Jump to content

I'm surprised there is not more discussion about aikido


Recommended Posts

I'm really surprised that there is not more discussion about aikido on this site. It's philosophy is pretty complimentary to the vegan life style...as a matter of fact it was vegans that first introduced me to the art- long before I was vegan. I'm not doggin' any other art, I just find it strange...any body here a practioner?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, my roommate davidtarrfoster takes aikido classes nearly everyday. He just returned from class tonight. He's not on the forum much, but he's a big part of our vegan community here in Portland.

 

I may check it out sometime. He keeps trying to get me to attend a class so I'll think about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use to be an Aikidoka (Aikido practitioner). Unfortunately, I can't afford to attend a dojo right now. But it is by far my favorite marital art. I love the philosophy, and even though I'm not currently training I try to live the principles of Aikido in my daily life.

 

veganmomma, do a Google search and your find lots of information on Aikido.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best books on aikido have few illustrations or pics, if any. I recommend "The Spitrit of Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba (son of the founder) and "Aikido and the New warrior" by Richard Heckler. Saotome Sensei has some good books with illstrations as does Yamada Sensei. The founder was a martial arts fanatic...legend has it that he mastered juijitsu in 3 months. Aikido is based largely on juijitsu movements, except he took out the offensive strikes and made it strictly defensive...there are no offensive moves and competition is strictly forbidden- that is why many underestimate the art. I always laugh when I hear stories of "some0ne's friend beating an 'Aikido master'" ---first of all there is only one master, and that was the founder and second of all, no real aikidoist would compete!

Edited by kalozojo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for websites...there's lots...aikido.com isn't too bad. I really hate to dog on other art forms, but...I would be cautious of sites that advocate competition yet still claim to be aikido. Many people have created their own "aikido schools" that include offensive strikes and competition. This is strictly against the founder's wishes. I have to admit there is always a great temptation to "show off" the art, especially to some arrogant jerk who wants to challenge your technique- but then again, that is why I like to train- to keep my own ego in check. In aikido, the only victory that matters is the one over yourself...called agatsu...I still work on that, I always lose that battle...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I tire of hitting stuff, and getting hit by stuff - that is, the stuff that boxing gloves are filled with - I may give aikido a try. I did a seminar with a sensei from Japan years and years ago and it blew me away. Aikido also involves weapons, specifically bo and katana, no? Or is that Aikibudo and something different?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, there are weapons. As a matter of fact alot of the throws are based on sword strikes.

You shouldn't wait, if you like the more physical stuff there are some (respected) aikido instructors who can be pretty brutal- but of course in a harmonious way! My instructor (he hated the term sensei) was such a man, but it was always loads of fun to train with him. He had a jiujitsu and wing chun (sp?) back ground and would not hesitate to use atemi (distraction blows). He worked us hard. Some schools are very "soft"- they are still respected and true to the founder- and some can be quite "hard" style and still be equally true to the teachings of O Sensei- it really is a matter of yours and your fellow aikidoka's preference. But it is really easy to get permanent and serious damage to your body if you go harder than you are prepared.

One of my happiest aikido memories is being upside down and being face to face with my instructor as he threw me...keep in mind, he was standing, I was completely upside down and we were face to face...it was almost slow motion...and when I hit the ground I was sure I would never get up again...but I jumped up immediately. Everyone thought it was funny because I was grinning ear to ear the whole time. Its a hard feeling to describe, but it is not uncommon to see everyone smiling in an aikido dojo as they are being thrown across the room...fun stuff...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aikido is based largely on juijitsu movements, except he took out the offensive strikes and made it strictly defensive...there are no offensive moves and competition is strictly forbidden- that is why many underestimate the art.

Right, Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba was a student of Sokaku Takeda, founder of Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu.

 

I'm not a fan of competitive styles myself, but I wouldn't disparage other martial arts for being competitive. In most cases, competition was introduced as a way to preserve the martial arts during times of suppression.

 

I studied under a school that, while now affiliated with the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, has roots in Koichi Tohei's Ki Society, arguably the "softest" branch of the Aikido family. I have also attended conferences with representatives of Aikido from "softest" to "hardest." In my experience atemi has always been an essential part of Aikido. However, the emphasis placed on atemi is different than other arts. The strikes are mostly a distraction or misdirection, and need not actually make contact with your uke (attacker). I also studied Hapkido (Hap is the Korean form of Ai), founded by Choi Yong Sul who was also a student of Sokaku Takeda and Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu. Hapkido is far more severe in its use of atemi.

 

The difference isn't in the technique, so much as the philosophy that guides the technique. In Aikido you are expected to use the minimum amount of force. Morihei Ueshiba talked about being one with the universe and believed that true Budo was a protective of all life. In this sense an Aikidoka is encourages to empathize with the attacker, to become one with that person. So the Aikidoka has a responsibility to not only to protect themself, but also a responsibility to protect the attacker.

 

Hapkido, like Aikido, is designed to neutralize an attack; it is a defensive art with no preemptive attacks. However, once attacked an Hapkido practitioner can and will do whatever is needed to not simply neutralize the attack but also eliminate the attacker. For instance, in the application of a technique you would use multiple strikes to vital areas of the attacker. And once the attacker was pinned on the ground a finishing blow would be applied to the attacker.

 

Both are defensive, noncompetitive art forms, but with Aikido you are responsible for the attacker as well as yourself and you use the least amount of force required. With Hapkido you're only responsible for yourself and should use any means available to ensure your own safety.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope I wasn't misunderstood...I understand the importance of competition, especially in the preservation of many martial arts. (The American Occupational forces banned many martial arts in Japan after WWII and making them competitive sports was the only way to save them) Though I would argue that the philosophy of non-competiton is a higher spiritual ideal...after all, as O Sensei states, all victories are fleeting and in the end we all lose to death...I think Ozzy said something similar in a Black Sabbath song, but I forget which one -I think on Volume 4-("Life's a game and we're all losers") Ah...the wisdom of martial arts and metal!!!

 

I did not know that Hapkido was so similar to aikido...very interesting.

 

My instructor was a big fan of atemi...really good stuff...my favorite was the elbow to the ribs as you applied sankyo...OUCH!...it got your attention right before your face hit the mat...double ouch!!...and it was so f*****g fun!!! Hard for someone to understand...but there is that moment of "purity" right before the pin sets in...hard to explain...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OH yeah...about being responsible for your opponent...O Sensei said that when throwing an opponent you should craddle him/her like a child and protect them while neutralizing them. The irony is that really, really good aikidoka can protect themselves AND their opponent in a confrontation...less experienced aikidoka tend to cause great physical harm to their opponents...like torn tendons, ligaments and broken joints! That is pretty impressive...it shows the superiority of compassion!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great thread! I'm even more interested in Aikido now. My problem is that as long as I work in the film biz, I don't have the time to attend classes with regularity. My kickboxing gym is open and has classes 7 days a week. It's great for training and it is fun. I'm sure it will be a good foundation and complement to build on.

 

I am moving away from the film biz and when I'm out, I'll have more time to study something like Aikido. I was also interested in Jujitsu, or the trendier BJJ, but I'm getting more into the Aikido idea. Thanks guys!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many years ago when I was looking to get involved in martial arts, I stumbled across "The Spirit of Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba...I just happened to open up to an awesome passage that just blew me away. I bought the book, finished it that night and searched for a school the next day. I would also suggest reading O Sensei's book "The Art of Peace"...a rebuttle to Sun Tzu's "Art of War"...after reading those two master pieces I think you will be hooked on aikido. I also think that having a background in other art forms can give you a greater appreciation for aikido...but it is WAY different in practice...some say it is more like yoga. That's another thing about aikido...both partners get benefits- the attacker (uke)gets the benefit of stretched tendons, jointsd and ligaments ; while the attackee (nage) learns the techniques...when I trained hardcore I became very limber. Uke also learns the benefit of break falls...for this reason (unlike other martial arts) one can practice at full speed without holding back. But both uke & nage have to be pretty good...if uke fails to take the proper break fall, he/she can literally have an arm or leg ripped from the body! Check out a demonstration on Youtube and see. Many criticize aikido for looking fake...its not...its just that both or doing their best to protect themselves! I had the great fortune of witnessing a demo by Tohei Sensei before he died (Akira, not the Ki society guy...Akira Tohei was head of the Midwest Aikido Federation and direct student of the founder) He was in his 70s and took on 10 men (mostly in their 30s and in their prime of youth) It was amazing!!! Very fluid and like a tiny tornado!!! The 10 were out of breath after about 5 minutes but he retained his composure...AMAZING!!!!!

Edited by kalozojo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah. I don't have much to add. Kalozojo pretty much has it covered. What has struck me as so interesting about Aikido is that, depending on what is being studied on any given day, training session are so varied. A visitor to our dojo on one day might think Aikido is about spear fighting. A visitor on another day might think Aikido is about perfecting somersaults. But it all fits together in the sense that, among other things, Aikido is about educating the body.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All true (educating the body, etc...) I have to admit, I am getting back into aikido after a long hiatus...my body feels the difference, and I dare say my spirit has suffered during the break. There is definately something to the whole "harmonizing the ki" thing...and lets not forget that the founder thought it essential to exercise the mind...aikido is a big reason for me going back to school and now being a grad student! Mind-Spirit-Body...aikido addresses the whole being!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was my lineage when I was training.

 

Morihei Ueshiba

(Founder of Aikido)

----|_______________

----|-----------------------|

Koichi Tohei----------Kisshomaru Ueshiba

(10th dan)-----------(Doshu)

----|----____________|

----|---|

Fumio Toyoda

(6th dan)

----|

James Nakayama

(5th dan)

----|

Ronald Sims

(4th dan)

----|

Guest

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My lineage is a bit weird ...I'll explain...but it is essentially

O Sensei

l

Tohei Sensei (Akira)

l

Anthony Jonas (3rd Dan)

l

Me

(All USAF... and affiliated with Hombu Dojo, at the time Kisshomaru was doshu, but his son Moriteru (sp) has since taken over upon his father's death)

Why it is weird is this...My instructor Anthony was also instructed by a man named Rocky Izumi (also a student of Tohei I believe)but he tested before Tohei Sensei...and though Anthony was my instructor, we had to test before Tohei Sensei as well. Since I was in Texas and could not afford to fly to Chicago to test I had to wait for Tohei Sensei to come to Texas...he only did so 3 times while I was there, the first time was during my first week of practicing the art, the second time I still felt I was unprepared ( I had about 60 hrs, but was uncomfortable with some of my technique) and the third time...I couldn't make it to Austin where he was testing( though I will admit I was very scared to test in front of a direct disciple of the founder) Hence I am still 5th Kyu with several hundred hours of practice. I am very ashamed of that...A friend of mine, who I introduced to aikido, and I remember helping him when he was having trouble with techniques, is now 1st Kyu and preparing for his dan ranking...he never lets me forget that I left the art for so long.

Concerning the previous post...are you Ki Society? Was Koichi Tohei 10th dan? I thought only the doshu could give 10th dan and only upon death...do you know if that is true? Also, is Ki Society affiliated with Hombu Dojo? I thought it was an off shoot like Tomiki and others, though I know that sometimes Hombu welcomes back their "prodigal sons" who have left for a while and then wish to return...I think this is what happened with Saotome Sensei, though I may be wrong.

Edited by kalozojo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is your lineage? I know the west coast has some VERY respected senseis...Is/was ( I think he may be dead now) Chiba Sensei west coast? I heard a great story about him once...he is /was trully old school budo...the story I heard goes that he was in an airport and in true samarai fashion was traveling with his katana which had been handed down for generations ( this was long before 9/11- perhaps in the 60s or 70s) Security tried to tell him he had to check his sword...he refused...he ended up surrounded by security with guns drawn on him and he with his sword drawn in battle stance!!!! THAT IS OLD SCHOOL!!!!! I guess the situation was resolved and no harm done to any one...chalked up as an international/cultural misunderstanding...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Concerning the previous post...10th dan is reserved for the dead, and I may be mistaken, but I believe it can only be attained by special order of the Doshu. Of course, when you create your own school, you can excell to 100th dan if you so choose...I hate to sound like I'm talking ill of Koichi Tohei, but thats kinda what he did.

Actually, it was the Aikikai Hombu Dojo under Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba that gave Koichi Tohei the rank of 10th-Dan. So it makes little sense to fault Koichi Tohei, as if his promotion was an affront against that very institution and Doshu that awarded the rank at that time.

 

Also, Koichi Tohei was the chief instructor of the Hombu Dojo from the time of Morihei Ueshiba death in 1969 to 1974, when Koichi Tohei resigned. Koichi Tohei started the Ki Society in 1971, so it's not exactly like Koichi Tohei left the Hombu Dojo in order to start the Ki Society. There's a good amount of overlap in all these things, which means that whether one likes it or not Koichi Tohei is an important Aikido ancestor. Anyone who studied at the Hombu Dojo during the early '70s was a student of Koichi Tohei (this includes Akira Tohei, see below). This is why Fumio Toyoda was a student of both Koichi Tohei and Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

 

When Koichi Tohei left the Hombu Dojo, Fumio Toyoda did the honorable thing and followed his Sensei. Fumio Toyoda started the Aikido Association of America in Chicago (the same city to which Akira Tohei relocated). Under Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Fumio Toyoda and the Aikido Association of America re-established ties with the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. When I trained AAA it was an official Aikikai affiliate. All members of AAA are also members of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, and all ranks are held as valid with the Hombu Dojo.

 

Remember, Aikido as a way of life is not about competition and petty politics. Aikido is about peace and harmony. Resenting other Aikidoka is counter productive. We are all part of one big family. In fact, according to the Encyclopedia of Aikido, Akira Tohei was "first taught aikido by Koichi Tohei."

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow...I really wasn't speaking badly about Koichi...I was just trying to clarify my understanding. It is/was my understanding that 10th dan was reserved for the dead and could only be awarded by the doshu...as for Akira Tohei...this is his story according to him...at 17 he trained to be a kamikaze pilot, but the war ended before his mission...he met O Sensei and studied under him...that's also what his bio says at the Midwest Aikido Federation site.

I hope you didn't misunderstand my post, I don't think I said anything bad about Ki Society or Koichi Tohei...I only asked a few questions because I was unsure. I'll look again for the offending remarks...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh wow...I see what happened...I did write that, but if you check I took that post off after I reread it because I realized it was a bity inflammatory...I'm really sorry you saw that...You are absolutely right...please look back at the post I put in its place...

I have actually worked out with Gaku Homma at his dojo in Denver...its a great school and a bit unique...in order to attain dan ranking a certain amount of community service is required...kinda cool.

Again, I'm sorry you saw that post before I took it off...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I stand corrected...at first I asserted that Akira learned under O Sensei...this is true, but in fact while studying under O Sensei in 1946 he was under the direction of Koichi...( I am using first names for clarification...no disrespect intended)

It was never my intention to speak ill of any practitioner...

Did I mention that I still have big problems with agatsu?

Please forgive some of my "speaking before thinking" ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My ignorance on Koichi and the Ki Society prompted me to do some quick research...This what I found...

Koichi Tohei actually gained the rank of 10th dan from O Sensei, not his son Kisshomaru Doshu...O Sensei had a habit of issuing rank on a whim- especially when he saw someone of great potential-Gaku Homma discusses this.

While he was chief instructor at the time of O Sensei's death, he was never "in charge"...it automatically went to his son...Kisshomaru, just as upon his death it went to Morite Ueshiba- the current doshu.

Kisshomaru and other instructors disapproved of Koichi's teaching style, specifically his emphasis on Zen aspects. He left and wrote letters to dojos explaining his reasons and (I would suspect) asking them to join him.

I also discovered that Steven Segal is Ki Society aikido...I always assumed he was Tomiki aikido. This brings to light the petty politics that do go on in aikido...I have come across it many , many times... I heard a story about a new student asking (Akira) Tohei Sensei what he thought of Steven Segal's aikido...his response was "He good actor"- perhaps a reflection of on going strife between the schools...

Upon (Akira) Tohei's death there was/is alot of petty bickering over who would take over. There was a faction, perhaps including many at Hombu that wanted his wife to take over, but other traditionalists wanted a man. To this day there is no leader of Midwest Aikido Fed. My old school in Texas transferred to East Coast Fed. to avoid the drama( all are USAF).

Later, a new USAF instructor arrived in Texas, but I was warned not to train with him due to bad blood between his Sensei and another Sensei who will go un named- both were USAF, but there was some drama.

All of this drama is greatly dissappointing and made me realize that petty politics are everywhere...even in aikido...I try to steer clear...but know that it goes on...that way when you hear about it yourself, you won't become completely disheartened and leave the art...Despite the drama, they tend to work themselves out in a civil manner. As you have stated, The Ki Society is now recognized as are other "prodigal sons".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...