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Old 01-10-2003, 11:22 AM   #1
GregH
Location: Harrisburg, Pa
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Sleazy People

Hello all,
First I would like to say that I hope I am not starting any sort of character critisism, or meaning any disrespect to anyone. I am a big fan of David Lowry's books on Japanese culture and martial arts. I am halfway through one of his books and the chapter is on "Straight Shadow". In the latter part of this chapter he states
"There were some extrememely sleazy people in the pre-war dojo of Aikido's Morihei Uyeshiba and Judo's Jigoro Kano, even though these people's backgrounds were what we would call in the West "blue blood" ". (Lowry). I can't claim too much knowledge of the roots of the original students in the dojo, nor could I find any information on this subject. Can anyone shed any light on this comment?
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Old 01-10-2003, 11:38 AM   #2
Ron Tisdale
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I'm not familiar with the particular text in question (though Lowry is one of my faves), but he could be refering to the extreme right wing connections that many supporters and some students had. Black Dragon society etc. I'm sure Peter Goldsbury or Chris Li could give more detail.

Ron (Its amazing how many left wingers in aikido don't know about this) Tisdale

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-11-2003, 09:55 AM   #3
Jeff Tibbetts
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I'm actually re-reading this book, too© Great stuff© Anyway I was wondering the same thing, but I don't think that it was intended as a jab at specifiic people© Back then Aikido was much more hard-line and had many more of the "real" martial arts tough guys involved© Not that these people are sleazy, but if you know Dave's work you know he's a very spiritual person and would certainly think of these macho types as somewhat sleazy! It may also have been a reference to the Black Dragon, as Ron mentioned© I don't know too much about this, but I do know that many Aikido dojo's were/are supported by the extreme right-wing militarists© Again, not that that's such a bad thing, but I think Dave Lowry would think it was :¤

Isn't it nice when you can argue someone else's point so they take the heat for you?

If the Nightingale doesn't sing-
wait
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Old 01-11-2003, 11:29 AM   #4
Karen Wolek
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Funny, I JUST read that book this week and wondered the same thing! Excellent book, by the way. The first Lowry book I have ever read, so of course, I ordered three more. I have a feeling his books will be read over and over. I even earmarked a couple pages pertaining to patience in learning budo. Patience is not one of my virtues.

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 01-11-2003, 04:06 PM   #5
Frp
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'Sleazy' is that the new politically correct term for Facist? Lets not give Japan a free pass for the crimes they commited in Asia back then.

Those folks weren't 'sleazy' by the way they were the detritus that formed the backbone of Imperal Japan. When we, the US of A, destroyed them we did the right thing.

O-Sensei went home to Iwama (he'd been a head instructor for the military) so he would not have to support the 'sleazy' people's system. That was 1942 the year he invented Aikido, the art of peace. The inverse of all the things they stood for.

Read up on your Japanese history and you'll see that the military ideal and the Samurai (O-Sensei's) ideals have very little in common.
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Old 01-11-2003, 04:07 PM   #6
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I'm not familiar with the particular text in question (though Lowry is one of my faves), but he could be refering to the extreme right wing connections that many supporters and some students had. Black Dragon society etc. I'm sure Peter Goldsbury or Chris Li could give more detail.
I don't know what he's referring to in particular, but you may well be right. Hideki Tojo (class A war criminal) ring any bells ?

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-12-2003, 09:37 AM   #7
Paula Lydon
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~~Like anything, I think you need to see these people in the time/space context in which they lived. Too easy to judge from our point in time/space and so miss connecting to any sense of their 'reality'. Look how often we do it with our own peers...

~~Paula~~
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Old 01-12-2003, 11:22 AM   #8
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
David Wade (Frp) wrote:
'Sleazy' is that the new politically correct term for Facist?

DJM: That's the association I made.

Lets not give Japan a free pass for the crimes they commited in Asia back then.

DJM: If anything, doesn't "sleazy" indict quite strongly?

Those folks weren't 'sleazy' by the way they were the detritus that formed the backbone of Imperal Japan.

DJM: One could argue that "sleazy" sounds like the underbelly rather than the core...

When we, the US of A, destroyed them we did the right thing.

DJM: Begging the question of if we did it for the right reasons (Pearl Harbor was compelling; antecedent Nanking wasn't?)

Read up on your Japanese history and you'll see that the military ideal and the Samurai (O-Sensei's) ideals have very little in common.
DJM: I think I'd want more details and periods delineated before agreeing with you. Which samurai ideals? Oda's when he massacred whole villages which had opposed him? (Sounds like the Imperial Army's behaviour in Sandakan or Singapore to me.) Hideyoshi's when he tried to enslave Korea? (The Koreans trace Japanese intentions toward them as beginning millenia before the forty years' colonial rule.) Yoritomo's when he hounded his brother Yoshitsune to suicide? Or perhaps some of those ransoming the emperor for power or betraying their allegiances or...

Don J. Modesto
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Old 01-12-2003, 11:28 AM   #9
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
Paula Lydon wrote:
~~Like anything, I think you need to see these people in the time/space context in which they lived. Too easy to judge from our point in time/space and so miss connecting to any sense of their 'reality'. Look how often we do it with our own peers...
I don't think I'd entirely agree here, either. Can we ever condemn anything with this criterion? Was the genocide against American indigenous people "situated" in a moral climate somehow explaining or justifying it? It was a bald-faced land grab then as well as now in hindsight and it had its own critics then, too. The world looked on appalled at the Nanking massacre; these folk knew well what miscreants they were; the world was telling them then.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 01-12-2003, 06:21 PM   #10
Frp
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Mr. Modesto,

You raise lots of intresting points. I don't want to get into a debate about Japanese history because it has nothing to do with the formation of Aikido, or the people in question.

It would seem that the word 'sleazy' has diffrent connotations for diffrent people. It would seem that Mr. Hahn (the thread starter) was unclear on what was meant by that. And at first reading I didn't get it either.

American high schools don't teach much if anything about the rise of Japanese militarism. So, I think the author made an error not saying facist.



When you think about what O-Sensei was dealing with you gain an whole new respect for what he did in inventing Aikido, the art of peace, during the height of Japan's military power.
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Old 01-12-2003, 07:53 PM   #11
Veers
 
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Read The Spirit of Aikido, by the founders son. I read it and found it very informative about more than just the art of aikido. The book might not be your best answer to your question, but since it's all I know to recommend--and it does answer that question somewhat, by telling about the history surrounding the formation of the first aikido dojo and classes--I'll try to be a help.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 01-12-2003, 08:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
David Wade (Frp) wrote:
You raise lots of intresting points. I don't want to get into a debate about Japanese history because it has nothing to do with the formation of Aikido, or the people in question.
I think it had everything to do with it. Everyone is influenced by what's around him and what came before. I wonder do you ever refer to what you do as "The Art of the Samurai".
Quote:
When you think about what O-Sensei was dealing with you gain an whole new respect for what he did in inventing Aikido, the art of peace, during the height of Japan's military power.
Well leading up to WWII he sure spent a lot of time cultivating certain people that put question to that statement.

I think Tojo learnt most of his Aikido from Tomiki in Manchuria. There were some terrible things done in the name of Imperial Japan but a lot of people were caught up in the times. I doubt very much that Tojo saw himself as anything less than a patriot. Of course they lost and there are millions of Asian that are not unhappy about that.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-12-2003, 11:05 PM   #13
Edward
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Could anyone please let me know from which of David Lowry's books was this quote taken. I am interested to read it in its original context.

Cheers,
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Old 01-13-2003, 11:57 AM   #14
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
David Wade (Frp) wrote:
I don't want to get into a debate about Japanese history because it has nothing to do with the formation of Aikido, or the people in question.

DJM: Curious assertion given your post of yesterday: "Read up on your Japanese history and you'll see that the military ideal and the Samurai (O-Sensei's) ideals have very little in common."

When you think about what O-Sensei was dealing with you gain an whole new respect for what he did in inventing Aikido, the art of peace, during the height of Japan's military power.

DJM: It would be hard to argue with Mr. Rehse here. Speaking blasphemy, I can't help but notice how he took his sojourn in the country as Japan was LOSING. We could charitably speak of idealism and his eschewing war, but the thought of opportunism is not unjust.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 01-13-2003, 01:50 PM   #15
Dennis Hooker
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One individual with whom I am well accounted and who is a Japanese once removed from the land of rising sun told me the following.

He is from a fairly affluent family and he traveled to Japan, this was during O-sensei's life time, his Japanese family was shocked that he would associate with such ruffians and scoundrels as those involved in the martial arts. Aikido being no exception.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

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Old 01-13-2003, 05:29 PM   #16
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
...his Japanese family was shocked that he would associate with such ruffians and scoundrels as those involved in the martial arts. Aikido being no exception.
I had a similar experience with a journalist for the Asahi Shinbun in Tokyo. She was a prominent exponent of liberal causes (women's rights, environment, etc.) and, when the topic arose, simply began a chorus of "They're all so thick with the right!"

Don J. Modesto
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Old 01-13-2003, 09:46 PM   #17
GregH
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Mr. Karaa,

The book is called "Moving Towards Stillness", the chapter is entitled

"Straight Shadow"

greg
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Old 01-13-2003, 10:31 PM   #18
Edward
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Quote:
Greg Hahn (GregH) wrote:
Mr. Karaa,

The book is called "Moving Towards Stillness", the chapter is entitled

"Straight Shadow"

greg
Thanks!
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