View Full Version : What do you think?

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!

Eric Joyce
07-02-2003, 12:38 PM
This thread is in E-Budo aw well, but I wanted to get a take on it from the folks in this forum.

I had a conversation with my sensei the other day regarding Ueshiba Morihei Sensei and his relationship with Takeda Sokaku Sensei, particularly the falling apart aspect. At the height of Ueshiba Morihei Senseiís training in Daito Ryu, he received the highest ranking possible and if I am not mistaken, Takeda Sokaku Sensei was thinking of making him the next headmaster of that art (I could be wrong and if I am please bear with me). Apparently around this time, Ueshiba Morihei Sensei started to create his own style and started teaching it calling it Aikido. Thatís when Takeda Sokaku Sensei got pissed.

My question isÖdo you think that Takeda Sokaku Sensei awarded the Menkyo Kaiden to Hisa Sensei, just to prove a point or to spite Ueshiba Morihei Sensei?

If you look at the time frames in terms of training, Ueshiba Morihei Sensei had close to 22 years of training with Takeda Sokaku Sensei (not back to back, but over a period of time) where as Hisa Takuma Sensei studied for 3 years. He studied first under Ueshiba Morihei Sensei and then, in 1936, directly under Takeda Sokaku Sensei. Hisa Takuma Sensei then received the Kyoju Dairi in 1937 from Takeda Sokaku Sensei and eventually awarded Menkyo Kaiden in March 1939.

This is not an attempt to downplay the technical abilities of the individuals (both were very skilled). Just curious on some thoughts.

Chuck Clark
07-02-2003, 03:15 PM
It is my understanding that M. Ueshiba did not complete the entire catalog of techniques. I can't quote the source just now, but if you contact S. Pranin, Meik Skoss, or Ellis Amdur they could probably come up with the reference.

Charles Hill
07-02-2003, 03:54 PM
The idea that Morihei Ueshiba trained with Sokaku Takeda for such a long time isn't backed up by any evidence, in my opinion. These 20+ years of training I read about from various Daito Ryu sources are valid only if you count from when they first met to when they last met. The actual face to face training doesn't seem to be very much.

It must be kept in mind that S.T. was a right-wing hard core martial artist and M.U. had joined a very left wing cultish type religion. The fact that when S.T. came to stay with M.U. at Ayabe years later and no one appears to have been happy with the situation should be very obvious.

There isn't much direct evidence as to feelings the two held about each other. Most of what we know is hearsay. But even with such unreliable evidence, it seems that were no outright bad feelings toward each other. Also, it seems that Sokaku held his student in high esteem and that Morihei always showed his teacher great respect.


Eric Joyce
07-02-2003, 04:01 PM
Charles quote:

The idea that Morihei Ueshiba trained with Sokaku Takeda for such a long time isn't backed up by any evidence, in my opinion. These 20+ years of training I read about from various Daito Ryu sources are valid only if you count from when they first met to when they last met. The actual face to face training doesn't seem to be very much.

Actually, if you check out www.aikidojournal.com and sift through the research, there is evidence to the contrary.

There are also articles that talk of Takeda not being to happy and was asking why Ueshiba was teaching and changing the name of the art he taught him. There is more to the stories, but my question still remains.

07-03-2003, 02:38 AM
I've read in some book that Morihei only received a certificate that he knows only the basic thechniques while other received much "higher" certificates. I also read that Morihei totaly trained WITH Takeda for about 100 days, the rest of the time he practised by himself.

07-03-2003, 02:45 AM
I've read in some book that Morihei only received a certificate that he knows only the basic thechniques while other received much "higher" certificates. I also read that Morihei totaly trained WITH Takeda for about 100 days, the rest of the time he practised by himself.
Don't be too concerned with revisionist history - it tends to cut both ways. The amount of time Ueshiba M. actually studied with Takada S. was more than the person that was awarded the Menkyo Kaiden.

Aside from a little problem in translating the Japanese (you might understand that Ueshiba M. was an assistant to Hisa rather than Takeda which is meant) a reasonable summary is given here


Charles Hill
07-03-2003, 07:44 AM
I went to the Aikido Journal website and found that Morihei trained with Sokaku officially for a total of 130 days. Stanley Pranin speculates that they spent more time than that together with Morihei acting as an assistant to Sokaku. The "evidence" that exists mostly consists of what was gathered in various interviews of very old people or younger people who spoke of things second-hand. While the various people who act as Aikido historians have done a great job with difficult material, we have to remember that what they are giving us is often their best guess.

I'd like to give my opinion of the debate over the influence of Daito Ryu on Aikido. The denial of the influence seems to have taken two forms and come from two sources. The first comes from Morihei and Kisshomaru Ueshiba, the second from high ranking Aikido shihan. Apparently, a number of shihan have loudly and categorically denied any Daito Ryu influence. I think that it is because of this, Stanley Pranin has endeavored so hard to promote Daito Ryu as the primary "technical" influence on Aikido. However, it seems that the Ueshibas' denial is based on the idea that Aikido is not a martial art but rather a way to improve one's self rooted in a martial art. Therefore, any technical influence is very much secondary. These are two different ideas and if one is going to refute them, I think it should be done separately


07-03-2003, 08:02 AM

That sounds like a fair assessment, and takes a tack I hadn't thought about before. In essence, if I understand you correctly, there is a stark contrast between the technical root of aikido (Daito Ryu) and how the founder practiced his art and his conception of it (pardon the run-on sentence). Apples to oranges.

O Sensei did not make a distinction between his spiritual/religious practices and aikido. In fact, those practices were the whole point of aikido for him. So I can see how he would say that Daito Ryu -- an art devoid of Ueshiba's religious practices -- is a completely different art. As you say, technical influence is very secondary.

As an aside, while O Sensei was a member of a very left wing religion, he also had right wing, nationalist tendancies. His personal politics seem as complicated as the rest of his life.



Eric Joyce
07-03-2003, 09:42 AM
Just an FYI,

M. Ueshiba was a teacher to T. Hisa. when Hisa was at the Arashi Newspaper. When Takeda arrived, he told Hisa that he was M. Ueshiba's teacher and he then started to teach Hisa Daito Ryu. Hisa himself said (In the book "Coversations w/ Daito Ryu Masters") said that the techniques of M. Ueshiba were much softer than Takedas. We all know the technical side of this topic (aikido compared to daito ryu)...that much has been talked about before. The question I have is more of a...politcal one. Was the Menkyo Kaiden that was awarded to Hisa, more or less, done out of spite or to prove a point to M. Ueshiba? If we are saying that the highest level at that time was a "teaching certificate", in Daito Ryu, where did the Menkyo come from then? Yes, menkyo's have been around in other arts (koryu)that I know. Again... done out of spite to prove a point? Thoughts please.

07-03-2003, 09:50 AM

Good question for Stan Pranin on aikidojournal.com.

However, I think to say Takeda awarded Hisa a menkyo kaiden to spike Ueshiba, is hearsay. Who knows what Takeda was really thinking at the time.

Eric Joyce
07-03-2003, 10:00 AM
Hey Steven,

Got your email. I think I will post it to Stan and see what he says. Hey, trained with Mike last Saturday...IT WAS ALL GOOD! Thanks for the info Steven.


07-03-2003, 05:20 PM
"One often hears people complain of their memory, but seldom of their judgement." Duc de la Rochefoucauld

I, er, don't recall specifics (blush), but Stanley addressed this at some length in Baltimore during Kondo's seminar there. The feeling I was left with was that the decision to give Hisa MENKYO KAIDEN was made independent of consideration of UM and more in line with the politics of legitimation (i.e., other arts had MENKYO KAIDEN, DR should, too. This not unlike the motives I've heard attributed to the promotions of various SHIHAN vis a vis other [competing?] BUDO.)


Ellis Amdur
07-06-2003, 10:36 AM
Politics -

1) Above, some one posted "It must be kept in mind that S.T. was a right-wing hard core martial artist and M.U. had joined a very left wing cultish type religion." This is inaccurate. Takeda, it is fair to speculate, probably would have had little love for socialism, but he is not described as political. Yes, he wasn't right wing in his thinking, he was a dinosaur, an anachronism. Oomoto-kyo was anything but left-wing. It is a Shinto-based cult with a lot of ties with Japanese right wing and fascist groups (of course, it's primary focus was it's own power, but in it's charismatic leadership, it mirrored the right wing politics around it). Ueshiba had deep ties with fascist right wing groups, far more so than Takeda. He made his dojo open to meetings for the Sakurakai, a group which had as leaders some of the most infamous assassins and right-wing revolutionaries in pre-war Japan. As far as I know, he NEVER broke those ties, treasuring a bokuto given to him by Okawa Shumei, a brilliant architect of innumerable assassinations and other incidents. (Hikitsuchi refers to Ueshiba's kokken in an interview, where during practice the tip broke, but the master somehow caught the flying piece of wood in the air and placed it in his kimono as he continued the kata). Ueshiba sent Tohei to teach at a school on the imperial grounds that was the primary school for fascist politicos. (Note: Tohei, many years ago in an interview in Black Belt denied there were any atrocities on the Bataan Death March. He said the Americans died because, due to their spoiled lifestyle, they couldn't eat ordinary Japanese army rations. Of course, I'd agree that had we Americans been less spoiled, we would have been able to better stand the bayonets to the gut, the rifle butts to the back of the head and the bullets doled out as rations for those who were a little slow. Also, he typically forgot the thousands of Filipinos who also died on the march. Most Japanese right wing refer to WWII as a war between America and Japan. What was done in Asia wasn't a "war," it was just some zoning changes in the neighborhood).

Finally, in modern times, Sasagawa, the infamous right wing financier, was a major benefactor of the Aikikai. The only place aikido has ever been "left wing" is in the hearts of some American or European practitioners.

2) There has never been any claims that Takeda ever intended to make Ueshiba headmaster.

3) It is very possible that the "rejection" was more on Ueshiba's side. Yes, Takeda is quoted as being quite irritated about Ueshiba's innovations, but in the Oomotokyo incident, in the thirties, he dispatched one of his students to check that Ueshiba was safe. He could have made Ueshiba "hamon," but he not only didn't do that, he continued to teach him into the thirties, well after he'd seen Ueshiba's innovations. The relationship was probably far more like that of a father and son, with the son not willing to stay in the family business. Dad pressured son, by his very existence, and son chafed. There was nothing more dramatic than this, I believe, except in the son's mind. Instead of a clash of the titans, it was more like a family drama.

4) Takeda Tokimune, I recall, referred to Ueshiba as his father's favorite student in one interview, and regarding Ueshiba and Hisa, said something to the effect of, "Of course, Ueshiba was better. He'd trained so many more years." Tokimune used to visit Ueshiba when he visited Tokyo.


Ellis Amdur


Charles Hill
07-06-2003, 04:48 PM
I learned a lot from Mr. Amdur's interesting post, but I have a few comments.

1. Oomoto Kyo describes itself as anti-right wing and in an article published on their website, Ruth Reiner writes of Oomoto in the early days. "In those days it was deeply associated by the government as a left wing activity." There were a number of supporters who were in the military, but I have seen no connections to right wing groups. (Maybe I haven't looked hard enough?)

I think the connection between Aikido and right wing groups needs more study. The speeches given at the All Japan Demo are often right wing in nature, and the bicycle racing association was a big contributor to Honbu Dojo. Maybe this is nothing and maybe it is not important, but it would be good to know more.

2. Stanley Pranin wrote that M. Ueshiba said in an unpublished interview in 1965, thta S. Takeda asked him to succeed Takeda in Daito Ryu. Mr. Pranin wrote that this "does not seem at all out of the question.."

Does this all mean anything? (Other than I probably have too much time on my hands.) Probably not.


some one

Ellis Amdur
07-06-2003, 06:48 PM
Mr. Hill -

"Right wing" in Japan has always meant several things. On the one hand was a romantic fascism - "blood and soil," mystical connection to the land and the Emperor, with a vision of uniting all of Asia in a "Co-prosperity Sphere," in which goods an economics were shared under the aegis of divine rulers. These romantics wanted to fight Russia in pre-WWII, and had the icy purity of idealists. They'd kill anybody to make Heaven on Earth.

The other type of "right wing" was assoc. with the industrial military complex, was pragmatic, and used ideology as a tool to manipulate society. They would kill anyone to gain more prosperity for Japan and for themselves.

The ideological heads of the two wings were Kita Ikki and his, one time, best friend, Okawa Shumei. The latter, the pragmatist, who spoke eleven languages, supported anti-colonial revolutions thruout Asia, and manipulated all sorts of plots behind the scenes, including the two Oomoto Incidents, was Ueshiba's friend/associate/person he admired.

Like lots of right wingers in gov't, potentially anti-govt forces have always been labeled "left wing," (or the reverse - Stalin called Trostky a fascist, didn't he?) but how a cult that was a lot like that of the Bhagwan Rajneesh in many respects, could be called "left wing" is beyond me. They did not subscribe to Marx, Lenin, Proudhon, Kropotkin or Bakunin, or any of the mainstream socialists, but instead to the automatic writings of an illiterate woman, and fantasmagorical interpretations and improvisations of a charismatic con-man/great religious leader/brilliant artist/coyote in human skin.

Oomoto-kyo was, if you will, in some respects, anti-gov't. But nothing was left-wing about them at all. Claiming so, however, might have been a good selling point in getting some rich European or American parishioners to join up post-WWII.

2. As for Ueshiba's statement re succession,the old man said so - and could be true. And had Ueshiba not found Oomoto-kyo, maybe it would have happened!!!!!


Ellis Amdur


Chuck Clark
07-06-2003, 07:49 PM

Thanks for joining the discussion. I appreciate the time taken for sharing such lengthy posts.

Charles Hill
07-06-2003, 10:32 PM
Mr. Amdur,

That was another very informative post for me. I hope this means you will be contributing to the forums often. I remember reading an article you wrote for ATM years ago on how the koryu and older jujutsu instructors used to teach by taking ukemi for their students and how starting with Sokaku Takeda and Morihei Ueshiba it became the opposite with students taking all the ukemi. (I hope it was you that wrote it, sorry if it wasn't.) That article really had a strong impact on me.


(please call me) Charles

Eric Joyce
07-07-2003, 11:58 AM
Thanks to everyone for providing me feedback.

Ron Tisdale
07-07-2003, 02:29 PM
Hi Ellis, Don, and all,

What I remember from Stan's talk was the photo from the kobukan dojo. There was a scroll hanging from the wall, and according to Stan and Kondo Sensei, it would appear the koju dairi listing was only about 80 techniques short of the Menkyo Kaidan. I believe that Kondo Sensei was of the opinion that the extra techniques were added to form the new license so that daito ryu also had a menkyo kaidan. I hope my memory is correct and I'm not mis-quoting Kondo Sensei.

It also focused on the fact that Takeda actually lived with Ueshiba for a significant time, that Ueshiba left Takeda his house in Hokaikdo, and that taken altogether, the time spent training and living together was about 5 years.

Ron Tisdale