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Old 12-06-2011, 06:42 AM   #116
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
Re: Saotome Sensei's Training History

Andy Strawn wrote: View Post
I don't think that O-Sensei was directly teaching anyone exactly how to do anything. They had to take what the could get and put their own spin on it. Here's a quote from Henry Kono, a guy who studied at Hombu daily for 4 years.

How often did you see O-Sensei?
If he was in the back of the dojo he might come out every day. If he was away, you might not see him for three weeks. If he was there, he might come out for five or ten minutes then go back in. I saw him about 300 times in four years. He never explained what he did, he just did it! This is what I mean by magician. He did it and if you couldn't discern what he did, there was no way to figure it out. He never explained anything but he left hints which were very difficult to discern because of the way he stated his ideas in very short phrases that no one could understand.

I saw a tape of Shioda Sensei being interviewed in England. He was with O-Sensei for ten years from about 1930-40, he said O-Sensei never explained once in that 10 years as to what he was doing!

He wasn't a teacher in the sense that he was teaching. The Japanese may look at that as teaching, but in the western sense it isn't. You had to intuit what he was doing and saying, read between the lines, so to speak.
Well those are interesting observations. And if Kono said it, it must be true.
Kono also said that Ueshiba told him that no one can do what he does because they do not understand in yo ho. But McGrew says in yo ho (the corner stone of the asian arts) only a small part of aikido. So this must be right. It has to be true.Modern deshi said so.
And with your other point in the post, if Shioda said it, it all was undeniably true. If other dead teachers say different…it's only because they are right too. As Janet and Ellis and George have pointed out; everything is true.
To take it off of specific teachers and once again place things in context; there are many angles that have been introduced regarding Ueshiba. I think we would do well to heed Ken McGrew's advice to listen to our teachers and no one else. Anything other than that is strictly propaganda. And if it is contrary to what his teacher said then it must be a plot. It must have nefarious motivations behind it it of the worst kind. The only other acceptable explanation is that contrary statements are being put out by simpletons or crude unrefined people who do not understand the complexities of interpersonal relationships, the Asian mind, what they have done and said to so many sincere students (and for us). In his view most of this is put out by people most likely with money grubbing motivations who are only concerned with trying to be somebody themselves (a very compelling argument that would explain how apparently awful these people are) at the detriment of the aikido community and to harm the absolutely stellar examples put forth by its teachers who brought the truth of aikido to so many. During my own 23 years in Aikido and my long history of training with several Shihan back then and fourteen Shihan now, I have seen many Chinese techniques in the art, as well as Koryu weapons seemingly everywhere. I have heard of so many teachers telling these stories, that naturally they all must be true.

I guess we need to rethink everything. The new line of logic would have the following history of Morihei Ueshiba be true..
1. Ueshiba's emphasis on hard style training might just have been after Sokaku's trouble in Okinawa. I think it is most probable that this connection to Tae kwon do and Hapkido was the first major in-road of the Korean arts heavy influence on Takeda down to Ueshiba.
2. Naturally, this probably changed again with his study of Bagua and wushu during his long tenure in China.
3. This would make sense and tie in with Kisshomaru's biography of noting how little Daito ryu actually played a part, and it was a religeous focus all along that birthed a certain some thing or other, that made him able to do something or other to opponents after he reached satori -and this shortly after being given a teaching license in Daito ryu and no one could touch him.
4. The fact that his satori was not to serve, but rather to fight for the next twenty years carries no weight or meaning worthy of consideration. He wanted to contest with those who wanted to contest with him, he showed up at the judo dojo to carry out shaminstic rituals and people who think he was about fighting just have not read all the stories from the many teachers who all disagree but are all completely correct.
5. Aikido Weapons Are Koryu Samurai arts. Why? Because Mr McGrew's standards would say Ueshiba, himself a descendent of the Samurai would have used his many years of training in the Samurai arts to go from soft to hard and after his mastering those arts...his genius -operating free from budo concerns-joined with the will of God to create a transcendant art.
6. According o Mr McGrews new standards, all of these various stories put forth by his son and his deshi are the best source we have for what happened and we should pay close attention to them and avoid the propaganda put out by certain journalist trying to sell magazines and others trying to sell something to the Aikido community apparently only to benefit themselves. All of it is negative and very harmful to the community.

Apparently we are being asked to consider, there is no conflict in the record. It is quite simple. If the deshi is alive, his story is true, if the deshi is dead, it's not, where they meet in the middle, it is because they met a physical and metaphysical Ueshiba. I suspect this was what gave him the ability to see bullets before they hit him and made the mountains shake behind his house. We know these things are also true, they come from his deshi, and have to understand the nature of memory. Many of his deshi, dreamed they saw him, and thus their training under him continues.

There are several stories afoot about all of the above, and truth being as subjective as it is, all should be considered. I am not even going to debate anyone point, It is ALL TRUE. Why? Because everyone is in a lineage under any number of deshi who said these things. Just imagine the new more accurate history we are now going to get to discuss now that McGrew has established a personal relationship as the new standard that puts Stanley's work out of the picture.

For my part, this has caused me to step back and re-think my entire schedule for next year and my involvement with the community. I have many invitations that were being put off due to prior commitments. I will be pulling back and making new plans only with select groups. It's much easier on me. And that way people don't feel burdened to put up with me.
To the community I would say good luck with your Japanese Shihan. Though I would never in my life time do it, and therefore it would not appear after I was dead either; Imagine if I published what so many of you have said about
a. your Japanese teachers
b. this material
c. what YOU truly believe and feel
d. the value of my teaching on your art.
It would blow the minds of so many debating these issues. But...alas, after all, we do need to support our teachers....indeed!

As for protocols and behavior. I have never had a problem between what I say in private and what I say in public. I avoid saying things in public that would contradict what I say in private. I make sure I am consistent. To do otherwise -in my line of work- can cost my clients millions. Oddly, I have never had that level of transparency and honesty referred to as being simple or unsophisticated....until I met people in Japanese Budo.

Last edited by DH : 12-06-2011 at 06:53 AM.