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Old 05-05-2009, 09:49 AM   #8
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: The same basic teaching

I have no doubt that Ueshiba learned some of his ki/kokyu skills from Takeda, although if you look at all the demonstrations of ki/kokyu they generally conform to typical demonstrations found long ago in China, India, and other places. These skills are far older than just Takeda and Takeda also had to have places he "borrowed" these skills from.

If you look at the Douka and other literary references to these skills, Ueshiba justifies (and traditionally so) his martial art by references to the old Chinese classics that explain and propound upon the place of these skills in the Chinese cosmology. However, it appears that some of the developments in these skills (it's a broader topic than just the few tricks we talk about on this forum) comes from ancient times in India, perhaps. It's very hard to say exactly where the various facets of these skills came from because they were developed so very long ago.

The point I'm getting to is that these skills are so old and come from so many sources that they are not the exclusive territory of any one martial art or martial-artist. Even trying to define the ki/kokyu skills in Aikido as coming from Aikido is illogical, as Mark is hinting at. Defining these skills as being the strict purview of the "ju" arts is impossible. Trying to say (as some in the past have said on this forum) that the Japanese ki/kokyu skills are different from the Chinese skills of qi/jin won't withstand scrutiny. Nor would a Chinese claim to be the developer of these skills withstand scrutiny.

If you look into any credible tome or manuscript from the Koryu arts of Japan, the martial-arts of China, the martial-arts of India, etc., you'll see that there is always a justification that has basic underpinnings in the study of the body as it functions in relation to strength and health. The ubiquitous presence of the Yin-Yang symbol or its counterparts in In-Yo, A-Un, Heng-Ha, etc., is a certain sign that an art is based on the general principles of strength and health that are the essence of the Ki-Kokyu skills. And that's pretty much all of the Asian arts. So how do we take such an omnipresent and *core* skill of Asian martial arts and decide what part of it is "Aikido only"? Or that Takeda and the other places Ueshiba picked up facets of these skills is the true original owner of the skills in Aikido? It's an impossibility.

Going back to the earlier posting about Feldenkrais, I think Feldenkrais did the right thing by trying to analyse the skills and pass them forward (whether he did it well or not is another question). In other words, instead of bickering about these skills, one would think that Aikido would be the one art where curiosity and acceptance would be the standard, rather than the place where so much bickering, etc., takes place. Aikido has, IMO, the best chance to be morally superior of all the current Asian arts that are popular. Let's hope that it does so.

BTW, as far as I know, Ikeda Sensei is one of the really credible teachers who is attempting to work, explain, and transmit these skills forward. Some of his knowledge of these core skills comes via Ushiro Sensei, but Ikeda will have read and heard of these things from various other sources in his life, also. It's not the source of the knowledge that is important, but the utilization of these skills as a basis for Aikido that is important. I don't think he'd be interested much in public disputes about the exact origin of the skills (he will know that these skills have been around for a long, long time) or their exact placement in Aikido discussions. He just practices and teaches quietly. He's to be admired for that.


Mike Sigman

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 05-05-2009 at 09:51 AM.
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