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Thread: Aikido and ShorinjiKempo

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    Default Aikido and ShorinjiKempo

    Gassho!

    Following a suggestion by Tony Leith-sensei I hereby open up a cross-forum thread. (*drums rolling*) See the Aikido-forum for details.
    Before (and for a couple of months right after) starting Shorinji I practised (among other Budo) Aikido, too. I wasn't very advanced and my knowledge about it is fairly limited.
    I did have some trouble with confusing Aikido and Shorinji techniques at the time. This goes to show that, at least to some extent there are similarities between the two (or I'm just that stupid ). But it does, I think, also show that they're not identical. In fact my impression always was, that these similarities were rather outwardly and the principles behind the techniques were quite different.
    Starting with the philosophical approaches which are (arguably) in Aikido to restore the harmony between two or more persons, disturbed by the attack, whereas in ShorinjiKempo the focus lies on neutralizing the attack including, if necessary, physical harm to the attacker.
    Based on that the technical principles are also, imho, varying: Aikido techniques lean mostly on diverting the attacking force and guiding it into a safer direction, in most cases landing the attacker on the ground. If thus the attack has passed harmony has (at least temporarily) been restored, so no need for pins or additional strikes. In Shorinji on the other hand pain is a useful and therefore valid incentive for ceasing to attack someone. Applying is thus justified and as anyone here knows sometimes done to fair amounts. Whereas this will presumably not restore harmony it will certainly neutralize danger.
    The Aikido approach appears to be a bit more passive, with the effect of the technique largely determined by the force of the attack.
    This is, summed up, my understanding of the principle differences. Feel free to rip it apart.

    Kesshu,
    ______ Jan.
    Jan Lipsius
    少林寺拳法
    Shorinjikempo
    Humboldt University Berlin Branch

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Gandhi

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    I did Aikido for only 3 months so I have a veeeeery limited view. But at first I had a great teacher, who worked with what I knew from Shorinji Kempo and let me do what I knew, but in an Aikido way... if that makes sense?

    He left after 2 months because of work commitments and I hated the second teacher. Despite being able to do anything and being able to get my partners airborne (got in a little trouble for that, after training me and one of the blackbelts were messing around and teaching each other things :P) the guy would get us to just do the same 2 techniques over and over, tenchi nage (?) and something else. Then I started arguing about how he asked me to position my body left me open and vunerable etc and I decided to just go back to doing kendo

    I liked it alot, and the first teacher was great, in the end I did it for fun and some fitness really.

    What was that subset of Aikido that included strikes? That was starting to lean more towards what Shorinji Kempo is like.
    Leon Appleby (Tokyo Ouji)
    半ばは自己の幸せを、半ばは他人の幸せを
    SK Blog at http://www.leonjp.com

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    Do a lot of people cross-train in Aikido?

    I remember when I first came to university Aikido was what I wanted to do. But then I went to a few ShorinjiKempo classes and enjoyed the atmosphere more, so I stayed there until I gave it up in first year for getting drunker. Came back in 3rd year just cos I knew a bit of it already.

    But I've always thought about going to do Aikido at some point, I just want to wait until I've done my Shodan minimum (maybe Nidan).

    In the glasgow uni club a few years ago, for some strange reason, there were a lot of people who cross-trained in Muay-Thai.

    So are there any Kenshi out there who train in other MAs, and if so, what? what other MAs would people like to do?
    JC McCrae

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    Default Cross-training in general

    Gassho!

    I've done a lot of cross-training when I was a bit younger. That was mostly because I hadn't found the right thing yet and because at this university most styles have only one or two training sessions a week. After starting Shorinji all the other styles soon started to sort of drop away for me - because I didn't have the time anymore I told myself then. Now I think that I just had found the martial art that fit me best. And since I put more time and effort into Shorinji I did in fact have less time for the other styles.
    But to quote a former Sempai of mine: "Without having done anything else I can say for sure that Shorinji is the best martial art there is." This was said in fun, of course, but it's actually true: She had already found the art that suited her best = the best art, for her.
    I wouldn't totally discourage cross-training but I don't think it a very good idea to do it permanently. At least one should understand, imho, that feeling the need to do so probably means that one isn't getting everything one needs/wants from a martial art out of Shorinji.
    I think it's quite sensible to have a look into other styles from time to time - just out of curiosity. But I wouldn't call that cross-training: that would be more like doing several arts at the same time, with the same commitment and no intention to stop one soon.
    The most important reason for that is, next to the confusion mentioned in my first post, that I think the best way to really advance as a martial artist is to commit oneself as deeply as possible to one art. Adrian-sensei (Foster-Starr) who has a trained in many more martial arts than I and much more seriously has told us pretty much the same thing in Howa (correct me if I got that wrong, please).

    Kesshu,
    ______ Jan.
    Jan Lipsius
    少林寺拳法
    Shorinjikempo
    Humboldt University Berlin Branch

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Gandhi

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    Personally, I haven't done any cross-training. Before SK I did TKD as a teenager for a year, but left because it was far to travel and I didn't know what to do if someone came inside kicking/punching range. Having seen the TKD fights in the olympics I have no ambition to return: I know I shouldn't disparage other martial arts, but sitting side-on to your opponent in a horse-riding stance, arms hanging loosely at your sides in no discernible guard, head and body completely exposed is not really a guard I'm willing to try out in real life.

    Looking at the other MAs in the university, they all have turnoffs:
    Karate is all or mostly striking, like TKD, and too competitive;
    Judo is too grapply and wouldn't work well against multiple attackers unless you were phenomenal at it;
    Boxing is too competitive too, and in the UK doesn't have kicking (it does in France and some other countries);
    Muay thai is a bit more palatable, but all Goho - their most Juho-ey move is picking up your opponent and bodily throwing him to the floor. And it relies on bodily strength a bit too much.

    Aikido is the only one that seems to have a close technical relation to us; my impression of it is GoJu-style techniques applied to both Goho and Juho attacks. I'd like to cross-train in it, I suppose, as I think at a high enough level the two systems would unify in terms of fundamental principles (if that makes sense). I prefer SK because of the philosophical component, which I believe is our greatest asset, the techniques, and the people I meet through it (such as yourself, Jan!). I probably won't train in Aikido at all, and even if I did it wouldn't be until after I'm a Dan grade in SK. It's just that it's the only other MA that interests me.

    Of course, if it interferes with the "9th Dan by 2050" plan, it'll have to go out the window...
    JC McCrae

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    Default Aiki-Shorinji

    Gassho!

    Quote Originally Posted by jailess
    [...] Aikido is the only one that seems to have a close technical relation to us; my impression of it is GoJu-style techniques applied to both Goho and Juho attacks. I'd like to cross-train in it, I suppose, as I think at a high enough level the two systems would unify in terms of fundamental principles (if that makes sense). I prefer SK because of the philosophical component, which I believe is our greatest asset, the techniques, and the people I meet through it (such as yourself, Jan!). I probably won't train in Aikido at all, and even if I did it wouldn't be until after I'm a Dan grade in SK. It's just that it's the only other MA that interests me.

    Of course, if it interferes with the "9th Dan by 2050" plan, it'll have to go out the window...
    Gassho Jame!

    You are also a very nice person!
    In fact, the group of Kenshi here at the university are/were among the most important reasons for me to stay with Shorinji (if not the single most important one), especially in the beginning. I seem to vaguely recall Kaiso saying something about everything depending on the people, too.
    The philosophical aspects are in my experience what really makes ShorinjiKempo AND Aikido special. It is funny, but most Kenshi I know that (want to) practice in another martial art choose Aikido. I even recall a high-ranking Japanese sensei to answer the question which MA we should do if we ever moved somewhere where no Shorinji was available with "Aikido". And the head of the German federation, Wunderle-sensei, trained in Aikido for years (before someone approached him in a bar in Japan and asked if he ever heard of something called Shorinji Kempo, ... but that's another story ... ).
    I'd also like to know if "the fundamental principles" of these arts unify at a higher level...
    But with regards to my last post I suppose that getting to that level in Aikido might in fact interfere with certain plans of a certain Scottish Kenshi (I'm not naming anyone here, honestly).

    Kesshu,
    ______ Jan.
    Jan Lipsius
    少林寺拳法
    Shorinjikempo
    Humboldt University Berlin Branch

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Gandhi

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    The 9th-Dan Plan might have to be revised anyway, to make room for training at Hombu for 2 years to get Kongo Zen Priesthood status so I can open the first UK Doin. I'll have to look at the numbers again...

    So what was the story with Wunderle-sensei? private mail me if you don't want it on a public forum...

    PS You can come over to scotland and visit the Doin when it's established, if you like!
    JC McCrae

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    Default Wunderle-sensei, Scotland

    Gassho!

    Do I really have to wait so long to come over? Well, maybe I'll just devise a plan of my own that will include opening a Doin in Germany that has required visits of all Scotland Kenshi... or maybe not. *g*
    The story about Wunderle-sensei is pretty much what I wrote in my last post - that's how he first came to Shorinji. It's rather funny, seeing where he is now... life writes the most interesting stories (German proverb), I suppose. For a longer account it's better to ask Wunderle-sensei himself since I wasn't there, obviously (Objection, your honour, hearsay!).

    Kesshu,
    ______ Jan.
    Jan Lipsius
    少林寺拳法
    Shorinjikempo
    Humboldt University Berlin Branch

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Gandhi

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    Default argh, not cross training again..

    I say this only because there was an earlier flame war on this subject, admittedly largely because of Kimpatsu's helpful interventions (I happen to believe that martial arts have their own integrity which is ill served by 'mix and match' approaches, but Kimpatsu's hurling round of words like 'betrayal' wound me up, and I basically agreed with his substantive point).

    Jame referred to the fact that former members of the Glasgow club have either gone off to do Muay Thai or cross trained. Whatever this did for their abilities as fighters, it was immensely to the detriment of certainly the Glasgow Uni dojo, as for a time there were instructors who presented their instruction with 'and in a bout (i.e. a ring) what you would do is etc etc', and ran classes like Thai boxercise - the net result of which was that it turned off the people that wanted to do properly structured SK, and the people who wanted to do that kind of training perfectly sensibly ended up going to Muay thai classes.

    This experience has left me personally convinced that in the end if people of instructor grade cross train to any great extent then sooner or later chances are you won't have SK in any recogniseable form. Now, I think all martial arts/fighting sports have something to commend them, and it is certainly an arguable view that people should follow their own personal path wherever it takes them, but again my personal belief is that there are enough Thai/kickboxing clubs around and we might as well try to offer something unique and distinctive.

    What Jan said about the 'flavour' or feel of training being different in aikido despite the technical similarities/affinities with SK (far greater I would have thought than with TKD, karate, or Thai) is interesting. Regarding the concept of harmony, I did once hear Sensei Peter Moore say that in his view the aim of goho waza is not merely to apply force, but to induce an imbalance in an attacker. Certainly I don't think the aim of goho is to get into a toe to toe slugging match, or even an exchange of blows if you can possibly help it (hence the early introduction of kari ashi or 'reaping' techniques, and later prominence of goju ittai like uwa uke nage, kote nage etc).

    As to restoring 'harmony', it depends on your concept of harmony - if somebody attempts to impose their will on you by force or the threat of force, then in my view what restores moral harmony is whatever prevents them from doing so (my first instructor helpfully sugested that the practical application of juho waza would be greatly enhanced by hitting an assailant really hard in the head; this may not be the purist's view, but I must admit it's stuck with me as sage counsel)

    Tony Leith

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    Quote Originally Posted by jailess
    Do a lot of people cross-train in Aikido?

    I remember when I first came to university Aikido was what I wanted to do. But then I went to a few ShorinjiKempo classes and enjoyed the atmosphere more, so I stayed there until I gave it up in first year for getting drunker. Came back in 3rd year just cos I knew a bit of it already.

    But I've always thought about going to do Aikido at some point, I just want to wait until I've done my Shodan minimum (maybe Nidan).

    In the glasgow uni club a few years ago, for some strange reason, there were a lot of people who cross-trained in Muay-Thai.

    So are there any Kenshi out there who train in other MAs, and if so, what? what other MAs would people like to do?
    My branch peers and I talk a lot about this especially when there is a very well reknown Aikido Dojo near us called the Bond Street Dojo which was founded by Terry Dobson. It is my understanding that they practice a more harder style.

    Anyway our primary motivation for this is simply ukemi. This dojo actually has workshops on ukemi and this is one area that I have to say we are not very comfortable as a branch.
    Raul Rodriguez
    Shorinji Kempo New York City Branch

    http://www.ShorinjiKempoNYC.org

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    Default Instructors cross-training

    Gassho!
    Quote Originally Posted by tony leith
    [] This experience has left me personally convinced that in the end if people of instructor grade cross train to any great extent then sooner or later chances are you won't have SK in any recogniseable form. Now, I think all martial arts/fighting sports have something to commend them, and it is certainly an arguable view that people should follow their own personal path wherever it takes them, but again my personal belief is that there are enough Thai/kickboxing clubs around and we might as well try to offer something unique and distinctive.
    For this reasons (presumably) there is, I think a WSKO-rule that no ShorinjiKempo instructor (I think this applies from the level of Shibu-Cho) may cross-train in another style, at least not participate in tournaments or work as an instructor in that other style, too.

    Kesshu,
    ______ Jan.
    Jan Lipsius
    少林寺拳法
    Shorinjikempo
    Humboldt University Berlin Branch

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Gandhi

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    Default re ukemi waza

    Anyway our primary motivation for this is simply ukemi. This dojo actually has workshops on ukemi and this is one area that I have to say we are not very comfortable as a branch.
    From what I've seen (stress limited experience) aikido ukemi are executed in a quite different way from those in SK. There seemed to be more emphasis on using them simply 'on the mat', so for example the equivalent of mae ukemi didn't have the same insistence on cushioning the impact with the hands and arms before rolling to fuko gamae. Having tried ukemi a few times on concrete , I can attest it's a very different experience from even a sprung wooden floor never mind a mat, and PROTECTING THE HEAD AT ALL COSTS is paramount - even a grazing contact with the ground can be pretty bloody disorientating.

    Nage waza might well be a different story - I simply didn't attempt nage waza in the aikido context so have no idea of its level of similarity or otherwise to SK.

    Tony Leith

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    BMs can't teach other styles and remain as BMs, which seems a fair enough rule at that level. Cross training is OK. Besides, it's a free country (at least, the UK is).
    A-D-R-I-A-N (Space) S-I-M-P-S-O-N, just in case you need it spelled out, big brother.

    Whatever happened to deep throat?

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    I do agree with Tony's view that teaching of SK should remain untainted by whatever else the instructor knows. The whole 'in a bout' episode he refers to is entirely inappropriate, and frankly the perpetrators should have given more thought to their instruction before talking in that way, especially in the Glasgow club with its rather dark history. I think it would be perfectly fair for anyone in that class to pipe up and say "I'm never going to be in a bout". Pretty disgraceful, really.

    On the other hand, some of these guys may have started thinking that way because they perhaps feel that ring fighting is more 'real', or harder in some way. I won't waste time on why this is nonsense, as I'm sure you all know that already, and besides it makes for a very turgid and unattractive topic. The problem is if we go the other way and drive ourselves into the ivory tower of 'technique', when it all gets very academic, and frankly, not much practical use. Hard sparring, pad work and fitness have always been part of my training and will remain so. I feel I can include this type of training in my classes without effectively diluting the SK in any way - punch - kick combos are just as much a part of SK as they are of kickboxing etc.
    A-D-R-I-A-N (Space) S-I-M-P-S-O-N, just in case you need it spelled out, big brother.

    Whatever happened to deep throat?

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    Default Dark Glasgow

    Gassho!

    Dark history? What dark history?

    Kesshu,
    ______ Jan.
    Jan Lipsius
    少林寺拳法
    Shorinjikempo
    Humboldt University Berlin Branch

    "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Gandhi

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