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Old 09-06-2003, 10:18 PM   #1
Dojo: New York Aikikai; Byakkokan Dojo (Toyama Ryu Battodo)
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 71
Speaking of Jedi...

I recently heard that George Lucas visited Japan in the 1950s and met O-Sensei, and subsequently based Yoda's character on him.

Would anyone like to confirm or deny this?

Or how about examining the analogy and seeing how far we can take it?

Aikido is the art of hitting an assailant with the planet.
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Old 09-06-2003, 11:09 PM   #2
Thomas Froman
Dojo: Ronin Bushido Aikido
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 23
I couldn't find anything that supported that. However, they were both short, wise, great warriors, and very strong in the force (or ki). In my search, I found some articles under star wars related stuff comparing the force to ki and that may be where this rumor came from.
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Old 09-06-2003, 11:22 PM   #3
PhilJ's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Bukou
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 240

I had heard the same thing from my teacher a long way back. The second movie only fuels that idea, at the end, where the hobbled Yoda 'lights up' similar to the stories of O'Sensei in his final years.

There's a lot of similarities to the movie's "Way" and Aikido's, probably more than we could discuss. I've thought about the similarities more than I'll ever admit in public. There are worthwhile values the movie professes that seem similar to the ideals of aikido (to me), some too idealistic, and some too supernatural.

Nonetheless, I prefer to let my heart, mind/soul, and training guide me in the path that is right for me, not some rigid regiment as the movie suggests is needed ("Jedi training"). Etc etc.


Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
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Old 09-07-2003, 03:34 PM   #4
tedehara's Avatar
Dojo: Evanston Ki-Aikido
Location: Evanston IL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 826
Posting my reply to a msg from ki-info group on Yahoo

Okay, are any of you familiar with Shoji Sensei, who I believe ran Southern California Ki Society until (I believe) he retired from training.

Back in the late 1980's when I lived near San Francisco, I traveled down to L.A. with a few other dojo friends for a very big seminar hosted by SCKS and Shoji Sensei (the invited teacher was Maruyama Sensei from Ki no Kenkyukai).

Shoji Sensei was quite a character and he taught a class or two during the seminar, so we got to "see him in action". The words that sprung instantly to all our lips were "Yoda Sensei". Shoji Sensei evoked Yoda in so many ways, from the mundane (general facial features, speech patterns, and stature -- though definitely not quite as short as the Yoda character himself!) to the esoteric (he made Aikido and Ki seem mystically powerful, remeniscent of the scene in Star Wars where Yoda lifted the downed flyer out of the swamp while teaching Luke Skywalker how to properly use the Force). We all found this very amusing (and endearing) but attached no significance to it, and the "Yoda Sensei" moniker (meant only in the most affectionate way) stuck.

Only many years later I mentioned this to another aikidoka and was told about Lucas' aikido practice in L.A.; it was the first I'd heard of it. I was told "oh yes, actually the Yoda character was based on Shoji Sensei."

At the moment I can only call this hearsay; any confirmation,refutation, or thoughts on this out there? I find it just too good not to be true, and certainly goes along with what you are talking about.
-- Sharon

Idle rumour has it that Shoji Sensei was the model for the Yoda character, but that Lucas himself didn't see him. I heard that some of his staff had attended a KS class during pre-production of StarWars.

In Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, Dale Pollock wrote that "Lucas's concept of the force was heavily influenced by Carlos Castaneda's Tales of Power, an account of a Mexican Indian sorcerer, Don Juan, who uses the phrase 'life force'."

However, Lucas said that he had read extensively on myth and mythology theory,"...as many as fifty books. I basically worked out a general theory for the Force, and then I played with it." from

Ki in Star Wars.

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Old 09-08-2003, 10:11 PM   #5
Thor's Hammer
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 51
I've thought about it myself. Values of respect, the shortness, the force. Use of the sword, basis of technique. Lotus flower hand used by Yoda, meditation. Even the split between Kisshomaru and Tohei, there are striking similarities.
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Old 09-09-2003, 06:44 PM   #6
Amassus's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Musubi Ryu/ Yoshin Wadokan
Location: Hamilton
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 306
New Zealand
Wow, even the aikido forums can not escape the geekdom of Star Wars. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the thread title...Jedi just seems to be discussed no matter what the subject matter.

To go back to the thread...Yoda as an Aikido Sensei? Most certainly!

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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