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Old 09-26-2011, 11:40 AM   #26
MM
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Oh, and I want to explain my initial posts a bit more. I'm told that koryu people can look at someone and tell what koryu that someone has studied. In other words, a Kashima ryu person doesn't look or move like a Katori ryu person or an Itto ryu person.

If you look at videos on youtube of koryu and look at videos of Ueshiba, Ueshiba does not move or look like any koryu.

Add to the above that Ueshiba was taught Daito ryu aiki and that changed how he moved and used weapons.

Ueshiba never studied a koryu long enough to have that koryu mold him, change him. But, Ueshiba studied Daito ryu aiki long enough to have that mold and change him. Ask any koryu person (who has had a bit of time in) if they think that someone with less than 5 years of study knows the art? That this person of less than 5 years study is indicative of the art? Now, think about Ueshiba's studies of sword.

Could Ueshiba have picked up something from other places or people? Yes, definitely. But it would have all been viewed from aiki. As Ueshiba would say, we would do it this way with aiki.

Trace aiki back and you find Takeda.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:06 PM   #27
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Just like aikido, there is selective rewriting of history in TSKSR, as the '"single shihan system" was not true in previous generations. In fact, in the earlier part of the 20th century, all of the following were shihan under Isaza Morisada: Yamaguchi Kumajiro, Kamagata Minosuke, Tamai Kisaburo, Shiina Ichizo, Ito Tanekichi, Kuboki Sozaemon, Isobe Kouhei, and Hayashi Yazaemon. Hayashi was Otake's teacher. Sugino studied primarily with Tamai, Kuboki, Ito and Shiina at the Kodokan from 1926. Tamai, Shiina and Sugino were TSKSR's representatives to the Kobudo Shinkokai, founded in 1935. Sugino was one of the TSKSR representatives selected to present Japanese budo before Adolf Hitler.

Otake studied with Hayashi Yazaemon (1892-1964), starting at the age of 16 in 1942. In other words, Sugino was already one of the most prominent budoka in Japan, when Otake was nine years old.

If Otake and Ueshiba met, the young man would hardly have been on his radar - there were no political issues anyway, at that time, in TSKSR, and Otake would have simply been a kid in Chiba, unknown outside his own neighborhood.

NOTE: I know full well how political the discussions on TSKSR can get. Otake sensei was brilliant, and if the last soke felt that his ryu was best served by a single shihan designated as the "carpenter's rule" of the school, that was his right. But Sugino's menkyo was never revoked (nor, other than some heinous crime, could it be, as it was bequeathed by a previous soke). Currently these two factions are reunited, fwiw.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 09-26-2011 at 01:19 PM.

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Old 09-26-2011, 01:24 PM   #28
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

HERE is a very intriguing history of Sugino Yoshio.

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Old 09-26-2011, 02:18 PM   #29
graham christian
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Graham
Otome was a term used for official arts of a clan or say, the Shogun. It would encompass multiple arts in a given domain. It was a designation not an art. And of them, Iai-do would never be a part. Those arts came later, like;
Kend-do.
Ju-do
Iai-do
Aiki-do
Ueshiba was only a member of one Samurai art; Yagyu Shingan ryu, which is mostly jujutsu and that only part time on the weekends as it was a five hour train ride away. The rest of his supposed connection and study in multiple Samurai arts is all a modern myth. His training was pretty much a little Judo under a 17 yr old shodan when he was a kid, part time study in Yagyu, some Army training, and then twenty plus years of Daito ryu, and then he opened his doors teaching Daito ryu for about Sixteen years, gradually changed the waza retired and that was it until he went back to help Kisshomaru try to get people back into the dojo after the war.

All of your early prewar Deshi -like Shirata and Shioda, were students of Daito ryu not Aiki-do. They all have their scrolls. Budo Renshu was a privately published book that Ueshiba gave as a gift. It is a book of Daito ryu waza. Gradually, things changed. Stan has it pretty much all mapped out to time and place and even names and witnessess. There is an even an interview about it here on Aikiweb.
In essence Aiki-do has no connection to the Samurai.

Dan
Hi Dan.
All very interesting. As I pointed out to Hugh, others will fill in the blanks.

As I've also said I believe Stan and Ellis are good historians.

I do not contest to be a great historian, it has it's place. My theory of teaching is maybe different to yours, maybe similar, but usually I find different to most.

Like your explanation of otome and I'm quite aware it wasn't an art but a designation so to speak. On past reading of it I took the concept not unsimilar to things you have said in as much as the hierarchy in these fields tended to share certain things with each other.

I also feel I understand Ueshibas way of learning which to me was the way of learning and indeed teaching in those circles, a way I have seen westerners belittle or not understand.

Their way was to teach basic principles and leave the student to keep practicing, practicing, practicing until they understood. Thus the same view should be applied to how they learned. Ueshiba would therefore only be interested in certain principles he saw in a type of swordwork or jo or spear or whatever. So he wouldn't need too long to get what he wanted in order to go and then practice practice practice.

Thus they were not exactly into full historical relevence as the primary purpose and secondly it is not really of much use until you are able enough in the skill. This is fundamentally different from most peoples approach for they have knowing the data and history as more important first when they have no idea how to do it.

Such is my perspective.

Now as far as what you have written above I am not disagreeing with any of it except the final sentence.

Why? Purely and simply because the weapons were those used by samurai. The principles of such weapons never changes. Thus it is linked.

Secondly because my old teacher wielded and used the sword as such so I have seen it, seen his demonstrations of it, seen his use of it versus people from sword arts, shown his explanations of it and relationship to Aikido, even know of an incident between him and a very famous Shihan of the past on said subject which took the form of a challenge and cannot be repeated here on this forum.

The point is for me the understanding of the principles involved, no more no less for they are the same throughout history and into the future. So I hope that clears more about where I am coming from. That doesn't mean I know more historical facts and it also doesn't mean I wouldn't benefit from knowing more historical facts.

I have a friend who is a great historian on the subject of the asia and the middle east. Listening to him is great, it's like being taken off into another time as if you are there experiencing it.(nothing to do with martial arts but purely cultural) So I do see the use of such.
Why else are we fascinated by period movies?

I also know that it is how factual that experience is that makes all the difference. However perspective is the key and it is that which gives us debate and argument and long may we have them.

Regards.G.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:50 PM   #30
Cliff Judge
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I also feel I understand Ueshibas way of learning which to me was the way of learning and indeed teaching in those circles, a way I have seen westerners belittle or not understand.

Their way was to teach basic principles and leave the student to keep practicing, practicing, practicing until they understood. Thus the same view should be applied to how they learned. Ueshiba would therefore only be interested in certain principles he saw in a type of swordwork or jo or spear or whatever. So he wouldn't need too long to get what he wanted in order to go and then practice practice practice.
I think I agree with you that Ueshiba taught principals and left it to the student to practice until they understood.

However this is actually very different than the way koryu are taught. Classically, the Sensei teaches you kata and that's what you practice for years. You learn the principals intuitively by practicing the forms under the guidance of a master teacher. I have heard that principals are elucidated at certain intervals by revealing gokui to the student, but only after a long period of grinding.

I am very comfortable with the idea that Ueshiba taught principles and not kata, and I am also comfortable saying that I am not convinced this is the best way to really transmit the art.

....and with that, we're off topic.
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:30 AM   #31
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere cites records saying that O Sensei learned Yagyu kenjutsu from Masakatsu Nakai in 1903. The fact that only one year is listed means that he was probably just briefly dabbling, though. I can't find a whole lot of evidence of other sword instruction coming from anyone but Takeda.

My martial arts blog: The Young Grasshopper
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:01 AM   #32
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

There are a few errors I know of in my book, Hidden in Plain Sight, most notably regarding the Shinkage-ryu menkyo that Takeda Sokaku gave Ueshiba and an error regarding a citation from the Kojiki - but that aside, the information in the book is pretty accurate. There is a very long chapter, A Unified Field Theory: Aiki and Weapons, that breaks down all that is known, to date, regarding what weapons and weapon-systems Takeda Sokaku and Ueshiba Morihei trained. There is surely more, particularly regarding Takeda (where did he learn kusarigama, for example? His son says that he would teach people things apart from the "aiki arts" that he learned in his travels), but everything in HIPS is either straight-forward, or in examples such as the question of Kukishin-ryu and aiki-jo, clearly shows the avenue for further research.
A lot of the same ground is gone over and over again in discussion like this one, using such poorly researched books as Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere (it was a pioneering work, no doubt, but relied exclusively on such English language sources as Black Belt magazine). Ueshiba did NOT study "Yagyu kenjutsu" from Nakai Masakatsu. He studied Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu taijutsu for several intermittent years. It is almost sure that this was primarily the jujutsu component, as there are no elements of Shingan-ryu kenjutsu or bojutsu in Ueshiba's methods.
In fact, in an interview which the interested can find on Aikido Journal, Ueshiba explicitly says he studied Yagyu-ryu jujutsu.

(People might save some time by having a look at HIPS, and starting the discussion from there. Just sayin')

Ellis Amdur

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Old 10-05-2011, 10:21 AM   #33
hughrbeyer
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

I have to say, with great respect for the research you've done, it's still important to remember we are piecing together bits and pieces from the available evidence and there's more about the lives of both men that we don't know than that we do. It's very different to say "There's no evidence for him studying X" than to say "He never studied X." I know you know that, but the distinction gets lost in discussion.

In a lot of ways I'm more impressed by arguments of the form "Whether he studied X or not, it doesn't seem to have influenced him because there are no aspects of X style that show up in his own style." There, I think, we are on firmer ground.

What's the real story with regard to the Shinkage-ryu menkyo?
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:04 AM   #34
DH
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
I have to say, with great respect for the research you've done, it's still important to remember we are piecing together bits and pieces from the available evidence and there's more about the lives of both men that we don't know than that we do. It's very different to say "There's no evidence for him studying X" than to say "He never studied X." I know you know that, but the distinction gets lost in discussion.
That's arguing a negative. Stan has pretty much documented and cross referenced every year of his life and who he was with. It leaves little to apparently very active imaginations, who want to keep adding.
Example:
Kisshomaru has it:
That Ueshiba was already so profound a martial artist that on their meeting, Takeda could sense his skill as they passed by each other in the corridor. And thus they met as equals.
Yoshida has it:
That he introduced Ueshiba to Takeda and that later Ueshiba was crying in the corner from fear of Takeda's skills.
Kisshomaru said:
Ueshiba also did Daito ryu too- among a host of things he supposedly trained.
Stan proved:
Ueshiba...er... for some strange reason, liked studying with an equal.....for 23 years. And when he opened his doors to teach, taught Daito ryu for 16 + years.
Hey, whatever floats their boat or makes their myth work.
I find a striking disparity between Ueshiba stating that "Takeda opened my eyes to true Budo", and Kisshomaru implying they met as equals.
There is a lot of nonsense surrounding the Aikikai's colorful version of events- which some apologists say we need to understand contextually- that it was okay to lie. It was a writing style.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 10-05-2011 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:37 PM   #35
hughrbeyer
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Yeah, it's arguing a negative and therefore not much good for supporting any specific point. ("He studied X because there's no evidence he didn't.") But our knowledge is sketchy and these guys were secretive. Under those circumstances "He didn't study X because there's no evidence he did" is also an unsafe claim.

I still want to hear the real story on that menkyo. If it's true, then we are faced with either Takeda giving Ueshiba a menkyo that would make them both a laughingstock, or Takeda and Ueshiba having training we don't know about. The first is a stretch for me; the latter, unsurprising.

No arguments on the subject of Aikido myth-making (or anti-Aikido myth-making, for that matter).
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:52 PM   #36
phitruong
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

there are some rare folks who can look at things and assimilate pretty quickly. Ueshiba might be one of those who can look at stuffs and understood the principles behind them. he could be Ueshiba of Borg.

incidentally, in asia, it was considered as very bad manner to watch someone doing martial art uninvited, for fear that you might steal their secrets. thousand years of war tend to make folks paranoid and secretive.
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:44 PM   #37
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Josh Reyer corrected my interpretation of the Shinkage-ryu menkyo on Aikiweb. Somewhere. (I do believe the motivation, as I speculated, is unchanged).
But that correction does not creditably suggest that Takeda taught him Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. Why not?
1. Not one student of Takeda who demonstrates sword technique has an iota of YSR methodology.
2. If Ueshiba actually merited a menkyo in YSR, then a) why was his sword technique in the film in the 1930's so poor? And so un-Yagyu like.

We already know this. Gejo Kosaboro, a YSR exponent was Takeda Sokaku's student. He later became Ueshiba's student. (1925-30). He showed Ueshiba some Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, which Ueshiba experimented with ("in aiki, we do it this way"). His training partner was Tomiki Kenji. Later, he taught his adaptation of three kata to Hikitsuchi Morio. (Contemporary to his experimental adaptation of Kashima Shinto-ryu kata at Iwama).

My guess? Takeda felt that as Gejo was his student, he had a right to pass on such a menkyo (which is dubious as a menkyo in certain important respects, such as it having no lineage on it - something that is almost de rigueur.

And Hugh, all I'm saying is why not jump off established research to get something new, as opposed to ignoring such research and using long debunked "info" like that in Ratti and Wesbrook? The last chapter of my book was several pages of such suggestions - where would one go from here, so to speak - to find those missing pieces. No one has taken that next step in any of those research ideas. Instead, here we go backwards.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 10-06-2011, 02:09 PM   #38
hughrbeyer
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Ellis - For my part I'm assuming the research you (and Stan) have done as the starting point. I'm just probing to find out where the limits of what we know are.

Is this the post correcting the menkyo story? Interesting stuff. Especially interesting that there are other examples of high-level Japanese martial artists handing out certificates because they felt like it--which certainly raises the probability that that's what happened in this case.
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Old 10-06-2011, 04:38 PM   #39
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Where did O-Sensei get his sword training?

Hugh - that's the post. And that's the exemplar of what I hoped when I wrote HIPS, which is, in part, a provocation. Unlike a scholar who does not publish until, ideally, all sources and references are nailed down, I write what makes the most sense from the data available, and hope/intend that others, both scholarly AND practitioners will use that as a jumping off point for their own research.
Ellis Amdur

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