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02-24-2002, 08:19 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of February 24, 2002:

If an instructor's budo "lineage" can not be traced back to Morihei Ueshiba, should what s/he is teaching be called "aikido"?

I don't do aikido
Yes
No


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=101).

mle
02-24-2002, 10:57 AM
If an instructor's budo "lineage" can not be traced back to Morihei Ueshiba, should what s/he is teaching be called "aikido"?

(Chuck here, posting in MLE's name 'cause I still can't get her logged out and me logged in at home. Of course, Emily says the reason I can't do that is because SHE'S the aikido person and I'm one of those koryu-lovin' darkside evil budo bunnies. She also mumbled something about the page code tapping into our ki, leaving cookies and checking browser compatibility ...)

Jun, you're a funny, funny boy. I love that about ya.

You left out the best answer: 'It depends.'

Aikido is really kind of a generic term. Inasmuch as there IS a naming convention in Japanese budo, most ryuha are identified by lineage, then by the broader art and any other details (like perhaps the area from which it came).

For example: Takenouchi Ryu jujutsu, Itto Ryu kenjutsu, Shito Ryu karate, Kodokan judo (yes there are other types of judo), and so on.

So Ueshiba's aikido could be called Ueshiba-ha Daito Ryu jujutsu.

Aikido is a specialized subset of Japanese unarmed or lightly armed fighting arts, therefore it is jujutsu. It is derived from Daito Ryu, therefore the parent art is DRJJ. And it is Ueshiba's particular interpretation of that art, therefore, Ueshiba-ha.

He chose to call it aikido, sort of falling in line with Kano's rationale of using the term judo instead of jujutsu (although that distinction is really blurry, semantically and historically) after having called it Daito Ryu JJ, DR aikijujutsu, DR aiki budo, and other apellations. Eventually, he chose to break ties with Takeda and dropped the DR part in practical terms, but (as far as I know) never chose to rename the system formally. Aikido sort of stuck, despite it being non-specific.

There are folks in Japan (and elsewhere) practicing other jujutsu derivatives of DR who call (quite legitimately, I assure you) what they do aikido. Aikido, as a stand-alone term, is vague and sort of generic. Kinda of like saying 'karate' ... there are many variations, flavors and approaches and not all of 'em are Ueshiba-derived.

Is what _I_ do aikido? I practice a system of jujutsu, one that incorporates a concept we call 'aiki' and that contains portions of the curriculum we call aikijujutsu and aikijutsu (or aiki-ho -- not a typo, ho, meaning method). It is not specifically Ueshiba-derived. I tend to call what I do, budo, for simplicity. It is, more or less, a sogo budo -- a broad-spectrum, 'comprehensive' system -- that contains sub-systems of kempo (fist-method -- punch-kick stuff), weapons (sword, staff, and small weapons such as tessen and tanto) and the primary component: unarmed body arts.

However, my teacher spent some time in the late 50s/early 60s training with folks like K. Tohei and G. Shioda. Much of the taijutsu I practice today was flavored by those folks.

So ... I COULD call what I do aikido, if I wanted to (What did Pooh say about words?). And, indeed, Sensei would at times talk about aikido, but the curriculum I teach is broader than just the portion in which we explore the concept of aiki (though, arguably, it ALL encompasses aiki at some level).

Chuck G

PeterR
02-24-2002, 01:10 PM
Well I do an Ueshiba derived form of Aikido and agree wholeheartedly with Chuck's post.

Still - and here is the rub - I find myself getting indignant when some groups calls itself something where there is no connection. This goes for Daito-ryu/Aikido dojos where at best there is a year or two under a legitamate instructor. There is an "Aikido" dojo down the road from me just like that. Yuck.

I vote yes - assuming that we are not talking about McDojos.

Edward
02-24-2002, 01:34 PM
Again one more opportunity to make a few more ennemies for myself. Thanks Jun.


Traditionally, if you want to follow the Japanese customs, Aikido is a kind of trade mark or property of the Ueshiba family, represented currently by the third Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba. Of course they can't sue and keep someone who would like to use the appellation of Aikido to any form of art he desires from doing that. However, morally speaking, prior approval should be taken.

One example is Tohei Sensei, who was specifically requested by Kisshomaru Doshu not to use the name Aikido when they separated. Tohei Sensei being a man of outstanding morality agreed eventhough he could have refused, since his Aikido is not by any means less authentic Aikido than Aikikai.

I voted no on the poll.

I believe the only reason such schools chose to use the name of Aikido, is to profit from the worldwide recognition of the name, which is the result of the efforts of people such as Kisshomaru Doshu, Tohei and Shioda Sensei.

Cheers,
Edward

Erik
02-24-2002, 03:59 PM
Yea, I wanted an "it depends" as well.

I see it this way. No matter how bad we may think it is, if they call it Aikido and if they talk about O'Sensei, then someone there better be able to tie into the man. It may require some stretching but my line is drawn there. I guess I would call it Ueshiba's Aikido.

Originally posted by Peter R:
Still - and here is the rub - I find myself getting indignant when some groups calls itself something where there is no connection. This goes for Daito- ryu/Aikido dojos where at best there is a year or two under a legitamate instructor. There is an "Aikido" dojo down the road from me just like that. Yuck.

I've got one of those too. The problem is that people relate to them and see what you are doing in the same light. It damages the value of your name and art. Sort of like me building a car and calling it a Mercedez. Think someone might get upset with me?

Chris Li
02-24-2002, 05:34 PM
Originally posted by Edward
Traditionally, if you want to follow the Japanese customs, Aikido is a kind of trade mark or property of the Ueshiba family, represented currently bys the third Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba. Of course they can't sue and keep someone who would like to use the appellation of Aikido to any form of art he desires from doing that. However, morally speaking, prior approval should be taken.


On the hand, some traditional names (such as Daito-ryu) have actually been trademarked in Japan, opening the door for legal recourse.

Also, I'm not entirely sure that M. Ueshiba was the first to use "Aikido" as the name for his art, I've heard similar claims from practitioners of other arts. Certainly many other people have used the word "Aikido", which would strengthen the argument that the term has become generic.



One example is Tohei Sensei, who was specifically requested by Kisshomaru Doshu not to use the name Aikido when they separated. Tohei Sensei being a man of outstanding morality agreed eventhough he could have refused, since his Aikido is not by any means less authentic Aikido than Aikikai.


Last time I looked Tohei was still using "Aikido"...

Was Kenji Tomiki of less "outstanding morality" because he used the name Aikido even when asked not to by M. Ueshiba?

Best,

Chris

Chocolateuke
02-24-2002, 07:19 PM
I said yes mainly because I was thinking of the future. what if something really really drastic did happen ( like people forgot how to read like in the middle ages.) and they forget about Ushiba but still train Aikido that they learned. is that accepteble?? who knows Im just out there right now

mle
02-24-2002, 08:35 PM
Okay.. this is the Real mle ;-)

Um, yeah, K Tohei, Tomiki, Seagal, Nishio, Saito, Doran, Saotome - they all do their interpretation of Ueshiba's vision.

If I learned sumi-e from a master, should I demand that no one else call what they do sumi-e? it's just a description: "ink drawing".

I would want an "it depends" as well, so I couldn't really vote.

Of course, what I am doing right now has Ueshiba influences, but isn't technically DR as taught by Ueshiba, exactly. So, I would have to respond "I don't do aikido" if I were being techically honest.

Additionally.. this is "aikiweb" not "aikidoweb" so I'm afraid I'd still fit here even if I was doing kempo or judo. ;-)

What I am practicing right now is, in many ways, aikido as I was trying to create it for myself, complete with a solid striking system and a variety of weapons arts to complement it.

If you look from system to system, you will see the tremendous diversity, and the exclusive claims of certain greedy individuals with tunnel vision become very frail indeed.
I do urge people to become as educated as they can, using unbiased sources such as Stan Pranin, EJ Harrison or the like.
The late Doshu, Kisshomaru U, had some very grounded and realistic things to say about aikido training in his books which apply to any training.

I don't think anyone should settle for what their instructor feeds them about the art, go for extra credit and learn everything you can.
It's a risk, but I have to tell you that the truth is worth everything...

mle

mle
02-24-2002, 08:45 PM
Originally posted by Edward

Traditionally, if you want to follow the Japanese customs, Aikido is a kind of trade mark or property of the Ueshiba family,

Eh? How'zat? Nihon Goshin Aikido and Korindo AIkido both legitiately use the term 'aikido' in their names. There is no "Board of Nomenclature" oerseeing the budo world ... official or unofficial. If a family or system chooses a name, fine, but that doesn't mean others cannot or may not use it as well.

desires from doing that. However, morally speaking, prior approval should be taken.

Morally? Hoo boy. THAT'S a whole 'nother discussion.

One example is Tohei Sensei, who was specifically requested by Kisshomaru Doshu not to use the name Aikido when they

So ... you're saying Tohei's system isn't aikido? Hmm. Ever heard the term Shinshintoitsu aikido?

Aikido is a generic term that can be translated as the way of aiki. There are many ways and many definitions of aiki. You have any idea how many different Itto Ryu there are? And Itto Ryu is much more specific term than aikido. Semantically, the word 'Aikido' is kind of like kendo, iaido, karatedo, judo or even (gasp!) kenjutsu, jujutsu, sumo, etc.

I believe the only reason such schools chose to use the name of Aikido, is to profit


What about those schools wherein the term aikido appeared simultaneously as Ueshiba's use of the word to describe his art?

Adding 'do' to a martial word was fashionable in some circles back before Meiji ...

Edward, you seem to be a nice guy and seem bright. Do your homework and research. Budo is a broader world than just aikido and while aikido has MUCH to recommend it, it is only one small part of a larger whole. A whole to which it is inextricably bound and with which it is deeply interwoven.



Chuck

Peter Goldsbury
02-24-2002, 10:29 PM
Originally posted by Chris Li


On the hand, some traditional names (such as Daito-ryu) have actually been trademarked in Japan, opening the door for legal recourse.

Also, I'm not entirely sure that M. Ueshiba was the first to use "Aikido" as the name for his art, I've heard similar claims from practitioners of other arts. Certainly many other people have used the word "Aikido", which would strengthen the argument that the term has become generic.



Last time I looked Tohei was still using "Aikido"...

Was Kenji Tomiki of less "outstanding morality" because he used the name Aikido even when asked not to by M. Ueshiba?

Best,

Chris

Interesting topic. I can quite see Edward's viewpoint and a very similar viewpoint has been expounded to me by the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and also by the present Doshu. The Aikikai really do believe that aikido is in a very real sense the property of the Ueshiba family and this explains (to me at least) how the Aikikai conducts itself, especially in relation to other organisations using the name.

On the other hand, the term 'aikido', as used to describe the gendai budo created by Morihei Ueshiba, was first coined by officials of the Dai Nippon Butotukai around 1942. Up to that point Ueshiba had been following Japanese precedent and calliing his art Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, Ueshiba-ryu, or Aiki-budo. The Dai Nippon Butotukai had the strong support of the Japanese military government and was grouping together all the martial arts in order to coordinate the war effort. I do not think there was any question of not participating (for Ueshiba had close links to the military and was teaching at many military schools); the question concerned the name. Aiki-budo seemed too narrow; any association with jujutsu was not acceptable, since there was already an existing art with that name; in any case it was better for the art to be a 'do', like judo. Thus, 'aikido' was the name finally agreed on. Obviously, this decision must have been made with Morihei Ueshiba's approval, but it needs to be seen in a certain political context.

Now Ueshiba moved to Iwama in 1942 and if 'Aikido Ichiro' is any guide, the reason was to preserve the art he had created (which he called 'aikido'), since he appears to have been very pessimistic about tho outcome of the war. He ordered Kisshomaru to run the Tokyo dojo as best he could, which he did.

The point is that aikido is a generic name, like judo, even though it is also the name of the Ueshiba family art. I doubt very much whether there was any thought of trade-marking the name, just as Kano never trade-marked judo. Probably because the 'iemoto' system is a system of human relationships and is traditionally not thought to need modern legal underpinnings.

With 'Kobukai' and 'Aikikai', the matter is somewhat different. Thus when Gozo Shioda established his own organisation he used a different name (Yoshinkan/kai) and Kenji Tomiki also eventually followed the same pattern. But both continued to use the name 'aikido'. Tomiki Sensei was asked to change the name, but he declined and there was no way that the Aikikai could legally compel him to do so.

In my own case, I started training without worrying about either the name or the history of the art and this state of innocence lasted till I became a yudansha (i.e., structurally attached to a sensei via an organisation). I had lots of teachers, not all of whom were Aikikai, but all of whom could trace their pedigree back to the Founder. For me, this line is important. Of course, a trademark is usually a sign of quality: customers can rely on the brand. In aikido, the search for quality is really much more up to the individual practitioner, whether inside an organisation or outside one. A link with the source indicates the possibility of high quality, but the search is still up to the individual practitioner.

Regards,

Edward
02-24-2002, 11:26 PM
Hi Chuck and Chris,

I guess I do not really need to comment on your replies to me since you only have to read Dr. Goldsbury's post. He said in clear scientifical words what I have been trying to say with my poor english and vague historical knowledge.

Now on whether Professor Tomiki should have changed the name as asked or not, I am not in a position to judge his decision but my personal feeling is that he should have followed the wish of the founder. However, since I cannot possibly know the details nor the exact circumstances of this matter, my opinion would remain extremely far from objectivity.

As for Tohei Sensei, my information is that he complied with Doshu's wish and officially called his art "Ki No Kenkyukai". The Aikido mention is added by dojos to specify that it is Aikido that they teach. I have no doubt that this art is as Aikido as can be, but it is history that we are discussing.

Another teacher of outstanding character, who was an Uchi-Deshi of Osensei, and complied to the Doshu's wish, is Noro Sensei who named his art "Ki No Michi".

Cheers,
Edward

Chris Li
02-25-2002, 12:44 AM
Originally posted by Edward
As for Tohei Sensei, my information is that he complied with Doshu's wish and officially called his art "Ki No Kenkyukai". The Aikido mention is added by dojos to specify that it is Aikido that they teach. I have no doubt that this art is as Aikido as can be, but it is history that we are discussing.

Ki no Kenkyukai was founded in 1971, three years before Tohei went independent. As I understand it, Ki no Kenkyukai focuses on ki training and issues ranks based on levels of ki development (some people do ki development training without participatiing in the Aikido side at all). The Aikido side is Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido and that is where Aikido ranks are issued. Most Shin Shin Toitsu dojo in Japan just call it "Aikido" just like the Aikikai. I note that Koichi Tohei has at least two books issued post-breakup that include just plain "Aikido" in the title without any "Shin Shin Toitsu".

Best,

Chris

Edward
02-25-2002, 01:52 AM
Chris,

I have to admit that your information is usually more accurate than mine.

I did hear however from someone of authority in the Aikikai world that Tohei sensei did agree not to name his style Aikido. So I'm a little confused.

Cheers,
Edward

Chris Li
02-25-2002, 02:13 AM
Originally posted by Edward
Chris,

I have to admit that your information is usually more accurate than mine.

I did hear however from someone of authority in the Aikikai world that Tohei sensei did agree not to name his style Aikido. So I'm a little confused.

Cheers,
Edward

Maybe they're talking about "Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido", although the difference seems pretty slim to me...

Best,

Chris

Creature_of_the_id
02-25-2002, 05:10 AM
if I make, say... an omlette, and it is slightly different to the very first omlette ever made. can I still call it an omlette?

you can get alot of different types of omlette, lots of different ingredients. bacon omlette, mushroom omlette yumm :)
its all got eggs in it, and as long as it tastes good who cares what its called. I appreciate the person who came up with it and everyone will have different tastes and make it their own

so.. my point is, aikido is still aikido, as long as it has... eggs in it

maybe i need to re think my analogy, but after I have eaten. I am hungry now for some reason

mle
02-25-2002, 02:18 PM
(Chuck posting -- no not POSING, Peter! -- as Emily again)

A historical note:

In Aikido Journal, Vol 21, No. 3 (1994), there's an interview with Minoru Hirai, then head of Nihon Korinkai Aikido (Anyone know, is he still alive?). Hirai was a contemporary of Uehiba's (born 1903) who trained in several koryu. He entered Ueshiba's Kobukan Dojo in 1939 and became its director of general affairs in '42, and was the Kobukan's representative to the Dai Nihon Butokukai.

According to the interview, conducted by Stan Pranin, Hirai was a major player in changing the name of Ueshiba's art to aikido.

He says: "'Aikido' rather than being a specifically selected name, was the term used to refer to 'Butokukai-ryu aiki budo' within the Dai Nihon Butokukai."

Apparently, Hirai was at the Butokukai in regards to a new section being formed to cover 'comprehensive' yawara/jujutsu systems.

'Aikido' was chosen by Hisatomi Tatatsuo, said Hirai, because is was inoffensive, stressed 'michi', and comprehensive. Hirai said: "... a cover-all term that could include others things as well."

Hirai is also credited with being functional in development of today's taihojutsu (police arrest tactics) originally taught during World War II.

Even while attending clases at Ueshiba's Kobukan, Hirai maintained his own dojo, founded before he met Ueshiba, in Okayama.

Chuck G.

PeterR
02-25-2002, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by mle
(Chuck posting -- no not POSING, Peter! -- as Emily again)

Don't you just hate these newly married types.

Matching track suits, shared internet accounts, sweeeet. :p

mle
02-25-2002, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by PeterR


Don't you just hate these newly married types.

Matching track suits, shared internet accounts, sweeeet. :p

mle:
Hee! yes, we have several things which match by accident, some of which we did on purpose..

Sorry about the confusion about who's who.. I'm the softer spoken one, generally.

Back to topic:
Should Korean judo not be marketed as judo?
Should Gracie jujutsu have its own name?

There's umpty gazillion forms of tae kwan do.

Yes, when we see the word "aikido" we think of the Ueshiba family despite the huge variation in actual form.

But it seems that is kind of like the "band aid" association - referring to stick-on bandages as such is a trademark violation. But everyone calls them that anyway. Same with Kleenex or Xerox.
"Facial tissue" or "photocopy" is a more accurate description, but we get accustomed to the other noises due to marketing saturation.

I would specify that what I do _could_ technically be called aikido, as could judo, or Danzan Ryu, hapkido (do those syllables even make sense in Korean?), chin-na (okay, that's Chinese, for what I don't know) or even tai chi.

The only rule which makes the word "aikido" belong to the Ueshiba is common usage and, quite frankly, marketing.

An educated person should ask, certainly.
If they want Ueshiba's aikido, they can check lineage.. but forgive me, Peter Goldsbury, lineage doth not a good practicioner make. I know you by reading and reputation and can only hope to grab your wrist someday! :-)

I have been taught some questionable things three teachers removed from Ueshiba.
Now, ONE teacher removed, or two, I have seen some fine things. And some very silly things. As I evolve (I've only ten years at this point), perhaps I will develop a more cohesive perspective... but the art is so very fragmented. To only see one view of it, to only experience or acknowledge one style, is to wear very narrow blinders.

My fragmented point being... who is to decide which window into aikido is best?

Each person can only decide for themselves if the softness of Ki no Kenkyukai or Shinshin Toitsu is for them, or the brisk competition of Tomiki, or the intense structure of Yoshinkan.

I would prefer that no one decided for me.

mle

JJF
02-26-2002, 03:13 AM
Originally posted by mle
(Chuck posting -- no not POSING, Peter! -- as Emily again)... but why not ? after all there is a trace of a cross-dresser in all of us male aikido-ka's right ? with the hakama and all .... ;)

Peter Goldsbury
02-26-2002, 08:35 AM
Originally posted by mle


Back to topic:

An educated person should ask, certainly.
If they want Ueshiba's aikido, they can check lineage.. but forgive me, Peter Goldsbury, lineage doth not a good practicioner make. I know you by reading and reputation and can only hope to grab your wrist someday! :-)

mle

I don't think I ever said it did, but it helps. Are we disagreeing?

Regards,

Chuck.Gordon
02-27-2002, 01:56 PM
Deleted by Chuck

ronin_10562
02-27-2002, 02:16 PM
"He says: "'Aikido' rather than being a specifically selected name, was the term used to refer to 'Butokukai-ryu aiki budo' within the Dai Nihon Butokukai."

Apparently, Hirai was at the Butokukai in regards to a new section being formed to cover 'comprehensive' yawara/jujutsu systems.

'Aikido' was chosen by Hisatomi Tatatsuo, said Hirai, because is was inoffensive, stressed 'michi', and comprehensive. Hirai said: "... a cover-all term that could include others things as well." "




Does that mean the term Aikido was used as a generic term and that Ueshiba did not invent the name?

Chuck.Gordon
02-27-2002, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by ronin_10562
Does that mean the term Aikido was used as a generic term and that Ueshiba did not invent the name?

Speaking broadly, yes. That's what I interpret that as saying.

However, over the years, as Peter G and others have cited, the Ueshiba lineage has taken the name to mean the distinctive budo taught by Ueshiba. And, generally speaking (look at Kleenex and Band-Aid) the name has, in popular use, become associated with Ueshiba's art.

I know of a couple of other systems, though, who use the term and have, indeed, heard it pop up in Daito Ryu circles as well.

Personally, I think 'aikido' is too broad a term for Ueshiba's lineage. I don't see anything wrong with 'Ueshiba Ryu Aikido' since it is his creation his family retains (in the main line at least) stewardship of the ryuha.

Tyen of course, we'd have to talk about the 'Tomiki-ha Ueshiba Ryu' of the Shodokan and 'Shioda-ha Ueshiba Ryu' of the Yoshinkan ...

Gets a bit unwieldy, I suppose.

Does that mean, Walt, that your folks (Nihon Goshin Aikido) ought not use the word 'aikido'? Nope. I'd just want to make sure anyone coming into the dojo knew it wasn't Ueshiba-ha aikido so there'd be no confusion.

Chuck

ronin_10562
02-27-2002, 03:27 PM
We don't try to pass for Ueshiba's style, never have, never will. We are proud of our history, and share it with everyone that is remotely interested.

Walt

giriasis
02-27-2002, 04:29 PM
Chuck's description clears up some confusion for me, and although I know that the NGA folks are really clear, proud, and honest about their lineage, but what of folks who are not? Is that "aikido" although if you walked into the dojo you will see them doing some techniques that look like aikido (especially to the untrained eye)? I'm talking about people who appear and present themselves to be connected to someone but in reality they are not. (Yes, this is a real group and comes from personal experience. I have spoken to people about this group before, they know who I'm talking about.)

Are they "my style mish-mash don't know if it's Ueshiba-ha or Takeda-ha" aikido?

Does unknown or no lineage = not aikido?

Anne Marie "the queen of asking simple yet extremely controversial questions" Giri

Bruce Baker
02-27-2002, 05:10 PM
We can hash over the many intricaces of history and who did this and who did that, but what I want to know is ... are we getting the same quality training from either family handed down arts, or from those who have trained with inheritors and pass it down?

That all depends on if you know what you are talking about?

If you never leave your house, or block, or neighborhood ... how do you know there is a bigger world with other things? Because you see things in a store, doesn't mean you understand what they are or what they do?

On the other hand, some of the greatest teachers took from other arts, and created their own style of arts. If you can live a healthy, happy, long life, be it with martial arts or without ... isn't that the whole purpose of learning any art?

Get back on track, children. You need to focus on the purpose martial arts was created for ... to kill ... and the fact that Aikido was changed to polish the spirit and benefit human beings!

In Japanese culture the importance of tracing a lineage, unbroken, back to the kings from the sky is different from the chinese lineage of divine lineage which changes like most cultures with history and progress. Many times, even in aikido, some of the brightest and best teachers are those who question and search for the answers without giving in to those who tell them there are no answers.

If your teacher continues to learn, to question, to explore, and admit to mistakes or lack of knowledge, that is the thirst you need to get when you practice or search for answers!

Check your history, but you will find that most of the higher ranks are not concerned about lineage, even though they respect it? They are concerned about their own quest for knowledge, and making their lives better with their practice.

Hey, life is tough enough to get to my age without major injury from training, or without having to explain every little detail? Say your prayers, give thanks to those who came before us for their sacrifices, and be glad we can play at Aikido instead of using it to kill? Its a lot more fun to play with the other children, isn't it?

mle
02-27-2002, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury


I don't think I ever said it did, but it helps. Are we disagreeing?

Nah, I don't think so. I'm not a big semantics picker and I don't say I know someone until I HAVE sweated with them on the mat. And had a pint after. ;-)
Lineage is important, certainly, however, in many cases it's in that huge icky grey area where it's up to the individual to decide on the character and history they want from their teacher.
You're right *there*, and you've got some superb connections, but over here in the States we are faced with a baffling array of marketing and copycat schemes.
One of the things I do is learn my potential instructor's lineage, and run like the devil if they are offended that I ask.
Once I have learnt the lineage, I then scrutinize the character of the instructor and students.

I know what I can tolerate in an instructor and what I cannot. Only I can judge that.
Some students of shihan I could not deal with. That's my problem and I won't bring it to them. Others I am deeply fond of, and would follow. Some renegades I like very much.

What I fear most is the closed mind. I can respect someone who is vested in a system, has given themselves to it and receives much from it.

I've moved around a lot, mostly by necessity of my demanding, truth-seeking nature. It hasn't always been pleasant or easy, but it's been a lot of fun.

I still seek what the Founder sought, following his path in my own way. And that is how I understood his directive.

Others may understand it differently, and I treasure that in them, and respect it profoundly.

At least, I try. ;-D

mle

mle
02-27-2002, 08:22 PM
Originally posted by giriasis

... what of folks who are not? Is that "aikido" although if you walked into the dojo you will see them doing some techniques that look like aikido (especially to the untrained eye)? I'm talking about people who appear and present themselves to be connected to someone but in reality they are not. (Yes, this is a real group and comes from personal

Hey Ann,

Yeah, that happens. Sad fact. There's a lot of that in any area of the martial arts, too.

How can we combat it? Well, we can't, head-on. Unless we wanna go back to the bad old days and start dojo arashi again. That tends to be frowned upon by modenr authorities, I suspect.

However, if we do our research, encourage folks who contact us to do theirs, provide honest open forums (like this on an dlike aikido-l and e-budo and others), we can make a dent.

I'm one of the first to admit and profes that what I teach ain't for everyone. I've been known to turn away or discourage applicants. But I DO offer my assistance in helping find them a place to train that wil suit their needs.

Does unknown or no lineage = not aikido?

Sigh. Here again. Hard to say without more detail. Probably ... no.

But who knows? Maybe there's SOMETHING there. Sometimes, the only answer is to get on the mat, train with the folks and see what they're really about.

Chuck

mle
02-27-2002, 08:33 PM
Originally posted by Bruce Baker

Bruce, man, you need to get your money back from that Dale carnegie course ...

We can hash over the many intricaces of history and who did this and who did that, but what I want to know is ... are we getting the same quality training from either family handed down arts, or from those who have trained with inheritors and pass it down?

In some cases, yes. In some, no. It depends on the situation, the people and the system.

That all depends on if you know what you are talking about?

Exactly! I don't think anyone here could argue with THAT statement ...

If you never leave your house, or block, or neighborhood ... how do you know there is a bigger world with other things? Because you see things in a store, doesn't mean you understand what they are or what they do?

Agreed. One of my students is fond of saying "If you don't date anybody but family, pretty soon ya'll all start looking alike ..."

Cross-training is good, knowing your own system's lineage and workings, and theories can only be made stronger by examining those of other ryuha and systems.

On the other hand, some of the greatest teachers took from other arts, and created

I'd say ALL the great teachers did so. The history of budo has always been one of thesis, antihtesis, synthesis.

Get back on track, children.

Bruce, who are you calling children? There are folks on this forum who have 40 or more years of experience in budo, some of whom are recognized leaders in the budo community. Even the hoi polloi like me can range up to nearly 30 years of training under their belts. Others have been training a few years, but are gifted, talented, dedicated budoka.

Calling people children because they don't conform you your apparently very limited vision of what aikido ought to be is condescending, arrogant and darn near spiteful.

You need to focus on the purpose martial arts was created for ... to kill ... and the fact that Aikido was changed to polish the spirit and benefit human beings!

Yes and yes. And your point might be???


In Japanese culture the importance of tracing a lineage, unbroken, back to the kings from the sky is different from the chinese lineage of divine lineage which changes like most cultures with history and progress. Many times, even in aikido, some of the brightest and best teachers are those who question and search for the answers without giving in to those who tell them there are no answers.

OK, I know I'm unenlightened. What the heck are you trying to say there? Traditional Japanese culture traces th elineage of the emperor (and thus the Japanese people and nation itself) to the gods. So do MOST societies, in fact, I can't think of any who do not.

... Its a lot more fun to play with the other children, isn't it?

Now you're just being small again. You won't make any headway that way, not when you're talking to bright, aware, curious, energetic folks like the people here, some of whom have have more years on the mat than you have on this Earth.

Sigh.

Chuck

Chuck.Gordon
02-27-2002, 08:49 PM
Sorry, those last two posts under MLE's name were actually by me. Jun, I'm FINALLY getting the hng of that logout/login business ...

Sigh.

Chuck

Bruce Baker
02-28-2002, 06:29 AM
I am sorry I have to do this, but Chuck ...

Yeah, I am cracking the fifty mark in life, yeah, I am just learning the secrets of many martial arts, and yeah, you need to a major nervous breakdown to re evaluate your priorities, or at least be leveled with an illness, as I have had, that almost totally takes you out of the game.

I am a working guy, a student of history, and a non lineage learner of many martial arts with no motive to profit or making it my living. It took actual demonstrations of techniques, with detailed explainations to convince me of their validity and get me beyond where you are, in your funk, to open my eyes to western training in arts and advanced eastern training.

When people speak of lineage, they allude to these secrets. Simply because that is the shortest path to knowledge by taking it from others who have been there? Well, sometimes you have to go find the answers because no one is gonna tell you.

I started martial arts late in life, and I treated it like a large puzzle with pieces scattered all over the world ... and I was right. If there are a dozen open books about this subject, that is a lot.

So talk about lineage, but what you are seeking is a shortcut.

And I consider myself a child, especially as I grow older. So why not play nice with the other children?

Once you are old, you lose that ego thing about big and strong ... the little old man who beats up the muscular guy in his twenties is what you want to be? Right?

Chuck.Gordon
02-28-2002, 08:13 AM
Originally posted by Bruce Baker
I am sorry I have to do this, but Chuck ...

Bruce,

You needn't be sorry about talking about who you are and what your background is in this forum. People here are bright, aware and informed. If you expect to sway folks to your point of view, you're much better off approaching them from that perspective than calling them children and speaking in condescending tones.

As for your age, I will note that, in my 45th year, I have discovered that five decades on this earth do not a wise man make, not two a fool.

I do thank you for providing more info about yourself and will offer this advice in as friendly a fashion as I can (and I only hope you take it this way): Chill out. Even at age 50 and with a few years of budo under your belt, you're still quite a novice when compared to others on this forum.

I personally know a couple of folks lurking hereabouts who are pushing or are just past 50 years on the mat.

I've done budo for 27 years myself and IN know others here ranging from a few years to several deacdes.

If you expect people to take you seriously, you must show them respect, do your research, be prepared to discuss (calmly and rationally, without name-calling or rhetoric) the fact and to facotr in the experiene levels of the folks you're talking to.

Just because you've found a truth does NOT mean it's valid for everyone everywhere.

martial arts, and yeah, you need to a major nervous breakdown to re evaluate your priorities, or at least be leveled with an

You're not the only one. In my own life, in recent years, I've experienced divorce, bankruptcy, loss and depression. And my budo is the one thing that kept me going. And my tale is pretty minor compared to some I know.

I know very senior and well-respected folks in the budo community who have been through all this and worse who STILL are respectful, open-minded, willing to learn, willing to give without judgement. THAT'S what it's all about. THSOE are the lessons to be learned.


illness, as I have had, that almost totally takes you out of the game.

I don't know what you've suffered, but I can only hope (truly) that things are getting better for you. Nonetheless, that does not excuse rudeness, arrogance or a holier-than-thou attitude.

beyond where you are, in your funk, to

Just want to be clear here: _My_ funk or _yours_?

I assure you, my eyes are wide open and my years of experience have tempered my perceptions keenly.

Well, sometimes you have to go find the answers because no one is gonna tell you.

And sometimes, the only paht to knowledge is just to keep training, keep studying, keep learning, keep growing.

One of the most true things I've ever learned in budo is this: There ARE no secrets. It's all there for the taking, if we have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart capable of taking it in.

So talk about lineage, but what you are seeking is a shortcut.

Not me. Don't NEED a shortcut. I LIKE the journey. Budo study is not about a destination, it's about getting there. If anyone tells you otherwise, they're trying to sell you something or have been misinformed themselves.

Once you are old, you lose that ego thing about big and strong ... the little old man who beats up the muscular guy in his twenties is what you want to be? Right?

Bruce, you're only five years older than I. I am not old. Dunno about you, but I expect to live another 40 or 50 years and be an irascible old coot, to boot.

And I have no need to beat up 20-somethings. Been there, done that. I did the karate thing (trad. and full-contact) when I was young and it was fun, I learned a lot, but it was only a game. I've been a soldier and a healer, and now I'm a teacher and writer and something of a historian myself.

I have nothing to prove except to myself and that road is plenty fo me.

Chuck

Bruce Baker
02-28-2002, 08:43 AM
There is only one definitve place to answer this question, and that is to ask Hombu dojo in Japan.

But ... even if the answer is yes or no, I believe it is the spirit of Aikido that changes something from a budo, to the Aiki that Ueshiba envisioned.

Just like it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but it is a different bird ... well ... is it done in the spirit of Aikido, or not?

As for lineage ... only the actual techniques can be traced as lineage, as their ability to properly work will be the test of time.

As for Chuck? You have much anger ... examine it, and find a way understand it.

Maybe you need the same lesson many western participants have from those older sensei in their 70s and 80s give to those who wish to learn ... three hours of uke, and you get a lesson like you are just beginner? Not me, I have seen others get this lesson. They came out of the room, humbled, and receptive to every lesson thereafter, even with forty years of practice.

I apologize for using this topic as a personal affront, but in my experience, the most advanced people are the most polite and friendly, on and off the training mat.

Chuck.Gordon
02-28-2002, 09:07 AM
Originally posted by Bruce Baker

There is only one definitve place to answer this question, and that is to ask Hombu dojo in Japan.

No, not really. Actually, there is no one answer. And that's a typically Japanese situation.

As for Chuck? You have much anger ... examine it, and find a way understand it.

LOL! My friend, I'm not angry. I'm happier than I've been in decades. You need to take a good look in the mirror.

Maybe you need the same lesson many western participants have from those older sensei in their 70s and 80s give to those who wish to learn ... three hours of uke, and you

I still have no clue what you're on about, Bruce. Or what lessons you think I need to learn.

I apologize for using this topic as a personal affront, but in my experience, the most advanced people are the most polite and friendly, on and off the training mat.

Agreed. What's your excuse for being rude, demeaning and condescending?

Folks, sorry this discussion got to such a cluster. I think friend Bruce has a bone to pick of some sort and has for whatever reason, chosen me with whom to pick it.

Bruce, sorry, but you're now on my official 'ignore' list'. I'm sure that doesn't bother you, but perhaps folks can continue this discussion in peace without our bickering.

Chuck

Tony Peters
03-01-2002, 08:54 PM
Is it only Aikido if it comes from Ueshiba???
I'm inclined to say no. All aikido is not Ueshiba ryu. Too many other people have come the a similar point with out Ueshiba's help.
As to Tohei being asked not to use the term Aikido. From all that I have read and from the folks here in Hawaii that I've talked to who were around at the time of the break up there was a lot of nastiness at that time. The Ueshiba's desire for "ownership" of the term "Aikido may have stemed from that.
While Aikikai (and to some extent Tohei) aikido may be about polishing the mirror not all aikido is I'm fairly sure that NGA is much more about self defence than mirror polishing. I doubt the Yosh folks would agree with the mirror polish comment either. Many people like Aikido for its effectiveness and could care less about its spiritual side. That doesn't make them wrong just different than you. Aiki just is...you either accept it or lose to it

Edward
03-01-2002, 10:49 PM
Originally posted by Tony Peters


Is it only Aikido if it comes from Ueshiba???


Yes. If not, it's called Aiki-Jujitsu or Aiki-Jutsu, and it's probably extinct over a century ago.


While Aikikai (and to some extent Tohei) aikido may be about polishing the mirror not all aikido is

This is the trap every one falls into. I have had the chance to practice with both Yoshinkan and Aikikai and see demonstrations by both. Aikikai is much more flowing, but in terms of brutality, power and efficiency, I think both styles leave nothing to be desired.

I think dojos of all styles who claim to adapt the training strength to the members abilities, say Aikido is for all, Aikido is love, and all other cliches are just being hypocrit and do this for commercial reasons, trying to attract middle-aged money loaded customers. Training sucks at such dojos.

Just go to practice at Aikikai Hombu dojo once and tell me if it was "polishing the mirror".

Chris Li
03-02-2002, 12:56 AM
Is it only Aikido if it comes from Ueshiba???


Yes. If not, it's called Aiki-Jujitsu or Aiki-Jutsu, and it's probably extinct over a century ago.


Not necessarily. There are other arts that have used the name "Aikido". Even many Daito-ryu dojo that have used the name. Ueshiba's decendents are the most numerous users of the name, but not the only ones.

Just go to practice at Aikikai Hombu dojo once and tell me if it was "polishing the mirror".

Depends whose classes you go to :) . Off and on I think that I spent 2 or 3 years training at hombu, although I don't get there much these days. There's a fairly wide range of styles and practices.

Best,

Chris

mle
03-02-2002, 08:13 AM
Originally posted by Tony Peters

Is it only Aikido if it comes from Ueshiba???


Originally posted by Edward

Yes. If not, it's called Aiki-Jujitsu or Aiki-Jutsu, and it's probably extinct over a century ago.

Edward,

Please, please, please. Do more research. That statement is just wrong. Point-by-point: I know of two extant, practicing systems calling themselves aikido who have tenuous conections at best to Ueshiba-ha aikido and both are recognized in budo circles as having legitimate use of the term 'aikido.'

Second, there are several systems of Daito Ryu or DR derivatives actively practicing an teaching aikijujutus today, and they have dojo all over the world.

Originally posted by Tony Peters

... about polishing the mirror not all aikido is

Originally posted by Edward
This is the trap every one falls into. I have had the chance to practice with both Yoshinkan and Aikikai and see demonstrations by both. Aikikai is much more flowing, but in terms of brutality, power and efficiency, I think both styles leave nothing to be desired.

Edward, you really need to take those blinders off and get out more. I can point at a Yoshinkan godan in Toronato who is as smooth, flowing and graceful a ANYONE I've ever seen in aikikai dojo. I know a few folks in the ASU (a style noted for it's flowing, graceful, powerful aikido) who have been positively brutal. Otheres who have the ability and choose not to, too.

Aikido is bigger than the little slice of it you are appaently willing to allow into your worldview.

Yoshinkan basics are very mechanical, methodical, and to some look very stiff. I can tell you however, that the ultimate goal is the same as aikikai -- flow, grace, power, control. And there are folks in the Yosh world who do this very, very well.

Originally posted by Edward

hypocrit and do this for commercial reasons, trying to attract middle-aged money loaded customers. Training sucks at such dojos.

You're painting some might broad strokes there, Edward. I reiterate: you need to get around more.

Do you even realize how MUCH variation there is at aikikai hombu? How many different flavors of aikido you can get there? Talk to some of the folks on this board about the diversity there, then start looking at the many shihan worldwide who are each practicing and teaching their own flavor. More selections than Baskin Robbins ...

Chuck

Edward
03-02-2002, 11:15 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by mle

Edward,

Please, please, please. Do more research. That statement is just wrong. Point-by-point: I know of two extant, practicing systems calling themselves aikido who have tenuous conections at best to Ueshiba-ha aikido and both are recognized in budo circles as having legitimate use of the term 'aikido.'

Second, there are several systems of Daito Ryu or DR derivatives actively practicing an teaching aikijujutus today, and they have dojo all over the world.

Hi Chuck,

I really respect your opinion. However, this is something on which I'm afraid we'll disagree. My statement is not wrong, neither is yours. It's a matter of principle. I believe that a linear relation to Osensei is an essential condition to use the name Aikido. You might believe otherwise, and you're completely in your right to think so.



Edward, you really need to take those blinders off and get out more. I can point at a Yoshinkan godan in Toronato who is as smooth, flowing and graceful a ANYONE I've ever seen in aikikai dojo. I know a few folks in the ASU (a style noted for it's flowing, graceful, powerful aikido) who have been positively brutal. Otheres who have the ability and choose not to, too.

Aikido is bigger than the little slice of it you are appaently willing to allow into your worldview.

Yoshinkan basics are very mechanical, methodical, and to some look very stiff. I can tell you however, that the ultimate goal is the same as aikikai -- flow, grace, power, control. And there are folks in the Yosh world who do this very, very well.

Here I'm afraid you misunderstood me a little, since what you are saying to me is what I really believe, and I was trying to explain it to Tony Peters. I agree with you 100% on this matter.



hypocrit and do this for commercial reasons, trying to attract middle-aged money loaded customers. Training sucks at such dojos.

You're painting some might broad strokes there, Edward. I reiterate: you need to get around more.

Do you even realize how MUCH variation there is at aikikai hombu? How many different flavors of aikido you can get there? Talk to some of the folks on this board about the diversity there, then start looking at the many shihan worldwide who are each practicing and teaching their own flavor. More selections than Baskin Robbins ...

Chuck [/B]

Again I agree with you. Unfortunately, there are many flavors at Bakin Robbins that I don't like. Some of them are artificial, some are meant to draw customers, I prefer the genuine ones with natural ingredients and real flavor. :) Ice cream is not for every one. You have to be serious about it. ;)

By the way, thanks for your recommendation about the teacher in Freiburg. I probably won't have the chance to visit there, but I'll keep it in mind.


Cheers,
Edward

Edward
03-02-2002, 11:25 AM
By the way, Yoshinakan Aikido is my favorite Aikido, after Aikikai that is ;)

I like very much its power and absence of religious nonsense. But it's up to the teacher as stated above.

Cheers,
Edward

Bruce Baker
03-02-2002, 01:09 PM
I have one final note on this subject.

If someone does a type of something, then goes to have it catagorized for a library, or referenced, where would you put all the teachers who teach different forms of the art we call Aikido?

Should we rename the Art?

Or haven't we referred to other arts that do simular techniques, "... the same as Aikido."

Is Aikido a patented name that can only be used because someone pays money for the use of its name? Or should we be more concerned that the we are correctly learning and passing down the essence of this art so that the blurred lines of a story told a thousand times doesn't happen?

Can anyone truly say that every art of war/ or a soldiers with hand to hand defense arts has learned a pure art? That is where martial arts derives all of its necessity? Combat ... war ... killing? Taking what ever is required to succeed.

How many special martial arts trainers for law enforcement use a mix of Aikido, Jujitsu, and other blends of arts to train their students? Very rarely do you hear this technique come from Jujitsu, Aikido, etc?

Sooner or later, those who call their art something other than Aikido will be classified under the art?

It is kind of like the story of the dead General and the dead soldier, what is the difference?

It really doesn't matter to either of them, they are both dead.

So, isn't this really a moot point with sound and fury, having only meaning old people sitting around on a sunny day?

Please don't pick the sentences apart, Chuck. I only wanted to convey O'Sensei's spirit of sharing knowledge, love of the universe, and Aikido's synthesis of combat art to a safe effective art with hidden techniques with it?

Enjoy your practice, and look for more than meets the eye, everyone!

Tony Peters
03-02-2002, 01:13 PM
an attachment to Osensei is not a requirement for use of the term Aikido. Nor is an attachment to the Kodokan required for use of the term Judo. Your belief however strong is wrong even from a purely language POV. That's like saying that all iaido is seitei. The Aiki world is bigger than the Ueshiba-ha line that is fact. Though many english speakers have a thing about words and their possesion (especially when they come from another country) the same isn't as true for many generic japanese words (which aikido is).
BTW I wasn't refering to touchy feely flowing aikido when I said polishing the mirror (though maybe that's what that term has come to mean) I was refering to those who train in aikido for the betterment of self as opposed to those who train for the purpose of self defence. Me I'm of the second flavor, if I get the mirror polished in the process fine but that isn't my primary focus. I do beleive that mainstream Aikido has lost much of it's martial intent...whether that is good or bad is a matter of opinion.

As for me I have trained in enough Aikido dojos in this world (now over 30 in my travels) in my 8 years of aikido training to have seen a great deal of what aikido has to offer. Please don't think that because aikido isn't an art I presently train in that I don't know anything about it or that I haven't actually at least seen the Hombu Dojos. Open your mind.

Erik
03-02-2002, 01:33 PM
Speaking of Yoshinkan types with a bit of flow in them. The Yukio Utada clips on the page below seem to have a bit of that.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/expo/instructors.asp

Kenny
03-03-2002, 01:49 AM
I was recently given an electronic copy of a very large collection of quotes and writings attributed to O'Sensei. Here's one that really seems to address the question.
--- Quote --
In the past, Martial Arts were mistakenly used to support the seemingly unending killing that characterized Japan's past. Aiki, on the other band, is to save human life. Put another way, Aiki is the way of preventing injury to others. Respect for human life is the way of Aiki, and this is why the "Ai" of "Aiki" is closely related to another Japanese word "Ai," which means "Love." It is because of this relationship, in fact, that I originally named my own way "Aikido." This also means that the "Aiki" mentioned by martial arts practitioners of old is fundamentally different in both content and form from what I refer to by "Aiki." I hope that everybody will think carefully about what I am saying here.

-- End Quote --