Thread: Fatal Injuries
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:41 PM   #25
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Originally posted by Edward
I wonder what Mr. Goldsbury meant when he said on Aikijournal's bulletin board regarding this very subject, I quote:

"I think the matter of 'hazing' in Japan has to be seen in a certain context (and I am reminded of one of Ellis Amdur's pieces in AN/AJ about O Sensei turning a blind eye to obvious and wanton violence occuring under his very eyes. I myself have seen the late Kisshomaru Ueshiba do the same thing in the Hombu)."

I have seen a lot of footages of Osensei during which the training seems very intense but very relaxed in the same time. Not the kind of training which would cause serious unjuries. On the other hand, I know from first hand sources that one of Osensei's former Uchi Deshi's in France (not Tamura Sensei) used to force his students to do 500 to 1000 Zempo Ukemis non stop. I understand from the report that this could be fatal.
I would appreciate any comments.

You quoted one small piece from the various posts I have put on two threads in the AJ forum. I assume you read the rest of the material, especially the long post on the 'culture of hazing' in Japan.

As for Ellis Amdur, he has a great deal to say in AJ 103, 104, and 107, especially the quote from Terry Dobson on p.22 of AJ 107, though I think Terry's chapter in "Aikido in America" contains something similar (the book is in my office and I am at home, so I cannot check).

For myself, I agree with much that Damion Lost has stated, especially his last post. Aikido really is a Way, and the moral 'benefits' of the art are not obvious. Two points are relevant to this: one is that the Founder, also, did not regard aikido as a martial art for everybody. He cautioned against showing the techniques to people who would misuse them. The second point is that no one would deny the general principle that one should not injure people during practice. But this principle is not understood by everybody in the same way.

Thus the Aikikai Hombu instructor who is the subject of the Terry Dobson quote, mentioned above, freely acknowledges that he has very few students because his aikido is very hard. He practises budo and he certainly does not interpret this in any 'western' sense. Thus to train in his classes requires a certain commitment. This instructor is now 71, but he is a direct disciple of the Founder and the late Kisshomaru Doshu.

Some of you might hink that I am delicately skirting around a taboo subject. Far better to confront the insructor about the injuries he has caused because of his rough practice.

But O Sensei never did this (to my knowledge) nor did Kisshomaru Doshu. This instructor never proselytises his aikido. He has never written anything, despite the urgings of people like Stanley Pranin and myself. He came to Hiroshima last month and spent five hours showing and explaining the intricacies of the footwork and handwork which result in ikkyo. It was a splendid course, but his ukes were certainly put through the mincer. For those of you who are wondering who he is, the instructor is Sadateru Arikawa shihan.

Incidentally, I myself have suffered some injuries, one of which happened while taking an ukemi from 2kyo at the hands of certain Japanese shihan (not Arikawa Sensei). It put me in hospital for 2 weeks. Should he have injured me? Probably not. But I have always believed that he trusted me and that my ukemi was not good, that is, it was largely my fault. Perhaps I am rationalising about the causes, but the injury happened nearly 20 years ago and I am still practising. Actually, the thought of stopping aikido as a result of the inury never entered my head.

Finally, on looking at this post to check the spelling etc, I see that I have not said much about the cultural aspects. But it is curious that both Terry Dobson and Ellis Amdur spent a lengthy period training in Japan and I myself live here. I think the experience of practising Japanese budo in the 'home' culture forces an examionation, if not a revision, of 'western' cultural values and this also includes the concepts of illness and injuries.

Best regards to all.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 12-05-2001 at 05:58 PM.

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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