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Old 02-12-2007, 10:03 AM   #1
Demetrio Cereijo
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Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

Reading an interesting article written by Mr. Goldsbury in the IAF website I found this:
Quote:
Many of the members of this European Aikido Federation were aikido sections of judo organisations, wherein most of the power was firmly in the hands of the judoists. I do not think that the decision to put aikido under the protection of judo was free of controversy in the Aikikai Hombu, but I certainly do think there was something to be said for it. Mr. Nobuyoshi Tamura, who was the first Japanese representative of the Aikikai to reside in Europe, probably felt that judo groups could provide good organisational support for what was a new and unknown martial art.
This part about Tamura N. being the first Japanese representative of the Aikikai to reside in Europe makes me wonder if other sources about Aikido history like Aikido Journal have erroneous data:
Quote:
Mochizuki stayed for approximately one year and was followed in 1952 by Tadashi ABE who arrived as an official representative of the AIKIKAI HOMBU
Quote:
in 1961 the Aikikai Hombu sent Masamichi NORO, a 6th dan, as its official representative. Noro was assisted by Nocquet in establishing himself in France. In 1962 another Japanese teacher, Mutsuro NAKAZONO, also a 6th dan, followed Noro
Quote:
Then, in 1964, Nobuyoshi TAMURA, also representing the Aikikai, arrived in France where he has lived ever since.
For instance, about Abe T. as first Aikikai representative (Mochizuki M. went to Europe at the request of the Overseas Research Department of Nihon University to teach Judo), this scans from the books written by Abe T./ Jean Zin in the late 50's seems to confirm AJ data.


So, what is the cause of pointing Tamura N. Shihan as first Aikikai representative to live in Europe? Am i missing something?

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Old 02-12-2007, 10:20 AM   #2
crbateman
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

It's just a guess, but perhaps the confusion stems from the term "reside". Is it possible that some representatives of Aikikai Hombu were sent to France earlier on a visiting, or temporary, basis, to formally introduce Aikido to the region, while others were sent later as permanent residents, with the intention of setting up networks there? Inquiring minds want to know... (In any case, both Stan Pranin and Peter Goldsbury are very well-researched and credible sources, so I'd bet there is a plausible explanation for this disparity.)

Last edited by crbateman : 02-12-2007 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:46 PM   #3
Edward
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

I'm not sure about the first visitors, but Noro was sent to France and it seems he was next expecting Tamura to follow later on. He was upset and left aikido to form his own art called ki no michi. A little oversimplified but this is grosso modo what happened.
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Old 02-12-2007, 07:48 PM   #4
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

Hello Demetrio,

I was probably using language too loosely in the IAF article. You are right that Tamura Sensei was not the first Japanese representative of the Aikikai to go to Europe. The Aikikai are said to have 'sent' many shihans to Europe as representatives, but they were not really 'sent' and the 'representation' was to make their time there 'official' in some sense. The Aikikai actually had no real clue about setting up an organization outside Japan and relied on the information that people like Mochizuki and Nakazono told them.

Noro certainly went to France and still lives there, but I do not think his brief extended beyond France and he left the Aikikai some time afterwards. I think that only Tamura went with the intention of actually setting up a network of organizations in France, Spain, Holland and Belgium, which he had done by the time the IAF was created in 1975. Other shihans went to reside in Europe, but Tamura was the only shihan to be regarded as a representative for Europe as a whole. Tamura Shihan was supposed to be the focus of a European Hombu, but things did not quite work out as expected.

Best wishes (and I should revise that article and others I have written for Aikido Journal: when I have the time...)

PAG

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Old 02-13-2007, 03:12 AM   #5
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

I have been pondering the early history of Aikido in Europe, and the question you are asking now, for some time, because it concerns my own lineage of Aikido, and I have been picking up bits and pieces of information here and there -- nothing really to make a historically sound claim, but still, I have formed some hypotheses. I would like to discuss these, correct me if I am wrong. (I leave out titles because there are so many names.)

I am now inclined to the educated guess that there is an "official" Aikikai history in Europe, which focuses on the later generation uchideshi Shihan (Tamura, Asai, Chiba etc.), and their post-war type Aikido (for lack of better terminology). However, almost like ura and omote, there is also an unofficial history of Aikido, which has some organisational consequences until the present day, but is much less present. It figures teachers like Mochizuki, T. Abe, Murashige (who I believe was also considered for some time the top guy in Europe prior to his death in '64) Noro, and Nocquet, and, in many of these cases, seems to have had strong influences of Kodokan type Judo and pre-1950s Aikido. (Not sure Nakazono falls into this category though).

This history ultimately goes back to the "JuJutsu" dojo which Moshe Feldenkrais, the later world famous body work teacher, had in Paris in the 30s. To this he invited Mikinosuke Kawaishi, founder of Judo in France (an "early" judoka - I read somewhere he specialised in kata and atemi waza). André Nocquet studied with these teachers in the thirties. After the war, Mochizuki came over and then Tadashi Abe, who stayed for some years and in turn sent Nocquet to study with O-Sensei. The organisational framework of all this appears to have been judo.

My hypothesis is that these people possibly did not know (or care about) some of the distinctions we make today - Judo and Aikido were still much closer, and there had been syncretistic Jujutsu since the beginning of the century. I believe furthermore that their stuff was very tough, and did not involve much weapon work (though Murashige is mentioned as a TSKSR exponent).

One interesting result is that, when the later generation uchideshi Shihan arrived, there were already some people in France who had been training Aikido (in our present terminology maybe aikijutsu) for ten years or more under highly qualified teachers. A few are still active. There was even a former deshi of O-Sensei (Nocquet), who always considered himself empowered directly by O-Sensei himself to teach in France.

I believe the organisational problems with Judo federations which arose in some European countries also have their real origins here -- the early Aikido practitioners in Europe had no problem with Judo at all, they had often been practising it for years. The post-war Aikikai however was probably faced with the task of establishing Aikido in its own organisationa and technical framework -- with the result that most traditions stemming from the early period never got integrated or were ultimately marginalised. (Which may have been necessary and good for Aikido on the whole, I am not making judgements here).

My two cents -- I would be very interested to hear whether this account holds in your opinion, or maybe is too polarised/ simplified?

N

(Demetrio, I still have to read the great material you kindly sent, just found no time between training and work.)
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Old 02-13-2007, 05:25 AM   #6
philipsmith
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

It is true that Tamura Senseis position caused some consternation for Mr. Noro during the 60's.

I wasn't party to the discussions but I remember Messrs. Noro, Tamura and Chiba having a meeting at my late fathers house in the mid-60's. ( I was only a young child and so was packed off to bed!!)

It was shortly afterward that Mr Noro left the Aikikai and a letter was circulated (I think on behalf of the EAF) stating that neither his grade or those he awarded were to be recognised by the Hombu.

From conversations with my father in latter years the impression I got was that Mr. Noro had assumed he was to be the official Hombu representative but in fact Mr. Tamura was; a difficult situation for all concerned.
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:04 AM   #7
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

When I attended the Doshu seminar in Paris a couple of years ago, Noro sensei was present on the mat alongside Doshu and Tamura sensei. The impression I got was that they were all amicable, even allowing for Noro sensei's "eccentric" behaviour when he kept interrupting Doshu teaching by walking in front of him to move people back to create a bigger space.

http://www.aikikai.it/aikinosu/aikid...parigi2004.htm

Last edited by batemanb : 02-13-2007 at 06:14 AM.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:05 AM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote:
I am now inclined to the educated guess that there is an "official" Aikikai history in Europe, which focuses on the later generation uchideshi Shihan (Tamura, Asai, Chiba etc.), and their post-war type Aikido (for lack of better terminology). However, almost like ura and omote, there is also an unofficial history of Aikido, which has some organisational consequences until the present day, but is much less present. It figures teachers like Mochizuki, T. Abe, Murashige (who I believe was also considered for some time the top guy in Europe prior to his death in '64) Noro, and Nocquet, and, in many of these cases, seems to have had strong influences of Kodokan type Judo and pre-1950s Aikido. (Not sure Nakazono falls into this category though).

This history ultimately goes back to the "JuJutsu" dojo which Moshe Feldenkrais, the later world famous body work teacher, had in Paris in the 30s. To this he invited Mikinosuke Kawaishi, founder of Judo in France (an "early" judoka - I read somewhere he specialised in kata and atemi waza). AndrENocquet studied with these teachers in the thirties. After the war, Mochizuki came over and then Tadashi Abe, who stayed for some years and in turn sent Nocquet to study with O-Sensei. The organisational framework of all this appears to have been judo.

My hypothesis is that these people possibly did not know (or care about) some of the distinctions we make today - Judo and Aikido were still much closer, and there had been syncretistic Jujutsu since the beginning of the century. I believe furthermore that their stuff was very tough, and did not involve much weapon work (though Murashige is mentioned as a TSKSR exponent).

One interesting result is that, when the later generation uchideshi Shihan arrived, there were already some people in France who had been training Aikido (in our present terminology maybe aikijutsu) for ten years or more under highly qualified teachers. A few are still active. There was even a former deshi of O-Sensei (Nocquet), who always considered himself empowered directly by O-Sensei himself to teach in France.

I believe the organisational problems with Judo federations which arose in some European countries also have their real origins here -- the early Aikido practitioners in Europe had no problem with Judo at all, they had often been practising it for years. The post-war Aikikai however was probably faced with the task of establishing Aikido in its own organisationa and technical framework -- with the result that most traditions stemming from the early period never got integrated or were ultimately marginalised. (Which may have been necessary and good for Aikido on the whole, I am not making judgements here).

My two cents -- I would be very interested to hear whether this account holds in your opinion, or maybe is too polarised/ simplified?

N

(Demetrio, I still have to read the great material you kindly sent, just found no time between training and work.)
Mr Eschenbruch,

Thank you for a very interesting post.

I think that you are completely right about the close association of judo and aiki(bu)do in the early history of aikido in Europe, but wonder who would write the Aikikai 'official' history. I doubt very much whether it would be the Aikikai, who in my opinion did not really have a clue about the situation in Europe.

For example, Mochizuki Sensei went to Europe in 1952, when O Sensei was still holed up in Iwama and when practice was only just beginning at the Hombu Dojo. So, his commission as Aikikai representative was not the commission of a fully-functioning organization that was fully aware of the situation in Europe. Mochizuki and Murashige were giants of the prewar Kobukan and I do not think that someone like Kisshomaru Ueshiba could have issued any instructions as to how they were to discharge this 'commission'.

Mochizuki, Murashige, Tadashi Abe, Nakazono, Noro and others all had 'commissions' to 'represent' the Aikikai in European countries. Simillarly, the notorious James Mitose had a 'commission' signed by O Sensei to 'represent' the Aikikai in the US. The Japanese here is much vaguer than the English and Mitose's 'commission' was arranged by Koichi Tohei, who did not really understand who Mitose was. I do not really think that O Sensei had much of a clue about either the 'commission' or who he was giving it to and I suspect that the same is true of Nocquet.

Here is an example of such a 'commission' in Japan. A certain shihan in Japan showed me a letter signed by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, allegedly giving him the exclusive power to teach aikido in a certain prefecture as the Aikikai's representative. Except that the latter stated no such thing. The letter elegantly requested the shihan to spread aikido in the said prefecture on behalf of the Aikikai. Nothing was stated about a 'commision' or about the shihan being the Aikikai's 'representative'. The Japanese terms here are usually daihyou or dairi, but they need not have an 'exclusive' sense.

Tohei has been airbrushed out of Aikikai history in the US, but this is harder to do with the early pioneers in Europe. As I stated in the IAF article, Tamura Shihan established his organizations in Europe under the general tutelage of judo organizations and this was obviously the right thing to do at the time, given the early history. The problems with this approach came later, as the postwar Aikikai became a fully functioning organization, with no links to judo. The split which occurred in 1978-1980 occurred because aikido organizations in various countries wanted to escape from the domination of these organizations by judouka, who also practised aikido. The Aikikai could not resist these legitimate claims, but the shihan who was most closely involved in this dispute was Tamura Shihan, not the older shihans.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:57 AM   #9
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

Prof. Goldsbury,

thank you for a very informative reply, and for the explanation of the cultural meaning of "commissions" in Japanese usage. I learned something here.

Also, I am sorry if I used "Aikikai history" in a somewhat inaccurate way - since there seems to be so little written history of all this, I was referring to statements I encounter at times that aikido started with the arrival of the respective Aikikai Shihan present now. Which in some ways it even may have, I have no issue with that.

best wishes
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:11 AM   #10
Edward
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

A few years ago, Yokota Sensei from Hombu was visiting our dojo with his Uke, and it coincided with the visit to Bangkok of Noro Sensei (personal reasons). Since I happened to be a very close friend of one of Noro's students, we both lobbyied with our teacher to invite him to visit us in the same day. Yokota S. was very impressed and treated Noro S. with utmost respect. He was very keen to show Noro Sensei the best of his techniques during the training (Noro was just watching from the public seats). He started slamming his Uke very strongly on the mats, and Noro was shaking his head all the time in disapproval and after the training he was commenting to his student and myself (in french) how "savage" the demo was. Later on, on a trip to Paris, I visited his Dojo, which is actually closed to outsiders so it was a great privilege that he allowed me to practice that session. What we did was extremely strange to me, and looked more like Tango (which is how Noro Sensei described it actually). There were no Ukemi, but extreme coordination between partners. It was definitely not "martial" aikido, but quite fascinating nevertheless, especially when Noro S. was demonstrating, the absolute essence of "aiki".

Quote:
Bryan Bateman wrote:
When I attended the Doshu seminar in Paris a couple of years ago, Noro sensei was present on the mat alongside Doshu and Tamura sensei. The impression I got was that they were all amicable, even allowing for Noro sensei's "eccentric" behaviour when he kept interrupting Doshu teaching by walking in front of him to move people back to create a bigger space.

http://www.aikikai.it/aikinosu/aikid...parigi2004.htm
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:12 AM   #11
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikikai Pioneers in Europe

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I think that only Tamura went with the intention of actually setting up a network of organizations in France, Spain, Holland and Belgium, which he had done by the time the IAF was created in 1975. Other shihans went to reside in Europe, but Tamura was the only shihan to be regarded as a representative for Europe as a whole. Tamura Shihan was supposed to be the focus of a European Hombu, but things did not quite work out as expected.
PAG
Prof. Goldsbury:

This clarifies a lot your article in the IAF website. Thanks for the info.

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