A lot of the interviews in Aikido Pioneers - Pre-war Era
pulled forth similar comments, if I remember correctly. It has been a while since I read it -- it was one of the books that got lost in my move back from Japan -- along with most of my training notes
Allen, I think you have trained with some Daito Ryuers, how would you say the Shirata curriculum compares with their techniques? -- not the tandokudosa stuff, but the actual waza.
Well my unspoken philosophy, when I go to train with someone else is, "I'm here to learn your stuff, not share my stuff." And, as an aside, I think a statment made by a Budo friend is also true, "You always suck doing the other guy's stuff.
That having been said, so far when they have seen a bit of Shirata's waza, as I was taught it, the reaction has been consistent. They say, "That's Daito Ryu." This means more to me coming from Daito Ryu sources than the other way around, because I figure, "Who am I to say what Daito Ryu is or isn't? I was taught Aikido." Over the years though every indication points to their being one and the same. Right down to our teachers saying the exact words and "inner teachings" being identical. On the other hand there is considerable variability in Daito Ryu of course. (But then there is variability among Shirata sensei's students, not to mention Aikido as a whole.) For example, years ago when I first saw Kondo sensei demonstrate some basic Daito Ryu I thought, "Well that is different than how I learned it." but then he went on to say, "We do it this way now, but in the past, it was paracticed this way, but that is too dangerous." It turned out the "past" way was they way I learned and continue to practice.
So, for my experience, with regards to what I learned, I really coudn't say how one differed from the other. Although, I can see differences within Daito Ryu and Aikido respectively, and also there are, of course, differences in depth of instruction and quality of execution. But variation is the norm rather than the exception.
So, I practice and teach Aikido because that is the name used by my teacher when I was taught. I choose to train with select Non-Aikido folks NOT because I feel the need to make up for difficiencies in my education (on the contrary, I am continuously flabergasted by the depth and bredth of what I was taught [Being an Aikidoshi I adopted a kind of inferiority complex thinking that my little Gendai Budo was necessarily incomplete in most areas. Lately, I've had to come to the opposite conclusion. There is virtually nothing to apologize for in virtually every regard . . . other than my lack of adequately practicing, valuing, and/or representing what I was taught.] and certainly not to "gain new material," I have thousands thank you very much!, although I definately have a lot to learn and there is plenty of room for improvement) but because what they are training has much more incommon (identical in many cases) to the AIKIDO I learned than does any modern Aikido that I've happened across. (The main exception has been with weapons. So far I haven't found a parallel with what I was taught, weapons wise, by Shirata sensei, outside of the Koryu domain. And even then, it seems to me, that some Koryu weapons styles are more amenable to Aiki than are others.)
Can you imagine how I felt in 1993 when my teacher passed away? Things are a lot different now than they were even then. I literally went and joined a religious order!!