Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-10-2003, 12:54 PM   #1
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Offline
Super O'Sensei

Just a rant on the criticism John Stevens and others who convey stories of the superhuman acts that Morihei Ueshiba supposedly performed.

For the most miraculous of the stories, the main source has been Gozo Shioda. Professor Stevens included these stories largely based on the source. Before the war, the students of the founder were largely divided into two groups, Omoto Kyo believers and martial arts enthusiasts. Gozo Shioda was clearly in the latter group which was reportedly openly hostile to the group which was interested more in the spiritual matters. Shioda Sensei's teachings emphasized the mechanical, technical points of Aikido. This emphasis makes his technical guides the clearest and most easily understandable of those available.

It is clear that Gozo Shioda had no interest in the mystical side of the Founder's life. This is what makes him an interesting and reliable (comparitively) witness to the things that Morihei Ueshiba did. I have heard many people doubt the stories, but I think that it is important to consider the source when making those doubts.

Did O'Sensei dodge bullets? Could he make a person fall UP a flight of stairs through kiai? I don't know, but I have no doubt that these stories are an important part in the story of Morihei Ueshiba's life. It is clear to me that Professor Stevens rightly included them in his biographies.

Charles
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2003, 01:22 PM   #2
MikeE
 
MikeE's Avatar
Dojo: Midwest Center For Movement & Aikido Bukou Dojos
Location: Hudson, WI
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 407
Offline
Who cares?

Gambatte!

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
Aikido Bukou
Dojos
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2003, 01:35 PM   #3
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Ok, I am a big fan of John Stevens' "Classical Aikido" and the traditions of Rinjiro Shirata. I am also (pretty obviously) a big fan of Shioda Kancho. But I have to say that the "biographies" fall more in line with what I would call "mythologies". As such, I think they perform their function well. They relay the stories, myths, and quite a few facts about the founder and his teachings. But since there are no or few footnotes or bibliographies...even the facts are kind of hard to cross check. They do make for good reading though.

On the other hand, you have the works of Stan Pranin. When you read these, you often see the specific questions asked of specific sources. This enables you to make intelligent decisions about some of the motivations of the person being questioned, and to cross check information from various sources. Biases are more easily revealed. You can see the training history of the person being questioned as well. All this goes to being able to make an informed decision on certain matters...Mr. Pranin usually keeps the editorializing to a strict minimum.

Both mediums are good to have, in my opinion. And if you haven't had a chance to train with Stevens Sensei, I highly recomend it. People often talk about riai...the connection of the sword to our tachi waza. Stevens Sensei's seminars make the connection perfectly clear. It is a joy to train with him.

Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-10-2003 at 01:40 PM.

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2003, 03:10 PM   #4
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Offline
Mike Ellefson,

I do! That's why I wrote the post.

de, ganbatte tte iwaretamo, nani wo ganbatte hoshii ka, shoujikini iu to, yoku wakaranai!

Charles
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2003, 07:08 PM   #5
PeterR
 
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,050
Japan
Online
Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
I do! That's why I wrote the post.
Touche'

Charles if I haven't said so already - welcome to the forums.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2003, 07:32 PM   #6
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,075
United_States
Offline
Re: Super O'Sensei

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Just a rant on the criticism John Stevens and others who convey stories of the superhuman acts that Morihei Ueshiba supposedly performed.

For the most miraculous of the stories, the main source has been Gozo Shioda. Professor Stevens included these stories largely based on the source. Before the war, the students of the founder were largely divided into two groups, Omoto Kyo believers and martial arts enthusiasts. Gozo Shioda was clearly in the latter group which was reportedly openly hostile to the group which was interested more in the spiritual matters. Shioda Sensei's teachings emphasized the mechanical, technical points of Aikido. This emphasis makes his technical guides the clearest and most easily understandable of those available.

It is clear that Gozo Shioda had no interest in the mystical side of the Founder's life. This is what makes him an interesting and reliable (comparitively) witness to the things that Morihei Ueshiba did. I have heard many people doubt the stories, but I think that it is important to consider the source when making those doubts.

Did O'Sensei dodge bullets? Could he make a person fall UP a flight of stairs through kiai? I don't know, but I have no doubt that these stories are an important part in the story of Morihei Ueshiba's life. It is clear to me that Professor Stevens rightly included them in his biographies.

Charles
In "Aikido Shugyo" Shioda has a chapter in which he states quite clearly that he believes that Morihei Ueshiba had supernatural powers. FWIW, the dodging bullets story is in there also, told directly by Shioda, who was an eyewitness at the event.

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2003, 10:18 PM   #7
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Offline
Also in one of Shioda Sensei's books is a story of O'Sensei telling how he found from practical experience that the sword is not a practical weapon when dealing with multiple opponents. Apparently he found that his sword became too caked with blood and innards to be of much use for too long. It also seemed to get stuck in an opponent's body.

Professor Stevens wrote in the first book that O'Sensei had never killed anyone, but that was amended in the latest one. Grim, but I think it helps us understand all that Morihei Ueshiba went through to create Aikido.

Charles

p.s. Thanks Peter.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2003, 03:11 AM   #8
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,633
Offline
Supernatural

Saotome Sensei was quite outspoken on this subject. He stated that in the whole of the fifteen years that he was around O-Sensei he never saw any kind of "magic waza" as he referred to it. He was rather angry that these stories persisted in that he felt it took the focus away from the real achievement of the man who had reached an incredible level of skill.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2003, 04:21 PM   #9
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Offline
First, I want to make very clear that I have the deepest respect for Saotome Sensei. His books, interviews, and videos have been very influential on me. If I were to live in the U.S. instead of Japan, I would definitely ask to be allowed to join his organization.

Second, although I have never met George Ledyard, I have found his posts very enlightening and the articles on his website excellent. It is clear that he knows much more on many aspects of Aikido than I.

BUT, I don't understand the above post. I think that it is reasonable to doubt the incredible stories from the distant past. However, there is plenty of video of O'Sensei doing what I'd call "magic waza!" And some of that video features Saotome Sensei.

Of course, a lot of that stuff is what Terry Dobson refered to as O'Sensei's tricks. I took the statement to mean that it is not at all part of what O'Sensei considered Aikido. A friend of mine refers to it as the marketing of Aikido.

Mr. Ledyard, please understand that this post was written with the deepest respect.

Charles
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2003, 04:26 PM   #10
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Offline
Quote:
Did O'Sensei dodge bullets?
I think this thread illustrates, quite well in fact, why I find the word ki so distasteful. Nothing in Shioda's description, at least the one I read, talks about dodging bullets. It would be more accurate, perhaps, to say.

1. The soldiers lined up and readied their weapons.

2. Morihei Ueshiba, recognizing their intent to fire, moved towards them at a rapid speed.

3. The soliers fired.

4. Morihei Ueshiba was not hit.

5. Morihei Ueshiba threw one of the soldiers.

There are a lot of reasons the soldiers may have missed. Possibly, they didn't want to kill someone, least of all a respected martial arts instructor, or, it's just plain hard to hit a moving target. To say that he dodged bullets is putting hyperbole before the facts, of which we have precious little in this case.

Lastly, I don't know why we should take Gozo Shioda's word as gospel. Everyone that I've ever known has a blind spot in certain areas and it's not rare that it's an area in which they have a certain level of expertise. I doubt Gozo Shioda was anymore immune to this than anyone else. In short, he was human just like all the rest of us.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2003, 06:55 PM   #11
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Offline
Erik,

I haven't read any translations (other than Professor Stevens) that may be out there, but in the original account only your #1 and #4 are clearly correct. According to Shioda Sensei, O'Sensei disappeared and then reappeared behind everyone and did the whole thing twice.

The point of my original post was not to rehash any arguments that probably occured on other threads, just to make clear the source of the stories so that they be judged rightly.

I, personally, highly doubt the stories. Everyone who has posted here apparently does as well. I just can't figure out why Shioda Sensei would either distort things or make them up.

Charles
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2003, 08:07 PM   #12
Chris Li
 
Chris Li's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,075
United_States
Offline
Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Erik,

I haven't read any translations (other than Professor Stevens) that may be out there, but in the original account only your #1 and #4 are clearly correct. According to Shioda Sensei, O'Sensei disappeared and then reappeared behind everyone and did the whole thing twice.
To elaborate (from Shioda's original account in Japanese), they tried to shoot Ueshiba twice, from a distance of around 25 meters. Shioda couldn't see him move the first time, so he tried to watch carefully the second time, but still couldn't see him move across that distance. His comment on the incident was that he could not think of it as anything other than "divine techniques" ("kami-waza").
Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
I, personally, highly doubt the stories. Everyone who has posted here apparently does as well. I just can't figure out why Shioda Sensei would either distort things or make them up.

Charles
I have no idea what Shioda was like in terms of truthfullness or story-telling.

I do agree, however, with the original sentiment about John Stevens. He takes a lot of criticism for over-exaggeration, but when I read the original Japanese sources I realized that the "over-exaggeration" rested more with the sources than the reporter. True or not, those stories are an important part of Aikido history.

Best,

Chris

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2003, 10:23 PM   #13
akiy
 
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,847
Offline
I wrote about what Shioda sensei wrote in his book on the Aikido-L mailing list back in January. It's a bit out of context, but here's what I wrote:
Quote:
I just read Shioda sensei's account of this in the Japanese version of "Aikido Shugyo." If I rmember correctly, Shioda sensei's account told that there were six shooters ("Olympic caliber able to shoot a target consistently 100 times out of a 100") in a line facing the founder at a range of 25 meters. They all shot on the count of three (or some such external signal to all shoot at once). When the smoke cleared, the founder was seen to be behind the line of shooters, throwing one of them. This whole thing was then repeated with basically the same results (with the only difference being which shooter was thrown).

The theory I buy into is that the six shooters were told to miss deliberately despite the founder having signed away all "rights." Why humiliate (ie kill) this venerable and respected martial artist? Better to save face and let him think he can dodge bullets.

Heck, I can even buy that he'd dodged the bullets. If the shooters were as good as they said they were, they'd aim and shoot exactly where he was. Since the founder probably heard/knew exactly when they were going to shoot ("OK, gang, we're going to all shoot on the count of three. One, two THREE!"), all he'd have to do is "not be there." Of course, that leaves the question of how he ran 25 meters in a "split second"...
I then wrote a day later in response to someone who had a hard time believing that an Olympic-trained marksman would ever even aim a loaded gun at another human being, except in dire self-defense:
Quote:
To clarify, I hope I said "Olympic level" marksman as that's the term Shioda sensei used in his book. These folks were actually people who tested guns and rifles to determine whether the bullets veered off at all. As Shioda sensei writes (translated from the Japanese by me), "Their skill at shooting was at the Olympic level. When I watched them, they really did hit the target a hundred times out of the hundred so I was totally surprised."

He relays there were six people with pistols at a range of 25 meters (which, he says, was the usual distance to a human sized target). He goes on to write, "At the count of 'one, two, three', all six guns blazed fire. There was a plume of sand and, in the next instant, one of the six shooters had flown into the air." The same thing happens when they try again. The founder supposedly said a golden ball of light flew toward him the instant when the shooters had the intent to pull their triggers; the bullets came afterwards so it was no problem dodging them. Since all six bullets couldn't be fired at once, they came at slightly different times; all he had to do was go to the one that came first. The founder then says the golden light carried with it a very loud sound; he would start running when he heard the sound at a crouch, like a ninja. By the time the bullets came,he'd already be halfway in. He then supposedly said something like, "I'm necessary in this world. The gods have declared that I be kept alive. My misogi hasn't finished yet so I can't die. When the gods are through with me, then I will ascend into the heavens."

The next section details his encounter with the hunter. His words, supposedly, in turning him down were, "You don't have any intention to shoot. Rather, you're shooting with the foregone conviction that [the bullet] will hit. I can't dodge the gun of someone like that."
Hope that gives a more "detailed" account of what Shioda sensei wrote. (Translation from his Japanese is mine, though...)

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2003, 11:09 PM   #14
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Offline
Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Erik,

I haven't read any translations (other than Professor Stevens) that may be out there, but in the original account only your #1 and #4 are clearly correct.
See Jun's post. I was extrapolating the golden balls out of the eyes, or whatever it exactly was, as reading intent.
Quote:
I just can't figure out why Shioda Sensei would either distort things or make them up.
I don't think he did. I think one of two things happened. Gun shots are distracting, particularly when you aren't used to them, and these weapons may or may not have thrown off smoke which would further add to the distraction. Add the heightened effect of someone possibly being shot and it's very likely perceptions were distorted. It's possible to run 25 meters in roughly 3 seconds. Hence, I think Morihei Ueshiba may have just moved quickly and it seemed like it all happened in the blink of an eye.

Alternatively, it's often hard to see our teachers as they really are. There is a tendency, if we aren't really careful, to give them powers and abilities which they don't have. There may have been some of that going on as well.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2003, 07:21 AM   #15
MikeE
 
MikeE's Avatar
Dojo: Midwest Center For Movement & Aikido Bukou Dojos
Location: Hudson, WI
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 407
Offline
Charles,

There was no disrespect intended in my post. It's just the deshi of O'Sensei that I have trained with (for the most part) talked about O'Sensei's tangible aura and power, not of his ability to matrix his way out of a firing squad.

Lending more than what is humanly possible to a person's ability, IMHO, doesn't do the amazing art he developed or its practitioners any favors.

All the Best,

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
Aikido Bukou
Dojos
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2003, 08:49 AM   #16
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Offline
I read the original years ago when I took out all the books on Aikido from the library in an attempt to improve my Japanese reading ability. I must admit that I don't remember half of what Jun wrote.

While I take my training very seriously, I take these stories with an extremely light heart. I have taken no offense from anyone, and I hope no one has felt any from me. If people could put up with one more rant from me, I'd like to say that there is WAY too much contention on these forums over things that are not important.

Charles
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2003, 03:31 PM   #17
The Wrenster
Location: Horsham
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 17
Offline
Have any of you read "Total Aikido (something or other" by Suenaka Sensei? My memory of the names and titles is not so good, but i seem to remember that he was an acquaintance of O'Sensei for on several occasions. In the biography section about his time with O'Sensei he mentions some of these 'powers'. An example, I think was of his use of the kotodama sounds. Also, as mentioned above, his prescence was overwhelming, his Ki almost a physical prescence and his use of Kiai amazing. I cannot remember the precise details of these encounters, but the general gist was that he believed O'Sensai to be capable of some not quite scientifically explainable stuff. Hearing on this site, and in reading various material on Aikido and O'sensei, this i feel is believable, ar rather, I want to believe these are true. Anyhow, it does no harm to Aikido to have these stories, as something to aspire to.



Many thanks,

Adam
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2003, 03:59 PM   #18
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Offline
Re: Supernatural

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Saotome Sensei was quite outspoken on this subject. He stated that in the whole of the fifteen years that he was around O-Sensei he never saw any kind of "magic waza" as he referred to it. He was rather angry that these stories persisted in that he felt it took the focus away from the real achievement of the man who had reached an incredible level of skill.
George,

Which stories does he characterize thus?--

Doging bullets?

Knowing when someone arrived at the station across town?

Knocking over cars with a KIAI?

Hearing bugs on the SHOJI?

Anticipating attacks by DESHI?

Eating when hungry?...

Thanks.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2003, 10:57 AM   #19
kensparrow
Dojo: Methuen Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 97
Offline
Quote:
Adam Wren (The Wrenster) wrote:
Have any of you read "Total Aikido (something or other" by Suenaka Sensei? My memory of the names and titles is not so good, but i seem to remember that he was an acquaintance of O'Sensei for on several occasions. In the biography section about his time with O'Sensei he mentions some of these 'powers'.
Terrific book. I do recall Suenaka Sensei's account of being knocked nearly unconscious when O'Sensei struck him inth head with a chopstick!

Anybody know where I can learn the 31 count hashi kata?
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Article: Did Morihei Ueshiba Invent Aikido? by Peter Boylan AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 39 03-06-2008 08:27 AM
Quoting O'Sensei bratzo_barrena General 10 12-13-2005 06:44 AM
Omoto-kyo Theology senshincenter Spiritual 77 12-04-2005 09:50 PM
"I am the Universe." senshincenter General 13 01-15-2005 07:13 PM
O'Sensei as Superman? stratcat General 34 11-21-2000 10:10 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:42 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate