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Old 11-02-2013, 04:44 AM   #1
Guillaume Erard
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Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Hi everyone, I just wanted to bring to your attention the publication of an interesting piece by Ellis Amdur that did not make the cut in the latest edition of Duelling with O Sensei. It deals with myths in martial arts, in particular a story that has been going around about the Daito-ryu master Horikawa teaching Yoshinkan Aikido founder Shioda Gozo the fundamentals of Aiki. I think that Ellis debunks pretty eloquently that particular one in this article. I would be interested to hear if anyone had any other element to share on this issue.
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:40 AM   #2
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Guillaume Erard wrote: View Post
Hi everyone, I just wanted to bring to your attention the publication of an interesting piece by Ellis Amdur that did not make the cut in the latest edition of Duelling with O Sensei. It deals with myths in martial arts, in particular a story that has been going around about the Daito-ryu master Horikawa teaching Yoshinkan Aikido founder Shioda Gozo the fundamentals of Aiki. I think that Ellis debunks pretty eloquently that particular one in this article. I would be interested to hear if anyone had any other element to share on this issue.
Great read, as always! Thank you for posting it!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:57 PM   #3
oisin bourke
 
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Guillaume Erard wrote: View Post
Hi everyone, I just wanted to bring to your attention the publication of an interesting piece by Ellis Amdur that did not make the cut in the latest edition of Duelling with O Sensei. It deals with myths in martial arts, in particular a story that has been going around about the Daito-ryu master Horikawa teaching Yoshinkan Aikido founder Shioda Gozo the fundamentals of Aiki. I think that Ellis debunks pretty eloquently that particular one in this article. I would be interested to hear if anyone had any other element to share on this issue.
Horikawa didn't learn Sekiguchi ryu jujutsu from his father. He learned Shibukawa ryu. As for the rest of the comments, at least one yoshinkan instructor at the time, Ogawa, left the Yoshinkan and began training under Horikawa. The current menkyo of the kodokai, Shinpo, also started in yoshinkan before moving joining kodokai. Inoue Sensei has remained on good terms with members of daito ryu, including my own teacher. As Ellis states, he is the perhaps closest in Aiki techniques. This all indicates that there was at least more to the relationship than a one-off informal demo. At the very least, it seemed to have made an impression on at least some of the yoshinkan members .

However, relating to his comments about myth and Jung: By coincidence (synchronicity?) I've been reading Jung's memoirs and some of his other writings. I'm beginning to think that Jung's explications of consciousness touch at least partially on how traditional budo is transmitted and understood. That which is referred to as "aiki" in Daito Ryu is incorporated into this method. In other words, it needs to be learned in a particular context/relationship, under particular conditions and with regard to a particular weltanschauung. One cannot learn aiki (as referred to in Daito Ryu parlance) simply from being shown some solo exercises. If Shioda DID learn anything from Horikawa, he would have had to already have been exposed to this particular world of physical/symbolic perception already.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:55 AM   #4
Alister Gillies
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Fact and fiction can become confused, but common sense and maturity should tell us that the icing on a cow pat doesn't make it smell any sweeter. People, of course, are free to believe what they want but we should be careful not to mistake the massage for the message. We cannot know definitively whether Horikawa taught Shioda, but it does seem improbable given the lack of real evidence.

But does it really matter about who taught whom? My own feeling on this is that the unending quest for the undiluted, authentic teaching of aiki is a narcissistic folly. I suspect, like many other forms of development in the aiki arts, progress comes when the student is ready, and a return to the original secrecy surrounding the teaching of aiki might be a welcome break from what has become a tediously obsessive and divisive topic.

Those with aiki (or unusual power) express it following a lifetime of learning and training. That expression takes place over over a relatively short time span, and those that can express it tend to be septuagenarians. That may say something about poor training methodology - depends on your point of view - but what it doesn't suggest is that aiki/unusual power is something that can be picked up in a couple of weeks/months/years.

Sokaku Takeda said that he did not show his techniques openly, mainly because they were so easy to do...he says. But he was also quite an astute person (as illiterate people often are), albeit disposed to greed and paranoia, with some psychotic tendencies thrown in for good measure. But perhaps there is a grain of truth in what he said - maybe aiki is simple, and it is just people that are complicated.

I found Eilis's article refreshing since it helped debunk a questionable notion and freed up some space for, hopefully, more useful stuff to ponder.
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:12 AM   #5
Guillaume Erard
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Thanks a lot Oisin, this was the sort of additional information I was hoping to get
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:34 AM   #6
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

I think this was, as usual, a great read from Ellis. I think he make a great case for debunking the specific claim that Horikawa sensei taught aiki to Shioda sensei. I did get the sense that Ellis was not advocating that Shioda did not pick something up from Horikawa sensei during this visit, only that the particular event in the photo was not covert instruction of aiki.

My personal belief is that these old relationships were about politics and exposure. I would imagine it would be difficult to start assigning teacher/student relationships within such arrangements, formal or informal. Just seeing some of the material demonstrated may have spurred Shioda sensei to look somewhere where he might not otherwise have looked.

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Old 11-04-2013, 01:59 PM   #7
Howard Popkin
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Interesting picture if Shioda wasn't studying, isn't it ?
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:33 PM   #8
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Is there any reason to believe Horikawa wasn't working on waza during those sessions? Everybody's going to tend to interpret this as proof of their point of view. Other people know more than I do about the personalities, but I never heard Kancho described as someone who really embraced aiki.
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:09 PM   #9
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote: View Post
Is there any reason to believe Horikawa wasn't working on waza during those sessions? Everybody's going to tend to interpret this as proof of their point of view. Other people know more than I do about the personalities, but I never heard Kancho described as someone who really embraced aiki.
I have - Inoue speaks a bit about Shioda's changes over the years in his latest book.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-04-2013, 10:20 PM   #10
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Howard - I've clearly explained the picture. And they are sitting, not studying.

Furthermore, I got confirmation, in written notes, from two senior members of the Roppokai as to the correctness of my thesis. One wrote to me: "I have actually been told by Okamoto that Kodo and Shioda once met in the Tokyo area, and that Shioda asked Kodo a question about Kodokai Aiki. Kodo demonstrated a simple technique on Shioda, and he replyed: "Ah..got it". . . .When Okamoto told the story, I got the impression that it was no big deal. Just two guys exchanging info."

Bill - there were not "those sessions" - as the article states, the Yoshinkan did not participate in sessions. The Yagyukai, a completely separate organization that either borrowed or rented space at the Yoshinkan when aikido was not in session.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 11-04-2013 at 10:26 PM.

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Old 11-05-2013, 05:15 AM   #11
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
... Shioda asked Kodo a question about Kodokai Aiki. Kodo demonstrated a simple technique on Shioda, and he replyed: "Ah..got it". . . .When Okamoto told the story, I got the impression that it was no big deal. Just two guys exchanging info."

Ellis Amdur
This might well be an indication that, perhaps, "Aiki" isn't the big deal everyone is made to believe.
Takeda is said to have thought so.

Oisin Bourke wrote:
Quote:
In other words, it needs to be learned in a particular context/relationship, under particular conditions and with regard to a particular weltanschauung. One cannot learn aiki (as referred to in Daito Ryu parlance) simply from being shown some solo exercises.
How do you know? Why not? It might well be exactly this belief makes things so complicated for everyone else.

Best
Bernd

Last edited by Bernd Lehnen : 11-05-2013 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:32 AM   #12
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Bernd - I, of course, do not know, as I was not there, and this is the first I heard of Shioda actually touching Horikawa at all. But what makes it believable is that two different high level students of Okamoto Seigo felt prompted on their own accord to contact me about this - and their stories, close, and largely free of hyperbole, are therefore, believable.

Anyway, there is a Japanese word, tashikameru, 確かめる which explains this type of incident. It means, "make sure."

Hypothetically (although I think it's been established, factually - for Inoue sensei is a man of unimpeachable character), Horikawa, honors the owner of the dojo at which he's teaching another group by showing him something, he being honored by that Kancho's request.

Shioda is curious - he sees "it" - what Horikawa is doing, and he wants to feel for himself if it is a) the same b) different from what he - or Ueshiba - or both are doing. So he asks a question, puts a hand on Horikawa and is shown something and says, "aha." Which could mean anything from a) yep, the same b) yep, that's different c) that's it? d) wow, I missed out.
In any case, "I got it" (what you are showing me).

Sort of like what happened to me when I was walking in a park in Taiwan and some white-crane guys beckoned me over and one guy started to feel the acupuncture points in my arm, and then nodded, "Heng hau, heng hau" - (really good, really good), calling some of his training brothers over to feel my arms as well. Of course, later a new acquaintance told me, "Stay away from the white crane guys. Their practice tends to raise their blood pressure so much they get neurological damage. They are all kinda crazy." Of course, it's possible, now, that because of that single transformative touch, that white crane guy got an amazing understanding ('cause I'm amazing) and changed his entire art. He surely taught others. In short, I am the teacher of one line of Taiwanese white crane.

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Old 11-05-2013, 06:09 AM   #13
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post

Anyway, there is a Japanese word, tashikameru, 確かめる which explains this type of incident. It means, "make sure."

Shioda is curious - he sees "it" - what Horikawa is doing, and he wants to feel for himself if it is a) the same b) different from what he - or Ueshiba - or both are doing. So he asks a question, puts a hand on Horikawa and is shown something and says, "aha." Which could mean anything from a) yep, the same b) yep, that's different c) that's it? d) wow, I missed out.
In any case, "I got it" (what you are showing me).

Sort of like what happened to me when I was walking in a park in Taiwan and some white-crane guys beckoned me over and one guy started to feel the acupuncture points in my arm, and then nodded, "Heng hau, heng hau" - (really good, really good), calling some of his training brothers over to feel my arms as well. Of course, later a new acquaintance told me, "Stay away from the white crane guys. Their practice tends to raise their blood pressure so much they get neurological damage. They are all kinda crazy." Of course, it's possible, now, that because of that single transformative touch, that white crane guy got an amazing understanding ('cause I'm amazing) and changed his entire art. He surely taught others. In short, I am the teacher of one line of Taiwanese white crane.
Hidden in plain sight!

So, again, tashikameru, 確かめる, IHTBF.

Ellis, apart from your vast expertise, I adore your wonderful sense of humor.

Best
Bernd
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:41 AM   #14
oisin bourke
 
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post

How do you know? Why not? It might well be exactly this belief makes things so complicated for everyone else.

Best
Bernd
Because I've experienced both modes of training/transmission. If you don't have the foundation of traditional daito ryu training, including katageiko, direct transmission and a whole host of other things, IMO, being shown solo exercises will not be enough to develop DR Aiki. It may well be excellent for transforming one's body, making one softer, more effective and healthful etc. I don't dispute any of that, but you will be missing too much "context" (that's the best word I can come up with) and ability to discern what to really concentrate on. This is just my honest opinion based on my experience. It may well make things complicated, but that's the way it is.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:19 AM   #15
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Kodo demonstrated a simple technique on Shioda, and he replyed: "Ah..got it". . . .When Okamoto told the story, I got the impression that it was no big deal. Just two guys exchanging info."
I wonder whether there is any confirmation somewhere as to whether that simple technique involved a "big toe"?
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:31 PM   #16
Fred Little
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

It wouldn't prove anything, Cady. Abe Seiseki had big toe techniques.

He also had no known contact with Kodo. But he did have aiki, and he did have big toes, and he did know how to use them. ;-)

FL

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Old 11-05-2013, 01:55 PM   #17
TokyoZeplin
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Very cool article, thank you!
I recently stumbled across some forum posts, on another site, mentioning this. It was the first I had heard about it, and seemed fairly dubious to me, so it was very interesting to read this article!
Much appreciated!

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Old 11-05-2013, 10:28 PM   #18
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
It wouldn't prove anything, Cady. Abe Seiseki had big toe techniques.

He also had no known contact with Kodo. But he did have aiki, and he did have big toes, and he did know how to use them. ;-)

FL
Yah, a big toe and a little aiki-sage can go a long way...
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:37 PM   #19
phitruong
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Sort of like what happened to me when I was walking in a park in Taiwan and some white-crane guys beckoned me over and one guy started to feel the acupuncture points in my arm, and then nodded, "Heng hau, heng hau" - (really good, really good), calling some of his training brothers over to feel my arms as well. Of course, later a new acquaintance told me, "Stay away from the white crane guys. Their practice tends to raise their blood pressure so much they get neurological damage. They are all kinda crazy." Of course, it's possible, now, that because of that single transformative touch, that white crane guy got an amazing understanding ('cause I'm amazing) and changed his entire art. He surely taught others. In short, I am the teacher of one line of Taiwanese white crane.
you could get one of those gold silk pajama that many taichi folks have, then have an embroided white crane take flight and get shot by crazy white hunters. and then declared yourself the grandmaster of that white crane sect. better yet, you could dye your eyebrows white and said you are the bak mei white crane grandmaster. if anyone protests, you can always poke them full with holes using the naginata.

btw, if i remembered my kungfu movies correctly, the white crane techniques countered the chicken feet.... i meant the eagle claw kungfu techniques which is really the chin na stuffs which were the great great many great removed aikido techniques.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:44 PM   #20
Howard Popkin
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

All I said was, interesting picture, isn't it ?

I have heard the story from Okamoto directly.

Don't need anyone to confirm or deny anything. I just thought it was a cool picture if Shioda Sensei wasn't studying under Horikawa Sensei.

It would be unusual for two guys of that position to just "meet up" and have a throw down, wouldn't it ?

That's all I was trying to say.

Best wishes, and Happy Hanukah soon

Howie
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:54 PM   #21
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Thanks for this link, and thank you Mr. Amdur for the article.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I have - Inoue speaks a bit about Shioda's changes over the years in his latest book.
I think the best place to find Shioda's perspectives on aikido is in his own book Aikido Shugyo.

Quote:
Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
How do you know? Why not? It might well be exactly this belief makes things so complicated for everyone else.
Anyone who has studied aikido seriously knows you can't learn it from watching. You have to feel both the uke and shite parts of techniques before you start to understand. Unless perhaps you are a prodigy. But if Shioda was a prodigy, it would raise the question why he couldn't learn aikido during the time he studied with Ueshiba.

Quote:
Howard Popkin wrote: View Post
It would be unusual for two guys of that position to just "meet up" and have a throw down, wouldn't it ?
As Mr. Amdur explained, they didn't just meet up. There was a clear reason--Yagyukai. Anyhow, I am not at all sure it is unusual for two accomplished martial artists to meet in a small island nation like Japan, where most of the culture and urban life is contained within a few cities in a small area.

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Old 11-07-2013, 01:06 AM   #22
Chris Li
 
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Christian Mikkelson wrote: View Post

I think the best place to find Shioda's perspectives on aikido is in his own book Aikido Shugyo.
I haven't read the English version, although I enjoyed it in Japanese, as I did Aikido Jinsei - but that has nothing to do with whether or not Inoue's recollections are relevant or not.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-07-2013, 01:38 AM   #23
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Christian Mikkelson wrote: View Post

Anyone who has studied aikido seriously knows you can't learn it from watching. You have to feel both the uke and shite parts of techniques before you start to understand. Unless perhaps you are a prodigy. But if Shioda was a prodigy, it would raise the question why he couldn't learn aikido during the time he studied with Ueshiba.

.
Shioda wasn't like Mr."Anyone".

They say he was taught Daito Ryu and didn't need 40+ years of serious study of aikido to not even to start to understand.

Best,
Bernd

Last edited by Bernd Lehnen : 11-07-2013 at 01:50 AM.
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:09 AM   #24
ChrisMikk
 
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I haven't read the English version, although I enjoyed it in Japanese, as I did Aikido Jinsei - but that has nothing to do with whether or not Inoue's recollections are relevant or not.
Really? Nothing? Nothing!

Inoue is attested in this very thread as someone with impeccable character, and I know nothing about him, so I have no reason to doubt that. And I haven't read his book.

Also, not having read all your posts, I cannot be sure what "aiki" means to you.

However, here is your implicit quotation from above:
"I have ['heard Kancho described as someone who really embraced aiki'] [by] Inoue [, who] speaks a bit about Shioda's changes over the years in his latest book." -Chris Li

If aiki means something quasi-religious, which I would assume from the posts of yours I have read previously, this is at stark odds with the Shioda I have heard about from Payet-sensei and the Shioda revealed in his own books, who is stoutly uninterested in metaphysics.

Payet-sensei describes Shioda as someone who, in his later years, was more interested in drinking beer, making conversation with friends, and sitting in his office than with pondering deep meaning. In Angry White Pyjamas, Shioda's collection of clocks is described.

In Aikido Jinsei, we see a self-described obsessive collector (gold-covered objects, animals, etc) and someone whose life was all about finding good food and drink and meeting friends.

These facts suggest to me that Shioda's personality and outlook was pretty much consistent throughout his life. Since Shioda says outright in his books that he never believed in gods and couldn't follow in Ueshiba's religious outlook on life, I have to be suspect of any claims Shioda got religion.

If, in describing Shioda as embracing aiki, you refer to a change in his technical understanding or teaching, that I could buy.

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Old 11-08-2013, 09:51 AM   #25
Chris Li
 
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Re: Horikawa teaching Shioda?

Quote:
Christian Mikkelson wrote: View Post
Really? Nothing? Nothing!

Inoue is attested in this very thread as someone with impeccable character, and I know nothing about him, so I have no reason to doubt that. And I haven't read his book.
Well, yes, nothing. I didn't know either of them well, and neither did you, so arguing about which source is "better" at this point is a little difficult, especially since you haven't read all the sources we're discussing.

Anyway, my point was that I had indeed heard of someone who said that Shioda was interested in "Aiki". I'm not arguing for or against Inoue, just saying that he presented a different viewpoint. As one of the only people who was there full time from the beginning to the end of the Yoshinkan I find that interesting, whether he's mistaken or not.

As for definitions of Aiki - I have never, not once, stated that Aiki is anything even remotely "quasi-religious".

Best,

Chris

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