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Efe Yucemen 05-08-2005 07:13 AM

Tomiki and the Theory of Aikido
 
Hello,

I'm relatively new to aikido, but being the curious type I enjoy reading books on aikido and also the many great postings here. One of the first books I read on aikido was "aikido and the competitive edge" by Nariyama Shihan of the JAA. This book cited a lot of Kenji Tomiki's work on the relation of aikido to the other Japanese budo, and also technical or theoretical aspects such as sen, maai and kuzushi.

My comment is that it seems, at least to me that Kenji Tomiki's work on understanding aikido as a physical activity and laying out certain aspects in a rational/scientific manner (ala Kano and Judo) have been totally disregarded or forgotten by the broader Aikido world.

I currently train at an Aikikai dojo here in London, but have also experienced training at a Tomiki dojo and am well aware of the differences. I can understand why people might find the idea of competition unpalatable, (and just to avoid that old chestnut I think that you can have "realistic" training w/o explicit randori/shiai ) but I don't understand why the hard work and thought of such an early and important exponent of the art is left outside of the general body of knowledge.

I can only hazard to say that not only is there some political stigma attached to his thoughts/works, but there is a general aversion to an explanation or interpretation of aikido which is non-mystical, dry and scientific. Would you agree?

kind regards

deepsoup 05-08-2005 12:40 PM

Re: Tomiki and the Theory of Aikido
 
Quote:

Efe Yucemen wrote:
I can only hazard to say that not only is there some political stigma attached to his thoughts/works, but there is a general aversion to an explanation or interpretation of aikido which is non-mystical, dry and scientific. Would you agree?

Possibly to a lesser extent than you might think, since the original Japanese version of that book is used as a "standard text" by quite a few non-Shodokan dojos in Japan.

"Different strokes for different folks" though, Ueshiba M. could hardly have been more different to Kano J. in his approach. Since all aikido ultimately looks to Ueshiba M. I guess its hardly surprising if many find the analytical approach of Kano (and by extension, Tomiki) not quite to their taste.

The english language version of that book only came out quite recently, so perhaps it will become more popular over time, who knows.

Incidentally, while Nariyama Sensei is credited as the co-author of the book, it is really more Shishida Fumiaki Sensei (currently the Professor of Budo History at Waseda University - the post formerly held by Tomiki K.) who is the primary author.

Sean
x

Peter Goldsbury 05-08-2005 05:42 PM

Re: Tomiki and the Theory of Aikido
 
Quote:

Efe Yucemen wrote:
Hello,

My comment is that it seems, at least to me that Kenji Tomiki's work on understanding aikido as a physical activity and laying out certain aspects in a rational/scientific manner (ala Kano and Judo) have been totally disregarded or forgotten by the broader Aikido world.

I currently train at an Aikikai dojo here in London, but have also experienced training at a Tomiki dojo and am well aware of the differences. I can understand why people might find the idea of competition unpalatable, (and just to avoid that old chestnut I think that you can have "realistic" training w/o explicit randori/shiai ) but I don't understand why the hard work and thought of such an early and important exponent of the art is left outside of the general body of knowledge.

I can only hazard to say that not only is there some political stigma attached to his thoughts/works, but there is a general aversion to an explanation or interpretation of aikido which is non-mystical, dry and scientific. Would you agree?

kind regards

Well, when I lived in the UK, I, too, trained in for a couple of years a Tomiki dojo and an Aikikai dojo in parallel. I even went to courses in London given by Yamada Senta Sensei. The Aikikai club was run by a Japanese and most of the explanations were in Japanese: to talk of anything mystical would have been wasted breath. Most of the explanations were very direct ("Hit him!" = atemi; "Put him down!" = throw; "No strength"). The next Aikikai teacher I had was K Chiba, who is not known for mysticism in his training and teaching. (Actually, I think you can find a club in London run by his senior students.) I gave up Tomiki training because there was no dojo or teacher within convenient access, not because of any political issues.

I think you base your judgment on too narrow a range of evidence. One of the best discussions of budo I have ever read is K Tomiki's "Budo-Ron", published in Japanese by Taishukan, and I say this as someone who has trained with the Aikikai for over 30 years. Tomiki Sensei starts with the question "Budo to wa nanika?" (the concept of budo) and then discusses related questions in turn: (1) budo and modern concepts; (2) the concept of judo; (3) aikido, [where he goes into the whole question of aikido and competition--and for those who know Japanese, the term he uses here is 'kyousou', not 'shiai]'; (4) education and the body. There is nothing quite like it in the Aikikai.

The only books that comes close are two works by Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba: "The Spirit of Aikido" and "The Art of Aikido", both, like Tomiki Sensei's book, were originally written in Japanese. I have occasionally posted translated bits of "Budo-Ron" on the Internet, but I do not know if Prof Shishida, who edited the work, plans to make an English translation. He ought to.

So, I disagree that Prof Tomiki's work is "left outside of the general body of knowledge". "Aikido Kyoushitsu" (translated as Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge) is a text, also published by Taishukan. Along with "Budo-Ron" It is one of many available in bookstores all over Japan. It might be used as a teaching text in Shodokan dojos, but I would be surprised if this was extensive: my own experience here suggests to me that teaching texts do not seem to figure very much in dojos.

I also disagree with the reverse of your suggestion: that "a general aversion to an explanation or interpretation of aikido which is non-mystical, dry and scientific" is common in the Aikikai. Of course, there are teachers who do this, but there are many more who do not. The Aikikai is an organization, rather than a style of training. At least this has been my experience.

Best regards,

PeterR 05-08-2005 07:00 PM

Re: Tomiki and the Theory of Aikido
 
Hi Peter

I was drinking beer after training with a Shihan of Osaka Aikikai (after being invited to train at his dojo) and he told me he used the book for his High School students. I found that interesting on two fronts a) that he used a Shodokan book and b) that he used a text book. I assumed he was teaching a class room component since as you mention text books in the dojo context would be an anomaly.

I know of a could other Aikikai Shihans that recommend the book to their students - but again calling it a text book might not be accurate for the reasons you stated.

Peter Goldsbury 05-08-2005 07:12 PM

Re: Tomiki and the Theory of Aikido
 
Quote:

Peter Rehse wrote:
Hi Peter

I was drinking beer after training with a Shihan of Osaka Aikikai (after being invited to train at his dojo) and he told me he used the book for his High School students. I found that interesting on two fronts a) that he used a Shodokan book and b) that he used a text book. I assumed he was teaching a class room component since as you mention text books in the dojo context would be an anomaly.

I know of a could other Aikikai Shihans that recommend the book to their students - but again calling it a text book might not be accurate for the reasons you stated.

Hello Peter,

Yes, as a high school text, I can see the point. Teaching aikido in high schools is a recent venture, now being strongly pushed by the Aikikai with the Monkasho. The present Doshu has also published a high school text, entitled Aikido Jotatsu Book. It is profusely illustrated, in colour, and with not a trace of mysticism. Another example of aikido kyousou, I suppose! I do not know about Shodokan or Yoshinkan, but high school aikido is still a very small part of the Aikikai's presence in Japan.

Best regards,

PeterR 05-08-2005 07:27 PM

Re: Tomiki and the Theory of Aikido
 
Interesting about the high school presence. Shodokan has a number of high school and junior high school clubs but I suspect, even in the restricted area of Osaka, when compared to Judo and Kendo we are talking minuscule. Most towns have dojo with an Aikido presence and these are full of kids.

I don't normally teach children but make the occasional exception based on maturity. I have two students right now that have asked their schools to be excused from Saturday morning clubs so that they can do Aikido. One more that just finished high school although I don't think he specifically asked. As you know that can be a big thing - huge meeting at my daughters school as to whether she could join the Himeji City Orchestra.

Efe Yucemen 05-30-2005 01:07 PM

Re: Tomiki and the Theory of Aikido
 
Thank you very much for your answers, sorry I didnt post sooner.

Mr Goldsbury I already train at the dojo you refer to (Its called shin mei kan is located in maida vale, nw london). I also train at a tomiki dojo. I like training at both, and since while ones close to work and the other very close to where I live I can manage my training times.

cheers


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