Aikido and Daito Ryu….

Spinedoc

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Some of you have likely seen this, others may have not. One of things we discuss in Aikido is how Daito Ryu was the parent art, but that Ueshiba O'Sensei modified the curriculum so that it is not recognizable as Daito Ryu…..or is it? This is a thread I found on another forum, where Mr. John Driscoll actually spent quite a bit of time looking at that…..Now, as a PhD researcher myself, I cringed when I saw him write correlation, but when you think of it in terms of similarity, it makes sense.

Correlation of Aikido and Daito-Ryu Waza - AikiWeb Aikido Forums

It showed that of the 118 Hiden Mokuroku techniques, 97 (or 82%) were also found in Aikido (Aikikai at least). The names may be different, but the techniques are virtually the same.

Thought this was interesting.

Mike
 

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Thanks for that reference Mike. Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised when you realise that Ueshiba was a fully accredited Daito Ryu master before he went out on his own. Obviously he had all the prerequisite knowledge. The other thing is, Ueshiba would demonstrate a technique but very rarely repeat it. You had to be very observant to pick it up and on top of that he didn't name the techniques he was teaching.

In our training we do lots of seemingly different, nameless techniques but when you break them down they normally link, in a technical sense, to one of the more recognisable techniques, another reason why we might think there are less techniques in Aikido than there actually are.

Very interesting read. :)
 
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Thanks for that reference Mike. Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised when you realise that Ueshiba was a fully accredited Daito Ryu master before he went out on his own. Obviously he had all the prerequisite knowledge. The other thing is, Ueshiba would demonstrate a technique but very rarely repeat it. You had to be very observant to pick it up and on top of that he didn't name the techniques he was teaching.

In our training we do lots of seemingly different, nameless techniques but when you break them down they normally link, in a technical sense, to one of the more recognisable techniques, another reason why we might think there are less techniques in Aikido than there actually are.

Very interesting read. :)

Of course you are referring to the 10,000 variations of kokyunage? LOL.
 

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That is very interesting thank you! :)

While it seems that DR / DRJJ and Aikido are dissimilar - at least in intent - still it is hard not to see the clear lineage in the flesh of them both.

To me Aikikai was never meant to be soft in the manner that many practitioners use that idea in their practice today. Fighting is not soft and nor is life soft and while Aikido is unlike other arts because it is not resistive, it is not (like its DR forebear) to be thought of as soft. I have found too many practitioners who misunderstand "soft" and so their Aikido is dysfunctional and cannot ever serve them fully when they require it. That is only my thought.
 

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That is very interesting thank you! :)

While it seems that DR / DRJJ and Aikido are dissimilar - at least in intent - still it is hard not to see the clear lineage in the flesh of them both.

To me Aikikai was never meant to be soft in the manner that many practitioners use that idea in their practice today. Fighting is not soft and nor is life soft and while Aikido is unlike other arts because it is not resistive, it is not (like its DR forebear) to be thought of as soft. I have found too many practitioners who misunderstand "soft" and so their Aikido is dysfunctional and cannot ever serve them fully when they require it. That is only my thought.
Hey! Welcome back. :)

I think there needs to be a distinction between 'soft' and 'weak'. Soft can be incredibly powerful and provides options. All the locks and holds provide the opportunity for limb destruction, many of the positions Uke finds himself in are beautifully set up for a knee to the head and many takedowns that we do softly could include a devastating strike if required. Aikido provides options that are just not possible with a purely striking art.

I do agree that a lot of Aikido is taught badly, but that could be said of a lot of other MAs as well.
 
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Yeah, there seems to be a lot of variance in Aikido, but that does not diminish the fact that Aikido can be very powerful. One of my teachers took Daito Ryu for 6 years before beginning Aikido, and my primary Sensei, while being Aikikai (USAF), is very influenced by Saito Sensei, so our dojo has a distinctly Iwama flavor to it much of the time. But, it varies.
 

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That is very interesting thank you! :)

While it seems that DR / DRJJ and Aikido are dissimilar - at least in intent - still it is hard not to see the clear lineage in the flesh of them both.

To me Aikikai was never meant to be soft in the manner that many practitioners use that idea in their practice today. Fighting is not soft and nor is life soft and while Aikido is unlike other arts because it is not resistive, it is not (like its DR forebear) to be thought of as soft. I have found too many practitioners who misunderstand "soft" and so their Aikido is dysfunctional and cannot ever serve them fully when they require it. That is only my thought.

There isn't much I'd want to add to the thread, but will take the time to say this publicly…

JENNA!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's all.
 

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Daito ryu perceived as hard I think yes?? And but Aikido is not its soft (weak) opposite surely? The lineage of the 118 is clear to see beyond the erroneous Aikido yes?

Also can I ask you please what you think.. I theorise soft and weak Aikido as I am sure you have felt on your travels the kind of Aikido that is the OPPOSITE to DR and not is successor, is it possible that this wrongminded Aikido is born of a fear of pain?? like, I must move BEFORE I feel pain. Do you think this is so?

And so then that being the case also WHY are people afraid of their own pain in the dojo? even the biggest baddest??

Is feeling pain not essential in Aikido practice because it not only begets more beneficial Aikido practice and but equally importantly permits compassion for the attacker in any real to life situation. This by me is true Aikido.. Pain.. What do you think?? Aikido is not just dancing around on mats it CAN BE a way to live.. the Aiki-DO and but only against a life that is NOT compliant and NOT soft.. For Aikido to work as a DO surely it is useless when it avoids pain?? What do you all think?? x
 

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Also can I ask you please what you think.. I theorise soft and weak Aikido as I am sure you have felt on your travels the kind of Aikido that is the OPPOSITE to DR and not is successor, is it possible that this wrongminded Aikido is born of a fear of pain?? like, I must move BEFORE I feel pain. Do you think this is so?
Perhaps here you are referring to ukemi. Now this could be thought of as rolling out of danger, or taking a dive. In many cases it is unfortunately the latter. In theory ukemi is the art of 'receiving' and part of that is rolling so you avoid the pressure being applied to a joint. I don't think it is from the fear of pain. Good ukemi is part of good Aikido. Taking a dive shows Aikido in a poor light.

And so then that being the case also WHY are people afraid of their own pain in the dojo? even the biggest baddest??
Perhaps we could look at the techniques that involve pain. Nikyo and sankyo spring to mind. Nikyo is more of a mechanical lock in practise but can applied with pain, sankyo is pure pain. But neither of these is the end of the technique. They transition into something else and give the opportunity to use the knee or strike. Now you have a choice. If you have reasonable skill you can prevent the technique being applied in the first place. Sometimes it can be resisted. In those cases your partner is just going to switch to another technique, perhaps even one that is more effective. However, if I am skilful enough I may be able to move with my opponent's technique to reverse it. Hence the art of receiving.

Is feeling pain not essential in Aikido practice because it not only begets more beneficial Aikido practice and but equally importantly permits compassion for the attacker in any real to life situation. This by me is true Aikido.. Pain.. What do you think?? Aikido is not just dancing around on mats it CAN BE a way to live.. the Aiki-DO and but only against a life that is NOT compliant and NOT soft.. For Aikido to work as a DO surely it is useless when it avoids pain?? What do you all think?? x
I'm not sure that pain is as big a part of Aikido as your post would imply. I think recognising that a joint is under threat is a more potent reason to tap. But, for me, Aikido is more about taking and controlling my opponent's centre or structure. We do very little rolling. A properly applied technique doesn't give the opportunity to roll. Your opponent just hits the deck ... which is why we train slowly and softly so not to injure. It is still incredibly powerful.
 

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K-Man yes agree! Please forgive me for not being clear I mean not ukemi no and but I mean instead the over compliant uke act of moving PRIOR to the kind of pain which MAKES him or her move. As you say K-Man "taking a dive" to move PRIOR to threshold of pain (maybe I had only trained with soft practitioners? In which case I am unlucky!) and but moving prior.. that is to be fearful of the pain because having had the technique applied on him many times previously uke already estimate what the pain will be even BEFORE anything has happened. We are saying the same thing here I think, yes?

Yes I like how you put it "the art of receiving", and by this well learned truth you mean to say that not only must uke be loose and pliant that he might receive with little damage AND BUT ALSO that Aikido is not merely about nage defense and but uke must also learn proper attack too yes? Aikido is attack within defense the yin and yang the uke resident in the nage and the nage resident in the uke.. This is what you imply no?? :)

And but I would just make an attempt at explaining my point if you forgive me.. where you say to train soft and slowly so as not to injure yes I understand this for beginning and but as a proficient in Aikido this is surely not the aim?? Nor is the shirking away from the pain??

You know the kind of Yoshinkan renowned of the Tokyo Met Police having that reputation for "hard" in similar vein to Daito Ryu.. those harsh arawaza-"type" procedures of the that Police force in both training and action.. Sorry my point is that within their Police training are concepts such as experiencing pain.. COPING with that pain not for its own sake and but IN ORDER TO SURMOUNT IT! Is that a worthwhile effort you would say?

I am Aikikai and which has not at all that reputation for hardness - quite the opposite in my experiences and so I wonder is there cause for embracing of that experiencing of pain into ALL Aiki practice and not running away from it by being compliant or throwing ONESELF on the mat to avoid it?? You cannot avoid life.. Not sure if it is making sense..

I imagine attitudes to the wars that Japan engaged must have tempered the hearts of Ueshiba, Shioda, Kenji Tomiki etc and precipitated the differing nature of the styles specifically I mean the diversity along the spectrum from DR / Yoshin kan --> Aikikai? Is that possible? Jx
 

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K-Man yes agree! Please forgive me for not being clear I mean not ukemi no and but I mean instead the over compliant uke act of moving PRIOR to the kind of pain which MAKES him or her move. As you say K-Man "taking a dive" to move PRIOR to threshold of pain (maybe I had only trained with soft practitioners? In which case I am unlucky!) and but moving prior.. that is to be fearful of the pain because having had the technique applied on him many times previously uke already estimate what the pain will be even BEFORE anything has happened. We are saying the same thing here I think, yes?
In a way we are on the same track but what I see in many youtube videos are people throwing themselves all over the place to make nage look good. I don't think they are necessarily fearful of pain, I doubt some of them have ever experienced pain.

Yes I like how you put it "the art of receiving", and by this well learned truth you mean to say that not only must uke be loose and pliant that he might receive with little damage AND BUT ALSO that Aikido is not merely about nage defense and but uke must also learn proper attack too yes? Aikido is attack within defense the yin and yang the uke resident in the nage and the nage resident in the uke.. This is what you imply no?? :)
Exactly. In receiving you are putting yourself into a position to reverse the technique or attack. This is particularly the case if the attack is flawed to begin with. But there is a world of difference between going with the attack and moving before the attack.

And but I would just make an attempt at explaining my point if you forgive me.. where you say to train soft and slowly so as not to injure yes I understand this for beginning and but as a proficient in Aikido this is surely not the aim?? Nor is the shirking away from the pain??
Mmm! Maybe, maybe not. I believe that if you are proficient you should be able to perform a technique softly and slowly with minimum effort. If you need to you can perform the same move quickly, still with minimum effort but in a way that your attacker is immediately controlled.

I teach a lot of Aikido techniques to my Karate and Krav students but not in way that they are relying on pain. Against a non-compliant partner, I find very few people can actually cause pain with their techniques. The fact that they never train against resistance is the cause of that, and that stems from having an instructor that can't make the techniques works against resistance either. I've met plenty of them.

You know the kind of Yoshinkan renowned of the Tokyo Met Police having that reputation for "hard" in similar vein to Daito Ryu.. those harsh arawaza-"type" procedures of the that Police force in both training and action.. Sorry my point is that within their Police training are concepts such as experiencing pain.. COPING with that pain not for its own sake and but IN ORDER TO SURMOUNT IT! Is that a worthwhile effort you would say?
It is interesting to see how Aikido works for the police. Certainly Yoshinkan is a harder style of Aikido but two things are in its favour in this situation. Firstly it is being used against non-trained persons and mostly people being arrested are offering token resistance, drug affected people excepted. In my training I don't have to cope with pain so much as to learn to 'absorb' the technique so that pain is not there.

I am Aikikai and which has not at all that reputation for hardness - quite the opposite in my experiences and so I wonder is there cause for embracing of that experiencing of pain into ALL Aiki practice and not running away from it by being compliant or throwing ONESELF on the mat to avoid it?? You cannot avoid life.. Not sure if it is making sense..
My style is derived from Aikikai. I'm not terribly impressed by it. The worst Aikido I ever saw was at the New York Hombu under the direct supervision of Yamada. By the same token, the best Aikido I have seen also is from Aikikai but with a huge dose of Tohei's principles included.

I imagine attitudes to the wars that Japan engaged must have tempered the hearts of Ueshiba, Shioda, Kenji Tomiki etc and precipitated the differing nature of the styles specifically I mean the diversity along the spectrum from DR / Yoshin kan --> Aikikai? Is that possible? Jx
I think the variation in style is basically defined by when the various people trained with Ueshiba. The older he got the softer he got and the better he became. Guys who trained with him before the war taught a hard style of Aikido more akin to Daito Ryu. Tohei learned the softer style. To my mind he was better than Ueshiba, but politics saw him resign from Aikikai and go his own way. Tomiki is a whole different story. Yoshinkan is an interesting case to look at. Even in kamae they have tension in their hands and throughout their bodies. They rely on strength and speed to perform their techniques and they produce some fantastic Ukes. This is in total contrast to Tohei where one of his principles is to relax completely. That is the part of Aikido I have struggled with the most.
 

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In a way we are on the same track but what I see in many youtube videos are people throwing themselves all over the place to make nage look good. I don't think they are necessarily fearful of pain, I doubt some of them have ever experienced pain.
I understand this K-Man yes.. It is what I am wondering.. WHY have these people never experienced pain.. is it that they move before the experience of pain is on them? This is core of what I am thinking.. One experiences the pain of an immobilisation (me I have my wrist and elbow damaged) anyway then - knowing this pain - one might decide to spend rest of MA time in trying to avoid that pain.. THis is my experience of others moving, flinching, tapping, avoiding when there is no risk to them.. My concern is that pain comes.. whether it is in MA or in life.. it cannot always be run away from eg. like you say by throwing oneself on the mat etc.. It is not better to confront that pain? To learn to COPE with it? to OVERCOME it?

(hope you do not think I am trying to argue with you :) trying to force myself to make a cogent point! :))

Yes I am aware too what you mean about not being impressed over functionality of Aikikai? Perhaps this is dependent on the intent of the teacher? We had left official Aikikai some time before over this exact thing.. Coming from inner London that old Aikikai was unsuited.. Yet I had found NOT the style of Aikido and but the softness of the teaching at fault.. I can only say that (as with all arts *I* believe) the art is what the practitioner make of it! :)

Shodokan I have tried and found interim between Aikikai and the DR ideals and but Yoshinkan I have only seen and did not like how it felt on me (just a personal thing). I understand what you say about difficulty to "relax completely".. I think it is paradoxical, I imagine too for practitioners with backgrounds in other more perhaps resistive or directive arts.. What will you do I wonder to help with this? One thing I found is to envision self and arms as less of hard/inflexible limbs and more like Chinese chain whip or you know these little monkey fist keyring you can get, this way I do not worry so much about arms and can focus completely on hara/hips/waist/centre etc.. (hope this make sense too :))

Appreciate your thoughts and discussion Jx
 

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I understand this K-Man yes.. It is what I am wondering.. WHY have these people never experienced pain.. is it that they move before the experience of pain is on them? This is core of what I am thinking.. One experiences the pain of an immobilisation (me I have my wrist and elbow damaged) anyway then - knowing this pain - one might decide to spend rest of MA time in trying to avoid that pain.. THis is my experience of others moving, flinching, tapping, avoiding when there is no risk to them.. My concern is that pain comes.. whether it is in MA or in life.. it cannot always be run away from eg. like you say by throwing oneself on the mat etc.. It is not better to confront that pain? To learn to COPE with it? to OVERCOME it?

(hope you do not think I am trying to argue with you :) trying to force myself to make a cogent point! :))
Pain is an interesting concept. How much pain is in the mind? In training I find that people with little capacity to tolerate pain actually tap before the technique is actually applied and we are taught not to clash. Now, to me, these are totally different concepts. There are several techniques that involve pain. One of these is sankyo which I will use as an example. If you apply it with strength it doesn't work on a trained person. You can try all day applying it with force and you won't move me and you won't damage my arm. I can absorb your force. If you relax completely and let your centre do the work, then your technique can be effective. That is why Aikido is so fascinating, the more strength you use the less effective your Aikido becomes. However, if I also relax I can move with you and either escape or reverse your technique. If I tap before the technique is applied I learn nothing and if I take ukemi before the technique is applied I am not only learning nothing but I am putting myself at risk on the ground. Better in both instances to learn to deal with the discomfort and attack the attacker.

You mentioned injuries. My only injuries have been from when I have let supposedly highly trained individuals apply their technique. In all cases they couldn't make their techniques work if I resisted and when I offer to go with them they use the same amount of physical force.

Yes I am aware too what you mean about not being impressed over functionality of Aikikai? Perhaps this is dependent on the intent of the teacher? We had left official Aikikai some time before over this exact thing.. Coming from inner London that old Aikikai was unsuited.. Yet I had found NOT the style of Aikido and but the softness of the teaching at fault.. I can only say that (as with all arts *I* believe) the art is what the practitioner make of it! :)
So much depends on the quality of the instructor. I consider myself extremely lucky to have the instructor I train under.

Shodokan I have tried and found interim between Aikikai and the DR ideals and but Yoshinkan I have only seen and did not like how it felt on me (just a personal thing). I understand what you say about difficulty to "relax completely".. I think it is paradoxical, I imagine too for practitioners with backgrounds in other more perhaps resistive or directive arts.. What will you do I wonder to help with this? One thing I found is to envision self and arms as less of hard/inflexible limbs and more like Chinese chain whip or you know these little monkey fist keyring you can get, this way I do not worry so much about arms and can focus completely on hara/hips/waist/centre etc.. (hope this make sense too :))

Appreciate your thoughts and discussion Jx
Mmm! Yoshinkan is based on what Ueshiba was training pre-war and doesn't have the softness that developed later. I have trained with a number of those guys and find that their rigidity makes them really easy to move and control. I have only trained with one Tomiki guy and I didn't find much in common with Aikikai. He is highly ranked but really has no concept of softness. I can stop his techniques every time. He competes regularly which is of course his focus, not really what Aikido is about.

You are 100% spot on about the 'soft' or flexible arms. They are absolutely critical and of course the movement of your centre. I find the secret is to never set your feet. Setting the feet locks the hips and you resort to strength rather than utilising the softness of moving from your centre. I don't focus a lot on the centre, more on the periphery. Attacking your opponent's centre with your mind is essential but putting your mind 'out' is also crucial. That is what Tohei means by 'extend Ki'. Perhaps the hardest thing for me to do was 'relax completely', another of Tohei's principles. One thing I do to train relaxation is to lie on my back on the bed, let go of all tension and imagine I'm sinking through the mattress. In my karate, Goju which means hard and soft, I now teach the aikido concepts as the soft part. Again, for my guys who have always worked on the hard aspect of karate, it is a difficult concept for them to grasp.
 
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Pain is an interesting concept. How much pain is in the mind? In training I find that people with little capacity to tolerate pain actually tap before the technique is actually applied and we are taught not to clash. Now, to me, these are totally different concepts. There are several techniques that involve pain. One of these is sankyo which I will use as an example. If you apply it with strength it doesn't work on a trained person. You can try all day applying it with force and you won't move me and you won't damage my arm. I can absorb your force. If you relax completely and let your centre do the work, then your technique can be effective. That is why Aikido is so fascinating, the more strength you use the less effective your Aikido becomes. However, if I also relax I can move with you and either escape or reverse your technique. If I tap before the technique is applied I learn nothing and if I take ukemi before the technique is applied I am not only learning nothing but I am putting myself at risk on the ground. Better in both instances to learn to deal with the discomfort and attack the attacker.

You mentioned injuries. My only injuries have been from when I have let supposedly highly trained individuals apply their technique. In all cases they couldn't make their techniques work if I resisted and when I offer to go with them they use the same amount of physical force.

So much depends on the quality of the instructor. I consider myself extremely lucky to have the instructor I train under.

Mmm! Yoshinkan is based on what Ueshiba was training pre-war and doesn't have the softness that developed later. I have trained with a number of those guys and find that their rigidity makes them really easy to move and control. I have only trained with one Tomiki guy and I didn't find much in common with Aikikai. He is highly ranked but really has no concept of softness. I can stop his techniques every time. He competes regularly which is of course his focus, not really what Aikido is about.

You are 100% spot on about the 'soft' or flexible arms. They are absolutely critical and of course the movement of your centre. I find the secret is to never set your feet. Setting the feet locks the hips and you resort to strength rather than utilising the softness of moving from your centre. I don't focus a lot on the centre, more on the periphery. Attacking your opponent's centre with your mind is essential but putting your mind 'out' is also crucial. That is what Tohei means by 'extend Ki'. Perhaps the hardest thing for me to do was 'relax completely', another of Tohei's principles. One thing I do to train relaxation is to lie on my back on the bed, let go of all tension and imagine I'm sinking through the mattress. In my karate, Goju which means hard and soft, I now teach the aikido concepts as the soft part. Again, for my guys who have always worked on the hard aspect of karate, it is a difficult concept for them to grasp.

Pain is very subjective. I practice in non operative spine care, and I see patients with all different levels of pain tolerance and sensitivity, using that as a barometer is difficult, because what is very painful to one person is not necessarily to someone else. Even within the same person, different techniques, can be tolerated to different degrees compared to other people. For example, I am very sensitive to Sankyo, and will likely move earlier than some cause it hurts, on the other hand, you can do Nikkyo or Yonkyo on me for awhile and it doesn't bother me. One of my classmates can tolerate Sankyo all day long, but is extremely sensitive to Yonkyo.

What is an acceptable level of pain to endure? Jenna mentions that people move before there is pain. Well, then how much pain should they endure before moving? Is there some criterion that is established?

My dojo is USAF Aikikai, but my primary sensei is Iwama influenced and we tend to practice a little bit harder than many. Saying that ALL Aikikai is soft and not harder would be rather a blanket statement. His Sensei at our main dojo studied under Akira Tohei.

As far as Aikido, it requires complete relaxation and absolute focus….both at the same time. This is what is so difficult. I am finding that Iaido is the same way. If you try to force a technique, it won't work. You need good, if not perfect timing, maai, technique all while being completely relaxed with no tension…….
 

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Pain is very subjective. I practice in non operative spine care, and I see patients with all different levels of pain tolerance and sensitivity, using that as a barometer is difficult, because what is very painful to one person is not necessarily to someone else. Even within the same person, different techniques, can be tolerated to different degrees compared to other people. For example, I am very sensitive to Sankyo, and will likely move earlier than some cause it hurts, on the other hand, you can do Nikkyo or Yonkyo on me for awhile and it doesn't bother me. One of my classmates can tolerate Sankyo all day long, but is extremely sensitive to Yonkyo.

What is an acceptable level of pain to endure? Jenna mentions that people move before there is pain. Well, then how much pain should they endure before moving? Is there some criterion that is established?

My dojo is USAF Aikikai, but my primary sensei is Iwama influenced and we tend to practice a little bit harder than many. Saying that ALL Aikikai is soft and not harder would be rather a blanket statement. His Sensei at our main dojo studied under Akira Tohei.

As far as Aikido, it requires complete relaxation and absolute focus….both at the same time. This is what is so difficult. I am finding that Iaido is the same way. If you try to force a technique, it won't work. You need good, if not perfect timing, maai, technique all while being completely relaxed with no tension…….
Mmm! I hate dental injections. I've had a root canal done without anaesthetic so my pain tolerance is better than average. That doesn't stop me tapping when my instructor applies his holds. Everyone else I've come across I can stop so pain for me isn't the main focus and by the same token I don't rely on pain to make my techniques work. Everything is about breaking my opponent's structure. Certainly pain is one of the tools of the trade as is atemi but mainly it is just the subtle movement of your centre.

Training a technique may culminate when pain kicks in so when you say how much pain should you endure before moving, I would suggest very little. With basic training your partner allows you to apply the technique so pain may provide the end point. In more advanced training you are moving well before that time so this allows you to avoid the technique or reverse the technique. Of course this is different to what you see in demonstrations where people throw themselves even sooner.

We've had numerous Iwama style guys train with us over the years and without exception their techniques fail because they have tension in their bodies and they try to physically force their techniques. For me, Koichi Tohei provides the inspiration, totally relax.

Can I make a suggestion? When learning a technique you focus on the technique. Later when you apply a technique in the real world, if you focus on it it may well fail. The old adage, "learn the technique, forget the technique, use the technique" is very true. One of Tohei's principles is to extend Ki or, in other words, extend your mind. To bring your mind back to focus on the technique is not IMHO the way to go.
 
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I 100% agree with that. We talk about relaxation all the time. The other night, my sensei decided to simply attack me, nonstop, any attack was acceptable, and I had to do whatever techniques I could. I did really good through the first 5-6 attacks because I was relaxed and simply not thinking, but by the 6th attack, I was starting to think too much, and got tense, and it fell apart. I'm getting better slowly. The paradox is not just relaxation, but a focus on your partner/opponent. Focused relaxation. Same as golf. You may not be thinking about your technique, but you are still focused nonetheless. LOL.
 
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