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Old 09-19-2009, 10:29 PM   #1
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 815
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"Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

I just read Transparent Power by Kimura. I was pleased to note that there are a lot of areas where Sagawa and Kimura tend to confirm some of my speculations:
1. That Hoshina most likely did not teach "aiki" to Takeda Sokaku
2. That Daito-ryu was not taught in the kata form we see it. In fact, Sagawa states that the "numbers" of kata in the various menkyo were, more or less, because Takeda thought those were lucky numbers. Arbitrary, in other words (which would suggest that the kata were placed on the "matrix" of the numbers later - by someone(s) else, yet another of my speculations.
3. Takeda's character - which a) he did not play well with others b) he DID have a remarkable ability to focus on solitary study until he figured something out. Which would make him, in a dojo context, not so suited for years of cooperative kata practice, but very much suited for solitary figuring things out, punctuated by challenges, tests and other competitions.
4. Sagawa scoffing at the idea of the "palace art of defense of the daimyo" - and suspicion/cynicism of all the kneeling techniques. I very much wonder if this was, in part, retrofitting of aiki/jujutsu to look more like classical jujutsu.
Parenthetically, people have commented on Sagawa's "unpleasant" character - and if his personal stories are true, he WAS gratuitously violent as a young man to test his skills on people who hadn't "asked for it." That said, I liked his arrogance very much - because it seemed based on the premise of "if you don't like it, prove me wrong." And his uncompromising views on training and teaching - he was NOT a supportive teacher. If a student didn't get it, they either weren't paying attention or they were not worth it anyway. And a) this reminded me of my closest teacher in Japan b) fits my values.
Shan't summarize the book here - but, as I say, I was pleased to have, at least in this teacher's account, some of my views confirmed.
I know, in the Daito-ryu/aikido world, that is not proof. But nonetheless . . .

Ellis Amdur

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