Beside Iwama, O sensei also taught in Osaka and Shingu after WWII..
The fact that he requested/suggested that a dojo be built in Osaka in 1951 would have a bearing on this thread - meaning that he had an additional "playground"
The Suita Dojo in Osaka. Interesting that it not been mentioned until now. Sometimes is convenient for anyone with agenda to leave it out of the thinking. Maybe the blinders are not just for the horses.If Osaka dojo could talk for itself. How many theories from here today would be more known as too revising of real history.
Many here say O-Sensei didn't teach after the war? No uchideshi after the war? O-Sensei retired to Iwama after the war? very interesting ideas, indeed. When I read the interview of Stanley Pranin, I perhaps find answers that say otherwise things. Maybe the Hombu Dojo not so Hombu, after all.. Maybe thinking people think for themselves and not have other people think for them. Best to look at signpost on the road which O-Sensei traveled. I once heard that O-Sensei drew a map for some to use to follow him. Of course, I also remember one other item i heard recently, "believe half of what you see and none of what you hear or read."
Anyway. here is Aikidos Journal Interviews and some sections from them.
Seiseki Abe Sensei was one of the closest students of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba of the postwar period.
So, O-Sensei practiced misogi even before he entered the Omoto religion. I wonder when it was that Ueshiba Sensei actually began this practice.
Well, I have never heard that exactly, but I have been with him on occasions when genuine misogi had taken place. There was a time when O-Sensei and I were invited to the place of a certain Shinto priest who lives deep in the mountains, up behind the city of Yokkaichi. This priest became a kyoshi (licensed instructor) when Sensei died. Anyway, there is a waterfall there. I have a picture of O-Sensei doing chinkon under the falls, which I still have at my home. Since he was nude, it was a little inappropriate to snap the picture, so I keep it displayed in a dark corner. (laughter)
As far as the Aikido he practiced in his later years, even young girls, old people and children could do them. That is a big difference. I suppose you could say that it was a difference in the severity or the strictness of the training. Before the war, it was severity and strong technique, as opposed to the (kind of) techniques that invigorate our partners as we have now. In other words, those powerful techniques, at least in O-Sensei's case, embraced more than just the power to injure someone. He had a realization (satori) of superb technique that gave life to his training partner. I think this is something truly splendid.
I believe that the reason that Aikido has become so popular today is precisely because it is not simply another martial technique. It goes beyond, and gives life. It is, in fact, a harmonious unification with the Great Universe -- a really wonderful thing.
To what extent do you think that Ueshiba Sensei was influenced by the Omoto religion?
Do you mean influenced religiously by Omoto? That is hard to say. The greatest influences from this source are (the concept of) kotodama and the Kojiki. The brilliant Kojiki and the techniques that O-Sensei created were inseparably connected. When O-Sensei spoke about Kojiki, he was not speaking in terms of literary or scholastic explanations. For him, the Kojiki was read in terms of kotodama (the science of the intrinsic power of the spoken word).
In fact, the first time I ever spoke to Seagal Sensei, we discussed the Kojiki. He asked me various questions that pinpointed some of the Kojiki's most pertinent parts -- the kind of questions that most Japanese don't know enough to ask about. I respect him for that. If one were to follow this kind of thought a little further, I think that it would tie in with Omoto
You once remarked that "the essence of calligraphy lies in kokyu. (lit. breath)." Is this the same sort of kokyu we find in aikido?
The very same.
This brings to mind the question, "What exactly are we teaching when teach calligraphy?" We teach form and how to draw the characters, of course, but I think if we are unable to teach a certain "something more," then the life will go out of calligraphy and it will no longer interest people.
That "something more" is very important, then, isn't it?
It is indeed. Unfortunately, although calligraphy is quite popular these days, I have a feeling that most of it fails to offer the potential to discover this "something more."
Would you say this is something you have to develop on your own, through sincere practice and by working through your own process?
Yes, and once you have it, you can start feeling out the range of your own skills by executing physically large pieces or by passing on what you have learned —what you have gleaned— to the next generation. In other words, at that point your activities become focused on either challenging yourself through your works or placing yourself in a middle position from which to transmit what you have to others. Those are the two paths.
How was it that Morihei Sensei came to take up calligraphy?
I think he actually did a bit even before we met, although I doubt many of those works remain.
In 1954,I accompanied Morihei Sensei to Shingu to attend the opening of Michio Hikitsuchi's dojo there. We stayed for about a month, and since Morihei Sensei hated seeing people idle he told me to teach calligraphy in between aikido classes. A photographer by the name of Kubo got together a group of students and suddenly I found myself with a part-time job!
Morihei Sensei would watch me teaching like that and gradually began to take an interest himself. Before I knew it he saying, "Well, perhaps I'll do a few myself…"The first thing he brushed was the word "aiki," although I'm not sure where that particular piece is now.
After we returned from Shingu he started coming to my home and would always spend whole days practicing calligraphy. That seemed to be his greatest joy.
５ - UCHIDESHI IN MY OWN HOME
Did you begin your aikido career as an uchideshi?
Yes, in a way, but actually it was Morihei Sensei who would come to my home —to practice calligraphy, as I mentioned— instead of the other way around. This put me in the rather unusual position of being uchideshi in my own home! We had a special room set aside for him, and it was there that we developed our relationship as student and teacher. Nonetheless, it was very much an old-style student-teacher relationship rooted in strict bushido attitudes. The discipline was not externally imposed, however, but came rather from the attitudes and behaviors to which any uchideshi naturally subjects himself out of a desire to serve his teacher. This is really the only way to truly grasp and absorb your teacher's "kokyu." Living with your teacher under the same roof twenty-four hours a day gives you access not only to his technical abilities, but also to an understanding of the very way he lives and breathes, his way of life and his rhythms. It is an opportunity to train and discipline your ki, and in the process to know all of the sides of your teacher. Morihei Sensei used to visit for a week or ten days at a time, and being in such close contact with his