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DJM
21st May 2000, 19:14
Hi..
I'd like to kick off the Aikido forum with a bit of a big question, some might even say controversial... http://216.10.1.92/ubb/wink.gif
I'm a relative newcomer, or rather re-visitor, to Aikido..
I've studied Aikikai style Aikido in the past, and am currently studying at a Tomiki style Dojo. I've found them to be the same, at their centre. Ultimately both are concerned with Harmony - both internal and external. It seems that these two styles, and others, find their differences from when the "founders" practiced with O Sensei. I think it's important to recognise though, that the fact that there are differences shows that O Sensei's Aikido was a growing, living thing - not a static 'dead' art with no changes or development to come..
That said, I don't think having many styles is a bad thing - there are many paths up the mountain - but I feel it's important to realise that they all share a common heart and a common need to continue developing, and that there's something to learn from all of them...
I'd be interested in what other people's opinions are on this...
Thanks,
David


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Poetry of Birds,
A Thousand Voice Melody,
Dancing on the Waves
-- David Marshall

Kolschey
21st May 2000, 20:07
It is interesting that you should ask that. At the seminar that I attended last spring in Chicago, Saotome Sensei was adressing that very issue. His own feeling was, if I may paraphrase, that the idea of "styles" of Aikido was ultimately harmful, and served primarily as a marketing tool. To become immersed in the idea of syle A vs. style B was to miss the forest for the trees.
That said, I do however see that there are some differences in approach and training methods between various schools. That is why I find it useful to visit various other dojos, particularly when I am traveling.

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Krzysztof M. Mathews
" For I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me"
-Rudyard Kipling

Gil Gillespie
22nd May 2000, 14:19
I, too, am lucky enough to train under Mitsugi Saotome Sensei in whose hands Aikido is a living breathing evolving art. You never know what he's going to teach when he steps onto the mat.

I used to think the many styles was a spilntering and diffusing of the art until Sensei Dave Jones explained one morning that that is the logical timeless evolution of every martial art and is to be expected rather than resisted. As I've experienced other Aikido styles over the years I've seen sincere adherence to the basic principles with enough local flavor to spark a studied interest.

The danger that lurks is when an Aikidoka adheres so rigidly to one style that s(he) rejects all the others or even demeans them. That is an unfortunate blindness that need not occur. The story of the evolution of Aikido through the many fine budoka who studied with O-Sensei is intriguing in itself.

After further exploration I now see the various Aikido styles indeed as alternate Paths up the mountain, viable branches on a living Aikido tree. "It's all good."

Gil Gillespie

William F. Kincaid
22nd May 2000, 15:37
Very interesting indeed different styles come from how we as people preceive things and what works for us.

I study Aikido under the Karl Gies system (a style similiar to Tomiki-Ryu Aikido but concertrating on more off the line defenses), and I teach Judo (unaffiliated and focusing on Self defense and eventual perfection of character than Shiai).
In all the time I have spent in the Martial Arts
1 thing has come clear some people are better at some things and others are not. In Aikido I tend to favor joint locks as opposed to off balancing Techinques, and if I ever teach it I may focus more on Joint locks.

Same goes for Judo I tend to be better at Throwing tech, Joint locks and Choking Tech.
So my classes tend to focus more on those than the other although I don't neglect the other Tech's.

All in all in the martial way different styles when brought about in a valid and honorable way can be very beneficial for the root art.
<center> Domo Arigato

<cneter>http://members.theglobe.com/Kamikazesan/Kamikazesan.gif

William F. Kincaid
22nd May 2000, 15:40
Sumimasen, Idiot me clicked the submitt button and noticed I forgot to sign at the end. I will do that now.


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William "Kamikazesan" Kincaid
Aikido/Judo/Jyodo

Mike Collins
22nd May 2000, 16:08
There are a lot of different streams of Aikido which have emerged from Osensei. I strongly feel that he was a martial art phenomenon and probably a genius. I think there are a lot of streams because no one was able to grasp all of what Osensei had to teach, certainly not all of his teachings throughout his lifetime. So each of his students took away whatever they could grasp and internalize.

If we reject any of these streams as less than another, we may well be taking a pass on a key component of aikido, sort of a "rosetta stone" that makes it all click. I doubt that such a thing truly exists, but the point is, why throw away a part of Osensei because we can't integrate it or understand it?

The next Osensei can only come from a background where exposure to many facets of martial art (and other practices) is possible (I think).

The more exposure we each get to all of the other "styles", the better off the art is in the long run. How many times have you heard or seen something, rejected it as unfathomable, came back later, looked at it and said "of course, that's obvious".

We owe it to Osensei to try to perfect him as a teacher by eventually surpassing him. I don't think any one person is so good, this is probably a community effort thang.

Aikieagle
23rd May 2000, 19:13
O-sensei, in The Art of Peace, said that Aikido is not based on technique. We also have to remember that it was not O-sensei that called it aikido, it was his students who called it or coined the phrase "Aikido".
There are a lot of things that O-sensei did with his students that most classes don't teach, like using a spear, or using the fan, or doing randori blind folded(that story was pretty cool), or even dodging bullets(j/k but those stories are pretty incredible, don't you think?).
Some of the "spirit" was lost when the founder died just simply b/c the students wanted to coordinate and organize Aikido so that it wasn't lost or seperated from everyone else.
I think it is the teacher's responsibility to step outside of the cirriculum and to teach something different. I am very fortunate to have a teacher who spent 20 years in Chinese and Korean Martial Arts, it gives the Aikido a different spin(especially with ki development, the chinese method is just great; then you put the rigorous and sterness of Korean M.A., it is well rounded) Many times he mixes in Aikido with his White Crane Kung Fu, it blends really well. Sometimes we turn of the lights in the dojo, and are told to close our eyes as an attacker is coming, I think everyone should try that every so often.
My teacher does his part in helping us learn, not just technique, but how to use our minds. This is part of the evolution of Aikido, this is the "harmony" that is in the "way of spiritual harmony". I think everyone knows that, even though most teachers do have a cirriculum they are always supportive of people who try to reach out to other ventures that blend Aikido with it. It is like finding your own Aikido......

szczepan
24th May 2000, 05:27
I think it's very important what style you practice.Your goals must be the same as your teacher's teaching otherwise you waste your time.There are plenty offshots from O'sensei aikido and many of them seems not realise that they have nothing common with O'sensei aikido.
"there are many paths up the mountain" - yeah, but some of them lead to nowhere.....

regardz


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Szczepan Janczuk

Mike Collins
24th May 2000, 07:19
Yet again Szczepan, your ability to allow others the dignity of pursuing their own path in their own way shows itself.

Anything that is not true has a way of fading with time. The way of Aikido is very broad, but one inch off of it is no longer the path. I think I will let others go their own way.

MarkF
24th May 2000, 08:58
I think this discussion lends itself very well to all martial arts. Most people do not go into a martial art because they are seeking a certain style, but most begin for more pragmatic reasons. The location of the dojo and is it convenient to get there and how often and how much. It is a teacher most of us stick with and not the art.

All budo is ever-evolving and those who are attempting to do something traditional, as it was done many wars ago, are really deluding themselves. It must change, like the seasons must change. One may go to a different dojo of the same style and find differences he is not comfortable with, or one may find an approach with which to deal.
Szczepan makes a good point, but I believe it is a much simpler reason than the myriad of styles. It is much like ki. One can find it anywhere (if you are looking for it), and in a completely different arena. The art matters not.

William makes the point of character development in judo rather than shiai. I would agree that it is more important, but one should be able to teach shiai development with the same goal. J. Kano said as much before his death. He also said that there was a lack of credible teachers, and that the fundamental attitude should not be to win at shiai, but develope the character as well. I think that is what he had in mind when he said what he said. He also spoke of (not his words, but the idea is his) the importance of being "soft" in one's approach, and that is a problem which must be dealt with, and a return to Kodokan judo randori was of vital importance. Was he right? For his day, he certainly was, but today, with so many paths (yes, some lead nowhere), it is nearly impossible. I think it is possible providing there are good teachers. Style really doesn't matter, but the teacher's way does. So pick your style by choosing a teacher and be aware that this is of much importance. Kano, after all, sent many to study with Ueshiba, including Kenji Tomiki who had 7 dan in judo at this time. His style includes shiai, and I believe one can develope both the esoteric and pragmatic along with tournament play for character development. It isn't the shiai which makes a style look bad, but the teachers and those responsible for its level of importance. Judo and aikido make a good blend and has everything one could want, and need.

Thanks,

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Mark F. Feigenbaum

Gil Gillespie
24th May 2000, 16:51
I agree that the teacher is more important than the art, or style within the art. Sensei, like Rabbi, has levels that go far beyond "teacher." The art is a skeleton; the teacher fleshes it out and brings it to life.

I don't agree totally with "all arts must change,like the seasons." That belies the preservation of koryu, which has its own merit. In my Aikido training I cherish its constant evolution in the hands of Mitsugi Saotome Sensei and his fine students, now dojo senseis in their own right.

Yet in my MJER iaijutsu training, koryu and preservation of "pure" waza are the core. Miura Hanshi out of Osaka (20th grandmaster of MJERI) has reemphasized this to the point where the Kendo Federation Seitei kata, once deemphasized, have now been dropped from the curriculum.

Thus in learning MJERI wazas the iaidoka is part of a thread unbroken and passed along for hundreds of years. There is room for both.They compliment each other. As valuable as a modern ongoing evolution is, some things, such as a Founder's kata, should not be restructured at the whim of a nidan in an outlying provincial dojo.

Gil Gillespie

Gil Gillespie
24th May 2000, 16:56
P.S. Mike Collins

I have enjoyed the depth & humor of your posts before & since The Big Crash. You've chosen not to list your e-mail. I'd like to chat with you out of the public eye. Bang me an e.

Gil Gillespie

Mike Collins
24th May 2000, 19:10
Gil,

Just a thought: If that Nidan in the outlying provincial dojo were to, in the context of his own training, modify a kata held as sacred and unchangeable, in such a way as to illuminate a heretofore unseen principle, and after perhaps years of making such changes and convincing himself they were useful and positive changes; it seems wrong that he must then give a new name to his techniques, and not consider them part of his root art and pass them on to others.

It may well be that what he's made is a big crap sandwich, but if it's tasty crap and nutritious too, there should be some way for the kitchen that fixed it to keep it. A good thing is a good thing, it seems wrong to not keep a good thing at home, but to kick it out of the house.

Is it wrong for koryu to recognize divergent streams as parts of themselves? It also seems that this may be a good vehicle for peer review of the new stuff as well. Crap is crap, it won't last. Truth is where you find it, and it has a way of hiding itself in odd places.

Or, not.

Kolschey
24th May 2000, 19:29
I agree that there are situations where a person will be able to take part of an art and develop it more fully in a particular direction. At what level of skill and experience one may make that decision is, and will always be a subject of contention. What I have generally seen is that many of the practitioners who do this with a continued respect for their root art are inclined to give some sort of prefix/suffix or an entire change of name to the resulting synthesis, while still being clear about their training origins. This helps to distinguish that the art in question has diverged in some way from it's root. I believe that the Karate style of Isshin-Ryu is one such example. Unfortunately, some less ethical instructors may do likewise, but with less experience to draw on. Consequently, their art will seem to be more of a patchwork accumulation- a sort of Franken-Do. This is why maintainance of the core Kata is ultimately beneficial, even for more eclectic stylists. One must first learn technique and culture before one creates art.

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Krzysztof M. Mathews
" For I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me"
-Rudyard Kipling

Jeff Cook
24th May 2000, 20:14
As I avidly and gleefully read everybody's opinions regarding style, it occurs to me that you all probably have slightly different definitions of what "style" actually means. I am also curious as to the worth assigned to any given style; even when not overtly stated, it is implicit in many of your responses.

I'm reading some good stuff here, but I would really like to hear what your definitions are regarding "style." I think this might be very enlightening to this valuable topic.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Kolschey
24th May 2000, 21:54
I would tend to look at the question of style in a sort of genetic/evolutionary model, albeit one with the potential for radical genetic reengineering. This has it's positive and negative sides. As this forum is Aikido, where better to start than with O-Sensei? It seems from the biographies that I have read that he was trained in a number of schools of weapons, such as sword, spear, and staff, and that he was also proficient in various schools of jujitsu, with Daito Ryu being one of the better known ones. He also experienced military service in Manchuria as part of the Japanese settlement campaign. As a result of his many experiences, he was inspired to create the "new" art of Aikido. What makes O Sensei distinctive is that firstly, he had a considerable body of knowledge and experience of several traditional arts from which to draw. Secondly, I would say that he achieved a level of personal development that made his experience real. By that, I mean that he was faced with life threatening situations that helped to forge his art. It is this fusion of elements that I find distinctive. Thirdly, he realised that his discovery was of an art that was addressing issues of philosophy and movement in a way that other previous arts were not. It is not that any of these arts were lacking, it is rather that he extracted certain elements that were common to many of them and refined these elements into a new form which was distinguished by it's focus on integration of technique and philosophy towards a practice of protecting both the practicioner and the assailant from harm. In this way, I would say that Aikido is a "new" art.
As for style, it seem to me that one of the indicators of a change in style is whether a particular school has signifigantly varied their approach to the art to accomodate either a different threat pattern, a different student body, or a different environment. For example, in the dojo where my girlfriend practiced in Rhode Island, there were a considerable number of Police officers who trained there. The training was very pragmatic, with often only a single technique practiced for the duration of the class. Where I practice presently, the student body is more varied, with a large number of unversity students, teachers, computer and health professionals, as well as people who specialise in alternative medicine and veternary practice. The training is far more concerned with fluidity of movement and adaptablity to changing circumstance. While both of these schools are of great benefit in their training, it can be a bit disconcerting to visit one after training for a prolonged period in the other. I might be inclined to call this a difference of style, as these are still very much part of the same art.

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Krzysztof M. Mathews
" For I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me"
-Rudyard Kipling

Walker
25th May 2000, 02:13
Having just finished listening to “The Two Pillars of Aikido” lecture from S. Pranin I must take exception to the notion that O Sensei studied many or even a few arts beside Daito ryu. There is no evidence of this that can be found aside from boyhood judo and army ju jutsu. Stanley clearly states that DR contains the ‘seeds’ of almost every Aikido technique. Now the fact that O Sensei changed DR and made Aikido something unique is unquestionable, but it is not an amalgamation.
Also aside from KSR late in life O Sensei had no formal sword or weapon training of any length.

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-DougWalker

Jeff Cook
25th May 2000, 02:50
Doug,

His own son, Kisshomaru, said otherwise. See page 146 of "Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Gil Gillespie
25th May 2000, 05:17
Jeff,thank you for Dosshu's quote to clear that up. As a "style" I mean within Aikido there is Tomiki Ryu, Aikikai out of Hombu in Tokyo, Tohei's Ki Society,et al. Within karate I know periferally of Shotokan, Uechi Ryu, Isshin Ryu-- these I see as "styles." I may be myopic & mistaken & I'm cool with that. I just want to learn.

Mike,as far as that nidan who comes up with an insight that stands the test of time. By then he's no ordinary nidan. If his inspiration seriously improves upon an accepted koryu kata then should his input more properly augment than replace? We all know too well the charlatans with translucent credentials who posture themselves as senseis and originators. The shodan-with-a-shingle is a phenomenon that lessens all we cherish.

You were eloquent as always in your support of the insightful budoka, Mike. That can happen. I'm referring to those who superficially chose to "improve" upon a koryu basic that is a gift from the generations that made our training meaningful in the first place.

Gil Gillespie

Walker
25th May 2000, 06:09
Jeff,
To again shamelessly quote Stanley Prannin, “O Sensei is not a reliable source of information.” By extension we would have to include his son and need supporting information to back up statements. There is an unstamped scroll from Yagyu ryu (the style studied in the army), but being unstamped it is unclear what it represents. One would have to believe that O Sensei was engaging in extra practice during basic training - hard to believe - and/or training in/near a war zone during the Russo-Japanese War - also less likely.
I must say, if Stan can’t find it, who can? Can we base our understanding on such flimsy statements or because we want it to be true?
BTW - I don’t find it necessary for O Sensei to have studied many arts to account for Aikido.

MarkF
25th May 2000, 10:36
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kolschey:
I would tend to look at the question of style in a sort of genetic/evolutionary model, albeit one with the potential for radical genetic reengineering. This has it's positive and negative sides. As this forum is Aikido, where better to start than with O-Sensei? It seems from the biographies that I have read that he was trained in a number of schools of weapons, such as sword, spear, and staff, and that he was also proficient in various schools of jujitsu, with Daito Ryu being one of the better known ones. He also experienced military service in Manchuria as part of the Japanese settlement campaign. As a result of his many experiences, he was inspired to create the "new" art of Aikido. What makes O Sensei distinctive is that firstly, he had a considerable body of knowledge and experience of several traditional arts from which to draw. Secondly, I would say that he achieved a level of personal development that made his experience real. By that, I mean that he was faced with life threatening situations that helped to forge his art. It is this fusion of elements that I find distinctive. Thirdly, he realised that his discovery was of an art that was addressing issues of philosophy and movement in a way that other previous arts were not. It is not that any of these arts were lacking, it is rather that he extracted certain elements that were common to many of them and refined these elements into a new form which was distinguished by it's focus on integration of technique and philosophy towards a practice of protecting both the practicioner and the assailant from harm. In this way, I would say that Aikido is a "new" art.
As for style, it seem to me that one of the indicators of a change in style is whether a particular school has signifigantly varied their approach to the art to accomodate either a different threat pattern, a different student body, or a different environment. For example, in the dojo where my girlfriend practiced in Rhode Island, there were a considerable number of Police officers who trained there. The training was very pragmatic, with often only a single technique practiced for the duration of the class. Where I practice presently, the student body is more varied, with a large number of unversity students, teachers, computer and health professionals, as well as people who specialise in alternative medicine and veternary practice. The training is far more concerned with fluidity of movement and adaptablity to changing circumstance. While both of these schools are of great benefit in their training, it can be a bit disconcerting to visit one after training for a prolonged period in the other. I might be inclined to call this a difference of style, as these are still very much part of the same art.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Stand back long enough and someone will say what you had in mind, but much more eloquently, thus I employ the quote feature. This sounds very much like Jigoro Kano and his efforts to save and help evolve, the jujutsu arts. Kano's studnts included Kenji Tomiki, and he sent others to study with Ueshiba, as Takeda S. sent other people to study with Kano.

I do see I was much to blunt in my statements regarding koryu arts. The fact is, that those we consider to be gendai arts, are fast becoming traditional, thus the different schools of differing technique and thought concerning style.

What I should have said was that even in an attempt to continue a style of self-defense as is, comes with a kind of built-in change. Even in keeping the "ura" of an art secret, comes manners in which to do this. There is good and bad. Some are lost completely due to just plain stubborness, and others simply evolve to what they are today. That is what I really meant. I think that the above quote concerning the style created by Ueshiba M. sounds familiar. After all, there are many ryu of jujutsu and that is of which we speak. On a different note, I had thought, according to Takeda's son that Ueshiba had only studied with him. I could be very wrong, but that is how I understand it. To answer Jeff's inquiry, that's a good question. There are those who believe they teach a different sytle of judo because they do not participate in shiai. There are those, like myself, who believe there is all ready much to do about judo, and its syllabus contains all the elements most think do not exist. Are we really speaking of different styles of the same thing? Possibly. Tomiki studied with Ueshiba and includes some competition. Some who do Tomiki (Shodokan) style aikido do not utilize shiai. Is it a different style? Not to my understanding of what makes a style. Judo is a style as compared to goju ryu karate. Kito ryu jujutsu is a differeent style compared to tenjin shinyo ryu. Both are jujutu, but the emphasis on technique is worlds apart. Budo is budo, though, and overall, a different style of fighting compared to other parts of the world in which they eminate. This is what I consider differeing styles. If the difference can be see, to put it more bluntly, by someone not involved, it is a different style. This is a discussion without a beginning or and end. Good wuestion, Jeff. Good thinking. Are we not all in the same basic endeavor?



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Mark F. Feigenbaum

Jeff Cook
25th May 2000, 19:26
Walker,

Interesting. I am not discounting what Mr. Pranin's research has NOT discovered, but in the absence of historical documentation, why not take O-Sensei's and the late Doshu's word for it?

Like you said, though, it is irrelevant, but rather curious. Why do you think they would have the need/desire to invent this history (thinking within the context of that time period)?

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Walker
26th May 2000, 00:34
Jeff,
I don’t think we are that far apart.
I don’t think there is fabrication or lying just errors of omission and emphasis - how the information is presented. Both Aikido and the lecture site the same arts, but Aikido does not put the training into context and fails to mention that the certificate in Yagyu ryu is unsealed. Reasons?
I think O Sensei was hard to follow. In the lecture, for example, Stan talks about O Sensei’s manner of speach. It is very hard to pin down timelines and such. If O Sensei is relating an incident that happened in Manchuria it is hard to tell if it was during his army days or on the Omoto adventure, or during one of his trips to occupied Manchuria when he demonstrated there or a combination of the above. His thought processes and way of expressing himself were mystical not concrete and fact based.
By the same token, if O Sensei were talking of ‘studying’ an art does that mean that he enrolled in a dojo and went to daily practice or did he see a demonstration and analyzed the principles and movements or did he watch it being taught (as in KSR) and later practiced with his own students? It has been said that O Sensei was a master at ‘stealing’ techniques - the ability to see a technique and be able to immediately perform it.
Also, there seems to be a reluctance on the part of his students to give Daito ryu its due. O Sensei seems to have given Takeda great respect, but the early stories in aikido books were mostly unfavorable. Interestingly, when Stan was doing his interviews with the oldtimers many of them would say things like, “when I began studying Daito ryu with O Sensei...” leading to Stan’s interest in that area. So for a time O Sensei was a teacher of Daito ryu and gave scrolls based on the daito model. I don’t know if this answers this question, but it is my current thinking.
As an aside regarding the book Aikido, the “Words of the Founder” that start p.177 are not at all the way O Sensei spoke. They were in fact edited from O Sensei’s lectures and such, made palatable (shinto references removed, edited for length, basicly rewritten) by Kissamaru and others for inclusion in the postwar dojo newsletter. For an example of the way O Sensei communicated one should look at the lectures translated in the recent issues of Aikido journal.
I think there is also a disconnect from O Sensei in postwar Aikido. He is retired in Iwama and is travelling about and is a figurehead in a sense. Japan has had a total philosophical adjustment in the form of total defeat and occupational re-education from MacArthur. It was time to put a Modern face on Aikido and that is what Tohei, and Doshu, and the Aikikai in general did - a fresh beginning that made Aikido an art for the world to embrace. Not such a bad thing.

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-DougWalker

Walker
26th May 2000, 00:38
Oops, I’m a bad double post.
Delete me! Delete me! Make me feel cheap!

[This message has been edited by Walker (edited 05-25-2000).]

Mike Collins
26th May 2000, 01:16
Walker,

Thanks, that was an interesting post. I don't think I grasped Osensei's way of relating that way before, but based on at least one of the really good Aikido teachers I've met, it makes great sense. They seem to think a little "differently" from me.

MarkF
26th May 2000, 09:58
Sokaku Takeda's son said his father was a "wall passer." In fact, he said that he came from a family of "wall passers." Does this mean that the Takeda clan could walk through walls? Doubtful, but there is a point to that. I also read, I believe in the Aikido Journal, a set of interviews with M. Ueshiba and his son Kissomaru. Yes, it was mostly a collection of Ueshiba's "tricks" but also gave timelines in years when he was here and there, and he spoke of his teaching in Manchuriaa and other places.

The question arises as to the validity of what the son may say, and if you read the interviews with T. Takeda on Koryu.com, it is easy to dismiss most of it as a personally witnessed melodrama of Takeda's life. I believe the same is true with the stories and "facts" as given by K. Ueshiba and Morihei, himself. Most of what I have read of Ueshiba pre-war is as Takeda's student, and the post-war stuff is told with a sense of "Believe it or not." I have nothing but admiration for Ueshiba, but exaggerations are easy. It seems he was with Takeda for a very long time as the scrolls of signatures and dates tell us so.

Anyway, my point is that there is no shame in believing that things do not add up and that these men were about as good as it gets. Ueshiba in the sixties was a mysterious man to most of us (who also managed to make it out of there alive) because he seemed to preach the gospel of peace by extricating himself from all sorts of violent and non-violent situations. I'd still like to know how he held off 130 attackers by spinning in a circle. True or not, that is one great story http://216.10.1.92/ubb/smile.gif



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Mark F. Feigenbaum

Jeff Cook
26th May 2000, 15:36
Mark and Mike,

You have furthered my education; I thank you! This gives me a new perspective on the history involved, without tainting my respect and admiration of the Founder and his son. Very tastefully presented.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Jeff Cook
27th May 2000, 01:13
Walker,

I apologize - I meant to add you to my last post as well! Thank you very much for the detailed reply. You have added some important ideas to my conceptions about aikido.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

christophe meesschaert
28th May 2000, 08:19
Hi..
like you said, aikido is all about harmony, and so, no matter how many styles there are we should all get along, and remember the mind is like a parachute, it works best when it's open
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DJM:
Hi..
I'd like to kick off the Aikido forum with a bit of a big question, some might even say controversial... http://216.10.1.92/ubb/wink.gif
I'm a relative newcomer, or rather re-visitor, to Aikido..
I've studied Aikikai style Aikido in the past, and am currently studying at a Tomiki style Dojo. I've found them to be the same, at their centre. Ultimately both are concerned with Harmony - both internal and external. It seems that these two styles, and others, find their differences from when the "founders" practiced with O Sensei. I think it's important to recognise though, that the fact that there are differences shows that O Sensei's Aikido was a growing, living thing - not a static 'dead' art with no changes or development to come..
That said, I don't think having many styles is a bad thing - there are many paths up the mountain - but I feel it's important to realise that they all share a common heart and a common need to continue developing, and that there's something to learn from all of them...
I'd be interested in what other people's opinions are on this...
Thanks,
David

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



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tsksr taki dojo deurne
yoseikan aikijujutsu taki dokjo

MarkF
28th May 2000, 11:12
Well, as long as the subject of parachutes is "open," would you want someone else to pack yours? http://216.10.1.92/ubb/biggrin.gif



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Mark F. Feigenbaum

DJM
28th May 2000, 22:40
Hi..
Firstly I'd just like to thank everyone for responding so positively, and generously..
Secondly, As I'm reading Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere at the moment, by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti I'd like to query the 'no evidence' of O Sensei studying other styles..
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
The records of Master Ueshiba's studies include, among others:
1. Jujutsu - Kito School, under Master Tokusaburo Tojawa (1901)
2. Fencing - Yagyu School, under Master Masakatsu Nakai (1903)
3. Jujutsu - Daito School, under Master Sakaku Takeda (1911-1916)
4. Jujutsu - Shinkage School (1922)
5. Spear fighting - (1924)
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
While I don't personally know of the veracity of the above, I would have thought any inaccuracies and falsehoods would have been edited in the previous 47 printings...
http://216.10.1.92/ubb/wink.gif
Thanks,
David

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Poetry of Birds,
A Thousand Voice Melody,
Dancing on the Waves
-- David Marshall

Gil Gillespie
30th May 2000, 05:14
Hi, David.Are you reading that fine book for your first time? I carried that book for 10 years before I began to train in Aikido. Later I found the minimalization of O-Sensei with regard to Tohei to be misleading. How do you find that?

The illustrations I've forever held to be wonderful. The longer I train the more succinct & illustrative I find those flowing ink drawings to be. You will find the effect of both text & illustrations undiminished in the subsequent "Secrets of the Samurai" by Westbrook/Ratti, although I've always considered the title ofthat work to more properly have been "Kobudo Roots of Aikido."

Still, both volumes are merited treasured keepers.

Gil Gillespie

kenkyusha
30th May 2000, 14:21
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DJM:
Hi..
Firstly I'd just like to thank everyone for responding so positively, and generously..
Secondly, As I'm reading Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere at the moment, by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti I'd like to query the 'no evidence' of O Sensei studying other styles..


The records of Master Ueshiba's studies include, among others:
1. Jujutsu - Kito School, under Master Tokusaburo Tojawa (1901)
2. Fencing - Yagyu School, under Master Masakatsu Nakai (1903)
3. Jujutsu - Daito School, under Master Sakaku Takeda (1911-1916)
4. Jujutsu - Shinkage School (1922)
5. Spear fighting - (1924)
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
While I don't personally know of the veracity of the above, I would have thought any inaccuracies and falsehoods would have been edited in the previous 47 printings...
http://216.10.1.92/ubb/wink.gif
Thanks,
David



Well,

Based on the above dates, we know that there must be some problems. Ueshiba was introduced to Takeda Sokaku by Yoshida, but most folks put that date in the mid 'teens (and he continued his association with Daito Ryu until well into the 1930's).

Its been years since I last read <u>Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere</u>, but recently re-reading <u>Secrets of the Samurai</u>. The number of historical inaccuracies make it seem like it was from a gendai perspective (the illustrations have grips that koryu sword people chuckle at). That was all the longest possible way of saying that it seems that they (Ratti and Westbrook) tended to go by oral histories (as opposed to looking at, in the case of the former, classical schools, and in the latter, Eimeroku, Menjo or other documents).

Be well,
Jigme

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Jigme Chobang
kenkyusha@bigfoot.com

Ron Tisdale
30th May 2000, 19:03
You may want to take a look at Stanley Pranin's writings on aikido and daito ryu. Meik Skoss has some good writings available from searching www.deja.com (http://www.deja.com) under fa.iaido. Apparently there is quite a bit of questionable research on Ueshiba and the arts he studied. I tend to find that Pranin, Ellis Amdur and Skoss have the most rigorous approach to their research.
Ron Tisdale

Jeff Cook
30th May 2000, 20:53
Thank you folks for the heads-up. I will burn my library tonight! http://216.10.1.92/ubb/smile.gif What books do you all recommend from the authors listed in Ron's post above?

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Chuck Clark
31st May 2000, 00:23
Hi there,

It has been my experience that the serious scholars don't take Ratti and Westbrook's books seriously. Both books, however, have beautiful illustrations thanks to Oscar Ratti.

Regards,



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Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
http://www.jiyushinkai.org

szczepan
31st May 2000, 05:39
You are a real gentleman, Mr Clark http://216.10.1.92/ubb/smile.gif

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Szczepan Janczuk

MarkF
31st May 2000, 09:46
For the interviews with T. Takeda, edited by S. Pranin, go to http://daito-ryu.org . If nothing else, Ueshiba's time with S. Takeda is not in doubt, as T. Takeda does one interview with the "sign-in" scrolls in front of him, and it seems he was fond of saying "see, here is where Mr. Ueshiba was..."

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Mark F. Feigenbaum

Dennis Hooker
2nd June 2000, 15:26
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chuck Clark:
Hi there,

It has been my experience that the serious scholars don't take Ratti and Westbrook's books seriously.

Oh I beg to differ Clark Sensei, if you tie two togather they make a serious boat anchor.
Dennis

Both books, however, have beautiful illustrations thanks to Oscar Ratti.

Regards,

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

DJM
5th June 2000, 21:58
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Gil Gillespie:
Hi, David.Are you reading that fine book for your first time? I carried that book for 10 years before I began to train in Aikido. Later I found the minimalization of O-Sensei with regard to Tohei to be misleading. How do you find that?
The illustrations I've forever held to be wonderful. The longer I train the more succinct & illustrative I find those flowing ink drawings to be. You will find the effect of both text & illustrations undiminished in the subsequent "Secrets of the Samurai" by Westbrook/Ratti, although I've always considered the title ofthat work to more properly have been "Kobudo Roots of Aikido."

Still, both volumes are merited treasured keepers.

Gil Gillespie<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Gil,
Yeah, I'm a first-time reader, enjoying it immensely, and finding a lot of value - at least so far as the Aikido principles and techniques go.. Also for some of the exercises which I'll be using on days when I'm not at the dojo..
I too noticed the preeminence of Tohei-sensei as opposed to O-Sensei, though this could well be his greater accessibility to them when writing the book.
I also have enjoyed the flowing simplicity of the illustrations - perhaps a pointer to how Aikido techniques should feel?
I haven't come across "Secrets of the Samurai" before, so I'll keep an eye out for it..
Cheers,
David

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Poetry of Birds,
A Thousand Voice Melody,
Dancing on the Waves
-- David Marshall

Gene McGloin
5th June 2000, 23:02
I JUST picked up a hard cover copy of "Secrets of the Samurai" for $9.99 at Barnes & Noble in N.J. yesterday!!! They had plenty of copies and I'm sure that you can find one through their website!

Gambatte ne!

George Ledyard
6th June 2000, 02:08
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Walker:
Having just finished listening to “The Two Pillars of Aikido” lecture from S. Pranin I must take exception to the notion that O Sensei studied many or even a few arts beside Daito ryu. There is no evidence of this that can be found aside from boyhood judo and army ju jutsu. Stanley clearly states that DR contains the ‘seeds’ of almost every Aikido technique. Now the fact that O Sensei changed DR and made Aikido something unique is unquestionable, but it is not an amalgamation.
Also aside from KSR late in life O Sensei had no formal sword or weapon training of any length.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I haven't heard the lecture but I know that Stan is aware of the experience that Mik Skoss had. He had a meeting with the head master of the Kashima kenjutsu ryu and was shown the scrolls on which O-Sensei's name appears. Additionally, it simply seems totally unlikely that O-Sensei, who travelled quite a bit and was known to have a life long interest in the martial arts would not have trained in various styles which he encountered. The fact that he did not necessarily attain any seniority in those styles and therefore may not appear in the records of all the styles he studied doesn't convince me. I have studied quite a few things that have had a strong influence on my Aikido. I trained in classical martial arts under Ellis Amdur Sensei for a couple of years and did a bit over a year in a style of Filipine escrima. In neither case is there any written record that I did the training as I did not train long enough to get any certification in those styles. But there is a substantial influence from that training that shows up in my Aikido.

I don't really beleive the issue is an important one except from the historians standpoint. The honbu dojo tendency to admit only a very narrow technical background and to exagerate the extent to which O-Sensei created a new art out of thin air is clearly ridiculous.But it just doesn't seem very important for us as modern practitioners of Aikido to argue about whether O-Sensei was accomplished in Yagyu or Kashima style sword or both. For most of the people engeged in these discussions the point is not very useful in that even if they did know that O-Sensei had studied one or the other they don't know enough about the styles for that knowledge to mean anything. It really takes soemone like Mik Skoss who has studied Aikido extensively and has a very wide classical background, both in training and academic study, for the information about O-Sensei's Aikido antecedants to mean much.

A lot of people seem to have the idea that they need to demonstrate that O-Sensei actually did something a certain way or that he studied a certain art before they are justified in doing it themselves.

The fact is that no one is doing Aikido the way O-Sensei did. It was unique, he passed on his principles to many students and they are all running with it as their personalities and prefereances dictate. Wasting time trying to tie in what you do to something that some other teacher is doing or did in the past is useless. Only people concerned with political in and outs seem to think that is important. Each person doing Aikido should get the best training he or she can find and then those that aspire to something of great quality must pull from a wide experience and make that knowledge their own. Imitating some one else's Aikido will just produce a second hand copy. Each of us needs to work much harder than that and become an original ourself. I doubt that it will serve anyone greatly years from now to debate the extent to which my defensive tactics training influenced my Aikido practice. Doing the practice is what produces useful knowledge not intellectualizing about it. It's like Ikeda Sensei's all-purpose answer to every question. Regardless of the question he looks thoughtful and then he always answers "Just train more".

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George S. Ledyard
Aikido 5th Dan
Certified Defensive Tactics Master Instructor

Jeff Cook
6th June 2000, 02:18
George,

Bravo!

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

KevinMiller
6th June 2000, 15:15
Studying different styles of aikido/aikibudo has made me very aware of how kihon are really like empty bags or pots, and are often filled by very different principles. I'm not talking about varying emphasis on the same principles, but entirely different enterpretations. In his book, "Real Fighting," Peyton Quinn talks about meeting fighters who won with a particular technique and, no matter how marginal the technique was in hindsight, become wedded to it and teach it as the only proper response to a particular attack. It seems to me that a similar thing happens in Aikido, where teachers have epiphanies which form the core of their teaching, and what's an epiphany to one is meaningless or a mistake to another. As an example, I've seen mae-otoshi which revolved around "coiling" uke's elbow to bring him up on his toes, and I've seen mae-otoshi which revolved around making a "9" with uke's shoulder while his elbow is locked to lead him off balance -- one "pot", two very different "fillings." Both work, and each is considered incorrect by different groups.

Kevin Miller

Neil Yamamoto
6th June 2000, 21:39
I agree with George, I have trained in many different arts without any certification and have rank in only two styles of aiki. But my practice reflects those arts with out any certification very deeply.

Does rank or style matter?. Not really. If you have rank in an art, then great. The history does give a certain feeling and aura to an art and the people who practice it that makes it special.

If you are smart enough to have no formal training certification but have manged to put it all together, then you deserve to be teaching. Just be honest about your training background and don't make up a history for what you do.


Problem is most people who do "their own thing" lie.




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Neil Yamamoto
nyamamoto@excite.com

Walker
7th June 2000, 00:53
George et al.
I can’t say I disagree with you. The point of my post was not that Aikido isn’t a reflection of O Sensei’s life experience, but to counter the needless speculation about arts he may or may not have studied as influences on Aikido. The silly “create your own mythology” speculation about the hidden influence of “my favorite MA of the moment” in the formation of Aikido. Stanley was pretty clear about the lack of any evidence underlying such speculation and he did issue a disclaimer at the beginning of his talk - it will change your view of O Sensei and Aikido.
Again, I don’t see this as a problem and don’t understand the fuss. http://216.10.1.92/ubb/confused.gif

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-DougWalker