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Old 12-18-2015, 05:45 AM   #1
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Any idea who created the Yoshinkan bokken, jo, and tanto curriculum, and where they took it from?

Some examples of distinctive techniques:

(1) Meeting a downward cut with a raised bokken, the back of the blade supported by one hand, then pivoting at the moment of contact into a thrust/press to uke's neck.
(2) The "ju no kumitachi" showing 10 movements synchronized with uke's front strike.
(3) From crossed swords, a cross-step-and-body-change movement to push uke's sword away, moving into a thrust.
(4) Both people striking straight at each other, but one person's bokken being knocked away. (This is kind of an Itto-ryu thing, right?)

When I say "distinctive", to clarify, I just mean that they seem different from aikiken/aikijo.

(For purposes of this thread, I'm assuming that Yoshinkan buki-waza are essentially the same as Yoshokai buki-waza. That may not be the case, as I know that Kushida-sensei was familiar with at least one non-aikido sword tradition, genbu sotojutsu.)

Last edited by Paul Sanderson-Cimino : 12-18-2015 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:17 AM   #2
Cliff Judge
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

You got any video links handy?
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:27 AM   #3
rugwithlegs
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

I am not familiar with the names of the forms above, but I will say that Tomiki Aikido has some sword work in their kata that appears similar in appearance to what I have seen Shioda do in some clips.

The earliest clip of an Aikido person using a jo that I have seen was a Yoshinkan person. Work with law enforcement was a Yoshinkan focus, and the Jo was already an optional weapon for the police is my understanding. I've wondered if maybe it was Shioda who brought the Jo into Aikido.

Sources older than Post War like the Asahi News video or Budo don't reference the Jo at all. These sources reference rifle and bayonet, or sometimes spear.

Aikijo is different from koryu jo, and different from the jo work of Kanai, Chiba, Shirata, Tohei, and others. I hear different thoughts on how much was Saito's creation, but he certainly created most of the system and he never started training until postwar. I've not made an effort to compare the sword in Taigi to Aikiken but Tohei, the second Doshu, and Saito apparently trained together in Iwama.

A running theme among Morihei Ueshiba's students is that they were exposed to a great deal but not taught systematically. I'm guessing Shioda or his inner circle composed any forms for Yoshinkan.

Last edited by rugwithlegs : 12-18-2015 at 06:28 AM. Reason: Autocorrect
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:40 AM   #4
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

https://vimeo.com/12791945

Not Shioda, but is this what is being referred to?

To compare to Shodokan's one kata

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vPeDuFlRAzQ

Kawahara Sensei did do some longer partner practices with weapons, but really I remember stuff that was more similar to these clips.
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Old 12-18-2015, 08:57 AM   #5
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Quote:
Paul Sanderson-Cimino wrote: View Post
Any idea who created the Yoshinkan bokken, jo, and tanto curriculum, and where they took it from?

Some examples of distinctive techniques:

(1) Meeting a downward cut with a raised bokken, the back of the blade supported by one hand, then pivoting at the moment of contact into a thrust/press to uke's neck.
(2) The "ju no kumitachi" showing 10 movements synchronized with uke's front strike.
(3) From crossed swords, a cross-step-and-body-change movement to push uke's sword away, moving into a thrust.
(4) Both people striking straight at each other, but one person's bokken being knocked away. (This is kind of an Itto-ryu thing, right?)

When I say "distinctive", to clarify, I just mean that they seem different from aikiken/aikijo.

(For purposes of this thread, I'm assuming that Yoshinkan buki-waza are essentially the same as Yoshokai buki-waza. That may not be the case, as I know that Kushida-sensei was familiar with at least one non-aikido sword tradition, genbu sotojutsu.)
All I can find online matches (2). This sounds a lot like the Shodokan stuff that has been discussed recently. Most videos of Osensei doing paired sword, he seems to do these movements. It is very basic "primordial technique" type stuff - get out of the way and cut over here, get out of the way and cut over there, thrust as the attacker's sword raises. If you look at gendai sword systems you see this type of material also. My belief is that this was actually a mainstream, semi-academic take on the previous age's secrets of swordsmanship.

I train Yagyu Shinkage ryu and can say that (1), (3), and (4) all sound like techniques we have, though I am very vague on what to picture as (3).

(1) is, I am fairly positive about this, also practiced in Katori Shinto ryu. If (3) is what I think it is, it probably boils down to something in Katori Shinto ryu also. Yagyu Shinkage ryu essentially gets these from Katori, though that's through the founder himself who was licensed in Katori in the late 1500s.

But this doesn't mean these techniques don't exist in other lineages, or that they were not distilled into the "common parlance" by the end of the Edo period when there was a lot of synthesis. I.e. there is no reason to say they came into Aikido from YSR or TSKSR.

(4) is, yes, a way to describe the first kata of Ono-ha Itto ryu. And also a very important kata of Yagyu Shinkage ryu. Opponent makes a straight cut, you make a straight cut through his cut and you win. But that's a much more general similarity than you might think - the movement of the body and the mind is very different between the schools.

The way to get an actual answer to these questions would be to find out exactly what position they have in the curriculum, who put them there (possibly not Shioda himself) and what that individual's sword background is.

P.S. FWIW in the ASU, we practice Saotome Sensei's sword kata, and (1) is present in our 9th kumitachi, (4) is present in our first kumitachi.
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Old 12-18-2015, 04:01 PM   #6
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
You got any video links handy?
Surprisingly, and quite disappointingly, I am utterly unable to find any clips online, even though there have been a number of recorded demonstrations. I'm disappointed in that, so far as my "lay" eye could assess, Kushida-sensei was quite skillful in buki-waza. (I actually have a hunch that he may have invented a significant part of the Yoshinkan weapons curriculum; he had a family sword style, and I've heard that one of his children was menkyo'd in some koryu kenjutsu.)

The best I can do, sadly, is a random clip from someone's nidan test, with obnoxious music (yes, Chumbawumba) playing in the background. But I guess it's better than nothing.

From that video:
I also threw together a simple imgur album from their Facebook page.

I'll put in an inquiry on Facebook to see if they moved their videos elsewhere. Maybe they're cleaning it all up into a "prettier" format, and plan to post it on the site?

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
I am not familiar with the names of the forms above, but I will say that Tomiki Aikido has some sword work in their kata that appears similar in appearance to what I have seen Shioda do in some clips.

The earliest clip of an Aikido person using a jo that I have seen was a Yoshinkan person. Work with law enforcement was a Yoshinkan focus, and the Jo was already an optional weapon for the police is my understanding. I've wondered if maybe it was Shioda who brought the Jo into Aikido.

Sources older than Post War like the Asahi News video or Budo don't reference the Jo at all. These sources reference rifle and bayonet, or sometimes spear.

Aikijo is different from koryu jo, and different from the jo work of Kanai, Chiba, Shirata, Tohei, and others. I hear different thoughts on how much was Saito's creation, but he certainly created most of the system and he never started training until postwar. I've not made an effort to compare the sword in Taigi to Aikiken but Tohei, the second Doshu, and Saito apparently trained together in Iwama.

A running theme among Morihei Ueshiba's students is that they were exposed to a great deal but not taught systematically. I'm guessing Shioda or his inner circle composed any forms for Yoshinkan.
My hunch is that it probably came from somewhere other than Shioda himself.

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
https://vimeo.com/12791945

Not Shioda, but is this what is being referred to?

To compare to Shodokan's one kata

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vPeDuFlRAzQ

Kawahara Sensei did do some longer partner practices with weapons, but really I remember stuff that was more similar to these clips.
That ju no kumitachi looks identical. In Yoshokai, I believe it's one of the very first white belt techniques, after four cuts with bokken. (Which is front strike, waist/wrist strike (deep), raise bokken up to that forward-pointing diagonal parry, pivot on balls of feet into jodan the other direction, repeat.)

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I train Yagyu Shinkage ryu and can say that (1), (3), and (4) all sound like techniques we have, though I am very vague on what to picture as (3).
You know, I do remember Yagyu Shinkage-ryu being mentioned. But that's a very faint recollection.

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
(1) is, I am fairly positive about this, also practiced in Katori Shinto ryu. If (3) is what I think it is, it probably boils down to something in Katori Shinto ryu also. Yagyu Shinkage ryu essentially gets these from Katori, though that's through the founder himself who was licensed in Katori in the late 1500s.
To clarify (3), I think I wrote it as cross-step above, but now that I think about it I believe it was always a shuffle-step, i.e., a step with the front foot.

Both people in right-stance kamae. Cross the tips of the bokken. Shite (used as the term for nage/tori in Yoshokai) tilts bokken to the left. (I'm kind of stylizing/mangling this to explain it in text.) Shite sinks weight down while shifting body from square-on toward the left, and steps in with the front foot, creating a sort of C shape movement laterally. Bokken tip comes up to uke's chest/neck. It's basically the standard Yoshinkan shuffle-step-body-change basic movement, with a sword.

Anyway, yeah, I'll see if I can ask someone back at the Genyokan.
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Old 12-18-2015, 04:46 PM   #7
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

I also found this related thread from a while ago.

Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
I just found out at an instructor's meeting that the Yoshinkan side of our org includes 97 weapons forms. We currently use only 45-50 for regular aikido testing, but all of them are included in our Aiki Buki curriculum (our teacher made aiki buki for those who wanted to focus more on weapons and took about half of the weapons forms out of regular aikido training due to sheer volume).
Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Most of the students of Kushida Sensei (now independant of the Yoshinkan) had a lot of exposure to his weapons forms, and continue to stress buki waza in their respective curriculums. Utada Sensei does, and the buki waza in the the form of solo kata and paired kumitachi starts in the kyu ranks, and continues from there. It is integrated into the majority of the aikido classes, and supplimented by specifc seminars throughout the year.

Best,
Ron
Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
Mr. Tisdale,

Thank you for the reply. That is something I was thinking but unsure of. I thought I remember a story about Kushida Sensei, or some of his students, being directed to learn more bukiwaza. I don't know much about Utada Sensei, thank you for that information.
all the best
Osu!
Adam
Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi Adam, Ron is just fine, everytime someone says Mr. Tisdale I look around for my Dad!

Kushida Sensei has an extensive set of buki waza, and a lot of his students (Utada Sensei is one of those, he came over not too long after Kushida Sensei went to Michigan, and did his uchideshi time there) either suppliment with iaido training or other training of some sort. Not all Yoshinkan dojo do buki waza to that extent. It's kind of hit or miss, depending on who trained them the most, and their own particular tastes. Do you know who trained your immediate instructor?

Best,
Ron
Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
Kushida Sensei and Shioda Sensei are my instructors primary influences....I am sure he knows Utada Sensei, although I've never met him.

As far as the weapons forms from Kushida Sensei (Yoshokai, I guess his group is called now), the Utada background correlates to what my teacher told me. I was thinking I might be getting stories confused about how we got our aikido weapons forms (from Yagyu/Muso orgs.) through Kushida Sensei, and how we got Suri Ryu (sp?) influence added to our Kashima Shinto Ryu (Iaido) organization (Yamazaki Kiyoshi Sensei; Iai Tate Do Federation).

cheers
Adam
That thread mentions both Kushida-sensei and Utada-sensei.

I should add that, sadly, Kushida-sensei passed away in 2012. He was truly a remarkable gentleman and an extraordinary martial artist. Though I did not know him personally, he always seemed very kind-hearted and thoughtful, with a surprisingly generous sense of humor. He also seemed to be quite passionate about buki-waza, hence my hunch that he may have had a part in crafting the Yoshinkan weapons curriculum.

I don't know much about Utada-sensei, or what role he may have had in developing Yoshinkan buki-waza. Perhaps someone else might have more information?
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Old 12-18-2015, 05:37 PM   #8
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Quote:
Paul Sanderson-Cimino wrote: View Post
(1) Meeting a downward cut with a raised bokken, the back of the blade supported by one hand, then pivoting at the moment of contact into a thrust/press to uke's neck.
This is highly likely the ancestor kata.

So the Yoshokai's "cutting through" kata that you list as (4) is probably derived from this.
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Old 12-18-2015, 09:22 PM   #9
rugwithlegs
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

From Aikido Journal's recent article on Shioda:

In 1950, Shioda was asked to guard the Tsurumi facility of the Nihon Kokan Steel Company in the wake of the “Red Purge”, so he gathered together some fifty-five of the strongest members of the kendo, judo, and sumo clubs of his alma mater, Takushoku University

I had known Shioda had help setting up his security company, but it sure sounds like he had people around him who would have been able to contribute to the Yoshinkan curriculum.

97 weapons forms in Yoshinkan - much larger weapons curriculum than I had realized.
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Old 12-25-2015, 02:17 AM   #10
rugwithlegs
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

http://youtu.be/HDm88AOyOtg

At 1:44, similar but different kata by Shioda?
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Old 12-25-2015, 07:39 AM   #11
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
http://youtu.be/HDm88AOyOtg

At 1:44, similar but different kata by Shioda?
Those look just like the ju no kumitachi we have been talking about, that are preserved in Shodokan.
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Old 12-25-2015, 08:43 AM   #12
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

http://youtu.be/6VI4H6S6Tow

Very brief Shioda at 1:46 mark.

I have had some students who never understood getting off the line for basics, I made some drills like this for them. While Kawahara taught similar movements, I never had the sense that there was a complete kata but more a collection of simple basics.
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Old 12-26-2015, 04:04 AM   #13
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
more a collection of simple basics.
Which normally are referred to as "awase".
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Old 12-26-2015, 09:51 AM   #14
Keith Larman
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Quote:
Markus Rohde wrote: View Post
Which normally are referred to as "awase".
Uh, not to be Pedantic Man (patent pending), but doesn't awase in this context simply mean "blending" or "matching up" movements? Or am I just reading this all too literally?

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Old 12-26-2015, 10:07 AM   #15
Keith Larman
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Nah, it's just me without enough caffeine... Carry on, I just got confused...

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Old 12-27-2015, 02:15 AM   #16
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Quote:
Markus Rohde wrote: View Post
Which normally are referred to as "awase".
In the Yoshinkan traditions, the essential combat techniques are called awase?

When I have encountered that term it seems to mean more like body movement exercises with the weapon...ie clanking them together in certain patterns or whatever.
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Old 12-27-2015, 09:48 AM   #17
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Fwiw in Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts, Dr Hall has awase as

Quote:
1. A posture I'm which both parties cross their weapons in seigan no kamae. The position may vary somewhat from tradition to tradition, but it is used in some form by most classical Japanese martial schools in which weapons are employed.
2. The performance of a prearranged combative scenario (kata) without lethal content or intent.
I do not think the 10 sword techniques belong in this category.
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Old 12-27-2015, 03:25 PM   #18
Keith Larman
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Fwiw in Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts, Dr Hall has awase as ...
I don't think the issue is whether the term is used to refer to certain things. Like I will call certain aikido exercises "blending exercises" as a descriptive phrase (as opposed to a labeling intent). The point being that some words, like blending in English, are descriptive and while the use might become "shorthand" of sorts within some contexts for specific things, using the term as a proper label in a larger context can be somewhat misleading.

But... I really don't care one way or the other. Carry on.

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Old 12-27-2015, 07:51 PM   #19
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P2mSJ6_LqXM&autoplay=1

Just a vague thought. Kiyoshi Nakakura was Morihei Ueshiba's son-in-law and heir apparent from 1932 to 1937 and a famous kendo practitioner. Shioda and Tomiki were students around this time, Kisshomaru Ueshiba didn't start training until the year of the divorce, and Saito (main dissemination of the specific Aikiken course) didn't come to Iwama to start training with Ueshiba until 1946.

I googled Nakakura and came up with the clip above. The middle section seemed a little familiar. A source of sword work held in common with Tomiki and Shioda but not Kisshomaru or Saito.
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:30 AM   #20
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

I figured the line connecting these 10 kata to the kendo kata would be more general, but if you put it that way...
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Old 12-28-2015, 03:29 PM   #21
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Cliff, I am just guessing. The history is murky. My primary interest is in the content of the form. I think it has lots of value.
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:27 AM   #22
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

The Kendo kata were put together in 1912. When do we think the 10 prewar kumitachi entered Aikido training?

My thinking is that they are either the same, or they are "along the same lines" I.e. the general thinking among leading martial arts teachers of the day was that it would be a good thing to distill some essential trick moves and practice them as expository kata.

IMHO this is not a great way to transmit skills, and older schools do it better with longer kata sequences that break movements down farther. But sword people were mostly practicing in kendo gear in those days anyway.
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:47 AM   #23
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

I am not certain on the dates. My Aikikai group didn't teach it. If these are Kendo kata from 1912, and Ueshiba and Takeda met in 1915 (thank you Google), then the kata existed before Aikido. Were the kata disseminated in the military?

In terms of the skill, I guess it depends on the skills. I like this to teach movement, get off the line, make each movement decisive. I like to reposition myself in the room constantly in randori, and I found this was a good way to introduce the idea to beginners. On a crowded mat, footwork can suffer and the students get caught in their hands and don't move off line much. For most students, if they get out of the way and look where the door is, where weapons are, where the next person is; I'm happy. Of course you always need good structure and handwork too.

The extended Chiba sanshou form is genius, but the second one in particular only steps a couple times so little footwork training or engraining/training reflex to move and reposition oneself. It trains other skills. Some students do the extended form looking toward movement 12 instead of making movement 5 real, or try for the flow more than the cut.
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:12 AM   #24
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post

I do not think the 10 sword techniques belong in this category.
Isn't it the same like this?

https://youtu.be/FJBebwFJHgw
https://youtu.be/mCna-3DJGjc

There are only seven movements, but the idea is the same I think
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:37 AM   #25
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Re: Origins of Yoshinkan bokken/jo techniques?

Ha! Thanks for that, answers my implicit question "who is it who calls these moves awase?"

This also serves as an example of why insisting that some use of a Japanese word is wrong inevitably leads to embarrassment.

Fwiw though...Saito could be calling these routines awase because they are practiced from tips-touching distance, and Shodokan could call them kata because they practice them from five steps away.

Anyway what is interesting to me is:

1) they are the same basic moves
2) they are pretty much the only thing I have seen Ueshiba do on film in a kumi Tachi context
3) they are abstract and expository...in a markedly different way than older koryu kata, or Saito's kata, or China's sansho.
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