to try and imitate O Senseis style, but to make it available to another generation unchanged.

I've read that the techniques in the book "Budo" are described pretty much exactly as Saito does them, and reading that book (by O Sensei) might give you an idea. There's a few clips at aikidofaq of Saito in action, too.

andrew
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Old 05-03-2001, 08:54 AM   #6
AikidoSteve
Dojo: Foothills Aikido, Evergreen, Colorado
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Re: What's the point of aikido, then?

Quote:
Originally posted by TAC One


What's the point of aikido then? To get close to O'sensei? To get just like him?

Well yes, that might be one point (no pun indented), to be like O Sensei.

Another point is, I was not able to see O Sensei first hand and in the flesh. As, Saito Shihan was with O Sensei for decades, including those final years, in my mind (romantic as the notion may be) Saito Shihan is what O Sensei would be like today. Other Shihan have practiced under O Sensei and are able to continue these teachings. Their styles seem/are different because they practiced under O Sensei at different times of O Sensei's life. With that in mind, from an esoteric point of view, every time I witness any style or skill level of Aikido, I am seeing O Sensei. And could extend the thought just a little further and say that all Aikidoka carry O Sensei within them. I've digressed.

Yours in Aikihood

Steve Nelson
Confront the enemy with the point of your sword against his face.
-Miyamoto Musashi, "A Book of Five Rings"
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Old 05-03-2001, 09:25 AM   #7
akiy
 
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Re: Re: What's the point of aikido, then?

Quote:
Originally posted by AikidoSteve
Well yes, that might be one point (no pun indented), to be like O Sensei.
Personally, I don't care to be like the founder nor have my aikido look like his. I would rather my aikido be a development of my own strengths and weaknesses and not just a carbon copy of someone else's.
Quote:
Another point is, I was not able to see O Sensei first hand and in the flesh. As, Saito Shihan was with O Sensei for decades, including those final years, in my mind (romantic as the notion may be) Saito Shihan is what O Sensei would be like today.
Are you saying that you think what Saito sensei is doing right now is what the founder would be doing if he were still alive? Or just that what he's doing is a "preservation" of sorts of what the founder taught him?

Quote:
Other Shihan have practiced under O Sensei and are able to continue these teachings. Their styles seem/are different because they practiced under O Sensei at different times of O Sensei's life.
That's one way to look at it, of course. Those people who started with the founder later in his life would have been exposed to more of his "flowing" aikido and less his "martial".

However, to classify the style of the people who studied under the founder just in the framework of when they studied with the founder may be a bit misleading. My own thought is that many shihan have taken aikido and made the art theirs. Rather than forcing themselves into a movement shape that isn't effective for them, they have worked through what works and what doesn't for them.

Even Saito sensei whom many people consider to have a very consistent style of aikido has developed over the years. I heard a story of a high ranking student of his in the States who whenever she goes back to Iwama asks the uchideshi there how he's doing certain techniques -- even the weapons kata/suburi.

I've only attended one of Saito sensei's seminars, but here's a review of it that I wrote back then. One thing from the seminar still stands out in my mind and I'll save myself the trouble of recompiling my thoughts for it and just quote myself from the review:

"Through the weekend, I got the feeling that Saito sensei was very much trying to preserve that which O-sensei taught him. I can very much feel the respect and loyalty he has to what the founder gave to him, and I very much appreciated the fact that someone out there is allowing us an opportunity to tap into his embodiment of what he learned. He did not say that this was any better nor worse than what anyone else was doing, but in fact, he went out of his way to say that everyone should go and train with as many different instructors as they could, that we should go to different seminars and work with different people. I really liked this feeling of his opening the door for people to go see different people, as I very much subscribe to that philosophy"

In any case, I, too, will put in my thought that if you get a chance to see Saito sensei, do so. Not to be morbid or anything, but these students of the founder are not going to last much longer...

-- Jun

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Old 05-03-2001, 11:13 AM   #8
AikidoSteve
Dojo: Foothills Aikido, Evergreen, Colorado
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Wink What's the point of aikido, then?

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy

Personally, I don't care to be like the founder nor have my aikido look like his. I would rather my aikido be a development of my own strengths and weaknesses and not just a carbon copy of someone else's.
So... you're saying, you don't care for your Aikido to look like O Sensei's. Does that mean that you DO care to have your Aikido not look like O Sensei's? Are you advocating developing one's personal Aikido based upon one's own strengths and weaknesses to the point that it would no longer be recognized by any Aikidoka as Aikido? If so, I think I've seen you at seminar.

Aside from kidding around, I'm not so sure Aikido that looks like O Sensei's is as important as having Aikido that feels like O Sensei's. The extension, balance, spontaneity...


Quote:
Originally posted by akiy


Are you saying that you think what Saito sensei is doing right now is what the founder would be doing if he were still alive? Or just that what he's doing is a "preservation" of sorts of what the founder taught him?

-- Jun
Yes Both, but perhaps more on the preservation side of the equation.

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy


Not to be morbid or anything, but these students of the founder are not going to last much longer...

-- Jun
This is true too. And is another good reason to learn as much as we can from them.

Yours in Aikihood

Steve Nelson
Confront the enemy with the point of your sword against his face.
-Miyamoto Musashi, "A Book of Five Rings"
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Old 05-03-2001, 11:22 AM   #9
akiy
 
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Re: What's the point of aikido, then?

Quote:
Originally posted by AikidoSteve
So... you're saying, you don't care for your Aikido to look like O Sensei's. Does that mean that you DO care to have your Aikido not look like O Sensei's? Are you advocating developing one's personal Aikido based upon one's own strengths and weaknesses to the point that it would no longer be recognized by any Aikidoka as Aikido? If so, I think I've seen you at seminar.
Heh -- no, that was not me with the green and yellow "Dr Seuss" brand hakama...
Quote:
Aside from kidding around, I'm not so sure Aikido that looks like O Sensei's is as important as having Aikido that feels like O Sensei's. The extension, balance, spontaneity...
I agree with you here, of course. I think it's more about embodying the principles than the form. Yes, the form is very important, of course, and necessary to be developed by everyone. But, I personally don't think it's the goal...

Thanks for your response, Steve.

-- Jun

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Old 05-03-2001, 01:19 PM   #10
Erik
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I just wanted to echo Jun's comments in regards to Saito changing. Feedback I've gotten from someone whose been in that style for a lot of years is that it has changed. I can't speak to what, just that this individual said certain techniques have definitely changed from the way it was taught in years gone by. So he either did O'Sensei's Aikido then or he's doing it now? I'd guess that he's just evolved the form to suit his temperment, body type, etc...

Last edited by Erik : 05-03-2001 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 05-03-2001, 07:49 PM   #11
otto
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I think u are all very lucky to have access , to such a high quality teaching , like one given by a man who was personally taught by the founder.

We , here in latinamerica , cann't have such experience that easily.......

so , i think u should best appreciate it fully...instead of wasting your energy arguing about some pointless details......


Saludos desde Venezuela para todos!!!!

Ottoniel Ojeda.

PS. this is my first post , so please excuse my bad english and any other omissions i may have done.


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Old 05-03-2001, 09:33 PM   #12
guest1234
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I have heard before this 'who is the most like the Founder' debate...and there is a high ranking Iwama sensei whom I very much respect and who has taught me a lot the few times I've visited his dojo. I know the Iwama "exactly as the Founder taught me' mantra, and i believe it to a point. But i don't see that the other of O Sensei's students necessarily changed it, or that it is all due to when they studied, or how long. I notice that each night, the instructor at my dojo shows a technique, we get up to practice, and we are all so different. different due to our size, our partner's size and attack, speed, distance...sun in our eyes/pebble in our shoes...or just our ability to observe. We each see the same thing differently, and that i think is the amazing part of Aikido...that things are different and yet the same, many and yet one.
what i like about attending Saito Sensei's seminars is that you can see the love he had for O Sensei, that the lesson he really teaches is love and loyalty to your teacher, and that is what i see reflected in his students--try telling an Iwama style student he has it wrong. There is another of O Sensei's students that i love to watch, and the sense i get from him is he learned the joy of passing on knowledge, and this love of helping other progress is what i see in his students. Another i think loved the Founder's philosophy, and i think tries to pass that on...of course, i could be totally wrong about each of those great teachers, and while i enjoy seeing how each does this or that technique, what i hope to learn from them is a lot more that where my feet go.
Hey, someone help me off this soapbox...
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Old 05-04-2001, 03:39 AM   #13
Kami
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Wink SAITO'S AIKIDO STYLE

Quote:
Originally posted by otto

We , here in latinamerica , cann't have such experience that easily.......
so , i think u should best appreciate it fully...instead of wasting your energy arguing about some pointless details......
Saludos desde Venezuela para todos!!!!
Ottoniel Ojeda.
PS. this is my first post , so please excuse my bad english and any other omissions i may have done.
KAMI : Saludos para usted también, Otto San!
Don't be worried about your english! It's quite good, by the way.
I see your point but I think the main discussion here is not if Saito Sensei is good or not or the discussion of some pointless detail. I believe what people are discussing about is the validity of all Shihans' approach to Aikido. You know...each flower with its own aroma.
Muchas alegrias, amigo!
Ubaldo (a.k.a. Yamantaka)

"We are all teachers, and what we teach is what we need to learn, and so we teach it over and over again until we learn it".
Unknown author

Ubaldo Alcantara
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Old 05-04-2001, 06:20 AM   #14
ian
 
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For me, Aikido is not a final goal. Doing aikido teaches you more and more about body movement. I think this is what distinguishes it from other martial arts - because it develops and improves. This was evident with O Sensei, who changed throughout his life. Its also evident with most people that practise aikido (I went back to my old instructor after about 8 years and noticed a big 'difference' (actually a development rather than difference).

However, although we develop our 'own' aikido I would say that there are many Shihan who have learnt far more about body movement than we will likely ever know. Therefore its good to learn from them and practise what they do. Until we understand why they do it like that (and not another way) ourselves, and in the absence of methods of testing which shihan is best, it is hard to say whether people develop or regress or whether one style is better than another. This is probably because there are many things in aikido which are subtle.

Ian
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Old 05-04-2001, 06:43 AM   #15
andrew
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
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Perhaps Saito makes a conscious effort to duplicate teaching methods of the founder?
If I (when I?) teach Aikido, I'll teach in a manner governed mainly by how I as an indiviual learned things, and not by how I was taught. Obviously I'd duplicate some of my own teachers methods, but I'm sure I'd strive for my own ideas in it too. (This is probably a bad thing in many cases, such as cases of general incompetence, but that goes without saying.)

andrew
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