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Old 01-13-2011, 08:30 PM   #164
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 811
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Saigo Shiro

Ay yi yi, here I go again.
Dan -
1. The only evidence ever given that Saigo Shiro learned "aiki" from Tanomo is that someones - journalists, writers, definitely no contemporary martial artist asserted this decades after the fact. Absolutely no one who was contemporary ever asserted that Saigo was different in his judo skills than anyone else. My son is a pro boxer. Saigo, to me, is the equivalent if, decades after I die, and decades after my son has retired from the ring, someone asserts that his knockout power was derived from Araki-ryu. ("It has to be. E. Amdur was his dad!"). It would be another matter if there were even ONE anecdote of Saigo doing anything like the things that Takeda is on record of doing many times, or, for that matter, that Nango Jiro of the Kodokan, is described as doing in Harrison's book when he used "hara" to make himself unthrowable. The pathetic truth is that entire "proof" re Saigo Shiro is: Really good judoka - adopted by Tanomo - must have had aiki.

RE the whole Takeda kerfluffle. Let me use you, my friend, as an example: You have been quite careful over the years in how you refer to your former instructor in Daito-ryu (just about everyone who cares knows who I'm talking about, but I'll respect the intent). At the same time, you've been inconsistent. I once found an old post in some news group in which you explicitly stated who your teacher was, without equivocation.
Anyway, people have made all sorts of assumptions about why you've done this - some publicly, some offensively, and mostly wrong. You have your own personal reasons for this. The result of this has been, among other things, that people have asserted that what knowledge you have can't be from Daito-ryu (after all, you are not a menkyo kaiden) but <maybe> from Daito-ryu plus an amalgam of things you've figured out, put together, etc. I'm not getting into what's what here - like popeye, you is what you is, and it's up to you to describe it, teach it, whatever Your personal reasons, in your case, for not claiming certain history - at least in a certain way - has led to assumptions about you.
Given the ONLY evidence of Tanomo having aiki/teaching aiki is Takeda's assertion that he was his teacher - {AND HE WAS HIS TEACHER - THAT MUCH IS TRUE, THE QUESTION IS OF WHAT?}, it is also, in an interesting reverse mirror of the famous instructor Dan Harden, that Takeda may have chosen to tell his story in a certain way - for personal reasons. And by the way, given that Takeda asserted that one manifestation of aiki was his ability to read people, to sort them by rank, etc., it is quite conceivable that he could, in one breath assert that Tanomo had "aiki," referring to the ability to manipulate social relations, and that this was, synonymous with the other "aiki" ("not Internal PowerTM") that he did.

I very well could be very wrong. Maybe Tanomo really was one of the hidden masters - the one's whom no one ever saw do a lick of martial arts, including, perhaps his best friends - maybe so.

But how can you claim that a jujutsu ryu that fueled the top man of his era (Takeda's grandfather) didn't have "aiki," when no one has investigated the substance of it's curriculum, even though it was one of only two otome ryu in Aizu? And the stories about Kanenori are at least as incredible as those re Takeda? How can you assert that others, such as the Kito-ryu master I described in HIPS were not manifesting the same things. (I really loved the judo scholar referring to Ueshiba as a ghost risen from the grave that Kano dug for Kito-ryu - which, btw, used the term "aiki" for some of what they did - goodness gracious). How can that not be of relevance? You say "aiki" is unique? Well, how was it transmitted in secret, given that the public story is so unrealistic and fantastic (a rather widely disseminated art among non-familial hatamoto, pages of the court, in addition to family, and no one revealed it? That is about as likely as the secret satanic cults that were so pervasively active among American daycares in the 1980's).

As for aiki not being "internal powerTM," you're right, I don't have a clue. Don't know the distinction, and I could only take it on faith that you do. No disrespect, but because of the way you've told your history, others (not me) have claimed you don't have a clue what aiki, whatever it is, is. I have no idea if you showed someone like Feng Zhi Qiang or Chen Xiao Wang what you do if they would say, "my goodness, this is not internal powerTM, this is something else!!!!") And in fact, if/when we next get together and you show me the most incredible psychophysical skills I've ever experienced, I may say "that's amazing," but as for aiki, the only thing I'll know about it is that you ASSERT that it's aiki. Will menkyo kaiden Daito-ryu people assert the same? Kimura? Kondo? Okamoto? Amazing, it may be. But who gave your skills the imprimature that it's "aiki." Heck, Sagawa says no one, including the other lines from Takeda had it. Is yours different from his? How would you know? Or can you tell from looking at Sagawa's photograph, like he would claim. . . .

BTW - read the above carefully, so there is no misunderstanding between us. I have not, in the above, questioned your knowledge of what you know, of what you can do, or your lineage. I'm simply saying that assertions that this is "aiki" don't prove anything either.

And this word "liar" in regards to Takeda. This is the man who gave Ueshiba a menkyo in, Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, even though there is NO evidence that he studied it - and he did NOT put a keizu - lineage - on the makimono, which is REALLY "unJapanese" and "suspicious" to boot. So we have a precedent for Takeda architecting his facts to express a personal truth already. And it didn't apparently trouble Ueshiba either. He kept it. He didn't question it as false, did he?

You sound silly to me to use such terms as "defame" or "liar" in regards to what I have said. I will confidently assert I've given Takeda more honest, human respect than just about anyone who has written about him. As for lying, I lived in Japan for 13 years, as you know, and many koryu instructors were fable makers - and I didn't consider one of them a liar. They told a story that was truer than the truth. (One man said to me, "You Americans don't value the truth. You tell it to anyone. We Japanese value the truth much higher. We only tell the truth to people we care about.")

Best
Ellis Amdur

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