Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-04-2007, 08:58 AM   #26
Josh Reyer
 
Josh Reyer's Avatar
Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

I've only trained at Hombu once, so I can't say much about what goes/went on there, but here's another perspective I've found. When training out in the boondocks of Japan, where foreign aikidoka are not so common, its a good idea to be on your toes when uke. Not because of ijime, IMO, but rather because of a lack of perspective. The Japanese, generally being small people, are generally in awe of bigger people. Foreigners, particularly foreign men, tend to be among the biggest students in any particular dojo. What I think happens is that other Japanese students (and even instructors) get the impression that because the foreigner (or indeed, any big student) is bigger/heavier/taller, they won't get hurt quite so easily. This can lead to a certain carelessness, and in the kyu ranks a tendency to overcompensate and crank on technique harder than it needs to be. Sumo wrestlers have commented on this tendency of normal-sized Japanese folk to assume that it won't hurt if they hit the sumo wrestlers, because of their size.

Of course, there are always the few who, even if only subconsciously, have those romantic images of tiny Japanese men throwing around large foreign opponents, and relish the opportunity to try out their technique on the big man. (Which can all be relative; I'm 177 cm and 68 kg. Hardly big in the U.S., but here I'm considered a big guy.) Even with the best of intentions, these guys can get a little carried away.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2007, 05:34 PM   #27
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,983
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote:
I've only trained at Hombu once, so I can't say much about what goes/went on there, but here's another perspective I've found. When training out in the boondocks of Japan, where foreign aikidoka are not so common, its a good idea to be on your toes when uke. Not because of ijime, IMO, but rather because of a lack of perspective. The Japanese, generally being small people, are generally in awe of bigger people. Foreigners, particularly foreign men, tend to be among the biggest students in any particular dojo. What I think happens is that other Japanese students (and even instructors) get the impression that because the foreigner (or indeed, any big student) is bigger/heavier/taller, they won't get hurt quite so easily. This can lead to a certain carelessness, and in the kyu ranks a tendency to overcompensate and crank on technique harder than it needs to be. Sumo wrestlers have commented on this tendency of normal-sized Japanese folk to assume that it won't hurt if they hit the sumo wrestlers, because of their size.

Of course, there are always the few who, even if only subconsciously, have those romantic images of tiny Japanese men throwing around large foreign opponents, and relish the opportunity to try out their technique on the big man. (Which can all be relative; I'm 177 cm and 68 kg. Hardly big in the U.S., but here I'm considered a big guy.) Even with the best of intentions, these guys can get a little carried away.
Well, I, too, am in the boondocks and do not think that size and foreignness can be equated so easily. I used the term ijime, but did not intend it in its usual narrow sense. It is more of a tendency, very often exploited here and not just with respect to foreigners, to emphasize differences rather than similarities.

The problem in these discussions is that it all boils down to individual experiences and these clearly differ considerably.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2007, 08:13 PM   #28
Josh Reyer
 
Josh Reyer's Avatar
Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Well, I, too, am in the boondocks and do not think that size and foreignness can be equated so easily. I used the term ijime, but did not intend it in its usual narrow sense. It is more of a tendency, very often exploited here and not just with respect to foreigners, to emphasize differences rather than similarities.

The problem in these discussions is that it all boils down to individual experiences and these clearly differ considerably.
Well, I wasn't trying to equate size and foreignness, but rather show a connection. I have no doubt there is a certain marginalization of foreigners in aikido; I see such marginalization in non-budo contexts not infrequently here in Toyota City, where there is a large Brazilian population. And yes, much depends on personal experience, but I do not necessarily see that as a problem in the discussion. My intention was not to contradict or supplant your (or others') accounts, but rather to supplement those with my own. My point simply being that even if one is lucky enough to find a place to train where no such marginalization occurs, there are other considerations that should keep foreign aikidoka in Japan on their toes when it comes to ukemi. For the non-Japanese aikidoka thinking of training in Japan, forewarned is forearmed, and many perspectives would be beneficial, wouldn't you agree?

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2007, 09:33 PM   #29
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 802
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

I'm not sure what you mean by marginalization. Peter is certainly correct - and it was my experience - that there is an emphasis on "difference." Interestingly, that is how "wa" is maintained - when your "place" is known, there is a way to fit you in.
On the other hand, I definitely felt "included" - and any violence I experienced in dojo settings was not due, in my experience, to anti-foreign sentiment. Some people just didn't like me.
I was quite deeply included in people's homes and lives for many years - my differences still emphasized and taken into "account" - but included I was.
One interesting experience. I believe I may have been the first non-Japanese to demonstrate at the Nihon Budokan in their yearly koryu embu. No, actually, there was a foreign student as part of a large entourage of Takenouchi-ryu, but I was going to be the lead - senior of a group of four of Toda-ha Buko-ryu. Some, at least, consider this the pre-eminent demo of koryu in Japan. I very much disliked demos at this time, and tended to avoid them. The day before the demo, when Nitta sensei turned in the final list of presenters, a very senior member of another ryu suggested that it would be shameful for the ryu that it was represented so prominently by a non-Japanese, that it also held Japanese up, implicitly, to negative comparison. Nitta sensei's response was to say, 1) that the affairs of our ryu were none of our concern 2) to call me up and order me - the only time she ordered me to do anything to demonstrate.
On another occasion, Nitta sensei, Ms. Kini Collins and I were to demonstrate at Shimogawa Jinja in Kyoto and Nitta sensei took ill. Kini and I demonstrated - it may have been the only time in Japanese history that the ONLY demonstrators in such an embu were non-Japanese. Everyone watched us very intently, to be sure, but in both direct and subtle ways, Nitta sensei was informed that we did right by the ryu.
So, even though I experienced a fair amount of bias and rudeness in my time in Japan, I honestly think far too much can be made of this. Stand-up people are accepted in budo society - even though your "differences" are not forgotten. And yes, some people may not - and some people may be rude or violent. But I honestly think more problems would happen on the organizational and administrative side than on the mat itself.

Best

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2007, 10:12 PM   #30
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,502
United_States
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
4.Or just leave. But never, ever, accept abuse like that. From anyone. Particularly and pointedly from some Japanese Shihan. Position does not warrant and legitimize personality dissorders and abuse as "teaching style" with broken bones and wreckage in its wake
Dan, something you said there reminded me of someone I used to know. Not Japanese but a fairly high-ranking American. He had a habit for awhile of doing his techniques twice: nikkyo, for instance. He would apply the technique until you tapped, then ease off of it. And when you relaxed from his easing off, he would apply the technique again, just when you were opened to it.

He did it to me seveal times and I saw him do it to other people and it was clear that they not only didn't like it, but that they though his was a real POS for it and I doubt they ever changed their opinion of him.

I'm glad to say that my experiences with Japanese senseis were always positive and I never got any bad treatment of any kind from Mochizuki Sensei or any of the shihans under him.

But the aforementioned American showed up at the dojo and guess what? One shihan repeatedly mauled him! I wouldn't say it was "funny," but there was something very validating in seeing that happen.

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2007, 08:38 AM   #31
Josh Reyer
 
Josh Reyer's Avatar
Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by marginalization.
I'm referring to Peter's quote:
Quote:
but foreigners are still regarded as something of a separate community there, and therefore as something of a target in Japan's ijime-based culture.
An individual, particularly one with an understanding of Japanese culture and proficiency with the language, is unlikely to be wholly marginalized in Japan. Groups of people, OTOH...

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2007, 10:56 AM   #32
John Brockington
Dojo: Retsushinkan/Birmingham, AL
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 65
United_States
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

What actually motivated my question (posed first in the thread "Hypocrisy in Aikido") to Sensei Amdur in the first place was really O Sensei and his treatment of Terry Dobson. There is a place in Terry Dobson's book entitled, I believe, "It's a Lot Like Dancing," where he briefly mentions this relationship and nuanced treatment. And when I read this, I started to think about O Sensei's prior activities in Manchuria and Hokkaido. It occurred to me that his efforts to create a "utopian" state in Manchuria could be construed as an overtly imperialistic act (why wasn't this attempted in Japan?), and certainly the Chinese did not appreciate it. Then his activities in the development of Hokkaido- were these part or an extension of the Japanese government's efforts to displace or dissolve the Ainu? I can find little to support one interpretation or the other, and so was trying to solicit insight from another source. And this does, indeed, get back to the question of the deification, by some, of O Sensei.

John
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2007, 05:21 PM   #33
gdandscompserv
 
gdandscompserv's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,215
United_States
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Dan, something you said there reminded me of someone I used to know. Not Japanese but a fairly high-ranking American. He had a habit for awhile of doing his techniques twice: nikkyo, for instance. He would apply the technique until you tapped, then ease off of it. And when you relaxed from his easing off, he would apply the technique again, just when you were opened to it.

He did it to me seveal times and I saw him do it to other people and it was clear that they not only didn't like it, but that they though his was a real POS for it and I doubt they ever changed their opinion of him.

I'm glad to say that my experiences with Japanese senseis were always positive and I never got any bad treatment of any kind from Mochizuki Sensei or any of the shihans under him.

But the aforementioned American showed up at the dojo and guess what? One shihan repeatedly mauled him! I wouldn't say it was "funny," but there was something very validating in seeing that happen.

Best to you.

David
That reminds me of how my sensei handled bullies. They soon became his next uke. They either never came back or they came back as much gentler partners.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2007, 06:11 PM   #34
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,983
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
John Brockington wrote:
What actually motivated my question (posed first in the thread "Hypocrisy in Aikido") to Sensei Amdur in the first place was really O Sensei and his treatment of Terry Dobson. There is a place in Terry Dobson's book entitled, I believe, "It's a Lot Like Dancing," where he briefly mentions this relationship and nuanced treatment. And when I read this, I started to think about O Sensei's prior activities in Manchuria and Hokkaido. It occurred to me that his efforts to create a "utopian" state in Manchuria could be construed as an overtly imperialistic act (why wasn't this attempted in Japan?), and certainly the Chinese did not appreciate it. Then his activities in the development of Hokkaido- were these part or an extension of the Japanese government's efforts to displace or dissolve the Ainu? I can find little to support one interpretation or the other, and so was trying to solicit insight from another source. And this does, indeed, get back to the question of the deification, by some, of O Sensei.

John
Don't forget that he was a member of a group led by the charismatic, but crackpot, Onisaburo Deguchi, who provided the ideological/spiritual justification for the mission. (Don't forget, also, that at least one member of the group, Yutaro Yano, was linked to the right-wing Amur River Society). Of course, the mission could be construed as overly imperialistic and the same can be said of Japan's later South Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere: the mission to give 'universal brotherhood' to the people of South East Asia. Viewed from this perspective, I think the idea of dispersing the Ainu, seen as an aggressive act, would have been foreign to Japanese at the time, since the Ainu were also in dire need of the kind of universal brotherhood that only the Japanese could provide.

Certainly, the circles in which M Ueshiba moved and the people he knew, apart from Deguchi, would lead one to suppose that he was way to the right of the political spectrum, but he accepted Dobson as a student after World War II, when such ideas were no longer overtly in favor.

You should compare pp.37-45 of Invincible Warrior, by John Stevens, with pp.123-155 of Thomas Nadolski's Ph.D thesis, entitled The Socio-political Background of the 1921 and 1935 Omoto Suppressions in Japan. Nadolski examines the entire Mongolian adventure without once mentioning Ueshiba by name. Stanley Pranin, also, has writen about the episode somewhere in Aikido Journal.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-05-2007 at 06:13 PM.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2007, 06:11 PM   #35
Chuck Clark
 
Chuck Clark's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
United_States
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

This thread is, in my opinion, an example of the highest form of communication on the web. I sure would like to see more of this sort of exchange on AikiWeb.

Thanks and best regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2007, 07:18 AM   #36
John Brockington
Dojo: Retsushinkan/Birmingham, AL
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 65
United_States
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Sensei Goldsbury-

I again appreciate your illuminating response. O Sensei was a fascinating and complex individual, and I feel it is important for me to try to understand the "why" as well as the "how" of Aikido given the cultural and historical/chronological gap between us. I have read Sensei Stevens' book, and will look for Nadolski's thesis for comparison.

Thank you-

John
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2007, 07:27 PM   #37
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,983
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
John Brockington wrote:
Sensei Goldsbury-

I again appreciate your illuminating response. O Sensei was a fascinating and complex individual, and I feel it is important for me to try to understand the "why" as well as the "how" of Aikido given the cultural and historical/chronological gap between us. I have read Sensei Stevens' book, and will look for Nadolski's thesis for comparison.

Thank you-

John
Mr Brockington,

Thank you for your response.

It is my belief that O Sensei can be looked at in several ways: as a kind of saint, whose actions and utterances are understandable regardless of any historical context; or as a man who lived in a very interesting period of Japanese history. Of course, you can combine these two ways, but attempts to do so have not, in my opinion, been very successful so far.

Unfortunately, the writings we have in English, divorced from any context, tend to favor the first way and, as with most saints, there is a flourishing sub-industry designed to buttress and protect the sainthood. People will go to absurd lengths, in my opinion, to convince themselves that O Sensei could indeed do the miraculous things he has been credited with. I think this approach needs to be balanced with an approach that firmly places M Ueshiba in his proper historical context, and if any warts appear as a result, well, this has to be accepted.

I am simplifying a lot here, but unlike in Britain and Germany, the tradition of historical research that began in Japan with Hayashi Razan was not maintained after the Meiji Restoration and historians became afraid to pursue lines of enquiry that were not generally in favor. If you do a search for Tsuda Sokichi, I think you will see what I mean.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2007, 01:04 PM   #38
John Brockington
Dojo: Retsushinkan/Birmingham, AL
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 65
United_States
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Sensei Goldsbury-

Thank you for your post- I searched and found Nadolski's thesis written at U Penn and also found very interesting background information on Tsuda Sokichi, who certainly was courageous in his scholarship. I wonder if other pre-WWII Japanese historians attempting to validate Japanese history were as fortunate as Sokichi was in surviving his persecutions. But outside of Japan, we are not necessarily (professionally or socially) held to limited inquiry of Japanese history, and so there really should not be such reluctance to seek historical perspective on O Sensei. Of course, having had lengthy exposure to academics, I do understand that academia is imbued with politics. It is just unfortunate that there isn't more in-depth information, true critical analysis, of O Sensei and his Aikido.

Respectfully-

John
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2007, 04:47 PM   #39
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Hi,

I think that it is important to remember that Terry Dobson, in the Aikido in america book, talked about the episode that Mr. Amdur relates above and said that he felt Arikawa Sensei didn't know "his ass from his elbow" in terms of what Aikido is. It also should probably be noted that Mr.Dobson did not name the Shihan that he was talking about.

My experience of Arikawa Sensei's classes in the mid to late 90's was that he always used the same uke every class, a large non-Japanese, never anyone else. Interestingly, Watanabe Sensei always used him as well. Arikawa Sensei continually talked while demonstrating technique, but spoke so softly that I couldn't hear a word. After class, I would ask around and found that no one else could hear what he had said as well. After demoing a technique, he would go to the corner and talk to the same two older Japanese gentlemen, ignoring the class. I realize now, that maybe I should have summoned up the courage to talk to him directly.

Also, there are a number of people in the area where I live now who were members of Arikawa's university club, including the two main shihan of the area. At a party last year, the comment was made that there has never been a captain of the club that was not seriously injured by Arikawa Sensei. Several people nodded at that comment. In Japan there is without a doubt, the idea that to be injured by your teacher is an essential part of serious training.

Charles
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2007, 08:45 PM   #40
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 802
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

I just pulled out Aikido in America - The actual statement puts a slightly different spin on things: "I still feel to this day that the teacher didn't know his ass from his elbow in terms of aikido, that while he was very proficient in the martial stuff, he hadn't understood the soul of the art. And whether or not I'm right is immaterial. What is important is that O-Sensei made no effort to intervene or correct him or anything, just said, "Very good, very good. carry on," and went about his business. . . . O-sensei was very spiritual, but he never forced anyone to participate in his practice. In a sense he would include you in the same way that one might have watched Thomas a Becket pray at chapel. I f you were in the chapel with him, you were included, but he didn't give a damn what you were doing: he was praying. . . . That's what's so devilish about aikido. It deals with these primary forces but leaves pretty much all the detail work up to you . . . .He was not a moral policeman, running around telling everybody to clean up their act. . . . You see, nobody, except those people who were part of inventing another cliche, ever said that the warrior is noble and pure, . . . All that affective stuff didn't need to be laid on it, and the more that you subscribed to it, the deeper trouble you got into because for the most part you hadn't conquered those demons either."

Actually, I'd love to quote the whole chapter. It is very relevant to this discussion.

Best

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2007, 09:18 PM   #41
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,502
United_States
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
" . . That's what's so devilish about aikido. It deals with these primary forces but leaves pretty much all the detail work up to you . . . .He was not a moral policeman, running around telling everybody to clean up their act. . . . You see, nobody, except those people who were part of inventing another cliche, ever said that the warrior is noble and pure, . . . All that affective stuff didn't need to be laid on it, and the more that you subscribed to it, the deeper trouble you got into because for the most part you hadn't conquered those demons either."
Well, that was one thing I really liked about Mochizuki Sensei. He had the aikido, but no one was following him around thinking he was a saint. Those who followed him followed a martial artist. Still, for the most part, his dojo was always peaceful--despite the fact that it echoed with kiai, thunder on the mat and slamming of the bags and often a choked expression of pain. But hard feelings seemed to be rare there. I very, very rarely saw anyone lose his temper there and most of the abuse was heaped on by the visiting foreigners who didn't know how to act like gentlemen. The shihans were incredibly powerful, yet spectacularly forebearing. No saints. Just very skilled and powerful gentlemen. And they all revered Minoru Mochizuki as just that kind of man.

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2007, 03:44 AM   #42
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 777
Philippines
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
Actually, I'd love to quote the whole chapter. It is very relevant to this discussion.

Please add to this thread more quotes from that chapter you feel are relevant. Its not a book I can easily get my hands on.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2007, 04:25 AM   #43
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,983
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Hello Ellis,

I too looked at the book. There are a few remarks about Arikawa Sensei made by Mary Heiny in her chapter (p.116-117). She points out that he was clearly brutal, but I think he was clearly brutal with everybody.

Hiroshima Kenshibu has been fortunate in having regular visits from three Hombu shihan. These were Masatake Fujita (who actually started the Hiroshima Dojo when he was a student at Takudai), Hiroshi Tada and Seigo Yamaguchi. After Yamaguchi Sensei died, my teacher asked Arikawa Sensei if he would kindly visit Hiroshima regularly. He took a lot of persuading, for I do not think he wanted to play second fiddle to Yamaguchi. But just before his first visit my teacher impressed upon him to, "muri shinaiyouni kudasai" (not to do anything 'stupid'). Jokes about dojo insurance circulated.

Everything went well, but Arikawa Sensei, like Yamaguchi Sensei before him, never used students as ukes. On his first visit he brought his own uke, a man named Niall. (I think this is the person you mean, Charles.) But nobody wanted to talk to him after practice. There was the customary party, but when I arrived, Arikawa Sensei was sitting alone at the top table, with everyone standing around trying to look invisible. It is impossible for me to look invisible here, so I was pushed forward and told to talk to Arikawa Sensei. Which I did.

I note Terry's remarks about this certain shihan's ignorance of the 'spirit' of aikido. (I think his reference to shiho-nage gives the game away as to who he is.) After Arikawa Sensei got used to Hiroshima and we got used to him, he relaxed and opened up more. I especially liked the private talks after practice. On one occasion I got the Hombu's Dojo's view (i.e., Kisshomaru's view) of the Tohei split, for Arikawa Sensei was close to the late Doshu.

Terry seemed to have injuries in mind, perhaps, wanton injuries, and we can all agree, now, that there is a serious disconnect between the mantra of loving protection of one's partner (not 'opponent') and pulling his shoulder out with a shiho-nage or causing concussion with an irimi-nage. Probably Terry was the first non-Japanese to confront this issue, but with Arikawa Sensei it was simply a matter of degree. Hiroshi Isoyama once made the remark at an IAF meeting that it was to be expected that one would be injured during practice and I assume that he was thinking of training at Iwama when he made the remark. But he also noted that times had changed since he started training and that there was a need to educate young shihans about this.

One of the (for me) depressing features of Aikido in America was that all the people mentioned in the book left Japan. Terry left because O Sensei died and it was clear that there was no place for him at the Hombu. It is curious that he never mentions Kisshomaru Ueshiba in his chapter. Was it Kisshomaru who opposed his becoming a deshi? Mary Heiny left because she ultimately could not stand the culture. You have to create your own niche here and this is as true of aikido as of anything else. No one will do it for you. But I think I am one of the very few non-Japanese in the Aikikai world who have made the decision to live in Japan for the rest of my life.

Why? I like Hiroshima very much, but I also believe that there is a great danger that some kind of ideological split will occur between Japan and the rest of the aikido world. America and France have huge aikido populations but they have absolutely zero influence on how aikido is practised in Japan at the Hombu. For example, at present one of the issues occupying my mind is the education of the next Doshu. Mitsuteru-san has just graduated from university and has been added to the roll of Hombu instructors. How his future aikido training develops will be crucial also for the future of aikido. So he needs to spend some time abroad training and seeing how aikido can truly cross cultures.

So I, a non-Japanese chairman of the IAF, am quietly putting a 'think-tank' together to ponder the future of aikido for the next century. I think this would not have been possible when Terry was in the Hombu.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-08-2007 at 04:29 AM.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2007, 04:46 AM   #44
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,983
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
Please add to this thread more quotes from that chapter you feel are relevant. Its not a book I can easily get my hands on.
Hello Raul,

I think it would be hard to do this. The interview is very diffuse and Terry ranges over a wide range of topics.

From reading the interview, I think that Terry Dobson sounds very much like Onisaburo Deguchi: a combination of very much common sense with a whole load of wackiness. I never met him and the closest I have come to him is reading the stories that Ellis occasionally puts out and reading his book Aikido in Everyday Life: Giving in to Get your Way, which I confess did not impress me very much.

But the trials he experienced in the Hombu must have been very severe. All those ani-deshi who regarded him as simply different. There is a famous photograph of Terry in western clothes sitting in sitting in seiza presumably listening to O Sensei discoursing from a book. Or he might have just been reading the book in silence. One cannot help wondering, what is this guy doing here? I would love to have met him and compared notes and stories about living in this amazing country.

By the way, I found Aikido in America in a bookstore in Amsterdam.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-08-2007 at 04:58 AM.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2007, 04:48 AM   #45
crbateman
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
crbateman's Avatar
Location: Orlando, FL
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,435
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Gentlemen, this is some good stuff. This entire discussion should be preserved and amplified in a book. Please, continue.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2007, 05:57 AM   #46
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,983
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Hello Clark,

I don't know about a book, but one of the most interesting memories of Arikawa Sensei for me was his participation at the annual All-Japan Demonstration, held at the Nippon Budokan on the third Saturday in May each year.

I have written about this event before. Basically, it is the aikido equivalent of the undoukai (sports day, but this is a bad translation), which is an essential part of the calendar in every school and neighborhood center in Japan. Everybody gathers and 'does' something. And, this being Japan, the event is carefully structured vertically, with demonstrations given by Hombu shihans, shihans from the Aikikai Instruction Department (the two are not the same), other shihans, military dojos, company dojos, dojos in local government etc etc. Even the amount of lighting depends on one's place in the pecking order.

Anyway, Arikawa Sensei had long given up actually demonstrating at this event, but used to wander around, camera in hand, giving advice on occasion. Of course, everyone knew him, but also treated him with a certain awe. He had no fan club of vociferous students, such as greets Watanabe Sensei every year, when he does his seemingly miraculous non-contact demonstrations. As IAF Chairman I wore a suit and sat in the area just in front of the red and white bunting and Arikawa Sensei would sometimes come and talk. I remember some lengthy discussions about the meaning of shoumen (towards the Imperial Palace, actually not far away) and some very trenchant comments about the poor quality of the participants.

Actually, it is a sad thing that Arikawa Sensei had such immense prestige in the Hombu, but he has left virtually no legacy. Yamaguchi Sensei and Tada Sensei have created a generation of deshi, but you will find no one at the Aikikai Hombu who practises 'Arikawa' aikido.

In an earlier post, Ellis talked about Arikawa Sensei being autistic in some sense. I do not believe this to be true. Earlier, I mentioned an IAF meeting where I crossed swords with Arikawa Sensei. I did not tell the whole story.

Basically, Arikawa Sensei wanted to create a special place within the IAF for those shihans like Tamura, Yamada, Chiba, Sugano et al, who were immediate postwar students of O Sensei. I said No, on the grounds that the statutes could not legislate for special cases. The argument became very heated and I was severely attacked. Arikawa Sensei publicly called into question my whole personal commitment to aikido. I was very depressed and asked a Japanese friend what to do. Later that evening I had an urgent telephone call. It was Arikawa Sensei and he wanted to see me. We met and spent 30 minutes talking. I was gently reassured that he had absolute faith in my judgment and would accept whatever I decided. He had a duty to his kohai in the Hombu, but he also understood that I had a duty to perform. Actually this is the whole foreigner thing again, but I think that Arikawa Sensei respected what I stood for and I admired him for that. So I am prepared to forgive his excesses on the tatami.

Actually, I believe that Arikawa Sensei was not so much autistic as someone trying to do what O Sensei himself did. In Hiroshima he showed waza, but did not really teach. After practice ended he was very happy to answer questions, but occasionally told us not to give students certain explanations. They should be required to find out for themselves. The shihan could guide and prevent bad waza, but should not give verbal explanations.

In my experience, the closest anyone comes to Arikawa Sensei is Kazuo Chiba Sensei and I have crossed swords with him on many occasions.

Finally, Clark, you could ponder the question: why would anyone want to become an uchi-deshi in a martial art like aikido? I have met Don Angier and Toby Threadgill, and also Ellis, at the 2002 Expo. They all were deshi of senseis in koryu budo, but did not experience the rough and tumble of a being in a large group of Japanese deshi in a martial art with no real history. Unless I am quite mistaken.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2007, 06:35 AM   #47
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 777
Philippines
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Actually, it is a sad thing that Arikawa Sensei had such immense prestige in the Hombu, but he has left virtually no legacy. Yamaguchi Sensei and Tada Sensei have created a generation of deshi, but you will find no one at the Aikikai Hombu who practises 'Arikawa' aikido.
Would you care to venture a theory as to why he did not create a core group of deshi?


best,

R
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2007, 07:18 AM   #48
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,983
Japan
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
Would you care to venture a theory as to why he did not create a core group of deshi?


best,

R
This is a hard question and I think it does not admit of a general answer.

I do not believe that Arikawa Sensei felt that he had any kind of mission to tramsmit a legacy to future generations. I think that he believed that people would see him for what he was and either make the effort to train like he did, or not.

For Doshu in the Hombu, the paramount preoccupation is creating a legacy: a core of principles and ways of doing basic techniques that will be the way O Sensei's original legacy has been preserved and bequeathed to future generations. This is what is meant by 'iemoto'.

With Kisshomaru and Tohei, who were at the top of the pyramid, the need to create a legacy was clearly paramount. They just disagreed on which elements to emphasize. For those who were lower down, the need was not so pressing.

There are a number of deshis who have not published any manuals or videos and these deshis generally do not have an extensive following outside Japan. I am thinking of Kisaburo Osawa, Seigo Yamaguchi and Sadateru Arikawa and also younger deshi like Watanabe and Masuda. The exceptions are Tada and Sugano, who have lived and trained overseas, but who have not published anything. Tada Sensei has been famously writing a book on ikkyou for the past decade or so and we all know he will never publish it. Of course, Tada Sensei has a core of deshi, but his method of training is so unique that nobody, in my opinion, has succeeded in absorbing the total of Tada's aikido in his own training. The deshi who tried the most was Masatomi Ikeda and he is no longer practising aikido.

I once asked Tada Sensei about the arrangements he had made for people to preserve his knowledge after he had died. He bluntly answered that this was not possible. His aikido was his aikido and it was up to his disciples to take what they could and create their own aikido. This was how O Sensei had taught. If this is the case, the future is quite bleak.

So in the Hombu, Doshu's aikido is quite bland, so to speak, and he once told me that it was his duty to inherit, preserve and transmit a living heritage. Other people could tramsmit the icing, but he had a duty to transmit the cake, as rich in fruit as he was capable of transmitting.

Actually, my next Aikiweb column will be a discussion of the issues of transmission, inheritance and emulation in aikido. It was too late for the February columns, but will appear in March. Arikawa Sensei will be a good example of the issues involved. So, I hope you will come back with issues and questions later.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-08-2007 at 07:20 AM.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2007, 07:53 AM   #49
Ecosamurai
 
Ecosamurai's Avatar
Dojo: Takagashira Dojo
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 519
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I especially liked the private talks after practice. On one occasion I got the Hombu's Dojo's view (i.e., Kisshomaru's view) of the Tohei split, for Arikawa Sensei was close to the late Doshu.

SNIP

So I, a non-Japanese chairman of the IAF, am quietly putting a 'think-tank' together to ponder the future of aikido for the next century. I think this would not have been possible when Terry was in the Hombu.
If it's alright with you I'd be very interested in hearing the Hombu (Kisshomaru) view of the Tohei split and especially curious as to how that sort of thing may influence the aforementioned 'think-tank'

Mike Haft

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2007, 07:57 AM   #50
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 802
Offline
Re: Dobson and Arikawa Sensei

Peter - A number of thoughts come to mind.
1. Arikawa sensei's uke - Niall - I wonder if he a) is still in Japan b) might not have some valuable things to say/write about Arikawa sensei.
2. The story you told about Arikawa calling you to restore "wa" - in a very personal/after the fact way, as if he realized that he had, previously, not addressed you as you truly were - that's the kind of unexpected kindness that stuck me.
3.I should save my comments about the experience of being a deshi for another time, it being rather off topic, but I remember once, thinking to myself that I'd come to Japan hoping to find an Osensei, and I found a Takeda Sokaku (I'm referring to the quality of the relationship, not anything to do with waza). It was terribly, pervasively intense, for many years, unleavened by a community of ani-deshi and kohai, meaning there were no politics but also, no respite.
4. Terry was very different from Deguchi in that he was neither inflated nor pathologically narcissistic. I used to say to him that he had "one foot in heaven and one foot in high school." He went through terrible times, in a way, as a deshi, and part of this was due to his brother deshi, but part was due to him. I believe that Mssr. Noquet had a very happy two years as a deshi. Terry was inordinately passionate - in the old sense of the term in which passion is both pain and ecstasy. He demanded of others among his fellows the same passion and loyalty to a vision of aikido as a way of transforming the universe, excoriating them for their failings or disinterest in this mission, even as he sold out himself and the mission due to his own failings.
Best

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 02-08-2007 at 08:10 AM.

  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ukemi and Kokyu Mike Sigman General 31 02-15-2007 04:59 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:46 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate