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Old 12-26-2013, 11:53 AM   #1
Ellis Amdur
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Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 904
Maruyama Shuji's ("That's not my aikido," REDUX

In another thread, Ron Ragusa recommended a memoir of Maruyama Shuji. There were a couple of points in the article that are germane to other discussions that we've had over the years.

Ueshiba lived in the dojo, but he wasn't leading a regular class any more. When he came to class, the regular instructors would stop the current practice and start suwari waza, and he would be very pleased. But if someone did a beautiful standing kokyunage technique, he would never look happy. I didn't understand this until I studied the last 300 years of the history of martial arts in Japan, and the lifestyle of people back then. I studied and then I understood Ueshiba.
Maruyama sensei goes on to discuss suwari-waza and it's relationship to Edo culture. Although I've read his idea before, that people never stood indoors, I do not think this is borne out historically. Nonetheless, it is interesting to link this with Shimizu Kenji's memory of Ueshiba storming in, yelling, "That's not my aikido." Kobayashi Yasuo also obliquely mentions this in a memoir of his own, stating that Ueshiba really didn't like people doing kokyunage, suggesting that what young students did was an imitation of the real effect that Ueshiba had when he--at least in his younger days-- had on his uke. And Saito Morihiro remembers, as do many others, how Ueshiba much preferred suwariwaza techniques. Cumulatively, this does emphasize <whether as a methodology of internal training or simply because of Ueshiba's attachment to tradition> that if one wants to do Ueshiba Morihei's aikido, like it or not, suwariwaza is central.

Ueshiba learned very old martial arts. Old martial arts were about armor and seiza, so there was almost no movement. His best contribution is that his techniques have lots of movement. Ueshiba adding this made aikido. He was still subconsciously full of old ideas such as suwari waza and hold, though. Seven days a week I saw him; for a long time as I lived at Aikikai Headquarters, and never saw a technique against kick. Always his uke would help him. . . . .We had treated Ueshiba like a god -- everybody would bow and think how to best take ukemi for him, never thinking of beating him. It was not a competition at all. . . .
Maruyama studied with Ueshiba during his last years. I highlighted in bold several points that speak for themselves.

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