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Old 08-12-2011, 03:10 PM   #9
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: When is Aikido a Non-Aikido martial art?

Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Hi George,

Just for clarity's sake, can you see that I'm actually arguing for inclusion rather than exclusion?

In other words, it seems odd to me that all that comes after a certain period (including all that comes after his death) that bears the name Aikido IS Aikido, but that which he taught and was also called Aikido is somehow deemed Non-Aikido.

BTW, Shirata came to Aikido via Oomoto connections and was actually sent to teach at the Takeda branch of the Budo Senyo Kai BECAUSE he was Oomoto and O-sensei thought that he (Shirata) could bridge the differences between the Oomoto members of the Senyokai and the purly Aikido members of the Senyo Kai. So obviously O-sensei thought there was some spiritual understanding there. When I knew him Shirata still prayed in an Oomoto manner and also taught Yamagushi no Gyo which he clearly related to his teacher and Aikido.

As for me, I just try to best learn what my teacher taught me knowing, and accepting, that that will be different from my peers (senior and junior students of Shirata sensei). I learned from Shirata Rinjiro not from Ueshiba Morihei. Although I am interested in my teacher's teacher and his teacher, etc. I think you will agree that it is a bit silly for me to claim that I am doing O-sensei's Aikido. I can't even claim to do Shirata sensei's Aikido. I guess I do my understanding of Aikido as taught to me by Shirata Sensei, as taught to him by O-sensei. Although, I know that there are things that I could do that would probably send my teacher "over the edge" "THAT'S NOT AIKIDO!"

So . . . another paradox! We must be headed in the right direction!!
Ah, well that explains certain things... I wasn't aware, or had forgotten, which is likely, that Sjirata Sensei was part of the Omotokyo... So in many ways that would put him right up there with Inoue in terms of having a compatible perspective on O-Sensei's Aikido. Makes sense in terms of what I knew him to be doing...

In terms of what is and is not Aikido... On a technical level, Saotome Sensei has been adamant that Aikido has no "style". So, if it has "aiki", on some level it's Aikido. I do think that there is an "attitude" associated with the use of "aiki" principles for waza that he would say distinguishes Aikido from other arts, although not totally even there. Some would say that O-Sensei's talk about Love being fundamental to Budo would be a unique characteristic of Aikido but having worked with the Systema folks and Ushiro Kenji and hearing how they use the term... punching with love, for instance, I would say that it's not unique to O-Sensei.

So, even though one might have "aiki" and be doing techniques that would be considered main stream Aikido, if one was using the techniques for evil purposes I think it would not be Aikido. I think for my teacher that would be the real distinguishing factor. That and simply doing muscular technique with no "aiki" at all... I don't think he considers that real Aikido either.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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