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Allen Beebe
07-10-2011, 01:28 PM
I re-read this article:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=34

(From the Aikido Journal by Stanley Pranin)

A couple of thoughts occurred to me while reading the article, which I largely agree with BTW. (Keeping in mind that, as a historian, Stan was drawing his conclusions from facts rather than basing them on beliefs. This, btw, is IMHO his greatest contribution to Aikido. He started a kind of "Enlightenment Period" inviting folks to think critically rather than being mere believers, parishioners, etc.)

Thought #1: Stan quotes Saito sensei stating that there was a difference between O-sensei's demonstrations and his "inside" teaching/training. (I don't doubt this BTW, I had the same experience with my own teacher.) Then Stan goes on to point out a similarity between what Saito sensei taught and the Asahi News film, Budo Renshu and Budo. My thought was, the Asahi news film was meant for public consumption and therefore a demonstration and therefore, by the same logic, would have been different to some degree with what was being taught "inside" at the time. Also, to perhaps a lesser extent, the same could be said of Budo and Budo Renshu. Perhaps Budo Renshu was to be the least public piece and therefore the most accurate reflection of what was actually taught by O-sensei. That would be my guess.

That being said . . .

Thought #2: If the above were so, and if Stan's conclusions based on his extensive (five decades of research, 20 years in Japan, familiarity and ability in the language, access to information and materials that most are not privy to, etc.) are accurate, that O-Sensei is really NOT the father of Modern Aikido . . . perhaps discussion of HIS art is most accurately posted a Non-Aikido Martial Traditions section.

Just a thought . . .

MM
07-10-2011, 10:20 PM
Thought #2: If the above were so, and if Stan's conclusions based on his extensive (five decades of research, 20 years in Japan, familiarity and ability in the language, access to information and materials that most are not privy to, etc.) are accurate, that O-Sensei is really NOT the father of Modern Aikido . . . perhaps discussion of HIS art is most accurately posted a Non-Aikido Martial Traditions section.

Just a thought . . .

Hi Allen,

Did you open the can of worms on purpose? ;)

Let me start by drawing a picture using sports cars and drag racing. Imagine that we have Morihei Ueshiba's car there on the drag strip. When you open the hood, you find an amazingly powerful engine. The car itself is sleek, rounded, has no sharp edges, but is painted with some very detailed, almost 3D type paint such that the car seems to float in the air. When other people race against this car, they lose. Badly. The car looks as part of the natural world as it floats quickly down the strip. Other cars leave rubber marks, exhaust fumes, and have loud noises, but Ueshiba's car does not.

Then, along comes Modern Aikido with Kisshomaru Ueshiba as the driver and Koichi Tohei as chief mechanic. They try to build a car just like Ueshiba's except they don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba painted it, nor how it got so smooth, rounded, and sleek. They also don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba built the very powerful engine. Of course, when they asked Morihei Ueshiba, his answer was to watch and steal the secrets. They do their best, even though they can't understand what Morihei Ueshiba is telling them in his lectures. Their car looks similar and runs similar but yet is so very different. If you look closely, you can make out the flaws in the design. When the Modern Aikido car races, it mostly loses, leaves rubber marks, has exhaust fumes, and is loud. When you look at the car, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's car. When you open the hood, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's engine. Except Modern Aikido's car never acts, runs, or moves like Morihei Ueshiba's car.

If we look at Morihei Ueshiba's car, we find that the engine is Daito ryu aiki while the body is Omoto kyo spirituality. Modern Aikido has replicated no understanding of either. Looking at the engine, we find that if you train Modern Aikido's exercises, then you are not doing Morihei Ueshiba's exercises, although they can appear to look alike. If Morihei Ueshiba found value in the exercises to enable him to become such a great martial artist, then if Modern Aikido is doing them just like Ueshiba, where are the Modern Morihei Ueshibas? After 40-50 years, we really can sum it up in two basic answers:

1. Morihei Ueshiba was a singularly unique individual. He was a one-in-a-billion kind of guy.

or

2. Modern practitioners of aikido aren't doing the same kind of training that Morihei Ueshiba did.

If we take a step back in time, we know that Sokaku Takeda created Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Morihei Ueshiba, Kodo Horikawa, Takuma Hisa, and others. They could all do very similar things. Morihei Ueshiba, in his early training, created Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, Rinjiro Shirata, and a few others. They were very similar in skills, although not as good as Ueshiba. Sagawa didn't really teach the secrets until late in his life. One student of Sagawa's has stood out - Tatsuo Kimura. Kodo Horikawa taught a couple of people, most notably Seigo Okamoto who can do similar things as all the rest. So, really, reason #1 is kind of hard to accept. If we look at the fact that Sokaku Takeda told people not to teach the secret except to one or two individuals, we can see why there were only a handful of great aiki martial artists. Yukiyoshi Sagawa upheld that. Tokimune Takeda did, too. Katsuyuki Kondo reiterated what Tokimune had done.

Basically, even though it is a hard pill to swallow, reason #2 is pretty much the remaining answer. Most people were never taught the secret of aikido. Morihei Ueshiba didn't really teach it, and his students had a near impossible time of trying to figure out what he was doing.

When Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei entered the scene at the end of World War II, Modern Aikido was born. Both then raised adherents to Modern Aikido, sending them out into the world dressed as Morihei Ueshiba's child. Forty years later, the child is now a man. There would have been no understanding that there was a difference between Ueshiba's aikido and Modern Aikido, except that there were a few circumstances which allowed the secret of aiki to get out into the world. Some people are now looking at the Modern Aikido Man and seeing that he doesn't move, act, or do anything at all in the same way Morihei Ueshiba did. The Modern Aikido Man is a ghostly and pale imitation that rarely stands up in the same light as Morihei Ueshiba to the tests of the martial world, let alone the tests of the intertwined martial/spiritual world.

What of Modern Aikido? Frank Doran mentions that Tohei created many energy games and practices. (1) And Patrick Augé states:

Mochizuki Minoru Sensei said that when he was studying with Ueshiba Sensei (late 1920's), robuse was the name given to the technique that later became Ikkajo, then Ikkyo after the war. The present ikkyo as taught by most Aikikai (and Aikikai related) teachers is the result of the modifications made by Tohei and Kisshomaru Sensei in order to simplify Aikido and make it available to more people.... (2)

Stan Pranin notes that Kisshomaru Ueshiba gradually changed the technical syllabus and created a flowing style technique based system. (3) Koichi Tohei was head instructor for many years and his teaching was influenced by the Tempukai. (4) Morihiro Saito also makes note of some of the things that Koichi Tohei introduced into Modern Aikido training. (5) Tohei is quoted as saying, "Everyone thinks that I learned ki from Morihei Uyeshiba. That's not true. The Master taught me aikido; he did not teach me ki. I studied and learned it myself." (6) While Tohei's reason for stating this may have come from a rough period of time, the words themselves hold value. Ueshiba rarely taught "ki" to anyone.

It doesn't take a lot of research to find that the students of post-war aikido were more influenced by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei, that the manner in which the techniques that these students practiced were more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei, and that the spiritual harmonious definition of Aikido was more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei than by Morihei Ueshiba.

What about weapons in Modern Aikido compared to what Ueshiba practiced? In an interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura, he states that Ueshiba trained with the yari along with the jo and bokken. Ueshiba had a long spear at the dojo for training that he used quite often. He also states that he never saw Ueshiba practice tanto dori. (7) It was also noted that in Daito ryu, one would study sword techniques. (8) Because Ueshiba learned Daito ryu, it was mentioned that at the "Aikijutsu Dojo" in Tokyo, Ueshiba taught sword and spear. (9) Also, it's noted that Ueshiba trained with weapons on his own, including spear. (10) Rinjiro Shirata states that Ueshiba didn't teach weapons work to his students, but did practice it on his own. (11)

Also, from one interview in Aiki News:
Editor: We have seen old movies (in which juken were used in demonstrations) but did you ever use the juken (bayonet and rifle) in practice at that time?
Kunigoshi Sensei: Yes, we did. Someone would thrust with the training weapon and we would try to deal with that kind of attack. We also worked against a spear attack. Anyway, there were just about every type of major weapon in the dojo. Even I was expected to have practiced against a cutting attack made with the bokken. Nor were we only expected to be able to avoid the attacks of the weapon-carrying person. We were also expected to be able to take the role of the attacker and wield the weapons. (12)

Shoji Nishio talks about how he had to study weapons on his own because they were not taught at hombu. (13) Kisshomaru Ueshiba also noted that his father studied and trained with the spear. (14) Nobuyoshi Tamura makes an interesting comment in that he thinks Ueshiba's jo was actually spear work. (15) All of this goes to show that Ueshiba's weapons training was not carried forward into Modern Aikido. It is a rare sight to see spear training in any Modern Aikido dojo. And if true, while Modern Aikido trains tanto dori, it was not from Morihei Ueshiba. Most sword training in Modern Aikido is from a teacher's background in some other martial system or from a teacher's own creation. The practice that is left from Morihei Ueshiba is some jo and bokken take-away. Morihiro Saito is one of the few students to have gathered a chaotic weapons training under Ueshiba and created a structured syllabus. However, it does not cover most of what Ueshiba trained with weapons.

Training under the founder at Hombu appeared to have been a few hours each day while training with other instructors (Kisshomaru and Tohei included) took up the rest of the day. We also have quite a few students stating that Morihei Ueshiba would talk a lot and no one knew what he was talking about. Add in the fact that in 1956, Morihei Ueshiba was 73 years old. He wasn't teaching all day when these students started training in Aikido.

I'm not diminishing the commitment, heart, skills, or pure dedication of these students. We can all see how much they have contributed. But, on the other side of things, we must also acknowledge that Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei had more influence on them than did Morihei Ueshiba. And that influence shines through very brightly in their Aikido, even today. There is a large disconnect when talking about the Founder's Aikido and these student's aikido.

What kind of vision of aikido are the shihan and top ranked teachers supposed to take into the future? Do they truly understand Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido, or is it more likely that they understand Kisshomaru and Tohei's Aikido? Those two visions of aikido are not one and the same. They are not even close. We have Morihei Ueshiba living his vision of Aikido, backed by aiki and some spiritual/religious ideology. In Kisshomaru/Tohei's aikido, we have harmony for a post-war world audience that is not backed by the martial skills of Morihei Ueshiba nor is it backed by his spiritual/religious views. The major consolation in all of this is that in the spiritual/religious sense, Morihei Ueshiba noted one didn't have to follow his exact footsteps. Modern Aikido has diverged from Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido.

References:

1. Aiki News Issue 010
Frank Doran: All of the energy kinds of games and practices, many of which Koichi Tohei developed are very useful tools to put someone in touch with this aliveness which is within you.

2. Yoseikan NA website:

3. http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia?entryID=720
In 1963, Kisshomaru made his first trip abroad to the U.S. and subsequently traveled on numerous occasions to North and South America, and Europe. Although his efforts to expand the Aikikai on an organizational level are well-known, it should be noted that his technical influence was also great. Kisshomaru gradually modified the technical curriculum of the Aikikai by reducing the number of techniques taught and creating a standardized nomenclature. His flowing style of technique that emphasizes KI NO NAGARE movements have also become a de facto standard in many Aikikai dojos worldwide.

4. Aikido Journal Issue 112
Seiichi Sugano: Tohei Sensei's teaching was influenced by the Tempukai, and it was easier to follow, probably because much of the Tempukai curriculum originated in yoga.

5. Aiki News Issue 088
AN: Ki no Kenkyukai (Shinshin Toitsu Aikido) practices include lectures about the workings of ki, and demonstrations of the unbendable arm and the unliftable body. Did you ever experience this kind of practice in Iwama after the war under O-Sensei?
Saito: No, I didn't. It is a teaching method which Mr. Tohei devised.

6. Black Belt 1973 Vol 11 No 11
Article by Jon Shirota about Tohei and Ki

7. http://www.tsubakijournal.com/article-7142924.html

8. Aiki News Issue 010

9. Aiki News Issue 015

10. Aiki News Issue 051

11. Aiki News Issue 062

12. Aiki News Issue 047

13. Aiki News Issue 060
Nishio Sensei: (When I was a beginner) I asked how they applied the body techniques to the ken, but no one showed me. Since there was nothing to be done about the situation, I began practicing the ken in 1955 soon after I began Aikido training. What else could I do? Nobody taught me! O-Sensei did sword techniques at lightning speed and would say, "That's how you do it," and then disappeared from the dojo. I tried in vain to understand what he was doing and the next moment he was gone.

14. Aiki News Issue 065
Kisshomaru Ueshiba: There were some major events between 1937 and 1941. First, kendo training was allowed at the Kobukan dojo for a short period. The Founder had mastered various jujutsu forms and practiced spear technique for a while, but he had not seriously gotten into swordwork (kenjutsu). Now he stared swinging the sword frequently for his own research, especially after Aikido started dealing with empty-handed techniques against weapon attacks.

15. Aiki News Issue 066
Tamura Sensei: I think that O-Sensei's jo was not what we would call jodo but rather the spear (yari).

DH
07-10-2011, 11:12 PM
Thought #2: If the above were so, and if Stan's conclusions are accurate, that O-Sensei is really NOT the father of Modern Aikido . . . perhaps discussion of HIS art is most accurately posted a Non-Aikido Martial Traditions section.

Just a thought . . .
Well, to follow your logic, what you are forwarding should then place modern Aikido™ in the Non Aikido martial traditions.
Ueshiba's Way- of - Aiki would be the entire upper section, discussing things like six directions, heaven /earth/ man, breath power, intent....you know...the things he talked about all the time that was his Aiki...do... after interrupting the practice of everyone of Chiba's generation and telling them that they were in fact NOT doing his Way-of -Aiki.

Ueshiba's truth, just like the old man, still comes shining through over his son's generations efforts. So it's a question of trying to find those who know it. Kisshomaru's generation efforts; and Modern Aikido™ itself, is a pallid comparison to his father's Way of Aiki.
Here's one for the old man!
Dan

gregstec
07-11-2011, 07:45 AM
Hi Allen,

Did you open the can of worms on purpose? ;)

Let me start by drawing a picture using sports cars and drag racing. Imagine that we have Morihei Ueshiba's car there on the drag strip. When you open the hood, you find an amazingly powerful engine. The car itself is sleek, rounded, has no sharp edges, but is painted with some very detailed, almost 3D type paint such that the car seems to float in the air. When other people race against this car, they lose. Badly. The car looks as part of the natural world as it floats quickly down the strip. Other cars leave rubber marks, exhaust fumes, and have loud noises, but Ueshiba's car does not.

Then, along comes Modern Aikido with Kisshomaru Ueshiba as the driver and Koichi Tohei as chief mechanic. They try to build a car just like Ueshiba's except they don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba painted it, nor how it got so smooth, rounded, and sleek. They also don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba built the very powerful engine. Of course, when they asked Morihei Ueshiba, his answer was to watch and steal the secrets. They do their best, even though they can't understand what Morihei Ueshiba is telling them in his lectures. Their car looks similar and runs similar but yet is so very different. If you look closely, you can make out the flaws in the design. When the Modern Aikido car races, it mostly loses, leaves rubber marks, has exhaust fumes, and is loud. When you look at the car, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's car. When you open the hood, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's engine. Except Modern Aikido's car never acts, runs, or moves like Morihei Ueshiba's car.

If we look at Morihei Ueshiba's car, we find that the engine is Daito ryu aiki while the body is Omoto kyo spirituality. Modern Aikido has replicated no understanding of either. Looking at the engine, we find that if you train Modern Aikido's exercises, then you are not doing Morihei Ueshiba's exercises, although they can appear to look alike. If Morihei Ueshiba found value in the exercises to enable him to become such a great martial artist, then if Modern Aikido is doing them just like Ueshiba, where are the Modern Morihei Ueshibas? After 40-50 years, we really can sum it up in two basic answers:

1. Morihei Ueshiba was a singularly unique individual. He was a one-in-a-billion kind of guy.

or

2. Modern practitioners of aikido aren't doing the same kind of training that Morihei Ueshiba did.

If we take a step back in time, we know that Sokaku Takeda created Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Morihei Ueshiba, Kodo Horikawa, Takuma Hisa, and others. They could all do very similar things. Morihei Ueshiba, in his early training, created Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, Rinjiro Shirata, and a few others. They were very similar in skills, although not as good as Ueshiba. Sagawa didn't really teach the secrets until late in his life. One student of Sagawa's has stood out - Tatsuo Kimura. Kodo Horikawa taught a couple of people, most notably Seigo Okamoto who can do similar things as all the rest. So, really, reason #1 is kind of hard to accept. If we look at the fact that Sokaku Takeda told people not to teach the secret except to one or two individuals, we can see why there were only a handful of great aiki martial artists. Yukiyoshi Sagawa upheld that. Tokimune Takeda did, too. Katsuyuki Kondo reiterated what Tokimune had done.

Basically, even though it is a hard pill to swallow, reason #2 is pretty much the remaining answer. Most people were never taught the secret of aikido. Morihei Ueshiba didn't really teach it, and his students had a near impossible time of trying to figure out what he was doing.

When Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei entered the scene at the end of World War II, Modern Aikido was born. Both then raised adherents to Modern Aikido, sending them out into the world dressed as Morihei Ueshiba's child. Forty years later, the child is now a man. There would have been no understanding that there was a difference between Ueshiba's aikido and Modern Aikido, except that there were a few circumstances which allowed the secret of aiki to get out into the world. Some people are now looking at the Modern Aikido Man and seeing that he doesn't move, act, or do anything at all in the same way Morihei Ueshiba did. The Modern Aikido Man is a ghostly and pale imitation that rarely stands up in the same light as Morihei Ueshiba to the tests of the martial world, let alone the tests of the intertwined martial/spiritual world.

What of Modern Aikido? Frank Doran mentions that Tohei created many energy games and practices. (1) And Patrick Augé states:

Mochizuki Minoru Sensei said that when he was studying with Ueshiba Sensei (late 1920's), robuse was the name given to the technique that later became Ikkajo, then Ikkyo after the war. The present ikkyo as taught by most Aikikai (and Aikikai related) teachers is the result of the modifications made by Tohei and Kisshomaru Sensei in order to simplify Aikido and make it available to more people.... (2)

Stan Pranin notes that Kisshomaru Ueshiba gradually changed the technical syllabus and created a flowing style technique based system. (3) Koichi Tohei was head instructor for many years and his teaching was influenced by the Tempukai. (4) Morihiro Saito also makes note of some of the things that Koichi Tohei introduced into Modern Aikido training. (5) Tohei is quoted as saying, "Everyone thinks that I learned ki from Morihei Uyeshiba. That's not true. The Master taught me aikido; he did not teach me ki. I studied and learned it myself." (6) While Tohei's reason for stating this may have come from a rough period of time, the words themselves hold value. Ueshiba rarely taught "ki" to anyone.

It doesn't take a lot of research to find that the students of post-war aikido were more influenced by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei, that the manner in which the techniques that these students practiced were more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei, and that the spiritual harmonious definition of Aikido was more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei than by Morihei Ueshiba.

What about weapons in Modern Aikido compared to what Ueshiba practiced? In an interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura, he states that Ueshiba trained with the yari along with the jo and bokken. Ueshiba had a long spear at the dojo for training that he used quite often. He also states that he never saw Ueshiba practice tanto dori. (7) It was also noted that in Daito ryu, one would study sword techniques. (8) Because Ueshiba learned Daito ryu, it was mentioned that at the "Aikijutsu Dojo" in Tokyo, Ueshiba taught sword and spear. (9) Also, it's noted that Ueshiba trained with weapons on his own, including spear. (10) Rinjiro Shirata states that Ueshiba didn't teach weapons work to his students, but did practice it on his own. (11)

Also, from one interview in Aiki News:
Editor: We have seen old movies (in which juken were used in demonstrations) but did you ever use the juken (bayonet and rifle) in practice at that time?
Kunigoshi Sensei: Yes, we did. Someone would thrust with the training weapon and we would try to deal with that kind of attack. We also worked against a spear attack. Anyway, there were just about every type of major weapon in the dojo. Even I was expected to have practiced against a cutting attack made with the bokken. Nor were we only expected to be able to avoid the attacks of the weapon-carrying person. We were also expected to be able to take the role of the attacker and wield the weapons. (12)

Shoji Nishio talks about how he had to study weapons on his own because they were not taught at hombu. (13) Kisshomaru Ueshiba also noted that his father studied and trained with the spear. (14) Nobuyoshi Tamura makes an interesting comment in that he thinks Ueshiba's jo was actually spear work. (15) All of this goes to show that Ueshiba's weapons training was not carried forward into Modern Aikido. It is a rare sight to see spear training in any Modern Aikido dojo. And if true, while Modern Aikido trains tanto dori, it was not from Morihei Ueshiba. Most sword training in Modern Aikido is from a teacher's background in some other martial system or from a teacher's own creation. The practice that is left from Morihei Ueshiba is some jo and bokken take-away. Morihiro Saito is one of the few students to have gathered a chaotic weapons training under Ueshiba and created a structured syllabus. However, it does not cover most of what Ueshiba trained with weapons.

Training under the founder at Hombu appeared to have been a few hours each day while training with other instructors (Kisshomaru and Tohei included) took up the rest of the day. We also have quite a few students stating that Morihei Ueshiba would talk a lot and no one knew what he was talking about. Add in the fact that in 1956, Morihei Ueshiba was 73 years old. He wasn't teaching all day when these students started training in Aikido.

I'm not diminishing the commitment, heart, skills, or pure dedication of these students. We can all see how much they have contributed. But, on the other side of things, we must also acknowledge that Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei had more influence on them than did Morihei Ueshiba. And that influence shines through very brightly in their Aikido, even today. There is a large disconnect when talking about the Founder's Aikido and these student's aikido.

What kind of vision of aikido are the shihan and top ranked teachers supposed to take into the future? Do they truly understand Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido, or is it more likely that they understand Kisshomaru and Tohei's Aikido? Those two visions of aikido are not one and the same. They are not even close. We have Morihei Ueshiba living his vision of Aikido, backed by aiki and some spiritual/religious ideology. In Kisshomaru/Tohei's aikido, we have harmony for a post-war world audience that is not backed by the martial skills of Morihei Ueshiba nor is it backed by his spiritual/religious views. The major consolation in all of this is that in the spiritual/religious sense, Morihei Ueshiba noted one didn't have to follow his exact footsteps. Modern Aikido has diverged from Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido.

References:

1. Aiki News Issue 010
Frank Doran: All of the energy kinds of games and practices, many of which Koichi Tohei developed are very useful tools to put someone in touch with this aliveness which is within you.

2. Yoseikan NA website:

3. http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia?entryID=720
In 1963, Kisshomaru made his first trip abroad to the U.S. and subsequently traveled on numerous occasions to North and South America, and Europe. Although his efforts to expand the Aikikai on an organizational level are well-known, it should be noted that his technical influence was also great. Kisshomaru gradually modified the technical curriculum of the Aikikai by reducing the number of techniques taught and creating a standardized nomenclature. His flowing style of technique that emphasizes KI NO NAGARE movements have also become a de facto standard in many Aikikai dojos worldwide.

4. Aikido Journal Issue 112
Seiichi Sugano: Tohei Sensei's teaching was influenced by the Tempukai, and it was easier to follow, probably because much of the Tempukai curriculum originated in yoga.

5. Aiki News Issue 088
AN: Ki no Kenkyukai (Shinshin Toitsu Aikido) practices include lectures about the workings of ki, and demonstrations of the unbendable arm and the unliftable body. Did you ever experience this kind of practice in Iwama after the war under O-Sensei?
Saito: No, I didn't. It is a teaching method which Mr. Tohei devised.

6. Black Belt 1973 Vol 11 No 11
Article by Jon Shirota about Tohei and Ki

7. http://www.tsubakijournal.com/article-7142924.html

8. Aiki News Issue 010

9. Aiki News Issue 015

10. Aiki News Issue 051

11. Aiki News Issue 062

12. Aiki News Issue 047

13. Aiki News Issue 060
Nishio Sensei: (When I was a beginner) I asked how they applied the body techniques to the ken, but no one showed me. Since there was nothing to be done about the situation, I began practicing the ken in 1955 soon after I began Aikido training. What else could I do? Nobody taught me! O-Sensei did sword techniques at lightning speed and would say, "That's how you do it," and then disappeared from the dojo. I tried in vain to understand what he was doing and the next moment he was gone.

14. Aiki News Issue 065
Kisshomaru Ueshiba: There were some major events between 1937 and 1941. First, kendo training was allowed at the Kobukan dojo for a short period. The Founder had mastered various jujutsu forms and practiced spear technique for a while, but he had not seriously gotten into swordwork (kenjutsu). Now he stared swinging the sword frequently for his own research, especially after Aikido started dealing with empty-handed techniques against weapon attacks.

15. Aiki News Issue 066
Tamura Sensei: I think that O-Sensei's jo was not what we would call jodo but rather the spear (yari).

Very well said !

Greg

Peter Goldsbury
07-11-2011, 08:48 AM
Just a thought . . .

Hello Allen,

Just a(nother) thought . . . (or two, or three) . . . :D

Do you think that Ellis Amdur's discussions in Hidden in Plain Sight has any bearing on Stan's arguments in his article?

At the beginning of his article Stan proposes a hypothesis. It is in the third line of the article and I think this is really the 'thesis' of the article. But it is a hypothesis, right?

Any thoughts on chronology?

1. If we paint with a broad brush, aikido was the name given to the art in 1942, which was when Ueshiba retired to Iwama. The name was given to the art as a whole, which includes what Morihei was doing in Iwama from 1942 onwards, not just to the bit that Kisshomaru was practising in the old Kobukan.

2. Actually, Stan asks if O Sensei is really the father of modern aikido and my understanding of this term, based on the article, is the aikido taught in the resurrected Kobukan from around 1955 onwards.

But what was M Saito doing in Iwama during these years? Was he practising 'ancient' aikido? But we can ask the same question of Kisshomaru from 1942 onwards. Kisshomaru began serous training when he was a student, from around 1935 onwards? But how was he training from 1942 onwards? Presumably he was doing the same Daito-ryu that he had been taught in the old Kobukan. And when the Kobukan had to close in 1945, he trained in Iwama as often as he could.

3. What was Rinjiro Shirata doing during the years between his repatriation after the war and his re-entry almost two decades later? If I understand the situation (not based on Stan's interviews), he had to be persuaded by Morihei and Kisshomaru to 'cone back' to aikido.

Finally, Mark's analogy about drag-racing is very interesting. The problem with the analogy is that it assumes that Morihei Ueshiba never changed the engine or the body of the car. And, if we continue with the analogy, he might not have been able to do: he might well have thought that the future of postwar aikido lay in drag-racing. It was left to Kisshomaru and K Tohei to make the changes to allow very many postwar aikidoka to drive Toyotas, and leave the drag-racing groups to those who could afford it.

Best wishes,

PAG

jester
07-11-2011, 10:23 AM
Morihei Ueshiba, in his early training, created Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, Rinjiro Shirata, and a few others. They were very similar in skills, although not as good as Ueshiba.

How do you come to this conclusion?? What do you mean by GOOD?

A Good Guy? Technically Good? Spiritually Good?

-

chillzATL
07-11-2011, 11:14 AM
How do you come to this conclusion?? What do you mean by GOOD?

A Good Guy? Technically Good? Spiritually Good?

-

People who had felt them and had also felt Ueshiba, recognized the similarities.

Allen Beebe
07-11-2011, 12:46 PM
Hello Allen,

Just a(nother) thought . . . (or two, or three) . . . :D

Do you think that Ellis Amdur's discussions in Hidden in Plain Sight has any bearing on Stan's arguments in his article?

At the beginning of his article Stan proposes a hypothesis. It is in the third line of the article and I think this is really the 'thesis' of the article. But it is a hypothesis, right?

Any thoughts on chronology?

1. If we paint with a broad brush, aikido was the name given to the art in 1942, which was when Ueshiba retired to Iwama. The name was given to the art as a whole, which includes what Morihei was doing in Iwama from 1942 onwards, not just to the bit that Kisshomaru was practising in the old Kobukan.

2. Actually, Stan asks if O Sensei is really the father of modern aikido and my understanding of this term, based on the article, is the aikido taught in the resurrected Kobukan from around 1955 onwards.

But what was M Saito doing in Iwama during these years? Was he practising 'ancient' aikido? But we can ask the same question of Kisshomaru from 1942 onwards. Kisshomaru began serous training when he was a student, from around 1935 onwards? But how was he training from 1942 onwards? Presumably he was doing the same Daito-ryu that he had been taught in the old Kobukan. And when the Kobukan had to close in 1945, he trained in Iwama as often as he could.

3. What was Rinjiro Shirata doing during the years between his repatriation after the war and his re-entry almost two decades later? If I understand the situation (not based on Stan's interviews), he had to be persuaded by Morihei and Kisshomaru to 'cone back' to aikido.

Finally, Mark's analogy about drag-racing is very interesting. The problem with the analogy is that it assumes that Morihei Ueshiba never changed the engine or the body of the car. And, if we continue with the analogy, he might not have been able to do: he might well have thought that the future of postwar aikido lay in drag-racing. It was left to Kisshomaru and K Tohei to make the changes to allow very many postwar aikidoka to drive Toyotas, and leave the drag-racing groups to those who could afford it.

Best wishes,

PAG

Just a(nother) thought . . . (or two, or three) . . . :D

Thought/THôt/Noun
1. An idea or opinion produced by thinking or occurring suddenly in the mind: "Mrs. Oliver's first thought was to get help".
2. An idea or mental picture, imagined and contemplated: "the mere thought of Peter made her see red"

vs

ques·tion/ˈkwesCHən/
Verb: Ask questions of (someone), esp. in an official context: "four men were being questioned about the killings"; "the young lieutenant escorted us to the barracks for questioning".
Noun: A sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information.

Do you think that Ellis Amdur's discussions in Hidden in Plain Sight has any bearing on Stan's arguments in his article?

Not that came, or comes, readily to my mind. But then I've only read Ellis' book once (unless one counts reading your response to the book as a second reading) and I read Stan's article two whole times!:p

At the beginning of his article Stan proposes a hypothesis. It is in the third line of the article and I think this is really the 'thesis' of the article. But it is a hypothesis, right?

What is truth?

If there were no Ueshiba Morihei there would probably be no Aikido (well accept for the non-Aikido Aikido groups.) Therefore Ueshiba Morihei is the father Aikido. Of course, if there were no Onisaburo Deguchi to suggest that the use of the term Aiki be applied to Daito Ryu Jujutsu perhaps there would have been no impetus to morph the term into the general heading Aikido later on. So therefore Onisaburo Deguchi is the father of Aikido. But then Onisaburo Deguchi might never have suggested the term Aiki be used, if Ueshiba Morihei's teacher Takeda Sokaku hadn't shown up to help out his pupil and consequently approve of the appellation of "Aiki" to the name his art. So clearly Takeda Sokaku is the father of Aikido. But wait! Who taught Takeda Sokaku the art that so many of his students later simply called "Aikido?" Well, that's a tricky question, but according to some, Shinra Saburo Minamoto no Yoshimitsu could very well be the father of Aikido. On the other hand, if all of this can be traced back from the earthly Kami to the heavenly Kami, perhaps it is best said that Ame no Minakanushi no O-Kami is the really real father of Aikido. But then . . . we all are Ame no Minakanushi no O Kami, so . . . we are all "the father" of Aikido.

Yeah, that must be it. Every time I think of "Aikido" I am "the father" of "Aikido!"

But that wasn't your question. Your question was,

But it is a hypothesis, right?

And my answer is, "Yes, I think it is a hypothesis."

1. If we paint with a broad brush, aikido was the name given to the art in 1942, which was when Ueshiba retired to Iwama. The name was given to the art as a whole, which includes what Morihei was doing in Iwama from 1942 onwards, not just to the bit that Kisshomaru was practising in the old Kobukan.?

Is this the case? I thought that it was a sectional name given (by someone else and approved of by Ueshiba Morihei) to what was being taught at the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai because they needed a name for what Ueshiba was teaching relative to everyone else. Was there some formal adoption of the name? Or was it more by circumstance or happenstance that it became common parlance for all Daito Ryu-ish arts?

2. Actually, Stan asks if O Sensei is really the father of modern aikido and my understanding of this term, based on the article, is the aikido taught in the resurrected Kobukan from around 1955 onwards.

But what was M Saito doing in Iwama during these years? Was he practising 'ancient' aikido? But we can ask the same question of Kisshomaru from 1942 onwards. Kisshomaru began serous training when he was a student, from around 1935 onwards? But how was he training from 1942 onwards? Presumably he was doing the same Daito-ryu that he had been taught in the old Kobukan. And when the Kobukan had to close in 1945, he trained in Iwama as often as he could.

Yes, Stan askes if O-Sensei is really the father of "modern" aikido (as taught in the resurrected Kobukan from around 1955 onwards) and comes to the conclusion that the answer is, "No."

But what was M Saito doing in Iwama during these years? Presumably he was practicing whatever his teacher was training which, according to Stan, is reflected in the contents of the publication "Budo." You say that Kisshomaru began serious training from about the age of 14. (It is my understanding that Kisshomaru was taught more by the Uchi Deshi rather than by his father at that time, which makes some sense considering his father's schedule and family structures of that era.) I'm guessing that there wasn't a whole lot of training Kishomaru actually did from 1942 onwards. There were few students, not a lot of food to be had, and plenty of firebombing. No? The fact that Kisshomaru trained in Iwama from 1945 as often as he could doesn't tell us how often that was. According to M. Saito that training would have reflected the contents of "Budo" with which Kishomaru would have been familiar. It is my understanding that Tohei Koichi also trained with Ueshiba Morihei in Iwama from 1940 (and sent out to teach after six months of training) before being drafted in 1942 and repatriated in 1946. Nevertheless, what Kisshomaru and Tohei taught later appears to be clearly different from what we see demonstrated in the book "Budo" which was purportedly being trained in Iwama. BTW, it is also clear that Ueshiba Morihei supported both Kisshomaru and Tohei's 1950's efforts as evidenced by his support and apparent approval of their film and publication efforts. Those efforts seem to align with much of the photographic evidence of what Ueshiba Morihei was demonstrating publicly. However, according to M. Saito and seemingly backed up by other evidence, what Ueshiba Morihei was training on in Iwama was a bit different. Perhaps there was a "shifting of the lines" of outside vs inside, or perhaps O-sensei himself allowed for a "changing of the times" while seeing no need to change his own personal training which you seem to identify as Daito Ryu.

3. What was Rinjiro Shirata doing during the years between his repatriation after the war and his re-entry almost two decades later? If I understand the situation (not based on Stan's interviews), he had to be persuaded by Morihei and Kisshomaru to 'cone back' to aikido.

While certainly that is a question that is very relevant to me, I am uncertain of its relevance to our present subject. Perhaps you know something I don't know and are willing to share? I do know that Shirata sensei reportedly visited his teacher upon being repatriated. And I am also informed that his teacher said something along the lines of, "Look my technique has changed!" I unfortunately was not told that by Shirata sensei, nor do I know that that is why Shirata sensei was reluctant to "come back" to Aikido. I had assumed (with no evidence) that Shirata sensei did what so many other people did after the war. He tried to survive, help his family survive, and (as Japanese are prone to doing and many American's of that era as well) deal with the trauma of his war experience within the depths and privacy of his own mind (and household to the degree that what could not be suppressed in his own mind "surfaced.")

Finally, Mark's analogy about drag-racing isery interesting. The problem with the analogy is that it assumes that Morihei Ueshiba never changed the engine or the body of the car. And, if we continue with the analogy, he might not have been able to do: he might well have thought that the future of postwar aikido lay in drag-racing. It was left to Kisshomaru and K Tohei to make the changes to allow very many postwar aikidoka to drive Toyotas, and leave the drag-racing groups to those who could afford it..

Given the above, and given that Ueshiba while unique and given to hang-out with other unique characters, was also subject to the cultural influences, assumptions and thought patterns that naturally came those of his time (just like you and me), your continued analogy sounds as plausible as any.

BTW, has Ness written to you? Are we going to be seeing each other shortly?

I hope so!,
Allen

p.s. While the socratic method is all fine and dandy, one might perhaps best not lose sight of the end result for Socrates though! :dead:

MM
07-11-2011, 01:26 PM
If we really want to use a broad brush and define the founder of "aikido", then it would have to be Sokaku Takeda. There are no others.

Prior to Ueshiba, Takeda would have been learning koryu (as we now call it). It would not have been "aikido", nor would the art have been called that, nor would the art have dealt so heavily with "aiki" related techniques as we see in modern times.

So, no matter who taught Takeda, it wouldn't have been aikido in any shape.

Now, we jump to Sagawa's father. Takeda has been out and about and teaching. He's teaching Sagawa's father and we get this from Transparent Power:

The elder Sagawa, who sometimes had a fiery temper, would take what he learned from Takeda and try it out on strong and mean-looking construction workers he came across. He quickly realized that if you lacked the sort of aiki that Sokaku Takeda possessed, none of the techniques would work against a persistent opponent. So Sagawa's father said to Takeda, "I'm already so old, I think it would be better if you'd teach me Aiki instead of techniques."

Takeda was teaching aiki separate from techniques even at that time. Then who comes along? Morihei Ueshiba. He trains for a few years and then relocates to Ayabe.

What happens when Takeda shows up? According to Noriaki Inoue in Aikido Masters Prewar Students of Morihei Ueshiba:

Aiki is so astounding that even Deguchi saw its importance and suggested to Ueshiba that they add aiki to the name Daito ryu. Ueshiba is hesitant but Takeda seems to accept the suggestion and does change the name of his art. Even after the name change, Ueshiba still doesn't want to use the name aiki.

Takeda changes the name. I think it's rather funny (and perhaps Ueshiba saw the humor in it, too) that later, it was Ueshiba who gave the official okay to classifying and naming these "different" arts, aikido.

In a broad brush, Sokaku Takeda is the father of aikido. Ueshiba is not the founder or father. He made it highly desirable to learn by other martial artists. Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei altered some things and made aikido famous and known worldwide.

In a broad brush, the way of aiki encompasses: Sokaku Takeda's own personal martial art, Takeda's Daito ryu students and their lineages, and of course, Morihei Ueshiba's own personal martial art and Ueshiba's students and their lineages.

Ernesto Lemke
07-11-2011, 05:12 PM
BTW, has Ness written to you? Are we going to be seeing each other shortly?


I'm (still) waiting for a confirmation from Simon...:disgust:

dps
07-12-2011, 01:46 AM
I re-read this article:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=34

(From the Aikido Journal by Stanley Pranin)

A couple of thoughts occurred to me while reading the article, which I largely agree with BTW. (Keeping in mind that, as a historian, Stan was drawing his conclusions from facts rather than basing them on beliefs. This, btw, is IMHO his greatest contribution to Aikido. He started a kind of "Enlightenment Period" inviting folks to think critically rather than being mere believers, parishioners, etc.)

Thought #1: Stan quotes Saito sensei stating that there was a difference between O-sensei's demonstrations and his "inside" teaching/training. (I don't doubt this BTW, I had the same experience with my own teacher.) Then Stan goes on to point out a similarity between what Saito sensei taught and the Asahi News film, Budo Renshu and Budo. My thought was, the Asahi news film was meant for public consumption and therefore a demonstration and therefore, by the same logic, would have been different to some degree with what was being taught "inside" at the time. Also, to perhaps a lesser extent, the same could be said of Budo and Budo Renshu. Perhaps Budo Renshu was to be the least public piece and therefore the most accurate reflection of what was actually taught by O-sensei. That would be my guess.

That being said . . .

Thought #2: If the above were so, and if Stan's conclusions based on his extensive (five decades of research, 20 years in Japan, familiarity and ability in the language, access to information and materials that most are not privy to, etc.) are accurate, that O-Sensei is really NOT the father of Modern Aikido . . . perhaps discussion of HIS art is most accurately posted a Non-Aikido Martial Traditions section.

Just a thought . . .

LOL this website is about O'Sensei's Aikido, Modern Aikido, Prewar Aikido, Postwar Aikido, Tomiki Aikido, Korindo Aikido, etc all Aikido.

dps

Allen Beebe
07-12-2011, 08:23 AM
LOL this website is about O'Sensei's Aikido, Modern Aikido, Prewar Aikido, Postwar Aikido, Tomiki Aikido, Korindo Aikido, etc all Aikido.

dps

. . . AND, NON-Aikido Martial Traditions

No arguments from me on that one! I find :ai: :ki: web to be very comprehensive.

Allen

Mike Sigman
07-12-2011, 08:29 AM
If we really want to use a broad brush and define the founder of "aikido", then it would have to be Sokaku Takeda. There are no others.
I dunno..... since the whole concept of "becoming one with your opponent" (and related quotes) goes back into antiquity, as does the "intent", use of the hara in internal strength, internal strength itself, kokyu power, and so on, why say it all started with Takeda. As I posted years ago on this forum, all of this stuff is nothing but another small part of a much bigger picture that has gone on in Asia for a couple of thousand years. I.e., first you see only the art around you and think that's the origin of everything; then you begin to see the history of a generation or two; then you begin to understand the bigger picture.

Even narrowing down the scope of the picture to the provincial level of Ueshiba and Takeda, it would be presumptive to credit Takeda with "aiki", given how widely known the topic was ("Kuzushi", "use the opponent's force" in the jin sense, etc.). I.e., Takeda didn't come up with "aiki" on his own..... more probably, our information of all that happened is just incomplete and we're assuming too many times that what little history we know represents all there was. All we can do is get our brief glimpses of the players, understand that our perspective is limited, and then go practice.

2 cents

Mike Sigman

MM
07-12-2011, 11:46 AM
I guess if certain people want to use a brush as broad as the earth, we can always say that there are *no* founders of any martial arts since they all go back to before ... well, just before. Heck, why not just say the very first man or woman created all martial arts and there are no founders after that.

Why would one want to narrow the scope so that an intelligent conversation on the lineage of aikido as discussed by intelligent people in aikido could occur when someone from outside aikido could just toss the baby out with the bathwater and say there is no founder of aiki arts. That'd sure let the conversation progress. Oh wait, maybe not. No, that'd be just another attempt to derail the conversation ... hmmm ... I wonder if there's a repetitive history here ...

Mike Sigman
07-12-2011, 11:57 AM
I guess if certain people want to use a brush as broad as the earth, we can always say that there are *no* founders of any martial arts since they all go back to before ... well, just before. Heck, why not just say the very first man or woman created all martial arts and there are no founders after that. That's a classic Strawman argument: you set up a false scenario and then knock it down (hence the name "strawman"). Good one.

Why would one want to narrow the scope so that an intelligent conversation on the lineage of aikido as discussed by intelligent people in aikido could occur when someone from outside aikido could just toss the baby out with the bathwater and say there is no founder of aiki arts. That'd sure let the conversation progress. Oh wait, maybe not. No, that'd be just another attempt to derail the conversation ... hmmm ... I wonder if there's a repetitive history here ... Well, if you want to posit that Takeda came up with his whole knowledge of "aiki" by himself with no influence from the outside, then your argument might have some merit. If, on the other hand, the "ju" arts (as in "aikijujitsu", GoJu, Judo, etc.) have some known common antecedents that were known in Takeda's time, then aikijujitsu becomes part of a broader historical discussion.

Italics, bold, underline as a marker to show where the ad hominem starts.

Mike Sigman

JW
07-12-2011, 11:59 AM
Mike, you're right about lack of info, but based on the bit we have, of course it is fun to speculate.
Two things strike me as interesting here:
1. Takeda, being illiterate, may very well have NOT seen the bigger picture you are talking about, despite any really amazing skills and sophisticated usage he may have had. He knew his own training history, and he knew his innovations, but I wonder how much of the older history he had exposure to. Conversely, Ueshiba probably had the history before the skills, and when he met Takeda, it started to come together. In this possible scenerio, the tying together of old history and personal abilities would really have happened post-Takeda.

2. It has been suggested that Takeda really did a lot of exploring and innovating to piece together the abilities he had. I think it is possible that he really scraped together info that was almost lost, and ressurected something, rather than carrying on a strong tradition.
Kind of fanciful but it would mean that there is a bit of "new growth" and discovery in the history of aikido, even if it did end up replicating what other people had known for centuries.

[edit, overall I agree regarding the aiki arts being placed in a bigger picture. I just like this possible aspect in the history of 'rescue' of info that may have been on the decline. It.... resonates with me.)

Mike Sigman
07-12-2011, 12:12 PM
Mike, you're right about lack of info, but based on the bit we have, of course it is fun to speculate.
Two things strike me as interesting here:
1. Takeda, being illiterate, may very well have NOT seen the bigger picture you are talking about, despite any really amazing skills and sophisticated usage he may have had. He knew his own training history, and he knew his innovations, but I wonder how much of the older history he had exposure to. Conversely, Ueshiba probably had the history before the skills, and when he met Takeda, it started to come together. In this possible scenerio, the tying together of old history and personal abilities would really have happened post-Takeda.

2. It has been suggested that Takeda really did a lot of exploring and innovating to piece together the abilities he had. I think it is possible that he really scraped together info that was almost lost, and ressurected something, rather than carrying on a strong tradition.
Kind of fanciful but it would mean that there is a bit of "new growth" and discovery in the history of aikido, even if it did end up replicating what other people had known for centuries.

[edit, overall I agree regarding the aiki arts being placed in a bigger picture. I just like this possible aspect in the history of 'rescue' of info that may have been on the decline. It.... resonates with me.)

It could have happened like that, Jonathan, but even though we westerners have fairly sparse information, there are plenty of indications that ki/kokyu skills were available (but hidden) at and before the time of Takeda. In a number of then-current arts. And as I said, the idea of "blending" or "combining" as one with an opponent is something touted in the Chinese classics. So "Aiki" (or whatever name you want to call it) was there, in various configurations.

BTW, note how Ueshiba knew enough to relate these skills to already-existing classics. Should we say that he was slighting Takeda by doing so or should we say that Ueshiba understood that these skills were not new and that they have been around a long time.... and he was just acknowledging the obvious, no slight intended? To put it another way, Ueshiba would have looked ill-informed if he'd actually said that Takeda originated "Aiki". Ueshiba knew better.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

JW
07-12-2011, 12:40 PM
BTW, note how Ueshiba knew enough to relate these skills to already-existing classics. Should we say that he was slighting Takeda by doing so or should we say that Ueshiba understood that these skills were not new and that they have been around a long time.... and he was just acknowledging the obvious, no slight intended? To put it another way, Ueshiba would have looked ill-informed if he'd actually said that Takeda originated "Aiki". Ueshiba knew better.

Hm, I think that describes Ueshiba's behavior pretty well. It may have been a factor (the major factor?) in his severing ties/"moving on" from Takeda. Why credit him if Takeda didn't even understand the full context?

On the other hand, it seems like it would have been fair to say Takeda showed/taught him aiki, since Ueshiba failed to learn it on his own. Thus there is a legitimate debt there.

DH
07-12-2011, 01:14 PM
Ueshiba now knew and Takeda didn't?
This is qualified just how?
Previous discussions stated Ueshiba moved forward into a deeper study that Takeda didn't know. That was never qualified either -even though asked over and over.
A certain fellow forwarded that the source for Takeda's aiki (as stated by Takeda himself) was Chinese.

Marks arguments about the Japanese aiki arts being a shift-holds true regardless of the source of the Internal aspects.
Takeda's arts were a significant shift from traditional koryu jujutsu, and many Koryu people trained under him for that reason. His "aiki" approach -as demonstrated in a collection of forms seen across the five branches- were dramatically different from the standard jujutsu (not saying good or bad, here). To say otherwise expresses an ignorance of the subject at hand. This was the reason the committee approving the demonstrations at embu noted UEshiba's stuff did not fit. So they had the categories listed as:
Koryu
Gendai
Aiki-do
It is more than fair to say that the aiki arts in Japan (as opposed to the idea of aiki) began with Takeda.
Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba, Kodo, and Hisa were also markedly different from what we do know. The arguments about Yoshin and Kito ryu do not have enough demonstrable evidence to make them as clear. The aiki arts were not the same as use of aiki in an otherwise koryu context. They were clear and were dramatic enough to make them a movement in and of themselves as a stand apart approach to jujutsu in their day.

Beyond that repeatedly stating that Ueshiba quoted the classics and Takeda did not is inane and a strawman argument in itself. Little is known about what Takeda said or didn't say, but of the things we do know and are discussed by different branches, there was heaven/ earth/ man, In yo ho, breath power use of the Kua/ mingmen and dantian, discussions of connection and intent (though not expressed in those same terms by either men). It is fair to say that those things are universal and preceded Takeda, but it also demonstrates Takeda's knowledge of them.

I have met DR and Koryu people who were trained in and demonstrated physical skills that they had no clue preceded their arts. They were amused to find out the Chinese terminology for the way they used their bodies. While they were acussed of using "buzzwords" from another culture, they actually had a fairly good handle on using their bodies as judged by some experts in the field. That again does make the case for the overall existence of these skills in the broader sense in China and elsewhere. If someone is going to argue for that...they need to address and ackowledge the skills demonstrated by some in the Japanese arts.

I guess I am saying that while both arguments have solid points, there isn't enough information about Takeda to make any serious argument for what he did or didn't know, or what he might have said to his students. It's only speculation.
Case in point:
Few I have ever talked with within the art knew about the body method. Who would know that a living DR Shihan has a soft push hands drill meant to demonstrate a body skill and is only done with private advanced students? And if not for Sagawa's book (which he did not want translated to English) people would still be arguing with what I had been saying for decades. IE the admonition not to teach white people, or that most people in the art were not actually being taught the key to making it all work; solo training, even the idea of internal, breath-power methods, the principle of aiki in yo ho and so on. So, having a meaningful discussion (even with those in the art) was sometimes difficult, and other times, ridiculous, and much more so with those outside.

I think that some who enter into these discussions are demonstrating their own prejudices and ignorance while arguing the other side is the one who is prejudiced and ignorant.
So we get to listen to pundants from Chinese arts jabber on about some Japanese arts and characterize the people in them as ignorant and "running away", when in actually there are people with some very good information who will never enter into "how to" discussions about what they know, and all this when their own Chinese teachers rarely talk about details either, and who's adepts even with the information, rarely demonstrate stellar skills.
Kind of funny really.

Dan

Richard Stevens
07-12-2011, 01:34 PM
As an outside observer, without a "horse" in the race so-to-speak, I've found myself interested in the history of Daito-Ryu and Aikido as the availability of information on my own art is thin at best.

Having read nearly everything Stanley has put out on the topics and much of what Peter Goldsbury has written, it seems to me that Ueshiba's Aikido died with him and is likely never to be fully "reconstructed" as Mark Murray nicely alluded to.

The development of Ueshiba's martial skills was a result of very unique circumstances and instruction. Ignoring the spiritual aspect entirely, simply the fact that he received Daito-Ryu instruction directly from Takeda resulted in exposure to a non-standardized, and changing curriculum. The Daito-Ryu Takeda exposed Ueshiba to was not necessarily the Daito-Ryu transmitted to Tokimune, Horikawa, etc..

Add to the fact that Ueshiba brought in elements from other arts and you have a martial foundation that cannot be replicated by a modern practitioner. I would argue that even if Ueshiba hadn't found himself drawn so deeply into Omoto-Kyo and focused all his energy and time on transmitting his interpretation of DR or early Aikido he would have had a difficult time truly passing on his particular skill-set.

How would one go about trying to developing it today? You can turn to Daito-Ryu to try and fill in the gaps, but that in itself opens a can of worms. Which branch of Daito-Ryu would provide you with the appropriate skill-set? Which interpretation is the genuine article? Didn't Kondo claim that he was the only one who was shown true Daito-Ryu from Tokimune?

It seems like interest in bringing outside elements into modern Aikido in an attempt to reconstruct Ueshiba's skills has exploded. Nearly every thread seems to include some mention of internal power/aiki skills of some sort. Veteran Shihan like Ikeda are consciously pushing to evolve their skill sets. A friend recently returned from the summer camp in D.C. and said that Bill Gleason's Aikido was spectacularly different than just a few years earlier.

In an attempt to restore Ueshiba's Aikido, modern Aikido seems to be consistently moving towards an evolution beyond it's origins. Even if Ueshiba's skills can't be reconstructed, it doesn't mean they can't be surpassed.

JW
07-12-2011, 01:46 PM
Ueshiba now knew and Takeda didn't?
This is qualified just how?

Hi Dan-
Ultimately your post covers both sides pretty well. I just meant: Takeda didn't exactly spend time in a library studying the "classics," right? His life just wasn't like that. He grew up in pretty messed-up circumstances.
Whereas, Ueshiba really did grow up comfortable and reading this type of stuff.

Anyway I think the best evidence we have for the way info was organized in Takeda's mind (and what info was there, period) is as you say-- we have to look at the info in the extant branches and look at what is conserved across that diversity. It's still speculation, and the biggest problem is indeed:
how to separate what was not known from what was kept secret. Ultimately that could only be guessed at from body movement and usage.

DH
07-12-2011, 01:59 PM
As an outside observer, without a "horse" in the race so-to-speak, I've found myself interested in the history of Daito-Ryu and Aikido as the availability of information on my own art is thin at best.

Having read nearly everything Stanley has put out on the topics and much of what Peter Goldsbury has written, it seems to me that Ueshiba's Aikido died with him and is likely never to be fully "reconstructed" as Mark Murray nicely alluded to.

The development of Ueshiba's martial skills was a result of very unique circumstances and instruction. Ignoring the spiritual aspect entirely, simply the fact that he received Daito-Ryu instruction directly from Takeda resulted in exposure to a non-standardized, and changing curriculum. The Daito-Ryu Takeda exposed Ueshiba to was not necessarily the Daito-Ryu transmitted to Tokimune, Horikawa, etc..

Add to the fact that Ueshiba brought in elements from other arts and you have a martial foundation that cannot be replicated by a modern practitioner. I would argue that even if Ueshiba hadn't found himself drawn so deeply into Omoto-Kyo and focused all his energy and time on transmitting his interpretation of DR or early Aikido he would have had a difficult time truly passing on his particular skill-set.

How would one go about trying to developing it today? You can turn to Daito-Ryu to try and fill in the gaps, but that in itself opens a can of worms. Which branch of Daito-Ryu would provide you with the appropriate skill-set? Which interpretation is the genuine article? Didn't Kondo claim that he was the only one who was shown true Daito-Ryu from Tokimune?

It seems like interest in bringing outside elements into modern Aikido in an attempt to reconstruct Ueshiba's skills has exploded. Nearly every thread seems to include some mention of internal power/aiki skills of some sort. Veteran Shihan like Ikeda are consciously pushing to evolve their skill sets. A friend recently returned from the summer camp in D.C. and said that Bill Gleason's Aikido was spectacularly different than just a few years earlier.

In an attempt to restore Ueshiba's Aikido, modern Aikido seems to be consistently moving towards an evolution beyond it's origins. Even if Ueshiba's skills can't be reconstructed, it doesn't mean they can't be surpassed.
Bill Is changing, Ikeda and Saotome have not only commented but have expressed an interest in the source of the change.

A few comments about a few points you made.
While I agree that no one knows what Ueshiba was exposed to compared to other Takeda students. We do know that Sawaga was considered his equal, some who felt both considered Sagawa better Kodo was a giant and Hisa and Tokimune were both considered quite good.

As for what else Ueshiba did that may have added or arguably detracted from Takeda's aiki, no one knows. It's more speculation. Once you have the the body method, you will grow on your own with further research. Each of Takeda's five greats talked of their own continued growth. It's the way it is.
We do know that when Ueshiba decided -to teach- he decided to teach DR throughout his career and handed out copies of the Hiden Mokuroku scrolls to all of the prewar students. All of those students are mistakenly called prewar aikido deshi, when in fact they were Daito ryu students (again as the artists behind Budo renshu stated "We all thought we were students of Takeda Sokaku under Ueshiba sensei"). After his retirement as stated by him, his techniques changed, I suspect it was for that reason that he lost Mochizuki, Shioda, and Shirata, but that has never been made clear either. Even though his more open and large circular movements - with a more flowing protective quality- was a dynamic shift from DR waza, but his aiki was unmistakably still Daito ryu.

Your last point about surpassing Ueshiba should be everyone's goal. Power is not all the same, even though some like to say it is all the same, nothing could be further from the truth. The Chinese just like the Japanese, argue over methods and uses and purity, yadda yadda. And the pressure Ueshiba faced is different than the pressure a modern adept faces. I am confident that were Takeda and Ueshiba alive today, they would have followed Sagawa into exploring the body method into wrestling, boxing and other more modern methods.
Cheers
Dan

Thomas Campbell
07-12-2011, 02:16 PM
The Chinese just like the Japanese, argue over methods and uses and purity, yadda yadda.

The Chinese have a phrase for it: 亚达亚达

Dave de Vos
07-12-2011, 02:24 PM
It seems like interest in bringing outside elements into modern Aikido in an attempt to reconstruct Ueshiba's skills has exploded. Nearly every thread seems to include some mention of internal power/aiki skills of some sort.

The amount of discussion on Aikiweb suggests it has exploded, but is this topic also spreading beyond Aikiweb? How many of the (let's say) one million aikidoka have heard of this?

Cliff Judge
07-12-2011, 02:33 PM
I don't think I've heard any good arguments against a point Ellis made in HIPS that "aiki" is a relatively new name for a concept that was fairly well understood inside many koryu systems that contained jujutsu / yawara in their syllabi.

Takeda was a guy who was good at it. He had a number of other skills as well. Whether he created from whole cloth or revitalized Daito Ryu, in my opinion, he was not creating an art for the purpose of studying aiki. Aiki was a high-level, inner teaching. He saved the good stuff for a small group of individuals, right? So it wasn't as if he was trying to get the world to study it.

Ueshiba, I think, did make an effort to distill the study of aiki for its own sake. Living though massive epochal change and connecting with really far-out seeker types, I think, convinced him that this stuff he could do that was special could bring about something desirable if disseminated. At least after the war was lost.

So while it is true that Takeda was Ueshiba's teacher, I really don't think he would be happy to see the way of aiki become a martial art trained all over the world.

DH
07-12-2011, 02:34 PM
Hi Dan-
Ultimately your post covers both sides pretty well. I just meant: Takeda didn't exactly spend time in a library studying the "classics," right? His life just wasn't like that. He grew up in pretty messed-up circumstances.
Whereas, Ueshiba really did grow up comfortable and reading this type of stuff.
Presumptions abound don't they?
Ueshiba spent what years studying what classics that infused his body method?
When?
When he was traveling all over the place as he was want to do?
He fell apart and cowered in tears when he met Takeda.
He fell apart against the Military guys six years later after having trained many times with Takeda.
It wasn't till after a day to day intensive study at Ayabe that he was known for power. So, was it curiously that during that time he got it from reading the classics and not from Takeda? And were that true where are the others who got it from the classics?....crickets again.
ere is another cricket response to a question.
Takeda trained under some scolars as well. But never the less we hear the argument that the knowledge of the classics was all over Japan...so that knowledge skipped Takeda after immersion in the Tradional arts just how?
He demonstrated a deep physical understanding for years prior to Training Ueshiba
Yet with that we know for sure that he didn't get the relation of his own skills to the classics just why?
Ueshiba stated that "Takeda opened my eyes to true budo" (That did not include the knowledge of understanding the classics why?
Crickets......

Takeda successfully taught royalty and many upper cless Japanese, as well as many Koryu teachers, as well as Admirals and generals in the military and dozens of police departments, yet was somehow unrefined and ignorant? If you know anything about Japanese history, that is highly unlikely.
I am not taking away from Ueshiba either. I am sure Ueshiba grew on his own and explored other methods, later. Curiously though, we do not see, certain significant changes I would be looking for were he heavily influenced by Chinese methods.

Anyway I think the best evidence we have for the way info was organized in Takeda's mind (and what info was there, period) is as you say-- we have to look at the info in the extant branches and look at what is conserved across that diversity. It's still speculation, and the biggest problem is indeed:
how to separate what was not known from what was kept secret. Ultimately that could only be guessed at from body movement and usage.
You will have a very tough time with that. Even as late as this year some interesting information came to light tying things together. It all depends on who you know and what you can demonstrate that opens certain doors. Certain parts of both arguments are spot on, though there are twists to the points that are not expressed here. Not that any of it matters much.
Information is a good thing, actual skill and information better, having both and being able to teach, better yet. No matter what though, it is the work that matters.
In the fullness of time the hard work and who may be up to it or not remains to be seen.
Cheers
Dan

DH
07-12-2011, 02:46 PM
I don't think I've heard any good arguments against a point Ellis made in HIPS that "aiki" is a relatively new name for a concept that was fairly well understood inside many koryu systems that contained jujutsu / yawara in their syllabi.

Takeda was a guy who was good at it. He had a number of other skills as well. Whether he created from whole cloth or revitalized Daito Ryu, in my opinion, he was not creating an art for the purpose of studying aiki. Aiki was a high-level, inner teaching. He saved the good stuff for a small group of individuals, right? So it wasn't as if he was trying to get the world to study it.

Ueshiba, I think, did make an effort to distill the study of aiki for its own sake. Living though massive epochal change and connecting with really far-out seeker types, I think, convinced him that this stuff he could do that was special could bring about something desirable if disseminated. At least after the war was lost.

So while it is true that Takeda was Ueshiba's teacher, I really don't think he would be happy to see the way of aiki become a martial art trained all over the world.
I think enough evidence exists to say it was never a consistent collected work of fixed waza in the first place. There was also some insider gossip about the creation of the scrolls that speak to the reasons behind a...uhm...rather fluid curriculum.

I put no stock in the notion of DR either being a fixed art or an old one, prior to Takeda. I suspect it was always him expressing a body method, and certain people recording how the various people responded (in different areas) to what happened when people attacked him. Hence, never repeating a waza.
Cheers
Dan

DH
07-12-2011, 03:06 PM
The amount of discussion on Aikiweb suggests it has exploded, but is this topic also spreading beyond Aikiweb? How many of the (let's say) one million aikidoka have heard of this?
Good point Dave.
I can only say I am meeting more and more people at seminars who never read aikiweb. They heard from friends.
Every healthy person has a group they talk with. Hobbyist even more so. So take an aikiweb readership of 50,000 and start calculating friends of friends of friends.
The numbers are not as important as the work. It is the people who actually do the work who are going to impact the arts in the long run. It is all but unavoidable. In time you won't function like normal people, you will have a bujutsu body and on contact people will know there is a difference to one degree or another. From there it's a matter of how much you guys want to help out others and your willingness to put up with the BS we've had to. ;)
I just had a guy with 18 yrs grappling experience (under the Machado brothers) who more or less thought I was full of it...go at me in an open room. I proved my point quite well as I didn't use waza to stop him.,It was much the same for Takeda and Ueshiba wasn't it? In the fullness of time, do you think it will be any different for you guys?
It will change, it is already changing. And people are really happy and gratefull. These are good days for the arts, And contrary to all the BS and occasional wierdos who post on the net, we still have the internet (as the newer version of the age old "word of mouth" between budoka) to thank for it. .
Cheers
Dan

Cliff Judge
07-12-2011, 03:09 PM
I think enough evidence exists to say it was never a consistent collected work of fixed waza in the first place. There was also some insider gossip about the creation of the scrolls that speak to the reasons behind a...uhm...rather fluid curriculum.

I put no stock in the notion of DR either being a fixed art or an old one, prior to Takeda. I suspect it was always him expressing a body method, and certain people recording how the various people responded (in different areas) to what happened when people attacked him. Hence, never repeating a waza.
Cheers
Dan

Thanks Dan.

I recall reading that Takeda charged per technique. When Takeda paid Ueshiba a visit in Ayabe he claimed to be after the money that was owed him for the techniques that Ueshiba taught his students.

Its from this information that I get my idea that Takeda at some point grabbed some students and devised a marketable technical syllabus.

But it could certainly be the case that he just demonstrated principals extemporaneously, and his students codified a syllabus out of that.

Mike Sigman
07-12-2011, 03:11 PM
Hm, I think that describes Ueshiba's behavior pretty well. It may have been a factor (the major factor?) in his severing ties/"moving on" from Takeda. Why credit him if Takeda didn't even understand the full context?

On the other hand, it seems like it would have been fair to say Takeda showed/taught him aiki, since Ueshiba failed to learn it on his own. Thus there is a legitimate debt there.

Well, I agree that there is/was a legitimate debt there, no question. My point was that to some degree Takeda almost undoubtedly was well aware of the traditional antecedents of ki, kokyu, hara usage, and so on, since his internal-strength skills would have depended on them and there's no way he could not have been aware of them, to some degree. Considering that he spent a lot of time competing, talking, etc., with and among martial artists as he grew up, it's pretty much a certainty. The point being that Takeda would not and never did consider himself the inventor of Aiki skills.

Similarly, Ueshiba, because of the things he said and published, would not have considered Takeda to be the innovator of "Aiki" (I told you it was/is a fairly well-understood skill and has been for many generations). Hence, no matter that Ueshiba personally owed some sort of debt/fealty to Takeda, it would be nonsensical for Ueshiba to credit Takeda with "Aiki".

Liang Shouyu got me started on jin skills back in the early 1980's, but both he and I recognize the skills as just an element in training that has been around for thousands of years...... should I spend my time making posts, etc., about Liang Shouyu's 'discovery of jin'? Of course not.. that would be idiotic. If, a generation from now, a bunch of guys who recently became 'experts' in some jin skills start pointing their fingers at me for not recognizing Liang Shouyu as the true founder of Sigman-Do, I'll be sad. :D

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

JW
07-12-2011, 03:15 PM
Dan, I don't know what about what I said got you excited there. I was pretty ignorant before, and learned a lot over the last few years starting with reading your posts here, so I think you will see that much of what I really am saying is in agreement with you. What I actually said:

-Takeda was illiterate (and had to be told by his own student that it shouldbe read "Daito ryu"). I am absolutely convinced he was a smart guy. But being illiterate closes LOTS of doors. So all I said was it is a possibility that he didn't know the historical context of his teachings as well as Ueshiba did, upon learning from him.

-You'll like this: I actually was suggesting that even with book knowledge, Ueshiba didn't have any special skill until receiving teachings from Takeda. It's the same thing you just said! So please don't put words in my mouth, it is only creating argument where I have none against you.

chillzATL
07-12-2011, 03:23 PM
Dan, I don't know what about what I said got you excited there.

lol, That was actually pretty tame compared to some. He just comes off that way sometimes, old guys and the internet... fughetaboudit!

DH
07-12-2011, 03:28 PM
Well, I agree that there is/was a legitimate debt there, no question. My point was that to some degree Takeda almost undoubtedly was well aware of the traditional antecedents of ki, kokyu, hara usage, and so on, since his internal-strength skills would have depended on them and there's no way he could not have been aware of them, to some degree. Considering that he spent a lot of time competing, talking, etc., with and among martial artists as he grew up, it's pretty much a certainty. The point being that Takeda would not and never did consider himself the inventor of Aiki skills.
I think this is progress.
No one ever said he was the inventor of aiki.
He never said he was either.
So where is there an argument? It was his use of it to infuse an entire art and refine it as a body method that was dramatically different in his era. And each of his five big dogs all state they continued to grow past his initial teaching. That's all.
That explains Mark's postion as well.
Similarly, Ueshiba, because of the things he said and published, would not have considered Takeda to be the innovator of "Aiki" (I told you it was/is a fairly well-understood skill and has been for many generations). Hence, no matter that Ueshiba personally owed some sort of debt/fealty to Takeda, it would be nonsensical for Ueshiba to credit Takeda with "Aiki".
I think the distinction we argue over is
1. Takeda was thee source for Ueshiba to have first learned aiki.
2. Not that Takeda was THEE source of aiki.
No where have I said any different.
Dan

DH
07-12-2011, 03:30 PM
Dan, I don't know what about what I said got you excited there. I was pretty ignorant before, and learned a lot over the last few years starting with reading your posts here, so I think you will see that much of what I really am saying is in agreement with you. What I actually said:

-Takeda was illiterate (and had to be told by his own student that it should be read "Daito ryu"). I am absolutely convinced he was a smart guy. But being illiterate closes LOTS of doors. So all I said was it is a possibility that he didn't know the historical context of his teachings as well as Ueshiba did, upon learning from him.

-You'll like this: I actually was suggesting that even with book knowledge, Ueshiba didn't have any special skill until receiving teachings from Takeda. It's the same thing you just said! So please don't put words in my mouth, it is only creating argument where I have none against you.
Excited?
I agreed with everything you said excpet for a few points.:cool:
The "presumptions abound don't they"...was a general comment, not aimed at you personally...I should have qualified that. Sorry.

I was just at dinner in Hawaii with some old dogs who were talking about Koryu and the old days where we had to fight about DR being the source of Aikido...and someone said "Isn't it great we don't have to argue that anymore!!" I think I need an occasional reminder...oh well.
There are still some interesting rather nuanced points, and even more revealing (and very cool) surprises showing up from that source even today.
We good? .
Dan

jester
07-12-2011, 04:34 PM
I was just at dinner in Hawaii with some old dogs who were talking about Koryu and the old days where we had to fight about DR being the source of Aikido...

That's always been common knowledge as long as I've known about it.

Unfortunately the Older Old Dogs are all gone so now there's nothing left but second hand accounts and research.

-

Mike Sigman
07-12-2011, 04:42 PM
It was his use of it to infuse an entire art and refine it as a body method that was dramatically different in his era. OK, I don't have a quarrel with Takeda "infusing an entire art (and offshoot, if you count Ueshiba's "Aikido"), but my point was that the "body method" was not "dramatically different in his era". We know that what you're calling "ai ki" (Hua jin and variations) was available in China and, *from the few indicators that westerners have today* (Like the few books in English and now, increasingly, textual sources like the ones Ellis used in HIPS), was undoubtedly available to some degree in Japan in a few arts.

I was reading a monograph by Donn Draeger on Kiai and while I was listening to what he was saying about some of the Japanese watching invited Chinese perform (how did they know to invite the Chinese for these things if the Japanese weren't aware of them?), I noted the possibility that a number of the Japanese probably knew what was going on, but since Draeger hadn't been told all the secrets he thought he was unique in commenting on them. Same thing here..... just because there's not a lot of written documents available about what were secret techniques (like Takeda's "aiki"), it's not a good assumption that only Takeda had this information. On the contrary, even E.J. Harrison's acquaintance Nobuyuki Kunishige seemed pretty aware of a lot of the ki/kokyu skills and even "grounding" is a rudimentary usage of "aiki".

Mike Sigman

JW
07-12-2011, 04:44 PM
lol, That was actually pretty tame compared to some. He just comes off that way sometimes, old guys and the internet... fughetaboudit!

heh heh.. yeah I think I am just constantly on edge about the state of the discussion regarding these topics. Dan, thanks for the clarification.

Yeah it is kind of a weird time now, where I've come into this. The work has largely been already done regarding pointing out the truth of information flow in the genesis of aikido. (Thanks to folks like Stan Pranin.) So now this point in history is mainly just a point of curiosity, rather than an argument about truth and half-truths. I would be interested in further details as an enthusiast-- but like has been said, ultimately it doesn't affect much in terms of disputed history, or in terms of training.
I just can't help speculating on things, since it is so interesting. I loved Hidden in Plain Sight for this.

chillzATL
07-13-2011, 09:06 AM
heh heh.. yeah I think I am just constantly on edge about the state of the discussion regarding these topics. Dan, thanks for the clarification.

Yeah it is kind of a weird time now, where I've come into this. The work has largely been already done regarding pointing out the truth of information flow in the genesis of aikido. (Thanks to folks like Stan Pranin.) So now this point in history is mainly just a point of curiosity, rather than an argument about truth and half-truths. I would be interested in further details as an enthusiast-- but like has been said, ultimately it doesn't affect much in terms of disputed history, or in terms of training.
I just can't help speculating on things, since it is so interesting. I loved Hidden in Plain Sight for this.

Yah people often point out that discussion is doing the work, but it IS interesting stuff. The Ayabe period that Dan hinted at in his reply to you especially. So continue to speculate out loud.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-13-2011, 10:05 AM
-Takeda was illiterate (and had to be told by his own student that it shouldbe read "Daito ryu"). I am absolutely convinced he was a smart guy. But being illiterate closes LOTS of doors. So all I said was it is a possibility that he didn't know the historical context of his teachings as well as Ueshiba did, upon learning from him.

I'm not sure he was illiterate.

DH
07-13-2011, 10:36 AM
Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote:
-Takeda was illiterate (and had to be told by his own student that it shouldbe read "Daito ryu"). I am absolutely convinced he was a smart guy. But being illiterate closes LOTS of doors. So all I said was it is a possibility that he didn't know the historical context of his teachings as well as Ueshiba did, upon learning from him.

I'm not sure he was illiterate.
I've seen native Japanese argue over the meaning or pronunciation of certain Kanji. In the passage you sited I believe the conversation was more akin to it could be read either of two ways. I would have to look it up.
Illiterate your whole life, and you showed up with an ever increasing array of makimono. Where'd they come from?

I'm weird, when someone tells me they trained with so and so, at such and such a place, in the middle of their story I ask them, "Where were the bathrooms?"
Dan

JW
07-13-2011, 11:15 AM
I would be interested if anyone has sources/theories behind the illiteracy being just a rumor. That's pretty interesting. Is it a mistake in history, a slight against him, or was Takeda actually making people think he was illiterate on purpose?

I've also been thinking about the "Yamato" thing. I've seen English language sources claim that Yamato and Daito are alternate readings. But the famous "Yamato" as in the historical Japanese people is not 大東/"big east," it is 大和/"big Japanese," correct? (ie the one with "Daiwa" onyomi)


I'm weird, when someone tells me they trained with so and so, at such and such a place, in the middle of their story I ask them, "Where were the bathrooms?"
Dan

Reminds me of the Angel Island anti-immigration techniques. Went there on the tour with family. During the Chinese Exclusion Act times, they started to get too obsessive with this technique, asking "how many steps led up to the front door" and stuff like that! But the bathroom question makes sense. If you really spent any time there, that question surely took on particular significance to you at some point..

Demetrio Cereijo
07-13-2011, 03:28 PM
I would be interested if anyone has sources/theories behind the illiteracy being just a rumor. That's pretty interesting. Is it a mistake in history, a slight against him, or was Takeda actually making people think he was illiterate on purpose?

Sokaku had probably what is called dyslexic dysgraphia

Q:I understand that Sokaku was not interested in studies as a boy and was illiterate.
A: Although it is said that Sokaku Sensei was totally illiterate, I understand that he actually could read. It seems that when he was a child he had a reason for declaring that he would never write. I have heard that whenever there was an election, he would practice writing the Chinese characters of the name of the person he was going to vote for and then go to the polls.

http://www.daitoryuonline.com/article?articleID=77

In dyslexic dysgraphia, spontaneously written text is illegible, especially when the text is complex. Oral spelling is poor, but drawing and copying of written text are relatively normal.
Finger-tapping speed (a measure of fine-motor speed) is normal.
http://www.ldanh.org/docs/factsheets4.27.04/dysgraphia.pdf

Linguistic Dysgraphia
Otherwise known as dyslexic dysgraphia, the most common type of material-specific dyspraxia, Deuel and Rauchway describe this disorder as the inability of a child to verbally spell or write words correctly. Unlike individuals with dyslexia, individuals with linguistic dysgraphia read well and display good comprehension of what he or she reads. The handwriting of individuals with this disorder is often poor. While handwriting may be poor, the individual may show the ability to draw well.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/164814-forms-of-dyspraxia/

JW
07-13-2011, 03:54 PM
Cool, nice work, thanks Demetrio! That all sounds pretty consistent. So in that case he would always be able to easily check up on the work of the calligrapher for any scroll he issued.

Allen Beebe
07-13-2011, 05:24 PM
Me just thinking again . . .

Handedness doesn't appear to be a large factor in the acquisition of oral language, or reading skills. However, Handedness can impact writing skills (my understanding is that Takeda Sokaku was left handed) (handedness needn't be a big factor, but it can be come one under certain conditions) particularly in a society that didn't "allow" for left handers.

Try writing with your non-domiant hand (imagine doing this while learning HOW to write, spell, etc.), try doing the same with a fountain pen, now try it with a fude and sumi . . . what fun!

Now let's do it in a Confucian style learning environment. I don't know if his father tried to teach him writing, I kind of doubt it, but wouldn't THAT be interesting?

Tough enough with a Japanese Papa looking over your shoulder. Tough enough with a Samurai Japanese Papa looking over your shoulder. But to have a Samurai Japanese Papa looking over your shoulder who's idea of motivation is burning moxa on your finger nails . . . well that might JUST be enough to turn a person off of writing for life! No special disability required!! And you get to go through life not only without having learned how to write, but also with the knowledge that folks are whispering behind your back that you are illiterate (and all that label implies) and you get to carry around constant feelings of inadequacy and shame over being an embarrassment to your father and family.

Nice! One might be led to overcompensate in other areas and develop a bit of a "complex character."

Maybe . . .

Peter Goldsbury
07-13-2011, 06:38 PM
I've also been thinking about the "Yamato" thing. I've seen English language sources claim that Yamato and Daito are alternate readings. But the famous "Yamato" as in the historical Japanese people is not 大東/"big east," it is 大和/"big Japanese," correct? (ie the one with "Daiwa" onyomi)

Hello Jonathan,

The original ancient name for Yamato was written as 倭. I gather that this was the name used by Chinese and Koreans to refer to Japan. Then under the Empress Genmei (707-715), the characters were changed to 大和. Or so my university students tell me. They are not aware of 大東 as a name for Yamato.

Best wishes,

Demetrio Cereijo
07-13-2011, 08:44 PM
Me just thinking again . . .

Handedness doesn't appear to be a large factor in the acquisition of oral language, or reading skills. However, Handedness can impact writing skills (my understanding is that Takeda Sokaku was left handed) (handedness needn't be a big factor, but it can be come one under certain conditions) particularly in a society that didn't "allow" for left handers.

But his left-handedness should have affected his martial arts training in weapons.

But to have a Samurai Japanese Papa looking over your shoulder who's idea of motivation is burning moxa on your finger nails . . . well that might JUST be enough to turn a person off of writing for life! No special disability required!!

Sokichi burning his fingernails was, I believe, because Sokaku participating in sumo tournaments. Not motivation but punishment.

When he was a boy, Sokaku used to participate in amateur Sumo tournaments held in little villages here and there. He would win the “gonin-nuki” or “junin-nuki” tournaments and walk away with all the prize money. Sokaku’s father, Sokichi, was an established ozeki and rikishi of the Aizu Clan and even had live-in students. If a son of such a professional continued to sweep away the prizes at Sumo tournaments for amateurs at various villages, it would be compromising to his reputation as a professional ozeki. As a result, Sokaku was forbidden to attend these Sumo tournaments. On the days when there were festivals at villages, the father did not let Sokaku out of the house. He was kept in the dojo to practice bojutsu. Young Sokaku wanted to go to the festivals so badly that he was scolded for training half-heartedly. Sometimes he managed to escape and go to the festivals; then he would come home with all the prizes. In the end Sokaku’s father got angry and burned a huge pile of moxa on both his thumbnails. His thumbs were severely burned, and it took two months for them to heal. I personally saw his cracked thumbnails, which Sokaku said were the result of his father burning moxa on them.
http://www.daitoryuonline.com/article?articleID=234

DH
07-13-2011, 09:36 PM
But his left-handedness should have affected his martial arts training in weapons.

How?
Why?

gregstec
07-13-2011, 10:18 PM
But his left-handedness should have affected his martial arts training in weapons.


I am curious as to how and why as well - I am left handed and I do weapons just fine - a balanced body has equal left and right awareness and motion.

Thanks

Greg

Allen Beebe
07-13-2011, 10:36 PM
But his left-handedness should have affected his martial arts training in weapons.

I think you may be correct. At least I've read that he was equally very proficient with weapons in both hands and may, it seems, have passed knowledge of that advantage on to at least one of his students.

Sokichi burning his fingernails was, I believe, because Sokaku participating in sumo tournaments. Not motivation but punishment.]

When my father would beat me for doing something wrong (punishment) and when he would beat me because I wasn't doing something right (motivation) I failed to appreciate the subtle difference. To my childish mind it was all just pain.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-14-2011, 05:00 AM
How?
Why?
If he was so left handed that he was unable to learn to write properly (right handed) he should have had similar problems learning to use weapons properly (right handed).

But if he was ambidextrous, he could have had learned to write with his right hand.

I don't think Sokaku's alleged illiteracy was caused by the attempts to correct his left handedness. I'm more into a disability...

The Connection Between Dysgraphia and ADHD

Dysgraphia and ADHD may seem to be closely related, especially because most students with ADHD have other comorbid disabilities (or disabilities that exist along with ADHD). Dysgraphia is often among these comorbid disabilities. Researchers have wondered whether dysgraphia and ADHD are causally related, in that one causes the other, and if so, which causes which

A 2007 study at Bar Ilan University in Israel found that ADHD students were more likely than their peers to have difficult in writing, even if they had normal reading skills. They found that ADHD students were far more likely to omit, reverse, or add letters to words (mistakes known as graphemic buffer errors), exert abnormally high levels of pen pressure, and write quickly and inefficiently. They concluded that these errors were due less more to non-linguistic problems (although linguistic problems did play a part in some cases). So according to this study, dysgraphia and ADHD are somewhat causally related, in that ADHD can lead to a dysgraphia diagnosis due to the student's intensity and inability to slow down as easily as her peers.
http://www.brighthub.com/education/special/articles/58524.aspx

On the fingernails burning... Who said it was for his resistance to learn to write?

He (Sokaku) next talked about how quickly Marquis Tsugumichi Saigo learned techniques and having met and talked with General Nogi in Nasuno (in Tochigi Prefecture) and how much he liked it when the latter dressed up like a farmer. He also told me that since his martial art style was very easy to learn, he had never demonstrated in front of people. Takeda Sensei said that his father cauterized the nails of both his hands everyday as punishment for his not being able to learn techniques fast enough. He showed me the burn marks still remaining after so many years. Even when the hour reached two o'clock in the morning he continued to talk endlessly.
http://www.daitoryuonline.com/article?articleID=186

Who said Sokaku couldn't read?

john.burn
07-14-2011, 07:19 AM
If he was so left handed that he was unable to learn to write properly (right handed) he should have had similar problems learning to use weapons properly (right handed).

Hmmmm, well I'm very left handed and have no issues with right handed weapons work - actually holding a bokken left handed feels extremely weird to me. So, I really don't think because someone is left handed it has any influence on skill with a weapon. Not that I'm saying I have any weapons skills :D .

Tim Ruijs
07-14-2011, 07:30 AM
So, I really don't think because someone is left handed it has any influence on skill with a weapon. Not that I'm saying I have any weapons skills :D .
Since you said you are a lefty, how can you be sure this is not the reason? :D (really could not resist to let this one go, sorry)

john.burn
07-14-2011, 09:27 AM
LOL Yeah I kinda thought someone would chime in with that ;). It's fair to say that my Aikido isn't heavily weapons based but I feel quite comfortable doing Aikido type things right handed way more than I do if I switch to left handed in terms of bokken - jo is irrelevant, feels fine either side. So my point was, even if you're left handed then if you train predominantly right handed with a bokken (kinda normal I think) then you don't have any disadvantage over a righty training right handed.

DH
07-14-2011, 09:37 AM
If he was so left handed that he was unable to learn to write properly (right handed) he should have had similar problems learning to use weapons properly (right handed).
Actually I have found being left handed a distinct advantage with weapons and empty hand.

But if he was ambidextrous, he could have had learned to write with his right hand.
Ambidextrous? Generations of left handed people were forced to write right handed.(as a product of a catholic school education I was myself, until my mother put an end to it).
Takeda was interesting guy beyond all doubt.
Supposedly illiterate.
Refused to be called Soke
Refused to be called Menkyo
Never called himself a shihan
His son stated that both he and his father had no rank
Did very unusual martial arts
Handed out an ever growing assortment of makimono (that came from where?)
Taught different things to different groups, instead a fixed set of kata (unlike established koryu)
Then, added ranks and awarded them in an art he said...was not his.

Many ancient densho survive.
We have not found nor ever heard of a single one for this "Daito" ryu from Aizu.

I think that the Japanese had trouble saying look at me I am a genius (even when they are).Or look what I created!
So instead we hear stories of God handing out scrolls, Tengu giving whole systems, mountain tengu teaching systems..and guys being "General affairs director" of an art with oshiki-uchi,
Or sons stating that their dads studied an array of Koryu arts and blended them together to make aikido.

Internet bloggers would have had a field day with some of these guys were they alive today.

Dan

Cliff Judge
07-14-2011, 10:50 AM
A
Refused to be called Soke
Refused to be called Menkyo
Never called himself a shihan
His son stated that both he and his father had no rank


Then his grandson dies in a cold, remote little port town and one of the most fascinatingly bitter and nasty succession disputes occur over claims to the title of soke.

DH
07-14-2011, 12:17 PM
Then his grandson dies in a cold, remote little port town and one of the most fascinatingly bitter and nasty succession disputes occur over claims to the title of soke.
Soke of what?
Doesn't it take a Soke to pass on an art?
Sokaku was not the soke by his own admission.
The only Soke of anything was Tokimune; who invented Daito ryu Aiki budo and called himself soke of that. He himself differentiates in some detail that the two arts are not the same
He awarded everyone (Kondo included) ranks in Aikibudo. Then he dies and somewhere in between awards Kondo Menkyo in Daito ryu aikijujutsu A menkyo award is stuffed out of place in between detailed and dated entries in the eimoroku after Tokimunes death (everyone is told Tokimune knew people would feel bad so he hid this award.

Then Kondo forbids his seniors in the art of Aikibudo use of the name Daito ryu.

1. So who is or was Soke of what?
Aikibudo or Aikijujutsu

2. Who is or was Menkyo in what?
Aikibudo or Aikijujutsu
Or
AIkiudo and Aikijujutsu
Where are those concurrent awarded ranks?

If one is Menkyo in Aikijujustsu, how does it apply any authority to aikibudo? An art your own teacher states had a different curriculum.
Even weirder, people trained for 35 yrs...become the reps, become president and treasurer of the organization and give embu all over Japan in front of and for Tokimune and all is well.
Then a part timer shows up with a lot of money...everyone is told he got the real art. They are told.."Naw...I never taught you..I lied to your face." by their teacher. Have a nice life!
Realize of course that all of this has been...er...explained in detail as well and tokimune told people he only taught Kondo. ;)
He dies, a menkyo is awarded, recorded, what have you, the art is trademarked against others using it...and the former president, and treasurer, and senior students are out and prevented from using the name of the art they were ranked in and presented to Japan for most of their adult lives, Now you have threats of legal action! Potential law suits in traditional budo? Thank goodness this isn't the old days, I'm surprised no one has gotten violent. Then again who do you go after...teacher, or student?
All of this has been explained you understand. all neat and tidy like.
I've read and re read all of the stuff for years and talked with teachers and various insiders and authors. The only thing consistent about the art is how inconsistent it is, how it is traditionally so untraditional. Start to finish, a damn curious and weird Japanese art.
Anyone blame Ueshiba for running for the hills?
Dan

Cliff Judge
07-14-2011, 01:26 PM
All of this has been explained you understand. all neat and tidy like.
I've read and re read all of the stuff for years and talked with teachers and various insiders and authors. The only thing consistent about the art is how inconsistent it is, how it is traditionally so untraditional. Start to finish, a damn curious and weird Japanese art.
Anyone blame Ueshiba for running for the hills?
Dan

That's a funny thought, that Ueshiba settled in with Deguchi because that environment was relatively sane and stable. :D

I wonder if the whole mess with the legal wrangling and public expulsions is just the omote, and in private these people are all still great friends. I have been told that Sugawara Sensei gets a new year's card from Otake Sensei every year. :)

Sacha Cloetens
07-15-2011, 06:44 AM
Soke of what?
Doesn't it take a Soke to pass on an art?
Sokaku was not the soke by his own admission.
The only Soke of anything was Tokimune; who invented Daito ryu Aiki budo and called himself soke of that. He himself differentiates in some detail that the two arts are not the same
He awarded everyone (Kondo included) ranks in Aikibudo. Then he dies and somewhere in between awards Kondo Menkyo in Daito ryu aikijujutsu A menkyo award is stuffed out of place in between detailed and dated entries in the eimoroku after Tokimunes death (everyone is told Tokimune knew people would feel bad so he hid this award.

Then Kondo forbids his seniors in the art of Aikibudo use of the name Daito ryu.

1. So who is or was Soke of what?
Aikibudo or Aikijujutsu

2. Who is or was Menkyo in what?
Aikibudo or Aikijujutsu
Or
AIkiudo and Aikijujutsu
Where are those concurrent awarded ranks?

If one is Menkyo in Aikijujustsu, how does it apply any authority to aikibudo? An art your own teacher states had a different curriculum.
Even weirder, people trained for 35 yrs...become the reps, become president and treasurer of the organization and give embu all over Japan in front of and for Tokimune and all is well.
Then a part timer shows up with a lot of money...everyone is told he got the real art. They are told.."Naw...I never taught you..I lied to your face." by their teacher. Have a nice life!
Realize of course that all of this has been...er...explained in detail as well and tokimune told people he only taught Kondo. ;)
He dies, a menkyo is awarded, recorded, what have you, the art is trademarked against others using it...and the former president, and treasurer, and senior students are out and prevented from using the name of the art they were ranked in and presented to Japan for most of their adult lives, Now you have threats of legal action! Potential law suits in traditional budo? Thank goodness this isn't the old days, I'm surprised no one has gotten violent. Then again who do you go after...teacher, or student?
All of this has been explained you understand. all neat and tidy like.
I've read and re read all of the stuff for years and talked with teachers and various insiders and authors. The only thing consistent about the art is how inconsistent it is, how it is traditionally so untraditional. Start to finish, a damn curious and weird Japanese art.
Anyone blame Ueshiba for running for the hills?
Dan

Hello Dan,

Just for the sake of controversy.:eek:

Any thoughts / comments on this Video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts1IXW8Zgro

According to the text going with it, Tokimune would have stated otherwise himself. - ? -
I don't speak Japanese , so I don't have a clue about what is actually beeing said,& if the text is accurate & a faithfull transcript.

Care to comment ?

Cheers,

Sacha

DH
07-15-2011, 08:39 AM
Hello Dan,

Just for the sake of controversy.:eek:

Any thoughts / comments on this Video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts1IXW8Zgro
According to the text going with it, Tokimune would have stated otherwise himself. - ? -
I don't speak Japanese , so I don't have a clue about what is actually beeing said,& if the text is accurate & a faithfull transcript.

Care to comment ?

Cheers,

Sacha
Hi Sacha
What is there to comment on. It's part of the record of what I was talking about.
Cheers
Dan

DH
07-15-2011, 09:20 AM
Edit:
Sorry I was tied up with something.
I am aware not only of this video but how it arrived into public view and changed the opinion of one of Kondos detractors. It blew the seshinkans earlier comments out of the water, but it left a lot of curious stuff still on the table. Kondo's Menkyo (date of issue) was back dated (according to Stan) into the eimoroku. The reason was suggested that it was going to upset people. Did you think I was saying Kondo was not menkyo? I was commenting on the very weird way (after his death) that all of this went down for Tokimune's students and his family. Being awarded menkyo is usually a process, a celebration and your mates get to see you progress and in general everyone knows.

It's the soke of what? That is a curiosity to me, and who was awarded ranks in what of two different arts.
I thought it curious (and Stan didn't have an answer either) that Tokimune made it clear that he was soke of the art he created Daito ryu aiki budo which he clearly differentiates from Daito ryu aiki-jujutsu
Then he awarded ranks in both, but a menkyo in one..
Since Takeda S. did not call himself soke, how did Takeda T. become soke of Sokaku's art. Wouldn't he be the latest er...general affairs director as well?
Every art can do what ever the heck it wants. We have many precedents for arts that are koryu (or act like koryu). For the most part they are pretty straight forward. All of this was placed in the public eye by its own students, and played out there, so it came to everyone's attention. As such, the whole thing was very curious.

An art with no history has an extremely capable head, who claims it is an eight or nine hundred year old Koryu. Then he himself does not act in accordance with the norms of much of what that means, and as well invents, (discovers?) added scrolls as time goes on?
Then the Son has rather odd transmission issues as well.
We can say that a common theory is that Sokaku did indeed invent the art, but that opens another can of worms no one wants to touch.
This has been done to death. Every once in a while the weirdness of it all pops up, that's all,
Cheers
Dan

JW
07-15-2011, 07:52 PM
Hello Jonathan,

The original ancient name for Yamato was written as 倭. I gather that this was the name used by Chinese and Koreans to refer to Japan. Then under the Empress Genmei (707-715), the characters were changed to 大和. Or so my university students tell me. They are not aware of 大東 as a name for Yamato.

Hi professor, thank you for following up on this! Sorry I forgot to reply to this. So it is still a bit of an interesting unresolved issue why there would have been any confusion of "Yamato" and "Daito" in the spoken language when referring to the name of Takeda's art.

If it was a kanji issue-- did something change since then? And if there is no legitimate "alternate reading" explanation, then this seems to be a bit of anecdotal evidence for Takeda not being able to read. Though by now, we have covered that it is possible and likely for traditional info to have been received by Takeda through oral means, so the point I guess is....... happy Friday everyone!

Peter Goldsbury
07-15-2011, 11:40 PM
Hi professor, thank you for following up on this! Sorry I forgot to reply to this. So it is still a bit of an interesting unresolved issue why there would have been any confusion of "Yamato" and "Daito" in the spoken language when referring to the name of Takeda's art.

Hello Jonathan,

Many thanks for the response. Are you familiar with Takeda Tokimune's account of the origin of the art, including the name? The account appears on p. 42 of Stanley Pranin's Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu interviews. The Japanese text appears on p. 272-273 of Mr Pranin's 『武田惣角と大東流合気柔術』. Tokimune states that Daitou 大東 is the name of a place in Oshu 奥州, northeastern Japan, where Shinra Saburo Minamoto no Yoshimitsu stayed when he studied human anatomy. Saburo was a descendant of the Emperor Seiwa (850-881) and dissected corpses. He called himself Daito no Saburo 大東の三郎. Katsuyuki Kondo also mentions Shinra Saburo in his interview (Pranin, p. 154; pp. 133-134 of his Japanese edition.)

The problem is that Tokimune had a similar position in respect of Takeda Sokaku as Kisshomaru Ueshiba had in respect of Ueshiba Morihei. The difference is that Tokimune places Sokaku (and himself) firmly in a line beginning with the Emperor Seiwa, whereas Kisshomaru places great emphasis on Ueshiba as the start of a new line. In both cases, there is, shall we say, a certain looseness in the treatment of the historical evidence.

Best wishes,

PAG

DH
07-16-2011, 01:15 AM
In both cases, there is, shall we say, a certain looseness in the treatment of the historical evidence.
Best wishes,
PAG
In other words they are both liars...spinning stories.
Were they modern Americans writing their stories- here or any where else on the internet- they would be thoroughly eviscerated for it and their art would be placed in the Bad budo or bullshido sections of various forums all over the world for the stories they tried to pass off.

I continue to be amazed at what Westerners will put up with. Their polite and neutral responses, are meant to tell people how "they need to understand", all in the guise of representing a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of what often amounts to as ...total bullshit. As if looking these guys in the eye and calling them on it makes you some sort of simpleton. We can certainly understand it contextually, we do not "need" to accept it or approve. Truth and lies as being a fluid concept starts to take on a cowardly artifice that we would never tolerate elsewhere.

We didn't include certain individuals one step down either. A model cited by Stan in his first paragaph of certain shihans claims, one example being:
"I trained with O Sensei everyday, privately." (years after he retired and left). It never happened. They are just well placed, well loved and very well thought of...liars.

I am so glad I left certain relationships in a particular art. At a certain point in time I consider the Westerners who have compromised themselves in order to TO REMAIN a part, and be ranked as worse than the Asians who do these things. I have no use for what they chose to represent.
Dan

DH
07-16-2011, 10:07 AM
For the private emails shocked at my insensitivity!!!
I am not talking about interpersonal relationships within a culture. I was referring to histories made up out of whole cloth.
Dan

JW
07-16-2011, 04:00 PM
Oh boy now that's more like it!:eek: Excited. :D

I have heard the stories about the "daito mansion." The question of its truth is of course the main issue with that... but besides that, it confuses the yamato-vs-daito issue even more. The pronounciation of 大東 within that "legend" is presumably straightforward. If Sokaku Takeda had exposure to that purported history, there is double reason that he would have been saying "daito" instead of "yamato."
(Reason 1 is "yamato" has its own kanji unrelated to 大東, reason 2 would be that 大東 refers to some kind of true history that people knew about and were talking about).

So instead, we are left with a legend that was made up/tied to the art after Takeda started teaching, and again, a strange kanji mixup.

Maybe in the absence of any real history, there was no name and no kanji at all for the art, and he was just calling it Yamato ryu. Later there came along some good reason(s) to just shift the name to Daito.

roadtoad
03-11-2012, 12:35 PM
I can say that o'sensei was not the only one that had such amazing power. I practiced with Chien man Cheng in Tainan, Taiwan, before I met o'sensei. Who had the most power? Is it easier to push over the empire state building, or the washinton momument?
I don't know, but I do know that o'sensei was not a 'one in a billion', others have reached a similar level, or at least, close to it.
That tai chi guy from the 'people's park' in Beijing, right now, seems to have such power. Humans can develop it, believe me.

roadtoad
03-12-2012, 12:24 PM
People seem to be asking, 'what did o'sensei add to daito aikijujitsu, to make it aikido?
The answer is Tai no henko. O'sensei added that, essentially invented it. This never existed in the old style aikijitsu, if they use it now, its because they stole it from aikido. O'sensei was fond of saying that every single technique in aikido uses tai no henko, or, at least its essential action, the circular turn. I also believe that he 100% took this move from Japanese sword styles, not chinese styles, as some have suggested.

Chris Li
03-12-2012, 01:14 PM
People seem to be asking, 'what did o'sensei add to daito aikijujitsu, to make it aikido?
The answer is Tai no henko. O'sensei added that, essentially invented it. This never existed in the old style aikijitsu, if they use it now, its because they stole it from aikido. O'sensei was fond of saying that every single technique in aikido uses tai no henko, or, at least its essential action, the circular turn. I also believe that he 100% took this move from Japanese sword styles, not chinese styles, as some have suggested.

I'm not inclined to think that Sagawa (who practiced tai no henko in a slightly different form) would steal anything from Ueshiba, if only because of Sagawa's massive ego and his dislike for Ueshiba. Kodokai also has a kind of tai no henko.

What's your reason for thinking that it didn't exist in Daito-ryu?

I don't he think he took anything from from Chinese styles either - or rather I think that the Chinese training paradigm entered Japan from China a long time before Ueshiba and that the received the Chinese paradigm from Japanese sources.

Best,

Chris

roadtoad
03-12-2012, 08:57 PM
I also worked out with Sato, doshu of a branch of aikijitsu, I'm just repeating his view.

Chris Li
03-12-2012, 09:01 PM
I also worked out with Sato, doshu of a branch of aikijitsu, I'm just repeating his view.

Sato Kinbei? Never met him, but I'm given to believe that he's a little bit "out in left field" as far as the other Daito-ryu folks are concerned.

Love to hear more about him though...

Best,

Chris

Ellis Amdur
03-13-2012, 11:46 AM
Sorry, jumping in late here, but I recently noticed something some will find - perhaps - a little amusing, given the discussion about names of Daito-ryu and who made aikido and all of that.

In a recent post by Stan Pranin over at Aikido Journal (sorry, don't have the link), he wrote that O-sensei rarely called what he did "aikido." Rather, he generally referred to it as "aiki." ;)

Chicko Xerri
06-25-2012, 05:47 PM
Its all too simple for me. I accept the change in my Aikido every time I enter the Dojo. Its my Universe and I hold it in the palm of my hand at every moment. Aiki is not for one person nor is it for all people. Aiki is for you. You have nothing more to do but enhance and express.

Chris Evans
09-05-2012, 12:31 AM
Hi Allen,

Did you open the can of worms on purpose? ;)

Let me start by drawing a picture using sports cars and drag racing. Imagine that we have Morihei Ueshiba's car there on the drag strip. When you open the hood, you find an amazingly powerful engine. The car itself is sleek, rounded, has no sharp edges, but is painted with some very detailed, almost 3D type paint such that the car seems to float in the air. When other people race against this car, they lose. Badly. The car looks as part of the natural world as it floats quickly down the strip. Other cars leave rubber marks, exhaust fumes, and have loud noises, but Ueshiba's car does not.

Then, along comes Modern Aikido with Kisshomaru Ueshiba as the driver and Koichi Tohei as chief mechanic. They try to build a car just like Ueshiba's except they don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba painted it, nor how it got so smooth, rounded, and sleek. They also don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba built the very powerful engine. Of course, when they asked Morihei Ueshiba, his answer was to watch and steal the secrets. They do their best, even though they can't understand what Morihei Ueshiba is telling them in his lectures. Their car looks similar and runs similar but yet is so very different. If you look closely, you can make out the flaws in the design. When the Modern Aikido car races, it mostly loses, leaves rubber marks, has exhaust fumes, and is loud. When you look at the car, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's car. When you open the hood, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's engine. Except Modern Aikido's car never acts, runs, or moves like Morihei Ueshiba's car.

If we look at Morihei Ueshiba's car, we find that the engine is Daito ryu aiki while the body is Omoto kyo spirituality. Modern Aikido has replicated no understanding of either. Looking at the engine, we find that if you train Modern Aikido's exercises, then you are not doing Morihei Ueshiba's exercises, although they can appear to look alike. If Morihei Ueshiba found value in the exercises to enable him to become such a great martial artist, then if Modern Aikido is doing them just like Ueshiba, where are the Modern Morihei Ueshibas? After 40-50 years, we really can sum it up in two basic answers:

1. Morihei Ueshiba was a singularly unique individual. He was a one-in-a-billion kind of guy.

or

2. Modern practitioners of aikido aren't doing the same kind of training that Morihei Ueshiba did.

If we take a step back in time, we know that Sokaku Takeda created Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Morihei Ueshiba, Kodo Horikawa, Takuma Hisa, and others. They could all do very similar things. Morihei Ueshiba, in his early training, created Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, Rinjiro Shirata, and a few others. They were very similar in skills, although not as good as Ueshiba. Sagawa didn't really teach the secrets until late in his life. One student of Sagawa's has stood out - Tatsuo Kimura. Kodo Horikawa taught a couple of people, most notably Seigo Okamoto who can do similar things as all the rest. So, really, reason #1 is kind of hard to accept. If we look at the fact that Sokaku Takeda told people not to teach the secret except to one or two individuals, we can see why there were only a handful of great aiki martial artists. Yukiyoshi Sagawa upheld that. Tokimune Takeda did, too. Katsuyuki Kondo reiterated what Tokimune had done.

Basically, even though it is a hard pill to swallow, reason #2 is pretty much the remaining answer. Most people were never taught the secret of aikido. Morihei Ueshiba didn't really teach it, and his students had a near impossible time of trying to figure out what he was doing.

When Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei entered the scene at the end of World War II, Modern Aikido was born. Both then raised adherents to Modern Aikido, sending them out into the world dressed as Morihei Ueshiba's child. Forty years later, the child is now a man. There would have been no understanding that there was a difference between Ueshiba's aikido and Modern Aikido, except that there were a few circumstances which allowed the secret of aiki to get out into the world. Some people are now looking at the Modern Aikido Man and seeing that he doesn't move, act, or do anything at all in the same way Morihei Ueshiba did. The Modern Aikido Man is a ghostly and pale imitation that rarely stands up in the same light as Morihei Ueshiba to the tests of the martial world, let alone the tests of the intertwined martial/spiritual world.

What of Modern Aikido? Frank Doran mentions that Tohei created many energy games and practices. (1) And Patrick Augé states:

Mochizuki Minoru Sensei said that when he was studying with Ueshiba Sensei (late 1920's), robuse was the name given to the technique that later became Ikkajo, then Ikkyo after the war. The present ikkyo as taught by most Aikikai (and Aikikai related) teachers is the result of the modifications made by Tohei and Kisshomaru Sensei in order to simplify Aikido and make it available to more people.... (2)

Stan Pranin notes that Kisshomaru Ueshiba gradually changed the technical syllabus and created a flowing style technique based system. (3) Koichi Tohei was head instructor for many years and his teaching was influenced by the Tempukai. (4) Morihiro Saito also makes note of some of the things that Koichi Tohei introduced into Modern Aikido training. (5) Tohei is quoted as saying, "Everyone thinks that I learned ki from Morihei Uyeshiba. That's not true. The Master taught me aikido; he did not teach me ki. I studied and learned it myself." (6) While Tohei's reason for stating this may have come from a rough period of time, the words themselves hold value. Ueshiba rarely taught "ki" to anyone.

It doesn't take a lot of research to find that the students of post-war aikido were more influenced by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei, that the manner in which the techniques that these students practiced were more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei, and that the spiritual harmonious definition of Aikido was more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei than by Morihei Ueshiba.

What about weapons in Modern Aikido compared to what Ueshiba practiced? In an interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura, he states that Ueshiba trained with the yari along with the jo and bokken. Ueshiba had a long spear at the dojo for training that he used quite often. He also states that he never saw Ueshiba practice tanto dori. (7) It was also noted that in Daito ryu, one would study sword techniques. (8) Because Ueshiba learned Daito ryu, it was mentioned that at the "Aikijutsu Dojo" in Tokyo, Ueshiba taught sword and spear. (9) Also, it's noted that Ueshiba trained with weapons on his own, including spear. (10) Rinjiro Shirata states that Ueshiba didn't teach weapons work to his students, but did practice it on his own. (11)

Also, from one interview in Aiki News:
Editor: We have seen old movies (in which juken were used in demonstrations) but did you ever use the juken (bayonet and rifle) in practice at that time?
Kunigoshi Sensei: Yes, we did. Someone would thrust with the training weapon and we would try to deal with that kind of attack. We also worked against a spear attack. Anyway, there were just about every type of major weapon in the dojo. Even I was expected to have practiced against a cutting attack made with the bokken. Nor were we only expected to be able to avoid the attacks of the weapon-carrying person. We were also expected to be able to take the role of the attacker and wield the weapons. (12)

Shoji Nishio talks about how he had to study weapons on his own because they were not taught at hombu. (13) Kisshomaru Ueshiba also noted that his father studied and trained with the spear. (14) Nobuyoshi Tamura makes an interesting comment in that he thinks Ueshiba's jo was actually spear work. (15) All of this goes to show that Ueshiba's weapons training was not carried forward into Modern Aikido. It is a rare sight to see spear training in any Modern Aikido dojo. And if true, while Modern Aikido trains tanto dori, it was not from Morihei Ueshiba. Most sword training in Modern Aikido is from a teacher's background in some other martial system or from a teacher's own creation. The practice that is left from Morihei Ueshiba is some jo and bokken take-away. Morihiro Saito is one of the few students to have gathered a chaotic weapons training under Ueshiba and created a structured syllabus. However, it does not cover most of what Ueshiba trained with weapons.

Training under the founder at Hombu appeared to have been a few hours each day while training with other instructors (Kisshomaru and Tohei included) took up the rest of the day. We also have quite a few students stating that Morihei Ueshiba would talk a lot and no one knew what he was talking about. Add in the fact that in 1956, Morihei Ueshiba was 73 years old. He wasn't teaching all day when these students started training in Aikido.

I'm not diminishing the commitment, heart, skills, or pure dedication of these students. We can all see how much they have contributed. But, on the other side of things, we must also acknowledge that Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei had more influence on them than did Morihei Ueshiba. And that influence shines through very brightly in their Aikido, even today. There is a large disconnect when talking about the Founder's Aikido and these student's aikido.

What kind of vision of aikido are the shihan and top ranked teachers supposed to take into the future? Do they truly understand Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido, or is it more likely that they understand Kisshomaru and Tohei's Aikido? Those two visions of aikido are not one and the same. They are not even close. We have Morihei Ueshiba living his vision of Aikido, backed by aiki and some spiritual/religious ideology. In Kisshomaru/Tohei's aikido, we have harmony for a post-war world audience that is not backed by the martial skills of Morihei Ueshiba nor is it backed by his spiritual/religious views. The major consolation in all of this is that in the spiritual/religious sense, Morihei Ueshiba noted one didn't have to follow his exact footsteps. Modern Aikido has diverged from Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido.

References:

1. Aiki News Issue 010
Frank Doran: All of the energy kinds of games and practices, many of which Koichi Tohei developed are very useful tools to put someone in touch with this aliveness which is within you.

2. Yoseikan NA website:

3. http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia?entryID=720
In 1963, Kisshomaru made his first trip abroad to the U.S. and subsequently traveled on numerous occasions to North and South America, and Europe. Although his efforts to expand the Aikikai on an organizational level are well-known, it should be noted that his technical influence was also great. Kisshomaru gradually modified the technical curriculum of the Aikikai by reducing the number of techniques taught and creating a standardized nomenclature. His flowing style of technique that emphasizes KI NO NAGARE movements have also become a de facto standard in many Aikikai dojos worldwide.

4. Aikido Journal Issue 112
Seiichi Sugano: Tohei Sensei's teaching was influenced by the Tempukai, and it was easier to follow, probably because much of the Tempukai curriculum originated in yoga.

5. Aiki News Issue 088
AN: Ki no Kenkyukai (Shinshin Toitsu Aikido) practices include lectures about the workings of ki, and demonstrations of the unbendable arm and the unliftable body. Did you ever experience this kind of practice in Iwama after the war under O-Sensei?
Saito: No, I didn't. It is a teaching method which Mr. Tohei devised.

6. Black Belt 1973 Vol 11 No 11
Article by Jon Shirota about Tohei and Ki

7. http://www.tsubakijournal.com/article-7142924.html

8. Aiki News Issue 010

9. Aiki News Issue 015

10. Aiki News Issue 051

11. Aiki News Issue 062

12. Aiki News Issue 047

13. Aiki News Issue 060
Nishio Sensei: (When I was a beginner) I asked how they applied the body techniques to the ken, but no one showed me. Since there was nothing to be done about the situation, I began practicing the ken in 1955 soon after I began Aikido training. What else could I do? Nobody taught me! O-Sensei did sword techniques at lightning speed and would say, "That's how you do it," and then disappeared from the dojo. I tried in vain to understand what he was doing and the next moment he was gone.

14. Aiki News Issue 065
Kisshomaru Ueshiba: There were some major events between 1937 and 1941. First, kendo training was allowed at the Kobukan dojo for a short period. The Founder had mastered various jujutsu forms and practiced spear technique for a while, but he had not seriously gotten into swordwork (kenjutsu). Now he stared swinging the sword frequently for his own research, especially after Aikido started dealing with empty-handed techniques against weapon attacks.

15. Aiki News Issue 066
Tamura Sensei: I think that O-Sensei's jo was not what we would call jodo but rather the spear (yari).

Thank you.

Chris Evans
09-05-2012, 10:22 AM
I don't think I've heard any good arguments against a point Ellis made in HIPS that "aiki" is a relatively new name for a concept that was fairly well understood inside many koryu systems that contained jujutsu / yawara in their syllabi.

Takeda was a guy who was good at it. He had a number of other skills as well. Whether he created from whole cloth or revitalized Daito Ryu, in my opinion, he was not creating an art for the purpose of studying aiki. Aiki was a high-level, inner teaching. He saved the good stuff for a small group of individuals, right? So it wasn't as if he was trying to get the world to study it.

Ueshiba, I think, did make an effort to distill the study of aiki for its own sake. Living though massive epochal change and connecting with really far-out seeker types, I think, convinced him that this stuff he could do that was special could bring about something desirable if disseminated. At least after the war was lost.

So while it is true that Takeda was Ueshiba's teacher, I really don't think he would be happy to see the way of aiki become a martial art trained all over the world.

What's the difference between jujutsu and yawara?

The late Zen teacher Taisen Deshimaru Roshi studied yawara and has written encouraging words on aikido.

Chris Li
09-05-2012, 10:44 AM
What's the difference between jujutsu and yawara?


Nothing.

Just different general terms for Japanese empty handed fighting.

Strictly speaking, Aikido can be called a form of jujutsu or yawara.

Best,

Chris