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Old 07-10-2011, 12:28 PM   #1
Allen Beebe
Location: Portland, OR
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 530
United_States
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Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

I re-read this article:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=34

(From the Aikido Journal by Stanley Pranin)

A couple of thoughts occurred to me while reading the article, which I largely agree with BTW. (Keeping in mind that, as a historian, Stan was drawing his conclusions from facts rather than basing them on beliefs. This, btw, is IMHO his greatest contribution to Aikido. He started a kind of "Enlightenment Period" inviting folks to think critically rather than being mere believers, parishioners, etc.)

Thought #1: Stan quotes Saito sensei stating that there was a difference between O-sensei's demonstrations and his "inside" teaching/training. (I don't doubt this BTW, I had the same experience with my own teacher.) Then Stan goes on to point out a similarity between what Saito sensei taught and the Asahi News film, Budo Renshu and Budo. My thought was, the Asahi news film was meant for public consumption and therefore a demonstration and therefore, by the same logic, would have been different to some degree with what was being taught "inside" at the time. Also, to perhaps a lesser extent, the same could be said of Budo and Budo Renshu. Perhaps Budo Renshu was to be the least public piece and therefore the most accurate reflection of what was actually taught by O-sensei. That would be my guess.

That being said . . .

Thought #2: If the above were so, and if Stan's conclusions based on his extensive (five decades of research, 20 years in Japan, familiarity and ability in the language, access to information and materials that most are not privy to, etc.) are accurate, that O-Sensei is really NOT the father of Modern Aikido . . . perhaps discussion of HIS art is most accurately posted a Non-Aikido Martial Traditions section.

Just a thought . . .

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:20 PM   #2
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post

Thought #2: If the above were so, and if Stan's conclusions based on his extensive (five decades of research, 20 years in Japan, familiarity and ability in the language, access to information and materials that most are not privy to, etc.) are accurate, that O-Sensei is really NOT the father of Modern Aikido . . . perhaps discussion of HIS art is most accurately posted a Non-Aikido Martial Traditions section.

Just a thought . . .
Hi Allen,

Did you open the can of worms on purpose?

Let me start by drawing a picture using sports cars and drag racing. Imagine that we have Morihei Ueshiba's car there on the drag strip. When you open the hood, you find an amazingly powerful engine. The car itself is sleek, rounded, has no sharp edges, but is painted with some very detailed, almost 3D type paint such that the car seems to float in the air. When other people race against this car, they lose. Badly. The car looks as part of the natural world as it floats quickly down the strip. Other cars leave rubber marks, exhaust fumes, and have loud noises, but Ueshiba's car does not.

Then, along comes Modern Aikido with Kisshomaru Ueshiba as the driver and Koichi Tohei as chief mechanic. They try to build a car just like Ueshiba's except they don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba painted it, nor how it got so smooth, rounded, and sleek. They also don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba built the very powerful engine. Of course, when they asked Morihei Ueshiba, his answer was to watch and steal the secrets. They do their best, even though they can't understand what Morihei Ueshiba is telling them in his lectures. Their car looks similar and runs similar but yet is so very different. If you look closely, you can make out the flaws in the design. When the Modern Aikido car races, it mostly loses, leaves rubber marks, has exhaust fumes, and is loud. When you look at the car, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's car. When you open the hood, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's engine. Except Modern Aikido's car never acts, runs, or moves like Morihei Ueshiba's car.

If we look at Morihei Ueshiba's car, we find that the engine is Daito ryu aiki while the body is Omoto kyo spirituality. Modern Aikido has replicated no understanding of either. Looking at the engine, we find that if you train Modern Aikido's exercises, then you are not doing Morihei Ueshiba's exercises, although they can appear to look alike. If Morihei Ueshiba found value in the exercises to enable him to become such a great martial artist, then if Modern Aikido is doing them just like Ueshiba, where are the Modern Morihei Ueshibas? After 40-50 years, we really can sum it up in two basic answers:

1. Morihei Ueshiba was a singularly unique individual. He was a one-in-a-billion kind of guy.

or

2. Modern practitioners of aikido aren't doing the same kind of training that Morihei Ueshiba did.

If we take a step back in time, we know that Sokaku Takeda created Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Morihei Ueshiba, Kodo Horikawa, Takuma Hisa, and others. They could all do very similar things. Morihei Ueshiba, in his early training, created Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, Rinjiro Shirata, and a few others. They were very similar in skills, although not as good as Ueshiba. Sagawa didn't really teach the secrets until late in his life. One student of Sagawa's has stood out - Tatsuo Kimura. Kodo Horikawa taught a couple of people, most notably Seigo Okamoto who can do similar things as all the rest. So, really, reason #1 is kind of hard to accept. If we look at the fact that Sokaku Takeda told people not to teach the secret except to one or two individuals, we can see why there were only a handful of great aiki martial artists. Yukiyoshi Sagawa upheld that. Tokimune Takeda did, too. Katsuyuki Kondo reiterated what Tokimune had done.

Basically, even though it is a hard pill to swallow, reason #2 is pretty much the remaining answer. Most people were never taught the secret of aikido. Morihei Ueshiba didn't really teach it, and his students had a near impossible time of trying to figure out what he was doing.

When Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei entered the scene at the end of World War II, Modern Aikido was born. Both then raised adherents to Modern Aikido, sending them out into the world dressed as Morihei Ueshiba's child. Forty years later, the child is now a man. There would have been no understanding that there was a difference between Ueshiba's aikido and Modern Aikido, except that there were a few circumstances which allowed the secret of aiki to get out into the world. Some people are now looking at the Modern Aikido Man and seeing that he doesn't move, act, or do anything at all in the same way Morihei Ueshiba did. The Modern Aikido Man is a ghostly and pale imitation that rarely stands up in the same light as Morihei Ueshiba to the tests of the martial world, let alone the tests of the intertwined martial/spiritual world.

What of Modern Aikido? Frank Doran mentions that Tohei created many energy games and practices. (1) And Patrick Augé states:

Mochizuki Minoru Sensei said that when he was studying with Ueshiba Sensei (late 1920's), robuse was the name given to the technique that later became Ikkajo, then Ikkyo after the war. The present ikkyo as taught by most Aikikai (and Aikikai related) teachers is the result of the modifications made by Tohei and Kisshomaru Sensei in order to simplify Aikido and make it available to more people.... (2)

Stan Pranin notes that Kisshomaru Ueshiba gradually changed the technical syllabus and created a flowing style technique based system. (3) Koichi Tohei was head instructor for many years and his teaching was influenced by the Tempukai. (4) Morihiro Saito also makes note of some of the things that Koichi Tohei introduced into Modern Aikido training. (5) Tohei is quoted as saying, "Everyone thinks that I learned ki from Morihei Uyeshiba. That's not true. The Master taught me aikido; he did not teach me ki. I studied and learned it myself." (6) While Tohei's reason for stating this may have come from a rough period of time, the words themselves hold value. Ueshiba rarely taught "ki" to anyone.

It doesn't take a lot of research to find that the students of post-war aikido were more influenced by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei, that the manner in which the techniques that these students practiced were more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei, and that the spiritual harmonious definition of Aikido was more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei than by Morihei Ueshiba.

What about weapons in Modern Aikido compared to what Ueshiba practiced? In an interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura, he states that Ueshiba trained with the yari along with the jo and bokken. Ueshiba had a long spear at the dojo for training that he used quite often. He also states that he never saw Ueshiba practice tanto dori. (7) It was also noted that in Daito ryu, one would study sword techniques. (8) Because Ueshiba learned Daito ryu, it was mentioned that at the "Aikijutsu Dojo" in Tokyo, Ueshiba taught sword and spear. (9) Also, it's noted that Ueshiba trained with weapons on his own, including spear. (10) Rinjiro Shirata states that Ueshiba didn't teach weapons work to his students, but did practice it on his own. (11)

Also, from one interview in Aiki News:
Editor: We have seen old movies (in which juken were used in demonstrations) but did you ever use the juken (bayonet and rifle) in practice at that time?
Kunigoshi Sensei: Yes, we did. Someone would thrust with the training weapon and we would try to deal with that kind of attack. We also worked against a spear attack. Anyway, there were just about every type of major weapon in the dojo. Even I was expected to have practiced against a cutting attack made with the bokken. Nor were we only expected to be able to avoid the attacks of the weapon-carrying person. We were also expected to be able to take the role of the attacker and wield the weapons. (12)

Shoji Nishio talks about how he had to study weapons on his own because they were not taught at hombu. (13) Kisshomaru Ueshiba also noted that his father studied and trained with the spear. (14) Nobuyoshi Tamura makes an interesting comment in that he thinks Ueshiba's jo was actually spear work. (15) All of this goes to show that Ueshiba's weapons training was not carried forward into Modern Aikido. It is a rare sight to see spear training in any Modern Aikido dojo. And if true, while Modern Aikido trains tanto dori, it was not from Morihei Ueshiba. Most sword training in Modern Aikido is from a teacher's background in some other martial system or from a teacher's own creation. The practice that is left from Morihei Ueshiba is some jo and bokken take-away. Morihiro Saito is one of the few students to have gathered a chaotic weapons training under Ueshiba and created a structured syllabus. However, it does not cover most of what Ueshiba trained with weapons.

Training under the founder at Hombu appeared to have been a few hours each day while training with other instructors (Kisshomaru and Tohei included) took up the rest of the day. We also have quite a few students stating that Morihei Ueshiba would talk a lot and no one knew what he was talking about. Add in the fact that in 1956, Morihei Ueshiba was 73 years old. He wasn't teaching all day when these students started training in Aikido.

I'm not diminishing the commitment, heart, skills, or pure dedication of these students. We can all see how much they have contributed. But, on the other side of things, we must also acknowledge that Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei had more influence on them than did Morihei Ueshiba. And that influence shines through very brightly in their Aikido, even today. There is a large disconnect when talking about the Founder's Aikido and these student's aikido.

What kind of vision of aikido are the shihan and top ranked teachers supposed to take into the future? Do they truly understand Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido, or is it more likely that they understand Kisshomaru and Tohei's Aikido? Those two visions of aikido are not one and the same. They are not even close. We have Morihei Ueshiba living his vision of Aikido, backed by aiki and some spiritual/religious ideology. In Kisshomaru/Tohei's aikido, we have harmony for a post-war world audience that is not backed by the martial skills of Morihei Ueshiba nor is it backed by his spiritual/religious views. The major consolation in all of this is that in the spiritual/religious sense, Morihei Ueshiba noted one didn't have to follow his exact footsteps. Modern Aikido has diverged from Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido.

References:

1. Aiki News Issue 010
Frank Doran: All of the energy kinds of games and practices, many of which Koichi Tohei developed are very useful tools to put someone in touch with this aliveness which is within you.

2. Yoseikan NA website:

3. http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia?entryID=720
In 1963, Kisshomaru made his first trip abroad to the U.S. and subsequently traveled on numerous occasions to North and South America, and Europe. Although his efforts to expand the Aikikai on an organizational level are well-known, it should be noted that his technical influence was also great. Kisshomaru gradually modified the technical curriculum of the Aikikai by reducing the number of techniques taught and creating a standardized nomenclature. His flowing style of technique that emphasizes KI NO NAGARE movements have also become a de facto standard in many Aikikai dojos worldwide.

4. Aikido Journal Issue 112
Seiichi Sugano: Tohei Sensei's teaching was influenced by the Tempukai, and it was easier to follow, probably because much of the Tempukai curriculum originated in yoga.

5. Aiki News Issue 088
AN: Ki no Kenkyukai (Shinshin Toitsu Aikido) practices include lectures about the workings of ki, and demonstrations of the unbendable arm and the unliftable body. Did you ever experience this kind of practice in Iwama after the war under O-Sensei?
Saito: No, I didn't. It is a teaching method which Mr. Tohei devised.

6. Black Belt 1973 Vol 11 No 11
Article by Jon Shirota about Tohei and Ki

7. http://www.tsubakijournal.com/article-7142924.html

8. Aiki News Issue 010

9. Aiki News Issue 015

10. Aiki News Issue 051

11. Aiki News Issue 062

12. Aiki News Issue 047

13. Aiki News Issue 060
Nishio Sensei: (When I was a beginner) I asked how they applied the body techniques to the ken, but no one showed me. Since there was nothing to be done about the situation, I began practicing the ken in 1955 soon after I began Aikido training. What else could I do? Nobody taught me! O-Sensei did sword techniques at lightning speed and would say, "That's how you do it," and then disappeared from the dojo. I tried in vain to understand what he was doing and the next moment he was gone.

14. Aiki News Issue 065
Kisshomaru Ueshiba: There were some major events between 1937 and 1941. First, kendo training was allowed at the Kobukan dojo for a short period. The Founder had mastered various jujutsu forms and practiced spear technique for a while, but he had not seriously gotten into swordwork (kenjutsu). Now he stared swinging the sword frequently for his own research, especially after Aikido started dealing with empty-handed techniques against weapon attacks.

15. Aiki News Issue 066
Tamura Sensei: I think that O-Sensei's jo was not what we would call jodo but rather the spear (yari).
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:12 PM   #3
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Thought #2: If the above were so, and if Stan's conclusions are accurate, that O-Sensei is really NOT the father of Modern Aikido . . . perhaps discussion of HIS art is most accurately posted a Non-Aikido Martial Traditions section.

Just a thought . . .
Well, to follow your logic, what you are forwarding should then place modern Aikido™ in the Non Aikido martial traditions.
Ueshiba's Way- of - Aiki would be the entire upper section, discussing things like six directions, heaven /earth/ man, breath power, intent....you know...the things he talked about all the time that was his Aiki...do... after interrupting the practice of everyone of Chiba's generation and telling them that they were in fact NOT doing his Way-of -Aiki.

Ueshiba's truth, just like the old man, still comes shining through over his son's generations efforts. So it's a question of trying to find those who know it. Kisshomaru's generation efforts; and Modern Aikido™ itself, is a pallid comparison to his father's Way of Aiki.
Here's one for the old man!
Dan
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:45 AM   #4
gregstec
Dojo: Aiki Kurabu
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,110
United_States
Offline
Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Hi Allen,

Did you open the can of worms on purpose?

Let me start by drawing a picture using sports cars and drag racing. Imagine that we have Morihei Ueshiba's car there on the drag strip. When you open the hood, you find an amazingly powerful engine. The car itself is sleek, rounded, has no sharp edges, but is painted with some very detailed, almost 3D type paint such that the car seems to float in the air. When other people race against this car, they lose. Badly. The car looks as part of the natural world as it floats quickly down the strip. Other cars leave rubber marks, exhaust fumes, and have loud noises, but Ueshiba's car does not.

Then, along comes Modern Aikido with Kisshomaru Ueshiba as the driver and Koichi Tohei as chief mechanic. They try to build a car just like Ueshiba's except they don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba painted it, nor how it got so smooth, rounded, and sleek. They also don't understand how Morihei Ueshiba built the very powerful engine. Of course, when they asked Morihei Ueshiba, his answer was to watch and steal the secrets. They do their best, even though they can't understand what Morihei Ueshiba is telling them in his lectures. Their car looks similar and runs similar but yet is so very different. If you look closely, you can make out the flaws in the design. When the Modern Aikido car races, it mostly loses, leaves rubber marks, has exhaust fumes, and is loud. When you look at the car, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's car. When you open the hood, it appears to look like Morihei Ueshiba's engine. Except Modern Aikido's car never acts, runs, or moves like Morihei Ueshiba's car.

If we look at Morihei Ueshiba's car, we find that the engine is Daito ryu aiki while the body is Omoto kyo spirituality. Modern Aikido has replicated no understanding of either. Looking at the engine, we find that if you train Modern Aikido's exercises, then you are not doing Morihei Ueshiba's exercises, although they can appear to look alike. If Morihei Ueshiba found value in the exercises to enable him to become such a great martial artist, then if Modern Aikido is doing them just like Ueshiba, where are the Modern Morihei Ueshibas? After 40-50 years, we really can sum it up in two basic answers:

1. Morihei Ueshiba was a singularly unique individual. He was a one-in-a-billion kind of guy.

or

2. Modern practitioners of aikido aren't doing the same kind of training that Morihei Ueshiba did.

If we take a step back in time, we know that Sokaku Takeda created Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Morihei Ueshiba, Kodo Horikawa, Takuma Hisa, and others. They could all do very similar things. Morihei Ueshiba, in his early training, created Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, Rinjiro Shirata, and a few others. They were very similar in skills, although not as good as Ueshiba. Sagawa didn't really teach the secrets until late in his life. One student of Sagawa's has stood out - Tatsuo Kimura. Kodo Horikawa taught a couple of people, most notably Seigo Okamoto who can do similar things as all the rest. So, really, reason #1 is kind of hard to accept. If we look at the fact that Sokaku Takeda told people not to teach the secret except to one or two individuals, we can see why there were only a handful of great aiki martial artists. Yukiyoshi Sagawa upheld that. Tokimune Takeda did, too. Katsuyuki Kondo reiterated what Tokimune had done.

Basically, even though it is a hard pill to swallow, reason #2 is pretty much the remaining answer. Most people were never taught the secret of aikido. Morihei Ueshiba didn't really teach it, and his students had a near impossible time of trying to figure out what he was doing.

When Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei entered the scene at the end of World War II, Modern Aikido was born. Both then raised adherents to Modern Aikido, sending them out into the world dressed as Morihei Ueshiba's child. Forty years later, the child is now a man. There would have been no understanding that there was a difference between Ueshiba's aikido and Modern Aikido, except that there were a few circumstances which allowed the secret of aiki to get out into the world. Some people are now looking at the Modern Aikido Man and seeing that he doesn't move, act, or do anything at all in the same way Morihei Ueshiba did. The Modern Aikido Man is a ghostly and pale imitation that rarely stands up in the same light as Morihei Ueshiba to the tests of the martial world, let alone the tests of the intertwined martial/spiritual world.

What of Modern Aikido? Frank Doran mentions that Tohei created many energy games and practices. (1) And Patrick Augé states:

Mochizuki Minoru Sensei said that when he was studying with Ueshiba Sensei (late 1920's), robuse was the name given to the technique that later became Ikkajo, then Ikkyo after the war. The present ikkyo as taught by most Aikikai (and Aikikai related) teachers is the result of the modifications made by Tohei and Kisshomaru Sensei in order to simplify Aikido and make it available to more people.... (2)

Stan Pranin notes that Kisshomaru Ueshiba gradually changed the technical syllabus and created a flowing style technique based system. (3) Koichi Tohei was head instructor for many years and his teaching was influenced by the Tempukai. (4) Morihiro Saito also makes note of some of the things that Koichi Tohei introduced into Modern Aikido training. (5) Tohei is quoted as saying, "Everyone thinks that I learned ki from Morihei Uyeshiba. That's not true. The Master taught me aikido; he did not teach me ki. I studied and learned it myself." (6) While Tohei's reason for stating this may have come from a rough period of time, the words themselves hold value. Ueshiba rarely taught "ki" to anyone.

It doesn't take a lot of research to find that the students of post-war aikido were more influenced by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei, that the manner in which the techniques that these students practiced were more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei, and that the spiritual harmonious definition of Aikido was more influenced by Kisshomaru and Tohei than by Morihei Ueshiba.

What about weapons in Modern Aikido compared to what Ueshiba practiced? In an interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura, he states that Ueshiba trained with the yari along with the jo and bokken. Ueshiba had a long spear at the dojo for training that he used quite often. He also states that he never saw Ueshiba practice tanto dori. (7) It was also noted that in Daito ryu, one would study sword techniques. (8) Because Ueshiba learned Daito ryu, it was mentioned that at the "Aikijutsu Dojo" in Tokyo, Ueshiba taught sword and spear. (9) Also, it's noted that Ueshiba trained with weapons on his own, including spear. (10) Rinjiro Shirata states that Ueshiba didn't teach weapons work to his students, but did practice it on his own. (11)

Also, from one interview in Aiki News:
Editor: We have seen old movies (in which juken were used in demonstrations) but did you ever use the juken (bayonet and rifle) in practice at that time?
Kunigoshi Sensei: Yes, we did. Someone would thrust with the training weapon and we would try to deal with that kind of attack. We also worked against a spear attack. Anyway, there were just about every type of major weapon in the dojo. Even I was expected to have practiced against a cutting attack made with the bokken. Nor were we only expected to be able to avoid the attacks of the weapon-carrying person. We were also expected to be able to take the role of the attacker and wield the weapons. (12)

Shoji Nishio talks about how he had to study weapons on his own because they were not taught at hombu. (13) Kisshomaru Ueshiba also noted that his father studied and trained with the spear. (14) Nobuyoshi Tamura makes an interesting comment in that he thinks Ueshiba's jo was actually spear work. (15) All of this goes to show that Ueshiba's weapons training was not carried forward into Modern Aikido. It is a rare sight to see spear training in any Modern Aikido dojo. And if true, while Modern Aikido trains tanto dori, it was not from Morihei Ueshiba. Most sword training in Modern Aikido is from a teacher's background in some other martial system or from a teacher's own creation. The practice that is left from Morihei Ueshiba is some jo and bokken take-away. Morihiro Saito is one of the few students to have gathered a chaotic weapons training under Ueshiba and created a structured syllabus. However, it does not cover most of what Ueshiba trained with weapons.

Training under the founder at Hombu appeared to have been a few hours each day while training with other instructors (Kisshomaru and Tohei included) took up the rest of the day. We also have quite a few students stating that Morihei Ueshiba would talk a lot and no one knew what he was talking about. Add in the fact that in 1956, Morihei Ueshiba was 73 years old. He wasn't teaching all day when these students started training in Aikido.

I'm not diminishing the commitment, heart, skills, or pure dedication of these students. We can all see how much they have contributed. But, on the other side of things, we must also acknowledge that Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei had more influence on them than did Morihei Ueshiba. And that influence shines through very brightly in their Aikido, even today. There is a large disconnect when talking about the Founder's Aikido and these student's aikido.

What kind of vision of aikido are the shihan and top ranked teachers supposed to take into the future? Do they truly understand Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido, or is it more likely that they understand Kisshomaru and Tohei's Aikido? Those two visions of aikido are not one and the same. They are not even close. We have Morihei Ueshiba living his vision of Aikido, backed by aiki and some spiritual/religious ideology. In Kisshomaru/Tohei's aikido, we have harmony for a post-war world audience that is not backed by the martial skills of Morihei Ueshiba nor is it backed by his spiritual/religious views. The major consolation in all of this is that in the spiritual/religious sense, Morihei Ueshiba noted one didn't have to follow his exact footsteps. Modern Aikido has diverged from Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido.

References:

1. Aiki News Issue 010
Frank Doran: All of the energy kinds of games and practices, many of which Koichi Tohei developed are very useful tools to put someone in touch with this aliveness which is within you.

2. Yoseikan NA website:

3. http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclopedia?entryID=720
In 1963, Kisshomaru made his first trip abroad to the U.S. and subsequently traveled on numerous occasions to North and South America, and Europe. Although his efforts to expand the Aikikai on an organizational level are well-known, it should be noted that his technical influence was also great. Kisshomaru gradually modified the technical curriculum of the Aikikai by reducing the number of techniques taught and creating a standardized nomenclature. His flowing style of technique that emphasizes KI NO NAGARE movements have also become a de facto standard in many Aikikai dojos worldwide.

4. Aikido Journal Issue 112
Seiichi Sugano: Tohei Sensei's teaching was influenced by the Tempukai, and it was easier to follow, probably because much of the Tempukai curriculum originated in yoga.

5. Aiki News Issue 088
AN: Ki no Kenkyukai (Shinshin Toitsu Aikido) practices include lectures about the workings of ki, and demonstrations of the unbendable arm and the unliftable body. Did you ever experience this kind of practice in Iwama after the war under O-Sensei?
Saito: No, I didn't. It is a teaching method which Mr. Tohei devised.

6. Black Belt 1973 Vol 11 No 11
Article by Jon Shirota about Tohei and Ki

7. http://www.tsubakijournal.com/article-7142924.html

8. Aiki News Issue 010

9. Aiki News Issue 015

10. Aiki News Issue 051

11. Aiki News Issue 062

12. Aiki News Issue 047

13. Aiki News Issue 060
Nishio Sensei: (When I was a beginner) I asked how they applied the body techniques to the ken, but no one showed me. Since there was nothing to be done about the situation, I began practicing the ken in 1955 soon after I began Aikido training. What else could I do? Nobody taught me! O-Sensei did sword techniques at lightning speed and would say, "That's how you do it," and then disappeared from the dojo. I tried in vain to understand what he was doing and the next moment he was gone.

14. Aiki News Issue 065
Kisshomaru Ueshiba: There were some major events between 1937 and 1941. First, kendo training was allowed at the Kobukan dojo for a short period. The Founder had mastered various jujutsu forms and practiced spear technique for a while, but he had not seriously gotten into swordwork (kenjutsu). Now he stared swinging the sword frequently for his own research, especially after Aikido started dealing with empty-handed techniques against weapon attacks.

15. Aiki News Issue 066
Tamura Sensei: I think that O-Sensei's jo was not what we would call jodo but rather the spear (yari).
Very well said !

Greg
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:48 AM   #5
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Just a thought . . .
Hello Allen,

Just a(nother) thought . . . (or two, or three) . . .

Do you think that Ellis Amdur's discussions in Hidden in Plain Sight has any bearing on Stan's arguments in his article?

At the beginning of his article Stan proposes a hypothesis. It is in the third line of the article and I think this is really the 'thesis' of the article. But it is a hypothesis, right?

Any thoughts on chronology?

1. If we paint with a broad brush, aikido was the name given to the art in 1942, which was when Ueshiba retired to Iwama. The name was given to the art as a whole, which includes what Morihei was doing in Iwama from 1942 onwards, not just to the bit that Kisshomaru was practising in the old Kobukan.

2. Actually, Stan asks if O Sensei is really the father of modern aikido and my understanding of this term, based on the article, is the aikido taught in the resurrected Kobukan from around 1955 onwards.

But what was M Saito doing in Iwama during these years? Was he practising 'ancient' aikido? But we can ask the same question of Kisshomaru from 1942 onwards. Kisshomaru began serous training when he was a student, from around 1935 onwards? But how was he training from 1942 onwards? Presumably he was doing the same Daito-ryu that he had been taught in the old Kobukan. And when the Kobukan had to close in 1945, he trained in Iwama as often as he could.

3. What was Rinjiro Shirata doing during the years between his repatriation after the war and his re-entry almost two decades later? If I understand the situation (not based on Stan's interviews), he had to be persuaded by Morihei and Kisshomaru to 'cone back' to aikido.

Finally, Mark's analogy about drag-racing is very interesting. The problem with the analogy is that it assumes that Morihei Ueshiba never changed the engine or the body of the car. And, if we continue with the analogy, he might not have been able to do: he might well have thought that the future of postwar aikido lay in drag-racing. It was left to Kisshomaru and K Tohei to make the changes to allow very many postwar aikidoka to drive Toyotas, and leave the drag-racing groups to those who could afford it.

Best wishes,

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-11-2011 at 07:56 AM.

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Old 07-11-2011, 09:23 AM   #6
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Morihei Ueshiba, in his early training, created Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, Rinjiro Shirata, and a few others. They were very similar in skills, although not as good as Ueshiba.
How do you come to this conclusion?? What do you mean by GOOD?

A Good Guy? Technically Good? Spiritually Good?

-

-It seems to be all about semantics!
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:14 AM   #7
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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How do you come to this conclusion?? What do you mean by GOOD?

A Good Guy? Technically Good? Spiritually Good?

-
People who had felt them and had also felt Ueshiba, recognized the similarities.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:46 AM   #8
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Allen,

Just a(nother) thought . . . (or two, or three) . . .

Do you think that Ellis Amdur's discussions in Hidden in Plain Sight has any bearing on Stan's arguments in his article?

At the beginning of his article Stan proposes a hypothesis. It is in the third line of the article and I think this is really the 'thesis' of the article. But it is a hypothesis, right?

Any thoughts on chronology?

1. If we paint with a broad brush, aikido was the name given to the art in 1942, which was when Ueshiba retired to Iwama. The name was given to the art as a whole, which includes what Morihei was doing in Iwama from 1942 onwards, not just to the bit that Kisshomaru was practising in the old Kobukan.

2. Actually, Stan asks if O Sensei is really the father of modern aikido and my understanding of this term, based on the article, is the aikido taught in the resurrected Kobukan from around 1955 onwards.

But what was M Saito doing in Iwama during these years? Was he practising 'ancient' aikido? But we can ask the same question of Kisshomaru from 1942 onwards. Kisshomaru began serous training when he was a student, from around 1935 onwards? But how was he training from 1942 onwards? Presumably he was doing the same Daito-ryu that he had been taught in the old Kobukan. And when the Kobukan had to close in 1945, he trained in Iwama as often as he could.

3. What was Rinjiro Shirata doing during the years between his repatriation after the war and his re-entry almost two decades later? If I understand the situation (not based on Stan's interviews), he had to be persuaded by Morihei and Kisshomaru to 'cone back' to aikido.

Finally, Mark's analogy about drag-racing is very interesting. The problem with the analogy is that it assumes that Morihei Ueshiba never changed the engine or the body of the car. And, if we continue with the analogy, he might not have been able to do: he might well have thought that the future of postwar aikido lay in drag-racing. It was left to Kisshomaru and K Tohei to make the changes to allow very many postwar aikidoka to drive Toyotas, and leave the drag-racing groups to those who could afford it.

Best wishes,

PAG
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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Just a(nother) thought . . . (or two, or three) . . .
Thought/THôt/Noun
1. An idea or opinion produced by thinking or occurring suddenly in the mind: "Mrs. Oliver's first thought was to get help".
2. An idea or mental picture, imagined and contemplated: "the mere thought of Peter made her see red"

vs

ques·tion/ˈkwesCHən/
Verb: Ask questions of (someone), esp. in an official context: "four men were being questioned about the killings"; "the young lieutenant escorted us to the barracks for questioning".
Noun: A sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Do you think that Ellis Amdur's discussions in Hidden in Plain Sight has any bearing on Stan's arguments in his article?
Not that came, or comes, readily to my mind. But then I've only read Ellis' book once (unless one counts reading your response to the book as a second reading) and I read Stan's article two whole times!

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
At the beginning of his article Stan proposes a hypothesis. It is in the third line of the article and I think this is really the 'thesis' of the article. But it is a hypothesis, right?
What is truth?

If there were no Ueshiba Morihei there would probably be no Aikido (well accept for the non-Aikido Aikido groups.) Therefore Ueshiba Morihei is the father Aikido. Of course, if there were no Onisaburo Deguchi to suggest that the use of the term Aiki be applied to Daito Ryu Jujutsu perhaps there would have been no impetus to morph the term into the general heading Aikido later on. So therefore Onisaburo Deguchi is the father of Aikido. But then Onisaburo Deguchi might never have suggested the term Aiki be used, if Ueshiba Morihei's teacher Takeda Sokaku hadn't shown up to help out his pupil and consequently approve of the appellation of "Aiki" to the name his art. So clearly Takeda Sokaku is the father of Aikido. But wait! Who taught Takeda Sokaku the art that so many of his students later simply called "Aikido?" Well, that's a tricky question, but according to some, Shinra Saburo Minamoto no Yoshimitsu could very well be the father of Aikido. On the other hand, if all of this can be traced back from the earthly Kami to the heavenly Kami, perhaps it is best said that Ame no Minakanushi no O-Kami is the really real father of Aikido. But then . . . we all are Ame no Minakanushi no O Kami, so . . . we are all "the father" of Aikido.

Yeah, that must be it. Every time I think of "Aikido" I am "the father" of "Aikido!"

But that wasn't your question. Your question was,

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
But it is a hypothesis, right?
And my answer is, "Yes, I think it is a hypothesis."

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
1. If we paint with a broad brush, aikido was the name given to the art in 1942, which was when Ueshiba retired to Iwama. The name was given to the art as a whole, which includes what Morihei was doing in Iwama from 1942 onwards, not just to the bit that Kisshomaru was practising in the old Kobukan.?
Is this the case? I thought that it was a sectional name given (by someone else and approved of by Ueshiba Morihei) to what was being taught at the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai because they needed a name for what Ueshiba was teaching relative to everyone else. Was there some formal adoption of the name? Or was it more by circumstance or happenstance that it became common parlance for all Daito Ryu-ish arts?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
2. Actually, Stan asks if O Sensei is really the father of modern aikido and my understanding of this term, based on the article, is the aikido taught in the resurrected Kobukan from around 1955 onwards.

But what was M Saito doing in Iwama during these years? Was he practising 'ancient' aikido? But we can ask the same question of Kisshomaru from 1942 onwards. Kisshomaru began serous training when he was a student, from around 1935 onwards? But how was he training from 1942 onwards? Presumably he was doing the same Daito-ryu that he had been taught in the old Kobukan. And when the Kobukan had to close in 1945, he trained in Iwama as often as he could.
Yes, Stan askes if O-Sensei is really the father of "modern" aikido (as taught in the resurrected Kobukan from around 1955 onwards) and comes to the conclusion that the answer is, "No."

But what was M Saito doing in Iwama during these years? Presumably he was practicing whatever his teacher was training which, according to Stan, is reflected in the contents of the publication "Budo." You say that Kisshomaru began serious training from about the age of 14. (It is my understanding that Kisshomaru was taught more by the Uchi Deshi rather than by his father at that time, which makes some sense considering his father's schedule and family structures of that era.) I'm guessing that there wasn't a whole lot of training Kishomaru actually did from 1942 onwards. There were few students, not a lot of food to be had, and plenty of firebombing. No? The fact that Kisshomaru trained in Iwama from 1945 as often as he could doesn't tell us how often that was. According to M. Saito that training would have reflected the contents of "Budo" with which Kishomaru would have been familiar. It is my understanding that Tohei Koichi also trained with Ueshiba Morihei in Iwama from 1940 (and sent out to teach after six months of training) before being drafted in 1942 and repatriated in 1946. Nevertheless, what Kisshomaru and Tohei taught later appears to be clearly different from what we see demonstrated in the book "Budo" which was purportedly being trained in Iwama. BTW, it is also clear that Ueshiba Morihei supported both Kisshomaru and Tohei's 1950's efforts as evidenced by his support and apparent approval of their film and publication efforts. Those efforts seem to align with much of the photographic evidence of what Ueshiba Morihei was demonstrating publicly. However, according to M. Saito and seemingly backed up by other evidence, what Ueshiba Morihei was training on in Iwama was a bit different. Perhaps there was a "shifting of the lines" of outside vs inside, or perhaps O-sensei himself allowed for a "changing of the times" while seeing no need to change his own personal training which you seem to identify as Daito Ryu.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
3. What was Rinjiro Shirata doing during the years between his repatriation after the war and his re-entry almost two decades later? If I understand the situation (not based on Stan's interviews), he had to be persuaded by Morihei and Kisshomaru to 'cone back' to aikido.
While certainly that is a question that is very relevant to me, I am uncertain of its relevance to our present subject. Perhaps you know something I don't know and are willing to share? I do know that Shirata sensei reportedly visited his teacher upon being repatriated. And I am also informed that his teacher said something along the lines of, "Look my technique has changed!" I unfortunately was not told that by Shirata sensei, nor do I know that that is why Shirata sensei was reluctant to "come back" to Aikido. I had assumed (with no evidence) that Shirata sensei did what so many other people did after the war. He tried to survive, help his family survive, and (as Japanese are prone to doing and many American's of that era as well) deal with the trauma of his war experience within the depths and privacy of his own mind (and household to the degree that what could not be suppressed in his own mind "surfaced.")

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Finally, Mark's analogy about drag-racing isery interesting. The problem with the analogy is that it assumes that Morihei Ueshiba never changed the engine or the body of the car. And, if we continue with the analogy, he might not have been able to do: he might well have thought that the future of postwar aikido lay in drag-racing. It was left to Kisshomaru and K Tohei to make the changes to allow very many postwar aikidoka to drive Toyotas, and leave the drag-racing groups to those who could afford it..
Given the above, and given that Ueshiba while unique and given to hang-out with other unique characters, was also subject to the cultural influences, assumptions and thought patterns that naturally came those of his time (just like you and me), your continued analogy sounds as plausible as any.

BTW, has Ness written to you? Are we going to be seeing each other shortly?

I hope so!,
Allen

p.s. While the socratic method is all fine and dandy, one might perhaps best not lose sight of the end result for Socrates though!

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:26 PM   #9
MM
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

If we really want to use a broad brush and define the founder of "aikido", then it would have to be Sokaku Takeda. There are no others.

Prior to Ueshiba, Takeda would have been learning koryu (as we now call it). It would not have been "aikido", nor would the art have been called that, nor would the art have dealt so heavily with "aiki" related techniques as we see in modern times.

So, no matter who taught Takeda, it wouldn't have been aikido in any shape.

Now, we jump to Sagawa's father. Takeda has been out and about and teaching. He's teaching Sagawa's father and we get this from Transparent Power:

The elder Sagawa, who sometimes had a fiery temper, would take what he learned from Takeda and try it out on strong and mean-looking construction workers he came across. He quickly realized that if you lacked the sort of aiki that Sokaku Takeda possessed, none of the techniques would work against a persistent opponent. So Sagawa's father said to Takeda, "I'm already so old, I think it would be better if you'd teach me Aiki instead of techniques."

Takeda was teaching aiki separate from techniques even at that time. Then who comes along? Morihei Ueshiba. He trains for a few years and then relocates to Ayabe.

What happens when Takeda shows up? According to Noriaki Inoue in Aikido Masters Prewar Students of Morihei Ueshiba:

Aiki is so astounding that even Deguchi saw its importance and suggested to Ueshiba that they add aiki to the name Daito ryu. Ueshiba is hesitant but Takeda seems to accept the suggestion and does change the name of his art. Even after the name change, Ueshiba still doesn't want to use the name aiki.

Takeda changes the name. I think it's rather funny (and perhaps Ueshiba saw the humor in it, too) that later, it was Ueshiba who gave the official okay to classifying and naming these "different" arts, aikido.

In a broad brush, Sokaku Takeda is the father of aikido. Ueshiba is not the founder or father. He made it highly desirable to learn by other martial artists. Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei altered some things and made aikido famous and known worldwide.

In a broad brush, the way of aiki encompasses: Sokaku Takeda's own personal martial art, Takeda's Daito ryu students and their lineages, and of course, Morihei Ueshiba's own personal martial art and Ueshiba's students and their lineages.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:12 PM   #10
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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BTW, has Ness written to you? Are we going to be seeing each other shortly?
I'm (still) waiting for a confirmation from Simon...

Ernesto
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:46 AM   #11
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
I re-read this article:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=34

(From the Aikido Journal by Stanley Pranin)

A couple of thoughts occurred to me while reading the article, which I largely agree with BTW. (Keeping in mind that, as a historian, Stan was drawing his conclusions from facts rather than basing them on beliefs. This, btw, is IMHO his greatest contribution to Aikido. He started a kind of "Enlightenment Period" inviting folks to think critically rather than being mere believers, parishioners, etc.)

Thought #1: Stan quotes Saito sensei stating that there was a difference between O-sensei's demonstrations and his "inside" teaching/training. (I don't doubt this BTW, I had the same experience with my own teacher.) Then Stan goes on to point out a similarity between what Saito sensei taught and the Asahi News film, Budo Renshu and Budo. My thought was, the Asahi news film was meant for public consumption and therefore a demonstration and therefore, by the same logic, would have been different to some degree with what was being taught "inside" at the time. Also, to perhaps a lesser extent, the same could be said of Budo and Budo Renshu. Perhaps Budo Renshu was to be the least public piece and therefore the most accurate reflection of what was actually taught by O-sensei. That would be my guess.

That being said . . .

Thought #2: If the above were so, and if Stan's conclusions based on his extensive (five decades of research, 20 years in Japan, familiarity and ability in the language, access to information and materials that most are not privy to, etc.) are accurate, that O-Sensei is really NOT the father of Modern Aikido . . . perhaps discussion of HIS art is most accurately posted a Non-Aikido Martial Traditions section.

Just a thought . . .
LOL this website is about O'Sensei's Aikido, Modern Aikido, Prewar Aikido, Postwar Aikido, Tomiki Aikido, Korindo Aikido, etc all Aikido.

dps
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:23 AM   #12
Allen Beebe
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
LOL this website is about O'Sensei's Aikido, Modern Aikido, Prewar Aikido, Postwar Aikido, Tomiki Aikido, Korindo Aikido, etc all Aikido.

dps
. . . AND, NON-Aikido Martial Traditions

No arguments from me on that one! I find web to be very comprehensive.

Allen

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Old 07-12-2011, 07:29 AM   #13
Mike Sigman
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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If we really want to use a broad brush and define the founder of "aikido", then it would have to be Sokaku Takeda. There are no others.
I dunno..... since the whole concept of "becoming one with your opponent" (and related quotes) goes back into antiquity, as does the "intent", use of the hara in internal strength, internal strength itself, kokyu power, and so on, why say it all started with Takeda. As I posted years ago on this forum, all of this stuff is nothing but another small part of a much bigger picture that has gone on in Asia for a couple of thousand years. I.e., first you see only the art around you and think that's the origin of everything; then you begin to see the history of a generation or two; then you begin to understand the bigger picture.

Even narrowing down the scope of the picture to the provincial level of Ueshiba and Takeda, it would be presumptive to credit Takeda with "aiki", given how widely known the topic was ("Kuzushi", "use the opponent's force" in the jin sense, etc.). I.e., Takeda didn't come up with "aiki" on his own..... more probably, our information of all that happened is just incomplete and we're assuming too many times that what little history we know represents all there was. All we can do is get our brief glimpses of the players, understand that our perspective is limited, and then go practice.

2 cents

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:46 AM   #14
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

I guess if certain people want to use a brush as broad as the earth, we can always say that there are *no* founders of any martial arts since they all go back to before ... well, just before. Heck, why not just say the very first man or woman created all martial arts and there are no founders after that.

Why would one want to narrow the scope so that an intelligent conversation on the lineage of aikido as discussed by intelligent people in aikido could occur when someone from outside aikido could just toss the baby out with the bathwater and say there is no founder of aiki arts. That'd sure let the conversation progress. Oh wait, maybe not. No, that'd be just another attempt to derail the conversation ... hmmm ... I wonder if there's a repetitive history here ...
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:57 AM   #15
Mike Sigman
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I guess if certain people want to use a brush as broad as the earth, we can always say that there are *no* founders of any martial arts since they all go back to before ... well, just before. Heck, why not just say the very first man or woman created all martial arts and there are no founders after that.
That's a classic Strawman argument: you set up a false scenario and then knock it down (hence the name "strawman"). Good one.
Quote:

Why would one want to narrow the scope so that an intelligent conversation on the lineage of aikido as discussed by intelligent people in aikido could occur when someone from outside aikido could just toss the baby out with the bathwater and say there is no founder of aiki arts. That'd sure let the conversation progress. Oh wait, maybe not. No, that'd be just another attempt to derail the conversation ... hmmm ... I wonder if there's a repetitive history here ...
Well, if you want to posit that Takeda came up with his whole knowledge of "aiki" by himself with no influence from the outside, then your argument might have some merit. If, on the other hand, the "ju" arts (as in "aikijujitsu", GoJu, Judo, etc.) have some known common antecedents that were known in Takeda's time, then aikijujitsu becomes part of a broader historical discussion.

Italics, bold, underline as a marker to show where the ad hominem starts.

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:59 AM   #16
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

Mike, you're right about lack of info, but based on the bit we have, of course it is fun to speculate.
Two things strike me as interesting here:
1. Takeda, being illiterate, may very well have NOT seen the bigger picture you are talking about, despite any really amazing skills and sophisticated usage he may have had. He knew his own training history, and he knew his innovations, but I wonder how much of the older history he had exposure to. Conversely, Ueshiba probably had the history before the skills, and when he met Takeda, it started to come together. In this possible scenerio, the tying together of old history and personal abilities would really have happened post-Takeda.

2. It has been suggested that Takeda really did a lot of exploring and innovating to piece together the abilities he had. I think it is possible that he really scraped together info that was almost lost, and ressurected something, rather than carrying on a strong tradition.
Kind of fanciful but it would mean that there is a bit of "new growth" and discovery in the history of aikido, even if it did end up replicating what other people had known for centuries.

[edit, overall I agree regarding the aiki arts being placed in a bigger picture. I just like this possible aspect in the history of 'rescue' of info that may have been on the decline. It.... resonates with me.)

Last edited by JW : 07-12-2011 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:12 AM   #17
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Mike, you're right about lack of info, but based on the bit we have, of course it is fun to speculate.
Two things strike me as interesting here:
1. Takeda, being illiterate, may very well have NOT seen the bigger picture you are talking about, despite any really amazing skills and sophisticated usage he may have had. He knew his own training history, and he knew his innovations, but I wonder how much of the older history he had exposure to. Conversely, Ueshiba probably had the history before the skills, and when he met Takeda, it started to come together. In this possible scenerio, the tying together of old history and personal abilities would really have happened post-Takeda.

2. It has been suggested that Takeda really did a lot of exploring and innovating to piece together the abilities he had. I think it is possible that he really scraped together info that was almost lost, and ressurected something, rather than carrying on a strong tradition.
Kind of fanciful but it would mean that there is a bit of "new growth" and discovery in the history of aikido, even if it did end up replicating what other people had known for centuries.

[edit, overall I agree regarding the aiki arts being placed in a bigger picture. I just like this possible aspect in the history of 'rescue' of info that may have been on the decline. It.... resonates with me.)
It could have happened like that, Jonathan, but even though we westerners have fairly sparse information, there are plenty of indications that ki/kokyu skills were available (but hidden) at and before the time of Takeda. In a number of then-current arts. And as I said, the idea of "blending" or "combining" as one with an opponent is something touted in the Chinese classics. So "Aiki" (or whatever name you want to call it) was there, in various configurations.

BTW, note how Ueshiba knew enough to relate these skills to already-existing classics. Should we say that he was slighting Takeda by doing so or should we say that Ueshiba understood that these skills were not new and that they have been around a long time.... and he was just acknowledging the obvious, no slight intended? To put it another way, Ueshiba would have looked ill-informed if he'd actually said that Takeda originated "Aiki". Ueshiba knew better.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:40 AM   #18
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
BTW, note how Ueshiba knew enough to relate these skills to already-existing classics. Should we say that he was slighting Takeda by doing so or should we say that Ueshiba understood that these skills were not new and that they have been around a long time.... and he was just acknowledging the obvious, no slight intended? To put it another way, Ueshiba would have looked ill-informed if he'd actually said that Takeda originated "Aiki". Ueshiba knew better.
Hm, I think that describes Ueshiba's behavior pretty well. It may have been a factor (the major factor?) in his severing ties/"moving on" from Takeda. Why credit him if Takeda didn't even understand the full context?

On the other hand, it seems like it would have been fair to say Takeda showed/taught him aiki, since Ueshiba failed to learn it on his own. Thus there is a legitimate debt there.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:14 PM   #19
DH
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

Ueshiba now knew and Takeda didn't?
This is qualified just how?
Previous discussions stated Ueshiba moved forward into a deeper study that Takeda didn't know. That was never qualified either -even though asked over and over.
A certain fellow forwarded that the source for Takeda's aiki (as stated by Takeda himself) was Chinese.

Marks arguments about the Japanese aiki arts being a shift-holds true regardless of the source of the Internal aspects.
Takeda's arts were a significant shift from traditional koryu jujutsu, and many Koryu people trained under him for that reason. His "aiki" approach -as demonstrated in a collection of forms seen across the five branches- were dramatically different from the standard jujutsu (not saying good or bad, here). To say otherwise expresses an ignorance of the subject at hand. This was the reason the committee approving the demonstrations at embu noted UEshiba's stuff did not fit. So they had the categories listed as:
Koryu
Gendai
Aiki-do
It is more than fair to say that the aiki arts in Japan (as opposed to the idea of aiki) began with Takeda.
Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba, Kodo, and Hisa were also markedly different from what we do know. The arguments about Yoshin and Kito ryu do not have enough demonstrable evidence to make them as clear. The aiki arts were not the same as use of aiki in an otherwise koryu context. They were clear and were dramatic enough to make them a movement in and of themselves as a stand apart approach to jujutsu in their day.

Beyond that repeatedly stating that Ueshiba quoted the classics and Takeda did not is inane and a strawman argument in itself. Little is known about what Takeda said or didn't say, but of the things we do know and are discussed by different branches, there was heaven/ earth/ man, In yo ho, breath power use of the Kua/ mingmen and dantian, discussions of connection and intent (though not expressed in those same terms by either men). It is fair to say that those things are universal and preceded Takeda, but it also demonstrates Takeda's knowledge of them.

I have met DR and Koryu people who were trained in and demonstrated physical skills that they had no clue preceded their arts. They were amused to find out the Chinese terminology for the way they used their bodies. While they were acussed of using "buzzwords" from another culture, they actually had a fairly good handle on using their bodies as judged by some experts in the field. That again does make the case for the overall existence of these skills in the broader sense in China and elsewhere. If someone is going to argue for that...they need to address and ackowledge the skills demonstrated by some in the Japanese arts.

I guess I am saying that while both arguments have solid points, there isn't enough information about Takeda to make any serious argument for what he did or didn't know, or what he might have said to his students. It's only speculation.
Case in point:
Few I have ever talked with within the art knew about the body method. Who would know that a living DR Shihan has a soft push hands drill meant to demonstrate a body skill and is only done with private advanced students? And if not for Sagawa's book (which he did not want translated to English) people would still be arguing with what I had been saying for decades. IE the admonition not to teach white people, or that most people in the art were not actually being taught the key to making it all work; solo training, even the idea of internal, breath-power methods, the principle of aiki in yo ho and so on. So, having a meaningful discussion (even with those in the art) was sometimes difficult, and other times, ridiculous, and much more so with those outside.

I think that some who enter into these discussions are demonstrating their own prejudices and ignorance while arguing the other side is the one who is prejudiced and ignorant.
So we get to listen to pundants from Chinese arts jabber on about some Japanese arts and characterize the people in them as ignorant and "running away", when in actually there are people with some very good information who will never enter into "how to" discussions about what they know, and all this when their own Chinese teachers rarely talk about details either, and who's adepts even with the information, rarely demonstrate stellar skills.
Kind of funny really.

Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-12-2011 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:34 PM   #20
Richard Stevens
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

As an outside observer, without a "horse" in the race so-to-speak, I've found myself interested in the history of Daito-Ryu and Aikido as the availability of information on my own art is thin at best.

Having read nearly everything Stanley has put out on the topics and much of what Peter Goldsbury has written, it seems to me that Ueshiba's Aikido died with him and is likely never to be fully "reconstructed" as Mark Murray nicely alluded to.

The development of Ueshiba's martial skills was a result of very unique circumstances and instruction. Ignoring the spiritual aspect entirely, simply the fact that he received Daito-Ryu instruction directly from Takeda resulted in exposure to a non-standardized, and changing curriculum. The Daito-Ryu Takeda exposed Ueshiba to was not necessarily the Daito-Ryu transmitted to Tokimune, Horikawa, etc..

Add to the fact that Ueshiba brought in elements from other arts and you have a martial foundation that cannot be replicated by a modern practitioner. I would argue that even if Ueshiba hadn't found himself drawn so deeply into Omoto-Kyo and focused all his energy and time on transmitting his interpretation of DR or early Aikido he would have had a difficult time truly passing on his particular skill-set.

How would one go about trying to developing it today? You can turn to Daito-Ryu to try and fill in the gaps, but that in itself opens a can of worms. Which branch of Daito-Ryu would provide you with the appropriate skill-set? Which interpretation is the genuine article? Didn't Kondo claim that he was the only one who was shown true Daito-Ryu from Tokimune?

It seems like interest in bringing outside elements into modern Aikido in an attempt to reconstruct Ueshiba's skills has exploded. Nearly every thread seems to include some mention of internal power/aiki skills of some sort. Veteran Shihan like Ikeda are consciously pushing to evolve their skill sets. A friend recently returned from the summer camp in D.C. and said that Bill Gleason's Aikido was spectacularly different than just a few years earlier.

In an attempt to restore Ueshiba's Aikido, modern Aikido seems to be consistently moving towards an evolution beyond it's origins. Even if Ueshiba's skills can't be reconstructed, it doesn't mean they can't be surpassed.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:46 PM   #21
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Ueshiba now knew and Takeda didn't?
This is qualified just how?
Hi Dan-
Ultimately your post covers both sides pretty well. I just meant: Takeda didn't exactly spend time in a library studying the "classics," right? His life just wasn't like that. He grew up in pretty messed-up circumstances.
Whereas, Ueshiba really did grow up comfortable and reading this type of stuff.

Anyway I think the best evidence we have for the way info was organized in Takeda's mind (and what info was there, period) is as you say-- we have to look at the info in the extant branches and look at what is conserved across that diversity. It's still speculation, and the biggest problem is indeed:
how to separate what was not known from what was kept secret. Ultimately that could only be guessed at from body movement and usage.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:59 PM   #22
DH
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

Quote:
Richard Stevens wrote: View Post
As an outside observer, without a "horse" in the race so-to-speak, I've found myself interested in the history of Daito-Ryu and Aikido as the availability of information on my own art is thin at best.

Having read nearly everything Stanley has put out on the topics and much of what Peter Goldsbury has written, it seems to me that Ueshiba's Aikido died with him and is likely never to be fully "reconstructed" as Mark Murray nicely alluded to.

The development of Ueshiba's martial skills was a result of very unique circumstances and instruction. Ignoring the spiritual aspect entirely, simply the fact that he received Daito-Ryu instruction directly from Takeda resulted in exposure to a non-standardized, and changing curriculum. The Daito-Ryu Takeda exposed Ueshiba to was not necessarily the Daito-Ryu transmitted to Tokimune, Horikawa, etc..

Add to the fact that Ueshiba brought in elements from other arts and you have a martial foundation that cannot be replicated by a modern practitioner. I would argue that even if Ueshiba hadn't found himself drawn so deeply into Omoto-Kyo and focused all his energy and time on transmitting his interpretation of DR or early Aikido he would have had a difficult time truly passing on his particular skill-set.

How would one go about trying to developing it today? You can turn to Daito-Ryu to try and fill in the gaps, but that in itself opens a can of worms. Which branch of Daito-Ryu would provide you with the appropriate skill-set? Which interpretation is the genuine article? Didn't Kondo claim that he was the only one who was shown true Daito-Ryu from Tokimune?

It seems like interest in bringing outside elements into modern Aikido in an attempt to reconstruct Ueshiba's skills has exploded. Nearly every thread seems to include some mention of internal power/aiki skills of some sort. Veteran Shihan like Ikeda are consciously pushing to evolve their skill sets. A friend recently returned from the summer camp in D.C. and said that Bill Gleason's Aikido was spectacularly different than just a few years earlier.

In an attempt to restore Ueshiba's Aikido, modern Aikido seems to be consistently moving towards an evolution beyond it's origins. Even if Ueshiba's skills can't be reconstructed, it doesn't mean they can't be surpassed.
Bill Is changing, Ikeda and Saotome have not only commented but have expressed an interest in the source of the change.

A few comments about a few points you made.
While I agree that no one knows what Ueshiba was exposed to compared to other Takeda students. We do know that Sawaga was considered his equal, some who felt both considered Sagawa better Kodo was a giant and Hisa and Tokimune were both considered quite good.

As for what else Ueshiba did that may have added or arguably detracted from Takeda's aiki, no one knows. It's more speculation. Once you have the the body method, you will grow on your own with further research. Each of Takeda's five greats talked of their own continued growth. It's the way it is.
We do know that when Ueshiba decided -to teach- he decided to teach DR throughout his career and handed out copies of the Hiden Mokuroku scrolls to all of the prewar students. All of those students are mistakenly called prewar aikido deshi, when in fact they were Daito ryu students (again as the artists behind Budo renshu stated "We all thought we were students of Takeda Sokaku under Ueshiba sensei"). After his retirement as stated by him, his techniques changed, I suspect it was for that reason that he lost Mochizuki, Shioda, and Shirata, but that has never been made clear either. Even though his more open and large circular movements - with a more flowing protective quality- was a dynamic shift from DR waza, but his aiki was unmistakably still Daito ryu.

Your last point about surpassing Ueshiba should be everyone's goal. Power is not all the same, even though some like to say it is all the same, nothing could be further from the truth. The Chinese just like the Japanese, argue over methods and uses and purity, yadda yadda. And the pressure Ueshiba faced is different than the pressure a modern adept faces. I am confident that were Takeda and Ueshiba alive today, they would have followed Sagawa into exploring the body method into wrestling, boxing and other more modern methods.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-12-2011 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:16 PM   #23
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
The Chinese just like the Japanese, argue over methods and uses and purity, yadda yadda.
The Chinese have a phrase for it: 亚达亚达
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:24 PM   #24
Dave de Vos
 
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

Quote:
Richard Stevens wrote: View Post
It seems like interest in bringing outside elements into modern Aikido in an attempt to reconstruct Ueshiba's skills has exploded. Nearly every thread seems to include some mention of internal power/aiki skills of some sort.
The amount of discussion on Aikiweb suggests it has exploded, but is this topic also spreading beyond Aikiweb? How many of the (let's say) one million aikidoka have heard of this?
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:33 PM   #25
Cliff Judge
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Re: Non-Aikido thoughts and considerations

I don't think I've heard any good arguments against a point Ellis made in HIPS that "aiki" is a relatively new name for a concept that was fairly well understood inside many koryu systems that contained jujutsu / yawara in their syllabi.

Takeda was a guy who was good at it. He had a number of other skills as well. Whether he created from whole cloth or revitalized Daito Ryu, in my opinion, he was not creating an art for the purpose of studying aiki. Aiki was a high-level, inner teaching. He saved the good stuff for a small group of individuals, right? So it wasn't as if he was trying to get the world to study it.

Ueshiba, I think, did make an effort to distill the study of aiki for its own sake. Living though massive epochal change and connecting with really far-out seeker types, I think, convinced him that this stuff he could do that was special could bring about something desirable if disseminated. At least after the war was lost.

So while it is true that Takeda was Ueshiba's teacher, I really don't think he would be happy to see the way of aiki become a martial art trained all over the world.
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