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Old 05-13-2014, 06:18 PM   #96
Mert Gambito
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 202
Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
There are many subjective accounts of how Morihei Ueshiba trained and what he taught, but I do not think that these accounts allow us to state categorically that this or that was how Ueshiba taught or trained. . . .You also have to entertain the possibility that the skills that Ueshiba possessed which could be interpreted as IP skills could be acquired by Ueshiba's students in various ways, but not necessarily from Ueshiba himself by a direct transmission.
. . .
But, as you say, this knowledge is clandestine and limited to individuals. These individuals are in the Aikikai, but are dwindling in number. . . .
Sorry, Mert. The post has become much longer and more diffuse than I intended.

No apologies necessary, given that the topic at hand is quite a deep rabbit hole.

I should have a follow-up or two for you when I'm not constrained by the length of a lunch break. (In the event that doesn't happen [busy week], feel free to expound regarding Michio Hikitsuchi, who reportedly codified the "Rites of Spring", which includes IP exercises that are somewhat well known in the aikido world, e.g. torifune and furitama (though moreso as "use these as warm up because the founder did 'em so we do 'em" exercises); and whose Shingu Bojutsu solo kata, for which Morihei Ueshiba reportedly provided Hikitsuchi formal documentation, bears resemblance to Ueshiba's documented personal jo solo work, based on video available online.

Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
There are also accounts of students basically politely ignoring the "crazy old man," either because they couldn't understand him or because they wanted to skip the philosophy and get back to bashing each other around. Or both. So even among his direct students, it's not a given that they were interested in pursuing what was being offered.
This has certainly been the conventional, general consensus take. All the more it's appreciated that Peter G. has made the effort to ask the questions of Doshu, Tada and others within Aikikai leadership to add necessary shades of gray to what has, unfortunately, often been a black-or-white discussion regarding the existence and acknowledgment of IP within, and influencing from the outside, the primary lineage of aikido.

Speaking of shades of gray, the more I hang out with the historian types among aikidoka in Hawaii, the more the realization has set in that the "split" between Koichi Tohei and the Aikikai wasn't as black and white as discussions today often paint it. There remains a continuum of influence from Tohei, to the point that there are, for example, non-Ki Society schools that faithfully adhere to Tohei's IP training methodologies and philosophies. What Peter, in part, seems to have brought to light is that such an oddity isn't necessarily wholly anathema in the minds of the current Aikikai leadership.

Now, "sufferance" may be the mean among these leaders, but closer to home there are a handful of folks who are reportedly on the same fringe of the bell curve as Tada, and are enthusiastic about whatever flavor of IP training they've undertaken for several decades because it has led them to the power that characterized aikido prior to the hippy movement. Or perhaps, the current generation of bright-eyed Hawaii IP enthusiasts is coloring such folks as similarly "enthusiastic", when to these members of the old guard (some of these guys have been around so long, the hippies call them "uncle"s), it has simply been faithful and successful yeoman's work, which has included some flavor of the oddball tanren that differentiated the disseminators of aikido here from the other quality budoka who tested but couldn't handle the aikido ambassadors when they were all younger men.

In any case, it's interesting that the old guard in Hawaii, and by Peter's account also the Hombu, are recently weighing in: a small sample size of young bucks, representative of a larger contingent who are pursuing modern non-aikido variants of IP training in different parts of the world, are on the right track -- and they're getting "strong".

So, the "pure" tradition of mitori-geiko, whether, for example in the Iwama vein or the IP vein, on which aikido and before it Daito-ryu was founded continues. Thank goodness for the internet and airplanes, regardless of your preferred flavor.

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