Peter A Goldsbury
So it might be that O Sensei really believed that aikido was close to farming. But he was using a trope, which was based on a much more romantic view of the relationship.
I am not sure I would agree. I draw a correlation to this misunderstanding of farming to the search for exhaustive and deep initiation into a myriad of Koryu weapons arts to explain Takeda's AIki.
However, learning such a vast range of different arts might well have provided the foundations of Daito-ryu, but it would not in itself provide training explicitly in ‘aiki' or internal power / skills.
As far as training in aiki; what does that mean to you, Peter? It could specifically and in detail, provide areas where that training explicitly provides an in-road to aiki. Morevoer, some of those areas of physical understanding are blatant and fundamental to IP/aiki. To be clear, there is some understanding between weapons training and IP/ aiki that Ellis has now that he did not possess when writing the book!
I had asked myself several times while reading your article “On what grounds is this guy either including or dismissing what Ellis wrote?” It seems more of a critique on a research and verification level, not on a budo level.
Rather than a direct transmission of ‘internal' skills from these teachers, it is more likely, as Amdur suggests, that Takeda acquired some of these skills by himself during his own musha shugyo training, after he left Sakakibara's dojo.
I find this curiously inconsistent and I have argued it with Ellis from both sides for that very reason. Internal training is not a mystery, nor does it have to be found on ones own. I will state that I do not believe that someone can find it on one’s own. We have Takeda displaying unusual power as a youth. Where do events after Sakakibara come to play as evidentiary of growth or being significant in any meaningful way?
As far as learning IP/aiki
How about seeing it as a process of transmission –and- as personal discovery built upon some very important and fundamental rules of the road that absolutely had to be taught?
How do we explain Takeda with Sagwa, Ueshiba, Kodo, Hisa etc.? All personal genius’s, all accidents of mutual personal discovery? Hardly!
I understand the incredible extent to which some people here go to in trying to add things Ueshiba "discovered." All I see is him performing text book Daito ryu his whole career. So let’s leave him right out of the discussion and move on. Sagawa, to Kimura? Hisa to Mori? Kodo to Okomoto? That next generation to us?
How is this happening if not by direct transmission and personal discovery?
You next moved on to Tanamo Saigo and his potential involvement in transmitting something or other to Takeda. Ellis and others have pondered over this notion of getting something in a short time frame. I have addressed that many times so I won’t revisit it here.
Tanamo Saigo and his journal has never mattered much to me nor do I care to postulate over it yet again. Once again, with all this speculation….I look at affiliation. It is worth considering curiosities and circumstantial evidence as it may have meaning. Tanamo, knew Shiro Saigo and Takeda Sokaku. How odd that both Shiro and Sokaku were considered geniuses in the martial arts. Yes, how very strange. Stranger still, that when you read of some of the accounts from Judoka who trained with Shiro; they describe many of the attributes of unusual power and trademarks of aiki that Takeda was known for. They have no common ties, save the one. Tanamo.
Perhaps I read these things with a different understanding. I completely understand how these men could have had a direct transmission of IP/aiki and why it could be a separate issue from the arts themselves, and also as we now know was actually openly discussed as a side issue. See Sagawas discussion of Takeda telling him not to teach it and also of openly discussing solo training as a requirement to deeper understanding. Yet is is discussed by Sagawa as something one did “outside” of the art and “You don’t talk about it.” Yet here we are wondering how and why Tanamo “Did not talk about it” either.
I think it is clear that many of those writing about Budo do not possess the understanding of these things, so they search in vein for connections that are not viable. So when it comes to sourcing aikis origins, perhaps it is worth considering that neither Shiro, Hisa, Kodo, or Ueshiba himself had any deep study of weapons, yet they got transmission.
Were people to understand the subject better, I think they would find it quite logical that it is entirely transmittable as a means to change the body and how you move and think and it doesn't have one thing to do with a search for a deep initiation or a vast collection of waza from many arts. It is the substance that creates arts in the first place.
Were you to understand the nature of changing the body, than the true duality of Ueshiba’s comments comes to the fore as more than just allegory.
Farming and hard work imparts many positive attributes that are well documented. But for our purposes here I would also offer that digging and hoisting are excellent ways to do solo training to change the body for budo. The trouble occurs when the average Joe with no real understanding of internal martial training thinks that “a- lift’in and a- haul’in on da farm”
are the same thing as budo training whil doing manual labor. I don't really talk to them like I would talking to another budo guy.
I remain far more confidant with some of the statements offered by Takeda and Ueshiba.
1. Where Takeda stated he actually got aiki from has never been disproved (people still keep searching for decades of koryu initiation)
2. Where Ueshiba stated that Takeda opened his eyes to true budo (people still look in vein for technical brilliance to explain his power and skill)
3. Where Ueshiba was trying use an allegory of framing to tell us that hard work offered ‘training opportunities” for that aiki body that Sagawa also talked about (that chap did not live on a farm so he developed a different regimen for “hard work” in the city).
The key point being that is was not an empty allegory and the hard work he talked about? had not one thing to do with manual labor done like the average bear-It was about budo training.