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Old 06-15-2010, 12:33 PM
Peter A Goldsbury AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
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Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

INTERLUDE:
VII:Hidden in Plain Sight:
Tracing the Roots of Ueshiba Morihei's Power
By Ellis Amdur

A Review Essay:
Part 3: Takeda Sokaku, Ueshiba Morihei and Their Students

(NOTE:...
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Old 07-02-2010, 01:07 PM   #75
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

There is no doubt, in my mind, that Takeda was among the pre-eminent, if not THE preeminent practitioners of "aiki" in the turn of the century. My qualifier is that there were surely others, who were much more secretive/cloistered, etc., among various koryu - who didn't demonstrate publicly. (Consider, for example, the incredible skills of Kuroda Tetsuzan, which were reportedly also held by his grandfather and others in the family of previous generations). Similarly Kunii Zen'ya of Kashima Shin-ryu in a later era. I certainly am not in the LARPer position of trying to speculate which long dead man was better than which, given I've never even seen them. And we can't judge the skills of such people by their followers, something Dan has noted in his scathing comments about some DR and aikido practitioners who put their miracles up on YouTube. I'll never forget the first time I saw a film of one of Sagawa's "leading students"!!!!! If I were to judge Sagawa based on that, I'd take up gymkata instead. So if would definitely be wrong to assert that because Yagyu Shingan-ryu shihan went to Takeda to learn (they did), that YSR never had such skills within their own curriculum, just that they very likely were lost or abandoned.
The evidence, however, for Takeda's pre-eminence (and later, Ueshiba's "near" pre-eminence - Sagawa keeping to himself, and Horikawa living in the middle of nowhere) - is the astonishment they created among nearly all their contemporaries. Furthermore, Takeda, as I've written, focused on a "gokui of gokui," so to speak - a philosopher's stone, a universal solvent, that was reactive with any element, as opposed to a usual gokui, which was a capstone to a specific body of knowledge, albeit with greater applicability that that one specific. Honestly, that is, in my opinion, Takeda's greatest genius. Or, as UEshiba is quoted as saying, "In aiki, we do it this way."
Part of my thesis, however, is that such skills were much more widely disseminated in previous generations. The founder of Tenjin Shinyo-ryu is described in terms much like the aiki masters and the ryu had internal training - which is hardly practiced. Same with Takeda's friends/elders who did Yoshin-ryu. So many ryu have similar accounts. Here's yet another I noticed, in an interview with the recently and sadly deceased Laszlo Abel:
Quote:
Toshimitsu Masaki was bom in 1688 and I think he was like Morihei Ueshiba Sensei and Sokaku Takeda Sensei, who were reputed to be able to control the "ki" force that surrounded them. I found a lot of information about Masaki Sensei's duels. He almost never used weapons, relying only his hands. He actually fought one against a sumo wrestler, Goroji Ayakawa. He allowed the wrestler to do tsuppari (sumo style thrusting) against him, but the sumo man couldn't budge Masaki because of his strong control of his ki. And when Masaki did the same, the sumo wrestler went flying through the air.
(I'm not interested in how Laszlo tried to explain it - "ki force" - but the description of the actions of Masaki.

As for my thesis re Takeda - as before, I shan't rewrite my own book. But here's what I mean regarding Takeda's refinement, based on my own recent experience. The obvious caveat is that let us put Takeda at a number 12 on a scale of ten, and me, by my own estimation at a 1.347. But having done a little basic training, I start doing this or that technique in either Araki-ryu or Toda-ha Buko-ryu, and my body seems to say, "Well, why not do it this way," in essence, applying the "aiki" into the weapon's technique, without changing the external form in the least. This reverberates back into my basic training, which leads to new, "why not do it this way" experiences. They build on each other - perhaps this reverberation is the meaning of Ueshiba's affection for the word, "Yamabiko" - mountain echoes - or I may be just playing with words here.
Now, consider Takeda, with his exponentially greater skills than mine. Not only does he/his body recognize opportunities at ANY moment to do things with aiki, he surely encountered many different schools that had at least remnants of such training within their own curriculum. (Jikishin Kage-ryu being one, and I've recently found, Hokushin Itto-ryu under Chiba Shusaku, the main Tokyo rival of the Jikishin Kage-ryu, with whom there were many friendly competitions). In other words, imagine a skilled engineer finding a machine that is rusted and jammed, one he didn't make himself with somewhat different technology. But with a very little work and a little oiling, he's got it running again.
I therefore see Takeda - remember a mere teenager hitting the big city and going buck-wild, so to speak. With an educated body meeting bodies of knowledge, he educated himself all the further.
NOW:
As for Dan's ideas on Oshiki-uchi, I've dealt with the limitations of the gokui idea in my book, that it's not something, to date, that is associated with any ryu, there are no independent historical accounts of such practices, and all the claims suggest an "Aizu-wide gokui" disseminated throughout a social class, beyond any one family, by the way, that somehow is never mentioned in any records whatsoever. In other words, it was allegedly too widely spread to be unmentioned or secret. (Again, gokui are not secret in the sense of hidden knowledge - it's always HIPS - but they a) aren't explained, b) aren't practiced. (Witness Jigen-ryu's gokui - "Dragonfly on a post" that I discussed a long time ago on e-budo).
Anyway, it's a moot discussion point barring further research. The Nishinkan still exists (that's the Aizu-han school). The question is if records lie mouldering, as they do in so many other areas. I was recently at the Odawara Library going through the Fujita Seiko collection of martial arts documents. This is publicly accessible and open to anyone who makes a phone call. Of the ten documents I reviewed, none had been looked at in the previous ten years.
It's very possible that there are documents just waiting for someone who is interested enough to look. Yes, I'm aware that all of this is the equivalent of trying to finish a jigsaw puzzle someone left on a table, but interesting, nonetheless.
Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 07-02-2010, 01:56 PM   #76
DH
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

I would agree with pretty much all of those points, Ellis.
And comparisons are a waste of effort. I made comments in one of my earlier posts about an idea of mine; that in an era of seasoned bujutsu guys, and in a culture used to seeing good bujutsu, there had to be a reason OTHER than just more "good technique" for these various individuals to stand out. Those people were seeing all manner of waza continuously. I remain convinced it was IP/aiki. As you noted there are certain indicators that stick out.

My main points on Takeda's musa shugyo in order to have gotten it, are more along the lines that IP/aiki is a stand apart skill. Skills he demonstrated in his youth just like your Masaki example. It stands to reason those skills are going to empower techniques you learn moreso than the techniques empowering your IP/aiki. That's why I refer to it as the cart before the horse.
As you note as well in your later remarks- IP/aiki is changing how you do things, if not the waza themselves. I think in Takeda's case it went a long way in actually creating waza. Since we're talking personal anecdotes; in my case it became an agent of change where techniques really don't matter to me anymore. There was a universality to movement I developed for my IP/aiki in freestyle who's efficacy is so constant; regardless of weapon or venue that it makes technical considerations secondary, if at all.

One note on mountain echo.
Here's a thought.
Consider the force coming in to you- going to ground and back out to the point of contact.
Consider you having a developed hara that is supported by the ground constantly. The force goes to hara and out to the point of contact.
Now consider your body being so conditioned and developed that each part of you that is touched is full and a duality of "ground" is present in every square inch of you. Sort of like a bell resonating.when you are touched...you ring, or "echo" back to them. No trip to the hara, no trip to ground, everything is just...there. bong!
Consider being able to cast it and fill the tip of your spear
Consider that you have a field of awareness outside of you that he touches before he touches you........

There is a universality to it but not all movement principles are the same.There are guys who take that power and rely on the power aspects of it. To me that it is not the way. I wouldn't want to move like some people I have seen, and I would never move.. same side, hand and foot. There are systems of movement (in this case I believe Takedas model) that fit seamlessly into a full range of weaponry and unarmed work; both traditional and modern without changing a thing. I don't think that it is the case with all systems or arts.

Anyway, I have some more thoughts on the book and on points that Peter's review raise, but I am going fishing.
See ya later
Dan
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Old 07-02-2010, 02:48 PM   #77
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
One note on mountain echo.
Here's a thought.
Consider the force coming in to you- going to ground and back out to the point of contact.
Consider you having a developed hara that is supported by the ground constantly. The force goes to hara and out to the point of contact.
Now consider your body being so conditioned and developed that each part of you that is touched is full and a duality of "ground" is present in every square inch of you. Sort of like a bell resonating.when you are touched...you ring, or "echo" back to them. No trip to the hara, no trip to ground, everything is just...there. bong!
Resonance?!?

Really?

I am shocked.

Shocked, I say.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Consider being able to cast it and fill the tip of your spear
Consider that you have a field of awareness outside of you that he touches before he touches you........
Could it be --- a Field Effect, ?!?

Quote:
Analogues for Aiki Principles in Electromagnetic Forces wrote:
If the path of the realized current is known (and it can be demonstrated or inferred), even if unrealized, the potential (virtual) field is as defined mathematically as if current and flux actually existed at the time of the analysis. It is thus is the proper topic for the method of virtual work to compute a resultant without disturbing the field any more than is necessary to detect its orientation until the action is applied.

In aikido, the analogue is the connection (ki musubi), which harmonizes tori/nage to uke's state at contact and allows the creation at that moment (takemusu aiki) of appropriate technique based on the detected orientation. The connection does not disturb the attack, but joins with it in order to establish orientation, which then leads to a technique appropriate to that flow.

Only at this moment of connection is anything like "strategy" in existence, much less "tactic." And even then, the only "strategy" is to let the state of forces at play define the action to be accomplished. Chinese would describe this as following "li" 理 the principle of the grain of wood, which shaped itself to the forces under which it grew.
"This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 07-02-2010, 04:36 PM   #78
Scott Harrington
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Regarding Ellis's "gokui of gokui"

While I disagree 'some' (and sometimes alot!) with many Amdur conclusions, and get frustrated with information probably transmitted over a sake (but that is the Japanese way) that cannot be 'scholarly' researched, his excellent writings always shape an argument. And on the "gokui of gokui" he has hit it out of the ballpark.

Having acquired a turn of the century (I guess two ago) Japanese work on internal aspects of the martial arts, I luckily had a Taiwanese friend do a brief look over. Interesting, he described reading it as a fuzzy picture with remarkable clear areas (the old kanji). His Japanese grammar lack precluded a finer view - I am attempting a better reading from multiple sources.

But one phrase (which I now use as a catch word for the unexplainable) struck him in the reading as odd at first, but of course makes much sense. "Ogi no Ogi" stood out to describe the inner aspects of body manipulation.

Secret of the Secrets

And it was documented.

Not hinted at, not some talked about scene remembered, but written down of a method to make things work - better. Or even betterer or perhaps bestest.

Ellis made mention once of a secret being as visible as your eyebrows (I mangle the saying - somebody?), and having pointed out, I believe, ripples like a spreadsheet influencing all results, some subtle and some quite pronounced.

So, another run on the scoreboard. Backed by writing. Let's all do the wave.

Scott Harrington -

next post on how I am a white belt in the internal arts, shown some spooky stuff (said to be just the beginning), and need to write a really nice letter and travel 2500 miles to take a new path in my training. Thanks MM.
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Old 07-02-2010, 04:47 PM   #79
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

No nice letter required. I heard good things.
Dan
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:18 PM   #80
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Peter - just out of curiosity - is there available a timeline of Tanomo's time here and there. I wonder how it would juxtipose with a timeline of Takeda Sokaku.
Best
Ellis
Ellis,
The only detailed one I have is on pp.209-232 of the book I cited in my review essay. It is a chart with categories covering Tanomo's life and family, han events and politics, national events and politics. It starts in 1830, with Tanomo aged one, and actually ends in 1923, with Saigo Shiro recieving 6th dan from the Kodokan. The author is Setsuo Hotta.

"Hotta Setsuo has produced a facsimile edition of Sei'un-ki, the handwritten autobiographical memoir of Saigo Tanomo, with a printed version and extensive annotations. (掘田節夫,『会津藩老・西郷頼母自叙伝「栖雲記」私注』, 1993, 東京書籍.)"

Best wishes,

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-02-2010 at 07:20 PM.

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Old 07-03-2010, 01:20 AM   #81
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Thank you, Peter.
Ellis

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Old 07-03-2010, 09:21 AM   #82
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post

After 3 years of this experience, I must admit that not only my body changed, also my techniques, approach to aikido and general understanding of Founder's ideas. Presently I think ppl who are not sullying their hands with soil regularly, who never physically struggle with Nature, they can't understand Founder. Only deep connection to Mother Earth can help here. Talking about The Elements (like fire, water…) and having physical every day contact with such elements are two completely different things. I could write a long essay about it, but it is useless unless somebody touch a soil.
It Has To Be Felt

David
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:38 PM   #83
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Peter writes: How times change. Only the other day, during a meeting at the Hombu Dojo I was asked by a prominent Hombu shihan whether I believed that kumi-tachi and kumi-jo were an essential part of aikido. I was quite astonished that the shihan should even ask such a question. At the beginning of the year, an 8th dan Hombu shihan came to my dojo in Hiroshima and taught a seminar. He was a direct student of Ueshiba Morihei and recounted his experiences of O Sensei forbidding weapons training at the Hombu Dojo. The shihan used a weapon only once or twice, merely to explain an important principle concerning empty-handed training. I think that the principles he did illustrate could be summed up in the four axioms of ki training, as set out by Tohei Koichi, even though the shihan did not mention the word ki even once. Other aikido shihans I know have quietly developed their own weapons kata, even those shihans who are not well known as possessing the expertise in weapons of a Nishio Shoji, or shihans who never publicly profess to use weapons. Even the shihan who has gone on public record that aikido does not have weapons training had previously become expert in the family sword art, learned at the hands of his father. Amdur's chapter should explain why this is the case—and why it is very difficult for the present Doshu to take any leadership here. Nevertheless, it is clear that Ueshiba Moriteru is indeed moving to make the weapons practice he performs in his aikido demonstrations—tachi dori, jo dori, tanto dori, which are also required for Aikikai dan examinations—a kind of standard for the future. The result is the likelihood that the weapons training so rigorously pursued by his grandfather is relegated to the ‘Museum of Aikido Historical Relics'. So the wheel has turned full circle and what we see in modern aikido are solely the "rather unrealistic disarming techniques", noted by Amdur at the beginning of the chapter.
Peter
I could not help but notice this peculiar addition to the book review. I am trying to understand what you are saying here-which seems conflicting to my eyes.

First up I wondered at this comment:
"At the beginning of the year, an 8th dan Hombu shihan came to my dojo in Hiroshima and taught a seminar. He was a direct student of Ueshiba Morihei and recounted his experiences of O Sensei forbidding weapons training at the Hombu Dojo....."

I often look at these comments with a jaundiced eye.
This is from 1960
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piO3rBHHkfI&NR=1

I can think of any number of counters to that comment. He walked in and saw outrageous goings on and banned them. After his retirement he was known for telling students they were not doing HIS aikido. I can certainly see him walking in to hombu and seeing the shenanigans going on with "sticks in their hands" and summarily banning it. I weight that against the modern shihans comments you shared with us; something about telling some demonstration committee that "We should not do weapons in public displays, the more educated budo people will laugh at us."
Maybe the old man was just the first of the "more educated people" to see it…and he tried to stop it before it began!

I think there is as much confusion between what "practicing weapons" means to certain groups of people as what aiki means.

Next I was puzzled at this;
"Amdur's chapter should explain why this is the case—and why it is very difficult for the present Doshu to take any leadership here...."
I thought Ellis's book was meant to address the origins of Ueshiba's power; not kisshomaru's and Moriteru's decisions for disseminating the present art. If we were to be adding personal opinions and views, I would say a very large and separate work could be written about their political machinations, practices, and level of skill on display versus the founders.

I was also wondering why you used the term "the wheel has turned full circle" and "what we see in modern aikido are solely the "rather unrealistic disarming techniques", noted by Amdur at the beginning of the chapter."
Where did the wheel" start" to turn in order for the present state of affairs to return to it's origins? To ever return "full circle?" I saw the inception of aikido "from a weapon based form", coming from Takeda through Ueshiba. Your own comment "….that Ueshiba was doing Daito ryu through the early 40's" co-insides with every testament offered by his prewar deshi. So, if the wheel began as a more realistic weapons based art- then for it to be full circle, it would have to return to a real weapons based art. Instead, it has now flip-flopped to the movements the former and present Doshu demonstrate, which have nothing at all to do with Japan's weapons based arts that Ueshiba exposed himself to.

The wheel starting…..1;125 in to the video; Ueshiba with weapons. The approach is certainly more in keeping with koryu and largely devoid of much of the roundness and largely misunderstood "aiki sword" seen later
http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=yxxb...eature=related

Then we view both former and present doshu together
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1E3_CbqGj0

Moriteru with weapons today
http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=-3DL...eature=related

A note on terminology.
I think it is a mistake to use language (intended or otherwise) to draw a corollary between Morihei's "training in weapons" to Moriteru's "training in weapons." Making a statement that the present Doshu is "Training in weapons" is not a statement or use of terminology that a more educated group of budo adepts would make, or an expert in koryu would be comfortable with-without some serious qualifiers-if at all.

I remain somewhat confused, (all while being delighted) to see the review taking a decidedly different turn than a typical book review. I think your comment that the book was something you wish you had written...might have something to do with it (insert wink). In any case I am enjoying your thought provoking comments.
So, I wonder if you could clear up what your position is on weapons in modern aikido V Ueshiba's aikido.
Regards
Dan

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Old 07-05-2010, 01:40 PM   #84
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post

First up I wondered at this comment:
"At the beginning of the year, an 8th dan Hombu shihan came to my dojo in Hiroshima and taught a seminar. He was a direct student of Ueshiba Morihei and recounted his experiences of O Sensei forbidding weapons training at the Hombu Dojo....."

I often look at these comments with a jaundiced eye.
This is from 1960
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piO3rBHHkfI&NR=1

I can think of any number of counters to that comment. He walked in and saw outrageous goings on and banned them. After his retirement he was known for telling students they were not doing HIS aikido. I can certainly see him walking in to hombu and seeing the shenanigans going on with "sticks in their hands" and summarily banning it. I weight that against the modern shihans comments you shared with us; something about telling some demonstration committee that "We should not do weapons in public displays, the more educated budo people will laugh at us."
Maybe the old man was just the first of the "more educated people" to see it…and he tried to stop it before it began!
Or in line with what George Ledyard has said. O'sensei felt the students of Aikido were there to enpower the Avatar (O'Sensei).

Maybe he did not want anyone else to become another avatar.

David
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:18 PM   #85
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Mr. Goldsbury,

As always, a great TIE, with some neat stuff.

Trying to find more on Saigo Tanomo, I did a little checking. Here is a reference I received, unfortunately I do not have a near source or English translation. Perhaps you could give it a quick look (if you haven't already).

"A mainstream Japanese source to consult for Saigo Tanomo, and for many prominent retainers of Edo period domains, is the biographical encyclopedia Sanbyaku Han Kashin Jinmei Jiten."

The Tanomo 'link' is the fork in the road. Did Takeda Sokaku pick 'aiki' up on his own, distilling his father / family / observation or was there a line of teaching which came from Tanomo?

While many waza and training exercises could have easily been gathered; like evolution, did it need a progenitor or was (and is) it a spontaneous thing.

[ THIS IS NOT A REGLIGIOUS FLAME WAR THINGIE - DO NOT DRAW PICTURES OF UESHIBA]

Recent exposure to the barest minimal exercises (which confound me) seem to point to a structured system to develop 'aiki'.

Still researching the history side.

Scott Harrington
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:25 PM   #86
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Hello Scott,

I have been away in Australia, so have not had time to follow the recent contributions to this thread. With respect to Saigo Tanomo, I would like to see the hard evidence about what martial arts he was taught at the Nisshinkan and who taught him, especially the hard evidence that Takeda Soemon taught him. The 会津藩教育考 presents a history of this han school and lists all the teachers, but Takeda's name does not appear.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 07-14-2010, 08:15 AM   #87
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Scott,

I have been away in Australia, so have not had time to follow the recent contributions to this thread. With respect to Saigo Tanomo, I would like to see the hard evidence about what martial arts he was taught at the Nisshinkan and who taught him, especially the hard evidence that Takeda Soemon taught him. The 会津藩教育考 presents a history of this han school and lists all the teachers, but Takeda's name does not appear.

Best wishes,

PAG
I wonder how relevant that is, Peter. There were a lot of family arts. Are the family members all listed as members of a ryu?
Takeda stated it was taught to him, he stated it was a secret art. We are being asked to consider all manner of personality traits, latent abnormal tendencies, major phycological issues and serious character flaws. What does this educated forensic study have to say about why he would NOT take credit for something he made up?
Why did he NOT say he invented Daito ryu?
Why did he only call himself the general affairs director and not soke?
Why did he blatently state aiki was taught to him by Tanamo as an indoor art?

Again going back to oshiki-uchi
I have my own opinions about the ridiculous passing off and half ass treatment of oshiki-uchi as weird and improbable when it has very practical underpinnings. Why did this happen? Because the explanation for it by Tokimune (and only Tokimune) was ridiculous. We are left to wonder whether he lied (again with the lies) or he was simply uninformed, misinformed what have you. But no where in the many reviews did someone versed in the traditional Japanese koryu ever even consider the idea of an indoor teaching that was a a secret training to gain power in the arts that had not one thing to do with techniques and weapons but rather -how- to do them with aiki.

Knowing what I know of aiki, it is MORE than possible that this training was a separate training model entirely separate even wholly divorced from...any specific martial discipline and held within the clan or family.
Where do we see a precedent in recent times?
1. Sagawa taught Daito ryu for over sixty years we now know from his own admission the following
a) That he never taught the real truth of aiki until very late in his career.
b) Why? Takeda told him not to
c) What did he say about solo training? Not to talk about it. It was something you did on the side.

2. Tokimune and the Takumakai
We now know that when one of the teachers went to Tokimune he got solo training to create aiki. When he went back to show them, he stated the guys didn't want to do them- they wanted waza. When he went back to Tokimune-Tokimune said "Ya , my guys don't want to do them either."

3. We know that Tokimune, like Takeda openly stated that they were told to only teach one or two people the real art. yet that remains undefined.

4. Modern adepts
Anyone care to go out and feel/test/ examine the 2,000 or so modern practitioners of Daito ryu and see just how many have any real power that is unusual, instant and entrielty separate from any waza? Were you to do so I think you will find that nothing has changed from the above model

5. Yagyu Shingan ryu
We now know from the fellow who taught Ark, that the guys back at the ranch didn't care about learning the body skills. They looked at them as an adjunct to the art.

We see most of the prevous researchers and internet posters only looking for a training model as part of a martial ryu. Here again I go back to Takeda/Ueshiba.
We are being asked...hell we are being TOLD... to consider that Ueshiba- got his own secret or otherwise unknown, unproved, conditioning that was... an adjunct to his martial training, the likes of which produced no other persons of power, and no other mention,
Clarification: I am not saying whether he did or didn't, I am stating that it is interesting that the idea-totaly unproven was welcomed and embraced while we are being asked to consider that Takeda lied about something which indeed has precedent-a separate teaching held within the clan or family as an indoor teaching.

I recognize, some of these ideas may seem at odds with modern researchers and how they see the arts. It seems at least possible that Takeda was in fact telling the truth. It is a bit of a curiosity that in so many of the articles we are asked to take Ueshiba at face value, and with Takeda we begin with "Why Takeda probably lied." I would like to at least see some excellent writing, a discerning eye, and some research time spent on;
Why Takeda might have been telling the truth.
Whether it was his state of mind (again the forensic physcology) or his sense of correct morality that would not let him call himself soke?
Maybe he recognized that all of his effort, his exceptional skill, NEVER came from his study of classical weapons but was in owed to his study of aiki, which he was taught.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-14-2010 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:08 AM   #88
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

If you look at Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba, and Takeda in their perspective outward physical expressions of the martial arts they chose, you find there are a myriad of outward physical differences. Internally, they all had aiki to some level.

Each one stated that aiki is formless. Aiki is making the opponent powerless. Ueshiba is quoted as stating, "I am aiki".

If you define aiki as a method of rebuilding a human body into a very martially effective human body, then everything that these giants of aiki have said becomes clear.

Going back to Takeda and why he never chose to be called soke, etc. It really is logical. Being the head of a system has quite a lot of responsibilities, including curriculum, ranking, and membership concerns. It is typically associated with a style or school of martial arts. And in that view, each style or school had some outward physical difference to set it apart, plus the differing principles of each one.

However, aiki transcends schools and styles. It is the base upon which the outward physical movements and the principles should be expressed. Aiki is integrated with rebuilding the human body and not with a martial principle or physical method as expressed by schools and systems.

In other words, Kito ryu is not Takenouchi ryu is not Yagyu Shingan ryu is not Itto ryu, etc. Anyone training in one can readily see the differences in the others. A trainee in one learns principles specific to that ryu. Sometimes those overlap and sometimes they are unique. Some ryu develop curriculum to negate other ryu. As has been noted by experienced people, being in more than one ryu is very tough.

But, aiki ... no matter what ryu, no matter what martial way, no matter what BJJ one does, it can all be done with or without aiki. One can learn YSR, stop, go learn Kito ryu, stop go learn BJJ, go learn whatever because "you are aiki". You/aiki is one and the same. As you do a martial art, you do so either with or without aiki.

How can anyone call themselves soke of aiki? IMO, it cannot be done.

Mark
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:53 AM   #89
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Mark
None of those points are my concern here. They don't really discuss the issues of origins and the possibilities of Takeda being actually morally upstanding in a) crediting the true source and b) winding up being the possesser of definable skills that were never really a ryu per se, but were none the less a defined indoor teaching to which he gave credit.
By separating out his technical art specific studies from what could have Bernath family skill/teaching in aiki, we end up in a different direction.
It is at least a theory that joins several known facts into a reasonable, and cohesive explanation.
I guess I took exception to us having to look at internals studied within established arts; yagyu, yoshin ryu, then of all things Ueshiba studying a separate stand alone internal method....and did little to examine a theory that makes even more sense.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-14-2010 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:18 PM   #90
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Clarification:
When I spoke of the previous treatment of oshiki-uchi I was referring to years of discussion, articles, and various forums
Dan
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:50 PM   #91
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Hello Dan,

Many thanks for the homework you have given me in Posts #83 and #87. I have the impression that you are taking me to task for not carrying out my TIE research in the same way that you would have done. The last three columns were never intended to be an exhaustive analysis of IT/IS. Rather, they were a critical analysis of Ellis's new book. Of course, IT/IS are important here, but if this were the primary focus, I think I would have written a different set of columns.

For example, Scott Harrington kindly sent me information about a work entitled Sanbyaku han kashin jinmei jiten. This is actually a massive 7-volume series covering the han of all 47 prefectures in modern Japan. The Japanese title is 三百藩家臣人名事典. I have not seen the information on Saigo Tanomo, so I am waiting till I have seen it, read it, thought about it, before commenting here. As it is, the Japanese evidence that I have seen so far concerning Saigo's alleged training and teaching in aiki is not convincing. So it supports what Ellis stated in his book.

I will respond to the points you made in Posts #83 and #87 as soon as I have the time.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 07-15-2010, 12:29 AM   #92
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that aiki (paraphrasing the great late Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald)

You love that JAZZ. You have a degree in musicology; can name every black musician that ‘sold his soul at the crossroads' and have a collection of 78's played on tubes because that is the best sound. But you can't play a note on the trumpet, puncture the snare drum head, your scat singing scares the cat, and your left hand is unsynchopatic doing a steady boogie woogie. Hey, that's me about aiki. But I'm trying, Ringo. I'm trying real hard…

Ellis Amdur mentions that Takeda Sokaku could ‘riff' because of his aiki ability, free flowing from one lock to another as he felt that day, or hour, or moment. Well, that I believe.

BUT, he didn't create Jazz and he didn't create aiki. He didn't create scales, or minor chords, or the circle of fifths, didn't blend diverse driving rhythms or a host of subtle things that make that thing with the swing. So, just like the basics (and advance theory) of music need to be taught so do the basics (and advance theory) of aiki.

The trouble is where is the Aiki for Beginners 101? And why is Aikiology (History of Blending and Dominating throughout the pre-industrial Nipponese fascist femininininist-oppressing military society) hard to find?

1. Name. Let's stop looking for Aiki and start looking for in'yo. It's out there.

2. Heritage. If they say it comes from Kai Takeda and immigrated to Aizu then, then, then, look in those two places.

3. Box. Look outside the box. If Saigo Tanomo really taught in'yo (oh yeah, aiki) and he was THE HIGHEST ADVISOR and became a priest then maybe we should look at the people that teach a man like that.

4. Name. Oshi moshi guchi guch koo. The Secret Service guarding the President uses a wide range of techniques, many tightly held, to defend our Presidents. And a good part of their job is doing it while being polite (most of the time). Etiquette.

5. Research. Takeda Sokaku was illiterate (or left handed or dyslexic). So chances of written records are, are, are, SLIM. Look in the cracks. Look in odd places. Trust (with a Big rock of salt) things Takeda Sokaku said.

6. Doing. Reverse engineering sometimes works (it also copies mistakes -- ALWAYS.)

7. Hi-tech. As I get older there are more strange things that I cannot explain. So what. Use what works, get what works explained to you, repeat as necessary. Improve. Some of it will be way out there. Tough.

There are some out there walking the path, showing methodology. Let's use history to back them up.

So, who wants to translate some stuff? I got some stuff. Mr. Goldsbury is doing all the heavy lifting here. Should I send it to him? And I want credit for finding it. And I want to see ALL of the translation.

Scott Harrington
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:06 AM   #93
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Dan,

Many thanks for the homework you have given me in Posts #83 and #87. I have the impression that you are taking me to task for not carrying out my TIE research in the same way that you would have done. The last three columns were never intended to be an exhaustive analysis of IT/IS. Rather, they were a critical analysis of Ellis's new book. Of course, IT/IS are important here, but if this were the primary focus, I think I would have written a different set of columns.

For example, Scott Harrington kindly sent me information about a work entitled Sanbyaku han kashin jinmei jiten. This is actually a massive 7-volume series covering the han of all 47 prefectures in modern Japan. The Japanese title is 三百藩家臣人名事典. I have not seen the information on Saigo Tanomo, so I am waiting till I have seen it, read it, thought about it, before commenting here. As it is, the Japanese evidence that I have seen so far concerning Saigo's alleged training and teaching in aiki is not convincing. So it supports what Ellis stated in his book.

I will respond to the points you made in Posts #83 and #87 as soon as I have the time.

Best wishes,

PAG
Hello Peter
Taking you to task? Heaven forbid. No sir,
I have expressed an opinion that your review went past the nature of a book review and placed expectations on the work of a level that Ellis never intended. I though he was quite clear that he wished it to be a spring board to open up new avenues of research to those who might wish to pursue it more thoroughly and had the means to do so. .It is worth consideration that Ellis continues to pursue and research past publication and continues to discover new material. So taking you to task for not doing more research would be counter productive to my point.

A few things in regards to IT/IS:
I never expected your review to cover IT/IS. You made a decision to go beyond a book review and bring up points of your own regarding that topic. For that reason I engaged some of the points you raised, such as a) weapons and what real weapons training could have played and b) under what system and why they may or may not have nothing at all to do with the subject of IT in Takeda's training.

I think it is worth consideration that Ellis can bring certain understanding as a martial artists to areas of research that researchers reviewing the martial arts...cannot. Also due to certain people that Ellis has trained with; he now has a different understanding of certain things to look for. If it were not for that exposure there would b a shism, an impasse that could very well let otherwise pertinent material pass by a researchers eyes. I will not go into details but Ellis can certainly tell you that this is undeniably true.

This bring me to Tanamo. For me, someone stating that the lack of known evidence of his training in complete Koryu arts, as evidence of him not knowing aiki or teaching it to Takeda is meaningless. I am looking for other predicators. To most people researching the subject, they cannot think of other possibilities beside immersion in a total martial system and subsequant grading evidence. I am not talking a position yet either way, but in light of the other material I previously brought up, and in a comical twist; using both of your arguments, it should be looked into, It is worth considering that there may be a dual topic that needs to be researched; stand alone aiki training, divorced from an established ryu ha.. This makes Takeda's statement "He taught me aiki!" not only true, but intriguing.
Again, Ellis thought it interesting that Tanamo had Chinese ties and evidence of Chinese martial training.
Recent events and contact with master level Chinese teachers continue to convince me there is a connection between the Aiki of DR and the internal arts of China.
Cheers
Dan.

.

Last edited by DH : 07-15-2010 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:26 AM   #94
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Hello Dan,

Here are some clarifications / explanations of the quote discussed in your Post #83.

Best wishes,

PAG

---------------------------------------------

QUOTE: "At the beginning of the year, an 8th dan Hombu shihan came to my dojo in Hiroshima and taught a seminar. He was a direct student of Ueshiba Morihei and recounted his experiences of O Sensei forbidding weapons training at the Hombu Dojo."

COMMENT: The shihan simply recounted his experiences, as he remembered them when he was a deshi. He stated that O Sensei did not like people practising with weapons in the Tokyo Hombu Dojo. However, against this, he stated that Saito Morihiro Shihan used to teach Sunday classes at the Tokyo Hombu--and that he quietly taught weapons. There was a lookout posted, so that if O Sensei was in Tokyo and chanced to approach the dojo, the weapons would disappear.

QUOTE: "The shihan used a weapon only once or twice, merely to explain an important principle concerning empty-handed training. I think that the principles he did illustrate could be summed up in the four axioms of ki training, as set out by Tohei Koichi, even though the shihan did not mention the word ki even once. Other aikido shihans I know have quietly developed their own weapons kata, even those shihans who are not well known as possessing the expertise in weapons of a Nishio Shoji, or shihans who never publicly profess to use weapons. Even the shihan who has gone on public record that aikido does not have weapons training had previously become expert in the family sword art, learned at the hands of his father."

COMMENT: Koichi Tohei also taught weapons, both in Iwama, when he was there, and at the Tokyo Hombu. In a recent Aikido Journal blog, Stan Pranin presents a note of a meeting between Saito and Tohei and Saito notes that Tohei was in Iwama when he started training in 1946. According to Kisshomaru, O Sensei started serious aiki-ken training around 1945, so it is beyond question that Tohei would have participated in this training during the time he was in Iwama. So there was quite a lot of quiet, even secret, weapons training among Tokyo Hombu shihans, some of which was buttressed by expertise in family arts that were entirely closed to outsiders.

QUOTE: "Amdur's chapter should explain why this is the case—and why it is very difficult for the present Doshu to take any leadership here."

COMMENT: Amdur's chapter explains why weapons training and teaching in aikido was piecemeal. O Sensei taught deshi such as Tomiki, Shirata, Nakakura, Hikitsuchi, Sunadomari and Saito, and appears to have tailored his teaching of weapons according to the perceived needs of each. Given such teaching, each disciple transmitted the teaching as he received it. Recently, I encountered a certain jo kata I had not seen before and was told that the shihan had been directly shown by O Sensei--and the kata was transmitted as such.
The present Doshu was not taught such weapons systems by his grandfather or by his father and it would not be possible, given his status as Doshu, to be taught formally by anyone except his father. So it is very difficult for him to take any leadership concerning the teaching of weapons--and since Saito Sensei has passed away, the direct connection with O Sensei has been lost in Iwama, also.

QUOTE: "Nevertheless, it is clear that Ueshiba Moriteru is indeed moving to make the weapons practice he performs in his aikido demonstrations—tachi dori, jo dori, tanto dori, which are also required for Aikikai dan examinations—a kind of standard for the future."

COMMENT: I do not know why the Aikikai omitted kumi-tachi, kumi-jo and jo-ken relationships from the staple of Hombu training (since each shihan I know quietly teaches these). I suspect that Kisshomaru and his colleagues accepted O Sensei's own alleged comments to the effect that weapons training had indeed been an essential part of his own path to enlightenment, but, since he was regarded by everyone as an an avatar, it was not a requirement for those who followed him.

QUOTE: "The result is the likelihood that the weapons training so rigorously pursued by his grandfather is relegated to the ‘Museum of Aikido Historical Relics'."

COMMENT: This is not just a likelihood. The fact that many deshi were told by O Sensei (towards the end of his life) that weapons training was not essential to aikido has encouraged the Aikikai to believe that serious weapons training (not the tachi-dori stuff, but the sort actually practiced by O Sensei himself at various stages of his life) is not necessary for acquiring proficiency in aikido. My own teacher in Hiroshima, for example, stopped teaching weapons training in our dojo because he accepted O Sensei's alleged statements that such training was not necessary to acquire mastery of aikido waza.

QUOTE: "So the wheel has turned full circle and what we see in modern aikido are solely the "rather unrealistic disarming techniques", noted by Amdur at the beginning of the chapter."

COMMENT: As I stated elsewhere, this is a book review, not a thesis about IS/IT. Ellis begins his chapter with a reference to "rather unrealistic disarming techniques" and I conclude my review with a similar reference to the "rather unrealistic disarming techniques", currently regarded as the staple weapons practice in the Aikikai Hombu. So I think the wheel metaphor is quite apt.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-15-2010 at 09:29 AM.

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Old 07-16-2010, 03:05 AM   #95
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Scott Harrington wrote: View Post
Trying to find more on Saigo Tanomo, I did a little checking. Here is a reference I received, unfortunately I do not have a near source or English translation. Perhaps you could give it a quick look (if you haven't already).

"A mainstream Japanese source to consult for Saigo Tanomo, and for many prominent retainers of Edo period domains, is the biographical encyclopedia Sanbyaku Han Kashin Jinmei Jiten.

Scott Harrington
Hello Scott,

I have looked at this work. The Aizu han is dealt with at the beginning of Volume 2, pp. 7-112. The biography of Saigo Tanomo occupies just over two columns on pp. 41-42. There is no mention of his education in the Nisshinkan, nor any mention of his learning Onyodo at the hands of Takeda Soemon, who is not listed in the work.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 07-16-2010, 05:01 PM   #96
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
and since Saito Sensei has passed away, the direct connection with O Sensei has been lost in Iwama, also.
What of the other direct students of Osensei in Iwama?
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Old 07-16-2010, 08:55 PM   #97
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

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What of the other direct students of Osensei in Iwama?
Hello Carl,

Yes, of course, there are still direct students of the Founder training in Iwama, as there are at the Tokyo Hombu (separate from the senior shihans like Hiroshi Tada).

I have stated before that the iemoto transmission in aikido was skewed by the fact of two major centres of aikido, not one, and these major centres can be summed up by two names: Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Morihiro Saito. Both have gone on record as being the direct 'transmitters' of the Founder's aikiido.

However, since the death of Saito Morihiro Shihan, major changes have occurred in Iwama. The name has disappeared and 'Ibaragi Shibu' somehow does not convey the past magic of 'Iwama'. The other major direct student of O Sensei, Hiroshi Isoyama, has been very careful to maintain an extremely low profile indeed and he is not noted for ever teaching the aiki-ken and aiki-jo for which Iwama is famous, even though he may have learned this.

So it can be stated that the aberration in the iemoto transmission has been corrected and the dojo in Kasama is now clearly seen to be under the direct control of the Ueshiba family and the Aikikai. Of course, it always was under such control, but Kisshomaru Ueshiba never made any attempt to step on Saito Sensei's toes, to to speak.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 07-17-2010, 08:35 AM   #98
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Hello Dan,

Re Saigo Tanomo / Hoshina Chikanori

The first doubts cast on the received opinion that Saigo Tanomo was Takeda Sokaku's Daito-ryu / aiki teacher were cast by Stanley Pranin. The discussion is on pp. 21-22 of Stan's book Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. Stan makes the point that:

"Hoshina scholars have, however, found no evidence of Chikanori having undergone any extensive martial arts training or having taught such arts. Had Chikanori been a skilled martial artist in his own right, surely some records of his talents and exploits would have survivied."

I do not know how many Japanese sources Stan looked at, but all the Japanese evidence I have seen so far supports Stan's statements. There is no evidence that Takeda Soemon ever taught in the Nisshinkan and there is no evidence that Saigo Tanomo was known in Aizu as a martial artist. In fact, the book cited by Scott Harrington is quite telling here. The encyclopedic dictionary Scott refers to lists all the samurai in the Aizu domain during the Tokugawa era. Kurokochi Kanenori, whose daughter married Takeda Sokichi, is listed and the entire biography is concerned with his skills as a martial arts expert. Saigo Tanomo / Hoshina Chikanori is also listed, but there is no reference at all to his martial skills.

This view is supported by Sagawa Yukiyoshi, if we accept that what is recorded on pp. 119-120 of Transparent Power is true. Sagawa states quite clearly that,

"It's said that Aiki was transmitted to Takeda Sensei by Hoshina/Saigo Sensei, although I believe that it was actually Takeda Sensei who created it."

Sagawa does not accuse Takeda of lying, but, equally, he is clear that he does not believe that Saigo taught Takeda aiki skills.

It remains to consider whether Saigo learned some secret ( = totally unrecorded) family martial art, separate from his training at the Nisshinkan, which would have given him aiki skills. In this respect my research is continuing.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 07-17-2010, 05:36 PM   #99
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 18

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Carl,

Yes, of course, there are still direct students of the Founder training in Iwama, as there are at the Tokyo Hombu (separate from the senior shihans like Hiroshi Tada).

I have stated before that the iemoto transmission in aikido was skewed by the fact of two major centres of aikido, not one, and these major centres can be summed up by two names: Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Morihiro Saito. Both have gone on record as being the direct 'transmitters' of the Founder's aikiido.

However, since the death of Saito Morihiro Shihan, major changes have occurred in Iwama. The name has disappeared and 'Ibaragi Shibu' somehow does not convey the past magic of 'Iwama'. The other major direct student of O Sensei, Hiroshi Isoyama, has been very careful to maintain an extremely low profile indeed and he is not noted for ever teaching the aiki-ken and aiki-jo for which Iwama is famous, even though he may have learned this.

So it can be stated that the aberration in the iemoto transmission has been corrected and the dojo in Kasama is now clearly seen to be under the direct control of the Ueshiba family and the Aikikai. Of course, it always was under such control, but Kisshomaru Ueshiba never made any attempt to step on Saito Sensei's toes, to to speak.

Best wishes,

PAG
Thanks for the clarification professor. I have been reading your columns with interest.

In the wake of the passing of a giant like Saito Shihan, I think it is easy to overlook some things. Isoyama Shihan has gone on record regarding weapons and the kyu-Iwama shihans have all included weapons in their embu at the All Japan Aikido Demonstration. These days it seems that the emphasis is on solidarity, with the art at the forefront rather than any particular teacher of it. But at the same time, the recent addition of a big statue of Osensei at the Aiki-Shrine, largely due to the efforts of Isoyama Shihan, could hardly be described as keeping a low profile. Solidarity was the key to that project with Tada Shihan also playing an important role. I would say that Isoyama Shihan simply has his own style and having met him, I'm sure you realised he is hardly a shrinking violet.

Perhaps a trip to Old-Iwama would be of benefit to your research?
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