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dps
07-28-2007, 04:52 PM
What influence did the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have on O'Sensei's development of Aikido?

David

Don
07-29-2007, 07:54 AM
I think if had to affect his view of the place for aikido, given his spiritual leanings, but I have seen few writings to that effect. I have seen some stuff written by his son that implied that.

I have often speculated that the change in "style" that appeared after WWII was the combination of the effect of the atomic bombs his spirituality, the aging of Ueshiba, but also from the practical perspective that at least right after the end of the war, if aikido had been taught in the more marital way it had before the war, it might not have been allowed to start up again by the occupation government as soon as it did. So aikido changed to allow it to be taught, and stayed that way in a new world and culture.

jennifer paige smith
07-29-2007, 10:25 AM
What influence did the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have on O'Sensei's development of Aikido?

David

I believe ,in a nut-shell, that that event opened O'Sensei's eyes to the unmitigatable power of nature. Along with that realization came a related 'ah-ha' that Man's incomplete grasp of natures power and workings would lead to uncorrectable destruction by those who still believed that competition and fighting was a way to resolve issues of life and living; People seperate from the realization of 'nature'.

O'Sensei speaks more of the power of nature than the flaws of Man. His understandings of nature, as they emerged from his martial wisdom path, are a counter point to imposed and arbitrary destruction by Man; such as fight matches and using martial arts for killing or the for ego's engrandizement.
O'Sensei experienced a major shift in his perspective. He suddenly saw nature's wholeness and the fragmentation that ensues when we ignore our place in it. His recommendations from that point forward were almost all about re-aligning ourselves with nature, or the great 'holy-parent', for the purpose of harmonious survival with nature, with others, and with ourselves.
The use of the atomic bomb (s) pointed to the antiquiarian nature of fighting, in case it wasn't obvious before. Many people still argue that the bomb got us out of a war that was going down an even darker road. That is certainly a reasonable argument in light of the general human desire to end suffering; but it doesn't meet it's cause in the actual world. Since the bomb's inception we have suffered endlessly in fear of Nuclear destruction (MAD..Mutually Assured Destruction (Ai-Uchi) anyone?), nuclear testing, nuclear contamination, and an unending fear of the power of nature in Mans mis-guide hands.

The turn I see that Aikido took at this juncture was a turn toward wholsitic and expanded wisdom; "exemplified by nature." And the practice has become an exercise in tapping into natural power for the use of protection and preservation of life. If we don't exercise that skill, we lose it.

It is our collective job, in my opinion, to release our previous concepts for a while, and to learn an alernative to the 'old' (our grandfathers way, with all respect) to facilitate the new (our childrens way, with all of our efforts), and to respect the world that is our provider (our God's way, with all our wisdom/heart).

I also think it is handy, and perhaps divine, that the political climate and the connections that O'sensei had already fostered through his military experience were instrumental in the process of Aikido's transition through-out post Imperial Japan. I don't think it could've been planned better.

Written In love and respect to those who have lost their lives or their family in any and all wars.

From Where I Sit (and hardly a nut-shell),
Jen

crbateman
07-29-2007, 09:58 PM
I'm not sure it can be known with certainty exactly what effect the bombings had on O'Sensei's thinking, but I think it would be safe to say that he may have come to realize that mankind's ability to make war had stepped far past its ability to make peace. Many have surmised that Aikido moved toward a more benevolent, pacifist stature after the war, and it could be further postulated that this may have come from the impressions made on O'Sensei during that time, and his desire to make Aikido a more useful tool in the process of healing and bettering society on a higher level. This is all conjecture, of course, but it does make some sense.

jennifer paige smith
07-30-2007, 07:53 AM
I'm not sure it can be known with certainty exactly what effect the bombings had on O'Sensei's thinking, but I think it would be safe to say that he may have come to realize that mankind's ability to make war had stepped far past its ability to make peace. Many have surmised that Aikido moved toward a more benevolent, pacifist stature after the war, and it could be further postulated that this may have come from the impressions made on O'Sensei during that time, and his desire to make Aikido a more useful tool in the process of healing and bettering society on a higher level. This is all conjecture, of course, but it does make some sense.

It is one of the only cohesive explanations for the drastic change in focus of O'Sensei.
And also, I believe, O'Sensei experienced a period of deep physical and emotional illness during this time. In my experience, that often accompanies a drastic change in perspective.
What is important to me is that I notice HE CHANGED and was forever changed.
Much of the language that we hear and use relating to and attributed to O'Sensei has been interpreted into a sort of pacifistic language. Now, I mean this in juxtaposition to aggressive language, and not to the whole of language itself. The language I hear from O'Sensei is about an independent activation of power that is connected to the workings of the universe (you could call it physics or Q. physics) with an independent agenda that does not include an emphasis on offense/defense,fight/flight,aggression/pacifism. Not to say he didn't talk about those things. But they were part of a larger conversation.
His language was largely sovereign thought guided by the realized workings of nature (love or God).So while he talked about pacifism, it isn't pacifism exclusively 'against' aggression. But rather pacifism as one expression of nature. In which case you then have aggression as an expression of nature, not a force unto itself; so it becomes balanced.
Anyways, I ramble as I try to grab my language skills (and a second cup of coffee).
Thanks for the patience. I hope more people add to this thread. It is timely and curious.
jen smith

dps
07-30-2007, 08:14 AM
I found this in a Google search, the bold print is from me;

( His teaching of this system continued through 1941, the year that Japan's war against the United States began. It was in that year, writes Gozo Shioda in Aikido Shugyo, that O'Sensei turned toward a more spiritual path of development. Shioda Sensei notes that he did not follow O'Sensei's teachings further at that point, and that therefore he proved to be the last of O'sensei's students to be trained as a martial artist: "The concept of Aikido as a martial skill has ended with me" (204).
During the years of inner exile at Iwama, Ueshiba's system, which in 1941 he named aikido, continued to evolve. Its movements came to be inspired increasingly by the principle of attunement between partners. According to recollections of Saotome Sensei, Ueshiba's emphasis on interhuman harmony increased enormously due to two events that occurred in 1945, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the reports from Japanese acquaintances who had been present at the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. Ueshiba became determined to develop a teaching whose emphasis was altogether contrasted with that of defeating an enemy--"in my aikido there are no enemies," he maintained.

EXTENDING THE WAY
PAPERS FROM THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF AIKI EXTENSIONS, INC.

FOREWORD: AIKIDO FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
BY
DONALD N. LEVINE )

www.aiki-extensions.org/pubs/dl-Ext_the_Way_Aiki_for_21st_Century.rtf

David

Peter Goldsbury
07-30-2007, 08:39 AM
It is one of the only cohesive explanations for the drastic change in focus of O'Sensei.
And also, I believe, O'Sensei experienced a period of deep physical and emotional illness during this time. In my experience, that often accompanies a drastic change in perspective.
What is important to me is that I notice HE CHANGED and was forever changed.
Much of the language that we hear and use relating to and attributed to O'Sensei has been interpreted into a sort of pacifistic language. Now, I mean this in juxtaposition to aggressive language, and not to the whole of language itself. The language I hear from O'Sensei is about an independent activation of power that is connected to the workings of the universe (you could call it physics or Q. physics) with an independent agenda that does not include an emphasis on offense/defense,fight/flight,aggression/pacifism. Not to say he didn't talk about those things. But they were part of a larger conversation.
His language was largely sovereign thought guided by the realized workings of nature (love or God).So while he talked about pacifism, it isn't pacifism exclusively 'against' aggression. But rather pacifism as one expression of nature. In which case you then have aggression as an expression of nature, not a force unto itself; so it becomes balanced.
Anyways, I ramble as I try to grab my language skills (and a second cup of coffee).
Thanks for the patience. I hope more people add to this thread. It is timely and curious.
jen smith

Hello,

With respect, I really have to ask: where is your evidence for all this? The drastic change of focus, as a direct result of the atomic bombing; the physical and emotional illness? Where is this 'larger conversation'? Who were the participants?

It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who had to live in Tokyo during the fire-bombings (which claimed more deaths than in Hiroshima) and carry out his father's order to preserve the Tokyo dojo, even if it cost him his life. Morihei had escaped (this is Kisshomaru's own term) to the relatively peaceful surroundings of Iwama and experienced the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings only at second hand.

I have lived in Hiroshima for nearly 30 years and know many living A-bomb victims. Very few want to talk pubicly about their intensely private experiences. Of course, the City of Hiroshima has been assiduous in collecting records of A-Bomb Witnesses (this is an official title), as a public testimony for its own way of handling Japanese A-Bomb politics.

Similarly, the Aikikai Hombu has also used the bombings for 'aikido politics', as part of its agenda to project aikido as a martial art for world peace, as this is understood by postwar Japanese.

Yes, we are coming up to the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which happend at 8.15 am on August 6. As I stated, I have neighbors and friends who were in Hiroshima at the time. O Sensei was not, so he did not really have a clue of the pain and sufferings involved.

Best wishes,

PAG

dps
07-30-2007, 08:55 AM
Hello,

With respect, I really have to ask: where is your evidence for all this? The drastic change of focus, as a direct result of the atomic bombing; the physical and emotional illness? Where is this 'larger conversation'? Who were the participants?

It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba who had to live in Tokyo during the fire-bombings (which claimed more deaths than in Hiroshima) and carry out his father's order to preserve the Tokyo dojo, even if it cost him his life. Morihei had escaped (this is Kisshomaru's own term) to the relatively peaceful surroundings of Iwama and experienced the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings only at second hand.

I have lived in Hiroshima for nearly 30 years and know many living A-bomb victims. Very few want to talk pubicly about their intensely private experiences. Of course, the City of Hiroshima has been assiduous in collecting records of A-Bomb Witnesses (this is an official title), as a public testimony for its own way of handling Japanese A-Bomb politics.

Similarly, the Aikikai Hombu has also used the bombings for 'aikido politics', as part of its agenda to project aikido as a martial art for world peace, as this is understood by postwar Japanese.

Yes, we are coming up to the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which happend at 8.15 am on August 6. As I stated, I have neighbors and friends who were in Hiroshima at the time. O Sensei was not, so he did not really have a clue of the pain and sufferings involved.

Best wishes,

PAG

Maybe a better question should be; What influence did the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki have on the development of Aikido for Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Tohei, Tomiki, Gozo, et al?

David

jennifer paige smith
07-30-2007, 08:57 AM
On Sept. 11, 2001, in the U.S., an extremely mournful event occured that woke me and some aquaintances up from our sleep up that morning. We weren't in New York, we were in California. The television set hadn't yet gone on and we weren't listening to the radio either. Yet, we went into shock. We didn't know why until a little while later when the reports began to filter in from NYC that the trade centers had been bombed. We felt it, we knew it, we hurt.
The larger conversation involved anyone who was willing to listen (doesn't seem like there were many)
to O'Sensei talk about his views of the workings of nature and Kami. Not 'how to assault a machuraian with one easy blow'.

In all respect, Mr. Goldsbury, you don't know what O'Sensei felt anymore than I do. We're just putting pieces together like the rest of y'all. And maybe we ( I ) take a a different tac than you, but it is no less valid based on the conversations that I have had with O'Sensei's students, my teachers.

As usual, however, I will take your words into consideration.

And please note that I am interested in knowing more about your relatonships and conversations with the people in Hiroshima regarding the A-Bomb (or Aikido). Just because we don't see it the same way at the moment (or do we?) doesn't mean I'm not interested or respectful of your conversation.

Thanks and Be Well,
Jennifer Smith

Peter Goldsbury
07-30-2007, 09:15 AM
In all respect, Mr. Goldsbury, you don't know what O'Sensei felt anymore than I do. We're just putting pieces together like the rest of y'all. And maybe we ( I ) take a a different tac than you, but it is no less valid based on the conversations that I have had with O'Sensei's students.
As usual, however, I will take your words into consideration.

Well, if the issue depends on what O Sensei actually felt, then the only person who can know this is the man himself, and he is no longer around. So, we have to rely on other sources and I asked you for yours.

One source is O Sensei's actual published discourses, more reliable, in my opinion, than anecdotes. I have the Japanese text of Aikido Shugyou and there is no such quote as that alleged to be on p.204. So it must be another edition. It would be good to know the edition.

If you are arguing that any interpretation of O Sensei is as valid as any other, despite the evidence, well, I have to bow out of such a discussion.

Best wishes,

jennifer paige smith
07-30-2007, 10:00 AM
Well, if the issue depends on what O Sensei actually felt, then the only person who can know this is the man himself, and he is no longer around. So, we have to rely on other sources and I asked you for yours.

One source is O Sensei's actual published discourses, more reliable, in my opinion, than anecdotes. I have the Japanese text of Aikido Shugyou and there is no such quote as that alleged to be on p.204. So it must be another edition. It would be good to know the edition.

If you are arguing that any interpretation of O Sensei is as valid as any other, despite the evidence, well, I have to bow out of such a discussion.

Best wishes,

My teacher Motomichi Anno Sensei talked with me about this explicitly. I didn't realize that was the question you were asking. I also talked with Hiroshi Kato Sensei and he described a similar thing. I have no reason, in all my experiences with them and my teacher Linda Holiday Sensei, to dis-believe them. Certainly not in a hurry.
But sight unseen, based on your presence on this forum,
I'm willing to listen to you and take your words into consideration.

The rest of the post feels like an inflation of mis-undersatnding. Such a disussion, I too, will bow out of.

I definitely don't want this thread to turn into the 'Jen and Peter Show'. I hear your words. Thanks for speaking them.

Jen

Josh Reyer
07-30-2007, 10:06 AM
I think perhaps the original question is the wrong question. Perhaps a better one would be, "What influence did Japan's defeat in WWII have on Ueshiba's aikido?"

In the U.S., of course the dropping of the atomic bombs and the catastrophic death toll is very salient. And certainly for the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki they were watershed moments that still make up an important part of their civic identities.

However, it's worth remembering that, as Professor Goldbury has alluded, since early 1945 Japan had been subject to large-scale strategic bombing that took an incredible number of lives. 80,000 dead in Tokyo, roughly equal to the dead of Nagasaki. I live in Nagoya, which has wonderfully wide and straight streets, unusual in Japan. Why? Because the city was essentially burned to the ground during the war, and then rebuilt. The city of Toyama, with a population of 150,000, was virtually destroyed. Kobe, Osaka, city after city. It was estimated that by Christmas the U.S. would run out of targets to bomb.

When put in this context, you can see that what shocked the Japanese when the bombs hit was not the death toll; they were used to that. It was the terrible speed and efficiency of the A-bomb that shocked them. Before, tens of thousands were killed over the course of two hours over a couple of days. Now all it took was one bomb.

Now, while all this was happening, Ueshiba was in Iwama, pretty secluded. Did he have a radio? Maybe. Certainly he heard word-of-mouth reports from his son and his deshi when they came to Iwama after the war. But how can we really judge the impact? One deshi says, "I heard some 80,000 were killed in Tokyo." Another says, "They have a new bomb they used to kill 70,000 in Hiroshima." It's all pretty terrible, and all very numbing.

OTOH, the "peace" perspective of aikido was heavily informed by the Omoto religion, and one can see it reflected in his pre-war writings. Not to mention that, as eloquently explained in Professor Goldbury's recent articles, aikido for Ueshiba was a very personal training. The philosophical framework already in place before the war, his training during and after the war in Iwama seems to be one of refinement of his personal aikido.

However, and this is just my speculation given the sequence of events, I suspect that Japan's defeat in the war was a significant impetus for Kisshomaru to bring aikido to the masses, and it may have been what convinced Morihei to eventually agree to it, although to be sure the seeds of the Aikikai were planted before hostilities broke out between the U.S. and Japan.

Chris Li
07-30-2007, 01:14 PM
My teacher Motomichi Anno Sensei talked with me about this explicitly. I didn't realize that was the question you were asking. I also talked with Hiroshi Kato Sensei and he described a similar thing. I have no reason, in all my experiences with them and my teacher Linda Holiday Sensei, to dis-believe them. Certainly not in a hurry.


I'd point out that neither of them met Morihei Ueshiba until well after the war, in the 1950's, so their testimony is certainly not direct.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba always pegged the birth of Morihei's concepts of "loving protection" to an experience that occurred well before the war - in 1925. Gozo Shioda and other pre-war students recount his heavy involvement with spirituality at the pre-war Kobukan - the same kind of stories (it seems) that the post-war students tell. In terms of technique, Morihiro Saito always claimed that what Morihei Ueshiba taught him in Iwama in the post-war years most resembled what is shown in his training manual "Budo", published in 1938.

None of this is conclusive, of course, but the case for a radical change in direction specifically due to the war seems, to me, to be far from clear.

Best,

Chris

Aikibu
07-30-2007, 05:26 PM
I'd point out that neither of them met Morihei Ueshiba until well after the war, in the 1950's, so their testimony is certainly not direct.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba always pegged the birth of Morihei's concepts of "loving protection" to an experience that occurred well before the war - in 1925. Gozo Shioda and other pre-war students recount his heavy involvement with spirituality at the pre-war Kobukan - the same kind of stories (it seems) that the post-war students tell. In terms of technique, Morihiro Saito always claimed that what Morihei Ueshiba taught him in Iwama in the post-war years most resembled what is shown in his training manual "Budo", published in 1938.

None of this is conclusive, of course, but the case for a radical change in direction specifically due to the war seems, to me, to be far from clear.

Best,

Chris

This is my understanding as well. Most of the Post War Yudansha and Uchi Deshi had far bigger concerns from what I had been told. For example How do I make my way to the Dojo and will I get enough to eat today.ALL of Urban Japan after the war was a wasteland according to Nishio Sensei and as Professor Goldsbury pointed out... Most of the Aikidoka of the immediate post war period kept their "true feelings" to themselves.

William Hazen

Ellis Amdur
07-30-2007, 10:14 PM
It has become fashionable for some in the West to talk about Hiroshima and Nagasaki as uniquely horrible, even at vicarious distance for such as ourselves - or our fantasy of Ueshiba Morihei.
They thereby equate (at minimum) America's behavior in WWII with Japan's, or actually conflating it so that the dropping of the atomic bomb is far more horrible than the human vivisections, deliberate infections of plague on innocent Chinese, and all the rapine and slaughter of the Japanese who INITIATED war upon the countries of Asia, one of the largest mass slaughters in history (most of this BEFORE American involvement in WWII).
Maybe Ueshiba was horrified by the bomb. Maybe he was, or should have been horrified by the stories of some of his returning students who were war criminals, who slaughtered up close and personal. Maybe. Maybe.
Beyond that, however, I truly have gotten tired of Japanese shihan who come to America and subtly spit in the faces of people who welcome them by asserting that Osensei became spiritual thanks to the atrocities of Americans. (Or other white people, such as Germans? We're all white, so we're all the same, right? Germany, our enemy, suddenly becomes just the same as the Americans who dropped the bomb(s). Japanese present at the liberation of the death camps in Germany? Puhleez. What would they have been doing there, other than studying methods of slaughtering prisoners of their own? They were German allies then, and absolutely comfortable in exerting horror on their own. How about Japanese present at the NON-liberation of the death camps in Manchuria at Unit 731 reporting back to Osensei? More plausible by far. But that would have Osensei shocked at the deeds of his own, rather than those evil white people.) As another example, I'll never forgive Tohei Koichi for his breezy claim that there was no Bataan Death March, that Americans were fed ordinary Japanese army rations and were so spoiled that they couldn't survive on the ordinary, healthy diet of Japanese soldiers (gee, he never mentioned all the thousands of Filipino's who also were killed, who lived as poor or poorer than Japanese - They weren't even worth mentioning, much less the fact that a large portion of the Americans and Filipinos didn't even starve to death - they were bayoneted when, weakened by fatigue and starvation, they fell behind).
You know, maybe it's true that the atom bombs did shock Ueshiba into a new vision. But that would bespeak ill of him, were it true. Were one to assert that the horrors of WWII - all of it - so shocked him, well and good. And perhaps he was also - or should have been - shocked at his own collusion with the war and violence through opening his dojo to meetings of terrorists (Sakurakai) who then went and assassinated folks. And that he taught at the Nakano Spy school, where the initiation for some of the graduates was to kill tied up prisoners with bayonet, or even karate blows.
Yes, he apparently turned morally and spiritually - perhaps not all at once, but in a remarkable way, from a tough guy fascinated with power to a man fascinated with the roots of power and its implications toward peace and violence.
But moral sanctimony about atrocity coming from Japanese shihan is not welcome. Perhaps members of the country that, to this day, will not admit the kidnapping of 10,000's of young girls from Korea and China to be forced into prostitution could do with a little introspection on their own, something many Americans are, perhaps, a little too prone to doing. Easy, fantasies amounting to no more than cliche and pap do Ueshiba and the meaning of aikido no service.
And finally, many Japanese think about the bomb quite differently than tenderhearted folks might imagine. One day, for example, I was walking in a park on what happened to be Hiroshima day. A very drunk, very deformed (through wounds) homeless guy yelled at me, "Hey gaijin. Do you know what day it is?" I didn't want to get into it. I really really didn't want to engage in a discussion on WWII, atrocities, with a drunken, disabled, bum on such a day. So I said, trying to molify him, "Yes I do. It was terrible. So many people slaughtered at Hiroshima, innocent civilians . . ." And he roared back at me "What the f** is wrong with you. Those mother f**r generals had my mother and sisters practicing with bamboo spears on the beach. They told them that it was their duty to fight the Americans with bamboo spears! While I'm off on some godforsaken island getting my leg blown off and my eye ripped out, so I can come home a useless cripple and they can go on living high. My mother and sisters would have been fighting tanks with bamboo spears if it wasn't for the Americans. Thank God the Americans used to have balls to do what had to be done, not like some eunuch like you! Every day I wake up and thank the Americans who saved all those mothers and sisters who would have been dead if they hadn't had the guts to drop those bombs."

raul rodrigo
07-30-2007, 11:46 PM
My grandfather's brother died on the Bataan Death March. So I'm with Mr. Amdur on the issue of sanctimoniousness. Let's not romanticize the Japanese. Or as Paul Fussell put in his book title, Thank God for the Atom Bomb.

Peter Goldsbury
07-31-2007, 08:11 AM
Well, Ellis Amdur's remarks would be taboo here, I can tell you.

I have given a lecture to Hiroshima University students for the past few years on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from a foreigner's viewpoint, or, Truth, Lies, Hiroshima, and World War II.

To soften the blow a little, I compare Japan with other countries, in the way that the truth gradually emerges, despite the official attempts to hide or suppress it. Germany and France are two examples. This year I gave the lecture, always in fluent Japanese, to 400 students, who heard me in complete silence. When I got to the part about Unit 731 (how the perpetrators were let off to go into eminent positions in university medical schools), you could hear a pin drop.

I gave the same lecture in a series called the Hiroshima Peace Forum, sponsored by Hiroshima City. I was the first foreigner to give a lecture in this series and I definitely blotted my copy book (No, I covered the entire book in indelible ink). There were about 100 in the audience, and the comments after the lecture generally suggested that I was far too concerned with the past. We should look to the future and work towards a total abolition of nuclear weapons: this is far more important than dwelling on World War II. (This is called by Japanese scholars a 'masochistic' view of history.) The city government refused to publish or publicize my lecture, alone out of all the series, because it was too critical.

The official 'Hiroshima View' starts off with the definite statement that the atomic bombing was a 'crime against humanity', towering in proportion over all the other aggressive acts of World War II (on both sides). So Japan's wartime aggression (or its defensive war, in a fight for survival against the west) have to be seen in the right context. Having secured this point, it is then quite easy to argue that the 'citizens of Hiroshima', secure on the moral high ground, are united in a 'deep yearning' to abolish nuclear weapons. This deep yearning is called 'the Spirit of Hiroshima' and Hiroshima is always written in katakana. So the Mayor makes a Peace Declaration every year and goes off around the world preaching the 'Spirit of Hiroshima', like a gospel. In 2001, the New York Trade Center attacks were brought into the message, as if the victims were somehow sharing in the Spirit of Hiroshima from across the pacific.

(US members of Aikiweb should not get me wrong here. In a previous post Jennifer Smith mentioned the 2002 attacks on the World Trade Center. I saw the attacks live on television (as a result of a chance post on E-Budo), and saw the full horror unfold, with people jumping from the upper floors to escape the flames, and then both building collapse. Shortly after I was contacted by an aikido student of mine who lived a short distance away. He was in shock and angrily challenged me to justify his aikido training, any aikido training, in the face of such horror. I could not say very much except listen.)

The Spirit of Hiroshima is the concentrated, 60% proof, version of the postwar Japan-as-peaceful-victim ideology. And the Hombu also subscribes to this version, but in a less concentrated form, and more suitable for consumption by everybody. Aikido as a peaceful budo fits exactly with this new postwar ideology of Japan as a peaceful people forever eschewing war. So it is part of the ideology to show that O Sensei also changed his aikido from his 1930 Budo Renshu period and that it is also quite correct for Kisshomaru Ueshiba to adapt O Sensei's peaceful message from its prewar Omoto origins to postwar circumstances. So his lectures and discourses have been edited accordingly.

jennifer paige smith
07-31-2007, 09:21 AM
Thank you fro the great information. I hear a lot has been read into my post, and certainly for the betterment of the conversation. I hit on some things that had a lot of 'load' for some. It would appear that it rings close to some other things that people have heard from others in the past.

There is some assumption that I would like to bring home.

1. I don't feel or did I say that th A-Bomb as the sole cause or impetus for the change in O'Sensei; I believe that it is a part and also significant in his changes for at least one of the reasons that others have said; it was so much destruction so quickly.
2) I am deeply aware of the 'no talk' rules surrounding the Atomic Bomb, at least in Japan. Very close friends of mine are artists who travel each year to Japan to work together with other artists who are finding artistic ways of expresssing emotion and tale's of the Bombings. You can find some interesting stuff on the internet by looking up "Colapsing Histories".

Another intriguing study is the movie 'Godzilla'. which is told as a story of the 'bomb'. ic.ucsc.edu/~naso/hist37/lectures/aaron_kerner_godzilla.htm
4) I have no fuzzy feelings about Hiroshima, O'Sensei or anything related to the common mis-perceptions that the 'Americans are bad' or anything like that.I actually take a different view from the very beginning; which is that it is simply an example of colonialism/imperialism gone mad, as it has done on this soil for many centuries. And the Japanese are no less the victims of this than the Indians are on this soil. No romance.

Mostly, I would like to return to, what I thought,was the thrust of my post, which is the Earth angle, the nature angle,and the intuitions and information that come from this level of understanding. That is the force and the level of sensitivity that O'Sensei often spoke of being in communication with, that I am referring to. And if I'm totally wrong, fine. But a least someone mentioned it. The Earth has vibration and so do all actions. For a person, who himself spoke of such an intimate relationship with nature as to say "who do I make friends with? The universe (nature).", to not feel effected by such a huge 'ripple in the force' (probably not adding to my credibility here, but that isn't my concern at the moment, or maybe ever) would point to an even more startling gap than any of the one's that I have read above.

I guess I would be interested in the question "what was O'Sensei doing, specifically, in Iwam, during this time. What did his day look like?

There is a lot of coverage of the historical, of the Japanese, of the 'players', of Daito-ryu... but there are rare few voices inquiring into the 'natural' relationship that O'Sensei had with the world and what that was about for him and how is that Aikido?
I've heard all of the above stories, mostly, and have heard a few that flesh them out. To me, they aren't remotely at odds. But there is room for another angle of discussion, and that is what I am attempting here.
Not an argument and not a 'my teacher said' discussion.
Simply a mention of the Earth. I know it communicates to me more obviously after my training for the last decade and a half than it did before. To me, that is O'Senseis Aikido and I believe he heard he same sound.

jennifer paige smith
07-31-2007, 09:39 AM
online.sfsu.edu/~amkerner/ch/nakahashi.htm

ucsc.edu/~naso/hist37/lectures/aaron_kerner_godzilla.htm

long winded, that I am.

dps
07-31-2007, 10:32 AM
... Aikido as a peaceful budo fits exactly with this new postwar ideology of Japan as a peaceful people forever eschewing war. So it is part of the ideology to show that O Sensei also changed his aikido from his 1930 Budo Renshu period and that it is also quite correct for Kisshomaru Ueshiba to adapt O Sensei's peaceful message from its prewar Omoto origins to postwar circumstances. So his lectures and discourses have been edited accordingly.

Would it be fair to say postwar Aikido is more Doshu's Aikido then O Sensei's Aikido?

Aikibu
07-31-2007, 10:34 AM
Whew!!!

Who here thinks Total War is justified in any way shape or form???

There is plenty of evidence O'Sensei bowed out of the whole mess during the 30's (During Japan's War against China) even so... War is bigger than anyone personality and thank your lucky stars you live in a country where (at least for now) if you choose you can voice your opinion. Anyone ever think that O'Sensei may have kept his mouth shut because he did not want to lose his head!!??!

And I for one am tired of the 9/11 metaphors... I don't mind hearing about what happened to you that day. I lost family in the WTC.... But thank GOD! I practice hard Aikido and have no fear of making my opinion known. I just pray that we come out of this madness and fear some time soon before one of these idiots in charge does something even more asinine than they have already.

Thats it.

O'Sensei was not a God. He was a man of flesh and blood. I hope to emulate his path but even so the best I can get out of this life is to be a fully realized human being.

I sincerely hope folks focus on the tools he gave us to work with... practice hard... and get off the Diety trip.

Thats exacy what Shoji Nishio did...His hard practice perfected his charactor... NOT the other way around. All he did is follow O'Sensei's "path". Quite Humble about the whole deal too...There are other Martial Artists out there who understand the nature and importance of practice.

That is O'Sensei's true legacy. The sky is the limit if you are sincere and focused with your practice.

We are not here because of what O'Sensei "thought"...

William Hazen

dps
07-31-2007, 10:44 AM
I have often speculated that the change in "style" that appeared after WWII was the combination of the effect of the atomic bombs his spirituality, the aging of Ueshiba, but also from the practical perspective that at least right after the end of the war, if aikido had been taught in the more marital way it had before the war, it might not have been allowed to start up again by the occupation government as soon as it did. So aikido changed to allow it to be taught, and stayed that way in a new world and culture.

Would this be Doshu's influence on Aikido?

dps
07-31-2007, 10:55 AM
I would also like to find out what influence Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on Tomiki's and Shioda's development of Aikido?

David

Aikibu
07-31-2007, 01:02 PM
I would also like to find out what influence Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on Tomiki's and Shioda's development of Aikido?

David

None....

William Hazen

Fred Little
07-31-2007, 01:30 PM
I'd point out that neither of them met Morihei Ueshiba until well after the war, in the 1950's, so their testimony is certainly not direct.

None of this is conclusive, of course, but the case for a radical change in direction specifically due to the war seems, to me, to be far from clear.

Best,

Chris

The actual source for both Anno and Holiday's remembrances would, of course, be Hikitsuchi Michio, who trained with the founder both before and after the war.

The commercially available video series The Essential Teachings of Aikido (http://www.aikidovideo.net/index.html) contains at least one sequence in which Hikitsuchi recounts his first meeting with Ueshiba after the war, in which he was told by Ueshiba of the new form that aikido would take in this new period.

My personal view is that Japan is a culture built around an excruciating sensitivity and responsiveness to context at the level of both the individual adapting to the group, and that of small groups adapting to the larger society, and the widely proclaimed transformation of aikido in the post-war period is much more a reflection of aikido finding a new image under the regime of the post-war Occupation than it is of anything else, however taken by the meme any of us may be at one point or another.

Best,

FL

dps
07-31-2007, 01:42 PM
I found this on Aikido Journal.

"And of most concern to me is, “What would Aikido have been if Japan had won the war?” Would Aikido still be “The Way of Peace,” as John Stevens translates it, or would it be more like the martial recreation of the Japanese ruling class?"

http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=10622&highlight=war&sid=155b75e76cbe6c8a4724a60d907ee853

David

tedehara
07-31-2007, 05:46 PM
...As another example, I'll never forgive Tohei Koichi for his breezy claim that there was no Bataan Death March, that Americans were fed ordinary Japanese army rations and were so spoiled that they couldn't survive on the ordinary, healthy diet of Japanese soldiers (gee, he never mentioned all the thousands of Filipino's who also were killed, who lived as poor or poorer than Japanese - They weren't even worth mentioning, much less the fact that a large portion of the Americans and Filipinos didn't even starve to death - they were bayoneted when, weakened by fatigue and starvation, they fell behind)....So he's in denial. The Japanese nation is still in denial about WWII. I'm not saying that makes it right, but that's the way people are.

During the war K. Tohei was basically in charge of a Chinese town. If he is such a monster, why did they invite him back several times after the war to help them celebrate their founder's day? Perhaps this speaks more closely about his character.

Ellis Amdur
07-31-2007, 06:47 PM
Ted -
I didn't say he is a monster. As far as I know, he's an ordinary guy with extraordiary physical talents, quite arrogant who is also a a bit of a guru, used to a fawning audience. When some people get in a position of power due to the alleged magic of their hands, and innumerable people dote on their every word, some such start to feel like they can say anything they want. And in their own little circle, they get away with it, and if anyone objects, their acolytes get upset on their behalf. Tohei Koichi is the exemplar of this.

Aikibu
07-31-2007, 11:53 PM
Ted -
I didn't say he is a monster. As far as I know, he's an ordinary guy with extraordiary physical talents, quite arrogant who is also a a bit of a guru, used to a fawning audience. When some people get in a position of power due to the alleged magic of their hands, and innumerable people dote on their every word, some such start to feel like they can say anything they want. And in their own little circle, they get away with it, and if anyone objects, their acolytes get upset on their behalf. Tohei Koichi is the exemplar of this.
How true Ellis...An interesting paradox of Aikido in some circles...

I try to avoid those people as much as possible.

No Hollywood Aikido for me. It's bad enough I have to work in this town. :)

William Hazen

Rupert Atkinson
08-01-2007, 03:45 AM
I liked Ellis' rant - right on the mark.

My 2c ...

In 1989 I was in Hiroshima as part of a univeristy exchange. There were several of us, all paired up with Japanese etc. and living in homestays - it was a great experience, meeting H-bomb survivors and listening to stories. Of course, we all knew it was kind of biased, but, well, they do have the right to tell their side. However, one day we had a lecture at the university by some special lecturer so off we all went. Turns out it was about the H-bombings, again, and everytime the presenter mentioned America (we were from the UK) he glared at us with evil eye and spoke in derisory tone -- and all the Japanese students seemed to do likewise in concert - death by 1000 eyes. Naturally, perhaps, we were kind of sitting as low in our chairs as possible in vain attempt not to be too noticable. Anyway, at the end of the ordeal the presenter asked if anyone had any questions about the War. My good friend at the time, Robert, raised his hand and asked, extremely politely, "Who started it?" One of those moments, it was. The presenter lost it, totally ...

tedehara
08-01-2007, 01:43 PM
Ted -
I didn't say he is a monster. Not overtly, but you are implying it by focusing on his denial of the Battan Death March and unlawful treatment of prisoners-of-war. Since K. Tohei was a Japanese soldier, one would expect him to reflect an attitude of denial that is seen throughout the society. However you need to look at everything that he did during the war. He kept the peace in the Chinese town that he was in charge of. He managed to keep his own soldiers content. At the end of the war, all the men in his unit went home. After the end of the war, the locals invited him back to celebrate the founding of the town, several times.
...As far as I know, he's an ordinary guy with extraordiary physical talents... This is a major area of disagreement, since I see him as an extraordinary guy with ordinary physical talents. He wasn't in the Olympics or won the Boston Marathon. His physical skills were quite ordinary. This means there is hope, hope for all to achieve or surpass what he had done.

From the chief instructors in the US that I've met, you can clearly see that K. Tohei was first and foremost, an instructor. The curriculum that he devised and the centralized organization that teaches this program is quite different from the styles that make up the decentralized organization of Aikikai.

... quite arrogant who is also a a bit of a guru, used to a fawning audience. When some people get in a position of power due to the alleged magic of their hands, and innumerable people dote on their every word, some such start to feel like they can say anything they want. And in their own little circle, they get away with it, and if anyone objects, their acolytes get upset on their behalf. Tohei Koichi is the exemplar of this.I have never personally met him, so I can't begin to pass any judgment. I have heard of people in authority becoming arrogant and surrounding themselves with like-minded people. Teachers, Shihans, CEOs and even a few American Presidents have been described like that. If you are going to complain about their flaws you also need to look at their achievements. Unless all you want to do is rant and rave .

Ron Tisdale
08-01-2007, 01:47 PM
I liked Ellis' rant - right on the mark.

My 2c ...My good friend at the time, Robert, raised his hand and asked, extremely politely, "Who started it?" One of those moments, it was. The presenter lost it, totally ...

Dude...do you have film on that!?!?! I would love to have seen it...

:D
Best,
Ron

tedehara
08-01-2007, 01:48 PM
How true Ellis...An interesting paradox of Aikido in some circles...

I try to avoid those people as much as possible.

No Hollywood Aikido for me. It's bad enough I have to work in this town. :)

William HazenYou're complaining about working in Malibu, CA?!?!
:cool:

Ron Tisdale
08-01-2007, 01:54 PM
Hey Ted, don't sweat it...I'm just glad Ellis didn't go on one of his rants about Shioda's atavism... :D

Let's face it...all of our teachers have their faults, just like the rest of us. We celebrate their strengths, and hopefully emulate them to some degree. Things we don't like as much...well, they can be glossed over by the faithfull, but we shouldn't fault non-believers too much for mentioning them. Guilty of that myself (say, where is Szscpan these days?!?!?)

Best,
Ron

Aikibu
08-01-2007, 02:05 PM
You're complaining about working in Malibu, CA?!?!
:cool:

Never!!!LOL I am complaining about working alongside turkeys with eagle sized egos. ;)

Shore nuff don't need to do that on the mat. :D

William Hazen

Rupert Atkinson
08-01-2007, 03:54 PM
Dude...do you have film on that!?!?! I would love to have seen it...
Ron

No Vid, but Robert became a journalist ...

jennifer paige smith
08-05-2007, 10:44 AM
And I for one am tired of the 9/11 metaphors... I don't mind hearing about what happened to you that day. I lost family in the WTC.... But thank GOD! I practice hard Aikido and have no fear of making my opinion known. I just pray that we come out of this madness and fear some time soon before one of these idiots in charge does something even more asinine than they have already.

William Hazen


There is more than one tongue spoken in the world; even among those who share a common language. We use the tools we have and hopefuly we take good care of them. Metaphor is a tool for expressing ideas with spirit. It is infrequent that I latch on to any event, and certainly not one that is as fraught with B.S. and kharma as that day. But it is a literal moment from my life and it is what I have to communicate with about a moment of musubi with mankind and a particlar vibration I felt. And that is an element that I woud like to hear more of from myself and from others; feeling (perhaps the playground of ki). I mean we touch each other on the mat. Metaphor is how I touch on an idea and how I can touch people on-line with my words.

I'm certainly not offended by your comment.It is reasonable and on a level I couldn't feel ya more. What I want is to open more doors for conversation and not less.

Good to hear from ya.
Jen

Aikibu
08-05-2007, 02:44 PM
There is more than one tongue spoken in the world; even among those who share a common language. We use the tools we have and hopefuly we take good care of them. Metaphor is a tool for expressing ideas with spirit. It is infrequent that I latch on to any event, and certainly not one that is as fraught with B.S. and kharma as that day. But it is a literal moment from my life and it is what I have to communicate with about a moment of musubi with mankind and a particlar vibration I felt. And that is an element that I woud like to hear more of from myself and from others; feeling (perhaps the playground of ki). I mean we touch each other on the mat. Metaphor is how I touch on an idea and how I can touch people on-line with my words.

I'm certainly not offended by your comment.It is reasonable and on a level I couldn't feel ya more. What I want is to open more doors for conversation and not less.

Good to hear from ya.
Jen

I am reminded of a story Roshi told me along long time ago. A man was running through the jungle with a Man Eating Tiger in hot pursuit. Suddenly out of nowhere a cliff appeared and he stumbled over it. Lucky for him he mananged to grab on to something and break his fall. As he hung there for a moment he looked up and saw the Hungry Tiger! Looking down he saw another Hungry Tiger waiting for him to fall. The Brush was slowly pulling away from the cliff face. Upon inspecting the bush he noticed a Strawberry and just before the bush gave way plunging him to certain death... He picked and ate it. "Delicious!" He yelled as he fell....

I just found out today my Mom's Cancer has metasized to her brain.

If sounded combative I apologize.

Life is short. Namaste'

William Hazen

crbateman
08-05-2007, 04:27 PM
I just found out today my Mom's Cancer has metasized to her brain.Tough news, indeed. Please accept my humble prayers and best wishes.

tedehara
08-05-2007, 05:48 PM
Tough news, indeed. Please accept my humble prayers and best wishes.The same here. Our thoughts are with her.

Kim S.
08-05-2007, 09:40 PM
I pray that God will instill peace on your heart, William Hazen.

Kim S.
08-05-2007, 09:46 PM
Oh by the way, if you want additional information on the occupational era of Japan. I recommend that you read Embracing Defeat: Wake of Japan During WWll by John W. Dower. It's very detail. About 600 plus pages.

Aikibu
08-05-2007, 10:51 PM
Thanks. :)

William Hazen

jennifer paige smith
08-06-2007, 08:55 AM
I am reminded of a story Roshi told me along long time ago. A man was running through the jungle with a Man Eating Tiger in hot pursuit. Suddenly out of nowhere a cliff appeared and he stumbled over it. Lucky for him he mananged to grab on to something and break his fall. As he hung there for a moment he looked up and saw the Hungry Tiger! Looking down he saw another Hungry Tiger waiting for him to fall. The Brush was slowly pulling away from the cliff face. Upon inspecting the bush he noticed a Strawberry and just before the bush gave way plunging him to certain death... He picked and ate it. "Delicious!" He yelled as he fell....

I just found out today my Mom's Cancer has metasized to her brain.

If sounded combative I apologize.

Life is short. Namaste'

William Hazen

I'm sorry, William.

Your words were well placed, even on such a hard day, and my heart goes out to you.

If there is any way to make your time now or her time wih you anything like a 'strawberry', please let me know. I mean that. I'm not far away in Santa Cruz and I'd come to help if It were needed.

That's what friends are for.

Jen

Ron Tisdale
08-06-2007, 08:56 AM
My best to you and her William.

Ron

Aikibu
08-06-2007, 09:54 AM
I'm sorry, William.

Your words were well placed, even on such a hard day, and my heart goes out to you.

If there is any way to make your time now or her time wih you anything like a 'strawberry', please let me know. I mean that. I'm not far away in Santa Cruz and I'd come to help if It were needed.

That's what friends are for.

Jen

Thanks Jen and Ron.

Your offer is heartfelt Jen and I really appreciate it.

I don't want to hijack the thread so my apologies. I was just trying top explain the edge in my posts and when I look back on some of them I was not centered when I wrote them.

Thanka again you two and all the rest for your thoughts and prayers. :)

William Hazen

tarik
08-06-2007, 10:00 AM
I don't want to hijack the thread so my apologies. I was just trying top explain the edge in my posts and when I look back on some of them I was not centered when I wrote them.

A sword without an edge cannot cut. You were not inappropriate.

My regards and thoughts for you, your mother, and your family. I have friends and family members who are fighting the same fight; whatever else, you are both not alone.

Regards,

Tarik

dps
08-06-2007, 10:12 AM
I don't want to hijack the thread so my apologies.

No need to apologize, your mom is more important?

David

MM
08-07-2007, 01:43 PM
I am reminded of a story Roshi told me along long time ago. A man was running through the jungle with a Man Eating Tiger in hot pursuit. Suddenly out of nowhere a cliff appeared and he stumbled over it. Lucky for him he mananged to grab on to something and break his fall. As he hung there for a moment he looked up and saw the Hungry Tiger! Looking down he saw another Hungry Tiger waiting for him to fall. The Brush was slowly pulling away from the cliff face. Upon inspecting the bush he noticed a Strawberry and just before the bush gave way plunging him to certain death... He picked and ate it. "Delicious!" He yelled as he fell....

I just found out today my Mom's Cancer has metasized to her brain.

If sounded combative I apologize.

Life is short. Namaste'

William Hazen

I just got back and was catching up on threads. Ugh. Best of hopes, wishes, and prayers, William, for all involved. My family has had two funerals this year, one to cancer. It's tough. And not much anyone can say to help. I hope you have a strong family for support, because that really makes a difference.

Mark