View Full Version : YouTube: Kissomaru Ueshiba in 1993

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08-23-2013, 02:08 PM
Hi folks,

Here's a video clip of Kisshomaru Ueshiba (2nd Doshu, son of Morihei Ueshiba) at Tama Aikikai's 10th anniversary aikido demonstrations in 1993. At the time, he was in his early 70's.


What are your thoughts on this video?

-- Jun

08-23-2013, 04:26 PM
O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba, gave the world his Aikido, which was beyond anyone to emulate, duplicate or to surpass, much less fully understand and appreciate. It was a one of a kind offering by a genius of martial arts, probably never to be seen or experienced again in the foreseeable future. Yet, his example spawned an entire industry, as it were, of a variety of successful and unsuccessful attempts, and serve as a foundation for others to create their own forms of Aikido, using the Aiki Principles introduced by the Founder.

Kisshomaru Doshu was simply another man who dedicated his life to honor the gift of O Sensei's genius, by placing his own stamp of originality to the mortal mix of such attempts. His admitted contributions were never to represent, correctly explain, or to infallibly interpret his father's intent or purpose. It was his goal to encourage the rest of us to likewise do our best to honor and respect the originality of the Founder's creation, without unnecessary competition for relative status, or unprovable claims of authority. That his life style, and his unique example of Aikido presentation, succeeded in beautifully and gracefully honoring that tradition, is what we saw and experienced whenever we observed his demonstrations, or trained in his classes. He should correctly be honored for being upfront in his interpretation of his father's purpose, since it was never his intent to represent O Sensei's prowess, depth of mastery, or style of training at any time. He was consistently clear on his true intent and purposes at all times, and gave us the utmost example of humility and honesty.

I for one, was a devoted student of Kisshomaru Doshu, and never confused him, or any other direct disciples of the Founder of being the "second coming" of O Sensei. I recognized him for what he was, a simple man attempting to achieve the impossible task of maintaining a valid example of the Founder's purpose. To me, he did succeed in developing a style that was clean, free of ego, and a template that anyone with a modicum of talent, and a respectful manner, could benefit from in pursuing their own goals of Aikido training. His classes had something for everyone, regardless of skill level or notoriety, and all enjoyed his classes in mutual harmony. His demonstrations were likewise crisp, free of ostentation, and transparent as to what he was attempting to achieve with his tremendously skilled ukes. Together, they were giving an artful performance of what is possible, when harmonious intent, dedication to demonstrating principles, and respect for the viewing audiences was the goal. What I always saw and experienced was a true gentleman, being uncompromising in his art, and unconditionally consistent in his behavior.

Cliff Judge
08-23-2013, 10:08 PM
O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba, gave the world his Aikido, which was beyond anyone to emulate, duplicate or to surpass, much less fully understand and appreciate. It was a one of a kind offering by a genius of martial arts, probably never to be seen or experienced again in the foreseeable future.

If it was beyond anyone to emulate, duplicate, or surpass, then I don't think it is right to say he gave anything to the world.

I am pretty disappointed by this embu. I cannot convince myself that Doshu is actually taking his uke's balance or causing them to take ukemi. He doesn't look connected at all. But without Doshu we wouldn't be talking about this, most of us would never have heard of Aikido. Certainly not if it had been left to Osensei.

I think Kisshomaru is the one who gave Aikido to the world. :)

08-24-2013, 02:50 AM
I'm with Cliff on this one. Compared to others he's done, this is kind of an uninspired embu.
Ehh. An off day. It happens.

Mary Eastland
08-24-2013, 08:37 AM
It is a demonstration. This video is inspirational. I hope I can move nearly as well when I am in my 70s.

08-24-2013, 11:38 AM
I think that to nitpick this video truly misses the point (not slapping anyone here, just preemptively staking out a position). The man is in his 70’s (Doshu or not) we all need to cut him some slack. He does not seem to be as mobile and supple as his father at that age, who is, those are some really big shoes to fill. While he inherited his father’s genes, maybe not all the right ones to age as spectacularly as O’Sensei. Let us take from older aikidoka what they have to offer us, insight into flow and timing, adaptability to smaller more condensed movement, the evolution of technique based on changes in vigor and the essence of the mechanics that are preserved along this journey. We all get older, if we are lucky.

There are some misses and compliant ukes, so what, there are some beautiful throws as well. I suspect he could take some chances and perform some more spectacular stuff. But he does have his position to consider and nobody who is reasonable want to see an older Doshu lose it on an overly complicated throw. The fact that he is concentrating on basics is a lesson in itself, no matter how experienced you are, work the fundamentals that is how technique is perfected and persists.

That this man is a pivotal figure is undisputed, that he continues to work his art should be celebrated, that he still has things to teach people should come as no surprise. My sensei is in his early 70’s and is going gangbusters, plays at a level I will never attain, and has forgotten more aikido than I will ever know. For the last decade I have had the honor to attend the annual Harry Ishisaka memorial workout in Orange County. The cadre of older experienced yudansha that switch out every 30 minutes provide unique insight into the various aspects, different perspectives and a trove of cultural lore that pervades the art. The value of these shared experiences with older aikidoka are impossible to quantify, but they are profound and essential if succeeding yudansha are to continue propagating and developing the art. Doumo arigatou gozaimashita sensei(s).

08-24-2013, 03:04 PM
I'm sure Takahashi Sensei can elaborate/clarify far better than I ever could but I think the key word he used was "his" (the aikido of O'Sensei). I surely don't want to try to emulate or duplicate anyone else's aikido. Maybe though I can pick up/steal some things to help me with my own practice though.
As far as the demo, I agree with Mary. To be able to 'just' move that well at an advanced age is inspiring. I see folks much younger now who are far less mobile.

08-24-2013, 08:37 PM
There is a difference between teaching aikido and doing aikido. He is teaching not doing, hence the slow big movements. He wants everyone to see the movements in the technique. If the big wigs always do aikiido, we will never fully catch on.