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Old 06-15-2007, 10:30 PM   #1
Nafis Zahir
 
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Who Is The Master?

Since the passing of O'Sensei, there have been many Japanese Shihan who have carried the torch of Aikido to this very day. I'm sure that everyone here may like one Shihan more than another, and for various reasons, but they all, within their own right, have reached a serious level in the art. Not wanting to get into a real comparison debate, but I wanted everyone's opinion on who they think rose or has risen to the level of O'Sensei or even come close in our time. So, that being said, who is the master?

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Old 06-16-2007, 01:30 AM   #2
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Koichi Tohei Sensei
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Old 06-16-2007, 01:39 AM   #3
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Stelios Papados wrote: View Post
Koichi Tohei Sensei
And why did you choose Tohei Sensei?

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Old 06-16-2007, 04:29 AM   #4
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Re: Who Is The Master?

As regards Aikido, I am of the opinion that through training one meets the potential master that is oneself. In aikido, everyone is
a champion in training. The beauty of it is that 'no matter what
O Sensei or any other shihan has done, you still have to do it yourself '. This was my beginning motivation, and remains my continuing motivation.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 06-16-2007, 06:40 AM   #5
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Tohei Sensei probably gets the vote because O Sensei gave him his vote

But he is very old and frail now, i'm not sure if he can walk.

Best aikido I have seen and felt is my teacher's teacher.

The only experience of a Japanese Shihan i have is Yamada Sensei who was very good indeed.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:30 PM   #6
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Re: Who Is The Master?

"Whose the master Leroy....."

Anyone remember this movie???

Dont make me, make you, grab my wrist.
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Old 06-16-2007, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
William Oakes wrote: View Post
"Whose the master Leroy....."

Anyone remember this movie???
"Sho-nuff!" - I remember The Last Dragon.

But anyway, this thread is not about which Shihan is better. They are all great within their right. I have the greatest respect for them all. As for Tohei Sensei, I must say that he probably did come close to O'Sensei, but I cannot be sure that he was/is better. In my opinion, the one Shihan (and this is just my opinion) who without a doubt has shown shades of O'Sensei, is Chiba Sensei. He is absolutely as solid as a rock with an immovable center. Pure power and no muscle. Great extension of a ki cutting force - IMHO.

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Old 06-16-2007, 01:32 PM   #8
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Jo Duncan wrote: View Post
Tohei Sensei probably gets the vote because O Sensei gave him his vote
There was an election?

Tohei was the only person promoted to 10th dan through official Aikikai channels - ratified by Morihei Ueshiba, but it didn't actually happen until after he died. However, Abe and Hikitsuchi, at least, were promoted to 10th dan directly by Morihei Ueshiba prior to Tohei. Tomiki, for that matter, was the first Aikido 8th dan - he got promoted around the time that Koichi Tohei started Aikido.

Kisshomaru, of course, was made dojo-cho of Aikikai Hombu in 1942 by Morihei (and remained in that position until well after Tohei left the Aikikai over thirty years later) - when Tohei had only been training for around 3 years.

Everybody will have their own opinions of course, but the "Tohei had a 10th dan" argument seems a little bit weak to me.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-16-2007, 01:48 PM   #9
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Well I liked think Shoji Nisiho rose to this level, and I feel there are a number of Shihan and current Yudansha who have achieved the kind of excellance O'Sensei inspired in his practice.

Let's just make sure were talking about Mastering Aikido... and not some John Steven's like mystical mumbo jumbo Aikibunny-Avatar like state that O'Sensei always get held up for abuse MEME.

William Hazen
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Old 06-16-2007, 03:17 PM   #10
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Everybody will have their own opinions of course, but the "Tohei had a 10th dan" argument seems a little bit weak to me.
Not really, his impact on the aikido world around the time that Ueshiba died was greater than any of those mentioned by yourself previously, owing to his position as chief instructor which he was appointed to by the Founder.

He was not the only 10th Dan, true, others had equal qualifications and experience, not to mention the esteem of Morihei Ueshiba. It's his place as chief instructor that makes him 'the master' as described by the original poster (not that I particularly like the question or the term). By which I take to mean the greatest influence technically. Rather than Kisshomaru who I tend to think of as a great administrator and figurehead rather than a greatly skilled in the technical sense.

It's all academic really, I've shopped around and I know that the aikido I wish to practice is the aikido taught by my teacher. It matters little who is 'the master'. It's all aikido and it's only about how you wish to get there that's important IMHO.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 06-16-2007, 04:03 PM   #11
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Not really, his impact on the aikido world around the time that Ueshiba died was greater than any of those mentioned by yourself previously, owing to his position as chief instructor which he was appointed to by the Founder.

He was not the only 10th Dan, true, others had equal qualifications and experience, not to mention the esteem of Morihei Ueshiba. It's his place as chief instructor that makes him 'the master' as described by the original poster (not that I particularly like the question or the term). By which I take to mean the greatest influence technically. Rather than Kisshomaru who I tend to think of as a great administrator and figurehead rather than a greatly skilled in the technical sense.

It's all academic really, I've shopped around and I know that the aikido I wish to practice is the aikido taught by my teacher. It matters little who is 'the master'. It's all aikido and it's only about how you wish to get there that's important IMHO.

Mike
There was and still is an interesting interview with K. Tohei Sensei, where he makes the comment ( I'm paraphrasing) the he later found out that many of O'Sensei's techniques did not work, and that his aikido had become 70% his own and only 30% O'Sensei's. I found this to be a very bold statement, and yet somewhat confusing. Was it that he just couldn't do the techniques? Or was it that he had elevated above them, thus seeing some flaw and therefore took the techniques to another level? If so, did that make him the master?

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Old 06-16-2007, 04:19 PM   #12
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Not really, his impact on the aikido world around the time that Ueshiba died was greater than any of those mentioned by yourself previously, owing to his position as chief instructor which he was appointed to by the Founder.
He was "head of the instructors department", not "chief instructor", although it was often translated that way. Is the department chair at a university the most accomplished? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Dojo-cho" for that matter, which Kisshomaru was, is also often translated as "chief instructor", so it's a difficult point.

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
By which I take to mean the greatest influence technically. Rather than Kisshomaru who I tend to think of as a great administrator and figurehead rather than a greatly skilled in the technical sense.
And you've trained with both of them to make that judgement? I have, and Kisshomaru was no slouch, certainly. IMO he tends to get underestimated because he was so quiet - often he seemed to just fade into the background.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-16-2007, 06:29 PM   #13
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
He was "head of the instructors department", not "chief instructor", although it was often translated that way. Is the department chair at a university the most accomplished? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Dojo-cho" for that matter, which Kisshomaru was, is also often translated as "chief instructor", so it's a difficult point.
I know that, and I really can't be bothered to drag up all the various historical evidence blah blah blah that's been done to death before and I know you know all that too any way. So it'd serve no purpose. I will say that Kisshomaru himself recommended him for 10th Dan as well you know and I find that an interesting fact, as I do O Sensei's last words to Tohei (according to Tohei).

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
And you've trained with both of them to make that judgement? I have, and Kisshomaru was no slouch, certainly. IMO he tends to get underestimated because he was so quiet - often he seemed to just fade into the background.
See now its smug provocative comments like that that make me less and less interested in conversing with aikidoka on the internet.

Just deleted a longer response because in truth, I really can't be bothered with the bullshit that comes from 90% of the discussions about aikido on the internet, and most of that comes from aikidoka themselves.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 06-16-2007, 06:36 PM   #14
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
There was and still is an interesting interview with K. Tohei Sensei, where he makes the comment ( I'm paraphrasing) the he later found out that many of O'Sensei's techniques did not work, and that his aikido had become 70% his own and only 30% O'Sensei's. I found this to be a very bold statement, and yet somewhat confusing. Was it that he just couldn't do the techniques? Or was it that he had elevated above them, thus seeing some flaw and therefore took the techniques to another level? If so, did that make him the master?
Better I think to say that he found that many of O Sensei's techniques didn't work when you used Tohei style internal skills, they seemed to work just fine when you used Ueshiba style internal skills. The two are not quite the same IMHO, though they overlap a great deal.

I think the difference is in Tohei's application of what he called 'weight underside', something that isn't always readily apparent in the way Ueshiba applied techniques if you watch film of the two of them, watch how Tohei often keeps his arms/hands lower, particularly at the end of a throw.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it....

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 06-16-2007, 07:23 PM   #15
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
I know that, and I really can't be bothered to drag up all the various historical evidence blah blah blah that's been done to death before and I know you know all that too any way. So it'd serve no purpose. I will say that Kisshomaru himself recommended him for 10th Dan as well you know and I find that an interesting fact, as I do O Sensei's last words to Tohei (according to Tohei).
Kisshomaru also endorsed Mochizuki for 10th dan. Anyway I'm not sure what that has to do with the relative positions of Kisshomaru and Koichi.

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
See now its smug provocative comments like that that make me less and less interested in conversing with aikidoka on the internet.

Just deleted a longer response because in truth, I really can't be bothered with the bullshit that comes from 90% of the discussions about aikido on the internet, and most of that comes from aikidoka themselves.

Mike
Well, if you're comparing the two technically, or offering an opinion on Kisshomaru's technical level, then I'd like to know what it's based upon. Your own experience? Movies? What somebody told you?

Nothing smug about it - I never said that I thought that Kisshomaru was better than Koichi, I really have no idea. All I said was that Kisshomaru was nothing like the "figurehead" he is sometimes portrayed as in contrast to Koichi.

I mentioned it because the last time you mentioned this kind of thing (that time criticizing Shioda in contrast to Tohei) it turned out that you had never felt either one.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-16-2007, 08:04 PM   #16
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I mentioned it because the last time you mentioned this kind of thing (that time criticizing Shioda in contrast to Tohei) it turned out that you had never felt either one.
See, you did it again.

You mentioned it because you're looking for an argument you won't get, sorry but I'm not biting. Think what you like as far as I'm concerned.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:28 PM   #17
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Some brands of Buddhism look for rainbows and similar phenomena on the day a teacher dies in an attempt to determine whether or not that teacher was truly enlightened. That method is ridiculous. This conversation is even more ridiculous.
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:46 PM   #18
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Re: Who Is The Master?

What about Sugano Shihan?
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Old 06-16-2007, 10:24 PM   #19
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Sugano sensei is great.

Unfortunately he had the leg issue, due to a disease he had, as you all know, but even with his prosthesis, his aikido is great.

Another shihan, that i personally love to watch (only from videos though) is Yasuo Kobayashi sensei. Really beautiful aikido.
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Old 06-16-2007, 10:40 PM   #20
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Re: Who Is The Master?

That's the great thing about Sugano Sensei!isn't THAT Aikido?Prosthetics and all....and still pratices Aikido.Yamada Sensei is another I'd have to say would be up there for sure
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Old 06-16-2007, 11:27 PM   #21
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
See, you did it again.

You mentioned it because you're looking for an argument you won't get, sorry but I'm not biting. Think what you like as far as I'm concerned.

Mike
I'm not sure what I did again - I never even said who I considered to be better than who, just that the argument that "10th dan means the best" is, IMO, a weak argument.

In any case, you might be interested in Kisshomaru's book "Aikido Ichiro", which covers the period after the war until 1969. I'm not saying that it's more correct than any other representation, but it at least gives the other side of the story of the building of the post-war Aikikai.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-17-2007, 12:43 AM   #22
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Talking Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
So, that being said, who is the master?
For me, Morihiro Saito for his precise technics and powerful kokyu nage.
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:58 AM   #23
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Better I think to say that he found that many of O Sensei's techniques didn't work when you used Tohei style internal skills, they seemed to work just fine when you used Ueshiba style internal skills. The two are not quite the same IMHO, though they overlap a great deal.

I think the difference is in Tohei's application of what he called 'weight underside', something that isn't always readily apparent in the way Ueshiba applied techniques if you watch film of the two of them, watch how Tohei often keeps his arms/hands lower, particularly at the end of a throw.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it....

Mike
That's what I talking about! This is what I meant by my initial question. So did Tohei or anyone else, change the techniques for the better, maybe, or expound on what they had learned from O'Sensei? O'Sensei was constantly changing his art and taking it to another level. Chiba Sensei once said at a seminar, to never get stuck in do techniques the same way, and to always look for a better way. By the example you stated about Tohei Sensei, do you think that that is what is did or was trying to do? By master, I do not mean which one of the Shihans was/is better than the other, but which one of them rose to that level or should I say mastered Aikido at a higher level. For you, it seems to be Tohei and for me it would be Chiba Sensei's.

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Old 06-17-2007, 08:09 AM   #24
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
That's what I talking about! This is what I meant by my initial question. So did Tohei or anyone else, change the techniques for the better, maybe, or expound on what they had learned from O'Sensei?
Er, all of them? Nishio springs to mind as the obvious one but they all did surely. Aikido is a living art, it's not like Ueshiba came down from the mountain carrying two stone tablets upon which were written the unchangeable secrets of aikido. It grows and changes, one teacher cannot help but grow the art in his own particular way, in fact, if he doesn't I'd argue that he belongs in some historical re-enactment society. Or perhaps a museum.

Mike

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Old 06-17-2007, 08:14 AM   #25
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Re: Who Is The Master?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I'm not sure what I did again - I never even said who I considered to be better than who, just that the argument that "10th dan means the best" is, IMO, a weak argument.

In any case, you might be interested in Kisshomaru's book "Aikido Ichiro", which covers the period after the war until 1969. I'm not saying that it's more correct than any other representation, but it at least gives the other side of the story of the building of the post-war Aikikai.

Best,

Chris
I'm probably over reacting, it was rather late and I was working and tired, sorry about that.

Mike

PS - I know of the book, but I don't believe it's in print any more, nor have I ever been able to find an English translation.

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