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Old 09-12-2008, 10:25 AM
Peter A Goldsbury AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
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Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

INTERLUDE
IV: Iemoto and Iwama

An earlier column (Column 5) finished with O Sensei retreating to his Aiki-en (Aiki Farm) in Iwama, leaving his son Kisshomaru in charge of the Tokyo dojo. There are a number of problems relating to Morihei Ueshiba's...
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Old 09-14-2008, 07:47 PM   #25
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Peter,

May I ask where you got the Takaoka quote from? I'd love to hear what can you share about Takaoka and O-sensei especially where ken is concerned.

Thanks,
Allen

(BTW, I don't know if Ernesto told you but, we were both in the Netherlands at the same time this summer. Ernesto and I were talking about you and we all could have been talking together! Maybe next summer we can arrange in advance to hook up.)

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 09-14-2008 at 07:51 PM. Reason: Hook up

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Old 09-14-2008, 09:02 PM   #26
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Quote:
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Josh,
I'm sorry, but I don't quite follow what you are saying. I think you are saying that there are Sho Chiku Bai forms, but that there is no motif or philosophical concept in the various Shin Kage ryu. That it is a name of some forms only. Is this correct?
Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote:
It sounds here that you are asserting that the source of *all* Sho-Chiku-Bai forms come from "the Omote-no-Tachi of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, which Gejo Kosaburo trained in."

Is it true that you are asserting this? And, are you asserting this for Ueshiba Morihei or Shirata Rinjiro?
I apologize for not writing more clearly. I was assuming more shared knowledge than I should have.

The connection to the "Sho-Chiku-Bai" sword forms of Hikitsuchi Michio was mentioned by Ellis Amdur in this blog article . It may have also been mentioned in other forums by Meik Skoss previous to this. The relevant part:

Quote:
We have, however, proof that Ueshiba learned Yagyu Shinkage-ryu with some degree of depth. This proof lies in the sword method of Hikitsuchi Michio. Hikitsuchi taught three sword forms, called Sho (matsu — pine), Chiku (take — bamboo), and Bai (ume — plum). According to Meik Skoss, who trained under Hikitsuchi, "Sho" embodies Irimi — the triangle; "Chiku" embodies Tenkan — the circle: and "Bai" embodies Osae — the square. Fascinatingly, these three kumitachi forms are modifications of forms from Yagyu Shinkage-ryu: "Sho" is Kaboku, #4 from Kuka no Tachi; "Chiku" is Settetsu, #2 from Sangakuen no Tachi; and "Bai" is Ozume, #7 from Kuka no Tachi.
This is the connection, such as it is, mentioned by Mr. Amdur. Three forms taken from two of the Omote no Tachi, and named Sho-Chiku-Bai by Ueshiba. The forms have completely different names in Shinkage Ryu, and different places in the pedagogy of Shinkage Ryu; they are not any kind of unit or trio there. So this is a case of Ueshiba taking the physical forms and (after modifying the forms to fit his principles) adding his own particular nomenclature. There are no forms called Sho-Chiku-Bai in Shinkage Ryu.

As for Shirata Rinjiro -- if the connection of his aikiken to Shinkage Ryu is different from the above, then obviously the physical part of the curriculum it was derived from may be different, but the question of where Ueshiba learned Shinkage Ryu still remains, and the connection to Gejo Kosaburo mentioned in the above article remains the best answer.

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote:
As to why we doubt it is just the plain old, run of the mill, general Japanese interpretation of Pine, Bamboo and Plum and nothing remarkable, I guess I would say that that sort of assumption has been part and parcel of the mess we find ourselves in. People have seen familiar motifs, assumed they understood, and missed crucial aspects of the training. Hasn't most of our recent dialogue been about things "hidden in plain sight"?

Specifically, there is some mystery around Shirata's ken, other systems of ken -- aiki ken, Iwama ken, Ueshiba's ken, Takeda's ken (aiki or otherwise) etc. If this is a clue, then great, but it won't lead anywhere if we assume it's just that tired old Japanese fascination with trees.
Well, assuming that Ueshiba simply used the phrase because it was ubiquitous in the culture at the time doesn't mean that it's just "that tired old Japanese fascination with trees". After all, the ubiquitous term had nothing to do with trees. Sho-Chiku-Bai were used to illustrate grades and levels. For example, produce and poultry would be marked with one of the three, Sho indicating highest quality, and Bai indicating lower quality, much as we use "Grade A" today. In prewar schools, Sho-Chiku-Bai was used to mark assignments much like we use "A, B, C".

In that it was fairly common, particularly in Ueshiba's day, it doesn't seem strange to me that after taking three particular kata that he felt resembled his ideas of , he might then give them the name of Sho-Chiku-Bai, a common term of his day that allowed him to give them separate names, and yet group them together as a related whole. And just as "Sho-Chiku-Bai" would mean something slightly different from the market from the school from the rakugo stage, so it would have it's own particular meaning in Ueshiba's dojo.

Josh Reyer

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Old 09-14-2008, 09:41 PM   #27
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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One of the points of this column was to attempt to explain the intense focus on weapons training in Iwama, at this stage in the Founder's life. The story of the visions in the garden of the Kobukan seems to me to be a start.
I find the visions and the explanation of the move to Iwama consistent. Kisshomaru reports him at the time concerned about a vision of cataclysmic fiery devastation then loosely concerned with Tokyo. After the fact he naturally associates this premonition with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

That move was shortly following Doolittle's raid -- which was more jarring to the Japanese mythological psyche than the Pyrrhic win in Coral Sea or the disaster of Midway. The attack on the home islands is what eventually brought forth the image of the Divine Wind, and its modern implementation to defend against the ancient threat twice avoided by that means).

If the thesis is Ueshiba has long associations with the bad boys of Showa, and has a vision he associates with divine intervention to alter his course, one could listen to what he says instead of wondering what he means that he has not said. With a record of forty-three kami that have served various tutelary roles in his training and in its realization -- you have an answer right there. Maybe not the whole answer -- but an answer. Given your preference for Hofstede, and what I see as his Jungian sociological typology -- it seems to me that examining the archetypal significance and functional associations of the forty-three Kami would be a good place to begin.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-14-2008, 09:49 PM   #28
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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If the thesis is Ueshiba has long associations with the bad boys of Showa, and has a vision he associates with divine intervention to alter his course, one could listen to what he says instead of wondering what he means that he has not said.
Yes. This is why I have devoted a large part of this column to doing precisely this--listening to what he says.

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Old 09-14-2008, 09:53 PM   #29
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Well, assuming that Ueshiba simply used the phrase because it was ubiquitous in the culture at the time doesn't mean that it's just "that tired old Japanese fascination with trees". After all, the ubiquitous term had nothing to do with trees. Sho-Chiku-Bai were used to illustrate grades and levels. For example, produce and poultry would be marked with one of the three, Sho indicating highest quality, and Bai indicating lower quality, much as we use "Grade A" today. In prewar schools, Sho-Chiku-Bai was used to mark assignments much like we use "A, B, C".

In that it was fairly common, particularly in Ueshiba's day, it doesn't seem strange to me that after taking three particular kata that he felt resembled his ideas of , he might then give them the name of Sho-Chiku-Bai, a common term of his day that allowed him to give them separate names, and yet group them together as a related whole. And just as "Sho-Chiku-Bai" would mean something slightly different from the market from the school from the rakugo stage, so it would have it's own particular meaning in Ueshiba's dojo.
Yes, I think you will find Sho, chiku or bai on the menu of many a Japanese kaiseki restaurant, or in the seating plan of any wedding ceremony.

PAG

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Old 09-14-2008, 10:17 PM   #30
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

So the assertion is: Ueshiba named his ken system "A,B,C Ken" because it conveniently stratified three Shinkage kumitachi associated with Hikitsuchi, while other Deshi (Shirata, Saito, Takaoka, more?) used the appellation "A,B,C Ken" because Ueshiba used it . . . as a referent for three Shinkage kumitachi (associated with Hikitsuchi) while their ken may not have, or be limited to, these three kumitachi"?

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Old 09-14-2008, 10:18 PM   #31
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter,

May I ask where you got the Takaoka quote from? I'd love to hear what can you share about Takaoka and O-sensei especially where ken is concerned.

Thanks,
Allen

(BTW, I don't know if Ernesto told you but, we were both in the Netherlands at the same time this summer. Ernesto and I were talking about you and we all could have been talking together! Maybe next summer we can arrange in advance to hook up.)
Allen,

Have a look at this website: http://sighar.net/aiki/syumi04.html

Since I have retired, my summer vacations are longer and the dates of my coming to the Netherlands more flexible. However, since I am looking after two groups, as well as my own dojo in Hiroshima, coordinating dates might be a problem, but a surmountable problem.

PAG

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Old 09-14-2008, 10:31 PM   #32
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Allen,

Have a look at this website: http://sighar.net/aiki/syumi04.html
Thanks Peter. You're forcing me to work you know!

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Since I have retired, my summer vacations are longer and the dates of my coming to the Netherlands more flexible. However, since I am looking after two groups, as well as my own dojo in Hiroshima, coordinating dates might be a problem, but a surmountable problem.
Well then, it's just a matter of time(ing)! If you come around the same time each year I think my group can be flexible enough to coordinate an overlap. Let's do it!

Kindly,
Allen

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Old 09-15-2008, 12:02 AM   #33
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Yes. This is why I have devoted a large part of this column to doing precisely this--listening to what he says.
And admirably so. I suppose I should have added "as he preferred to say it." You are tracing what he said and did in his social arc as they touch on the mythic visions that caused significant alterations in those elements. Those are invaluable. He gave the mythic greater prominence in his own understanding. His mythic imagery in the forty-three kami trace his training arc, and either culminate in the visions of the sword and no-sword, or else the visions were later understood and the developments leading to them were explained or systematized in those mythic terms (both are equally plausible). I simply suggest that those would be helpful to lay out in a systematic way, and that there are tools to do that.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:06 AM   #34
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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So the assertion is: Ueshiba named his ken system "A,B,C Ken" because it conveniently stratified three Shinkage kumitachi associated with Hikitsuchi, while other Deshi (Shirata, Saito, Takaoka, more?) used the appellation "A,B,C Ken" because Ueshiba used it . . . as a referent for three Shinkage kumitachi (associated with Hikitsuchi) while their ken may not have, or be limited to, these three kumitachi"?
Um, no. My "assertion" is this:
  • Ueshiba used the phrase "Sho-Chiku-Bai no Kempo".
  • This term was applied by him to three separate Shinkage Ryu kata that he saw and then reworked and linked together for his own art.
  • The best research to-date suggests that Ueshiba's knowledge of Shinkage Ryu was via Gejo Kosaburo.
  • Aside from this, "Sho-Chiku-Bai" has no relation to Shinkage Ryu, and is not a phrase that has appeared in any of the major densho, nor has it appeared in the minor densho that I have seen.

I'll add this: if there are other versions of aikiken that have links or provenance to Shinkage Ryu, and are referred to or linked to "Sho-Chiku-Bai no Kempo", this would again be a case of the term being applied by Ueshiba to his ken, and did not come from Shinkage Ryu.

I make no other "assertions" about the provenance of "Sho-Chiku-Bai no Kempo". I merely wanted to address the idea that Ueshiba got it from Shinkage Ryu. I have no idea where he actually got it from, and was merely attempting to provide some cultural and linguistic perspective.

To further clarify on the last point, I did not say, nor mean to imply that Sho-Chiku-Bai should just be translated as "A, B, C". My point was merely that in Japanese the phrase represents three things that are linked, and yet separate, and as such may have certainly appeared useful to Ueshiba to describe his concept of .

Josh Reyer

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Old 09-15-2008, 12:13 AM   #35
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and ideas. That's a lot more than we started out with, but I have to say I'm still not satisfied that we've gotten to the bottom of the whole story. I'm with Allen that the equivalent of "A,B,C Sword Method" is a pretty thin appellation for a realization direct from all the Kami of Japan to a man who didn't shy away from the grandiose.

"All the gods of Japan gathered and brought aiki truly into life, fostering universal spirit and ACME Swordsmanship."

That said, before we started I didn't know that the name Sho Chiku Bai Kenpo used by Ueshiba himself so that alone is worthy of gratitude.

梅四杯を頼みましょうか。

edit: Josh, thanks for clearing up the Shinkage aspect. I think we were led a bit astray based on a conversation with Ellis that we probably read too much into. But not so far as to link Ueshiba's or Shirata's ken to Shinkage other than to note that we were on the mat with a Yagyu guy and a THSYR guy and we all three knew a kata (singular) that is pretty distinctive.

Last edited by Walker : 09-15-2008 at 12:21 AM. Reason: address post above

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Old 09-15-2008, 03:44 AM   #36
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Here is the final part of the chapter in Takemusu Aiki (which I did not translate for the column—actually, I was thinking primarily about copyright issues, but when the columns eventually become a book, it will be there, and probably quite a bit more). However, it is crucial for the present discussion on shochikubai. I have numbered the paragraphs.

In deference to Allen Beebe’s need to maintain his expertise in the Japanese language, I have left the text untranslated, but transcribed into Roman script. (I have used the Hepburn system because I cannot insert dashes to lengthen vowels: I am not certain that all the readings are correct.)

1. これが宗教の奥儀であると知り、武道の奥儀も宗教と一つなのであると知って法悦の涙にむせんで泣いた。
Korega shukyo no okugi de aru to shiri, budo no okugi mo shukyo to hitotsu nano de aru to shitte hoetsu no nami ni musende naita.

2. 山川草木、禽獣虫魚類にいたるまで、すべて大宇宙の一元の営みの現れである、と大神に敬虔な感謝が心からわいて、泣けてきてしまったのです。
San sen so moku, kin ju chu gyo rui ni itaru made, subete dai utchu no ichigen no itonami no araware de aru, to O kami ni keiken na kansha ga kokoro kara waite, nakete kite shimatta no desu.

3. その頃合気の稽古はやめました。ただその時体得した、松竹梅の剣法が残ったのです。
Sono koro, aiki no keiko wa yamemashita. Tada sono toki taitoku shita, sho chiku bai no kenpo ga nokotta no desu.

4. この合気は宇内のみそぎの行事であり、人としての道のつとめであります。
Kono aiki wa udai no misogi no gyoji de ari, hito toshite no michi no tsutome de arimasu.

5. 大きくは世界家族、小さくは日本家族、すべて一つの家族の一員となり、〝四方の海みな同胞と思う世で……〟という明治御大帝の大み心を奉仕してゆくことです。そして私は全 行いをみなさんと共になしてゆきたいと思っています。
Okiku wa sekai kazoku, chiisaku wa Nippon kazoku, subete hitotsu no kazoku no ichiin to nari, “yomo no umi mina harakara to omou yo de…” to iu Meiji Godaitei no mikokoro wo hoshi shite yuku koto desu. Soshite watashi wa zen okonai wo mina-san to tomo ni nashite yukitai to omotte imasu.

The crucial paragraph is Paragraph 3. There, Morihei Ueshiba states quite clearly that “at that time” (namely, the period when he had the visions and training with the white phantom swordsman), he stopped “aiki no keiko”. However, he achieved taitoku, which has the meanings of learning by experience and of acquiring mastery (of an art). This was what remained: expertise in the sword practice he called sho chiku bai, which seems to be equivalent to, or to have been acquired through, the training he did with the white phantom swordsman, who disappeared to the extent to which Ueshiba was able to control his sword thrusts.

Note that this is the point at which Morihei Ueshiba coins the phrase Takemusu Aiki for his art, but never gives any technical details of what this consists in (in terms of training or actual waza etc). Similarly, I think it is impossible to draw any conclusions about actual kumi-tachi, simply from O Sensei’ s use of the phrase Sho-chiku-bai. For this, I think you would need to research the individual sword kata created by O Sensei’s disciples, to see how they understood O Sensei's sho-chiku-bai no kenpo--but only after he moved to Iwama. To judge from the texts I have presented, he himself seems to have discounted the sword training he did beforehand.

So here is a promise. In October the IAF will hold a huge Congress in Tanabe, which is O Sensei’s birthplace. Among the shihans attending will be Hiroshi Tada, Nobuyoshi Tamura and Hiroshi Isoyama, but the aikido demonstration will be held at Kumano Jingu, close to the Kumano Juku of Hikitsuchi Sensei, with demonstrations given by his senior students. I will ask….and report.

Best wishes to all,

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 09-15-2008 at 03:55 AM.

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Old 09-15-2008, 04:15 AM   #37
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
This is the connection, such as it is, mentioned by Mr. Amdur. Three forms taken from two of the Omote no Tachi, and named Sho-Chiku-Bai by Ueshiba. The forms have completely different names in Shinkage Ryu, and different places in the pedagogy of Shinkage Ryu; they are not any kind of unit or trio there. So this is a case of Ueshiba taking the physical forms and (after modifying the forms to fit his principles) adding his own particular nomenclature. There are no forms called Sho-Chiku-Bai in Shinkage Ryu.
Hello Josh,

Are you certain that it was Ueshiba himself who called the above three forms Sho-chiku-bai and not Hikitsuchi Sensei?

If the forms were general (not specially tailored for Hikitsuchi), one would expect to find them in Saito's kumitachi also. However, I think this is not the case.

There is pretty strong evidence that the terms aiki-ken and aiki-jo were never used by O Sensei himself, though this is what he supposedly taught in Iwama. There is a huge body of belief that it was Saito Sensei who faithfully transmitted the ken that O Sensei practised in Iwama, but it is the circumstances of the transmission that are in question.

Similarly, it can be argued that Hikitsuchi Sensei was also a faithful transmitter of what he had been taught by O Sensei, but that what he transmitted was not the sum total of what O Sensei himself called Sho-chiku-dai swordwork.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 09-15-2008, 05:48 AM   #38
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Are you certain that it was Ueshiba himself who called the above three forms Sho-chiku-bai and not Hikitsuchi Sensei?
Hello, Professor Goldsbury. As a matter of fact, I'm not at all sure who called the above forms "sho-chiku-bai". I suppose it could very easily have been Hikitsuchi-sensei. I would still contend, though, that Hikitsuchi-sensei got the names from Ueshiba references to sho-chiku-bai kenpo, and not from Shinkage Ryu.

Quote:
Similarly, it can be argued that Hikitsuchi Sensei was also a faithful transmitter of what he had been taught by O Sensei, but that what he transmitted was not the sum total of what O Sensei himself called Sho-chiku-dai swordwork.
I entirely agree.

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote:
I'm with Allen that the equivalent of "A,B,C Sword Method" is a pretty thin appellation for a realization direct from all the Kami of Japan to a man who didn't shy away from the grandiose.
Really? But look at his curriculum. The five basic controls:

Ikkyo - First teaching.
Nikyo - Second teaching
Sankyo - Third teaching.
Yonkyo - Fourth teaching.
Gokyo - Fifth teaching.

Look at the aikiken of Saito:

Ichi-no-tachi - Sword one.
Ni-no-tachi - Sword two.
San-no-tachi - Sword three.
Yon-no-tachi - Sword four.
Go-no-tachi - Sword five.
Kimusubi-no-tachi - Sword of Ki Binding.

The most "picturesque" named aikido technique is "tenchi-nage", and tenchi is another common Japanese phrase and idiom.

But again, let me stress that simply because they used "Sho-Chiku-Bai" to grade papers doesn't mean it just means "A B C ken". My point is that Sho-Chiku-Bai is a phrase that represents simultaneously three things and one thing. To go 180 degrees in the opposite direction of the mundane produce grades, idiomatically it's like the Holy Trinity. The existence of one suggests the existence of the other two. The three words will refer to three different concepts/levels/grades, while at the same time be part of a whole. That's why it was used for marking produce, and grading papers, and as handy names in rakugo stories.

Let's assume for the moment, without better information, that Ueshiba named Hikitsuchi's sword forms Sho, Chiku, and Bai. As Mr. Amdur noted, they were meant to represent the Triangle (Irimi), the Circle (Tenkan), and the Square (Osae). Now if you design three kata that you want to represent these ideas, you could certainly call them Sword 1, 2, and 3 (like Kashima Shinto Ryu, and later Ueshiba did), or maybe "I Sword", "Ro Sword" and "Ha Sword". Or perhaps do like Shinkage Ryu and borrow the "Jo-Ha-Kyu" terminology of Noh. Or, he could have chosen Sho-Chiku-Bai because, unlike the above, it ties the three forms together as three parts of a whole, just as the circle, triangle and square represent three parts of the whole of Takemusu Aiki.

All I'm saying is that "Sho-Chiku-Bai" is not so unusual that it had to come from some specific outside source, which when examined would provide some kind of insight into his aikido. OTOH, neither is it so mundane as to just represent "A, B, C". It's a common term with picturesque and subtle meaning, which IMO makes it a good candidate for this kind of use.

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Old 09-15-2008, 06:16 AM   #39
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I find the visions and the explanation of the move to Iwama consistent. Kisshomaru reports him at the time concerned about a vision of cataclysmic fiery devastation then loosely concerned with Tokyo. After the fact he naturally associates this premonition with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I certainly believe that the visions involving the white phantom swordsman and the move to Iwama were consistent. I have less confidence in the chronology of the other material and one of the reasons for this is that it conflicts with the other contemporary evidence, such as Kiyosawa's diary. It is irrefutable that B-29 bombers were NOT targeting mainland Japan in 1941, contrary to what Kisshomaru states in his biography. (Note that this was even before the Doolittle raids.) As for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I do not doubt Kisshomaru's good sense in excluding any mention of this in his biography.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
That move was shortly following Doolittle's raid -- which was more jarring to the Japanese mythological psyche than the Pyrrhic win in Coral Sea or the disaster of Midway. The attack on the home islands is what eventually brought forth the image of the Divine Wind, and its modern implementation to defend against the ancient threat twice avoided by that means).
Well, I don't know much about mythological psyches, but the Doolittle raids were obvious to all who witnessed them. Nevertheless, government-directed air-raid drills were started only from the autumn of 1943. The army minister shrugged off the Doolittle raids with the words, "When several enemy planes come flying onto our territory, there is just no way to prevent them." (Havens, p. 155.) The losses of Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal were actually presented as victories, until the B-29s provided irrefutable evidence (in late 1944) that Japan was really losing the war. The recruitment of kamikaze pilots occurred even after this.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
If the thesis is Ueshiba has long associations with the bad boys of Showa, and has a vision he associates with divine intervention to alter his course, one could listen to what he says instead of wondering what he means that he has not said. With a record of forty-three kami that have served various tutelary roles in his training and in its realization -- you have an answer right there. Maybe not the whole answer -- but an answer. Given your preference for Hofstede, and what I see as his Jungian sociological typology -- it seems to me that examining the archetypal significance and functional associations of the forty-three Kami would be a good place to begin.
I do not understand your argument here. Where in the column have I "wondered what Ueshiba means that he has not said"? In addition, you see more in my 'preference for Hofstede' than I do, in particular with respect to Jungian sociological typology. In any case, the record of the 43 deities was provided by Kisshomaru (it is on p. 268 of the new translation of Kissomaru's biography), not by O Sensei himself in the texts I have quoted. So, why don't you yourself research the 'archetypal significance and functional associations' of the 43 kami? It will make a very good column.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 09-15-2008, 07:08 AM   #40
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Really? But look at his curriculum. The five basic controls:

Ikkyo - First teaching.
Nikyo - Second teaching
Sankyo - Third teaching.
Yonkyo - Fourth teaching.
Gokyo - Fifth teaching.

Look at the aikiken of Saito:

Ichi-no-tachi - Sword one.
Ni-no-tachi - Sword two.
San-no-tachi - Sword three.
Yon-no-tachi - Sword four.
Go-no-tachi - Sword five.
Kimusubi-no-tachi - Sword of Ki Binding.
Hello Josh,

Part of the issue here is general nomenclature for certain waza or kata. Where is the evidence that the items in the above curriculum were actually used by O Sensei himself?

Best wishes,

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Old 09-15-2008, 07:57 AM   #41
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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That move was shortly following Doolittle's raid -- which was more jarring to the Japanese mythological psyche than the Pyrrhic win in Coral Sea or the disaster of Midway. The attack on the home islands is what eventually brought forth the image of the Divine Wind, and its modern implementation to defend against the ancient threat twice avoided by that means).
I don't know what "mythological psyche" means, but the sources I know indicate that the Doolittle raid made little impression on the Japanese people in general. In The Second World War, John Keegan writes (page 271): "The citizens of Tokyo, to whom no public acknowledgment of the raid was made by the government, did not associate the scattering of explosions with an American attack." John Toland, in But not in Shame (page 362) says: "Since little damage was done, the raid caused no panic."

The generals and admirals like Tojo and Yamamoto used the fact of the raid to push for a decisive naval battle with the US—which led to Midway. Nonetheless, it would be difficult to argue that the Doolittle raid helped push Morihei to move to Iwama. It presupposes knowledge he did not in fact have.

The Doolittle raid mattered more in boosting the battered American psyche, but its effect on the Japanese mind was slight.

best,

R

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Old 09-15-2008, 11:23 AM   #42
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Josh, I think the trouble we are having is you are looking at individual kata i.e. three kata named sho, chiku and bai.

That doesn't match my experience. Don't know what those kata would be, don't know any named as such and have a bunch more than three kata in our ken so it just does not compute. I don't know how to respond to or discuss that idea.

I am looking at an entire adjunct sword system named Sho Chiku Bai Kenpo and wondering why Ueshiba (and Shirata and Hikitsuchi) called their entire ken curriculum (not kata) SCB.

I like the idea of SCB=3in1=TriCirSqare but I can't limit it to just 3 individual kata. I don't see that.

It is a bit like the quote Peter put up from Traditional Aikido Vol. 5.
The Japanese is: 剣には「松竹梅の剣法」がある。
The translation is: Ken has three characters called "sho" (pine), "chiku" (bamboo) and "bai" (plum).

I know just enough Japanese to get into trouble, but I think that it could just as easily be read as: As for the Ken there is "Shochikubai Kenpo". or Our sword style is called Shochikubai Kenpo.

Anyway, that is my big take away. Ueshiba called his ken Sho Chiku Bai Kenpo and his taijutsu Takemusu Aiki. What those terms mean is something to ponder and let grow over time.

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Old 09-15-2008, 12:12 PM   #43
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I have less confidence in the chronology of the other material and one of the reasons for this is that it conflicts with the other contemporary evidence, such as Kiyosawa's diary. It is irrefutable that B-29 bombers were NOT targeting mainland Japan in 1941, contrary to what Kisshomaru states in his biography. (Note that this was even before the Doolittle raids.) As for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I do not doubt Kisshomaru's good sense in excluding any mention of this in his biography....
The event cannot be considered in isolation, but it fits into a a notable series of likely eye-opening events leading to the retreat to Iwama. In 1940 he attends a Manchurian demonstration in honor of the 2600th anniversary of the Empire. That gave him a glimpse of the state of the Empire on the mainland and the demoralized military there after the Nomonhan disaster in 1939 (30% casualties) led to having the humiliation of having to seek terms with the Soviets over Manchuria/Mongolia (the reverse of the plan they intended against the British in Southeast Asia).

The Doolittle raid is in April 1942. Also in April of 1942 the Honkeiko mine disaster brings to light the working conditions of Chinese slave labor in Manchuria, under "enlightened" Japanese rule, in an event far too large to escape notice to anyone who actually visited Manchuria. In August 1942 he attends another Manchuria demonstration, and sees the further effects of Nomonhan, which by then is realized in treaty terms finalized with the Soviets in October of '41.

On one or the other of his Manchuria trips given his long Kempeitai connections, it is conceivable that he heard of aspects of Unit 731 and its associated labs. The headquarters and at least one other lab were in Manchuria and one in Inner Mongolia). These labs were using live human subjects testing biological and chemical weapons and reputedly also engaged in human vivisection. e.g. --http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...Depravity.html This possibility brings a certain characteristically Japanese depth of understatement to the quote: "Up till today not all karma of cause & effect in Japan have been managed properly."

The sequence also suggests that he may have been privy to rumors of Unit 731 in the 1940 visit that troubled him so deeply (he had his second vision that year, remember upon his return), that he made efforts during his 1942 visit to find out if the rumors had any basis in truth. Reputedly, 1942 was the year that Gen. Ishii tested large scale dispersants for biological weapons on live subjects. That kind of thing is hard to completely hide. There was at least one medical journal article in the States reporting the rumor of this test in the latter part of 1942.

On his return home from Manchuria in 1942 he suddenly moves to Iwama -- essentially into someone's unprepared garden shed. If he did discover anything reliable about Unit 731 in August 1942 a sudden abandonment of his tattered tatemae -- and unexpected retreat from the social reality that produced such a horror is completely understandable. It is the kind of thing he would likely have had difficulty sharing, even with his son. To whom does he reach for aid? A deep transformative recourse to divine salvation from such evil is the rule rather than the exception in human experience. Paul on the Damascus Road comes to mind. Former personal associations with those perhaps involved in it certainly call for far more than mere abjuration.

This is much supposition but the repeated chronology of "Manchuria = powerful vision" has some explanatory force to suggest that something deeply troubling was disclosed to him in Manchuria.and its nature more strongly felt the second time. The nature of the thing that propels an otherwise stable person into having divine visions is usually very traumatic. Something on the scale of progressive disillusionment that this history suggests, culminating in a revelation of any of the activities of Unit 731 would certainly fit the bill for anyone of even modest moral sensibilities.

In this context, the consuming fire he feared and remarks to his son about may be a concern about the just retribution of karma for the entire nation. And, yes, I rather doubt that possibility would sit too well with the Hiroshima town council.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-15-2008 at 12:25 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:21 PM   #44
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I do not understand your argument here. Where in the column have I "wondered what Ueshiba means that he has not said"?
It is in the part dealing with the "audacious" belief that he had foreseen the atomic bombing. Kisshomaru confirms that contemporaneous with the move he foresaw some conflagration (Tokyo he assumed), and I read this as a later association of a prior intuition with the advent of the atomic weapons.

You express some (understandable) incredulity at the "miraculous" in the premonition, whereas I see in the entire context a true and deeply foreboding image of fiery destruction -- that is only later ascribed to specific events. That seems to cause you some dismissal of what he understood initially or how he understood it then or later. As you said -- you "erred on the side of ‘rationality." But mythological understanding is not strictly rational -- that does not mean it is madness or not understandable or useful -- we are not entirely rational creatures -- especially in matters of life and death.
Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
There is only one way to stop the war. Up till today not all karma of cause & effect in Japan have been managed properly. For this to happen we (the deities) give you divine power. Thus you yourself have to work to stop the war." In fact, I didn't believe that I could not perform such a great task.
Then:
Quote:
Since I had also heard from the deity that there was a danger of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I knew (this) before it happened. However, I thought there was no way of telling everybody about such an event. I thought I would play my role in silence, so that I could protect myself.
You ascribe an aggrandizing view of himself as a "deified Superman." I hear him saying he has become subject to and a tool of forces greater than himself, while not losing his sense of small "self" in the process. In our imagery, he portrays himself as Jonah-like -- not Christ-like. But, you actually give the moral criticism delivered to Jonah in your comment, "If Ueshiba had such knowledge, why did he protect himself by not making it public? Where was his sense of responsibility to the prospective victims?"

But that is exactly where our western sensibility of divine command ends and his begins. His perceived command from the divine was different from that of Jonah -- who had shirked the command to go warn those under judgment.
He says:
Quote:
The deity Saru-ta-hi-ko-o-kami appeared and spoke to me. "Without delay build a shrine and dojo for Takemusu Aiki (a 36-mat sacred dojo)." In accordance with the instruction I built (the shrine and dojo) on land to which I (had) retreated in the town of Iwama, Ibaragi Prefecture, where I had just a small house. ... I could not speak to people who (because they) could not see with these eyes (sc. the things that I saw). Even now I still have the same attitude (about not speaking to people about this). The fact is that Saru-ta-hi-ko-o-kami had required me to build (the shrine). On this occasion Saru-ta-hi-ko-o-kami instructed me, ‘The command I have given you is the command I received from the Great Deity of Ise.' ... I have kept this secret deep in my heart and never told anybody. I thought I should do it simply because I had been told to do so by the deity. The deity told me that if I did it, then the war would stop. Thus, I kept silent and built (the dojo). This having been done, the Great Pacific War came to an end.
It is a matter of consequence that kami (save only the three kami of creation) require embodiment in a place or object (mono) to have particular temporal effect. The statement "they could not see with these eyes" speaks to his perception, as he believed coming from a personal embodiment of kami, and the simultaneous lack of a more durable embodiment in mono that could be seen and preserved by others. By broadening the embodiment in an Aiki shrine made the mono of the kami available to many. In his way of thinking, from the Aiki shrine flows a kami embodiment in Aikido itself, a deified True Budo that alone could have the possibility of ending war. This alos explains why the period of technical development ends and his period of divine traing began. On can see it as expression of a belief that Aikido had ceased to depend on him -- that he had entrusted it entirely to the divine guidance and became thereafter utterly secure in this commitment.

We can, as Westerners and in rational terms, interpret the existence and nature of what O Sensei perceived differently. His meaning seems to me not so grandiose personally, as it is deeply committed to his idea of the need to actively participate in readying requirements for a divine deliverance, and and trust in that deliverance. It is itself an expression of Aiki, in other words. Despite some differing ideas on the specifics of the nature and process of the divine, that is not a terribly different faith posture from most of Christendom, actually. It may explain some of the broad appeal of Aikido among the still (at least nominally) Christian West.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:23 PM   #45
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
... you see more in my 'preference for Hofstede' than I do, in particular with respect to Jungian sociological typology. In any case, the record of the 43 deities was provided by Kisshomaru (it is on p. 268 of the new translation of Kissomaru's biography), not by O Sensei himself in the texts I have quoted. So, why don't you yourself research the 'archetypal significance and functional associations' of the 43 kami? It will make a very good column.
You introduced me to Hofstede, but my interest in Jung and psychological typology long predated it as a tool for making close discrimination between people's ways of thinking and doing (a personal as well as a professional interest). It was very interesting to learn of Hofstede's related approach to similar concepts at the sociological level. From what you relate, Kisshomaru gave the scroll from his father a good deal of weight as a very personaI, primary disclosure, and he invites our interpretation of its mythological significance in modern terms. I guess I was suggesting someone might have already done this, and perhaps it could be related or a source noted. If not, I may take you up on that.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-15-2008, 02:46 PM   #46
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Hello Professor Goldsbury

Thank you for the wonderful research.
I believe that the following is a typo:
Quote:
...at the outbreak of war with China in 1973 and with the United States in 1941.
-- david
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Old 09-15-2008, 05:14 PM   #47
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
In deference to Allen Beebe’s need to maintain his expertise in the Japanese language, I have left the text untranslated, . . .
Gee thanks Peter.

You must have been one of those professors that actually taught because you display the characteristic indifference (some even say enjoyment) to your student's sufferings . . . I even mentioned my plight to my students this morning as I gave them their assignments for the week.

And here I was just patting myself on the back about the Takaoka piece. (It wasn't so bad since it was in an electronic format! )

At least you aren't asking me to write in Japanese. (Passive comprehension is such a beautiful thing.) Then you'd really have an idea of my level of "expertise in the Japanese language!"

(At least I know what I'm writing about! )

Grumble, mumble,

Allen
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Old 09-15-2008, 05:32 PM   #48
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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David Soroko wrote: View Post
Hello Professor Goldsbury

Thank you for the wonderful research.
I believe that the following is a typo:

-- david
Hello David,

Many thanks. There are actually one or two more.

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Old 09-15-2008, 06:24 PM   #49
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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My point was merely that in Japanese the phrase represents three things that are linked, and yet separate, and as such may have certainly appeared useful to Ueshiba to describe his concept of .
Probably going way off topic here, but outside of Ellis' comments, has there been any looking into the use of the symbols and their meaning predating Ueshiba's use of them? For example my own ryu (dating from about 1600) uses all three together with an additional two (those being a straight line and basically a 90 degree "L"), the names in Japanese being 方圓曲直鋭, with the symbols matching as 方 ,圓 ,曲 "L",直"l", 鋭 . If I recall correctly Karl Friday's "Legacies of the Sword" discusses what seemed to be similar terminology of five (without showing the symbols) as well. Does Ueshiba's usage of these symbols generally follow the standard as they appear in different arts? And is there any sign that Ueshiba at some point used all five? All of my books relating to Aikido are on the other side of the planet so I don't have much to go on in the library off hand.

Adding to the drift,
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