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Old 04-16-2005, 08:57 PM   #26
Steven
 
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote:
Just wanted to inject a word about the English translation. The translators, Jaques Payet Sensei and Christopher Watson Sensei, who are "western", but both longtime devotees of Yoshinkan, state at the outset of the book that the translation is not word-for-word, but has instead been enhanced to make it easier for "westerners" to understand. The translation originally began as seperate projects by Payet and Watson, but then became a collaboration. It was done after Shioda Kancho's death, so there was no oversight by him personally, although the translation was endorsed by Kyoichi Inoue Sensei. Like most of you who have posted here, I would be interested to know from native speakers how much liberty was taken with the original wording.

Christopher's lastname is Johnston, not Watson.

As for your last question, I suppose you could write to either Jacque or Chris directly and ask. Anything else would be pure speculation.

This is from Shindokanbooks.com.
Quote:
The translators, Jacques Payet and Christopher Johnston, have worked closely with the Yoshinkan Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, to present the definitive English translation of Shioda Sensei's exciting and thought provoking book.
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:03 AM   #27
Ellis Amdur
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Re: How Shioda did (not) develop his power

Going back to one of Mike's previous posts, it is unlikely that Shioda developed his kokyu/ki through sword practice/suburi. Pre WWII uchi-deshi did little sword training. In the mid-thirties, a lot of what they did was kendo (which would not develop "sinking.") Shioda was not known as having skill with a sword. One of his exact contemporaries, Shirata Rinjiro spresented some sword exercises that he developed (quite interesting in their own right) and I heard him say in a class, "These probably look different to you from what you've seen from people like Saito sensei. Back when I studied, Osensei hadn't really developed much training with a sword." So however Shioda accomplished it, it wasn't likely through suburi or other weapons training.

Best

Ellis Amdur

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Old 04-17-2005, 07:12 AM   #28
Mike Sigman
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Re: How Shioda did (not) develop his power

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
Going back to one of Mike's previous posts, it is unlikely that Shioda developed his kokyu/ki through sword practice/suburi. Pre WWII uchi-deshi did little sword training. In the mid-thirties, a lot of what they did was kendo (which would not develop "sinking.") Shioda was not known as having skill with a sword. One of his exact contemporaries, Shirata Rinjiro spresented some sword exercises that he developed (quite interesting in their own right) and I heard him say in a class, "These probably look different to you from what you've seen from people like Saito sensei. Back when I studied, Osensei hadn't really developed much training with a sword." So however Shioda accomplished it, it wasn't likely through suburi or other weapons training.
Thanks for the info and thoughts. Just to be clear, I was mainly talking about Shioda's sudden-down ability, which he appears to have developed pretty well (again, I'm somewhat stymied in judging his actual power by his tolerance for over-dramatic uke's).

Since all ki and hence kokyu can be viewed (in the ki paradigm) as coming from the hara, downward kokyu is technically not viewed as separate from kokyu that goes vertically up or away from the body or toward the body. In the real world, though, you have to train it somewhat differently. You can develop pretty good kokyu and ki skills in all non-downward directions using standing, hitting/pulsing practice, Aiki Taiso, etc., but downward takes something else, some other training method. There's a natural progression of going from large movements to small movements to "stillness" (unseeable movements) and Shioda's skills indicates he was fairly well along in his practice, whatever it was, with the caveat being again that the overly cooperative students obscure exactly what he could do.

Since I saw so little sophisticated ki and kokyu skills among western (and a lot of Japanese) practitioners and since I had only limited information about the early Aikido days, my perspective of Japanese knowledge of ki and kokyu things was skewed. I still haven't seen anything of really sophisticated jin and qi skills, but in comparison with the normal skills you see good Chinese martial arts, Shioda and Tohei (and by inference, some others) aren't too shabby, either. The bad side of this observation is that a lot of dedicated students have probably unknowingly been somewhat short-changed by the typical Asian reticence to completely disclose how these skills are done..... worse yet, so many people seem to be totally unaware that they're missing anything. Even worse than that, they defensively deny that they could be missing anything. Reading some of the side anecdotes in "Aikido Shogyu" about what O-Sensei and what Shioda Kancho could do would be enlightening to the true seekers, IMO.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-18-2005, 07:32 AM   #29
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

HI Mike and All,

Thank you to Clarke, Ellis, Steven, and Peter for chiming in! Quite a lot of information. I have heard on pretty good authority that Shioda Kancho continued his Daito ryu training for some period of time after his training association with Ushiba Sensei ended. Basically, it is said that he chased everyone out of the dojo to train with Horikawa Sensei. Some comments on this can be found here:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/...hioda+horikawa

I have since confirmed that this did indeed take place, but I don't know on how regular a basis. I'd be interested in Mike's (and others) take on what usage of 'ki' and kokyu they see in any video of Daito ryu demonstrations, particularly in this case, the Kodokai.

I also noted something that Stan Pranin added to the thread...But I'll ask him about that in the original thread.

Thanks again all,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-18-2005, 08:41 AM   #30
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Thank you to Clarke, Ellis, Steven, and Peter for chiming in! Quite a lot of information. I have heard on pretty good authority that Shioda Kancho continued his Daito ryu training for some period of time after his training association with Ushiba Sensei ended. Basically, it is said that he chased everyone out of the dojo to train with Horikawa Sensei. Some comments on this can be found here: [snip]
I have no dog in this hunt about Horikawa and Daito Ryu, so I won't go into it too much other than to say I consider the two arts so close as to be indistinguishable, *in their essentials*. Just like in all arts, there are variations between instructor, some are better than others, some move differently, etc., but the *essentials* that are done by the high-level practitioners appear to be pretty close. Again, though, there is that question of ki, kokyu, etc.
Quote:
I'd be interested in Mike's (and others) take on what usage of 'ki' and kokyu they see in any video of Daito ryu demonstrations, particularly in this case, the Kodokai.
I have to concur with the comment I've seen and heard a number of times.... the way Shioda moves and does Aikido is different from what I see in so many Yoshinkan practitioners. I'd make an offhand guess that the systematization of Aikido that Shioda invented also resulted in people not doing quite what he himself learned to do and it shows. But I don't want to go off on that tangent; I just throw my *opinion* in FWIW.

In terms of Ki and Kokyu, that appears to be as much of a focus to Shioda as does his Aikido techniques. Maybe even more so, watching how he delights in showing off the kokyu things. In my opinion, learning Aikido with "enough to get by" ki and kokyu is an absurdity... Aikido without a strong emphasis on ki and kokyu is like Aikido in which you learn shihonage but you only rarely make token attempts at nikkyo and sankyo and other controls because you see no point in overemphasizing "controls".

While Tohei uses ki/kokyu things as an integral part of the way he moves during all his Aikido (and all his daily motions, etc.), Shioda seems to delight in "tricks" that can be done with the manipulation of kokyu, etc. Reading his books, I got the impression from his systematization that his level was so-so, but better than most people. Watching him in person, I realize that his kokyu manipulation (in conjunction with his uncanny, lightning-fast "feel" for where someone's empty spot is) is quite high. He's impressive.

The question about Shioda is now, for me, to fine-tune exactly what he knew, where he learned it, etc., if I ever can pin those things down. From what Shioda does, I can generally tag what he can do by how he does the things he shows, but this one aspect of down-power is troubling because if he's doing it in a more sophisticated way than I can see (I don't think so, but I always have to allow for the possibility that I'm missing something), then the puzzle gets deeper.

To more directly address your question, I'd say that what I've seen and read by Shioda has largely increased my respect of what full-blown Aikido really means to the big dogs. Seriously. Shioda's take on Aikido (plus a lot of his anecdotes showing O-Sensei could do these things, too) is quite similar to real Taiji (not what you see practiced in the West), too. The "neutralize the attack and apply technique through timing", etc., is the same basic idea. The neutralizations and response in real Taiji are quite small in comparison to the larger "swirling" things you so often see in Aikido, but Shioda's Aikido reconciles that disparity nicely, IMO.

As I mentioned, I only have the DVD "Shingi Denju" (which has a lot of historical footage, so it's a nice overview) to go by, but there's a lengthy section of Shioda demonstrating very clever and direct jin/kokyu applications (even using his keiko-gi as the transmitter in some cases) that's really interesting. It raised my eyebrows to see that level of control used in Aikido. It would have been a high level of control in just about any art that I know of.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-18-2005, 09:20 AM   #31
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

One reason I suggest looking at Daito ryu is because of something we've discussed before I believe...the focus on 'aiki' as opposed to just 'ki'. That seems (to me) to be the real focus in aikido's predesessor, and that is why if you want to see the basis for a lot of these things, it pays to look at what the other 'top dogs' in Daito ryu did/do. Its just a suggestion, and given the more secretive nature often associated with the higher levels in Daito ryu, not an easy thing to do in any case.

One of the benefits would be to see more of those direct applications, without the large circles of aikido.

Best,
Ron

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Old 04-18-2005, 10:34 AM   #32
Alex Megann
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

This is one of the most fascinating threads I've seen on Aikiweb for a long while!

My teacher (Kanetsuka Sensei) talks a lot about "aiki" and contact, and these days spends far more time teaching these than technique itself, to the evident frustration of many in his classes. His original teacher was Gozo Shioda, and one can see much of the influence of Shioda in the way he moves, and also in the kind of very quick, direct "centre-to-centre" contact he has with his uke. This, as I understand it, is a kind of contact which is rarely seen in Aikido, and Kanetsuka Sensei is constantly berating us for not getting this point.

Mike's mention of "standing" intrigues me - I have only limited experience of the Chinese arts, but Kanetsuka Sensei went through a phase about fifteen years ago, when he had come through the worst of his serious bout with cancer, of doing some exercises which I've never seen elsewhere in Aikido. One I think of (in my ignorance of its real name) as "holding the circle": standing with the arms out at chest height, fingertips touching and palms facing the body, and the heels held a little off the floor. He also taught an exercise he always refers to as being Chinese in origin - swinging the arms from shoulder level down to a little behind the hips, while letting the heels rise a little with each swing. At that time he would have us do both of these for twenty minutes or more.

What I would find very interesting is what other contributors to this thread think of Yamaguchi Sensei's Aikido in this context. He has been another strong influence on Kanetsuka Sensei, and to me his contact, which he referred to as "atari", seems to be similar in its essence to that of Shioda's (though their Aikido was quite different in form). I was of course hugely impressed by his Aikido when I first saw him twenty years or so ago in Oxford, but each time I watch video footage of him now the more I wish he were still around, as I see new subtleties in his extraordinarily smooth but powerful Aikido.

Alex
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:45 AM   #33
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
One reason I suggest looking at Daito ryu is because of something we've discussed before I believe...the focus on 'aiki' as opposed to just 'ki'. That seems (to me) to be the real focus in aikido's predesessor, and that is why if you want to see the basis for a lot of these things, it pays to look at what the other 'top dogs' in Daito ryu did/do. Its just a suggestion, and given the more secretive nature often associated with the higher levels in Daito ryu, not an easy thing to do in any case.
I get a little confused with the term "aiki" as some people are using it. Some people are using it to mean what actually is kokyu and some people are using it to mean "blending", etc. One of the problems with the term "aiki" is that a lot of somewhat sheltered Aikidoists think there's this neat Aikido idea of not resisting and blending with the opponent's attack and then either setting them aside gently or planting their face in the floor at the choosing of nage. The unfortunate thing is that if you've been around a while you understand that this same philosophy appears in a number of martial arts. So, it's a cool idea, etc., but it is not something really unique like the comparison in a lot of peoples' minds between Aikido and "karate" (poor karate... it's always the fall guy for people who do "soft", "internal", and "spiritual" stuff).

In terms of "aiki" as a definition of kokyu, I'll have to pass, BTW. It does not compute.

The interesting thing about "harmonizing" with the opponent is that to a large extent you always have to harmonize with your opponent if you're going to beat him with anything other than a sucker-punch or brute strength/size. If you read Shioda's comments on timing, etc., and the use of atemi, these are certainly within the realm of "aiki" as he defines it (of course, Shioda, not being of style X, could not possibly understand the real meaning of "aiki" the way adherents of style X do... that goes without saying. He was only a direct student of Ueshiba and was not enlightened in the approved manner. ).

What I meant about Daito-Ryu and Aikido is that I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that at the higher levels of both arts they use the same amounts of ki and kokyu..... which is to say every movement is imbued with this sort of power/skill/conditioning.

My opinion, FWIW.

Mike
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:45 AM   #34
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

I like the parallels and differences between Shioda and Yamaguchi Sensei too, Alex. Its one reason I value my opportunities to train with some from that lineage here outside Phila. The form vs no-form thing is very interesting...for some reason the different training styles seem to compliment each other well. I don't know why. Are there any online clips of Kanetsuka Sensei?

One of my yoshinkan sempai does a lot of standing practice, some of which is similar to what you describe, and he also talks of equilizing the pressure throughout his body (seems similar to some of the things Mike describes).

Thanks,
Ron

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Old 04-18-2005, 11:04 AM   #35
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote:
Mike's mention of "standing" intrigues me - I have only limited experience of the Chinese arts, but Kanetsuka Sensei went through a phase about fifteen years ago, when he had come through the worst of his serious bout with cancer, of doing some exercises which I've never seen elsewhere in Aikido. One I think of (in my ignorance of its real name) as "holding the circle": standing with the arms out at chest height, fingertips touching and palms facing the body, and the heels held a little off the floor. He also taught an exercise he always refers to as being Chinese in origin - swinging the arms from shoulder level down to a little behind the hips, while letting the heels rise a little with each swing. At that time he would have us do both of these for twenty minutes or more.
Standing-post exercises are thought of by a lot of westerners and even a lot of Asians as some sort of Chinese ritual which is superfluous to actual practice. Or they think it's a mind-calming "meditation" where you "get in touch" with yourself and the universe. It's actually necessary training if you're ever going to get anywhere with ki/kokyu things. The problem is that you have to know how to do it... just copying somebody's posture won't do you much good, although it *will* build your ki somewhat, despite yourself.

However, there is martial standing practice and there is standing for "health". In the health-type standing you simply relax, but it's important that you understand how to shift your source of power to your hara (and that derives its power from both the ground and your weight). The idea is that standing develops your ki, which is true because it does, and if your ki is strong then the acupuncture circuits through your body get better ki flow and therefore you can improve your health (and if you have cancer worries, that's why you do standing exercises). Martial standing and qigongs are a little more sophisticated and even though they may look exactly the same as a health standing-exercise, they are a lot more involved. In health standings, the mind is deliberately shut down to allow the cerebral cortex or whatever to strengthen; in martial standings, deliberate kokyu extensions are held, so the mind can be said to be "focused" as opposed to "empty".

The things your teacher led you through were for health, but they can also develop some ki. Bear in mind that ki and strength are inextricably intertwined and so anyone who simply lifts weights (or works out in a dojo) will have more ki than someone who does no exercise... i.e., don't think of ki as apart from normal life. However, deliberately cultivated and conditioned ki can do some odd things... and that's the level we're talking about in these discussions about Shioda, Tohei, O-Sensei, etc.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-18-2005, 11:22 AM   #36
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

FWIW there are a couple (very short) video clips of Kanetsuka sensei on the AikidoFAQ.

Those standing things sound similar to things my teacher's teacher, Terry Ezra sensei, does as well.

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Old 04-19-2005, 02:42 AM   #37
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Since Ezra sensei and Kanetsuka sensei were in the same organisation before Ezra split from it I am not surprised that their technique look similar. No, I don't know why they moved to different organisations.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:30 AM   #38
Alex Megann
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Re: Terry Ezra

It's interesting to hear mention of Terry Ezra in this context. He certainly has this ability to transmit power, and also has a feeling of soft solidity to him that I've rarely encountered elsewhere in Aikido. He tends to move very little (in contrast to Shioda, for instance), and has the ability to take the uke's strength away in very small, quick movements. I remember being amused when fast-forwarding a video of him demonstrating - there was Terry in the middle of the dojo, almost stationary, with a barely-recognisable blur of movement around him.

The strange thing is that his Aikido is actually very different from Kanetsuka's, despite his central position in the BAF for so many years. Practising with him was always a unique experience.

Alex
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Old 04-19-2005, 08:05 AM   #39
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Lots of names appearing in this thread related to me so I'll give my 2 Won.

Hello Alex - I still do both those standing exercises you mention that I remember Kanetsuka doing way back when. Here in Korea various other arts (some Chinese, some Korean) use them too. I also like to do the arms-in-a-circle one while holding a jo - once static, once pressing it, once pulling it apart.

For the person who asked about vids - I have seen Kanetsuka's teaching videos - they are quite useful but nothing compared to seeing the man himself.

I was also fortunate to meet Shioda in person so - the following is copied and pasted from a private message I sent to Mike Sigman:

Quote:
I was fortunate to learn Yoshinkan for about 18 months from one of Shioda Gozo's top students in Japan. I also saw a few other sensei and they were pretty much identical to mine. Identical in that the Yoshinkan syllabus was enforced to the letter in minute detail. Everyone did everything the same way - any deviation was simply, wrong. And then came Shioda. I saw him do three demos while there and he came to our club to give a demo and do gradings twice. He did not do Yoshinkan! He was a free spirit and was the only person who did nothing related to the syllabus whatsoever. His style was like Kanetsuka in the UK except harder and meaner - he had a bit a of a mean streak and loved to inflict pain. Another interesting thing was - none of his students could do what he could do. Not surprising really, since he never taught it - all his students taught the robotic basics method.

Shioda was good, but one thing that turned me off was his demos. The first one was great, the second and third were exactly the same! Even the Jyuu waza (free practice) - same techniques in the same damned order. That was pretty bad form if you ask me. Especially if you call it Jyuu-waza.
I also saw Shioda wave his bokken about in demos. He was very fast and precise. I never saw anyone else do weapons work in Yoshinkan while there.

Here, I am just guessing: Kanetsuka, I think, is related to Shiseikan (I trained there one year), who used to be related to Yoshinkan. Kanetsuka probably had a lot of robotic Yoshinkan style training and then found his freedom when he went to the UK. Also, Kanetsuka's style changed for the better AFTER he got over his cancer - he had less strength I guess. He also has the same piercing glint in his eye that I saw in Shioda.

Terry Ezra was Kanetsuka's #1 student - but has now chosen to go his own way - and is the only person I have come across who did things to me that I could not understand. The guy is amazing. Again, vids do not do him justice. Experience it for yourself.

ki/chi/aiki - To me, ki / chi is that magical energy that I don't really believe in. Aiki, however, is the feeling of merging/blending/flowing (or not, if you so choose) with your partner - the feeling can be nothing / soft / sticky plastic / firm / immovable / penetrating - yet always changing. That's how I rationalise it to myself. The problem is, we all have different definitions and end up talking cross purposes.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 04-19-2005 at 08:14 AM.

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Old 04-19-2005, 08:22 AM   #40
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
Terry Ezra was Kanetsuka's #1 student - but has now chosen to go his own way - and is the only person I have come across who did things to me that I could not understand. The guy is amazing. Again, vids do not do him justice. Experience it for yourself.
Is it possible for you to describe something of an instance that you "could not understand"? I.e., was it a command of technique/application or was it in terms of body power/skill?
Quote:
ki/chi/aiki - To me, ki / chi is that magical energy that I don't really believe in.
A single magical energy that permeates the universe? No, I don't either. That's just an ancient paradigm that the Chinese used before the advent of scientific method. Most modern Chinese don't really believe in a single magical force, either. Wang Xiang Zhai, founder of yiquan, said all the qi stuff was bunkum as do many others. The physical skills, which have traditionally been referred to as "qi" for centuries, are unusual and real, but they all seem to fall into accordance with the natural physical laws when you look at them closely. That kind of "qi" I believe in, but I consider the name just an arbitrary and vague handle.
Quote:
Aiki, however, is the feeling of merging/blending/flowing (or not, if you so choose) with your partner - the feeling can be soft / sticky plastic / or firm. That's how I rationalise it to myself. The problem is, we all have different definitions and end up talking cross purposes.
Debate-wise, I'd point you to Shioda's comments about "harmony" (i.e., "aiki") when he talks about atemi. I.e., I would venture that ki and kokyu are skills that are independent of technique and strategy components that you appear to be adding to the definition. My opinion, only.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 04-19-2005, 08:32 AM   #41
rob_liberti
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
What I would find very interesting is what other contributors to this thread think of Yamaguchi Sensei's Aikido in this context.
I think he was a sword master, and generated a tremendous amount of power with completely relaxed arms. I think the countless times when uke's who were remarkably difficult to move would attack him in something like ushiro ryokatatori and their elbows would just pop up due to some imperceptable movement on Yamaguchi sensei's part speaks to his ability in this area. He had his own private dojo and produced some incredibly strong aikidoka in their own right and did not do any standing exercises beyond shin-kokyu and suburi.

Personally, I think that no one thinks that we should develop just enough ki and kokyu to get by. I think people have their own approach to further developing these things from new perspectives. To get to those new perspectives, you sometimes have to shift your focus for a while and look at things in a new light. Bruce Cockburn's "keep kicking the darkness until it bleeds light" is fine when you have a tremendous amount of time - but it also reminds me of the definition of insanity where someone keeps trying the same actions and keeps expecting different results.

Rob
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Old 04-19-2005, 08:42 AM   #42
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Is it possible for you to describe something of an instance that you "could not understand"? I.e., was it a command of technique/application or was it in terms of body power/skill?
Mike
I can do things to my own students that they can not do. In time though, some of them can do it right back on me. If you understand something it becomes technical - it can be explained, so you teach it. Ezra Sensei is beyond me and I can't do it so can not explain. His body skill is subtle. You grab him but you can not control what you hold. Tamura Sensei did something similar to me last year but he was more interested in having fun with me than trying to teach me anything. Ezra Sensei tries his best to teach you what he is doing yet it is exceedingly difficult to copy. It is sometimes possible to do it on someone less skilled than yourself, but impossible to do back on Ezra. It is good to meet people like Ezra if only to expand your realm-of-the-possible. Another great man I met only a couple of times was a Bagua/Hsing I/Tai Chi teacher in Tokyo called Mr. So. He could do anything to anyone - they were puppets in his hands. He did not have that Aikido 'love and peace' outlook and used his skill at 'harmonising' with devious yet superbly skillful martial purpose. It's a body thing, not technical. I am up to my ears in technical. Actually, it's both - I just need to get my body in order!

And yes - time and strategy. They are major components of harmony, as is distance or space. It is not easy to fit time or space into explanations of feeling, but that's where we need to go.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 04-19-2005 at 08:50 AM.

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Old 04-19-2005, 10:10 AM   #43
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
I can do things to my own students that they can not do. In time though, some of them can do it right back on me. If you understand something it becomes technical - it can be explained, so you teach it.
Well, Tohei voiced some frustrations that O-Sensei described ki and kokyu skills in terms of the gods entering his body, etc. Tohei puts *some* practical descriptions to the same things and refers to them in such ways as "keeping his center sunk", etc. Some people are trying to develop kokyu skills by waiting for the body and the mind to do certain things, but they don't know what. Shioda attempted to approach the same skills mechanistically, for purposes of description and getting the most number of people to acquire some skills (I personally suspect he reserved some of his skills, just as Tohei does, O-Sensei did, etc.). So the problem for a wide-spectrum forum like this one is to find a common dialogue and/or logical approach (as Shioda attempted to do) that is understood by the most number of people.
Quote:
And yes - time and strategy. They are major components of harmony, as is distance or space. It is not easy to fit time or space into explanations of feeling, but that's where we need to go.
I don't think we need to go into "feeling" at all. I think we can discuss things fairly well right up to the area of "feeling", but that's about it because feelings are simply too subjective. Heck, I was discussing with a friend of mine on the phone the other night that we can't even define who is "good at Aikido" because it's so subjective. Dan ranks have been given out indiscriminately by some instructors so knowing someone's rank doesn't tell us all that much; people are basing "good" on how someone handles essentially cooperative attacks that are limited in scope, etc. I even have people that want me to see "how good" their instructor, etc., is by "getting on the mat with him", i.e., they envision me wearing a hakama and offering shomenuchi or katate-tori or something and their instructor taking my proffered attack and driving me into the mat or perhaps dislocating my elbow with a foreshortened shihonage. Anyone who can talk me into sacrificing my body to prove someone is "good" would be a smoothe-talking devil, indeed. My point is that I have great difficulty with some of the descriptions in Aikido (and other arts, as well) if we don't have some basis for what "good" is. None of us know how "good" the other person is from our typewriting skills on these forums, so none of us can be clear what is "amazing" without some fairly clear descriptions of what happened. Perhaps if we try to fine-tune our descriptions of the things we think are extraordinary?

I remember the first time I mentioned to a teacher of mine that I thought such-and-such was a great martial art, as I understood it. He asked, "Oh... what great fighters has it produced?". I named a name and he replied, "Oh... who did he beat?". In other words, he cut to the chase and had me really reviewing a lot of my definitions and musings. I think it's a helpful way to approach things, even for those people who don't want to let go of cherished "beliefs" and "feelings", by being so pragmatic. Every truly accomplished martial artist I know is pretty darn pragmatic and did a lot of thinking about how things actually work in his years of practice.

Notice that as things are getting better in various arts, including Aikido, a lot of it has to do with more specific and detailed information oh how to do things correctly (not to say that there isn't a lot of totally bogus information out there that will lead you the wrong way, if you're not careful).

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 04-19-2005, 03:52 PM   #44
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Not meaning to get the topic too much adrift, apologies... http://www.aikido.co.uk/ has some clips of Ezra sensei, click on "resources", and then on the title of either cd. The clips from the Ikkyo cd are way down the page.

kvaak
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Old 04-19-2005, 06:10 PM   #45
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

A few points.

Minoru Kanetsuka was not directly related to the Shiseikan. His relationship came indirectly through Takushoku University, also attended by Tanaka Shigeho (and, incidentally by Masatake Fujita).

After William Smith separated from M Kanetsuka in the early 80s, Terry Ezra stayed with him in the BAF. However, Terry had other influences, notably K. Chiba and healer John Kane, and I think they grew apart from quite early on.

I trained with Kanetsuka Shihan almost every day for about 5 years, between my return from the US and my departure for Japan. From what I know of Yoshinkan training, this was very similar, but he also began to study M Saito's aiki-ken and aiki-jo and also the Kashima swordwork practised by Chiba's father-in-law, M Sekiya, who stayed in the UK for a year. He was nothing if not eclectic.

Rather than S Yamaguchi (aiki, in my opinion), I think the Aikikai shihan who embodies kokyuu most clearly is Hiroshi Tada. I trained/train regularly with both shihans here in Japan and they are quite different. Both awesome, but quite different. The one common link is that both do (did, in the case of Yamaguchi Sensei) aikido and studied (stole) directly from M Ueshiba.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-19-2005, 07:55 PM   #46
MM
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Rupert Atkinson wrote:
>I can do things to my own students that they can not do. In time
>though, some of them can do it right back on me. If you
>understand something it becomes technical - it can be explained,
>so you teach it.

Yes, I can definitely understand that.

>Ezra Sensei is beyond me and I can't do it so can not explain. His
>body skill is subtle. You grab him but you can not control what
>you hold.

I have been in that situation also, so I understand what you're talking about. And I agree, you can't explain it or teach it. But if you experience it enough and train enough, you start to understand it and then you're on your way.

>And yes - time and strategy. They are major components of
>harmony, as is distance or space. It is not easy to fit time or
>space into explanations of feeling, but that's where we need to go.

Time and timing are two separate components that have an important part in things. Distance and space are another two.

No two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. If you're good enough with aiki, ki, timing, and distance, you can "make" some uki believe that the space that they are going to occupy has suddenly been occupied by tori/nage. The time part is the fraction of a second where tori/nage occupies that space with ki/whatever. The timing is knowing when to start and end this process. The space is the exact point where uki believes himself to be. The distance is how much each person moves to accomplish these things. But all four are separate entities.

Now, if a tori/nage can do this without physically occupying that space, that's what I call using ki. My opinion. But when you can do that (and I can't, yet), and use aiki/blending/harmonizing, then you have an infinite amount of choices/movements to play with.

Think about blending with an uki to redirect them where you want them and then occupying the space they were going to land in with your ki. You would have an uki that would be putty in your hands. And that's about as well as I can explain some of the things I've felt but couldn't comprehend. And I'm not even sure I'm right in my thinking that this is what is going on. But until I'm further along and can understand more ... it'll be a mystery worth solving.

Mark
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Old 04-19-2005, 08:16 PM   #47
Mike Sigman
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
Time and timing are two separate components that have an important part in things. Distance and space are another two.
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once; Space is what keeps everything from happening to YOU.
Quote:
No two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. If you're good enough with aiki, ki, timing, and distance, you can "make" some uki believe that the space that they are going to occupy has suddenly been occupied by tori/nage. The time part is the fraction of a second where tori/nage occupies that space with ki/whatever. The timing is knowing when to start and end this process. The space is the exact point where uki believes himself to be. The distance is how much each person moves to accomplish these things. But all four are separate entities.

Now, if a tori/nage can do this without physically occupying that space, that's what I call using ki. My opinion. But when you can do that (and I can't, yet), and use aiki/blending/harmonizing, then you have an infinite amount of choices/movements to play with.

Think about blending with an uki to redirect them where you want them and then occupying the space they were going to land in with your ki. You would have an uki that would be putty in your hands. And that's about as well as I can explain some of the things I've felt but couldn't comprehend. And I'm not even sure I'm right in my thinking that this is what is going on. But until I'm further along and can understand more ... it'll be a mystery worth solving.
I would still point out that even O-Sensei stressed atemi, even though many Aikidoists think everything can be done by magically "blending with your opponent". Every really good Aikidoist that I've ever seen uses checks and hits when he can't "blend" with even cooperative attacks, so I'd at least offer the opinion that the perhaps false goal of blending may not be totally on target.


FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-20-2005, 01:11 AM   #48
davidafindlay
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Hello,

Don't think my two cents isn't worth very much in this discussion (which is really good, btw), but I just have a quick observation about instructors and how they feel. Interesting how the feeling of advanced people is so similar.

My background is Shodokan; ended up at our hombu dojo in Osaka for a year in 1999/00 then went tripping about some. I bumped into Ezra sensei at a seminar in the UK. Over the course of nine years in aikido he had the closest feeling to Nariyama Shihan of our hombu dojo. I was almost tempted to journey up to Liverpool from the English deep south to train with him. (Logistics unfortunatey, were not kind.)

A signifcant part of the Shodokan system can be seen to focus on itoistu rokyu, kokyu rokyu and datsu rokyu (granted; exact definitions only valid within a school, but anyway). When I've felt Nariyama's technique and, on the one occasion, Ezra sensei's, these aspects felt very similar.

Best,
Dave Findlay
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Old 04-20-2005, 02:44 AM   #49
Alex Megann
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Minoru Kanetsuka was not directly related to the Shiseikan. His relationship came indirectly through Takushoku University, also attended by Tanaka Shigeho (and, incidentally by Masatake Fujita).
Best regards,
Kanetsuka Sensei had more a prolonged - although informal - influence from the Shiseikan in later years: for a while (in the late eighties, if I recall correctly) he had quite close contacts with Minoru Inaba, now head of the Shisekan, and would travel halfway across Europe to see him. I remember him speaking of Inaba as if he were some kind of prodigy - even though he is a little younger than Kanetsuka, the latter had great respect for his insights. I would guess the initial link with Inaba would have been through Sekiya Sensei.

There is an Aikido Journal interview with Inaba here:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article...ighlight=inaba

Alex
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:25 AM   #50
rob_liberti
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Re: Shioda, Tohei, and Ki Things

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Rather than S Yamaguchi (aiki, in my opinion), I think the Aikikai shihan who embodies kokyuu most clearly is Hiroshi Tada. I trained/train regularly with both shihans here in Japan and they are quite different. Both awesome, but quite different. The one common link is that both do (did, in the case of Yamaguchi Sensei) aikido and studied (stole) directly from M Ueshiba.
I would agree that Yamaguchi sensei did not stress kokyu over aiki in his teaching of aikido and was quite awesome. Yet, he and his students certainly had/have kokyu power in abundance.

Saotome sensei's first teacher was Yamaguchi sensei. Some other notable students (for members of this forum) would be Endo sensei, Yasuno sensei, Takeda sensei, Gleason sensei, and I believe Christian Tissier sensei as well (not to mention some of their own students).

I chose my approach based on the number of excellent students produced by that training methodology. Just curious, who are the notable students of Tada sensei? I don't know that lineage very well at all.

Rob
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