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Howard Kaplan
13th September 2001, 02:18
Anyone hear of the Aiki group dubbed "A.S.A.(Aikido Standing Accession)".

What is your view on this Aiki group ?

The below quote is taken from the following URL:
http://www.tozando.com/eng/aikido/video.html

Challenging the conventional Aikido style, this new, aggresive, fully practical style has been created by a group seeking the undisputed, strongest fighting style. The group's name is A.S.A.(Aikido Standing Accession). They are not interested in getting enlightened by practicing Budo, rather all they pursuing the ultimate technique.

:wave:

Excalibor
13th September 2001, 10:48
Hi there!

With all due respect towards the members of that association: it may look Aikidô, but it ain't Aikidô.

Aikidô is a set of concepts (a kabala, if you wish) which are to be interiorized and absorbed through waza, as a hollistic whole (redundancy aside).

Just by modifying the waza, you aren't breaking the concepts, it's a conceptual fidelity, which is common as time passes by: the aspect may evolve but the spirit remains.

However, if you just seek combat efficacy, you aren't doing Aikidô anymore.

Eventually, some may evolve through their own path and reach again the concepts of Aikidô, a rejoining. However, I doubt it will happen.

The same way Koryű Bugei are harmed by infunded claims of belonging or practice by outside groups, and it's a moral thief, Aikidô is harmed by these groups that just put adjectives to Aikidô but only retain the value of those adjectives, and not the values of the noun they modify (effective aikido, combat aikido, dynamic aikido, modern aikido, blah, blah, blah, are really scary when they come from unauthorized sources...)

They should drop Aikidô and call their system whatever marketing hook they prefer, using Aikidô as one is lame and mean...

respectfully,

David S de Lis

Kevin73
13th September 2001, 18:41
Just out of curiousity, what would you call what Ueshiba did back when he ran the "Hell Dojo"? It wasn't until later in life that Ueshiba stressed the spiritual principles as we recognize now (I'm not saying they weren't there, just not the main emphasis), back then it was for fighting. Some people prefer the early method of aikido rather than the love for all concept some do. Neither one is better or worse just different ends, but both are aikido.

Excalibor
13th September 2001, 20:39
Hi, again,






Originally posted by Kevin73


Just out of curiousity, what would you call what Ueshiba did back when he ran the "Hell Dojo"? It wasn't until later in life that Ueshiba stressed the spiritual principles as we recognize now (I'm not saying they weren't there, just not the main emphasis), back then it was for fighting. Some people prefer the early method of aikido rather than the love for all concept some do. Neither one is better or worse just different ends, but both are aikido.





That's a good question. I have two views on this topic, and will try to get them straight out from a gut feeling.





If Aikidô had been created centuries ago (let's call it Aikidô-ryű for the sake of the rythm), students of the Founder, with proper permission, would have been allowed to teach in branch dôjô, the same way as nowadays Koryű Bugei ryűha do. When the separation from the "main flow" (ryű) is too big, a new branch (usually with a different name, sometimes, with a "Branch-ha" Aikidô-ryű schema) would split off.



The main flow would transmit the knowledge from then up to nowadays. Students from the dôjô(s) would be licensed to some degree, or even to teach, always following the direction fixed from Honbu. This Honbu would follow (in spirit if not in form, as everything evolves) the teachings from the Founder, passed to the second sôke (or shihanke), to the third, etc, up to the current headmaster of the ryű.



Get back to reality. The current Dôshu of the Aikidô is the third in the line of succession from the Founder. Thus Aikidô is what he says Aikidô is, following the teachings of his grandfather. The Aikikai and the IAF are here to ensure those teachings are correctly passed down to all students.



Any branch created before the appearance of the Aikikai were, in one way or another, sactioned by the Founder himself, and thus qualify as "branch-ha" and, thus, part of the Aikidô family. Any branch created later, specially after the Founder's passing away, whether by personal or political issues, should be considered a completely different school, as they are not following the "flow".



Regarding comparisons and comentary about differences between Aikikai Aikidô and other branches, specially those which arose from the "Hell Dôjô" or later, while the Founder was still alive, I must recognize that, following my own reasoning, they are legit and, if conducted with respect and peroper reihô, interesting and useful. I, myself, have investigated to the extent of my reach, different such branches (like Iwama, Yoshinkan or Yoseikan), and I hold the greatest respect to them, they have helped me to gain new perspectives on my study of the Way.



However, one cannot help but ask: if Ô'Sensei were happy with his pre-war Aikidô, why would he change it so those differences are (so) noticeable? And, in this case, why didn't he choose to handle the dôshu title to one of those branches headmasters?



Obviously pre-war Aikidô is not what the Founder was looking for. Actually, the differences are not that big. It's easy to perform waza one way or another, so it's more strong, or more suple. If proper training, and proper spirit is maintained, it's still Aikidô.



But when they aren't followed anymore, it's obviously not Aikidô, even when they may look like it.



Now, I concede that "aikidô" is an ancient word. Akikai Aikidô, or any of the branches born from Ô'Sensei, are basically, from a waza point of view, jűjutsu schools (or close-quarters systems, if we consider kenjutsu and jôjutsu as well). There may be (and in fact, there surely are) schools which bear the name Aikidô that may not be related to Ô'Sensei's creation. Well, they do, of course, have the right to bear the name.



But later creations, not following those teachings, principles, of what Aikidô became in Founder's life and in his legitimate successors, are using the name of the school for their own benefit. They may be sure they are following the teachings, but if they don't have an official sanction from Honbu, they are therefore not doing so, however good their intentions may be.



Any Koryű will defend this reasoning, I don't see why it should be any different with Aikidô.



Of course, this is my humble opinion, and being just a shôdan, I cannot even be considered a minor authority in Aikidô. However I've been studying japanese and okinawan martial arts since 19 years ago, and this gives me some perspective.



Respectfully,



--

David S. de Lis

IAF Spain Aikidô

Kevin73
15th September 2001, 16:40
Thank you for your answer, it was the first time I have ever heard someone articulate an actual reason. I agree with the sanctioning part from the Hombu. It would make more sense for the school to call theirs something Aikijutsu or somthing close since they are more concerned with technique than the way of harmony. But also say where their techniques were developed from.

INFINOO
15th September 2001, 23:51
Excaliber: I agree with your statment that you are not even a minor authority in Aikido.


Gregory Rogalsky
Director of Rogalsky Combatives International

Excalibor
16th September 2001, 02:53
Originally posted by INFINOO

Excaliber: I agree with your statment that you are not even a minor authority in Aikido.








Gregory Rogalsky


Director of Rogalsky Combatives International



Mr. Rogalsky,



Effectively, I am not even a minor authority in Aikidô, I'm glad that, despite not knowing me, you agree with me on that point.



Of course, the almost 10 years of practice in Aikidô (and 19 years of Budô training) I have behind my back, do give me a perspective on what I am talking about. Considering that it's not more than a personal view on the issue of this thread, it's subjective and open to discusion. I, for instance, would like to thank Mr Hirakis for his most educated questions and reply.



Now, if you would be so gentle to comment on my opinion on this subject, your participation in this thread would, at least, be useful. I am always looking for improving myself.



I, however, feel honored that you trust me so much as to acknowledge my insignificance.



However, I respectfully dare to wonder if your reply would be the same if I had stated I am a godan in Aikidô. Unless you took some effort to check my assertion, would you had agreed on my insignificance?



Another possibility is that you were just trying to be sarcastic, as if to imply you don't agree with my reasoning. If that's the case, please allow me to judge it as clearly a poor atempt. If you don't agree with me, please say so and say on what. Being constructive is Aikidô as well. Sarcasm is inherently a negation of makoto, and thus not Aikidô at all.



However, I am certain of the good will of your post and eagerly look for your reply, deepening my understanding of the Way.



respectfully yours,



David S. de Lis

F.E.J.Y.D.A. Dept. Aikidô (IAF Spain)

JimmyCrow
16th September 2001, 04:10
David

After reading your explanation in your first post I would consider you more than just a minor authority on Aikido. I have seen that group on the Tozando web site before and I had the same questions about them. I found your explanation very insightful and informative. I also commend you on your patience in your reply to Gregory. Being constructive IS Aikidô. :smilejapa

Yamantaka
16th September 2001, 10:53
Dear friends,

Concerning Standing Accession Aikido or Sakurai Ryu Aikido, you may find the following information :
- About SAKURAI FUMIO SENSEI : Born August 20, 1954, in Tokyo. Former 6th Dan in Yoshinkan Aikido, Shihan. Began training in 1970 with Shioda Gozo Sensei. Later created his own style, called Sakurai Ryu or Standing Accession Aikido.
- About Sakurai Ryu : there's an excellent article by STANLEY PRANIN Sensei at
http://www.aikidojournal.com/articles/ajArticles/ed_102.asp

I would like to remember also that the only remarkable difference between Sakurai Ryu and other styles of Aikido is in the competition emphasis, just like in the case of Tomiki Ryu. And if Tomiki Ryu is considered Aikido, Sakurai Ryu should have the same status.
IMO

Excalibor
16th September 2001, 10:55
Originally posted by JimmyCrow


David






[...]





Being constructive IS Aikidô. :smilejapa





Mr. Crow,





Thank you for your kind words.
I just tried to give a meaningful answer. I may be wrong, but I am being sincere...




:smilejapa





in ghashô,





David S. de Lis

Excalibor
16th September 2001, 18:20
Mr. Alcantara,






Originally posted by Yamantaka


Dear friends,







Concerning Standing Accession Aikido or Sakurai Ryu Aikido, you may find the following information :



- About SAKURAI FUMIO SENSEI : Born August 20, 1954, in Tokyo. Former 6th Dan in Yoshinkan Aikido, Shihan. Began training in 1970 with Shioda Gozo Sensei. Later created his own style, called Sakurai Ryu or Standing Accession Aikido.



- About Sakurai Ryu : there's an excellent article by STANLEY PRANIN Sensei at



http://www.aikidojournal.com/articles/ajArticles/ed_102.asp









I have read Mr. Pranin's article, thank you for providing us with it.





However, it only reinforces my opinions regarding transmission of knowledge from the original Aikidô source, Ô-Sensei.





However good or impressive Sakurai Sensei's skills or understanding of Aikidô may be, can we say he is being successful in its transmission to his students? He didn't even trained with Ô-Sensei, his knowledge of Aikidô is a primary source, an incredible Aikidô master as Shioda Sensei was, but an outdated source. It's something that do happen: when you depart from a source before it's depleted, you will miss some of the water floring from it. Anyway, having Ô-Sensei's sanctioning, Shioda Sensei can be considered an authority in Aikidô (at that time). Then Shioda Sensei's and Ô-Sensei's ways parted from each other.





But do Sakurai Sensei have any sanctioning from Yoshinkan Honbu? He is a former rokudan, so I must understand he has been rejected by the Yoshinkan Honbu. If this is the case, it's not even a branch from a branch of the main Aikidô source.





He can use the name Aikidô, but I am not sure it is Aikidô anymore, and thus it's use is not legit in principle.










I would like to remember also that the only remarkable difference between Sakurai Ryu and other styles of Aikido is in the competition emphasis, just like in the case of Tomiki Ryu. And if Tomiki Ryu is considered Aikido, Sakurai Ryu should have the same status.



IMO





Well, even Mr Pranin himself recognized that what he saw at that competition was not Aikidô, just ... something. That's not the purpose of Aikidô.





Tomiki Sensei was sanctioned as a great martial artist by both Ô-Sensei and Dai-Sensei Jigoro Kano. He was a genius, and tried to find a path that joins both Aikidô and Jűdô. I am not sure if he has succeeded, but at least Tomiki Aikidô has kata, which is a deep study of the principles of the school through waza, following patterns that express his views on Aikidô and Jůdô. For Ô-Sensei those views were good enough, at least I have no notice of the opposite (and if there are any, I'd love to know).





I'm far from a purist, but when you change something up to the point where it's not recognizable on your students, you aren't doing the original anymore, however you call it...





IMHO.





best regards,





David S. de Lis

INFINOO
16th September 2001, 23:06
Excallibor Mr Alcantara: Yes, your right I was being sarcastic. I apologize. And yet respectfully I do disagree most strongly to your attitude to what is and what is not Aikido. First off , I beleive the thread was about a vidio produced by A.S.A Aikido Standing Assertion. Did you comment on the content of the vidio? Have you seen the Vidio? Have you ever been on the floor with these guys or girls? From what I can tell its no on all counts. So you dismiss them out of hand. Why? Because its not out of the Hombu, the source of all true Aikido on the planet. Give me a break. As for me,Im not sure if the vidio is any good or not as I have not seen it . But you know , I think I will order it as it sounds interesting.
Its also interesting there is a hombu type Dojo in my city .In are tradition we do not critise other traditions or ways . However, Its interesting that there most senior student also trains with my sensei , The same one who taught me the bulk of my aikido knowlege. This same teacher is teacher that is not reconized in Japan by the Hombu. I wonder why?
Its about time you and they learned that WE ARE ALL students of O-sensei.
Gregory Rogalsky
Director Of Rogalsky Combatives International

dakotajudo
17th September 2001, 04:05
Originally posted by Excalibor

Any branch created before the appearance of the Aikikai were, in one way or another, sactioned by the Founder himself, and thus qualify as "branch-ha" and, thus, part of the Aikidô family. Any branch created later, specially after the Founder's passing away, whether by personal or political issues, should be considered a completely different school, as they are not following the "flow".


This definition pretty much precludes Tohei Koichi's style as a branch of Aikido.

That, I think, would cause a bit of controversy in the U.S., since the Ki Society may very well be the predominant aikido style in this country.

From my experience, while still very different, the Ki style is much more like Aikikai aikido than Yoshinkan.

I think you may be taking an overly strict interpretation of the koryu system, which I'm not so sure can be applied as such to aikido in the first place.

Excalibor
17th September 2001, 09:52
Mr. Alcantara,


Originally posted by INFINOO
Excallibor Mr Alcantara: Yes, your right I was being sarcastic. I apologize.

And I gracefully accept your apologies, thank you. By the way, on my post I was being ironical, a fine art I learned from the englishmen...


And yet respectfully I do disagree most strongly to your attitude to what is and what is not Aikido.

Again, thank you. I find it stimulating when people can throw different viewpoints to a discussion, it makes the basis for understanding... I hope to expand my understanding of Aikidô through this exchange of points of view and experiences...


First off , I beleive the thread was about a vidio produced by A.S.A Aikido Standing Assertion. Did you comment on the content of the vidio? Have you seen the Vidio? Have you ever been on the floor with these guys or girls? From what I can tell its no on all counts. So you dismiss them out of hand. Why? Because its not out of the Hombu, the source of all true Aikido on the planet. Give me a break. As for me,Im not sure if the vidio is any good or not as I have not seen it . But you know , I think I will order it as it sounds interesting.

You are basically right, the thread started because of that video tape, which I haven't watched and which is probably very interesting to watch. However the thread also addressed a more interesting matter (as video training is inherently limited), the issue of legitimacy (as can be found, for example, in the Bad Budo forum).

Allow me to make a precision: I didn't dismiss them in any way. I am sure that the technical and human quality of a rokudan from the Yoshinkan must be impressive and I would be the first in the row if I could study it in my city. The only thing I questioned is their use of the term Aikidô to name their system.

As I tried to explain before, Aikidô for me represents both traditional thinking and techniques. Making innovations in how the training is conducted is not a split-off, it's just another way of training, there are many, and most are pretty good. however, by putting emphasis on competition and waza effectiveness they aren't following Ô-Sensei's teachings, because they are moving the enemy from within to an outsider, the goal to victory on combat instead of the greater victory on one's evil, and distorting the techniques which transmit these knowledge, passing them down to their students.

As I said before, I don't doubt on their teacher's abilities, I doubt (from the little knowledge I have, I admit it) his ability to transmit the Aikidô kabala and technical recetarium with their system.

Thus I politely question their right to call themselves "Aikidô".

Please understanding, it's not a personal issue, but I have lived and am living through the lies and maquiavelic actions from an Aikidô instructor in Spain, and it's sad and ugly to see, specially since a very good, old pal of mine is directly involved in that net of lies and false promises... So, I'm a wee sensible on this kind of issues.


Its also interesting there is a hombu type Dojo in my city .In are tradition we do not critise other traditions or ways . However, Its interesting that there most senior student also trains with my sensei , The same one who taught me the bulk of my aikido knowlege. This same teacher is teacher that is not reconized in Japan by the Hombu. I wonder why?
Its about time you and they learned that WE ARE ALL students of O-sensei.
Gregory Rogalsky
Director Of Rogalsky Combatives International

Well, in my lack of tradition (as all good rônin) we critizice whatever needs to be critizised, politely and respectfully, but looking for the whole thruth, without concealments or tricks.

There's no 'comraderie silence' or anything we owe to anyone so we should be shy and don't ask when something unclear happens.

I am sure many students from dôjô afiliated to associations affiliated to the Aikikai will train with your teacher, if he's good, he will naturally attract students from different affiliations. And if he's teaching Aikidô, they will learn Aikidô, and probably a good one.

However, there's a difference between what Aikidô really is and what one think Aikidô is. In this case, our limited understanding of Aikidô will necessarily distort it, like a refraction of knowledge due to the boundaries of our knowledge lense. In this sense i am sure that Aikidô died with the Founder. however, his direct students had a very different perception of what Aikidô may be. We should trust them, even when we feel there's something wrong.

if we don't trust them, then we should move on and practise our way, and call it our way. It is not Aikidô because Aikidô, for all practical purposes, is what they say it is. because they are closer to the source. we may not like it, and we may be 100% positive that our way is closer to the Founder's Aikidô, or his intentions, or whatever. Still, they are right and we are wrong.

If I do that, I'd put another name to my practice. Actually I have done exactly that. When I study or train, I follow what I am told, I'm just another student. Back to solo musha shűgyô training, I make variations, looking what feels right for me, often incorporating what I have learned from other sources, Jűdô for example. While I always try to remain faithful to my understanding of Aikidô and Ô-Sensei's teachings, I don't call that Aikidô, because, without guidance, I am departing from the path he marked. Actually I don't call it any way, it's here with me, in my brain and muscles... But it's not what I teach (when I have to teach, I teach Aikidô, the Aikidô I have been taught by those who are closer to the source than I am...)

It's not a matter of worshipping Aikikai Honbu. Nonsenses, I just worship Aikidô itself, and greatly respect those teachers, in Aikikai or other organizations which have a direct connection to the Founder. Split-offs of split-offs of split-offs are way too far from the source for me to think they are Aikidô.

On a case-by-case basis, I may even find that the (ficticious) group Wa-no-jutsu Budô (a 3rd in the line of split-offs) is actually doing Aikidô. What a wonderful surprise! Still, they don't have the right to claim connection to the source of Aikidô, they have crossed the boundaries and are too far. They do Aikidô but cannot call Aikidô what they are doing. But they can call it Wa-no-jutsu, Aiki-no-kenpô... they cannot claim connection to Aikidô, but they can explain their origins, of course.

It's like brandy and cognac. They are basically the same, but you cannot call a drink of the kind `cognac' unless it's from that region of France where cognac is produced. Origin denomination, it's called. Your drink may be even better, or closer to the ancient, now lost, drink from that region of france. But still cognac is what they are doing right now, going on with the traditions of the region. Yours is just another drink.

Analogies are a poor tool, but I hope you finally see my point. It's not a matter of what they do, it's a matter of doing exactly what.

Regarding the lack of recognition of your teacher by Aikikai Honbu, they must have their reasons. I don't worship Honbu, they may be wrong. So, to make a judgement, I would need to meet your teacher and judge by myself. In any case, my judgement is irrelevant, for they are the holders of the tradition. That's tradition, and only for some 50 years, which is a bit of a strech of the word "tradition".

Anyway, that's another discussion altogether.

I hope I have explained my point of view a bitt better this time, and I apologize for any confusion I may have created. It's a complex subject, my control of english is far from perfect and my vision is limited to my experience.

best regards,

David S. de Lis

Excalibor
17th September 2001, 11:20
Mr. Claussen,


Originally posted by dakotajudo


This definition pretty much precludes Tohei Koichi's style as a branch of Aikido.

Well, yes it does... On the other hand, Tohei Sensei was an uchi deshi of the late Founder, and senior instructor of the Aikikai. His school is based on some controversies with the Dôshu regarding how Aikidô should be taught.

Following the analogy with koryű, former Dôshu would be in the Sôke line and Tohei Sensei in the shihanke line of transmission.

This is a situation not uncommon in the Japanese Bugei, and many ryűha had maintained such parallel lineages (even with different names) even up to nowadays. What's important is the flow of knowledge from the original source. In this case, former Dôshu and Tohei Sensei argued, and Tohei Sensei left; it can be seen as simply a branching of the school into two lineages, not a split properly speaking (despite the fact it was a split from the Aikikai, but not with the flow of knowledge). Thus, while not authorised, Tohei Sensei had the moral right to do so, for he had all permissions given by the Founder.


That, I think, would cause a bit of controversy in the U.S., since the Ki Society may very well be the predominant aikido style in this country.

From my experience, while still very different, the Ki style is much more like Aikikai aikido than Yoshinkan.


Well, the numbers are not important. However, as you yourself state, it is much closer to the flow than other splits or descendants... While I haven't studied with Tohei Sensei, I have seen video tapes of his performance and read books with his thinking and I find him very coherent and he sounds very much like the Founder (to my eye). I think considering Shin-Shin-Toitsu-Dô as a different lineage of Aikidô would be appropriate, irregarding of the number of practitioners or students.

A rejoining in the future is not unthinkable, for they are not basically incompatible. Rejoining of other lineages with Aikikai would probably be much difficult, not technically speaking (most schools do the same techniques more or less the same way, just different emphasis) but philosofically speaking.


I think you may be taking an overly strict interpretation of the koryu system, which I'm not so sure can be applied as such to aikido in the first place.

You are probably right, but it's a system known to work. One issue is the diversification of an art, like the koryű system recognizes, and a different one is the fragmentation of that art into hundreds of schools. At one point, what some are practising is not the original art anymore. The headmaster of a school has the right to defend the school knowledge, and that includes protecting from those who claim to do a branch of the ryű when they are clearly not doing so. Both technically and philosofically those pretenders would be hurting the school reputation.

The koryű system, while rigid and maybe anacrhonistic to be used on a gendai budô like Aikidô, is a clear way to distinguish one from another. It's a criterium so people (in this case I chose to use it) can decide whether to train in one place or not and how to call what they are studying... There are a lot more things to consider, but the name is important.

What's unbearable is that Aikidô, in its first 75 or so years of existence (in different stages of incarnation) have produced more splits and branches than any koryű in 500 years, specially considering that the real samurai were alive then, not nowadays.

If knowledge of Aikidô is like a river flow (ryű means that), then when any branch of the river starts getting flow from other rivers in a way it's difficult to recognize it as a branch of one river, then it is not part of that river anymore, specially when philosophical deeds are involved, as is the case of Aikidô.

I'm not imposing my views on anyone, I'm just trying to clarify a position that, in many cases, can identify groups that are, effectively, stealing people's money, time and efforts by teaching them something that's not Aikidô as if it were... Lying is wrong.

respectfully submitted,

David S. de Lis

Yamantaka
17th September 2001, 12:28
Originally posted by Excalibor
Mr. Alcantara,
And I gracefully accept your apologies, thank you. By the way, on my post I was being ironical, a fine art I learned from the englishmen...
Again, thank you. I find it stimulating when people can throw different viewpoints to a discussion, it makes the basis for understanding... I hope to expand my understanding of Aikidô through this exchange of points of view and experiences...
David S. de Lis

YAMANTAKA : A very important correction... Yamantaka and "Mr." Alcantara are the same people. Excalibor, of course, is someone completely different. This misunderstanding began with Infinoo who wrote "Excalibor/Mr. Alcantara".
Best

INFINOO
17th September 2001, 15:57
Interesting Imagrey about the source and the river . Imagine there is only one river , and they are all connected. I see the diversity of differnt Aikido schools as a good thing. That way everyone has the opportunity to have there own spin(opinion) on things. No right way . No wrong way. Just different. I often encourage my students to do there own thinking and not simply expect to be spoon feed. If that means going outside the (system),(box)than so be it. There are many paths to the same destination.
Its interesting to note that O-Sensei studied many ways and tradition before coming up with AikiBudo than finally Aikido. From this example I think that it is my right as well as my duty to cross train. Its all good.

Gregory Rogalsky
Rogalsky Combatives International

Excalibor
17th September 2001, 18:01
Originally posted by Yamantaka




YAMANTAKA : A very important correction... Yamantaka and "Mr." Alcantara are the same people. Excalibor, of course, is someone completely different. This misunderstanding began with Infinoo who wrote "Excalibor/Mr. Alcantara".

Best

My apologies... I should have checked the post authory before replying... It's bad zanshin from my part, a clear proof I still have much to improve...

My sincerest apologies...

in gashô,

David S. de Lis

Excalibor
17th September 2001, 18:37
Mr. Rogalsky,




Originally posted by INFINOO


Interesting Imagrey about the source and the river .



Thank you, but it's not mine, it's actually the meaning of Ryű in traditional japanese arts (whether Budô, cha-no-yű, etc...)




Imagine there is only one river , and they are all connected. I see the diversity of differnt Aikido schools as a good thing. That way everyone has the opportunity to have there own spin(opinion) on things. No right way . No wrong way. Just different.



I can clearly imagine only one river, it's basically what all traditional japanese schools are, a single river from its founder until nowadays (without branches, only splits that create new schools). Japanese bugei is a special case. Allowing a network of connected samurai throughout the country was dangerous, and thus the goverment (bakufu) didn't allow such "single rivers", encouraging diversification and kind of rupture from the home ryűha into new ones.



However this was a full rupture: never come again, never use my name unless to state your background, but don't use our name in whatever you may finally come up with. Of course, most warriors just died in battles before being able to create organized systems, which basically appeared during the Pax Tokugawa in XVII century and later. Only the greatest warriors funded ryűha, and some of them have survived up to our days.



The problem, then, is that Budô is not a democratic institution. It has a headmaster who owns everything related to the Ryű kabala and technique (either sôke, shihanke or both) and he's the absolute ownder in all matters regarding the school, including the name and who teaches or not. You can have a menlyô kaiden (full transmission scroll) acknowledging your complete mastering on the school, but unless you have an explicit teaching license, you are not allowed to teach what you have learned.



If you want to teach, you have to come up with something new, of your own inspiration, which, of course, will have a different name.



This is not open to discussion. In any even, only the greatest, highest ranking experts in the school would be consulted by the headmaster. A student just studies, what he is told and the way he is told, no variations, no innovations. You first learn the school the way you are told. Eventually you will fully comprehend the school philosofy and be allowed to exteriorize that comprehension in an individual way (shu ha ri).



In this frame, there's only one way of doing things: as the sôke/shihanke says. Any other way is wrong by definition and implies expulsion from the school. Thus you cannot name what you do with that school's name, for you aren't evan a member of that school. Think of this like a trademark on the school, where the headmaster ows the trademark. You cannot use the name nor modify it so people may be guided to confusion of what they are learning.



This is my point in this whole thread.




I often encourage my students to do there own thinking and not simply expect to be spoon feed. If that means going outside the (system),(box)than so be it. There are many paths to the same destination.



Its interesting to note that O-Sensei studied many ways and tradition before coming up with AikiBudo than finally Aikido. From this example I think that it is my right as well as my duty to cross train. Its all good.







Gregory Rogalsky



Rogalsky Combatives International



Yes, I agree with you and, as I stated before, I try to learn from every source I can. But then, I clearly distinguish what's Aikidô and what's not. I don't put adjectives. Aikidô is Aikidô, Red Aikidô, Blue Aikidô or Warm Aikidô is not Aikidô, unless they have permission to go on the direction they are following from Aikidô headmaster.



Ô-Sensei once said (I'm sorry that I cannot give you the source, but may be his biography by John Stevens) that if people walked back to aikijutsu, all his work to create Aikidô would have been a waste of time.



Also, to be sincere, I am not by far Ô-Sensei equal in martial prowess or ability. If I just walk back to Aikijutsu and try to arrive to Aikidô, I would get lost to never return. I doubt there are many (or there have been many) who could do that. Our duty as students is following his teachings, the way they are being transmitted, and, eventually, transmit them to our students the same way we learned them.



It's the duty of the jodan and headmasters (of Aikikai, which is the official body of Aikidô, and other lines and legitimate branches of Aikidô) to try to understand Ô-Sensei and help Aikidô naturally evolve through time, like all things alive.



To split from these duties, and leap off from this path (eg. being a sandan/jondan creating your own "style" of Aikidô and all of a sudden being rokkudan, not the discussed case, but by my honor that it happens) is leaving the path of Aikidô and, therefore, the loss of all rights to use its name (usually as a marketing hook "hey, it's what Steven Seagal does!")



While I did encourage my students to look for their own path, I didn't let them modify the waza (which is the vehicle of transmission of), the philosofy of what they were being taught. That would have meant my complete failure as instructor and as student of Aikidô.



While we agree in several different points, we disagree in a basic point: you assert that Aikidô belongs to everyone, while I am sure Aikidô is for everyone, but belongs to the legitimate depositary(ies) of the tradition and confidence of the Founder.



Can we reconcile this differring points of view?



respectfully,



David S. de Lis

INFINOO
17th September 2001, 20:13
Sorry about the confusion with switching names, my mistake.
One question that I have had for a while is Aikido even old enough to be called a traditional Japanese Martial art? The other question I have is about the martial and the other about the art. If Aikido is a Martial Art than effectivness of the techniques must play at least a part of its emphasis. And if Aikido is indeed an art there must be some artistic freedoom for its practitioners , not merly mimicry. From my own experience, studying western knife fighting , Tai-chi and wrestling has given me insights into my Aikido training that would otherwise not be possible. I think O-Sensei would want us(me) to break new ground. At the end of the day every person must decide(for themselves) what is best for him or her, not there teacher or system.

Gregory Rogalsky
Director of Rogalsky Combatives International

Ron Tisdale
17th September 2001, 21:32
Mr S. De Lis,

I like your analogy, but I'm afraid aikido doesn't quite fit the ryu idiom. With that failure, all the rest of the pretty words mean nothing (in terms of aikido). There are quite a few people on this board who started with aikido and then went on to true classical arts (which do follow the process you described), and I don't think any of them believe that aikido would fall in that (classical) category. Great posts though, and good reading.

Ron Tisdale

Excalibor
17th September 2001, 22:31
Hello,






Originally posted by INFINOO


Sorry about the confusion with switching names, my mistake.



One question that I have had for a while is Aikido even old enough to be called a traditional Japanese Martial art?





I don't know. It's a gendai budô (modern budô) as you can see from the section this forum is sited on e-Budo, as opposed to koryű bugei (or traditional martial arts).





However, it's foundations are the traditional martial arts from Japan. As such, I guess it can be considered, if not traditional, a follower of the tradition, a kind of continuation or new son of the tradition.






The other question I have is about the martial and the other about the art. If Aikido is a Martial Art than effectivness of the techniques must play at least a part of its emphasis. And if Aikido is indeed an art there must be some artistic freedoom for its practitioners , not merly mimicry.





Aikidô is a Budô. That means it is a path for the ontological development of the human being, in this case through the study of the martial spirit. To imply from this that its techniques must be street-fighting effective, is a long jump.





On the other hand, implying that Aikidô techniques are not effective the way they are performed by the Aikikai borders arrogance. Ô-Sensei practiced those techniques, and they were pretty effective. Tohei Koichi Sensei fought against many fighters in Hawai and he never was defeated. And I am sure many of the great Aikidô masters in the Aikikai have many stories they could tell us. It's not only the pre-War ones.





However there's a trend in dismissing Aikikai Aikidô as not effective. I am sure that someone mastering Aikidô enough can apply any effective technique he deems necessary in a given situation.





Regarding the artistic dimension of Aikidô. There are no martial arts, at least not in Japan. The translation of Bugei or Budô as "martial arts" is misleading and unjust. They are not arts of war. And they absolutely does not allow for any artistic freedom. Not until the student has mastered the school teachings. It's a method that has been in use for centuries, and has worked very well.





Many schools introduced sparring alongside to pattern practice (kata), to provide a training environment with some combativeness in it, that's true. Pattern practice is regular training in Aikidô, randori is the Aikidô sparring (keiko). Going further is deemed unnecessary. When a students trains diligently, he is supposed to finally arrive to the whole mastering of the school teachings.





It's not mimicry, it's careful imitation until the patterns have been absorbed, soaked into the cerebellum.
Shu ha ri means entering by the form, interiorizing the form and liberation from the form. But freedom comes after years of study, not before.



I'd like to remind that there are no shortcuts towards the top of the mountain.





From my own experience, studying western knife fighting , Tai-chi and wrestling has given me insights into my Aikido training that would otherwise not be possible. I think O-Sensei would want us(me) to break new ground. At the end of the day every person must decide(for themselves) what is best for him or her, not there teacher or system.







Gregory Rogalsky



Director of Rogalsky Combatives International



I agree with you. But those decicions belong outside the school. When you are a student, you are just a student and do what you are told when you are told and the way you are told, else you won't learn. When you are a master, you have freedom to move on your own.



I don't dare to guess what would Ô-Sensei would want us to do beyond what he already told us through Aikidô. I have a limited understanding of what Ô-Sensei wanted. I need the guidance of his direct students, and of their students to further my understanding of what Ô-Sensei meant. That's why I study and do as I am told. Of course, gicing my physical limitations (height, flexibility, strength, speed, perception, etc...) I do waza in a particular way, which is the product of my understanding of the waza I have been taught. As my understanding is still limited, I keep on training, and going to stages, to meet high ranking, experienced instructors under my reach. So I can learn more. And during the stages, I am a white belt again, and do waza as exactly as I am told as I can.



You can only full a cup when the cup is empty.



Specially of prejudices and pride. you can fool yourself with your cleverness: those silly instructors pass their lives doing things liek Ô-Sensei taught them instead of doing it their own way. Let's learn from the experience of our elders. Specially from the experience of the Founder. He made Aikidô for us so we could learn, to take it from where he left it. But we have first to reach the level where he left it.



I'm still going towards that point. Then, we'll see.



respectfully



David S. de Lis

Excalibor
17th September 2001, 23:09
Mr. Tisdale,




Originally posted by Ron Tisdale

Mr S. De Lis,





I like your analogy, but I'm afraid aikido doesn't quite fit the ryu idiom. With that failure, all the rest of the pretty words mean nothing (in terms of aikido).



I know Aikidô doesn't exactly fit the ryű model. I think this is, in part, due to the great amount of non-japanese students from the very early stages of Aikidô life.Western education is different from japanese methods. We tend to be more changelling, more inquiring. We tend to search for intelectual understanding, while japanese tend to look for instinctive learning through pattern practice (not only in bugei, litherature, calligraphy, cha-no-yu, etc...). Political limitations for the teaching of Aikidô and a great independence from Honbu have moved many shihan to act independently (USAF, and other hundreds of little groups.) There is a calculated base of Aikidô students in Spain of about 10,000-15,000 people, of those about 1,000-1,5000 yűdansha. There are, at least, 7 different associations aside the FEJYDA, which is the Jűdô and Associated Federation, part of the Superior Council of Sports, the representative organism in the Olympic Committe, which is the link with the IAF and Aikikai.



I won't give names, but except 1 group (and it's not mine), which has a somewhat independent history of its own, all the rest of the groups are split-offs based on personal or political issues only. Is this any good for Aikidô in Spain. No, we are, as we say in here, "four monkeys" and we even do the berk.... Result: we all loose. The map of Aikidô in Spain is so complex, it would give you the thrills if you compare it with USA.



Kodokan Jűdô has managed to maintain (mainly) one lineage of Jűdô since Dai Sensei Jigoro Kano's times. Many changes in Jűdô, yes, sportish degeneration, maybe. But one line. Because Jűdô was well seated in Japan before its expasion throughout the world.



Is Jűdô following the koryű system? Certainly not. But it's still a good rule of thumb.



I am not inflexible, it's just a general guide for understanding the whole jungle. There are many exceptions. OK. Anyway I think it's a good general rule.




There are quite a few people on this board who started with aikido and then went on to true classical arts (which do follow the process you described), and I don't think any of them believe that aikido would fall in that (classical) category. Great posts though, and good reading.





Ron Tisdale



Yes, I know, I have electronically met some of them years ago, and I would really love if some of them would join us and provide some perspective.



Aikidô is not a koryű and it doesn't follow its structure. But we do have a clear lineage from the Founder up to nowadays, and there are well documented branches from this lineage. Everything else is not 100% Aikidô. It may be good, and many probably are really good. But they are not Ô-Sensei's Aikidô.



Of course, again, I may be wrong, or I may be too restrictive. But I have been told this not only in Aikidô, but in Shôtokai Karate-dô, ShitôRyű Karate and other Budô (and all koryű, of course). Fidelity and loyalty to a tradition is a martial value, as well, and being able to pass it down is a virtue and a honor you are entrusted by a whole tradition.



I find this very difficult to express. Thus I better stop here, I hope my sentiments are clear. I do think I am being coherent, and that's a step towards a valid methodology, in this case, of genealogical validity. I cannot do more.



Thanks for your kind words, despite my stubborness, I am learning a lot of things from this thread, and I really appreciate your comments. :smilejapa



respectfully submitted,



David S. de Lis

Dennis Hooker
18th September 2001, 17:29
Aikido is what it is because of M Ueshiba Sensei, and according to him it changed as it changed him everyday even until his death. The legacy he left to his last students is the culmination of his art and it is called Aikido. Those Students that went their own way at various stages of his life call the art they taught, and teach, whatever M. Usehiba Sensei was calling his art at the time. Aikido has both a spiritual and a philosophical side no matter how obtuse and obscure some may believe it to be. It has been my experience that most of these self appointed style makers use whatever name will gain them the most bucks regardless of the contradiction or incongruities that exist with their personally styled idiom. I don’t need some young people to tell me how hard-hitting Ueshiba Sesnei was in his 50’s and that’s why they seek to be bad asses. He was one of a kind in his time, and other one of a kind teachers sent some of their best students to train with him. These best of the best formed their own budo based on previous teaching and Ueshiba Sensei’s teachings at the time. His Aikido stew was only 2/3 cooked at that time. Aikido is defined by the Ueshiba family and the dedicated surviving Shihans that were his students. If it is one of these surviving Shihan, or a member of the Ueshiba making this clam then I will give it serious consideration. Baring that, I consider it just another use of a popular name to bring in students. Why not call it after who ever is the main fellow. If it really has substance it will grow. If not it will die.

Dennis Hooker
6dan ASU,
Member IAF
www.shindai.com

Excalibor
20th September 2001, 22:10
Sensei Hooker,



Thank you for your reply.



Obviously we have the same opinion on this subject...



:smilejapa



in gasshô,



Davis S. de Lis

FEJYDA Aikidô Dept. IAF Spain

INFINOO
21st September 2001, 03:41
Dennis Hooker: I was just wondering if the statement about the self appointed style makers using what ever name will gain them the most bucks regardless of the contradiction or incongruities that exist with their personally styled idiom is referring to the makers of these vidio's at the beginning of the thread or all of us self stlye bandits in general :D
One thing that you might consider is the Aikido systems on the outside of the so called "legitimate branch" are free to experiment, break new ground without having to answer to "the powers that be". Some fish are born to swim againts the stream.

Gregory Rogalsky
Director of Rogalsky Combatives International
and Aikido Renagade.

Aikieagle
26th September 2001, 16:44
Though I believe there are people who would appoint themselves to a higher standard of power than they really are, i would agree that most of these people do break new ground and spread their experience in Aikido. We have to remember Osensei did the SAME thing that these people are doing. If we think of these people as non-legitimate, we would have to consider o-sensei's MA non-legitimate as well. If leaving your teacher to discover something new is bad, then i d/k what all this phil. and spiritual crap is for! How can we call ourselves students of o-sensei if none of have the same beliefs that he did?? We cant, according to some people's theories. if being wrong is not being the same as the founder, then we are all wrong. This is the kind of pessimistic view that will keep aikido from growing. How can you tell those students who have trained their whole lives that what they are doing is illegitimate? how dare us to think that way! Most of these students got their blessings from the founder, and that should be enough for us! Example, Koichi Tohei, the ONLY students to be given 10th dan and was appointed head of the aikikai. But he was nice enough to give it to the founders son! We tend to forget about that. if it was fit for the founder, then why go against his decision? he could have easily discredited them, but he didnt. and that has to say something.
Why do we do this to each other? B/c one group decides to leave, and we take it personal. Then we begin to criticize them, then we discredit them. How would you feel if someone came in and said your aikido is crap? i bet most of us would convince ourselves that the other person is wrong and doesnt know what he is talking about. but reality is, we all suck. there will always be someone that will think that we are bad. So my view is, let it go! Let people practice the way they want to, and let them enjoy it. the concept of Aikido existed long before o-sensei, and it will continue long after his death. so why dwell on it? move on. Adapt, isnt that what we all do in aikido? or are we just training for nothing? being stubborn and ignorant is what keeps most of us from understanding and from good relationships. Relax.....keep one point.....

Cesar

ranZ
1st October 2001, 15:58
hi all, i'm new here. .:wave:

reading all of the above, i would have to say i agree with Cesar.

Besides, wouldn't it be weird if the Aikido Standing Accession/Sakurai Ryu Aikido were called the Sakuraido or something but basicly has the same moves, same techniques, same lingo as aikido?

I suppose there has to some major difference between Daito-Ryu Aikijutsu and Aikido, hence O-sensei used a new term for his teachings.