I haven't noticed this thread until today, and as one of the resident iwamaers, there are my 2 cents.
Field sensei afaik is legit, trained under the late Saito M. Sensei and received his ranks from him.
I'm going to quote PeterH posts, because he's who made the most an better ellaborated opinions about the issue. Nothing personal against texans.
(Bold are mine)
Well, the sticks are usually optional (and in most mainline Aikido dojos inexistent)but if you want Iwama style you'll better have jo and bokken or you'll be in a serious disadvantage. :)
What the **** equipment are they using? All you need for Aikido is two things: Youself and a stick between 40 and 50 inches long. And usually, the stick is optional.
Yes, prices are high, even in Australian dollars (1 Aus $ is about 0.75 Us $). You can find same equipment for less in Tozando or Bokkenshop (use Google if you want).
And the guy does this to make cash off equipment sales, $50 - $85 for a uniform, + $80 for a hakama, $80 for a jo + $82.50 for a Bokken + $8 for a knife + $25 for a bag. This guy is into you for $325.50 right off the bat.
Not to use Aikido techniques offensively inside or outside the dojo.
Not to attend any non Field Aikido martial arts events without permission from their Sensei
I only have trouble with the second.
Both of these are to keep students from seeing that what they learning isn't the end all be all.
Both of those make me stamp this place McDojo right off the bat.
Budo and Aiki tend to be incompatable.
I dont' know why, but i agree to some point.
Next, ig you can't take a shiho-nage past the point where it could be considered excessive, then you aren't learning it right. And the same can be said for many other techniques. This is BS and misleading, or they guy isn't teaching the techniques properly, so he doesn't have to worry about his students really injuring somebody.
Offensively, he hasn't banned self defense.
Of course, since he has a prohibition against using techniques outside of class, he could be counting on nobody actually doing them.
Iwama ranks are a bit confusing and a long story. But in short, Saito M. established separated certificates in buki waza (weapons) and in taijutsu (empty hands). Buki waza grades aren't aikikai grades, taijutsu grades were recognized by doshu so they become aikikai grades. Saito M. was an Aikikai sihan, he never had a different organization, only a different training system and curriculum inside Aikikai.
His ranks are also bothersome, unless his ranks were just accepted by other organizations, it should have taken between 40 and 47 years to achieve those ranks. But it isn't uncommon for a person who is changing organizations to get his entre rank accepted, or even bumped up a notch or two if the new organization really wants the guy. So while I say it is bothersome, it is not indictive of any bullshido.
Of course, these things had raised political and organizational issues who ended with Saito H. (Saito M.'s son) resigning from Aikikai and founding a different organization,while other high ranked Iwama stylists remain Aikikai affiliated and others went more or less independent. (_ing _ung anyone?)
About the clips:
Clip 1: kote gaeshi against mune dori (chest grab) attempt.
Kotegaeshi iwama style is not based on rotation and body mass, the throw is based on footwork. Here is another clip of this technique performed by Saito H. Sensei, here you can see what can happen if nage keeps uke's hand low and close:
Clip one is a very slow kote gaieshi into a shoulder lock/pin. I don't have a problem with the speed on the technique, or the lack of fluidity, as he is obviously doing this to be a demonstration. I do have a problem with the following:
1) The Nage pushes the hand too high and far away, removing it from his center and limiting both the rotation and the body mass he can put into the technique and is forced to rely entirely on the strength of his arms to execute. If he is going to take the hand back in that high, he needs to go ahead and go a bit higher and roll it in to a shiho nage.
Not mass applied on shoulder and not bending uke's elbow: Well, the idea is raising uke's body a bit to help elbow hiperextension an then apply force on uke's elbow, it's a mix between pin and armbar. Uke is tapping fast because he's a ***** :)
2) On the take over he passes on the quick, standing shoulder pin to go to the kneeling shoulder lock/pin. No problem there. When he drops, he puts no mass on the uke, instead going to hold him implace strictly by the pin. Again, that isn't a big deal, as most Aikido schools will prefer you do it that way to keep with the essence of Aiki. The problem is there is no bend in the elbow as he does the lock, making it easy to roll the shoulder out of, that combined with the uke tapping before the lock is even applied, you really don't get a sense for if the technique is being done properly or effectively, since you see no real application.
If you know judo'sude gatame you'll get an idea.
But we dont want to get a "pull", we only want to rotate around uke until nage's hips meet uke's hips
Clip 2 is a simple blending exercise. The nage makes a beginers mistake. On his step in his hand colapses against his center, and the retruns to the proper position as he steps around. You get a better "pull" on the uke if you keep your hand at the same distance from your center all the way through.
Same technique, different angle:
Techniques shown by Field are very basic and seems performed in a "take it easy" mode, but textbook iwama style imho.
In any case, i have to agree that the clips aren't the best i've seen but i've also seen worst (or what looked worst to me) technique displayed both in Iwama and in other Aikido and by higher ranked people.