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Old 11-29-2011, 01:13 PM   #1
Chris Li
 
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Before anybody's head explodes, I have a lot of respect for Saotome, and I think that his Aikido is top-notch, but here's another example of how stories grow out of proportion, probably aided and abetted by well meaning students.

On the official ASU biography for Saotome it states that he was "special apprentice with the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei (O Sensei) in 1955 and continued for 15 years until the founder's death in April of 1969.".

If you check the facts (http://www.dou-shuppan.com/saotome.html) you'll find that he enrolled in Kuwamori dojo in October 1954 and didn't become an uchi-deshi until April 1961. That's 8 years as a special apprentice, not 15. Now, 8 years is still nothing to sneeze at, but you should be able to see the problem pointed out here.

Best,

Chris

 
Old 11-29-2011, 06:45 PM   #2
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

I think the Saotome count of 15 years is accurate if it is taken to mean the entire time he was in Hombu Dojo, from 1961 to the mid 1970s. He (or his deshi who propagate this story) neglect to mention that Morihei was dead for much of this period.
 
Old 11-29-2011, 07:01 PM   #3
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Saotome: "When I became an uchideshi O-Sensei scolded me more than anyone else. I was an uchideshi for almost 15 years and maybe that's why he found it easier to scold me. I was the clumsy type while other uchideshi were much quicker than me to learn. I was the last to remain as an uchideshi."
 
Old 11-29-2011, 07:11 PM   #4
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Saotome: "When I became an uchideshi O-Sensei scolded me more than anyone else. I was an uchideshi for almost 15 years and maybe that's why he found it easier to scold me. I was the clumsy type while other uchideshi were much quicker than me to learn. I was the last to remain as an uchideshi."
Unfortunately, the numbers don't add up - that would mean that he became an uchi-deshi in 1954 (since Ueshiba died in 1969), even though he started Aikido at Kuwamori dojo - which didn't open until 1955 (the first official branch dojo of the Aikikai).

It does add up if you count his time with Kisshomaru after O-Sensei passed away, but that's not the impression given, is it?

FWIW, I've heard at least two other shihan claim to be the "last" uchi-deshi.

Best,

Chris

 
Old 11-29-2011, 07:20 PM   #5
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

No, it's very misleading, Chris. In another interview, Saotome talks about the years between 1954 and 1961: "When I realized that I wanted to be an uchi deshi, I talked to Doshu [Kisshomaru Ueshiba]. At the time, he was not an uchi deshi; he was working in a company outside the dojo. The only uchi deshi was Tamura Sensei, who had begun his study of Aikido about three months before me. I wanted to be uchi deshi, but I understood that Doshu couldn't afford it --- that he didn't have the income to take care of me. I went to Kyoto and, for about three years, I taught Aikido and other things at a school for the handicapped. When I came back to Hombu Dojo, I had to wait about two more years."
 
Old 11-29-2011, 08:05 PM   #6
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
No, it's very misleading, Chris. In another interview, Saotome talks about the years between 1954 and 1961: "When I realized that I wanted to be an uchi deshi, I talked to Doshu [Kisshomaru Ueshiba]. At the time, he was not an uchi deshi; he was working in a company outside the dojo. The only uchi deshi was Tamura Sensei, who had begun his study of Aikido about three months before me. I wanted to be uchi deshi, but I understood that Doshu couldn't afford it --- that he didn't have the income to take care of me. I went to Kyoto and, for about three years, I taught Aikido and other things at a school for the handicapped. When I came back to Hombu Dojo, I had to wait about two more years."
Tamura started at hombu in 1953, IIRC. Kuwamori was a Judo teacher - Saotome's high school Judo coach. After seeing Ueshiba he decided to make Kuwamori dojo as a branch dojo of the Aikikai (the first one) - the Aikikai sent Seigo Yamaguchi to be the instructor, and Kuwamori talked Saotome into doing Aikido. I think that Saotome got up to Ni-Dan under Yamaguchi before he entered hombu as an uchi-deshi (that might be wrong, but that number sticks in my head).

Best,

Chris

 
Old 11-29-2011, 08:33 PM   #7
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Thanks for the info, Chris. Saotome doesn't stress the Yamaguchi connection, so this is helpful info for me.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 11:08 AM   #8
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

These so called facts are not in English, and you don't provide a translation or mention the source. It looks like an entry in a magazine. As historical evidence we must know the original source and confirm that it was presented properly. It seems that some people have a definition of "facts" that equals "whatever they'd like to hear."

These responses that Pranin Sensei studies these things and therefore can't be wrong are rather flimsy. The evidence he presents for his conclusions at various points just isn't conclusive by any normal historical standards. That is to say it would not be published in a peer reviewed journal and if it were would quickly be dismissed by other historians. If people want to make the case they are trying to make I would be willing to advise them on how to do so. I don't think they'll be able to. But I'm willing to point them in the directions that would allow them to gather evidence and make arguments that would be convincing. Question is do you really want to correct a historical inaccuracy or just silence critics on an internet forum?

If you manage to prove that O Sensei was locked in a closet 90% of the time from 1941 to 1969, this would not prove that he failed to guide the transmission of Aikido after the war and it would not prove that he was unhappy Aikido as demonstrated by Doshu and others after the war. Please don't tell us again how Sensei got mad and yelled at people for "not doing his Aikido." Senseis yell at students. That's their job. It doesn't prove the claim.

You have a multitude of interviews and other accounts that demonstrate that O Sensei did change Aikido after the war, that he did so intentionally, and he viewed the changes as improvement. These accounts are dismissed while the accounts (or selected parts of accounts) that fit the narrative that Pranin and company want to present are embraced. This goes against any pretense of objectivity.

If O Sensei liked to teach by lecturing on religious matters, popping into class for 10 minutes, and discussing Aikido with students in private while they rubbed his shoulders, then this was his way of teaching what he thought was important in the way that he saw fit. To argue that he would have allowed his son to dishonor him by deliberately watering down the art is to ignore everything we know about the man's personality not to mention the friendly interviews they gave together where they did not appear to disagree on anything. Many of the people who want to claim that O Sensei did not teach the students below him because they did not train with him as often and in the way they think would be necessary to claim to have been taught by him may have spent relatively little time with their head instructor who gave them their rank. That is to say that it is very common at higher levels that instructors teach their own students and then get pointers from their master instructor on occasion. They still claim to have been his student on an ongoing basis... though technically they only see him on occasion.

By the way, Saotome Sensei does not in any way hide his relationship with Yamaguchi Sensei.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Before anybody's head explodes, I have a lot of respect for Saotome, and I think that his Aikido is top-notch, but here's another example of how stories grow out of proportion, probably aided and abetted by well meaning students.

On the official ASU biography for Saotome it states that he was "special apprentice with the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei (O Sensei) in 1955 and continued for 15 years until the founder's death in April of 1969.".

If you check the facts (http://www.dou-shuppan.com/saotome.html) you'll find that he enrolled in Kuwamori dojo in October 1954 and didn't become an uchi-deshi until April 1961. That's 8 years as a special apprentice, not 15. Now, 8 years is still nothing to sneeze at, but you should be able to see the problem pointed out here.

Best,

Chris

Last edited by Ken McGrew : 11-30-2011 at 11:11 AM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 11:25 AM   #9
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

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These so called facts are not in English, and you don't provide a translation or mention the source. It looks like an entry in a magazine. As historical evidence we must know the original source and confirm that it was presented properly. It seems that some people have a definition of "facts" that equals "whatever they'd like to hear."

By the way, Saotome Sensei does not in any way hide his relationship with Yamaguchi Sensei.
It's a book publisher's page, Saotome's own publisher - actually the bio is the one that's published in Saotome's book in Japanese. If you don't trust me, then run it through one of the online translation engines - that'll get you the dates.

Actually, it's still a little off, because it says that Saotome started Aikido in 1954, but that he spent "20 years under the tutelage of the founder", which is a pretty good trick since the founder died in 1969.

And I never said that he concealed his relationship with Yamaguchi. Anyway, it's just an example of how facts tend to get "expanded".

Best,

Chris

 
Old 11-30-2011, 11:29 AM   #10
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Ken, if you're going to stick your fingers in your ears and refuse to enter into any genuine discussion with anyone maybe you should give up on the whole forum thing. If all you need to know about aikido you can get from Saotome Sensei and his books, maybe you should stick with that. Your refusal to honestly approach information from reputable sources makes me question your motives here. I suspect you're getting pretty close to making people's "special" list.

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Old 11-30-2011, 12:26 PM   #11
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Quote:
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Ken, if you're going to stick your fingers in your ears and refuse to enter into any genuine discussion with anyone maybe you should give up on the whole forum thing. If all you need to know about aikido you can get from Saotome Sensei and his books, maybe you should stick with that. Your refusal to honestly approach information from reputable sources makes me question your motives here. I suspect you're getting pretty close to making people's "special" list.
Hi Chris
It's a sure sign that talking to certain people is a waste of time when their posts in return are not responsive to anything that was corrected. When Mr. McGrew is offered factual information he never refutes it in the same manner. Add to that when his is clearly wrong, he avoids that and later starts discussing it as if he knew it all along. Those are the key indicators that put people on that "special list." Oh well. Although I respect Saotome's skills and publicly speek favorably of them, I remember telling a high ranked teacher under Saotome that certain sword work he was doing was not "Samurai weapons" and that Saotome made it up. I also told him the majority of it would be widely panned by anyone with actual koryu experience as having anything to do with Samurai weapons. It was work meant to express aikido movement with weapons. I thought the guy was going to hit me. "How do you know that?" he demanded. I said "It was on the first page of the book! Did you skip that part since you were more interested in looking at the pictures?"

When it comes to discussing this subject, we all need to avoid the trade mark "true believer" syndrome that embarrasses many a teacher and try to focus on the facts. This was what Stan himself faced, when he had to set aside what he had read and been told, then later what he faced when he had to present facts and truths that ran counter to everything the Aikikai was putting out and many Japanese Shihans were telling Americans. Some it was pure bullshit, some exaggerations of fact. much of it self serving claptrap. Stan took a lot of heat, for daring to reveal to the world a far more cogent Aikido history then had been told.
As I said earlier who wants to be the guy to tell some true believer that "No, Johnnie, your teacher never did those things, never trained that long, and no O sensei was not THEE teacher during that period...In spite of what your own beloved teacher said."

All the best
Dan
 
Old 11-30-2011, 12:31 PM   #12
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Quote:
Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote:
Question is do you really want to correct a historical inaccuracy or just silence critics on an internet forum?
I'd bet historical accuracy (following academic standards) would cause more damage to aikido than what Pranin has made public.
Yup
There is much more he has not said as it would greatly embarrass more than a few famous people. Then again, depending on who you know, there is a tremendous amount of back story that you just can't say publicly!

Aikido owes a tremendous debt to Stanley and his work. Unfortunately there are still people seriously entrenched in a true believer mentality, coopting their own imagined O sensei over the very real -although none-the-less remarkable, Ueshiba Morihei. This is often forwarded by mid level teachers, sucking up everything they are told by their Japanese teachers and not caring or being to lazy to research. I have talked with more than a few who really don't care about Ueshiba at all. I have heard "Aikido to me is what _________ sensei tells me it is. That's all I care about."
There's nothing to say to that. They're happy.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-30-2011 at 12:36 PM.
 
Old 11-30-2011, 08:09 PM   #13
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Ken, Saotome doesn't conceal the connection to Yamaguchi, and we didn't say he did. From one interview: "I practiced judo when I was in high school. I was taken to the Kuwamori Dojo with an introduction from my judo teacher because he thought aikido would be suitable for me. That's when I learned about aikido for the first time. At that time Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei was teaching the class. I was bigger than I am now and weighed about 190 pounds. I used to win judo matches in Tokyo. After the class, Yamaguchi Sensei told me to grab his fingers. The moment I grabbed them I was thrown. I didn't know how it happened and thought I had fallen by myself by tripping on a corner of the tatami mats. So I asked him to do it again. I think I was thrown four or five times. He threw me with his fingers and also when I grabbed his shoulder. This is how I started the art."

But Saotome doesn't make clear is how much time he spent with Yamaguchi, relative to the time he spent with Osensei. The official ASU materials talk about 15 years and even 20 years with the founder. In fact it was 8, and a very abbreviated, low intensity 8 in terms of how much hands on time he got. The other deshi of that era (primarily those who live in Japan and have no need to "market" their exposure to Osensei) are quite frank. O-sensei did not teach regularly. You can even reconstruct the daily teaching schedule in the 1960s (based on the recollections of those who were there). The regular instructors were Kisshomaru, K Osawa, Arikawa, Yamaguchi, Tada, Tohei, and then later Saotome himself. Saito taught on Sundays.
 
Old 12-01-2011, 11:32 AM   #14
Brad Darr
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

For what its worth,

When I lived in Japan a few years ago the first class I trained at Seibukan they asked me who my teacher was and I replied that it was Saotome sensei, everyone said oh you mean Yamaguchi sensei's student. I agreed then added that he was an uchi deshi as well but after several minutes of puzzled looks everyone said "Ah yes Yamaguchi sensei's student who moved to the US, very good aikido". I like to tell this story to my friend's in the US not to disrespect Saotome Sensei who I still think of as my teacher and an uchi deshi but to put in perspective that what we have been told in the US and abroad is not the "whole story" or not the "story" in Japan. I also think that other people may have similar stories about the other "uchi deshi" that were sent abroad.

I would also like to point out something that I think is very important from the youtube clip of Kazuaki Tanahashi. He states that Osensei still teaches him things today and that he learns things from Osensei all the time. This made me think that maybe the problem with all this "so and so was a good/bad teacher" is not really based on anything they were teaching but what the students themselves were learning and whether or not they learned it right at that moment or ten years later. So from my perspective the discussion as to the funny math with Saotome Sensei is silly because I am sure that Saotome Sensei still remembers things that Osensei said and did even after he had passed on. Another example is Chiba Sensei saying that it took some years for him to understand the koan that Osensei gave to him, and it wasn't until years after Osensei had died that he finally got it. My point is that people don't simply learn from things that are happening at the moment. I realize that the only measure of how well a teacher taught is by looking at the students but in my mind it is 50/50 teacher and student, and it may not be an instantaneous learning experience but one that takes years and years. Many people have pointed out that responsibility lies not only with the teacher but also with the student.

One last thing that got me thinking was the discussion of how much Osensei traveled and how could anybody really be his "student" or have really learned from him without training on a day to day basis with him. Well for most of us in the US and Europe I think the same could be said. How often do we actually get to train with the shihan that we call our "sensei" or who leads our organization. There are a lucky few who are/were able to train with these teachers either by being lucky enough to train at the teacher's dojo in a large metropolitan area or by following them on the seminar circuit. However because these teachers are highly in demand and are making a living by teaching seminars even the members of their home dojo don't get to see them all that much. Look at any shihan teaching in the US and their schedule, most of them are teaching 30-40 weekends out of the year, with travel time they may only teach one or two classes a week at their own dojo. Some people only get to see "their" shihan/sensei once or twice a year and plenty of them still claim lineage on their websites and in discussions. How is this any different than Osensei who traveled around visiting friends and students teaching here and there when he could. Also how many of students actually show up to every class all the time so even if you "sensei" is in town this weekend maybe you have to work or you have to take care of the kids etc... Which brings me back to the point that it is not just the teacher who bears responsibility.

I also liked this
Quote:
As Marc Abrams suggested, it's less imperative to discuss lineages than it is to concentrate on what the Founder was really doing and work to replicate it.

Last edited by Brad Darr : 12-01-2011 at 11:44 AM.

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Old 12-01-2011, 12:13 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

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For what its worth...
Good post, Brad. Thank you.

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Old 12-01-2011, 12:16 PM   #16
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Quote:
Brad Darr wrote: View Post
My point is that people don't simply learn from things that are happening at the moment. I realize that the only measure of how well a teacher taught is by looking at the students but in my mind it is 50/50 teacher and student, and it may not be an instantaneous learning experience but one that takes years and years. Many people have pointed out that responsibility lies not only with the teacher but also with the student.
Indeed. I'm sure plenty of people here have had the experience of suddenly figuring out something that our teachers have been telling us for years.

Katherine
 
Old 12-01-2011, 12:16 PM   #17
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

I think Brad Darr makes some great points. It also reminded me of the incident related in Ellis Amdur's book "Hidden in Plain Sight". Apparently, O-Sensei held a seminar in the early 50's where he called in all his top students. Kanshu Sunadomari heard O-Sensei say that the basic techniques in Aikido are Kasutori and goes on to say this was a watershed moment for him and he felt very lucky to have heard him say it. Another person (I forget who), who also attended, said nothing much happened, they just did basics all week. So what kind of teacher was he?

BTW, I highly recommend Mr. Amdur's book if you are at all interested in this kind of thing. Disclaimer: I have no association with Mr. Amdur other than being a fan of his books.

Eric
 
Old 12-01-2011, 02:56 PM   #18
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Ken, if you're going to stick your fingers in your ears and refuse to enter into any genuine discussion with anyone maybe you should give up on the whole forum thing. If all you need to know about aikido you can get from Saotome Sensei and his books, maybe you should stick with that. Your refusal to honestly approach information from reputable sources makes me question your motives here. I suspect you're getting pretty close to making people's "special" list.
If you are going to make such baseless personal charges, Chris, then point to examples of my allegedly not engaging in the discussion in a genuine way. It amazes me how some people can't see past sources to the actual evidence that they are supposed to contain. Chris posts something in Japanese and doesn't bother to translate it. People say because Pranin is the source he must be right and the fact that he bases his arguments on an incorrectly transferred film is not addressed. People point to timelines to argue that O Sensei did not teach after 1941, used interviews with people who trained under him in order to establish this timeline, and yet selectively leave out the fact that if asked these original students insist that O Sensei did guide Aikido after the war and that the changes were intentional and that the changes were improvements. I don't think I'm the one who isn't engaging in an honest way with the evidence.
 
Old 12-01-2011, 03:08 PM   #19
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Quote:
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If you are going to make such baseless personal charges, Chris, then point to examples of my allegedly not engaging in the discussion in a genuine way. It amazes me how some people can't see past sources to the actual evidence that they are supposed to contain. Chris posts something in Japanese and doesn't bother to translate it. People say because Pranin is the source he must be right and the fact that he bases his arguments on an incorrectly transferred film is not addressed. People point to timelines to argue that O Sensei did not teach after 1941, used interviews with people who trained under him in order to establish this timeline, and yet selectively leave out the fact that if asked these original students insist that O Sensei did guide Aikido after the war and that the changes were intentional and that the changes were improvements. I don't think I'm the one who isn't engaging in an honest way with the evidence.
OK, for all those who don't know how to use Google Translate (which isn't that great, but will get you the dates), or are unwilling to trust me to translate a simple date (I only see one person complaining about it):

http://translate.google.com/translat...2Fsaotome.html

And yes, I translated the pertinent section (the dates) in the original post.

Best,

Chris

 
Old 12-01-2011, 03:14 PM   #20
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Raul,

You say "doesn't stress" and I read that as "conceal." I think I read your intent correctly. But alas it does not matter.

Saotome Sensei is not responsible for everything that has been said about him. His English is not perfect. He doesn't proof check everything that has been written. I have no personal knowledge of any errors that he may or may not have been aware of. It is my understanding that Saotome Sensei met O Sensei around 1954. O Sensei died in 1969. That's 15 years. Not 8. I have never personally heard Saotome Sensei say 20 years with the founder. I've heard him say 15 years he knew O Sensei. I think the confusion some people may have made is this: 1975 (the year he left Japan) - 1955 (the year he met O Sensei) = 20 years.

You and others want to quibble over definitions that allow you to silence those who question the conclusions that you are committed to upholding. Unfortunately, much of your arguments come down to the definition of what instruction is, what Uchi Deshi is, even what is is. This is an old game. Saito Sensei was infamous for claiming to be the only Uchi Deshi by his own selective definition.

None of it supports very well the central claim that O Sensei did not teach his Aikido after 1941 and was unhappy with Aikido after 1941. Efforts to distract from this weakness in the argument not withstanding. As Brad and I have stated, senior instructors see their senior students less often at various times in their training. Mostly they see them less often once they move away to form their own dojos. In Saotome Sensei's case that trend was probably reversed. If O Sensei spoke with you even once a week, threw you even just once a month, and gave you pointers to improve your Aikido even once a year, you'd be sure to count that as training with him. I would too. How much training was an hour with the founder worth compared to those who followed? He taught the way he saw fit. It was still his Aikido.

Now even if you somehow prove that Saotome Sensei only spent 8 years learning from O Sensei. Even if we accept all your definition games (by you I just mean those of you who hold these views), it is simply not the case that, as you claim, his experience was "very abbreviated, low intensity... in terms of how much hands on time he got." There is ample evidence, given how prominently Saotome Sensei is featured in the demonstration films, how often he traveled with O Sensei, how long he stayed compared to most Uchi Deshi, the rank he received, the teaching he did on behalf of Aikikai, the position he held before leaving, that his experience was not abbreviated or low intensity. There is no question that towards the end of O Sensei's life that Saotome Sensei was close to him both physically and personally.

For people who are so quick to criticize the politics at Hombu they are quick to forget them when it's convenient. Saotome Sensei felt a calling to come to the United States to spread Aikido. In order to do so he was forced to defy Doshu. This was eventually forgiven by our current Doshu. During those years away do you not think that the story told in Japan may have drifted a bit from the reality that had existed before Saotome Sensei left? A little fair play would be nice.

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Ken, Saotome doesn't conceal the connection to Yamaguchi, and we didn't say he did. From one interview: "I practiced judo when I was in high school. I was taken to the Kuwamori Dojo with an introduction from my judo teacher because he thought aikido would be suitable for me. That's when I learned about aikido for the first time. At that time Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei was teaching the class. I was bigger than I am now and weighed about 190 pounds. I used to win judo matches in Tokyo. After the class, Yamaguchi Sensei told me to grab his fingers. The moment I grabbed them I was thrown. I didn't know how it happened and thought I had fallen by myself by tripping on a corner of the tatami mats. So I asked him to do it again. I think I was thrown four or five times. He threw me with his fingers and also when I grabbed his shoulder. This is how I started the art."

But Saotome doesn't make clear is how much time he spent with Yamaguchi, relative to the time he spent with Osensei. The official ASU materials talk about 15 years and even 20 years with the founder. In fact it was 8, and a very abbreviated, low intensity 8 in terms of how much hands on time he got. The other deshi of that era (primarily those who live in Japan and have no need to "market" their exposure to Osensei) are quite frank. O-sensei did not teach regularly. You can even reconstruct the daily teaching schedule in the 1960s (based on the recollections of those who were there). The regular instructors were Kisshomaru, K Osawa, Arikawa, Yamaguchi, Tada, Tohei, and then later Saotome himself. Saito taught on Sundays.

Last edited by Ken McGrew : 12-01-2011 at 03:25 PM.
 
Old 12-01-2011, 04:05 PM   #21
raul rodrigo
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Re: Saotome Sensei's Training History

Saotome entered Hombu Dojo as an uchideshi in 1961. O-sensei died in 1969. Eight years. In a decade when Morihei didn't teach a regular class at Hombu dojo. Between 1955 and 1961, Saotome was in Kuwamori Dojo and then Kyoto. Since he couldn't be in two places at once, then he wasn't on the mat at Hombu with Morihei.

This inflation of one's closeness to Morihei occurs with many shihan who went abroad. Each one is supposed to be Osensei's "favorite uke" or some such title.
 
Old 12-01-2011, 04:34 PM   #22
Ken McGrew
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Re: Saotome Sensei's Training History

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Saotome entered Hombu Dojo as an uchideshi in 1961. O-sensei died in 1969. Eight years. In a decade when Morihei didn't teach a regular class at Hombu dojo. Between 1955 and 1961, Saotome was in Kuwamori Dojo and then Kyoto. Since he couldn't be in two places at once, then he wasn't on the mat at Hombu with Morihei.

This inflation of one's closeness to Morihei occurs with many shihan who went abroad. Each one is supposed to be Osensei's "favorite uke" or some such title.
I doubt your claims, I doubt your sources (what are they again), I doubt their claims, I question your conclusions, I reject your efforts at narrowing definitions. In the end it doesn't matter.

You would rather discuss dates, one point of argument, rather than the claim you are hoping to support. You are arguing that Saotome Sensei, in particular, spent little time with O Sensei and therefore learned very little from him, Etc. Your central claim that you hope to perpetuate is at issue.

I notice the lack of response to the rest of my post above. Saotome Sensei was personally trained by O Sensei, it was an intense and close experience, and there is ample evidence for this. He was prominently used as an Uke on the demonstration videos, he taught for Hombu, he traveled with O Sensei, he was recognized as a senior instructor, and so forth. To accuse him of "inflation of one's closeness to Morihei" ignores all the evidence to the contrary. Moreover, it is the greatest of insults to my teacher. I think it is meant to be such. And yes he is one of my teachers though I know him from seminars and trainings, and through the teachings he gave to my seniors. It is not my opinion. I would never make such a claim if he hadn't said so.

I note that the ASU members who so often defend the coalition around internal training and the historical revisionism, who host seminars for this coalition, who attack me or allow others to attack me, are silent as our teacher is accused of dishonesty. Part of Budo is loyalty. Budo men indeed.

Now some will yell that they never so accused him. Or that they didn't all accuse him. Hit and run. Attack then change the subject.

Last edited by Ken McGrew : 12-01-2011 at 04:41 PM.
 
Old 12-01-2011, 05:04 PM   #23
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

In the classical music world, the way this is solved on cv's and biographical notes in program books and such is to say "x studied with y at the z conservatory and attended master classes with a, b, and c". Attending a master class with a good teacher can have a big influence on ones playing, so it's worth mentioning. But the teacher you study with week in week out for a number of years is who's lineage you're part of.

And of course at some point in a musician's career there comes a point where their teachers aren't necessarily mentioned at all anymore, because they've made enough of a name for themselves...
kvaak
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:40 PM   #24
DH
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Re: O'Sensei teaching Aikido at the Hombu Dojo after WWII

Quote:
Ken McGrew wrote: View Post
For people who are so quick to criticize the politics at Hombu they are quick to forget them when it's convenient. Saotome Sensei felt a calling to come to the United States to spread Aikido. In order to do so he was forced to defy Doshu. This was eventually forgiven by our current Doshu. A little fair play would be nice.
Forgiven? Really?
When it comes to aiki, Saotome is beyond any doubt among the best I have seen in modern Aikido. I haven't seen anyone in the aikikai who I think can touch him. And I most certainly have no favorites in the aikido game for any reason. Yet, Saotome does not appear on the official list of Shihan who can award shihan to his students....and have it recognozed.....by Doshu.
Why do you think that is?
Many people -Saotome included- considered him a student of Yamaguchi. It has to do with a Japanese thing. Your first sensei in an art and all that. That's not to say that -he did. Also exaggerations are very common, even to flat out lies, because they are not really consided lies by the same standards we use. They are used to demonstrate a perceived truth by the writer. Think of it like an authors purgatives...on steroids. For an example; read Kisshomaru's biography of his father.
Then again, if you really want to appreciate the divine comedy that was the formulation of modern aikido- listen to Prof Goldsbury, who serves as the President of the International Aikikai federation (who's words you have yet to acknowledge) when he, along with many others have tried to tell you that when they all went to Japan they more or less got the ..."oh...now you are going to find out the real truth about aikido, " speech. Some of which is funny, others sad, but pretty much just another tale of organizational control, over a disparate group of near-do-wells, wanna-be's, and also-ran's...all vying for position many times against some serious talent, who oddly just didn't give a crap about the politics.
Guess who won?
IN light of that you also had any number of Shihan and all…all claimed they had a daily personal training experience with him. That is virtually impossible to be true. You need to understand the Japanese to understand why they can say that and not be called liars. It's a Japanese thing and its okay to do so.
Quote:
I note that the ASU members who so often defend the coalition around internal training and the historical revisionism, who host seminars for this coalition, who attack me or allow others to attack me, are silent as our teacher is accused of dishonesty. Part of Budo is loyalty. Budo men indeed.
The reason you don't see the many of the ASU internal contingent defending Saotome is that he doesn't't need to be defended. And no one I know thinks very highly of over-zealous attempts to do so on his behalf.
Part of Budo is also understanding nuance and the culture the art originated in, as well as the burden of being seen as representing an organization or teacher without the authority to do so. Most Budo people I know-particularly in the ASU are very educated and detailed in their understanding and would NEVER take part in such a display. For a student representing an art. Discretion is a better way to go.
Are you going to winter camp I wonder?
Dan

Last edited by DH : 12-01-2011 at 05:47 PM.
 
Old 12-01-2011, 05:46 PM   #25
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Saotome Sensei's Training History

Ken,

When Saotome Sensei stated "I studied with O Sensei altogether for 20 years" (source) was he accurate?

 

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