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Old 02-24-2012, 10:38 AM   #39
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 815
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Re: Kiichi Hogen and the Secret of Aikido

Dan - that may very possibly - very likely - be true. That's actually what I believe. I remember the interview where Sagawa snorts in disgust at a question of whether Takeda could flip tatami or pass through walls. I also recall Ueshiba K. demurring when asked about his father's ability to "dodge" bullets, as Shioda more or less describes. (but then he equivocates, fwiw).

What I am saying, however, is that knowledge only comes when you admit a possibility. For example, when I wrote Dueling with Osensei, and wrote the chapter on hapkido, I wrote a commentary on my observations of Daito-ryu. I had only seen the current so-called mainline branch, both under Takeda Tokimune and then later under Kondo. I was pretty mild in my description - the truth is that I cannot begin to express how disappointed I was. THIS was the famous Daito-ryu? I remember sitting in the Budokan as Takeda lay on his back, had different people pin his limbs and one guy put on a cross-collar choke, and then he twitched and they implausibly rolled off in all directions, carefully avoiding bumping in to each other. I was sitting next to a high ranking judoka who was whispering under his breath - "I'd love to be the guy putting on the choke." As some of you may know, I work with police officers, and there is a phenomenon known as "excited delirium." It is a neurological state that creates a berserker rage - including super-human strength, and no sensation of pain. (I've seen footage of a 150 pound naked guy - due to high body temp, which can quickly kill them, they strip off their clothes - with three bullets in him, alligator crawling on feet and hands, with appr. 500 pounds of two officers on his back, and another photo of a several hundred pound grandfather clock thrown threw a picture window and out, thirty feet on the lawn). Yet, in Champaign, Illinois, because the police, who have not been issued TASERS, had to institute physical control and restraint procedures to pin the person to the ground long enough for an EMT to inject Ketamine into them to knock them out. AND four officers, with proper leverage and lots of practice have had universal success in such pinning. So if four people can pin the Incredible Hulk, then I've my doubts about that particular Daito-ryu trick.

So frankly, I wrote off Daito-ryu - and lots of other people I met did so as well. Then a few voices from the fringes - in particular Mike Sigman and Dan Harden and Rob John - started pointing things out that, they asserted, were in Daito-ryu (as well as many other places). And, to give myself a little credit, I suppose, I started a discussion on AJ, which brought other people in, which caused a critical mass of discussion, and others, who only had a small piece might ask, "Hey, what about . . ." And then, IHTBF - and some people felt - and the question of why Ueshiba was so respected, and why Takeda was held in awe - made sense in a way that a view of most current Daito-ryu and aikido didn't. And hence HIPS.

All I am saying is that in the spirit of open inquiry - WITHOUT neglecting one's own training in budo, without negating the IS paradigm of study in the least - or the history of Daito-ryu as clearly underpinning aikido, I think it would be an intriguing exercise to pool together in one place all the accounts of Takeda, of Ueshiba, and of other budo men doing things that are in the shamanistic paradigm. In the end, I bet a lot of them are fiction. Others may be attributed accurately to high level IS skills. But maybe there is something else. It is only in asking an open question, that we admit new info.

Just taking the Mariye Takahashi story - see Aikido Journal - maybe she is just a credulous devotee. But that particular experience has nothing to do with IS type skills. And it intrigues me - what if she is not credulous in that way? What if UEshiba was not a magician who set up some BS table-tipping phenomenon?

To conclude - I'm not saying that you, Dan, for example, must do this sort of study to give creditability to your position regarding Ueshiba and IS. I'm simply saying that some questions are worth asking - if only to take them off the table. Because, it would be a shame if the Aiki/IS paradigm became the "new Orthodoxy."

Best
Ellis

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