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Mike Sigman 01-24-2008 08:48 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Ron Tisdale wrote: (Post 197873)
It may well be that the bona fide uchideshi (pre-war) were the ones who were able to witness the personal training. Same for Ueshiba in the time spent with Takeda Sensei in Hokkaido. I wonder how, without that live in, bath, take care of experience, you would pick those personal training regimes up.

Well, the problem with kokyu/ki practice is that you can't see it very well, if at all. Take Fune-Kogi Undo... that's a fairly obvious kokyu-skills drill when done correctly, but how is it done in most dojo's? I'd be very interested to see O-Sensei's training drills and I've also heard they were pretty extensive, in terms of his private solo practice.

However, the one thing to remember is that the core principles of all the kokyu/ki solo practices is going to be the same. For instance, there's a great book called "Ancient Way to Keep Fit" which shows a number of ancient qigongs/neigongs. A confusingly diverse number of them. However, once you understand the core principles, all of those varying exercise routines simply become decipherable offshoots of the core principles.... even the one where a guy lies in a bed in the same position for 12 supposedly different postures. The point being that it's possible to get a keen insight into what areas Ueshiba focused on, if we knew what his private exercises were, but the general principles are sufficient keys to the door, if we don't have his exact exercises.

Another transmission question to ask might be one that focuses on the early exercises that Tohei taught. At initial time around when he was Chief Instructor to when he was starting Shin ShinToitsu Aikido, he would have undoubtedly used a number of Ueshiba's exercises, if he knew them. We already have some indication of him doing this, as a matter of fact. So perhaps a dual line of research by asking Ueshiba Kisshomaru and by asking some of the early Shin Shin Toitsu guys?

Just a thought.

Mike Sigman

ChrisMoses 01-24-2008 09:13 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197881)
Another transmission question to ask might be one that focuses on the early exercises that Tohei taught. At initial time around when he was Chief Instructor to when he was starting Shin ShinToitsu Aikido, he would have undoubtedly used a number of Ueshiba's exercises, if he knew them.

I was under the impression that these exercises were based more on the teachings of Tempu Nakamura than of Osensei. Sort of Tohei's own quest to find some understanding in how OSensei did what he did than a continuation of what he had specifically been taught by him. Anyone?

Mike Sigman 01-24-2008 09:24 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Christian Moses wrote: (Post 197885)
I was under the impression that these exercises were based more on the teachings of Tempu Nakamura than of Osensei. Sort of Tohei's own quest to find some understanding in how OSensei did what he did than a continuation of what he had specifically been taught by him. Anyone?

Well, Tohei got his baseline information from Nakamura, but the exercises for Aikido that Tohei began to teach were based around Aikido practice... and most of those came from Ueshiba because Tohei was Ueshiba's chief Aikido instructor, not a Tempukai instructor.

We know at least one of the Misogi/ki drills that Tohei published was actually a borrow of one of Ueshiba's drills. What I'm suggesting is that Tohei probably used more of Ueshiba's kokyu/ki drills when he first started teaching these things. He could not have been teaching Nakamura stuff in Ueshiba's dojo or to Ueshiba's students. We should try to inventory those early drills.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

ChrisMoses 01-24-2008 09:36 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197886)
He could not have been teaching Nakamura stuff in Ueshiba's dojo or to Ueshiba's students. We should try to inventory those early drills.

Again, that's why I thought he was teaching them outside of normal classes in a sort of kenkyukai format. This format continues in most Ki Society dojos that I've visited, separate Ki classes and Aikido classes. I do realize that Tohei (for whatever reason) seemed to downplay how much of what he was doing came from Ueshiba, but it would seem to me that more lines of the Aikikai would continue these drills if their origin had been OSensei rather than Tohei. Further, the period where Tohei was most influential was after the war when OSensei had retired and left the Chief Instructor responsibilities to Tohei. So it's not like he would have been teaching this stuff while OSensei was watching, he was a long way away in places like Iwama or Shingu.

Erick Mead 01-24-2008 10:06 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Ludwig Neveu wrote: (Post 197860)
I think he exposed a little of his praying routines in a text titled Accord with the totality of the Universe (Aikidojournal aritcle). And Hikitsuchi sensei definitely stated that chinkonkishin no ho (http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~mckellar/aiki/1999/0.html ) was transmitted to him by O Sensei and was a daily practice of his.

Great source. It may be interesting to compare among readers here which portions (if any) they do as a part of their practice.

As to the quoted source I will excerpt the synopsis here for that purpose (for more detail go to Ludwig's link, and thanks to the translators, Ward Rafferty and assistants.)

# 1. (not titled) but seems to describe what we have been told to call chi no kokyu and ten no kokyu.
#2. Shinkokyu
#3. Torifune (Left)
#4 Furitama (with what seems to be an intent to focus on TEN no kokyu)
#5 Torifune (Right)
#6 Furitama(with what seems to be an intent to focus on CHI no kokyu)
#7 Torifune (left)
#8 Furitama (we focus on the "center" which happens to = Minakanushi no kami)
#9 repeat #1 (ten/chi no kokyu)

When I began in Aikido in 1984/1985, I recall Dennis Hooker was teaching us the movements of 1-9, in sequences, although I did not remember (or at the time failed to perceive the fact of) them being in a defined sequence. I know we did the basic thigns decribed at various times and in conjunction with one another. That was where I learned them. We often did sequences in smaller parts than that shown nor did single parts in isolation. We did not (and do not) do a lot of the claps and very few kotodama, other than "Eii" and "Sa" (sometimes Eii/Ho if I remember correctly) while doing torifune, though now it ispretty much exclusively "Eii/Sa," at least when we do it.

While I was wandering the world, Frank Calhoun continued the above practice in those variations in the dojo here after Hooker went south, and Calhoun Sensei still does and encourages other instructors under him to do so. And we continue it today as a regular practice, particularly the individual exercises in isolation or as correctives (although not in every practice). In conjunction we also do a number of the other kokyu undo. We think we also did a form of what (for lack of a better word) I'll describe as a ten-chi sort of shikko squat and rise, (which I may have picked up elsewhere than with Hooker Sensei, but I cannot really recall now), but I am the only one who really does that the same way these days and others do something similar but not quite the same as I learned it

We are somewhat provincial geographically, and not large, but we keep it up. We (the regular instructors) do routinely try relate the principles of those movements to the errors we see in practice (as well as our own when we catch them). We often do the the movements to which those errors relate as correctives -- which, not surprisingly, tends to correct most of the errors.

Go figure.

I wonder what the experience of others is in this light.

Fred Little 01-24-2008 10:21 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Christian Moses wrote: (Post 197887)
Again, that's why I thought he was teaching them outside of normal classes in a sort of kenkyukai format. This format continues in most Ki Society dojos that I've visited, separate Ki classes and Aikido classes.

Christian,

My understanding is that the formal division of Tohei's blocks of instruction into "aikido" and "ki development" began when he was Aikikai Hombu Chief Instructor.

If I have this right, a number of Hombu Instructors were concerned that the classes he was teaching (particularly at locations outside the Aikikai) fostered a misimpression of what "aikido training" entailed, precisely because of his emphasis on these exercises.

Packaging them as a discrete block of "ki development training" was (initially at any rate) a way of making the objections moot, because it enabled him to say something to the effect of: "No, how could these classes give anyone a misimpression of what aikido training is when I call them "ki development," teach them as "ki development," and don't call them "aikido?"

Why the exercises were retained and delivered in the particular format used in Ki no Kenkyukai is obviously a much broader question.

Best,

FL

Mike Sigman 01-24-2008 10:42 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Most of the aspects in the recent posts would still be, IMO, just part of the visible ritual fragments which would be more or less "general training". There's obviously a lot of training for Ueshiba, Tohei, and others that went on, on the side. Those unknown things would be the more interesting stuff. Suburi and other weapons practice has been mentioned (yari, jo, bo, etc.). That would be critical.

I can see in a couple of things that Tohei demo's that he obviously did some sort of side exercises to strengthen those aspects... but I've never heard anyone mention Tohei's side-training exercises. Same is true of Ueshiba's "favorite exercises". That would be a valuable part of the "transmission" to know.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Fred Little 01-24-2008 10:53 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote: (Post 197890)
Great source. It may be interesting to compare among readers here which portions (if any) they do as a part of their practice.

As to the quoted source I will excerpt the synopsis here for that purpose (for more detail go to Ludwig's link, and thanks to the translators, Ward Rafferty and assistants.)

Erick:

While it is a useful resource, some cautions should be noted with the text itself. Additionally, beyond those you note, there are some other comparisons that should be made as well:

1) With the same set of exercises as taught at Tsubaki Jinja

2) With the instructional photospread with instructions that Hikitsuchi did for a Japanese magazine ( I don't have my copy handy or I'd provide the reference) in the late Seventies or early Eighties.

3) With practice texts from the groups who derive their practice directly from Bonji Katsuwara

4) With Abe Seiseki's teachings on this matter, both published and unpublished.

In the past, I have gone over Rafferty's text with several different individuals who studied with Hikitsuchi in earlier years. Each has noted what they considered significant divergences between his presentation and what they clearly remembered being taught, and their memories matched up with one another much more closely than with his text. It is also clear that significant portions of this "translation" are not direct translations of Hikitsuchi's practice instructions, but are the translator's autocommentary and associations with his own prior religio/spiritual experience, some of which represent clear misunderstandings at best.

This last is a problem that is not unique to this text. When I was studying with Professor Ryuichi Abe, he used Michael Saso's "Tantric Art & Meditation: The Tendai Tradition" as a cautionary example of just this sort of problem, a problem which has been compounded by other authors drawing on Saso's work, in connection with both Tendai Buddhism and aikido.

There are also multiple problems of appropriate introduction to/initiation in/ritual binding of these practices that go to the pragmatic points Mike Sigman references, as well as a host of other key instructions that don't appear in any publicly available text on these practices.

Best,

Fred Little

Erick Mead 01-24-2008 02:18 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 197896)
While it is a useful resource, some cautions should be noted ... [and] some other comparisons that should be made as well... ... problems of appropriate introduction to/initiation in/ritual binding of these practices that go to the pragmatic points

Actually the text was intended to be a jumping off point. I don't think that furitama, ten/chi no kokyu exercises can be usefully written down so as to be comprehensible unless you have already done them.

My point was to elicit discussion of actual practices of or in relation to the things gnerally described, which was why I synopsized the points and specifically the seemingly similar elements to our established practices. (Note: I did not address and have never done much of what is described from item 10 on.)

My question, directed more generally, is what of these, or things like these, are those here actually doing, or not, and why or why not ( i.e. how did you come to do them) and how do they differ from what IS described or what those here who respond may also describe, if they do?

Fred Little 01-25-2008 08:07 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote: (Post 197907)
My question, directed more generally, is what of these, or things like these, are those here actually doing, or not, and why or why not ( i.e. how did you come to do them) and how do they differ from what IS described or what those here who respond may also describe, if they do?

That sounds like a good poll question/new thread starter for the front page....

Best,

ChrisMoses 01-25-2008 08:39 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 197892)
Christian,

My understanding is that the formal division of Tohei's blocks of instruction into "aikido" and "ki development" began when he was Aikikai Hombu Chief Instructor.

If I have this right, a number of Hombu Instructors were concerned that the classes he was teaching (particularly at locations outside the Aikikai) fostered a misimpression of what "aikido training" entailed, precisely because of his emphasis on these exercises.

That's my understanding as well. I find it hard to imagine any exercise that had been initially taught by OSensei would be considered by any other of his uchideshi as outside the realm of "Aikido training". Kurita Minouru (uchideshi to Osensei, who left with Tohei after his death, only to leave that and go independant) said/implied (so hard to tell when what's being translated for you is subtle Japanese) that the Ki exercises were from Tohei's own study and quest for understanding about how OSensei actually could do all the things he could. Now I'm not saying that OSensei didn't do these things, or consider them important, but I don't think he was the source for them WRT Tohei or the Ki Society groups. Much like today it seems that serious students were exploring other paths for understanding. I think that's frankly always been the case, regardless of the art.

DH 01-25-2008 08:49 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote: (Post 197907)
Actually the text was intended to be a jumping off point. I don't think that furitama, ten/chi no kokyu exercises can be usefully written down so as to be comprehensible unless you have already done them.

My question, directed more generally, is what of these, or things like these, are those here actually doing, or not, and why or why not ( i.e. how did you come to do them) and how do they differ from what IS described or what those here who respond may also describe, if they do?

Perhaps a better question is not who knows *about* these things or is supposedly doing these things or things like these-but rather who is displaying real skills wrought from them or things like them? Judging from hands-on and from the testimony of students who have themselves compared notes between those in Aikido who have "said" they know and can do- some right here on Aikiweb- and those who actually *can* do -there appears to be a serious difference.

At what point does chronological placement and pedagogy lead to nothing more but misleading intellectual miasma. Some may not be satisfied with an academic search, or knowing *about* them. They may be looking to gain real skills from folks who can readily make use of the knowledge outside of an abstract. I've read long descriptive details from folks who had all the pieces just right. And even longer, agonizing, mechanical descriptions from men who it turns out- didn't have a clue. Then I've met others who were disinterested in long discussions but could deliver and hands-on could show you what they were doing on the inside.
Which leads back to the five famous words…"It has to be felt."
Then, it has to be trained and worked on.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman 01-25-2008 09:26 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Christian Moses wrote: (Post 197929)
That's my understanding as well. I find it hard to imagine any exercise that had been initially taught by OSensei would be considered by any other of his uchideshi as outside the realm of "Aikido training". Kurita Minouru (uchideshi to Osensei, who left with Tohei after his death, only to leave that and go independant) said/implied (so hard to tell when what's being translated for you is subtle Japanese) that the Ki exercises were from Tohei's own study and quest for understanding about how OSensei actually could do all the things he could. Now I'm not saying that OSensei didn't do these things, or consider them important, but I don't think he was the source for them WRT Tohei or the Ki Society groups. Much like today it seems that serious students were exploring other paths for understanding. I think that's frankly always been the case, regardless of the art.

Tohei did indeed start a lot of the Ki-exercises stuff while he was under the aegis of Hombu Dojo. The fact that O-Sensei didn't stop him or indicate that Tohei was adding something foreign to Aikido should be a telling point. So in terms of "transmission", Tohei was (at least to a reasonable degree) propagating a core aspect of Aikido, even though technically it would appear to be something peripheral, if someone is just focusing on the "transmission of Aikido by Ueshiba Morihei". So too narrow a focus on the exact ritual and exercises is not warranted, seemingly.

The Ki and Kokyu skills can be done at many levels of ability and sophistication and they can be trained in a number of different ways, as long as someone understands how the development and usage is done. So what happens is that there are essentially two things that need to be watched, in terms of "transmission": the historical development and teachings of Aikido in general; the transmission of the core skills of ki and kokyu.

Because of the different viable approaches to ki/kokyu skills, it's easy for someone not conversant in the skills to tend to see many of the Aikido offshoots (Yoshinkan, Ki-Society, etc.) as being side-branches of the main transmission. In fact, someone like Shioda, Tohei, Inaba, Sunadomari, or others, may be fully within the mainstream idea of the initial transmission, even though it appears that they are off the main development/transmission. It is the eye of the beholder that may be fooled, if the understanding of the ki/kokyu skills is not something he has. Note that I'm leaving open the idea/fact that many of the students of all the varying factions are ignorant of these skills; that doesn't mean the founder of their lineage was bereft of those skills, though.

So to point out the previously-styled steps of Misogi in terms of valid transmission is perhaps being unnecessarily focused in adhering to the proscribed rituals. The actual idea of transmission encompasses training like the Misogi steps, but the core ideas of Ueshiba's Aikido can be fulfilled in a number of other ways, as long as the training and practice result in "aiki", IMO.

Shioda's Aikido (for example in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIowy89IXco&NR=1 ) may look somewhat different from what Ueshiba is doing, but the principles are exactly the same. Tohei's or Sunadomari's Aikido may look widely divergent from each others' or from Shioda's, but the basic principles are the same. Do they adhere to the steps of Misogi as outlined? I doubt it. But it doesn't really matter because the actual "transmission" of Aikido entails certain principles, not rituals.

YMMV

Mike Sigman

ChrisMoses 01-25-2008 12:06 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197932)
Tohei did indeed start a lot of the Ki-exercises stuff while he was under the aegis of Hombu Dojo. The fact that O-Sensei didn't stop him or indicate that Tohei was adding something foreign to Aikido should be a telling point.

Well except for the fact that OSensei wasn't actually at hombu much during that period. You also have to take into account the Japanese tendency to ignore what you don't like rather than smack it down outright. I look at the fact that the head instructor for OSensei's art felt the need to break this stuff out into its own, separate from what was being taught in aikido class. I think that's noteworthy. I'm not saying that OSensei specifically disproved of Tohei's exploration, but I can can imagine that his decision to spin his study off into a separate class time as a way to avoid that conversation ever happening.

Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197932)
So in terms of "transmission", Tohei was (at least to a reasonable degree) propagating a core aspect of Aikido, even though technically it would appear to be something peripheral, if someone is just focusing on the "transmission of Aikido by Ueshiba Morihei". So too narrow a focus on the exact ritual and exercises is not warranted, seemingly.

True. But I think Aikido is defined by its relationship to OSensei. If one is simply trying to become a better martial artist or budoka then the sources or influences do become irrelevant. However, if one is trying to become specifically a better Aikidoka and intends to preserve and maintain that tradition, then it becomes critical to distinguish what OSensei was doing/intended and what was brought in by other teachers along the way. Aikido is quite frankly the transmission of the teachings of Ueshiba Morihei, there is no more general way to describe it.

/hopefully steering things back toward 'transmission' and 'inheritance' and away from the ever entertaining 'baseline skillset' thread.

Blake Holtzen 01-25-2008 12:09 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 197930)
Perhaps a better question is not who knows *about* these things or is supposedly doing these things or things like these-but rather who is displaying real skills wrought from them or things like them? Judging from hands-on and from the testimony of students who have themselves compared notes between those in Aikido who have "said" they know and can do- some right here on Aikiweb- and those who actually *can* do -there appears to be a serious difference.

At what point does chronological placement and pedagogy lead to nothing more but misleading intellectual miasma. Some may not be satisfied with an academic search, or knowing *about* them. They may be looking to gain real skills from folks who can readily make use of the knowledge outside of an abstract. I've read long descriptive details from folks who had all the pieces just right. And even longer, agonizing, mechanical descriptions from men who it turns out- didn't have a clue. Then I've met others who were disinterested in long discussions but could deliver and hands-on could show you what they were doing on the inside.
Which leads back to the five famous words…"It has to be felt."
Then, it has to be trained and worked on.
Cheers
Dan

I would like to "feel" and experience what you are talking about here Mr Harden. Do you have a specific training methodology to teach these skills to newbies and develop the same real-time characteristics in them?

So, who here does train in body method skills and not just technique??

Take Care

-Blake Holtzen

Erick Mead 01-25-2008 01:18 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 197930)
Perhaps a better question is not who knows *about* these things or is supposedly doing these things or things like these-but rather who is displaying real skills wrought from them or things like them? Judging ....

It was not an invitation to indulge in judgments. It is a request to share respective experiences. One should no more judge from a poor articulation of a topic one's competence in its performance, than one should assume that more involved articulation of it is evidence of incompetence. Both positions are the result of a naked prejudice, and result in an invalid judgment.

Actual experience is useful to exchange, and everyone has something to profit from it.

MM 01-25-2008 01:37 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Blake Holtzen wrote: (Post 197940)
I would like to "feel" and experience what you are talking about here Mr Harden. Do you have a specific training methodology to teach these skills to newbies and develop the same real-time characteristics in them?

So, who here does train in body method skills and not just technique??

Take Care

-Blake Holtzen

Blake,
Not to sideline you, but just sidetrack you a bit. There are a number of threads under the "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" forum that will answer your questions.

Or open a new thread in that forum with your questions. As Chris stated, this is getting off-topic. :)

Thanks,
Mark

Erick Mead 01-25-2008 02:11 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197932)
So too narrow a focus on the exact ritual and exercises is not warranted, seemingly.

The Ki and Kokyu skills can be done at many levels of ability and sophistication and they can be trained in a number of different ways, as long as someone understands how the development and usage is done. So what happens is that there are essentially two things that need to be watched, in terms of "transmission": the historical development and teachings of Aikido in general; the transmission of the core skills of ki and kokyu.
... Tohei's or Sunadomari's Aikido may look widely divergent from each others' or from Shioda's, but the basic principles are the same. Do they adhere to the steps of Misogi as outlined? I doubt it. But it doesn't really matter because the actual "transmission" of Aikido entails certain principles, not rituals.

Proof is in the pudding -- and to my mind explains the way that the waza and the kokyu undo (of which the chinkon kishin sequence is a subset, to my mind) have been mutually reinforcing elements of the whole in the way it was handed down to us.

The kokyu undo are not applied but paradigmatic; the waza are applied, but are not per se constrained by the aiki paradigm. For this reason it is quite easy to have waza that looks and feels almost entirely like good aikido doesn't.

Tohei seems to have taken the distinction in principle and applicaiton and broadened it nearly to he point of separation. I have no basis, nor interest in making judgemtns about the effecitveness of that as pedagogy or its wisdom on other grounds or in seeking other purposes.

The waza performed according to the aiki paradigm -- as schematized in the kokyu undo, and the undo performed with an eye to actually being able to perform technique in that manner, together provided a positive reinforcing feedback for each other. Or so I see it, and do see it functioning well in regular practice improvements in our dojo, operative elements of a whole.

I won't pretend speak for Saotome Shihan or his direct students, but for me, having learned in this mode, the feedback mechanism seems from my perspective to be the way he intended to have it taught. It does not appear to me that Saotome has ever stopped developing jhis aikido, nor that he expects ever to stop. The repeated observation of many even very senior students of Saotome in the constant evolution in the details of his kumitachi can perhaps be understood in this way. Such teaching may approach the seemingly arbitrary, increasingly blurring between the "set" forms of waza, but it is a teaching approach precisely echoing the natural evolutionary interactions between genotype and phenotype. It is, whatever the "inheritance" was intended to be, the part of the inheritance that I "got."

From my experience I will say that through this training more and more action becomes progressively compliant to the paradigm of the principles. "Technique" becomes increasingly natural. By this evolving recursion, the errors are progressively left aside, in both application and principle.

That has been my experience of the transmission and emulation that is under discussion, both in teaching and being taught, and seems to conform to the experience of those I train with.

Mike Sigman 01-25-2008 03:55 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote: (Post 197948)
Proof is in the pudding -- and to my mind explains the way that the waza and the kokyu undo (of which the chinkon kishin sequence is a subset, to my mind) have been mutually reinforcing elements of the whole in the way it was handed down to us.

Exactly. Proof is in the pudding, particularly as applied to any valid discussion of what is and what is not a "Transmission, Inheritance, or Emulation". And a quick check (I've said this before) would be that any valid recipient of an Aikido transmission should be able to replicate the simple "ki demonstrations" done by Ueshiba, Tohei, and others. They did them.... anyone with a valid transmission, etc., should be able to do them, too. They are not add-ons to Aikido, but the core of its movement and application. Since not so many people can do those things.... the proof of the pudding, in waza and undo, is established. I.e., it's not complete. Ipso facto.
Quote:

Tohei seems to have taken the distinction in principle and applicaton and broadened it nearly to he point of separation. I have no basis, nor interest in making judgements about the effecitveness of that as pedagogy or its wisdom on other grounds or in seeking other purposes.
According to Tohei the raison d'etre for Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido was that Aikido was becoming an external art and had lost its core. At the time, he was the chief instructor for Hombu dojo, so I doubt we can just toss his opinion away. ;)
[[snip]]

Quote:

That has been my experience of the transmission and emulation that is under discussion, both in teaching and being taught, and seems to conform to the experience of those I train with.
Well, the proof is in the pudding.

I don't want to sidetrack the thread into another "no kokyu; no Aikido" discussion, though. My point is that an academic development of the branches and relationships in the "transmission" of Aikido is probably going to have to contain a focused treatment of the basic "ki" that makes the "aiki" in Aikido. At least that seems logical to me. I.e., as irritating as the subject can become to some people, it's unavoidably the core of Aikido *and* its transmission... it can't be dispatched or covered with a few simple rituals (or even a 10-point one).

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Erick Mead 01-25-2008 05:14 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197956)
My point is that an academic development of the branches and relationships in the "transmission" of Aikido is probably going to have to contain a focused treatment of the basic "ki" that makes the "aiki" in Aikido. At least that seems logical to me. ... it can't be dispatched or covered with a few simple rituals (or even a 10-point one).

I tend to agree, but I was not of the opinion that what Hikitsuchi reportedly related as O Sensei's personal practice was merely "ritual." I had thought there was some attribution as to its effectiveness in more than merely spiritual terms. I had thought that was what we might discuss in more concrete exposition of the varieties of related practices now.
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197956)
... any valid discussion of what is and what is not a "Transmission, Inheritance, or Emulation" ... would be that any valid recipient of an Aikido transmission should be able to replicate the simple "ki demonstrations" done by Ueshiba, Tohei, and others. They did them.... anyone with a valid transmission, etc., should be able to do them, too.

And I agree this should not evolve/devolve into another discussion -- the shape of which we too well understand. So. Let me get this straight. Unless and until one duplicates any arbitrary feat of Ueshiba, Tohei etc. -- there is no validity to the transmission of the principles or the practices which are meant to engender it? Do I have the bar you are setting up placed at the height your statement seems to intend? Admirable as that is in terms of achievment, I do not think it can be a measure of the relative integrity of the transmission, which must surely have something greater than merely a binary, all-or-none distribution.

Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197956)
They are not add-ons ... waza and undo, is established. I.e., it's not complete. Ipso facto.

Et nihil demonstrandum. "They." The "they" presently under discussion is the Chinkon kishin form of the kokyu undo as (however debatably or not), reportedly related by Hikitsuchi as to O Sensei's "personal practice" It is this to which I had been led to believe that so much stock was held among you who hold that there is endemic "lost knowledge" within all mainstream Aikido. I do not mean to be at all derogatory, but merely to say as I said responding to your Latin, nothing is proved. If you mean some other "they" then please specify what you do mean.

Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197956)
According to Tohei the raison d'etre for Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido was that Aikido was becoming an external art and had lost its core. At the time, he was the chief instructor for Hombu dojo, so I doubt we can just toss his opinion away.

"Shihan No-trump" is never a useful exercise. Saotome, you will note, also left; Saito placed himself at a certain remove, in his own way. Those lineages are in my realm of stated experience.

The discussion would be potentially be very fruitful if we related our own actual periods of substantial experience, and extended observation and objective practice rather than incidental or isolated perception, assumption or third hand opinion.

The question is really more about the present state of the inheritance, and the assumptions traveled on are, quite frankly, just way too broad, on far too little a body of evidence, and what evidence there is, is not established as being particularly representative. More evidence, meaning more actual statements of personal experience in their own practice, rather than opinions about the relative place of such experience, is needed. I've given some of mine, any other takers?

Mike Sigman 01-25-2008 05:36 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote: (Post 197957)
Let me get this straight. Unless and until one duplicates any arbitrary feat of Ueshiba, Tohei etc. -- there is no validity to the transmission of the principles or the practices which are meant to engender it?

What "arbitrary feat"? I was very specific about which basics I was talking about. Don't try to trivialize the point. If you want to go off into some sort of quibble about whether ki skills are "arbitrary" and not related to the transmission of Aikido, I'm not going to go there.
Quote:

The "they" presently under discussion is the Chinkon kishin form of the kokyu undo as (however debatably or not), reportedly related by Hikitsuchi as to O Sensei's "personal practice" It is this to which I had been led to believe that so much stock was held among you who hold that there is endemic "lost knowledge" within all mainstream Aikido.
I was pretty clear. Those things are part of the whole set of skills, but they are not the skills. Those procedures are just one approach (which is what I said in my previous post, if you'll read it). I'm not going to go in circles and repeat that that particular approach is fine, but it's not the only way to acquire the core skills... and the core skills are more important than a singular approach to them. The point under discussion is the transmission of Aikido which itself is dependent upon some basic skills. As you said, the proof is in the pudding... and the simplist example of that proof would be exactly what I said: demonstrating basic ki/kokyu skills, just like Ueshiba did. And the transmission we're discussing is unavoidably from the skills of Ueshiba.

So my point is essentially the same point that Dan Harden is making about skills, in that a "transmission" or "inheritance" is more than relationships in any martial art. If not, then anyone can draw lines and tell stories about their "lineage" and claim "transmission". Lineage and transmission are not the same things.... or every poorly-performing student in every art becomes an "inheritor" by default rather than by some minimal performance standard.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

MM 01-25-2008 09:06 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197958)
So my point is essentially the same point that Dan Harden is making about skills, in that a "transmission" or "inheritance" is more than relationships in any martial art. If not, then anyone can draw lines and tell stories about their "lineage" and claim "transmission". Lineage and transmission are not the same things.... or every poorly-performing student in every art becomes an "inheritor" by default rather than by some minimal performance standard.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

It's kind of funny that Ueshiba let people push on him from a myriad of ways. And, Tohei emulated Ueshiba in that very same aspect. Although Tohei came to such skill via a different route, he saw something worthwhile in them because, er, well, Ueshiba did it. Tomiki let people push on him. I'm of an understanding that Shioda demonstrated such skill, too.

Seems kind of funny, don't you think. Three top students following their teacher in what he did. Three top students finding value in a sort of exercise to test ... what? What exactly are they testing when these four had people push on them? And why is it that the following generation of students can't replicate these tests?

Why is it that something Ueshiba did *ALL* the time has been relegated to useless trivia? People hang on translated doka like they were gold. Why? Because anyone and his brother can pick up those words and find *some* kind of meaning in them. Doesn't matter who or how long the study. But, no one can survive the push tests unless they know what they're doing. And I mean having judoka, sumo, etc come to push. People who do not believe it can be done. No, instead, it is relegated to useless trivia because somewhere down the line, that body of knowledge never got transmitted completely.

The Inheritance that was of Ueshiba, coming from Takeda, should have had some transmission. And in a way, it did. For Tomiki, Tohei, Shioda, etc had Ueshiba's skills to some degree. And make no mistake about it, if you can't reproduce these skills, then you're only emulating a body of knowledge.

The bell has cracked and the echo does not resound clearly any more in most Aikido. We look to our teachers who look to their teachers who look back to find they can't gain any more answers for those before them have already gone. And I find that this core body of knowledge is *the* basis for Ueshiba's Inheritance. Without them, there is no Inheritance, there is only hollow Emulation.

There is no being the bridge between Heaven and Earth without the knowledge of how to *be* amidst those pushes. That knowledge is within structure and within spirit.

Or did no one ever think about Ueshiba not moving against Tenryu? Did everyone just wait for it to be over and get to the real stuff -- the techniques? You know, the techniques that they kept asking Ueshiba to repeat and he said they were all the same. Does everyone now just blow it off because it's some silly game? Ever think just what was happening for Ueshiba to stop Tenryu? Ueshiba is showing in plain sight. Not only that, he states it openly. I know the secret of aiki. You can't get any more direct than that.

The Transmission isn't lost, just not common knowledge. The Inheritance hasn't been lost, just cracked and not clear to most. And Emulation as being equal or excelling others isn't lost, just a harder road than most want to travel.

Mark

Erick Mead 01-25-2008 10:48 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197958)
What "arbitrary feat"? I was very specific about which basics I was talking about. Don't try to trivialize the point. If you want to go off into some sort of quibble about whether ki skills are "arbitrary" and not related to the transmission of Aikido, I'm not going to go there. ... ... and the simplist example of that proof would be exactly what I said: demonstrating basic ki/kokyu skills, just like Ueshiba did. ...that a "transmission" or "inheritance" is more than relationships in any martial art. If not, then anyone can draw lines and tell stories about their "lineage" and claim "transmission".

You could not have more thoroughly missed my point. "Arbitrary" as in "picking a feat" on the basis of being impressed by its appearance instead of a principled understanding of what it actually represents, which may be done by something not nearly so theatrical. Genealogy was not the point either.

It was a narrow point of the chinkon kishin and its relation to kokyu undo and the similarities or differences in its evolution/adaptation in various places. As to the rest, we've proved elsewhere we cannot usefully debate that, for three reasons lacking of common framework as to :

1) your premise of a loss as systemic as you maintain,
2) the conclusions you draw from that premise, nor
3) the prescription you maintain is necessary

This is a step to that common basis in fact for that discussion you wish to have. Without it or something like it, no one not already in agreement with you will usefully engage it.

Mike Sigman 01-26-2008 08:07 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Erick Mead wrote: (Post 197976)
It was a narrow point of the chinkon kishin and its relation to kokyu undo and the similarities or differences in its evolution/adaptation in various places.

I've mentioned several times before that the general framework of chinkon kishin is not unusual, even in China. I understand what they're doing, but my observation is that (a.) you can do the same things in different ways that are just as effective and (b.) those exercises actually only represent a small part of a complete solo regimen. In other words.... again.... they're not necessary as a fixed milepost in terms of a given "transmission". Some of the other older-generation students could easily accomplish the same types of body training in ways that *look* different, so chinkon kishin is not a great place to hang one's hat.

If you think about it, it can be argued that Ueshiba has his own transmission and lineage because his set of ritual exercises looks quite different from Takeda Sokaku's. My immediate comment would be that regardless of the difference in exercises (let's say, for example, that Takeda did not do Chinkon Kishin), Ueshiba's training regimen would still have to be an effective approach to ki/kokyu development because that's a logical necessity for "aiki". The point being that if you look at the training methodology of Takeda and Ueshiba you might think that it is a different transmission, but it's not since the core ki/kokyu skills are still there, no matter the training methodology.
Quote:

This is a step to that common basis in fact for that discussion you wish to have. Without it or something like it, no one not already in agreement with you will usefully engage it.
I don't wish to have any particular discussion except to point out how ultimately I'd like to know all I could about observed aspects of O-Sensei's private training regimen.

At the same time, I'd note that the question of who got what transmission when is going to be difficult. Take your own case, for instance. Twice in this thread (and in many previous conversations) you've referenced Saotome Sensei and implied that your learning and teaching methodology was part of a full transmission in an acceptable mode (part of the general thrust of Mr. Goldsbury's thesis). Yet, as has been noted before, your implication is open to this question: if Ikeda Sensei is diligently and honestly (openly) researching some of the basics of these skills via Ushiro Sensei, then your implication is that your knowledge is beyond Ikeda Sensei's. I.e., there is a valid question to your claims of transmission because I've never heard anyone say that your ki/kokyu skills are beyond Ikeda Sensei's. See the problem with that line of thought?

It's very tricky to objectively approach the idea of transmission in Aikido (and a number of other arts). Shioda Kancho's stuff appears superficially different. Is it different from the quintessential idea of Ueshiba's Aikido? I don't think so at all. Tohei? Same thing. And many others. In many cases these are just variations on a theme, these different teachers, yet in other cases, there are teachers who simply don't have that core idea/skills, so the idea of "transmission" becomes moot.

Use Seisaki Abe as an example. He publicly states that his Misogi exercises came from a different source than Ueshiba's .... what is the determining factor we can use to say that Abe has a valid "transmission" or not? Maybe that's what should be defined first. I'm positing essentially the same thing Dan is..... before we can say somebody is part of a legitimate line of professional essay-writers, it's necessary for them to have a proficiency in the alphabet, or all bets or off.

YMMV

Mike Sigman

Peter Goldsbury 01-26-2008 06:03 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
I think this is a very good and fruitful discussion, and one that I was not expecting when I wrote this particular column.

I purposely used three abstract nouns in the general title of the series, because there is considerable doubt as to what these actually mean, in the context of aikido. They are simply a peg on which to hang the preliminaries of an investigation.

Another general peg on which the series hangs is the thesis that Kisshomaru Ueshiba believed that it was his filial duty to disseminate a distinct art, called aikido.

However, whether Morihei Ueshiba saw things in quite the same terms is moot and a similar question could be asked of Sokaku Takeda, concerning his relationship with Ueshiba. Clearly, Morihei Ueshiba trained in Daito-ryu and the interesting issue at the level of waza is the degree to which these were changed by both Morihei himself and Kisshomaru.

Lurking behind the waza is the much more shadowy world of personal training and especially 'internal' training. It is clear that Takeda did this, as did his deshi including Ueshiba, but it is less clear to what extent we can talk of transmission and inheritance here. Morihei Ueshiba had been doing this training well before he met Sokaku Takeda at Engaru, but we do not really know how he conceptualized this at the time, even to himself. We know more about the period after he met Deguchi and Kisshomaru somewhere states that his waza became more powerful as a result of meeting Deguchi. After he met Deguchi, Ueshiba began to read works like Reikai Monogatari and thus found a vehicle to express (to himself as much as to others) what he was doing.

The reason why World War II is so important for aikido is that the old Oomoto formulas were swept away and it is highly likely that the training was also sanitized. Not completely done away with, however, but the main question about Kisshomaru and his associates at the postwar Hombu is how much of the baby was thrown out with the bath water.

Best wishes to all,

Erick Mead 01-26-2008 06:43 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197982)
I've mentioned several times before that the general framework of chinkon kishin ... my observation is that (a.) you can do the same things in different ways that are just as effective and (b.) those exercises actually only represent a small part of a complete solo regimen.

Agreed, which was the point to begin some small catalog of actual varieties of practice in this area.
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 197982)
Take your own case, for instance. Twice .. implied that your learning and teaching methodology was part of a full transmission ... your implication is .. that your knowledge is beyond Ikeda Sensei's.

Your strained inference, not my implication. I make clear I view it as a process and a progressive spectrum. You and I disagree in our interpretation of Ikeda's actual statements as to what he is intending in his cooperative enterprise with Ushiro. Unless Ikeda Shihan chooses to offer to elaborate, that's what we are left with.

Ushiro has been rather clear about his sense of what may be mainly lacking -- some aikidokoa just don't learn how to how to strike properly, and if so, I agree a huge heap of necessary skill is lacking there, because whether you choose to actually use striking power in a damaging way or not the principles giving power to strikes are inherent in the concept of aiki, and without which it is not aiki .

Since you brought him up, and I have quoted Ushiro before, his perspective does not seem that far removed from the way I have been taught. Since Saotome, Ikeda and he are seemingly so sympatico in their views and approaches, this is hardly surprising:
Quote:

Kenji Ushiro wrote:
How you respond to a serious attack depends on what your body remembers, which depends on what level of training you've reached, or in other words the degree of usability you've achieved.

If, for example, your body is equipped to "catch" all of the information about the opponent at the moment of contact and use this to formulate a correct response on the fly, then I think you can say you have "usability." At that point you can start using bunkai kumite (step-by-step sparring) based on kata as a system for getting feedback about the usability you've achieved.

Degrees, progressions, feedback. The latter using of "step-by-step sparring" sounds an awful lot like paired Aikido practice regimen to me. I've no doubt missed far more than my teachers intended for me to get, but what I "got" from my experience from them of Saotome's teaching is at least some sense of his purpose, and a glimmer of his methods in the kokyu undo and the waza as generic and specific complements of one another, in a self-generated learning process, once the rudiments are perceived, and practiced with honest observaiton and intent. I have cause to believe he is consciously trying to continue what he perceived O Sensei to be doing, as other uchi deshi have done with their own perspectives, talents and limitations.
Quote:

Kenji Ushiro wrote:
I feel that Saotome sensei is recreating Ueshiba sensei's aikido - aikido that is not about simply defeating opponents.

My attempt at following that purpose lies in trying to get people to elaborate a bit on the variations or evolutions of chinkon kishin and related kokyu undo. That process is also tangentially spoken to by Ushiro:
Quote:

Kenji Ushiro wrote:
... "shu-ha-ri" is about realizing that what you have become is thanks to your teacher and the fundamentals that he originally taught you. The closer you come to ri, the more you realize the importance of shu, and the more you realize how important your teacher is. That, I think, is how "tradition" can be maintained from one generation to the next. ... It's fine for people to have various different ways of thinking. But it's also important to be able to come together as one instantly if the need or opportunity arises. If you're talking about aikido, then Ueshiba Sensei is the point of origin, and I think it would be very good if people were able to gather around that point, that sense of common origin, with a feeling of unity.


Mike Sigman 01-26-2008 06:59 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 198004)
....but the main question about Kisshomaru and his associates at the postwar Hombu is how much of the baby was thrown out with the bath water.

I just looked again at John Stevens' tranlation of Aikido Shintei (1986: Kisshomaru Ueshiba). The English version is called "The Art of Aikido". I noticed when I bought this book (relatively recently) that there was a surprising amount of discussion about Ki. The interesting thing was that (in my opinion) Stevens' translations of the passages seem to fairly clearly miss the point. He translates Ki as he understands it, and quite clearly he thinks of Ki as a generality that is not truly defined in a substantive way. What was fascinating to me was to see the words of Kisshomaru being absolutely correct, yet they were skewed into obscurities by Stevens.

So the question is indeed valid whether Kisshomaru threw the baby out with the bathwater.... but the first question in my mind is how much are we missing because our own translations and views are obscuring things?

I can picture a situation that goes like this: The Japanese (and often the Chinese view) view of Ki and its actions is very vague. It's not laid out in discussions of force vectors, breathing exercises, and so on. So if there is a rather vague and traditional view of what Ki is, the descriptions of it are also going to be vague, etc. First a translator has to know that there is a fish hidden in the water (through his own knowledge) in order to piece together the fish's physical reality and dimensions. A translator who doesn't know this fish exists as a real fish is going to run up against the ill-defined descriptions and report the fish as a concept rather than an actual fish.

So at the moment, as much as I'd like to grab the handy explanation that Kisshomaru may have neglected some important aspect of Aikido, I'm stymied by the evidence of how much he speaks about Ki and how near-accurate the translations are. Granted, Kisshomaru may only know to parrot the old words and phrases, but he does it well enough (and devotes so much space to the topic) that I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the problem is simply (I'm just making mouth noises, now) that since Kisshomaru is not as skilled as his father was, it only appears that his knowledge of ki/kokyu things is not so overpowering.

Another possibility is that U. Morihei and U. Kisshomaru disapprove of being so open with the ancient secrets and rituals that are the core of the art. They don't object publicly to that upstart Tohei ( ;) ) showing a few things, but they're not going to give away the lifeblood of the art... the next generation of the family might be negatively affected.

Incidentally, there was another book by Kisshomaru back in the 1970's (I recently gave it to someone, so I can't give the annotations). It didn't mean much to me back in the 70's, but when I looked at it again in the 90's, I could see clearly that Kisshomaru was including the Ki discussion in what he had to say. But the translation obscured it and my earlier lack of knowledge had obscured it.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Now, there was an earlier book that I had back in the 1970's by Kisshomaru and when I

DH 01-26-2008 07:36 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 198004)
I think this is a very good and fruitful discussion, and one that I was not expecting when I wrote this particular column.

Another general peg on which the series hangs is the thesis that Kisshomaru Ueshiba believed that it was his filial duty to disseminate a distinct art, called aikido.

However, whether Morihei Ueshiba saw things in quite the same terms is moot and a similar question could be asked of Sokaku Takeda, concerning his relationship with Ueshiba. Clearly, Morihei Ueshiba trained in Daito-ryu and the interesting issue at the level of waza is the degree to which these were changed by both Morihei himself and Kisshomaru.

Lurking behind the waza is the much more shadowy world of personal training and especially 'internal' training. It is clear that Takeda did this, as did his deshi including Ueshiba, but it is less clear to what extent we can talk of transmission and inheritance here. Morihei Ueshiba had been doing this training well before he met Sokaku Takeda at Engaru, but we do not really know how he conceptualized this at the time, even to himself. We know more about the period after he met Deguchi and Kisshomaru somewhere states that his waza became more powerful as a result of meeting Deguchi. After he met Deguchi, Ueshiba began to read works like Reikai Monogatari and thus found a vehicle to express (to himself as much as to others) what he was doing.

Best wishes to all,

Hi Peter
I am erroneously categorized as a Daito ryu trumpeter when nothing could be farther from the truth. I could care less who is right-rather WHAT is right. In fact I applaud Ueshiba's vision and if I may be so bold, I think I have an understanding of both how and why he changed what he was doing.
I continually bring up DR as I see flaws in logic, and the occasional investigatory *stretch* to fit some theory, and the dismissal of a rather obvious answer.
I think it is a critical error, both historically and in logistics to dismiss both Takeda and Ueshiba’s only known peers; Sagawa, Kodo and Hisa. How ironic that in that place and time there was no one, simply no one, who stood as giants in Budo next to these men. And equally curious, they shared one, single, common entity. The internal methods of Daito ryu.

How perfectly odd to then see Ueshiba separated out *from his peers* as a stand alone or superior figure, when no one who knew them all, considered him to be superior. No one, not a single one. Not even his own students. They just LIKED him better.

So how do we move forward with any credibility here?

Internal skills
Were we to be discussing internal skills and solo tanren and when Ueshiba “improved?” Why would anyone consider with any seriousness- Kissomarus responses to this topic? That you're choosing to look to Kissomaru’s statements about what happened with Deguchi is interesting- I suspect many a reader might seriously question his opinions having much weight or neutrality. Case in point: isn’t this the same fellow who at every, single, turn either reduced, obscured, and/or diminished Takeda’s involvement? Even right up to the current web page with erroneous dates and blatantly false statements of fact about his fathers training. One might be wise to question a mans use as a source of information or impartial conjecture when he repeatedly has trouble getting well proved, documented facts, right. Isn’t this also the same fellow who denied his fathers training history up until the moment he was faced with Takeda’s eimoroku and letters?

A flip side
Here is another take from the Deguchi period and Ueshiba’s increase on power.
1. Takeda showed up stayed with Deguchi and Ueshiba for almost 6 months or so and trained daily. Ueshiba was ready to learn “aiki.”
2. It was after this period that Ueshiba was allowed to teach.
3. Deguchi was so impressed by what he saw -and presumably felt- that that he urged Takeda to change the name of his art to AIKI jujutsu.
4. What is the source of aiki?
What is it Peter?
Internal training.
Does it come to anyone’s surprise that Kissomaru -true to form- finds anyone else as a source? It must be Deguchi right?
1. Deguchi’s influence and internal skills gave Ueshiba power.
Ok
As a plausible and credible argument-I have Takeda, who made Ueshiba, Sagawa, Kodo, and Hisa.

Deguchi made who? ___________________________
He had nothing, and gave nothing, to anyone by way of power.

How do we move the conversation forward?

One cannot escape that in reading articles such as these- that the end is never definitive. They are mostly fashioned from interviews that reveal very little information. By their nature they all too often lead to conjecture, speculation and assertions-and we are left with a mystery. I am fine with that. I think we are all fine with that. But at certain points one should consider following credible, or at least neutral, source materials and consider a mans stunningly obvious, contemporaries in the only art he ever studied in depth to at least…at the very least, consider if there were others doing similar, equal or superior work.

Cheers
Dan

Erick Mead 01-26-2008 09:27 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 198012)
I think it is a critical error, both historically and in logistics to dismiss both Takeda and Ueshiba's only known peers; Sagawa, Kodo and Hisa. ...

Like O Sensei's uchi deshi, and even O Sensei himself, these also were bound by their perspectives, talents and limitations. The last one is only the easiest to overcome. Few want to overcome what they have gotten good at. Even fewer will overcome their point of view. The spiritual aspects of O Sensei's training were his ways of finding the will to do the second, and a way to do the first.

Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 198012)
One cannot escape that in reading articles such as these -- that the end is never definitive.... By their nature they all too often lead to conjecture, speculation and assertions-and we are left with a mystery. I am fine with that. I think we are all fine with that

That's not enough. Mysteries are specifically for wrestling with -- not boxing up for easy storage.

I've read Sagawa's "Clear Power". In his years of training, Terry Dobson recounted asking O Sensei only one question: the meaning of circle-triangle-square. O Sensei's deliberate and considered answer was, "Find out for yourself." :
Quote:

Sagawa wrote:
You become stronger through your own training and innovation. If you lose and die in a fight, then it can't be helped. You must take responsibility for your own actions. Do not rely on others. ... Indeed, most important is that you keep on thinking. If you don't you cease to have any <good> thoughts. If you continue to think, then a new thought will pop into your head! And then you must write this thought down immediately so that you may try it out, otherwise you will forget it later. Writing this down is key.
You (the Author) are always thinking about math, so you should be able to do even better work <as you go one>. The secret is in always thinking about it. The reason no one progresses or gets any better, stronger is because no one thinks. They forget about what they do in between practices. It has to become a part of your life.


DH 01-26-2008 10:16 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Eric
I think I find these quotes from Sagawa more relevant to your comments-about finding out for yourself-and on how Dairo ryu's internal methods may have been the overwhelming majority of Ueshiba's methods.

Quote:

You can't get good at something simply by repetition….Many people would say back in the day that all you had to do is practice, and more practice! But after I became able to think for myself I found that this wasn't so. The reason practitioners from some styles are weak and no good is because they do not train (Tanren) their bodies. The true execution of Aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training to condition the body (Tanren). Only amateurs think that techniques are enough and that training the body is unnecessary. They understand nothing…
It is not easy to attain. I didn’t teach this myself until a little while ago. I waited for my students to discover this for themselves. Sagawa Yukioshi
I can't find it right now, but of equal worth is Sagawa stating that Takeda told-him- never to reveal it. Maybe in the end, Sagawa, on his way out the door, flipped the bird to the whole "keep it secret idea" and was the most honest of all. Even if it were only to further point the finger at himself and make yet another mark, it at least revealed the core training and the hold back method. FWIW I had someone tell me of another DR Shihan who has an extensive regimen of internal training from.....er, one the guys who trained with Takeda.
I suppose it's just so American to say "We've been had." But...I've watched it happen to students with my own eyes.

Cheers
Dan

Erick Mead 01-27-2008 07:51 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 198016)
Quote:

Sagawa wrote:
You can't get good at something simply by repetition….Many people would say back in the day that all you had to do is practice, and more practice! But after I became able to think for myself I found that this wasn't so.

I think I find these quotes from Sagawa more relevant to your comments-about finding out for yourself-and on how Dairo ryu's internal methods ...

But you see, Sagawa is actually quite clear -- there is no Method to be imparted. There is only a process for discovering the actual methods on your own. That is what is imparted. And the process can only be guided tangentially by a teacher.

Nor is the waza aspect merely repetition of ritual forms, nor would doing them that way be very useful. Waza have a definite place in training -- based on Sagawa's own comments, as I will explain in my own view of the matter.
Quote:

Sagawa, from Clear Power wrote:
See! This is why you are no good. You don't do something simply because so and so said so. If you simply go through life by simply thinking you can copy people you'll never get anywhere. The only person that can do this is you. You must create your own understanding for yourself.
Take Aiki for example. There is no way to really teach this. Even if I could point at something that is Aiki I can't put it into words. You simply think you can learn everything from me, so you don't develop the habit to think for yourself. ... In the end its about accumulating your thoughts and having them act as the foundation for other thoughts. ...<If you decide because> others tell you so, or influence you, then it's no good. You must hold your own counsel. Decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. ...

This next passage goes to "feel" and "hints" as in Mike Sigman's comment about the vagueness of Japanese and Chinese usage when it comes to ki and kokyu. They seem "vague" when approached from analytic perspective, because these concepts were developed as synthetic forms of knowledge.
Quote:

Sagawa, from Clear Power wrote:
... You must take what you learn, and then innovate it based on your own ideas. ... No matter how much you learn something, if it is simply taught to you, you will forget it. However you will never forget something you acquire for yourself. It becomes you. In other words, teaching is simply a matter of giving the right hints. You must acquire that thing for yourself. Especially in the case of Aiki, it is an internal feeling which must be grasped.
It's not simply a matter of questioning everything either. You mustn't simply think that it's enough to be taught. Everyone's body type is different, so there is no guarantee that things will work out exactly the same way.
... I don't teach everything, and I can't teach everything. What I can teach is the foundation of how the skeletal system works. How your muscles and organs work upon that frame is for you to ponder and discover on your own.

But those who are analytic in their received manner of thought, will have a very hard time on a solely synthetic basis "developing the habit of thinking for themselves ... accumulating thoughts and having them act as the foundation for other thoughts." Nearly all European cultures are analytic. This is an obvious problem.

So there are two options in working with the concepts intellectually, as Sagawa suggests we also need to do. We could steep the learner in the synthetic tradition, but this is a culturally difficult thing to reliably do. Or we could find a way to unbundle the synthetic understanding into more analytically available terms. Then an appropriate analytic process can be used to digest new information and to build up those kinds of thoughts from that foundation. That way a person of an analytic culture will be able to develop their own ideas -- in their own manner, as Sagawa says it is critical to do -- and as my reading of what O Sensei and following him, Saotome, intended to occur.

The unbundling into more purely mechnical terms has been my project as an intellectual challenge, (explicilty NOT in the training hall) only because not many others seem interested in trying. I have made some progress. The criticisms of many have contributed to that task, since criticism and defense of terms and conclusions is very much part of the analytic way of thought.

The process for others need not be overly technical in terms of physics, although physical mechanics is a rigorous approach. There is value in doing that, but it can only be done outside the dojo, and only the result of what it provides returns into the training, not that process in itself.

An equally valid analytic approach is case-reasoning, whereby a basic principle is grasped, and that principle is then extended to another similar but modified contexts to be partially confirmed or negated, and then another following from that, etc.. These can be thought-experiments or what-ifs later tested in the training hall. This is the process of the common law, and it is a process exceedingly concrete in its thinking, vastly preferring to work from real circumstances rather than constructed hypotheticals.

This is basically, in physical terms, how I teach: Starting with a known engagement and application, then extending that principle in operation into fresh territory to explore in a "step-by step" engagement to see how it changes or evolves according to the flow of action in the manner illustrated in the kokyu undo. The waza form an armature from which to articulate those explorations, physically, with a common basis for reference. The kokyu undo provide the "feel" of the action as it should be in operation in all phases of those explorations to confirm or negate, in whole or in part, in the case being examined.

Mike Sigman 01-27-2008 07:54 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 198004)
Lurking behind the waza is the much more shadowy world of personal training and especially 'internal' training. It is clear that Takeda did this, as did his deshi including Ueshiba, but it is less clear to what extent we can talk of transmission and inheritance here.

I think this is an important point and it relates to the problem of transimission of so-called "internal" training.

In the first section of the multi-part interview with Koichi Tohei posted on Aikido Journal, Tohei tells an anecdote about how he demonstrated being "unliftable" while Ueshiba was standing there encouraging the Uke's to do it because Tohei had been out drinking all night and of course no kami's would enter a drunk to give him the powers. In other words, Ueshiba's views of "internal" power still had to do with the Shinto version of possession by kami's, not with the simple mechanical explanations of "sink your center" that Tohei was using.

In looking at the transmission of the internal skills in Aikido, this Tantric Buddhist-derived view of internal powers being a religious aspect in the perspective of Ueshiba presents a real problem. Whatever Ueshiba learned functionally from Takeda (or extrapolated), he seems to have fulfilled a lot of his knowledge through Deguchi and wound up with the Tantric/Shinto concept of possession as an explanation of powers. Later in years, in terms of transmitting the internal skills to uchideshi, the possession idea presents a real problem, in comparison to simply transmitting techniques. So perhaps the erratic record of transmission has a lot to do with Ueshiba's perception of what internal skills actually were.

The idea of "possession" is not really far-fetched if someone understands the full range of the "ki" skills and their relationship to the subconscious mind. As a quick example, goose-bumps, shivers, etc., are part of ki. But so are the autonomous movements of "automatic writing" and using a pendulum for prediction, etc. It's easiest to get a feel for the "possession" aspect of the old Ki beliefs if you focus on the example of automatic-writing (which many people can do quite easily). The same micro-muscular/fascia relationship in automatic-writing is also a relationship that participates in the conveyance of jin/kokyu. In other words, viewing ki skills as something to do with possession is not that far-fetched, when you think about it. The fact that there are bona fide strength, etc., skills involved in this Ki of possession makes it tricky to treat as a purely mechanical matter in the martial arts that have religious relationships, as the extensive Buddhist roots in martial arts tend to illustrate.

So to stay on point.... what was Ueshiba to do? He obviously must have learned *some* internal skills from Takeda, but clearly he learned more through Deguchi. Deguchi was to Ueshiba as Tempu Nakamura was to Tohei, apparently. Maybe my chafing over Tohei's lack of clarity in his Ki transmission is slightly overdone... maybe his transmission of ki skills is also, to a degree, stymied by the vague, quasi-religious way that he learned it.

YMMV

Mike Sigman

DH 01-27-2008 10:19 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Ueshiba was undoubtedly taught in a physical manner and one would imagine (after Takeda's stay with him and Deguchi, and Deguchi being so impressed) that he would be astute enough to recognize when Deguchi and everyone else noticed the power increase in him, just where his best training should be. That it continued to grow and lead to an individualized use in him- as it did with the equally unusual and individualized pursuits of Kodo, Takeda, Sagawa, and Hisa does nothing but further add weight to my assertion. None of them looked alike either. Nor did their arts.
You don't have -A- single Daito ryu anymore either. Why? What happened? Why are THEY so different as well? Because they and Aikido are inexorably intertwined. They are all-a common source. The Aiki of Daito ryu
You have five men who learned internal training from one man,Takeda. Training which empowered men to do anything with it. Ironically many of these men stated they themselves moved on in their personal search for Aiki- from Takeda.
Gee sound familiar to anyone?
Who else said the exact same thing?
Morihei Ueshiba did.
So you have five men who were smart, inventive, and like anyone who really learns these skills, can build on them. What were the results? Takeda arrives, we get
Sagawa- individual style and syllabus
Kodo - Kodokai-individual style and syllabus
Ueshiba - Aiki-do-individual style and syllabus
Hisa - Takumakai individual style and syllabus

Five powerful and highly individual expressions of that led to whole groups of men training to find -it. These became arts-joined together by one binding commonality the internal methods of Daito ryu.

With such diverse expressions among his peers, with not one of *them* looking like the other, it remains that there is no credible reason to examine Ueshiba and arrive at a conclusion that he was superior, or had some significant divergence that was supperior to his peers. Indeed I continue to look for anything to prove otherwise. As any case study it would be considered extremely flawed to do so. It was just such a flaw that led Stanley off on this pursuit when no one knew about these connections. 18 years later I would be dismayed to see it happen all over again
When folks go into a subject to research it they can be blinded by their own ignorance and preconceptions
Again with all this "talk"- were Deguchi to have been such a physical impact- where are Ueshiba's peers in that pursuit?
1. Who are Deguchi's other amazing adepts? ___________________
2. Where are they?______________________
3. Where is this "Shinto method" that led to exceptional and recognized power in anyone?________________________
I would love to read it or hear about it. I would be overjoyed. Of course there aren't any. Tthat- line of reasoning is a dead end. Deguchi and Ueshiba's Shinto methods offered little, created nothing significant over what he had and made no one else of power

Takeda made Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba, and Hisa
Occam's razor is inconvenient- only to those who are "on a mission." To others it prevents tripping over the obvious- just to wonder and wander.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman 01-27-2008 11:29 AM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Hmmmmmmm. Dan, you seem to be wandering off the topic and back into another one of your insistent trivializations of Ueshiba.

DH 01-27-2008 01:05 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Whhaat? Trivializing how?
Ueshiba was a giant. Which I have stated repeatedly.
Actually I am directly addressing the topic in a more complete manner than what I have seen, and placing him in an appropriate light- instead agrandizing or trivializing, or looking for things that make little sense.
Try answering some of the questions. Not the least of which is:

1. Where are those other greats who took place in Deguchi's Shinto
training and had amazing results?___________________________
2. How is it his power was noted-curiously AFTER his being trained daily by Takeda and being granted teaching priviledges and Deguchi noting this amazing power called aiki?
3. Explain how his contemporaries in the only art he ever studied- that being Daito ryu... exhibited power as well?

Were smart people to be looking for just what he had and where he got it they might look at the obvious before wondering down dusty roads, that lead off track into the mist.

Form there the topic can move forward to why he did not teach- it- and at least two of his men; Tohei and Shioda going elsewhere to get -it.
Cheers
Dan

stan baker 01-27-2008 01:35 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Deguchi was not a martial arts expert, Ueshiba was. Did he improve his aiki from his religious and meditative training, maybe. He learned aiki from Takeda, that we know for sure.

stan

Mike Sigman 01-27-2008 01:42 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 198041)
1. Where are those other greats who took place in Deguchi's Shinto
training and had amazing results?___________________________

Takeda had skills, but really all we have are stories, pro and con about what level those skills were. Depends on who writes the book.

I could posit (as an example) that Ueshiba took what he learned from Takeda and melded it with some form of Chinkon Kishin training to take what Takeda had to the real heights. If all you've read is interviews/books that trivialize Ueshiba's position, you might want to argue some other position... but that gets into the waste of time about Ueshiba and Daito Ryu again, the topic that seems to draw you like a magnet for some reason.

Chinkon Kishin training by itself is not the only way to achieve the proper goals of that kind of training (it's actually pretty much a qigong/neigong when you analyse it)... I made that comment to Erick Mead.... but if you have some ki/kokyu skills which are not rounded out by the breath and movement training, then the Chinkon Kishin training is a definite plus. It's quite additive. For all we know, that *may* have been the scenario with Ueshiba Sensei.

The point under discussion, though, isn't how Ueshiba stacked up in everyone's favorite view of Daito Ryu, it's about the transmission of things within Aikido. I agree with you that the "internal training" is a charateristic and critical part of Aikido's transmission, but I don't see any need to go once again into the Ueshiba/Daito-Ryu discussion. Ueshiba had roots in DR... everyone acknowledges that. It's a predecessor to Aikido, but it's not Aikido.

The "internal" component of Aikido is critical as a basis for movement in Aikido and for Aiki itself, but it is not all of Aikido. It's probably worthwhile, now that the point has been made about the "internal" components, to let the ball bounce back into Mr. Goldsbury's court.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Allen Beebe 01-27-2008 03:20 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Gentlemen,

First, let me thank Prof. Goldsbury for beginning this thoughtful conversation and for being an example of willing openness for the benefit of all.

The mention of Tantric Buddhism made my ears perk. Being personally involved, I would hasten to point out that, becoming "spiritually possessed" in thought, word and action is the Tantric aspect, identifying "who, what, where, when and why this can and does take place is the Buddhist aspect. In other words, once one achieves "spirit possession" of even the highest order, the question remains, "Who is it that is possessed?" This inherent self-nullification of practice and practitioner keeps the practice in the real of Buddhism.

Thread drift aside, here is a thought for you all to put through the gristmill: One aspect that all individuals mentioned so far may share in-common to one degree or another is Shinto in general and Shinto ritual practice in particular. Takeda learned ‘something' from his Shinto-Priest relative (whether or not that ‘something' has anything to do with Aiki, I wouldn't know.), Ueshiba, Kodo, Takuma, Sagawa learned something from Takeda. Deguchi was versed in Shinto practice and he recognized something unique in Ueshiba while Ueshiba recognized something unique in Deguchi beyond what he got from Taked. They interfaced on the level of Shinto.

Each individual that "got it" did develop uniquely as individuals. However, one common possible core commonality between the Budoka (Takeda, Ueshiba, Takuma, Kodo) and the Religionist (Deguchi) is the Shinto ritual. Now, I'm not arguing for the ritual alone otherwise the power of "aiki" wouldn't be so unique and deserving of extended conversation. What MAY be true is that the "aiki" may have been taught by those "in the know" within the context of Shinto ritual. (Which BTW is virtually identical with Tantric Buddhist practice with the vocabulary being changed.)
It would seemingly make sense that one enamored with the mystical aspects of Shinto ritual and practice would understand his practice and the results of his practice in this manner and thereby seek to communicate them in the way in which he understands.
It would also seemingly make sense that those more focused on the more (perhaps) expediently/practically developed and applied aspects might consciously or unconsciously dump the more (seemingly) irrelevant esoteric aspects.

This seems to me not so terribly unlikely given many other art's streams giving "the goods" in the context of some for of esoteric practice or another. Also, in common is the phenomena of these "streams" running dry after a while. While the past stream bed remains identifiable and a future stream bed body can be continued the "living water" is gone.

In either case, Budoka or Religionist, the ability to do and ability/willingness to teach, are not necessarily assured.
I had some other thoughts but they are gone now. A sick two year old and a healthy three year old that both need attention will do that to you!

Best,
Allen Beebe :hypno:

DH 01-27-2008 03:26 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 198044)
Takeda had skills, but really all we have are stories, pro and con about what level those skills were. Depends on who writes the book.

Hmmm why trivialize Takeda?
I think Stanley did his job VERY well when he looked at the evidence and recognized you cannot talk about one without the other. An the later work seems to support this as well. Now here discussing internal aspects and trasnimssion- Stans research proves its worth again.
Well first up it isn't true that all we have are stories. We much factual evidence of his comings and goings 35 volumes of people he met and trained with, interviews and ackowledgements from mayn high levesl people and fmaous artists and even from American sources. Certain schools have some rather surprising material that few will ever see. Along with that we have many, many interviews about his power, even with it compared to Ueshiba. What these various DR schools also *had* were their own very own Ueshibas-well actually some would state Sagawa and Kodo were better. But even as equals it demonstrates the *possibility* that on a physical level -Ueshiba had all he needed from Takeda.

Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote: (Post 198044)
It's probably worthwhile, now that the point has been made about the "internal" components, to let the ball bounce back into Mr. Goldsbury's court.
Regards,
Mike Sigman

What I was drawn to (like a magnet) were specific points Peter raised-well in keeping within the topic. Which by the way I was previously not replying to.

Quote:

Lurking behind the waza is the much more shadowy world of personal training and especially 'internal' training. It is clear that Takeda did this, as did his deshi including Ueshiba, but it is less clear to what extent we can talk of transmission and inheritance here. Morihei Ueshiba had been doing this training well before he met Sokaku Takeda at Engaru, but we do not really know how he conceptualized this at the time, even to himself. We know more about the period after he met Deguchi and Kisshomaru somewhere states that his waza became more powerful as a result of meeting Deguchi.
There is much conjeture in what Peter wrote-directly addressed by me in my posts. Case in point was his noted power increase. There are reasons why and how this is true beyond the transmission being put forth by his son. There is no plausible evidence or reason to suspect that Deguchi had anything to do with Ueshibas physical skill level.

Quote:

After he met Deguchi, Ueshiba began to read works like Reikai Monogatari and thus found a vehicle to express (to himself as much as to others) what he was doing.
Which I contend was a spiritual change not a physical change.

Quote:

The reason why World War II is so important for aikido is that the old Oomoto formulas were swept away and it is highly likely that the training was also sanitized. Not completely done away with, however, but the main question about Kisshomaru and his associates at the postwar Hombu is how much of the baby was thrown out with the bath water.
Or, as I outlined maybe the bath was empty, and the baby was Takeda who was long gone.
I have no trouble with looking at Chinkon Kishin or any other methods he may or may not have used-in particularly those who claim it came from Deguchi.Great! Where is anyone else with these skills of the hundreds -HE- would have trained______________________________?

Emulation
Ueshiba used the internal skills of DR and changed the approach to cast off and project instead of draw in and pin. This use of more of a projecting force of Aiki-in-yo ho instead if the more magnetic draw in and pin which is the inverse of the cycle remained one of the criticisms he received from his peers for only doing -part- of the art.

IMO the large circular movements were an expression by choice not a lack of understanding or ability. His art was to realize true power, that no longer needed to draw in and cut or pin but rather to let them go.His power as noted by everyone was fearful so men avoided it and took ukemi. THus the downward sprial there as well. Unfortunately, how many folks copy the outer form and miss the positive aspects of aiki-in-yo ho to project/? How much is empty waza, and doesn't *need* to be avoided in the first place?.

Transmission
At any rate I applaud the way Ueshiba found a method to join his skill with his vision of peace. Were aikidoka to get it-they would have a far more effective and even dangerous potential in their art, then many have now. The question is who is going to make it happen and is it going to arrive center stage from the bottom up and from the outside in. Or will the head office finally wake up and realize they are taking a secondary role. What wil happen when a Japanese shihan arrives to meet American 3rd and 4th dans and cannot do anything with them because of the juniors Aiki?

Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman 01-27-2008 03:31 PM

Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5
 
Quote:

Allen Beebe wrote: (Post 198050)
What MAY be true is that the "aiki" may have been taught by those "in the know" within the context of Shinto ritual. (Which BTW is virtually identical with Tantric Buddhist practice with the vocabulary being changed.)

Good point, Allen. This would tie the "transmission" of Aikido and Daito Ryu both somewhat to Shinto/Tantric-Buddhism (Even the hand postures in the "Shinto" Chinkon Keshin are from Tantric Buddhism). Maybe it makes the transmission itself (of Aikido) into a more manageable package to do it that way?
Quote:

It would seemingly make sense that one enamored with the mystical aspects of Shinto ritual and practice would understand his practice and the results of his practice in this manner and thereby seek to communicate them in the way in which he understands.
It would also seemingly make sense that those more focused on the more (perhaps) expediently/practically developed and applied aspects might consciously or unconsciously dump the more (seemingly) irrelevant esoteric aspects.
Exactly. "Where's the Beef?" ;)

Best.

Mike Sigman


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