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Thread: Aiki as a concept- why all the fuss?

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    Default Aiki as a concept- why all the fuss?

    Aiki is not owned by an art form, neither is internal power and all its related concepts. Aiki is an old concept. Internal strength as well. Both are discussed and outlined in Koryu.

    In recent discussions of aiki, both here and on other forums much has been stated about qualifications of those in various arts being able to judge what aiki is or not according to those specific art forms.

    E-budo history
    1.Traditionalists in Daito ryu
    We have a small number of low level members (not deeply initiated in anything, nor representatives) saying aiki is one thing in DR.
    2. Traditionalists in Aikido We have (G1) stating that Aikido aiki has nothing to do with Daito ryu aiki.
    3. Split off traditionalists
    a. We have a member of two Daito ryu groups who trained and reached teaching approval who out rank the men in the prior group who states that one of their groups shihan didn't have aiki! He went to internal training and it is his opinion that IP and IP related aiki is essential to DR aiki. Although he openly states DR aiki application is different.
    b. Interestingly a senior from (G1) told another member of (G1) that Daito ryu doesn't own aiki and one of their own shihan and senior teachers went outside of their art to learn aiki from another related art.
    c. A shihan from another DR art went outside of their art to train somewhere else to get aiki.
    d. Two students from Sagawa went to a taiji ICMA master in their own words...to get aiki. One of whom publicly stated when asked that the ICMA guy had better skills and more power than Sagawa at a seminar in Taiwan.
    4. Non traditionalists
    We have the IP crowd stating that what drives Aikido and Daito ryu aiki is the same essential elements in the ICMA arts-although the use is different.

    Contentions
    6.
    a. Traditionalists (G1.) states Non tradionalists (G4) have no qualifications to say what DR aiki even is... and their opinion is void because they have not trained enough in those arts (even though they themselves by their own standard are not yet qualified to even say that).
    b. Traditionalists (G1.) state Aikido-ka (G2) don't know Daito ryu aiki- even though they (G1) themselves have not attained Shihan level in Aikido (G2).
    b. Logical analysis follows that Traditionalists (G1) have no deep initiation into Non traditionalists (G4) methods and what they are doing nor can they exhibit those skills. They have no deep initiation into Aikido (G2) Therefore their own opinion of Non traditionalists (G4) and Aikido (G2) methods are void and not open for discussion from them as well. Their own standards leave them unqualified.

    Stalemate!
    Blah blah blah....who cares anymore.
    I am uninterested in discussing the arguable ownership of something they themselves refuse to define and discuss. Or what some mid-level guys think of aiki. Let them have their art and their own corner.
    ___________________________________________________________

    Changing directions
    I am interested in what someone can do.
    There is a way to practice aiki without contacting with someone else's center, or using sticky hand waza or muscle cramping and locking people on the mat, launching men to a standing position from seiza- including 6'5" Iwama guys- or giving velocity concussion from aiki age, blah, blah. I walked away from that kata oriented stuff years ago for other things. I have never met anyone since, in any aiki arts, teacher or otherwise who's aiki will work on me, yet my aiki works on them.
    So...Let's say my aiki is neither Daito ryu aiki or Aikido aiki...and I am incredibly happy about that.

    How is that possible? Aiki as yin and yang (in yo ho) from the hara...out.
    1. No ukemi, and training in what is essential to aiki..internal strength as its base. The marked ability TO NOT CONNECT TO SOMEONE ELSE'S CENTER, retain my center against anyone's access to it, hence their aiki simply hitting a wall and failing 100% of the time.
    This enhanced dynamic stability in freestyle at this level...has never been displayed... in any Daito ryu teacher I have seen, touched, or know about. It was in a small part in two and that is it. Ueshiba displayed it as well.
    2. Aiki as a name
    I really don't care what the detractors call it. They quite literally man after man, simply cannot stand up against it. And 98% (not all) return to train it.

    We should support the traditional arts. All koryu were once gendai. Many traditional arts were started by men of vision....not deeply initiated into anything. We should also support the innovators.
    Dan

    *Note to moderators*

    There is no need for personal insults, discussions of marketing (particularly from stylists here who's own teachers trademarked names and sold books and videos and host seminars and make adds in magazines and appear on television. Let's see discussion of content.
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 11th June 2014 at 19:36.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    Aiki is not owned by an art form, neither is internal power and all its related concepts. Aiki is an old concept. Internal strength as well. Both are discussed and outlined in Koryu.
    I am glad you are choosing to split the terms here.

    In what Koryu is Aiki discussed and outlined? I don't believe it is used to reference the same thing, and that makes a big problem for you, Dan.

    I have to agree with you on the matter of Internal Power, because that's a fine definition for what is manifested in many lines of Chinese civilian self-defense and "virtue cultivation" systems. Ellis Amdur has written about how knowledge of this type of power made its way into some Japanese ryuha. I don't believe he made a strong case for training methods being transmitted, though. That could mean that there was hands-on transmission that survives to this day, or it could mean that the internal power training of these Japanese systems (the antecedents of Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Ryu, if I recall correctly) are entirely different things that may happen to look the same or result in the same types of ability.

    But at the end of the day that says to me that Internal Power is not a single thing, but is a general category of ability that can be trained in different ways, and can certainly manifest in different ways. It is kind of a pity that we can't have a discussion about what the various types of Internal Power are and what they are like, but these things tend to be traditionally not open topics for discussion. And of course there is a group of people who insist, with zeal, that they are all in fact the same thing, so pretty much nails in the coffin for that discussion.

    Aiki on the other hand. I have heard that this term exists in the Kashima Shin ryu tradition, but have no idea what it means to them or whether it is anything similar to the Aiki of Aikido and Daito ryu. I believe Toda ha Buko ryu has a concept of Aiki, and I don't recall what it means in that system but I do recall hearing that it means nothing like Aiki as used in Aikido.

    Dr. David Hall's Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts states that the term was not often used before the turn of the 20th century when it emerges as a kind of mystified and mysterious concept. The ancient ways of the warrior that we cannot understand today as it were. I don't have my copy of the book with me but I can quote it later if the thread goes anywhere productive.

    I haven't seen anything really compelling that Aiki was something that was taught or demonstrated as a manifest ability before Sokaku Takeda.

    And that means that Daito ryu and Aikido really do own Aiki. You cannot in good faith talk about it outside of the context of those arts. You certainly cannot in good faith teach it, and it is in even worse faith to claim to teach it while teaching something else entirely. if you do so you are appropriating a term that is not yours to use.

    It is a fair argument to make that Aikido did this to Daito ryu. I think if you have a lineage - you can name your teacher's names and talk about what you were taught - then your own body of research and training can be represented as Aiki - because it was given to you and it's yours. But the Aikikai intentionally obfuscated the lines of transmission from Daito ryu, That's problematic. But it does not make it okay for someone to teach taiji to Aikido people and call it Aiki just because.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post

    *Note to moderators*

    There is no need for personal insults, discussions of marketing (particularly from stylists here who's own teachers trademarked names and sold books and videos and host seminars and make adds in magazines and appear on television. Let's see discussion of content.
    You could have framed your post as a conversatrion starter, you know. "I think this, based on this. What do you other folks think?"
    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 12th June 2014 at 19:22. Reason: Removal of off-point material

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    Folks,
    A reminder to please refrain from personal criticisms and inflammatory language. This goes for everyone. If you haven't read the E-Budo forum rules, please do so. If you have read them, please do so again.

    I do not want to have to close another thread due to escalation of hostilities.
    Stick to the subject matter itself, which is a good topic with many valid points to debate in a civil manner.

    Thank you.
    Cady Goldfield

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    The term and use of aiki is in several ryu I know of. Do you know when and where it appeared in the ones I am referring to? No...you don't. Aspects of what it takes to create internal strength and the ensuing aiki are there as well with references going back as early as the 1400's.

    I am uninterested in Daito ryu's attempts at trademarking the name of a concept...that they've never defined or demonstrated to be in anyway proprietary to them alone. It worked with the name Daito ryu and aikijujutsu in Japan but not with the term aiki. Why was that?

    As for Ueshiba? You don't know what transpired with any of Takeda's people. You don't even know the arts origins, or why the scrolls kept multiplying and changing. Other than hearsay and myth, you have no argument of origins, transmission oaths or kaiden being violated by virtually anyone in the art (as in a koryu) either. Therefore Ueshiba or anyone was free to do whatever their verbal agreements or understandings did or did not allow. If you or anyone else has evidence to the contrary it has yet to be seen. I know the process and what it means to take an oath in an art. Do you know of a DR branch that has keppan?

    The aspects of the debate are a bit ridiculous. I still cannot find factual basis for any particular side in this:
    1. (G1) claims, usually as low to mid level practitioners
    *That those outside Daito ryu do not know what you do....as aiki...
    *All while the group of you state repeatedly that you yourselves don't know what aiki really is because...
    *It is higher level learning requiring deep initiation.... that none of you as yet have.
    That is a pretty fair assessment of your argument.

    2.
    Popkin, with decades in as a (G1) is also in (G4) and he claims what we do in (G4) is DR aiki... just used differently.

    3. (G4) claims that you do not know what we do....as aiki. As an aside I find this even more absurd as we in (G4) openly state that what we in fact do....is not the same as in (G1) or (G2)'s...aiki. Personally, I am distinctly uninterested in DR aiki. If people want DR, I send people to DR, (usually Howard Popkin). Several of my people are his students.

    As for your proprietary claim of the term, Aiki? I reject it at face value.

    Dan
    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 12th June 2014 at 19:21. Reason: Removal of off-point material
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    The term and use of aiki is in several ryu I know of. Do you know when and where it appeared in the ones I am referring to? No...you don't. Aspects of what it takes to create internal strength and the ensuing aiki are there as well with references going back as early as the 1400's.
    What ryu are you talking about? The very first postulate of your whole argument here is that Aiki is a concept that has been passed along in different koryu.
    Last edited by P Goldsbury; 26th June 2014 at 22:40. Reason: Removal of off-point material.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    The term and use of aiki is in several ryu I know of. Do you know when and where it appeared in the ones I am referring to? No...you don't. Aspects of what it takes to create internal strength and the ensuing aiki are there as well with references going back as early as the 1400's.
    In an effort to continue this topic in a civilized direction I would love to hear about the ryu you mention and how they define and use "aiki." This seems like it could be a fruitful and interesting conversation.

    Best regards,
    Chris
    Christopher Covington

    Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
    Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu heiho

    All views expressed here are my own and don't necessarily represent the views of the arts I practice, the teachers and people I train with or any dojo I train in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kendoguy9 View Post
    In an effort to continue this topic in a civilized direction I would love to hear about the ryu you mention and how they define and use "aiki." This seems like it could be a fruitful and interesting conversation.
    Best regards,
    Chris
    Sure Chris
    Care to begin with both of your inner teachings?
    There will be no conversation.
    No one talks about DR's aiki.
    No one talks of their koryu.
    I'm not offering to sit here and explain what two Menkyo's revealed first hand of their use of aiki in their ryu and of others. Nor of a translated section of scroll nor translations of books. It was not my point. My point was that it is there and moreover the comparisons of:
    (G1)-(G4) reveal that the subject is stalemated by all hands.
    And...No one has even touched that point.
    I offered it for everyone to see how ridiculous the debate is...and the ensuing animosity over a concept no one can discuss by the standards you impose on everyone else....now applied to you.
    And I really don't care to discuss it from this point forward. It's a meaningless debate.
    Go train and have fun.
    Dan
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    [QUOTE=KendoGuy]
    Originally Posted by Kendoguy9

    In an effort to continue this topic in a civilized direction I would love to hear about the ryu you mention and how they define and use "aiki." This seems like it could be a fruitful and interesting conversation.
    Best regards,
    Chris[/UNQUOTE]


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    Sure Chris
    Care to begin with both of your inner teachings?
    There will be no conversation.
    No one talks about DR's aiki.
    No one talks of their koryu.
    I'm not offering to sit here and explain what two Menkyo's revealed first hand of their use of aiki in their ryu and of others. Nor of a translated section of scroll nor translations of books. It was not my point. My point was that it is there and moreover the comparisons of:
    (G1)-(G4) reveal that the subject is stale mated by all hands.
    And...No one has even touched that point.
    I offered it for everyone to see how ridiculous the debate is...and the ensuing animosity over a concept no one can discuss by the standards you impose on everyone else....now applied to you.
    And I really don't care to discuss it from this point forward. It's a meaningless debate.
    Go train and have fun.
    Dan
    I applaud Mr. Covington's attempt to salvage something from this discussion. The response, to the limited extent I understand it, seems less laudable.

    In fact, in honesty I didn't understand the initial post, too many inside baseball references. But it's clear to me that anyone that might think to try aiki or ki training or whatever would probably be put off it completely by the discourse of experts herein, as training in 'it' doesn't seem to add much if anything useful to the human condition.

    (Put differently, if you could completely master aiki, but were stricken down and bedridden for the rest of your life, unable to walk, would anyone still want to talk to you?)

    Anyhow, I have a theory that all the tempest in a teapot about aiki or whatever is mostly a modern construct, in that any number of people today that bother to train a bit probably have stronger balance / ki / integration / whatever, nearly all, if not all, of the ancients. And all of the results of that training can be explained in biomechanical terms, without resort to esoteric training or gods or anything else.

    But, in trying to justify the claim that this ability derives from ancient teachings, some people look well beyond what can be proven historically, going well beyond speculation.

    Looking at the past and trying to decipher who had what training and their understanding could be interesting, but I can't see what could be decisively proven. In his excellent Transmission column in Aikiweb (incidentally, pretty much derailed by one of this forum's members) Professor Goldsbury cited a number of early 1800's mentions of aiki in old schools, with the clear note that aiki is used with a different meaning. He and very few others go to source documents, yet a lot of talk about this and that being known to come from 'ancient times'.

    I've seen text mistranslated, or taken out of context, etc. Ofttimes, there's simply no way for anyone to know what was meant hundreds of years on, particularly if you can't read the ancient texts. And that is really hard, even difficult to explain how hard.

    Lance Gatling

    知る者は言わず
    言う者は知らず

    - 老子

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    2. [/B]Popkin, with decades in as a (G1) is also in (G4) and he claims what we do in (G4) is DR aiki... just used differently.

    Dan

    How could possibly a former G1 guy, who, by your own words, is a low level practionner, not deeply initiated in anything, nor representative of the faction of Daito-ryu he studies, suddenly be in a position to state that what you do is Daito-ryu aiki just used differently?

    If you do not know what it is (whatever the word you might choose to add) then you simply do not know what it is and thus you are not able to recognize or vouch for it. When you really strive for something you eventually never get, whatever the reason, it is only natural to go somewhere else and try to get it. Once you finally meet someone who possesses skills above the average level and who is willing to teach openly, then you tend to believe that you have finally found what you were looking for.
    Deception is one of Kenpo´s best technique.

    Väck ej björnen som sover


    Raphael Deutsch

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    [QUOTE=LGatling;501597
    I applaud Mr. Covington's attempt to salvage something from this mess. [/QUOTE]
    Really?
    Then lets see him start discussing aiki in either of his ryu's teachings?
    I'm all ears...............................(crickets)


    The inside baseball comment you made is appropriate:
    Generally, people in Koryu don't talk about their ryu to outsiders.
    I train with people from various Koryu, all in the same room on a regular basis. Try getting them to talk about their ryu.....crickets!
    Generally, There is NO CONVERSATION about their ryu. It's just the way it is. We have an old and friendly joke in a koryu. "You talk about koryu, you just don't talk about koryu."
    No harm no foul.
    Aiki:
    When it comes to aiki, the DR folks make claims of propriety on the word as a method. I have simply said "Okay. Support that claim."
    They can't for various reasons. One, is you would have to identify and expose it to discuss it. That is a non starter to any discussion hence, why neither Chris or anyone else is actually going to discuss anything of substance..

    An attorney (also a koryu member) once jokingly said about this topic. If we pressed this logic and I was on the other side, I would subpoena all your written records and depose all your staff and students to then compare it to others schools teachings in order to determine what is in the written and verbal record to establish any teachings that were indeed unique to your school. The process of which would fully expose your school's teachings.
    So...everyone is stuck.

    The rest of your post-while excellent points- discusses what most can't and or won't discuss in their ryu. There are specific and detailed training models and key words that have spanned centuries in the Asian arts for creating internal power and its associated effects in various ryu.
    I offered the comparisons of where people are in the debate to highlight the stalemate that everyone is in, myself included.
    Dan
    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raff View Post
    How could possibly a former G1 guy, who, by your own words, is a low level practionner, not deeply initiated in anything, nor representative of the faction of Daito-ryu he studies, suddenly be in a position to state that what you do is Daito-ryu aiki just used differently?
    The person I referred to is a teacher of Daito ryu. And other than a topic point to show the silliness of the debate, I don't care about that either.

    If you do not know what it is (whatever the word you might choose to add) then you simply do not know what it is and thus you are not able to recognize or vouch for it. When you really strive for something you eventually never get, whatever the reason, it is only natural to go somewhere else and try to get it. Once you finally meet someone who possesses skills above the average level and who is willing to teach openly, then you tend to believe that you have finally found what you were looking for.
    Personally, I don't care anymore. Of course many arts have secrets. Then, players go out and discover their arts secret was in another art, too. It's a twice told tale.

    There is no substantive debate over aiki that can be had on the net.
    Dan
    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Judge View Post

    Dr. David Hall's Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts states that the term was not often used before the turn of the 20th century when it emerges as a kind of mystified and mysterious concept. The ancient ways of the warrior that we cannot understand today as it were. I don't have my copy of the book with me but I can quote it later if the thread goes anywhere productive.
    I have a vested interest in making E-Budo threads productive and I have Dr Hall’s book in front of me. His discussion of aiki can be found on pp. 21-22. He makes three main points.

    1. He begins with a definition of Aiki.

    “Aiki essentially means harmony (or unity) of spirit and/or energy. However, this term has developed many shades of meaning over the years. In the area of combative behavior and performance, the Japanese martial concept of aiki is synchronicity of physical movements, breath, and/or spirit. This is characterized as one of the eight innate combative traits.” In support, Hall cites p. 62 of “Hayes, 1991,” but there is no such date in his bibliography. There are references to a nine-part article written by Richard Hayes and published between 1987 and 1994 in Hoplos: The Journal of the International Hoplology Society. Parts 6 and 7 were published in 1990 and 1992, but not in 1991, so we do not know from Hall’s reference to which part he is referring.

    Hall states that proponents of early martial traditions were familiar with aiki, but then states that the concepts of aiki, ki and kiai “took on a new vogue and their mystery was greatly inflated in the popular Japanese press.” He adds a bracket with a reference to two chapters in E J Harrison’s book, The Fighting Spirit of Japan, entitled “The Esoteric Aspects of Bujutsu.”Hall is referring to the 1955 edition of this work and the relevant pages are pp. 115 – 116, where he makes lengthy quotes from a discourse by Kunishige Nobuyuki, who was a bujutsu polymath, on the relationship between aiki and shin-ki-ki-itsu, the latter being a method for studying the former. He adds that one of the early texts on aiki, published in 1899, like Kunishige, made extraordinary claims for the powers of aiki.

    One of Hall’s sources seems to be Draeger’s discussion about "Essence, Aims and Techniques" in his chapter on Aikido in Modern Bujutsu and Budo. pp. 137 – 161. Hall quotes a definition of aiki that appears on p. 142 of this volume. (There is one mistake in the quotation and the reference, like that for the article by Richard Hayes, is not quite accurate. I have some grounds for thinking that this is due to sloppy editing.)

    2. Hall then discusses Daito-ryu and quotes Takeda Tokimune’s definition of aiki from the interview published in Stanley 1969 Pranin’s volume, entitled Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters. However, Dr Hall omits part of Tokimune’s definition. Pranin’s question was:

    “Could you explain in a little more detail about the concept of aiki?”

    Tokimune’s answer began as follows:

    Aiki is to pull when you are pushed, and to push when you are pulled. It is the spirit of slowness and speed, of harmonizing your movement with your opponent’s ki. Its opposite, kiai, is to push the limit, while aiki never resists.
    The term aiki has been used since ancient times and is not unique to Daito-ryu.” (Pranin, 1969, pp. 53-54.)

    Dr Hall concludes this section by noting the similarities between Tokumune’s discussion of aiki (as go no sen, compared with kiai as sen no sen) with the approach of Sasaki Kazunosuke, discussed in a 1991 article in the magazine Hiden Koryu Bujutsu.

    3. Dr Hall’s third point is a brief discussion of Morihei Ueshiba. According to Hall, Ueshiba “greatly refined the concept of aiki he studied in Daito-ryu. To him, aiki indicated a ‘creative life force’, the nature of which was ‘all-embracing love.’ In application this can mean completely controlling an aggressive opponent without harming him.”

    I do not think that Dr Hall’s discussion here is entirely satisfactory. I have in mind two points.

    First, he spends much time on discussing the ‘new vogue’ of discussions given by people like Kunishige, but he has very little to say about the aiki of ‘early martial traditions’. He traces the earliest discussion to 1899, but there is evidence that there were older texts and there is also the statement from Takeda Tokimune himself, that the term was used from ancient times and that the term is not unique to Daito-ryu. All this evidence needs to be weighed and seen for what it is.

    Secondly, it is not clear from his bibliography to what extent Dr Hall is acquainted with the published discourses of Morihei Ueshiba. In this connection, I think it is of great importance to study these in the original and then to compare the various translations made. I remember being taught the importance of this when I was studying the Greek Classics at Harvard. You need to establish a reliable text, which includes all the judgments made by those who produced the text, assuming that it was not the original author. Then you need to assess the various judgments made by those who translated the texts into various languages. There is a highly respectable Arabic tradition with Aristotle, for example.

    It is reasonably clear to me that Ueshiba takes an awful lot for granted in his discourses about aiki. He appears to assume a knowledge of Onisaburo Deguchi’s writings on Omoto doctrine and kotodama, for example, and also with the ancient Japanese myths recorded in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki.

    I also need to respond to your points about the Aikikai, but this will have to wait for another post. This is long enough as it is.

    Best wishes,

    PAG
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden View Post
    The person I referred to is a teacher of Daito ryu. And other than a topic point to show the silliness of the debate, I don't care about that either.


    Personally, I don't care anymore. Of course many arts have secrets. Then, players go out and discover their arts secret was in another art, too. It's a twice told tale.

    There is no substantive debate over aiki that can be had on the net.
    Dan
    That the person you refered to was a teacher of Daito-ryu is something that I had understood and especially because he is/was a teacher of Daito-ryu makes your exemple even more interesting.

    Let´s face the fact straight. I´m more than probably a member of your G1 classification in the sense that, while not being too stubborn, I have no special skills or knowledge about Aiki. I might have had some direct experience with the concept, but in all honnesty, I cannot decently make any claims of mastery of Aiki. That´s why I belong to G1.

    Let´s say that we meet on your next seminar in Germany and that you show me some skills, which I believe are above the average level and I´m not being ironic here, I still won´t be able to define that what you are doing is Aiki or not. All I would be able to say is that on this occasion, you proved that you had an advanced knowledge and that your skills proved to be far superior than mine.

    Back to the person you were refering to. You have stated that he used to belong for decades to the G1 in your classification. As I understand it, he was teaching nonetheless and he probably shown some of the skills which are characteristic of this very faction of Daito-ryu namely the skill to toss around people in a seemingly effortless way. At this point, was he teaching Aiki or was it something else? Did he know that he indeed belonged to G1?

    We might consider (and the argue) the following elements about Daito-ryu aiki:

    1. It never existed.
    2. It did exist but does not anymore.
    3. It still exists and is openly taught with almost nobody being able to grasp its very essence or to apply it freely in a non conventional physical confrontation.
    4. It still exists but its access is limited to some "happy few" and even tough it is still very hard to master.
    5. It still exists but you need to find out by yourself and, why not? even improve it.


    Around 1912, Ernest John Harrison, a British gentleman wrote a very fascinating book about Japan and japanese martial arts. The fighting spirit of Japan. May be it is safer to assume that the book was published in 1912 in London but that some of the experiences made by Harrison are actually a little bit older. Harrison spent 14 years in Japan starting from 1897. In Japan, Harrison took up the study of the Tenjin Shin´y o ryu before switching to Kodokan Judo. At the Kodokan, he met some legendary figures like Yokoyama Sakujiro and Mifune Kyuzo.

    In one chapter, the ninth, Harrison gives a remarkable account of a rather unknown master of the Shinden Isshin-ryu, Kunishige Nobuyuki. Kunishige stats with a lecture about martial arts and then gives a concrete demonstration. Kunishige approaches the concept of Aiki during his lecture and gives a definition which bears some common points with the Aiki we are currently talking about. Harrison states in his book that he met Kunishige during the Russo-japanese war, around 1904-05 then.

    We may safely assume that no one in 1912 in London or anywhere else in Europe had ever heard about Takeda Sokaku, Morihei Ueshiba nor about Aiki.

    I only have a copy of this book translated in italian, but if someone has the english version, I think that the content of this chapter might arouse some interesting comments.
    Deception is one of Kenpo´s best technique.

    Väck ej björnen som sover


    Raphael Deutsch

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    Hello Peter
    Establishing the text is of course going to leave out the written and verbal record where it mattered most; the teachings of aiki in extent ryu ha's various methods.

    It is much the same for internal power. Just consider one of the quotes from Ueshiba wherein he was mentioning a method (word for word, as outlined in Shinto ryu out of Katori Jingu from 1441) for power and stability and he said ".....This is taught orally."
    To strain the point; recently in one ryu a visiting Japanese Menkyo was asked about details of a certain aiki teaching method by western students within the ryu. To which he replied "This is reserved for the Japanese" even though another western Menkyo had outlined it years earlier. There are many examples of this sort of thing in the arts. Teachers are of course individual entities to do with what they will with the arts teachings.
    On the whole, in trying to establish text and context within ryu (where the information you are looking for are held) you are going to run head long into the admonition:
    "It's okay to talk about koryu
    Just don't talk about koryu."

    Aiki within the Daito RyuContrary to all the comments here
    Cliff Judge:
    ...In what Koryu is Aiki discussed and outlined? I don't believe it is used to reference the same thing, and that makes a big problem for you, Dan.
    ...I haven't seen anything really compelling that Aiki was something that was taught or demonstrated as a manifest ability before Sokaku Takeda.
    And that means that Daito ryu and Aikido really do own Aiki. You cannot in good faith talk about it outside of the context of those arts. You certainly cannot in good faith teach it, and it is in even worse faith to claim to teach it while teaching something else entirely. if you do so you are appropriating a term that is not yours to use.
    We have Takeda's Quote: The term aiki has been used since ancient times and is not unique to Daito-ryu.”
    And an often quoted public comment from the east coast representative of the Kodokai. "Daito ryu doesn't own aiki."
    We can temper that by saying various branches of the Daito ryu *do* have their own ideas of aiki. But this is no more, no less credible, than saying art X has its own version of aiki.
    Again to my original points over the debate:
    Who, has truly established any credible proprietary rights over the term as a method? No one. And no one...can, without all showing their hand, and examining the methods. I don't see how that can ever happen.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raff View Post
    Around 1912, Ernest John Harrison, a British gentleman wrote a very fascinating book about Japan and japanese martial arts. The fighting spirit of Japan. May be it is safer to assume that the book was published in 1912 in London but that some of the experiences made by Harrison are actually a little bit older. Harrison spent 14 years in Japan starting from 1897. In Japan, Harrison took up the study of the Tenjin Shin´y o ryu before switching to Kodokan Judo. At the Kodokan, he met some legendary figures like Yokoyama Sakujiro and Mifune Kyuzo.

    In one chapter, the ninth, Harrison gives a remarkable account of a rather unknown master of the Shinden Isshin-ryu, Kunishige Nobuyuki. Kunishige stats with a lecture about martial arts and then gives a concrete demonstration. Kunishige approaches the concept of Aiki during his lecture and gives a definition which bears some common points with the Aiki we are currently talking about. Harrison states in his book that he met Kunishige during the Russo-japanese war, around 1904-05 then.

    We may safely assume that no one in 1912 in London or anywhere else in Europe had ever heard about Takeda Sokaku, Morihei Ueshiba nor about Aiki.

    I only have a copy of this book translated in italian, but if someone has the english version, I think that the content of this chapter might arouse some interesting comments.
    Hello Raphael
    I was the first person I know of to discuss Mr. Harrisons mentioning of this on the old Aikido list server (actually Ellis and I argue over who noticed it first). It is mentioned here as well. Do a search on the AJJ forum.

    That the person you refered to was a teacher of Daito-ryu is something that I had understood and especially because he is/was a teacher of Daito-ryu makes your exemple even more interesting.

    Let´s face the fact straight. I´m more than probably a member of your G1 classification in the sense that, while not being too stubborn, I have no special skills or knowledge about Aiki. I might have had some direct experience with the concept, but in all honnesty, I cannot decently make any claims of mastery of Aiki. That´s why I belong to G1.

    Let´s say that we meet on your next seminar in Germany and that you show me some skills, which I believe are above the average level and I´m not being ironic here, I still won´t be able to define that what you are doing is Aiki or not. All I would be able to say is that on this occasion, you proved that you had an advanced knowledge and that your skills proved to be far superior than mine.

    Back to the person you were refering to. You have stated that he used to belong for decades to the G1 in your classification. As I understand it, he was teaching nonetheless and he probably shown some of the skills which are characteristic of this very faction of Daito-ryu namely the skill to toss around people in a seemingly effortless way. At this point, was he teaching Aiki or was it something else? Did he know that he indeed belonged to G1?

    We might consider (and the argue) the following elements about Daito-ryu aiki:

    1. It never existed.
    2. It did exist but does not anymore.
    3. It still exists and is openly taught with almost nobody being able to grasp its very essence or to apply it freely in a non conventional physical confrontation.
    4. It still exists but its access is limited to some "happy few" and even tough it is still very hard to master.
    5. It still exists but you need to find out by yourself and, why not? even improve it.
    That "person" is a close friend of mine. It really doesn't matter what his opinion is, others here will debate it to death. I don't care to discuss it either. I wanted to merely show how convoluted and pointless any argument is.
    Germany meeting
    I don't have any vested interest in proving anything to anyone about what they think aiki is, or what it is in this or that art. What I do is not relevant to the points I made about establishing proprietary ownership.
    Dan
    [url=www.bodyworkseminars.org][COLOR=#B22222][B]Ancient traditions * Modern Combatives[/B][/COLOR][B][/url] [/B][COLOR=#B22222][/COLOR]

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