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MM
08-28-2008, 07:39 AM
So, Ellis remarked about something in Aiki News 79, so I reread the issue. It has an interesting article about Sokaku Takeda's biography. In this article, there's a section on Takeda's training with Kenkichi Sakakibara in Jiki Shinkage-ryu.

The interesting parts to note

1. Sakakibara used a technique of parrying a sword with a winding motion.

2. Sakakibara's dojo was nicknamed "Hell" Dojo.

3. Takeda went around to other dojo for matches after training with Sakakibara and it's said that he never lost a match.

It just seemed too coincidental to me. Is this where Takeda trained and learned his "aiki"? He learned it through sword and then when times changed and he had to put the sword up, his body just naturally used the skills in "empty hand" techniques. And it would fit the saying passed down that aikido is based on sword techniques.

Toby Threadgill
08-28-2008, 06:07 PM
Hi Mark,

You bring up an intriguing point I've pondered for some time.

Lets start with this from one of Ellis's essays:

"Both my friend, John Driscoll (a high ranking judoka and aikido practitioner), and I have looked at a number of jujutsu ryu, both in person and on video. Of all the ryu we have observed, Yoshin-ryu, at least as exemplified by the Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu, seems to display characteristics more in common with Daito-ryu than any other extant ryu."

Now further consider these historical details.

Kinkichi Sakakibara's top student was Katsunosuke Matsuoka. Matsuoka was so highly respected a student of Jikishinkage ryu that when Kinkichi Sakakibara was appointed to be the bodyguard of Tokugawa Iemochi in 1860 by the Bakafu Kobusho, Katsunosuke Matsuoka was temporarily appointed to the position of Jikishinkage ryu hombu cho by the Kuroda Clan.

Matsuoka was also a licensed teacher of Tenjin Shinyo ryu, Totsuka ha Yoshin Koryu, Hokshin Itto ryu and Hozoin ryu.

Katsunosuke Matsuoka founded Shindo Yoshin ryu in 1864.

One of Katsunosuke Matsuoka's top students and holder of a menkyo kaiden in Shindo Yoshin ryu was Ohbata Shigeta. Shigeta was also a student of Jikishinkage ryu under Kinkichi Sakakibara.

Shigeta Ohbata was a friend and ocassional traveling companion of both Kotaro Yoshida and Sokaku Takeda.

Shindo Yoshin ryu includes a series of kata identified as "myoden" Ellis on observing these kata noticed an uncanny similarity to "aiki" .

Shindo Yoshin ryu also includes solo internal strength building kata descended from Aikyama Yoshin ryu. How similar these are to those reportedly taught in Daito ryu is unknown.

So..........

What does all this mean? I don't have any definite idea but its mighty thought provoking stuff regardless.... I'd sure like to have been eavesdropping on a conversation between Sokaku Takeda, Shigeta Ohbata and Kotaro Yoshida to see what they talked about over a cold beer.

For more refence on the history and technical heritage of Shindo Yoshin ryu see this essay published at koryu.com:

http://www.koryu.com/library/tthreadgill1.html

All my best,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

MM
08-28-2008, 09:07 PM
Hello,
So, since we've never met, do I say, Threadgill sensei or Toby? :)

Thank you for the post. I reread the history. It's interesting that the Budo world really isn't all that large. Certain people seem to be hubs or nexus. It seems that Sakakibara was one of them. Takeda was another.

I wonder if SYR has any history with sumo? One of the backgrounds of Takeda was sumo. I haven't really dug into Sakakibara's history, but I wonder the same thing there, too.

As for the talk over a cold beer ... Budo people being Budo people, I would imagine they'd have a similar conversation if some of us got together. :) Part talking about other martial artists, part shop talk, and a little about life in general.

Mark

Keith Larman
08-28-2008, 10:44 PM
As for the talk over a cold beer ... Budo people being Budo people, I would imagine they'd have a similar conversation if some of us got together. :) Part talking about other martial artists, part shop talk, and a little about life in general.
And part astronomy, right Toby? Stars... :p

Sorry, inside joke...

Just fwiw I watched Mr. Threadgill here do a demo for the opening of "Big" Tony Alvarez' Senpokan dojo a bunch of years back. My wife even remembers me pointing to his demo saying "now that's what aiki is all about..." Made a huge impression on this aikido guy...

DH
08-31-2008, 09:27 AM
I had an interesting day yesterday. I trained with men from all manner of arts; from MMA to Aikido.
Many were teachers from 10 to 40 years of experience in very traditional arts. All were there to learn, and to discover and train how to create a bujutsu body to make aiki. They were sweating, spending hour after hour -not searching- but rather creating and owning the body that creates "aiki." As I looked around I realized *none" of them were concerned about who did what with whom and when, and who was ranked in what, they were busy- owning it..

For that matter, there is much argument and counter argument about budo men sharing, and what the conversation might have been like. Some, have tried to make a case that they might have shared their inner teachings, all while -in their own words- the teachers stated they did not share their inner teachings. Something which I think is self evident upon viewing the Japanese arts. So we see men totally involved in an enclave, holding and teaching through a decades long process of vetting and parsing out “secrets” that in the end may or may not have been worth the having in the first place.
The history is interesting. What it has shown is that few got it, and fewer still were willing to teach it. Today I am more concerned with *doing* what many continue to just speculate and debate about. Teaching- how to place aiki back into the arts identified by the name. And in doing so make them once again some of the most formidable arts in Budo.

Mary Eastland
08-31-2008, 09:32 AM
Hi Dan:
Any women involved?
Mary

DH
08-31-2008, 09:45 AM
Yes, there were two.

Buck
08-31-2008, 04:49 PM
It just seemed too coincidental to me. Is this where Takeda trained and learned his "aiki"? He learned it through sword and then when times changed and he had to put the sword up, his body just naturally used the skills in "empty hand" techniques. And it would fit the saying passed down that aikido is based on sword techniques.

I really find this interesting because

1. If there is a real connection between aiki and sword then it should be a defining point for what aiki is.

2. This is something I like to hear other opinions on, is sword technique in Aikido body conditioning exercise that helps with developing taisabaki for Aikido, or is it part of Japanese martial art traditional curriculum for its symbolism and history the sword played in Japan.

2.a. Sword plays a huge role in Japan, and in many martial arts. It is in my opinion the core, the back bone to most Japanese martial arts.

3. It is apparent to me that sword work plays a role in Aikido - I don't think why style is all that important.

4. To defend against a sword with empty hand, you have to understand sword and develop Tachi dori against the sword, and to do that you need to know sword work.

I don't know the importance of where Takeda got his sword work and if O'Sensei learned it from Takeda or not. I think the importance in understanding that universal common sword work plays a role in Aikido. Either for body conditioning, posture, taisabaki, etc. are the things I think benefit Aikido. I don't feel the differences between sword styles that define these styles plays a role -that have or have not any influence on Aikido. It is all pretty interesting.

Chris Covington
08-31-2008, 07:29 PM
Hi Mark,

Jikishinkage-ryu is a very powerful sword system. It has also influenced a number of famous swordsmen in the late Edo era, including, Takeda Sokaku, Yamaoka Tesshu, Katsu Kaishu, Shimada tora-no-suke (Mifune's charater in Sword of Doom) and many others. Just about everything in the ryu is called kiai :ki: :ai: and I mean just about everything, not just yelling and shouting at each other (we do a lot of that too).

Since begining my study of Jikishinkage-ryu, I've come to believe that Jikishinkage-ryu might be the greatest influence on Sokaku sensei's swordwork (personal opinion only). I also agree that it seems too coincidental that after studying with Sakekibara sensei Sokaku sensei became such a powerful swordsman. In fact, Shimada Tora-no-suke was known as a very powerful swordsman, and was unbeatable until he met with Odani sensei (Sakakibara sensei's teacher). My teacher just told us this story last week:

Shimada went to Tokyo to challenge swordsmen in shinai shiai. Odani sensei like many very strong sword masters would often let the challenger win one out of three duels, to save face for the challenger. Shimada wasn't impressed with Odani sensei. Shimada challenged another Jiki man (I forgot who) and was soundly beaten. When he asked to become the Jiki guy's student, the guy told him to seek out Odani sensei. Shimada said he already met him and wasn't impressed. He had only lost by one point after all. The Jiki guy told him he had the wrong introduction, and gave him a formal writen intro.

Shimada went back to Odani sensei with the intro. They crossed swords and Odani sensei forced Shimada back to the wall of the dojo. Once Shimada had his back to the wall Odani sensei let up and they returned to the center of the dojo. As soon as they reached the center, Odani sensei pushed Shimada back to the wall again. This went on for half an hour and Shimada couldn't do anything about it! Shimada finally ripped him men off, covered in sweat, and asked to join the dojo. Shimada later recounted that he was faced with a small mountain that moved him with a wall of kiai.

Does the article describe the winding motion that Sakakibara sensei used to parry cuts? I have an idea of what it is based on what little I know of the art, but more info would be great. Training in Jikishinkage-ryu is hard. I've heard Donn Draeger would train at different dojo for a day or two at a time and the most difficult training he experienced was in Namiki sensei's dojo. To read more about the training check out this link: http://www.izs.org/about/Omori_Sogen.htm
Omori Sogen was a Jiki swordsman and there is a story about some of his training.

Michael Douglas
09-01-2008, 08:25 AM
I really find this interesting because
...
4. To defend against a sword with empty hand, you have to understand sword and develop Tachi dori against the sword, and to do that you need to know sword work.
Philip do you think this part is important in Aikido, and do you think it is important in sword-v-sword study?
I'm asking because I find it a real red-herring plonked into some Aikido demos and uses techniques only applicable once the sword has been passed and controlled by means/situations not shown in the same demos.

Buck
09-01-2008, 04:46 PM
Philip do you think this part is important in Aikido, and do you think it is important in sword-v-sword study?
I'm asking because I find it a real red-herring plonked into some Aikido demos and uses techniques only applicable once the sword has been passed and controlled by means/situations not shown in the same demos.

I was fortunate sometime ago to see a real good sword demonstration. And I was able to talk to the demonstrators and learned a whole lot about sword. I compared the demo and the info to sword work, in general, in Aikido, and Aikido. I came to the understanding of a universal law that it is important to defend against something you need to know how it works. Upon this, I started to look at Aikido techniques differently seeing a connection beyond the obvious. I think if a person really wants to study the connection between sword and Aikido it wouldn't hurt to study sword vs. sword to understand the complexity and involvement of Aikido techniques.

Because of my experience and the relationship Aikido has with sword I find fascinating. I am not sure yet if a particular sword style does or does not play a significant role.

Toby Threadgill
09-02-2008, 12:42 AM
So, since we've never met, do I say, Threadgill sensei or Toby? :)


Hi Mark. Toby works fine.

Thank you for the post. I reread the history. It's interesting that the Budo world really isn't all that large. Certain people seem to be hubs or nexus. It seems that Sakakibara was one of them. Takeda was another.

Agreed but I'm starting to conclude there were many very talented guys that all exchanged information in one way shape or form, especially during the late Edo and early Meiji/Taisho period. Unfortunately many of these schools and their high level teachings were lost for numerous reasons, especially those surrounding the modernization of Japan.

I wonder if SYR has any history with sumo? One of the backgrounds of Takeda was sumo. I haven't really dug into Sakakibara's history, but I wonder the same thing there, too.

There's no connection to sumo I'm aware of.

As for the talk over a cold beer ... Budo people being Budo people, I would imagine they'd have a similar conversation if some of us got together. :) Part talking about other martial artists, part shop talk, and a little about life in general.

One of many things that pique my interest...

Were these guys learning new things from one another or were they comparing notes on already held similar skills? I'm starting to think the latter. The more I have researched the various Yoshin ryu schools, the more I realize the ubiquituous nature of training certain specialized body dynamics. Recently I learned of internal training exercises being included by way of photos in a turn of the century Judo text called "Judo Gokui Shinden. According to Takamura sensei, the explanation of waza that included "ki" and other mystical sounding skills were rejected and then utterly abandon by the early 20th century Judoka. Evidently, as time marched forward these once common exercises and accompanying skills were left in the possession of the shrinking koryu jujutsu community. Only the exploding popularity of aikido brought the discussion and demonstration of these skills back into greater public view.

Respectfully,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Tim Fong
09-02-2008, 01:57 AM
(snip) Recently I learned of internal training exercises being included by way of photos in a turn of the century Judo text called "Judo Gokui Shinden. According to Takamura sensei, the explanation of waza that included "ki" and other mystical sounding skills were rejected and then utterly abandon by the early 20th century Judoka. Evidently, as time marched forward these once common exercises and accompanying skills were left in the possession of the shrinking koryu jujutsu community. Only the exploding popularity of aikido brought the discussion and demonstration of these skills back into greater public view.

Respectfully,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Toby,
Thanks, that's a fascinating tidbit of information. Would it be too much to ask you to describe these exercises? Standing or seated? Moving or static? Etc?

Thanks,
Tim

Toby Threadgill
09-02-2008, 02:47 AM
Toby,
Thanks, that's a fascinating tidbit of information. Would it be too much to ask you to describe these exercises? Standing or seated? Moving or static? Etc?

Hi Tim,

Not at all. They are standing solo kata that's purpose is to augment and inculcate very specific physical dynamics existing in our paired kata. I suppose the closest thing I've seen to them would be Chi Gung, although identifying the correct muscular dynamics visually is almost impossible. They are truly internal in nature.

Respectfully,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Chris Covington
02-17-2009, 06:47 PM
Hello all,

I'm sorry for the thread necromancy, but I thought this might be the best place for this.

Please find a link to some fellows doing the Hojo-no-kata of Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JdFmoIJjkg&feature=related

This first set of kata teaches the proper kiai and how to dominate the opponent. The people in this video have somewhat weaker kiai then some of the stronger groups and they do the kata in a rather basic way. I guess they have only been studying for a few years (?).

For those who have never seen it here is the Ono-ha Itto-ryu video made by the Budokan back in the 70's. It features Sasamori Takemi sensei the current headmaster of the ryu. He recently did a very nice seminar in NJ. If he makes it back to the US I would recommend training with him. Anyway, the video is broken into 4 parts and includes the first 50 victories along with the kodachi set and the rather rare aikodachi (both people have kodachi!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43j5dEzx-aw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnX31c-AUIU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhywUFIAuTg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3T3nOvRWxw

For those who've never seen good sumo check out this recent video between Asashoryu and Hakuho (yeah I show it because 'Shoryu wins, I'm biased): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgbzwkTcFlc
And for those who want to see Hakuho win with super magic aiki :yuck:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV5LF8dwd-8 (sorry couldn't help myself)

Last but not least here are two videos of Hozoin-ryu sojutsu a spear style Sokaku sensei may have done. Lots of good kiai here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz3hplpygV4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s26CXKQUO2Y&feature=related

Between these two agressive sword arts, sumo, sojutsu, and a family jujutsu system I think we can start to see where Daito-ryu got a lot of its unique characteristics from.

Enjoy!

Howard Popkin
02-18-2009, 07:08 AM
Wow,

Cool. I met Sasamori years ago, but he was grey with glasses.

Cool to see him as a young man.

Thanks Chris !!

Howard

Chris Covington
02-18-2009, 10:52 PM
Hey Howard,

Glad you liked the links. Just like aikidoka looking to Daito-ryu for some answers to questions they have, I think we in Daito-ryu can find some interesting answers in the arts Sokaku sensei studied.

Sasamori sensei was grey with glasses when I met him, too. Although he moved like a man half his age with the sword.

Best regards,