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Old 05-06-2005, 04:13 AM   #1
feck
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Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Hi,

from replying to an earlier post it occured to me that the stories of Ueshiba dodging bullets has puzzled me for some time. I would like to know anyone else's view on the story. Do you think its true? If not was this story a rumour that was never proved or was he lying?
I've heard one story where he was shot at in a violent situation and another where he requested a trial of a new gun from the Japanese police where the request was that it was to be fired at him. This all seems unbelieavable, and yet I still personlly believe in them and him. If I thought that these were lies, why would anyone want to bow to this man.

I hope this does not upset anyone I would just like to hear some other views on the subject.

feck
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Old 05-06-2005, 05:04 AM   #2
Fred26
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

I've heard this story too. I honestly don't know if it ever happened since there are lots of legends regarding Ueshiba and Master martial artists in general.

Ueshiba was supposed to be able to literary see the trajected path of the bullet. I think the story says Ueshiba was able to see this trajectory because of the flow of Ki from the person doing the shooting or something.
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Old 05-06-2005, 07:39 AM   #3
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

This comes from "Aikido Shugyo", Gozo Shioda's biography(excellent read) This incident was a first hand encounter, or atleast it was described as such. I believe O'sensei claimed to have seen small gold balls of light hurling from the barrels seconds before the shot. He said something along the lines of not everybody could fire at the exact same time so he would duck down and charge toward the first gun that he saw the ball from, he ran very low "ninja" style. Incidently there is another chapter following this of a master pheasant hunter hearing word of this occurance and coming to the dojo and challenging O'sensei. The guy was apparently a well known master shooter known for shooting pheasants in the head since anywhere else damaged the meat. O'Sensei accepted the challenge, but as the hunter took aim he said "wait wait stop, your bullet will hit me!". In a nutshell acknowledged the mans master skills. Master can recognize master. This is'nt word for word as my book is loaned to a friend.
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Old 05-06-2005, 08:37 AM   #4
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Sean,

That's pretty close. You got the jest of the story.

As far as whether or not anyone cares to believe the "legends" about O'Sensei, I say... do what you want. Personally, I just ask myself,"Is it possible for someone to move fast enough to avoid being shot?" Sure! Of course it is!

Will it be easy? No.
Skill involved? Damn right there's skill there.
Want to practice it? Not especially, no.
BUT... is it possible? Yes.

All we can do is train, train and then after that... train. Get up to 3 or 4th dan and then take another look at this subject. You'll have a whole new perspective and outlook on it. Besides all that, it makes Aikido sound even more interesting. Where's the harm in a little mystery?

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Old 05-06-2005, 08:48 AM   #5
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

I heard the story to, but I read or was told that in the old days, the guns didn't fire the same way they do today. I heard there was a flash or something right before the bullet left the gun which gave you time to move.

If he timed this, it is quite possible he could have done it. Today, I think it would be quite impossible to sidestep a bullet. But again, we have no way of proving or denying such a claim.

If anyone knows about old style guns, maybe they can shed some light on this story.
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Old 05-06-2005, 09:26 AM   #6
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Here's a post I wrote a couple of years ago on this topic:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...8680#post48680

Also, here is the discussion on the poll, "Do you believe that Morihei Ueshiba actually dodged bullets?"

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3986

Hope that helps,

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Old 05-06-2005, 09:43 AM   #7
Justin Gaar
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Ki Symbol Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

I would definitly like to repeat another key point by someone else on a similar thread. Guns today and guns then were different. The speed both ejection from the gun and air speed are far less then the normal hand guns or rifles of today. Bullets back then would not go in a straight line once ejected from a gun, some bullets would move slightly to the left or right of the intended target. Morihei could have dodged the bullets. I've heard that it was very simple like this. The guns were fired (cue smoke) and before the gun captain could blink all his men were down before the smoke cleared. It is absolutely 100% possible that Morihei could dodge bullets, therefore I believe 100% that he did dodge bullets. Physical evidence and and scientific evidence substantiate this. I hope this turns into a good conversation. Should be fun.

If you arrest a mime, do you have tell him he has the right to remain silent?
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Old 05-06-2005, 10:12 AM   #8
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

One question; did HE say he doged bullets or did someone ELSE say he doged bullets?

If there is no wind, row!
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Old 05-06-2005, 10:15 AM   #9
Justin Gaar
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

I read it in a book. Ahhh I remember!! One of Ueshiba's Biographies. You can't believe everything you read, but i have no reason to disbelieve this book.

If you arrest a mime, do you have tell him he has the right to remain silent?
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Old 05-06-2005, 01:54 PM   #10
Dan Herak
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

This antecdote was in THREE BUDO MASTERS by John Stevens. I think it is bunk. People simply cannot move as fast as bullets and it is really a bit silly for people to think they can. Some have said that guns back then could not propel the bullets as quickly as they can today. Such an argument might have value if aikido were an ancient art. It is not. Any gun from the 1920s onward can shoot a bullet VERY fast. If the bullets do not shoot as straight as they do today, this would work against believing the story as it would make the bullet's trajectory more variable and therefore impossible to properly evade.

The story loses even more validity when put into the context of all the fantastic stories of Ueshiba. Any one would be hard to believe but added up they become reidiculous. I reviewed Stevens book for amazon.com and elaborated further there.

I strongly believe that these myths damage aikido. A bit of mystery may make a martial art more appealing but flights of fancy make it look cultish. That so many practitioners believe this stuff makes the situation worse. Tohei himself has said that he saw no evidence to support these super myths regarding the founder and, having read of Saito Sensei's experiences training and encountering none of this, I must conclude that they did not happen. Ueshiba created a wonderful martial art and I think that this hocus pocus denigrates it.
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Old 05-06-2005, 01:58 PM   #11
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Pistols and rifles of that time mostly of late 19th and early 20th centuries were ( in Asia) at best percussion caps and flintlocks, which shoot a large .69 (depending on model) cal bullet at about 200-300 ft per second( with a large amount of smoke and flash from the black powder) depending on how well made the gun is. So do the math how far would you have to be to doge it? being that nerve impulses travel at 200 miles per hour one could do the math. Which in physical reality is possible, but in Aikido don't we all recognize that there is more to the world than physics, chemistry and biology.I believe it is The element Osensei called Wisdom/Heaven?
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Old 05-06-2005, 02:18 PM   #12
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Quote:
Dan Herak wrote:
This antecdote was in THREE BUDO MASTERS by John Stevens.
Just as a clarification, the translation (Japanese to English) that I gave in this post (to which I referenced above) comes from Gozo Shioda sensei's book, "Aikido Shugyo." The passages that I related comes from Shioda sensei who was reportedly personally at the "bullet dodging" incident.

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Old 05-06-2005, 02:35 PM   #13
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

But what about this question: What does Osensei dodging bullets or not dodging bullets do for you (us)? And, why?

In other words, why is this question worth asking?

Last edited by senshincenter : 05-06-2005 at 02:38 PM.

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Old 05-06-2005, 02:38 PM   #14
Dan Herak
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Quote:
Jason Lulejian wrote:
nerve impulses travel at 200 miles per hour
Maybe, but human reaction time, even for someone very highly trained is slower. Nerve impulses must travel to the brain, communicate the information to the brain, the brain must process it and then send out the information to other body parts as to what to do, and this information must then be translated into concrete action by the body.

There are other problems with the story besides this. According to the legend, Ueshiba did not simply dodge the bullets but appeared behind the marksmen who were firing. Could the man run 200 miles per hour? Forgive for being more than a bit sceptical.
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Old 05-06-2005, 02:43 PM   #15
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Hi,

Thanks for all the response's so far, I hope to hear more.
Anyway, I was wondering, if this was possible, that maybe its like some form of intuition, a 'spidey sense' if you like (forgive the pun).

Has'nt anyone had intuitive flashes of danger that in retrospect have helped them avoid dangerous situations, i know i have, and at times, they have probably saved my sorry arse.
I also thought that Aikido practice itself would help develop this intuitive state, like O'sensei with the story about the expert hunter, knowing that he would get shot, stops the experiment in its tracks.

We are living in a universe that is at its most basic sense is just patterns of energy, these patterns affect each other in diverse ways that are mostly unexplainable, as of yet, so maybe the intention to fire is propageted towards a target a split second before the bullet. If this energy pattern (ki?) could be sensed by another then, yes, I think that it would be possible to dodge the bullet.
Maybe the hunter or expert marksman in one of the stories had developed the use of 'no mind' in his skills this would have stopped the intention pattern releasing, and maybe O'sensei sensed this 'no mind' approach and stopped the experiment before being hurt.

feck
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Old 05-06-2005, 03:52 PM   #16
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

I believe it says he ended behind the men after the smoke cleared. So you'd have to factor the amount of time the gun smoke from..6 guns i think it was, clears, but there could be a trillion varying factors!
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Old 05-07-2005, 12:33 AM   #17
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Alright, I kinda believe this story, but I think it is different then people think.

One I was training with a fellow yudansha from Holland, early in the morning. We were both Uchi-deshi at the time, and were practicing Tsuki Kotegaeshi. We were both board to death with he technique, we had been doing it all week, it was early, we were grumpy, and not in the mood. So we started trying to have fun with it. We started focusing all our intent before we would tsuki. Standing for long times focusing our intent. When one would Tsuki, it was noticeable different then just going through the motions, you could feel the thrust coming long before it happened, time kind of seemed to slow. After the training session, I asked him if he noticed how strong the intent felt, he said yes, and I said it was almost as if I could see and arrow coming from you right before you would tsuki. He said he had noticed the same kind of thing. When I read Uyashibas account of the guns, I remember reading that he saw a white light coming from the guns before they would shoot. The way it was described sounded much like my experience with the tsuki. I don't really think O-sensei was dodging the actual bullet, but that he could feel the intent of the shooters before they had actually consciously decided to shoot, so he was able to never be in their line of fire.

-Chris Hein
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Old 05-07-2005, 01:29 AM   #18
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Mmm, Chris. Your comments make me feel encouraged. Thank you
And yet you (we)doubt other more exoteric things.
I'm so pleased to hear your experience with tsuki.

Personally, I once believed without reservation that this story was true.

Then, I got a little jaundiced and started questioning this silly story.

Later still, I mellowed, after having a couple of 'experiences' myself.

Currently, I totally allow for what Osensei was able to experience. Whether I believe in them or not, is of little importance.

My little experience.
My sensei (Nakane, Kenichi sensei) returned to the dojo that he left many years earlier and had us all do ki exercises.

Now, as a relative non believer, myself and along with our clubs principal (Pat Walsh), we were into this ki exercise thing, when we both looked at each other in that universal look of - 'what the hell is this!!!' look.

Afterward, I cornered him and asked - before he could ask me, what did IT feel like.
He knew exactly what I was alluding to.
He described in the exact words I would have chosen, the feeling that we both experienced.
It was as though we had a sphere between our hands, as though our hands were two opposing magnets, frictionless and repelling each other.
Sadly, my sphere was smaller than his, - oh well - that life.
Sensei mention that with practice you can make the sphere very large, like a giant beach ball.
Bugger. Mine was about the size of a volley ball.

Point is, there was something there that was not supposed to be.
That experience alone, makes me open to the possibility that there just may be more to this art than just the physical.

Conclusion, - if Osensei had a whole truck load of experience, just what kind of real world magic could he be capable of?

Dodging the actual bullets. No, not in my humble opinion.
Sensing them or the shooters intension, very possible.

Do I wish to emulate him?
Not at my current level of ki development. (Remember the volley ball)
Do I have to have greater ki to develop further in Aikido.
I don't believe so. But I'm working on that.

Dave H
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Old 05-07-2005, 01:42 AM   #19
MitchMZ
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

There is a great personal account about the amazing intuition O'Sensei had in a book I'm reading right now....actually the name eludes me.

An uchi deshi (forgot name) was playing Devil's Advocate in his mind and was wondering what would happen if he were to swing his jo at O' Sensei while his backed was turned to him. Instantly after the student thought about this, Ueshiba turned around and gave the student a paralyzing glare. This happened multiple times.

Also, if it is accurate that firearms at that time in history only fired 200-300fps, it would be perfectly plausible that someone could dodge the bullets. I used to play competitive paintball; in which the projectiles moved around 250-300fps. I dodged paintballs more times than I can count.

Personally, I don't think there was much "dodging" on O' Sensei's part. He seemed to be a superior strategist who had been given the knowledge of exactly how he would be attacked before the encounter. When you think about it, the bullets were like one big tsuki.

Last edited by MitchMZ : 05-07-2005 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 05-07-2005, 01:52 AM   #20
Fred26
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

You know it's interesting. Alot of people is going out their way to defend Ueshiba and say he can dodge bullets. But when someone claims Koichi Tohei managed to stand up and defeat 5 Judoka, then it's nothing more than legend and lies all of a sudden.

Which is more realistic?

Bring forth the Ueshiba apologetics.
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Old 05-07-2005, 02:19 AM   #21
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

I'm all about reality. I love to test stuff out. I also believe there is likely a little truth in all stories. I like the gun story because I have had experiences that seem similar to this. I have seen Koichi Tohei deal very badly with 1 untrained American camera man, this, and my knowledge of what Judoka are like to deal with make me think the Tohei story isn't very accurate. I think lots of things O-sensei dose are not all that great, I don't like his sword cuts for example, but I do think the man had a grasp of things most of us are not in touch with. I think Tohei had lots of neat things to say as well, but fighting 5 skilled judoka at once and winning-likely no.

Part of the wonderful thing about Aikido is it allows us to look into mysterious arias of life, and it gives us a system to test it with, that is if we don't just teacher worship and hide in what we think, instead of explore.

-Chris Hein

Last edited by ChrisHein : 05-07-2005 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 05-07-2005, 05:32 AM   #22
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

I can't find a date for the accounts of Ueshiba dodging bullets but the place and weapon type is mentioned. The place was the Okubo Army Shooting Center (Okubo is I believe in Tokyo) while the weapon type is described as a revolver.

The only Japanese military revolver was the Type 26, a (poor) copy of a Smith & Wesson break open model. Manufacture of the the Type 26 started in the mid 1890's and about 60,000 were made. It fired a 9 mm cartridge so there would have been no smoke to indicate that the weapon was about to discharge and muzzle velocity would probably be somewhere around 300 m/sec (1000 ft/sec) which is well in excess of any human reaction speed.

However the Type 26 reputedly had a very hard double action only pull which may have given a clue that someone was about to fire it.

Personally I doubt that events unfolded as Shioda reported them. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable and it's likely that some crucial detail of the event is either missing or has been misreported.

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Old 05-07-2005, 11:35 AM   #23
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Although I'm skeptical of the story also, I must say that you can not analyze it simply by speed of the projectile versus human reaction and movement speed.

The story clearly istated that O'Sensei indicated that he could see a bubbles of light prior to the weapon firing. If that was true, the speed of the bullet is irrelevant since he could move before it was fired.

Also the story mentioned that O'sensei would appear behind one of the shooters and throw them shortly after the weapons finished their shoot. I remeber reading somehwere that the shoot was done with O'Sensei standing at a 25 meter distance from the shooters. If he sprinted he could have reached the shooters in a matter of a few seconds, considering that they likely did not fire at the same time and it may have appeared to the observer that O'sensei instantly appeared when the "smoke cleared" if there was a delay of a few seconds between the first shot and last.

Just my thoughts. If O'Sensei could sence the shots before they fired, I believe it is possible that he performed this feat irrelevant of the projectile speed.
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Old 05-07-2005, 12:12 PM   #24
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

Well, there's the story of Chiba Sensei being encouraged by Osensei to really try and hit him with the bokken; so he did really try and so he did really hit Osensei - right on the head.

For some reason, this thread makes my mind recall something that happened to me when I first started training. Unfortunately, I had an instructor that had many personal issues yet (and probably never) to be resolved. One day we were practicing the basic Kokyu-nage from Katate-dori - with a tenkan. I had been "throwing" everyone just fine. Looking back, I can't say that I was actually throwing anyone because that dojo was one of the many I've trained at where folks come to unconsciously throw themselves for the sake of the training culture and/or for some other held up ideals, such as "follow," "blend," "non-resistance," etc. Anyway, somewhere during the hour, my then teacher comes over to clear up some fine points with me. He takes on the role of nage first -- I go flying. Now I am nage, he does not go flying like everyone else had. He simply bends at the waist and is kind of looking at me there with my hand near the mat, he still holding my wrist. No matter what I would do, he would end up there in that same spot every time that I was nage.

New to Aikido at that time, but not new to martial arts, I wanted to keep an open mind. I had read all these stories and interpretations -- even stories like the bullet one, via Stevens, Westbrook, etc. I was there to learn something new, so I was not out to cancel things out even if they seemed "otherworldly" at first. So I asked my teacher a question after that class. I said something like, "You know, when I do the technique on everyone else, they go flying. When you do the technique on me, I really go flying. Yet, when I do it on you, you do not go anywhere. Is this because the distance thrown is dependent upon the Kokyu/Ki of the person throwing and the person being thrown? Meaning, if you have less Kokyu/Ki -- as in the Force of Star Wars -- than the person you are throwing, you will not be able to throw them?" His answer, "Yes, that is it."

Even then, when he said it, I could see the hesitation in his response -- that he wanted to believe it, or that believing in it did something for him, or at least that he wanted to believe that he could say that to someone else that had trained in other martial arts, etc., but that for some reason he wholly couldn't. Now I realize what was really happening: The situation had nothing to do with Kokyu or Ki or the Force from Star Wars. Rather, I was in a culture of fake Aikido -- where folks threw themselves, and where waza didn't really have to have a tactical architecture for falling/throwing, and hence where any waza could really be subverted by an uke who simply chose not to participate in the usual choreography.

The thing with "miracles" is that they appear to be directed toward the non-believer, but it is only the believer upon which they work. For some, holding Osensei to be miraculous leads to the hope that they too will one day be miraculous, and/or it makes them feel that what they are doing is "more real" and/or "more legitimate". It is the same thing when we uphold Osensei as an ideal or as a beacon of Love and Hope - ignoring all his ego-failings and his bad temper, etc. However, while training will always involve a degree of faith, I'm not so sure that Aikido and/or Budo is a system of Faith. Personally, I think we should be careful when we start to blur the line between a system of Faith and a system of Practice. Why? Because something vital seems to go missing from a system of Practice whenever it comes to place so much on miracles and/or other things that believers need in order to feel inspired, real, and/or legitimate. What is that thing? Self-reliance. Budo without self-reliance is not only something else, it is something less.

(As an obvious example: It is self-reliance that is missing in a dojo of fake Aikido - where people throw themselves by unconsciously, and consciously, participating in a choreography.)

David M. Valadez
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Old 05-07-2005, 05:10 PM   #25
MitchMZ
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Re: Ueshiba Dodging Bullets?

I don't think any Aikido techniques are lacking in validity; it has to do with the way they are sometimes practiced. I've seen again and again people from other martial arts do techniques that are technically the same as we do in Aikido. I don't think in the area of techniques Aikido is much different than other arts, it just has a very specialized philosophy and training method.

Video of Hapkido demo (looks just like what I've done in Aikido):

http://www.hapkidoia.com/video/demoteam/beau.mpg

Last edited by MitchMZ : 05-07-2005 at 05:13 PM.
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