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Old 01-24-2008, 08:48 AM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
It may well be that the bona fide uchideshi (pre-war) were the ones who were able to witness the personal training. Same for Ueshiba in the time spent with Takeda Sensei in Hokkaido. I wonder how, without that live in, bath, take care of experience, you would pick those personal training regimes up.
Well, the problem with kokyu/ki practice is that you can't see it very well, if at all. Take Fune-Kogi Undo... that's a fairly obvious kokyu-skills drill when done correctly, but how is it done in most dojo's? I'd be very interested to see O-Sensei's training drills and I've also heard they were pretty extensive, in terms of his private solo practice.

However, the one thing to remember is that the core principles of all the kokyu/ki solo practices is going to be the same. For instance, there's a great book called "Ancient Way to Keep Fit" which shows a number of ancient qigongs/neigongs. A confusingly diverse number of them. However, once you understand the core principles, all of those varying exercise routines simply become decipherable offshoots of the core principles.... even the one where a guy lies in a bed in the same position for 12 supposedly different postures. The point being that it's possible to get a keen insight into what areas Ueshiba focused on, if we knew what his private exercises were, but the general principles are sufficient keys to the door, if we don't have his exact exercises.

Another transmission question to ask might be one that focuses on the early exercises that Tohei taught. At initial time around when he was Chief Instructor to when he was starting Shin ShinToitsu Aikido, he would have undoubtedly used a number of Ueshiba's exercises, if he knew them. We already have some indication of him doing this, as a matter of fact. So perhaps a dual line of research by asking Ueshiba Kisshomaru and by asking some of the early Shin Shin Toitsu guys?

Just a thought.

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:13 AM   #2
ChrisMoses
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Another transmission question to ask might be one that focuses on the early exercises that Tohei taught. At initial time around when he was Chief Instructor to when he was starting Shin ShinToitsu Aikido, he would have undoubtedly used a number of Ueshiba's exercises, if he knew them.
I was under the impression that these exercises were based more on the teachings of Tempu Nakamura than of Osensei. Sort of Tohei's own quest to find some understanding in how OSensei did what he did than a continuation of what he had specifically been taught by him. Anyone?

Chris Moses
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:24 AM   #3
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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I was under the impression that these exercises were based more on the teachings of Tempu Nakamura than of Osensei. Sort of Tohei's own quest to find some understanding in how OSensei did what he did than a continuation of what he had specifically been taught by him. Anyone?
Well, Tohei got his baseline information from Nakamura, but the exercises for Aikido that Tohei began to teach were based around Aikido practice... and most of those came from Ueshiba because Tohei was Ueshiba's chief Aikido instructor, not a Tempukai instructor.

We know at least one of the Misogi/ki drills that Tohei published was actually a borrow of one of Ueshiba's drills. What I'm suggesting is that Tohei probably used more of Ueshiba's kokyu/ki drills when he first started teaching these things. He could not have been teaching Nakamura stuff in Ueshiba's dojo or to Ueshiba's students. We should try to inventory those early drills.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:36 AM   #4
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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He could not have been teaching Nakamura stuff in Ueshiba's dojo or to Ueshiba's students. We should try to inventory those early drills.
Again, that's why I thought he was teaching them outside of normal classes in a sort of kenkyukai format. This format continues in most Ki Society dojos that I've visited, separate Ki classes and Aikido classes. I do realize that Tohei (for whatever reason) seemed to downplay how much of what he was doing came from Ueshiba, but it would seem to me that more lines of the Aikikai would continue these drills if their origin had been OSensei rather than Tohei. Further, the period where Tohei was most influential was after the war when OSensei had retired and left the Chief Instructor responsibilities to Tohei. So it's not like he would have been teaching this stuff while OSensei was watching, he was a long way away in places like Iwama or Shingu.

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Old 01-24-2008, 10:06 AM   #5
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
I think he exposed a little of his praying routines in a text titled Accord with the totality of the Universe (Aikidojournal aritcle). And Hikitsuchi sensei definitely stated that chinkonkishin no ho (http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~mckellar/aiki/1999/0.html ) was transmitted to him by O Sensei and was a daily practice of his.
Great source. It may be interesting to compare among readers here which portions (if any) they do as a part of their practice.

As to the quoted source I will excerpt the synopsis here for that purpose (for more detail go to Ludwig's link, and thanks to the translators, Ward Rafferty and assistants.)

# 1. (not titled) but seems to describe what we have been told to call chi no kokyu and ten no kokyu.
#2. Shinkokyu
#3. Torifune (Left)
#4 Furitama (with what seems to be an intent to focus on TEN no kokyu)
#5 Torifune (Right)
#6 Furitama(with what seems to be an intent to focus on CHI no kokyu)
#7 Torifune (left)
#8 Furitama (we focus on the "center" which happens to = Minakanushi no kami)
#9 repeat #1 (ten/chi no kokyu)

When I began in Aikido in 1984/1985, I recall Dennis Hooker was teaching us the movements of 1-9, in sequences, although I did not remember (or at the time failed to perceive the fact of) them being in a defined sequence. I know we did the basic thigns decribed at various times and in conjunction with one another. That was where I learned them. We often did sequences in smaller parts than that shown nor did single parts in isolation. We did not (and do not) do a lot of the claps and very few kotodama, other than "Eii" and "Sa" (sometimes Eii/Ho if I remember correctly) while doing torifune, though now it ispretty much exclusively "Eii/Sa," at least when we do it.

While I was wandering the world, Frank Calhoun continued the above practice in those variations in the dojo here after Hooker went south, and Calhoun Sensei still does and encourages other instructors under him to do so. And we continue it today as a regular practice, particularly the individual exercises in isolation or as correctives (although not in every practice). In conjunction we also do a number of the other kokyu undo. We think we also did a form of what (for lack of a better word) I'll describe as a ten-chi sort of shikko squat and rise, (which I may have picked up elsewhere than with Hooker Sensei, but I cannot really recall now), but I am the only one who really does that the same way these days and others do something similar but not quite the same as I learned it

We are somewhat provincial geographically, and not large, but we keep it up. We (the regular instructors) do routinely try relate the principles of those movements to the errors we see in practice (as well as our own when we catch them). We often do the the movements to which those errors relate as correctives -- which, not surprisingly, tends to correct most of the errors.

Go figure.

I wonder what the experience of others is in this light.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-24-2008 at 10:18 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:21 AM   #6
Fred Little
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Again, that's why I thought he was teaching them outside of normal classes in a sort of kenkyukai format. This format continues in most Ki Society dojos that I've visited, separate Ki classes and Aikido classes.
Christian,

My understanding is that the formal division of Tohei's blocks of instruction into "aikido" and "ki development" began when he was Aikikai Hombu Chief Instructor.

If I have this right, a number of Hombu Instructors were concerned that the classes he was teaching (particularly at locations outside the Aikikai) fostered a misimpression of what "aikido training" entailed, precisely because of his emphasis on these exercises.

Packaging them as a discrete block of "ki development training" was (initially at any rate) a way of making the objections moot, because it enabled him to say something to the effect of: "No, how could these classes give anyone a misimpression of what aikido training is when I call them "ki development," teach them as "ki development," and don't call them "aikido?"

Why the exercises were retained and delivered in the particular format used in Ki no Kenkyukai is obviously a much broader question.

Best,

FL
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:42 AM   #7
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

Most of the aspects in the recent posts would still be, IMO, just part of the visible ritual fragments which would be more or less "general training". There's obviously a lot of training for Ueshiba, Tohei, and others that went on, on the side. Those unknown things would be the more interesting stuff. Suburi and other weapons practice has been mentioned (yari, jo, bo, etc.). That would be critical.

I can see in a couple of things that Tohei demo's that he obviously did some sort of side exercises to strengthen those aspects... but I've never heard anyone mention Tohei's side-training exercises. Same is true of Ueshiba's "favorite exercises". That would be a valuable part of the "transmission" to know.

FWIW

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Old 01-24-2008, 10:53 AM   #8
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Great source. It may be interesting to compare among readers here which portions (if any) they do as a part of their practice.

As to the quoted source I will excerpt the synopsis here for that purpose (for more detail go to Ludwig's link, and thanks to the translators, Ward Rafferty and assistants.)
Erick:

While it is a useful resource, some cautions should be noted with the text itself. Additionally, beyond those you note, there are some other comparisons that should be made as well:

1) With the same set of exercises as taught at Tsubaki Jinja

2) With the instructional photospread with instructions that Hikitsuchi did for a Japanese magazine ( I don't have my copy handy or I'd provide the reference) in the late Seventies or early Eighties.

3) With practice texts from the groups who derive their practice directly from Bonji Katsuwara

4) With Abe Seiseki's teachings on this matter, both published and unpublished.

In the past, I have gone over Rafferty's text with several different individuals who studied with Hikitsuchi in earlier years. Each has noted what they considered significant divergences between his presentation and what they clearly remembered being taught, and their memories matched up with one another much more closely than with his text. It is also clear that significant portions of this "translation" are not direct translations of Hikitsuchi's practice instructions, but are the translator's autocommentary and associations with his own prior religio/spiritual experience, some of which represent clear misunderstandings at best.

This last is a problem that is not unique to this text. When I was studying with Professor Ryuichi Abe, he used Michael Saso's "Tantric Art & Meditation: The Tendai Tradition" as a cautionary example of just this sort of problem, a problem which has been compounded by other authors drawing on Saso's work, in connection with both Tendai Buddhism and aikido.

There are also multiple problems of appropriate introduction to/initiation in/ritual binding of these practices that go to the pragmatic points Mike Sigman references, as well as a host of other key instructions that don't appear in any publicly available text on these practices.

Best,

Fred Little
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:18 PM   #9
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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While it is a useful resource, some cautions should be noted ... [and] some other comparisons that should be made as well... ... problems of appropriate introduction to/initiation in/ritual binding of these practices that go to the pragmatic points
Actually the text was intended to be a jumping off point. I don't think that furitama, ten/chi no kokyu exercises can be usefully written down so as to be comprehensible unless you have already done them.

My point was to elicit discussion of actual practices of or in relation to the things gnerally described, which was why I synopsized the points and specifically the seemingly similar elements to our established practices. (Note: I did not address and have never done much of what is described from item 10 on.)

My question, directed more generally, is what of these, or things like these, are those here actually doing, or not, and why or why not ( i.e. how did you come to do them) and how do they differ from what IS described or what those here who respond may also describe, if they do?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:07 AM   #10
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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My question, directed more generally, is what of these, or things like these, are those here actually doing, or not, and why or why not ( i.e. how did you come to do them) and how do they differ from what IS described or what those here who respond may also describe, if they do?
That sounds like a good poll question/new thread starter for the front page....

Best,
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:39 AM   #11
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Christian,

My understanding is that the formal division of Tohei's blocks of instruction into "aikido" and "ki development" began when he was Aikikai Hombu Chief Instructor.

If I have this right, a number of Hombu Instructors were concerned that the classes he was teaching (particularly at locations outside the Aikikai) fostered a misimpression of what "aikido training" entailed, precisely because of his emphasis on these exercises.
That's my understanding as well. I find it hard to imagine any exercise that had been initially taught by OSensei would be considered by any other of his uchideshi as outside the realm of "Aikido training". Kurita Minouru (uchideshi to Osensei, who left with Tohei after his death, only to leave that and go independant) said/implied (so hard to tell when what's being translated for you is subtle Japanese) that the Ki exercises were from Tohei's own study and quest for understanding about how OSensei actually could do all the things he could. Now I'm not saying that OSensei didn't do these things, or consider them important, but I don't think he was the source for them WRT Tohei or the Ki Society groups. Much like today it seems that serious students were exploring other paths for understanding. I think that's frankly always been the case, regardless of the art.

Chris Moses
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:49 AM   #12
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Actually the text was intended to be a jumping off point. I don't think that furitama, ten/chi no kokyu exercises can be usefully written down so as to be comprehensible unless you have already done them.

My question, directed more generally, is what of these, or things like these, are those here actually doing, or not, and why or why not ( i.e. how did you come to do them) and how do they differ from what IS described or what those here who respond may also describe, if they do?
Perhaps a better question is not who knows *about* these things or is supposedly doing these things or things like these-but rather who is displaying real skills wrought from them or things like them? Judging from hands-on and from the testimony of students who have themselves compared notes between those in Aikido who have "said" they know and can do- some right here on Aikiweb- and those who actually *can* do -there appears to be a serious difference.

At what point does chronological placement and pedagogy lead to nothing more but misleading intellectual miasma. Some may not be satisfied with an academic search, or knowing *about* them. They may be looking to gain real skills from folks who can readily make use of the knowledge outside of an abstract. I've read long descriptive details from folks who had all the pieces just right. And even longer, agonizing, mechanical descriptions from men who it turns out- didn't have a clue. Then I've met others who were disinterested in long discussions but could deliver and hands-on could show you what they were doing on the inside.
Which leads back to the five famous words…"It has to be felt."
Then, it has to be trained and worked on.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 01-25-2008, 09:26 AM   #13
Mike Sigman
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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That's my understanding as well. I find it hard to imagine any exercise that had been initially taught by OSensei would be considered by any other of his uchideshi as outside the realm of "Aikido training". Kurita Minouru (uchideshi to Osensei, who left with Tohei after his death, only to leave that and go independant) said/implied (so hard to tell when what's being translated for you is subtle Japanese) that the Ki exercises were from Tohei's own study and quest for understanding about how OSensei actually could do all the things he could. Now I'm not saying that OSensei didn't do these things, or consider them important, but I don't think he was the source for them WRT Tohei or the Ki Society groups. Much like today it seems that serious students were exploring other paths for understanding. I think that's frankly always been the case, regardless of the art.
Tohei did indeed start a lot of the Ki-exercises stuff while he was under the aegis of Hombu Dojo. The fact that O-Sensei didn't stop him or indicate that Tohei was adding something foreign to Aikido should be a telling point. So in terms of "transmission", Tohei was (at least to a reasonable degree) propagating a core aspect of Aikido, even though technically it would appear to be something peripheral, if someone is just focusing on the "transmission of Aikido by Ueshiba Morihei". So too narrow a focus on the exact ritual and exercises is not warranted, seemingly.

The Ki and Kokyu skills can be done at many levels of ability and sophistication and they can be trained in a number of different ways, as long as someone understands how the development and usage is done. So what happens is that there are essentially two things that need to be watched, in terms of "transmission": the historical development and teachings of Aikido in general; the transmission of the core skills of ki and kokyu.

Because of the different viable approaches to ki/kokyu skills, it's easy for someone not conversant in the skills to tend to see many of the Aikido offshoots (Yoshinkan, Ki-Society, etc.) as being side-branches of the main transmission. In fact, someone like Shioda, Tohei, Inaba, Sunadomari, or others, may be fully within the mainstream idea of the initial transmission, even though it appears that they are off the main development/transmission. It is the eye of the beholder that may be fooled, if the understanding of the ki/kokyu skills is not something he has. Note that I'm leaving open the idea/fact that many of the students of all the varying factions are ignorant of these skills; that doesn't mean the founder of their lineage was bereft of those skills, though.

So to point out the previously-styled steps of Misogi in terms of valid transmission is perhaps being unnecessarily focused in adhering to the proscribed rituals. The actual idea of transmission encompasses training like the Misogi steps, but the core ideas of Ueshiba's Aikido can be fulfilled in a number of other ways, as long as the training and practice result in "aiki", IMO.

Shioda's Aikido (for example in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIowy89IXco&NR=1 ) may look somewhat different from what Ueshiba is doing, but the principles are exactly the same. Tohei's or Sunadomari's Aikido may look widely divergent from each others' or from Shioda's, but the basic principles are the same. Do they adhere to the steps of Misogi as outlined? I doubt it. But it doesn't really matter because the actual "transmission" of Aikido entails certain principles, not rituals.

YMMV

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:06 PM   #14
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Tohei did indeed start a lot of the Ki-exercises stuff while he was under the aegis of Hombu Dojo. The fact that O-Sensei didn't stop him or indicate that Tohei was adding something foreign to Aikido should be a telling point.
Well except for the fact that OSensei wasn't actually at hombu much during that period. You also have to take into account the Japanese tendency to ignore what you don't like rather than smack it down outright. I look at the fact that the head instructor for OSensei's art felt the need to break this stuff out into its own, separate from what was being taught in aikido class. I think that's noteworthy. I'm not saying that OSensei specifically disproved of Tohei's exploration, but I can can imagine that his decision to spin his study off into a separate class time as a way to avoid that conversation ever happening.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
So in terms of "transmission", Tohei was (at least to a reasonable degree) propagating a core aspect of Aikido, even though technically it would appear to be something peripheral, if someone is just focusing on the "transmission of Aikido by Ueshiba Morihei". So too narrow a focus on the exact ritual and exercises is not warranted, seemingly.
True. But I think Aikido is defined by its relationship to OSensei. If one is simply trying to become a better martial artist or budoka then the sources or influences do become irrelevant. However, if one is trying to become specifically a better Aikidoka and intends to preserve and maintain that tradition, then it becomes critical to distinguish what OSensei was doing/intended and what was brought in by other teachers along the way. Aikido is quite frankly the transmission of the teachings of Ueshiba Morihei, there is no more general way to describe it.

/hopefully steering things back toward 'transmission' and 'inheritance' and away from the ever entertaining 'baseline skillset' thread.

Chris Moses
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:09 PM   #15
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Perhaps a better question is not who knows *about* these things or is supposedly doing these things or things like these-but rather who is displaying real skills wrought from them or things like them? Judging from hands-on and from the testimony of students who have themselves compared notes between those in Aikido who have "said" they know and can do- some right here on Aikiweb- and those who actually *can* do -there appears to be a serious difference.

At what point does chronological placement and pedagogy lead to nothing more but misleading intellectual miasma. Some may not be satisfied with an academic search, or knowing *about* them. They may be looking to gain real skills from folks who can readily make use of the knowledge outside of an abstract. I've read long descriptive details from folks who had all the pieces just right. And even longer, agonizing, mechanical descriptions from men who it turns out- didn't have a clue. Then I've met others who were disinterested in long discussions but could deliver and hands-on could show you what they were doing on the inside.
Which leads back to the five famous words…"It has to be felt."
Then, it has to be trained and worked on.
Cheers
Dan
I would like to "feel" and experience what you are talking about here Mr Harden. Do you have a specific training methodology to teach these skills to newbies and develop the same real-time characteristics in them?

So, who here does train in body method skills and not just technique??

Take Care

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Old 01-25-2008, 01:18 PM   #16
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Perhaps a better question is not who knows *about* these things or is supposedly doing these things or things like these-but rather who is displaying real skills wrought from them or things like them? Judging ....
It was not an invitation to indulge in judgments. It is a request to share respective experiences. One should no more judge from a poor articulation of a topic one's competence in its performance, than one should assume that more involved articulation of it is evidence of incompetence. Both positions are the result of a naked prejudice, and result in an invalid judgment.

Actual experience is useful to exchange, and everyone has something to profit from it.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-25-2008, 01:37 PM   #17
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Blake Holtzen wrote: View Post
I would like to "feel" and experience what you are talking about here Mr Harden. Do you have a specific training methodology to teach these skills to newbies and develop the same real-time characteristics in them?

So, who here does train in body method skills and not just technique??

Take Care

-Blake Holtzen
Blake,
Not to sideline you, but just sidetrack you a bit. There are a number of threads under the "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions" forum that will answer your questions.

Or open a new thread in that forum with your questions. As Chris stated, this is getting off-topic.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:11 PM   #18
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
So too narrow a focus on the exact ritual and exercises is not warranted, seemingly.

The Ki and Kokyu skills can be done at many levels of ability and sophistication and they can be trained in a number of different ways, as long as someone understands how the development and usage is done. So what happens is that there are essentially two things that need to be watched, in terms of "transmission": the historical development and teachings of Aikido in general; the transmission of the core skills of ki and kokyu.
... Tohei's or Sunadomari's Aikido may look widely divergent from each others' or from Shioda's, but the basic principles are the same. Do they adhere to the steps of Misogi as outlined? I doubt it. But it doesn't really matter because the actual "transmission" of Aikido entails certain principles, not rituals.
Proof is in the pudding -- and to my mind explains the way that the waza and the kokyu undo (of which the chinkon kishin sequence is a subset, to my mind) have been mutually reinforcing elements of the whole in the way it was handed down to us.

The kokyu undo are not applied but paradigmatic; the waza are applied, but are not per se constrained by the aiki paradigm. For this reason it is quite easy to have waza that looks and feels almost entirely like good aikido doesn't.

Tohei seems to have taken the distinction in principle and applicaiton and broadened it nearly to he point of separation. I have no basis, nor interest in making judgemtns about the effecitveness of that as pedagogy or its wisdom on other grounds or in seeking other purposes.

The waza performed according to the aiki paradigm -- as schematized in the kokyu undo, and the undo performed with an eye to actually being able to perform technique in that manner, together provided a positive reinforcing feedback for each other. Or so I see it, and do see it functioning well in regular practice improvements in our dojo, operative elements of a whole.

I won't pretend speak for Saotome Shihan or his direct students, but for me, having learned in this mode, the feedback mechanism seems from my perspective to be the way he intended to have it taught. It does not appear to me that Saotome has ever stopped developing jhis aikido, nor that he expects ever to stop. The repeated observation of many even very senior students of Saotome in the constant evolution in the details of his kumitachi can perhaps be understood in this way. Such teaching may approach the seemingly arbitrary, increasingly blurring between the "set" forms of waza, but it is a teaching approach precisely echoing the natural evolutionary interactions between genotype and phenotype. It is, whatever the "inheritance" was intended to be, the part of the inheritance that I "got."

From my experience I will say that through this training more and more action becomes progressively compliant to the paradigm of the principles. "Technique" becomes increasingly natural. By this evolving recursion, the errors are progressively left aside, in both application and principle.

That has been my experience of the transmission and emulation that is under discussion, both in teaching and being taught, and seems to conform to the experience of those I train with.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:55 PM   #19
Mike Sigman
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Proof is in the pudding -- and to my mind explains the way that the waza and the kokyu undo (of which the chinkon kishin sequence is a subset, to my mind) have been mutually reinforcing elements of the whole in the way it was handed down to us.
Exactly. Proof is in the pudding, particularly as applied to any valid discussion of what is and what is not a "Transmission, Inheritance, or Emulation". And a quick check (I've said this before) would be that any valid recipient of an Aikido transmission should be able to replicate the simple "ki demonstrations" done by Ueshiba, Tohei, and others. They did them.... anyone with a valid transmission, etc., should be able to do them, too. They are not add-ons to Aikido, but the core of its movement and application. Since not so many people can do those things.... the proof of the pudding, in waza and undo, is established. I.e., it's not complete. Ipso facto.
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Tohei seems to have taken the distinction in principle and applicaton and broadened it nearly to he point of separation. I have no basis, nor interest in making judgements about the effecitveness of that as pedagogy or its wisdom on other grounds or in seeking other purposes.
According to Tohei the raison d'etre for Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido was that Aikido was becoming an external art and had lost its core. At the time, he was the chief instructor for Hombu dojo, so I doubt we can just toss his opinion away.
[[snip]]

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That has been my experience of the transmission and emulation that is under discussion, both in teaching and being taught, and seems to conform to the experience of those I train with.
Well, the proof is in the pudding.

I don't want to sidetrack the thread into another "no kokyu; no Aikido" discussion, though. My point is that an academic development of the branches and relationships in the "transmission" of Aikido is probably going to have to contain a focused treatment of the basic "ki" that makes the "aiki" in Aikido. At least that seems logical to me. I.e., as irritating as the subject can become to some people, it's unavoidably the core of Aikido *and* its transmission... it can't be dispatched or covered with a few simple rituals (or even a 10-point one).

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-25-2008, 05:14 PM   #20
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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My point is that an academic development of the branches and relationships in the "transmission" of Aikido is probably going to have to contain a focused treatment of the basic "ki" that makes the "aiki" in Aikido. At least that seems logical to me. ... it can't be dispatched or covered with a few simple rituals (or even a 10-point one).
I tend to agree, but I was not of the opinion that what Hikitsuchi reportedly related as O Sensei's personal practice was merely "ritual." I had thought there was some attribution as to its effectiveness in more than merely spiritual terms. I had thought that was what we might discuss in more concrete exposition of the varieties of related practices now.
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... any valid discussion of what is and what is not a "Transmission, Inheritance, or Emulation" ... would be that any valid recipient of an Aikido transmission should be able to replicate the simple "ki demonstrations" done by Ueshiba, Tohei, and others. They did them.... anyone with a valid transmission, etc., should be able to do them, too.
And I agree this should not evolve/devolve into another discussion -- the shape of which we too well understand. So. Let me get this straight. Unless and until one duplicates any arbitrary feat of Ueshiba, Tohei etc. -- there is no validity to the transmission of the principles or the practices which are meant to engender it? Do I have the bar you are setting up placed at the height your statement seems to intend? Admirable as that is in terms of achievment, I do not think it can be a measure of the relative integrity of the transmission, which must surely have something greater than merely a binary, all-or-none distribution.

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They are not add-ons ... waza and undo, is established. I.e., it's not complete. Ipso facto.
Et nihil demonstrandum. "They." The "they" presently under discussion is the Chinkon kishin form of the kokyu undo as (however debatably or not), reportedly related by Hikitsuchi as to O Sensei's "personal practice" It is this to which I had been led to believe that so much stock was held among you who hold that there is endemic "lost knowledge" within all mainstream Aikido. I do not mean to be at all derogatory, but merely to say as I said responding to your Latin, nothing is proved. If you mean some other "they" then please specify what you do mean.

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According to Tohei the raison d'etre for Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido was that Aikido was becoming an external art and had lost its core. At the time, he was the chief instructor for Hombu dojo, so I doubt we can just toss his opinion away.
"Shihan No-trump" is never a useful exercise. Saotome, you will note, also left; Saito placed himself at a certain remove, in his own way. Those lineages are in my realm of stated experience.

The discussion would be potentially be very fruitful if we related our own actual periods of substantial experience, and extended observation and objective practice rather than incidental or isolated perception, assumption or third hand opinion.

The question is really more about the present state of the inheritance, and the assumptions traveled on are, quite frankly, just way too broad, on far too little a body of evidence, and what evidence there is, is not established as being particularly representative. More evidence, meaning more actual statements of personal experience in their own practice, rather than opinions about the relative place of such experience, is needed. I've given some of mine, any other takers?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-25-2008, 05:36 PM   #21
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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Let me get this straight. Unless and until one duplicates any arbitrary feat of Ueshiba, Tohei etc. -- there is no validity to the transmission of the principles or the practices which are meant to engender it?
What "arbitrary feat"? I was very specific about which basics I was talking about. Don't try to trivialize the point. If you want to go off into some sort of quibble about whether ki skills are "arbitrary" and not related to the transmission of Aikido, I'm not going to go there.
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The "they" presently under discussion is the Chinkon kishin form of the kokyu undo as (however debatably or not), reportedly related by Hikitsuchi as to O Sensei's "personal practice" It is this to which I had been led to believe that so much stock was held among you who hold that there is endemic "lost knowledge" within all mainstream Aikido.
I was pretty clear. Those things are part of the whole set of skills, but they are not the skills. Those procedures are just one approach (which is what I said in my previous post, if you'll read it). I'm not going to go in circles and repeat that that particular approach is fine, but it's not the only way to acquire the core skills... and the core skills are more important than a singular approach to them. The point under discussion is the transmission of Aikido which itself is dependent upon some basic skills. As you said, the proof is in the pudding... and the simplist example of that proof would be exactly what I said: demonstrating basic ki/kokyu skills, just like Ueshiba did. And the transmission we're discussing is unavoidably from the skills of Ueshiba.

So my point is essentially the same point that Dan Harden is making about skills, in that a "transmission" or "inheritance" is more than relationships in any martial art. If not, then anyone can draw lines and tell stories about their "lineage" and claim "transmission". Lineage and transmission are not the same things.... or every poorly-performing student in every art becomes an "inheritor" by default rather than by some minimal performance standard.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-25-2008, 09:06 PM   #22
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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So my point is essentially the same point that Dan Harden is making about skills, in that a "transmission" or "inheritance" is more than relationships in any martial art. If not, then anyone can draw lines and tell stories about their "lineage" and claim "transmission". Lineage and transmission are not the same things.... or every poorly-performing student in every art becomes an "inheritor" by default rather than by some minimal performance standard.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
It's kind of funny that Ueshiba let people push on him from a myriad of ways. And, Tohei emulated Ueshiba in that very same aspect. Although Tohei came to such skill via a different route, he saw something worthwhile in them because, er, well, Ueshiba did it. Tomiki let people push on him. I'm of an understanding that Shioda demonstrated such skill, too.

Seems kind of funny, don't you think. Three top students following their teacher in what he did. Three top students finding value in a sort of exercise to test ... what? What exactly are they testing when these four had people push on them? And why is it that the following generation of students can't replicate these tests?

Why is it that something Ueshiba did *ALL* the time has been relegated to useless trivia? People hang on translated doka like they were gold. Why? Because anyone and his brother can pick up those words and find *some* kind of meaning in them. Doesn't matter who or how long the study. But, no one can survive the push tests unless they know what they're doing. And I mean having judoka, sumo, etc come to push. People who do not believe it can be done. No, instead, it is relegated to useless trivia because somewhere down the line, that body of knowledge never got transmitted completely.

The Inheritance that was of Ueshiba, coming from Takeda, should have had some transmission. And in a way, it did. For Tomiki, Tohei, Shioda, etc had Ueshiba's skills to some degree. And make no mistake about it, if you can't reproduce these skills, then you're only emulating a body of knowledge.

The bell has cracked and the echo does not resound clearly any more in most Aikido. We look to our teachers who look to their teachers who look back to find they can't gain any more answers for those before them have already gone. And I find that this core body of knowledge is *the* basis for Ueshiba's Inheritance. Without them, there is no Inheritance, there is only hollow Emulation.

There is no being the bridge between Heaven and Earth without the knowledge of how to *be* amidst those pushes. That knowledge is within structure and within spirit.

Or did no one ever think about Ueshiba not moving against Tenryu? Did everyone just wait for it to be over and get to the real stuff -- the techniques? You know, the techniques that they kept asking Ueshiba to repeat and he said they were all the same. Does everyone now just blow it off because it's some silly game? Ever think just what was happening for Ueshiba to stop Tenryu? Ueshiba is showing in plain sight. Not only that, he states it openly. I know the secret of aiki. You can't get any more direct than that.

The Transmission isn't lost, just not common knowledge. The Inheritance hasn't been lost, just cracked and not clear to most. And Emulation as being equal or excelling others isn't lost, just a harder road than most want to travel.

Mark
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:48 PM   #23
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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What "arbitrary feat"? I was very specific about which basics I was talking about. Don't try to trivialize the point. If you want to go off into some sort of quibble about whether ki skills are "arbitrary" and not related to the transmission of Aikido, I'm not going to go there. ... ... and the simplist example of that proof would be exactly what I said: demonstrating basic ki/kokyu skills, just like Ueshiba did. ...that a "transmission" or "inheritance" is more than relationships in any martial art. If not, then anyone can draw lines and tell stories about their "lineage" and claim "transmission".
You could not have more thoroughly missed my point. "Arbitrary" as in "picking a feat" on the basis of being impressed by its appearance instead of a principled understanding of what it actually represents, which may be done by something not nearly so theatrical. Genealogy was not the point either.

It was a narrow point of the chinkon kishin and its relation to kokyu undo and the similarities or differences in its evolution/adaptation in various places. As to the rest, we've proved elsewhere we cannot usefully debate that, for three reasons lacking of common framework as to :

1) your premise of a loss as systemic as you maintain,
2) the conclusions you draw from that premise, nor
3) the prescription you maintain is necessary

This is a step to that common basis in fact for that discussion you wish to have. Without it or something like it, no one not already in agreement with you will usefully engage it.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-26-2008, 08:07 AM   #24
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

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It was a narrow point of the chinkon kishin and its relation to kokyu undo and the similarities or differences in its evolution/adaptation in various places.
I've mentioned several times before that the general framework of chinkon kishin is not unusual, even in China. I understand what they're doing, but my observation is that (a.) you can do the same things in different ways that are just as effective and (b.) those exercises actually only represent a small part of a complete solo regimen. In other words.... again.... they're not necessary as a fixed milepost in terms of a given "transmission". Some of the other older-generation students could easily accomplish the same types of body training in ways that *look* different, so chinkon kishin is not a great place to hang one's hat.

If you think about it, it can be argued that Ueshiba has his own transmission and lineage because his set of ritual exercises looks quite different from Takeda Sokaku's. My immediate comment would be that regardless of the difference in exercises (let's say, for example, that Takeda did not do Chinkon Kishin), Ueshiba's training regimen would still have to be an effective approach to ki/kokyu development because that's a logical necessity for "aiki". The point being that if you look at the training methodology of Takeda and Ueshiba you might think that it is a different transmission, but it's not since the core ki/kokyu skills are still there, no matter the training methodology.
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This is a step to that common basis in fact for that discussion you wish to have. Without it or something like it, no one not already in agreement with you will usefully engage it.
I don't wish to have any particular discussion except to point out how ultimately I'd like to know all I could about observed aspects of O-Sensei's private training regimen.

At the same time, I'd note that the question of who got what transmission when is going to be difficult. Take your own case, for instance. Twice in this thread (and in many previous conversations) you've referenced Saotome Sensei and implied that your learning and teaching methodology was part of a full transmission in an acceptable mode (part of the general thrust of Mr. Goldsbury's thesis). Yet, as has been noted before, your implication is open to this question: if Ikeda Sensei is diligently and honestly (openly) researching some of the basics of these skills via Ushiro Sensei, then your implication is that your knowledge is beyond Ikeda Sensei's. I.e., there is a valid question to your claims of transmission because I've never heard anyone say that your ki/kokyu skills are beyond Ikeda Sensei's. See the problem with that line of thought?

It's very tricky to objectively approach the idea of transmission in Aikido (and a number of other arts). Shioda Kancho's stuff appears superficially different. Is it different from the quintessential idea of Ueshiba's Aikido? I don't think so at all. Tohei? Same thing. And many others. In many cases these are just variations on a theme, these different teachers, yet in other cases, there are teachers who simply don't have that core idea/skills, so the idea of "transmission" becomes moot.

Use Seisaki Abe as an example. He publicly states that his Misogi exercises came from a different source than Ueshiba's .... what is the determining factor we can use to say that Abe has a valid "transmission" or not? Maybe that's what should be defined first. I'm positing essentially the same thing Dan is..... before we can say somebody is part of a legitimate line of professional essay-writers, it's necessary for them to have a proficiency in the alphabet, or all bets or off.

YMMV

Mike Sigman

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Old 01-26-2008, 06:03 PM   #25
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

I think this is a very good and fruitful discussion, and one that I was not expecting when I wrote this particular column.

I purposely used three abstract nouns in the general title of the series, because there is considerable doubt as to what these actually mean, in the context of aikido. They are simply a peg on which to hang the preliminaries of an investigation.

Another general peg on which the series hangs is the thesis that Kisshomaru Ueshiba believed that it was his filial duty to disseminate a distinct art, called aikido.

However, whether Morihei Ueshiba saw things in quite the same terms is moot and a similar question could be asked of Sokaku Takeda, concerning his relationship with Ueshiba. Clearly, Morihei Ueshiba trained in Daito-ryu and the interesting issue at the level of waza is the degree to which these were changed by both Morihei himself and Kisshomaru.

Lurking behind the waza is the much more shadowy world of personal training and especially 'internal' training. It is clear that Takeda did this, as did his deshi including Ueshiba, but it is less clear to what extent we can talk of transmission and inheritance here. Morihei Ueshiba had been doing this training well before he met Sokaku Takeda at Engaru, but we do not really know how he conceptualized this at the time, even to himself. We know more about the period after he met Deguchi and Kisshomaru somewhere states that his waza became more powerful as a result of meeting Deguchi. After he met Deguchi, Ueshiba began to read works like Reikai Monogatari and thus found a vehicle to express (to himself as much as to others) what he was doing.

The reason why World War II is so important for aikido is that the old Oomoto formulas were swept away and it is highly likely that the training was also sanitized. Not completely done away with, however, but the main question about Kisshomaru and his associates at the postwar Hombu is how much of the baby was thrown out with the bath water.

Best wishes to all,

P A Goldsbury
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