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Old 05-17-2005, 03:53 AM   #1
feck
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Confused Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Hi,

does anyone know if 0'sensei studied in Shoalin Chin-Na at any time in his life? You see a few websites i have visited have stated that Chin-Na is the roots of both jui-jutsu and aikido. Chin-Na is used as an add-on art to many chinese systems of kung-fu, and is supposed to be so many thousand years old.

I know O'sensei traveled to china in his life and was wondering if he picked some up there?
If this is not the case can anyone explain a kind of historical lineage from aikido to chin-na?

thanks

feck
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Old 05-17-2005, 05:04 AM   #2
batemanb
 
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Hi Paul,

Sorry I don't have time to look up the links right now, but if you use the search function on the site here and over at Aikido Journal, you will find some old threads discussing this in detail. You may need to widen your search words though.

Best Regards

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 05-17-2005, 05:35 AM   #3
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Most accounts and evidence from reliable sources indicate that there is little or no influence of chin-na (or pa-kua or etc) on Ueshiba's budo.

Outside the apocryphal stories of Ueshiba studying Chinese martial arts during his foray into China (addressed in some depth in other forums here and on other boards), the best evidence for any real influence of Chinese martial systems having significant impact on Japanese budo come through the stories about Chin Gempin (see http://www.furyu.com/archives/issue8/Chin.html), a Chinese-born physician (or architect, depending on who you read) who shared some tricks of fighting with three ronin (Fukuno Shichiroemon, Miura Yojiemon, and Isogai Jirozaemon) and from which they then developed or amended extant versions of jujutsu that they studied and taught.

I'd venture the opinion that Gempin had some influence on Japanese jujutsu (specifically in terms of kempo, fist methods), but that there's little evidence for direct influence of Chinese systems in any wholesale manner on the Japanese arts.

Another page about Gempin:
http://judoinfo.com/judohistory.htm


Chuck

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Old 05-17-2005, 09:15 AM   #4
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote:
Outside the apocryphal stories of Ueshiba studying Chinese martial arts during his foray into China (addressed in some depth in other forums here and on other boards), the best evidence for any real influence of Chinese martial systems having significant impact on Japanese budo come through the stories about Chin Gempin (see http://www.furyu.com/archives/issue8/Chin.html), a Chinese-born physician (or architect, depending on who you read) who shared some tricks of fighting with three ronin (Fukuno Shichiroemon, Miura Yojiemon, and Isogai Jirozaemon) and from which they then developed or amended extant versions of jujutsu that they studied and taught.

I'd venture the opinion that Gempin had some influence on Japanese jujutsu (specifically in terms of kempo, fist methods), but that there's little evidence for direct influence of Chinese systems in any wholesale manner on the Japanese arts.

Another page about Gempin:
http://judoinfo.com/judohistory.htm
The problem with attributing who got what from whom is pretty much obscured by national and personal prides, incomplete records, translators and historians who are not really qualified professionals in research or the art they're expounding on, etc. If you read most of the books by both Japanese and western "sword experts" up until only a few years ago, you'll see that they place the origin of the Japanese sword, its shape, tempering, etc., etc., as a purely Japanese invention. However, in the last few years it's been unavoidably shown that the shape, design, tempering process, etc., came to Japan via China and Korea. The reason this argument on swords can be settled is because some of the original swords still exist that came from China, etc.... i.e., there is hard proof that can't be denied. In other words, the written history and sources we had *up until only a few years ago* was dead wrong.

In the case of martial arts from China and what effect they had on Japanese arts, there is again a strong "national history" and the acknowledgements to Chinese or other nations is usually limited only to the unavoidable. So what we really know about martial arts histories is vague and often suspect. The best approach may be to avoid any favoritisms in terms of history and to try and view Asia as comprised of a number of countries that interacted in different ways during a time when Chinese culture and military dominated the region for a very long time. In turn, Chinese culture seems to have been seeded with many aspects of Indian culture, so that must be considered, also.

What we do know about Japan (and other countries in Asia) is that there is a history of borrowing heavily from China because China dominated that region with the latest technology, art, manufactruing, etc. Japan has borrowed a lot of language, "alphabet", measuring system, hair-do's, clothing styles, shoes, weapons, etiquette, calligraphy, manufacturing techniques, and many other things. The initial impression in the West that Japan and China only interacted at rare times (like the "kami kaze" story) is false... there was ongoing trade, travel, etc., between the countries at all times. If you want to see an indication of the importance of Chinese martial arts in Japanese martial arts, take a look at the picture of Tohei standing behind Ueshiba in 1953 (From Aikido:The Arts of Self-Defense)... it's an absolutely classical photograph done in the approved Chinese manner of student-disciple.

I somehow doubt that Chen Gempin had a temple built to his honor near Tokyo (it's still there) and was mentioned in the "Coversations with Ancestors, Book II" as giving the information critical to the founding of the "ju arts" simply because he taught some people 3 techniques. Right away these histories that toss of Gempin as not having contributed anything substantive are suspect, in my mind. The too-obvious attempt to trivialize Gempin or other influences on Japan should raise a warning flag to anyone really interested in the big picture. And incidentally "chuan fa" (Chinese) or "kem po" (Japanese: same kanji) is a general term meaning more or less "martial arts", not some specific martial art like "Japanese Kempo" which is a punch/kick art. I.e., the original comments about Gempin teaching "kempo" simply means that he taught some undefined type of "martial art".

All the Chinese sources I've seen acknowledge that Gempin was Chinese and that he taught some unknown amount of Shuai Jiao (probably the oldest Chinese martial art, BTW, not some recent upstart as some western judoka "historians" have incredibly claimed) and perhaps some other things to the Japanese. In those days (the 1600's, and even long before that, too), to show foreigners Chinese martial arts was actually a crime against the state.

When it gets down to "chin na" ("qinna", nowadays), I just roll my eyes at the suggestion that Japan developed its own joint locks independent of China and any similarities are just coincidences. In other words, my suggestion would be, to the original poster, that all the joint locks O-Sensei used were known by the Japanese long before O-Sensei was born, but many or most of those joint locks probably derived from Chinese martial arts... but there's no records to prove much of anything.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-17-2005, 09:26 AM   #5
rob_liberti
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

I agree with pretty much all of that. The only other factor in the equation I would like to mention is that I find that I "invent" something while training aikido that I have never seen anyone do before, and then years later I go to a seminar and find out that so-and-so sensei teaches their technique that way. I believe I read that both Telsa and Marconi independently invented the telegraph.

Rob
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Old 05-17-2005, 09:30 AM   #6
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Heya Mike!

We'll probably have to agree to disagree on this one. As you say, "but there's no records to prove much of anything" ...

I've looked into this question off and on for years, and even made some comparitive studies (spent a couple years playing Hsing I and Pa Kua, as well as a couple of other Chinese vairants), and while I don't doubt there was SOME cross-pollination, I'm not convinced there was as much as some folks would like think.

Hell, depending on how far BACK we go, heck, the Japanese were mainlanders in the remote past anyway, and yes, there was more commerce (trade, religion, etc) through the years than is apparent, but nonetheless, to say that aikido (or XYZ ryu jujutsu) originated in China is, to me, a bit of a stretch.

Far more evidence of Okinawan-Chinese intercourse (literally and figuratively) and cross-pollination of the 'te' systems by Chinese sources (pretty good evidence that the Ryukyu ruling class actively pursued training in both Chinese and Japanese martial systems through the years) and thus, SOME Chinese influence as the Okinawans were integrated more deeply into Japanese society, and thus, their budo.

Chuck

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Old 05-17-2005, 09:42 AM   #7
rob_liberti
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

I didn't think he was saying that aikido (or XYZ ryu jujutsu) originated in China. I agree it would be a bit of a stretch. But the underpinnings of some of the more sophistocated body power manifestations from at least some school most likely did have quite an influence from Chen Gempin. It would be quite a stretch to think that people built the guy a temple for any other reason.

Rob
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Old 05-17-2005, 09:48 AM   #8
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote:
I've looked into this question off and on for years, and even made some comparitive studies (spent a couple years playing Hsing I and Pa Kua, as well as a couple of other Chinese vairants), and while I don't doubt there was SOME cross-pollination, I'm not convinced there was as much as some folks would like think.
Hi Chuck:

Well, I've never fully subscribed to the Bagua, etc., theories, as I've noted before. Nothing in Ueshiba's Aikido or in Bagua, for that matter, can't be found in various Shuai Jiao curricula, anyway. My personal opinion is that Ueshiba didn't include anything in Aikido that wasn't already floating around in Japan beforehand... at best I'll concede that various jujitsu ryu may have included *some* small things from some of the Bagua they saw demonstrated in Tokyo and other places by itinerant Bagua practitioners in the early 1900's.
Quote:
Hell, depending on how far BACK we go, heck, the Japanese were mainlanders in the remote past anyway, and yes, there was more commerce (trade, religion, etc) through the years than is apparent, but nonetheless, to say that aikido (or XYZ ryu jujutsu) originated in China is, to me, a bit of a stretch.
Er..... nowhere have I posited that Aikido originated in China.... I'll simply posit that *some* of the contributing techniques and factors of Aikido may have originally come from China.
Quote:
Far more evidence of Okinawan-Chinese intercourse (literally and figuratively) and cross-pollination of the 'te' systems by Chinese sources (pretty good evidence that the Ryukyu ruling class actively pursued training in both Chinese and Japanese martial systems through the years) and thus, SOME Chinese influence as the Okinawans were integrated more deeply into Japanese society, and thus, their budo.
Well, I think you need to accept that more of Chinese martial arts than just te arts got into Japanese culture, Chuck. Remember that picture I just pointed out with Tohei and Ueshiba..... the Japanese/Chinese involvement in martial arts is a lot more extensive than recent Japanese history has allowed. Remember that it's only been just *several* years ago that we discovered all the legends about the Japanese inventing their famous sword were bogus. The point is to avoid any impulses to stick by the old school loyalties and to try to look at the whole of Asian society which was so emphatically dominated by the Tang Shou Tao ("Way of the Chinese Hand") during the Tang dynasty and beyond. Besides the katana, there is the naginata, sai, etc., etc., all from China... do you think that Japan only borrowed weapons and none of the martial techniques?

Good post, Chuck.

Mike
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Old 05-17-2005, 11:32 AM   #9
ian
 
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Many of the 'chin-na' techniques have evolved independently in the west as well (greco-roman wrestling had sankyo, and I've seen other techniques like rokyo in more recent studies of tradtional western martial arts). Although there is undoubtedly a chinese influence on martial arts which arrived in japan, I would say it is inappropriate to say 'chin-na' influenced 'aikido', but rather, chinese martial culture influenced japanese martial culture - probably pre-dating aikido by 100's if not thousands of years. Techniques like e.g. ikkyo, seem to be pretty universal in almost all martial arts, even though they are often practised in a slightly different way.

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Old 05-17-2005, 12:24 PM   #10
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Mike -

I don't know what you are talking about regarding a myth that the Japanese invented their swords. You've been reading the wrong books. Any Japanese text makes full and clear reference to not only Chiense swords, but also spear and halberd (hoko and ko). The single edged straight sword was the norm through about the 8th or 9th century. Then the tachi- curved sword was developed. The question would be if the form of forging the curved sword is the same in China. I do not believe that it is - my understanding is that Chinese swords were made with a different forging process. And anyway, all that ends up with was if the Japanese, who clearly and openly acknowledge the 100% debt to China for their early weapons (excepting the bow), also copied the form of the curved sword, or came on that innovation independently, and then developed it in a manner consistent with the needs of the Japanese battlefield (China imported vast numbers of Japanese swords in the middle ages, considering them of far greater quality than their own). The naginata, (curved blade glaive) may also have been inspired or derived from Chinese weapons. The Japanese were certainly aware of the Chinese form, which are refered to as bisento, as early as the 14th century. The yari, or tanged spear, was developed largely in inspiration/imitation of the spears carried by Chinese and Korean warriors during the Mongol invasion.

As for other Chinese influences, Taoism, (yin-yang dynamism) is the esoteric basis in many ryu. The five element theory, in particular, pervades many ryu. Shingon Mikkyo - esoteric Buddhism - which was used to gather power, make incantations, etc., is, of course, derived from Chinese versions of Tibetan Buddhism. In short, the philosophical and esoteric bases of many of the ryu is China based. (Others are tied to folk Shinto, and the practices are far more geared to exorcism and ritual.

Ueshiba/aikido has no new techniques whatsoever - every one is in Daito-ryu, and forms of most of those can be found in a variety of jujutsu. As you can find most all of them in European texts from the 14th-15th century, I don't think it necessary to believe that the Japanese needed the Chinese to teach them TECHNIQUES. A lot of them were in sumo for over 1000 years. (Course maybe THAT came from Chinese/Korean/Mongol sources way back when). ANYWAY - I wouldn't be at all surprised if the more subtle uses of the body - the REAL tactics - are owed to the Chinese ----ki, kokyu, etc. For whatever my opinion is worth.

Ellis

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Old 05-17-2005, 12:52 PM   #11
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
I don't know what you are talking about regarding a myth that the Japanese invented their swords. You've been reading the wrong books.
Hi Ellis:

It's a fairly common legend about the king going to war, all the swords didn't perform well, a sword-maker came up with the design, etc. I'll bet if you polled most people who practice Japanese-related martial arts, they'd feed something like that back to you. No biggy.
Quote:
Any Japanese text makes full and clear reference to not only Chiense swords, but also spear and halberd (hoko and ko). The single edged straight sword was the norm through about the 8th or 9th century. Then the tachi- curved sword was developed. The question would be if the form of forging the curved sword is the same in China. I do not believe that it is - my understanding is that Chinese swords were made with a different forging process.
Hard to say on the forging process. And yes, the Chinese used curved blades, too. My understanding is that the forging process was part of the big deal that they got from China. It has to be understood that that style of sword was popular in *some provinces* and *some armies* at one time, but was not ubiquitous in China. Oil-tempered copies of the blade design that didn't use the time-consuming layered forging were often found, as well, so the question about "different forging processes" may not be any different than the fact that military Japanese swords given out by the Japanese Army in WWII used a cheaper process as well.
Quote:
Ueshiba/aikido has no new techniques whatsoever - every one is in Daito-ryu, and forms of most of those can be found in a variety of jujutsu. As you can find most all of them in European texts from the 14th-15th century, I don't think it necessary to believe that the Japanese needed the Chinese to teach them TECHNIQUES. A lot of them were in sumo for over 1000 years. (Course maybe THAT came from Chinese/Korean/Mongol sources way back when). ANYWAY - I wouldn't be at all surprised if the more subtle uses of the body - the REAL tactics - are owed to the Chinese ----ki, kokyu, etc.
The only comment I'd make is about the reference to techniques found in Europe, etc. Yes, you can find one here, one there, a couple here, a couple there, etc., but you can't find them in cohesive groups like you do between Japan and Chinese joint-locks. Once you see replications that go beyond the one'sies and two'sies and you add in the fact that Japan borrowed very extensively even mundane items from China, then you factor in proximity, trade, etc., it becomes a little disingenuous to devise stories of simultaneous coincidents when Occam's Razor is shouting aloud to use common sense.

Anyway, the only point I was trying to make is one that you and I both are agreeing on.... the joint-locks etc., in Aikido resemble Shaolin joint-locks most likely because at one time China dominated that whole area and many cultural artifacts disseminated throughout the region. However, in the same way that karate derived from various Chinese martial arts yet it is not a Chinese art, Ueshiba's Aikido may ultimately have borrowed ideas that originated in China, but it is not a Chinese martial art, despite many similar techniques.

The real question (and the one to avoid like the plague) is whether the Japanese arts and modifications are *better* than the original Chinese arts. Run away fast if someone starts that one.

My opinion, FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-18-2005, 09:06 AM   #12
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Ellis, there's another point or two I could add in my weapons/techniques debate.

First: Have you ever seen a small book(let) called "Introduction to Ancient Chinese Weapons" by Yang Jwing Ming? It has some interesting pictures of some of the weapons we were talking about yesterday.

Secondly: Given how fanatic Asians can be about not showing "secrets" (look at how much westerners have been kept in the dark about by both Japanese and Chinese, etc.), I've been heavily surprised at the extent of qi and jin knowledge that apparently people like O-Sensei had access to, *including* the literature and poems that go with it. In other words, O-Sensei (and others we've discussed) had something approaching a classical knowledge of the theory and mechanics of martial qigong development. Given the surprising depth of knowledge about so-called "secret" information, doesn't it seem plausible that the knowledge of techniques (including the joint-locks we were discussing) was fairly broad and not subject to this "coincidental development" theory that is propounded by some?

FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-18-2005, 01:16 PM   #13
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

I think most martial arts overlap in some way. Humans have been learning to defend themselves since...forever I reckon. Take Japan and China, and korea. What are the chances that three different countries decided to create martial systems incorporating kicks and the ilk? Somewhere, sometime in the timeline of creation the secrets were shared and evolved. Buuuut thats just my opinon.
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Old 05-18-2005, 07:40 PM   #14
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Mike - The basic joint lock are, to me, not rocket science. I bet some were due to influence from abroad, and some home-grown. There's some evidence that some of the catch wrestling locks, alleged to have developed independently, were actually "stolen" in the early 20th century from jujutsu practitioners, so it's certainly believable. But I think it's far more likely that the real Chinese influence is transfer of knowledge of the soft martial arts. (Notice I'm coming around to your opinion). NOT - Ueshiba. I'm increasingly of the belief that there were some contacts with Chinese, both mainland and in Nagasaki in the 1600 and 1700's, and that they left a quiet substrate in some jujutsu schools, quite different from the more rough and straightforward jujutsu that is msainstream.

Ellis

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Old 05-18-2005, 08:01 PM   #15
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
Mike - The basic joint lock are, to me, not rocket science. I bet some were due to influence from abroad, and some home-grown. There's some evidence that some of the catch wrestling locks, alleged to have developed independently, were actually "stolen" in the early 20th century from jujutsu practitioners, so it's certainly believable. But I think it's far more likely that the real Chinese influence is transfer of knowledge of the soft martial arts. (Notice I'm coming around to your opinion). NOT - Ueshiba. I'm increasingly of the belief that there were some contacts with Chinese, both mainland and in Nagasaki in the 1600 and 1700's, and that they left a quiet substrate in some jujutsu schools, quite different from the more rough and straightforward jujutsu that is mainstream.
Er.... actually, I think that proper joint-locks really do form a science of sorts. There are general theories that it helps every practitioner to know.

If you look at just techniques, I don't think you'll find a number of joint locks like those that are shared by Japan and China in other places in the world. The "Nikyo" series (if you'll allow me to coin a phrase) is seen by both China and Japan as an approach to a joint, not necessarily a "technique", which seems to be what you're discussing. I'm trying to say something more in a big picture way... and if both countries share the same big picture, it must be due to more than just casual happenstance. For both China and Japan to have a formulated approach to joint attacks with a related series that is the same is not good for the "quiet substrate" theory, IMO. Worse yet, and this is where I would actually make my argument, the whole theory of joint locks is shared by higher-level Japanese and Chinese martial artists. To get a pertinent-to-Aikido look at this theory, I'd recommend you buy (actually, this book is a must-have, IMO, for every martial artist) "PRACTICAL CHIN NA" by Zhao Da Yuan. Once you grasp how joint-locks are viewed as a whole, then go look in Shioda's book (there are other Japanese books, I'm told, but they're not translated) and watch for the places where he discusses the theories of joint-locks. It's the same big-picture approach. Those are not the quiet substrates of casual cultural contact, insofar as I can see.

But, whatever. I think we agree generally.... we're just arguing specifics.

Mike
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Old 05-18-2005, 09:34 PM   #16
rob_liberti
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Re: Ueshiba + Chin-Na?

FYI:

http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~aikido/htmls/power.html

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6259

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2098
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