Thread: Tanaka Bansen
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Old 06-06-2007, 05:31 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Tanaka Bansen

Apologies for the earlier thread drift.

Kawahara Shihan regularly comes to Fukuyama, in Hiroshima Prefecture, and occasionally gives seminars.

However, I think his aikido, and that of Paul Lee (Lee Sei-Nan) in Taiwan, is less markedly 'Osaka Aikikai' than that of other students of Bansen Tanaka, such as Seiji Tomita in Belgium and Sadao Kotani, who runs a dojo here in Hiroshima.

Mr Kotani was an old student of Tanaka Sensei, I think in Osaka University of Economics, and his aikido is clearly 'non-Hombu'. His aikido is all 'lines', as Ellis indicated (i.e., not circles, as with Kisshomaru Doshu), but it works.

Paul Lee's aikido, on the other hand, is extremely circular, far more so that Kisshomaru Ueshiba's ever was. So much so that some think it is too much like Tai-chi exercises. However, Paul Lee was once an Olympic judoist and I think he understands all the issues and subtleties involved here.

I once attended an anniversary celebration of the Osaka Aikikai (I think it was the 30th Anniversary). Actually, I 'gate-crashed' the event, since I had to meet Lee Shihan privately on IAF business and Osaka was the only place to meet him. So I appeared and there was a minor panic at the reception desk. Who was this foreign guy from Hiroshima? Then I encountered Kisshomaru Doshu, who simply laughed, told them who I was, and thanked me for 'sparing the time from my busy schedule' (Japanese code word) to attend this event. So I had a ringside seat at the aikido demonstration and saw the vast differences in how basic waza were interpreted. In a waza like irimi-nage these are quite striking. They are somewhat similar to the way that Nishio Sensei interprets basic waza, in his own way.

Of course, Kisshomaru Doshu was looked after very well, but after the demonstration and the official reception, when people relaxed somewhat, there was some talk of Bansen Tanaka and his close relationship with the Founder. There was an underlying assumption that this relationship was as close as--but quite different from--that of Kisshomaru to his own father.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 06-06-2007 at 05:43 AM.

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