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Old 11-30-2011, 08:33 AM   #53
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Lest we be seen as bashing Kisshomaru....
It was well known that Ueshiba was seemingly uninterested in organizational, mundane matters, was uninterested in any standardized testing. By all accounts he even seemed to like to poke fun at the whole notion of a ranking system by spuriously awarding ranks far without attachment to any order.

The initial readings of his habits seem as if he was having fun, enjoying his research and training, and was not very concerned with day to day affairs. Many of those interviewed expressed concerns of how he would get by. Against this backdrop you had a post war mess of a building, all the deshi spread to the four winds, and a son who was never really interested in the art that much left to pick up the pieces.
This lack of concern for personal matters, did not prevent Ueshiba from properly setting things up for himself when the opportunity arose. Interestingly, while people continue to this very day to harangue the memory of Takeda as a type obsessed with money, here we see yet another example of Ueshiba doing much the same thing.
A brief snippet of the interview, well worth the read, and while you are there sign up for a membership and learn about your art.
At first I thought it was strange when O-Sensei told me to gather together persons only from rich families but then the monthly fee was really high. Although the fee was five yen, we had to set aside at least ten yen for this and that.

How much would it be in today's money?

It was a period in which one earned about two yen for one day's labor.
Now this appears on the surface to be as money grubbing as the worst sideswipes taken at Takeda. But we need to consider the preamble to this discussion of high fees. Establishing a dojo, quite simply cost a lot of money then: Here is Tanaka's reasoning with his statements rearranged a bit to flow more smoothly
It only took about ten days since I knew Inoue Sensei was coming to stay. The house I found had two stories which was good, but the rent was high. I think I paid 25 Yen (about $500 to $600 in today's money) to rent that house! (edited insert out of order) It was no wonder O-Sensei told me to gather together only those from rich families. Since the monthly fee was high, people from poor families could not join. I think I got together about 11 people.
And we can place that in context of Dobson's story of hearing shouting around the corner, and him rounding the corner to find O sensei upbraiding a vendor over his prices. O sensei looked at Terry and said "What did you expect a saint?"
How is this any different than the damning stories of Takeda yelling at Cab drivers over the same thing?
Perhaps a more balanced approach can be offered concerning this idea of fees and money in general. Money is viewed, discussed, and handled much differently by the poor, the middle and the wealthy. When you have no money or little of it, being focused on retaining what you have, having a roof over your head and eating tonight takes on a different level of priority then those sitting pretty are willing to address. Call it a let them eat cake view of the world by modern Suburban commandos.

Now, in the history of budo, it is fairly well known that many sons just don't measure up to the giants their fathers were. Such was the case with Kisshomaru. His organization, his codifying and simplifying to create a system, his navigating through some rather titanic personalities, his picking and supporting certain players is certainly laudable. Without his organizational abilities, I wonder what we would be seeing as aikido today. I am sure that can be considered either good or bad, depending on your view.
I think that:
* Without his Dad there was no Aikido/ with only his Dad there might not have been much of a future for aikido.
* Without Kisshomaru there would have been no codifying and organizing-one might say that aikido would be drastically different. With only Kisshomaru, there would be only a watered down, political machine in the name of his father.

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