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Old 04-09-2013, 07:11 AM   #28
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: No Competition in Aikido(excluding Tomiki)

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
There is nothing that I disagree with in Mr Tanaka's article, but I think it needs a context. In addition to Kenji Tomiki's strong connection with Waseda University, there were two students at Waseda also with strong connections to aikido. One was Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who became the head of the Kobukan Dojo while a student at Waseda in 1942.

More directly relevant to Tomiki-shi is the case of Hiroshi Tada, who was a member of Waseda University karate club, which was founded well before the aikido club of which Mr Tanaka speaks. Tada Shihan was taught by Gichin Funakoshi, but entered the Aikikai Hombu in 1950, while still a student at Waseda. He appears to have had a major role in starting an aikido club at Waseda that had links with the Aikikai. This club celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and so would have been founded around 1961 or 1962. I have it from Tada Shihan directly that this club was created as a reaction to the official insistence at Waseda that any clubs in the sports association had to have some form of competition.

I never knew Tomiki Shihan, but I knew his student Okumura Shigenobu quite well. Okumura Shihan talked of Tomiki Sensei changing the style of his aikido and I suspect that this might have had something to do with his experience as a POW in Russia. Okumura Shihan was also a POW and I understand that the experience was harrowing for both of them. Even now, competition is still a very sensitive subject and one indication of this is that it is not discussed openly. I stuck my neck out once and held a meeting at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo to discuss the subject of competition. The meeting was quite strongly opposed by the Aikikai, but I stuck to my guns and the meeting took place. It was attended by Okumura and Tada Shihans and lasted three hours.

This requirement about competition might have been due to the strong position of judo and karate at Waseda. There are sports associations (tai-iku-kai) at all the major universities in Japan and I was have had a close connection with the Tai-iku-tai at Hiroshima University. Judo was and is also quite strong at Hiroshima University, so the university has a large, purpose built judo dojo. However, the university tai-iku-kai has never been able to insist on the necessity of competition for other clubs, like aikido and shorinji kempo. The Hirodai aikido club is affiliated to the tai-iku-kai, but there are two other aikido clubs at the university that are not affiliated. All the clubs can practice in the dojo and the only problem is finding a time that avoids conflict with other clubs. The tai-iku-kai probably had some prestige, but it now has the reputation of being too closely tied to tradition and interpreting the sempai-kohai relationship too rigidly. Much hazing went on in the tai-iku-kai martial arts clubs that was tacitly condoned by the university and this sometimes led to serious accidents.

It was my teacher, Shizuo Imaizumi, who petitioned the Hombu Dojo to get an Aikikai Aikido Club started at Waseda University. Tada Sensei was appointed to oversee this club. Unfortunately, Imaizumi Sensei's name has been "cleansed" since he is no longer with Aikikai. I could make a direct comment on that, but it speaks for itself. Luckily, the original members of this club (those that are still alive) still communicate with one another. When we threw a 50th year of Aikido celebration for Imaizumi Sensei, I sent a letter to Tada Sensei to see if he would privately send a letter of acknowledgement to my teacher. Sadly, nothing but radio silence.

Those who try to re-write history fail in the internet age and only serve to take away from their own legitimacy through such acts.....

Marc Abrams
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