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Old 01-31-2010, 11:13 PM   #26
Toby Threadgill
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Hi,

This discussion has been making me roll my eyes in disbelief. Interestingly enough, I come across people in Wado ryu who make similar mistakes to those being made here. Holding little or no familiarity with Shindo Yoshin ryu, these amateurish researchers present laughable suppositions based on unreliable sources. What’s even more amazing to me is when they try to debate me after being confronted with documented facts. That these guys have scant factual information concerning SYR or its teachings seems irrelevant. They are so invested in their flawed thinking that they can’t accept the facts when they are staring right at them.

Convoluted rationalization and inept research based on shoddy resources frequently leads to absurd conclusions. If you want to publicly present a controversial supposition, you had better do your homework and do it well. To do otherwise makes someone like me wonder what the possible motivations could be for such behavior.

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:35 AM   #27
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Erick - last try....
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.
Takeshita's diary is what? Disproving that he really meant that Aiki is love simply because it can make people do what you want? -- Proving, I suppose, that I cannot love my children because I, occasionally with some less than pleasant insistence, make them "do what I want" when they misbehave?

You have not addressed the timeline of the Gejo/Tomiki asociation sometime after 1926 -- postdating the observation about "the old form of the posture in kenjutsu" -- which he claims was revealed to him as aikido ca. 1923 -- That seems to refer to Shinkage -- unless you really think the man was feeble or dishonest. You seem to think he is confabulating on the vision(s) -- but on the date?

But even if you conceive that the vision was confabulated later, why would he place it so distinctly in time ? Why would the date of the vision be significant enough to point out his age that much later ? Makes no sense unless he just reported what he remembered. Maybe confabulated even so -- but none of that changes the "old form ... of kenjutsu" being deemed particularly significant three or so years before the YSR experience with Gejo . None of the other chronologies I have seen place Tomiki before the vision. Regardless of exact date he is unlike to have reversed their order of occurrence in memory.

I am simply looking for something to explain the timeline -- taking the man at his word -- and which you have NOT addressed --IF you accuse him of making it up post facto -- what is your evidence that we should doubt it -- not the subjective experience itself -- but the objective association with "the old form" that he plainly made ?

Josh, the earliest version of the YSR wikipedia page associates Nakai with both arts -- and a source out of Japan seems to predate that as a web resource -- http://www.samuraispirit.org/Budosca...yu-English.pdf I can't check the nihongi version http://www.samuraispirit.org/Budosca...hinkageryu.pdf for correspondence because my Acrobat got indigeston on whatever character set is used -- Not saying its right -- just that it is not from Wikipedia but it ended up there.

I am not and have never tried to "prove" anything from any source on those points (much less the one noted) -- I am simply convinced that Shinkage influence had an earlier date because of the man's own statement. I went looking therefore for any suggestion of such a source. Aikido Journal's entry on Nakai's Goto-ha Shingan reports that "The technical content of this school is unknown but certainly included jujutsu techniques and the study of various weapons." Do you or Josh know something about the technical content of Nakai's school you are not telling that rules out any pastiche of Shinkage from him or Tsuboi ? The Shingan scroll from Nakai was seemingly not sealed and according to Miek Skoss (who shares your doubts about YSR connections) there is some thought Nakai was not authorized to issue densho -- this does beg a question whether he was completely orthodox in his training ? 'Cause ya know that NEVER happens in the martial arts, now does it? Again, though interesting, it is hardly critical either way.

The timeline is critical -- to your argument on Gejo, Tomiki and the later YSR influence -- without which we are back where we started with no clear YSR connection -- assuming you are correct and these Nakai associations and some informal YSR exposure are spurious. Why you resist the very possibility of the idea (vice the plainly loose nature of suggestive evidence for it ) is unclear to me -- since you essentially lay out a very similar informal exposure to YSR ( which is not disputed) through Gejo -- and which is wholly in keeping with Ueshiba's overall cafeteria style of learning.

Could we answer a simple question? -- The point of this whole issue in my raising this to YOUR attention (before, and again now):

WHAT do you contend was the intended reference of "the old form of the posture in kenjutsu" which IS aikido, according to Morihei Ueshiba (if not found in Shinkage, mu-to, or otherwise) ?

What is your answer ?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:53 AM   #28
fred veer
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

It should be clear that a lot of things we will ever know for certain.

What we do know is that:

Ueshiba Morihei studied with Takeda Sokaku in 1992 and received the daito ryu kyoju dairy and shinkage ryu certificates. The second certificate was regarded by Ueshiba Morihei as a ju-jutsu certificate (if I understand this correctly). For me this implies that Ueshiba Morihei was taught something outside of the daito ryu kyoju dairy syllabus.

What we also know is that the corpus of daito ryu was not complete at this time as we know it now. The number of daito ryu techniques upto and including menkyo kaiden is given by Kondo sensei at some point. In the film rendezvous with adventure Ueshiba Morihei gives the number of techniques in aikido (which I think for him was the same as daito-ryu except for the change in execution of technique which Ellis has described in his book) as almost the same number.

Might the shinkage ryu menkyo merely be an attempt by Takeda sensei to certify some techniques that were later included in the menkyo-kaiden syllabus but for which he had no daito-ryu certificate at this point. As Takeda Sokaku was paid for each the technique the shinkage menko had to add something.

Another point is that Ueshiba Morihei felt he could given a menkyo-kaiden to Tomiki sensei en mochizuki sensei while still teaching daito-ryu (predating the menkyo kaiden of Hisa sensei). What would have been his authority for this but some certificate comparable to the menko-kaiden.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:31 AM   #29
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
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."
Exactly. Think how much that would change Aikido practice if people simply understood that "Aiki" is part of all the demonstrations Ueshiba was fond of showing and was the basis of his art, "Aiki-do". However, many of the current "Aikido Teachers" are so invested in the "love" schtick that few of them would drop the schtick for what Aikido really is. The schtick is more important than the art and besides, it would take a lot of hard work to change over.

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:31 AM   #30
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

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However, many of the current "Aikido Teachers" are so invested in the "love" schtick that few of them would drop the schtick for what Aikido really is. The schtick is more important than the art and besides, it would take a lot of hard work to change over.
You say that as though love and violence are contradictory -- that's simply false. You say that as though there are no places where aikido is trained in that 'paradoxical' light. It is equal error to assume that love is not violent as to assume that violence is not loving. Granted, love and violence are not always properly connected in training -- aikido or otherwise -- but that is a problem that exists on the flipside as well -- especially in "competitive" forms that strive for all the violence and none of the love.

Measured by strength of will and viciousness, a loving mother protecting her young is the most dangerous creature on the planet -- of whatever species. Predatory killers in comparison are not usually interested in the risk of injury from attacking that level of commitment. There is a reason lions creep on their bellies to take a momma gazelle's baby (which can't outrun the lion) before momma is aware of the threat, though the lion can kill her too. She can often kill the lion though dying in the process. There is a budo lesson there somewhere. Nathan Bedford Forrest said a battle is won by the "first with the most" -- Love brings it all so, not an inconsiderable "force multiplier," I should think.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-01-2010 at 10:45 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:12 AM   #31
Fred Little
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
WHAT do you contend was the intended reference of "the old form of the posture in kenjutsu" which IS aikido, according to Morihei Ueshiba
I'm not Ellis, but I think it much more reasonable to view that "reference" as a typically pro forma appeal to an ahistorical, retrospectively projected and idealized golden age which was invoked to validate the speaker's broader assertions, while drawing attention away from their radical disjunction from the reality of the tradition out of which which they purportedly arise, than as having any objective correlate in the curricular specifics or organizing principles of specific Japanese martial traditions Ueshiba may have studied formally or otherwise.

For a good look at how this pattern has played out in the English-speaking world, one can hardly do better than Hobswam and Ranger's groundbreaking 1983 collection, The Invention of Tradition.

Regards to all,

FL

Last edited by Fred Little : 02-01-2010 at 11:16 AM. Reason: missing particle

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Old 02-01-2010, 11:17 AM   #32
Ellis Amdur
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Erick - The contents of Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu are well known. It is publicly demonstrated. YOur questions about the menkyo and the nature of Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu are answered in my book. Ueshiba stated explicitly that he learned jujutsu from Nakai. Stan's entry has not been updated for many years - he knows a lot more about the subject now. There is no document or quote anywhere that I am aware of UEshiba using the formulation "aikido" or "aiki" is love anywhere in the 1920's.
Your entire thesis is based on two fantasies:
1. That "old kenjutsu" MUST refer to YSR. The only assertion ever made of such is yours. The irony is, in koryu, YSR is not considered "old kenjutsu" - it's rather new.
2. That muto-dori is anything like aikido (it's not).

And the answer to your question is He had an experience of golden light in 1923, in 1960 something referred to "old kenjutsu," which almost surely refers to his Shinto preoccupations (read "Aikido is Three Peaches," in HIPS version, not AJ). Ueshiba, in this vein, refers to the sword as "tsurugi" not katana.

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 02-01-2010 at 11:28 AM.

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Old 02-01-2010, 12:58 PM   #33
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
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You say that as though love and violence are contradictory -- that's simply false. You say that as though there are no places where aikido is trained in that 'paradoxical' light. .
I just looked back at my post and I suggest that you do, too. I neither said nor "said as though" any of that. I admit, though, that that was one of the greatest strawman comments that I've ever seen.

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:03 PM   #34
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
There is no document or quote anywhere that I am aware of UEshiba using the formulation "aikido" or "aiki" is love anywhere in the 1920's.
Your entire thesis is based on two fantasies:
I have no thesis -- I am a lawyer -- I have only questions and arguments, and more questions... . As a matter of approach I find that one can discover untruth most successfully by assuming everything that anyone says IS true and then following strictly where such statements lead you... There is less opposition to questioning if you assume what they have already said is necessarily true. And if you starkly follow the logical consequences of that premise, you may find a great deal more becomes quite clearly true or untrue than routinely assuming that some portion is usually false and then trying to sort them out. YMMV.

But my argument, which founded my question, did not have to do with his "using the formulation of aiki" as love. He just happened to state that in the same context -- which is a different issue. He realized (because he said so -- there is no other evidence possible for that) at that time (~1923) that "aikido .. is the old form of the posture in kenjutsu" Whether it was in 1923 or in the fifties that he also related that to the "Aiki is love" meme is not the question. He claims he realized it in 1923, but he objectively associated the "old form... of kejutsu" and the "Aikido" directly. The question is "which old form"?

I do not see that direct connection of aikido with an "old form of kenjutsu" -- in 1923 or in 1957-- as metaphorical to tsurugi or Kusanagi in the sense of your approach in the Three Peaches article -- which was good, BTW. If you have changed this in the conclusions that you reach in that portion of your book it is unclear.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
[your fantasies]
1. That "old kenjutsu" MUST refer to YSR. The only assertion ever made of such is yours. The irony is, in koryu, YSR is not considered "old kenjutsu" - it's rather new.
"MIGHT refer" and I am lacking in more plausible alternative candidates. Compared to..... say, a better candidate for "the old form..." ? That's what I am hunting -- and if not Shinkage -- then give me a better target.

Is any suggestion as to what this might have been forthcoming rather than simply assuming that he meant nothing by it? From his seminal vision? That would be large assumption ... and more than a bit hard to accept. It seemed important to him, and he would likely try to accurately relate what it meant to him -- whatever our objective opinion about it.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
2. That muto-dori is anything like aikido (it's not).
Here's where we get to arguing apples to oranges (or peaches if you like). Mu-to I can only see conceptually in the relation of the nature of awareness and in-yo and juuji and that is only in the points of similarity I have made -- I have never seen it performed - so I was not asserting a connection between the physicality of the two, but comparing concepts as described with demonstrable conceptual connections -- fairly speculative, I'll certainly grant -- but you seem entirely comfortable with that as a basis for exploration.

Indeed, I would expect there to be a superficial dissimilarity in the two -- else whatever "the old form" was that he saw in this radically new context as aikido would not have required a moment of enlightenment to realize-- everyone would have seen it -- if it was so obvious. It might even be hidden in ..... -- oh well somebody might write that book ... someday....

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
And the answer to your question is He had an experience of golden light in 1923, in 1960 something referred to "old kenjutsu," which almost surely refers to his Shinto preoccupations (read "Aikido is Three Peaches," in HIPS version, not AJ). Ueshiba, in this vein, refers to the sword as "tsurugi" not katana.
The comment is from the 1957 interview republished by Kisshomaru in "Aikido" It was translated "kenjutsu" by Pranin and Terasawa -- not a likely error by them, I should think, Kenjutsu is something markedly less mythological than "tsurugi" or "Kusanagi." Ueshiba was hardly shy about employing mythological terms directly rather than by veiled allusion, so we might reasonably assume he meant what he said.

The comment follows immediately on a denial that Aikido as such was introduced to him by Takeda -- rather that Takeda "opened his eyes to budo." Takeda in other words was necessary, but not sufficient to his realization, in his own view. This cuts against the thesis that DTR and only DTR is the source for the intended expression of aiki in aikido (leaving aside its empirical expression at any given place at the moment). Maybe he was wrong or deluded, but if we nail down what he objectively meant, maybe we go further than just assuming away his direct statements simply because they do not serve a given argument.

YOU speculate (usefully, I think) that "Were one able to discover that the training methods of bugaku bear any relationship to those used to train practitioners of Japanese jujutsu, particularly Daito-ryu, it would be a magnificent coup." Maybe there is one -- a physical one-- demonstrable and definable and not depending on deep histories of a mythological past.

Almost all dance deeemd "graceful" depends for its aesthetic on continuous translation (and contnuous reversals) of rotations of the limbs and body -- this requires a certain physical principle of momentum transfer within the elements of the body that portray effortlessness -- It is physically different from levered action or push-pull action -- and trivially easy to distinguish the one from the other. All good sword work depends on the same physical principle. I can describe it mechanically -- the question is whether there is an "old form of the posture in kenjutsu" that also closely illustrates the principle of this graceful (and therefore powerful) form of effortless action to which he might likely have been referring.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:20 PM   #35
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

The above has somewhat afield of the original topic so I have split it off here:

Resume regular programming.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:31 PM   #36
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Interesting thread.

While working with Shishida to translate his findings on Takeshita's diary and the meanings of Aiki it was made quite clear to me that the concept of "Aiki is love" did not exist with Ueshiba M. and his cohorts in the 1920's. The "Aiki-nage" of Ueshiba's Daito Ryu or 1920's Aioi-Ryu was quite a different concept to what many Aikidoka refer to as "Tenchi nage" today. Ueshiba referred to Aiki Nage in his 1931 book "Budo Practice" as - "the skill to instantly break balance at will in order to stop an opponent's attack". The book then shows clearly that the opponent is thrown AFTER Aiki is applied, indicating that it is a separate element from the throw itself.

In the 1920s Aiki was understood and taught as a technical element of Ueshiba's training. Later on it became a slogan for universal love. I think that throughout this thread the two definitions have been used side by side as if referring to the same thing. They're not.

Just my 2 cents.

LC

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Old 02-02-2010, 08:37 AM   #37
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
Interesting thread.

While working with Shishida to translate his findings on Takeshita's diary and the meanings of Aiki it was made quite clear to me that the concept of "Aiki is love" did not exist with Ueshiba M. and his cohorts in the 1920's. The "Aiki-nage" of Ueshiba's Daito Ryu or 1920's Aioi-Ryu was quite a different concept to what many Aikidoka refer to as "Tenchi nage" today. Ueshiba referred to Aiki Nage in his 1931 book "Budo Practice" as - "the skill to instantly break balance at will in order to stop an opponent's attack". The book then shows clearly that the opponent is thrown AFTER Aiki is applied, indicating that it is a separate element from the throw itself.

In the 1920s Aiki was understood and taught as a technical element of Ueshiba's training. Later on it became a slogan for universal love. I think that throughout this thread the two definitions have been used side by side as if referring to the same thing. They're not.

Just my 2 cents.

LC
This is -of course- well in keeping with his then current training in Daito ryu - where aiki is a separate discussion from technique. For similarities in dairies and notes; you had Sagawa's father enter in his own journal in 1913 "Sensei says to apply aiki-here."
There are prescribed methods for applying aiki in different ways, but aiki emanates from aiki in the body as the first requirement. Also mentioned in Sagawa's own book.
This is just more reasons why people like Stan, Ellis and myself say you really cannot discuss Aikido without discussing Daito ryu. The cornerstone requirement of "aiki" is foundational and inseperable between the arts; it is what happens after aiki is applied, and the depth of the abiity to generate aiki that is the defining difference. But even now, in the 21st century, we see so many in aikido really striving to go back to the older methods of application (which I still feel is mistake and a digression from the path of aiki) if it is done without training the body -for aiki.

Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:06 AM   #38
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
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But even now, in the 21st century, we see so many in aikido really striving to go back to the older methods of application (which I still feel is mistake and a digression from the path of aiki) if it is done without training the body -for aiki.

Cheers
Dan
I think this is pretty critical, bears repeating and likely can mark some of the differences between still-viable training systems versus a parody (even those with some teeth).
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:28 PM   #39
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
This is -of course- well in keeping with his then current training in Daito ryu - where aiki is a separate discussion from technique. For similarities in dairies and notes; you had Sagawa's father enter in his own journal in 1913 "Sensei says to apply aiki-here."
There are prescribed methods for applying aiki in different ways, but aiki emanates from aiki in the body as the first requirement. Also mentioned in Sagawa's own book.
This is just more reasons why people like Stan, Ellis and myself say you really cannot discuss Aikido without discussing Daito ryu. The cornerstone requirement of "aiki" is foundational and inseperable between the arts; it is what happens after aiki is applied, and the depth of the abiity to generate aiki that is the defining difference. But even now, in the 21st century, we see so many in aikido really striving to go back to the older methods of application (which I still feel is mistake and a digression from the path of aiki) if it is done without training the body -for aiki.

Cheers
Dan
Well said.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:59 PM   #40
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
This is -of course- well in keeping with his then current training in Daito ryu - where aiki is a separate discussion from technique. For similarities in dairies and notes; you had Sagawa's father enter in his own journal in 1913 "Sensei says to apply aiki-here."
There are prescribed methods for applying aiki in different ways, but aiki emanates from aiki in the body as the first requirement. Also mentioned in Sagawa's own book.
This is just more reasons why people like Stan, Ellis and myself say you really cannot discuss Aikido without discussing Daito ryu. The cornerstone requirement of "aiki" is foundational and inseperable between the arts; it is what happens after aiki is applied, and the depth of the abiity to generate aiki that is the defining difference. But even now, in the 21st century, we see so many in aikido really striving to go back to the older methods of application (which I still feel is mistake and a digression from the path of aiki) if it is done without training the body -for aiki.

Cheers
Dan
One correction. It was -of course- Kodo Horikawa's Dad (Taiso) who's journal recorded that training note, not Sagawa's Dad.
I was rushing out the door when I wrote that, It doesn't take away from the point, but it worth being accurate.
Dan
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:26 PM   #41
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
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One correction. It was -of course- Kodo Horikawa's Dad (Taiso) who's journal recorded that training note, not Sagawa's Dad.
I was rushing out the door when I wrote that, It doesn't take away from the point, but it worth being accurate.
Dan
Wow Dan. This is fascinating I have not seen the original. Did it happen to say *how* to apply the aiki?
thanks,
josh : ]
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:53 AM   #42
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Sorry.
Please forgive me. I seem always go for the cheap laugh. no offense intended. Sorry if i put you on the spot.

That said....of course... I would like to know......
: )
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:05 PM   #43
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
...
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."
...
This is a very subtle but important detail. I don't know the specifics of this case, or how closely the traditional Japanese martial art system resembles that of the Chinese system, but in Chinese martial art, when this kind of things happen, these are the usual causes:

In feudal China, martial art was like any other type of craftsmanship, given all the normal socioeconomic incentives, important parts of the skill are only passed down to truly trusted students who will be 100% loyal to the teacher. That system is patterned after the traditional family system. In the family system, each member has clearly defined rights and duties. One of the most import duties of the child/student is to always honor and support his father. So within each martial art group, the No. 1 prohibition is 'qi shi mie zu' - to deceive, humiliate, brought shames to, ally oneself with external enemies of, or harm one's father/teacher and other ancestors. Denying their existence (I did not study with X), telling lies about who your immediate ancestors are (I studied with actual person Y) falls under this.

A student's right to ask questions is limited, he cannot ask who his teacher's teacher is, as that is considered rude - you're being skeptical about your teacher's credential. But normally, when a teacher formally accept a student as a disciple, starting the father/son relationship, one of the first things he would do is volunteer the lineage information to the best of his knowledge. Just as with real families, he may not know the names of his distant ancestors, but he should know the previous 2 generations. Under the family system, a teacher can withhold information, but he should never deceive his students.

When someone does not reveal who his teacher is, it's usually for the following reasons:

1. He was not a formal disciple.

There are innocent and interesting exceptions here: in China, if you become blood brothers with someone, you can show him everything you know, and he can even learn from your teacher. Because the basic tenant of blood brotherhood is "there is no separation between us, what is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine. Your father is now my father too, I will honor him like a real son..." In theory then, all your teachers and students are his as well, and vice versa. Under this type of circumstances, someone can become an expert without formally becoming a formal disciple.

2. He was a disciple but the relationship with teacher soured. As with real families, relationship can change over time, and the teacher may have severed the relationship later.

3. He created the style himself. In traditional society there's this unhealthy attitude that anything older is automatically better. So you created something new, a lot of people would say "who are you to change things that have stood the test of time, you think you're better than everyone who has come before you?!" To get around this problem, people would refuse to name their teacher. Again, withholding that info is not the same as lying about it (I learned it from actual person Y), which would be qi shi mie zu. Sometimes, if really pressed, they would say "I learned it from this traveling monk/daoist with special abilities while I was traveling in such and such remote/sacred mountain". Novices eat this up, because now it's all mystical. But insiders know that's code for "I came up with all of this".

4. The student's skill is not mature yet. In China, a lot of times students are not prohibited from going outside the group to test out his skill. The idea is, to really understand your skill, you need to try it out on as many people, with many types of opponents as possible. That said, before your skill has matured, your teacher usually say "don't tell people who your teacher is, you are not good enough to represent me yet", or "only let people know if you win".

5. The teacher is not famous. Fame in previous centuries is not like fame now - you can become well-known for publishing a book, have a popular blog, active on forums. Back then everyone knows who the best fighters are, just like today we know who the best basketball players are - they are the ones who fought other famous fighters, have good fight records. So famous fighter = good fighter. Life is not like martial art novels, where you can practice by yourself in some remote mountain, never touched hands with anyone, and just become invincible from day one. So if you're not well-known inside the martial art circle, it's safe to assume your real life fighting skills are not at the same level as people who are well-known.

So if one's teacher is not famous (he could still be good, even if not elite level), that's when you see people hiding that fact, or give you some mysterious explanation.

For that reason then, people like well-established school (sustained, excellent fighting reputation) is that there things are very transparent in this regard. They have no reason to hide any lineage information.

6. The teacher is infamous. Martial art people are very conservative when it comes to reputation. If your teacher's has bad personal reputation (say cooperating with foreign occupiers), even if he's a good fighter, that might be enough reason to hide it.

7. Special circumstances: sometimes the teacher has problems with powerful enemies and does not wish to broadcast his whereabouts. The most famous example is the first known Baji Quan master Wu Zhong. He was taught by a traveling couple with obviously made up names. Most people think it's because their real names were well-known to the Qing Dynasty government as loyalists to the previous dynasty.

As a disciple, the first duty is to fully inherit the teaching so one can 'guang da men hu' - bring honor and fame to the school, expanding it in the process. How can you bring honor to your father/teacher if you don't let people know who he is?

Last edited by wuyizidi : 03-04-2010 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:27 AM   #44
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: "Hidden in Plain Sight" - Shinkage ryu menkyo

I'm not sure if this horse is dead or not, but bouncing around the Interwebtubes, I came across this article (PDF format) by Shishida Fumiaki, in English.

I leave it to the reader to form their own conclusions based on it. However, just to add some context from the side of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu:

Gejo Kosaburo is quite the mysterious figure. Ostensibly, he was (according to Akabane Tatsuo) an ultra-high level master of Shinkage-ryu. However, little is known about him in the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu mainline. Some question whether he was really a student of Yagyu Toshichika (Genshu) at all. It seems obvious, at least from Shishida's research, that he attended the Hekiyokan, the Yagyu Dojo in Wakamatsu, in Tokyo. Here's the problem. The Hekiyokan opened in 1913, when Gejo was 48. Until that time, Yagyu Genshu was in Nagoya. Genshu returned to Nagoya in 1922, at the age of 77. Genshu's son Toshinaga (Gencho) continued teaching in Wakamatsu until 1930, when he also returned to Nagoya to care for his ailing father. So, if we assume that Gejo studied Shinkage-ryu purely under Genshu (after losing a match to him) in Tokyo, his training would consist largely of 9 years, from 1913 to 1922, ages 48 to 57. Even considering an accelerated pace of learning, and physical genius on Gejo's part, I personally have difficulty believing he could become the great, highly licensed master Akabane portrays him as. Which is not to say he wasn't good, and didn't advance in the curriculum.

Anyway, we come to the interesting question of Otsubo Shiho. On the Arakido site and in interviews with Kajitsuka Yasushi, Otsubo is said to have been a student of first Genshu-, and later Gencho-sensei. Akabane says, rather, that Otsubo was a deshi of Gejo. Given that Otsubo's age, and the fact that Genshu-sensei left Tokyo in 1922, and Gencho-sensei left Tokyo in 1930, I'm inclined to believe Akabane on this, with the caveat that Otsubo likely learned from Gencho-sensei when Gencho-sensei gave lectures in Tokyo just before and following the war.

On the other hand, this presents some problems. We have Shishida saying Otsubo was present when Gejo taught Ueshiba. If so, Otsubo was describing childhood memories. Even more confusing, is here it seems that Otsubo had first hand knowledge of Gejo teaching Ueshiba YSR, and yet according to Kisshomaru, sometime in the 1950s or so, expressed surprise at Ueshiba's movement and guessed that he must have learned YSR.

Given that Gencho-sensei's son and the previous soke, Yagyu Nobuharu was alive during all this time and may have been able to answer many of these questions of who trained where and when, it's a shame that Shishida never thought to interview him.

Finally, I personally find Akabane's research, mentioned in the article, rather problematic. One reason being his curious tendency (common to many Japanese researchers) to couch opinions as fact and to present ostensible facts with no sourcing whatsoever. Another is his tendency to form opinions (then presented as facts) based on a kind of comparative analysis of kata, which is always extremely dicey, IMO. I've read the article (in Japanese) that Shishida cites here regarding Gejo bringing aikido tai-sabaki influence into his YSR, and this is just such a case. I find Akabane's arguments unconvincing, and shallow in understanding of the kata of YSR. Akabane's own experience in YSR is from an offshoot he says is in the line of Otsubo Shiho (apparently not Muto Masao's line), which he abandoned about three years ago to join the Shunpukan, a dojo founded by Kanbe Kinshichi (miswritten as "Kobe" in Shishida's article), who was a student of Genshu-sensei.

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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