Re: Three Levels of Aikido
When I knew Pierre Chassang, way way back in the seventies, we conversed in French and in the lengthy discussions I used to have with Arikawa Sensei when he was alive, we conversed in Japanese. You have given Pierre's quote in English and so I wonder if anything has been lost in the three-way translation.
I have three comments. One is that Arikawa Sensei's response to Pierre is ambiguous. Pierre distinguished between the aikido taught by Morihei Ueshiba and that practised at the time (in France, I suppose, or the aikido practised in Europe generally after the war). Arikawa Sensei's response can be understood at the conceptual level (it is impossible to have two concepts of aikido, regardless of what is actually being practised) or at the practical level (the type of activity done in Europe cannot be called aikido).
The second comment is that Arikawa Sensei was very devoted to Kisshomaru Ueshiba and was a close confidant. Stanley Pranin and I once conducted a six-hour interview in Tokyo and we ranged over the entire history of aikido, including its early relationship with Daito-ryu. Arikawa Sensei did not give permission for it to be published because, he said, it was "too early" and did not want to publish anything that could be construed as criticism of Kisshomaru Ueshiba. He taught his regular class at the Hombu and gave seminars here in Hiroshima until he became ill. After practice we used to talk a lot (in private, usually with the resident shihan in Hiroshima) and he was always happy to respond to questions, especially awkward questions.
The third comment is that I know from other sources that defining aikido in a certain way is especially an issue in France, where something like budo sportif is fostered by the French government. There are a number of French aikidoka who want the Aikikai to define much more closely what aikido is and to exclude in a clearer way what does not qualify. This is my own private opinion, but I think the Aikikai is reluctant to do this, since it will be making a general rule to fit a particular case. In any case, the Aikikai has its hands full with defining how aikido is, and is not, essentially Japanese.
Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 05-10-2011 at 06:11 AM.