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Old 09-22-2009, 04:02 PM   #51
Ellis Amdur
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Wink Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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So, although I really appreciate all the in-depth information provided in this thread, as one who currently trains in Aikido, it leaves me with some curious conclusions:
1. Daito Ryu, and Aikido to an even greater extent, are strange and weird systems of jujutsu that have no combative or self-defense value, and, in addition, have huge technical holes in them.
2. Aiki is basically extinct from modern Aikido and only a few individuals possess any accurate knowledge on how to foment such ability within the practitioner. This is akin to being able to actually find an authentic Koryu teacher or ryu-ha in the U.S. (few and far between).
3. The development of Aiki, or "Inner Strength" is better achieved through Chinese systems of practice.
4. That DR or Aikido are not even very effective ways to deliver this Aiki or "Inner Strength." One would be much better served with a more direct "fighting system."
This is not meant in a mean-spirited way at all, but, is this what we are getting at here?
I shan't speak for anyone else, but here's my take - which is the thrust of my book. Following caveats which may, by now, be unnecessary. I have never practiced Daito-ryu and had about five, albeit very intense years of training in aikido back in the 1970's. My training and perspective is informed largely from other martial arts.
#1 - DR and aikido ARE strange and weird systems. They are not koryu, which means that they are not congruent with a traditional Japanese culture when the martial arts fully fit the society they were in. They are also not simply practical systems - which makes them strange. BUT - both a) have in different ways, emerged from and have "transcended" the traditional culture from which they emerged. b) Have many values aside from "self-defense," - and these values are unique to each martial art c) Very definitely CAN have extreme value as self-defense or fighting arts, whether or not they would equal muay thai in a ring, or CQB for the battlefield. As I wrote in my first book, Dueling with OSensei, what if you gave everything you had to aikido - what if you practiced shomen-uchi and yokomen-uchi three hours a day, for example? Just that. And learned to put your whole body behind it, without overstriking, and using the off-hand to protect yourself. That there are far more efficient ways to learn to fight (in whatever venue you choose) is without doubt, in my view. But I could run a list of aikidoka, for example, whom I would NEVER want to fight - and I'm selecting them from among people who had little or no outside martial arts training (not the aikidoka who also did x martial art).
#2 YES! That's why I wrote the book - what I desired in aikido was the gold. When I found that, for me, there was good copper only, I went elsewhere. What stunned me was, now 20+ years after quitting, the realization that the gold HAD been there, buried and was largely lost/ignored. Simultaneously buried to an almost unreachable level and right on the surface all along. But I wrote my book to wake up and interest folks - in DR and in koryu as well, btw - that it is attainable not by demi-gods, but by US. And although there are few teachers who "have it" or even cared (otherwise, they would have "stolen" it, one way or another, even if Ueshiba wasn't teaching it explicitly), it can still be learned and recovered and returned in one form or another - to aikido, and I would imagine, if desired, to Daito-ryu as well.
#3 - No. Not necessarily. Man, the b.s. in Chinese martial arts is eyebrow high. It is very difficult there as well to find a teacher who is versed in those skills, and willing to teach - really teach. There are, however, more than we can find - YET - in modern aikido and DR, in my opinion.
#4 - In HIPS, I referred to the waza as the bottle and the IT as the brandy - without a bottle, where is the liquid? On the floor.
IT alone does not do it (note an earlier, I think on this thread, mention of I-ch'uan). The various containers you choose are a matter of taste, personal prediliction, etc. The problem that CAN come up with an art like aikido or DR is that one can be led to spend so long on the container (which embodies the culture, the techniques and the worldview, which can be, in it's own right, of supreme value), that one is never taught or lacks an interest in the brandy/IT. There is absolutely NOTHING that forbids a teacher from introducing IT training from the first day. Still - MANY will not do it. I'd like to again mention a recent account from a prominent koryu headmaster - who has IT - and explains how necessary it is - and teaches it clearly - yet most of his students don't practice the internal training exercises.
Anyway, IT + aikido could be done right away - not as a bonbon (called a gokui) given years and years later.
Sorry for the length, but I think your questions deserve to be treated with real respect.
Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 09-22-2009 at 04:14 PM.

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Old 09-22-2009, 04:11 PM   #52
tarik
 
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Sorry for the length, but I think your questions deserve to be treated with real respect.
While I didn't have the same questions or concerns, I appreciated very much reading your commentary which I think addresses a lot more than just Kevin's comments and could not resist expressing that.

Thanks,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:22 PM   #53
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Cool. Much appreciated!
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:07 PM   #54
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
In HIPS, I referred to the waza as the bottle and the IT as the brandy - without a bottle, where is the liquid? On the floor.
IT alone does not do it (note an earlier, I think on this thread, mention of I-ch'uan). The various containers you choose are a matter of taste, personal prediliction, etc. The problem that CAN come up with an art like aikido or DR is that one can be led to spend so long on the container (which embodies the culture, the techniques and the worldview, which can be, in it's own right, of supreme value), that one is never taught or lacks an interest in the brandy/IT. There is absolutely NOTHING that forbids a teacher from introducing IT training from the first day. Still - MANY will not do it. I'd like to again mention a recent account from a prominent koryu headmaster - who has IT - and explains how necessary it is - and teaches it clearly - yet most of his students don't practice the internal training exercises.
Anyway, IT + aikido could be done right away - not as a bonbon (called a gokui) given years and years later.
Sorry for the length, but I think your questions deserve to be treated with real respect.
Ellis Amdur
I am hopeful for the future that we can all integrate better aiki skills into our training. It does however seem a rare talent (knowing IT and teaching IT.) It is my sincere wish that those that know IT, share IT. Seriously, color me interested. Now, to find a teacher.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:25 PM   #55
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
I am hopeful for the future that we can all integrate better aiki skills into our training. It does however seem a rare talent (knowing IT and teaching IT.) It is my sincere wish that those that know IT, share IT. Seriously, color me interested. Now, to find a teacher.
I feel exactly the same way...
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:04 PM   #56
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

BTW - I didn't reply to some posts a while back. Regarding thee character of Takeda Sokaku. Truth be told, as fascinating as the rest of the subjects of the rest of the book are to me, the ultimate reason I ended up turning those essays into book form was an opportunity to attempt a "resurrection" of Sokaku as a man, as well as the boy, Tokimune.
BTW - if it is true, as some in the know have asserted, that Tokimune didn't learn "aiki" deeply (and I think that may be true - based on his formulation of aiki as essentially the same thing as "kuzushi"), one thing that really grabs me. I can sort of understand him not learning from his father. Sokaku did not know how to teach children, and he was not present during much of his childhood. But the thing that bugs me is this - Sue dies in a theater fire, trampled to death, and Sokaku just hits the road, essentially abandoning the all the children to the "care" of Tokimune, then 15. In Daito-ryu Masters, Mrs. Horikawa describes, in circumspect fashion, Tokimune coming to their house for nurturance/guidance. Why did Horikawa Kodo not take the boy under his wing and teach him everything he knew? Ok, maybe he tried, and Tokimune refused - that's a possibility. Maybe he thought that if his Sokaku wanted that, HE would have taught him. But somehow, I don't think that's it. Another puzzle without an answer.
Ellis Amdur

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Old 09-23-2009, 12:37 AM   #57
Rennis Buchner
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Why did Horikawa Kodo not take the boy under his wing and teach him everything he knew? Ok, maybe he tried, and Tokimune refused - that's a possibility. Maybe he thought that if his Sokaku wanted that, HE would have taught him. But somehow, I don't think that's it. Another puzzle without an answer.
While I agree the answer is most likely unknowable, I would suspect some of the teacher/student relation could have strongly been at play here. My own sensei is generally a product of teachers from roughly the same period, and while he is modern enough to know that much of that wouldn't fly today, he still relays to me a lot about the dynamic of what he experienced in hope that some of us try and adopt some of that mindset ourselves. I recall one story where one of his teachers, a very senior life long kendo and Itto-ryu swordsman actually broke protocol and asked sensei (by this point an instructor of Goju-ryu karate by profession running his own dojo) to check him the Sanchin kata as he felt there was much he could learn from the breathing methods included there. While most of us in the modern audience would admire this teacher for not resting on his seniority and wanting to learn something of value, even if from one of his own students, I was told the reaction at the time was one of shock. Supposedly my sensei was aghast that his sensei would even suggest such a thing and flat out refused saying that it was inconceivable that the student teach his teacher. He would also tell stories about how if his sensei was asleep everyone would have stay awake and "guard" him as it were (such demands were of course never made, but it was the student's duty).

While I've never looked closely into the issue, it seems to me that most of Takeda's "senior" guys all were very proper in their relationship with Takeda (Ueshiba was famous for it), and I would have a hard time imagining any of those guys taking the step from helping out Takeda's son to actually "teaching" him. Maybe if Takeda had died, but he was still floating around and had a habit of showing up completely at random. If I remember correctly, he got quite upset at some of his own students for teaching their own kids (although those "kids" did alright in the long run under Sokaku), so I could only image the reaction if one of them got caught teaching Sokaku's own son behind his back. But in the end who really knows. The human element at work between all these people makes it seem to easy to me to say that this was the only factor at work here. (shrugs)

Random thoughts,
Rennis Buchner
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:35 AM   #58
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Did Sokaku really have to travel so much to teach? I'm sure someone as notably ferocious as thee Sokaku Takeda could have students lining up down the street.

Aside from the paranoia of being targeted for revenge, I wonder if Sokaku may have wanted to stay away because he didn't like what the family tradition had done to him, and he didn't like what it was doing to his family? Perhaps it was compassion and not negligence that kept him on the move.

Last edited by Stormcrow34 : 09-23-2009 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:46 AM   #59
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Actually, that's covered in HIPS. I don't know anything about this "revenge" thing - I think that's just people's fantasy. As far as I know, nobody was looking to revenge themselves on Sokaku anyway. And the idea of compassion to not "pass on" the family tradition denotes a kind of modern Western psychological insight that I have seen no evidence was part of his character - so much else that of the way he lived does not display that kind of insight.
I don't want to rewrite that chapter here - but in brief, I see him as "having" to move - that his early background and the innate character that "met" that background afflicted him with an "attachment" disorder - and moving around and the medium of teaching jujutsu waza in short bursts - enabled him to connect with people without getting tied.
Ellis Amdur

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Old 09-23-2009, 11:45 AM   #60
Cliff Judge
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

I had a question about the menkyo in "Shinkage" that Takeda gave to Ueshiba.

Mr Amdur, while I really like your theory that this was meant as a special certificate granted to Ueshiba to sort of mark him as the "special student" who fit a mold that Takeda saw himself as coming from, I simply wasn't aware of this before I read that chapter of HIPS and was wondering if you could illuminate me on the following two points:

1) What are the prevailing theories of what this certificate was about? The passage sounds like you are advancing the theory to counter other claims which I am not familiar with. I think you imply that this certificate has been used to claim that there is a direct (Yagyu?) Shinkage Ryu influence on Aikido. What all has been said about this?

2) Can you help me develop a picture of the context within this took place? Would it have been normal for a teacher of the martial arts to give such a certificate to a leading student? I'm not a student of koryu but I always thought the classical schools were sort of rigid in what licenses / certificates they awarded students, and I had always though they were sort of like "levels."
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:56 AM   #61
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Actually, that's covered in HIPS. I don't know anything about this "revenge" thing - I think that's just people's fantasy. As far as I know, nobody was looking to revenge themselves on Sokaku anyway. And the idea of compassion to not "pass on" the family tradition denotes a kind of modern Western psychological insight that I have seen no evidence was part of his character - so much else that of the way he lived does not display that kind of insight.
I don't want to rewrite that chapter here - but in brief, I see him as "having" to move - that his early background and the innate character that "met" that background afflicted him with an "attachment" disorder - and moving around and the medium of teaching jujutsu waza in short bursts - enabled him to connect with people without getting tied.
Ellis Amdur
Speaking of, Ellis ...

The history that you showed between Takeda and his father and ...

The incident where Takeda almost stabs Tokimune as Tokimune goes to wake Takeda ...

Do you think that this incident with Tokimune sort of reinforced Takeda's staying away so that he wouldn't become like his father? Or would you see it more toward Takeda's "attachment" disorder?

I could even see the Tokimune incident frightening Takeda in that he almost killed his son. I know of incidents where mothers scolded their children when similar incidents happen and the scolding was based upon their fears of death or great harm. And since there's little history of Takeda treating his son like his father treated him, perhaps Takeda was trying to break that cycle?

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:47 PM   #62
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Mark - You could be right. I can come up with three alternatives:
1) Yours, essentially, "Oh, my God, what have I done!" - the problem is that he did have a lot to do with his son at various periods - traveled with him, etc. It was just punctuated at other times of him leaving, saying things like who knows if I'll come back.
2) The "paranoid solution," which does fit his character, as we know it. Paranoia is the most primitive psychological defense against being vulnerable - in essence, you become a "porcupine." Anything that might really "touch" you has to go through the quills. Interestingly, such people sometimes have one person who gets through, whom they trust. As there are absolutely no accounts of Takeda being abusive to his wife - none - and this is typical of many of a paranoid character, I wonder if Sue was the one. Mrs. Horikawa seems to think so,in her interview in Pranin's book. There is in that story a novel far beyond me - but what an untold story that relationship must have been.
3) He really didn't give a damn. I do not believe that for an instant - Takeda showed too much passion and in his own tormented way, too much caring for people (Ueshiba among them). As I wrote, I think the whole dispute about debts and money owed and the fraught relationship was the only way these two men, particularly Takeda, could evidence how important Ueshiba was to him.
Best
Ellis

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Old 09-23-2009, 01:04 PM   #63
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Cliff wrote:
Quote:
I had a question about the menkyo in "Shinkage" that Takeda gave to Ueshiba.

Mr Amdur, while I really like your theory that this was meant as a special certificate granted to Ueshiba to sort of mark him as the "special student" who fit a mold that Takeda saw himself as coming from, I simply wasn't aware of this before I read that chapter of HIPS and was wondering if you could illuminate me on the following two points:

1) What are the prevailing theories of what this certificate was about? The passage sounds like you are advancing the theory to counter other claims which I am not familiar with. I think you imply that this certificate has been used to claim that there is a direct (Yagyu?) Shinkage Ryu influence on Aikido. What all has been said about this?

2) Can you help me develop a picture of the context within this took place? Would it have been normal for a teacher of the martial arts to give such a certificate to a leading student? I'm not a student of koryu but I always thought the classical schools were sort of rigid in what licenses / certificates they awarded students, and I had always though they were sort of like "levels."
1. There have been no theories about this certificate - it's just blandly, incuriously reported - which is why so many myths have built up. But - the reason for the spurious Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, in this case, connection:
  • Ueshiba referred frequently to studying "Yagyu" - and everyone, including the historians, assumed it must be Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. "What else could it be?" So then it turns out it was the very different Yagyu Shingan-ryu.
  • And then, there is the fact that Ueshiba did teach his version of some Yagyu Shinkage-ryu kata, derived from Gejo Kosaburo. As Tomiki stated cleaerly that he learned Yagyu Shinkage-ryu sword from Ueshiba, it is likely at the same time that a few others did - and later, Hikitzuchi as well. So it was a meme floating around.
  • And then, here is this certificate in the Ueshiba family possession. It MUST be connected. But no-one connected the dots - particularly that it DOESN'T say Yagyu and it also says Shinkage-ryu JUJUTSU.

#2 - Koryu is not like that, anyway. My teacher in Araki-ryu was suddenly handed two menkyo at one time. He said to his teacher, "But, but" - and was told, "But we have nothing left to teach you." I had a shoden menkyo in Buko-ryu and was about to demonstrate with Nitta sensei at the Budokan (which caused rather a stir, gaijin as the top student rep of a koryu) - and she said, "Oh, by the way, you are chuden now, aren't you?" And I replied, "No, just shoden." She said, "What? I forgot. And wrote out a chuden and an okuden menkyo on the same day. I can't remember - they might be dated different.
And aside from that, Takeda wasn't koryu in his thinking. He created a menkyo kaiden - a new rank - to give to Hisa Takuma for reasons that it is fair to speculate did not only pertain to skill. Such a cert. does not have waza on it - just the name of the people involved, and the cert. title. I simply am of the opinion, given that Takeda is not known to have studied anything called Shinkage-ryu jujutsu and it never gave it to anyone else that it was written to symbolize something uniquely meaningful between the two men. Until things went drastically south, Ueshiba was Takeda's favorite student. Stanley Pranin stated that he has evidence that Takeda intended to make Ueshiba his successor. Tokimune stated that Takeda loved Ueshiba best.
One more thing on formality. The way I got one of my ranks from one of my teachers - we are sitting at a table drinking and he leans back and says, "Oh yeah, you are mokuroku menkyo now." No ceremony. I never got a certificate (they are expensive, or if you do them yourself, time consuming).
Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 09-23-2009, 01:31 PM   #64
MM
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mark - You could be right. I can come up with three alternatives:
And your post brings up another interesting thing ...

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
2) The "paranoid solution," which does fit his character, as we know it. Paranoia is the most primitive psychological defense against being vulnerable - in essence, you become a "porcupine." Anything that might really "touch" you has to go through the quills. Interestingly, such people sometimes have one person who gets through, whom they trust. As there are absolutely no accounts of Takeda being abusive to his wife - none - and this is typical of many of a paranoid character, I wonder if Sue was the one. Mrs. Horikawa seems to think so,in her interview in Pranin's book. There is in that story a novel far beyond me - but what an untold story that relationship must have been.
So, going with your theory about Sue, in 1930 she dies. That's got to affect Takeda fairly deeply. Who would he turn to? As you've noted, Ueshiba was also very close. So, after 1930, Takeda shows up looking for Ueshiba. What happens? Ueshiba dodges his visits. And that, I would imagine, would have to have compounded Takeda's hurt. It isn't a big stretch to see why in 1936, Takeda turned to Hisa and eventually gave a menkyo. The quills of a porcupine pierce. Nor, do I think it would be a big stretch to see why Takeda might have been surly or mean during that time period.

It's a far different picture of Takeda than has previously been portrayed, that's for sure. Thanks, Ellis.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:38 PM   #65
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Mark - so much we don't know - and will never know. He had other close students, so he didn't need Hisa, per se. I would speculate that part of it was spiting Ueshiba, and part, quite simply, was a money and prestige issue.
As for him being "surly or mean during that period," - nah, now you are reaching. He was ALWAYS surly and mean.

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Old 09-23-2009, 02:17 PM   #66
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Among his other students in that time period we could look at Sato.
He was more than a Kyoju Dairi; he apparently was a friend and trusted confidant, furthering the humanity of Takeda. He was the one the kids turned to to ask Takeda to come home and not travel so much.
He was also the one to whom Takeda turned to deliver a letter he dictated to him to personally deliver to Ueshiba. Curiously in the same time period being discussed (30's) Wherein the general tone was "Why are you lying about me and our relationship?
The Ueshiba family supposedly has further correspondence between the two men that they would not disclose to Stan.

Dan
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:50 PM   #67
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Dan - I tried to be fair to both men in HIPS. (not saying you are not - just that there is a weighting towards Takeda, just as there has been a weighting towards Ueshiba in other's writing). I had one teacher (I had a number of teachers, each who embodied one significant trait of Japanese character to it's extreme) who saw the world much as Takeda did, in regards to his students. The attitude can be summed up, "As my student, you owe me what ever I demand.I will never make an unethical demand - BUT, I am the sole arbiter of what is ethical." And I gotta tell you, it was agony a lot of the time. My guts were so knotted up for years. We almost did come to blows on several occasions (I tend to be somewhat prideful, perhaps). And I didn't want to quit what I was doing, but I left Japan, among other reasons, just to get some air! And truthfully - as evidenced by my reception years later when I returned for a visit - I did the right thing.
We note in pre-war aikido masters (also Stan's books), several of the deshi describe what they call Ueshiba's perfect behavior toward Takeda in the 1930's, that this made a powerful impression on them of the perfect disciple. He "took" it all, and never evidenced any objection. That's how I tried to live (although I was more rebellious) - I did things at my teacher's behest that were against what I would have chosen to do - on my own. Things far beyond martial arts.
So, returning to my leaving, one thing that was built into classical ryu was turning your student's loose. Musha shugyo - the teacher feels the student chafing, and sends him out to meet the world, test his techniques and to return when seasoned. At which point, he is either called a failure or a menkyo. And sent on his way, in most cases. In other words, built into the system was a rite of passage, like a father saying to his son, "you are a man in my eyes. I will always be your father, but we are now eye-to-eye, and that's how we will communicate."
Many koryu in Japan have, in the modern era, erased this - and one stays a student of the "soke" forever - in a sense, you never get your manhood. I can think of several prominent ryu (and you may too) where the senior people cannot step out in the sun. This is not an issue of humility - it's an issue of one bull claiming all the cows.
Takeda was "worse," - essentially, your door was always open, and then you would attend to him, that shogi-cheating, accusing you of poisoning him, house taking over, taxi-driver beating up, grumpy old man that he was.
I've got a lot of sympathy for Ueshiba not simply facing this man and saying, "Boss, I quit." Many warriors did - and even did so through a challenge match to their teacher. Thereby indicating that they transcended the teacher and the ryu.
What if, however, you know that even in this late date - you can't win And let's say he could. BUT you don't even want to win! If nothing else, Takeda was getting old and Ueshiba was in the prime of manhood. Aside from those who were abused, really want to punch out your father? Or even "aiki" him - defeating in the only thing he really has? If you cannot confront the teacher/father, for whatever reason, what can you do? Knuckle under? Rebel? Run away.
Ueshiba's way doesn't engender respect in me (per Sagawa's book, several years earlier, having his wife turn him away at the door) and avoiding him. But I feel compassion for both of them - and think neither of them the bad guy in this long tangled relationship.
'Why are you lying about me?" vs. "Why won't you let me BE!!!"
Just imagine, after 20-30 years of training DR, getting all sorts of accolades and then this skinny old guy shows up, yelling, crunching all your students and telling them and you and all the world within earshot that you don't have crap - this guy who, per Sagawa, was careful not to teach all he knew anyway!!!! And then he takes over your dojo for as long as he cares to stay - and you have a family to feed.
Me, I just shake my head, considering the two of them, stuck in such a prickly, inescapable embrace and think, "Poor f**krs."
That said, Sato, of all of them, seems to have had the cleanest, most simple relationship of any of the close deshi. Too bad no one followed up with him after Stan found him and prevailed on him to teach.

Best
Ellis

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 09-23-2009 at 02:58 PM.

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Old 09-23-2009, 02:52 PM   #68
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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Mark - so much we don't know - and will never know. He had other close students, so he didn't need Hisa, per se. I would speculate that part of it was spiting Ueshiba, and part, quite simply, was a money and prestige issue.
As for him being "surly or mean during that period," - nah, now you are reaching. He was ALWAYS surly and mean.
Sorry, didn't mean that Takeda turned to Hisa in that regard. Meant that Takeda turned to Hisa because of Ueshiba not responding, so Takeda used Hisa to get back at Ueshiba by teaching Hisa and issuing the Menkyo.
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:00 PM   #69
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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Dan - I tried to be fair to both men in HIPS. (not saying you are not - just that there is a weighting towards Takeda, just as there has been a weighting towards Ueshiba in other's writing).
Yeah, I guess I can see how both could be caught in bad situations. I think that the spiritual aspect didn't help things either. I think Ueshiba really did have, either a single strong spiritual "vision"/experience, or several. And I don't think Takeda was like that. Throw in a war and it makes for some very tough times for both.
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:34 PM   #70
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Hi Ellis,
I am almost through with the book and I have to say it's really wonderful. I can't think of anyone else who has the odd background that you have that would have produced a book like this. Giving these larger than life characters their humanity the way you have couldn't really have been done by anyone else I don't think.

The analysis of the various technical considerations is fascinating and combining that with the historical perspective, well, I'll say I expected the book to be good but you have exceeded my expectations. All those years of work have paid off. It's a book that's a "must read" and a "re-reader" at the same time.

I also found that the book framed all of the discussions about internal power in such a way that I think will really clarify for many folks just what the discussion has really been about.

Anyway, thanks for the book and thanks to all the folks who helped you with their input.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:04 AM   #71
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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So, returning to my leaving, one thing that was built into classical ryu was turning your student's loose. Musha shugyo - the teacher feels the student chafing, and sends him out to meet the world, test his techniques and to return when seasoned. At which point, he is either called a failure or a menkyo. And sent on his way, in most cases. In other words, built into the system was a rite of passage, like a father saying to his son, "you are a man in my eyes. I will always be your father, but we are now eye-to-eye, and that's how we will communicate."
Best
Ellis
Hello Ellis,

I am in the middle of a critical review of the book. (Today, I received a new Japanese edition of the 兵法秘伝書. There is a fair amount of discussion in Japanese on the book and the author.)

One question. Do you think that Morihei Ueshiba saw his relationship with Kisshomaru in the same terms as you set out above? Of course, we know that aikido is not a koryu, but it does not follow from this that Morihei did not see succession, even family succession, in similar terms. If he did, I think this would explain quite a lot. The 'task' that Morihei set Kisshomaru was to keep the Tokyo Dojo running--at all costs.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 09-24-2009, 09:38 AM   #72
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Peter - I think that is a strong possibility. Previous to the war, you had a loyal son, not an athlete or tough guy, and not naturally drawn to his father's world, either martial or spiritual. Confronted, so to speak, on a daily basis, by many men who were not only stronger than he was, but stronger than he ever would be. (A little digression - I'm not thinking of size - I think Shioda and he were about the same size - but we have talent, fighting spirit, all sorts of things that make the man).
But in Tokyo, Kisshomaru went to war, so to speak. And people who've actually been to war and survived do not need to feel that they have to hang their head in relationship to a ring fighter or "martial artist." I can imagine, at least, that when Kisshomaru was confronted by the arrogance of one or another of these sempai/shihan, he could hold the internal sense of, "I was dodging napalm. I kept this dojo in existence. I stay without any possibility of even fighting back. And furthermore, despite your exploits in war, you were part of a group, and one can always borrow courage from the group. But I was alone." Diplomat and politician he certainly was, but all the times I observed him, I never had the sense that he felt himself abashed in the slightest when dealing with his seniors, the off-shoots (Shioda, Tomiki, etc.) or the top shihan in his organization.
I hadn't thought of it this way before, but I've certainly wondered why Morihei "let him get away with his changes." He was still the boss-man. To be sure, there the idea you raise of the old men making speeches at the wedding, listened to assiduously and then ignored. But one gets the sense, in the interviews they did together, that Morihei gave his son his head, so to speak. As in, "whether I agree or not - and I may make some noise now and then - you are a man and make your own decisions."
If this is so, how admirable. I've seen all too many great martial artists in Japan and elsewhere with non-entities for sons, the latter never finding a place - or merely being a place-holder.
Best
Ellis

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Old 09-24-2009, 10:02 AM   #73
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Your last point is an excellent one, Ellis. It is commendable that O'Sensei apparently saw the wisdom in letting Kisshomaru Doshu have his own say. It is the fair thing to do if you are asking someone to shoulder so much responsibility.

I wonder if Kisshomaru Doshu may have asked for this latitude prior to his decision to accept the role? Or perhaps he simply trusted his father to do the right thing. I know of many parallels in the corporate world where the "old man" put one of the kids in charge, but would not give them a day's peace without second-guessing, criticizing or meddling. These types of progressions always seem to work better if there is a prior pact of non- (or limited) interference.

On the other hand, I have heard accounts that, in retirement, O'Sensei really did "meddle" more at Hombu than is recorded, and was often treated with a sort of irritated indifference. I suppose it matters little in the big picture, but I wish I'd been around then to see for myself.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:23 PM   #74
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

Apologizing in hindsight for the above thread drift... Sometimes, my "ask a question" instinct trumps my "forum decorum" sense.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:33 PM   #75
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Takeda Sokaku

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Peter - I think that is a strong possibility. Previous to the war, you had a loyal son, not an athlete or tough guy, and not naturally drawn to his father's world, either martial or spiritual. Confronted, so to speak, on a daily basis, by many men who were not only stronger than he was, but stronger than he ever would be. (A little digression - I'm not thinking of size - I think Shioda and he were about the same size - but we have talent, fighting spirit, all sorts of things that make the man).
But in Tokyo, Kisshomaru went to war, so to speak. And people who've actually been to war and survived do not need to feel that they have to hang their head in relationship to a ring fighter or "martial artist." I can imagine, at least, that when Kisshomaru was confronted by the arrogance of one or another of these sempai/shihan, he could hold the internal sense of, "I was dodging napalm. I kept this dojo in existence. I stay without any possibility of even fighting back. And furthermore, despite your exploits in war, you were part of a group, and one can always borrow courage from the group. But I was alone." Diplomat and politician he certainly was, but all the times I observed him, I never had the sense that he felt himself abashed in the slightest when dealing with his seniors, the off-shoots (Shioda, Tomiki, etc.) or the top shihan in his organization.
I hadn't thought of it this way before, but I've certainly wondered why Morihei "let him get away with his changes." He was still the boss-man. To be sure, there the idea you raise of the old men making speeches at the wedding, listened to assiduously and then ignored. But one gets the sense, in the interviews they did together, that Morihei gave his son his head, so to speak. As in, "whether I agree or not - and I may make some noise now and then - you are a man and make your own decisions."
If this is so, how admirable. I've seen all too many great martial artists in Japan and elsewhere with non-entities for sons, the latter never finding a place - or merely being a place-holder.
Best
Ellis
Ellis:

Imaizumi Sensei stated clearly in his interview published in the Aikido Journal (printed version! Yeah, in the good old days.....) that O'Sensei had made it known that his son was in charge of running the organization while he was alive and that he would be the head of the organization after he passed away.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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