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Old 12-21-2009, 07:55 AM   #24
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 16

I'll probably get a bit of flack for this, but I think Tohei's model was flawed. Not that I am dismissing Tohei, his abilities, or anything of that sort. I think what he did at that time was probably the best he could do given the circumstances, but I think that the way that he separated the "ki" from the "martial" was a flawed approach.

It certainly wasn't Tohei's fault, though. I don't think Ueshiba was teaching as he had "pre-war", it's known that Tohei went outside for his abilities, and the dynamic with Ueshiba's son didn't help.

Shifting focus for a moment, let's look back at Ueshiba, Sagawa, Kodo, Okamoto, Kimura, Shioda, Tomiki, etc. Takeda had a system of jujutsu where he taught not only jujutsu techniques, but also aiki. From solo training to paired training to sparring, Takeda passed down his system to several students. All took what they had learned and taught ... Daito ryu jujutsu.

(Worth noting here is that quite a few of these greats took their training to sparring levels. Ueshiba had many challengers. Shioda told stories of using it outside class. Tomiki took it to the Judo world. Etc. One could even formulate a theory that aiki being formless allowed them to use it in any venue. But that's a whole different thread topic.)

Now, some have questioned the actual validity of Ueshiba's teaching "pre-war". Whether he did teach or the students learned elsewhere, it's still pretty much a given that some of those pre-war students received Daito ryu licenses. And that the greats were mostly from the pre-war era. In other words, there was a teaching methodology as built by Takeda.

Some continued with that teaching methodology, such as Sagawa and Kodo. Both went "beyond" (as in trying to surpass their teacher) what they had learned to formulate personal training regimens, but both still kept to an outline of Daito ryu syllabus. Sagawa is famous for noting that he kept things secret until very late in his life and then started teaching "aiki". Kodo seems to have trained at least a couple of students who are adept at "aiki".

When we get to Ueshiba after the war, we find no more "official" Daito ryu, but a modified syllabus created for a special, spiritual purpose. Gone are many of the Daito ryu "tricks" to showcase "aiki". The push test seems to be one of the few to have survived. And after the war, learning "aiki" seems to have been near impossible. Tohei went elsewhere to build internal skills. I think the internal skills were applicable, or close to what Ueshiba was doing, but Tohei lacked that early training environment where jujutsu, aiki jujutsu and aiki no jujutsu were built.

So, I think Tohei's implementation of having a separate training for "ki" and another for "aikido" is flawed. Not that there isn't a separation when doing solo exercises to paired exercises for building aiki, but I think the manner in which it was implemented muddied the water more than it helped. I think it made it harder to understand *how* to merge the two into "aiki no jujutsu" or "takemusu aiki". I don't think it was clearly pointed out, either.

Again, to reiterate, I'm not blaming Tohei in any manner. Nor Kisshomaru. Nor Ueshiba. At that point, Ueshiba was already well on his way to his spiritual vision. Tohei wasn't there when the "pre-war" students were training. And the war changed a lot of things which Kisshomaru had to live through and continue.
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