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Old 06-03-2012, 03:08 PM   #41
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Morihei Ueshiba: Untranslatable Words

Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
In the 25 years I spent as Sensei Maruyama's student I can assure you that the idea that Tohei Sensei taught only the outer form of Aikido is incorrect. All of the teaching (Ki development and waza) was directed at fostering a strong mind/body connection, first within oneself and then with a partner. The push testing employed by O Sensei was carried over and employed with regularity. After leaving the Ki Society Maruyama Sensei continued to stress that for Aikido to be effective students had to develop power and strength that didn't rely on muscle. This power is generated from what he termed "correct feeling".
Ron, it would be crazy to say that Tohei's aikido was not very, very powerful. It was. And he did the push test, etc. So it's not mere outward form. It's very excellent form with a lot of content.

What I mean is that he simply rejected a lot of what O Sensei said as being utter nonsense. Ueshiba was definitely extremely eccentric and idiosyncratic. Mochizuki Sensei, not only a very close lifelong student of O Sensei, but also his close personal friend, never tried to address those esoteric concepts very deeply, but he did not reject them as Tohei did, substituting his own extensive rationale for the esoteric matters he (and no one else, apparently) understood.

We can look at Tohei's interviews with Stan Pranin and see that he had a lot of resentment about a lot of things relative to O Sensei. Tohei actually married Ueshiba's daughter, which opportunity Mochizuki Sensei declined (probably a different daughter). He pokes at Tohei by saying something like, "I felt that would end up seems my awareness of ki was stronger than Tohei's in that regard." It was one of the few times he said anything about ki. (Another was "Ki is something very simple. It is inspiration.")

But Tohei's marriage to O Sensei's daughter made him brother-in-law to Kisshomaru, the doshu, and Tohei's technical superiority to Kisshomaru, along with the natural friction between brothers-in-law, along with Tohei's need to replace O Sensei's esoteric rambling with a ki-based logic that not everyone at aikikai understood or accepted, led to the split that so shocked the aikido world. Having come through the yoseikan system, which was never affected by that split, I didn't know much about it and it doesn't much matter to me except as historical interest.

What I really mean is that we can't look to Tohei to interpret what O Sensei either said or exactly what he meant since Tohei just waved most of it aside. If you look at the photo on Chris' blog, with O Sensei getting the lei at Honolulu Airport, Tohei stands slightly apart with a very big smile that actually looks rather forced, if not purely tatemae. He commented in one interview that O Sensei was "childish" and maybe in the same interview pointed out that O Sensei had never faced any kind of challenge like Tohei had faced when he went to Hawaii to introduce aikido. He talked about the huge guys me met there and such, so that his accomplishment was greater than O Sensei's.

I don't know about that. I certainly don't worry about it Tohei certainly was great. I really enjoyed Aikido in Daily Life and it underlies a lot of my thinking even now. Since I've been involved in IP training, a lot of it comes back to me, but I'm not sure that what he was talking about was the same as IP or that it really covers what O Sensei was doing.

So apologies if it sounded as if I were dismissing him. I always wanted to meet him and I was sorry when he passÚd away.

Best to you.


"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"
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