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Old 02-21-2012, 09:23 PM   #18
Allen Beebe
Location: Portland, OR
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 530
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

All righty, Stan posted the third, and final, segment of the Biography of Rinjiro Shirata today. This segment has some stuff I really like in it. For example:

"When facing him, all my "ki" would be absorbed and my power ended up amounting to nothing. The more earnestly you faced him, the greater the effect of the "ki" from Ueshiba Sensei. It isn't comprehensible, if one hasn't experienced this kind of confrontation."

And and in response to the question, "Was (the Founder's technique) painful?"

"Yes, really sharp. I couldn't move. That's the kind of thing I couldn't understand! I still don't understand. Even though I had confidence in my physical strength, whenever I faced Sensei, inevitably my body would end up floating in empty air, and I couldn't do a thing. No matter what, he took everything away. Everything was completely absorbed by Sensei. That sort of ability isn't comprehended by the practice of technique alone."

Hmmmm

"When facing him, all my "ki" would be absorbed and my power ended up amounting to nothing."

"No matter what, he took everything away."

"Everything was completely absorbed by Sensei."

His power was "zeroed" out. Sounds very, very familiar . . . to other Daito Ryu folks like Takeda, Sagawa, . . .

"The more earnestly you faced him, the greater the effect of the "ki" from Ueshiba Sensei."

Almost sounds like a description of an echo to me! "The louder I yell, the greater the return effect of the "ki" from the mountain!"

"It isn't comprehensible, if one hasn't experienced this kind of confrontation."

It has to be felt (experienced) to be understood!

And, from the mouth of the student of Ueshiba that had solo power building exercises that we did before every practice . . .

"That sort of ability isn't comprehended by the practice of technique alone."

Here is another interesting thing . . .

Someone noted for IP and Aiki once said something like, "With proper training one should be noticeably different in a year an untouchable by most in 3 to 5 years.

It is interesting to note:

In nearly six years of training at the Kobukan from the end of 1931 to the end of 1937--with only about a year and a half spent on foundation training--Rinjiro began the Okayama branch of the Budo Senyokai [c. 1934] discussed previously, traveled throughout the country for outside training and when in Tokyo, went around serving as Morihei's assistant.

Sounds like "someone" knows what they are talking about!

Time and again, Rinjiro was blessed with opportunities for "actual fighting" through activities like "taryujiai" (matches between practitioners of different styles), and serving as an assistant for training outside the dojo. These advantages were probably the biggest reason he came to be called "The Kobukan Prodigy."

If the events of this period of time hadn't happened. Both Daito Ryu and Aikido would certainly have been virtually unknowns in Japan and equally certain would be their obscurity outside of Japan. The post war efforts of O-sensei's son to re-build, and re-frame the practice and spread Aikido was clearly built upon the foundation that his father and a few deshi laid before and during the war. THAT foundation didn't just consist of hyperbole. THAT foundation consisted of empirical evidence. THAT was the foundation from which O-sensei structured and espoused his greater message.

My memory of Shirata sensei was that attacking him could be either likened to reaching into a tree chipper, or like attacking a ghost. One never knew what it was going to be until it was too late, and at that point one was loath to do anything about it. (Honestly, one's well being rested solely in sensei's hands at that point. No ukemi could save you from destruction if ill will was intended because you were behind, period, end of story.) Still, sensei was adamant, true to his recollections, that he still had miles to go before equalling his teacher's abilities, but he wouldn't stop training until he got there. And he didn't!

Still, my recollection of sensei is best depicted in the video captured during the television interview of Shirata sensei in Yamagata now shared on Aikido Journal. I encourage anyone to go and look at the wonderful kindness and humility reflected in that man's face. Here is a guy who had done battle numerous times, personally and collectively. He didn't ask the question, "Is Aikido effective . . . " He knew! His Aikido was unbelievably strong and effective (it had to be felt) AND, when I knew him (and I've never heard another person say otherwise) he was a kind, generous, gentle, humble, loving, and HONORABLE man!

I think I've shared the story about the time I last saw Shirata sensei, so let me share about the time before last . . .

We lockered together. Yeah, this Ninth dan didn't have a problem lockering with "the guys," sharing the shower, and asking them about their families, etc. (Funny thing that. The ONLY other guy I've met with Shirata sensei's power and ability behaves in JUST the same way. There is a lesson there somewhere I should think.)

When sensei talked about Aikido and loving our neighbor as ourselves I swear the room would light up! There was no need for special titles, papers, licenses, lineages, belts, behaviors, etc. He loved us, and we loved him, and that was all there was to it!

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 02-21-2012 at 09:26 PM.

~ Allen Beebe
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