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Old 06-02-2009, 10:17 AM   #121
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
Re: O sensei and 'correct ukemi'

Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mark, agreed with everything else you write, but you and others who write about a conspiracy, a cover up, are absolutely wrong. Cut it out! Jeez. Just because it wasn't talked about in some aikido dojo in x-town, American, doesn't mean there's a cover-up. …..When I went to Japan in 1976, I asked about Daito-ryu (I'd read about it in ALL the forwards of all the the aikido books I'd read - sure, there were some not so nice things written about Takeda, but the gist was there) and I was told where to find it, who taught it, etc. It was common knowledge.
Hello Ellis
Interesting post.
I remain unclear where you might have read about a conspiracy happening in Japan? To my knowledge and awareness, on this subject in printed form in English and on the internet I have only seen it referenced specifically in regard to mediums and people outside of Japan. Even Tokimune's in-house newsletter differentiated that-wherein he discusses how the art was being downplayed…abroad. Indirectly referencing the aikikai and foreign authors.
That said, I also found it curious you dismissed the anecdotal offering as you did in being gliipant about who cares "what some teacher said in X-town USA." Again, if memory serves, those quotes have come from Americans talking with visiting Japanese Aikido teachers, including Shihan.
It is a bit unsettling to see you dismiss anecdotal evidence and then segua to your anectodotal evidence.
"When I went to Japan in 1976, I asked about Daito-ryu .....I was told where to find it, who taught it, etc. It was common knowledge"
I'm sure you agree your anecdotes with teachers in Japan are no more, no less credible than the experience of other men outside of Japan, so I think we are talking about two different experiences on either sides of the world. So, you my friend, have once again made the case that for -some folks- there indeed had been two different answers given the DR connection "from back in the day"; one in Japan and one for foreign consumption. I know because in 1980's I was actively looking for it, only to be told it no longer existed by?….a Japanese Aikido Shihan. Curiously this situation (about disinformation) you yourself have acknowledged in regards to other topics in the past. I think it proves true here as well.
I still firmly believe that situation and the subsequent growth in awareness and clarity of the DR connection was due to Stan's efforts to an English speaking world. I know I was grateful when I first called Stan in Japan, only to find out that the visiting Japanese teacher was either lying to our faces or was ignorant of your anecdotal experiences of; "being told where to find it, who taught it," and that; "It was common knowledge" known everywhere in Japan! We sure as hell didn't.
Have some pity on us poor non-Japanese speaking guys training in aikido before the internet. There were limiting sources for information back then!
Perhaps you can see my point? I think it's something worth considering.

BTW - Takeda Sokaku never spoke about or gave credit to the jujutsu-ryu that Daito-ryu came from (Ahem - release in July, due to hold up on design and finding an inexpensive enough printing company). Well, to be fair, he may not have known - OR - he simply felt that he'd made enough changes that he would call it by its own name - which, like Ueshiba, he decided upon.
It's fair to say that most everyone involved in the MA, particularly with Koryu, has been obsessed with the history as much as real skill. It's fair to say, that it's usually among the first questions asked from most anyone-even about Aikido and Ueshiba. I make no judgments of it, but it seems to be always out there for discussion. This of course bears witness in your own need for discovery caring about Ueshiba's power being connected to DR, to the point that you yourself chose to pursue the connection and then pursue it further to even suggest a new speculative and provocative alternate history of Takeda's own claims about the origin of DR. Were it proved true it would basically state he was lying or downplaying its origins or is own involvement in disseminating that information. Was this mention, an intentional corollary to Ueshiba? I bring that up since it appears-I'm guessing here- that your intent is to let each of these men stand on their own two feet and be done with it! Well, okay. It's certainly a new approach.

I appreciate the joke about genealogy and another aunt story, but in my reading of things I see no intent to disparage Ueshiba to lift another. In fact, it seems the recent years here have boosted an awareness of just how good he was all the more.
As far as his skill, what's the inverse to the aunt story?
To watch Ueshiba and to sit idly by and say. "What an amazing man! What interesting and totally individual movement, the likes of which has never been seen or heard of before on the earth." everyone else has been doing for years. And then to deny knowing what you are looking at and how to train to actually get it? I chose a different route. To speak up about it. For better or worse. Hey, I never said I was perfect!
So, I discuss Ueshiba in concert with DR only in regards to where he got his physical skills-not his spiritual leanings or where he went with it-there I tend to clearly differentiate and have noted differences I happen to like, so I think there is a strong balance of view regarding where it came from and where he went with it.
Case in point:
It might be worth noting I have taken great pains to discuss and offer opinion on just how the DR training and its end goals was modified to arrive at the aikido type ukemi seen so often in aikido. And more pointedly that although Takeda changed and modified the more typically seen koryu model…it was not exactly in ways typically thought. In many ways he was still uke just not in the way most see it or understand it.
Not without merit I will note you remain the only person to have seen it too and capable of conversing on that topic in these pages.
This of course does not address Ueshiba's spiritual massage, nor do I intend to other than to say in many ways I remain a fan of what he at least tried to accomplish in creating Aikido and taking his art in a different direction.


Last edited by DH : 06-02-2009 at 10:22 AM.