Thread: Why no tsuba?
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:50 AM   #170
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: Why no tsuba?

Marc Abrams wrote: View Post

It would be great if your teacher, Mike Muspratt Sensei, could speak for himself here. What little I could find on him was related to you saying that your teacher was a student of Noro Sensei and Tohei Sensei. In this post you talk about your teacher's understanding of Shin Shin Toitsu (Ki Society). Maybe, you could ask your teacher to answer these questions, or encouraged him to post directly:

1) Ken Williams Sensei was the founder of Ki Society in England. What relationship did your teacher have with Williams Sensei?
2) Tohei Sensei spent little real time teaching in England. How many face-to-face hours did your teacher have with Tohei Sensei? (This is particularly pertinent since you claim that he was a student of Tohei Sensei). Was he a direct student of Tohei Sensei, or a student in that organization?
3) Tohei Sensei was never a student of any formal school of swordsmanship. How is that you can claim that your teacher had the understandings derived from Tohei Sensei regarding the relationship between the sword and Aikido? Does your teacher have any knowledge of what experiences Tohei Sensei had with any training in schools of swordsmanship? If so, please explain?

Simply put, some things that you report do not really seem entirely clear and accurate. Bear in mind that besides the wealth of a lot of public information regarding Tohei Sensei, I have a direct, first-hand source of information regarding Tohei Sensei (private and public information). I would greatly appreciate it if you could try and clear some of these things up for me (and the larger Aikido community).

Marc Abrams
I think you'll find Tohei taught his own bokken work. How anyone can believe a Japanese of that era in the martial world didn;t have some and probably lots of sword training is beyond me. I need no books to tell me that.

Having said that I I have read other teachers mentioning sword or bokken training done with Tohei. In the video on Tohei posted here on the spiritual forum at the end of it he was using a bokken and explaining some principles before it cuts off. He was actually being a bit dismisssive of what many see as formal if I'm not mistaken.

Simply put what I say is clear and accurate. Whether you or anyone else want to join up the dots and cross the t's to do with him is up to you, I've pointed out a way for you or anyone to do so if they so wish.

I can share my experiences, only he can share his.

Questions 1, 2, and 3 therefor are not for me.

I mentioned to my friend only last night about what was being said here on Aikiweb regarding bokken and tsuba and how 'they' don't seem to have any idea about what Mike taught us. I then told him how I had mentioned that anyone of good standing could contact him and learn a whole load of stuff they are unaware of. We had quite a laugh over it.

You see, we KNOW him. Up to this point in time he has had no desire to involve himself in the politics and waffle of the so called intellectual Aikido set. Very much a man of my way or the highway attitude. Very much a man of correct way of doing things and this includes approached in the right manner, for ethical reasons and sound purpose. In other words, not to satisfy mere curiosity.

So I mentioned to Bob that you never know he may like to have his story told and so Bob said he is due to visit him soon so he will ask. I don't know if you read it but I reported how my friend (Bob) recently turned up to find him very ill and the family very worried. Bob soon changed that scene and he was back in the dojo teaching six weeks later (he hadn't been able to for six months) The student returns to help the master. Excellent

So patience may bring you what you are looking for.

Now let me see. Mmmmm. He did know and have a good relationship with those in charge of the nearby Yoshinkan dojo in bushey for at least ten years, probably much more than that and maybe even up to today. So if you come across or anyone knows the sensei(s) from that dojo from 70's up to 90's plus then they will know him quite well I would think.

There was a Japanese student of 20+ years still there when I left, Yoshi, who ran a hairdressers shop in Golders green. He has since moved back to Japan. But he had many contacts in the Japanese community and and martial world as well as chinese as he often brought them to visit. So someone reading this may know him. I learned much from him as to Japanese ways and customs and he loved the bokken. Ha, ha, to him Ki was simple and anyone came near him complaining or saying how bad anything is he would simply reply 'bad Ki, go!' I even saw him do it in his shop to one of his staff. He simply said 'today you bad Ki, go home!'

Now Tohei. Another friend of Mikes and aquaintance of mine went to Japan and thought he would pay Tohei a visit. I don't know how lucky he was or how he managed it but he was allowed brief meeting. (maybe because he was a foreigner who looked like a sumo and was always full of self importance) Anyway, he introduced himself and proceded to say (knowing him, boast) how he had been practicing shin shin toitsu in England and apparently Tohei just nodded politely and let him waffle on. Until Tohei enquired about his teacher. On hearing the name Mike Muspratt apparently Tohei only had a frown and puzzled look on his face. When he explained more about him and where he lived he said Tohei suddenly brightened up and got excited saying 'Ohhhh, yellow hair!' He then dissappeared and brought back a bunch of presents for 'yellow hair' including a hakama which was later passed down to me.

This showed a certain connection to me and personally I needed know nothing more. I leave all that to you scholarly folk.

Me personally, not interested in who your teacher is and who his was and on and on but see that some think it's so important to know all these details. So if Mike does agree then it would be good for him to have his story told and good for those into history to have some added data but in the big scheme of things, no big deal. If it makes him happy then I will be happy.

Who knows, you may convince him to use a tsuba ha, ha.