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Old 01-08-2010, 12:52 PM   #1
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"Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Ellis,

On page 116, you mention that Ueshiba received a Shinkage-ryu menkyo from Takeda. You mention that Sokaku is not known to have studied such a system.

But, on page 125, you write that Gejo Kosaburo, a shihan in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu was a friend of Sokaku Takeda.

Also you write that Otsubo of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu gave Ueshiba a compliment that "You must have studied Yagyu-ryu somewhere".

How close were Takeda and Gejo Kosaburo? Could Takeda have learned (informally) Yagyu Shinkage-ryu from Gejo? In some manner? And could that have been what Takeda gave to Ueshiba in the form of the Shinkage-ryu menkyo? If so, it would explain Otsubo's words.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:17 PM   #2
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

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Old 01-13-2010, 08:59 AM   #3
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Mark -
1.It was a "shinkage-ryu jujutsu menkyo" There is no evidence of Takeda studying any such system. And the extant systems of Shinkage-ryu jujutsu were not at all related to YSR - it was just such a "cool' name that a lot of people appropriated it. That's why I state my belief that it was simply a symbolic recognition of a special relationship (not unlike Takeda drawing up a new certificate called Daito-ryu menkyo kaiden for Hisa Takuma several decades later.
2. I establish pretty clearly that Ueshiba studied YSR from Gejo - and this was a fairly well-known fact (Tomiki Sensei said so, for example).
3. Gejo could have shown Takeda something of what he did. Why not? At that late stage of Takeda's life, however, and with him already having developed his unique style of kenjutsu, I very much doubt it would have made much of an impression on him, even if Gejo did show him some kata. To me, it would sort of been like some salon musician playing a tune for Mozart and the latter giving it more than a moment's thought.

Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-13-2010, 09:28 AM   #4
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Thanks for the clarifications, Ellis!
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:45 AM   #5
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mark -
1.It was a "shinkage-ryu jujutsu menkyo" There is no evidence of Takeda studying any such system. That's why I state my belief that it was simply a symbolic recognition of a special relationship (not unlike Takeda drawing up a new certificate called Daito-ryu menkyo kaiden for Hisa Takuma several decades later.
This may be true in the main, but incorrect in particulars. If the scroll displayed here is indeed the Shinkage-ryu menkyo given to Ueshiba by Takeda, it is purely a (Yagyu) Shinkage-ryu document. It is a copy of the Shinrikyo (Shoe Offering Bridge) scroll, the first part of Yagyu Munenori's famous Heiho Kadensho.

Before I explain further, let me give a rough outline of YSR history for context. (Not for Ellis, of course, but for others.) Shinkage-ryu was founded by Kamiizumi Hidetsuna, and taught Yagyu Munetoshi. Munetoshi's fifth son Munenori went on to serve Tokugawa Ieyasu as a kenjutsu instructor, gaining influence and power as he served Ieyasu's son and grandson. Eventually he became a daimyo. His son, Mitsutoshi, aka Jubei, is also famed as a swordsman. Munenori's line of the Yagyu family is known as the Edo Yagyu.

As famous as Munenori and his sons were, the mainline of YSR was actually passed on to Munetoshi's grandson Toshitoshi, aka Hyogonosuke. Hyogonosuke eventually came to serve the lords of Owari as a kenjutsu instructor, in what is modern day Nagoya. His line of the family came to be known as the Owari Yagyu, and it is this line that maintains Yagyu Shinkage-ryu to this day.

I mention this because the Shinrikyo is a purely Edo Yagyu document. It was not used by the Owari Yagyu or their students. It was written by Munenori for his deshi and descendants, and was used to recognize someone as a member of the ryu. In this sense, it was not a menkyo in the sense of license, or even as a certification of attainment. It was a document indicating affiliation.

I make this point because it would seem that Gejo Kosaburo was a student of the Owari Yagyu line of YSR, not the Edo Yagyu line. If Takeda had learned YSR from Gejo, it's unlikely he would have then given Ueshiba this Edo Yagyu document. Nor would it be related to Jikishinkage-ryu, since YSR and JSR branched away from each other in the founder's generation.

The document is a curious one. The contents, as much as I can read, are taken directly from Heiho Kadensho, but it is not a faithful copy. I believe the image in the above link has been edited to show the beginning and the end of the scroll (thus obscuring any possible references to actual YSR kata in the original), but in the section is shown, three of the five points regarding stance ("stand in hitoemi", "lower your shoulder to your opponent's fists", and "extend your left elbow") are omitted, leaving only "Use your fists as a shield" and "support your body with your front leg, and extend your rear leg".

The lineage preceding Takeda's signature runs:

Kamiizumi Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara Hidetsuna
Yagyu Tajima-no-Kami Taira Munetoshi
Yagyu Tajima-no-Kami Taira Munenori
Over Ten Generations in Old Aizu Domain
Takeda Sokaku Minamoto Masakazu

The Aizu domain reference is no abbreviation on my part, that is literally what it says in the document. That's how Takeda basically links himself to Munenori -- generations of anonymous Aizu bushi. Had Takeda not been illiterate, I would assume that he copied, or had it copied, out of a book that published the Heiho Kadensho. As it is, it still seems highly suspect that he didn't even write the name of his direct teacher.

Of course, there seems to be no other indication that Takeda studied Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. The above site quotes from Shishida Fumiaki's book "Aikido Kyoshitsu" that (according to Tomiki, I assume) Ueshiba had never seen a fukuro-shinai until he came to Tokyo, and that when visiting the Kobukan one day, Takeda came across a fukuro-shinai and went ballistic.

So, while the densho is not one for some form of Shinkage-ryu jujutsu, I nonetheless agree with Ellis's idea that this was some symbolic gesture from Takeda. Where Takeda got the exemplar for the scroll is a mystery. Perhaps, like Ueshiba's dabbling in judo, Tenjin Shin'yo-ryu and Yagyu Shingan-ryu, Takeda had briefly studied with some former Aizu-han instructor of YSR, long enough to receive a scroll indicating membership in the ryu, but not long enough to really take much from it before moving on to Itto-ryu and Jikishinkage-ryu. Perhaps he simply obtained the densho as an historical document (the Meiji era being a good time for folks to sell old, obsolete densho for some ready money), and knew only that it was a kind of scroll indicating affiliation.

Interestingly, Shishida says that Gejo taught Ueshiba various kata, except for Muto, which is not taught until the deshi received inka, the highest level of certification. That fits with YSR practice. The Sho-Chiku-Bai aikiken kata that Ueshiba taught Hikitsuchi are taken from Sangaku En-no-Tachi and Kuka-no-Tachi, two of the "Omotedachi" of Shinkage-ryu -- the lower level kata a YSR deshi first learns. However, Ueshiba apparently did not take from Empi, the third Omotedachi. The kata for Sangaku and Kuka are listed in the Shinrikyo, but Empi is not. I wonder if Ueshiba's training with Gejo basically involved Gejo showing him these kata listed on this scroll Takeda gave him, which Takeda never actually taught.

Josh Reyer

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Old 01-27-2010, 09:10 AM   #6
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Josh - Fantastic information. If enough copies of the book sell to ever warrant a reprint, I will correct the information in the new edition.
Barring further info, I would still stand by my conclusion/speculation that this menkyo was symbolic, and demonstrative of a special relationship between Takeda and Ueshiba.
Interesting that Takeda would be enraged at the sight of a fukuro shinai in the dojo, if he really taught/bequeathed YSR to Ueshiba. It is almost as if the possession of such a training implement would denote that Ueshiba was doing some study outside Tákeda's orbit - and given that a fukuro shinai and YSR are hand-in-glove, then this would support the idea that Takeda gave his student a symbol rather than a curriculum.
Best
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:43 AM   #7
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Wow, great discussion. Thanks Ellis and Josh!

Pat
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:20 PM   #8
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Josh - Fantastic information. If enough copies of the book sell to ever warrant a reprint, I will correct the information in the new edition.
Barring further info, I would still stand by my conclusion/speculation that this menkyo was symbolic, and demonstrative of a special relationship between Takeda and Ueshiba.
No, not merely "symbolic."

Quote:
Quote:
Ueshiba Morihei wrote:
The form of Budo must be love. One should live in love. This is Aikido and this is the old form of the posture in Kenjitsu.
http://www.aikidofaq.com/interviews.html
"Budo as love" and the Yagyu doctrine of katsujinken "life giving sword" are a close fit. Similarly, the "posture in kenjitsu" in the Yagyu katsujinken doctrine was founded on shuji shuriken, an esoteric concept described cryptically in the Heiho Kaden. Munenori's text describes shuji shuriken as joining "being" in the upward palm, and "non-being" in the downward palm in to one. This describes the the in/yo joining of the juji + figure.

There is also a Doka of O Sensei's with that very image of taking "in" in the left hand and "yo" in the right hand. This is tenchinage. While Daito-ryu has a version of this technique they call it aikinage -- the tenchi Heaven/Earth image of the technique name is only in aikido and is directly related to the juji + in/yo figure.

According the annotations, Yagyu Mitsuyoshi explained the secret doctrine of shuji shuriken as learning an enemy's mind from the cross-wise block, i.e -- juji +, That is very likely the "Cross of Aiki" as O Sensei wrote in several of the Doka that I already laid out above. Also as I discussed above, he referred to his art in a Doka as "jujido."

As to my presumption that he got mu-to training whether legitimately (assuming the menkyo debate is resolved), the emphasis of Yagyu on its mu-to system (whether he was certified in it or not) certainly had to inform their curriculum otherwise. Munenori says precisely that in Heiho Kaden Sho, that postures, sword positions, distance, movement, mental focus, feints and attacks were all premised on mu-to. "No-sword is central to all important things." Hiroaki Sato, tr.
I have previously noted these functional correspondences and specific references , which we have discussed before relating to the Yagyu muto system as it may have been adapted into parts of aikido. You did not -- then -- give me any credence for noting them -- but perhaps you will revisit those points also when you have a chance..

Ueshiba claimed Shinkage-ryu as part of his influence -- Aikido Journal still holds forth that O Sensei was granted a Yagyu menkyo kaiden by Masakatsu Nakai in 1908 in Sakai City -- who reputedly was proficient in both Shingan and Shinkage. Many sources attribute Ueshiba's menkyo kaiden to him and assert it was Shingan:

Perhaps not -- or perhaps both.


Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-27-2010 at 02:24 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:22 PM   #9
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Erick, I wouldn't speculate about Shinkage-ryu if I were you. You going far afield of your knowledge base. Your take on "being" and 'non-being" in shuji-shuriken is particularly ridiculous.

Josh Reyer

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Old 01-27-2010, 04:32 PM   #10
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Hmm.

So it was, in fact, a Yagyu Shinkage Ryu document and not something that Takeda had a scribe write up special for Ueshiba that he just called a "Shinkage" menkyo.

It was furthermore a document related only to the Edo branch of YSR. Therefore we might as well take Kosaburo out of the picture here, because he was an Owari man and the scroll in question was meaningless in his tradition (as far as I understand it the two branches had been fairly separate and distinct for over 200 years at this point).

How illiterate was Takeda? I've read in HIPS and in other places that Takeda spent a lof ot time wandering around crashing dojo. What was it like to manuver that particular landscape and not be able to read? Did he have the occasion to lay eyes on a lot of different documents from the various ryu he encountered in his life? He must have developed a knack for eyeing a scroll and coming to some conclusion as to what its signficance was, even if he couldn't appreciate all the characters.

What if Takeda had no idea what the document was in the first place? Maybe he misunderstood what it was? Maybe he didn't care what it was, he just thought it was a nice scroll, written on nice paper with good clean brush-strokes?

I take it there weren't a lot of students around who would have been comfortable saying, "Ah, Sensei! Chotto..." when the old man was wrong about something?
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:06 PM   #11
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

I find it doubtful that any Yagyu Shinkage-ryu muto-dori got integrated into modern aikido. I just saw a rather interesting embu of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu a few weeks ago and they did some muto-dori. It looks nothing like what I've seen any aikido group do. It looks a lot like the Yagyu kodachi kata. The kamae (kurai in Yagyu?) and taisabaki were completely different than aikido I've seen. If Ueshiba sensei learned the muto-dori of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu I don't think it had much influence on what he did.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
No, not merely "symbolic."

I have previously noted these functional correspondences and specific references , which we have discussed before relating to the Yagyu muto system as it may have been adapted into parts of aikido. You did not -- then -- give me any credence for noting them -- but perhaps you will revisit those points also when you have a chance..

Ueshiba claimed Shinkage-ryu as part of his influence -- Aikido Journal still holds forth that O Sensei was granted a Yagyu menkyo kaiden by Masakatsu Nakai in 1908 in Sakai City -- who reputedly was proficient in both Shingan and Shinkage. Many sources attribute Ueshiba's menkyo kaiden to him and assert it was Shingan:

Perhaps not -- or perhaps both.


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Old 01-27-2010, 05:51 PM   #12
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Josh,

Have you seen the book entitled 『会津藩教育考』? It is the source of much of the information about Kurokochi Dengoro Kanenori that Kono Yoshinori used in his Aiki News article, which Ellis in turn used for the chapter on Kanenori's activities in the Aizu domain and his supposed relationship with Takeda Sokaku. The book is part of a series about Japanese history published by Tokyo University (in the 1930s, I believe), but it contains far more information. I have not gone through the book specifically for information concerning the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu supposedly taught in the Aizu domain, but I think it will be there.

I think you would find the book of interest, not least for the interesting style of Japanese in which it is written.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 01-27-2010, 06:08 PM   #13
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

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Erick, I wouldn't speculate about Shinkage-ryu if I were you. You going far afield of your knowledge base. Your take on "being" and 'non-being" in shuji-shuriken is particularly ridiculous.
Ah. This is some customary substitute for reasoned argument among the scholarly gaijin in Japan, is it ?
If you had read it -- you would know that it was not MY take to relate the orientation of awareness joining "being and non-being" -- take up your argument with this guy . It is my argument hat the joining of being and non-being, are quite properly symbolized by juuji -- as are katsu/setsu which are operative Yagyu principles, Juuji also portrays tenchi and the in-yo principles generally, but moreso in a way peculiar to Ueshiba's chosen understanding -- so much so that he called his art by that name.

Josh, I do not believe I have made any Olympian pronouncements worthy of your seemingly towering disdain. You had noted a curious connection of documentary evidence to Yagyu Shinkage -- which Ellis had apparently overlooked -- after some while ago vociferously taking me to task for even remotely suggesting it, and I deferred to his "authority" on the point.

-- Now I simply reminded folks that we had already discussed that point on some functional and descriptive parallels to certain Shinkage doctrine -- as possibly understood by Ueshiba in his inveterately idiosyncratic fashion -- not as understood by Shinkage (or YOU) then or now.

If he did obtain (or stole more likely) any mu-to stuffs - as you say_- it was very likely not through an "approved" source. There are interviews indicating that the Nakai Shingan certificate was also signed by Masanosuke Tsuboi -- and another interview of Kisshomaru indicating that Shiho Otsubo -- who was licensed in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu saw Morihei's movement regularly at his home and remarked that he recognized his training.

Make of it what you will -- I am not interested establishing scholarly proclamations of lineage probity --- but the intersections of interesting facts and useful correspondences of ideas for better and more creative understanding and practice.

My intuition for concrete image and connections in Ueshiba's mythopoeia -- for all its many faults (mine mostly, but his also) -- seems to serve me at least as well in making some useful sense of Ueshiba's discourses -- even in rough translation -- as poetic images leap gaps that linear prose or even dynamic translation will not cover. Bassho and Issa work in many, many tongues, my friend.

I do not thereby demean the value of deeper contextual and circumstantial knowledge such as what Prof. Goldsbury so charitably provides. But your soberly precise linguistic and historic "authority" seems to halt at cracks the man himself did not even pause in striding over. My approach to language and myth is admittedly a good bit looser, freer, and a thus tad closer in spirit -- just a tad, I think -- to Ueshiba's than your painfully exacting scholarship is.

But you be the judge -- you do insist on it, after all.

Cheers.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-27-2010 at 06:12 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:38 PM   #14
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

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Ah. This is some customary substitute for reasoned argument among the scholarly gaijin in Japan, is it ?
If I could be assured of "reasoned argument" with you, I would engage in it, but I'm afraid I've been down this road before. I could write a long essay detailing what exactly Munenori was talking about with regards to "shuji-shuriken" "being/non-being", and so on, and how those particular concepts don't show up in aikido. But in the end, you'd simply ignore the point, semantically pick apart a few turns of phrase, and in the end just say that despite what these concepts actually mean in Shinkage-ryu, Ueshiba's interpretation was different, or even, it doesn't matter what the words mean or what they are used for, any particular interpretation by any particular person is perfectly valid. Heck, you've already started that with your last post.

So, no thank you, I'll pass on the "reasoned argument". Take my post in the manner in which it was intended: advice that your conclusions were not supported by an adequate base of knowledge. How you address that lack is up to you.

Josh Reyer

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Old 01-27-2010, 08:37 PM   #15
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

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If I could be assured of "reasoned argument" with you, I would engage in it, but I'm afraid I've been down this road before. I could write a long essay detailing what exactly Munenori was talking about with regards to "shuji-shuriken" "being/non-being", and so on, and how those particular concepts don't show up in aikido. But in the end, you'd simply ignore the point, semantically pick apart a few turns of phrase, and in the end just say that despite what these concepts actually mean in Shinkage-ryu, Ueshiba's interpretation was different, ..... Heck, you've already started that with your last post.
Actually, the underlined was the point -- back in the first discussion -- in 2006 -- so points to me for prophecy in presaging my "brilliantly shallow rhetorical coup" to your present "masterly dismissal," I suppose.

I did not invent his association with Shinkage -- he did -- if it was invented, in whole or in part. Then the question would be -- how much and why?

You seem to read Ueshiba and his language as objects among other objects for your proper tidying up -- just cause he's dead and can't correct you. Me? I read Ueshiba and I try to have a conversation with the man. He was a messy mind. I have no interest or business in tidying messy people up. He might be wrong and he might be dead but he is still more interesting. Thankfully, I like conversation even with less interesting people.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:40 PM   #16
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

A small correction...

Takeda's name should be Masayoshi, not Masakazu. I once had a friend named Yoshikazu, and it's been screwing me up ever since...

Josh Reyer

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Old 01-27-2010, 11:53 PM   #17
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Erick - I think there should be a rule that to discuss a book one must read the book
1. Nakai and Tsuboi did not do Yagyu Shinkage-ryu - they did Yagyu Shingan-ryu. Different ryu entirely. Different documents. Different esoteric training. Different physical training. Sort of like the Carribean pirates and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Or maybe that the fact that Joseph Smith was a Mormon proves that Will Smith, the actor sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
2. I explained in the book in considerable detail that Ueshiba DID study Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, in a fashion from Kisaburo Gejo and noted, as does Josh the kata that he taught, in his fashion at Shingu, and that Tomiki Kenji also said so. That is nothing new to the discussion.
3. The debate here is (well, should be) what the nature of a menkyo that Takeda gave Ueshiba. And whether, in some fashion, despite a dearth of any other evidence, either documentary or more important physically (in the sword of Takeda), that HE somehow did Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. The lineage in the menkyo, alone, establishes to my satisfaction that Takeda did not - but rather like Ueshiba, he felt that he could look at anything and say, "In aiki, we do it this way."
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:30 AM   #18
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Hello Josh,

Further to my last post, I can find no evidence in the work I cited of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu being taught in the Aizu Domain school at the time that Kurokochi Dengoro Kanenori was teaching there.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Josh,

Have you seen the book entitled 『会津藩教育考』? It is the source of much of the information about Kurokochi Dengoro Kanenori that Kono Yoshinori used in his Aiki News article, which Ellis in turn used for the chapter on Kanenori's activities in the Aizu domain and his supposed relationship with Takeda Sokaku. The book is part of a series about Japanese history published by Tokyo University (in the 1930s, I believe), but it contains far more information. I have not gone through the book specifically for information concerning the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu supposedly taught in the Aizu domain, but I think it will be there.

I think you would find the book of interest, not least for the interesting style of Japanese in which it is written.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:15 AM   #19
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Josh, Ellis, Peter, thank you for your posts.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:44 AM   #20
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Erick - I think there should be a rule that to discuss a book one must read the book.
1. Nakai and Tsuboi did not do Yagyu Shinkage-ryu - they did Yagyu Shingan-ryu. Different ryu entirely.
OFCOL. I just said that he did Shingan --The point is that there have been references to Nakai also having Shinkage training as well as his main license in Shinkan -- maybe spurious, but they are out there -- which I simply added as a point of consideration to the apparent discovery of an actual Shinkage document granted to Ueshiba (whatever its provenance) that you hammered me for even suggesting from other evidence before. Since he did not get the license from Kisaburo Gejo or his Yagyu branch -- the same problem remains as at the start. What was the nature of the influence or aspects taken from it? He wasn't shy about mentioning it -- though perhaps its purely promotional value may have been the motivation. The conceptual ties seem otherwise, however.
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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
3. The debate here is (well, should be) what the nature of a menkyo that Takeda gave Ueshiba.
I understand that is your debate -- my question, which I flagged as tangential, mind you -- is whether that is the most useful aspect of the debate. Determining what Ueshiba took or did not take in concept form or training from Shinkage -- that seems more fruitful than the hallmarks on a scroll. YMMV. You seem to have more of what I might call a koryu mind, so did Takeda -- but Ueshiba did not, he "stole" as much as he got by "legitimate" transmission -- recognizing both 'styles' of achievement have have their own legitimacy and traditions. That difference was a source of conflict between them -- and breaking down those concepts and elements in a way, not disrespectful exactly, but, shall we say, less worshipful, of the school's self-understanding would be closer to what seems Ueshiba's common method. He wasn't interested in their traditions -- he believed there was an ur-tradition to be mined out of them.

If we want to understand Ueshiba in how he took things from these schools we need to adopt something closer to his self understanding. Preaching to the choir here, I know, but it is a psychological error to try to understand someone primarily in the way I wish to understand him, rather than trying to understand him in the way HE wishes to be understood. Neither perspective is actually objective -- but the latter is more likely closer to being true.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:09 AM   #21
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Ueshiba claimed Shinkage-ryu as part of his influence -- Aikido Journal still holds forth that O Sensei was granted a Yagyu menkyo kaiden by Masakatsu Nakai in 1908 in Sakai City -- who reputedly was proficient in both Shingan and Shinkage. Many sources attribute Ueshiba's menkyo kaiden to him and assert it was Shingan:

Perhaps not -- or perhaps both.
Quote:
OFCOL. I just said that he did Shingan --The point is that there have been references to Nakai also having Shinkage training as well as his main license in Shinkan -- maybe spurious, but they are out there -- which I simply added as a point of consideration to the apparent discovery of an actual Shinkage document granted to Ueshiba (whatever its provenance) that you hammered me for even suggesting from other evidence before.
Erick - there is NO evidence whatsoever that either Nakai or Tsuboi ever had any experience with Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. None. That some uneducated (in Japanese martial history, be they non-Japanese or native) people have read "Yagyu" associated with Nakai and/or Tsuboi and immediately assumed it must be Yagyu Shinkage-ryu is not evidence of anything other than their own ignorance. It's not even supposition. It's on the same level as "Japanese swords are called "ken," and my friend's name is "ken," so he must be a reincarnation of a samurai."

The "license," as Josh points out, is actually more evidence that Takeda was cavalier in his assertions of history, and simply gave a certificate because he could. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he was nagged by Onisaburo to give Ueshiba something and he just decided that "you want a certificate, here's a certificate." That he didn't even name the 10 generations of Aizu's (non-existant) Yagyu Shinkage-ryu swordsman including his own teacher (that would be quite an insult, actually, were such a man to have existed) is further evidence that this is a useful "fiction."
If you or anyone else finds this implausible, I have an eyewitness account from Terry Dobson where a man who later became quite prominent in jujutsu circles in America, approached Ueshiba, crying, saying that if he went home without a black belt, he'd be shamed, and Ueshiba patted him on the back and said, in effect, "Don't cry. Here's a shodan."
I'm not saying that Ueshiba did the same to Takeda - although I wouldn't put anything past Onisaburo - but the LEAST plausible explanation is that Takeda held a secret inkajo in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. Equally implausible is that Ueshiba's Yagyu Shingan-ryu teacher had a secret Yagyu Shinkage-ryu certificate (really, you need to get out more - even on YouTube - and see that the two ryu are really quite far apart.). And finally, since we already know that Gejo taught Ueshiba Yagyu Shinkage-ryu kata, why strain after explanations when it's right in front of you?
I should be more humble, perhaps - but I will note that I have an entire section in HIPS on Yagyu Shinkage-ryu influence on Ueshiba.
If there is any issue left, it lies in people actually familiar with the gokui of YSR (physical, moral and spiritual) assessing if Ueshiba evidenced any familiarity with YSR beyond a few kata which he "aikified."
Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-31-2010, 12:35 PM   #22
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Erick - there is NO evidence whatsoever that either Nakai or Tsuboi ever had any experience with Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. None. ... Equally implausible is that Ueshiba's Yagyu Shingan-ryu teacher had a secret Yagyu Shinkage-ryu certificate
OK. calm down a moment and read what I said. Nakai (ca. 1904-1908) trained Ueshiba in Shingan. I didn't say he had a scroll in Shinkage, I said that Nakai is said to have had some Shinkage training also. Otsubo noted it as being Shinkage when Kisshomaru remembers him coming regularly the their house (as you yourself have pointed out. There are still places training with those arts together as descended from both Nakai and Otsubo so this is hardly a specious association.

His period with Gejo -- Tomiki supposedly studied Shinkage with Ueshiba under Gejo -- thus it would have been after 1926 or later in the twenties after they met.

So Ueshiba Morihei could NOT be speaking of his kenjutsu training with Gejo at the time of his first vision of aiki in ~1923 (he was "forty years old" according to his own account).. His vision then was that "The form of budo must be love. One should live in love. This is aikido and this is the old form of the posture in kenjutsu." This was the point and context of my original enquiry into this matter back in 2006.

He is not then speaking of his Shinkage training with Gejo which he has yet to start. He is unlikely to be speaking of Shingan which is a newer form (ca. 1600) than Shinkage (before 1560's), and descended from it. There may be something else that qualifies as "the old form" in kenjutsu but Shinkage is the presumptive claimant for the Meiji period and after.

He obviously had to know something of Shinkage to be recognized as such by Otsubo -- but to square that with the timing of his vision of the "old form" in 1923 -- the vision may have actually prompted dusting off his older (and likely more informal) Shinkage legacy by resuming training in it with Gejo thereafter, with Tomiki, sometime after they met in 1926.

Thus, some significant Shinkage training very likely predated his training with Gejo. If not Nakai, where? Nothing else makes as much sense of the timeline.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-31-2010 at 12:41 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:50 PM   #23
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Erick - last try.
1. This "all experts" site is exactly what I'm talking about - uneducated people who regurgitate stuff they glean from other English language publications, particularly those about aikido. There is NO record of Nakai studying Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. None. Furthermore, Ueshiba's training in Shingan-ryu was quite cursory. He mostly learned the jujutsu portion, to some degree - and NOT the weaponry, which is over half the school. And the jujutsu he learned left him absolutely inept when he faced Takeda Sokaku for the first time.
2. And now you include yourself among those "uneducated" - I am not making an ad hominem attack - I'm stating this as a fact. You logged onto the Yagyu Shingan-ryu site (Arakido) and inferred something that is not true. Otsubo Shiho never trained a day of Yagyu Shingan-ryu in his life. Muto Masao, separately studied Yagyu Shingan-ryu from another teacher and then went to study Shinkage-ryu with Otsubo. People at the time commented on this as being quite unusual - I remember it at the time. I heard several noted koryu people say something like, "Hmm, Mutoh-san might be biting off more than he can handle. Shingan-ryu and Shinkage-ryu are so different!" Yet you assert from your misreading of the website that Otsubo did Shingan-ryu.

3. That Ueshiba used the word "love" in his last years has no particular relevance to Yagyu Shinkage-ryu and Ueshiba.
Quote:
From Ueshiba… at that time I was about 40 years old. One day I was drying myself off by the well. Suddenly, a cascade of blinding golden flashes came down from the sky enveloping my body. Then immediately my body became larger and larger, attaining the size of the entire Universe. While overwhelmed by this experience I suddenly realized that one should not think of trying to win. The form of budo must be love. One should live in love. This is aikido and this is the old form of the posture in kenjutsu. After this realization I was overjoyed and could not hold back the tears.
That was an interview at the end of his life. Ueshiba, in the 1920's called what he did, Daito-ryu. He revinvented his "enlightenment" story over and over again. What he as an old man, propounding his own mythology wrote, is not evidence of any training that might have occurred in the 1920's or earlier.
BTW - Mutoh Masao rather gleefully told me that he had a copy of Admiral Takeshita's diary and - here's a direct quote, "Everyone today talks about 'aikido is love, love, love.' But Takeshita sensei quoted Ueshiba-san as saying, "Aiki is a means of achieving harmony with another person so that you can make them do what you want."
4. Otsubo would have seen Ueshiba in the 1950's or 1960's, not the 1920's. I knew Otsubo, and had conversations with him in the 1980's. He was a little boy in the 1920's - and not yet trained in Shinkage-ryu. So this, too, has no relevance.

In sum, your supposition is based on a number of incorrect assumptions. A) that contrary to record, Ueshiba might have studied Shinkage-ryu from a man who never knew it (Nakai). B) Or, that he learned about the "love" of YSR from Takeda Sokaku (now there's a thought!) C) that Otsubo knew Yagyu Shingan-ryu
D) That Otsubo must have seen Ueshiba before he cross-trained with Gejo (in a time machine?). e) that his mythologizing self-references in the 1960's, using the term "love," something he used only after the war, I believe, is in any way proof of an initiation into Yagyu Shinkage-ryu.

Final point, Ueshiba did NOT study with Gejo, who was his student. Ueshiba had him show him some forms which, as was his wont, he altered to fit his aiki-agenda (these forms, no longer Yagyu Shinkage-ryu in anything else but outer structure, were taught to Hikitzuchi Morio). His training in YSR, as in almost everything he did other than Daito-ryu, was superficial.
Some would consider what he did an improvement on the original. I would not. (For another example, after the 2nd WW, he asked Sugino to teach him TSKSR spear. He could have learned from Sugino's teacher - but he did not want to be initiated and learn "properly") He just wanted to pick up something of interest to him that he could incorporate into his own practice - and doing so from his own student made it safe - he would thereby owe nothing to the ryu. He wanted to dip a toe in - not swim.

Ellis Amdur

Note: There's nothing more to say here, Erick. Unless you have a primary source (not a website of non-practicing, "web-experts") which establishes some of what you are asserting, I've got nothing more to respond.

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Old 01-31-2010, 03:45 PM   #24
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
But Takeshita sensei quoted Ueshiba-san as saying, "Aiki is a means of achieving harmony with another person so that you can make them do what you want."
Also:

"In genuine budo, however, simply foreseeing the enemy's plan is not sufficient. But to equip your inner-self with the power to move the enemy according to your own will is the true Way of the Gods ." On the Martial Ways of Japan - The Training of Unification of Body and Spirit, Ueshiba M.

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Old 01-31-2010, 06:16 PM   #25
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Just a note, Erick's "experts" site is a mirror of Wikipedia. The Wikipedia article on Yagyu Shinkage-ryu is very bad, and contains many errors. I mean, hell, even regarding Ueshiba it says that Nakai gave Ueshiba a menkyo kaiden, which is clearly in error. Dollars to donuts that the person who wrote that thought "Yagyu Shingan-ryu" = "Muto Masao" = "Yagyu Shinkage-ryu and Yagyu Shingan-ryu".

Last edited by Josh Reyer : 01-31-2010 at 06:29 PM.

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