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Old 11-29-2011, 08:26 PM   #47
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Marc Abrams wrote: View Post

That is an important piece of information that is not well-known outside of Japan. I think that another interesting aspect with Aikido is also the lack of an established means of passing on all of the art onto a successor. This is a common practice in koryu and in traditional Chinese martial arts. This practice does not seem to have roots in Gendai Budo. I wonder if you have any cultural information that might shed some light on this apparent phenomenon? Certainly, Takeda Sensei was paranoid (delusional disorder or paranoid personality?) and did not have the personality to be able to remain settled and focused on passing on all aspects of his art onto a successor. O'Sensei certainly did not appear to be focused on the continuity of his art. Given that this seems to be somewhat common in Gendai Budo, I wonder what might factors might contribute to this.

Marc Abrams
Hello Marc,

I have discussed this in the columns I am writing. The iemoto (家元) system became established for the transmission of traditional arts, but there is very little about this in English. After a few other candidates, M Ueshiba setled on Kisshomaru as his successor, but we do not know how he conceived of the 'structure' of the art, considered as a Japanese legal entity. The first thing Kisshomaru and Koichi Tohei did, after the Aikikai became more active, was to write technical manuals. Of course, in Budo Renshuu and Budo, there was a precedent for this, but these were never published for general distribution. Kisshomaru had his own ideas for the dissemination of aikido and Morihei Ueshiba seems to have accepted these, albeit reluctantly.

Of course, Morihei Ueshiba also had star 'guru' quality, and so there was a kind of pecking order among the deshi, according to how close they were. And every single shihan I have ever met who was directly taught by M Ueshiba claimed to be a special student--and the implication was that he/ they were far closer to the Founder than other mortals. Which is true, but requires a context. Finally, I remember the reaction of one shihan when I announced my intended residence in Japan. He smiled ruefully and stated that I would finally discover 'the truth' about aikido. (Just like Stanley Pranin.)

Best wishes,


Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 11-29-2011 at 08:30 PM.

P A Goldsbury
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