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Old 04-30-2004, 09:55 PM   #72
sanskara's Avatar
Location: Austin, TX
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 52
Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

George S. Ledyard wrote:
Tohei Sensei started in 1939 and trained until he was drafted in 1942 (Source: Aiki Encyclopedia) but he didn't have the "flavor" of the pre-war folks.
Not sure what this means, George. Flavor? He was there, he trained with those people, he was respected amongst said peers, he went in a different direction than Shioda et al--end of story.

I think he and O-sensei were very much in sync as they came out of the war... both had a vital spiritual compenent to their training which influenced how they percieved and executed their waza.
Apparently, they were in sync before as well. Tohei's fifth Dan, rewarded long before the draft, is a perfect example. Additionally, Ueshiba's Spirituality and that of Tohei's was drastically different post war. I would suggest that they were more in sync technically than Spiritually. Ueshiba saw many of the fundamental components of Aikido as being supernatural (Kami, etc.); Tohei views Ki and martial competency as the product of training that anyone can do.

For confirmation, please see the story on AJ about Ueshiba chiding a student for not being able to push Tohei over during a morning class. Tohei had been drinking the night before, and in Ueshiba's mind, could not have been an adequate host for Kami. Consequently, he shouldn't have been able to demonstrate such a feat of stability. But to Tohei, there is no relationship between such skill and Divine collaboration. Even in the current Ki Society, the emphasis is on Shin Shin Toitsu Do and not on Ueshiba's post-war peace, love, and harmony philosophies.

That's why O-Sensei invested so much responsibility in Tohei Sensei. It was only later that Tohei had problems with other Honbu teachers and the Doshu wwhich lad to the split.
Again, ability probably had more to do with this than Spirituality (on both counts.) Tohei post-war was developing his own theories about the importance of Ki, influenced primarily by the Ichikukai (not Ueshiba) and then later, the Tempukai.

George, I wouldn't sell Tohei short, the man's phenomenal. He didn't get special attention and consideration from Ueshiba because his philosophies jibed. Perhaps, your experiences with his organization have yet to adequately confirm this.

You know, I've followed your posts on AJ related to your new found love of Systema--congratulations, by the way. When I read them and your dissection of the art's components, however, I can't help but think that much of what you speak of has been practiced in the Ki no Kenkyukai since its inception. I guess sometimes packaging matters. By your own admission, you couldn't find those precepts in Aikido.

In any event, this is the second post of mine about Tohei that you've seen fit to correct or "clarify" in the past week. Meanwhile, you mention Saotome ad nauseum, often in a way that directly contradicts my experiences with Schools of Ueshiba dojos, and yet I hold my tongue. Oh well, to each his own...

James Bostwick
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