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hughrbeyer
09-25-2011, 10:51 AM
This came up in the "Spiritual Power" thread and I thought I'd start a new thread rather than hijacking that one--

Where did O-Sensei pick up his swordwork? Is anything really known about it?

What I've heard, without checking references, is that at least one master swordsman said that Ueshiba was the best swordsman in Japan. I've heard that he said Aikido techniques are based on sword techniques ("When you have no sword, move like you have a sword.") And he regularly demonstrated and taught swordwork.

But I've also heard that there's no real evidence of him being signed up with any sword school or taking lessons from a known master. So where did it come from?

MM
09-25-2011, 12:10 PM
This came up in the "Spiritual Power" thread and I thought I'd start a new thread rather than hijacking that one--

Where did O-Sensei pick up his swordwork? Is anything really known about it?

What I've heard, without checking references, is that at least one master swordsman said that Ueshiba was the best swordsman in Japan. I've heard that he said Aikido techniques are based on sword techniques ("When you have no sword, move like you have a sword.") And he regularly demonstrated and taught swordwork.

But I've also heard that there's no real evidence of him being signed up with any sword school or taking lessons from a known master. So where did it come from?

They came from both Takeda and Daito ryu aiki.

hughrbeyer
09-25-2011, 01:43 PM
Do we know that? Or do we assume that, since he got so much else from Takeda?

(Sincere question, not snark, btw)

Richard Stevens
09-25-2011, 04:46 PM
What I've heard, without checking references, is that at least one master swordsman said that Ueshiba was the best swordsman in Japan.

Considering that sword wasn't his sole focus of study it seems likely that a statement like that would be nothing more than hyperbole. Did Takeda teach him Itto-Ryu? I've heard mention of training in Yagyu Shinkage Ryu.

DH
09-25-2011, 04:55 PM
There are many suspect things about his weapons. But you need to have perspective about certain things. Do you know how many guys broke their promises and or simply the rules and taught koryu to friends. How many others informally traded info ala " You teach me yours, I'll teach you mine but shut up about it?" Oh, the stories!!. It is happening right now in Japan as we speak.
What we do know, (and who knows if it is all); He had a smattering of informal koryu and watching Koryu taught to others. While Takeda taught him, Takeda's own lineage is weird by Japanese standards.
As far as an expert swordsman (wasn't that a kendo and Iai guy?) thinking he was the best in Japan...well, everyone has an opinion right?

Look Takeda and Ueshiba were great Martial artists, so was Musashi-who lacking any formal education in weapons destroyed schools and more or less fought over sixty duels. No one says your stuff has to come from somewhere established to be great stuff. All koryu was gendai at one point and mostly it was from MMA.
Many said Takeda and Ueshiba were genius with the sword. They also both used it supposedly single handed, switching back and forth. Leave it at that. I attribute their skills to their IP/Aiki (gee no surprise there). That doesn't mean that the aiki-ken you are seeing today is what he was doing.
As two Yagyu and Katori guys reluctantly said to Stan on AJ after they visited and trained at Iwama...(paraphrasing as I know the guys in question)
AJ:So what did you think?
Koryu guys: Well. it was interesting.
AJ:So was it good?
Koryu guys:Er...well, we could see how they used it for their aikido
AJ:Come on, what did you think about it as a weapons system?
Koryu guys: Weapons? That aint weapons!
Koryu is Koryu. Aiki weapons are aiki weapons and never the two shall meet, but everyone is happy with what they do.
Dan

Ellis Amdur
09-25-2011, 04:59 PM
Haga Junichi was the one who said that Ueshiba was the best swordsman in Japan. On the other hand, a person expert in classical sword spoke scornfully to me about the way Ueshiba executed yokogi-uchi (hitting the bundle of sticks, a Yakumaru-ha Jigen-ryu practice), because, done properly, one strikes exactly the same point every time (until the sticks break), whereas films of Ueshiba show him hitting the sticks at various portions. (The swordsman said to me, "He's doing exercise, not kenjutsu).

As for where Ueshiba learned what, I'm not aware of any records or accounts of Takeda teaching Ueshiba in detail. However, I've seen one article in Hiden magazine where the writer uses photos of pretty much all the major figures in Daito-ryu and some of Ueshiba's major students as well, to establish that there are several components (technique) that are common to all of them.

Ueshiba is known to have taken other people's forms and saying, "in aiki we do it this way," which suggests that he used sword kata as vessels to hold what he considered his primary study. Among the ryu that he used in this way were Yagyu Shinkage-ryu and Kashima Shinto-ryu.

I could go on for quite a few pages, but - oh yes! It's already been done. HIPS - "A Unified Field Theory: Aiki and Weapons (http://www.edgework.info/buy-martial-arts-book-Hidden-In-Plain-Sight.html)

MM
09-25-2011, 05:16 PM
Hugh,

Taken as a sincere question. The answer, given sincerely, is that I know it. But, when the question turns to the aikido crowd ... do we know it? Mostly, no.

There are videos of Ueshiba with a sword in hand. There are interviews about Ueshiba's weapons work. Stan has tons of reference material. Watch Ueshiba. Then sit and watch as many koryu kenjutsu demonstrations as you can. Youtube has a lot. Do you notice anything similar between Ueshiba and koryu?

Now, who was training koryu sword? Kisshomaru was. What were the conversations like afterwards? His father said, You would do it this way with aiki.

Takeda was known to switch hands when holding a bokken. Ueshiba did, too. Takeda worked with weapons, including the sword. It would be silly not to think that Takeda taught Ueshiba something of the sword. We do know that Takeda taught Ueshiba aiki.

Finally, Ellis Amdur's Hidden in Plain Sight. While Ueshiba "learned" some koryu kenjutsu, it was never complete nor did Ueshiba keep to the koryu model. Instead, Ueshiba took out bits and pieces of what he wanted, used aiki to infuse them with power, and then either practiced them or taught them to a few select people.

And even though it grates on people, the answer is still -- pretty much all the martial skills and abilities about Ueshiba can be traced back to Takeda. Ueshiba *was* a Daito ryu man, through and through. From Takeda to Sagawa to Horikawa to Ueshiba, they all talked about the same things. Just because Ueshiba took some of the spiritual stuff a bit farther than the rest, doesn't mean Ueshiba created something "new". He did exactly like Sagawa and Horikawa did ... they all said they went in different directions from their teacher.

DH
09-25-2011, 05:30 PM
And even though it grates on people, the answer is still -- pretty much all the martial skills and abilities about Ueshiba can be traced back to Takeda.
I don't think that is true, Mark. IP and aiki most certainly, but he wasn't frozen in time. He had plenty of exposure to other things. I even think his aiki grew, as did everyone elses.
Ueshiba *was* a Daito ryu man, through and through. From Takeda to Sagawa to Horikawa to Ueshiba, they all talked about the same things. Just because Ueshiba took some of the spiritual stuff a bit farther than the rest, doesn't mean Ueshiba created something "new". He did exactly like Sagawa and Horikawa did ... they all said they went in different directions from their teacher.
While true, that is attributable more to his aiki and movement, then to his waza. He changed the practice greatly. Some think for better, some for worse. I think he made improvements in some areas, not in others, but that's just opinion. Aikido is not DR that is for sure, although a very intriguing discussion can be had behind closed doors as to what Takeda looked like in person and on film. Maybe...just maybe, Those two were not as different as some would like to think.;)
Dan

MM
09-25-2011, 05:53 PM
I don't think that is true, Mark. IP and aiki most certainly, but he wasn't frozen in time. He had plenty of exposure to other things. I even think his aiki grew, as did everyone elses.


I disagree. If Takeda had not taught him, Ueshiba would have been just another unknown person who had some training in bayonet, judo, and a bit of sword. He would have been just another of those muscle-bound martial artists who liked it when people broke their hand on his head. He would have remained unknown.

While Ueshiba did learn some sword from Takeda ... which is true, even if we don't have any direct proof. It's too coincidental that Ueshiba swung the bokken and switched hands with it easily. Some training was there. But, the fact remains that Ueshiba never picked up any koryu to any extent except enough to pull out bits and pieces of what he liked that he could fuel with aiki.

Prior to Takeda, nada. After Takeda, we do it this way with aiki. If not for Takeda, Ueshiba probably never would have picked up the sword at all.


While true, that is attributable more to his aiki and movement, then to his waza. He changed the practice greatly. Some think for better, some for worse. I think he made improvements in some areas, not in others, but that's just opinion. Aikido is not DR that is for sure, although a very intriguing discussion can be had behind closed doors as to what Takeda looked like on film. Maybe...just maybe, Those two were not as different as some would like to think.;)
Dan

I don't think he changed *his* practice greatly.

From Takeda, "The purpose of this art is not to be killed, not to be struck, not to be kicked, and we will not strike, will not kick, and will not kill. It is completely for self-defense. We can handle opponents expediently, utilizing their own power, through their own aggression. So even women and children can use it."

Takeda stating his art is not to strike, kick or kill. Completely for self defense. Utilize the opponent's power. Ueshiba repeated these core values in his own way, but he got them from his teacher. Everyone thinks that Daito ryu is all kill, but according to Takeda, it isn't. Who's to say that Takeda didn't change in his later years towards this more spiritual, universal, harmonizing, self defense attitude? There are things out there that sort of point to this. Takeda's words, Sagawa's scroll (see below), etc.

Even more evidence of where peace, love, and harmony came from is looking at Sagawa. The scroll in his dojo:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showpost.php?p=414048&postcount=27

Aiki is the harmonization of ki.

The entire universe sustains itself perfectly through maintaining an endlessly fluid balance, or harmonization. This harmony is aiki.

It is never stagnant, but rather unites while in this constant state of movement to create harmony without producing negativity or conflict since the ki of aiki is natural.

The harmony created by aiki must serve as a fundamental part of the foundation of human society. This concept is known as World Peace through Aiki (Aiki no Daien Wa).

One should use the principle of aiki to harmonize with and de-escalate those who threaten violence. In the case where an enemy has already initiated an attack, one should rely completely on the principle of aiki to blend with or redirect their attack, which in turn produces a state of harmony.


Sagawa is talking about the harmony of the universe, aiki as part of that, world peace, etc.

Who is the common factor in both Sagawa and Ueshiba? It sure isn't Oomoto kyo. It's Takeda.

Sagawa never expanded on those ideas the way that Ueshiba did. But, so far, most everything in Ueshiba's martial skills and outlook can be traced back to Takeda.

Ueshiba, like Sagawa, went off on his own aiki training. The difference is Sagawa went one direction and Ueshiba went with Oomoto kyo, kotodama, etc. The ideas behind both, though, are nearly identical, and most likely came from Takeda.

I don't think Modern Aikido is like Modern Daito ryu. But then again, I don't think Sagawa or Horikawa are anything like Modern Daito ryu either. And I really do think Takeda, up until he died, thought of Ueshiba as a Daito ryu student. I think, had Takeda lived post war, he would still have thought of Ueshiba the same way. After all, Takeda saw Ueshiba through all of his Oomoto kyo studies, changes, and training. Who was it that kept trying to show up at Ueshiba's door? Who was the one who was never there?

DH
09-25-2011, 06:15 PM
I disagree. If Takeda had not taught him, Ueshiba would have been just another unknown person who had some training in bayonet, judo, and a bit of sword. He would have been just another of those muscle-bound martial artists who liked it when people broke their hand on his head. He would have remained unknown.
Well, I think you are taking this way past the question at hand. Not to be nitpicky...seriously.

Mark Murray wrote:
And even though it grates on people, the answer is still -- pretty much all the martial skills and abilities about Ueshiba can be traced back to Takeda.
Come on Man. The guy stopped training with Takeda before the war and he continued to train for thirty more years! I am possibly the strongest advocate on the web that he was Daito ryu through and through. I drive people nuts over it. That his internals and aiki are sourced to Takeda is certain, but hell all of his peers stated they all grew past Takeda's teaching. All 5 of the greats.
I am certain that when he was hanging out an experimenting/ training/watching all manner of things; koryu, modern weapons, Bayonet, even playing with Judo, that he...learned..something...anything different than what he got from Takeda.
I mean let's face it, he came from an informal Itto ryu and Jikishinkage ryu background into watching/ possibly training (I'd bet on it) informally in TSKSR and KSR and Yagyu. No one is EVER going to mistake Itto ryu's approach for Shinto ryu.
Ya don't think he picked up some things? Continued to develop? So even if he picked up one principle...cough. With all that exposure that's it...ONE...are you kidding me....What was he, blind? :D
There goes your absolute argument out the window. It's not reasonable.
Cheers
Dan

Ellis Amdur
09-25-2011, 06:26 PM
Who was it that kept trying to show up at Ueshiba's door? Who was the one who was never there?

Mark - not quite. In an interview with one of the prewar deshi from the 1930's, (I can't remember who of the top of my head), he described his admiration for Ueshiba's absolute fidelity to service to Takeda when he came, that this was the thing that made the greatest impression on him. Stan Pranin enumerates Ueshiba training with Takeda through fairly late in the 1930's.

There was only one time that Ueshiba "was not there," the time leading to their break. For those who don't know the story (check AJ for details), one of the deshi was at the dojo and heard screaming outside and there was Takeda cracking a nikkyo on a taxi-driver whom Takeda thought had overcharged him. He then went in to the dojo, prowled around looking for attackers, pulled a table up against the wall to barricade himself, accused the deshi of possibly poisoning him, and when he found out that Ueshiba was in Osaka at his new gig at the Asahi newspaper, went there and walked in, said essentially that Ueshiba didn't know what he was doing and took over. THAT'S when Ueshiba made a de facto break, by simply leaving town. In the context of the disciple-master relationship, particularly with one as difficult as Takeda, I think Ueshiba just threw up his hands, not able to conceive of a way to successfully resign face-to-face. If the song had been available at the time, I imagine Ueshiba was singing this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY7uSo9g-Cs&feature=related) all the way back to Tokyo.

On the matter of "peace-and-love-in-DiaitoFighto," it is very possible that in his latter years, Takeda paid lip-service to harmony in the human sphere, but he was a nasty old coot, a man who stabbed his own son when he tried to cover him up on a cold night, and blamed the little boy for getting himself wounded in the first place. (And NO, this is not normal behavior for bushi of that or any other period. It is the behavior of profoundly traumatized folks with PTSD or those who are simply paranoid) - AND - I truly do not believe that THIS was what Ueshiba meant when he said that Takeda sensei showed him "true budo" ;)

One point, by the way, that most writing about this period don't mention. That not only Ueshiba, but Takeda took this as a goodbye - a way of making a break. Ueshiba continues to travel to Osaka, and to teach in various venue, and all the while, Takeda was there as well, teaching at the Asahi newspaper. Takeda never sought him out either.
Ellis Amdur

graham christian
09-25-2011, 08:39 PM
This came up in the "Spiritual Power" thread and I thought I'd start a new thread rather than hijacking that one--

Where did O-Sensei pick up his swordwork? Is anything really known about it?

What I've heard, without checking references, is that at least one master swordsman said that Ueshiba was the best swordsman in Japan. I've heard that he said Aikido techniques are based on sword techniques ("When you have no sword, move like you have a sword.") And he regularly demonstrated and taught swordwork.

But I've also heard that there's no real evidence of him being signed up with any sword school or taking lessons from a known master. So where did it come from?

Hi Hugh. yes it came up on my thread and as I said, others may have much more data on it. By the look of the answers that appears to be the case.

One thing I remember seeing though was relating to the time period and traditions. Once again others here can fill in the blanks but basically it seems to me that something called otome ryu which if I remember rightly was a name representing secret teachings was where many could learn swordwork and indeed iaido.

Being within not only that time period but also that 'hierarchy' for want of a better word I would be surprised if he didn't learn much from such sources.

Regards.G.

DH
09-25-2011, 09:26 PM
Graham
Otome was a term used for official arts of a clan or say, the Shogun. It would encompass multiple arts in a given domain. It was a designation not an art. And of them, Iai-do would never be a part. Those arts came later, like;
Kend-do.
Ju-do
Iai-do
Aiki-do
Ueshiba was only a member of one Samurai art; Yagyu Shingan ryu, which is mostly jujutsu and that only part time on the weekends as it was a five hour train ride away. The rest of his supposed connection and study in multiple Samurai arts is all a modern myth. His training was pretty much a little Judo under a 17 yr old shodan when he was a kid, part time study in Yagyu, some Army training, and then twenty plus years of Daito ryu, and then he opened his doors teaching Daito ryu for about Sixteen years, gradually changed the waza retired and that was it until he went back to help Kisshomaru try to get people back into the dojo after the war.

All of your early prewar Deshi -like Shirata and Shioda, were students of Daito ryu not Aiki-do. They all have their scrolls. Budo Renshu was a privately published book that Ueshiba gave as a gift. It is a book of Daito ryu waza. Gradually, things changed. Stan has it pretty much all mapped out to time and place and even names and witnessess. There is an even an interview about it here on Aikiweb.
In essence Aiki-do has no connection to the Samurai.

Dan

DH
09-25-2011, 10:01 PM
Graham
I would like to again point out to you that this stuff is widely known. Knowing in/ yo is Ying/Yang, knowing what the Samurai arts were, what they are called, and that your art is not one of them. Knowing what your founder did, knowing he was reciting Japanese and Chinese axioms as his doka and his internals and aiki are in keeping with a broader Asian model is getting to be more of a requirement to be conversant and professional.

Teachers really.....seriously need to get up to speed on this stuff. They owe it to their students. Gone is the day of dazzling a student base in a closed dojo who largely had no access to information. It's crucial to understand what the art was and is, and it makes people sound more credible when they open their mouths to an educated audience. Its going to get more and more embarrassing if they don't at least know that what they are saying has...oh thousands of years of history behind it and their students googled it and the teacher was the dumbest one in the room.. And its worse when the information is so readily available to the teacher!!
I mean...ouch!
A word to the wise is sufficient, as this scenario is already playing itself out in dojo all over.
Just Say'n
Dan

hughrbeyer
09-25-2011, 11:52 PM
Mark, I answered your "Ueshiba *was* a Daito ryu man, through and through" claim back in the thread where you first made it, and you never posted a rebuttal. Did you miss it?

The summary is that by the time of the Asahi News demo in 1935, I think Ueshiba has already moved well beyond Daito-Ryu to something that looks a lot like modern aikido. This is before any handing over of the art to his son, and before any post-war epiphany. When did the final break with Takeda happen? After this?

I spent the flight to Chicago re-reading the weapons chapter in HIPS. Picking up on Dan's point, the idea that a serious martial artist of the period wouldn't be training sword somehow is unlikely, and it's certainly likely he learned from Takeda.

Is there any video around of Ueshiba switching the sword from hand to hand? Where's the evidence for that? Asking because I don't think it's mentioned in HIPS and it would be cool to see.

kewms
09-26-2011, 12:11 AM
I think the fact that more than a few of Ueshiba Sensei's students looked elsewhere for sword training -- with his approval and assistance -- is telling. "Best swordsman in Japan" or not, it's clear that both he and his students thought there was more to learn about sword than he was able to teach.

Katherine

Alec Corper
09-26-2011, 03:59 AM
Having trained in shinkendo for a number of years, a modern form of kenjutsu, I think I would say that O Sensei was not a swordsman in the koryu or bujutsu sense. That he used weapons as a part of his power development and his own misogi I believe, having seen the same in the system of my teacher Hiroshi Kato Shihan. I can handle a live blade as a weapon, but the bokken in his hands comes alive and is strongly reminiscent of O Sensei's movements.
It is clear from many sources that Takeda was a swordsman, but peculiarly he also used two swords. Whether this was the Nitoken attributed to Musashi, (doubtful) or something he designed himself (more likely) to develop cutting hands i cannot source properly. Undoubtedly Ellis has more historical data on this.
It has also been stated a number of times that Ueshiba was a genius thief, capable of watching a demonstration and then introducing his version a few days later as a training tool in his dojo, "in aikido we do it this way"One aspect of weapon training that is important is that by extending the mind towards the end of the weapon your body follows a kind of rearrangement in internal organization. This is most keenly felt in the long pole exercises of CMA. A 2 meter pole is difficult a 3 meter pole almost impossible unless the arms are almost anchored to the the central body mass.
Traditional swordsmanship enforces a 2 hands joined together approach to body movement, often stressed in Aikido and yet Takeda split the hands and maintained, I believe, a 2 handed connection to his center. Thoughts anyone?

Richard Stevens
09-26-2011, 09:12 AM
I still find myself curious as to how much Itto-Ryu training Ueshiba received from Sokaku, if any at all. There are obviously questions regarding the development of Sokaku's take on Itto-Ryu. However, having seen the result of its passing from Tokimune to Okabayashi and to the Uhler's, it's glaringly obvious that the menkyo holders of Sokaku-den Itto-ryu have an extremely high skill level.

MM
09-26-2011, 09:35 AM
Mark, I answered your "Ueshiba *was* a Daito ryu man, through and through" claim back in the thread where you first made it, and you never posted a rebuttal. Did you miss it?

The summary is that by the time of the Asahi News demo in 1935, I think Ueshiba has already moved well beyond Daito-Ryu to something that looks a lot like modern aikido. This is before any handing over of the art to his son, and before any post-war epiphany. When did the final break with Takeda happen? After this?

I spent the flight to Chicago re-reading the weapons chapter in HIPS. Picking up on Dan's point, the idea that a serious martial artist of the period wouldn't be training sword somehow is unlikely, and it's certainly likely he learned from Takeda.

Is there any video around of Ueshiba switching the sword from hand to hand? Where's the evidence for that? Asking because I don't think it's mentioned in HIPS and it would be cool to see.

Hi Hugh,
Yeah, must have missed it. Do you have a link? I'm currently mulling over Dan and Ellis' posts. I'd be remiss if I didn't give them some weight, time, and thought. :D

Mark

Cliff Judge
09-26-2011, 11:05 AM
Takeda was known to switch hands when holding a bokken. Ueshiba did, too.

Mark, I've never heard this before about O Sensei. Where have you read or seen this?

I mean let's face it, he came from an informal Itto ryu and Jikishinkage ryu background into watching/ possibly training (I'd bet on it) informally in TSKSR and KSR and Yagyu.

Dan or anybody, what was the Katori connection? I am aware that O Sensei had a high-level Yagyu Shinkage ryu swordsman train with him, and he sent Kisshomaru to train in Kashima Shinto ryu. I am not sure if I've read anything tangible about a connection to Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto ryu.

My two cents, Ueshiba lived a life where there was a good deal of "ambient" sword training going on, but it doesn't seem to me that he ever pursued sword training for its own sake; I don't think he went through a traditional shu ha ri process inside a koryu.

Takeda no doubt showed him plenty of swordwork, and other weapons - but it doesn't seem to me that he formally trained him in Ono ha Itto ryu, or else you'd see a lot more of that school in modern aikiken. So its best to say, the stuff he learned from Takeda was "informed" by Ono ha Itto ryu and Jikishinkage ryu.

Ellis's Hidden in Plain Sight mentions that Ueshiba had a student who was a high-ranking Yagyu Shinkage ryu swordsman, and there is the case of the YSR menkyo given to Ueshiba by Takeda that still boggles my mind - I accept that it happened but I still don't understand what it actually was.

We know that Kisshomaru was sent to train Kashima Shinto ryu, and that O Sensei was also entered into the roles there. In my very humble opinion, there is no stronger influence on Saito Sensei's aikiken than Kashima Shinto ryu. I understand that Saito Sensei did NOT train Kashima Shinto ryu, so this to me indicates that Kashima Shinto ryu was actually the most significant koryu kenjutsu influence on Ueshiba. (Unless Saito's aikiken actually comes from Kisshomaru...)

But hey - he also trained Yagyu Shingan ryu for some time, right? That school has sword. And I believe its a Kashima-descended system as well - straight bokken and all that.

Who knows what else he may have picked up while serving in the army. He practiced jukendo - did that have any sword component? And what's the deal with the time, place, and class that he grew up in - did kids go at each other with bokken? Might be a silly point, but I think the deal is that swordwork was always around, adjacent to what he was working on. I think he thought it was perhaps boring, perhaps archaic, perhaps shallow. But I am pretty sure he was trying to make Aikido something that superseded the sword, went beyond it.

Chris Li
09-26-2011, 12:04 PM
Dan or anybody, what was the Katori connection? I am aware that O Sensei had a high-level Yagyu Shinkage ryu swordsman train with him, and he sent Kisshomaru to train in Kashima Shinto ryu. I am not sure if I've read anything tangible about a connection to Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto ryu.

Yoshino Sugino and Minoru Mochizuki were both pre-war Ueshiba and Katori students. I have no idea how much Ueshiba watched or absorbed (if anything at all).

I'd also note that Kiyoshi Nakakura had a kendo group going at the Kobukan while he was there.

Best,

Chris

Ellis Amdur
09-26-2011, 12:16 PM
As I note in HIPS, Sugino sensei recalls, post-war, accidentally meeting Ueshiba and the latter asking him to teach him TSKSR spear (which is, in fact, rather unique). Sugino replies that he is unworthy, he'll send his teacher, and Ueshiba replies that he'd rather learn from Sugino.

There are a couple of other ramifications that I discuss in the text, but here, it is significant to note that Ueshiba does NOT want to be formally initiated in the school, he does NOT want to learn the entire curriculum, he sees a certain something that intrigues him and he desires to incorporate this something in his own training regimen.

That, in a nut-shell, sums up how he learned various weaponry, post Takeda (which as much as anything was, it is fairly safe to infer, was Takeda's derivation from Hozoin-ryu sojutsu). And that, in itself is interesting - one of the first weapons he learned was jukendo, he learned spear from Takeda, and then, at the twilight of his career, he circles around with a desire to learn a very different version of spear.

Ellis Amdur

MM
09-26-2011, 12:29 PM
As I note in HIPS, Sugino sensei recalls, post-war, accidentally meeting Ueshiba and the latter asking him to teach him TSKSR spear (which is, in fact, rather unique). Sugino replies that he is unworthy, he'll send his teacher, and Ueshiba replies that he'd rather learn from Sugino.


Ellis,

I once asked someone knowledgeable, but outside of any koryu, if Ueshiba had ever met Otake from TSKSR. The answer was, "I believe he did". Nothing certain, mind you, but if Ueshiba had met Otake ... there might be a lot more to the situation with Sugino.

Mark

MM
09-26-2011, 12:31 PM
Mark, I've never heard this before about O Sensei. Where have you read or seen this?


I'm pretty sure I've read it. Just don't recall where at the moment. Good bet is from somewhere on Aikido Journal. :D

As for seen ... I believe there is video of Ueshiba swinging a bokken and switching hands with it. I'm not sure which video it's on though, sorry.

If I run across the references, I'll post them.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-26-2011, 12:32 PM
There is a translation of an early 20th century japanese military swordmanship and bayonet fencing manual in, the usually interesting website, kenshi247.net.

Part 1 (http://kenshi247.net/blog/2010/04/12/kenjutsu-kyohan-part-1-guntojutsu/), part 2 (http://kenshi247.net/blog/2010/04/19/kenjutsu-kyohan-part-2-jukenjutsu/) and part 3 (http://kenshi247.net/blog/2010/04/23/kenjutsu-kyohan-part-3-joba-guntojutsu/).

I don't think what Ueshiba practised while he was serving would be very different from what is shown in the manual linked.

MM
09-26-2011, 12:40 PM
Oh, and I want to explain my initial posts a bit more. I'm told that koryu people can look at someone and tell what koryu that someone has studied. In other words, a Kashima ryu person doesn't look or move like a Katori ryu person or an Itto ryu person.

If you look at videos on youtube of koryu and look at videos of Ueshiba, Ueshiba does not move or look like any koryu.

Add to the above that Ueshiba was taught Daito ryu aiki and that changed how he moved and used weapons.

Ueshiba never studied a koryu long enough to have that koryu mold him, change him. But, Ueshiba studied Daito ryu aiki long enough to have that mold and change him. Ask any koryu person (who has had a bit of time in) if they think that someone with less than 5 years of study knows the art? That this person of less than 5 years study is indicative of the art? Now, think about Ueshiba's studies of sword.

Could Ueshiba have picked up something from other places or people? Yes, definitely. But it would have all been viewed from aiki. As Ueshiba would say, we would do it this way with aiki.

Trace aiki back and you find Takeda.

Ellis Amdur
09-26-2011, 02:06 PM
Just like aikido, there is selective rewriting of history in TSKSR, as the '"single shihan system" was not true in previous generations. In fact, in the earlier part of the 20th century, all of the following were shihan under Isaza Morisada: Yamaguchi Kumajiro, Kamagata Minosuke, Tamai Kisaburo, Shiina Ichizo, Ito Tanekichi, Kuboki Sozaemon, Isobe Kouhei, and Hayashi Yazaemon. Hayashi was Otake's teacher. Sugino studied primarily with Tamai, Kuboki, Ito and Shiina at the Kodokan from 1926. Tamai, Shiina and Sugino were TSKSR's representatives to the Kobudo Shinkokai, founded in 1935. Sugino was one of the TSKSR representatives selected to present Japanese budo before Adolf Hitler.

Otake studied with Hayashi Yazaemon (1892-1964), starting at the age of 16 in 1942. In other words, Sugino was already one of the most prominent budoka in Japan, when Otake was nine years old.

If Otake and Ueshiba met, the young man would hardly have been on his radar - there were no political issues anyway, at that time, in TSKSR, and Otake would have simply been a kid in Chiba, unknown outside his own neighborhood.

NOTE: I know full well how political the discussions on TSKSR can get. Otake sensei was brilliant, and if the last soke felt that his ryu was best served by a single shihan designated as the "carpenter's rule" of the school, that was his right. But Sugino's menkyo was never revoked (nor, other than some heinous crime, could it be, as it was bequeathed by a previous soke). Currently these two factions are reunited, fwiw.

Ellis Amdur

Ellis Amdur
09-26-2011, 02:24 PM
HERE (http://www.koryu.nl/koryu.nl/artik.b2.ENG.budo.kyohan.html) is a very intriguing history of Sugino Yoshio.

graham christian
09-26-2011, 03:18 PM
Graham
Otome was a term used for official arts of a clan or say, the Shogun. It would encompass multiple arts in a given domain. It was a designation not an art. And of them, Iai-do would never be a part. Those arts came later, like;
Kend-do.
Ju-do
Iai-do
Aiki-do
Ueshiba was only a member of one Samurai art; Yagyu Shingan ryu, which is mostly jujutsu and that only part time on the weekends as it was a five hour train ride away. The rest of his supposed connection and study in multiple Samurai arts is all a modern myth. His training was pretty much a little Judo under a 17 yr old shodan when he was a kid, part time study in Yagyu, some Army training, and then twenty plus years of Daito ryu, and then he opened his doors teaching Daito ryu for about Sixteen years, gradually changed the waza retired and that was it until he went back to help Kisshomaru try to get people back into the dojo after the war.

All of your early prewar Deshi -like Shirata and Shioda, were students of Daito ryu not Aiki-do. They all have their scrolls. Budo Renshu was a privately published book that Ueshiba gave as a gift. It is a book of Daito ryu waza. Gradually, things changed. Stan has it pretty much all mapped out to time and place and even names and witnessess. There is an even an interview about it here on Aikiweb.
In essence Aiki-do has no connection to the Samurai.

Dan

Hi Dan.
All very interesting. As I pointed out to Hugh, others will fill in the blanks.

As I've also said I believe Stan and Ellis are good historians.

I do not contest to be a great historian, it has it's place. My theory of teaching is maybe different to yours, maybe similar, but usually I find different to most.

Like your explanation of otome and I'm quite aware it wasn't an art but a designation so to speak. On past reading of it I took the concept not unsimilar to things you have said in as much as the hierarchy in these fields tended to share certain things with each other.

I also feel I understand Ueshibas way of learning which to me was the way of learning and indeed teaching in those circles, a way I have seen westerners belittle or not understand.

Their way was to teach basic principles and leave the student to keep practicing, practicing, practicing until they understood. Thus the same view should be applied to how they learned. Ueshiba would therefore only be interested in certain principles he saw in a type of swordwork or jo or spear or whatever. So he wouldn't need too long to get what he wanted in order to go and then practice practice practice.

Thus they were not exactly into full historical relevence as the primary purpose and secondly it is not really of much use until you are able enough in the skill. This is fundamentally different from most peoples approach for they have knowing the data and history as more important first when they have no idea how to do it.

Such is my perspective.

Now as far as what you have written above I am not disagreeing with any of it except the final sentence.

Why? Purely and simply because the weapons were those used by samurai. The principles of such weapons never changes. Thus it is linked.

Secondly because my old teacher wielded and used the sword as such so I have seen it, seen his demonstrations of it, seen his use of it versus people from sword arts, shown his explanations of it and relationship to Aikido, even know of an incident between him and a very famous Shihan of the past on said subject which took the form of a challenge and cannot be repeated here on this forum.

The point is for me the understanding of the principles involved, no more no less for they are the same throughout history and into the future. So I hope that clears more about where I am coming from. That doesn't mean I know more historical facts and it also doesn't mean I wouldn't benefit from knowing more historical facts.

I have a friend who is a great historian on the subject of the asia and the middle east. Listening to him is great, it's like being taken off into another time as if you are there experiencing it.(nothing to do with martial arts but purely cultural) So I do see the use of such.
Why else are we fascinated by period movies?

I also know that it is how factual that experience is that makes all the difference. However perspective is the key and it is that which gives us debate and argument and long may we have them.

Regards.G.

Cliff Judge
09-26-2011, 03:50 PM
I also feel I understand Ueshibas way of learning which to me was the way of learning and indeed teaching in those circles, a way I have seen westerners belittle or not understand.

Their way was to teach basic principles and leave the student to keep practicing, practicing, practicing until they understood. Thus the same view should be applied to how they learned. Ueshiba would therefore only be interested in certain principles he saw in a type of swordwork or jo or spear or whatever. So he wouldn't need too long to get what he wanted in order to go and then practice practice practice.

I think I agree with you that Ueshiba taught principals and left it to the student to practice until they understood.

However this is actually very different than the way koryu are taught. Classically, the Sensei teaches you kata and that's what you practice for years. You learn the principals intuitively by practicing the forms under the guidance of a master teacher. I have heard that principals are elucidated at certain intervals by revealing gokui to the student, but only after a long period of grinding.

I am very comfortable with the idea that Ueshiba taught principles and not kata, and I am also comfortable saying that I am not convinced this is the best way to really transmit the art.

....and with that, we're off topic.

OwlMatt
10-05-2011, 10:30 AM
Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere cites records saying that O Sensei learned Yagyu kenjutsu from Masakatsu Nakai in 1903. The fact that only one year is listed means that he was probably just briefly dabbling, though. I can't find a whole lot of evidence of other sword instruction coming from anyone but Takeda.

Ellis Amdur
10-05-2011, 11:01 AM
There are a few errors I know of in my book, Hidden in Plain Sight (http://www.edgework.info/buy-books-on-martial-arts.html), most notably regarding the Shinkage-ryu menkyo that Takeda Sokaku gave Ueshiba and an error regarding a citation from the Kojiki - but that aside, the information in the book is pretty accurate. There is a very long chapter, A Unified Field Theory: Aiki and Weapons, that breaks down all that is known, to date, regarding what weapons and weapon-systems Takeda Sokaku and Ueshiba Morihei trained. There is surely more, particularly regarding Takeda (where did he learn kusarigama, for example? His son says that he would teach people things apart from the "aiki arts" that he learned in his travels), but everything in HIPS is either straight-forward, or in examples such as the question of Kukishin-ryu and aiki-jo, clearly shows the avenue for further research.
A lot of the same ground is gone over and over again in discussion like this one, using such poorly researched books as Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere (it was a pioneering work, no doubt, but relied exclusively on such English language sources as Black Belt magazine). Ueshiba did NOT study "Yagyu kenjutsu" from Nakai Masakatsu. He studied Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu taijutsu (http://www.arakido.org/) for several intermittent years. It is almost sure that this was primarily the jujutsu component, as there are no elements of Shingan-ryu kenjutsu or bojutsu in Ueshiba's methods.
In fact, in an interview which the interested can find on Aikido Journal, Ueshiba explicitly says he studied Yagyu-ryu jujutsu.

(People might save some time by having a look at HIPS, and starting the discussion from there. Just sayin')

Ellis Amdur

hughrbeyer
10-05-2011, 11:21 AM
I have to say, with great respect for the research you've done, it's still important to remember we are piecing together bits and pieces from the available evidence and there's more about the lives of both men that we don't know than that we do. It's very different to say "There's no evidence for him studying X" than to say "He never studied X." I know you know that, but the distinction gets lost in discussion.

In a lot of ways I'm more impressed by arguments of the form "Whether he studied X or not, it doesn't seem to have influenced him because there are no aspects of X style that show up in his own style." There, I think, we are on firmer ground.

What's the real story with regard to the Shinkage-ryu menkyo?

DH
10-05-2011, 12:04 PM
I have to say, with great respect for the research you've done, it's still important to remember we are piecing together bits and pieces from the available evidence and there's more about the lives of both men that we don't know than that we do. It's very different to say "There's no evidence for him studying X" than to say "He never studied X." I know you know that, but the distinction gets lost in discussion.

That's arguing a negative. Stan has pretty much documented and cross referenced every year of his life and who he was with. It leaves little to apparently very active imaginations, who want to keep adding.
Example:
Kisshomaru has it:
That Ueshiba was already so profound a martial artist that on their meeting, Takeda could sense his skill as they passed by each other in the corridor. And thus they met as equals.
Yoshida has it:
That he introduced Ueshiba to Takeda and that later Ueshiba was crying in the corner from fear of Takeda's skills.
Kisshomaru said:
Ueshiba also did Daito ryu too- among a host of things he supposedly trained.
Stan proved:
Ueshiba...er... for some strange reason, liked studying with an equal.....for 23 years. And when he opened his doors to teach, taught Daito ryu for 16 + years.
Hey, whatever floats their boat or makes their myth work.
I find a striking disparity between Ueshiba stating that "Takeda opened my eyes to true Budo", and Kisshomaru implying they met as equals.
There is a lot of nonsense surrounding the Aikikai's colorful version of events- which some apologists say we need to understand contextually- that it was okay to lie. It was a writing style.
Dan

hughrbeyer
10-05-2011, 03:37 PM
Yeah, it's arguing a negative and therefore not much good for supporting any specific point. ("He studied X because there's no evidence he didn't.") But our knowledge is sketchy and these guys were secretive. Under those circumstances "He didn't study X because there's no evidence he did" is also an unsafe claim.

I still want to hear the real story on that menkyo. If it's true, then we are faced with either Takeda giving Ueshiba a menkyo that would make them both a laughingstock, or Takeda and Ueshiba having training we don't know about. The first is a stretch for me; the latter, unsurprising.

No arguments on the subject of Aikido myth-making (or anti-Aikido myth-making, for that matter).

phitruong
10-05-2011, 09:52 PM
there are some rare folks who can look at things and assimilate pretty quickly. Ueshiba might be one of those who can look at stuffs and understood the principles behind them. he could be Ueshiba of Borg. :D

incidentally, in asia, it was considered as very bad manner to watch someone doing martial art uninvited, for fear that you might steal their secrets. thousand years of war tend to make folks paranoid and secretive.

Ellis Amdur
10-05-2011, 10:44 PM
Josh Reyer corrected my interpretation of the Shinkage-ryu menkyo on Aikiweb. Somewhere. (I do believe the motivation, as I speculated, is unchanged).
But that correction does not creditably suggest that Takeda taught him Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. Why not?
1. Not one student of Takeda who demonstrates sword technique has an iota of YSR methodology.
2. If Ueshiba actually merited a menkyo in YSR, then a) why was his sword technique in the film in the 1930's so poor? And so un-Yagyu like.

We already know this. Gejo Kosaboro, a YSR exponent was Takeda Sokaku's student. He later became Ueshiba's student. (1925-30). He showed Ueshiba some Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, which Ueshiba experimented with ("in aiki, we do it this way"). His training partner was Tomiki Kenji. Later, he taught his adaptation of three kata to Hikitsuchi Morio. (Contemporary to his experimental adaptation of Kashima Shinto-ryu kata at Iwama).

My guess? Takeda felt that as Gejo was his student, he had a right to pass on such a menkyo (which is dubious as a menkyo in certain important respects, such as it having no lineage on it - something that is almost de rigueur.

And Hugh, all I'm saying is why not jump off established research to get something new, as opposed to ignoring such research and using long debunked "info" like that in Ratti and Wesbrook? The last chapter of my book was several pages of such suggestions - where would one go from here, so to speak - to find those missing pieces. No one has taken that next step in any of those research ideas. Instead, here we go backwards.

Ellis Amdur

hughrbeyer
10-06-2011, 03:09 PM
Ellis - For my part I'm assuming the research you (and Stan) have done as the starting point. I'm just probing to find out where the limits of what we know are.

Is this (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=251143&postcount=5) the post correcting the menkyo story? Interesting stuff. Especially interesting that there are other examples of high-level Japanese martial artists handing out certificates because they felt like it--which certainly raises the probability that that's what happened in this case.

Ellis Amdur
10-06-2011, 05:38 PM
Hugh - that's the post. And that's the exemplar of what I hoped when I wrote HIPS, which is, in part, a provocation. Unlike a scholar who does not publish until, ideally, all sources and references are nailed down, I write what makes the most sense from the data available, and hope/intend that others, both scholarly AND practitioners will use that as a jumping off point for their own research.
Ellis Amdur