Re: Legacy and the Founder
Thank you, Diana, for your tenacity and persistence in honoring the memories and contributions of the direct students of the Founder, and of the late Nidai Doshu especially.
I was introduced to Kisshomaru Ueshiba as being “Nidai Doshu”, after years of being called “Waka Sensei”, an accepted title while O Sensei was alive. Since then, both Moriteru and Mitsuteru have, and continue to be addressed in this fashion. Later on, the “Nidai” was dropped, and he was referred to simply as “Doshu”. Moriteru was also referred to alternately as “Sandai Mei” and as the “Gen” Doshu (New Doshu), especially during the 12 months following the death of his father.
I am afraid that the volumes that exist in the minds and memories of countless students of the Founder’s direct students, and of their own respective students, are far too vast to be contained in a thread or two on online repositories such as Aiki Web, Aikido Journal, Aikido Online etc.. Rather, as more folks come forward with their contributions, Jun Akiyama may be persuaded to add yet another category to house those invaluable accounts of Aikido’s pioneers.
It is the arena for those far advanced in scholarship and knowledge of Japanese customs to discuss the “iemoto” system, and its relevance or appropriateness to Japanese cultural standards for succession of leadership. For me, it simply meant that an Ueshiba male would always be accepted as the head of the Founder’s organization, as long as he was capable and willing to do so. This had little or nothing to do with perceived abilities, skills or other criteria. I took it to be simple Chujitsu, Giri and On playing their part in history.
Yet, I do recall Hambei (Mitsunari Kanai Sensei) and Yas san (Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei) telling stories of the kindnesses received from both the late Doshu and his wife in the early days of little food, and lots of training.
Opinions vary as to how well the late Doshu, or any other direct student of the Founder for that matter, was able to replicate or exactly duplicate the Founder’s genius, both on and off the mat. To me it was always a non issue. Doshu was simply a true gentleman, dedicating himself, his health and his personal obligations to his father, and to maintain the spread of the messages of Aiki and Aikido throughout Japan, and to the world at large. I never heard him utter a disparaging word about any other human being, and was always painstakingly humble in describing his own efforts and their effects on the growth and maintenance of his father’s beloved art.
This is how I remember Doshu.