Thread: Ueshiba's Aiki
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:51 PM   #516
Ken McGrew
Dojo: Aikido at UAB
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 202
Re: Ueshiba's Aiki


Let no person forget that you are trying to sell a book. Let no person forget why you are trying to make the case that O Sensei did not teach after the war. You want to claim that the only real AIKI Aikido occurred before the war. That is not what O Sensei himself said. He said Aikido became something new after the war. That is not what students of his report that he said. Numerous students.

So though I don't want to bother to check on the actual sources in Aiki News that you draw upon, Etc., some basic points become obvious rather quickly... in relation to Saotome Sensei, who you imply with your statements about people believing made up things, obviously, given that you are responding to my reporting of the things he said:

1) Saotome Sensei met O Sensei in 1955
2) The spiritual talks that O Sensei gave were part of the instruction. I know you don't like that, but it's true.
3) Your slippery definition of what substantial training was not withstanding, O Sensei supervised the people who were teaching under him, often walking into classes unannounced for a short mini lesson, and this was his way of teaching his instructors. He also spoke with them, at least some of them, which also was instruction.
4) Saotome Sensei often traveled with O Sensei.

You and company have an agenda. Do you have training in historical analysis? I do. I don't intend to teach you for free. You need to go get a Ph.D. if you are going to play historian. I am not interested in all the work that would be involved in undermining your agenda and efforts to support it based on your historical research. Others will. If you want to do a good job you will have to deal with ALL of the available evidence. I can tell you, here's a hint, that personal narratives (like diaries) carry a great deal of weight in historical analysis. More so than edited newspaper articles.

It is simply not the case that "modern" Aikido, that is real Aiki, was not passed down by O Sensei to his students. Even if, before the war, he would have accepted your definition of Aiki (whatever that is) - though this is unlikely given how Takeda Sensei and his son described Aiki - It is abundantly clear that he developed a new definition of Aiki for Aikido after the war (I don't believe that but I'm just throwing you a bone).

At any rate, I was answering a personal question about why I don't want to train with you and others. You have answered it again. To train with you is to accept your claims about Saotome Sensei's allegedly faulty memory or outright dishonesty. I don't accept your claims.

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
You know, some people like to say that they read somewhere that clouds are actually fluffy marshmallows filled with helium to keep them up there. They read this and they see pictures of the clouds and think, gee, that must be right. So, when people say, no, clouds are, in reality, "a visible mass of liquid droplets or frozen crystals made of water and/or various chemicals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body", why those people say you're lying. Maybe Chicken Little was right and those marshmallows are losing their helium. I dunno. It's just amazing that some people don't do any research. A small example from my upcoming book:

Ueshiba split his time between the Tokyo hombu dojo and Iwama for a short period. Stan Pranin notes that Ueshiba actually lived in Iwama for 15 years after the war ended. (20) Kanai responds that after he started at hombu around 1958, Ueshiba split his time between Iwama and Tokyo. (21)

Until 1955, hombu dojo was not very active. Between 1955 and 1959, more students started coming to the dojo to train, including foreign students. Even then, Ueshiba was not a regular teacher there. He would show up whenever he wanted. (22)

Nishio remarks that when he started, around 1951, it was six months before he saw Ueshiba. (23) In fact, Nishio goes on to note that there weren't many students and that Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei were the teachers. (24)

Robert Frager remarks that he only saw Ueshiba occasionally during his first year, which would be sometime in the mid 1960s. (25) Walther Krenner also notes that Ueshiba wasn't teaching regularly around 1967. (26)

Kisshomaru Ueshiba states that his father was "besieged by visitors starting from early in the morning and he spent large amounts of time in receiving them". Kisshomaru also notes that his father traveled often. (27)

Taking a closer look when Ueshiba was at the Tokyo hombu dojo, what time, or times, did he teach?

The uchideshi's day begins around 6 a.m., when he cleans the dojo and the grounds outside. The first class of the day starts at 6:30. This class is usually taught by Uyeshiba himself, the Osensei, which means the old teacher. The young uchideshi sit on their knees during this hour, which can be an uncomfortable and tiring experience. The first class is usually taken up mostly with discussions about God and nature - Uyeshiba doing the talking and the uchideshi listening. It is in this hour that the young uchideshi is exposed to Zen philosophy and the deeper meanings of aikido - its nonviolent and defensive perfection and understanding. If this all sounds rather remote and difficult to grasp for a Western reader, he may be interested to know that the young Japanese uchideshi often feels the same way. The 83-year-old Uyeshiba many times speaks about highly abstract topics, lapsing usually into ancient Japanese phraseology, so that his listeners often find it difficult to follow him. When this long hour is over, the young uchideshi exuberantly spill out onto the dojo floor for a half-hour exercise break. All the restless energy pent up within seems to come out and they throw themselves into the practice of their techniques with each other. At 8 a.m. begins the real study of aikido techniques. This class is taught by a different instructor every day, and is attended by a large number of persons from outside the dojo. Sometimes this hour is taught by Uyeshiba's son, or Waka sensei as he is called. Sometimes Tohei sensei, the greatest of Uyeshiba's followers, instructs the class. (28)

When Ueshiba did teach, he often spent a large amount of time talking and the students just wanted to practice techniques. (28) (29) Ueshiba traveled often. He also entertained visitors. He only taught the morning class at hombu dojo when he was there. From the mid 1940s to the mid 1950s, he was rarely in Tokyo. From the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s, he split his time between Iwama and Tokyo and still traveled occasionally to various other places. In the late 1960s, Ueshiba's health was declining and he rarely taught. Not even getting into the subject of just how confusing Ueshiba's teaching style was, the students of Ueshiba never had extensive training time with him, either pre-war or post-war. What time there was, the post-war students focused on techniques and throwing each other around.

20. Aiki News Issue 038
21. Aiki News Issue 038
22. Aiki News Issue 070
23. Aiki News Issue 060
24. Aiki News Issue 060
25. Yoga Journal March 1982
26. Training with the Master by John Stevens
27. Aiki News Issue 031
28. Black Belt 1966 Vol 4 No 5
29. Yoga Journal March 1982

Last edited by Ken McGrew : 11-17-2011 at 12:55 PM.