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Old 06-10-2005, 10:05 PM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Stanley Pranin has posted a new article which is a retrospective about Nishio Sensei. In the article, there are some comments indicating that Nishio Sensei modified his Aikido, apparently noted by a number of people, but there was one comment in the article that caught my eye:

Nishio recalls with a smile a remark attributed to Koichi Tohei: "Nishio's not doing aikido. I don't know whether he's doing judo or karate, but it's not aikido. He doesn't know how to extend ki!"

One of the things such a remark does is lead into a discussion about being "good" in Aikido in an effective-technique way and yet not using the ki skills. Not knowing anything about Nishio Sensei other than what I've read, I was wondering if anyone had any elucidating comments?

Mike
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Old 06-10-2005, 10:42 PM   #2
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
One of the things such a remark does is lead into a discussion about being "good" in Aikido in an effective-technique way and yet not using the ki skills.
Mike
Far, far more common that you might think. For the majority of my own journey I collected hundreds of techniques in various arts - indeed it was my goal. Even when meeting people - with the goods - it was not easy to understand and switch focus.

Knowledge I gained of aiki (I don't call it ki) was accidental because few teach it, and few know it. Indeed, many who do teach it have no idea. I can see that clearly and can distinguish - He has no aiki ; He has good aiki etc. Which translates as - He has nothing for me ; I want to learn from him.

It takes more than consistent training. For me, I picked up on and followed new leads - the most important point - and have come to my own understanding. It is my own because no one showed me anything in its entirety. I jumped off the technical track quite a while ago now but the search is ceaseless. Anyway, Aikido without aiki is not really Aikido. Of course, I could be completely off track - I have been before.

In the beginning you need a certain amount of technical stuff and then you need to switch. The problem is when. Iwama says you have to be 3rd Dan before you do ki-no-nagare waza - pretty daft for the average westerner who never makes it to 3rd Dan. Ki Aikido has you doing ki exercises from day one. Many schools have no pre-determined point at which anything beyond the technical is introduced, hence endless technical lists. For example, I heard Shodokan have a technical syllabus up to 5th Dan ... is that really sensible?

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 06-10-2005 at 10:51 PM.

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Old 06-10-2005, 11:01 PM   #3
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
(about being "good" in Aikido in an effective-technique way and yet not using the ki skills.) Anyway, Aikido without aiki is not really Aikido. Of course, I could be completely off track - I have been before.
To me it's sort of like watching some actor in a movie swinging a katana using his arms and a fierce scowl... anyone experienced in real sword usage grits his teeth when he sees it. However, someone swinging a sword with just his arms, using a couple of practiced techniques, etc., can still win an engagement (against someone equally not too good). So can using your arms for a sword-swing then be justified because it works, etc.? That's the real question.

In sword ryu you could say there's arm-swingers, journeyman swordsmen, and then there's the people that are using some things beyond the ken of mortal man. But the question is... do you really need that last bit of knowledge if you're winning a lot of sword fights? That's where the analogy fails.. Aiki-do specifically seems to call for knowledge and use of ki, in addition to technique and the other components.

I don't know whether the comment attributed to Tohei was accurate, but it's interesting to see that the question of this particular dichotomy made its way into the higher ranks.

FWIW

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 06-10-2005 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 06-11-2005, 05:59 AM   #4
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
For example, I heard Shodokan have a technical syllabus up to 5th Dan ... is that really sensible?
7th dan.

It would be hard to decide if it was sensible or not if you don't know what it is.

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Old 06-11-2005, 06:54 AM   #5
Michael Holm
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

My knowledge of Nishio Sensei is very limited, to observing a class at a seminar and training with 3 shodan people from "his style" -
The thing that stoke me most was the way he did Atemi, now generally in Ki Aikido we do not do atemi very much - but when I saw his atemi, I thought, "wow he is not pretending to strike uke, he is really extending Ki " He was not striking at all (very nice) - but looking at the students training, their atemi almost all look like "just strikes"/showing "here is a strike opportunity or trying to make uke move by pretending/faking a stroke. This general observation is of course very unfair as i only watched from the sideline. Please forgive me if anyone will offended.

Anyway if someone took something I said out of context, I might disagree with myself Maybe Tohei Sensei would say something completely different about the late Nishio Sensei if asked now
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Old 06-11-2005, 07:52 AM   #6
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

My former sensei Leo Laursen had a Nishio quote on Ki on his homepage ,
if I remember correctly "Ki is an inquiring mind" ,he liked that one.
Im still investigating that one.
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Old 06-11-2005, 09:00 AM   #7
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Mark Johnston wrote:
7th dan.

It would be hard to decide if it was sensible or not if you don't know what it is.
Well, I only did Tomiki for ten years. A couple of friends have since gotten to 5th Dan, so that's as far as I know.

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Old 06-11-2005, 10:59 AM   #8
Mike Sigman
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Christian Boddum wrote:
if I remember correctly "Ki is an inquiring mind" ,he liked that one.
Im still investigating that one.
Well, if you're still investigating then you're inquiring and that means you already have ki!!! When can we see you demonstrate?

Mike
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Old 06-11-2005, 11:58 AM   #9
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Ill upload some pics - check my profile , give me 15 minutes !
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Old 06-11-2005, 02:46 PM   #10
Michael Holm
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Christian Boddum wrote:
My former sensei Leo Laursen had a Nishio quote on Ki on his homepage ,
if I remember correctly "Ki is an inquiring mind" ,he liked that one.
Im still investigating that one.
Thats very nice, I agree completely
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Old 06-11-2005, 03:47 PM   #11
Michael Mackenzie
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Nishio recalls with a smile a remark attributed to Koichi Tohei: "Nishio's not doing aikido. I don't know whether he's doing judo or karate, but it's not aikido. He doesn't know how to extend ki!"
In my humble opinion Tohei is full of crap on this one. Even a cursory look at the many clips of Nishio on then net, including the aikido journal website, show he has obtained a level of ability most only dream of.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-11-2005, 05:41 PM   #12
Mike Sigman
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Michael Mackenzie wrote:
In my humble opinion Tohei is full of crap on this one. Even a cursory look at the many clips of Nishio on then net, including the aikido journal website, show he has obtained a level of ability most only dream of.
Hi Michael:

I don't who is right and I don't particularly care... I was just interested to see that this question of who has ki and who doesn't was also something discussed among the top dogs in Aikido. On the one hand, I have found a few statements by Tohei that I thought were mean-spirited and self-serving, but on the other hand I have no idea about Nishio and I wouldn't venture a comment either way. The only thing I'd mention is this: Think how many "really good Aikidoka" we all know of and have heard of, particularly the western ones. How many of them know how to "extend ki" (use ki skills)... dam' few, if any. Yet a clip of them in a cooperative attack scenario leaves a lot of people saying they have high ability. It can be a tricky question. But like I said, I'm not to focused on this Nishio comment because it's indeterminable.

Mike
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Old 06-11-2005, 07:25 PM   #13
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
I was just interested to see that this question of who has ki and who doesn't was also something discussed among the top dogs in Aikido
Hi Mike,

Yes it is a very interesting question. My take on Nishio is that he is practicing high-level aikido, and not some wierd amalgamation of judo, karate and kendo, as some of his detractors, like Tohei, have claimed.

Quote:
Yet a clip of them in a cooperative attack scenario leaves a lot of people saying they have high ability. It can be a tricky question.
I agree, it can be very difficult to guage a practitioner's actual skill level, given the nature of cooperative practice and/or demonstrations. AND YET... In the same way that one can look at O'Sensei, Tohei, Shioda etc. and have a sense of what they are doing one can also look at Nishio and have a sense of his ability.

Michael
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Old 06-13-2005, 03:00 PM   #14
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

I can't remember that he talked about ki much, and I do remember that he was kind of fed up with all the ki-talk going on in the aikido world (as many shihan are). Maybe others, who might have discussed the subject with him, would like to elaborate?

Kokyu, on the other hand, he focused on greatly - among many other aspects of aikido, of course. He also used the term atemi no kokyu, which I would not dream of claiming to be able to explain with any authority.

My personal impression from studying for him a number of years, was that he excelled in ki (whatever definition you may choose for it), as well as in all other aspects of aikido. Just grabbing his wrist was a tremendous experience.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:46 PM   #15
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

As Stefan wrote I think Nishio sensei was quite fed up with all the fuzz about ki. When asked directly about ki I remember that he frequently replied "Once there was a demonstration of Ki in Japanese television - a guy pointed his finger at the head of person seated in chair and claimed that with the force of Ki he would now prevent the person from standing up." Nishio sensei then laughed in his characteristic laugh and continued "and yes of course his was right the person could not get up, but that was because of the way the person was seated sitting right up with 90 degree angle in the knee between upper and lower part of the leg and no option of leaning forward because of that finger pointing at him" even more laughing from Nishio sensei and then he continued "that is pure physics". I have never heard Nishio sensei explain any technique with the extension of Ki though he certainly himself displayed unique and phantom like movements
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:54 PM   #16
Mike Sigman
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Jan Max Bunzel wrote:
As Stefan wrote I think Nishio sensei was quite fed up with all the fuzz about ki. When asked directly about ki I remember that he frequently replied "Once there was a demonstration of Ki in Japanese television - a guy pointed his finger at the head of person seated in chair and claimed that with the force of Ki he would now prevent the person from standing up."
Actually, I would laugh at that, too. And I think Tohei would laugh at it.... you never see him doing those kinds of hokey demonstrations. However, that's not the kind of "ki" I'm thinking about (i.e., not the "emitted qi", because while there seems to be some sort of feeling attached, it functionally doesn't appear to do much)... and I don't think it's the kind of ki that Tohei was referring to IF the alleged statement was ever made.

Mike
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Old 06-13-2005, 06:09 PM   #17
Charles Hill
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Michael Mackenzie wrote:
In my humble opinion Tohei is full of crap on this one.
Let`s be fair here. The comment was made when Tohei Sensei was dojo-cho and Nishio Sensei was a young shihan. The interesting thing about Nishio Sensei was how much he developed over his career. To take the comment out of context and make it seem like it was an overall comment on Nishio Sensei`s career is not fair to Tohei Sensei, in my opinion. As Nishio Sensei`s "boss", it would be natural for Tohei Sensei to criticise him.

Charles Hill
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Old 06-14-2005, 12:29 AM   #18
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Let`s be fair here. The comment was made when Tohei Sensei was dojo-cho and Nishio Sensei was a young shihan.
Hmm, I don't know when that would be, since Tohei was never Dojo-cho at Aikikai Hombu. Kisshomaru Ueshiba was Dojo-cho from 1942 until he passed it on to Kisaburo Osawa, at which time Tohei was already long gone from the dojo.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-14-2005, 12:33 AM   #19
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Actually, I would laugh at that, too. And I think Tohei would laugh at it.... you never see him doing those kinds of hokey demonstrations.
It's hard to tell with Tohei. At times he talks about Ki quite rationally, at other times with more "mysticism". In one of his recent books ("Ki no Kakuritsu", 1999), for example, he recounts times when he used his Ki to stun chickens.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-14-2005, 01:12 AM   #20
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
For example, I heard Shodokan have a technical syllabus up to 5th Dan ... is that really sensible?
Not meaning to hijack a thread over a minor point but the techniques up to 7th Dan are introduced long before - its possible you will be practicing some of them on your first day in the dojo. The curriculum does not define when you learn but a framework for your evaluation. Far better than - this good old boy has been showing up for so many years and is willing to pay the fee - let's promote him. Perhaps there is a bit of the latter but the idea is that technical skill should be evaluated even at higher Dan ranks. As a point there are techniques tested in higher Dan grades that are identical to techniques tested in the lower Kyu grades. Just don't try doing them with the same level of finesse.

Perhaps Tohei was a bit annoyed with Nishio on that particular day. Who knows - one comment means nothing.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-14-2005, 03:41 AM   #21
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Tohei was never Dojo-cho at Aikikai Hombu.
Ok, Tohei was Shihan Bucho, head of teaching staff. Otherwise, my post still makes sense, doesn`t it?

Charles
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Old 06-14-2005, 02:35 PM   #22
Mike Sigman
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
It's hard to tell with Tohei. At times he talks about Ki quite rationally, at other times with more "mysticism". In one of his recent books ("Ki no Kakuritsu", 1999), for example, he recounts times when he used his Ki to stun chickens.
Hmmmmm. And once I caught a trout 12-inches... er, make that 2 fee.... well, it was at least 5-feet long.

I would love to take a chicken to Tohei and see him stun it. Reminds me of when we used to try to get qigong masters to kill a goldfish in a bowl... they could never do it, of course. People can be moved, but it has something to do with an innate suggestibility and willingness to cooperate... sort of like the people a stage-hypnotist tries to pick out, while excluding others.

How do you do irimi on a chicken....


Mike
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Old 06-14-2005, 02:38 PM   #23
Mike Sigman
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
Perhaps Tohei was a bit annoyed with Nishio on that particular day. Who knows - one comment means nothing.
Who knows? The point, at least to me, is that this discussion of who has ki skills and who doesn't we now know to permeate the higher ranks of Aikido. It's not just an AikiWeb topic. Insofar as the personalities, skills, etc., of Nishio and Tohei, I'm not really counting them as important to that main topic.

Mike
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Old 06-14-2005, 03:27 PM   #24
Chris Li
 
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Re: Nishio Sensei and Extending Ki

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Ok, Tohei was Shihan Bucho, head of teaching staff. Otherwise, my post still makes sense, doesn`t it?

Charles
Sure, although it's still not a very nice thing to do. In any case, that kind of sniping is far from uncommon in Japanese budo, which is why I tend to have a lot of respect for the people who don't participate in it.

Best,

Chris

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