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Old 09-12-2008, 10:25 AM
Peter A Goldsbury AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
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Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

INTERLUDE
IV: Iemoto and Iwama

An earlier column (Column 5) finished with O Sensei retreating to his Aiki-en (Aiki Farm) in Iwama, leaving his son Kisshomaru in charge of the Tokyo dojo. There are a number of problems relating to Morihei Ueshiba's...
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Old 09-17-2008, 08:50 PM   #75
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
PAG. The Manchurian connection is an interesting hypothesis, in much the same way that Baignent's & Leigh's hypotheses about Christ's bloodline and the Holy Grail are interesting and make a very interesting film/movie.
In fairness, though you must admit, we are not talking about two thousand years in framing a supposition from multiple dependent inferences as in the proffered comparison. We are talking about 1940-42 -- the span of three years, three successive trips to the same locality, two contemporaneous transformative subjective experiences related in his own words, and an undisputedly radical social break, also stated in his own words.

He had demonstrated access at the highest levels. It is demonstrated that he actively supported the regime they served (indeed it seems accepted that he was cited as such in the SCAP Class G exclusion finding against Ueshiba). He expressed an interest in and having sought to discover the level and manner of warfighting capabilities while in the area. He has expressed disapproval of the nature of that warfighting capability. He is in repeated contact with such sources in a specific place where the most egregious war crimes asserted against the Imperial regime were occurring contemporaneously -- and on large scales. Scales large enough that Chinese sources seem to have reported them back to the States at the time.

To infer that he therefore learned about it is but a single level of inference on the issue of his knowledge. If he learned about it, his disapproval of what he learned is already on record

In the course of this close series of visits he has two successive visions, in his own words progressively repulsing him first at the idea of his art as mere violence and then revulsion at the idea of killing and destruction. It plainly reads as a conversion experience.

No other events of magnitude seem evident to explain the self-exile. He severs his valuable social connections before it is socially or politically expedient to do so. Transformative visions may or may not be divine in origin but they are known to have traumatic triggers. Both the move and the visions are events begging this sort of external cause.

It is but one level of inference to associate events in Manchuria as a contributing cause of both.

I am fully aware of the problems with post hoc analysis, but this is very far from a naked post hoc argument. There is only one level of inference on each issue -- of knowledge and then of causation. People regularly go to jail on such inferences.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-17-2008 at 08:54 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:13 PM   #76
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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In fairness, though you must admit, we are not talking about two thousand years in framing a supposition from multiple dependent inferences as in the proffered comparison. We are talking about 1940-42 -- the span of three years, three successive trips to the same locality, two contemporaneous transformative subjective experiences related in his own words, and an undisputedly radical social break, also stated in his own words.
I disagree. There is the same tendency to pass off a set of tenuous hypotheses as tantamount to established fact.

Personally, I see no point in continuing this adversarial exchange about Manchuria. I am aware of your position and you are aware of mine.

You state in Post #56 that you have read the list of deities given in A Life in Aikido. I assume, then, that the book has already been published in the US and is generally available. There is nothing in Kisshomaru's biography to suggest that the situation in Manchuria especially played a crucial role in Morihei's Ueshiba's decision to move to Iwama--and I suspect Kisshomaru would have known about this if he knew about the guardian deities.

Kisshomaru does, however, record his father's disquiet at the failure of peace negotiations in China and the prospect of war with the US (on p.39). There is a general unease, but nothing special about Manchuria.

PAG

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Old 09-17-2008, 11:09 PM   #77
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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I disagree. There is the same tendency to pass off a set of tenuous hypotheses as tantamount to established fact.

Personally, I see no point in continuing this adversarial exchange about Manchuria. I am aware of your position and you are aware of mine.
I perceived us as differing, not as adversarial; I take no firm position. If you read an argument spelling out factual support that exists for any given position, while acknowledging inferential gaps, as somehow seeking to establish the proposition being examined as a given, then we seriously misunderstand one another and are unfortunately talking at cross-purposes. People are also wrongly convicted on such inferences. A point that is, perhaps, from recent controversy, needlessly wider in scope than in this narrow case.

I suggest, as you say, a hypothesis with some support and some inferences that while not disallowed -- still remain to be reduced to direct evidence, one way or the other -- if that is the standard of proof. The standard of proof always depends on the purpose for any conclusion. I agree that the point can be advanced no further.

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There is nothing in Kisshomaru's biography to suggest that the situation in Manchuria especially played a crucial role in Morihei's Ueshiba's decision to move to Iwama--and I suspect Kisshomaru would have known about this if he knew about the guardian deities. Kisshomaru does, however, record his father's disquiet at the failure of peace negotiations in China and the prospect of war with the US (on p.39). There is a general unease, but nothing special about Manchuria.
A question on which I utterly defer, given your long tenure there: Is this kind of unease among Japanese of his era and habits a typical cause for the kind of social dislocation the move to Iwama seemed to represent -- objectively, from the lack of prepared lodgings -- and subjectively, as expressed by the strong impression of suddenness his son says it made upon him?

Do you agree that the move (on the well-accepted evidence) still lacks a strongly persuasive imminent cause?

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-17-2008 at 11:13 PM.

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Old 09-18-2008, 09:02 AM   #78
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Professor Goldsbury,

Thank you for your generous response. It helped tie together for me some threads from your earlier essay.

I would like to echo everyone who has expressed their appreciation and interest in this series. Thanks.

David Henderson
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:08 AM   #79
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
HI GEORGE:

If Morihei and Kisshomaru had arranged for the teachers to come in and give lessons in ken, why would Chiba, Saotome and Imaizumi suddenly become vague about who was teaching? Wouldn't these be officially sanctioned classes under Hombu guidance, and therefore there would be nothing to be embarrassed about? Chiba is quite clear that Morihei himself told him to study iai. Is there some other dynamic at work with the three shihan you mentioned, that brings in this Watergate hearing quality?

best,

R
Ok, this is pure speculation on my part...

O-Sensei was personal friends with most of the top teachers of the day. These were relations of mutual respect. Meik Skoss has documented that O-Sensei's name actually appears on the roles of the Kashima Ryu. But it wasn't that he actually went over to the Kashima dojo and trained with them... An instructor was sent over, he worked with Kisshomaru while O-Sensei watched, then later, O-Sensei practiced with his son using whatever he had taken from watching as his inspiration.

I think that O-Sensei may have arranged for various instructors to come in, unofficially, and provide instruction for the uchi deshi. Since most ko ryu would not normally show their stuff to non-members of the ryu, I can easily imagine that the deshi would have been sworn to silence about this training. I think it was done as a favor to the Founder and I think it ceased when he died. I see no evidence of this type of influence in the later deshi training at Hombu. But many, if not most of the post war deshi who trained in the mid to late fifties into the early sixties have substantial sword skill which is hard to account for from their public training resumes. None that I know of where members of an actual Kenjutsu Ko Ryu. The iaido done by teachers like Chiba and Kanai was public knowledge but couldn't account for the types of paired forms and techniques they had in their repertoire.

So, I think it was a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" affair. That's my take on it... I can't account for it any other way.

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Old 09-18-2008, 11:20 AM   #80
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George,

The three Koryu that you identify are the three I recognize as well, and interestingly my understanding is that Shirata sensei rather avoided training at the Hombu dojo after the war (as a matter of preference, not ego, as one can tell by the fact that he did regularly train with Kohai). Which, again, begs the question: If not from O-sensei, where did this all come from?

BTW, I hope to see you in November for the seminar your hosting!

Thanks,
Allen
It's my understanding that folks not training at the Hombu dojo in Tokyo had a bit of an axe to grind with the folks from the big city. I think that the deshi at the headquarters dojo tended to be a bit full of themselves as being the ones at what they perceived as the center of things.

This rivalry, if you will, was especially pronounced with the folks at Iwama who believed that they were at the center of things. But to a lesser extent you could see that the folks in Osaka or at Shingu were also discounted to a degree by the folks in Tokyo. I imagine that this would have been REALLY irritating to someone who had been with O-Sensei from the beginning watching all the young egos at work at headquarters.

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Old 09-18-2008, 01:14 PM   #81
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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It's my understanding that folks not training at the Hombu dojo in Tokyo had a bit of an axe to grind with the folks from the big city. I think that the deshi at the headquarters dojo tended to be a bit full of themselves as being the ones at what they perceived as the center of things.

This rivalry, if you will, was especially pronounced with the folks at Iwama who believed that they were at the center of things. But to a lesser extent you could see that the folks in Osaka or at Shingu were also discounted to a degree by the folks in Tokyo. I imagine that this would have been REALLY irritating to someone who had been with O-Sensei from the beginning watching all the young egos at work at headquarters.
Hi George,

My point wasn't to emphasize any possible animosity between Tokyo and whomever. Rather, it was to indicate that, IF there is a relationship between the koryu influence on ken of the deshi in Tokyo (during the time period you indicate) and those outside Tokyo, then that influence may have had to have happened outside Hombu. Of course there may be no relationship at all. Any influence may have happened separately both physically and temporally.

Best,
Allen

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Old 09-18-2008, 05:31 PM   #82
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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I perceived us as differing, not as adversarial; I take no firm position.
PAG. I am glad to read this. Your post #75 seemed to me more like the forensic rhetoric of a lawyer addressing an uncooperative witness in a court.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
A question on which I utterly defer, given your long tenure there: Is this kind of unease among Japanese of his era and habits a typical cause for the kind of social dislocation the move to Iwama seemed to represent -- objectively, from the lack of prepared lodgings -- and subjectively, as expressed by the strong impression of suddenness his son says it made upon him?
PAG. Kiyoshi Kiyosawa kept a diary (I believe that Morihei Ueshiba did the same). Kiyosawa's diary was kept secret, for Ueshiba's discussion of what happened during the 1935 Omoto suppression indicates what would have happened had it been found--and things became worse after 1935, not better. Morisawa had lived in the US for a few years and understood the utter folly of Japan declaring war in 1941 on such a potentially powerful nation, given Japan's relatively fragile economic state. Until he died of natural causes in 1945, his diary records the daily happenings of a progressively cowed and impoverished population, who had no choice but to do what the military told them, including committing suicide if necessary.
In the column I have mentioned the discussion by John Stevens on pp.65 & 66 of Invincible Warrior. However, the items in his bibliography give nothing new about Ueshiba's distress about the war (from 1937 onwards), nor is there any indication of what "has recently come to light", as Stevens puts it. Like Konoe, Ueshiba might have been a supporter of the Kodo faction in the Japanese military, and so critical at the strategy of Hideki Tojo for all-out war. We know that Tojo was a supporter of Ueshiba's martial skills, but the support need not have been overtly mutual. However, we lack evidence.

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Do you agree that the move (on the well-accepted evidence) still lacks a strongly persuasive imminent cause?
PAG. I think the visions of 1940 and 1942 constitute a powerful and persuasive explanation what is really an escape from what Kisshomaru thought was a difficult situation. Ueshiba escaped from such situations before, notably from Sokaku Takeda in Osaka in 1936. In fact, if Takemusu Aiki can be trusted, I surmise that the period from 1935 to 1942 must have been very difficult for Ueshiba.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 09-18-2008, 11:56 PM   #83
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
It's my understanding that folks not training at the Hombu dojo in Tokyo had a bit of an axe to grind with the folks from the big city. I think that the deshi at the headquarters dojo tended to be a bit full of themselves as being the ones at what they perceived as the center of things.

This rivalry, if you will, was especially pronounced with the folks at Iwama who believed that they were at the center of things. But to a lesser extent you could see that the folks in Osaka or at Shingu were also discounted to a degree by the folks in Tokyo. I imagine that this would have been REALLY irritating to someone who had been with O-Sensei from the beginning watching all the young egos at work at headquarters.
The rivalry actually goes quite deep. I have mentioned somewhere before that K Chiba, in his obituary of Morihiro Saito, called Saito Sensei an example of Mito-kishitsu (水戸気質), an example of a concept that has a long history in Japan. I myself have seen a similar rivalry (actually, a sense of being separate, in another world rather than actual rivalry) between Tokyo (previously Edo, the place of residence of daimyo and their samurai) and Osaka (the base of the lower-ranked merchant class, despised for their ability to make more money than samurai ever could). By comparison, the US is very large and I wonder to what extent there is any popular belief that residence in a particular city has an influence on the character of the residents. (I do not just mean the 'country vs. city' divide, but something more specific).

As I suggested in the column, Ueshiba was born in a sleepy rural backwater, but did not stay there for much of his life. Later in his life he preferred Iwama, but he still seems to have been quite happy in Tokyo, at least up until 1935/1936. One would also have to add that Kisshomaru, whether in Tokyo, Iwama or elsewhere, carried on his shoulders a heavy weight of responsibility--and expectation, like being married into a family with a hundred mothers-in-law.

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Old 09-19-2008, 06:29 AM   #84
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By comparison, the US is very large and I wonder to what extent there is any popular belief that residence in a particular city has an influence on the character of the residents. (I do not just mean the 'country vs. city' divide, but something more specific).
There are two examples that spring to mind. Ask most people what they think of politicians. Going beyond that, what people think of their politician before they make the move to DC and then after that person has been there for some number of years. In this case, DC has a very strong influence on the character of its residents.

The second one that comes to mind is "Hollywood". I guess not really the exact town, per se, but the general area. Take any number of people who migrated there and became famous. Britney Spears is a good example. Hollywood has a very strong influence on the character of its residents.

Not sure if that's the kind of example you were looking for, though.

Mark
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:20 AM   #85
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Peter,

I wouldn't take Mark too seriously. He's from West Virginia and so probably just learned to read and write using a Horn Book. Same goes for George or anybody else from the Seattle Metro area, but for different reasons. They just get too much rain and too little sun up there . . . they are destined to rot at their roots.

Like the various places that O-sensei loved, Portland rests in the bosom of the forest nestled between mountains and is suckled by the purifying waters of sacred rivers. (And, unlike Evergreen CO. we have oxygen in our air.) Thus blessed, all that grows here is of a pristine and holy nature.

Just witnessing,

Allen

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Old 09-19-2008, 09:37 AM   #86
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10



Word limit...

B,
R

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Old 09-19-2008, 10:50 AM   #87
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Like the various places that O-sensei loved, Portland rests in the bosom of the forest nestled between mountains and is suckled by the purifying waters of sacred rivers. (And, unlike Evergreen CO. we have oxygen in our air.) Thus blessed, all that grows here is of a pristine and holy nature.
Pshaw.
Any place that the roses grow like weeds is nothing but an effeminate thorn thicket.

What you want is the manly, tall-masted pines, the Zen peace of the white-washed dunes, and the endurance of our eternal live oaks, basking in a balmy sun, the strong embracing wash of the Gulf waters and our frequently bracing and cleansing tropical winds. God's country (and which He asserts ownership of with fair regularity).

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-19-2008 at 10:53 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-19-2008, 01:12 PM   #88
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No, no, no! Florida's shape is nature's way of quarantining the rest of the U.S. from the infection that emanates from that swampy bog.

And

Only REAL men can live in a thorn thicket and come out smelling like a rose!! (It's an internal structure thing. You know, Iron Shirt and all that. Outsiders just don't get it. You'd have to come here and smell me to really understand! )

Allen

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Old 09-19-2008, 01:14 PM   #89
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You'd have to come here and smell me to really understand! )
Oh Yuck! I was eating!!!

B,
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Old 09-19-2008, 04:10 PM   #90
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Only REAL men can live in a thorn thicket and come out smelling like a rose!! (It's an internal structure thing. You know, Iron Shirt and all that. Outsiders just don't get it. You'd have to come here and smell me to really understand!
I don't think I have to come; I can perceive the essence from here.

But it's Friday and I am attar here ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-19-2008, 04:18 PM   #91
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Enjoy the weekend Eric!

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Old 09-19-2008, 04:23 PM   #92
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Oh Yuck! I was eating!!!

B,
R
Ron I can't help it if my rosey bouquet doesn't compliment your lunch.

Are you going to make it out here this year?

Allen

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Old 09-19-2008, 07:02 PM   #93
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Not sure if that's the kind of example you were looking for, though.

Mark
Hello Mark,

Not really, though if 気質 were expressed as humour, Allen's caustic remarks about other places in the US might just qualify.

気質 means temperament and is thought by the Japanese to be the result of a long period of residence (many generations) in the place in question. O Sensei never had Mito Kishitsu: his kishitsu was that of Kii.

PAG

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Old 09-21-2008, 08:48 PM   #94
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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My exposure to post war uchi deshi comes via my exposure to three of the students from that time, namely, my own teacher, Saotome Sensei, my Assistant Chief Instructor's (Kevin Lam) teacher, Imaizumi Sensei, and Chiba Sensei.

Both Kevin Lam and I were both told that there were sword classes of an optional nature that were made available to interested uchi deshi at the Hombu Dojo. Clearly, teachers like Yamada Sensei, although of the same generation, chose to not attend as there is no evidence of this in their teaching.

Both Kevin and I asked who taught these classes and were immediately rewarded with responses that strongly resembled the testimony at the Watergate hearings. In other words, no answer was given, memories were suddenly cloudy (this from people who normally remembered everything about their training in those years with great clarity).
Hello George,

I had forgotten this part of your post. Apologies.

I think the influence of Koichi Tohei in the early postwar years of the Aikikai Hombu should not be underestimated. I have it from shihans who were not smitten with Watergate-style amnesia that many of the sword and jo kata originally practised by postwar deshi came via Tohei Sensei.

PAG

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Old 09-21-2008, 09:34 PM   #95
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I think the influence of Koichi Tohei in the early postwar years of the Aikikai Hombu should not be underestimated. I have it from shihans who were not smitten with Watergate-style amnesia that many of the sword and jo kata originally practised by postwar deshi came via Tohei Sensei.
DING, DING, DING!

Do I win a prize? Huh? Do I? Do I?

Maybe the same prize I got when I first met the present Doshu. It was 1986 at a Tohoku University Gashuku. (For some reason they put Doshu and I together . . . alone . . . in a large locker room.

This meeting was memorable for a few different reasons. One of them was that I wore a new indigo dyed hakama for the first time ever. Not only did it turn my gi, and my hands, purple but when we sat for instruction (mudansha on one side, yudansha on another) I could see every mudansha I had trained with was purple/blue as well!

Anyway, at a certain point Doshu came over and asked me in a friendly way who I had learned from and I replied, "Tohei sensei." Hi smiled broadly and commented, "Oh, Tohei from Chicago!" To which I corrected, "Actually Tohei Koichi."

There was a sudden temperature change in the room and I seemed to disappear . . . at least to Doshu. Funny, I don't even recall seeing him as we changed afterward.

So . . . that must be the big prize . . . the gift of invisibility!!

Like the wind . . .

Anon

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:28 PM   #96
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
DING, DING, DING!

Do I win a prize? Huh? Do I? Do I?
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Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Maybe the same prize I got when I first met the present Doshu. It was 1986 at a Tohoku University Gashuku. (For some reason they put Doshu and I together . . . alone . . . in a large locker room.
It was obviously your aura, Allen.

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This meeting was memorable for a few different reasons. One of them was that I wore a new indigo dyed hakama for the first time ever. Not only did it turn my gi, and my hands, purple but when we sat for instruction (mudansha on one side, yudansha on another) I could see every mudansha I had trained with was purple/blue as well!
Ah, the blue cotton hakamas, especially loved by the more conservative university aikido clubs, perhaps because they are like well-tended denim. When the color fades, it is obvious to all how hard you have been training, especially round the knees. A few rips help as well.

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Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Anyway, at a certain point Doshu came over and asked me in a friendly way who I had learned from and I replied, "Tohei sensei." He smiled broadly and commented, "Oh, Tohei from Chicago!" To which I corrected, "Actually Tohei Koichi."
This was in 1986, when he was still Dojo-cho. His hair was still black then, I believe. To give him credit, he has mellowed somewhat, but still follows the Aikikai View of History.

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There was a sudden temperature change in the room and I seemed to disappear . . . at least to Doshu.
Actually his father was very good at sudden temperature changes. I remember an interview in Doshu's house, which was next to the Hombu Dojo, at 17-19 Wakamatsu-cho. I mentioned another veteran aikido teacher, whose name also starts with TO. There was certainly a temperature change, but invisibility was not an option on this occasion, since I was sitting opposite him drinking tea served by his wife. Mild apoplexy was substituted, as I heard the words almost spat out, "What that man was doing was not aikido..."

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Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Funny, I don't even recall seeing him as we changed afterward.

So . . . that must be the big prize . . . the gift of invisibility!!

Like the wind . . .

Anon
Ah. So he became invisible, not you.

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:35 PM   #97
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello George,

I had forgotten this part of your post. Apologies.

I think the influence of Koichi Tohei in the early postwar years of the Aikikai Hombu should not be underestimated. I have it from shihans who were not smitten with Watergate-style amnesia that many of the sword and jo kata originally practised by postwar deshi came via Tohei Sensei.

PAG
Hi Peter,
I agree that Tohei Sensei contributed to the weapons work learned by the deshi. But I do not think that what I am talking about could be accounted for by post-break reticence....

One of the Shihan who is quite closed mouthed about the origin of these weapons techniques is Imaizumi Sensei. Before the break, he and Saotome Sensei were good friends and were exposed to the same folks technically. But Imaizumi Sensei went with Tohei Sensei after the split and would have had no reason to edit or be secretive about what he had gotten from Tohei. In fact, on those occasions on which I have been lucky enough to train with Imaizumi Sensei, he is quite forthright about what he got from Toehi Sensei.

Anyway, if someone doesn't spill the beans fairly soon, there won't be anyone left who really knows... I don't think my tolerance for alcohol is up to making that happen on my own. Maybe a team effort...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:06 AM   #98
DH
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

I can think of several reasons for tight lips.
1. Someone taught them Koryu without persmission to teach
2. Someone made it all up
3. An inner self-awareness of their own comparative worth in a very real comparison to truly gifted Koryu weapons experts
4. Their "sword work" was nothing more that what amounted to an embarrassing acquiescence to foreigners wanting to see "samurai sword techniques?
See:
http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=0qSDPs...eature=related
I cannot imagine this being the culmination of a life long expertise in sword work. In and of itself it appears on the surface to support my contention in #4 above.

Of course I offer nothing definitive here-other than decades of many observable demonstrations of some alarmingly lackluster weapons displays in aikido over the years. I just wonder if anyone has even *considered* the possibility that these guys were nothing even close to resembling gifted swordsmen? That they simply sucked at weapons...and were living in a culture that allowed them ample opportunity for self-awareness?
I think any Japanese could have wowed some of these early Gaijin looking to see real sword work-with ease. However,considering just who and what the talent pool around them must have been, I could understand those guys being reluctant to talk about their "weapons work" as well. Maybe that only got worse as time wore on and those gaijin got educated about Koryu.

Last edited by DH : 09-22-2008 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:32 AM   #99
DH
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 10

Follow-up
I meant no insult. I just haven't seen a consideration (maybe I missed it) that these men felt a reluctant need to "represent" and fill an expected role they neither asked for or wanted. Or maybe others did fill it with a bit more enthusiasm. It seems researchers are always looking for some hint of mastery or hidden jewels of knowledge, and haven't considered or pursued the obverse quite as strongly. That being, men perhaps being men, sometimes behaved poorly and were just trying to live up to expectations.
Think of how harshly we judge today. What we say of five and ten year apprenticeships in the arts as nothing much, you are just a beginner, then we foist levels of expertise on these poor chaps who had not nearly the same amount of exposure...just that they were Japanese deshi of Osensei.
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