a vacuous argument in favor of the idea that Ueshiba's martial arts were influenced by Chinese martial arts.
OK let's fill in the vacuum. There is an issue of the strong version or weak version of the claim that there was Chinese influence. Strong version is that Ueshiba "learned" or stole something from Chinese MA that became of primary importance to him, because he didn't get it anywhere else. Does anyone think that? I doubt it.
On the other hand, there is the other, more reasonable and more interesting argument:
that the primary thing that Ueshiba was training in order to manifest "aiki" is a training that is shared between his art and other arts, some of them Chinese. The reason for this homology is that the training methodology was in fact developed long ago (partially in China, partially in somewhere like India where the training culture would have come from before making its way to China).
That's what appears to be true to me so far-- one need not try to argue the "strong" version above.
Support for this idea:
- See Ellis Amdur's writings. Including on Aikido Journal, where Chinese MA enthusiast Takeda Hiroshi's home in China was host to Ueshiba. Amdur also points out Shigenobu Okumura's interview comments that explicitly corroborate Ueshiba's appreciation of the Chinese MA.
- Amdur's other writings like HIPS which document the close association b/w Chinese and Japanese MA (the JMA developed over centuries with an eye on what the Chinese were doing and training, complete with voyages to and from China for learning and importing of training methods)
- Ueshiba sometimes cited old Chinese writings to explain martial arts (like in Chris' example)
- Ueshiba often referred to "the secret of aikido," which suggests some kind of core that is underneath the vestiges ("because I knew the secret of aikido he couldn't move me" etc)
- Ueshiba's push-receiving demos are the same kind of demo people in Chinese MA who train the "nei jin" ("internal skill-strength") demonstrate.
- Well, I am at work, there are plenty more list items others could post (they are probably in the archives already), but I don't have any more time right now. The more translations of Ueshiba's writings that come out, the more clear the connection is (see Chris' Heaven-Earth-Man comment above, and the discovery of the mistranslation of "roppo" as "sixty degrees").
The point is, there are very cool things in budo as received by Ueshiba (from Sokaku Takeda, to answer Cliff's question) that are also present in Chinese MA because they come from older Chinese traditions. The way these things are trained is the only real reason we would want to discuss this issue. How you train is up to you. I for one am glad that people on this board have been sharing info! But anyone is free to say they don't believe it.