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chillzATL
09-15-2011, 09:44 AM
There have been quite a few people wanting to see this over the years. Stan has just made it available to subscribers on aikidojournal.com.

Michael Hackett
09-16-2011, 12:18 AM
A friend of mine had, or has a copy stored away "in a box somewhere" and has told several of us about the contents. It was a shock today to see it published on AJ. While many of those named have passed on, there are still a couple around that probably won't be happy to see it again. Stan Pranin is a treasure as a historian of aikido.

Autrelle Holland
09-16-2011, 08:34 AM
Agreed. Surely there is some more open discussion about this somewhere.

danj
09-16-2011, 08:32 PM
I was taken aback at first to see that it was only available to subscribers, which might imply a sort of ownership. But on reflection its a way of supporting a historian, and not releasing the document into the public domain at the same time?

dan

Gorgeous George
09-16-2011, 08:55 PM
Any chance of someone telling us non-subscribers what it says...? :)

gregstec
09-16-2011, 09:19 PM
Any chance of someone telling us non-subscribers what it says...? :)

Drop some coin and subscribe - there is a wealth of knowledge on the site that all aikidoka could benefit from.

Greg

Autrelle Holland
09-16-2011, 11:14 PM
Email me if you want to see it for yourself.

Gorgeous George
09-17-2011, 12:19 AM
Drop some coin and subscribe - there is a wealth of knowledge on the site that all aikidoka could benefit from.

Greg

Ha. I wish I could; turns out being a philosophy graduate isn't such a good idea under a conservative government: i'm unemployed.

I hope things are good in the promised land.

Michael Hackett
09-17-2011, 01:30 AM
Our philosophy majors here all cite the same mantra: "Do you want fries with that?"

Chris Li
09-17-2011, 02:38 AM
Ha. I wish I could; turns out being a philosophy graduate isn't such a good idea under a conservative government: i'm unemployed.

I hope things are good in the promised land.

You can subscribe for a year for less than $3 per month. Anybody can skip one meal a month if they really want the information, and it supports somebody who has revolutionized the way that Aikido history is presented and understood.

Best,

Chris

crbateman
09-17-2011, 07:48 AM
If you are already a paid subscriber to the AJ regular site, then there is a link there to have your membership transferred to the new pay site.

Stan has made this new venture a pay site because he intends to put the bulk of his lifetime's work and wealth of Aikido and Daito-Ryu information (interviews, articles, photos, etc.) on that site. It is an incredible amount of work that will take years to catalog and post, but Stan wants to make sure that this irreplaceable material will survive him and be available to us in some durable fashion, so he has dedicated himself to this enormous task. The paid memberships will enable him to offset the cost of the doing.

I urge everybody who has the means to support him in this fashion, because there is history there, and many of us would never know these things about Aikido without this resource.

Autrelle Holland
09-17-2011, 08:39 AM
Exactly. Often he'll package membership with a DVD or book at a discounted rate for both. Remember that Tohei intended this to be an open letter. Those that do not want to see this letter back out in the wild, well, they have their reasons, one way or the other. On one hand, it is the genuine wish to not provoke any negative backlash: remember that this is Tohei telling the world exactly why he forever split from the Aikkai. For others, the content of this letter is accusatory and embarrassing: remember that this is Tohei telling the world exactly why he forever split from the Aikkai.

gregstec
09-17-2011, 09:10 AM
Exactly. Often he'll package membership with a DVD or book at a discounted rate for both. Remember that Tohei intended this to be an open letter. Those that do not want to see this letter back out in the wild, well, they have their reasons, one way or the other. On one hand, it is the genuine wish to not provoke any negative backlash: remember that this is Tohei telling the world exactly why he forever split from the Aikkai. For others, the content of this letter is accusatory and embarrassing: remember that this is Tohei telling the world exactly why he forever split from the Aikkai.

Yes it is - it does shed some in the american aikido group in somewhat of a bad light -

Greg

Chris Li
09-17-2011, 09:20 AM
Yes it is - it does shed some in the american aikido group in somewhat of a bad light -

Greg

There was another letter too - written in response. I wonder if that one's coming down the line...

There are also a lot of interesting side currents that never got into the letters - they hardly tell the whole story.

Best,

Chris

Autrelle Holland
09-17-2011, 09:20 AM
Yes it is - it does shed some in the american aikido group in somewhat of a bad light -

Greg

That's putting it lightly. I say that because I highly doubt that, in such a short time after O'Sensei passed, that something like that would have happened while he was alive. Well, perhaps I can't say that one way or the other, I just like to think that these figureheads of Aikido were actiing in a manner consistent with the respect that should be shown to the Founder for giving us Aikido.

When my full and open statement about how the information in this letter has trickled down to current day status quo between organizations, and it will, I'm sure to catch heck for it. This stuff is crazy.

gregstec
09-17-2011, 09:39 AM
There was another letter too - written in response. I wonder if that one's coming down the line...

There are also a lot of interesting side currents that never got into the letters - they hardly tell the whole story.

Best,

Chris

When I joined the Ki Society back in 1976 with the Marianas Aiki Kwai in Guam (which was a sub group of the Hawaii Aiki Kwai) the official reason given for the split was that Honbu did not teach ki and would not allow Tohei to teach it as well. Looking at it all today, it appears that that was mostly just the front cover story. If you look at the books by Kisshomaru before the split, you will see that they talk about ki as much as Tohei did.

IMO, the real underlying reason for the split was simply ego, politics, and other unsavory stuff that boils up out of organizations from time to time and that there was fault on both sides.

Greg

Peter Goldsbury
09-17-2011, 09:47 AM
There was another letter too - written in response. I wonder if that one's coming down the line...

There are also a lot of interesting side currents that never got into the letters - they hardly tell the whole story.

Best,

Chris

You mean the letter written by Abe Tadashi? He makes Tohei look mild by comparison. I doubt whether either side would like to see that republished.

Best wishes,

PAG

chillzATL
09-17-2011, 09:52 AM
There was another letter too - written in response. I wonder if that one's coming down the line...

There are also a lot of interesting side currents that never got into the letters - they hardly tell the whole story.

Best,

Chris

He does have that one as well, so I hope it gets posted too.

Chris Li
09-17-2011, 10:27 AM
You mean the letter written by Abe Tadashi? He makes Tohei look mild by comparison. I doubt whether either side would like to see that republished.

Best wishes,

PAG

I don't doubt it - but it may as well all come out at this point.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-17-2011, 10:31 AM
When I joined the Ki Society back in 1976 with the Marianas Aiki Kwai in Guam (which was a sub group of the Hawaii Aiki Kwai) the official reason given for the split was that Honbu did not teach ki and would not allow Tohei to teach it as well. Looking at it all today, it appears that that was mostly just the front cover story. If you look at the books by Kisshomaru before the split, you will see that they talk about ki as much as Tohei did.

IMO, the real underlying reason for the split was simply ego, politics, and other unsavory stuff that boils up out of organizations from time to time and that there was fault on both sides.

Greg

Of course. But I have to say - the letter is interesting to see again, but is it really news to anyone?

I think the Mitose thread, where Koichi Tohei awarded James Mitose a 10th dan in 1970 (years before he actually left hombu), in order to fund his departure from the Aikikai, has much more soap opera potential. :)

Best,

Chris

Autrelle Holland
09-17-2011, 10:49 AM
When I joined the Ki Society back in 1976 with the Marianas Aiki Kwai in Guam (which was a sub group of the Hawaii Aiki Kwai) the official reason given for the split was that Honbu did not teach ki and would not allow Tohei to teach it as well. Looking at it all today, it appears that that was mostly just the front cover story. If you look at the books by Kisshomaru before the split, you will see that they talk about ki as much as Tohei did.

IMO, the real underlying reason for the split was simply ego, politics, and other unsavory stuff that boils up out of organizations from time to time and that there was fault on both sides.

Greg

I HAVE Yamada's book which contains an introduction from Tohei gives him praise as his "Master Instructor" and all of the techniques are "Tohei-Waza."

gregstec
09-17-2011, 10:58 AM
I HAVE Yamada's book which contains an introduction from Tohei gives him praise as his "Master Instructor" and all of the techniques are "Tohei-Waza."

I understand that Yamada was one of Tohei's favorite ukes when he traveled the US in the 60's.

Greg

Autrelle Holland
09-17-2011, 11:27 AM
I understand that Yamada was one of Tohei's favorite ukes when he traveled the US in the 60's.

Greg

I believe he teaches Tohei's 50 basic arts in the book, and demonstrates ki exercises as well.

Alex Megann
09-17-2011, 11:46 AM
I understand that Yamada was one of Tohei's favorite ukes when he traveled the US in the 60's.

Greg

On this occasion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqc-cielWA0), for instance?

Alex

gregstec
09-17-2011, 01:53 PM
On this occasion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqc-cielWA0), for instance?

Alex

yep....

Demetrio Cereijo
09-17-2011, 02:58 PM
There was another letter too - written in response. I wonder if that one's coming down the line...


Editor says:
September 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm
I do have the rebuttal, but no intention to publish it in the foreseeable future. It would reopen too many wounds!

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/09/14/koichi-toheis-1974-letter-of-resignation-from-the-aikikai-hombu-dojo/#comment-19048

Chris Li
09-17-2011, 04:27 PM
Editor says:
September 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm
I do have the rebuttal, but no intention to publish it in the foreseeable future. It would reopen too many wounds!

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/09/14/koichi-toheis-1974-letter-of-resignation-from-the-aikikai-hombu-dojo/#comment-19048

Unlike Tohei's letter? I won't even mention what happened in Hawaii when Tohei made the announcement here - but there was plenty of monkey business all around.

Best,

Chris

Keith Larman
09-17-2011, 09:24 PM
Seems dysfunctional families are the same the world over... :D

Autrelle Holland
09-17-2011, 11:01 PM
Unlike Tohei's letter? I won't even mention what happened in Hawaii when Tohei made the announcement here - but there was plenty of monkey business all around.

Best,

Chris

I'm curious. Would you consider PMing me if I swear secrecy?

Autrelle Holland
09-17-2011, 11:10 PM
http://www.aikidosphere.com/articles/shihankai_articles/yamada/inside_aikido_pt2.php

Autrelle Holland
09-18-2011, 12:36 PM
So no one is going to say it out loud?

gregstec
09-18-2011, 05:02 PM
So no one is going to say it out loud?

No, we are all waiting for you to be the first - whatever 'it' is, that is. :)

Greg

David Yap
09-18-2011, 10:32 PM
"Q. I guess that was a difficult time when Koichi Tohei left.

Yamada sensei: Yes. It was a big split. Some of the Japanese instructors went with him. Mostly the older former Tohei Sensei direct students from his hometown. Toyoda was one of them who split. Also this guy Shuji Maruyama. He was in Cleveland at first. He'd been hired by some martial arts school there. And then later he moved to Philadelphia. He went to Tohei, which was good for me and Kanai. He was a pain in the neck. (laughter)

In a way I hated to see the split happen because I didn't know how or exactly why Koichi Tohei changed his mind about the Aikikai. But ... he was a good leader. He had charisma. He was strong, positive. He always said everything straight. He was very nice, an easy boss. In a way I hated to see it happen but in another way it was a positive change. The Aikido became clearer, the aspect of technique itself. It's much clearer what were teaching now. You know, Tohei Sensei's stuff ... unbendable arm, ki, ki, ki ... too much philosophy, not enough basic technique. So, in a way it's good it happened. In a way it was good what happened with Saotome too. The people who went with him ... it cleaned up our house, in a way."

The last sentence, who was he referring to by "him"? Tohei or Saotome?

Chris Li
09-18-2011, 10:37 PM
"Q. I guess that was a difficult time when Koichi Tohei left.

Yamada sensei: Yes. It was a big split. Some of the Japanese instructors went with him. Mostly the older former Tohei Sensei direct students from his hometown. Toyoda was one of them who split. Also this guy Shuji Maruyama. He was in Cleveland at first. He'd been hired by some martial arts school there. And then later he moved to Philadelphia. He went to Tohei, which was good for me and Kanai. He was a pain in the neck. (laughter)

In a way I hated to see the split happen because I didn't know how or exactly why Koichi Tohei changed his mind about the Aikikai. But ... he was a good leader. He had charisma. He was strong, positive. He always said everything straight. He was very nice, an easy boss. In a way I hated to see it happen but in another way it was a positive change. The Aikido became clearer, the aspect of technique itself. It's much clearer what were teaching now. You know, Tohei Sensei's stuff ... unbendable arm, ki, ki, ki ... too much philosophy, not enough basic technique. So, in a way it's good it happened. In a way it was good what happened with Saotome too. The people who went with him ... it cleaned up our house, in a way."

The last sentence, who was he referring to by "him"? Tohei or Saotome?

Saotome, I think.

Best,

Chris

sakumeikan
09-19-2011, 09:26 AM
Dear All,
Why all the secrecy?Publish and be damned!! We are not talking about Atomic weapons secrets or whether the W.M. D of Mr Blair was a load of bull or whether Jesus really did die on the cross.Years have passed and the main guys are no more.So how about dropping the cloak of mystery and bring the articles [both letters ]into the sunlight?I guess we are mature enough??? to handle the shock.Joe.

Michael Hackett
09-19-2011, 12:37 PM
Stan Pranin must have some valid reasons for withholding the rebuttal letter. Since he is a research historian and depends on access to private documents and interviews with those who were involved in the history of aikido, I suspect he doesn't want to close doors by stirring old controversy. I have to respect his decision, although I'm only guessing at the reasons.

Janet Rosen
09-19-2011, 01:10 PM
Years have passed and the main guys are no more.

Yamada Sensei is still quite alive.

Autrelle Holland
09-19-2011, 01:36 PM
Yamada Sensei is still quite alive.

Curiously, since Tohei Sensei just passed, Yamada is the only still alive as the letter concerns.

I'll go ahead and say this, and it's really just a matter of opinion based my experiences and those close to me, as well as conversations held with those same people:

K. Ueshiba, Tohei, and Yamada are the first generation students of the Founder. To say that Aikikai has become somewhat questionable and controversial is not entirely correct. It's more correct to say that it started that way.

I say that with respect to all members of USAF and Aikikai. Of course, I am open to discussion about the matter, for whatever my words are worth to anyone on the subject.

graham christian
09-19-2011, 01:42 PM
Editor says:
September 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm
I do have the rebuttal, but no intention to publish it in the foreseeable future. It would reopen too many wounds!

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/09/14/koichi-toheis-1974-letter-of-resignation-from-the-aikikai-hombu-dojo/#comment-19048

Complete aikido: aikido kyohan : the definitive guide to the way of harmony By Roy Suenaka, Christopher Watson

Hi Demetrio.
The above can be found on google. For some reason I couldn't copy the link. Knowing you like to study these things I think you may like this. It gives a very interesting view of the scene at the time and thereafter. Hope you enjoy.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-19-2011, 02:12 PM
Thanks Graham.

I'll take a look.

Peter Goldsbury
09-19-2011, 04:21 PM
I have a copy of Roy Suenaka's book (published by Tuttle in 1997). It contains an illuminating discussion of the split, but does not contain a copy of Abe Tadashi's response.

Best wishes,

DH
09-19-2011, 04:58 PM
K. Ueshiba, Tohei, and Yamada are the first generation students of the Founder. To say that Aikikai has become somewhat questionable and controversial is not entirely correct. It's more correct to say that it started that way.

Yes.. Kisshomaru himself called pre-war aikido the golden age of aikido. There are all sorts of stories, but it was clear that for whatever reason, Kisshomaru was unable to retain the former students like Shioda and Shirata. Shirata had to be pleaded with by O sensei to help, but then Shirata's film, showing basic movements (for power building) as he had learned them and his weapons were banned by Kisshomaru.
Wasn't it clear that Tohei and also Yamaguchi, were the drivers for years? Have we any credible evidence to the contrary?
Dan

Chris Li
09-19-2011, 05:18 PM
Yes.. Kisshomaru himself called pre-war aikido the golden age of aikido. There are all sorts of stories, but it was clear that for whatever reason, Kisshomaru was unable to retain the former students like Shioda and Shirata. Shirata had to be pleaded with by O sensei to help, but then Shirata's film, showing basic movements (for power building) as he had learned them and his weapons were banned by Kisshomaru.
Wasn't it clear that Tohei and also Yamaguchi, were the drivers for years? Have we any credible evidence to the contrary?
Dan

You can't discount Kisaburo Osawa's influence either, I think.

Shioda was (relatively speaking) never much of a weapons guy (he flunked that part of his his 9th dan test).

Saotome was, I know, specifically told not to teach weapons at hombu by Kisshomaru - even in private lessons with his own students. Yamaguchi sometimes taught weapons at hombu - but rarely, and usually just in the private workshops. Of course, Kisshomaru was in less of a position to object where Yamaguchi was concerned.

Best.

Chris

sakumeikan
09-19-2011, 05:18 PM
Yamada Sensei is still quite alive.

Dear Janet,
I meant Tohei Sensei and the 2nd Doshu. I think these two were the main men in the affair.I am aware that Yamada Sensei is alive. Cheers, Joe.

rulemaker
09-19-2011, 09:45 PM
I also have a copy of Roy Suenaka's book "Aikido Complete" and I think it is about time to read it again.

Walker
09-20-2011, 02:23 AM
You can't discount Kisaburo Osawa's influence either, I think.

Shioda was (relatively speaking) never much of a weapons guy (he flunked that part of his his 9th dan test).

Saotome was, I know, specifically told not to teach weapons at hombu by Kisshomaru - even in private lessons with his own students. Yamaguchi sometimes taught weapons at hombu - but rarely, and usually just in the private workshops. Of course, Kisshomaru was in less of a position to object where Yamaguchi was concerned.

One might have some sympathy for Kisshomaru's position if he felt that there was not a strong enough curriculum or pedagogy to fully support the practice of ken or jo. Better nothing at all than something half assed. Indeed that would explain both the absence of training at honbu and the practice at Iwama without recourse to anything other than good sense and decorum on the part of the Doshu.

Hanna B
09-20-2011, 02:51 AM
Shioda was (relatively speaking) never much of a weapons guy (he flunked that part of his his 9th dan test).

We're off topic here, but that story sounds a bit strange to me. If the rank you're referring to is Aikikai (I suppose Shioda was of high Aikikai rank before he left) were there really formal grading tests on that level? And including weapons, even more surprising.

If the rank is Yoshinkan the story also sounds weird. The founder of a style getting rank in his own style, judged by whom?

Chris Li
09-20-2011, 03:04 AM
We're off topic here, but that story sounds a bit strange to me. If the rank you're referring to is Aikikai (I suppose Shioda was of high Aikikai rank before he left) were there really formal grading tests on that level? And including weapons, even more surprising.

If the rank is Yoshinkan the story also sounds weird. The founder of a style getting rank in his own style, judged by whom?

It was 1951 in Iwama, and the uke for the test was...Morihei Ueshiba. I suppose that makes it Aikikai :) .

The first part of the test was sword, the second part was empty hand.

Actually, Shioda never left, since the Yoshinkan never formally separated from the Aikikai - they just sort of developed in parallel after the war. I don't know how it is now, but I believe that Shioda was on the board of directors of the Aikikai until he died, and vice-verse with Kisshomaru and the Yoshinkan.

Best,

Chris

Hanna B
09-20-2011, 03:15 AM
It was 1951 in Iwama, and the uke for the test was...Morihei Ueshiba. I suppose that makes it Aikikai :) .

The first part of the test was sword, the second part was empty hand.

So Ueshiba actually performed grading tests? Interesting, I was under the impression he just handed ranks out in pretty lofty ways. Where did you learn this?

Actually, Shioda never left, since the Yoshinkan never formally separated from the Aikikai - they just sort of developed in parallel after the war. I don't know how it is now, but I believe that Shioda was on the board of directors of the Aikikai until he died, and vice-verse with Kisshomaru and the Yoshinkan.

That's also very intresting.

Chris Li
09-20-2011, 03:16 AM
One might have some sympathy for Kisshomaru's position if he felt that there was not a strong enough curriculum or pedagogy to fully support the practice of ken or jo. Better nothing at all than something half assed. Indeed that would explain both the absence of training at honbu and the practice at Iwama without recourse to anything other than good sense and decorum on the part of the Doshu.

Of course, that may be true, and there's a good argument for that. On the other hand, one could say much the same about the lack of a curriculum or pedagogy for empty hand technique - and that didn't seem to stop them. They went ahead and formulated a curriculum and pedagogy on their own.

Think about it....

Ueshiba adopted a swordsman, Kiyoshi Nakakura, in 1932 to take over his art - according to Nakakura:

Ueshiba Sensei used to say that Aikido is closer to Kendo than it is to Judo. Therefore, he expressed his desire to receive an adopted son from the Kendo side.

It was important enough that he made blood oath to Kashima-Shinto Ryu in order to have Kisshomaru receive instruction in the sword before the war.

In 1951 sword was important enough to make up half of Shioda's 9th dan test.

Of course, we know what importance Ueshiba placed on weapons with Morihiro Saito in Iwama through the late 1950's and 1960's.

So what part of all that didn't the students at hombu understand?

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-20-2011, 03:18 AM
So Ueshiba actually performed grading tests? Interesting, I was under the impression he just handed ranks out in pretty lofty ways. Where did you learn this?


From Gozo Shioda - "Aikido Shugyo", page 207. There's an English translation too, I believe, but I haven't read it.

Best,

Chris

grondahl
09-20-2011, 04:07 AM
From Gozo Shioda - "Aikido Shugyo", page 207. There's an English translation too, I believe, but I haven't read it.


Translated by Jacques Payet and Christopher Johnston. Itīs an interesting read.

Available from Shindokan Books.

Tim Ruijs
09-20-2011, 04:28 AM
Searching around on the Internet for bit I found this Interview in Aikido Journal 1998 with Shizuo Imaizumi Shihan

http://www.durangoaikido.com/interview1.htm

It is pretty long, but very interesting.

at the paragraph
Finally, is there are thing else you would like to comment on in this interview? some notable comments....

Lot of secrecy....;)

Alex Megann
09-20-2011, 05:12 AM
From Gozo Shioda - "Aikido Shugyo", page 207. There's an English translation too, I believe, but I haven't read it.

Best,

Chris

As Peter said, an excellent book, with some fascinating insights from a key figure in aikido history.

I had it by my bedside for several weeks a couple of years back.

Alex

sorokod
09-20-2011, 06:47 AM
On the subject of gradings/promotions, Tohei got his 9th dan in 1960. Was it an actual grading wit technique, ukes. etc... or was it just paperwork?

Demetrio Cereijo
09-20-2011, 07:48 AM
I have a copy of Roy Suenaka's book (published by Tuttle in 1997). It contains an illuminating discussion of the split, but does not contain a copy of Abe Tadashi's response.

Best wishes,

Regarding Tadashi Abe response to Tohei's letter (which I haven't read), I wildly speculate that Abe and Yamada being relatives could have influenced somewhat the tone of the response.

Tadashi Abe had, before of Tohei split, critiqued harshly (it is said) aikido's evolution during the years he spent in France.

DH
09-20-2011, 08:29 AM
Searching around on the Internet for bit I found this Interview in Aikido Journal 1998 with Shizuo Imaizumi Shihan

http://www.durangoaikido.com/interview1.htm

It is pretty long, but very interesting.

at the paragraph
Finally, is there are thing else you would like to comment on in this interview? some notable comments....

Lot of secrecy....;)

The section referred to:
Finally, is there are thing else you would like to comment on in this interview?

You offered to conduct this interview. I would like you to put the following comments in your magazine. I really want to stress these historical facts. Authors tend to disclose their real intention in their first published books. For example, if you write a book for the first time, you will write want you really want to say. Let me give an example from the first aikido book titled Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, published in August 1957 by Kowado, Tokyo. Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei wrote the following in praise of his brother-in-law Koichi Tohei Sensei on page 83 in a section titled "What is Aikido?":

"Tohei, 8th dan, traveled to Hawaii in 1953 staying through 1954 in an effort to spread aikido. While in the USA, he participated in the All-American Judo Championship held in San Jose (California) together with Mr. Kurisaki, the President of the Hawaii Judo Kai. On the request of many people in attendance, Tohei took on five men at the same time as his opponents including Americans and American-born Japanese who were selected from among the judo competitors from all over the USA. Tohei threw them all and the news spread all over the world at that time. All of his opponents were over six feet in height and were unknown to him. Thus he became a hero by easily besting five men using aikido techniques. The true value of aikido was recognized by the general public. In 1955, Tohei again traveled to Hawaii. He returned to Japan in May 1956 and became the Chief Instructor of the Hombu Dojo..."

In November 1970 after Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei became the Second Doshu, he wrote Aikido Nyumon (Introduction to Aikido), published by Tokyo Shoten, When he received this book from the publisher, he gave us a copy with his autograph. On page 249 of Chapter 7 of Aikido Nyumon, entitled "History and the Present," Ueshiba Sensei wrote about Tohei Sensei simply as follows: "In the United States, Koichi Tohei, Shihan Bucho, took a first step in Hawaii in 1953. Since then, the population of aikido increased there rapidly...." By the way, Tohei Sensei was still shihan bucho (chief instructor) at that time and Ueshiba Sensei could not erase this from his book. However, in the revised edition of this book years later, Seisetsu Aikido Kyohan (Detailed Aikido Textbook), this section no longer existed.

Take a look at Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei's latest book, Aikido Ichiro (My Life in Aikido), published in October 1995 by Shuppan Geijutsusha, Tokyo. This book is a sort of memoir of the author through a history of aikido. But this time I can only find mention of the name of Koichi Tohei Sensei. For example, the name of Tohei Sensei appears several times: on page 79 (as a friend of Tadashi Abe Sensei in a quotation from an article by a fiction writer named Kawahara), on page 166 (as a mediator between O-Sensei and a student named Kikuchi), on page 194 (as one of the uchideshi in the Kobukai), and on page 212 (as one of the pioneers who went to foreign countries to spread aikido). Although the book contains several anecdotes involving Hawaii by O-Sensei and Doshu, there is no mention of who took the first steps to spread aikido in Hawaii. Even in the aikido chronology in the appendix, Tohei Sensei's achievements in the United States have been completely obliterated. This, despite the fact that many matters of no consequence in comparison with Tohei Sensei's initial efforts in Hawaii were mentioned. Based on Ueshiba Sensei's Aikido Ichiro, it seems to me that aikido began in the United States almost spontaneously without anyone's effort. Mr. Pranin, how different are the contents of the three books by the same author. Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei!

In conclusion, I am not in a position to criticize Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei because I became a shidoin (instructor) at the Hombu Dojo with his permission. But I no longer belong to either the Aikikai or the Ki no Kenkvukai. Therefore, what I can do as a third party is merely to show certain historical facts by quoting from Ueshiba Sensei's own three books. To sum up, Koichi Tohei Sensei was the first person from Hombu Dojo to spread aikido in the United States. He went to Hawaii in 1953 for the first time and had to build a foundation for aikido among the people in the U.S. He became shihan bucho of the Hombu Dojo after he returned from Hawaii in May 1956. History shows that this is true. These historical facts should not be obliterated from a history of aikido even after Tohei Sensei had resigned from all the positions he held during his time at the Aikikai.

Now is the age of the Internet—an international network of computers. People can seek answers to any questions they have ever had. They can send messages and documents across the world in a flash. In other words, even if one author tries to hide historical facts, another person can easily expose them around the world. For example, John Stevens wrote Invincible Warrior published in 1997 by Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston. This book is a pictorial biography of O-Sensei. Take a look at the photograph taken in Hawaii on page 140. Mr. Stevens wrote: "(Above) Memorial photograph taken after the dedication ceremony of the Honolulu Aikido dojo on March 11, 1961. Koichi Tohei, the father of Aikido in the United States, sits to Morihei's left...." Seeing is believing. Tohei Sensei is sitting next to O-Sensei in this photo. Mr. Stevens described Tohei Sensei as "the father of Aikido in the United States." Therefore, many aikidoists around the world will be able to know the correct history of aikido regarding this event in Hawaii without relying on Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei's latest aikido books in Japanese and English. Even if I don't mention Tohei Sensei's achievements in this magazine, many people will recognize him as the father of aikido in the United States through other publications on the Internet. If they know that Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei has ignored this fact in his latest aikido books, they will think it strange that he has intentionally omitted Tohei Sensei's accomplishments during his association with the Aikikai. A man who intentionally ignores historical facts may end up being consigned to oblivion. I believe that a man's true achievements will surface out of the bare facts. A history does not exist to decorate a man's own achievements.

Chris Li
09-20-2011, 10:17 AM
On the subject of gradings/promotions, Tohei got his 9th dan in 1960. Was it an actual grading wit technique, ukes. etc... or was it just paperwork?

I don't believe there was any testing, IIRC, but I don't have a source for that.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-20-2011, 10:22 AM
The section referred to: Even if I don't mention Tohei Sensei's achievements in this magazine, many people will recognize him as the father of aikido in the United States through other publications on the Internet. If they know that Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei has ignored this fact in his latest aikido books, they will think it strange that he has intentionally omitted Tohei Sensei's accomplishments during his association with the Aikikai. A man who intentionally ignores historical facts may end up being consigned to oblivion. I believe that a man's true achievements will surface out of the bare facts. A history does not exist to decorate a man's own achievements.

All true, of course. Sadly, this isn't an Aikido problem - this is a pretty common Japanese method of dealing with an awkward or embarrassing situation. Ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist.

Apart from those omissions, however, "Aikido Ichiro" is an extremely interesting read.

Best,

Chris

Walker
09-20-2011, 11:03 AM
Think about it....

Ueshiba adopted a swordsman, Kiyoshi Nakakura, in 1932 to take over his art - according to Nakakura:

It was important enough that he made blood oath to Kashima-Shinto Ryu in order to have Kisshomaru receive instruction in the sword before the war.

In 1951 sword was important enough to make up half of Shioda's 9th dan test.

Of course, we know what importance Ueshiba placed on weapons with Morihiro Saito in Iwama through the late 1950's and 1960's.

So what part of all that didn't the students at hombu understand?


Chris, since this is just an off topic sideline to the thread let me just say that I am in full agreement with you vis a vis the importance ken and jo and am aware of Morihei's efforts to educate himself and others on this matter during his lifetime. But (with exceptions like Iwama) we can readily see that for whatever reason ken and jo did not "take" within the post-war aikikai. My above comments were merely the result of a realization of possible admirable motives on the part of Kisshomaru.

An example of lack of discretion is the famous episode during the Sokaku 50th Anniversary Demo where a participant was taken to task by Mochizuki for "demonstrating" the ken in front of actual swordsmen.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-20-2011, 11:17 AM
An example of lack of discretion is the famous episode during the Sokaku 50th Anniversary Demo where a participant was taken to task by Mochizuki for "demonstrating" the ken in front of actual swordsmen.

Add this one, by Ellis Amdur, too:

Finally, Kuroiwa Yoshio once got up at an all shihan meeting and said, as follows, "I think we should stop doing sword and jo taking exhibitions at the Aikikai demos. There are probably real swordsmen in the audience and it is an insult to them, because they could cut anyone in the room in two." He told me that there was dead silence, and then after a long pause, Doshu just changed the subject. After the meeting, Iimura, who taught aikido at the Budokan, said, "I thought there was going to be a bloodbath. I can't believe you got away with that." More interesting, perhaps, was that Saito Morihiro approached him and said, "Yoku Itte kuremashita." which means, essentially, "You did me/us a real favor in saying that." Of course, nothing changed.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=216669&postcount=108

Chris Li
09-20-2011, 11:51 AM
Chris, since this is just an off topic sideline to the thread let me just say that I am in full agreement with you vis a vis the importance ken and jo and am aware of Morihei's efforts to educate himself and others on this matter during his lifetime. But (with exceptions like Iwama) we can readily see that for whatever reason ken and jo did not "take" within the post-war aikikai. My above comments were merely the result of a realization of possible admirable motives on the part of Kisshomaru.

An example of lack of discretion is the famous episode during the Sokaku 50th Anniversary Demo where a participant was taken to task by Mochizuki for "demonstrating" the ken in front of actual swordsmen.

Actually, the guy taken to task was a Daito-ryu guy :)

I was going to say - I don't think Kisshomaru had malicious motives. I do think that he screwed up in that respect, probably exacerbated by Tohei, who never did much in the way of weapons either.

Best,

Chris

DH
09-20-2011, 12:22 PM
The comments about the 50th anniversary meeting and the Daito ryu guy who got lambasted for doing sword work by Mochizuki, came from me...as the guy who got lambasted told me the story personally.
Mochizuki's comments were along the lines of Daito ryu people not knowing a damn thing about sword work and there had been an agreement with him MC'ing the affair that there would be no sword demonstrated. It cost the fellow demonstrating dearly for breaking the agreement. He NEVER expected a Japanese to publicly call him on it, but that is exactly what Mochizuki did..upbraiding him in front of everyone with exactly that comment "You Daito ryu people know nothing about sword," then he told his own men to go get their swords out of their cars (oddly they had come prepared for just such an issue arising) and proceeded to demonstrate real sword.
I think it fits in with Kuroiwa comments "I think we should stop doing sword and jo taking exhibitions at the Aikikai demos. There are probably real swordsmen in the audience and it is an insult to them, because they could cut anyone in the room in two."
And Saito's "You did me/us a real favor in saying that."

And the fact that Of course, nothing changed....is no surprise.

You can't have everything for free and expect to be treated equally in front of those who know what they are doing. Just because you can pick up a weapon doesn't mean you know how to use it nor how it was historically used...no matter how long you swing it.

My favorite quote from Kuroiwa sensei was something along the lines of "The way Aikido is practiced today the only peaceful resolution of a conflict would the aikido-ka lying unconscious at the feet of a real attacker." While meant as a generalization it speaks volumes when added with the above comments about what some of these early Shihan really thought of the efforts they were seeing unfold.
I could not help but notice again Kisshomaru calling prewar Aikido (which was when Ueshiba was still teaching Daito ryu and awarding scrolls.... The golden age of AIkido."

I think the entire history is confusing, repeatedly and intentionally misrepresented, and quite odd. Of course it has some truly grand beginnings and wonderfully uplifting stories as well. I find it quite fun to research and piece together, particularly with some newer, more competent translations and interviews. I think it benefits everyone when trying to understand the truth to at least examine all sides of the issue.
Dan

gregstec
09-20-2011, 01:08 PM
Actually, the guy taken to task was a Daito-ryu guy :)

I was going to say - I don't think Kisshomaru had malicious motives. I do think that he screwed up in that respect, probably exacerbated by Tohei, who never did much in the way of weapons either.

Best,

Chris

True - about the only weapons stuff we did in the early days was Jo kata and Ken suburi - nothing like what Saito was doing.

IMO, the Tohei weapons stuff only helped in understanding how to make the weapon a part of you by extending ki into it as you moved, it did not teach any tactical techniques at all.

Greg

Allen Beebe
09-20-2011, 02:20 PM
True - about the only weapons stuff we did in the early days was Jo kata and Ken suburi - nothing like what Saito was doing.

IMO, the Tohei weapons stuff only helped in understanding how to make the weapon a part of you by extending ki into it as you moved, it did not teach any tactical techniques at all.

Greg

On the other hand . . . several decades back when I was practicing Ki-Aikido with a close student of Tohei's, I was doing a partner Jo form with a young lady and accidentally hit her in the head bringing her to a screeching stop . . .

Sensei: What was that? What are you doing?!!!

Me: I'm sorry Sensei. I didn't do it on purpose, my distancing was just . . .

Sensei: SHE SHOULD BE LYING AT YOUR FEET RIGHT NOW!! You call that JO? Why do I even bother TEACHING you?? Do it again . . . RIGHT this time!! (Stomping off, while my partner and I just stare at each other wide eyed.)

Good times!

(BTW, Doug knows it was a Daito Ryu guy and who specifically it was. He is a good listener and discreet too! ;) )

gregstec
09-20-2011, 02:53 PM
On the other hand . . . several decades back when I was practicing Ki-Aikido with a close student of Tohei's, I was doing a partner Jo form with a young lady and accidentally hit her in the head bringing her to a screeching stop . . .

Sensei: What was that? What are you doing?!!!

Me: I'm sorry Sensei. I didn't do it on purpose, my distancing was just . . .

Sensei: SHE SHOULD BE LYING AT YOUR FEET RIGHT NOW!! You call that JO? Why do I even bother TEACHING you?? Do it again . . . RIGHT this time!! (Stomping off, while my partner and I just stare at each other wide eyed.)

Good times!

(BTW, Doug knows it was a Daito Ryu guy and who specifically it was. He is a good listener and discreet too! ;) )

Well, I did say it was my opinion :) [note to the rest of world: Allen hates it when you talk authoritatively without the proper reference :) ]

Anyway, I did say it was my opinion - however, there was some paired Jo and Ken stuff being taught when I fooled around with some folks from the AAA, which was Toyoda's organization that was originally part of Tohei's Ki Society. Nonetheless, it is still my opinion, that those weapon instructions was really nothing more than how to connect to the weapon and not anything of practical fighting value :)

Greg

Keith Larman
09-20-2011, 03:01 PM
Great story. I really don't want to relive mine (I don't think I could ever apologize enough) but I ended up doing a similar thing. And while I stunned the guy and made him stagger, after chewing me a new orifice or two, sensei pointed out that at least I had contacted well and it was only me pulling it at the last second (as I realized it was going horribly wrong) that prevented a major injury. So he told me that at least I knew now what kind of damage I could do. And how it is supposed to be done "for real".

Then he chewed me out again for the lack of control and judgement in the first place...

I still feel terrible about it... But... It ain't supposed to be dancin' with a stick...

Allen Beebe
09-20-2011, 03:27 PM
Well, I did say it was my opinion :) [note to the rest of world: Allen hates it when you talk authoritatively without the proper reference :) ]

Anyway, I did say it was my opinion - however, there was some paired Jo and Ken stuff being taught when I fooled around with some folks from the AAA, which was Toyoda's organization that was originally part of Tohei's the Ki Society. Nonetheless, it is still my opinion, that those weapon instructions was really nothing more than how to connect to the weapon and not anything of practical fighting value :)

Greg

And under who's authority do you hold and express that opinion?????:D

(It is true that I hate it when individuals talk authoritatively without siting references. I hate it even more when others blindly assume that those that speak authoritatively without siting references present a singular "truth." Too bad for me. In this world it seems that I am destined filled with hatred . . . or perhaps there is a better response to the witnessing of human fallibility (others and mine) than frustration, anger, or hatred . . . medication! That must be the answer!! Didn't they always say, "Life made better through chemistry." or something like that? Mr. Wizard didn't seem overly frustrated when he taught us ignorant little tykes. He must have been properly medicated. He took the bull by the horns, pulled himself up by his bootstraps and made his life better . . . through chemistry. Until then, I think patches are the answer. If I wear a properly designed patch it gives me a sense of belonging. I have the warm fuzzy feeling of superiority over those that don't have OUR patch. And if I play my cards right I can even append a patch to my patch signifying my superiority, in deed AUTHORITY, over even those with just patches! Then I can say what I wish and all others will listen attentively believing all that I say because I have AUTHORITY. I have a PATCH!!! (or a skirt, or a belt, or a name, or . . . )

Allen Beebe
09-20-2011, 03:30 PM
... But... It ain't supposed to be dancin' with a stick...

No. It is dancing' with a stick with Mind and Body Coordinated! :p :D

Sorry Keith,
Allen

Keith Larman
09-20-2011, 03:44 PM
Ha, no argument actually. Tis about that whole mind/body thing. Aiki...

gregstec
09-20-2011, 03:50 PM
And under who's authority do you hold and express that opinion?????:D


Why, yours, of course :D

(ps. I knew I could get him going with that ;) )

Greg

Janet Rosen
09-20-2011, 05:01 PM
No. It is dancing' with a stick with Mind and Body Coordinated! :p :D

Sorry Keith,
Allen

:D

sorokod
09-23-2011, 09:11 AM
Some colour for the background:

"Living History: Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba's 1974 Demonstration in Los Angeles by Stanley Pranin" (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/09/19/living-history-doshu-kisshomaru-ueshibas-1974-demonstration-in-los-angeles-by-stanley-pranin/)

Wiz
09-30-2011, 09:33 PM
how about the letter? whats in it?! how come nobody want to spill it out? is there a conspiracy or something that no one dares to speak of?

Chris Li
09-30-2011, 10:01 PM
how about the letter? whats in it?! how come nobody want to spill it out? is there a conspiracy or something that no one dares to speak of?

It's online at the Aikido Journal website - for anybody with a subscription.

Best,

Chris

sakumeikan
10-01-2011, 02:07 AM
I don't doubt it - but it may as well all come out at this point.

Best,

Chris
Dear Chris, Hopefully , why not ?The Tohei letter is not a bad letter.He simply states that a particular gent had a grudge against him.The letter is quite sad actually.The letter also implies that the second doshu remained passive and did nothing to remedy a situation in the USA
which contributed to the ill feeling between Tohei and the other Shihan. Cheers, Joe

Chris Li
10-01-2011, 02:18 AM
Dear Chris, Hopefully , why not ?The Tohei letter is not a bad letter.He simply states that a particular gent had a grudge against him.The letter is quite sad actually.The letter also implies that the second doshu remained passive and did nothing to remedy a situation in the USA
which contributed to the ill feeling between Tohei and the other Shihan. Cheers, Joe

Actually, I was referring to the Tada letter above...

Best,

Chris

Michael Hackett
10-01-2011, 02:47 AM
Chris, the Tada letter is now available on AJ? I thought the last word was that Stan Pranin would not make it available.

Chris Li
10-01-2011, 02:58 AM
Chris, the Tada letter is now available on AJ? I thought the last word was that Stan Pranin would not make it available.

No - I meant that I was referring to the Abe (misspoke when I said Tada) letter in the post that Joe quoted.

Best,

Chrispoint

Michael Hackett
10-01-2011, 10:30 AM
I just visited AJ and have been unable to find it Chris. I found references to Abe Tadashi Sensei, but couldn't find the letter. Any search hints?

Dave Gallagher
10-01-2011, 10:46 AM
Michael, If you are a paid member, log in and it takes you to the Members Home Page. Look at the section that says :TOP POSTS. The letter link is active and will open a PDF scan of the real letter.

Chris Li
10-01-2011, 11:30 AM
I just visited AJ and have been unable to find it Chris. I found references to Abe Tadashi Sensei, but couldn't find the letter. Any search hints?

I think that two different posts in the same thread are getting confused.

I one post I replied to Wilson that yes, the Tohei letter has been released.

In another post Joe quoted a post I made about the (not yet released) Abe letter, and I responded to that.

Sorry for the confusion...

Best,

Chris

Michael Hackett
10-01-2011, 03:22 PM
Yes, I was confused. I have the Tohei resignation letter and thought you were referring to the rebuttal that I've heard was written by Abe Tadashi Sensei. Thanks for clearing it up. Maybe Stan will release it one of these days.

sakumeikan
10-01-2011, 04:42 PM
I think that two different posts in the same thread are getting confused.

I one post I replied to Wilson that yes, the Tohei letter has been released.

In another post Joe quoted a post I made about the (not yet released) Abe letter, and I responded to that.

Sorry for the confusion...

Best,

Chris
Dear All,
I was referring to the Tohei Sensei resignation letter .I was however suggesting that the letter is no big deal.The content is simply Tohei Sensei expressing his thoughts about his work in the USA and the conflict between him and a well known Shihan. Sorry if I caused people to get blogs mixed up.I would also like to se a copy of Tadashi Abe letter.Cheers, Joe

inframan
05-14-2012, 12:46 PM
The Tohei Sensei resignation letter is now available for free on the AJ blog.

Chris Li
05-14-2012, 06:14 PM
The Tohei Sensei resignation letter is now available for free on the AJ blog.

Contains an interesting letter from some of the Hawaii folks who ended up following Tohei.

Best,

Chris

AikidoDog
05-14-2012, 09:32 PM
It rocked aikido.