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MM
01-08-2010, 12:52 PM
Ellis,

On page 116, you mention that Ueshiba received a Shinkage-ryu menkyo from Takeda. You mention that Sokaku is not known to have studied such a system.

But, on page 125, you write that Gejo Kosaburo, a shihan in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu was a friend of Sokaku Takeda.

Also you write that Otsubo of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu gave Ueshiba a compliment that "You must have studied Yagyu-ryu somewhere".

How close were Takeda and Gejo Kosaburo? Could Takeda have learned (informally) Yagyu Shinkage-ryu from Gejo? In some manner? And could that have been what Takeda gave to Ueshiba in the form of the Shinkage-ryu menkyo? If so, it would explain Otsubo's words.

Thanks,
Mark

MM
01-12-2010, 12:17 PM
Bump

Ellis Amdur
01-13-2010, 08:59 AM
Mark -
1.It was a "shinkage-ryu jujutsu menkyo" There is no evidence of Takeda studying any such system. And the extant systems of Shinkage-ryu jujutsu were not at all related to YSR - it was just such a "cool' name that a lot of people appropriated it. That's why I state my belief that it was simply a symbolic recognition of a special relationship (not unlike Takeda drawing up a new certificate called Daito-ryu menkyo kaiden for Hisa Takuma several decades later.
2. I establish pretty clearly that Ueshiba studied YSR from Gejo - and this was a fairly well-known fact (Tomiki Sensei said so, for example).
3. Gejo could have shown Takeda something of what he did. Why not? At that late stage of Takeda's life, however, and with him already having developed his unique style of kenjutsu, I very much doubt it would have made much of an impression on him, even if Gejo did show him some kata. To me, it would sort of been like some salon musician playing a tune for Mozart and the latter giving it more than a moment's thought.

Best
Ellis Amdur

MM
01-13-2010, 09:28 AM
Thanks for the clarifications, Ellis!

Josh Reyer
01-27-2010, 07:45 AM
Mark -
1.It was a "shinkage-ryu jujutsu menkyo" There is no evidence of Takeda studying any such system. That's why I state my belief that it was simply a symbolic recognition of a special relationship (not unlike Takeda drawing up a new certificate called Daito-ryu menkyo kaiden for Hisa Takuma several decades later.
This may be true in the main, but incorrect in particulars. If the scroll displayed here (http://kokyuhou.exblog.jp/8369245/) is indeed the Shinkage-ryu menkyo given to Ueshiba by Takeda, it is purely a (Yagyu) Shinkage-ryu document. It is a copy of the Shinrikyo (Shoe Offering Bridge) scroll, the first part of Yagyu Munenori's famous Heiho Kadensho.

Before I explain further, let me give a rough outline of YSR history for context. (Not for Ellis, of course, but for others.) Shinkage-ryu was founded by Kamiizumi Hidetsuna, and taught Yagyu Munetoshi. Munetoshi's fifth son Munenori went on to serve Tokugawa Ieyasu as a kenjutsu instructor, gaining influence and power as he served Ieyasu's son and grandson. Eventually he became a daimyo. His son, Mitsutoshi, aka Jubei, is also famed as a swordsman. Munenori's line of the Yagyu family is known as the Edo Yagyu.

As famous as Munenori and his sons were, the mainline of YSR was actually passed on to Munetoshi's grandson Toshitoshi, aka Hyogonosuke. Hyogonosuke eventually came to serve the lords of Owari as a kenjutsu instructor, in what is modern day Nagoya. His line of the family came to be known as the Owari Yagyu, and it is this line that maintains Yagyu Shinkage-ryu to this day.

I mention this because the Shinrikyo is a purely Edo Yagyu document. It was not used by the Owari Yagyu or their students. It was written by Munenori for his deshi and descendants, and was used to recognize someone as a member of the ryu. In this sense, it was not a menkyo in the sense of license, or even as a certification of attainment. It was a document indicating affiliation.

I make this point because it would seem that Gejo Kosaburo was a student of the Owari Yagyu line of YSR, not the Edo Yagyu line. If Takeda had learned YSR from Gejo, it's unlikely he would have then given Ueshiba this Edo Yagyu document. Nor would it be related to Jikishinkage-ryu, since YSR and JSR branched away from each other in the founder's generation.

The document is a curious one. The contents, as much as I can read, are taken directly from Heiho Kadensho, but it is not a faithful copy. I believe the image in the above link has been edited to show the beginning and the end of the scroll (thus obscuring any possible references to actual YSR kata in the original), but in the section is shown, three of the five points regarding stance ("stand in hitoemi", "lower your shoulder to your opponent's fists", and "extend your left elbow") are omitted, leaving only "Use your fists as a shield" and "support your body with your front leg, and extend your rear leg".

The lineage preceding Takeda's signature runs:

Kamiizumi Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara Hidetsuna
Yagyu Tajima-no-Kami Taira Munetoshi
Yagyu Tajima-no-Kami Taira Munenori
Over Ten Generations in Old Aizu Domain
Takeda Sokaku Minamoto Masakazu

The Aizu domain reference is no abbreviation on my part, that is literally what it says in the document. That's how Takeda basically links himself to Munenori -- generations of anonymous Aizu bushi. Had Takeda not been illiterate, I would assume that he copied, or had it copied, out of a book that published the Heiho Kadensho. As it is, it still seems highly suspect that he didn't even write the name of his direct teacher.

Of course, there seems to be no other indication that Takeda studied Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. The above site quotes from Shishida Fumiaki's book "Aikido Kyoshitsu" that (according to Tomiki, I assume) Ueshiba had never seen a fukuro-shinai until he came to Tokyo, and that when visiting the Kobukan one day, Takeda came across a fukuro-shinai and went ballistic.

So, while the densho is not one for some form of Shinkage-ryu jujutsu, I nonetheless agree with Ellis's idea that this was some symbolic gesture from Takeda. Where Takeda got the exemplar for the scroll is a mystery. Perhaps, like Ueshiba's dabbling in judo, Tenjin Shin'yo-ryu and Yagyu Shingan-ryu, Takeda had briefly studied with some former Aizu-han instructor of YSR, long enough to receive a scroll indicating membership in the ryu, but not long enough to really take much from it before moving on to Itto-ryu and Jikishinkage-ryu. Perhaps he simply obtained the densho as an historical document (the Meiji era being a good time for folks to sell old, obsolete densho for some ready money), and knew only that it was a kind of scroll indicating affiliation.

Interestingly, Shishida says that Gejo taught Ueshiba various kata, except for Muto, which is not taught until the deshi received inka, the highest level of certification. That fits with YSR practice. The Sho-Chiku-Bai aikiken kata that Ueshiba taught Hikitsuchi are taken from Sangaku En-no-Tachi and Kuka-no-Tachi, two of the "Omotedachi" of Shinkage-ryu -- the lower level kata a YSR deshi first learns. However, Ueshiba apparently did not take from Empi, the third Omotedachi. The kata for Sangaku and Kuka are listed in the Shinrikyo, but Empi is not. I wonder if Ueshiba's training with Gejo basically involved Gejo showing him these kata listed on this scroll Takeda gave him, which Takeda never actually taught.

Ellis Amdur
01-27-2010, 09:10 AM
Josh - Fantastic information. If enough copies of the book sell to ever warrant a reprint, I will correct the information in the new edition.
Barring further info, I would still stand by my conclusion/speculation that this menkyo was symbolic, and demonstrative of a special relationship between Takeda and Ueshiba.
Interesting that Takeda would be enraged at the sight of a fukuro shinai in the dojo, if he really taught/bequeathed YSR to Ueshiba. It is almost as if the possession of such a training implement would denote that Ueshiba was doing some study outside Tákeda's orbit - and given that a fukuro shinai and YSR are hand-in-glove, then this would support the idea that Takeda gave his student a symbol rather than a curriculum.
Best
Ellis Amdur

Pat Togher
01-27-2010, 11:43 AM
Wow, great discussion. Thanks Ellis and Josh!

Pat

Erick Mead
01-27-2010, 02:20 PM
Josh - Fantastic information. If enough copies of the book sell to ever warrant a reprint, I will correct the information in the new edition.
Barring further info, I would still stand by my conclusion/speculation that this menkyo was symbolic, and demonstrative of a special relationship between Takeda and Ueshiba. No, not merely "symbolic."

The form of Budo must be love. One should live in love. This is Aikido and this is the old form of the posture in Kenjitsu.
http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html
"Budo as love" and the Yagyu doctrine of katsujinken "life giving sword" are a close fit. Similarly, the "posture in kenjitsu" in the Yagyu katsujinken doctrine was founded on shuji shuriken, an esoteric concept described cryptically in the Heiho Kaden. Munenori's text describes shuji shuriken as joining "being" in the upward palm, and "non-being" in the downward palm in to one. This describes the the in/yo joining of the juji + figure.

There is also a Doka of O Sensei's with that very image of taking "in" in the left hand and "yo" in the right hand. This is tenchinage. While Daito-ryu has a version of this technique they call it aikinage -- the tenchi Heaven/Earth image of the technique name is only in aikido and is directly related to the juji + in/yo figure.

According the annotations, Yagyu Mitsuyoshi explained the secret doctrine of shuji shuriken as learning an enemy's mind from the cross-wise block, i.e -- juji +, That is very likely the "Cross of Aiki" as O Sensei wrote in several of the Doka that I already laid out above. Also as I discussed above, he referred to his art in a Doka as "jujido."

As to my presumption that he got mu-to training whether legitimately (assuming the menkyo debate is resolved), the emphasis of Yagyu on its mu-to system (whether he was certified in it or not) certainly had to inform their curriculum otherwise. Munenori says precisely that in Heiho Kaden Sho, that postures, sword positions, distance, movement, mental focus, feints and attacks were all premised on mu-to. "No-sword is central to all important things." Hiroaki Sato, tr.

I have previously noted these functional correspondences and specific references (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=185228&postcount=60) , which we have discussed before relating to the Yagyu muto system (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=160674&postcount=406) as it may have been adapted into parts of aikido. You did not -- then -- give me any credence for noting them (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=160682&postcount=411) -- but perhaps you will revisit those points also when you have a chance..

Ueshiba claimed Shinkage-ryu as part of his influence (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=98) -- Aikido Journal still holds forth (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=219)that O Sensei was granted a Yagyu menkyo kaiden by Masakatsu Nakai in 1908 in Sakai City -- who reputedly was proficient in both Shingan and Shinkage. Many sources attribute Ueshiba's menkyo kaiden to him and assert it was Shingan:

Perhaps not -- or perhaps both.

:)

Josh Reyer
01-27-2010, 04:22 PM
Erick, I wouldn't speculate about Shinkage-ryu if I were you. You going far afield of your knowledge base. Your take on "being" and 'non-being" in shuji-shuriken is particularly ridiculous.

Cliff Judge
01-27-2010, 04:32 PM
Hmm.

So it was, in fact, a Yagyu Shinkage Ryu document and not something that Takeda had a scribe write up special for Ueshiba that he just called a "Shinkage" menkyo.

It was furthermore a document related only to the Edo branch of YSR. Therefore we might as well take Kosaburo out of the picture here, because he was an Owari man and the scroll in question was meaningless in his tradition (as far as I understand it the two branches had been fairly separate and distinct for over 200 years at this point).

How illiterate was Takeda? I've read in HIPS and in other places that Takeda spent a lof ot time wandering around crashing dojo. What was it like to manuver that particular landscape and not be able to read? Did he have the occasion to lay eyes on a lot of different documents from the various ryu he encountered in his life? He must have developed a knack for eyeing a scroll and coming to some conclusion as to what its signficance was, even if he couldn't appreciate all the characters.

What if Takeda had no idea what the document was in the first place? Maybe he misunderstood what it was? Maybe he didn't care what it was, he just thought it was a nice scroll, written on nice paper with good clean brush-strokes?

I take it there weren't a lot of students around who would have been comfortable saying, "Ah, Sensei! Chotto..." when the old man was wrong about something?

Chris Covington
01-27-2010, 05:06 PM
I find it doubtful that any Yagyu Shinkage-ryu muto-dori got integrated into modern aikido. I just saw a rather interesting embu of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu a few weeks ago and they did some muto-dori. It looks nothing like what I've seen any aikido group do. It looks a lot like the Yagyu kodachi kata. The kamae (kurai in Yagyu?) and taisabaki were completely different than aikido I've seen. If Ueshiba sensei learned the muto-dori of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu I don't think it had much influence on what he did.

No, not merely "symbolic."

I have previously noted these functional correspondences and specific references (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=185228&postcount=60) , which we have discussed before relating to the Yagyu muto system (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=160674&postcount=406) as it may have been adapted into parts of aikido. You did not -- then -- give me any credence for noting them (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=160682&postcount=411) -- but perhaps you will revisit those points also when you have a chance..

Ueshiba claimed Shinkage-ryu as part of his influence (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=98) -- Aikido Journal still holds forth (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=219)that O Sensei was granted a Yagyu menkyo kaiden by Masakatsu Nakai in 1908 in Sakai City -- who reputedly was proficient in both Shingan and Shinkage. Many sources attribute Ueshiba's menkyo kaiden to him and assert it was Shingan:

Perhaps not -- or perhaps both.

:)

Peter Goldsbury
01-27-2010, 05:51 PM
Josh,

Have you seen the book entitled 『会津藩教育考』? It is the source of much of the information about Kurokochi Dengoro Kanenori that Kono Yoshinori used in his Aiki News article, which Ellis in turn used for the chapter on Kanenori's activities in the Aizu domain and his supposed relationship with Takeda Sokaku. The book is part of a series about Japanese history published by Tokyo University (in the 1930s, I believe), but it contains far more information. I have not gone through the book specifically for information concerning the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu supposedly taught in the Aizu domain, but I think it will be there.

I think you would find the book of interest, not least for the interesting style of Japanese in which it is written.

Best wishes,

PAG

Erick Mead
01-27-2010, 06:08 PM
Erick, I wouldn't speculate about Shinkage-ryu if I were you. You going far afield of your knowledge base. Your take on "being" and 'non-being" in shuji-shuriken is particularly ridiculous. Ah. This is some customary substitute for reasoned argument among the scholarly gaijin in Japan, is it ? ;)
If you had read it -- you would know that it was not MY take to relate the orientation of awareness joining "being and non-being" -- take up your argument with this guy (http://books.google.com/books?id=_7iMaZvIf-YC&pg=PA97&dq=yagyu+shuji+shuriken&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false). It is my argument hat the joining of being and non-being, are quite properly symbolized by juuji -- as are katsu/setsu which are operative Yagyu principles, Juuji also portrays tenchi and the in-yo principles generally, but moreso in a way peculiar to Ueshiba's chosen understanding -- so much so that he called his art by that name.

Josh, I do not believe I have made any Olympian pronouncements worthy of your seemingly towering disdain. You had noted a curious connection of documentary evidence to Yagyu Shinkage -- which Ellis had apparently overlooked -- after some while ago vociferously taking me to task for even remotely suggesting it, and I deferred to his "authority" on the point.

-- Now I simply reminded folks that we had already discussed that point on some functional and descriptive parallels to certain Shinkage doctrine -- as possibly understood by Ueshiba in his inveterately idiosyncratic fashion -- not as understood by Shinkage (or YOU) then or now.

If he did obtain (or stole more likely) any mu-to stuffs - as you say_- it was very likely not through an "approved" source. There are interviews indicating that the Nakai Shingan certificate was also signed by Masanosuke Tsuboi -- and another interview of Kisshomaru indicating that Shiho Otsubo -- who was licensed in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu saw Morihei's movement regularly at his home and remarked that he recognized his training.

Make of it what you will -- I am not interested establishing scholarly proclamations of lineage probity --- but the intersections of interesting facts and useful correspondences of ideas for better and more creative understanding and practice.

My intuition for concrete image and connections in Ueshiba's mythopoeia -- for all its many faults (mine mostly, but his also) -- seems to serve me at least as well in making some useful sense of Ueshiba's discourses -- even in rough translation -- as poetic images leap gaps that linear prose or even dynamic translation will not cover. Bassho and Issa work in many, many tongues, my friend.

I do not thereby demean the value of deeper contextual and circumstantial knowledge such as what Prof. Goldsbury so charitably provides. But your soberly precise linguistic and historic "authority" seems to halt at cracks the man himself did not even pause in striding over. My approach to language and myth is admittedly a good bit looser, freer, and a thus tad closer in spirit -- just a tad, I think -- to Ueshiba's than your painfully exacting scholarship is.

But you be the judge -- you do insist on it, after all. :)

Cheers.

Josh Reyer
01-27-2010, 07:38 PM
Ah. This is some customary substitute for reasoned argument among the scholarly gaijin in Japan, is it ? ;) If I could be assured of "reasoned argument" with you, I would engage in it, but I'm afraid I've been down this road before. I could write a long essay detailing what exactly Munenori was talking about with regards to "shuji-shuriken" "being/non-being", and so on, and how those particular concepts don't show up in aikido. But in the end, you'd simply ignore the point, semantically pick apart a few turns of phrase, and in the end just say that despite what these concepts actually mean in Shinkage-ryu, Ueshiba's interpretation was different, or even, it doesn't matter what the words mean or what they are used for, any particular interpretation by any particular person is perfectly valid. Heck, you've already started that with your last post.

So, no thank you, I'll pass on the "reasoned argument". Take my post in the manner in which it was intended: advice that your conclusions were not supported by an adequate base of knowledge. How you address that lack is up to you.

Erick Mead
01-27-2010, 08:37 PM
If I could be assured of "reasoned argument" with you, I would engage in it, but I'm afraid I've been down this road before. I could write a long essay detailing what exactly Munenori was talking about with regards to "shuji-shuriken" "being/non-being", and so on, and how those particular concepts don't show up in aikido. But in the end, you'd simply ignore the point, semantically pick apart a few turns of phrase, and in the end just say that despite what these concepts actually mean in Shinkage-ryu, Ueshiba's interpretation was different, ..... Heck, you've already started that with your last post. Actually, the underlined was the point -- back in the first discussion -- in 2006 -- so points to me for prophecy in presaging my "brilliantly shallow rhetorical coup" to your present "masterly dismissal," I suppose. :hypno:

I did not invent his association with Shinkage -- he did -- if it was invented, in whole or in part. Then the question would be -- how much and why?

You seem to read Ueshiba and his language as objects among other objects for your proper tidying up -- just cause he's dead and can't correct you. Me? I read Ueshiba and I try to have a conversation with the man. He was a messy mind. I have no interest or business in tidying messy people up. He might be wrong and he might be dead but he is still more interesting. Thankfully, I like conversation even with less interesting people.

Josh Reyer
01-27-2010, 11:40 PM
A small correction...

Takeda's name should be Masayoshi, not Masakazu. I once had a friend named Yoshikazu, and it's been screwing me up ever since...

Ellis Amdur
01-27-2010, 11:53 PM
Erick - I think there should be a rule that to discuss a book one must read the book
1. Nakai and Tsuboi did not do Yagyu Shinkage-ryu - they did Yagyu Shingan-ryu. Different ryu entirely. Different documents. Different esoteric training. Different physical training. Sort of like the Carribean pirates and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Or maybe that the fact that Joseph Smith was a Mormon proves that Will Smith, the actor sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
2. I explained in the book in considerable detail that Ueshiba DID study Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, in a fashion from Kisaburo Gejo and noted, as does Josh the kata that he taught, in his fashion at Shingu, and that Tomiki Kenji also said so. That is nothing new to the discussion.
3. The debate here is (well, should be) what the nature of a menkyo that Takeda gave Ueshiba. And whether, in some fashion, despite a dearth of any other evidence, either documentary or more important physically (in the sword of Takeda), that HE somehow did Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. The lineage in the menkyo, alone, establishes to my satisfaction that Takeda did not - but rather like Ueshiba, he felt that he could look at anything and say, "In aiki, we do it this way."
Ellis Amdur

Peter Goldsbury
01-28-2010, 02:30 AM
Hello Josh,

Further to my last post, I can find no evidence in the work I cited of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu being taught in the Aizu Domain school at the time that Kurokochi Dengoro Kanenori was teaching there.

Best wishes,

PAG

Josh,

Have you seen the book entitled 『会津藩教育考』? It is the source of much of the information about Kurokochi Dengoro Kanenori that Kono Yoshinori used in his Aiki News article, which Ellis in turn used for the chapter on Kanenori's activities in the Aizu domain and his supposed relationship with Takeda Sokaku. The book is part of a series about Japanese history published by Tokyo University (in the 1930s, I believe), but it contains far more information. I have not gone through the book specifically for information concerning the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu supposedly taught in the Aizu domain, but I think it will be there.

I think you would find the book of interest, not least for the interesting style of Japanese in which it is written.

Best wishes,

PAG

MM
01-28-2010, 07:15 AM
Josh, Ellis, Peter, thank you for your posts.

Erick Mead
01-28-2010, 07:44 AM
Erick - I think there should be a rule that to discuss a book one must read the book.
1. Nakai and Tsuboi did not do Yagyu Shinkage-ryu - they did Yagyu Shingan-ryu. Different ryu entirely. OFCOL. I just said that he did Shingan --The point is that there have been references to Nakai also having Shinkage training as well as his main license in Shinkan -- maybe spurious, but they are out there -- which I simply added as a point of consideration to the apparent discovery of an actual Shinkage document granted to Ueshiba (whatever its provenance) that you hammered me for even suggesting from other evidence before. Since he did not get the license from Kisaburo Gejo or his Yagyu branch -- the same problem remains as at the start. What was the nature of the influence or aspects taken from it? He wasn't shy about mentioning it -- though perhaps its purely promotional value may have been the motivation. The conceptual ties seem otherwise, however.
3. The debate here is (well, should be) what the nature of a menkyo that Takeda gave Ueshiba. I understand that is your debate -- my question, which I flagged as tangential, mind you -- is whether that is the most useful aspect of the debate. Determining what Ueshiba took or did not take in concept form or training from Shinkage -- that seems more fruitful than the hallmarks on a scroll. YMMV. You seem to have more of what I might call a koryu mind, so did Takeda -- but Ueshiba did not, he "stole" as much as he got by "legitimate" transmission -- recognizing both 'styles' of achievement have have their own legitimacy and traditions. That difference was a source of conflict between them -- and breaking down those concepts and elements in a way, not disrespectful exactly, but, shall we say, less worshipful, of the school's self-understanding would be closer to what seems Ueshiba's common method. He wasn't interested in their traditions -- he believed there was an ur-tradition to be mined out of them.

If we want to understand Ueshiba in how he took things from these schools we need to adopt something closer to his self understanding. Preaching to the choir here, I know, but it is a psychological error to try to understand someone primarily in the way I wish to understand him, rather than trying to understand him in the way HE wishes to be understood. Neither perspective is actually objective -- but the latter is more likely closer to being true.

Ellis Amdur
01-30-2010, 08:09 AM
Ueshiba claimed Shinkage-ryu as part of his influence -- Aikido Journal still holds forth that O Sensei was granted a Yagyu menkyo kaiden by Masakatsu Nakai in 1908 in Sakai City -- who reputedly was proficient in both Shingan and Shinkage. Many sources attribute Ueshiba's menkyo kaiden to him and assert it was Shingan:

Perhaps not -- or perhaps both.


OFCOL. I just said that he did Shingan --The point is that there have been references to Nakai also having Shinkage training as well as his main license in Shinkan -- maybe spurious, but they are out there -- which I simply added as a point of consideration to the apparent discovery of an actual Shinkage document granted to Ueshiba (whatever its provenance) that you hammered me for even suggesting from other evidence before.

Erick - there is NO evidence whatsoever that either Nakai or Tsuboi ever had any experience with Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. None. That some uneducated (in Japanese martial history, be they non-Japanese or native) people have read "Yagyu" associated with Nakai and/or Tsuboi and immediately assumed it must be Yagyu Shinkage-ryu is not evidence of anything other than their own ignorance. It's not even supposition. It's on the same level as "Japanese swords are called "ken," and my friend's name is "ken," so he must be a reincarnation of a samurai."

The "license," as Josh points out, is actually more evidence that Takeda was cavalier in his assertions of history, and simply gave a certificate because he could. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he was nagged by Onisaburo to give Ueshiba something and he just decided that "you want a certificate, here's a certificate." That he didn't even name the 10 generations of Aizu's (non-existant) Yagyu Shinkage-ryu swordsman including his own teacher (that would be quite an insult, actually, were such a man to have existed) is further evidence that this is a useful "fiction."
If you or anyone else finds this implausible, I have an eyewitness account from Terry Dobson where a man who later became quite prominent in jujutsu circles in America, approached Ueshiba, crying, saying that if he went home without a black belt, he'd be shamed, and Ueshiba patted him on the back and said, in effect, "Don't cry. Here's a shodan."
I'm not saying that Ueshiba did the same to Takeda - although I wouldn't put anything past Onisaburo - but the LEAST plausible explanation is that Takeda held a secret inkajo in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. Equally implausible is that Ueshiba's Yagyu Shingan-ryu teacher had a secret Yagyu Shinkage-ryu certificate (really, you need to get out more - even on YouTube - and see that the two ryu are really quite far apart.). And finally, since we already know that Gejo taught Ueshiba Yagyu Shinkage-ryu kata, why strain after explanations when it's right in front of you?
I should be more humble, perhaps - but I will note that I have an entire section in HIPS on Yagyu Shinkage-ryu influence on Ueshiba.
If there is any issue left, it lies in people actually familiar with the gokui of YSR (physical, moral and spiritual) assessing if Ueshiba evidenced any familiarity with YSR beyond a few kata which he "aikified."
Ellis Amdur

Erick Mead
01-31-2010, 12:35 PM
Erick - there is NO evidence whatsoever that either Nakai or Tsuboi ever had any experience with Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. None. ... Equally implausible is that Ueshiba's Yagyu Shingan-ryu teacher had a secret Yagyu Shinkage-ryu certificate OK. calm down a moment and read what I said. Nakai (ca. 1904-1908) trained Ueshiba in Shingan. I didn't say he had a scroll in Shinkage, I said that Nakai is said to have had some Shinkage training (http://en.allexperts.com/e/y/ya/yagyu_shinkage-ryu.htm) also. Otsubo noted it as being Shinkage when Kisshomaru remembers him coming regularly the their house (as you yourself have pointed out (http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1895). There are still places training with those arts together as descended from both Nakai and Otsubo (http://ofuna.tripod.com/arakido/shinkage.html) so this is hardly a specious association.

His period with Gejo -- Tomiki supposedly studied Shinkage with Ueshiba under Gejo -- thus it would have been after 1926 or later in the twenties after they met.

So Ueshiba Morihei could NOT be speaking of his kenjutsu training with Gejo at the time of his first vision of aiki (http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:-wKPGCUrlGUJ:www.aikidojournal.com/article%3FarticleID%3D98+old+form+kenjutsu+ueshiba+aiki&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us) in ~1923 (he was "forty years old" according to his own account).. His vision then was that "The form of budo must be love. One should live in love. This is aikido and this is the old form of the posture in kenjutsu." This was the point and context of my original enquiry into this matter back in 2006.

He is not then speaking of his Shinkage training with Gejo which he has yet to start. He is unlikely to be speaking of Shingan which is a newer form (ca. 1600) than Shinkage (before 1560's), and descended from it. There may be something else that qualifies as "the old form" in kenjutsu but Shinkage is the presumptive claimant for the Meiji period and after.

He obviously had to know something of Shinkage to be recognized as such by Otsubo -- but to square that with the timing of his vision of the "old form" in 1923 -- the vision may have actually prompted dusting off his older (and likely more informal) Shinkage legacy by resuming training in it with Gejo thereafter, with Tomiki, sometime after they met in 1926.

Thus, some significant Shinkage training very likely predated his training with Gejo. If not Nakai, where? Nothing else makes as much sense of the timeline.

Ellis Amdur
01-31-2010, 01:50 PM
Erick - last try.
1. This "all experts" site is exactly what I'm talking about - uneducated people who regurgitate stuff they glean from other English language publications, particularly those about aikido. There is NO record of Nakai studying Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. None. Furthermore, Ueshiba's training in Shingan-ryu was quite cursory. He mostly learned the jujutsu portion, to some degree - and NOT the weaponry, which is over half the school. And the jujutsu he learned left him absolutely inept when he faced Takeda Sokaku for the first time.
2. And now you include yourself among those "uneducated" - I am not making an ad hominem attack - I'm stating this as a fact. You logged onto the Yagyu Shingan-ryu site (Arakido) and inferred something that is not true. Otsubo Shiho never trained a day of Yagyu Shingan-ryu in his life. Muto Masao, separately studied Yagyu Shingan-ryu from another teacher and then went to study Shinkage-ryu with Otsubo. People at the time commented on this as being quite unusual - I remember it at the time. I heard several noted koryu people say something like, "Hmm, Mutoh-san might be biting off more than he can handle. Shingan-ryu and Shinkage-ryu are so different!" Yet you assert from your misreading of the website that Otsubo did Shingan-ryu.

3. That Ueshiba used the word "love" in his last years has no particular relevance to Yagyu Shinkage-ryu and Ueshiba. From Ueshiba… at that time I was about 40 years old. One day I was drying myself off by the well. Suddenly, a cascade of blinding golden flashes came down from the sky enveloping my body. Then immediately my body became larger and larger, attaining the size of the entire Universe. While overwhelmed by this experience I suddenly realized that one should not think of trying to win. The form of budo must be love. One should live in love. This is aikido and this is the old form of the posture in kenjutsu. After this realization I was overjoyed and could not hold back the tears. That was an interview at the end of his life. Ueshiba, in the 1920's called what he did, Daito-ryu. He revinvented his "enlightenment" story over and over again. What he as an old man, propounding his own mythology wrote, is not evidence of any training that might have occurred in the 1920's or earlier.
BTW - Mutoh Masao rather gleefully told me that he had a copy of Admiral Takeshita's diary and - here's a direct quote, "Everyone today talks about 'aikido is love, love, love.' But Takeshita sensei quoted Ueshiba-san as saying, "Aiki is a means of achieving harmony with another person so that you can make them do what you want."
4. Otsubo would have seen Ueshiba in the 1950's or 1960's, not the 1920's. I knew Otsubo, and had conversations with him in the 1980's. He was a little boy in the 1920's - and not yet trained in Shinkage-ryu. So this, too, has no relevance.

In sum, your supposition is based on a number of incorrect assumptions. A) that contrary to record, Ueshiba might have studied Shinkage-ryu from a man who never knew it (Nakai). B) Or, that he learned about the "love" of YSR from Takeda Sokaku (now there's a thought!) C) that Otsubo knew Yagyu Shingan-ryu
D) That Otsubo must have seen Ueshiba before he cross-trained with Gejo (in a time machine?). e) that his mythologizing self-references in the 1960's, using the term "love," something he used only after the war, I believe, is in any way proof of an initiation into Yagyu Shinkage-ryu.

Final point, Ueshiba did NOT study with Gejo, who was his student. Ueshiba had him show him some forms which, as was his wont, he altered to fit his aiki-agenda (these forms, no longer Yagyu Shinkage-ryu in anything else but outer structure, were taught to Hikitzuchi Morio). His training in YSR, as in almost everything he did other than Daito-ryu, was superficial.
Some would consider what he did an improvement on the original. I would not. (For another example, after the 2nd WW, he asked Sugino to teach him TSKSR spear. He could have learned from Sugino's teacher - but he did not want to be initiated and learn "properly") He just wanted to pick up something of interest to him that he could incorporate into his own practice - and doing so from his own student made it safe - he would thereby owe nothing to the ryu. He wanted to dip a toe in - not swim.

Ellis Amdur

Note: There's nothing more to say here, Erick. Unless you have a primary source (not a website of non-practicing, "web-experts") which establishes some of what you are asserting, I've got nothing more to respond.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-31-2010, 03:45 PM
But Takeshita sensei quoted Ueshiba-san as saying, "Aiki is a means of achieving harmony with another person so that you can make them do what you want."

Also:

"In genuine budo, however, simply foreseeing the enemy's plan is not sufficient. But to equip your inner-self with the power to move the enemy according to your own will is the true Way of the Gods ." On the Martial Ways of Japan - The Training of Unification of Body and Spirit, Ueshiba M.
(http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=676)

Josh Reyer
01-31-2010, 06:16 PM
Just a note, Erick's "experts" site is a mirror of Wikipedia. The Wikipedia article on Yagyu Shinkage-ryu is very bad, and contains many errors. I mean, hell, even regarding Ueshiba it says that Nakai gave Ueshiba a menkyo kaiden, which is clearly in error. Dollars to donuts that the person who wrote that thought "Yagyu Shingan-ryu" = "Muto Masao" = "Yagyu Shinkage-ryu and Yagyu Shingan-ryu".

Toby Threadgill
01-31-2010, 11:13 PM
Hi,

This discussion has been making me roll my eyes in disbelief. Interestingly enough, I come across people in Wado ryu who make similar mistakes to those being made here. Holding little or no familiarity with Shindo Yoshin ryu, these amateurish researchers present laughable suppositions based on unreliable sources. What’s even more amazing to me is when they try to debate me after being confronted with documented facts. That these guys have scant factual information concerning SYR or its teachings seems irrelevant. They are so invested in their flawed thinking that they can’t accept the facts when they are staring right at them.

Convoluted rationalization and inept research based on shoddy resources frequently leads to absurd conclusions. If you want to publicly present a controversial supposition, you had better do your homework and do it well. To do otherwise makes someone like me wonder what the possible motivations could be for such behavior.

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Erick Mead
02-01-2010, 12:35 AM
Erick - last try....
Note: There's nothing more to say here, Erick. Unless you have a primary source (not a website of non-practicing, "web-experts") which establishes some of what you are asserting, I've got nothing more to respond.Takeshita's diary is what? Disproving that he really meant that Aiki is love simply because it can make people do what you want? -- Proving, I suppose, that I cannot love my children because I, occasionally with some less than pleasant insistence, make them "do what I want" when they misbehave? ;)

You have not addressed the timeline of the Gejo/Tomiki asociation sometime after 1926 -- postdating the observation about "the old form of the posture in kenjutsu" -- which he claims was revealed to him as aikido ca. 1923 -- That seems to refer to Shinkage -- unless you really think the man was feeble or dishonest. You seem to think he is confabulating on the vision(s) -- but on the date?

But even if you conceive that the vision was confabulated later, why would he place it so distinctly in time ? Why would the date of the vision be significant enough to point out his age that much later ? Makes no sense unless he just reported what he remembered. Maybe confabulated even so -- but none of that changes the "old form ... of kenjutsu" being deemed particularly significant three or so years before the YSR experience with Gejo . None of the other chronologies I have seen place Tomiki before the vision. Regardless of exact date he is unlike to have reversed their order of occurrence in memory.

I am simply looking for something to explain the timeline -- taking the man at his word -- and which you have NOT addressed --IF you accuse him of making it up post facto -- what is your evidence that we should doubt it -- not the subjective experience itself -- but the objective association with "the old form" that he plainly made ?

Josh, the earliest version of the YSR wikipedia page associates Nakai with both arts -- and a source out of Japan seems to predate that as a web resource -- http://www.samuraispirit.org/Budoscatalog/Bokuto-koryuha/YagyuShinkage%20Ryu-English.pdf I can't check the nihongi version http://www.samuraispirit.org/Budoscatalog/Bokuto-koryuha/Shinkageryu.pdf for correspondence because my Acrobat got indigeston on whatever character set is used -- Not saying its right -- just that it is not from Wikipedia but it ended up there.

I am not and have never tried to "prove" anything from any source on those points (much less the one noted) -- I am simply convinced that Shinkage influence had an earlier date because of the man's own statement. I went looking therefore for any suggestion of such a source. Aikido Journal's entry on Nakai's Goto-ha Shingan reports (http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia?entryID=230) that "The technical content of this school is unknown but certainly included jujutsu techniques and the study of various weapons." Do you or Josh know something about the technical content of Nakai's school you are not telling that rules out any pastiche of Shinkage from him or Tsuboi ? The Shingan scroll from Nakai was seemingly not sealed and according to Miek Skoss (who shares your doubts about YSR connections) there is some thought Nakai was not authorized to issue densho -- this does beg a question whether he was completely orthodox in his training ? 'Cause ya know that NEVER happens in the martial arts, now does it? Again, though interesting, it is hardly critical either way.

The timeline is critical -- to your argument on Gejo, Tomiki and the later YSR influence -- without which we are back where we started with no clear YSR connection -- assuming you are correct and these Nakai associations and some informal YSR exposure are spurious. Why you resist the very possibility of the idea (vice the plainly loose nature of suggestive evidence for it ) is unclear to me -- since you essentially lay out a very similar informal exposure to YSR ( which is not disputed) through Gejo -- and which is wholly in keeping with Ueshiba's overall cafeteria style of learning.

Could we answer a simple question? -- The point of this whole issue in my raising this to YOUR attention (before, and again now):

WHAT do you contend was the intended reference of "the old form of the posture in kenjutsu" which IS aikido, according to Morihei Ueshiba (if not found in Shinkage, mu-to, or otherwise) ?

What is your answer ?

fred veer
02-01-2010, 03:53 AM
It should be clear that a lot of things we will ever know for certain.

What we do know is that:

Ueshiba Morihei studied with Takeda Sokaku in 1992 and received the daito ryu kyoju dairy and shinkage ryu certificates. The second certificate was regarded by Ueshiba Morihei as a ju-jutsu certificate (if I understand this correctly). For me this implies that Ueshiba Morihei was taught something outside of the daito ryu kyoju dairy syllabus.

What we also know is that the corpus of daito ryu was not complete at this time as we know it now. The number of daito ryu techniques upto and including menkyo kaiden is given by Kondo sensei at some point. In the film rendezvous with adventure Ueshiba Morihei gives the number of techniques in aikido (which I think for him was the same as daito-ryu except for the change in execution of technique which Ellis has described in his book) as almost the same number.

Might the shinkage ryu menkyo merely be an attempt by Takeda sensei to certify some techniques that were later included in the menkyo-kaiden syllabus but for which he had no daito-ryu certificate at this point. As Takeda Sokaku was paid for each the technique the shinkage menko had to add something.

Another point is that Ueshiba Morihei felt he could given a menkyo-kaiden to Tomiki sensei en mochizuki sensei while still teaching daito-ryu (predating the menkyo kaiden of Hisa sensei). What would have been his authority for this but some certificate comparable to the menko-kaiden.

Mike Sigman
02-01-2010, 09:31 AM
BTW - Mutoh Masao rather gleefully told me that he had a copy of Admiral Takeshita's diary and - here's a direct quote, "Everyone today talks about 'aikido is love, love, love.' But Takeshita sensei quoted Ueshiba-san as saying, "Aiki is a means of achieving harmony with another person so that you can make them do what you want."Exactly. Think how much that would change Aikido practice if people simply understood that "Aiki" is part of all the demonstrations Ueshiba was fond of showing and was the basis of his art, "Aiki-do". However, many of the current "Aikido Teachers" are so invested in the "love" schtick that few of them would drop the schtick for what Aikido really is. The schtick is more important than the art and besides, it would take a lot of hard work to change over.

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
02-01-2010, 10:31 AM
However, many of the current "Aikido Teachers" are so invested in the "love" schtick that few of them would drop the schtick for what Aikido really is. The schtick is more important than the art and besides, it would take a lot of hard work to change over.You say that as though love and violence are contradictory -- that's simply false. You say that as though there are no places where aikido is trained in that 'paradoxical' light. It is equal error to assume that love is not violent as to assume that violence is not loving. Granted, love and violence are not always properly connected in training -- aikido or otherwise -- but that is a problem that exists on the flipside as well -- especially in "competitive" forms that strive for all the violence and none of the love.

Measured by strength of will and viciousness, a loving mother protecting her young is the most dangerous creature on the planet -- of whatever species. Predatory killers in comparison are not usually interested in the risk of injury from attacking that level of commitment. There is a reason lions creep on their bellies to take a momma gazelle's baby (which can't outrun the lion) before momma is aware of the threat, though the lion can kill her too. She can often kill the lion though dying in the process. There is a budo lesson there somewhere. Nathan Bedford Forrest said a battle is won by the "first with the most" -- Love brings it all so, not an inconsiderable "force multiplier," I should think.

Fred Little
02-01-2010, 11:12 AM
WHAT do you contend was the intended reference of "the old form of the posture in kenjutsu" which IS aikido, according to Morihei Ueshiba

I'm not Ellis, but I think it much more reasonable to view that "reference" as a typically pro forma appeal to an ahistorical, retrospectively projected and idealized golden age which was invoked to validate the speaker's broader assertions, while drawing attention away from their radical disjunction from the reality of the tradition out of which which they purportedly arise, than as having any objective correlate in the curricular specifics or organizing principles of specific Japanese martial traditions Ueshiba may have studied formally or otherwise.

For a good look at how this pattern has played out in the English-speaking world, one can hardly do better than Hobswam and Ranger's groundbreaking 1983 collection, The Invention of Tradition (http://www.amazon.com/Invention-Tradition-Canto-Eric-Hobsbawm/dp/0521437733/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265043918&sr=1-1).

Regards to all,

FL

Ellis Amdur
02-01-2010, 11:17 AM
Erick - The contents of Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu are well known. It is publicly demonstrated. YOur questions about the menkyo and the nature of Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu are answered in my book. Ueshiba stated explicitly that he learned jujutsu from Nakai. Stan's entry has not been updated for many years - he knows a lot more about the subject now. There is no document or quote anywhere that I am aware of UEshiba using the formulation "aikido" or "aiki" is love anywhere in the 1920's.
Your entire thesis is based on two fantasies:
1. That "old kenjutsu" MUST refer to YSR. The only assertion ever made of such is yours. The irony is, in koryu, YSR is not considered "old kenjutsu" - it's rather new.
2. That muto-dori is anything like aikido (it's not).

And the answer to your question is He had an experience of golden light in 1923, in 1960 something referred to "old kenjutsu," which almost surely refers to his Shinto preoccupations (read "Aikido is Three Peaches," in HIPS version, not AJ). Ueshiba, in this vein, refers to the sword as "tsurugi" not katana.

Mike Sigman
02-01-2010, 12:58 PM
You say that as though love and violence are contradictory -- that's simply false. You say that as though there are no places where aikido is trained in that 'paradoxical' light. .I just looked back at my post and I suggest that you do, too. I neither said nor "said as though" any of that. I admit, though, that that was one of the greatest strawman comments that I've ever seen.

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead
02-01-2010, 03:03 PM
There is no document or quote anywhere that I am aware of UEshiba using the formulation "aikido" or "aiki" is love anywhere in the 1920's.
Your entire thesis is based on two fantasies: I have no thesis -- I am a lawyer -- I have only questions and arguments, and more questions... ;) . As a matter of approach I find that one can discover untruth most successfully by assuming everything that anyone says IS true and then following strictly where such statements lead you... There is less opposition to questioning if you assume what they have already said is necessarily true. And if you starkly follow the logical consequences of that premise, you may find a great deal more becomes quite clearly true or untrue than routinely assuming that some portion is usually false and then trying to sort them out. YMMV.

But my argument, which founded my question, did not have to do with his "using the formulation of aiki" as love. He just happened to state that in the same context -- which is a different issue. He realized (because he said so -- there is no other evidence possible for that) at that time (~1923) that "aikido .. is the old form of the posture in kenjutsu" Whether it was in 1923 or in the fifties that he also related that to the "Aiki is love" meme is not the question. He claims he realized it in 1923, but he objectively associated the "old form... of kejutsu" and the "Aikido" directly. The question is "which old form"?

I do not see that direct connection of aikido with an "old form of kenjutsu" -- in 1923 or in 1957-- as metaphorical to tsurugi or Kusanagi in the sense of your approach in the Three Peaches article -- which was good, BTW. If you have changed this in the conclusions that you reach in that portion of your book it is unclear.

[your fantasies]
1. That "old kenjutsu" MUST refer to YSR. The only assertion ever made of such is yours. The irony is, in koryu, YSR is not considered "old kenjutsu" - it's rather new. "MIGHT refer" and I am lacking in more plausible alternative candidates. Compared to..... say, a better candidate for "the old form..." ? That's what I am hunting -- and if not Shinkage -- then give me a better target.

Is any suggestion as to what this might have been forthcoming rather than simply assuming that he meant nothing by it? From his seminal vision? That would be large assumption ... and more than a bit hard to accept. It seemed important to him, and he would likely try to accurately relate what it meant to him -- whatever our objective opinion about it.

2. That muto-dori is anything like aikido (it's not).Here's where we get to arguing apples to oranges (or peaches if you like). Mu-to I can only see conceptually in the relation of the nature of awareness and in-yo and juuji and that is only in the points of similarity I have made -- I have never seen it performed - so I was not asserting a connection between the physicality of the two, but comparing concepts as described with demonstrable conceptual connections -- fairly speculative, I'll certainly grant -- but you seem entirely comfortable with that as a basis for exploration.

Indeed, I would expect there to be a superficial dissimilarity in the two -- else whatever "the old form" was that he saw in this radically new context as aikido would not have required a moment of enlightenment to realize-- everyone would have seen it -- if it was so obvious. It might even be hidden in ..... -- oh well somebody might write that book ... someday.... ;)

And the answer to your question is He had an experience of golden light in 1923, in 1960 something referred to "old kenjutsu," which almost surely refers to his Shinto preoccupations (read "Aikido is Three Peaches," in HIPS version, not AJ). Ueshiba, in this vein, refers to the sword as "tsurugi" not katana. The comment is from the 1957 interview republished by Kisshomaru in "Aikido" It was translated "kenjutsu" by Pranin and Terasawa -- not a likely error by them, I should think, Kenjutsu is something markedly less mythological than "tsurugi" or "Kusanagi." Ueshiba was hardly shy about employing mythological terms directly rather than by veiled allusion, so we might reasonably assume he meant what he said.

The comment follows immediately on a denial that Aikido as such was introduced to him by Takeda -- rather that Takeda "opened his eyes to budo." Takeda in other words was necessary, but not sufficient to his realization, in his own view. This cuts against the thesis that DTR and only DTR is the source for the intended expression of aiki in aikido (leaving aside its empirical expression at any given place at the moment). Maybe he was wrong or deluded, but if we nail down what he objectively meant, maybe we go further than just assuming away his direct statements simply because they do not serve a given argument.

YOU speculate (usefully, I think) that "Were one able to discover that the training methods of bugaku bear any relationship to those used to train practitioners of Japanese jujutsu, particularly Daito-ryu, it would be a magnificent coup." Maybe there is one -- a physical one-- demonstrable and definable and not depending on deep histories of a mythological past.

Almost all dance deeemd "graceful" depends for its aesthetic on continuous translation (and contnuous reversals) of rotations of the limbs and body -- this requires a certain physical principle of momentum transfer within the elements of the body that portray effortlessness -- It is physically different from levered action or push-pull action -- and trivially easy to distinguish the one from the other. All good sword work depends on the same physical principle. I can describe it mechanically -- the question is whether there is an "old form of the posture in kenjutsu" that also closely illustrates the principle of this graceful (and therefore powerful) form of effortless action to which he might likely have been referring.

Erick Mead
02-01-2010, 03:20 PM
The above has somewhat afield of the original topic so I have split it off here: (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=251430#post251430)

Resume regular programming.:)

L. Camejo
02-01-2010, 11:31 PM
Interesting thread.

While working with Shishida to translate his findings on Takeshita's diary and the meanings of Aiki it was made quite clear to me that the concept of "Aiki is love" did not exist with Ueshiba M. and his cohorts in the 1920's. The "Aiki-nage" of Ueshiba's Daito Ryu or 1920's Aioi-Ryu was quite a different concept to what many Aikidoka refer to as "Tenchi nage" today. Ueshiba referred to Aiki Nage in his 1931 book "Budo Practice" as - "the skill to instantly break balance at will in order to stop an opponent's attack". The book then shows clearly that the opponent is thrown AFTER Aiki is applied, indicating that it is a separate element from the throw itself.

In the 1920s Aiki was understood and taught as a technical element of Ueshiba's training. Later on it became a slogan for universal love. I think that throughout this thread the two definitions have been used side by side as if referring to the same thing. They're not.

Just my 2 cents.

LC

DH
02-02-2010, 08:37 AM
Interesting thread.

While working with Shishida to translate his findings on Takeshita's diary and the meanings of Aiki it was made quite clear to me that the concept of "Aiki is love" did not exist with Ueshiba M. and his cohorts in the 1920's. The "Aiki-nage" of Ueshiba's Daito Ryu or 1920's Aioi-Ryu was quite a different concept to what many Aikidoka refer to as "Tenchi nage" today. Ueshiba referred to Aiki Nage in his 1931 book "Budo Practice" as - "the skill to instantly break balance at will in order to stop an opponent's attack". The book then shows clearly that the opponent is thrown AFTER Aiki is applied, indicating that it is a separate element from the throw itself.

In the 1920s Aiki was understood and taught as a technical element of Ueshiba's training. Later on it became a slogan for universal love. I think that throughout this thread the two definitions have been used side by side as if referring to the same thing. They're not.

Just my 2 cents.

LC
This is -of course- well in keeping with his then current training in Daito ryu - where aiki is a separate discussion from technique. For similarities in dairies and notes; you had Sagawa's father enter in his own journal in 1913 "Sensei says to apply aiki-here."
There are prescribed methods for applying aiki in different ways, but aiki emanates from aiki in the body as the first requirement. Also mentioned in Sagawa's own book.
This is just more reasons why people like Stan, Ellis and myself say you really cannot discuss Aikido without discussing Daito ryu. The cornerstone requirement of "aiki" is foundational and inseperable between the arts; it is what happens after aiki is applied, and the depth of the abiity to generate aiki that is the defining difference. But even now, in the 21st century, we see so many in aikido really striving to go back to the older methods of application (which I still feel is mistake and a digression from the path of aiki) if it is done without training the body -for aiki.

Cheers
Dan

Budd
02-02-2010, 11:06 AM
But even now, in the 21st century, we see so many in aikido really striving to go back to the older methods of application (which I still feel is mistake and a digression from the path of aiki) if it is done without training the body -for aiki.

Cheers
Dan

I think this is pretty critical, bears repeating and likely can mark some of the differences between still-viable training systems versus a parody (even those with some teeth).

L. Camejo
02-02-2010, 12:28 PM
This is -of course- well in keeping with his then current training in Daito ryu - where aiki is a separate discussion from technique. For similarities in dairies and notes; you had Sagawa's father enter in his own journal in 1913 "Sensei says to apply aiki-here."
There are prescribed methods for applying aiki in different ways, but aiki emanates from aiki in the body as the first requirement. Also mentioned in Sagawa's own book.
This is just more reasons why people like Stan, Ellis and myself say you really cannot discuss Aikido without discussing Daito ryu. The cornerstone requirement of "aiki" is foundational and inseperable between the arts; it is what happens after aiki is applied, and the depth of the abiity to generate aiki that is the defining difference. But even now, in the 21st century, we see so many in aikido really striving to go back to the older methods of application (which I still feel is mistake and a digression from the path of aiki) if it is done without training the body -for aiki.

Cheers
Dan

Well said.

DH
02-02-2010, 09:59 PM
This is -of course- well in keeping with his then current training in Daito ryu - where aiki is a separate discussion from technique. For similarities in dairies and notes; you had Sagawa's father enter in his own journal in 1913 "Sensei says to apply aiki-here."
There are prescribed methods for applying aiki in different ways, but aiki emanates from aiki in the body as the first requirement. Also mentioned in Sagawa's own book.
This is just more reasons why people like Stan, Ellis and myself say you really cannot discuss Aikido without discussing Daito ryu. The cornerstone requirement of "aiki" is foundational and inseperable between the arts; it is what happens after aiki is applied, and the depth of the abiity to generate aiki that is the defining difference. But even now, in the 21st century, we see so many in aikido really striving to go back to the older methods of application (which I still feel is mistake and a digression from the path of aiki) if it is done without training the body -for aiki.

Cheers
Dan
One correction. It was -of course- Kodo Horikawa's Dad (Taiso) who's journal recorded that training note, not Sagawa's Dad.
I was rushing out the door when I wrote that, It doesn't take away from the point, but it worth being accurate.
Dan

thisisnotreal
02-02-2010, 11:26 PM
One correction. It was -of course- Kodo Horikawa's Dad (Taiso) who's journal recorded that training note, not Sagawa's Dad.
I was rushing out the door when I wrote that, It doesn't take away from the point, but it worth being accurate.
Dan

Wow Dan. This is fascinating I have not seen the original. Did it happen to say *how* to apply the aiki?
thanks,
josh : ]

thisisnotreal
02-03-2010, 06:53 AM
Sorry.
Please forgive me. I seem always go for the cheap laugh. no offense intended. Sorry if i put you on the spot.

That said....of course... I would like to know......
: )

wuyizidi
03-04-2010, 12:05 PM
...
That he didn't even name the 10 generations of Aizu's (non-existant) Yagyu Shinkage-ryu swordsman including his own teacher (that would be quite an insult, actually, were such a man to have existed) is further evidence that this is a useful "fiction."
...

This is a very subtle but important detail. I don't know the specifics of this case, or how closely the traditional Japanese martial art system resembles that of the Chinese system, but in Chinese martial art, when this kind of things happen, these are the usual causes:

In feudal China, martial art was like any other type of craftsmanship, given all the normal socioeconomic incentives, important parts of the skill are only passed down to truly trusted students who will be 100% loyal to the teacher. That system is patterned after the traditional family system. In the family system, each member has clearly defined rights and duties. One of the most import duties of the child/student is to always honor and support his father. So within each martial art group, the No. 1 prohibition is 'qi shi mie zu' - to deceive, humiliate, brought shames to, ally oneself with external enemies of, or harm one's father/teacher and other ancestors. Denying their existence (I did not study with X), telling lies about who your immediate ancestors are (I studied with actual person Y) falls under this.

A student's right to ask questions is limited, he cannot ask who his teacher's teacher is, as that is considered rude - you're being skeptical about your teacher's credential. But normally, when a teacher formally accept a student as a disciple, starting the father/son relationship, one of the first things he would do is volunteer the lineage information to the best of his knowledge. Just as with real families, he may not know the names of his distant ancestors, but he should know the previous 2 generations. Under the family system, a teacher can withhold information, but he should never deceive his students.

When someone does not reveal who his teacher is, it's usually for the following reasons:

1. He was not a formal disciple.

There are innocent and interesting exceptions here: in China, if you become blood brothers with someone, you can show him everything you know, and he can even learn from your teacher. Because the basic tenant of blood brotherhood is "there is no separation between us, what is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine. Your father is now my father too, I will honor him like a real son..." In theory then, all your teachers and students are his as well, and vice versa. Under this type of circumstances, someone can become an expert without formally becoming a formal disciple.

2. He was a disciple but the relationship with teacher soured. As with real families, relationship can change over time, and the teacher may have severed the relationship later.

3. He created the style himself. In traditional society there's this unhealthy attitude that anything older is automatically better. So you created something new, a lot of people would say "who are you to change things that have stood the test of time, you think you're better than everyone who has come before you?!" To get around this problem, people would refuse to name their teacher. Again, withholding that info is not the same as lying about it (I learned it from actual person Y), which would be qi shi mie zu. Sometimes, if really pressed, they would say "I learned it from this traveling monk/daoist with special abilities while I was traveling in such and such remote/sacred mountain". Novices eat this up, because now it's all mystical. But insiders know that's code for "I came up with all of this".

4. The student's skill is not mature yet. In China, a lot of times students are not prohibited from going outside the group to test out his skill. The idea is, to really understand your skill, you need to try it out on as many people, with many types of opponents as possible. That said, before your skill has matured, your teacher usually say "don't tell people who your teacher is, you are not good enough to represent me yet", or "only let people know if you win".

5. The teacher is not famous. Fame in previous centuries is not like fame now - you can become well-known for publishing a book, have a popular blog, active on forums. Back then everyone knows who the best fighters are, just like today we know who the best basketball players are - they are the ones who fought other famous fighters, have good fight records. So famous fighter = good fighter. Life is not like martial art novels, where you can practice by yourself in some remote mountain, never touched hands with anyone, and just become invincible from day one. So if you're not well-known inside the martial art circle, it's safe to assume your real life fighting skills are not at the same level as people who are well-known.

So if one's teacher is not famous (he could still be good, even if not elite level), that's when you see people hiding that fact, or give you some mysterious explanation.

For that reason then, people like well-established school (sustained, excellent fighting reputation) is that there things are very transparent in this regard. They have no reason to hide any lineage information.

6. The teacher is infamous. Martial art people are very conservative when it comes to reputation. If your teacher's has bad personal reputation (say cooperating with foreign occupiers), even if he's a good fighter, that might be enough reason to hide it.

7. Special circumstances: sometimes the teacher has problems with powerful enemies and does not wish to broadcast his whereabouts. The most famous example is the first known Baji Quan master Wu Zhong. He was taught by a traveling couple with obviously made up names. Most people think it's because their real names were well-known to the Qing Dynasty government as loyalists to the previous dynasty.

As a disciple, the first duty is to fully inherit the teaching so one can 'guang da men hu' - bring honor and fame to the school, expanding it in the process. How can you bring honor to your father/teacher if you don't let people know who he is?

Josh Reyer
03-22-2010, 10:27 AM
I'm not sure if this horse is dead or not, but bouncing around the Interwebtubes, I came across this article (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=3&ved=0CBMQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.isdy.net%2Fpdf%2Feng%2F2008_05.pdf&rct=j&q=Otsubo+Shiho+died&ei=HGunS6XAMcuIkAWR4rHeAg&usg=AFQjCNEb0SkP76ZZtJCBzb8ZxOIlAyOgpA) (PDF format) by Shishida Fumiaki, in English.

I leave it to the reader to form their own conclusions based on it. However, just to add some context from the side of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu:

Gejo Kosaburo is quite the mysterious figure. Ostensibly, he was (according to Akabane Tatsuo) an ultra-high level master of Shinkage-ryu. However, little is known about him in the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu mainline. Some question whether he was really a student of Yagyu Toshichika (Genshu) at all. It seems obvious, at least from Shishida's research, that he attended the Hekiyokan, the Yagyu Dojo in Wakamatsu, in Tokyo. Here's the problem. The Hekiyokan opened in 1913, when Gejo was 48. Until that time, Yagyu Genshu was in Nagoya. Genshu returned to Nagoya in 1922, at the age of 77. Genshu's son Toshinaga (Gencho) continued teaching in Wakamatsu until 1930, when he also returned to Nagoya to care for his ailing father. So, if we assume that Gejo studied Shinkage-ryu purely under Genshu (after losing a match to him) in Tokyo, his training would consist largely of 9 years, from 1913 to 1922, ages 48 to 57. Even considering an accelerated pace of learning, and physical genius on Gejo's part, I personally have difficulty believing he could become the great, highly licensed master Akabane portrays him as. Which is not to say he wasn't good, and didn't advance in the curriculum.

Anyway, we come to the interesting question of Otsubo Shiho. On the Arakido site and in interviews with Kajitsuka Yasushi, Otsubo is said to have been a student of first Genshu-, and later Gencho-sensei. Akabane says, rather, that Otsubo was a deshi of Gejo. Given that Otsubo's age, and the fact that Genshu-sensei left Tokyo in 1922, and Gencho-sensei left Tokyo in 1930, I'm inclined to believe Akabane on this, with the caveat that Otsubo likely learned from Gencho-sensei when Gencho-sensei gave lectures in Tokyo just before and following the war.

On the other hand, this presents some problems. We have Shishida saying Otsubo was present when Gejo taught Ueshiba. If so, Otsubo was describing childhood memories. Even more confusing, is here it seems that Otsubo had first hand knowledge of Gejo teaching Ueshiba YSR, and yet according to Kisshomaru, sometime in the 1950s or so, expressed surprise at Ueshiba's movement and guessed that he must have learned YSR.

Given that Gencho-sensei's son and the previous soke, Yagyu Nobuharu was alive during all this time and may have been able to answer many of these questions of who trained where and when, it's a shame that Shishida never thought to interview him.

Finally, I personally find Akabane's research, mentioned in the article, rather problematic. One reason being his curious tendency (common to many Japanese researchers) to couch opinions as fact and to present ostensible facts with no sourcing whatsoever. Another is his tendency to form opinions (then presented as facts) based on a kind of comparative analysis of kata, which is always extremely dicey, IMO. I've read the article (in Japanese) that Shishida cites here regarding Gejo bringing aikido tai-sabaki influence into his YSR, and this is just such a case. I find Akabane's arguments unconvincing, and shallow in understanding of the kata of YSR. Akabane's own experience in YSR is from an offshoot he says is in the line of Otsubo Shiho (apparently not Muto Masao's line), which he abandoned about three years ago to join the Shunpukan, a dojo founded by Kanbe Kinshichi (miswritten as "Kobe" in Shishida's article), who was a student of Genshu-sensei.