PDA

View Full Version : Fact or Fiction (of Morihei Ueshiba's Life)


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Charles Hill
12-26-2009, 06:43 PM
”Because over the yrs there have been many claims made about OSensei, a lot of which aren't based in fact.”

Janet Rosen wrote this on another thread. (Hi Janet:) )

I'm curious to know what people consider to be the facts and fictions of Morihei Ueshiba's life. I'm thinking that then we can put our collective heads together and figure out the original sources to better judge what is fact and fiction.

Janet Rosen
12-26-2009, 07:04 PM
Hi Charles. Well, Ellis and PAG have written extensively both on aikiweb and elsewhere so I think a lot of information is already out there for folks curious about it....

gregstec
12-26-2009, 07:21 PM
Hi Charles. Well, Ellis and PAG have written extensively both on aikiweb and elsewhere so I think a lot of information is already out there for folks curious about it....

True - and let's not forget the exhaustive research Stanley over at Aikido Journal has done in this area as well.

Greg

Rennis Buchner
12-26-2009, 09:10 PM
True - and let's not forget the exhaustive research Stanley over at Aikido Journal has done in this area as well.


Agreed, I think he has a few decades head start on this project.

Charles Hill
12-27-2009, 02:47 AM
I am afraid I wasn't specific enough. What are things that others have offered as facts that you believe are fictions?

Peter Goldsbury
12-27-2009, 05:52 AM
I am afraid I wasn't specific enough. What are things that others have offered as facts that you believe are fictions?

Hello Charles,

Here is one example: the period that Takeda Sokaku spent in Ayabe between April and September, 1922. One version has it that Ueshiba invited Takeda to Ayabe and did so because the skills he had so far acquired did not equip him to cope adequately with the naval officers from Maizuru. The other version has it that Takeda told Ueshiba that he did not need any more training and spent his time there not getting on very well with Onisaburo Deguchi, who also returned the dislike. You can document both versions with seemingly unimpeachable 'internal' sources ('internal' meaning internal to Daito-ryu or aikido).

All good wishes for 2010

PAG

Peter Goldsbury
12-27-2009, 07:05 AM
I am afraid I wasn't specific enough. What are things that others have offered as facts that you believe are fictions?

Hello again, Charles,

As a follow-up to my last post, I think that, perhaps in your desire to be more specific, you have set up a question that is really unanswerable, given the present state of our knowledge.

The issue of whether or not Morihei Ueshiba was a Shinto priest seems relatively simple: either he was or he wasn't. But you yourself muddied the waters by suggesting that all Omoto believers were 'priests' in a certain sense, if they had undertaken a week's training at Omoto HQ. The Rev K Barrish pretty well settled the issue--he was not: always assuming, however, that the conventions of present-day Shinto are also applicable to prewar (pre-2nd Suppression) Omoto. But Omoto was never accepted by the Meiji/Taisho government as one of the 'offiicial' brands of Shinto, so we accept Omoto as Shinto, only because they say they are.

Our current sources for Morihei Ueshiba are twofold: those from Daito-ryu, especially Takeda Tokimune and Sagawa Yukiyoshi; and those from aikido, especially the biographies of Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Kanshu Sunadomari, and the various interviews (usually quite biased, in the manner of gospel writers) given by those whom he taught.

So we have the phenomena of Ueshiba's ability to cover enormous distances instantaneously and Takeda's ability to disappear, the latter seemingly an art waiting to be discovered: all recounted by people whose technical ability and subsequent eminence as 'close students' leads one to believe (without any supporting grounds) that they are also accurate judges of fact and fiction.

To escape from this dilemma, we need to look at other possible sources, as yet pretty well untapped, such as contemporary newspaper reports, especially from the Yomiuri and its Asahi rival; military and police archives (both especially relevant to Takeda Sokaku and Ueshiba Morihei). For example, the Osaka police records should cast some light on O Sensei's role in the Second Omoto Suppression in 1936.

So I do not believe the issue is of 100% fact vs. 100% fiction, but of degrees along a wide spectrum.

Best wishes,

PAG

Charles Hill
12-27-2009, 08:01 AM
Thank you Professor so much for your reply.

It is my opinion that through the sharing of information we can get clearer (if not clear) on sources and definitions of terminology. With the question of O'Sensei being a Shinto priest or not, as an example, I immediately started thinking, "What does 'Shinto' mean?" and "What does 'priest' mean?" and " What does 'Shinto priest' mean?" (This all probably means I have too much time on my hands!) Personally, I do not think it muddies the waters so much as it gives a few more angles from which to approach the question.

I am enjoying all the thinking these questions lead me to do and with that in mind, I might ask you, does the sanction of the government factor into the question of whether Morihei Ueshiba was a "Shinto priest" or not? This is a rhetorical question (mainly because if I have the chance to ask questions that I thought you might think about and answer I would ask more important things).

To clarify my position on this minor point of whether Morihei Ueshiba was a Shinto priest or not, if one is a fervent Omoto believer (and assuming there is such a thing), the answer is yes. If one is a member of the faculty of Kokagakuin, the answer is likely no. If one is neither, than it will depend on the definitions of the terms.

One of the things I was thinking when I started the thread was the Iwama vs. Tokyo conundrum. My impression is that what went on in Iwama post-war was quite different that what is often reported. But I already know what I think so I wanted to open things up to various things others have heard and what they think about them.

To be very linguistically picky, it is not unanswerable at all. I am asking for things that you (meaning all who read this) have heard and personally believe to be false (and why).

Charles

lbb
12-27-2009, 09:36 AM
If I'm not a Shinto believer, why would it matter to me if O-Sensei was a Shinto priest or not?

Ryan Seznee
12-27-2009, 01:42 PM
If I'm not a Shinto believer, why would it matter to me if O-Sensei was a Shinto priest or not?

It doesn't.

crbateman
12-27-2009, 05:01 PM
Wearing my cynic cap today... :o Here's an example of why there are not many real answers: One group of people claims O'Sensei could dodge bullets... Another group says that's a fabrication. Both sides believe they are right, and both cite hearsay evidence. The only real fact is that whether he could or could not does not affect our training, as we are not teaching or being taught how to dodge bullets now. What is more relevant than what O'Sensei achieved is what we can achieve. I enjoy the stories as much as anyone, but sometimes a cake is just a cake. The mythology often needs to be de-emphasized.

RED
12-27-2009, 05:11 PM
Wearing my cynic cap today... :o Here's an example of why there are not many real answers: One group of people claims O'Sensei could dodge bullets... Another group says that's a fabrication. Both sides believe they are right, and both cite hearsay evidence. The only real fact is that whether he could or could not does not affect our training, as we are not teaching or being taught how to dodge bullets now. What is more relevant than what O'Sensei achieved is what we can achieve. I enjoy the stories as much as anyone, but sometimes a cake is just a cake. The mythology often needs to be de-emphasized.

I think he lived for the sake of others. So in the end it is about what he left us. His goal was to forge men of utter integrity. If he could do that even once then he has achieved in his life-time something more spectacular than dodging bullets.

Peter Goldsbury
12-27-2009, 07:14 PM
Hello Charles,

Thank you for your response. Here are a few more comments.

Thank you Professor so much for your reply.

It is my opinion that through the sharing of information we can get clearer (if not clear) on sources and definitions of terminology. With the question of O'Sensei being a Shinto priest or not, as an example, I immediately started thinking, "What does 'Shinto' mean?" and "What does 'priest' mean?" and " What does 'Shinto priest' mean?" (This all probably means I have too much time on my hands!) Personally, I do not think it muddies the waters so much as it gives a few more angles from which to approach the question.
PAG. Well, "muddying the waters" here means something like, "making clarifications and distinctions that ultimately turn out to be essential." You also need to be aware--I am sure you are--of what has been called the Socratic Fallacy in even framing the questions. I like to drive over the mountains here to Izumo. Like that of the Itsukushima Shrine and the Kumano Hongu, the setting, the atmosphere, is very special. However, in a few days here the same shrines, Shinto shrines across Japan, will have their busiest day of the year, as millions of Japanese do 'hatsumode'. The same Japanese will go nowhere near the shrines on the other days of the year. Does this make them Shintoists' or 'lapsed Shintoists' like we have 'lapsed Catholics'? I do not think so, for I think that being a 'Shintoist' and being a Catholic are completely different.

I am enjoying all the thinking these questions lead me to do and with that in mind, I might ask you, does the sanction of the government factor into the question of whether Morihei Ueshiba was a "Shinto priest" or not? This is a rhetorical question (mainly because if I have the chance to ask questions that I thought you might think about and answer I would ask more important things).
PAG. Well, since M Ueshiba was living at a certain time and in a certain place, I would think that the sanction of the government factored into very much that he did and closely affected his relationship with Omoto.

To clarify my position on this minor point of whether Morihei Ueshiba was a Shinto priest or not, if one is a fervent Omoto believer (and assuming there is such a thing), the answer is yes. If one is a member of the faculty of Kokagakuin, the answer is likely no. If one is neither, than it will depend on the definitions of the terms.
PAG. But do you find this satisfactory? I certainly did not when I was a raw student, just ten years into aikido training. So I came here to muddy the waters as much as I could and find answers that satisfied me. Of course, I cannot speak for other members of AikiWeb.

One of the things I was thinking when I started the thread was the Iwama vs. Tokyo conundrum. My impression is that what went on in Iwama post-war was quite different that what is often reported. But I already know what I think so I wanted to open things up to various things others have heard and what they think about them.

To be very linguistically picky, it is not unanswerable at all. I am asking for things that you (meaning all who read this) have heard and personally believe to be false (and why).

Charles
PAG. I think that one of the problems here is actually removing the mud from the waters, for it depends very much on who you (not you in particular) talk to and thus what is reported.

All good wishes for 2010,

PAG

Chris Li
12-27-2009, 07:21 PM
Wearing my cynic cap today... :o Here's an example of why there are not many real answers: One group of people claims O'Sensei could dodge bullets... Another group says that's a fabrication. Both sides believe they are right, and both cite hearsay evidence. The only real fact is that whether he could or could not does not affect our training, as we are not teaching or being taught how to dodge bullets now. What is more relevant than what O'Sensei achieved is what we can achieve. I enjoy the stories as much as anyone, but sometimes a cake is just a cake. The mythology often needs to be de-emphasized.

Well, it's not hearsay - Gozo Shioda put the story in writing in "Aikido Shugyo" (page 189), and he's quite clear about having seen it with his own eyes.

Whether or not you believe him is another discussion :) .

Best,

Chris

Ketsan
12-27-2009, 09:07 PM
If I'm not a Shinto believer, why would it matter to me if O-Sensei was a Shinto priest or not?

It may colour your perception of the art, there are a lot of people out there of other religions that wouldn't be comfortable with learning the teachings of a shinto priest.

lbb
12-27-2009, 09:30 PM
It may colour your perception of the art, there are a lot of people out there of other religions that wouldn't be comfortable with learning the teachings of a shinto priest.

Why? He didn't teach religion. If a Shinto priest was teaching mathematics, do you think these same people would have a problem learning from him?

Chris Li
12-27-2009, 10:24 PM
Why? He didn't teach religion. If a Shinto priest was teaching mathematics, do you think these same people would have a problem learning from him?

The art that I instruct is the Bujutsu of Mother Nature which is based on "Kannagara No Michi", (that is to say, our Shinto).

-Morihei Ueshiba

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=525

Best,

Chris

JW
12-28-2009, 12:15 AM
Both sides believe they are right, and both cite hearsay evidence. The only real fact is that whether he could or could not does not affect our training, as we are not teaching or being taught how to dodge bullets now. What is more relevant than what O'Sensei achieved is what we can achieve.

Hi Clark, good point.
I have been for years in agreement with this point of view. But I've started to re-evaluate in recent years. What I thought was practical for me to be learning right now has changed because of a change in what I think is acheivable. What I have learned in recent years, on these forums and in books like HIPS, regarding aiki (internal strength and skill), makes me feel that much of what people like O-sensei have said (or written) are allegorical descriptions of the way of self-perfection that he felt was the heart of his art.

If someone wants to describe something that seems like fantasy, their descriptions will probably sound like fantasy, whether they go the factual route or the allegorical route.

Now, whether dodgeing bullets is allegorical or not, I don't know. (The story as I understand really could be metaphorical: the white ball that precedes the bullet's physical presence is a nice description of being able to feel the intent of an opponent that is trying to apply atemi, since intent precedes movement)

Also, did Gozo Shioda really write Aikido Shugyo or any of his books? (as opposed to students putting on paper his teachings or their impressions thereof)

crbateman
12-28-2009, 12:33 AM
Hi Clark, good point.
I have been for years in agreement with this point of view. But I've started to re-evaluate in recent years. What I thought was practical for me to be learning right now has changed because of a change in what I think is acheivable.This position is exactly my point... It's not what O'Sensei did (or did not do) that makes something achievable, but instead it's what you can do that makes it so.

crbateman
12-28-2009, 12:49 AM
Well, it's not hearsay - Gozo Shioda put the story in writing in "Aikido Shugyo" (page 189), and he's quite clear about having seen it with his own eyes.

Whether or not you believe him is another discussion :) .The fact that you might believe it true because Shioda Kancho said it is, is exactly what makes it hearsay.

I have heard many things said that seem to be much the result of "selective memory". For instance, there are others who have said that O'Sensei could literally disappear from one spot, and instantly reappear on the other side of a room, without anyone seeing him en route. There is too much scientist in me to simply accept these accounts at face value, as I recognize that what makes it real to those giving the accounts may be as much a result of what they believe, as it is what they might actually have seen.

Chris Li
12-28-2009, 01:00 AM
The fact that you might believe it true because Shioda Kancho said it is, is exactly what makes it hearsay.

I don't remember saying anything about believing it (or not). What I was saying was that it was a first person eyewitness account of the event - not quite as vague as you were implying. As I said before, whether or not you (or anybody else) believe Shioda is another discussion.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
12-28-2009, 01:02 AM
Also, did Gozo Shioda really write Aikido Shugyo or any of his books? (as opposed to students putting on paper his teachings or their impressions thereof)

Shioda wrote a couple of books, and yes, he wrote them himself.

Best,

Chris

Charles Hill
12-28-2009, 02:28 AM
As I said before, whether or not you (or anybody else) believe Shioda is another discussion

How about having that discussion here and now? What are the factors that go into you (those reading this thread) believing or disbelieving Gozo Shioda? In other words, do you believe him? Why/why not?

John Stevens told me that the reason he included the episode in his biography of the Founder was the source. He thought that Shioda, being a non-Omoto believer and generally being a skeptic meant that he was a much more reliable source than, for example, Kanshu Sunadomari.

Prof. Goldsbury,
Thank you for the posts, much to think about!

Walter Martindale
12-28-2009, 02:42 AM
If I'm not a Shinto believer, why would it matter to me if O-Sensei was a Shinto priest or not?
Wouldn't matter unless you wanted it to matter. Doesn't matter to me in the slightest but to some it may be important.

W

crbateman
12-28-2009, 07:13 AM
I don't remember saying anything about believing it (or not). What I was saying was that it was a first person eyewitness account of the event - not quite as vague as you were implying. As I said before, whether or not you (or anybody else) believe Shioda is another discussion.Neither did I... I said that you (or anyone else) might believe another's account without seeing it for yourself. It is that concept that makes it hearsay. Sorry for the confusion.

MM
12-28-2009, 07:15 AM
The very nature of training "aiki" is hard, repetitive, challenging, and I think requires single-minded dedication. Not everyone will ever want to put in the work. Not everyone will take it as far as they can. But, by many accounts, Ueshiba seems to have done all that.

That dedication requires a certain character trait. It's that character trait in Ueshiba that I think drove him to Deguchi. I'd guess that there were Shinto priests around Japan that Ueshiba could have gone to and learned from. Had Ueshiba truly wanted to delve into being a Shinto priest, I doubt that much would have stopped him. So, I'd guess that there was something in Deguchi that appealed to Ueshiba.

I'm going to quote a post in another thread

3) Omoto as Shinto.
Shinto underwent a decided mongrelization coming into Meiji, ironic as Tokugawa just before it was a period of intended purification of "foreign elements" (Buddhism). Trembling at the impending threat of colonization by Europeans, foretold by Perry's hubristic gallivanting into Uraga Bay, the Japanese wanted unity to repel the foe and used Shinto as a means to this end. Having tried to destroy Buddhism (many Buddhist monks simply shed their monastic robes and put on priest's clothes), the authorities demanded that religious expression fall within the purview of State Shinto, ie, join a shrine system or disband. Deguchi had actually gone to Shinto school (for 2 years, IIRC) and so qualified. But his actual practice was more in line with shamanism than the ritual of Shinto, and could be considered Shinto mainly through political posturing.

A post to archive on the subject, is Wm Bodiford's at: http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showpost.php?p=87889&postcount=18

Don Modesto makes a comparison to what Deguchi was doing to shamanism. From light research, I'd guess Omoto was definitely different than most Shinto practices.

Something in those two differences (Deguchi himself and the Omoto), either individual or together, caught Ueshiba's eye. If I had to guess, I'd say it was Deguchi himself and not the overall Omoto.

Here's the leap ... we've all heard about people who have had experiences that are outside the range of "normal". From people who say they were saved by their guardian angel to those who see ghosts. What if Ueshiba had those experiences when younger? Or had a few of them throughout his life? What if he heard that Deguchi had similar experiences? I think Ueshiba would have studied with Deguchi with as much fervor as he had with Takeda.

Maybe in Ueshiba, you had a man who was guided by the kami from early on. Maybe he wished for things and was granted them. Or perhaps he really was guided by some unseen force and he knew it. Is it a stretch to imagine Ueshiba having a few "weird" experiences and wanting to have more, finding Deguchi to have had similar ones (or perhaps not, maybe Deguchi was just stringing him along ... who knows. Deguchi himself was abnormal), and then learning Omoto to try to activate those experiences rather than wait for them to happen again.

We do know that Ueshiba was drawn by two very different worlds: martial and spiritual. He dedicated a large portion of his life to both. When he found what he was looking for, he threw himself into it with dedication.

He seems to have found what he was looking for in Takeda and Deguchi. And with the nature of aiki, Ueshiba found (pun intended) a system for merging the two.

I find it hard to believe that he was a religious nutcase. I find it more likely that he had at least one significant spiritual experience that most would find hard to believe, that the experience changed his views on the world, and that he searched for the method or reason behind that unique spiritual experience.

Just as he found his martial teacher, so he found his spiritual one. Some people, I think, would personally understand just how that happened.

But fact or fiction? Spiritual experiences are a step beyond the martial. At least in the martial world, IHTBF is a rule. It only takes a few moments training with someone who has real "aiki" to understand the defining differences in martial skills. With the spiritual, IHTBF is useless. So what if you're training with someone who's saying they're an avatar of the kami. They either have aiki or they don't in the world of IHTBF. In the spiritual, IHTBE rules supreme. It Has To Be Experienced. It's why I mostly stay away from the spiritual side of Ueshiba and Aikido. Unless you have those defining spiritual experiences ... there's no understanding.

lbb
12-28-2009, 07:50 AM
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=525

Bit of a reach from there to "teaching aikido = teaching shinto", don't you think? I mean, not too much of a reach for a person who's looking to find something to object to, but for the rest of us, again, why should O-Sensei's personal belief system matter? Are you saying that in order to study aikido, one must also have Shinto beliefs? If so, that's your statement; it doesn't appear to be O-Sensei's statement.

raul rodrigo
12-28-2009, 08:09 AM
For most of us, the Shinto backbone of Morihei's own aikido is not relevant, and not even accessible in any meaningful way. But we cannot deny that it was there, and his own deshi had to find a way to come to terms with it, if they were not inclined to follow the same spiritual path.

As TK Chiba wrote: "To begin with, I would like to describe how I began Zen training which, in a passive way, was due to my teacher, Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. What I mean by a "passive way" is that he taught me the importance of spiritual discipline along with martial discipline. However, the system of spiritual discipline he followed was based on chinkon-kishin (method of pacifying the soul and regaining or recovering the spirit) derived from ancient Shintoism and its extension - the study of Kototama doctrine (the miraculous power of language inherent within the Japanese alphabet). The composition of O-Sensei's teaching of ancient Shintoism was based upon the Kojiki, interpreted under the strong influences of Deguchi Wanisaburo of the Omoto Religion, who was the spiritual teacher of the Founder. The Kojiki provides an account of the creation and development of the universe, along with the origin of the Japanese race and its state.

Although I was an uchideshi at the time, I found it extremely difficult to follow and I was unable to understand most of the words O-Sensei was using in his teaching. Shintoism was the spiritual backbone of his Aikido, and in order to understand his teachings, one had to understand the Kojiki, which required extensive study. Unfortunately, I belonged to the generation whose education was strongly affected by the post-war policy carried out by G.H.Q. (General Headquarters of the Occupation Army), established in October of 1945 (I entered Junior school in April, 1946), the central premise of which was the systematic denial of the Japanese culture, tradition and history. Thus, the myth and the world view represented by the Kojiki was, for a time, denied as unscientific, an absurd superstition. This view was even widely supported by the post-war Japanese academic world. As for myself, being brought up and educated this way, I found the Founder's teachings not only difficult to follow, but also apparently nonsensical.

Nevertheless, the Founder always emphasized the importance of spiritual discipline ("religious faith", in his exact words) and the practice of farming along with martial discipline, if one wished to achieve one's goals. I had no problem with following the practice of farming and martial discipline (I still do both even up to today). However, I could not avoid the increasingly strong internal resistance that, as time went on, built up within me toward the Founder's spiritual discipline. I suffered from an internal split and feared the loss of unity between the physical art and spiritual discipline which was supposed to be the underlying principle of the art.

I started to look to Zen training as a substitute for the Founder's teaching. As I see it, it was a positive turning point in my Aikido life. However, I can't deny that it was an escape from the Founder. That is what I meant by my reference to "passive way.”"

Chris Li
12-28-2009, 08:35 AM
Bit of a reach from there to "teaching aikido = teaching shinto", don't you think? I mean, not too much of a reach for a person who's looking to find something to object to, but for the rest of us, again, why should O-Sensei's personal belief system matter? Are you saying that in order to study aikido, one must also have Shinto beliefs? If so, that's your statement; it doesn't appear to be O-Sensei's statement.

I'm not sure that O-sensei was able to separate the two things. I'm not saying that you must have Shinto beliefs, but I would say that you need some kind of understanding of them if you have any interest in trying to understand anything that the Founder said or wrote.

Best,

Chris

lbb
12-28-2009, 08:38 AM
I'm not sure that O-sensei was able to separate the two things. I'm not saying that you must have Shinto beliefs, but I would say that you need some kind of understanding of them if you have any interest in trying to understand anything that the Founder said or wrote.

Ok, fair 'nuff. Now, what about the farming thing? :D

Chris Li
12-28-2009, 08:39 AM
How about having that discussion here and now? What are the factors that go into you (those reading this thread) believing or disbelieving Gozo Shioda? In other words, do you believe him? Why/why not?

John Stevens told me that the reason he included the episode in his biography of the Founder was the source. He thought that Shioda, being a non-Omoto believer and generally being a skeptic meant that he was a much more reliable source than, for example, Kanshu Sunadomari.

I'd agree with Stevens' reasoning, Shioda's writing style is practical and straightforward. I think that Shioda certainly saw something. What it was, or what the Founder did, I'm not sure (Shioda wasn't completely sure either). Best thing to do would be to read the original source yourself.

Best,

Chris

Ketsan
12-28-2009, 08:45 AM
Why? He didn't teach religion. If a Shinto priest was teaching mathematics, do you think these same people would have a problem learning from him?

Probably not, mathematics isn't something you can colour with religion or philosophy in the way Aikido can be and mathematics wasn't invented by a Shinto priest, as far as we know.

Take for example the Christian martial arts groups, think they'd be comfortable studying the creation of a Shinto priest? Some of them might be out of the door faster than you can say, "Pagan idol worship." :D

Switching things around, if I turned up at a new martial art and the creator was, lets make this fun, the Pope and the Popes new martial art was supposedly deeply philosophical I'd want serious reassurances that they weren't in some way trying to teach me Christianity and I'd be highly suspicious if they told me that the Christian clerics philosophy wasn't essentially Christianity.

lbb
12-28-2009, 09:24 AM
Take for example the Christian martial arts groups, think they'd be comfortable studying the creation of a Shinto priest? Some of them might be out of the door faster than you can say, "Pagan idol worship." :D

I'm sure they would, but to me, "Christian martial arts" makes about as much sense as "Christian mathematics". Yeah, I know, spiritual dimension and all that good stuff, but spirituality is not religion and certainly not dogma.

AsimHanif
12-28-2009, 10:04 AM
In light of this discussion I thought this would be relevant...
http://www.toitsu.de/texte/tohei_en.htm

Michael Hackett
12-28-2009, 11:11 AM
Heresay is a legal concept that holds that oral statements made by one person and then related by another who wasn't present for the event are heresay and thus suspect. Statements made by a witness are considered direct evidence and their truthfulness can be weighed by the trier of fact.

Using Shioda Kancho's account of the bullet dodging, his writings would be direct evidence of the event. And as Clark said earlier, you as the "trier of fact" can decide for yourself whether they are truthful accounts of the event. Frankly, I don't believe it.

C. David Henderson
12-28-2009, 12:06 PM
Sorry for thread drift, but it seems if the underlying issue is one of reliability, the concept of "hearsay" is a red herring.

As a technical legal matter, for, example, the statement by Shioda is still hearsay, because the account was not given in court and under oath. See Fed. Rules of Evidence, Rule 801 ("'Hearsay' is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.").

Then again, so would be an eye-witness account given out of court by any person, regardless of how trustworthy the person and how reliable their basis of information.

The lay definition of "hearsay" is "rumor," according to Webster's on-line. By that standard, an eye-witness account is not "hearsay."

All of which, of course, is different from whether non-hearsay is more reliable than hearsay. The testimony of a perjurer is not hearsay, under the legal definition or the common sense one. It's still false.

Scholars have their own standards of documentation, which may be better suited for the kind of question being posed here. The reasons, for example, to credit Shioda's account have already been listed, and they provide an argument for believing he saw something that he tried honestly to describe.

cdh

thisisnotreal
12-28-2009, 12:24 PM
If I'm not a Shinto believer, why would it matter to me if O-Sensei was a Shinto priest or not?

It is good to know which stars the captain is using, to guide his ship by.

Michael Hackett
12-28-2009, 12:25 PM
Apologies to all for my spelling of "hearsay". Mea culpa. My fingers were moving faster than my brain this morning.

Linda Eskin
12-28-2009, 12:25 PM
I think he lived for the sake of others. So in the end it is about what he left us. His goal was to forge men of utter integrity. If he could do that even once then he has achieved in his life-time something more spectacular than dodging bullets.

Well said.

Michael Hackett
12-28-2009, 12:57 PM
Maggie,

Take a look at "Dueling with O Sensei" by Ellis Amdur. Ueshiba O Sensei was, at least to me, a very complex character who demonstrated some noble traits as well as demonstrating some ignoble traits. He was a brilliant martial artist who could do some amazing things, but he was, in the end, just a man and perhaps had feet of clay.

We look at him today from the lens of our western heritage and sometimes forget that he and the others of his time were the product of their culture. I personally question that he was some selfless man of integrity and unquestioned virtue. I'm not sure that the concepts of integrity and virtue were defined in pre-war Japan in any way I can understand today. I doubt that we will ever know as the myths and truths have become terribly enmeshed into some amalgam of oral history. Then again, maybe I'm full of crap.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-28-2009, 03:04 PM
About O Sensei dodging bullets, Tom Cruise did it better in "The Last Samurai" with the recruit in boot camp.

BTW, O Sensei said something like "do not want!!!" when Sadajiro Sato aimed his gun towards him.

Keith Larman
12-28-2009, 03:18 PM
Can't help but think of this article about Musashi (http://ejmas.com/jcs/jcsdraeger_musashi.htm) when reading these threads about O-sensei.

The saving grace is that there has been some good scholarship about his life, beliefs, teachings, etc. But with so much BS and "what one wants to believe" being foisted upon him it is often difficult to have an intelligent conversation about it. Especially when entire generations were given the more "colorful" versions of his life.

My humble opinion? Great martial artist. Interesting fella when it comes to all the other stuff. I'm just focusing on the martial art part hoping to get what I can from that... I'll leave the rest to those who have actually studied these things.

I'll also add that I think many of the negative reactions were due to the rather "authoritative" statements and subsequent "defensive" sounding replies. There comes a point when "if it walk like a duck" kind of comments are really not helpful especially if you've only seen one or two ducks. There is a lot to learn and read about O-sensei. That is always a good place to start.

Charles Hill
12-28-2009, 03:44 PM
I think he lived for the sake of others. So in the end it is about what he left us. His goal was to forge men of utter integrity. If he could do that even once then he has achieved in his life-time something more spectacular than dodging bullets.

Hi Maggie,

What do you base this on? In my reading of his life, I am struck by how utterly self-centered he often was. The distinct impression is that he never really "taught" other than by example.

Charles Hill
12-28-2009, 03:50 PM
I think Ueshiba would have studied with Deguchi with as much fervor as he had with Takeda.

My understanding is that for O'Sensei, Deguchi was THE teacher. Omoto teaches that art is the path to spiritual development/understanding. Omoto believers choose a form of art or two and work to develop it. Ueshiba had practiced martial arts but that did not satisfy. It was when he met Onisaburo that he found his path, which he then followed the rest of his life.

Charles Hill
12-28-2009, 03:55 PM
The composition of O-Sensei's teaching of ancient Shintoism was based upon the Kojiki, interpreted under the strong influences of Deguchi Wanisaburo of the Omoto Religion, who was the spiritual teacher of the Founder.

"Wanisaburo" is how one normally reads Onisaburo Deguchi's given name in Chinese characters. This is probably a bit of a stretch (or not) but when I read or hear "Wanisaburo" my guess is that the individual read about Deguchi, ie. did not hear it. I have read this quote of Chiba Sensei's before and it makes me suspect that his knowledge of O'Sensei's spirituality, to some degree, does not come directly from the Founder.

Charles Hill
12-28-2009, 04:03 PM
I'm not sure that O-sensei was able to separate the two things. I'm not saying that you must have Shinto beliefs, but I would say that you need some kind of understanding of them if you have any interest in trying to understand anything that the Founder said or wrote.

Best,

Chris

I agree. Furthermore, it helps to understand Omoto specifically. Their core belief is that there is only one God and this God manifests itself differently in different cultures. So when the fundamental Christian says that "I believe in Christ, the son, and God, the father. And all else is wrong", the Omoto believer (including O'Sensei) is going to think that that individual is mistaken. I think they will not be able to separate the two things as Chris has written.

To the person who says they just practice Aikido and are not interested in all that religious stuff, the Omoto believer is likely to be thinking something like, "Go ahead and keep believeing you are not doing the will of God. someday you will realize the truth."

Charles Hill
12-28-2009, 04:06 PM
Sorry for thread drift,

This whole thread has been a drift.

mathewjgano
12-28-2009, 04:08 PM
It is good to know which stars the captain is using, to guide his ship by.
When trying to understand O Sensei I think this is true, but when I think of training as a personal thing this doesn't ring quite as true. O Sensei would be captain of his own ship, not mine. As such, it might be useful to know all the particular aspects that compelled him, but as it applies to my own ship, it really only comes down to whatever I choose to apply (i.e. whatever seems useful to me and my goals at the present). I think this is what Mary is pointing to.

Regardless of the facts or the fiction, each of us still has to internalize what we're learning and that, as I see it, is a purely individual endeavor. History is never 100% concrete. I learned this from my classics prof. first year in college. The value of any history, as I see it, doesn't usually come from whether or not it's true. It usually comes from how we interpret it and apply it to our own way.

Regarding O Sensei living for the sake of others I think it's important to consider the idea that by helping others we help ourselves and the overall state of things. I know there are philisophical discussions about whether selflessness truly exists or not, but I believe O Sensei believed in helping make better people more for the sake of something greater than those people or himself. That's not to say it wasnt also for their respective sakes as well, but I'm betting there was a hierarchy of importance to him that started with the aspects most fundemental to existence itself.

Charles Hill
12-28-2009, 04:12 PM
But with so much BS and "what one wants to believe" being foisted upon him it is often difficult to have an intelligent conversation about it. ....... There is a lot to learn and read about O-sensei. That is always a good place to start.

Hi Keith,

I have read much of what is available. I have also trained with/ listened to a number of individuals connect. Also, I have visited many of the places connected to his life.

I think that at some point, we have to dissect and analyze what we have learned and that feedback from others is the next step. So with that, what kinds of BS and "what one wants to believe" have you heard? And why do you consider them so?

Charles Hill
12-28-2009, 04:19 PM
re. the thread drift

A lot of the discussions centered around the Founder seem to be based on the structure of " I believe O'Sensei....", "I think Ueshiba....", and even "Morihei Ueshiba....". However, all these discussions will eventually grind to a halt because we all have different experience which we bring to the table.

To do something different, I started this thread with a simple idea. Let's take things we have heard and discuss HOW we accept them or reject them.

Keith Larman
12-28-2009, 04:53 PM
Hi Keith,

I have read much of what is available. I have also trained with/ listened to a number of individuals connect. Also, I have visited many of the places connected to his life.

I think that at some point, we have to dissect and analyze what we have learned and that feedback from others is the next step. So with that, what kinds of BS and "what one wants to believe" have you heard? And why do you consider them so?

My answer to your question would be to point to a very recent thread. It started with a rather strong assertion that O-sensei was a Shinto (tao) priest. And my justification for saying this is not that I have any sort of personal knowledge but that those who do and who are authoritative have said otherwise. Also, that minor in asian religions was screaming in the back of my head through some of the discussion (ouch, what a tortured twisting of meaning/words).

Ultimately the only point I was trying to make was that the dissection and exploration of history should be left to the historians because the rest of us tend to do a piss poor job of it. We tend to get caught in expressions like "if it walks like a duck" when we in fact may have precious little experience with all the various water fowl that may in fact walk just like a duck... But aren't ducks.

In other words... Most of us aren't the ones who should be trying to to dispel myths because most of us really have no way of evaluating the truth value of what we think we know. But there is an "academic" record of sort forming through the work of people like Pranin, Dr. Goldsbury, et al. Maybe with your experience you could do this. And I would encourage it. But most of us (myself included) really shouldn't be speculating much because we just don't have the foundation. So I turn to people like Dr. Goldsbury, Stan Pranin, et al with deep appreciation for what they have done.

lbb
12-28-2009, 05:36 PM
To do something different, I started this thread with a simple idea. Let's take things we have heard and discuss HOW we accept them or reject them.

What if we do neither? That's what I've been trying to get at. What if we don't feel the need to resolve these "things" as true or not true?

I'm not trying to derail the discussion that you're trying to have, Charles...but I am trying to point out that we're not compelled to have an opinion either way. All the questions about O-Sensei's life, what he did, what he said, what he meant by what he said -- there's nothing that says that we, as aikido students, have to thrash out all these questions and come to our own personal set of conclusions about them. Or do you feel that students of aikido do have to answer these questions for themselves?

I have a reason why I prefer not to go there. It's found in the old children's game of Telephone: put a bunch of kids in a circle, one whispers a message to the next who whispers it to the next and so on, until the last one says aloud what they heard...which is invariably radically different from what the first kid said (or thought she said). No matter how carefully you try to repeat information, distortion creeps in -- particularly when there can be a gap between what the first person says, what she thinks she says, what the first listener hears, and what he thinks he hears. And then there's the matter of whether the first listener understands what he thinks he hears. Another example is found in one of my favorite novels, Raising the Stones by Sheri Tepper, about a religion founded by a prophet (who was actually not trying to found a religion at all, but that's another story) who said some very common-sense things like, "No matter how well-intentioned people may be, do not let them mess with your heads." Several generations later, this has developed into a complete ban on any form of counseling, acknowledging the existence of a mental illness, calling the act of teaching "teaching", or even the cutting of one's hair -- because all of these things involve messing with the head, and didn't the prophet say not to allow that?

This is how distortion creeps in, and it happens all the time -- particularly when the original sources are anecdotal. I think it's fine to learn some things about O-Sensei's life, but I'd apply a big grain of salt and not place too much importance on any of it. That latter, I know, will place me at odds with many aikido students, to whom doing things in the spirit O-Sensei intended is of paramount importance. I don't take exception to their goal...but I question whether it is achievable, and personally I don't find it even slightly desirable when taken to such extremes. That's how you end up turning "do not let them mess with your heads" into a prohibition on ever cutting your hair.

Janet Rosen
12-28-2009, 05:56 PM
Ultimately the only point I was trying to make was that the dissection and exploration of history should be left to the historians because the rest of us tend to do a piss poor job of it. We tend to get caught in expressions like "if it walks like a duck" when we in fact may have precious little experience with all the various water fowl that may in fact walk just like a duck... But aren't ducks.

Pretty much how I feel, along w/ agreeing w/ Mary that it doesn't really have a practical affect +/- on my training either way...

I guess what I dislike in ANY area are what I consider silly myths ("don't let your belt touch the ground" or "your white belt will turn black with age and dirt") and baseless distortions ("we wear hakama to hide the movement of the feet" - stated to me yrs ago by a 4th dan who should have known better) and "because its tradition" bad ideas (like poor warm up practices).

So I'll continue to question them and let the folks who really know the stuff provide the answers.

RED
12-28-2009, 08:20 PM
Hi Maggie,

What do you base this on? In my reading of his life, I am struck by how utterly self-centered he often was. The distinct impression is that he never really "taught" other than by example.

I know what you are talking about. When asked how a technique was done, he'd just throw the person asking the question. However, I recall his son's explanation that taking the ukemi was the only way to learn. He didn't think you could teach form per say structurally, rather Aikido was a living thing that altered according the the individual attack.
I don't think teaching by example is a sign of an ego. There is many that believe it is the best way in which to learn.

RED
12-28-2009, 08:22 PM
Maggie,

Take a look at "Dueling with O Sensei" by Ellis Amdur. Ueshiba O Sensei was, at least to me, a very complex character who demonstrated some noble traits as well as demonstrating some ignoble traits. He was a brilliant martial artist who could do some amazing things, but he was, in the end, just a man and perhaps had feet of clay.

We look at him today from the lens of our western heritage and sometimes forget that he and the others of his time were the product of their culture. I personally question that he was some selfless man of integrity and unquestioned virtue. I'm not sure that the concepts of integrity and virtue were defined in pre-war Japan in any way I can understand today. I doubt that we will ever know as the myths and truths have become terribly enmeshed into some amalgam of oral history. Then again, maybe I'm full of crap.

Of course, he was human.
I recall stories expressing his great acts of charity. I also recall stories of him ruthlessly screaming at his wife unjustly because he was uneasy .
He was an obsessive compulsive man. That trait led to both extremes.
The humanity is striking. However, his professed intention is also striking.

Humans can be remarkable, and flawed.

mathewjgano
12-28-2009, 09:13 PM
Humans can be remarkable, and flawed.
What if we don't feel the need to resolve these "things" as true or not true?
Well said.

Shannon Frye
12-28-2009, 10:49 PM
Why do some people feel the overwhelming need to post on a topic (being discussed), and have only criticism that the questions were raised in the first place. If it don't interest you - go to the next topic! I really don't get some people.

(Oh yeah - IMHO, lol, and "just my 2cents")

mathewjgano
12-28-2009, 10:58 PM
Why do some people feel the overwhelming need to post on a topic (being discussed), and have only criticism that the questions were raised in the first place. If it don't interest you - go to the next topic! I really don't get some people.

(Oh yeah - IMHO, lol, and "just my 2cents")

What specifically are you referring to? I don't think I've seen criticism of the topic. Admittedly I'm often a bit thick though...and a bit sporadic in how I read these things.

mathewjgano
12-28-2009, 11:28 PM
What specifically are you referring to? I don't think I've seen criticism of the topic. Admittedly I'm often a bit thick though...and a bit sporadic in how I read these things.

Ok I think I see what you might be talking about, Shannon, but I think some good points were made.
W/ regards to the original post I think it makes sense to suggest we're not likely going to be able to create a more in depth review than the folks who have already reviewed most of the material and written books on it...that's not to say we can't discuss it.
I like the idea later brought up that we discuss how we apply ("accept" or "reject") these various stories as well as Mary's point that we might not need to do either.

AsimHanif
12-29-2009, 11:24 AM
Hi Charles. I appreciate your original post.
A story comes to mind about how O'Sensei in his later years was very weak, frail, and was walking with the assistance of young students but upon seeing a pretty woman he suddenly straightened up, discarded his attendants, and engaged the woman in conversation.
I find this a far more plausible example of mind over matter, than stories of him dodging bullets and disappearing.

Ron Tisdale
12-29-2009, 03:02 PM
pretty plausible motivation as well....
Best,
Ron (fan of pretty young women everywhere!)

Chuck Clark
12-29-2009, 03:24 PM
... A story comes to mind about how O'Sensei in his later years was very weak, frail, and was walking with the assistance of young students but upon seeing a pretty woman he suddenly straightened up, discarded his attendants, and engaged the woman in conversation.
I find this a far more plausible example of mind over matter, than stories of him dodging bullets and disappearing.

I agree. :) :straightf

Anjisan
12-30-2009, 11:27 AM
Hi Charles. I appreciate your original post.
A story comes to mind about how O'Sensei in his later years was very weak, frail, and was walking with the assistance of young students but upon seeing a pretty woman he suddenly straightened up, discarded his attendants, and engaged the woman in conversation.
I find this a far more plausible example of mind over matter, than stories of him dodging bullets and disappearing.

The most plausible explanation that I have heard of the "bullet dodging" ability is that the weapons used were flint/musket single shot sort of rifle. If the stories ultimately serve to in some way inspire some Aikidoka to examine the unlimited possibilities of Aikido so much the better.

Perhaps urban legends have their place and serve a bigger purpose. Religious references do this all the time. I call it the Paul Bunyan Effect. I immediately thought of the idea in the movie Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne wanted to symbolize something more than a man-an ideal that can't be killed.These myths-especially early on in the arts history, didn't hurt the arts ability to spread. There is something to be said for something that can't be easily categorized, referenced dissected, or settled.

mathewjgano
12-30-2009, 01:11 PM
Could also be he just got lucky, or perhaps they were simply terrible shots. Different people have different levels of perceptive accuity. Perhaps that particular group was low enough that O Sensei felt confident enough to try it. I recently heard on NPR about a study which suggested as many as 1/3 of Americans have slower processing speed relating to real-time sensory input (it was used to explain poor drivers). Maybe this group fit that category, minus being American of course. Then again, perhaps those young lads thought to themselves, "let's not shoot the man, he might know some of our bosses."
Again, the truth of the matter is almost entirely irrelevant in my opinion. The moral of the story as I see it is you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em...and you have to be able to recognize the difference in two otherwise similar situations.

lbb
12-30-2009, 02:41 PM
I recently heard on NPR about a study which suggested as many as 1/3 of Americans have slower processing speed relating to real-time sensory input (it was used to explain poor drivers).

Slower than what?

mathewjgano
12-30-2009, 04:39 PM
Slower than what?

Slower than the remaining 2/3.
I.e. a third of folks can't or don't process input quite as quickly as the rest. I have no idea about the study apart from the blurb I heard on the radio.

lbb
12-30-2009, 08:16 PM
Slower than the remaining 2/3.
I.e. a third of folks can't or don't process input quite as quickly as the rest. I have no idea about the study apart from the blurb I heard on the radio.

Would this not be true for any study with any result, i.e., that 1/3 of the participants' results were slower (or whatever) than the other 2/3? Say, for example, that you take 99 people and have them run a 100 meter dash. 33 of them will have times slower than the other 66 -- I can guarantee it right now. In fact, they can all skip the 100 and go to the bar :D

mathewjgano
12-30-2009, 08:43 PM
Would this not be true for any study with any result, i.e., that 1/3 of the participants' results were slower (or whatever) than the other 2/3? Say, for example, that you take 99 people and have them run a 100 meter dash. 33 of them will have times slower than the other 66 -- I can guarantee it right now. In fact, they can all skip the 100 and go to the bar :D
lol!
Sure, but the implication is that we're not dealing with an even gradient. I took it to mean 33 and 1/3 people out of 100 didn't attain the same rate of processing that the remaining 66 and 2/3 did: Let's say that majority processes at an average rate of 1 (arbitrary number for the sake of argument), the remaining third might process at approximately .5318008.

Ron Tisdale
12-30-2009, 08:48 PM
If you guys are going to argue statistics, I'M LEAVING!
:eek:

B,
R :D

mathewjgano
12-30-2009, 08:58 PM
If you guys are going to argue statistics, I'M LEAVING!
:eek:

B,
R :D

Statistically speaking, statistics are an unpopular aspect in thread adherance trends by a factor of...um...
...darn! I got nothin'.
Happy New Year, Ron! :D

CitoMaramba
12-31-2009, 03:44 AM
The most plausible explanation that I have heard of the "bullet dodging" ability is that the weapons used were flint/musket single shot sort of rifle. If the stories ultimately serve to in some way inspire some Aikidoka to examine the unlimited possibilities of Aikido so much the better.

Perhaps urban legends have their place and serve a bigger purpose. Religious references do this all the time. I call it the Paul Bunyan Effect. I immediately thought of the idea in the movie Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne wanted to symbolize something more than a man-an ideal that can't be killed.These myths-especially early on in the arts history, didn't hurt the arts ability to spread. There is something to be said for something that can't be easily categorized, referenced dissected, or settled.

In Shioda Kancho's account, he clearly states that six revolvers were used.
I was able to find the relevant excerpt from "Aikido Shugyo" on a website. The URL is: http://www.aikidofaq.com/history/story.html
I will quote it here so that everyone can read the translation of Shioda Kancho's account:

(From Aikido Shugyo - Gozo Shioda's Autobiography)

Avoiding the concentrated fire of revolvers

Talking about weird things, let me talk about an extremely strange event. This is also something I actually witnessed with my own eyes.

One time an official from the munitions department of the army, together with 9 military personnel, came to visit the Ueshiba Dojo. They came to watch the wonderful art of Aikido that they had heard about. These people were arms inspectors. They tested new weapons and judged whether the sights were accurate or not. Their shooting ability was Olympic level, and I noticed that they hit the target every time.

Ueshiba Sensei, who had done a demonstration before these people that day, had claimed "Bullets cannot reach me." I had, of course, previously heard that when he was in Mongolia he had avoided the bullets of horse-mounted brigands, but this was quite dif ferent.

The inspectors' pride was hurt and they were quite angry.

"You're sure that the bullets won't touch you?", they asked.
"Oh, no, they won't."
"Then would you like to try?"
"Sure."

They took him at his word and promptly arranged the date that they were to meet at the Okubo Army Shooting Center. Before the date, they made Ueshiba Sensei write officially that he had agreed to become a living target for the army officers and got him t o place his fingerprint on the document. As a further precaution and verification, they took the document to the army court. Therefore, even if Sensei was shot and killed, nobody could lodge a complaint.

the appointed day arrived, and a military car came to pick Sensei up to take him to the shooting area in Okubo. Mr. Yukawa and myself accompanied him. Naturally, Sensei's wife was very anxious and beseeched him to change his mind. but Sensei kept replyin g light-heatedly, "It's all right., they will never hit their target."

Mr. Yukawa and myself were also very concerned; to the point where we were wondering if it wouldn't be wise to make funeral preparations. When we reached the shooting area, another surprise was waiting for us. I was expecting only one gun to be aimed at Sensei, but we discovered that six men would be firing pistols at him. The best range for pistols was 25 meters and, normally, a target in the shape of a human is placed at this distance. This time, however, Ueshiba Sensei was standing there in place of the doll. The six men then positioned themselves, aiming at Ueshiba Sensei. While staring at him, I kept thinking helplessly that twenty-five meters is a considerable distance, and was wondering what on earth Sensei could do from there.

One, two, three. The six revolvers fired at the same time and a cloud of dust whirled around us. Then, suddenly, one of the six marksmen was flying through the air! What had happened? Before we could figure it out, Sensei was standing behind the six men, laughing into his beard.

We all were bewildered. I really and truly could not understand what had happened. Not just me, but everyone present was so stunned that we could not find words to express our shock. The six inspectors were not yet convinced and asked if Sensei could do it again. "All right" he answered indifferently.

Once again, the six barrels were aimed at Ueshiba Sensei and were fired. This time the inspector at the edge of the group flew into the air. In exactly the same way as before, Ueshiba Sensei was standing behind the six inspectors before we knew what was happening. I was dumbfounded. That time I had promised myself to watch carefully in order to see exactly what Sensei was doing. But even though I had tried very hard, I was completely unable to see how he had moved.

Facing Ueshiba Sensei were the barrels of the six revolvers which had been fired. This far I could remember clearly, but the next stage, where Sensei had moved the distance of 25 meters and thrown one of the six marksmen, I simply could not understand. I couldn't find any explanation for other than "God techniques."
Flying golden balls
On our way back I asked, "Sensei, how could you do such a thing?", and I received the following answer.

Before the explosion, as the trigger is pulled, a flash like a golden ball flies off. The actual bullet of the revolver comes later, therefore it is easy to avoid.

In this case, even though the six men intend to shoot at the same time, they are never exactly together. Because they shoot at slightly different times, I just have to go to the one who is going to fire first. "The golden flash has a spectacular noise," said Sensei. According to him, after the noise he would begin to run. He ran in the shape of a ninja with his back bent, taking short slow steps. The real bullet would come after he had already leapt forward about half the distance. Sensei said that the time between the flash of gold and the bullet was quite long, but for us watching, everything happened so quickly that we had no idea that he was trying to get close enough to throw the first man that had fired.

"God has said that I am necessary for this world and has decided to let me live. My period of purification is not over so I cannot die. When I am not necessary for this world anymore the gods will let me pass away." Sensei seemed to be convinced, but of course we couldn't understand what he meant.

I know that you readers will have difficulty believing in stories like this, but these kind of strange things really did happen.
Challenge with a master hunter
There is another story that relates to the previous one.

One of my acquaintances, Mr. Sadajiro Sato, was a hunter from Yamanashi Prefecture. He was known as a master of gun hunting. For example, hunters usually aim at and shoot pheasants when they are descending to the ground. At this moment it is said that th eir flying speed is around 200 kilometers per hour. If the pheasant is shot in the head it will drop straight to the ground, but if the bullet hits the body it will fall a long way away. Accordingly, hunters would try to aim for the head, which is not an easy target to hit. The point is the Mr. Sato would hit the head every time he shot--he was the master of masters.

One day I told Mr. Sato the story of Ueshiba Sensei avoiding the six revolvers. "Even if he did that I am sure he won't be able to avoid mine," said Mr. Sato confidently. "A human head is much bigger than that of the birds that I am used to shooting. I c annot imagine missing that." Having said that, Mr. Sato came down out of the mountains to challenge Ueshiba Sensei. I accompanied him to the Ueshiba dojo land told Sensei that Mr. Sato wished to challenge him. Sensei accepted the proposal.

I watched carefully, and a bit anxiously, as Sensei sat down in seiza at the far end of the dojo while Mr. Sato took distance and aimed. And then just as he was on the verge of pulling the trigger, Sensei dropped his head in recognition and said, "Wait! Your bullet will hit me! Your thoughts are undistorted, and clearly you want to hit me. From the beginning you've known that you are going to hit your target. I cannot avoid the gun of such a man, you are a true master!"

Mr. Sato returned happily to his mountains.

I was deeply impressed. Mr. Sato was a gun master, and Ueshiba Sensei recognized that and withdrew. It was proof that a master can recognize another master. I was very fortunate to have been able to see two precious masters challenging each other.

Interestingly, Shioda Kancho says that a document was drawn up, fingerprinted by Ueshiba Kaiso, and taken to the "army court". Does the document still exist? Or was it destroyed in the firebombing of Tokyo during the Second World War?