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  #26  
Old 06-13-2008, 03:24 PM
Peter A Goldsbury AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
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Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

INTERLUDE
II: Budo and Bushido, Kami and Kokutai:
Aikido, Religion & Nationalism


The last column presented a very general view of the impact of World War II on aikido, particularly as it affected the transition from Morihei...
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:48 PM   #25
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Peter, thank you so much for this article... You have done us all a major service.
As usual.

Yes, thanks from me, too. I appreciate rigor in thought and writing. And footnotes?! In an aikido paper! Who'da thunkit?

I'm amazed that more effort hasn't been made researching the context in which Osensei operated. Stevens and others are just a aiki-vacuums. Thank you.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 06-18-2008, 03:53 PM   #26
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Quote:
PAG wrote:
... the present situation in Japan, ... You would have: (1) a separate and self-contained aikido organization for the entire US military, with its own shihans and distinctive ways of training; (2) a separate and self-contained aikido organization for the US Senate and House of Representatives, again, with shihans and distinctive ways of training; (3) a separate and self-contained organization for the huge industrial corporations, again with its own shihans and distinctive ways of training; (4) a separate and self-contained organization for students of all the major US universities, again with its own shihans and distinctive ways of training.
So cultural pattern repeats itself -- the shugo become daimyo. A thousand years is too short a time for a nation to change its basic forms of spontaneous social organization.

This would not happen in the U.S. because our patterns of organization are much different. Patterns such as these tend to very be durable aspects of culture, surviving tremendous physical and socio-economic dislocations, and are far deeper than mere politics. In Hofstede's trope, I would view these as cultural "firmware." I would not be terribly surprised to find that as a theme in his project trying to extend Jungian psychological typology into the sociological dimension of national cultures.

If such patterns are that durable, though, and the daimyo are staking their provinces, the question is -- are the sengoku far behind? And if so, is Hombu now tending to imitate the "imperial" aloofness as a matter of retaining its paramount position, at the expense of real influence. And if so, is this creating another vacuum in that role, which, in their pattern, must be filled for all the parts to function, and thus begging for the functional repeat of the bakufu in miniature?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:23 AM   #27
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

A feel for aikido in Japan can be got from watching the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration. I have occasionally told Doshu that it is too long, with too many people demonstrating, but it is easy to see why my words always fall on very deaf ears.

The latest issue of the Aikido Shimbun gives the number of participants as 7,500 (more than the entire aikido population of some countries), with an audience of 10,000 spectators. So just think of how many times ikkyou was performed during the afternoon. The Nippon Budokan is a very large hall and there are five sets of tatami laid out, the wooden borders being in different colors, so that one can more easily work out who is demonstrating where. The demonstrations are preceded by speeches, all with a common theme of how such a huge gathering--with foreigners as well--is overwhelming evidence of the obvious physical and spiritual 'good' that aikido does throughout the world, but especially in Japan.

To someone who knows nothing about aikido, the impression is of a vast military operation, like a military tattoo, with tens, hundreds of people wearing strange uniforms and armed with wooden weapons running around the hall in strictly disciplined lines. These people are directed by a vast group of staff, also in uniform (strictly white tops and black bottoms), to the sound of a huge taiko drum, which booms out at the beginning and end of each set of demonstrations.

The impression, then, is of a spectacle, rather than a demonstration, for no one really bothers very much about whether what is shown is good aikido. Of course, it is intended to be, and the majority of participants probably rigorously choreograph their moves. Some do not, however, for good or ill--and it shows. The program is so arranged that demonstrations of huge groups are interspersed with those of shihan, one or two on each set of tatami, or one in the center tatami, if the person demonstrating is someone like Hiroshi Tada, or Doshu. The huge groups come on and go off very briskly, but senior people come on in a distinctive style, with something of a 'samurai' walk, followed by lines of ukes bearing weapons.

As I stated in an earlier post, there is a pamphlet giving a rough breakdown of the various groups, with an incredibly complicated organizational chart. So, as of May last year, there were 1550 local dojos, including large companies and government organizations (400 locations). A separate grouping is the Self-Defence Forces, with 50 locations, and the All-Japan Student Federation, with 124 colleges, organized in various geographical sub-groups, but with 180 schools and colleges which are outside these sub-groups. Then there are all the overseas groups (in 90 countries).

Of course, not all groups participate in the annual demonstration, but many do--and make a point of doing so. There is usually a smattering of foreign participants from overseas, who are usually put together in one large 'gaijin' demonstration, plus those very few people like myself, who are foreign residents and demonstrate with the Japanese groups. I should probably attend, but do not often do so.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:26 AM   #28
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Again Mr. Goldsbury,
your efforts are always much appreciated and user friendly.

Asim
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:50 PM   #29
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Prof. Goldsbury,

What do you think the Aikikai is intending by developing close relations with the SDF and various right-wing groups/people? Is this what is thought to be the true nature of Aikido in Japan? Or perhaps some kind of tangible benefit is sought?

Thank you,
Charles
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Old 06-21-2008, 04:14 AM   #30
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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Prof. Goldsbury,

What do you think the Aikikai is intending by developing close relations with the SDF and various right-wing groups/people? Is this what is thought to be the true nature of Aikido in Japan? Or perhaps some kind of tangible benefit is sought?

Thank you,
Charles
Hello Charles,

Thank you for the mail. I intend to discuss this in more detail in later columns of TIE. However, I think the reference to Karel van Wolferen in the latest column is quite important. It is reasonable that an organization like the Aikikai would have links with many segments in Japanese society, rather than just one.

However, rather than any idea of specific intentions, I think the links that the Aikikai has with various groups in Japan are an outgrowth of wartime conditions and also of the need to restart the art, virtually from nothing, so to speak. The book by Max Hastings that I am reading paints a very clear picture of a totally demoralized nation in 1945, and makes much more vivid the rather casual remarks made by Kisshomaru Ueshiba in his own autobiography. Kisshomaru's preservation of the Hombu Dojo, for example, is a much more staggering achievement than he has been given credit for. The fire-bombing of Tokyo on March 9 1945 and afterwards caused more damage to life and property than the atomic-bombing of Hiroshima, but it is the latter event that has set the framework of postwar thinking in Japan on peace issues. In addition, the books of Takemae and Dower, cited in TIE 6 make clear just how much, and how little, changed after Japan's surrender.

I think the efforts of Kisshomaru to restart the art after the war deserve much closer study than they have been given. The study will also involve many issues that are being debated, such as the nature of aikido and of core waza and principles.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 06-23-2008, 02:04 AM   #31
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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I was stunned at a recent All-Japan demonstration. Doshu's son, Mitsuteru, due to become the 4th Aikido Doshu, made his debut at the demonstration. Where? As a member of the military demonstration, given by the self-defence forces. To me, sitting in the audience, it was hugely symbolic--in a very negative sense, but I suspect that I was the only person at the demonstration to see this.
Hello Professor,

I didn't notice this, but as you said it is a long demonstration.

I only saw Mitsuteru sensei in the hombu instructor demos and as uke for his father. He only appears in the programme in section 19 under "Hombu Shidoin" on page 8 (Page 4 of the PDF). Are you saying you saw him make another unofficial appearance in the Defence Agency Rengokai embu? The video has already appeared on Youtube but the quality isn't sufficient for me to make him out.

Regards

Carl
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:54 AM   #32
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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Hello Professor,

I didn't notice this, but as you said it is a long demonstration.

I only saw Mitsuteru sensei in the hombu instructor demos and as uke for his father. He only appears in the programme in section 19 under "Hombu Shidoin" on page 8 (Page 4 of the PDF). Are you saying you saw him make another unofficial appearance in the Defence Agency Rengokai embu? The video has already appeared on Youtube but the quality isn't sufficient for me to make him out.

Regards

Carl
Hello Carl,

Hiroshima is quite a long way from Tokyo and I do not attend the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration very often. When I saw Mitsuteru Ueshiba at the demonstration, he was a high school student and his father was still alive.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:15 AM   #33
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

This column and the follow up contributions have been fascinating.

I'd like to make a general comment.

It is my understanding that the initial industrialization of Japan was was introduced from above - for political reasons rather than economic ones - to counter the perceived threat of imperialism in the West. Japan imitated the various foreign industrial models at least in terms of results if not methods.

In the post-war era Japan's emulation of foreign modernization continued successfully, but the unintended consequence of these achievements has been rampant 'Westernization'. I believe that many Japanese remain profoundly insecure about what 'Westernization' has cost them. Having lived in Japan since 1995 I notice the many institutes, magazines, associations etc. that are entirely devoted to understanding what it means to be Japanese. The existence and influence of the pseudoscience of Nihonjinron testifies to this; it devotes itself to issues of Japanese national and cultural identity.

Moriteru Ueshiba has written that: "In the traumatic aftermath of World War II, Kisshomaru believed that the remarkable art of aikido - established by his father Morihei and based on the best aspects of traditional Japanese culture - could be a positive contribution to the creation of a new society." [from the preface in Art of Aikido, Principles and Essential Techniques, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba]

That was then but what about now? Has the focus now shifted to preserving and developing cultural nationalism in the spirit of Nihonjinron. Perhaps, Professor Goldsbury, you will be touching on this area in a future column?
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:01 AM   #34
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Mr Lewis,

This column was an extended sequel to the previous one, which sketched the general impact of World War II on aikido. It is an interesting question to what extent the SCAP occupation succeeded in transforming Japan in America's own image, as the occupiers appear to have wished. Clearly it succeeded to a significant degree, as Eiji Takemae argued, otherwise we would not need the black sound trucks cruising the streets telling us all what Japan has lost.

The 'myth of Japanese uniqueness' has a special focus here in Hiroshima (though Nagasaki takes the shine off, just a little), since being the first atomic-bombed city in the world does indeed make the city unique. It is what happens next that is the problem, at least for me, for the city government uses this fact as the basis for an all-encompassing ideology that is just as tempting as Irokawa's 'black box'.

Yes, indeed. I will touch on this issue of cultural nationalism in a future columns, for the general question of aikido in Japan vs. aikido abroad needs a thorough examination.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:30 PM   #35
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Ehh... Peter, did I miss something or isn't Mitsuteru's father still alive?

/J

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Carl,

Hiroshima is quite a long way from Tokyo and I do not attend the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration very often. When I saw Mitsuteru Ueshiba at the demonstration, he was a high school student and his father was still alive.

Jakob Blomquist
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:20 PM   #36
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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Ehh... Peter, did I miss something or isn't Mitsuteru's father still alive?

/J
Ooops. I meant this grandfather.

PAG

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Old 06-23-2008, 06:39 PM   #37
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hiroshima is quite a long way from Tokyo and I do not attend the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration very often. When I saw Mitsuteru Ueshiba at the demonstration, he was a high school student and his father was still alive.
Good morning Professor

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'm a lot newer to Japan than your good self, so by "recent all-Japan Aikido demonstration," I assumed you meant the one last month, not one some years ago. Sorry to pick apart your words, but if Mitsuteru sensei was a high school kid when he first took part, it would have been almost ten years previous (he is in his later twenties now). I realise you meant his grandfather was alive at the time. Also, regarding this appearance, it seems to me that appearing as a high school kid, as a student, without a hakama in a group demo is not an official debut. This year, appearing on the centre mats in a kojin embu, had more of that tone (although he may have appeared alone in previous demonstrations for all I know).

By the way, having read many of your posts here on Aikiweb, I was curious to see if you would make an appearance in one of the Hiroshima Embus at the All Japan this year.

Carl
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:27 PM   #38
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Good Morning to you, too, Carl. (Sounds like the beginning of an English class in Japan, doesn't it. )

In my original post, I did not state that Mitsuteru made his official debut: I stated that he made his debut. No fuss, no fanfare, but he was on the front row of the line-up. I know who he was and I am sure a few others did. But Mitsuteru kept (or was kept) well outside the public eye up to this time. Then he quietly began to appear. After the demonstration he came and introduced himself to me. We talked about his future, which university he would enter. After Kisshomaru Doshu, his grandfather, had finished the final demonstration, he stood up give his closing address. One of the ukes was waiting with the wireless mike and leaped up to give it him--but held the wrong end. Doshu began his usual address, but nobody heard him. Mitsuteru looked in my direction and our eyes met: we both stifled a laugh. For me, this was a good sign. He has a sense of humour, which he will sorely need in the future.

At a later demonstration, more recent than the earlier one , I sat next to Katsuyuki Kondo, from Daito-ryu. Mitsuteru was uke and Kondo Sensei commented on the very difficult job he would have when became Doshu. Mistuteru Ueshiba's official debut has been handled carefully. A few years ago his name was added to the Hombu teaching roster, but at the very top, above the name of Shigenobu Okumura. Then, he was put down to teach some of the beginners classes. Most recently, at a meeting of the Zaidan Hojin Aikikai, held on the day of this years demonstration, he was made Dojo-cho hosa (Deputy Head of the Hombu Dojo). So on this occasion, you could indeed say that his debut was official.

However, the point I made in my original post is still valid. I think it would have been more appropriate for him to have been in the Hombu Dojo line-up. However, this is not the first time that I have had occasion to think like this. A few years ago, I discovered that a Hombu shihan, who was also an IAF official, was due to give a training seminar in Myanmar (Burma). Japan gives aid to Myanmar, and one of the ways this is done is through JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and includes sending aikido instructors to give seminars (clearly to the military junta: a tradition going back to just after the war, when Aritoshi Murashige first started teaching there). I commented to the shihan that this visit was evidence of, shall we say, a certain short-sightedness: an inability to see beyond the immediate consequences of an action.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 06-23-2008, 08:50 PM   #39
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

I actually just finished a class and the "good morning" I gave them at the start was met with laughter when I turned to the board and they saw the huge sweat patch on my back. It is a hot and humid morning here in Mito.

Thank you very much for the detailed explanation of Mitsuteru sensei's first appearance at the demonstration. For what it is worth, from what little I know of him, I think he is probably very much up to the task ahead of him.

It is interesting that Myanmar is arguably the first country to receive Aikido outside of Japan. If you don't mind, I'd like to send you a PM.

After I say good morning again (checks back)

Carl
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:41 PM   #40
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
... A few years ago, I discovered that a Hombu shihan, who was also an IAF official, was due to give a training seminar in Myanmar (Burma). Japan gives aid to Myanmar, and one of the ways this is done is through JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and includes sending aikido instructors to give seminars (clearly to the military junta: a tradition going back to just after the war, when Aritoshi Murashige first started teaching there). I commented to the shihan that this visit was evidence of, shall we say, a certain short-sightedness: an inability to see beyond the immediate consequences of an action.
In perspective though, is this that objectionable, at least on the aikido side? Burma had a good run up to '62 (U Thant) during the initial forays of aikido expansion overseas. One may legitimately differ about the usefulness of maintaining such ties into a repressively closed society, much as we in the States debate the same about Cuba. (For the record, I think the isolation was an understandable reaction, but a short-sighted approach).

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-24-2008, 06:23 PM   #41
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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In perspective though, is this that objectionable, at least on the aikido side? Burma had a good run up to '62 (U Thant) during the initial forays of aikido expansion overseas. One may legitimately differ about the usefulness of maintaining such ties into a repressively closed society, much as we in the States debate the same about Cuba. (For the record, I think the isolation was an understandable reaction, but a short-sighted approach).
I am having some private correspondence at present and should be circumspect. The visits to Burma were originally part of war reparations and led to a flourishing aikido organization. So it was not objectionable at all. Then everything else happened and the remarks made in the latter half of your post apply here also.

I was careful to mention the IAF, which has, as part of its constitution, a commitment to aikido organizations being democratically run. This is not the case with the Aikikai Hombu, which makes its own judgments in the matter of visiting shihans. However, the shihan in question was an IAF official, so his activities were of relevance to the IAF.

PAG

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Old 06-30-2008, 01:09 AM   #42
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
What was the attraction of Omoto for someone like the Asano brothers, or Morihei Ueshiba, for that matter? What did such people find attractive in a cult that increasingly fell out of favor with the government?
Apparently, the main thing that attracted Asano to Omoto was a practice called Chinkon Kishin: chinkon refers to the procedures for healing and directing spirits; by extension, it also refers to joining a deity's spirit [with a human subject]. Kishin means possession by the spirit of a kami [god]. One type of kishin is abrupt and spontaneous while another is humanly induced through the process of chinkon.. According to the Aikido Journal, when Onisaburo Deguchi introduced this technique to Omoto, A variety of people began practicing chinkon kishin, but as they began to experience divine inspirations, the Omoto order was thrown into somewhat of a pandemonium. You see, during such divine inspirations most spirits will appropriate the name of some other more "correct" spirit, which the inspired person will believe to be its true name and identity. The little country town of Ayabe was beset by a sort of divine rush-hour. Deguchi therefore banned this practice, but revived it again in 1916 and taught it to Asano.

Mahikari in context (2): Origins of psychic research in Japan

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Old 06-30-2008, 03:20 AM   #43
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Mr Cereijo,

Thank you for your post. My question was somewhat rhetorical . I plan to discuss Omoto in more detail in the next column, which I have had to split into two parts. I have this habit of not knowing when to stop.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 06-30-2008, 04:25 AM   #44
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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Mr Cereijo,
I have this habit of not knowing when to stop.
PAG
Well, please continue on and on then, its been truly benefitial!
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:14 PM   #45
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Oooops.Two smilies in a PAG post.

I'll better sit on the corner...

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Old 07-04-2008, 10:36 AM   #46
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Hi Peter,
Thanks for very interesting articles.
Now I understand better why some Japanese aikidoka say that aikido can’t be fully understood by non-Japanese. May be you, as long term resident in Japan, can realize all these social, political, historical and economical implications, but for most of us in Occident, we can’t. It is kind of scary. Looks like really every aikidoka have to go to Japan for few years to feel this culture on his own skin. The theoretical knowledge from the articles as yours is only the top of iceberg….

Kind regards
s.

Nagababa

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Old 07-04-2008, 06:37 PM   #47
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

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Hi Peter,
Thanks for very interesting articles.
Now I understand better why some Japanese aikidoka say that aikido can't be fully understood by non-Japanese. May be you, as long term resident in Japan, can realize all these social, political, historical and economical implications, but for most of us in Occident, we can't. It is kind of scary. Looks like really every aikidoka have to go to Japan for few years to feel this culture on his own skin. The theoretical knowledge from the articles as yours is only the top of iceberg….

Kind regards
s.
This post gives me much to ponder, especially the comment I have emphasised in bold above.

As someone who has trained in Japan for the last 13 of my 14 years of study, I'm in no position to compare the benefits of training here versus training back home.

However, one observation I'd like to share is this: In my dealings with Japanese people who start aikido, I sometimes find myself gently encouraging them to look into a bit of the background of the art they have decided to study. Only the other day I suggested to an obviously well-educated and intelligent middle-aged gentleman beginner to google 'Ueshiba'. This was in response to him asking me who the person was in the picture on the dojo wall.

I sometimes wonder if a higher percentage of western aikidoka have a better understanding of aikido background and philosophy than the average Japanese student! Coming to Japan might not necessarily be advantageous as I suspect that the key factor is who one's sensei(s) are rather than where one lives. In some of the larger centers of learning in Japan, it would be unusual I think for a modern shihan to freely lecture on aikido history and philosophy to beginners.

In any case, the issue of the differences between aikido study here versus outside Japan is of vital interest to me. I hope that Professor Goldsbury will one day produce a column for us on this matter.
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Old 07-05-2008, 07:15 AM   #48
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Hello Szczepan,

You make an interesting point. However, I would think that there are very few Japanese indeed who would claim to 'fully understand' aikido and they are being truthful, not modest.

In one sense, the spread of aikido abroad has been the spread of the omote of aikido. The ura has been kept carefully hidden and perhaps this is something people have to find out for themselves. For me, discovering this was a personal mission. As another way of putting this, discovering what the war did to Hiroshima has a parallel in discovering what the war did to aikido.

I think this has nothing--and everything--to do with training.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-05-2008 at 07:17 AM.

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Old 07-05-2008, 07:23 AM   #49
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 7

Hello Michael,

I do intend to discuss the differences between aikido study here and outside Japan. It is clearly a central topic, of great relevance to the future development of aikido.

My present plan, which is still far too flexible, is to deal with it around TIE 18.

Best wishes,

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