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Old 03-24-2005, 05:07 PM   #51
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
James Bostwick wrote:
I told you via e-mail that Tohei withheld quite a bit in public (that includes his books.) You should have followed up by asking what exactly and saved yourself some time.
Did you study with Tohei? I didn't get that impression or I might have asked further.

As it was, I felt like you had your own take on ki, kokyu, etc., that is outside both the Japanese and Chinese views... and those are pretty much the same, as they must be, if you think about it. But thanks for what information you gave.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-24-2005, 05:15 PM   #52
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Did you study with Tohei? I didn't get that impression or I might have asked further.

As it was, I felt like you had your own take on ki, kokyu, etc., that is outside both the Japanese and Chinese views... and those are pretty much the same, as they must be, if you think about it. But thanks for what information you gave.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
If you want more information, my phone number's on my website. E-mail doesn't do the topic justice.

Regards,
James Bostwick
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Old 03-24-2005, 05:32 PM   #53
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
I hate to say it since I am starting to sound like a broken record, but it is the "standing posture thread"...

It's the snap into kamae and closing the armpit (also in kamae) of the grasping hand that does it. Or so Takeno Sensei says. His is straight down, too. He also talks about accelerating uke to the floor on the way down...don't just let gravity do it. Help gravity along! [Note: my interpretation after being splatted continuously one class]

I was going through this exact point last Thursday morning.

FWIW,

--Michael
Cool .. Thanks Michael. Glad hear it's consistent with the top folks in our organization.
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Old 03-25-2005, 01:45 AM   #54
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Steven Miranda wrote:
Cool .. Thanks Michael. Glad hear it's consistent with the top folks in our organization.
Steven...strange thing. When I explore the differences between Chida Sensei and Takeno Sensei one of the main ones I see is the drop down in Shihonage.

I always thought that Chida Sensei's was more out than Takeno Sensei's - in that he would slide forward slighly. Basically Takeno Sensei's circles seem a lot smaller/tighter in all the motions.

However, that being said I guess they both can do whatever they want whenever they want <wry grin>

Any thoughts? How did Parker Sensei's differ from Chida Sensei's - or did it?

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 03-25-2005, 08:32 AM   #55
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Before we get too far afield (which is impossible to avoid on any forum, so I'm not complaining), let me ask if anyone has any pictures, etc., showing postures that Tohei, Shioda, or others recommended for holding. Thanks. Even any potential sources of information would be helpful.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 10:01 AM   #56
Michael Mackenzie
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Hi,

As for Shioda, any posture in the kihon dosa can be held. Here is a non-Yoshinkan aikidoka's experience:

"We progressed through basic kamae to the Kihon Dosa -a series of basic postural exercises which forms the foundation of Yoshinkan Aikido.Moving from one position to another with precision and holding each difficult posture for an extended period proved really hard on the legs and a nightmare in terms of balance."

http://www.koshinkan-aikido.co.uk/articles/pyjamas.htm

As for others, the only postures I have seen reccommended are: 1. shizentai i.e. "natural" posture. 2. Standing in kamae with the sword.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 10:53 AM   #57
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Thanks, Mike. I guess what I'm feeling for, without completely having asked for it so far, is (1.) were there standing practices in "traditional" Aikido and (2.) were there explanations to go with the standings.

Because of the uncertainty about Shioda's knowledge source on standing-post exercises, I'm sort of at a loss there. The other big factor is knowing how to do the postures and knowing how to do the movements. For instance, think how many people have slowly come to the realization that the basic movements they were doing didn't have the power of the movements in someone else they felt. That means that the descriptions of how to move are usually missing and the choreography and external workings of the techniques is more common.

The same is true for standing exercises. Just standing and "centering" is not what postures are about, although there will naturally accrue *some* benefit and "ki" from just standing. But it's limited. In my opinion a lot of people wind up teaching various martial arts who never got more than choreography (or postures, whatever) and so from the point that such a person begins to teach, pretty much everything down his lineage is external and technique-based. This is a common occurrence and it's why you have some purely external (nowadays) martial arts in China that have names indicating that they were once "internal" arts.... the knowledge got lost because it wasn't openly shown, etc., and down the line the "teachers" who only had the external material dominated the art. Incidentally, this is very true in Okinawan karate, also.... there are a core group at the upper levels who know how the ki and kokyu are used and developed while most of the avid practitioners haven't even got a clue that it's in there.

But, all of this is just interesting discussion, I guess, and I appreciate the information from various people. I've learned a lot that I didn't know about Aikido.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:33 AM   #58
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
Steven...strange thing. When I explore the differences between Chida Sensei and Takeno Sensei one of the main ones I see is the drop down in Shihonage.

I always thought that Chida Sensei's was more out than Takeno Sensei's - in that he would slide forward slighly. Basically Takeno Sensei's circles seem a lot smaller/tighter in all the motions.

However, that being said I guess they both can do whatever they want whenever they want <wry grin>

Any thoughts? How did Parker Sensei's differ from Chida Sensei's - or did it?

--Michael
Hi Michael,

From the receiving end of things, I didn't feel much difference at all. I'll take a look at the vids and let you know what I see, if any.

--Steven
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Old 03-25-2005, 12:33 PM   #59
Michael Mackenzie
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
I guess what I'm feeling for, without completely having asked for it so far, is (1.) were there standing practices in "traditional" Aikido
Hi Mike,

This is an area of interest for me as well. I am sorry if I have not been as detailed in posting as I could have been. To answer, to my knowledge, 1. It depends what you mean by traditional aikido. Is traditional aikido what was taught to Saito at Iwama? Is it what was taught at hombu dojo post WWII? or is it something taught by the pre-war students?

The easiest answer is to say that aikido is an off-shoot of traditional Daito-Ryu, much as Yang style Taiji is an offshoot of Chen. From there you don't get caught up so much in the various aikido personality cults and can then to go look at what the Daito-ryu people and other ryu of that era are doing. This is what many of those fed up with the aikido world have chosen to do. This includes
most of the top dogs, who regardless of aikido affiliation, have eventually looked for anwers in the koryu.

In fact I would say that Tohei's interest in shin-shin toitsu do, Tetsutaka Sugawara's interest in Taiji, or some of the post-war North American and Japanese student's exposure to Wang Shu Jin's IMA are in fact not the norm. Rather many students have looked back at older Japanese traditions to "fill in the blanks."

This is not to say that there is no Chinese influence in Japanese Koryu, but rather that, for most people, the interest in shin-shin toitsu do, taiji, etc is more akin to our modern penchant for looking to yoga and pilates to improve our respective martial arts, versus focused study on the actual art we are studying, including its historical antecedents.

Quote:
Because of the uncertainty about Shioda's knowledge source on standing-post exercises, I'm sort of at a loss there.
Honestly Mike, I don't know if that's the case. It was one tiny blurb I saw in a Taikiken article two years ago. I haven't been able to find the article again or independently verify it with anyone. It is pure speculation at this point. To be honest, I'm much more interested in Ellis's comment that Shioda may hove worked with Kodo Horikawa.

Quote:
think how many people have slowly come to the realization that the basic movements they were doing didn't have the power of the movements in someone else they felt. That means that the descriptions of how to move are usually missing and the choreography and external workings of the techniques is more common.
I agree totally!!! What I've found however is that most of this higher level information, be it for Japanese of Chinese marttial arts, is not available readily in books. I'm sure you can attest to the many years it has taken to develop your skills through dilligent practice, trial and error, and asking senior people the "right" questions.

Quote:
(2.) were there explanations to go with the standings.
As for your second point and O'Sensei: If there are any oral instructions they are in his doka, or nowhere at all. For example in the Art of Peace:

"Breathe in and let yourself soar to the ends of the universe; breathe out and bring the cosmos back inside. Next, breathe up all fecundity and vibrancy of the earth. Finally, blend the breath of heaven and the breath of earth with your own, becoming the Breath of Life itself."

Most people see this as nice poetic stuff and move on. However, to most traditional Chinese and Japanese martial artists this would be a flashing red light that the author is trying to describe something very concrete, i.e. an actual breathing exercise. Of course someone has to explain it to you...

Quote:
snip - you have some purely external (nowadays) martial arts in China that have names indicating that they were once "internal" arts.... the knowledge got lost because it wasn't openly shown, etc., and down the line the "teachers" who only had the external material dominated the art... there are a core group at the upper levels who know how the ki and kokyu are used and developed while most of the avid practitioners haven't even got a clue that it's in there.
Again I totally agree. That is why I think it is interesting that someone like Yoshinori Kono in Japan is doing research that is parallel to yours in some respects in that he is interested in how people in the koryu actually moved once upon a time. Several very well respected martial artists, like Tetsuzan Kuroda, have gone to study with him to rediscover the roots of their art. It should also be noted that Yoshinori Kono started as a student of Seigo Yamaguchi, but, you guessed it, went to the koryu to fill in the blanks...

FWIW,

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 12:58 PM   #60
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Mackenzie wrote:
1. It depends what you mean by traditional aikido. Is traditional aikido what was taught to Saito at Iwama? Is it what was taught at hombu dojo post WWII? or is it something taught by the pre-war students?

The easiest answer is to say that aikido is an off-shoot of traditional Daito-Ryu, much as Yang style Taiji is an offshoot of Chen. From there you don't get caught up so much in the various aikido personality cults and can then to go look at what the Daito-ryu people and other ryu of that era are doing. This is what many of those fed up with the aikido world have chosen to do. This includes
most of the top dogs, who regardless of aikido affiliation, have eventually looked for anwers in the koryu.
Good points. Just to be on the safe side, I didn't assume that the Ki and Kokyu stuff was necessarily in Daito-Ryu as taught to Ueshiba by Takeda Sokaku. I had to consider the possibility that Ueshiba learned a Daito Ryu with little or no Ki/Kokyu, later learned them and stuck them back in, calling the result "Aikido". I had no clear indication at the time, so I had to be cautious. But now I sort of agree with you.... the problem is that if the *functional* Aikido contains the same throws, Ki, Kokyu, etc., as Daito-Ryu, then I can't see how Ueshiba could justify claiming a new art. This part is tricky, in terms of tradition.
Quote:
In fact I would say that Tohei's interest in shin-shin toitsu do, Tetsutaka Sugawara's interest in Taiji, or some of the post-war North American and Japanese student's exposure to Wang Shu Jin's IMA are in fact not the norm. Rather many students have looked back at older Japanese traditions to "fill in the blanks."
What do you think of the possibility that O-Sensei simply witheld things, but Tohei and others knew roughly what they were and deliberately went to someone else to fill in the Ki/Kokyu blank parts?
Quote:
re Kenichi Sawai and standing wrote:
Honestly Mike, I don't know if that's the case. It was one tiny blurb I saw in a Taikiken article two years ago. I haven't been able to find the article again or independently verify it with anyone. It is pure speculation at this point. To be honest, I'm much more interested in Ellis's comment that Shioda may hove worked with Kodo Horikawa.
OK. My focus was on the standing-post exercises. IF Sawai was even a potential contributor, that shoots down any logical inference about Ueshiba and standing practices.
Quote:
I agree totally!!! What I've found however is that most of this higher level information, be it for Japanese of Chinese marttial arts, is not available readily in books. I'm sure you can attest to the many years it has taken to develop your skills through dilligent practice, trial and error, and asking senior people the "right" questions.
Not to mention the number of people in the arts who don't know much about these skills and would prefer I go away.
Quote:
As for your second point and O'Sensei: If there are any oral instructions they are in his doka, or nowhere at all. For example in the Art of Peace:

"Breathe in and let yourself soar to the ends of the universe; breathe out and bring the cosmos back inside. Next, breathe up all fecundity and vibrancy of the earth. Finally, blend the breath of heaven and the breath of earth with your own, becoming the Breath of Life itself."
That one is so traditional in China that he should have included a picture of the Chinese flag. One of the things one learns after a while is that something was very practical (it had to work) or the Chinese didn't use it. When describing things, in order to keep people from fully understanding, they'd couch things in metaphoric language. That particular phrase is the heart of all functional qigongs, so when I first saw it as a quote from O-Sensei, I was intrigued. The problem is that despite what anyone says, if they are parrotting classics you can't tell if they really know or if they are just parrotting. If Ueshiba really understood what that phrase meants (my tentative bet now is that he did) then I can see why he was guarding things. The question then becomes, "does Tohei, Abe, etc., really know what this one means". And so on. Interesting research into the "hidden" side of Aikido.
Quote:
Again I totally agree. That is why I think it is interesting that someone like Yoshinori Kono in Japan is doing research that is parallel to yours in some respects in that he is interested in how people in the koryu actually moved once upon a time. Several very well respected martial artists, like Tetsuzan Kuroda, have gone to study with him to rediscover the roots of their art. It should also be noted that Yoshinori Kono started as a student of Seigo Yamaguchi, but, you guessed it, went to the koryu to fill in the blanks...
Yeah... there's a side issue here that would be wonderful to establish... was it Gempin that revealed the Ki/Kokyu things to Japan? If he did, he would have been under death sentence in China.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 01:33 PM   #61
Michael Mackenzie
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
I had to consider the possibility that Ueshiba learned a Daito Ryu with little or no Ki/Kokyu, later learned them and stuck them back in, calling the result "Aikido". I had no clear indication at the time, so I had to be cautious. But now I sort of agree with you.... the problem is that if the *functional* Aikido contains the same throws, Ki, Kokyu, etc., as Daito-Ryu, then I can't see how Ueshiba could justify claiming a new art. This part is tricky, in terms of tradition.
I've heard the whole Ueshiba picked up what he knew in China. In fact, I was a proponent for awhile. To me now it rings of arguments like, "Mayan culture was developed by space aliens because the native Mayans were too stupid to figure this stuff out themselves." I think the Japanese have been doing these things for a lot longer than just O'Sensei. The reality is these skills are evident in the koryu, daito-ryu and many of it's offshoots.

As for why is it a new art, I would say O'Sensei felt the philospohical underpinnings of his art were so unique that it deserved to be called something different. But who knows? Why are there five different major styles of Taiji? why is there Buddhism, wasn't Hinduism good enough? etc...

Quote:
What do you think of the possibility that O-Sensei simply witheld things, but Tohei and others knew roughly what they were and deliberately went to someone else to fill in the Ki/Kokyu blank parts?
You bet. I honestly think O'Sensei was part of the "steal my art" crew. Inherently, that meant most people got fed up and looked elsewhere for answers. The interesting question is where did they look?

Quote:
Yeah... there's a side issue here that would be wonderful to establish... was it Gempin that revealed the Ki/Kokyu things to Japan?
I hear what you are saying Mike. I'm just a little uncomfortable attributing it all to one person/event. Japan for many years was a living museum for all things Chinese, long after the Chinese had moved on. Over time I think the Japanese would have inherited these traditions from a variety of sources.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 02:03 PM   #62
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Good thoughts. Any responses I have would just be speculations heaped on top of your speculations. In terms of Gempin, he gave something special or they wouldn't have built a temple to him. My guess is that he showed them probably part of the Shuai Jiao system (the Chinese said he didn't show it all) and some of the Ki/Kokyu things... but I haven't a clue, really. But it would explain why the ju systems have this knowledge, etc.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 05:41 PM   #63
Ellis Amdur
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Ueshiba and China

This truly is the most interesting (and civil) thread I've read in ages. Hopefully what follows will not be too long-winded. There's been a lot of speculation on Ueshiba having studied some kind of Chinese martial art. His son, upon direct question, stated that his father never made any reference to Chinese martial arts in his presence, nor did he study any. That is one (but not the only) baseline. BTW - one could claim that nationalist Japanese wouldn't want to give the Chinese any credit, but on the other hand, the Ueshiba family was, at that time, actively minimizing the Daito-ryu influence (same meeting, for example), claiming that Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu might have had a larger technical influence on the development of aikido than DR (and extremely dubious proposition). So one could offer, on the other hand, a claim of Chinese influence to further minimize DR. No one in the aikido world ever has, at any rate.

Ueshiba's first trip to China was in the 1920's. The infamous Omotokyo trip to set up paradise in Mongolia. Ueshiba was the "bodyguard." Deguchi was very proud of having Ueshiba in his entourage, BTW, and liked to tell stories about his adventures and strength. The trip was arduous, they moved from place to place, they were on the run, on the move, and were arrested in, I believe, four months. They certainly were not in place long enough for Ueshiba to have settled in to formally study an art. It is conceivable that among the "support staff" of Chinese nationals in their group was a Chinese martial artist, and that they might have exchanged techniques - BUT, not only does Ueshiba make no reference to it, but neither does Deguchi (and this was the kind of story he would, based on all of his other accounts) love to tell - that his pet warrior met other warriors and they exchanged fighting methods - this is an almost archetypal Japanese story, and not a few ryu claim such antecedents, either with another Japanese or with a Chinese fighter (Chin Gempin being only the most prominent.

Given the similarities that some people perceive with bagua, this is the art most frequently fanticized for such an exchange. As a somewhat new practitioner of bagua (only a few years), I find this dubious. The body mechanics, once one gets into details, are quite different. None the less, one could imagine that a superficial observation of bagua might have led Ueshiba to "curve the acute angles" of DR, but there is absolutely no evidence or account of such an encounter.

Ueshiba next was in China in the 1930's. One thing that should be noted right away is that filmic evidence - the Asahi Shinbun film of 1936 shows that Ueshiba's aikido was clearly developed by this time - most remarkably, he looks, at times like a stocky Shioda, at other times like Saito, and other times like Tohei. So any further contact with Chinese martial arts would not have influenced the technique, which was already created. It would have had to influence the internal power aspect of aikido.

Anyway, in what is probably the greatest missed opportunity to answer the questions in this thread is this. A Japanese man named Takeda (no relation to the DR man) lived in Beijing in the 1930's, and became the lineal successor to a line of Tombei-ch'uan, a really interesting boxing form, very very "soft," that superficially resembles xingyi, but generates power with flailing movements generated with the back muscles (it literally means "thru the back" boxing, and is in imitation of a very long armed white-faced monkey). Takeda published a book, still in existence, although few realize it was written by a Japanese, on Tombei-ch'uan. Takeda, very elderly then in an interview in the late 1980's said that his house became a gathering point of martial artists in Beijing, and that visiting Japanese also used to drop by, "including Ueshiba of aikido." He did NOT say that Ueshiba studied with him or anybody else - most likely, Ueshiba was a visiting dignitary as part of a group - BUT implicit was the idea that they sat around comparing notes and techniques. Standing methods were also really flourishing in Beijing at this time - Kenichi Sawai was studying I'ch'uan then, for example, which was proving itself to be among the very strongest - and certainly most pugnacious - groups of boxers (they were sort of like Gracie jujutsu in relation to the orthodox boxing schools). So it is quite conceivable that Ueshiba discussed, heard about, observed, quietly put in his tool box, what have you - postural standing methods as a means of generating power. And this may be why the old man definitely did, in some aspects, continue to get stronger. The testimony of the deshi may be dubious, but many of the very strongest practitioners of other styles gave him props.

One final note. Everybody did NOT know where Ueshiba was and what he was doing. I met a veteran judo player, very tough man, who described practicing at the Kodokan in the late fifties and Kotani, the great 9th dan, who entered the LA Olympics as a heavyweight, though only 160 pounds, and placed 4th in wrestling without ever really training in the sport, pointed out a 60+ year old bearded fellow practicing some sort of throws with young judoka, and Kotani said, "I bet that old guy can throw you in less than 10 seconds." The judoka said he was game, Kotani (who studied with Ueshiba) called him over, and the judoka, upon coming to grips, was immediately dropped in a nikkyo that he didn't see or feel applied (his own account). I've never heard Ueshiba even appeared at the Kodokan, so who knows where else he hung out.

Best

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 03-25-2005 at 05:48 PM.

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Old 03-25-2005, 07:02 PM   #64
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ueshiba and China

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
This truly is the most interesting (and civil) thread I've read in ages.
Mostly martial artists talking to martial artists?
Quote:
Hopefully what follows will not be too long-winded. There's been a lot of speculation on Ueshiba having studied some kind of Chinese martial art. His son, upon direct question, stated that his father never made any reference to Chinese martial arts in his presence, nor did he study any.
In my mind, the question is more "did he study any really legitimate qigongs?", but that's just an observation.
Quote:
Given the similarities that some people perceive with bagua, this is the art most frequently fanticized for such an exchange. As a somewhat new practitioner of bagua (only a few years), I find this dubious. The body mechanics, once one gets into details, are quite different. None the less, one could imagine that a superficial observation of bagua might have led Ueshiba to "curve the acute angles" of DR, but there is absolutely no evidence or account of such an encounter.
Irimi nage, shihonage, tenchinage, etc., etc., are classical takedowns in Chinese martial arts. They are found in Shuai Jiao, Bagua, and other arts. I'm also aware of Bagua practitioners from China demonstrating in Beijing in the early 1900's... so while the probablility is that the throws originated in China, there is no necessity for Ueshiba to have learned them on special trips, I'd surmise.
Quote:
Ueshiba next was in China in the 1930's. One thing that should be noted right away is that filmic evidence - the Asahi Shinbun film of 1936 shows that Ueshiba's aikido was clearly developed by this time - most remarkably, he looks, at times like a stocky Shioda, at other times like Saito, and other times like Tohei. So any further contact with Chinese martial arts would not have influenced the technique, which was already created. It would have had to influence the internal power aspect of aikido.
I agree. But I don't know if any of this is provable. The fact that other jiu styles, Shinto, etc., etc., apparently had access to some aspects of this training makes me think that it was not necessary for him to go to China to get the information. Again, it's all speculative on my part. I'm betting there's tons of things I don't know that would affect my guesses.
Quote:

Anyway, in what is probably the greatest missed opportunity to answer the questions in this thread is this. A Japanese man named Takeda (no relation to the DR man) lived in Beijing in the 1930's, and became the lineal successor to a line of Tombei-ch'uan, a really interesting boxing form, very very "soft," that superficially resembles xingyi, but generates power with flailing movements generated with the back muscles (it literally means "thru the back" boxing, and is in imitation of a very long armed white-faced monkey). Takeda published a book, still in existence, although few realize it was written by a Japanese, on Tombei-ch'uan. Takeda, very elderly then in an interview in the late 1980's said that his house became a gathering point of martial artists in Beijing, and that visiting Japanese also used to drop by, "including Ueshiba of aikido." He did NOT say that Ueshiba studied with him or anybody else - most likely, Ueshiba was a visiting dignitary as part of a group - BUT implicit was the idea that they sat around comparing notes and techniques.
It's a thought, but Tongbeiquan isn't much at all like Bagua and it's training methods are pretty distinctive. I have some good tapes on Tongbei if you're ever interested.
Quote:
Standing methods were also really flourishing in Beijing at this time - Kenichi Sawai was studying I'ch'uan then, for example, which was proving itself to be among the very strongest - and certainly most pugnacious - groups of boxers (they were sort of like Gracie jujutsu in relation to the orthodox boxing schools).
Somebody has been feeding you a line about how bad yiquan is, Ellis. Good thoughts. The problem is that not all of anyone's life is documented daily and it only takes some minor things to change an approach. My basic feeling is that somewhere, somehow, Ueshiba learned something that he felt changed what he'd learned of Daitoryu and so therefore he felt justified in forming his own martial style without being beholden to Takeda Sokaku. I just can't imagine that he took the techniques and the ki/kokyu training and felt that a little philosophy entitled him to start his own style, if you see my reasoning.

Good post. Thanks.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:41 PM   #65
Michael Mackenzie
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Firstly, wow to Ellis's post. Just when you think you've heard all the stories...

Quote:
My basic feeling is that somewhere, somehow, Ueshiba learned something that he felt changed what he'd learned of Daitoryu and so therefore he felt justified in forming his own martial style without being beholden to Takeda Sokaku. I just can't imagine that he took the techniques and the ki/kokyu training and felt that a little philosophy entitled him to start his own style, if you see my reasoning.
Mike I don't know what to say to this. In a lot of respects I agree with you. Rationally, it doesn't make sense that someone would inherit a tradition and then change the name.

I'd like to suggest another option. There has been a lot of debate in the aikido / daito-ryu community whether there was a tradition to inherit prior to Sokaku Takeda. By that I mean did Sokaku Takeda inherit something called Daito-ryu, or was he the creator of Daito-ryu?

Many people (see Pranin's book on Daito-ryu) have suggested that he was the creator. In fact, the name Daito-ryu aikijujutsu did not come about until 1922. Even after that, his own son began to use the name aiki budo, as did Ueshiba for a time. Also Ueshiba himself purportedly did not coin the term aikido but his student, Minoru Hirai, who also formed his own art, Korindo. Another contemporary of Ueshiba was Noriaki Inoue, nephew of Ueshiba, who also trained with Sokaku Takeda. He eventually parted ways with Ueshiba, changing the name of his art from aiki budo to shinwa taido.

What I'm trying to say is that the name daito-ryu aikijujutsu is something ascribed to Sokaku Takeda's teachings versus a lineage per se. The name was changing even as Ueshiba was training with Sokaku so perhaps there wasn't much need to adhere to it. Many other people who trained with him chose to call their arts by other names.

As for the philosophy, what can I say? O'Sensei has now been immortalized as much a philosopher/religious figure as he has been a martial artist. Most of what he wrote is very much couched in this philosophical language. He also liked philosophers, such as Onisbaro Deguchi (To be honest, when I read Deguchi I get a little freaked out).

O'Sensei, under the influence of Deguchi had some pretty grand designs for aikido: reconcilitation with the universe etc... O'Sensei even went so far as to have himself enshrined as a kami, read demi-god, at Iwama. By all accounts, Takeda did not share these views. How can you save the universe if you teacher thinks you're a bit of a flake? I think a parting of the ways was inevitable, though it's sad Ueshiba did not give props to his teacher.

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:50 PM   #66
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

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Michael Mackenzie wrote:
In a lot of respects I agree with you. Rationally, it doesn't make sense that someone would inherit a tradition and then change the name.
No, but then again I didn't know all the facts that you just laid out, either, about the name Daito-Ryu, etc. It's quite probable also that since the general techniques are almost certainly widespread in jiu-jitsu ryu that Ueshiba didn't consider these things were solely from Takeda. Who knows?
Quote:
O'Sensei, under the influence of Deguchi had some pretty grand designs for aikido: reconcilitation with the universe etc... O'Sensei even went so far as to have himself enshrined as a kami, read demi-god, at Iwama. By all accounts, Takeda did not share these views. How can you save the universe if you teacher thinks you're a bit of a flake? I think a parting of the ways was inevitable, though it's sad Ueshiba did not give props to his teacher.
Assuming the scenario is generally true, which I suspect it may well be, I'd agree with your view.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:37 PM   #67
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Mike -

I wasn't suggesting that aikido technique was derived from bagua. I was, in fact, trying to head off that claim that pops up, over and over again, in this type of discussion. All those techniques are right in the syllabus of Daito-ryu, as well as in a variety of other jujutsu. Nuance might be different, but the basic technique is the same. I'm just giving the devil his due in conceding that, given that Ueshiba was remarkable at absorbing what he observed and integrating either an element or interpretation into his own art, I am merely conceding that the rounding out of his (manifest) technique could have been inspired by an observation of bagua - equally, it could have been inspired watching someone fly-fishing.

I also agree that it wasn't necessary for Ueshiba to go to China to get the goodies. I've tried here to establish that in 1924, he could have merely gotten hints. He already had the techniques of aikido down well before his next trip in the mid-thirties. There is a tremendous amount of untranslated material on Taoist yin-yang dynamism in traditional ryu, and all kinds of training methods that were common knowledge to Edo and Meiji Japanese, but are inaccessible to Westerners (not because they are secret, but because we can't read them). I think you are on the right track that the knowledge was available at home, notwithstanding it very possibly originated in China.

Sorry I wasn't clear in my writing. I wasn't suggesting that Ueshiba got anything from Tonbei - simply that this practitioner's house was a gathering place for all sorts of practitioners, and that if he did acquire practices of internal development in China, this was the one time we know that he was in the company of Chinese martial artists. Later trips to Manchuria he was, as far as anybody knows, teaching.

I studied a little Tongbei - about six months - but liked xingyi much better and returned to it. Someday, though, I WOULD love to get together and peruse tapes, and more important, exchange some knowledge.

As for I-ch'uan, yeah, I know . .. like a lot of things, I think the founder's art is the expression of a lifetime of a plethora of training - the disciples often get the outcome without the building blocks . . . wait a minute. Doesn't that sound like aikido????

best

Ellis

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Old 03-26-2005, 08:55 AM   #68
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
I wasn't suggesting that aikido technique was derived from bagua. [snipsky]
I also agree that it wasn't necessary for Ueshiba to go to China to get the goodies. I've tried here to establish that in 1924, he could have merely gotten hints. He already had the techniques of aikido down well before his next trip in the mid-thirties. [snip] I think you are on the right track that the knowledge was available at home, notwithstanding it very possibly originated in China.
I think we agree, Ellis. From everything I can see, both the techniques of Aikido and the knowledge of Shaolin qigongs was already in Japan, so there was no need to dream up the China-Bagua scenario. The only comment I'd add is that there is one type of Bagua with linear applications that uses pretty much the same basic syllabus of throws that Aikido does... I always hate coincidences in a cause-and-effect world.
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Sorry I wasn't clear in my writing. I wasn't suggesting that Ueshiba got anything from Tonbei - simply that this practitioner's house was a gathering place for all sorts of practitioners, and that if he did acquire practices of internal development in China, this was the one time we know that he was in the company of Chinese martial artists. Later trips to Manchuria he was, as far as anybody knows, teaching.

I studied a little Tongbei - about six months - but liked xingyi much better and returned to it. Someday, though, I WOULD love to get together and peruse tapes, and more important, exchange some knowledge.
I knew you weren't really suggesting it. However, I'd leave it open still... to the extent that if a Tongbei expert used Shaolin qigongs, you wouldn't necessarily be able to spot the style it came from. (Tongbei is considered one of the "external" arts, technically, but I've seen different schools appear to be in either camp. Chen-style Taiji is considered to have *maybe* had additive elements from HongDong Tongbeiquan inserted via Jiang Fa).

Love to get together. I keep thinking of coming to Seattle but the last time I was there the traffic dismayed me to the point of seppuku almost. You need to come to Colorado to see what God would have done to Washington if he'd had enough money left.
Quote:
As for I-ch'uan, yeah, I know . .. like a lot of things, I think the founder's art is the expression of a lifetime of a plethora of training - the disciples often get the outcome without the building blocks . . . wait a minute. Doesn't that sound like aikido????
I think it's a danger in most arts, frankly. All it takes is one guy/girl to start their own school when they don't understand the basics and you're off to the races, creating a large group of people that think they're knowledgeable. It happens in China, Japan, and everywhere else, too.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-26-2005, 09:51 AM   #69
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur from yesterday wrote:
Given the similarities that some people perceive with bagua, this is the art most frequently fanticized for such an exchange. As a somewhat new practitioner of bagua (only a few years), I find this dubious. The body mechanics, once one gets into details, are quite different. None the less, one could imagine that a superficial observation of bagua might have led Ueshiba to "curve the acute angles" of DR, but there is absolutely no evidence or account of such an encounter.
To me this comparison to body mechanics is an important point. One of the first things I notice from the old film clips of Ueshiba, Tohei, and others is that their stance and balance is somewhat different from what you often see in western dojo's. Yoshinkan kamae tend to look, to my eye, like Shioda may have been going more heavily toward sword postures than even Ueshiba. Ueshiba looks very balanced to me; so does Tohei. Some of the various other members of Aikido appear to my eye to be too far forward and to depend on the rear leg as a "brace" from which to draw power. The point I'm trying to work my way toward is that this "brace" is a certain stop to the growth of internal power. Bagua, Xingyi, Taiji, etc., don't rightfully use this brace (granted you will see some self-styled "experts" that use the brace, but no real expert ever does that). I made a mention in an earlier post that most Aikidoka hinder their progress by using the brace, by stiffening the lower back in the "haughty hakama" posture, and by using the shoulders. I'm mentioning it again as a well-intentioned contribution that I think is helpful... in person I could show the why's and wherefore's of these problems.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-26-2005, 10:40 AM   #70
Michael Mackenzie
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

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Yoshinkan kamae tend to look, to my eye, like Shioda may have been going more heavily toward sword postures than even Ueshiba.
Hi Mike, I think the kamae Shioda exhibit are more reminiscent of Daito-ryu and Shioda's pre-war training. If you examine pictures of Ueshiba in his 50's, for example in Budo, you will see similiar postures.

Mike
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Old 03-26-2005, 01:02 PM   #71
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Mackenzie wrote:
Hi Mike, I think the kamae Shioda exhibit are more reminiscent of Daito-ryu and Shioda's pre-war training. If you examine pictures of Ueshiba in his 50's, for example in Budo, you will see similiar postures.
My mistake. I went back and looked at the book instead of letting my memory mislead me again. What I was remembering was not Shioda, because his postures are OK.... it's the people demonstrating kamae, etc., that are too much back-leg-braced. If your back leg becomes a brace, you have no ability to tap into "the qi of the earth". If the back is to rigid it will stop the power from coming through. If you use the shoulders, your power went to high; it should go from your middle to your hands.

Next time I'll look before I attribute something to Shioda himself.

Mike
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Old 03-26-2005, 07:54 PM   #72
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

interesting.

the lesson for the past year coming from KNK Hombu (i.e. Tohei Sensei) is to remind students and teachers "Don't Brace!" in waza.

spent some significant time at instructor seminars emphasizing that point in exercises and practice.

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Old 03-26-2005, 08:03 PM   #73
Steven
 
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

If you take a look at "Aikido, The Way of Harmony" by John Stevens, you will see Rinjiro Shirta, the featured instructor, demonstrates kamae and many other things that look very close to what Shioda Sensei was doing. I don't find this unusual when you consider they were both students of O'Sensei, with Shirata starting in 1931 and Shioda in 1932.

So I content, that the things attributed to Shioda isn't something that he invented. It was something he was taught and refined over the years. I recall seeing pictures of the late Akira Tohei and some of his students that had the same kamae as the Yoshinkan as well.

Just a random thought for whatever it's worth.
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:19 AM   #74
Mike Sigman
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
the lesson for the past year coming from KNK Hombu (i.e. Tohei Sensei) is to remind students and teachers "Don't Brace!" in waza.

spent some significant time at instructor seminars emphasizing that point in exercises and practice.
If you look at most of Tohei's "ki tests", you'll see that his weight is usually on the back leg or inbetween the feet but favoring the back leg. Most of that is because we do most of our techniques to the front, so there are exceptions to what I'm saying, but generally the static tests will favor weighting the back leg. If someone is taking pushes on the back, as another example, you'll find the weight will favor the front leg. Generally speaking, if someone pushes Tohei from the front, he is relaxing the upper body and allowing the lower body to absorb the push and it will naturally go into the back leg. If Tohei is pushing someone, the force comes from the back leg (it can change if he is moving, of course) to the middle to the point on which he is pushing. It's a matter of natural paths.

The important and constraining point is that you must have the *potential* for paths in all directions at all times. In other words if someone is pushing me hard from the front it goes into my back leg, but if he suddenly and dramatically pulls me to the front, the path should instantaneously be in the front leg so he can't move me in that direction either (these are demo's of how it works; not the "no resistance" of actual martial arts). If I am depending upon a "brace", I will never develop these automatic mental-path skills and I will never be in an equilibrium that responds to all directions.

Shioda, Ueshiba, and a number of others maintain a nice equilibrium... but it's almost visually grating when you see someone leaned forward with a too-straight (or inward-curved) back, etc., because it's obvious they're only doing a parody of Aikido or any other good martial art. They cannot be using correct power, but can only be using normal strength or occasional tidbits of kokyu.

Bagua, Taiji, Xingyi, and most classical Chinese martial arts do martial standing practices with most of the weight going into the back leg because of the more common forward-facing use of power. It's not a "Chinese tradition", it's simply the way the real world works if you're going to use this kind of power with Ki and Kokyu. Common sense and physics is such that there is a constraining order and logic to how these things work and there is no difference in the basics. Occasionally, you'll see some variations at the fringes (e.g., how to hold the fingers: spread or more together) of the logic, but it's never a big thing.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 03-27-2005, 11:12 AM   #75
tedehara
 
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Re: Standing Postures in Aikido?

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
interesting.

the lesson for the past year coming from KNK Hombu (i.e. Tohei Sensei) is to remind students and teachers "Don't Brace!" in waza.

spent some significant time at instructor seminars emphasizing that point in exercises and practice.
It has to be noted that Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, Ki Society Aikido aka ki-aikido, is a dynamic style. That means changes are instigated from Ki No Kenkyukai (KNK) Ki Society Headquarters. This is not a style that attempts to capture the aikido of an individual and is static i.e. doesn't change.

While changes may come in techniques or practice, the emphasis can change from year to year. Even small changes done to a technique can change it radically if done continually over a long period of time.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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