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jamie yugawa
08-16-2012, 06:58 PM
In doing my research for my Aikido history project, an interesting subject arose from one of the questions I was asking my interviewee. How did seeing action in the military or war affect the early practitioners training in Aikido? Some of the early practitioners including O Sensei and Koichi Tohei saw action during wartime and had the experience of the loss of human life with the constant dangers of combat. I am sure the psychological experience of combat changed their views and methods of training but how? Possibly gaining a heightened awareness because of the dangerous circumstances of combat. Understanding the need to take an enemy out as efficiently as possible. The ordeal of close quarters combat and seeing the enemy being "taken out" in close proximity.
Could the surviving the ordeal of war time and combat be one of the reasons the founder and the early uchideshi were so "different" from the civilian Aikidokas? Perhaps having a true understanding of Katsujinkan and Satsujinkan( I hope I am using them in the right context) having taken and saved lives.

dps
08-16-2012, 07:25 PM
In doing my research for my Aikido history project, an interesting subject arose from one of the questions I was asking my interviewee. How did seeing action in the military or war affect the early practitioners training in Aikido? Some of the early practitioners including O Sensei and Koichi Tohei saw action during wartime and had the experience of the loss of human life with the constant dangers of combat. I am sure the psychological experience of combat changed their views and methods of training but how? Possibly gaining a heightened awareness because of the dangerous circumstances of combat. Understanding the need to take an enemy out as efficiently as possible. The ordeal of close quarters combat and seeing the enemy being "taken out" in close proximity.
Could the surviving the ordeal of war time and combat be one of the reasons the founder and the early uchideshi were so "different" from the civilian Aikidokas? Perhaps having a true understanding of Katsujinkan and Satsujinkan( I hope I am using them in the right context) having taken and saved lives.

I hope you can let us see the results of your project. I would be very interested in reading it.
Good luck.
dps

Demetrio Cereijo
08-16-2012, 07:41 PM
Interesting question.

However, whithout knowing what kind of (and how much) action they were involved in, it will be hard to say if they were affected and how the experience changed their approach to aikido.

Also, people who served, like Tohei, Shirata, Mochizuki, etc. developed different ways of doing things. It seems similar war exposure didnīt caused similar ways of doing aikido.

I think the difference between pre and post-WW2 was the different mindset of japanese society at large before and after Japan's defeat than the first-hand combat experience in the field of some of the early practitioners.

jamie yugawa
08-16-2012, 09:11 PM
I hope you can let us see the results of your project. I would be very interested in reading it.
Good luck.
dps
Well my focus is on the historical part of Aikido in Hawaii. I did find some really interesting things about O Sensei that are not about publicly known. This question was more of a theory that grew from a conversation I had with a high ranking Sensei who had contact with O Sensei in Hawaii.

jamie yugawa
08-16-2012, 09:31 PM
Interesting question.

However, whithout knowing what kind of (and how much) action they were involved in, it will be hard to say if they were affected and how the experience changed their approach to aikido.

Also, people who served, like Tohei, Shirata, Mochizuki, etc. developed different ways of doing things. It seems similar war exposure didnīt caused similar ways of doing aikido.

I think the difference between pre and post-WW2 was the different mindset of japanese society at large before and after Japan's defeat than the first-hand combat experience in the field of some of the early practitioners.

It is hard to figure out how the war time experiences affected them. In terms of experience, I was specifically referring towards how the act of being in the midst of battle knowing that you will kill or be killed(Or have killed) can later influence your training in Budo. Knowing and experiencing death as an influence in training. It seems as the older generation of Budo (specifically Aikido practitioners as I am unfamiliar with other budo) practitioners such as Koichi Tohei could do things that us modern day Aikidoka cannot. Was it just hard training? Were there secrets not passed on? Could the scars of battle be a missing ingredient in becoming the next great Aikidoka? Interesting questions.

Cliff Judge
08-17-2012, 08:20 AM
It wasn't just that Osensei fought in real modern combat, it was that he was involved in the early-20th century drive of Japan to build an Empire. Which the Japanese people thought was a great and noble thing despite all of the atrocities they inflicted on the other peoples of Asia. Furthermore, Osensei was seriously involved with a movement that wanted to spiritually transform all of Asia.

But he survived all of that and continued to teach and develop his art for another couple of decades, living through the long and painful hangover of seeing all of that fail and realizing how misguided it all was.

People tend to regard post-war Aikido as being watered down and blissed out but I think you have to consider how much pain and fire was involved in transforming Aikido into that state. It should be more like Post (all) War Aikido.

Probably not what you want to focus your paper on, but it might be interesting to find some Japanese folks in their 80s and 90s who lived through WWII and get a sense of how that changed the national character. I think you would find that the evolution of Aikido through that period reflects that change in attitude.

Basia Halliop
08-17-2012, 10:13 AM
When I hear accounts of the effect of the war on O-Sensei and on aikido's development I'm sometimes reminded of 'An Artist in a Floating World' by Kazuo Ishiguro. It's fiction of course, but I think it provides some insight into that post-war time period in Japan. It's written from the point of view of an artist who during the war worked as a propagandist and after the war slowly begins to question his preconceptions about the war and Japan's role in it, and to question his own specific role.

Adam Huss
08-18-2012, 10:25 AM
I thought the effect WWII had on M. Ueshiba is a well-documented subject? Specifically how that effected the development of aikibudo into aikido...and the transformation of the ideals behind the training (as a life path).

To utilize a somewhat related personal topic, I felt my aikido training effected me in the opposite way. The primacy of my training was in 'pre-war' aikido. The personal development and growth I received during arduous physical and philosophical training during my time as uchideshi, and doing such classes as kenshu (like a lite version of senshusei), really helped me thrive through combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The personal growth, development of spirit, focus on self-understanding, and growth of a martial spirit helped make me adapt and sustain in those situations. So that is aikido's legacy and effect on my experiences with war. Kind of related to the topic of your report, in the periphery.

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2012, 11:06 AM
Adam, my experiences as well with respect to war. My training in budo prepared me to deal with it, I at least like to think so. How much has war shaped my personal perspective and focus? I am not really sure to be honest, but it has to some degree, it has to.

I am always suspect of post world war II martial arts and what arose from it. I think there might have also been a co-opting of many things for the sake of making a living. That thought is always on my mind.

However, I think, the totality of Ueshiba's life experiences, one of which was dealing with the horrors of war and violence certainly affected him and his philosophy. I think Cliff Judge is probably spot on..that would be my comments as well.

Chris Li
08-18-2012, 11:56 AM
I thought the effect WWII had on M. Ueshiba is a well-documented subject? Specifically how that effected the development of aikibudo into aikido...and the transformation of the ideals behind the training (as a life path).

That's how it's generally understood.

On the other hand, Kisshomaru usually cited his father's key experience in the birth of Aikido as occurring in 1925 - well before the war.

Also, you have Morihiro Saito, who represented that what he was taught directly by Morihei after the war most resembled what appeared in the 1938 technical manual Budo - a pre-war publication.

Then you have the "pre-war" styles, none of which were actually taught pre-war:

Shodokan (Tomiki): trained before the war, developed and taught after the war
Yoshinkan (Shioda): trained before the war, developed and taught after the war
Yoseikan (Mochizuki): trained before the war, developed and taught after the war

That is, every one of the "pre-war" styles developed their curriculum and teaching methods after the war. None of them were actually taught before the war.

The only style that was actually taught pre-war was...Aikikai, by Morihei.

Considering that, you might add:

Aikikai (as in Kisshomaru): trained before the war, developed and taught after the war

In that case, I would submit that most of today's Aikikai Aikido had indeed been shaped by the war - but by Kisshomaru, rather than Ueshiba, as a result of his attempt to adapt Aikido to the changing society in Japan and the world after the war.

As for Morihei, there have been discussions about this before - but what, precisely, were the new insights cited after the war which were not cited before?

Best,

Chris

jamie yugawa
08-18-2012, 02:08 PM
In that case, I would submit that most of today's Aikikai Aikido had indeed been shaped by the war - but by Kisshomaru, rather than Ueshiba, as a result of his attempt to adapt Aikido to the changing society in Japan and the world after the war.

As for Morihei, there have been discussions about this before - but what, precisely, were the new insights cited after the war which were not cited before?

Best,

Chris

Another part of the discussion that came up was the fact that O Sensei and Koichi Tohei saw combat and Kisshomaru did not. Did the battlefield experience influence O Sensei and Koichi Tohei's personal and philosophical training? Did the lack of battlefield experience of Kisshomaru Ueshiba in fact help create the modern Aikido world? If Doshu would have experienced live combat would Aikido be different today? Interesting questions.

jamie yugawa
08-18-2012, 02:31 PM
It wasn't just that Osensei fought in real modern combat, it was that he was involved in the early-20th century drive of Japan to build an Empire. Which the Japanese people thought was a great and noble thing despite all of the atrocities they inflicted on the other peoples of Asia. Furthermore, Osensei was seriously involved with a movement that wanted to spiritually transform all of Asia.

But he survived all of that and continued to teach and develop his art for another couple of decades, living through the long and painful hangover of seeing all of that fail and realizing how misguided it all was.

People tend to regard post-war Aikido as being watered down and blissed out but I think you have to consider how much pain and fire was involved in transforming Aikido into that state. It should be more like Post (all) War Aikido.

Probably not what you want to focus your paper on, but it might be interesting to find some Japanese folks in their 80s and 90s who lived through WWII and get a sense of how that changed the national character. I think you would find that the evolution of Aikido through that period reflects that change in attitude.
I agree with you on the society as a whole influencing O Sensei. The wartime and fallout afterwards are large factors in the development of Aikido. But, I wanted to touch on the personal experience of O Sensei on the battlefield and how this could possibly another factor contributing to Aikido. O Sensei already practicing Kito-Ryu and Yagyu-Ryu Jujutsu(I think) joins the Army, and is sent to the battlefield. There he witnesses atrocities by others and himself on the battlefield. The psychological and physiological effects of cutting down human beings in close quarters and not in theory. I was wondering if O Sensei and others such as Koichi Tohei were training in "life and death" than others because of their wartime enrollment. I apologize if I am not being more clear I have to finish writing my blog perhaps to clarify what I am talking about.

Chris Li
08-18-2012, 03:19 PM
Another part of the discussion that came up was the fact that O Sensei and Koichi Tohei saw combat and Kisshomaru did not. Did the battlefield experience influence O Sensei and Koichi Tohei's personal and philosophical training? Did the lack of battlefield experience of Kisshomaru Ueshiba in fact help create the modern Aikido world? If Doshu would have experienced live combat would Aikido be different today? Interesting questions.

If you're assuming that Morihei and Koichi and in one group and Kisshomaru is in another (in technical terms) because of their experience on the battlefield then I don't quite see it that way. That is, IMO it's not tied up with their fundamental technical abilities.

In terms of personality and administration, maybe, but I don't see that much of a correlation there.

Best,

Chris

MM
08-18-2012, 03:32 PM
Another part of the discussion that came up was the fact that O Sensei and Koichi Tohei saw combat and Kisshomaru did not. Did the battlefield experience influence O Sensei and Koichi Tohei's personal and philosophical training? Did the lack of battlefield experience of Kisshomaru Ueshiba in fact help create the modern Aikido world? If Doshu would have experienced live combat would Aikido be different today? Interesting questions.

I think it was 1924 when Ueshiba and Deguchi went to Mongolia. That's the trip where they were arrested. Somewhere I read an interview with one of the students who stated that Ueshiba changed after coming back. Put that together with Ueshiba's revelation in 1925 and I would guess that the Mongolia trip was much more of an influence on the development of aikido than WW II. How much combat did Ueshiba actually see in WWII?

I think the aftermath of WWII did more to shape Kisshomaru's vision of aikido than the actual war did. but, that's just my opinion.

Mark

MM
08-18-2012, 03:42 PM
Just to toss a wrench in the gears...

Prior to 1942, there was no aikido. It had not been born. Morihei Ueshiba trained and taught Daito ryu for quite a while. Now, as Chris noted, Morihei Ueshiba only acknowledged the name aikido for his art. He never named it himself. Taking one more step forward, as Chris also noted, Saito was learning everything that Morihei Ueshiba taught prior to 1942. In other word, Saito was learning Daito ryu. When you look at the films of Ueshiba after 1942, 99% is stock Daito ryu techniques.

Sooooo, can combat and war affect something that isn't in existence? Wouldn't it be more apt to ask if combat and war affected Ueshiba's vision of Daito ryu such that it influenced his acknowledgement of the general term aikido? What then, can be said for Sagawa and Horikawa, whose arts are also generically called aikido?

Yes, I am playing Devil's advocate here. :)

jamie yugawa
08-18-2012, 03:47 PM
I think it was 1924 when Ueshiba and Deguchi went to Mongolia. That's the trip where they were arrested. Somewhere I read an interview with one of the students who stated that Ueshiba changed after coming back. Put that together with Ueshiba's revelation in 1925 and I would guess that the Mongolia trip was much more of an influence on the development of aikido than WW II. How much combat did Ueshiba actually see in WWII?

I think the aftermath of WWII did more to shape Kisshomaru's vision of aikido than the actual war did. but, that's just my opinion.

Mark
O Sensei participated in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-1905. I think he saw a lot of action in that war. As far as the Mongolia trip I don't think he saw much fighting there as it was more of a spiritual trip. He even confirmed this with a local sensei here. O Sensei stated " There were lots of bandits in Mongolia, we just became friends out there". How true this is I am not sure.

jamie yugawa
08-18-2012, 03:57 PM
Just to toss a wrench in the gears...

Prior to 1942, there was no aikido. It had not been born. Morihei Ueshiba trained and taught Daito ryu for quite a while. Now, as Chris noted, Morihei Ueshiba only acknowledged the name aikido for his art. He never named it himself. Taking one more step forward, as Chris also noted, Saito was learning everything that Morihei Ueshiba taught prior to 1942. In other word, Saito was learning Daito ryu. When you look at the films of Ueshiba after 1942, 99% is stock Daito ryu techniques.

Sooooo, can combat and war affect something that isn't in existence? Wouldn't it be more apt to ask if combat and war affected Ueshiba's vision of Daito ryu such that it influenced his acknowledgement of the general term aikido? What then, can be said for Sagawa and Horikawa, whose arts are also generically called aikido?

Yes, I am playing Devil's advocate here. :)

Good point. There was no Aikido previous to 1942. But, O Sensei went to war around 1905, trained in Daito Ryu around 1915 and went to Mongolia in 1925. So perhaps combat influenced his Daito Ryu therefore influenced his Aikido training many years later. Man did I start digging myself in a hole here ...LOL.

Chris Li
08-18-2012, 04:15 PM
O Sensei participated in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-1905. I think he saw a lot of action in that war. As far as the Mongolia trip I don't think he saw much fighting there as it was more of a spiritual trip. He even confirmed this with a local sensei here. O Sensei stated " There were lots of bandits in Mongolia, we just became friends out there". How true this is I am not sure.

Probably a lot of truth there, since Deguchi and Ueshiba were essentially there as missonaries - which the Chinese took objection to :D .

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
08-19-2012, 12:51 PM
A couple more thoughts:

Morihei Ueshiba was relatively untouched by the war - he retired to Iwama in 1942 and lived out the war and most of its aftermath in seclusion. The folks in the countryside weren't even really affected by the food shortages and rationing of post-war Japan.

By the time he emerged he was no longer directing the day-to-day affairs of Aikido, which were left to Kisshomaru.

One huge effect of the war was that it erased the generation of students from the Kobukan. Aikido essentially started over with an entirely new group of beginners after the war. The senior people from the Kobukan either went out on their own, stopped training, or died. Rinjiro Shirata being one of the few exceptions.

Things might have been quite different if that generation had continued to train and develop.

Best,

Chris

ewolput
08-19-2012, 03:20 PM
A couple more thoughts:

Morihei Ueshiba was relatively untouched by the war - he retired to Iwama in 1942 and lived out the war and most of its aftermath in seclusion. The folks in the countryside weren't even really affected by the food shortages and rationing of post-war Japan.

Chris

But Morihei Ueshiba traveled to Manchuria to teach at the Japanese University as " a guest lecturer". Kenji Tomiki was in charge of the aiki-budo section together with Hideo Ohba.
I think in that time, traveling to China was not the same as now. He certainly saw the results of the war, and he must have heard ( or seen) about the attitude of the Japanese military regime towards the local people.
Just a thought in my head

Eddy

James Sawers
08-19-2012, 04:21 PM
Just a thought, but if you want to know the effect of war/combat on someone's aikido training, I am sure that there are a lot of current combat veterans out there who have practiced aikido before going off to war and who resumed their practice after they returned. Their experiences and thoughts might prove useful, and while they are not Morihei Ueshiba, their insights might provide you with some perspective.

jamie yugawa
08-19-2012, 04:30 PM
I apologize I should have clarified my idea a little more. My original question should have been: Did O Sensei's participation in the Russo Japanese war affect his training and attitude about Budo? Koichi Tohei participated in WW2 and saw action also. I am not talking philosophical or the country's defeat in WW2. Did the personal experience of war and combat affect their training?

According to my source, after Koichi Tohei returned from the war O Sensei told him something changed about him and promoted him on the spot( I do realize he did this a lot.) My interviewee having felt O Sensei and took ukemi from Koichi Tohei and Doshu said there was no comparison in terms of power. He thought part of O Sensei and Koichi Tohei's power was from the fact they had seen action in comparison to Doshu who did not.

The most interesting part of the interview was that O Sensei confided that one of his biggest regrets was the taking of human life. During his time in Hawaii O Sensei was quite relaxed and let his guard down about some of his experiences. He stated that during the Russo Japanese war, the Japanese solders (Including himself) would do nighttime attacks in the enemy foxholes with katana ( Due to lack of ammunition) and kill the enemy close up. The interviewed Sensei thinks that some of O Sensei's power come from the experience of cutting human beings. O Sensei never stated how many he cut down but he did participate in that experience. Interesting stuff.

jamie yugawa
08-19-2012, 04:33 PM
Just a thought, but if you want to know the effect of war/combat on someone's aikido training, I am sure that there are a lot of current combat veterans out there who have practiced aikido before going off to war and who resumed their practice after they returned. Their experiences and thoughts might prove useful, and while they are not Morihei Ueshiba, their insights might provide you with some perspective.

That's a great idea. I think that would open up some incite on this idea.

James Sawers
08-19-2012, 04:42 PM
PS: My apologies to Adam Huss and Kevin Leavitt, I don't know how I missed their contributions here, but my thought remains the same. Perhaps such veterans (if they would be willing to share), could, with some specific prompting, provide you with those insights.

graham christian
08-19-2012, 05:33 PM
I would say it cannot but affect it.

To put it in a nutshell every person I have ever met who has been in war has been shaken up and ends up re-evaluating life.

Budo is important when it comes to this.

Most people follow and get into Budo and say how it's about this and that and how they train for this and that which may happen and yet have no reality on the reality of war, actual killing. Hence the revelations of Ueshiba on the subject.

Peace.G.

MM
08-19-2012, 06:47 PM
A couple more thoughts:

Morihei Ueshiba was relatively untouched by the war - he retired to Iwama in 1942 and lived out the war and most of its aftermath in seclusion. The folks in the countryside weren't even really affected by the food shortages and rationing of post-war Japan.

By the time he emerged he was no longer directing the day-to-day affairs of Aikido, which were left to Kisshomaru.

One huge effect of the war was that it erased the generation of students from the Kobukan. Aikido essentially started over with an entirely new group of beginners after the war. The senior people from the Kobukan either went out on their own, stopped training, or died. Rinjiro Shirata being one of the few exceptions.

Things might have been quite different if that generation had continued to train and develop.

Best,

Chris

A bit off topic, but didn't Tomiki teach at Tokyo hombu after the war for a short time? Didn't Shioda also stop back? Or was Shioda just visiting Iwama? Shirata ... being an exception has reasons. :)

On topic ... I was in Saudi during the first Gulf War. Saw zero action except for dodging Scud missiles (and yeah, they came close. We picked up debris from them, felt the ground shake when the pieces finally landed). So, my aikido remained unchanged from that war, spiritually or martially. But, as I said, I saw zero action. Ueshiba in foxholes killing up close is a very, very different experience.

Mark

Fred Little
08-19-2012, 08:25 PM
Another part of the discussion that came up was the fact that O Sensei and Koichi Tohei saw combat and Kisshomaru did not. Did the battlefield experience influence O Sensei and Koichi Tohei's personal and philosophical training? Did the lack of battlefield experience of Kisshomaru Ueshiba in fact help create the modern Aikido world? If Doshu would have experienced live combat would Aikido be different today? Interesting questions.

In the interest of completeness, while it can be argued that Kisshomaru did not see combat at the front lines it should also be pointed out that Kisshomaru did experience the fire-bombing of Tokyo at first hand. On the other hand, while Ueshiba M. and Tohei K. were in military service in war zones (the former in the Russo-Japanese War, the latter in the Chinese colonies of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere as part of an army of occupation), the accounts of their experience with combat is curiously thin, given the historical Japanese penchant for extensive documentation of all such accomplishments (and the tendency toward self-aggrandizing use of such documentation for purposes of gain which has been a feature of Japanese military life for centuries). Is it possible that both of them had experiences which allowed them to romanticize what they hoped to -- but ultimately did not -- experience?

In other words, one might reasonably ask if the "experience of war and its horrors" was something with which Ueshiba K had much deeper experience than either his father or his one-time brother-in-law.

It would require more information than has been widely available to even begin to give that question the careful examination it may well deserve.

Hope this helps,

FL

Chris Li
08-19-2012, 09:11 PM
A bit off topic, but didn't Tomiki teach at Tokyo hombu after the war for a short time? Didn't Shioda also stop back? Or was Shioda just visiting Iwama? Shirata ... being an exception has reasons. :)

Tomiki did stop in at hombu occasionally, but I don't think he had a major impact there. I don't know if Shioda stopped in or not - but I've never heard that he did. He did stay in Iwama for a short time, but disappeared one day, only to turn up with the opening of the Yoshinkan.

Best,

Chris

Adam Huss
08-21-2012, 12:07 AM
Just a thought, but if you want to know the effect of war/combat on someone's aikido training, I am sure that there are a lot of current combat veterans out there who have practiced aikido before going off to war and who resumed their practice after they returned. Their experiences and thoughts might prove useful, and while they are not Morihei Ueshiba, their insights might provide you with some perspective.

Been away for a bit. Were there any specific correlations you wanted to discuss? Its a bit of a broad topic and difficult for me to narrow down.

I think positive effect from my aikido training ranges from simple environmental conditions to situations involving imminent dangers. Much of my training has been focused on the development of the self, wherein one can be positive, happy even, without attaching those emotions to any specific person, place, or thing. My teacher calls this 'bliss,' or happiness for no reason. This may sound esoteric or even a little cooky to some, but to me its an invaluable life skill. While not possible all of the time, even making the attempt, in my experience, can make a positive difference. This idea would be the epitome of training in the budo, but other aspects have/had effect as well. In a macro concept, this 'bliss' training effects all one does...whether its simply thriving in pervasive arduous conditions, being away from home, etc or managing immediate feelings such as stress, fear, and rage.

Specifically, concepts that I've spent some time thinking about (at the behest of my teacher) are Japanese philosophies, ishi, such as malobashi (just do it), or shinken shobu (sword battle to the death). Please excuse any poor translations on my part. While there are many other ideas I've studied in my aikido training, these are two that popped into my mind. Malobashi is an idea of not hesitating, jumping in with both feet. This takes some level of courage, coercion, or pressure but is important in developing one's self. I had moments of reticence when getting ready to 'step off' on a foot patrol on many nights, well every night, due to the quantitative presence of improvised explosives in the area. While one may argue that I had little choice in the matter, there still has to be a cognitive decision made that you are okay with this. That you are going to accept this and be at peace with it. Not push fear aside, or amuse yourself with distracting thoughts...but to actually embrace and 'be ok' with what you are about to do...regardless of the risk. Acceptance and action...malobashi.

These concepts blend together making it hard to tell where one begins and another ends...the delineation, in particular when applying to personal situations, becomes a bit foggy. Anyway, the idea of shinken shobu, is to treat life, a particular situation, with the seriousness of a battle to the death. Obviously one needs to be focused when facing such a situation as facing off with an opposing, talented, swordsman. Not much in contemporary life has such an immediate impact. But acting like it does, when appropriate, can bring clarity, seriousness, and focus to a task or situation at hand. Technology and society often allow us to be in 'cruise control' much of our day. This idea is to take us out of that quasi-meditative state and bring lucidity to what we are doing at the moment. Nothing quite brings this home like an actual life or death situation. And again, going back to malobashi, it is important to accept the situation for what it is and act accordingly. Specifically, right after having a sniper round whiz nearby my head (I was being stupid, cocky, and standing up in a place I should not have), I dropped quickly down into my little fortified rooftop post. Immediately follow-on gunfire from RPKs and AKs impacted accurately on the compound and sandbags on the roof. Laying down as low as possible, my friend and I were trying to figure out how to get up and get to the machine gun in the opening of our position. Stuck in indecision, eventually we realized we needed to do something as doing nothing was not getting us anywhere. The above-mentioned concepts actually came to me at that moment, and I decided action was necessary, even though any attempt to return fire would expose us to great risk. My friend grabbed a small periscope near us and poked his head up as quick as he could to identify the point of origin of our attackers while I popped up on a gun and fired in the direction he called until incoming firing slowed down and I could take a moment to properly obtain sight picture and return fire a little more precisely.

While I understand these are all things regularly done by many people who do not train in aikido, I feel my training had positive effect in my ability to cope with these types of situations both at the time, and the follow-on repercussions.

To me, physical training in aikido is an integral part of this. The human body is limited to its physical mass and, it is my opinion, the physical mass must be broken down before true development of the spirit is reached. Sitting and meditating is a great discipline, but I feel the physical side of personal growth is key in reaching sanguine meditative states while executing extreme physical feats. For example, doing 1,000 breakfalls, knee walking until the skin is torn from the knees; knowing, receiving, and accepting pain...all these things breach physical barriers, break down the physical elements, and expose the ability to develop non-physical aspects of oneself by allowing the spirit to be forged. Even displaying archaic etiquette, respect, and seriousness to training has helped in my development. These techniques we do can be seen as metaphors for obstacles in life, or obstacles to self-growth. Pushing oneself beyond what they thought possible, literally when someone says they can physical do no more...make them do three more...and hopefully, if their mind is right, they will not quit and will allow their body to improve their spirit. Once on barrier is breached, hopefully the idea that there are no barriers will seep in to one's subconscious and conscious mind. I understand this is a really 'glass is half full' approach to life, and training, but I find that even making the attempt of conceptualizing this can result in improvement to one's life.

But that is me, and my reasons for training. In my life, this approach to training has proven much more practical than focusing on aikido as a format for self-defense or physical fitness. Its helped me professionally and personally, making aikido a 'focus' in my life from which benefits all other pursuits.

James Sawers
08-21-2012, 12:24 AM
Adam:

I don't know if your insights helps Jamie with his project, but they helped me. Thanks for sharing.

jamie yugawa
08-21-2012, 03:13 PM
In the interest of completeness, while it can be argued that Kisshomaru did not see combat at the front lines it should also be pointed out that Kisshomaru did experience the fire-bombing of Tokyo at first hand. On the other hand, while Ueshiba M. and Tohei K. were in military service in war zones (the former in the Russo-Japanese War, the latter in the Chinese colonies of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere as part of an army of occupation), the accounts of their experience with combat is curiously thin, given the historical Japanese penchant for extensive documentation of all such accomplishments (and the tendency toward self-aggrandizing use of such documentation for purposes of gain which has been a feature of Japanese military life for centuries). Is it possible that both of them had experiences which allowed them to romanticize what they hoped to -- but ultimately did not -- experience?

In other words, one might reasonably ask if the "experience of war and its horrors" was something with which Ueshiba K had much deeper experience than either his father or his one-time brother-in-law.

It would require more information than has been widely available to even begin to give that question the careful examination it may well deserve.

Hope this helps,

FL
You have a good point. Doshu although he did not participate in military action did have first hand experience of the effects of the war through the bombing of Tokyo. I do think witnessing the acts and atrocities of war as a bystander vs being on enemy territory with sights set on you and your sight on the enemy are different. Your duty in this foreign land is to kill the enemy by any means necessary and try not to be killed in the process. It is a hard thing to process for me since I have not been in the military or had to experience anything like the atrocities of war.

Chris Evans
08-21-2012, 03:28 PM
Been away for a bit. Were there any specific correlations you wanted to discuss? Its a bit of a broad topic and difficult for me to narrow down.

I think positive effect from my aikido training ranges from simple environmental conditions to situations involving imminent dangers. Much of my training has been focused on the development of the self, wherein one can be positive, happy even, without attaching those emotions to any specific person, place, or thing. My teacher calls this 'bliss,' or happiness for no reason. This may sound esoteric or even a little cooky to some, but to me its an invaluable life skill. While not possible all of the time, even making the attempt, in my experience, can make a positive difference. This idea would be the epitome of training in the budo, but other aspects have/had effect as well. In a macro concept, this 'bliss' training effects all one does...whether its simply thriving in pervasive arduous conditions, being away from home, etc or managing immediate feelings such as stress, fear, and rage.

Specifically, concepts that I've spent some time thinking about (at the behest of my teacher) are Japanese philosophies, ishi, such as malobashi (just do it), or shinken shobu (sword battle to the death). Please excuse any poor translations on my part. While there are many other ideas I've studied in my aikido training, these are two that popped into my mind. Malobashi is an idea of not hesitating, jumping in with both feet. This takes some level of courage, coercion, or pressure but is important in developing one's self. I had moments of reticence when getting ready to 'step off' on a foot patrol on many nights, well every night, due to the quantitative presence of improvised explosives in the area. While one may argue that I had little choice in the matter, there still has to be a cognitive decision made that you are okay with this. That you are going to accept this and be at peace with it. Not push fear aside, or amuse yourself with distracting thoughts...but to actually embrace and 'be ok' with what you are about to do...regardless of the risk. Acceptance and action...malobashi.

These concepts blend together making it hard to tell where one begins and another ends...the delineation, in particular when applying to personal situations, becomes a bit foggy. Anyway, the idea of shinken shobu, is to treat life, a particular situation, with the seriousness of a battle to the death. Obviously one needs to be focused when facing such a situation as facing off with an opposing, talented, swordsman. Not much in contemporary life has such an immediate impact. But acting like it does, when appropriate, can bring clarity, seriousness, and focus to a task or situation at hand. Technology and society often allow us to be in 'cruise control' much of our day. This idea is to take us out of that quasi-meditative state and bring lucidity to what we are doing at the moment. Nothing quite brings this home like an actual life or death situation. And again, going back to malobashi, it is important to accept the situation for what it is and act accordingly. Specifically, right after having a sniper round whiz nearby my head (I was being stupid, cocky, and standing up in a place I should not have), I dropped quickly down into my little fortified rooftop post. Immediately follow-on gunfire from RPKs and AKs impacted accurately on the compound and sandbags on the roof. Laying down as low as possible, my friend and I were trying to figure out how to get up and get to the machine gun in the opening of our position. Stuck in indecision, eventually we realized we needed to do something as doing nothing was not getting us anywhere. The above-mentioned concepts actually came to me at that moment, and I decided action was necessary, even though any attempt to return fire would expose us to great risk. My friend grabbed a small periscope near us and poked his head up as quick as he could to identify the point of origin of our attackers while I popped up on a gun and fired in the direction he called until incoming firing slowed down and I could take a moment to properly obtain sight picture and return fire a little more precisely.

While I understand these are all things regularly done by many people who do not train in aikido, I feel my training had positive effect in my ability to cope with these types of situations both at the time, and the follow-on repercussions.

To me, physical training in aikido is an integral part of this. The human body is limited to its physical mass and, it is my opinion, the physical mass must be broken down before true development of the spirit is reached. Sitting and meditating is a great discipline, but I feel the physical side of personal growth is key in reaching sanguine meditative states while executing extreme physical feats. For example, doing 1,000 breakfalls, knee walking until the skin is torn from the knees; knowing, receiving, and accepting pain...all these things breach physical barriers, break down the physical elements, and expose the ability to develop non-physical aspects of oneself by allowing the spirit to be forged. Even displaying archaic etiquette, respect, and seriousness to training has helped in my development. These techniques we do can be seen as metaphors for obstacles in life, or obstacles to self-growth. Pushing oneself beyond what they thought possible, literally when someone says they can physical do no more...make them do three more...and hopefully, if their mind is right, they will not quit and will allow their body to improve their spirit. Once on barrier is breached, hopefully the idea that there are no barriers will seep in to one's subconscious and conscious mind. I understand this is a really 'glass is half full' approach to life, and training, but I find that even making the attempt of conceptualizing this can result in improvement to one's life.

But that is me, and my reasons for training. In my life, this approach to training has proven much more practical than focusing on aikido as a format for self-defense or physical fitness. Its helped me professionally and personally, making aikido a 'focus' in my life from which benefits all other pursuits.

Thank you. I bow to thee, Adam, in gratitude.

:)

jamie yugawa
08-21-2012, 03:28 PM
Been away for a bit. Were there any specific correlations you wanted to discuss? Its a bit of a broad topic and difficult for me to narrow down.

I think positive effect from my aikido training ranges from simple environmental conditions to situations involving imminent dangers. Much of my training has been focused on the development of the self, wherein one can be positive, happy even, without attaching those emotions to any specific person, place, or thing. My teacher calls this 'bliss,' or happiness for no reason. This may sound esoteric or even a little cooky to some, but to me its an invaluable life skill. While not possible all of the time, even making the attempt, in my experience, can make a positive difference. This idea would be the epitome of training in the budo, but other aspects have/had effect as well. In a macro concept, this 'bliss' training effects all one does...whether its simply thriving in pervasive arduous conditions, being away from home, etc or managing immediate feelings such as stress, fear, and rage.

Specifically, concepts that I've spent some time thinking about (at the behest of my teacher) are Japanese philosophies, ishi, such as malobashi (just do it), or shinken shobu (sword battle to the death). Please excuse any poor translations on my part. While there are many other ideas I've studied in my aikido training, these are two that popped into my mind. Malobashi is an idea of not hesitating, jumping in with both feet. This takes some level of courage, coercion, or pressure but is important in developing one's self. I had moments of reticence when getting ready to 'step off' on a foot patrol on many nights, well every night, due to the quantitative presence of improvised explosives in the area. While one may argue that I had little choice in the matter, there still has to be a cognitive decision made that you are okay with this. That you are going to accept this and be at peace with it. Not push fear aside, or amuse yourself with distracting thoughts...but to actually embrace and 'be ok' with what you are about to do...regardless of the risk. Acceptance and action...malobashi.

These concepts blend together making it hard to tell where one begins and another ends...the delineation, in particular when applying to personal situations, becomes a bit foggy. Anyway, the idea of shinken shobu, is to treat life, a particular situation, with the seriousness of a battle to the death. Obviously one needs to be focused when facing such a situation as facing off with an opposing, talented, swordsman. Not much in contemporary life has such an immediate impact. But acting like it does, when appropriate, can bring clarity, seriousness, and focus to a task or situation at hand. Technology and society often allow us to be in 'cruise control' much of our day. This idea is to take us out of that quasi-meditative state and bring lucidity to what we are doing at the moment. Nothing quite brings this home like an actual life or death situation. And again, going back to malobashi, it is important to accept the situation for what it is and act accordingly. Specifically, right after having a sniper round whiz nearby my head (I was being stupid, cocky, and standing up in a place I should not have), I dropped quickly down into my little fortified rooftop post. Immediately follow-on gunfire from RPKs and AKs impacted accurately on the compound and sandbags on the roof. Laying down as low as possible, my friend and I were trying to figure out how to get up and get to the machine gun in the opening of our position. Stuck in indecision, eventually we realized we needed to do something as doing nothing was not getting us anywhere. The above-mentioned concepts actually came to me at that moment, and I decided action was necessary, even though any attempt to return fire would expose us to great risk. My friend grabbed a small periscope near us and poked his head up as quick as he could to identify the point of origin of our attackers while I popped up on a gun and fired in the direction he called until incoming firing slowed down and I could take a moment to properly obtain sight picture and return fire a little more precisely.

While I understand these are all things regularly done by many people who do not train in aikido, I feel my training had positive effect in my ability to cope with these types of situations both at the time, and the follow-on repercussions.

To me, physical training in aikido is an integral part of this. The human body is limited to its physical mass and, it is my opinion, the physical mass must be broken down before true development of the spirit is reached. Sitting and meditating is a great discipline, but I feel the physical side of personal growth is key in reaching sanguine meditative states while executing extreme physical feats. For example, doing 1,000 breakfalls, knee walking until the skin is torn from the knees; knowing, receiving, and accepting pain...all these things breach physical barriers, break down the physical elements, and expose the ability to develop non-physical aspects of oneself by allowing the spirit to be forged. Even displaying archaic etiquette, respect, and seriousness to training has helped in my development. These techniques we do can be seen as metaphors for obstacles in life, or obstacles to self-growth. Pushing oneself beyond what they thought possible, literally when someone says they can physical do no more...make them do three more...and hopefully, if their mind is right, they will not quit and will allow their body to improve their spirit. Once on barrier is breached, hopefully the idea that there are no barriers will seep in to one's subconscious and conscious mind. I understand this is a really 'glass is half full' approach to life, and training, but I find that even making the attempt of conceptualizing this can result in improvement to one's life.

But that is me, and my reasons for training. In my life, this approach to training has proven much more practical than focusing on aikido as a format for self-defense or physical fitness. Its helped me professionally and personally, making aikido a 'focus' in my life from which benefits all other pursuits.

Adam thank you for sharing your experience. I think you kinda understand where I was going with this post. The action of being put in life and death situations breaking us out of our complacent sedative attitude towards life. Rather than just theory, the concepts of budo training are being utilized in life death situations. I wonder how much of O Sensei's battlefield experience influenced his training? Perhaps O Sensei experiencing life and death early on made him appreciate life much more in his later years.

Peter Goldsbury
08-21-2012, 07:06 PM
Doshu although he did not participate in military action did have first hand experience of the effects of the war through the bombing of Tokyo. I do think witnessing the acts and atrocities of war as a bystander vs being on enemy territory with sights set on you and your sight on the enemy are different. Your duty in this foreign land is to kill the enemy by any means necessary and try not to be killed in the process. It is a hard thing to process for me since I have not been in the military or had to experience anything like the atrocities of war.

Hello,

I live in Hiroshima and I think I do not need to spell out the emphasis laid here on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a unique act of war. There are still living A-Bomb victims here, some of whom I know. The distinction you make, between 'witnessing the atrocities of war as a bystander vs being on enemy territory with sights set on you' was probably clearer to the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War than it was in World War II. The Japanese at home had a romantic notion of being involved in the siege of Port Arthur, which is why General Nogi was hailed as a war hero afterwards, even though he was responsible for sending thousands of young soldiers to their deaths. All the stuff about 'fighting spirit' was propaganda, designed to divert attention from the poor equipment, lack of ammunition and poor training. At least Morihei Ueshiba was in a position to creep up at night, with a sword, rather than face a machine gun barrage, also with a sword, in the daytime and in full view of the enemy, which is what many of his subordinates were ordered to do.

One factor in making your distinction less clear in the case of World War II, is that in 1945 the Japanese population was much more conscious of being participants, civilian combatants if you like, preparing for an allied invasion of Japan. And, yes, there was the fire bombing of many Japanese cities and I believe the fire-bombing of Tokyo in March 1945 caused as many deaths as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August. And the deaths were caused, not by an emeny solider with a machine gun, or a sniper with a rifle, whom you can't see but you suspect is there, but by an enemy pilot, high in the sky, whom you can't see but you also suspect is there (though in the case of Hiroshima, this was not so clear). For the unlucky ones, the results were the same, however.

Best wishes,

jamie yugawa
08-21-2012, 11:40 PM
Hello,

I live in Hiroshima and I think I do not need to spell out the emphasis laid here on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a unique act of war. There are still living A-Bomb victims here, some of whom I know. The distinction you make, between 'witnessing the atrocities of war as a bystander vs being on enemy territory with sights set on you' was probably clearer to the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War than it was in World War II. The Japanese at home had a romantic notion of being involved in the siege of Port Arthur, which is why General Nogi was hailed as a war hero afterwards, even though he was responsible for sending thousands of young soldiers to their deaths. All the stuff about 'fighting spirit' was propaganda, designed to divert attention from the poor equipment, lack of ammunition and poor training. At least Morihei Ueshiba was in a position to creep up at night, with a sword, rather than face a machine gun barrage, also with a sword, in the daytime and in full view of the enemy, which is what many of his subordinates were ordered to do.

One factor in making your distinction less clear in the case of World War II, is that in 1945 the Japanese population was much more conscious of being participants, civilian combatants if you like, preparing for an allied invasion of Japan. And, yes, there was the fire bombing of many Japanese cities and I believe the fire-bombing of Tokyo in March 1945 caused as many deaths as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August. And the deaths were caused, not by an emeny solider with a machine gun, or a sniper with a rifle, whom you can't see but you suspect is there, but by an enemy pilot, high in the sky, whom you can't see but you also suspect is there (though in the case of Hiroshima, this was not so clear). For the unlucky ones, the results were the same, however.

Best wishes,
Thank you for your incite Goldsbury Sensei. I think the topic changed from a source of O Sensei's power to more of a historical affect of war on Aikido. I admit I am a novice on the wartime (WW2) historical details of the people of Japan so I can only currently theorize certain issues on the subject. This topic has raised my awareness on the Russo Japanese war and I would like to research this subject more in depth.

Peter Goldsbury
08-22-2012, 03:12 AM
Hello Jamie,

I looked again at your opening post and in the later posts you wrote: Posts #5 and #11. One issue for me is the actual focus of the contrast you draw. Is it the 'raw' experience itself, or the experience in a much wider context, and mediated via language. Since you want to place the experience in a context and connect it to warfare, killing others and the fear(?) of being killed by others, it is clear that the notion of 'raw' experience will not do here. For example, what about the effects of intense training, designed to 'harden' soldiers who are to be deployed in a war zone? Will this affect the quality of the experience? Probably, but I am sure there are those who will argue that there are wartime experiences that training cannot prepare you for.

The reason I focus on this is that those who manage the Peace Museum in Hiroshima and its contents, constantly argue that the experience of the atomic bombing is qualitatively unique, and as such different from other experiences, of conventional warfare, for example. Thus A-bomb victims have been scarred in a unique way, which is different from the effects on soldiers.

Hiroshima is famous for being both an army base and a naval base in World War II and a few miles down the coast from the city of Hiroshima is Kure, where the battleship Yamato was built. There is a museum dedicated to the Yamato and, unfortunately, it is a museum that foreigners visit rarely, compared to the large numbers who visit Hiroshima's A-Bomb Museum. The museum--and the battleship that is the focus of the museum--is still a source of immense local pride. However, one of my ex-colleagues, now aged 80, still cannot bring himself to visit the museum and re-live his own father's experience: when he was 13, his father was a senior naval officer on the Yamato and was obliged to go down with the ship, when it was sunk in World War II. I am sure there are Americans who have similar reactions to the memorial to those who were killed on the battleship Arizona at Pearl Harbor.

Then you attempt to relate the experience, whether mediated or not, with any special power that is supposed to accrue from it. I think some of the other posters have pointed to the wider issues here.

Best wishes,

Kevin Leavitt
08-22-2012, 04:26 AM
Since you want to place the experience in a context and connect it to warfare, killing others and the fear(?) of being killed by others, it is clear that the notion of 'raw' experience will not do here. For example, what about the effects of intense training, designed to 'harden' soldiers who are to be deployed in a war zone? Will this affect the quality of the experience? Probably, but I am sure there are those who will argue that there are wartime experiences that training cannot prepare you for

I started to write a post about my war time experiences, but erased it as I am really not comfortable telling war stories on the internet. They can be taken out of context and I am not big on telling stories about something that is serious as war is...not big on glorification of it, which is not to be mistaking for regret on my part, as I have none.

But I think Peter captures much of what i'd say anyway. It is hard for me to separate my training from my experiences to say what leads what. I am hesistant (or don't like) to use the word "harden" as it kinda means "de-sensitize" or to detach...in my mind. I'd use the word prepare. My training certainly prepared me. I feel I was adequately balanced in my sensitivities to engage and experience death and violence in many spectrums of engagement.

You do tend to do what you do in training in reality, and you do need to have your mind, body, and spirit in tune and aligned correctly.

I think most of the PTSD issues and regret come from unclear views or lack of preparedness to deal with the events of war. You experience dissonance and conflict.

I don't like harden cause I think that is what causes the issues. I think you can be true and honest in your approach, face things for what they are and simply move on. For me, at least, I don't think I was hardened..yeah I developed resilience and mental toughness, but not detachment.

I don't think Peter means harden in this way...but I think it is important to realize the difference in the processes of preparation. Sure, some go through a de-sensitization, detachment process in their own minds in order to do the things they are asked to do. But I think this causes a great deal of suffering coming out the other end.

I think this is why practices like budo are important as you need to be completely honest and take it at face value of what you are going to do or be asked to do.

I agree it is one thing to prepare for combat...quite another to face violence as a civilian and have a big bomb dropped on you and then live your life after that.

James Sawers
08-22-2012, 03:34 PM
Jamie:

I think that Peter and Kevin make good points, especially about the training that soldiers receive to prepare them for possible battle. This is a confounding variable in your thesis. You may be able to control for it by factoring in those soldiers who receive such training, but do not experience combat, and those who receive the same training, but do experience combat. Both cohorts, of course, are practicing aikidoka.

The military is made up of a large number of members that receive combat training, but are actually not part of the tip of the spear (unless things have changed significantly since I was in).

Of course, you will be relying on self-reporting here, but that is all you had to begin with anyway. Some soldiers, as Kevin mentioned, may be reluctant to share, but perhaps if they just limited their responses then to their pre/post aikido insights/thoughts, this may suffice for your needs.

Jim.....

jamie yugawa
08-22-2012, 05:42 PM
This has turned out to be an interesting thread. I also need to need to work on my presenting specific ideas for the forum so there is less misconstrued communication on my part. I think Goldsbury Sensei was right on the money stating that the "raw" experience is something that no one but O Sensei could answer about how it affected him. IMO I do think being in Russo Japanese was did affect him profoundly as he stated "My biggest regret is taking human life" . How this specifically affected him I am not sure. Another interesting comment by the interviewed Sensei was at the demo of O Sensei at the Hawaii Aiki Kwai in 1961. He stated "Watching the founder during the ken demo I realized he is cutting (a person)'. The interviewed Sensei felt the experience of O Sensei cutting these enemy solders up close contributed his budo experience.

I think that Peter and Kevin make good points, especially about the training that soldiers receive to prepare them for possible battle. This is a confounding variable in your thesis. You may be able to control for it by factoring in those soldiers who receive such training, but do not experience combat, and those who receive the same training, but do experience combat. Both cohorts, of course, are practicing aikidoka.

The military is made up of a large number of members that receive combat training, but are actually not part of the tip of the spear (unless things have changed significantly since I was in).

Of course, you will be relying on self-reporting here, but that is all you had to begin with anyway. Some soldiers, as Kevin mentioned, may be reluctant to share, but perhaps if they just limited their responses then to their pre/post aikido insights/thoughts, this may suffice for your needs.

As far as a thesis, right now I am trying to stay in the Hawaii Aikido historical route but i do agree this would make for an interesting article. It is a touchy subject as there emotional ties and loss of life involved.

Kevin Leavitt
08-23-2012, 06:18 AM
Jamie good luck on your thesis.

i'd point you in a couple of directions for futher insights to the difficulty of dealing with modern military and budo.

Dr Richard Heckler-Strozzi and COL George Bristol.

Two guys worth spending some time on the internet and/or reading about their interactions with budo and the military.

http://www.examiner.com/article/richard-strozzi-heckler-a-martial-artist-making-a-difference-search-of-the-warrior-spirit

http://books.google.de/books?id=fFA0uIbc7HMC&pg=PA379&lpg=PA379&dq=heckler-strozzi+bristol&source=bl&ots=L7fZtSFT3F&sig=ffVdiuer9zcJc0h7_ZWPAOqgHXs&sa=X&ei=RQo2UMiaCKP50gGry4CAAw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=heckler-strozzi%20bristol&f=false

I have met with and talked with Dr Heckler-Strozzi in the past and he has some very interesting insights and worth spending sometime picking his brain if you really want to get a insightful viewpoint on the subject.

The small world that it is...I am currently assigned to the same command with COL Bristol right now, and I am working to get him on the mat, but he is a busy man these days. (and NOT retired I will assure you as pointed out in the reference above).

I'd recomennd doing a web search on the issues they dealt with when they were working to form the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) around 2000. Significant in this is the timing of it. This discussion and thought was taking place before 9/11 and Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, while MCMAP and the Modern Army Combatives Programs are thriving and justified and evovled based on war experiences over the last 12 years or so....there is obviously very little disucussion about theory these days as it serves little purpose when you are sending troops downrange daily and cannot afford to take time out to think about developing things through budo like mind, body, spirit on such a grand scale. those things get relegated to the back burner for a number of reasons.

One thing I think that needs to be kept in perspective when discussing "Martial" arts. Keyword meaning "Martial"...is that connotates a particular endstate. In the best Clausewitzian style, that means the endstate is the destruction of your enemy to the point he cannot fight you.

So the focus on martial arts on the warrior is to develop efficiency and effectiveness in defeating your enemy. Thus the rise of what we call "SU" arts as systematic means to provide for that end.

the Irony is when you start breaking it down, you want to create a warrior that can do this over and over...not just once or twice. So, you you realize quickly that you must concern yourself with the warrior holistically. (Mind, Body, Spirit).

The point is, you are only concerned with these things (M,B,S) to the degree that it creates the warrior you need.

What happened though, the byproducts of these martial processes of training was that some...like O'Sensei, Kano, and others felt that a re-packaging of these things, and inverting the equation we could the same basic methodologies, down play the techniques, and use them as a means to "enlight" or "improve" happiness...or Mind, Body, Spirit...whatever you want to call it.

I think you have to be very careful though about your inferences about what leads what.

I mean here you have systems that were designed to make warriors to do your wartime bidding. You re-package it...sell it back to the masses as a "self help" or personal improvement path...then you lose sight of where it came from and then try to sell it back to the very culture it was born out of!

Many in the military end up scratching their heads trying to figure out why we need to turn to "civilian sensei's" to sell us a bunch of re-packaged martial stuff to make us "one with ourselves" or a means prepare our troops for battle. These things are embodied in the whole of the system and not separatable.

So, I think trying to separate in some cases the warrior from the system and trying to figure out what informed him or how that gave him "insights" to shaping aikido...that might be hard to quantify as it is imbedded and ubiqutous. The warrior is the sum of his experiences and I don't think you can really point to any one thing and say...THAT experience is what informed him or gave him a different or unique insight that lead to X.

For every O'Sensei...there were probably like 5 guys out there that were just as accomplished or good as he was, but failed for whatever reason to achieve fame. Sometimes simply the alignment of timing, opportunity, and the individual create the perfect storm allowing for success.

Adam Huss
08-23-2012, 08:10 AM
I'd recomennd doing a web search on the issues they dealt with when they were working to form the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) around 2000. Significant in this is the timing of it. This discussion and thought was taking place before 9/11 and Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, while MCMAP and the Modern Army Combatives Programs are thriving and justified and evovled based on war experiences over the last 12 years or so....there is obviously very little disucussion about theory these days as it serves little purpose when you are sending troops downrange daily and cannot afford to take time out to think about developing things through budo like mind, body, spirit on such a grand scale. those things get relegated to the back burner for a number of reasons.


You may be interested to know the MCMAP syllabus includes a heavy emphasis on warrior ethos, character development, and mental discipline. Marine students are required to study about the Marine Raiders, Zulu Warriors, Apaches, and Spartans. In testing, Marines are presented with written tests that include case study identification of past instances in war. The testing requires the Marines to identify leadership values, warrior ethos, Core Values, and martial philosophy in each case study. Some teachers place more emphasis on these values than others, but the requirements are still there at certain levels. This may be dependent upon who you talk to, but from what I understand the primary goal of MCMAP is development of warrior spirit in Marines. This is why most MCMAP tests are prefaced with some extreme form of physical exercises designed to 'wear out' testing candidates, forcing them to push through physical limits and find that 'budo' or 'martial' spirit. Granted there is some potential for hand to hand combat in modern war, particularly with troops embedded with local national forces as trainers, but that does not effect the majority of Marines. I did have a friend use his knife in an altercation while on deployment, but he never identified to me any reverence toward the MCMAP program as helping him in that situation.

James Sawers
08-23-2012, 03:48 PM
Jamie:

Ah, sorry for my contribution to mission creep....

Kevin Leavitt
08-24-2012, 03:29 AM
You may be interested to know the MCMAP syllabus includes a heavy emphasis on warrior ethos, character development, and mental discipline. Marine students are required to study about the Marine Raiders, Zulu Warriors, Apaches, and Spartans. In testing, Marines are presented with written tests that include case study identification of past instances in war. The testing requires the Marines to identify leadership values, warrior ethos, Core Values, and martial philosophy in each case study. Some teachers place more emphasis on these values than others, but the requirements are still there at certain levels. This may be dependent upon who you talk to, but from what I understand the primary goal of MCMAP is development of warrior spirit in Marines. This is why most MCMAP tests are prefaced with some extreme form of physical exercises designed to 'wear out' testing candidates, forcing them to push through physical limits and find that 'budo' or 'martial' spirit. Granted there is some potential for hand to hand combat in modern war, particularly with troops embedded with local national forces as trainers, but that does not effect the majority of Marines. I did have a friend use his knife in an altercation while on deployment, but he never identified to me any reverence toward the MCMAP program as helping him in that situation.

Adam,

Are you a Marine by chance?

Yes, MCMAP did a more deliberate job of linking their program to Warrior Ethos than the Army did. There were a number of reasons for this difference, but mainly cultural and institutional differences between the Army and Marine Corps. Matt Larsen, who founded the Modern Army Combatives Program could not have "sold" the MACP program to the army in the same way the Marine Corps did. Both programs do acknowledge that the primary purpose of the program is to reinforce or instill Warrior Ethos.

I'm at a unique crossroads at my current position. I run a club here in Germany with MCMAP instructors, MACP instructors, BJJ blue, purple, and brown belts, and COL Bristol, the founder of MCMAP is our senior mentor here as well. In addition the founder of LINES, Ron Donvito is a good friend of mine and I train with him once a year. LINES preceeded MCMAP and it is interesting to hear Ron's perspective as well as COL Bristols on the evolution of Martial arts/Combatives Training in the Military. Also, Matt Larsen, the founder of MACP is a good friend of mine who I talk to on a fairly regular basis. So, I am absolutely fascinated to look at the evolution of "modern budo" within the military and how the past informs the present and future.

I am sorry that this kinda is off topic, but I think if you are going to discuss how War informs things like Aikido, it is important to consider the spectrum of social, polictical, and institutional factors, as well as the current war time environment and the impact they have on Modern Military Budo/Combatives.

phitruong
08-24-2012, 08:08 AM
I'm at a unique crossroads at my current position. I run a club here in Germany with MCMAP instructors, MACP instructors, BJJ blue, purple, and brown belts, and COL Bristol, the founder of MCMAP is our senior mentor here as well. In addition the founder of LINES, Ron Donvito is a good friend of mine and I train with him once a year. LINES preceeded MCMAP and it is interesting to hear Ron's perspective as well as COL Bristols on the evolution of Martial arts/Combatives Training in the Military. Also, Matt Larsen, the founder of MACP is a good friend of mine who I talk to on a fairly regular basis. So, I am absolutely fascinated to look at the evolution of "modern budo" within the military and how the past informs the present and future.
.

*warning thread drift*

Kevin, sounded like you have good reference information for an interesting book there. can i pre-order? :)

Adam Huss
08-24-2012, 09:41 AM
Adam,

Are you a Marine by chance?

Yes, MCMAP did a more deliberate job of linking their program to Warrior Ethos than the Army did. There were a number of reasons for this difference, but mainly cultural and institutional differences between the Army and Marine Corps. Matt Larsen, who founded the Modern Army Combatives Program could not have "sold" the MACP program to the army in the same way the Marine Corps did. Both programs do acknowledge that the primary purpose of the program is to reinforce or instill Warrior Ethos.

I'm at a unique crossroads at my current position. I run a club here in Germany with MCMAP instructors, MACP instructors, BJJ blue, purple, and brown belts, and COL Bristol, the founder of MCMAP is our senior mentor here as well. In addition the founder of LINES, Ron Donvito is a good friend of mine and I train with him once a year. LINES preceeded MCMAP and it is interesting to hear Ron's perspective as well as COL Bristols on the evolution of Martial arts/Combatives Training in the Military. Also, Matt Larsen, the founder of MACP is a good friend of mine who I talk to on a fairly regular basis. So, I am absolutely fascinated to look at the evolution of "modern budo" within the military and how the past informs the present and future.

I am sorry that this kinda is off topic, but I think if you are going to discuss how War informs things like Aikido, it is important to consider the spectrum of social, polictical, and institutional factors, as well as the current war time environment and the impact they have on Modern Military Budo/Combatives.

Yes, I am guilty of being a US Marine. I actually enlisted during the transitioned from LINE to MCMAP and was maybe the second or third class to do MCMAP in bootcamp (that Discovery Channel special about MCMAP was filming when I was there). I always thought Col Shusko was the MCMAP founder, but I did a Google search and found he's the director. MCMAP is definitely a hotly debated subject in the Corps, I guess I'll leave it at that.

Anyway, none of my combat experiences got me much closer than 25 yards in an engagement so never used H2H, but I have a couple friends that have. I think a emphasis should be place on riot control and allot that space to detainee handling as any unit can be cannibalized for detainee ops, and many units can be in a situation where an LN may need to be detained. This could also be useful for those who integrate and work with Afghan National Security Forces...as there is a sad frequency of TB amongst their ranks.

I was in Stuttgart for a couple days before headed to work with MARFORAF, wish I could have explored it more but I was in and out. I was also supposed to go to Garmisch for a month or so but it got cancelled, which was a big disappointment...my a bar near my house is doing a Germanfest celebration, so I have that at least!

Kevin Leavitt
08-24-2012, 02:16 PM
Awesome. If u get to Stuttgart let me know. One of my training partners/students is going to command Marine Corps Special Operqtions School at Lejuene next summer, so I am looking forward to working with the MARSOF guys there.

I have done CQB and that is my background so I concentrate my H2H training more to deal with managing that environment...sort of like the house of pain, but more tactical. MACP transitioned a couple of years ago to TTPs, and detention/control techniques. I am not a huge fan of doing that at that point in training, but that's the way it goes in the institutional environment. That's another story.

Give me a shout if you are ever this way.

Kevin Leavitt
08-24-2012, 02:19 PM
*warning thread drift*

Kevin, sounded like you have good reference information for an interesting book there. can i pre-order? :)

I'm working on that actually. I've been playing it out and still have a long way to go, but it deals with the process of fighting, methodology and the psychology of training. It will probably never be released though or finished. Just got redirected to be a fulltime student again for post grad work in Military Strategy so that's another 6 months gone from that process. But my studies there should help somehow. I hate Clausewitz and Sun Tzu.

James Sawers
08-24-2012, 03:12 PM
I hate Clausewitz and Sun Tzu.

I was not going to add any more to this thread as Jamie may be getting more than he bargained for here, but Kevin's last remark got my attention. I think I can understand Kevin's reluctance with Clausewitz, but Sun Tzu? I thought that a lot of Boyd's work was based on Sun Tzu and, based on some of the conversations I've seen here, I thought that Kevin was a Boyd "fan". Just curious....

Thanks.....Jim

Kevin Leavitt
08-24-2012, 03:34 PM
Actually I like them, I just don't like them right now because I am having to study them on a really deep level. Boyd's work was at the tactical level, Clausewitz and Sun Tzu are at the higher or strategic level, of course you can still find linkages. You can argue using Boyd's model, that to be successful requires you to master the strategic level. Things like know yourself and your enemy.....

I prefer to work further down the food chain though dealing with tactical decision making processes.

Guys, sorry for the thread drift, but I think Jamie got what he was looking for or at least hit his deadline. So hopefully the drift isn't too bad.

James Sawers
08-24-2012, 03:55 PM
Kevin: Thanks....I am reading Science, Strategy and War, The Strategic Theory of John Boyd, right now, hence my curiosity. Plus you are an actual practitioner while I'm sitting in a coffee shop in Chicago just reading the stuff.....Thanks again.....Jim.

Adam Huss
08-24-2012, 10:46 PM
Awesome. If u get to Stuttgart let me know. One of my training partners/students is going to command Marine Corps Special Operqtions School at Lejuene next summer, so I am looking forward to working with the MARSOF guys there.

I have done CQB and that is my background so I concentrate my H2H training more to deal with managing that environment...sort of like the house of pain, but more tactical. MACP transitioned a couple of years ago to TTPs, and detention/control techniques. I am not a huge fan of doing that at that point in training, but that's the way it goes in the institutional environment. That's another story.

Give me a shout if you are ever this way.

Will do, I would love to get back to Germany. This year I came from 130 deg F in AFG and landed on a cool, misty mid-morning in Frankfurt which was one of the best sensations in my life. I would to get back and spend more than a handful of hours in Germany.

One of my jobs is training MARSOC teams in their pre-deployment workup at Irwin...so maybe I'll run into your friend one day.

PeterR
08-30-2012, 01:04 PM
Tomiki did stop in at hombu occasionally, but I don't think he had a major impact there. I don't know if Shioda stopped in or not - but I've never heard that he did. He did stay in Iwama for a short time, but disappeared one day, only to turn up with the opening of the Yoshinkan.

Best,

Chris

In Tomiki's case he gave an occasional class into the early 1960s but far from regular - he was quite busy at Waseda. I think it is safe to say he was not part of the post-war teaching cadre but might have been brought in as a guest lecturer so to speak. He shows up every now and then in pictures of honbu events well past that but I would guess not as part of the official structure.

With a few exceptions I always had the impression there was a real house cleaning - it might not even have been deliberate. Ueshiba M. was not there so why bother or even more simply the centre of your life moves elsewhere.

lars beyer
05-03-2013, 01:04 PM
I just watched this film about PTSD, interesting and also quite heartbreaking study of human suffering
related to war.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KaX-pvae4gw#!

Bes regards
Lars

ChrisMikk
05-05-2013, 11:26 AM
Although it is dated now, this is/was an interesting thread. I would like to point out a couple things:

(1) As regards the original posting and the question of Ueshiba's war experience's influence on the development of aikido: please note that at the time Ueshiba was in Hawaii and stated that his biggest regret was taking human life, a lot had happened since he had taken human life. It's possible that Ueshiba's time in the Russo-Japanese War affected his aikido, but that he didn't regret any taking of human life until much later. So, perhaps war's affect on aikido is unconnected to the conversation in Hawaii.

(2) According to Shioda Gozo in Aikido Shugyo and Aikido Jinsei, his experience of fighting (and killing?) in Shanghai during WWII greatly affected his aikido.

(2a) I talked with a senshusei graduate who told me that all Shioda's stories are bunk. I have no way to evaluate that claim. However, if it is true... then, since Shioda was training with Ueshiba after his Russo-Japanese experiences but before WWII, it's possible that Shioda believed confabulating a story about life and death experience was important because he believed a life and death experience was important to budo training based on his time training with Ueshiba.

(3) 1924-1925 is not a random time to go to Mongolia. It was just at the time Mongolia became communist. That raises the question in my mind of why Ueshiba was interested in Mongolia. Did he know what he was getting into? Mongolia is a strange place to go to set up a community since farming there is very difficult and the winters are extreme.