Thread: Chinkon Kishin
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:11 PM   #190
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,241
Re: Chinkon Kishin

Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Hi Mike, good points here. Like you mentioned earlier in this thread (and like I've been saying for years) one of the possible problems with the transmission of the core or Aikido, may very well have been with how Ueshiba interpreted his own training. Like your story with Tohei illustrates, Ueshiba seemed to genuinely think that what he (and his students) were doing was calling the powers/aspects of the kami into their bodies to accomplish amazing feats of awesomeness. When an unclean soul could replicate these feats, he couldn't just say, "Ah, that Tohei, he's gotten really good, he can even do this hung!" but became agitated at the challenge to his world view.

Your discussion of possession reminded me of a story Mary Heiny told at a seminar a number of years ago. I'll relate it, since it also shares a common source (Hikitsuchi Sensei) and may in fact have been Chinkon Kishin, I'm not sure. Appologies in advance for anything I may get wrong in the retelling, I'm sure I'll miss a few details.

So Mary and Jack Wada were visiting Shingu to study with Hikitsuchi Sensei. Apparently they had been working on some ritual/practice (chinkon kishin?) that was designed to draw the kami down to the practitioner. Apparently, back at their hotel (outside of Shingu, I'm afraid that I forgot which town) Jack decided to head up to the roof and do some homework with this new practice. A little while later Jack comes running into Mary's room, completely white and terrified looking. He claims that he's drawn some horrible 'black' creature/kami thing down and it's after him. Mary looks outside the room and claims to have seen/sensed this malicious blackness down the hall. They're both freaking out at this point. She said that the blackness thing was headed down the hall towards them when it stopped outside of the door of fellow inn-guest Meik Skoss. Suddenly Meik opens his door and oblivious to their urges to stay in his room, walks out into the hall into the space where the blackness thing is. At which point (from Mary's view) it dissipates and Meik asks them why they're making so much noise. The end. Nothing bad happened to Meik or Mary or Jack. When they told Hikitsuchi about it later, he told them that they were foolish to use the ritual at their inn, because that part of Japan was known for its evil-black kami and that the practice should only be done in a place that was already purified like a dojo. Meik was apparently quite unimpressed that he had walked through an evil kami and went back to his room.

Moral of the story? Maybe, ignore the kami and they can't hurt you?
Interesting. I read this post yesterday and mentioned chinkon kishin to the doctor who gives me kanpou yaku treatment. His wife immediately gave me a lengthy explanation of the dangers of chinkon kishin. She stressed that it was absolutely crucial to do misogi first and that chinkon kishin needed to be done with a teacher. Why? Because the ritual was an invitation to a kami to take possession of the person and it was essential to have the right kami, in particular not an oni (devil), which could have devastating consequences.

I was fascinated by all this, and can imagine Meik's robust reaction. However, I have been arguing in my columns that we have to take O Sensei and what he created in its cultural context. From reading his writings I am certain he carried the same theological baggage as my doctor's wife, who is an 'ordinary' Japanese with no martial arts training at all. O Sensei's world was full of kami and oni and so one can perhaps see why O Sensei placed so much trust in Onisaburo Deguchi, and also why he never taught the exercise, since it was so private.

By the way, Carmen Blacker's The Catapla Bow is essential reading here.

Regards to all,

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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