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06-20-2011, 09:34 AM
tonjiru by isado used under creative commons licence We get the picture,
We're in it somewhere.
Permanent fixtures.
People who care.
Stranger beware,
This is a family affair
John Cooper Clarke, A Distant Relation

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother
William Shakespeare, Henry V act 4 scene 3

It snowed last year too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.
Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales

Are they young with our youth, gold with our gold, my brother?
Humbert Wolfe, Requiem: the Soldier
Siblings can have similar abilities. In 1924 two German brothers Rudolf and Adolf Dasser formed a shoe company called Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik in Herzogenaurach. The company specialized in sports shoes. It sponsored Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and became very successful. But over the years the relationship between the brothers deteriorated and in 1948 they split the company. The two new companies were Adidas (Adi-Dassler) and Ruda (Rudi-Dassler). Later Ruda changed its name to Puma. So Adidas and Puma were formed in the same small town by the same family. The brands became two of the most successful sportswear brands in the world but the brothers never reconciled. They are buried in the same cemetery as far from each other as possible.

Konosuke Matsushita founded Matsushita - now Panasonic - in 1918. The number two at the company Toshio Iue was Matsushita's brother-in-law, not his brother. But they had a close relationship. They were double brothers-in-law - married to each other's sisters. In 1947 Iue used an unused Matsushita factory to start a new company called Sanyo. Matsushita and Sanyo were two of Japan's most successful electronics companies in the twentieth century. Since 2008 Sanyo has been part of Panasonic.

In judo a famous family is the Nakamura brothers, Yoshio, Yukimasa and Kenzo. They were all brilliant judoka and all world champions. Kosei Inoue was a successful and popular judoka who was Olympic and world champion. His older brother Tomokazu was Asian champion. All five of these judoka came from Kyushu, the south island of Japan.

Neil Adams was a world champion judoka. His late older brother Chris was a professional wrestler. And of course the Gracie family has had many illustrious and successful Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters. Takayuki Kubota is a karate teacher. He developed the short kubotan stick keyring self-defence weapon. One of his brothers is a kendoka, one is a jujutsuka, and one was a volleyball coach.

Brothers and sisters who practise aikido seem to be rare. Kanshu Sunadomari the founder of Manseikan aikido died in 2010. His older brother and older sister both also did aikido with O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba. Both sons of Gozo Shioda the founder of Yoshinkan did aikido.

I did a blog article about DNA last year after I found out that one of my grandfathers had done jujutsu when he was young. On the other side of my family one of my uncles had boxed. http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/moon-in-the-water-19051/budo-dna-double-helix-4007/. Birth order and the number of children in the family are other possible influences in the debate about nature or nurture.

Birth Order Poll:
So could there be a correlation between birth order and doing budo? Please write your birth order in a comment below. If you teach budo it might be interesting to add that too. Thanks.

For example: I am the oldest child of a family of 4 children: 1.male (me), 2.female, 3.female, 4.male. I teach aikido.

John Cooper Clarke, A Distant Relation

The complete works of William Shakespeare

Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales

Humbert Wolfe, Requiem: the Soldier


http://www.flickr.com/photos/isadocafe/368894424/ tonjiru by isado used under creative commons licence

http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/moon-in-the-water-19051/ my blog on aikiweb

© niall matthews 2011Niall Matthews lives with his family in Japan. He teaches aikibudo and community self-defence courses and has taught budo for twenty-five years. He was the senior deshi of Kinjo Asoh Sensei, 7 dan Aikikai. He was the exclusive uke of Sadateru Arikawa Sensei, 9 dan Aikikai, at the hombu dojo in Tokyo for thirteen years until Arikawa Sensei's death in 2003. He has trained in several other martial arts to complement his aikido training, including judo (he has 4 dan from the Kodokan in Tokyo), kenjutsu (for about ten years) and karate (for about three years). He originally went to Japan as a staff member of the EU almost thirty years ago. He received 5 dan from Arikawa Sensei in 1995. This 5 dan is the last aikido dan he will receive in his life. His dojo is called Aikibudo Kokkijuku 合気武道克輝塾. Arikawa Sensei personally gave him the character for ki in kokki. It is the same character as teru in Sadateru - not the normal spelling of kokki 克己. It means you make your life shining and clear yourself.

06-21-2011, 11:45 AM
Thanks Niall, I didn't know about Adidas and Puma it is very interesting! I don't know about known siblings in aikido, but my teacher and his brother are teaching:) But there are known siblings in other sports like: John McEnroe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McEnroe) & Patrick McEnroe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_McEnroe), Serena y Venus Williams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_sisters), Ralf und Michael Schumacher (http://www.motorsm.com/motorsport/auto/drivers/F1_driver_Schumacher_brothers.asp)and the Klitschko brothers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klitschko_brothers) in boxing for example.
I am the oldest child of a family of 3 children: 1.female(me), 2. female, 3. male.

And this column came out on the last day of Gemini;)

Diana Frese
06-23-2011, 07:31 AM
just wanted to let you know I find this topic fascinating, also the DNA one. But for now, I'll just say that I met my future husband and brother in law when they were practicing kung fu at the local YMCA. Someone said, " those are the _____ brothers."

I'm the youngest in my family by many years (same parents, though) so it was a bit fascinating to see siblings who were close in age "interacting".

"They're brothers? So that explains what they're doing to each other?"

They weren't really beating up on each other, but their gaze was really intent. Of course I wasn't used to that in Aikido classes I had attended or even taught, we were not supposed to look directly at uke....

As Mr. Spock of Star Trek used to say, "Fascinating." So that's how I got drawn into cross-training in the early eighties. And now it turns out so many Aikidoka have done that for years, while I was tied up with daily life stuff ... Not to criticise daily life, it's important too....

06-23-2011, 09:36 PM
thank god for brothers! my brother and i practice aikido. we love it!

R.A. Robertson
06-24-2011, 10:08 AM
I am the youngest of two brothers, separated by 6.5 years. It was my brother who brought me to aikido over 30 years ago. He quit, but I've persisted. I've been teaching aikido in some capacity or other since the early '80s.

Dave de Vos
06-25-2011, 04:07 AM
I am the oldest (by 1.5 years) of two brothers and we have a much younger half sister.

We both did judo and jiujitsu when we were young. He also did some kick-boxing, but he hasn't been involved in martial arts in over 20 years after that (like me, up until last year).

graham christian
06-25-2011, 08:39 AM
Hi Niall.
An unusual column, like the addidas story.

I have no comparison as asked for as I was an only child although adopted into a large family.

However, my son has done Aikido for the last 5 years.

My friend who teaches with me has an oldest son who does a bit of boxing as he did when he was young. He has next a daughter followed by another son, neither of which do any martial activity although all three are into music.

You did remind me of O'Sensei and was it his nephew Inoue.


06-26-2011, 09:43 AM
Thanks for your comments! Graham your comment about your son might lead into a different discussion. How much should we encourage our children to do martial arts? And if they start too early is there a chance that they will burn out and turn away from budo for ever?


graham christian
06-26-2011, 03:16 PM
Hi NIall.
To do with my son I used to just joke with with him about it. Whenever he 'challenged' me with his latest thing he'd seen on playstation or at school I'd playfight him and then shake my head and say 'mmm not ready'

Whenever he got serious and asked or rather jokingly threatened he was going to do Aikido I'd say 'mmmm, when you're ready.

He started at 24 years old. Just thought I'd share it anyway.


06-27-2011, 10:07 AM
Nice idea Graham, thanks!

Diana Frese
06-28-2011, 06:33 AM
Hi again, Niall, I was so fascinated by the column each time I revisited it that I forgot to add to the poll. The birth order of my husband and his brother and sisters is
1. (himself, Chuck) male 2. female 3. male 4. female

If I remember correctly, the elder of his two sisters was in track in high school, the younger is also very graceful (looked pretty good at irimi nage "twenty year technique" after dropping by for only one class ) :)

Chuck, the older of the two brothers, taught karate for several months, with the permission of his teacher from his former college, first at a friend's aikido dojo before the landlord sold the building, then in an art loft before that, too became unavailable, then on my parents' lawn before his work schedule intervened .... So anyway, I guess that answers a couple of questions from the "poll"

Concerning the DNA post in your blog, the only thing that comes to my mind right away is, their grandmother was "crazy about" swimming! I'll write a little about my own family in a day or so....
Thanks for presenting an interesting topic with great examples, also from all you others who posted comments:)

06-29-2011, 08:53 AM
Thanks Diana, and thanks for letting us know about Chuck's family. I don't see many patterns yet - except perhaps a possibility that the oldest child might do budo? Maybe there aren't any patterns to see.

07-01-2011, 02:43 PM
When I first replied I only thought about famous siblings, but today replying to the comments in my blog I remembered the siblings in my dojo, there are 3 of five siblings: Tita(2), Carmen(3) and Matias(5birth order,they had their shodan test with me, Matias was my uke/tori), and the other Andrés and Virginia(they are only the two): they began with us with 16 and 15 and are now 19 and 18 years old, maybe next year they will have their shodan test.

graham christian
07-01-2011, 06:06 PM
Hi Niall.
Just thought I'd mention one of two brother world champions is fighting tomorrow against our own British one. The Klitschco brothers.

Don't know their family tree though.


07-02-2011, 01:26 AM
Not sibling lineage but my father was William Smith Shihan, my cousin is also a 6th Dan, and another cousins daughter is a nidan.

My sister did train for a little while but not for 30+ years, and my three kids have no interest. Maybe its all skipped a generation.

chris wright
07-08-2011, 09:20 AM
Hi Niall, hope you're keeping well.
Birth Order Poll:
I am the oldest child of a family of 3 children: 1.male (me), 2.female, 3.male. -
My Dad practised Judo, in the late 1960's and was 'exposed' to Aikido whilst in the police force (although he thought it was too technical to learn, during their basic training) he did Karate for a while and brought me along - which sparked off my interest that was back in the mid 1980's and have trained ever since.
my brother and i trained in Taekwondo and karate together for years, but he didn't take to Aikido, and no longer trains.

Diana Frese
07-09-2011, 07:59 AM
Hi, Niall, I was helping my husband at work and just got back to this thread to add my own DNA report. My Dad grew up in NYC due to asthma he was mostly raised by his grandparents, his sister stayed in New Jersey with their mother. My aunt had ear problems, in childhood. I think there was an improperly done ear operation.

I'm my parents' last kid by many years. My second brother is nine and a half years older, he had encephalitis as a baby so first lived with a psychologist and her mother and another patient or so, then to special schools until age thirty when there were suitable programs and medications here.

But noone should really feel sorry for him, he was in Special Olympics for years, writes a lot of letters to teachers and friends and relatives he has known for many years and has genealogy and photography as hobbies, and is devoted to the local church and "church friends."

Our brother, the oldest is eleven and a half years older than I. He is a pretty quiet type, which evidently was a quality prized by the older relatives, to which I, the brat, never succeeded in conforming.
(Maybe I was ADHD or something, at a high school reunion, a former classmate looked at me when I mentioned it . She said that I definitely was :)) Anyhow the oldest brother was into sailing and skiing.

Dad liked sailing and was a club tennis champ for many years, then joined groups for over seventy, over eighty. My parents died in a car crash returning from stitches removal, Mom was driving and they evidently fell asleep, maybe he had been under some anaesthetic and dozed off and the conversation lapsed... The important thing is he, at age 85 had challenged his friends and his doctor to tennis matches when the eye would have healed (cornea transplant)

Mom was a very active gardener up until age 83 when they died.

Maybe this makes me slightly Klingon in ancestry? (Although I do admire the logical Spock, the adventurous Kirk, the careful but spirited Uhura, and the practical and empathic Dr McCoy and all the others)

Dad and Mom moved to the country but the asthma caused Dad to choose activities at the shore...

So I have a strange theory, maybe it's also likely that a kid who's the youngest by many years might strike out in a direction different from the others. Also I went to school in upstate New York and due to the winters there had to find some way of getting exercise and judo was fun ....

Oh well, enough about me for now, except for one tennis story. I hit a shot unexpectedly and to my surprise, then told Dad I must have gotten a couple of extra inches in my shoulder joint from the judo at college:)

I think the example of family members dedicated to some sport or active hobby helps, in the case of the youngest.

07-10-2011, 07:12 AM
Thanks for everyone's comments. Philip and Chris, you have that budo DNA too. Diana thanks for that interesting background on your family and your brother's and your father's sports history.

I know a few people who came to aikido via judo. That might be something to discuss in another thread.


07-10-2011, 07:35 AM
Thanks for everyone's comments. Philip and Chris, you have that budo DNA too. Diana thanks for that interesting background on your family and your brother's and your father's sports history.

I know a few people who came to aikido via judo. That might be something to discuss in another thread.


Dear Niall,
Count me in as judoka turned aikidoka. cheers, Joe.
Ps I have been approached by a local judo dojo recently to run a course for them , so maybe the wheel turns full cicle?