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View Full Version : Interview with Aikido Shihan Kanshu Sunadomari, Part 2


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Chris Li
08-24-2014, 10:58 AM
New blog post! Interview with Aikido Shihan Kanshu Sunadomari, Part 2 (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-kanshu-sunadomari-part-2/) - "As Ueshiba Sensei said ” There are no techniques in Aikido, it is Intent”. He left this written down clearly. For that reason, Kata disappears."

Part 1 of the interview is also available on the Aikido Sangenkai blog (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-kanshu-sunadomari-part-1).

Best,

Chris

JW
08-24-2014, 11:21 PM
Well as promised, the second half is really nice as well. Thanks!

My thoughts:

1. I should ammend the date range I wrote in the thread about part 1 of this interview. I would now say (and a recheck of his book supports this new range) that something big happened for Sunadomari sensei between 1960 and 1974. In '61 he claims he still had problems with strong people and was totally dependent on atemi.
2. I thought it was common knowledge for years now that Ueshiba did not have writings, but only speeches, some of them transcribed (at the expense of much effort, for "Takemusu Aiki" and "Aiki Shinzui"). It's also been reported more than once that he had the desire to write a book but ran out of time. But here, Sunadomari explicitly describes a bunch of writings held privately by his older brother, who "shut them away in a drawer and forg[o]t about them," which then passed to him. So I guess O-sensei had in fact started playing with material for a book before he died. I think there must be reasons that only portions were made available, even by someone who wants this budo to spread. Anyway -- where are those pages now??
3. This interview, combined with his book and the Aikidojournal interview all basically say the same thing: Sunadomari thought he used to suck, but then through years of effort was able to make his budo into a true manifestation of the founder's words. Having done that, he no longer sucked. Furthermore, he found that this way of training led to constant but slow improvement so that he in fact sucked less and less. Well, although I believe he came to understand something that he didn't understand in 1954, I still don't buy that reading cryptic writings and transcriptions were how he found the path. There's a missing scene in that story.
4. The interviewer's focus on the curled-in fingers thing is in line with what Sunadomari emphasized, for instance in the Friendship Demo. However I would like to point out that he still even then demonstrated open-finger moments. I think he was using both expansive/outward force and binding/inward force -- as appropriate to the moment. I don't think the point is to abandon expansive action but rather to understand what they are both for, and to thus appropriately cultivate and promote "in ryoku" or binding power. By doing that, one could turn each martial interaction into an act of unification that results in the safe dissipation of the aggression of the original attack.
5. The part starting with "the physical body is a vessel..." is an an example of him talking with a sense of authority about ways to train the body that give rise to something "special." Could such methods of exercise been enumerated in the secret/forgotten wirtings? Or, in his period of striking change (1960 to 1974), did he meet someone who taught him such things? In such a case, even if O-sensei's writings do not contain this detailed instruction, maybe he would have thought, "oh, this is what the writings are referring to! I must do these exercises more."

Well, that was long wasn't it? Anyway I think Sunadomari sensei's work deserves much more attention than it gets so I regret nothing!

Chris Li
08-24-2014, 11:43 PM
2. I thought it was common knowledge for years now that Ueshiba did not have writings, but only speeches, some of them transcribed (at the expense of much effort, for "Takemusu Aiki" and "Aiki Shinzui"). It's also been reported more than once that he had the desire to write a book but ran out of time. But here, Sunadomari explicitly describes a bunch of writings held privately by his older brother, who "shut them away in a drawer and forg[o]t about them," which then passed to him. So I guess O-sensei had in fact started playing with material for a book before he died. I think there must be reasons that only portions were made available, even by someone who wants this budo to spread. Anyway -- where are those pages now??

There was a lot of "stuff" left behind by the Founder, but as far as I can tell most of it gathering dust these days. Sadateru Arikawa used to poke around in it a lot (and Masatake Fujita was interested in it as well), but they're gone, and I don't see any of the younger folks really having an interest in it, at least at hombu...

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
08-25-2014, 10:46 AM
If anybody's interested, here's Sunadomari's Aikido Friendship demo (http://youtu.be/uOKRlgUYlsM) from 1985.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
09-08-2014, 09:30 AM
Now available in Romanian (http://www.aikido-jurnal.ro/index.php?pagina=art_155), courtesy of Aikido Jurnal. The original English version is available on the Aikido Sangenkai blog (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-kanshu-sunadomari-part-2/).

Best,

Chris