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Old 06-23-2011, 10:21 AM   #131
Dojo: Aiki Kurabu
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,110
Re: "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" Forum

Keith Larman wrote: View Post
What drives me nuts in these discussions is so often people get in to "binary" discussions. Yes he did, no he didn't...

There is *no* doubt that Tohei trained with Nakamura who himself was considered the "father" of yoga in Japan. There is no doubt Tohei was profoundly affected by this training.

My understanding of the issue is that his training with Nakamura helped Tohei better understand what he was experiencing with Ueshiba. And that allowed Tohei to develop his systematic approach to teaching which in turn became "mainstream" aikido since Tohei was soon Chief Instructor. So there was an influence. I wouldn't say he had nothing then went outside to bring ki back. Nor would I say he already had it all and he just did some yoga on the side.

Now the question that remains is whether what he was doing/teaching/formulating was the absolute end all of aikido or the *only* way to go about transmitting the skillset. I think few would claim such a thing. I train in a lineage that goes directly to Tohei-sensei. I like/enjoy/train/teach much of the same stuff. However, time spent with others has greatly informed my understanding of what we learned from Tohei, from our founder, Kobayashi-sensei, and then from his senior students now carrying on what he taught. I have spent time with Mike, Dan, Toby, even Aaron Clark via an Aikiweb seminar. I learned much in all of them, adding things to my "to do" list each time. Stuff I try to do daily in addition to what I already do. And yet when I train and teach I don't think I'm doing anything outside the realm of Aikido. I just find there are new ways to improve, new insights, clarifications, etc.

Anyway, shades of grey here.
Good points. Tohei did not bring ki to Aikido - he brought his own take on it and his own methodology of teaching it, which a lot came from outside the Aikido community. Prior to Tohei's split, ki was talked about openly by all in Aikido - just look at Kisshomaru's books published prior to the Tohei split. However, after the split, ki was not talked about openly because the lack of attention to ki in honbu was the public reason for the split - no one was talking about the political and personality issues that were the true reasons for the split.

No one is saying ki and aiki were never in Aikido - Ueshiba had it, but unfortunately, not much of it got passed down.