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Old 05-01-2004, 07:37 AM   #74
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Is Morihei Ueshiba really O Sensei

sanskara wrote:
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.

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.

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...
Ok, hold on... a) I don't recall EVER saying anything that in any way referred to Tohei Sensei's abilities. It happens that my own teacher always spoke VERY highly of him.

b) my post this time (I don't remember the last one you refer to) did not in any way contradict what you were saying. In fact I threw it in as a factual detail SUPPORTING what you had said. You said he was a pre-war deshi and I supplied the dates.

As for what I added, it wasn't in contrast to anything you had previously said that I can see. It was merely my take on what seemed to happen after the war. Tohei Sensei was the pre-eminent representative of the art, as far as most of the world was concerned. When I said he was in sync with O-Sensei, I didn't mean he believed the SAME things, just that his Aikido did have a spiritual side to it, unlike many of the other deshi who just seemed to want to do the waza. Anyway, you clarified that from the standpoint of your superior knowledge of the Tohei side of it... thanks it is clearer now. I still don't see a conflict here, I thought we were having a discussion.

I am sorry I talk about Saotome Sensei "ad nauseum". I try to talk about what I know. I have been his student for almost thirty years. Almost all of my Aikido experience is thoroughly colored by that experience. Rather than try to pass off things that I know as my own, I try to give credit where the ideas came from. I'll do that whether it's Saotome Sensei or any of the other teachers I have trained with. If I don't mention another teacher then I feel it is something I understand well enough to really call it my own.

Why you felt it necessary to attack the ASU as agroup I don't get at all... did I say something negative about the Ki Society or whther it reflects the abilities of its Founder? I don't recall ever commenting on that. Nor do I ever recall contrasting what I have seen in Systema with any particular group in Aikido. I have merely pointed out that the way they train may have some benefits for Aikido in GENERAL. If you look at my posts on the subject you can see that any implied criticism can be applied to the folks from within my own organization as well as without.

If you felt that what I, or any of the other folks who posted about Systema, had to say could have been augmented with information about areas in which Tohei Sensei's system accomplished the same things within a traditional Aikido structure it would have been great to hear from you. You act like I was attacking you in some way I can't fathom. In fact, from what little I know about what you guys do, there may be some very interesting areas to explore that would benefit Aikido folks in general. If I had happened to have experienced them myself I would certainly be telling others about it.

Anyway, I am sorry if I have somehow offended you in my posts. I was completely unaware of having done so. When I have criticized any aspect of Aikido I have always been careful NOT to single anyone out but rather to keep the observations general. That means they may apply to what you do or they may not. Actually I would think that some of the ideas in my posts recently would be very much in agreement with someone from your side of things but I could be wrong.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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