View Full Version : Daito-ryu and Aikido, Differences and Similarities?

Brad Hoffner
14th September 2000, 23:13
Here is a link that I would like you guys to check out and see if you agree with this. I have posted this to other people I know in Aikido and Aiki Jujutsu but what do you guys think?

Here it is: http://www.niagara.com/~zain/html/aikido.htm

Gil Gillespie
15th September 2000, 01:49
Well, Brad, you've only received 8 views at this point & I hope they took the time to read the website you posted. I loved it. The photos of O-Sensei were impressive. I realize that those of us gendai aikidoka (like me) received the gift of his life's work wherein the destruction of our partner was not implied. I enjoyed the little table comparison at the end of the piece.

My only practical awareness of pre-war aikijutsu is my brief exposure to Mochizuki Sensei's Yoseikan budo which I experienced in 1990 and agin last summer at their honbu dojo in Shizuoka, my wife's hometown. My experience fit the profile and breakdown of your website. I regret to this moment that Mochizuki Sensei and Yoseikan do not feature more prominently on E-budo.

17th September 2000, 03:22
i really like the initial quote in particular. but sometimes that smile from the aikido teacher can appear a little mischevious(sp?):up:

but i think it made a lot of generalizations. particularly the comparison chart at the end. but i would assume that many aikido schools use a little bit from both columns. but i'm sure with with an emphasis with one or the other. like i can see more of the "traditional aiki" in the way we train and practice at my dojo then with "modern aiki".

i found the commentary interesting and good read none the less.

Greg Jennings
17th September 2000, 03:36
Originally posted by Brad Hoffner
Here is a link that I would like you guys to check out and see if you agree with this. I have posted this to other people I know in Aikido and Aiki Jujutsu but what do you guys think?
Here it is: http://www.niagara.com/~zain/html/aikido.htm

I don't really have a problem with what's said on your web site. They are your pereceptions and you're entitled to them.

One of the problems with doing comparisons like this is that by definition they are generalizations. Generalizing Aikido is, IMHO, problematic.

I've been practicing six years, my instructor for almost 30. I mentioned to him the other day that I really couldn't explain to anyone what Aikido is and he told me not to bother that he couldn't either. Oh, he could superficially describe Aikido, but he couldn't say what it really is.

One reason for this, as our guest instructor, Frank Calhoun Sensei of Aikido of West Florida said at our seminar Sep. 9th, Aikido is too large for any one organization to contain all of it. So, we each have to do our part and value each other. In that diversity will we preserve Aikido and have a real form of unity.

> To an Aikido purist, the mention of the great
> influence of Daito ryu in Aikido is almost an
> insult.
This is established, well known fact. I don't know why anyone would see it as an insult. Aikido is what it is, a derivation of Daito Ryu.

> Aikido flowing response carries within it a weakening
> factor: too much response (ukemi) thus no technique is
> ever properly finished (a deep hineri[twist], for
> instance).
I have to disagree. The canonical form of most techniques in our school drop uke straight down at our feet into a pin versus projecting uke away from us. I don't see how dropping uke into that sort of controlling pin, where I could easily and without much imagination break bones, dislocate joints or segue into a choke qualify as never "properly finished".

Consider shihonage. The basic way that we execute the technique is to drop uke right at our feet and tsugi ashi up with our rear knee on the mat and our forward knee behind the elbow of the arm that we continue to hold. We apply torque until uke taps out from the threat to the elbow.

Also techniques where we do normally project uke away for safety don't require any imagination to modify into something that could easily cripple uke. Consider the side entrance kokyunage where we grasp uke's obi and arc him backwards. If one instead drops quickly to one knee with the other under uke's back, uke's spine could easily be snapped.

> Techniques use large, fluid circles, and wider motions,
> with much more graceful steps.
Actually, not everyone executes techniques that way. Consider the way our school practices katatedori ikkyo. We spiral uke's arm right into his ear. This puts a lot of pressure on uke's thumb this providing an additional distraction to the atemi that is first delivered to his face. It's a very small, very tight spiral even in the ura form where the large circle is sometimes used for kuzushi.

> Attacks tend to be softer, fluid, and stylized.
I don't think the attacks in our school are any more stylized than in those I've seen in video of demonstrations at the Budokan.

Our practice is to modulate the strength of the attack to the situation. Advanced students attack strongly.

But you use "tend", so I'll really have to back off on this one.

> Techniques are designed to neutralize an attack and
> control it.
The philosophy of Aikido is to restore harmony with the least harm to all parties involved with the Aikidoka having first priority because he's not causing the disharmony. No more, no less. Mostly that gets down to exactly what you say.

> The defender blends with the attack to neutralize it
> without injuring the attacker.
See my previous comment. Causing the least amount of harm might be harmful to the attacker. Also be aware that the "least harm to all involved" is a _goal_ that we strive for.

> Good ukemi is necessary, but not critical.
I disagree. Good ukemi is damned critical to full participation at our school.

> Many techniques can be used safely as uke blends
> with the throw.
I agree. Many of the techniques can simply be sat down out of; at least when the attack isn't very energetic.

Many other techniques, however, require uke to be very light to save a joint or to snap into a breakfall to avoid landing on this head. I've got a permanently tender right elbow from getting caught flat footed when my instructor was demonstrating a hijinage.

> Pain is applied with restraint, in small doses.
This is correct for our school. I'm not sure it applies to some others. Chiba Sensei's practice is as rough as any Daito Ryu demonstration I've ever seen.

> Strikes taught to some degree, but is discouraged.
Disagree. Basically every technique we have contains an explicit atemi.

My understanding is that advanced Aikido practicitioners are looking for openings for atemi or reversals 100% of the time regardless of whether they are nage or uke. That's something I'm striving for, but I still have to think about what I'm doing, so I don't have as much free time to look for suki.

> Emphasis on peace, love, harmony, friendship, and aiki
> precepts, as taught by Morihei Ueshiba.
Our practice is 100% about Budo. Self improvement through the hardships of shugyo.


My point about all this is that we shouldn't generalize. Let each person practice their own art in their own way. Aikido is cool, Daito Ryu is cool, Shinto [Shindo] Muso Ryu is cool, etc. There are many journeys and it's really only the journey that matters.

YMMV and I'd be cool with that.

Dennis Hooker
22nd September 2000, 13:51
Itís the person and his/her backgrounds that make the art effective, be it Aikido or Daito Ryu. I have seen strength and weakness in both, by some very well known people. Aikido, that is the Aikido at the finish of Ueshiba Senseiís life is the culmination of his work in all his budo and reglious glory. It was his and his alone, but he laid a foundation upon which all of us may build, according to our skills and abilities. This out of hand dismissal of Aikido or Daito Ryu by some arrogant fools is ridicules, and given the individual targets of their ridicule, perhaps dangerous.

Also the idea that an Aikido advocate could understand the reasonableness and subtleties of Daito Ryu as understood by a long time practitioner is foolish if they have never studied the art to a degree of true understanding. The same can be said of the Daito Ryu enthusiast who having never studied Aikido under competent instruction for a reasonable amount of time makes trivial this budo. It is the use of the sword and the principles of the sword that are the foundation of both arts. The fact that Daito Ryu came first meant that the foundation of Aikido was laid earlier than might have been, without it perhaps the foundation as we know it might never have been laid. Just as Daito Ryu grew for something else into itís own existence so to did Aikido. The current denial by some that both arts now stand alone on their own merits is due to jealously, fear and self doubt. Some people can only feel strength but hurting others, and some people can only justify their believes by belittling those believes held by others.

To some Aikido people that make light of all Daito Ryu I would say you are fools, and to some Daito Ryu people that hold all Aikido practitioners in contempt I say you walk on dangerous ground. Look to the individual, their talent, their heart and their skill. Look truly at the person you may find a true warrior, a true saint, a true killer, a true pacifist, or a true fool. Make a categorical judgment and you may make a big mistake.

Dennis Hooker

Originally posted by Brad Hoffner
Here is a link that I would like you guys to check out and see if you agree with this. I have posted this to other people I know in Aikido and Aiki Jujutsu but what do you guys think?

Here it is: http://www.niagara.com/~zain/html/aikido.htm

22nd September 2000, 14:42
Hear hear Dennis!!! :toast: I have always hated such generalized comparisons, and believe that one has to look at the artist, not the art. Regarding the smiling bit, I agree with astudent, and I might add that I will often smile as uke after getting up after nage has performed a strong throw at full speed. This is because I think it's so cool to be able to experience such a devastating technique and get through it literally unscathed! ;)

Brad Hoffner
22nd September 2000, 15:16

I am sorry if I offended you but this is not my website. It is another groups website that I feel is very well put together and explained what Daito-ryu is as well as some history of Aikido.

It seemed like to me that you two were very upset at me for even posting this website on here?! If that is the case, I am sorry. But I also thought this was an open forum to get people's opinions on different elements of the history as well as present day Aikido? I am a new practitioner of the art or way and I am still learning so much about this wonderful and great way of harmonizing the spirit.

I agree that there are different styles of Aikido, as there are prewar and postwar elements in play, out there today so it is interesting to me to find out all I know about Aikido. Once again, sorry if I offended anyone. It wasn't meant to be that way. But I don't think this website was as bad as you guys made it out to be.

22nd September 2000, 16:08
I don't think anyone was upset with you about posting the website, I believe they were just sharing their opinions of it. I actually liked the website, except for the comparisons between Daito-ryu and aikido. No biggie.