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Old 11-30-2011, 11:08 AM   #8
Ken McGrew
Dojo: Aikido at UAB
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 202
Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

These so called facts are not in English, and you don't provide a translation or mention the source. It looks like an entry in a magazine. As historical evidence we must know the original source and confirm that it was presented properly. It seems that some people have a definition of "facts" that equals "whatever they'd like to hear."

These responses that Pranin Sensei studies these things and therefore can't be wrong are rather flimsy. The evidence he presents for his conclusions at various points just isn't conclusive by any normal historical standards. That is to say it would not be published in a peer reviewed journal and if it were would quickly be dismissed by other historians. If people want to make the case they are trying to make I would be willing to advise them on how to do so. I don't think they'll be able to. But I'm willing to point them in the directions that would allow them to gather evidence and make arguments that would be convincing. Question is do you really want to correct a historical inaccuracy or just silence critics on an internet forum?

If you manage to prove that O Sensei was locked in a closet 90% of the time from 1941 to 1969, this would not prove that he failed to guide the transmission of Aikido after the war and it would not prove that he was unhappy Aikido as demonstrated by Doshu and others after the war. Please don't tell us again how Sensei got mad and yelled at people for "not doing his Aikido." Senseis yell at students. That's their job. It doesn't prove the claim.

You have a multitude of interviews and other accounts that demonstrate that O Sensei did change Aikido after the war, that he did so intentionally, and he viewed the changes as improvement. These accounts are dismissed while the accounts (or selected parts of accounts) that fit the narrative that Pranin and company want to present are embraced. This goes against any pretense of objectivity.

If O Sensei liked to teach by lecturing on religious matters, popping into class for 10 minutes, and discussing Aikido with students in private while they rubbed his shoulders, then this was his way of teaching what he thought was important in the way that he saw fit. To argue that he would have allowed his son to dishonor him by deliberately watering down the art is to ignore everything we know about the man's personality not to mention the friendly interviews they gave together where they did not appear to disagree on anything. Many of the people who want to claim that O Sensei did not teach the students below him because they did not train with him as often and in the way they think would be necessary to claim to have been taught by him may have spent relatively little time with their head instructor who gave them their rank. That is to say that it is very common at higher levels that instructors teach their own students and then get pointers from their master instructor on occasion. They still claim to have been his student on an ongoing basis... though technically they only see him on occasion.

By the way, Saotome Sensei does not in any way hide his relationship with Yamaguchi Sensei.

Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Before anybody's head explodes, I have a lot of respect for Saotome, and I think that his Aikido is top-notch, but here's another example of how stories grow out of proportion, probably aided and abetted by well meaning students.

On the official ASU biography for Saotome it states that he was "special apprentice with the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei (O Sensei) in 1955 and continued for 15 years until the founder's death in April of 1969.".

If you check the facts ( you'll find that he enrolled in Kuwamori dojo in October 1954 and didn't become an uchi-deshi until April 1961. That's 8 years as a special apprentice, not 15. Now, 8 years is still nothing to sneeze at, but you should be able to see the problem pointed out here.



Last edited by Ken McGrew : 11-30-2011 at 11:11 AM.