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Guillaume Erard
11-02-2013, 05:44 AM
Hi everyone, I just wanted to bring to your attention the publication of an interesting piece by Ellis Amdur (http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/articles/it-aint-necessarily-so-banquo-s-ghost) that did not make the cut in the latest edition of Duelling with O Sensei. It deals with myths in martial arts, in particular a story that has been going around about the Daito-ryu master Horikawa teaching Yoshinkan Aikido founder Shioda Gozo the fundamentals of Aiki. I think that Ellis debunks pretty eloquently that particular one in this article. I would be interested to hear if anyone had any other element to share on this issue.

mathewjgano
11-02-2013, 12:40 PM
Hi everyone, I just wanted to bring to your attention the publication of an interesting piece by Ellis Amdur (http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/articles/it-aint-necessarily-so-banquo-s-ghost) that did not make the cut in the latest edition of Duelling with O Sensei. It deals with myths in martial arts, in particular a story that has been going around about the Daito-ryu master Horikawa teaching Yoshinkan Aikido founder Shioda Gozo the fundamentals of Aiki. I think that Ellis debunks pretty eloquently that particular one in this article. I would be interested to hear if anyone had any other element to share on this issue.

Great read, as always! Thank you for posting it!

oisin bourke
11-02-2013, 05:57 PM
Hi everyone, I just wanted to bring to your attention the publication of an interesting piece by Ellis Amdur (http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/articles/it-aint-necessarily-so-banquo-s-ghost) that did not make the cut in the latest edition of Duelling with O Sensei. It deals with myths in martial arts, in particular a story that has been going around about the Daito-ryu master Horikawa teaching Yoshinkan Aikido founder Shioda Gozo the fundamentals of Aiki. I think that Ellis debunks pretty eloquently that particular one in this article. I would be interested to hear if anyone had any other element to share on this issue.

Horikawa didn't learn Sekiguchi ryu jujutsu from his father. He learned Shibukawa ryu. As for the rest of the comments, at least one yoshinkan instructor at the time, Ogawa, left the Yoshinkan and began training under Horikawa. The current menkyo of the kodokai, Shinpo, also started in yoshinkan before moving joining kodokai. Inoue Sensei has remained on good terms with members of daito ryu, including my own teacher. As Ellis states, he is the perhaps closest in Aiki techniques. This all indicates that there was at least more to the relationship than a one-off informal demo. At the very least, it seemed to have made an impression on at least some of the yoshinkan members .

However, relating to his comments about myth and Jung: By coincidence (synchronicity?) I've been reading Jung's memoirs and some of his other writings. I'm beginning to think that Jung's explications of consciousness touch at least partially on how traditional budo is transmitted and understood. That which is referred to as "aiki" in Daito Ryu is incorporated into this method. In other words, it needs to be learned in a particular context/relationship, under particular conditions and with regard to a particular weltanschauung. One cannot learn aiki (as referred to in Daito Ryu parlance) simply from being shown some solo exercises. If Shioda DID learn anything from Horikawa, he would have had to already have been exposed to this particular world of physical/symbolic perception already.

Alister Gillies
11-03-2013, 02:55 AM
Fact and fiction can become confused, but common sense and maturity should tell us that the icing on a cow pat doesn't make it smell any sweeter. People, of course, are free to believe what they want but we should be careful not to mistake the massage for the message. We cannot know definitively whether Horikawa taught Shioda, but it does seem improbable given the lack of real evidence.

But does it really matter about who taught whom? My own feeling on this is that the unending quest for the undiluted, authentic teaching of aiki is a narcissistic folly. I suspect, like many other forms of development in the aiki arts, progress comes when the student is ready, and a return to the original secrecy surrounding the teaching of aiki might be a welcome break from what has become a tediously obsessive and divisive topic.

Those with aiki (or unusual power) express it following a lifetime of learning and training. That expression takes place over over a relatively short time span, and those that can express it tend to be septuagenarians. That may say something about poor training methodology - depends on your point of view - but what it doesn't suggest is that aiki/unusual power is something that can be picked up in a couple of weeks/months/years.

Sokaku Takeda said that he did not show his techniques openly, mainly because they were so easy to do...he says. But he was also quite an astute person (as illiterate people often are), albeit disposed to greed and paranoia, with some psychotic tendencies thrown in for good measure. But perhaps there is a grain of truth in what he said - maybe aiki is simple, and it is just people that are complicated.

I found Eilis's article refreshing since it helped debunk a questionable notion and freed up some space for, hopefully, more useful stuff to ponder.

Guillaume Erard
11-03-2013, 03:12 AM
Thanks a lot Oisin, this was the sort of additional information I was hoping to get :)

jonreading
11-04-2013, 12:34 PM
I think this was, as usual, a great read from Ellis. I think he make a great case for debunking the specific claim that Horikawa sensei taught aiki to Shioda sensei. I did get the sense that Ellis was not advocating that Shioda did not pick something up from Horikawa sensei during this visit, only that the particular event in the photo was not covert instruction of aiki.

My personal belief is that these old relationships were about politics and exposure. I would imagine it would be difficult to start assigning teacher/student relationships within such arrangements, formal or informal. Just seeing some of the material demonstrated may have spurred Shioda sensei to look somewhere where he might not otherwise have looked.

Howard Popkin
11-04-2013, 02:59 PM
Interesting picture if Shioda wasn't studying, isn't it ?

Bill Danosky
11-04-2013, 03:33 PM
Is there any reason to believe Horikawa wasn't working on waza during those sessions? Everybody's going to tend to interpret this as proof of their point of view. Other people know more than I do about the personalities, but I never heard Kancho described as someone who really embraced aiki.

Chris Li
11-04-2013, 04:09 PM
Is there any reason to believe Horikawa wasn't working on waza during those sessions? Everybody's going to tend to interpret this as proof of their point of view. Other people know more than I do about the personalities, but I never heard Kancho described as someone who really embraced aiki.

I have - Inoue speaks a bit about Shioda's changes over the years in his latest book.

Best,

Chris

Ellis Amdur
11-04-2013, 11:20 PM
Howard - I've clearly explained the picture. And they are sitting, not studying.

Furthermore, I got confirmation, in written notes, from two senior members of the Roppokai as to the correctness of my thesis. One wrote to me: "I have actually been told by Okamoto that Kodo and Shioda once met in the Tokyo area, and that Shioda asked Kodo a question about Kodokai Aiki. Kodo demonstrated a simple technique on Shioda, and he replyed: "Ah..got it". . . .When Okamoto told the story, I got the impression that it was no big deal. Just two guys exchanging info."

Bill - there were not "those sessions" - as the article states, the Yoshinkan did not participate in sessions. The Yagyukai, a completely separate organization that either borrowed or rented space at the Yoshinkan when aikido was not in session.

Ellis Amdur

Bernd Lehnen
11-05-2013, 06:15 AM
... Shioda asked Kodo a question about Kodokai Aiki. Kodo demonstrated a simple technique on Shioda, and he replyed: "Ah..got it". . . .When Okamoto told the story, I got the impression that it was no big deal. Just two guys exchanging info."

Ellis Amdur

This might well be an indication that, perhaps, "Aiki" isn't the big deal everyone is made to believe.
Takeda is said to have thought so.

Oisin Bourke wrote:
In other words, it needs to be learned in a particular context/relationship, under particular conditions and with regard to a particular weltanschauung. One cannot learn aiki (as referred to in Daito Ryu parlance) simply from being shown some solo exercises.


How do you know? Why not? It might well be exactly this belief makes things so complicated for everyone else.

Best
Bernd

Ellis Amdur
11-05-2013, 06:32 AM
Bernd - I, of course, do not know, as I was not there, and this is the first I heard of Shioda actually touching Horikawa at all. But what makes it believable is that two different high level students of Okamoto Seigo felt prompted on their own accord to contact me about this - and their stories, close, and largely free of hyperbole, are therefore, believable.

Anyway, there is a Japanese word, tashikameru, 確かめる which explains this type of incident. It means, "make sure."

Hypothetically (although I think it's been established, factually - for Inoue sensei is a man of unimpeachable character), Horikawa, honors the owner of the dojo at which he's teaching another group by showing him something, he being honored by that Kancho's request.

Shioda is curious - he sees "it" - what Horikawa is doing, and he wants to feel for himself if it is a) the same b) different from what he - or Ueshiba - or both are doing. So he asks a question, puts a hand on Horikawa and is shown something and says, "aha." Which could mean anything from a) yep, the same b) yep, that's different c) that's it? d) wow, I missed out.
In any case, "I got it" (what you are showing me).

Sort of like what happened to me when I was walking in a park in Taiwan and some white-crane guys beckoned me over and one guy started to feel the acupuncture points in my arm, and then nodded, "Heng hau, heng hau" - (really good, really good), calling some of his training brothers over to feel my arms as well. Of course, later a new acquaintance told me, "Stay away from the white crane guys. Their practice tends to raise their blood pressure so much they get neurological damage. They are all kinda crazy." Of course, it's possible, now, that because of that single transformative touch, that white crane guy got an amazing understanding ('cause I'm amazing) and changed his entire art. He surely taught others. In short, I am the teacher of one line of Taiwanese white crane.

Bernd Lehnen
11-05-2013, 07:09 AM
Anyway, there is a Japanese word, tashikameru, 確かめる which explains this type of incident. It means, "make sure."

Shioda is curious - he sees "it" - what Horikawa is doing, and he wants to feel for himself if it is a) the same b) different from what he - or Ueshiba - or both are doing. So he asks a question, puts a hand on Horikawa and is shown something and says, "aha." Which could mean anything from a) yep, the same b) yep, that's different c) that's it? d) wow, I missed out.
In any case, "I got it" (what you are showing me).

Sort of like what happened to me when I was walking in a park in Taiwan and some white-crane guys beckoned me over and one guy started to feel the acupuncture points in my arm, and then nodded, "Heng hau, heng hau" - (really good, really good), calling some of his training brothers over to feel my arms as well. Of course, later a new acquaintance told me, "Stay away from the white crane guys. Their practice tends to raise their blood pressure so much they get neurological damage. They are all kinda crazy." Of course, it's possible, now, that because of that single transformative touch, that white crane guy got an amazing understanding ('cause I'm amazing) and changed his entire art. He surely taught others. In short, I am the teacher of one line of Taiwanese white crane.

Hidden in plain sight!:)

So, again, tashikameru, 確かめる, IHTBF.

Ellis, apart from your vast expertise, I adore your wonderful sense of humor.

Best
Bernd

oisin bourke
11-05-2013, 07:41 AM
How do you know? Why not? It might well be exactly this belief makes things so complicated for everyone else.

Best
Bernd

Because I've experienced both modes of training/transmission. If you don't have the foundation of traditional daito ryu training, including katageiko, direct transmission and a whole host of other things, IMO, being shown solo exercises will not be enough to develop DR Aiki. It may well be excellent for transforming one's body, making one softer, more effective and healthful etc. I don't dispute any of that, but you will be missing too much "context" (that's the best word I can come up with) and ability to discern what to really concentrate on. This is just my honest opinion based on my experience. It may well make things complicated, but that's the way it is.

Cady Goldfield
11-05-2013, 08:19 AM
Kodo demonstrated a simple technique on Shioda, and he replyed: "Ah..got it". . . .When Okamoto told the story, I got the impression that it was no big deal. Just two guys exchanging info."

I wonder whether there is any confirmation somewhere as to whether that simple technique involved a "big toe"?

Fred Little
11-05-2013, 02:31 PM
It wouldn't prove anything, Cady. Abe Seiseki had big toe techniques.

He also had no known contact with Kodo. But he did have aiki, and he did have big toes, and he did know how to use them. ;-)

FL

TokyoZeplin
11-05-2013, 02:55 PM
Very cool article, thank you!
I recently stumbled across some forum posts, on another site, mentioning this. It was the first I had heard about it, and seemed fairly dubious to me, so it was very interesting to read this article!
Much appreciated! :)

Cady Goldfield
11-05-2013, 11:28 PM
It wouldn't prove anything, Cady. Abe Seiseki had big toe techniques.

He also had no known contact with Kodo. But he did have aiki, and he did have big toes, and he did know how to use them. ;-)

FL

Yah, a big toe and a little aiki-sage can go a long way... ;)

phitruong
11-06-2013, 02:37 PM
Sort of like what happened to me when I was walking in a park in Taiwan and some white-crane guys beckoned me over and one guy started to feel the acupuncture points in my arm, and then nodded, "Heng hau, heng hau" - (really good, really good), calling some of his training brothers over to feel my arms as well. Of course, later a new acquaintance told me, "Stay away from the white crane guys. Their practice tends to raise their blood pressure so much they get neurological damage. They are all kinda crazy." Of course, it's possible, now, that because of that single transformative touch, that white crane guy got an amazing understanding ('cause I'm amazing) and changed his entire art. He surely taught others. In short, I am the teacher of one line of Taiwanese white crane.

you could get one of those gold silk pajama that many taichi folks have, then have an embroided white crane take flight and get shot by crazy white hunters. and then declared yourself the grandmaster of that white crane sect. better yet, you could dye your eyebrows white and said you are the bak mei white crane grandmaster. if anyone protests, you can always poke them full with holes using the naginata. :D

btw, if i remembered my kungfu movies correctly, the white crane techniques countered the chicken feet.... i meant the eagle claw kungfu techniques which is really the chin na stuffs which were the great great many great removed aikido techniques.

Howard Popkin
11-06-2013, 02:44 PM
All I said was, interesting picture, isn't it ?

I have heard the story from Okamoto directly.

Don't need anyone to confirm or deny anything. I just thought it was a cool picture if Shioda Sensei wasn't studying under Horikawa Sensei.

It would be unusual for two guys of that position to just "meet up" and have a throw down, wouldn't it ?

That's all I was trying to say.

Best wishes, and Happy Hanukah soon :)

Howie

ChrisMikk
11-07-2013, 12:54 AM
Thanks for this link, and thank you Mr. Amdur for the article.

I have - Inoue speaks a bit about Shioda's changes over the years in his latest book.

I think the best place to find Shioda's perspectives on aikido is in his own book Aikido Shugyo (http://www.aikiweb.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=94&cat=6).

How do you know? Why not? It might well be exactly this belief makes things so complicated for everyone else.

Anyone who has studied aikido seriously knows you can't learn it from watching. You have to feel both the uke and shite parts of techniques before you start to understand. Unless perhaps you are a prodigy. But if Shioda was a prodigy, it would raise the question why he couldn't learn aikido during the time he studied with Ueshiba.

It would be unusual for two guys of that position to just "meet up" and have a throw down, wouldn't it ?

As Mr. Amdur explained, they didn't just meet up. There was a clear reason--Yagyukai. Anyhow, I am not at all sure it is unusual for two accomplished martial artists to meet in a small island nation like Japan, where most of the culture and urban life is contained within a few cities in a small area.

Chris Li
11-07-2013, 02:06 AM
I think the best place to find Shioda's perspectives on aikido is in his own book Aikido Shugyo (http://www.aikiweb.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=94&cat=6).

I haven't read the English version, although I enjoyed it in Japanese, as I did Aikido Jinsei - but that has nothing to do with whether or not Inoue's recollections are relevant or not.

Best,

Chris

Bernd Lehnen
11-07-2013, 02:38 AM
Anyone who has studied aikido seriously knows you can't learn it from watching. You have to feel both the uke and shite parts of techniques before you start to understand. Unless perhaps you are a prodigy. But if Shioda was a prodigy, it would raise the question why he couldn't learn aikido during the time he studied with Ueshiba.

.

Shioda wasn't like Mr."Anyone".

They say he was taught Daito Ryu and didn't need 40+ years of serious study of aikido to not even to start to understand.:D ;)

Best,
Bernd

ChrisMikk
11-08-2013, 10:09 AM
I haven't read the English version, although I enjoyed it in Japanese, as I did Aikido Jinsei - but that has nothing to do with whether or not Inoue's recollections are relevant or not.

Really? Nothing? Nothing!

Inoue is attested in this very thread as someone with impeccable character, and I know nothing about him, so I have no reason to doubt that. And I haven't read his book.

Also, not having read all your posts, I cannot be sure what "aiki" means to you.

However, here is your implicit quotation from above:
"I have ['heard Kancho described as someone who really embraced aiki'] [by] Inoue [, who] speaks a bit about Shioda's changes over the years in his latest book." -Chris Li

If aiki means something quasi-religious, which I would assume from the posts of yours I have read previously, this is at stark odds with the Shioda I have heard about from Payet-sensei and the Shioda revealed in his own books, who is stoutly uninterested in metaphysics.

Payet-sensei describes Shioda as someone who, in his later years, was more interested in drinking beer, making conversation with friends, and sitting in his office than with pondering deep meaning. In Angry White Pyjamas, Shioda's collection of clocks is described.

In Aikido Jinsei, we see a self-described obsessive collector (gold-covered objects, animals, etc) and someone whose life was all about finding good food and drink and meeting friends.

These facts suggest to me that Shioda's personality and outlook was pretty much consistent throughout his life. Since Shioda says outright in his books that he never believed in gods and couldn't follow in Ueshiba's religious outlook on life, I have to be suspect of any claims Shioda got religion.

If, in describing Shioda as embracing aiki, you refer to a change in his technical understanding or teaching, that I could buy.

Chris Li
11-08-2013, 10:51 AM
Really? Nothing? Nothing!

Inoue is attested in this very thread as someone with impeccable character, and I know nothing about him, so I have no reason to doubt that. And I haven't read his book.

Well, yes, nothing. I didn't know either of them well, and neither did you, so arguing about which source is "better" at this point is a little difficult, especially since you haven't read all the sources we're discussing.

Anyway, my point was that I had indeed heard of someone who said that Shioda was interested in "Aiki". I'm not arguing for or against Inoue, just saying that he presented a different viewpoint. As one of the only people who was there full time from the beginning to the end of the Yoshinkan I find that interesting, whether he's mistaken or not.

As for definitions of Aiki - I have never, not once, stated that Aiki is anything even remotely "quasi-religious".

Best,

Chris

Cady Goldfield
11-08-2013, 11:27 AM
It seems that a number of Ueshiba's pre-WWII students had aiki to various degrees. What they may not have had, was a cogent method for teaching it, other than hands-on transmission.

Perhaps that is where the real issues arose - the lack of understanding of what Ueshiba was talking about, and the possibility that what students such as Shioda might have thought were quasi-religious ramblings by O-Sensei were actually his (tai chi classics-based) technical instructions. Could that be why Shioda said (something along the lines of) that he didn't really understand what Ueshiba was saying, until late in life?

Robert Cowham
11-14-2013, 12:08 PM
I have - Inoue speaks a bit about Shioda's changes over the years in his latest book.

Chris, do you mean this one?

http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E5%90%88%E6%B0%97%E9%81%93-%E3%80%8C%E6%8A%9C%E3%81%8D%E3%80%8D%E3%81%A8%E3%80%8C%E5%91%BC%E5%90%B8%E5%8A%9 B%E3%80%8D%E3%81%AE%E6%A5%B5%E6%84%8F%E2%80%95%E7%9B%B8%E6%89%8B%E3%82%92%E7%84% A1%E5%8A%9B%E5%8C%96%E3%81%99%E3%82%8B%E7%A5%9E%E7%A7%98%E3%81%AE%E7%A7%91%E5%AD %A6-BUDO%E2%80%90RA-BOOKS-%E4%BA%95%E4%B8%8A/dp/4809408078

I found a link to it from this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUo-0-f8I5s

That looks interesting...

Also found this review: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17599

Chris Li
11-14-2013, 12:15 PM
Chris, do you mean this one?


Actually, I was thinking of this one:

http://www.queststation.com/products/OTHERS/BOOK/books_kojikinyumon.html

Best,

Chris

Robert Cowham
11-14-2013, 01:11 PM
Actually, I was thinking of this one:
http://www.queststation.com/products/OTHERS/BOOK/books_kojikinyumon.html

OK.

Next question - have you read the one I referenced? Any thoughts?

Chris Li
11-14-2013, 01:28 PM
OK.

Next question - have you read the one I referenced? Any thoughts?

No, I flipped through it in the bookstore and for some reason I decided not to buy it (although the reason escapes me now...).

Best,

Chris

oisin bourke
11-29-2013, 04:44 AM
Something's been gnawing me about this post, so I did some research, and further to some comments on this subject, Shioda actually received a Daito Ryu scroll from Horikawa. I think this is evdidence that "senior members of the Kodokai" are perfectly justified in considering Shioda to have studied under their teacher. and as for this quote :

It provides its own rewards: their own art, Daitō-ryū is different from aikidō, and only the former's study can provide any real skill to those who studied its inferior off-shoot.

Well It IS different, in terms of teaching and many of the core skills. The body movement is very different, for one. There are overlaps of course, especially in some aikido "styles", but to think that aikido practicioners can just start a bit of DR practice to up their aikido (Or vice versa) does both arts a disservice.

The second bit is part is just partisanship. Every Japanese budo group indulges in this. It's unfair to single DR out in this regard IMO. In fact, Horikawa awarding a scroll to Shioda could indicate that he held Shioda and his teacher (Ueshiba) in high regard.

BTW, this scroll plus the quote from Okamoto's students verifies two out of three parts of verbal information I heard concerning this story:

Shioda learned a specific technique from Horikawa.
He received a scroll from Horikawa

The final piece was that Shioda petitioned horikawa to study on a more formal footing with him, but horikawa demurred as he considered him Ueshiba's student.

Personally, I don't give a fig for gossip and politics in budo, (and I never heard about the two weeks of secret meetings or the limos) but fair's fair. The people asserting that Shioda studied with Horikawa (how much and for how long I will not speculate) are on fairly strong ground regarding this if you bring the scroll into account. The scroll can be seen in the edition of Hiden Budo magazine February 2007. Page 25.

Ellis Amdur
11-29-2013, 11:35 AM
Oisin - Fascinating information regarding the scroll - I'd love to see the article. That may change my thoughts on things, depending on what the scroll is (surprisingly often, people receive honorary scrolls for one reason or another).

You write:
Well It IS different, in terms of teaching and many of the core skills. The body movement is very different, for one. There are overlaps of course, especially in some aikido "styles", but to think that aikido practicioners can just start a bit of DR practice to up their aikido (Or vice versa) does both arts a disservice. True - but Shioda learned Daito-ryu from Ueshiba Morihei. That's really my point.

I also think its stretching a point to say he "learned a technique." Maybe so. But if, for example, I was to visit you and say, "I saw you do "x" - would you do that to me?" and you once, do some subtle bit of aiki --ONCE - I could very well notice, "that was different." But it's doubtful that I would instantly understand it, note how it was a new element absent from my training to date, and that I'd immediately be able to incorporate it in my art. (Of course, you might reply, that's because you aren't a fraction of the martial artist Shioda was . . .).

The final piece was that Shioda petitioned horikawa to study on a more formal footing with him, but horikawa demurred as he considered him Ueshiba's student. Do you have a source for this?

I'm not, by the way, arguing "for" something here. The two points you raise are interesting, though contradictory. In essence, Shioda received a scroll (which usually denotes being a student), but was refused as a student.

"Unfair to single out . . ." That would suggest I'm one-sided in my debunking of myths. Given that, at least in the English language, I was the first to write out Ueshiba Morihei as being involved, even supportive, of political terrorists, I cannot really be accused of being one-sided. Unless the "one side" I'm on is a suspicion of hagiography.

I wrote the essay and the one just published on Tohei because I'm intrigued by myth-making, and how they create "reality" on the ground. Just like I was very interested to take on the myth that Takeda Sokaku was of a certain nature, that he studied a secret art, etc., in HIPS. And how from another perspective, not only the myth, but reality itself changes slightly.

Anyway, I'd love to see the HIDEN article, and love to know more about the evidence of Shioda's petition.
Ellis Amdur

oisin bourke
11-29-2013, 01:47 PM
Oisin - Fascinating information regarding the scroll - I'd love to see the article. That may change my thoughts on things, depending on what the scroll is (surprisingly often, people receive honorary scrolls for one reason or another).

You write:
True - but Shioda learned Daito-ryu from Ueshiba Morihei. That's really my point.

I also think its stretching a point to say he "learned a technique." Maybe so. But if, for example, I was to visit you and say, "I saw you do "x" - would you do that to me?" and you once, do some subtle bit of aiki --ONCE - I could very well notice, "that was different." But it's doubtful that I would instantly understand it, note how it was a new element absent from my training to date, and that I'd immediately be able to incorporate it in my art. (Of course, you might reply, that's because you aren't a fraction of the martial artist Shioda was . . .).

Do you have a source for this?

I'm not, by the way, arguing "for" something here. The two points you raise are interesting, though contradictory. In essence, Shioda received a scroll (which usually denotes being a student), but was refused as a student.

"Unfair to single out . . ." That would suggest I'm one-sided in my debunking of myths. Given that, at least in the English language, I was the first to write out Ueshiba Morihei as being involved, even supportive, of political terrorists, I cannot really be accused of being one-sided. Unless the "one side" I'm on is a suspicion of hagiography.

I wrote the essay and the one just published on Tohei because I'm intrigued by myth-making, and how they create "reality" on the ground. Just like I was very interested to take on the myth that Takeda Sokaku was of a certain nature, that he studied a secret art, etc., in HIPS. And how from another perspective, not only the myth, but reality itself changes slightly.

Anyway, I'd love to see the HIDEN article, and love to know more about the evidence of Shioda's petition.
Ellis Amdur

I"ll see if I can scan it. I"ll have to check the kanji with my wife, but it does seem like a honorary scroll, however, It's signed Horikawa kodo daito ryu aikido meijin.
I don't have a source for my third assertion that I can back up. I was originally reluctant to put it out publicly, but seeing as the other two assertions have been independently verified, I figured it at least bears consideration. I retain an open mind on it,(and what it might mean) in fact, it doesn't really matter to me one way or the other, so I'm just putting it out there.

Further on from your comments, I happen to agree. In fact, "understanding the myth" is vital in understanding the teachings of any traditional Japanese art, IMO.It's one of the things seriously missing when these arts make the transition to our culture. My personal take is that Shioda was attuned to "the myth/world view" from training under ueshiba, and it was this that helped make his meeting(s?) with horikawa so fruitful.

Additionally, Gadi Schor"s post about Shioda noticing the one day an uchi deshi didn't precisely align the slippers in the toilet reveals his almost uncanny level of perception. I believe that people of the calibre of Shioda and horikawa were really operating on a very refined plane. Information was being downloaded from the get go, so to speak, so Inoue sensei"s (whom I have huge respect for BTW) comments about their meeting can be perfectly true while at the same time leaving the canvas open to be filled in with more. Your previous story about encountering white crane kung fu people was similar perhaps., but imagine if you and they were so attuned to the nuances of how one should move and behave during a carefully choreographed meeting, which every gesture was packed with meaning.

As for hagiography and singling people out, I may be over-sensitive about this, but DR and its practicioners seems to come under a lot of criticism for being secretive, vague and downright dishonest, almost like its a characteristic of the Ryu.(I'm not accusing you of this). Some of these people are my friends and ani deshi. This may apply to some practicioners, but it hasn't been my experience, and through practice, I've discovered there are usually good reasons for some apparently strange behaviour. Anyway, my point was (in this instance at least) people making assertions about Shioda and horikawa could be given the benefit of the doubt. That still leaves plenty of myth making to be debunked!

Best Regards

Chris Li
11-29-2013, 02:17 PM
Additionally, Gadi Schor"s post about Shioda noticing the one day an uchi deshi didn't precisely align the slippers in the toilet reveals his almost uncanny level of perception. I believe that people of the calibre of Shioda and horikawa were really operating on a very refined plane.

I don't think that you even have to go that far. Horikawa and Ueshiba had the same teacher and studied (we assume) very similar things. It doesn't seem at all a stretch to me to imagine Shioda having one (or more) "aha" moments after seeing the same material that he studied under Ueshiba presented from a slightly different perspective by Horikawa. I'm sure that happened to everybody in Aikido or Daito-ryu, it's certainly happened to me often enough. Embellishment aside, that leaves the core assumption (that Shioda got something from Horikawa that he hadn't gotten from Ueshiba) reasonably plausible.

Best,

Chris

oisin bourke
11-29-2013, 02:33 PM
This is my mistake. I completely made a mess of reading Japanese. The scroll was from ishida, Horikawa's patron, not Shioda. It is not a makimono made out to Shioda at all. I'll leave my posts up here as they hopefully will have started some fruitful discussion, but I will remove the comment from the article on Guillaume's site. I have heard about a scroll being given to Shioda, but it is only hearsay still. Apologies to Ellis, but hopefully you can run with some of my other comments.

Apologies once again.

Ellis Amdur
11-29-2013, 04:13 PM
Oisin - no worries. The more interesting point is the other you raise. How much one can learn at contact.
I must say that when I cross weapons with someone, I usually know, at first touch, what they can do. I can notice that they are doing something I don't - or cannot.

But what I cannot do is, with a single touch, incorporate what they are doing and make it mine.

Which could lead, again, to the suggestion, that I've got a long way to go to reach the likes of Horikawa or Shioda, and this may simply be the answer.

OTOH, there certainly is a strain of hyper-exaggeration in Japanese martial arts, and the aiki arts in particular. (I take this on in my other recent essay on Tohei. Something happened - but not what the Aikikai --and probably Tohei himself - said.)

And having been on the end of the "single encounter making one a student" trope, seeing this as a pattern (one that Horikawa "suffered" vis a vis Sagawa) in the aiki arts, it intrigues me, as the assertion, believed, can actually effect how and with whom one trains. And what one perceives when one trains.

Best
Ellis

P.S. It's not my research, but you should see the information regarding the Kodokan and what really seems to have occurred in the "matches" that may or may NOT have occurred against jujutsu schools. Hopefully, I can negotiate some way to publish this as well.

patrick de block
12-14-2013, 11:44 AM
By accident I found this, it is an old thread from 2008.

There is no doubt that Shioda trained - a little - with Kodo Horikawa. It's not a secret either. I wrote to the Yoshinkan and had a very clear email exchange with one of the younger shihan. He said, essentially, "yes, everyone knows that." Horikawa came to the Yoshinkan and taught at least one open seminar, and then on several occasions (I've heard a few and up to ten or so), Shioda and some senior students met with him behind closed doors. I then wrote and asked if Shioda sensei's technique changed from that point. The young shihan said he would check with some who were there. He got back to me and said that Shioda sensei, per the senior shihan, did not change before and after. (Which could be true and could be not). I do have independent, first hand, confirmation that Shioda, himself, was somewhat discomfited when his association with Horikawa was made (sort of) public.
A couple of points - descriptions of Ueshiba, when he was NOT trying to do his "aikido" sound remarkably like Daito-ryu. Specifically, his demo at Kenkoku University in Manchuria, where Ohba Hideo, (Tomiki's 1st deshi) believed that he would be disrespectful if he didn't try to attack all in, trying to destroy Ueshiba. Ohba was highly ranked in judo, in karate and had extensive training in various weaponry as well.

Tada Hiroshi stated:

Ueshiba was furious with Ohba, because, he felt, he was not able to demonstrate what HE thought was important. Ohba recalled that Ueshiba stomped off the mat, yelling at him, "Omae wa baka."
He was mollified, however, when Sonobe Hideo, the most wonderful naginata sensei in Japan at that time ,approached him.

I highlighted the one section of the last quotation. She'd seen him and thought she knew what he could do - but he, unleashed, showed her something different. In other words, we very well could be making a mistake about Ueshiba simply basing things on his films, where he was showing what he "wanted aiki-do to be."
Which leads to a final point. Tenryu, the ex-sumotori, stated that Shioda was closer to Ueshiba's technique than anyone. Yet when we look at Shioda, we sometimes not this "sharp" and subtle technique which is, those in the know say, more Daito-ryu than Ueshiba's aiikido.
So maybe Shioda, too, was guilty of not doing Ueshiba's aikido ("That's not my aikido!"). But he very well could have been doing what he had actually learned from Ueshiba, something that Horikawa confirmed rather than it being new to him - whether or not Ueshiba himself wanted that to be his legacy.
The argument is not whether or not Shioda studied with Horikawa for a few classes - he did. The Yoshinkan states that openly. And further, I'm not denying the possibility that a few sessions with Horikawa somehow opened up a new world to Shioda. But one of the least attractive aspects of Daito-ryu society is how one teacher will claim another person as a student, after one or two lessons. Horikawa, himself, took six of his students to learn some DR jujutsu (he'd concentrated on the aiki with Takeda) from Sagawa, signed a book, and from that day forward, Sagawa stated, "Horikawa's my student."
In sum, then: No denial whatsoever that Shioda studied from Horikawa. But the evidence I've cited above suggests the strong possibility that Ueshiba could do that style as well - but he eschewed it for his own reasons.
Best

Ellis Amdur
12-14-2013, 12:16 PM
My past comes back to haunt me. :) And I could have written better, because in "flowing" from one sentence to another, I gave an impression that the young shihan at the Yoshinkan said Shioda had met behind closed doors. In fact, properly:
1. The young shihan confirmed (2nd hand) that everyone knew of one contact
2. As for the ten or more trainings, that was me reiterating what I'd heard.
Which was irresponsible of me, because it gives the impression that he was also confirming the "closed-door" ten or more sessions.
He also suggested - and I should have included - that there was no relationship with Yoshinkan and Daito-ryu and that if I wanted to know about Daito-ryu, I should check Kondo Katsuyuki, either by DVD or in person to see what Daito-ryu was like. I should have included this too, because it indicates that this particular young shihan (and perhaps others) were not familiar with the really significant differences between the Kodokai and Kondo's methodology.
I've addressed the public "discomfiture" issue in my essay.

This post illustrates, I must confess, how one's ideological stance - one's current belief's - can skew research, if only slightly.

The rest of the post is "moving" in the right direction. And here's the direction I am moving - one thing I've really been fascinated with is how Ueshiba's leading students are so different. Next month, I'll be posting an IHTBF column on Kobayashi HIrokazu, one of Ueshiba's leading postwar students. I will not take away the import of the essay to note this: Kobayashi's technique, which he learned, as far as anyone knows, directly from Ueshiba, sounds very much - very much - like that of the Kodokai. (I've been searching for this quotation again for awhile, but I read that Takeda Tokimune, upon observing Kobayashi, said to him something to the effect of: "This is real Daito-ryu. Not many people are doing real Daito-ryu these days." Whatever Ueshiba himself did - I still think he used each of his leading disciples as a kind of "crash-test dummy" to really work through different aspects of what he learned and discovered.
And that is one reason I think we can be too quick to assume, when one or another shihan, seems so different from others - or from the few films of Ueshiba - that Ueshiba "couldn't have taught him that." Ueshiba's compatriots - fellow students of Takeda - seem to have mastered their own style - as evidenced by how their disciples attempt to follow in their footsteps - whereas Ueshiba's disciples each seem to have been given and followed a somewhat different path.
Ellis Amdur

Ellis Amdur
12-14-2013, 01:03 PM
Well, just to confuse things more:
Takuma asked Kobayashi Hirokazu to run the club. It is at this point that the club went from Daito-ryu to Aikido. Since Takuma had asked Kobayashi, he said that he did well and that is how it went. Kobayashi Hirokazu Sensei had once been a student of Takuma Sensei. He was actually a pretty close student of Takuma.

This, from this interview (http://www.transcriptsearch.com.es/id/sA77usCI1a4):

One thing that can be noted from the recent work of Oliver Gaurin and Guillaume Erard: - contrary to the idea once Ueshiba left Osaka, that there was no further contact between the Aikikai and Takumakai, there was, in fact, a lot of contact, this just being one illustration of this. Hisa Takuma was actually awarded an 8th dan from the Aikikai.

Ellis Amdur

Ellis Amdur
12-14-2013, 01:24 PM
I've split off the discussion of Kobayashi Hirokazu in a new thread. If anyone is inclined to discuss him further, please go to that thread.
Ellis Amdur

patrick de block
12-14-2013, 06:13 PM
To haunt you a bit more.

Just above the post I quoted, Dan Harden writes: 'Daito Ryu - in the Kodokai'

Ellis Amdur
12-14-2013, 06:41 PM
Patrick - No haunting there. I discussed things with Dan at the time, and subsequently, with other members of the Kodokai who had more direct contact (Dan's was 2nd/3rd hand and he does not speak Japanese). It was the contradictions between various accounts that led me to seeking out a witness - someone who was actually there. And as Iposted above, I subsequently got two subsequent communications from high ranking close students of the Roppokai, who more-or-less, substantiated my essay - adding only that Shioda requested - one time - to feel - one waza, and his response was "ah, I see."

We went from a one time open seminar followed by two weeks of closed door secrecy at midnight, to a cordial visit, a courtesy demo and a single touch.

I don't think anything more will be found in "necro-ing" my own or other's past writings, as all circle around 2nd and 3rd hand suppositions - in English - of the myth of the time. That includes my own.

As I've written in about Kobayashi sensei, what is really fascinating is this: If one were to meet, for example, the most prominent exemplars of Horikawa's students, I think one would quickly say - "aha, one of the Kodokai." (Lest the sensitive object, this is not a criticism). What is fascinating about Ueshiba is one could meet Tomiki, Shirata, Shioda, Tada, Tohei, Kobayashi, Saito, etc. - and not be able tell, in many respects, that they studied with the same teacher. Reading Kobayashi Hirokazu's biography, we see that for several years, he and Saito sensei were training brothers.

Best
Ellis Amdur

tyawata
12-15-2013, 01:28 AM
"What is fascinating about Ueshiba is one could meet Tomiki, Shirata, Shioda, Tada, Tohei, Kobayashi, Saito, etc. - and not be able tell, in many respects, that they studied with the same teacher. Reading Kobayashi Hirokazu's biography, we see that for several years, he and Saito sensei were training brothers."

Interestingly, that could be equally said to students of Sokaku Takeda. Kodokai, Mainline (Katsuyuki Kondo), Takumakai look so different. In fact, Kodokai (and Roppokai) is a longtime mystery for me. They are so different from other Daito-ryu schools. Interestingly, Iwama-ryu, Yoshinkan (especially Yoshinkan till the 60's), Daito-ryu mainline and Sagawa-dojo apparently have some common waza's and curriculum which resembles each other to a certain degree, and thus even to an untrained eye can hint that they have a common origin.

Ellis Amdur
12-15-2013, 01:58 AM
Tomoo - How good to hear from you again. Of course, you are certainly correct regarding Takeda Sokaku. One way (note as always to the sensitive and argumentative - one way)that Ueshiba could be considered Takeda's most dedicated student is this はばがんひろい (breadth) that both Takeda and Ueshiba displayed, as evidenced in the variety of skills and emphases that their disciples possessed).

Ellis Amdur

tyawata
12-15-2013, 02:02 AM
Hi Ellis, thanks for your reply. I think I am probably one of the earliest people who were exposed about the mystery of under whom Shioda has trained Daito-ryu in 1988 or 1989 from Okamoto Seigo sensei when I was a student at Roppo-kai and although I might have briefly mentioned it beforehand, if someone is still interested I will try to write it later.

tyawata
12-15-2013, 05:05 AM
I think I am probably one of the earliest people who were exposed about the mystery of under whom Shioda has trained Daito-ryu, so I will write my experience here.
About my background, I joined a Yoshinkan affiliated University Aikido club in 1987 and trained there extensively and then joined Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu Roppokai in the end of 1988 or in early 1989 and cross trained in both organizations for about a year. Roppokai was still a small organization with around 40 students, and Okamoto Seigo Sensei has just published a small pamphlet about Daito-ryu through which I have discovered him.

Okamoto Sensei accepted me kindly although I informed him that I was a Yoshinkan Aikido club student and that I wanted to keep training there. After training sessions there was usually a rather light drinking party among dojo students which I sometime joined, and sometime Okamoto sensei himself also joint it and we heard a lot of stories regarding Daito-ryu from him (but in retrospect interestingly never about Aikido and Morihei Ueshiba. I guess this was so because I was there).

One day, I had the courage to ask him about his opinion of Gozo Shioda. Interestingly he pointed out to me that he does not recognize Shioda as an Aikidoka. He said he recognize Shioda as a Daito-ryu Master. A top class Daito-ryu Master who could display a very high level of "Aiki" which he said was rare today (in 1988 or 89) even among current top class Daito-ryu teachers. Then he said that this means that the teacher who has taught Shioda must be a Daito-ryu master of an incredible high level of skill, someone who stands out in Daito-ryu history. But he also stated his belief that it cannot be Ueshiba, as films of Ueshiba do not show any signs of "Aiki", nor does present day Aikikai or other Aikido schools (including Yoshinkan) seems to be oriented to enhance ability of "Aiki".

So, he came to the conclusion, that Shioda must have a secret Daito-ryu teacher, not someone normal, someone with an extraordinary ability. Then he named me a name which, Okamoto sensei said he suspected for a long time as the "real" teacher of Gozo Shioda. It was Yukiyoshi Sagawa. He urged me to ask some old timers inside Yoshinkan about any additional Daito-ryu training which Shioda must have received from Sagawa. He said there must be some evidence or some eyewitness or rumors about Shioda training under Sagawa. I was just 19 to 20 years old and being young is really scary. I asked literally all top Yoshinkan shihan, from Ando sensei, Chida sensei to Takeno sensei (except Inoue sensei as he was still shihan of the Metropolitan Police Department), whether they had ever heard about Shioda training under Sagawa. Every time the same stunned face from those sensei's, a short guessing and then the same answer "No, I never heard of it".

I came back to Okamoto sensei and reported him about my inquiry during an after training party at a Gashuku session, it was then that he said it must be the occasion when Kodokai has visited Yoshinkan and did a demonstration in 1977 (or 78, I forgot), that Shioda must have realized about Aiki and must have stolen the secret by just watching it. From what I heard Kodo Horikawa did not do a demonstration as he was already very frail, and that most of the demonstration was done by Inoue sensei (the second head master of Kodokai), and Okamoto sensei himself. At that party, I heard from him that Horikawa sensei invited one student of Shioda to grab his hand (which I later found out that it was Yasuhisa Shioda, the son of Gozo Shioda) and performed an Aiki age on him.

After the party one of the top students (then) of Roppo-kai approached me and said "you must find out the student who grabbed Horikawa sensei's hand. I have heard stories that Shioda sometimes has chased out other students from Yoshinkan and trained with him in secret".
But I had the impression that even after Sagawa was eliminated as the possible teacher of Shioda, Okamoto sensei himself did not really believe that Shioda has stolen "Aiki" from Horikawa by just watching it.
For a while I considered the possibility of Sagawa been the "true" teacher of Shioda but later dropped the idea. Shioda respected Morihei Ueshiba so much till the end of his life, no he was actually worshipping Morihei Ueshiba so much that he wanted to believe that Ueshiba had the ueber mensch quality of dodging the bullet, so that he accidentally exaggerated and said that he "saw" it (I was there when he exaggerated the story).

I cannot believe that some can keep respecting, worshiping his own teacher even after (be it in 1977,78 when meeting Kodo Horikawa or receive secret trainings from Sagawa in the 1950's) discovering that his beloved teacher did not have "it" and must therefore search for another one. So I believe the truth is that the teacher who has taught Shioda was a Daito-ryu master of an incredible high level of skill, someone who stands out in Daito-ryu history and that his name was Morihei Ueshiba.

Ellis Amdur
12-15-2013, 06:51 PM
Tomoo - thank you for this account - it fleshes out things in a fascinating way - and corrects, I believe, an error I made in my original piece. I wrote, based on my understanding, that Horikawa visited in the mid 1950's. But you write that it was 1977 or 1978. Could you confirm this? Because my citing the earlier date did not correspond to some history regarding the Yagyukai. If I can properly correct this, it makes the discussion "tighter."

Also, regarding what prompted Okamoto sensei to such thoughts in the first place - I think we would be mistaken to rely too much on films. Ueshiba apparently wanted to show the world something different from what he could do, both for ideological reasons and perhaps spiritual (hence his outrage at Ohba at Kenkoku University at being "forced" to use this 'sharp skills' to manage an all-out attack). I wonder if Okamoto sensei could have met and felt Shirata sensei - and perhaps Tomiki, were he willing to show that side of his skills (which he eschewed for ideological reasons), if he would have perceived Shioda as less unique amongst Ueshiba's cadre of students.

Best
Ellis

tyawata
12-15-2013, 08:29 PM
Hi Ellis

I think when this discussion was raised in the old Aikido journal forum, I remember Stan Pranin also mentioning that this meeting occurred in 1977 or 78 (He mentioned a more concrete date, I remember).

Okamoto sensei himself explained to me why this meeting occurred. At that time, Horikawa sensei's daughter was living in or around Tokyo with her children and although the children were visiting their grandfather every year Horikawa sensei desperately wanted to see them at their home and know how they were doing. As Horikawa sensei was becoming very frail every year, and as his family and student sensed that he will not live for a longtime, they came to the decision that this (1977,78) was probably the last chance to arrange a trip for him, so the whole family and his senior student accompanied him to assist him. 

Tadao Ogawa, the former student of Shioda and who became a student of Horikawa then informed Yoshinkan about the trip and Shioda and Yoshikan arranged for a demonstration of Kodokai. Okamoto sensei said that Yoshinkan paid full respect to Kodo Horkawa so that they treated Kodo Horikawa as a Kyoudai deshi of Shioda's teacher Morihei Ueshiba and out of respect no demonstration was done from the Yoshikan side. So Okamoto sensei had not the chance to witness the ability of Gozo Shioda. He said that he saw a demonstration of Gozo Shioda after he relocated to Tokyo and was literally astound of the high level of "Aiki" and since then wondering from who he got it.

I agree seeing that you cannot get much by just watching old films. And this conversation was done in the 1989, long before internet and youtube. Martial arts video was very rare, and even if they were sold sometimes, they were ridiculously expensive some even sold at the equivalent of USD 200 or even more.

At that time when images of Ueshiba was shown on TV, it was usually that of Ueshiba in his 80`s and tossing around young people even without touching them. I do not think that Okamoto sensei (or other Daito-ryu practitioner AND Aikido practitioner) had many chances to see other images of Ueshiba in those days, aside the Aikikai students maybe.

And I have other hypothesis, that maybe when Okamoto sensei was referring to "Aiki" he probably meant "Aiki" a la Kodokai style. He detailed me about how to discern whether a person really applied "Aiki" to the opponent or whether it was different. If an opponent has been applied "Aiki" in most cases (I remember him saying 70% or something like that) that his knee begins to trembling as he looses instantly power in the knee and that your heel begins to rise so that you are standing on your too.

But I became to think that the above description is probably only a partial side of "Aiki" and that these are unique to Kodokai, but probably that this is not the whole picture.

Anyway I think it is interesting is that the Yoshinkan black belt seminar, in which Shioda displays very Kodokai-esque techniques began in 1978 (this is officially stated in Yoshinkan history).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VImu9KPi38k

Don't you think the timing is very interesting? Black belt seminar were very un-Shioda (and un-Yoshinkan) like who always emphasized the basic. I do not think that Shioda got it from Horikawa (or anyone else) other than Ueshiba, but as one of his student (Ogawa) went over to Kodokai stating he found the true thing, maybe the black belt seminar began as a kind of "Oh, but I can do that too" demonstration....

Ellis Amdur
12-16-2013, 01:53 PM
Tomoo - thanks for the added details - and your hypotheses are very plausible.

I did receive some communication from a senior Roppokai practitioner regarding the technique that Shioda reportedly received from Horikawa: The technique is an Aiki Otoshi where you lift you grabbed arm a little up before dropping the guy straight down. According to Okamoto, Kodo told Shioda "I'm going to throw you down now, ready?", right before dropping him. When Shioda was dropped he responded "Ah got it!".

Best
Ellis