Likes Likes:  0
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 42

Thread: Review of John Stevensí 2003 East Coast Classical Aikido Seminar

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    California
    Posts
    172
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Ron,

    Your post confuses me a bit. You mention that Rinjiro Shirata's Aikido is what John Stevens refers to as classical Aikido, yet refer to Yoshinkan as something different. In a way. In your view, how is Rinjiro Shirata's and Gozo Shioda's Aikido different? I mean, they are both pre and post was students of O'Sensei and maintained their ties to O'Sensei and the Ueshiba family.

    Other that Shirta dabbling in the Omoto, I can't see how you can not define the Aikido of Shioda as classical.

    ~steven


    Originally posted by Ron Tisdale
    Steven Miranda sent me an email asking how I would differentiate between what is taught at the Yoshinkan and what Stevens Sensei is teaching...how one could be "classical" and the other "not". Here is my response.

    Hi Steven,

    You can post your question to the thread, and I'll post my answer as well. I believe the differences are on the one hand, not worth quibbling about, as the word classical could of course be used to define the aikido of Gozo Shioda (and some others). One of the definitions listed for classical at dictionary.com is:

    Standard and authoritative rather than new or experimental: classical methods of navigation.

    Another is:

    adj 1: (fine arts) of or characteristic of a form or system felt to be of first significance before modern times [ant: nonclassical] 2: of recognized authority or excellence; "the definitive work on Greece"; "classical methods of navigation" [syn: authoritative, definitive]

    I think both the traditions of Gozo Shioda and Rinjiro Shirata fit these definitions to at least some extent.

    For the first definition I've listed, John Stevens has spoken of the lack of form in some aikido today, and how its separation from the sword has indeed introduced "new methods", to make up for a lack of form. Some tout extensive cross-training in other arts (not necessarily a bad thing), some tout stronger attacks (again not a bad thing) to make up for this separation. The yoshinkan uses basic movements to reinforce the structure that good form gives to aikido. These are all good methods, in my opinion, and they serve the students of these organizations well. But the result today often seems to be something different from what Ueshiba and his "first line" of students often produced. There are notable exceptions here (as in anything) such as Mochizuki Sensei and Tomiki Sensei. But a strong arguement could be made that while the systems they produced definately fit under an umbrella of aikido, they definately added quite a bit of material from other places. I would say that the Yoshinkan fits this definition very well, except that the place of the sword in daily training seems to be (for the most part) relegated to a very low level.

    For the second definition, we see a demarkation between modern and something that preceeded it. Any of the prewar styles could definately lay claim to that. Here is where I (at least) see the crucial differences:

    a) The careful and explicit inclusion of the use of the sword in training, from day one.
    Here, we see that Ueshiba himself often refers to aikido coming from the sword. Classical aikido maintains this connection strongly, where few other prewar systems that I know of do. And when you do see systems such as Korindo Aikido and the aikido of Nishio Sensei and some others, what they are doing seems to be a bit different from the sword as Ueshiba Sensei practised it. Again, we see classical swordsmanship grafted onto the syllibus, rather than the sword of aikido (not that there's anything wrong with that...its just different). In my opinion, even though there are some individual teachers in the yoshinkan that do teach more sword than the hombu, there is still some question as to where those kata come from. And they do not recieve the same emphasis as the sword in the Classical Aikido I have seen.

    b) The depth of the link maintained to the Ueshiba family and the Aikikai.
    While the Yoshinkan has always maintained good relationships with the family and the Aikikai, there is still a separation. I don't think there can be any question about this...the Yoshinkan is a separate organization. Rinjiro Shirata and John Stevens are a part of the Aikikai. I believe that Rinjiro Shirata continued training with Ueshiba at least occationally after the Yoshinkan was formed. I'll bet Peter Goldsbury could comment on this point, since I'm going on guesswork here.

    c) The ongoing relationship with the spiritual practises, at least partially defined by the founders relationship with Omoto-kyo teachings.
    Again, I don't see how this could be debated...the Yoshinkan has gone to pretty fair lengths to divorce itself from this side of aikido (and frankly, I'm glad they did; having this option is of great benefit to potential aikidoka who don't want to participate in this side of things).

    So, based on these points, I do see a difference between Classical Aikido, and the training at the Yoshinkan. Not that one is better, and the other is worse. I will always practise Yoshinkan Aikido (I try not to abandon those that raised me). But I also believe that there is something very valuable in the aikido in other traditions...and specifically, in the traditions of Rinjiro Shirata. Again, I will continue to try to answer questions as best I can, but please understand that I am not the "spokesman", just an enthusiatic participant from several seminars.

    Ron

  2. #17
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Outside of Phila.
    Posts
    1,494
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default

    Sorry Steven, I posted the answer before the question!

    Did that help any?

    RT

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    California
    Posts
    172
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Originally posted by Ron Tisdale
    Sorry Steven, I posted the answer before the question!

    Did that help any?

    RT
    Ron,

    Thanks for your well thought out response.

  4. #19
    bruceb Guest

    Default What was that dance you were doing?

    You know, there will be point, and counter point as to where Aikido came from, how it was changed, how it will change, but one thing we all seem to agree upon, is that even with its 'safe practice' Aikido has great potential to cause great injury to people.

    I know this is like beating a dead horse the millionith time, but .... there should always be a depth of understanding available for Aikido that keeps it from being a dance, or a kata where the practitioner has no idea of the capacity is contained in those movements

    Maybe it can be taught without sword, or bo, or spear, or warrior techniques of fighting, but the depth of finding understanding or having the capacity to revert to that knowledge should always be available.

    I don't know about you, but my experiences and training from other arts, although brief, has been invaluable in understanding the depth of Aikido, and its capacity to be so much more than the safe everyday hand to hand practice most people get.

    Classical? That is something they did when your grandfather was a kid, right? If it hangs around long enough, and enough people like it, it becomes a classic.

    Well, maybe that is what John Stevens sensei is trying to say. This is how I got to where I am, and this is how you can get there too.

    Who knows what we do today will be 'Classic' in fifty years?

    Maybe I got a different impression, but I kind of thought that we were being given the opportunity to add these training methods to our practice ... no strings attached.

    If it is classic, I would say that it is magnanimously classic.

    Thank you, sensei Stevens.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Himeji, Japan
    Posts
    722
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Originally posted by Ron Tisdale
    Hey Peter, I just turned 42...and I'm not as slim as I used to be. Still enjoy a good tussle though! Maybe if I go easy on the beer, I can get back to my fighting weight, even if I don't fight so much anymore.
    I think Bruce had it pegged right - a bit of transference going on. Based on what you've written and how you write I had pictured you as a darker version of myself. Of course I am also 42 but in my minds eye I am far younger.

    The question of classical Aikido vs non-classical is the same as traditional vs. non-traditional. It basically is defined by who is speaking at the momemt. It's pretty clear that much of what I am being taught pre-dates the general trend in modern Aikido yet the latter is often refered to as Traditional whereas Tomiki is modern - go figure. If Stevens defines what he does as classical I would think that in the contect of what he knows that is exactly what it is and should be appreciated.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Outside of Phila.
    Posts
    1,494
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default

    darker, and with more hair on the sides of my head (but not on the top...) I guess I weigh about 186 or so now. Heaviest I've ever been in my life...I wrestled 135 in college just over 20 years ago. I'm telling you, its the beer!

    I have to admit, I've run into a few Iwama stylists that got down right uppity about the "traditional" aikido thing. I haven't met anyone like that yet in Stevens Sensei's group. Heck, I've been known in the past to be pretty snobby about the Yoshinkan thing...

    Grow and learn...


    RT

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Himeji, Japan
    Posts
    722
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Originally posted by Ron Tisdale I have to admit, I've run into a few Iwama stylists that got down right uppity about the "traditional" aikido thing. I haven't met anyone like that yet in Stevens Sensei's group. Heck, I've been known in the past to be pretty snobby about the Yoshinkan thing...[/B]
    Learnt a long time ago you can't argue with self-imposed labels.

    For discussion purposes I'll probe but if hackles rise I shrug and let go. Unless of course I'm feeling playful.

    Most people, I think ourselves included, need to define themselves. It gets ugly when its done to the detriment of others.

    A few days ago I went to a dojo in Athens. Ended up the class was split into two parts - first their stuff and then a little bit of mine. Absolutely no discussion about whose Aikido was more correct - no labels just lots of sweat. Mind you they moved very well so even if I was so inclined I couldn't fault them. Really nice time and the idea that its all Aikido was reinforced. Tomorrow I visit another dojo in Northern Greece.

  8. #23
    bruceb Guest

    Default Stop, I am feeling so oooold.

    Geez, I didn't even start Aikido until I was a month away from turning 44!

    I am feeling so old!

    You guys want to feel young and skinny, just look at me.

    Imagine if you knew nothing about Aikido right now and started your first lessons today?

    Decrepid old men that you are ... welcome to middle age guys.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Outside of Phila.
    Posts
    1,494
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default

    I promised some photos...here ya go...

    http://www.aikiweb.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=172



    Group photo of Sunday morning participants in the Summer '03 Classical Aikido seminar with John Stevens Sensei.

  10. #25
    bruceb Guest

    Default Here ya go ...

    I cleaned up the image, it was pretty faded out ..

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Ft. Laud., Fl.
    Posts
    605
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default Re: Here ya go ...

    Who's the 4th guy from the left in the back row. He looks familiar...

    Thanks.
    Don J. Modesto
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    ------------------------
    http://theaikidodojo.com/

  12. #27
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Outside of Phila.
    Posts
    1,494
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default

    You mean the guy in the beard? He lives in virginia, in a really low populated area. I forget his name just now...but his wife made a beautifull hand painted card for Stevens Sensei, and had us all sign it. I'll try to remember his name, he's a pretty cool guy, teaches out there in the woods, and was fun to train with. I think he enjoyed the seminar quite a bit.

    Ron

  13. #28
    bruceb Guest

    Default 2003 Stevens east coast photos

    I thought I would post a few photos to complete this thread. This way, anyone in the photos could steal them, or print them is they wish.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Ft. Laud., Fl.
    Posts
    605
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Originally posted by Ron Tisdale
    You mean the guy in the beard? He lives in virginia, in a really low populated area. I forget his name just now...
    Thanks, Ron. He looks just like a guy I know here in Florida (but I didn't think him peripatetic enough to make that seminar.)
    Don J. Modesto
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    ------------------------
    http://theaikidodojo.com/

  15. #30
    bruceb Guest

    Default Hey, how about more pictures...

    If there are any more pictures to be shared for the John Stevens 2003 tour, this might be a good time to put them up.

    Threads only last a short while, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

    I would certainly like to see some other pictures.

    Thanks.

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •