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Old 05-17-2005, 11:52 AM   #11
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Ellis Amdur wrote:
I don't know what you are talking about regarding a myth that the Japanese invented their swords. You've been reading the wrong books.
Hi Ellis:

It's a fairly common legend about the king going to war, all the swords didn't perform well, a sword-maker came up with the design, etc. I'll bet if you polled most people who practice Japanese-related martial arts, they'd feed something like that back to you. No biggy.
Any Japanese text makes full and clear reference to not only Chiense swords, but also spear and halberd (hoko and ko). The single edged straight sword was the norm through about the 8th or 9th century. Then the tachi- curved sword was developed. The question would be if the form of forging the curved sword is the same in China. I do not believe that it is - my understanding is that Chinese swords were made with a different forging process.
Hard to say on the forging process. And yes, the Chinese used curved blades, too. My understanding is that the forging process was part of the big deal that they got from China. It has to be understood that that style of sword was popular in *some provinces* and *some armies* at one time, but was not ubiquitous in China. Oil-tempered copies of the blade design that didn't use the time-consuming layered forging were often found, as well, so the question about "different forging processes" may not be any different than the fact that military Japanese swords given out by the Japanese Army in WWII used a cheaper process as well.
Ueshiba/aikido has no new techniques whatsoever - every one is in Daito-ryu, and forms of most of those can be found in a variety of jujutsu. As you can find most all of them in European texts from the 14th-15th century, I don't think it necessary to believe that the Japanese needed the Chinese to teach them TECHNIQUES. A lot of them were in sumo for over 1000 years. (Course maybe THAT came from Chinese/Korean/Mongol sources way back when). ANYWAY - I wouldn't be at all surprised if the more subtle uses of the body - the REAL tactics - are owed to the Chinese ----ki, kokyu, etc.
The only comment I'd make is about the reference to techniques found in Europe, etc. Yes, you can find one here, one there, a couple here, a couple there, etc., but you can't find them in cohesive groups like you do between Japan and Chinese joint-locks. Once you see replications that go beyond the one'sies and two'sies and you add in the fact that Japan borrowed very extensively even mundane items from China, then you factor in proximity, trade, etc., it becomes a little disingenuous to devise stories of simultaneous coincidents when Occam's Razor is shouting aloud to use common sense.

Anyway, the only point I was trying to make is one that you and I both are agreeing on.... the joint-locks etc., in Aikido resemble Shaolin joint-locks most likely because at one time China dominated that whole area and many cultural artifacts disseminated throughout the region. However, in the same way that karate derived from various Chinese martial arts yet it is not a Chinese art, Ueshiba's Aikido may ultimately have borrowed ideas that originated in China, but it is not a Chinese martial art, despite many similar techniques.

The real question (and the one to avoid like the plague) is whether the Japanese arts and modifications are *better* than the original Chinese arts. Run away fast if someone starts that one.

My opinion, FWIW

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