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11-03-2015, 02:56 AM
Greetings all, some observations on the politics of martial arts organisations and a discussion on Aikido and the organisations that were founded before the death of the founder.


11-03-2015, 10:07 PM
My understanding is that Shioda of Yoshinkan was on cordial terms with Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and he started a security company then became a law enforcement trainer during the years that O Sensei was in Iwama in apparent retirement. Shioda was too young to join the military before the war ended. He started training years before the second doshu.

Tomiki of Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido was also a long time student before the second doshu ever started to train, and was a military trainer in Manchuria, then a university professor. He was also a long time student of Judo and Kano Jigoro. Both Shioda and Tomiki were training while Ueshiba Morihei was a student of Takeda and Daito Ryu. The very name Aikido didn't even exist for a number of years after they started.

My understanding is that Tomiki was ordered to stop teaching what he was teaching, or not call it Aikido. Stanley Pranin writes about Tomiki not being welcome in the Aikikai following that. The formal system of competition he developed that mirrored Judo's, and that may have been required by his college, was a bone of contention. A number of the Judo students deployed to study Aikido have their own systems now.

In terms of politics, I knew nothing about my teacher's past and I still know little. He never spoke of others, but had ties through his teacher to the very beginning and several of the greats. He just wanted us to train. I never knew how rare it was to have someone who just wanted me to get better at Aikido, who didn't demand any loyalty or never had mandatory history lessons (which are heavily homogenized and one sided on my experiences since). We just trained, and I think Sensei considered that the most important. I am glad for what I learned of history since, but mostly because other students were giving me false histories.

Scott Harrington
11-04-2015, 08:34 AM
Clarification - Shioda was born in 1915, started training Daito ryu in 1932 and did not enlist in the Army because he was a spy. Not because he was too young.

One of the reasons you didn't hear much from the Japanese 'old-timers' was they were in places where bad things happened.

A great account by Amleto Vespa tells all. An Italian official located in China, he gives up Italian favors and becomes a Chinese citizen. With the invasion of the Japanese, he is corralled to work for the Japanese. In his book "Secret Agent of Japan" published in 1938, he states on page 33,

No sooner had the Japanese troops set foot on Manchurian soil than any sort of common Japanese who could jabber a little Chinese or Russian was made "adviser." And what were these Japanese doing in Northern Manchuria? Most of them were criminals: crooks and adventurers; smugglers; sellers of narcotics; brothel-keepers. This underworld gentry constituted 95 per cent. of the Japanese in Manchuria. Protected by their own flag and extraterritorial rights, they were beyond the reach of Chinese laws. For this reason, the Chinese authorities, eager to avoid "incidents' with the Japanese, had instructed the Police to close their eyes to what was going on.Thus unrestrained, the Japanese stopped at nothing.

Vespa then tells other tales of complicit Japanese military officials involved in a host of illegal crimes of extortion, kidnapping, and murder.

Am I badmouthing such people as Ueshiba, Tomiki, and Shioda who spent time there (some quite long)? No. They were fantastic martial artists but directly connected to the military process going on. Telling a little might mean telling a lot. They let the past be the past.

Scott Harrington