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Old 02-06-2012, 04:38 PM   #1
Allen Beebe
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Shirata Biographical Article

I'm pleased to announce that the first installment of a biographical article about Shirata Rinjiro has been posted on Aikido Journal. The article was originally written in Japanese by Kozo Kaku, and has been translated into English by, someone who will be very familiar to many Aiki Web readers, Douglas Walker.

The article came to Doug through me, but came to me through Ernesto Lemke via Professor Peter Goldsbury. I'm sure those names will be recognized by many here as well.

Doug requested that the article be made freely available to all and the editor of Aikido Journal, Mr. Stan Pranin, graciously complied.

Why not check it out! (And if you haven't already, consider joining/supporting Aikido Journal.)

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/0...ku/#more-13594

Perhaps, after reading the article, if Aiki Web readers are prompted to have new thoughts, questions, ideas, or inspirations, those might be posted as threads, open for further discussion, here on Aiki Web.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:07 PM   #2
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
I'm pleased to announce that the first installment of a biographical article about Shirata Rinjiro has been posted on Aikido Journal. The article was originally written in Japanese by Kozo Kaku, and has been translated into English by, someone who will be very familiar to many Aiki Web readers, Douglas Walker.

The article came to Doug through me, but came to me through Ernesto Lemke via Professor Peter Goldsbury. I'm sure those names will be recognized by many here as well.

Doug requested that the article be made freely available to all and the editor of Aikido Journal, Mr. Stan Pranin, graciously complied.

Why not check it out! (And if you haven't already, consider joining/supporting Aikido Journal.)

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/0...ku/#more-13594

Perhaps, after reading the article, if Aiki Web readers are prompted to have new thoughts, questions, ideas, or inspirations, those might be posted as threads, open for further discussion, here on Aiki Web.
Very cool! Thank you, Allen!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:05 AM   #3
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

Huh? When did this happen?


Doug's hard work prompted me to put up some more pics of Shirata Sensei on my Facebook page all the more so since the original article contained many stunning photographs that unfortunately didn't make the AJ article. The quality was very poor but for some of us, nevertheless, very interesting.

There is one photograph taken in the garden of a rather large, traditionally built house. Presumably this is the Shirata residence. The Shirata family is posing for the camera with Shirata's father and mother standing on the right. On the left there are three younger looking women (which are likely Shirata Rinjiro's three sisters) one young man on the left (either Rinjiro or his older brother) and one older gentleman on the right of the women (who looks to old to be the older brother). Then in the middle, together with his wife, lo and behold, stands Isamu Takeshita, resting his hands on the shoulders of two young children.
The article doesn't shed any further light on the matter alas but still, it's very interesting to see this historical connection. Maybe there are some Aikiweb readers who have the original copy of the article to get a better quality picture. It was publsihed in the Aikikai's "magazine" or maybe newsletter is a better word, named Aikido Tankyu.

Maybe Peter can chime in here cause I'm writing this from the top of my head so I hope my memory serves me right...

Ernesto
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:12 AM   #4
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

I added the picture to my FB page so now I'm hoping I'm not violating any copyright issues. There is no commercial gain in this, it's done solely to have a "database" of sorts. I have no problem taking it down if need be.

Ernesto
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:42 AM   #5
woudew
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

Doug, again impressive work
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:31 AM   #6
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

great read!
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:41 AM   #7
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

Thanks to everyone involved.

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Old 02-07-2012, 04:22 PM   #8
Allen Beebe
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

As it is constructed, the article kind of "builds up." So the second and third in the series are something to look forward to.

The original author has a rather unique writing style even within the Japanese language. But I think Doug rose to any challenge it presented.

It will be interesting to see if Aiki Web readers find any of the content in the the article relevant to discussions present here on Aiki Web.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:29 PM   #9
Howard Popkin
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

cool, very cool

Howard Popkin
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:41 PM   #10
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

There is no resistance in aikido, so you must read the next part.

I really appreciate everyone's kind comments.

BTW, I really think the photograph Ernesto discusses above is a big deal. The web of interconnections — Ueshiba, Takeshita, Omoto kyo, Shirata AND his family — is something to consider. Just think of a young 20 year old new uchideshi who has had one of Ueshiba's biggest and most influential supporters over to his house.

Last edited by Walker : 02-07-2012 at 04:48 PM. Reason: added BTW

-Doug Walker
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:46 PM   #11
Allen Beebe
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

Quote:
Howard Popkin wrote: View Post
cool, very cool
Oh just wait Howie . . . FISHING is mentioned in one of the upcoming segments!!!

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:59 PM   #12
Allen Beebe
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
There is no resistance in aikido, so you must read the next part.

I really appreciate everyone's kind comments.

BTW, I really think the photograph Ernesto discusses above is a big deal. The web of interconnections Ueshiba, Takeshita, Omoto kyo, Shirata AND his family is something to consider. Just think of a young 20 year old new uchideshi who has had one of Ueshiba's biggest and most influential supporters over to his house.
What Doug said! We have enjoyed talking about the possible ramifications of these relationships for some time now. And the more information that comes out, the juicer the implications! Decisions made, and events that took place during this time period seem to have had a profound impact, probably beyond (and most probably intended to be beyond) many people's realization.


~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:09 PM   #13
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

For whoever is interested, I put up some additional pics. More to follow...

Ernesto
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:09 PM   #14
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

Quote:
Ernesto Lemke wrote: View Post
I added the picture to my FB page so now I'm hoping I'm not violating any copyright issues. There is no commercial gain in this, it's done solely to have a "database" of sorts. I have no problem taking it down if need be.
Hello Ernesto,

One might ask the same question concerning copyright issues about Doug's translation. On the last page of the magazine (it is a magazine, not a newsletter, and is published twice yearly, with illustrations in colour and in black and white) are the editing and publishing details, with the usual copyright symbol. The holder of the copyright is the Aikikai Foundation.

I have the whole set of Aikido Tankyu ( 合気道探求) magazines and Kaku Kozo's articles on Shirata Rinjiro are the third in a series, with Abe Tadashi and Murashige Aritoshi coming first. There is much of interest in these articles, also, the main problem being that Kaku does not reveal any sources.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 02-10-2012, 08:27 PM   #15
Dave Gallagher
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

Very interesting read.

It is the duty of the strong to protect the weak.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:43 AM   #16
Allen Beebe
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

Quote:
Dave Gallagher wrote: View Post
Very interesting read.
Stan posted the 2nd interesting installment yesterday. There is a great photo Stan added that includes: Rinjiro Shirata, Tsutomu Yukawa, Tesshin Hoshi, Kaoru Funahashi, Kiyoshi Nakakura, Morihei Ueshiba, Gozo Shioda, Hatsu Ueshiba, Zenzaburo Akazawa, Kenji Tomiki, and a very young Kisshomaru Ueshiba all posing together from 1933.

(Presumedly it is a non-altered version.)

It is interesting to observe that Stan felt a few "balancing" notes were called for to help maintain historical accuracy, rather than a promoted political expediency.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:02 AM   #17
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

I found the second section interesting because the author seems to have tried to portray some of the flavor of the 1930s Budo Senyokai period. Even with the cautions from Stan that some figures and events were down played, you get the feeling that it was a different time far removed from our experience today. Dreamlike Days. You can really experience the different mindset reading some of the quotes from Omoto with references to the Bakamatsu, the Land of the Kami, and Ueshiba, who can take heads with easy skill.

-Doug Walker
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:23 PM   #18
Allen Beebe
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

All righty, Stan posted the third, and final, segment of the Biography of Rinjiro Shirata today. This segment has some stuff I really like in it. For example:

"When facing him, all my "ki" would be absorbed and my power ended up amounting to nothing. The more earnestly you faced him, the greater the effect of the "ki" from Ueshiba Sensei. It isn't comprehensible, if one hasn't experienced this kind of confrontation."

And and in response to the question, "Was (the Founder's technique) painful?"

"Yes, really sharp. I couldn't move. That's the kind of thing I couldn't understand! I still don't understand. Even though I had confidence in my physical strength, whenever I faced Sensei, inevitably my body would end up floating in empty air, and I couldn't do a thing. No matter what, he took everything away. Everything was completely absorbed by Sensei. That sort of ability isn't comprehended by the practice of technique alone."

Hmmmm

"When facing him, all my "ki" would be absorbed and my power ended up amounting to nothing."

"No matter what, he took everything away."

"Everything was completely absorbed by Sensei."

His power was "zeroed" out. Sounds very, very familiar . . . to other Daito Ryu folks like Takeda, Sagawa, . . .

"The more earnestly you faced him, the greater the effect of the "ki" from Ueshiba Sensei."

Almost sounds like a description of an echo to me! "The louder I yell, the greater the return effect of the "ki" from the mountain!"

"It isn't comprehensible, if one hasn't experienced this kind of confrontation."

It has to be felt (experienced) to be understood!

And, from the mouth of the student of Ueshiba that had solo power building exercises that we did before every practice . . .

"That sort of ability isn't comprehended by the practice of technique alone."

Here is another interesting thing . . .

Someone noted for IP and Aiki once said something like, "With proper training one should be noticeably different in a year an untouchable by most in 3 to 5 years.

It is interesting to note:

In nearly six years of training at the Kobukan from the end of 1931 to the end of 1937--with only about a year and a half spent on foundation training--Rinjiro began the Okayama branch of the Budo Senyokai [c. 1934] discussed previously, traveled throughout the country for outside training and when in Tokyo, went around serving as Morihei's assistant.

Sounds like "someone" knows what they are talking about!

Time and again, Rinjiro was blessed with opportunities for "actual fighting" through activities like "taryujiai" (matches between practitioners of different styles), and serving as an assistant for training outside the dojo. These advantages were probably the biggest reason he came to be called "The Kobukan Prodigy."

If the events of this period of time hadn't happened. Both Daito Ryu and Aikido would certainly have been virtually unknowns in Japan and equally certain would be their obscurity outside of Japan. The post war efforts of O-sensei's son to re-build, and re-frame the practice and spread Aikido was clearly built upon the foundation that his father and a few deshi laid before and during the war. THAT foundation didn't just consist of hyperbole. THAT foundation consisted of empirical evidence. THAT was the foundation from which O-sensei structured and espoused his greater message.

My memory of Shirata sensei was that attacking him could be either likened to reaching into a tree chipper, or like attacking a ghost. One never knew what it was going to be until it was too late, and at that point one was loath to do anything about it. (Honestly, one's well being rested solely in sensei's hands at that point. No ukemi could save you from destruction if ill will was intended because you were behind, period, end of story.) Still, sensei was adamant, true to his recollections, that he still had miles to go before equalling his teacher's abilities, but he wouldn't stop training until he got there. And he didn't!

Still, my recollection of sensei is best depicted in the video captured during the television interview of Shirata sensei in Yamagata now shared on Aikido Journal. I encourage anyone to go and look at the wonderful kindness and humility reflected in that man's face. Here is a guy who had done battle numerous times, personally and collectively. He didn't ask the question, "Is Aikido effective . . . " He knew! His Aikido was unbelievably strong and effective (it had to be felt) AND, when I knew him (and I've never heard another person say otherwise) he was a kind, generous, gentle, humble, loving, and HONORABLE man!

I think I've shared the story about the time I last saw Shirata sensei, so let me share about the time before last . . .

We lockered together. Yeah, this Ninth dan didn't have a problem lockering with "the guys," sharing the shower, and asking them about their families, etc. (Funny thing that. The ONLY other guy I've met with Shirata sensei's power and ability behaves in JUST the same way. There is a lesson there somewhere I should think.)

When sensei talked about Aikido and loving our neighbor as ourselves I swear the room would light up! There was no need for special titles, papers, licenses, lineages, belts, behaviors, etc. He loved us, and we loved him, and that was all there was to it!

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 02-21-2012 at 09:26 PM.

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Old 02-22-2012, 10:10 PM   #19
DH
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article


I think I would have loved meeting him.
Dan
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:45 PM   #20
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Re: Shirata Biographical Article

I am almost certain you two would have struck a deep, amicable, and enduring relationship. Then again, maybe you have nevertheless.

~ Allen Beebe
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