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Thread: Interview: Saito Morihiro (hanmi, hiotemi, exotic pins, & weapons)

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Scott View Post
    Thanks, good correction on the JSR origins. I keep overlooking the Matsumoto claim. If Kamiizumi is claimed as the 2nd generation, then I guess you could call it a split source. I've always viewed JSR as a brand of Shinkage-ryu, but the Matsumoto link is worth pointing out.
    One theory that I've heard suggested before revolves around the fact that Okuyama-- the third-generation headmaster of Jikishinkage Ryu-- was apparently one of Kamiizumi's earliest students. At the time that Okuyama studied under Kamiizumi, Kamiizumi might have been in a "Kashima phase," not yet having switched his emphasis back to Kage Ryu. Another possibility is that Okuyama himself came from a Kashima-oriented background and viewed his Shinkage Ryu training through a sort of Kashima lens. As you say, it ends up being something of a split source, with some Jikishinkage stuff being readily identifiable as Shinkage while other things seem to hail from Kashima (my opinion, of course-- those more knowledgeable may well disagree).


    I personally think that a good way to think about Kamiizumi is to compare him to Ueshiba in modern times. You have a martial artist who lived for a long time, was exposed to a lot of different stuff over the course of his career, and taught students of all different backgrounds according to their abilities. So a student of Ueshiba's might get something different based on when he studied with Ueshiba (the whole pre-war/post-war dynamic, etc.) or because he came to Ueshiba with a very different set of skills. After he got Ueshiba's teachings, he might take it in very different directions based on his own past-- think Tomiki and Mochizuki. Given that Kamiizumi had trained in most of the major sword lineages of his day-- Kage, Kashima, Katori, Nen, etc., and trained veteran swordsmen who had originally trained in a diverse collection of schools, it would be strange if the lines descended from Kamiizumi didn't reflect a rich diversity of influences.
    David Sims

    "Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum." - Terry Pratchet

    My opinion is, in all likelihood, worth exactly what you are paying for it.

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    I usually am not willing to participate in forums, but perhaps as the senior representative of Okabayashi Sensei in the States I should be more willing. Moreover, I have a bit of 'giri' to Mr. Amdur, since he gave me great advice in 2009 through a second party. And since this is his question, I am inclined to answer.

    (Thank you, Mr. Amdur -- your advice in '09 made great sense.)

    I will try to answer Mr. Amdur's questions to the best of my ability, from our persecutive. I can only comment on what we do and I make no comparisons to other branches of DR.

    1. Dait Ry is a very linear school of jjutsu. Hitoemi means to be in a body position where you are lined up parallel to the attacking line. The lead foot points forward and the knee, hips, and shoulders line up to where the foot is pointing. To line up properly, the back foot needs to open slightly toward the rear. It should be noted that this is a temporary position to avoid an attack, and is used to get into a position to apply a technique. Another point that makes this difficult is the alignment needs to be internal. Without the internal being aligned properly the external will not follow.

    2. In DR we try to hide our breath. Saito Sensei is right in that breathing is not clearly taught. It is one of those things that must be 'stolen' from your teacher, and or is slowly learned after gaining the trust of your teacher. This information is slowly leaked out. One possible reason for this is that if you can read someone's breathing you can take advantage of their timing. As an example, it is said that Sokaku would -- instead of matching his breath to an opponent's -- cause the opponent to match to his breath, and could therefore control the opponent much more easily.

    3. In Sg-bujutsu, whether they use a yari, bo, kotachi, jjutsu or other, they use consistent principles of body movement. Even though they use a different weapon system or empty hand the movements are under the umbrella of one school. Every school moves a little differently. If they all moved the same, they'd just be the same school with a different name. I think a good example is Kuroda Sensei. Watch how he moves in jujutsu, jute, jo, sword it's all the same. I submit that Dait Ry and Sokaku Den Itt Ry fall under this definition of sg-bujutsu. Can one be taught without the other? Yes. However, it is when you put the two together that it makes Aikibudo. Why Saito Sensei thought that Daito Ryu was without the theory of unity in sword is anyone's guess.

    4. Finally, as to the arcane waza, they are fun to do -- in the dojo -- aren't they? It is important as a DR practitioner not to get infatuated with this kind of technique, though. To do so leads to lack of practice of the basics, and without a solid foundation these kinds of body tie-up techinues will not work in the dojo, let alone on the street.

    Sincerely,
    Rod Uhler

  3. #48
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    Default A Takumakai beginners perspective

    I am certainly not an authority on the Takumakai but I am happy to share my perspective. I have practiced under a range of senior sensei so I can comment from a varied training experience within the Takumakai.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellis Amdur View Post
    1. The question of hanmi - I've been told that the Kodokai does not use hanmi as their baseline stance and that Horikawa stated it is because Daito-ryu has it's roots in gagaku (archaic dance). Is this even true of the Kodokai? Much less other Daito-ryu groups? I'm curious, because I do not particularly like hanmi because it twists the hip too far behind - as opposed to hitoemi where the twist is not so radical.
    2. I'm aware that DR practitioners would assert that aikidoka's kokyuho is lacking a clear differentiation of aikisage and aikiage. It's unclear what Saito meant here - perhaps an Iwama old-timer has an idea?
    3. The unity of weaponry - hmmm. Depends on the faction, doesn't it?
    4. I am curious about what DR practitioners think of the more "archane" elaborate waza - what IS their purpose?
    1. Hanmi as practiced in Aikikai is not a standard form/stance in the Daito-ryu I have practiced. No sensei have ever suggested to me that Daito-ryu has it's origins in gagaku. The turning of the hips and tanden offline (as it occurs in hanmi) is discouraged.
    2. Kokyuho is an aikido concept, however I have been taught the importance of breathing and the timing and control of breathing throughout technique. This is something that is not overtly taught at first but becomes more important with progress.
    3. In Takumakai there are many different Dojo with sensei of different views. Amatsu sensei does not teach weapons, nor does he believe they are directly relevant to teaching Aiki Jujutsu. Other teachers emphasize weapons to differing degree and teach them in conjunction with the aiki jujutsu waza.
    4. This is really a question of perspective - it depends which techniques you are talking about as well. I have had the experience of seeing complex waza within Takumakai and I wondered what on earth was going on and questioned the practicality (to myself). Then I have had the opportunity to feel and practice some of them. To have them performed on me was an eye opener as feeling these techniques is a revelation (often painful). To perform them well is exceptionally difficult and requires a high level of skill and demands a solid grounding in the fundamentals of DRAJ movement. They really are on a different level to 'standard' self defence techniques and are overtly a demonstration of mastery of range of principles. Having said that, I am aware of some complex waza that are purely for public demonstration to get the wow factor.

    I speak only from my limited experience from within a large and internally diverse branch of Daito-ryu. I am certain that there would be differing opinions about these questions within Daito-ryu as a whole.

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    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 14th June 2014 at 05:07.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    Grant - thank you for your very complete answer.
    Nathan - what a great photo match. The open-hip posture is what I was trying to say before getting myself side-tracked in my misunderstanding of the word <hitoemi>.

    Gagaku is fascinating, because, to the best of my understanding, it is the oldest extant movement system/dance, with roots in Silk Road: Korea, China, even further to Persia. And it does clearly have martial roots. Given that it was, as far was we know, unchanged, one could have incorporated technical criteria from their movements or training methods at any time in history.

    Here are a couple of examples:
    Bugaku #1

    Bugaku #2

    (P.S. - that music establishes that there is possibly a limit to our future ability to establish rapport with an alien culture from another planet. Even this is nearly as far from music as fingernails on a chalkboard. We will probably go to war the moment the Klingons bring out their instruments).

    Ellis

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    Being far from an expert, I have a novice question. Allow me to frames things out to the best of my limited knowledge. To start things off, correct me if am wrong, to my knowledge the stance is as old as martial arts. The formal pictures of the two gentlemen having an "open hips" stance is part of posing for a formal picture? Both men are almost identically in the same position with their hands tucked in their hakamas. This tells me the open stance is a common one, and not so special.

    I have noticed an open hip stance is very common as it exists in Karate, the Chinese arts, Kendo, western fencing and other ancient and modern martial arts in the world. And as pointed out used in ancient Japanese court music. The open hip stance is seen in the pose by Mr. Ueshibas portrait, is used by Mr. Ueshiba in many of his films besides other stances. If am correct so common is the stance in swordmanship of feudal Japan, Mr. Ueshiba or anyone else for that matter could have learn it, just through observation, and imitation as early as a child. So common this stance, it would reason everyone learned it and understood its technical value. Anyone could pick this stance anywhere, from learning combat, watching a duel, and to even in dance as was mentioned.

    In that frame, I hope I can put down my question in the right words. The open hip stance being a common stable stance in most all martial arts, then its technical value also would be common, universal? Wouldn't it make sense then the stance would be used everywhere by everyone in so many arts throughout history. Therefore, having this open hip stance being so universally known as to be a standard pose for formal photos wouldnt the stance be of little importance in terms of being a key element to an art? Wouldn't anything of value such great technical value be treated in reserve?

    Your indulgence is appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Canon View Post
    Being far from an expert, I have a novice question. Allow me to frames things out to the best of my limited knowledge. To start things off, correct me if am wrong, to my knowledge the stance is as old as martial arts. The formal pictures of the two gentlemen having an "open hips" stance is part of posing for a formal picture? Both men are almost identically in the same position with their hands tucked in their hakamas. This tells me the open stance is a common one, and not so special.

    I have noticed an open hip stance is very common as it exists in Karate, the Chinese arts, Kendo, western fencing and other ancient and modern martial arts in the world. And as pointed out used in ancient Japanese court music. The open hip stance is seen in the pose by Mr. Ueshibas portrait, is used by Mr. Ueshiba in many of his films besides other stances. If am correct so common is the stance in swordmanship of feudal Japan, Mr. Ueshiba or anyone else for that matter could have learn it, just through observation, and imitation as early as a child. So common this stance, it would reason everyone learned it and understood its technical value. Anyone could pick this stance anywhere, from learning combat, watching a duel, and to even in dance as was mentioned.

    In that frame, I hope I can put down my question in the right words. The open hip stance being a common stable stance in most all martial arts, then its technical value also would be common, universal? Wouldn't it make sense then the stance would be used everywhere by everyone in so many arts throughout history. Therefore, having this open hip stance being so universally known as to be a standard pose for formal photos wouldnt the stance be of little importance in terms of being a key element to an art? Wouldn't anything of value such great technical value be treated in reserve?

    Your indulgence is appreciated.
    The true nature of this stance is internal. Without knowing how to structure your body and why it is of little use to try and mimic it. It's the equivalent of watching a magic trick. Yes, you see it but you don't understand how it was done. Might seem silly because it is only a stance but not all is as it appears.

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    Mr. Piers,

    I sent you a PM some time ago regarding DRAJJ Kodokai in Houston, did you receive it?

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    Default Gagaku and Tibetan liturgical music...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellis Amdur View Post
    (P.S. - that music establishes that there is possibly a limit to our future ability to establish rapport with an alien culture from another planet. Even this is nearly as far from music as fingernails on a chalkboard. We will probably go to war the moment the Klingons bring out their instruments).
    Once you get past the overt dissonance (which can be painful to those of us trained in the western musical tradition) they can be rather... tolerable...ish (though as a friend who has been studying/performing Bugaku for a couple of decades says, "you never quite get used to it...")

    Be well,
    Jigme
    Jigme Chobang Daniels
    aoikoyamakan at gmail dot com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Noelck View Post
    The true nature of this stance is internal. Without knowing how to structure your body and why it is of little use to try and mimic it. It's the equivalent of watching a magic trick. Yes, you see it but you don't understand how it was done. Might seem silly because it is only a stance but not all is as it appears.
    Well said Mr. Noelck.

    I have been wanting to post some additional information for some time now. Where does the time go?

    Hitoemi- 一重身- literal translation- 'single ply body' or 'single layer body.'

    単身- a special reading- looks like it should say tanmi, but is actually read as hitoemi. literal translation- 'single body.' We use this term in Itto Ryu when referring to the body posture when holding a short sword (kotachi) against a long sword. (This writing is also used when referring to kimono.)

    Hanmi- 半身- 'half body.'

    I hope this is informative.

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    [Post deleted by user]
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 14th June 2014 at 05:07.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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