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Yamantaka
10th March 2001, 10:39
Dear Mr. Amdur,

I just received your book, sent me by our common friend, Diane Skoss Sensei. It's excellent and you deserve high credit for it.
Congratulations
Ubaldo Alcantara
ShinToKai DoJo de AiKiDo

Ellis Amdur
10th March 2001, 16:45
Mr. Alcantara -

You are welcome. I know you've been trying to get a copy of the book for quite some time. As you may have noticed, I've finally gotten the ability to take credit card payments myself (and was just about to notify you of the fact), but you beat me to it.

On another subject, I'm curious at the status of aikido in Brazil. You have a wonderful indigenous art in capoeira, submission grappling such as Brazilian jujitsu, luta livre, etc., and a quite strong network of judo dojos. In this environment, what draws people to aikido? I know this is a very general question, but essentially, I'm curious about the place of aikido in Brazilian society.

Ellis Amdur

Yamantaka
10th March 2001, 23:04
Originally posted by Ellis Amdur
Mr. Alcantara -

Please, call me Ubaldo!

On another subject, I'm curious at the status of aikido in Brazil. You have a wonderful indigenous art in capoeira, submission grappling such as Brazilian jujitsu, luta livre, etc., and a quite strong network of judo dojos. In this environment, what draws people to aikido? I know this is a very general question, but essentially, I'm curious about the place of aikido in Brazilian society.
Ellis Amdur

UBALDO : Interesting question. Aikido is much practice in my country and we have representatives from Iwama Ryu, aikikai, yoshinkai, Tomiki, ki-Aikido, Ten Chi Aikido and independent groups, like my son's dojo (Shintokai).
The largest groups are the Brazil Aikikai (linked to Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, of USAF); the Brazilian Confederation of Aikido Art (linked to Reishin Kawai Shihan); and the São Paulo Federation of Aikido (linked to Makoto Nishida Shihan and Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan).
I believe that gradually people are becoming disinterested of competitive gendai budo as judo and karate and Aikido's proposal of art for art's sake and non-competition is atracting more and more people. Also BJJ and Vale Tudo atracts coarse and rude people and that's bad propaganda. Aikido, on the other side, does not demand excessive training for competition and so is interesting to people who like to study and train for pleasure.
I think, also, that competitive gendai arts are simplified forms and, after some time, people get bored by the sheer repetition. When we brought William Gleason Sensei, of Boston and Welf Quade Sensei, of Hamburg (Germany) for seminars, people were astounded by the high level of their Aikido. We had mixed seminars (with the participation of aikidoka, judoka, karateka, taekwondoin, hapkidoin and Kung Fu practitioners) and they loved it! A Karate Godan said, in a TV interview that he felt like a child again, yearning to learn. Aikido seminars have also brought to Brazil excellent japanese masters, such as Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei, Masatake Fujita Sensei, Hiroshi Isoyama, Shigeru Kawabe, Nobuyoshi Tamura and many others.
That's just my opinion, for what is worth.
Thank for your interest and very best regards from
Ubaldo Alcantara
ShinToKai DoJo of AiKiDo

P.S. I translated a small part of your book and put in on my list, recommending it. I hope many people will buy it.

Usagi
11th March 2001, 18:11
As you've asked to Mr. Alcântara that includes me too :)

In Brazil (and in the rest of the world, i believe...) most people tend to discriminate martial artists in two kinds of stereotypes:

The fighter and the philosopher.

The fighter is the athlete. His interest is in the pratice and little does he care for anything that doesn't have direct pertinence to his "efficiency".

The philosopher is the "spiritual leader". His practice resembles more a dance than a martial art.

In Brazil i would dare to say that fighters are the vast majority, followed by philosophers (mostly practicioners of TaiChiChuan and AiKiDo).

Those who try to follow the ideal of BunBuRyoDo are the smallest minority.

Usually, people who want to train AiKiDo, here in Brazil, are persons who want to learn a "effective martial art" but don't want to get hurt during practice.

Most of these "aikidoka wanna be" had access to good education and are male over 17 years old.

They have previous experience in other martial arts and have learned about AiKiDo's existence through their former teachers or from books.

Many are yudansha from ShotoKan KaraTe and JuDo, who gave up competition and decided to try something new.

Brazilian aikidoka are profoundly attached to their teachers and organization and these leads to unpleasant political conflicts.

Anyway AiKiDo is very respected in the brazilian martial arts media.

I hope i gave some clues.

And in the U.S.? What draws people to aikido?

Best wishes

Renato Usagi

Joseph Svinth
11th March 2001, 18:35
Peter Boylan has suggested that many US aikido practitioners view training as spiritual practice.

http://ejmas.com/tin/tinart_boylan_0201.htm

Ellis Amdur
11th March 2001, 18:41
I deserve that, don't I. Brazil is what, the fifth, fourth, ??? biggest country in the world, and I ask what draws PEOPLE there to a martial art that most people haven't even heard of? So, in the spirit of fair play, let me speak for 250,000,000 Americans, most of whom have never heard of aikido.

Aikido seems to draw a lot of people who are looking to see "through" violence to something else. Yes, there are lots of people who are genuine fighters, there are a lot more who want to pretend to be fighters, there are many bliss-ninnies and aiki-bunnies and any other permutation of human character, but at core, I believe there is something about the movements of aikido, the way the reciprocal practice is structured with it's exchange between uke and nage, which hits many people deeply in a mysterious way. It is such a paradox! Technically, it is quite limited - deliberately - which forces people into a template of movement. This, by definition, makes it an art, as the skill is created within a frame. There is a psychological challenge in that one is working for conflict resolution while practicing throwing people down. There is an insecurity about whether it really "works," so that such an eminent and fine instructor as Isoyama sensei recently tells of trying to show an American serviceman wrestler that it does work, and taken to the ground, butts him in the face with his head (I'm not saying he was wrong in the circumstances - simply that this is a typical aikido story that illustrates the dilemna in a way I wouldn't expect to hear from a judoka or karateka).

I believe that aikido offers a lot of people the chance at experiencing something clean and pure - a PRACTICE of relationship which holds all the opposites - insecurity/confidence, aggression/peace, taking/giving, and metaphorically, at least, cuts a line right threw the oppositions. I'm not saying that people always or even most of the time can do this. But I think of Yasunori Kuwamori or Shirata Rinjiro, and see that aikido can be a vehicle to this end. Not enlightenment. Simply a clean line through life.

And that, perhaps rightly, perhaps not, is what I believe most people who got to aikido are, in essence, looking for.


Best

Ellis Amdur

Yamantaka
11th March 2001, 23:23
Originally posted by Yamantaka


UBALDO : Interesting question. Aikido is much practiced in my country and we have representatives from Iwama Ryu, aikikai, yoshinkai, Tomiki, ki-Aikido, Ten Chi Aikido and independent groups, like my son's dojo (Shintokai).
The largest groups are the Brazil Aikikai (linked to Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, of USAF); the Brazilian Confederation of Aikido Art (linked to Reishin Kawai Shihan); and the São Paulo Federation of Aikido (linked to Makoto Nishida Shihan and Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan).
I believe that gradually people are becoming disinterested of competitive gendai budo as judo and karate and Aikido's proposal of art for art's sake and non-competition is atracting more and more people. Also BJJ and Vale Tudo atracts coarse and rude people and that's bad propaganda. Aikido, on the other side, does not demand excessive training for competition and so is interesting to people who like to study and train for pleasure.
I think, also, that competitive gendai arts are simplified forms and, after some time, people get bored by the sheer repetition. When we brought William Gleason Sensei, of Boston and Welf Quade Sensei, of Hamburg (Germany) for seminars, people were astounded by the high level of their Aikido. We had mixed seminars (with the participation of aikidoka, judoka, karateka, taekwondoin, hapkidoin and Kung Fu practitioners) and they loved it! A Karate Godan said, in a TV interview that he felt like a child again, yearning to learn. Aikido seminars have also brought to Brazil excellent japanese masters, such as Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei, Masatake Fujita Sensei, Hiroshi Isoyama, Shigeru Kawabe, Nobuyoshi Tamura and many others.
That's just my opinion, for what is worth.
Thank for your interest and very best regards from
Ubaldo Alcantara
ShinToKai DoJo of AiKiDo

P.S. I translated a small part of your book and put in on my list, recommending it. I hope many people will buy it.