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Old 06-01-2005, 11:42 PM   #1
Ellis Amdur
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Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

I recently had a conversation with a noted scholar of Japanese history and religion, who is also an authority on older martial arts. I shan't use his name because I'm paraphrasing our conversation, and I believe this person would prefer nothing be attributed to him that he didn't write himself, backing up with appropriate citations. But here are the essential points:

1) Taoist and neo-confucian texts on chi development, breathing, etc., were endemic in the Edo period, and valued highly by various ryu. A perusal of densho of most ryu shows specific references to such texts. (I've got an example of one such makimono, examined by a scholar of Chinese literature, and successive wordscan be tied to different Chinese texts.)
2) Martial manuals were also passed around. I know of one example of a book of Chinese stick fighting that was traced over, and the bo replaced with spear - the book then claimed as a native Japanese text.
3) True Shinto was a folk religion, with some shamanistic practices, and purification rites. Much of the alleged native Shinto ki/kokyu developmental exercises were, in fact, taken from Chinese texts and Shinto dieties and cosmology super-imposed upon these concepts, which in many cases obscured what were rather clear technical instruction. This occured starting in mid-Edo with a nativist streak took over the intellectual community and there was an attempt to eliminate the debt Japan owed to China by embeding the Chinese texts in Japanese terms.
4) Much of what was alleged to be Buddhist or even specifically Zen teaching was straightforward Taoist practices taught by Zen priests, who were, at that time, repositories of knowledge from a variety of sources rather than sectarian. Hakuin, specifically, refers to Taoist breathing exercises.
5) Deguchi Onisaburo took the intuitive, channeled writing of his mother-in-law, Deguchi Nao and EXPLICTY added Taoist five element theory, yin-yang dynamism to his doctrines. Deguchi claimed a universalist religion - sometimes he'd use the Taoist or Buddhist terms, and sometimes they'd be blurred, as above into Shinto terms.
6) One remarkable fact was that there were actually quite large "Chinatowns" in Japanese cities in mid-Edo, and Japanese who wanted to learn Chinese before journeys to China (which were NOT forbidden, merely controlled - as opposed to journey's elsewhere in the world) would go to these Chinatowns to learn.
7) The idea that large parts of jujutsu were derived from Chinese martial arts was fairly common up to Meiji period. Kano Jigoro vigorously opposed this, which rather squelched the theory, due to his influence. (My opinion - the oldest arts are likely native Japanese - they are extensions of ordinary Japanese warfare - grappling with small weapons and armor. The transition to what came to be called jujutsu - counters, empty handed grappling very possibly has this strong Chinese base).
8) There is, to date, no documents or oral tradition that Japanese warriors went to Chinatowns to learn. There are several accounts of members of some ryu who went to China and learned things (Ogasawara Genshin is a famous example, as is the founder of Yoshin-ryu, a jujutsu style with a very definite emphasis on aiki-like technique). But it is known that Japanese went to these Chinatowns to learn to speak Chinese, it is known that Chinese martial manuals were avidly read, studied and passed around. It seems quite plausible that Japanese also studied directly.

In short, Mike Sigman's posts on this subject seem to me to be, in most respects, right on the money.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 06-02-2005, 02:26 AM   #2
bkedelen
 
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Very edifying, thank you. I have always attributed the budo/wushu link as nonsense primarily due to what I have read from you, Amdur sensei, and what I have learned from Jonathan Lewis, both of you having significant experience in Hsing-i, gung-fu, Aikido, and assorted ryuha. It was my perception that although many ryuha exhibit movements similar to those propagated by various wushu disciplines, the Japanese never seemed to be very interested in the straight punches which constitute the bread and butter of most other east Asian martial systems, including very influential systems developed only one island away. It occurred to me that this was because Budo men were always heavily armed, and seemingly looked down on fisticuffs as low class warfare. I am very glad that you spent the time to illustrate that Chinese manuals and religious symbolism were influential in developing classical Japanese warfare, and that those influences have merely been obfuscated because of the stigma present in Japanese culture related to foreign influence.
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Old 06-02-2005, 03:47 AM   #3
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Near to where I live, there are the Royal Armouries of her Magesty the Queen. A few years back they invited some swordmen from Japan and showed them some of the two handed swords work that were used in the 16th century. After some silent, one of the old sensei said that some of those were techniques from his school. Guess what: idea travel and the good ones stick.

Besides, there is only so many ways in which the human body moves. So similar techniques will develop on their own because they are the best way to deal with something. Besides, if you want to be the best, you have to practice with lots of different people. People travel and bring back what they learned.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-02-2005, 08:49 AM   #4
rob_liberti
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

That would be cool for the aikiwiki. I would love to eventually see that with the citations.

When I spoke about this to the most knowledgeable person I know on the subject I got "What is overlooked in watching the migration of the worlds religious and philosophical teachings is that they all have a common origin which is much older than our recorded history." That lead me to believe something different than what is stated in point 5. I'm no authority. I never thought there was _no connection_, but it certainly seemed just as reasonable _to me_ that the philosophical underpinning principles could come from an older common origin, and that the Japanese kotodama were just one expression of them, while the Chinese had their own manifestations of them (which certainly influenced things in Japan but didn't necessarily mean they so directly influenced things).

Interesting topic for sure. -Rob
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:02 AM   #5
Mike Sigman
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
1) Taoist and neo-confucian texts on chi development, breathing, etc., were endemic in the Edo period, and valued highly by various ryu. A perusal of densho of most ryu shows specific references to such texts. (I've got an example of one such makimono, examined by a scholar of Chinese literature, and successive wordscan be tied to different Chinese texts.)
2) Martial manuals were also passed around. I know of one example of a book of Chinese stick fighting that was traced over, and the bo replaced with spear - the book then claimed as a native Japanese text.
3) True Shinto was a folk religion, with some shamanistic practices, and purification rites. Much of the alleged native Shinto ki/kokyu developmental exercises were, in fact, taken from Chinese texts and Shinto dieties and cosmology super-imposed upon these concepts, which in many cases obscured what were rather clear technical instruction. This occured starting in mid-Edo with a nativist streak took over the intellectual community and there was an attempt to eliminate the debt Japan owed to China by embeding the Chinese texts in Japanese terms.
4) Much of what was alleged to be Buddhist or even specifically Zen teaching was straightforward Taoist practices taught by Zen priests, who were, at that time, repositories of knowledge from a variety of sources rather than sectarian. Hakuin, specifically, refers to Taoist breathing exercises.
5) Deguchi Onisaburo took the intuitive, channeled writing of his mother-in-law, Deguchi Nao and EXPLICTY added Taoist five element theory, yin-yang dynamism to his doctrines. Deguchi claimed a universalist religion - sometimes he'd use the Taoist or Buddhist terms, and sometimes they'd be blurred, as above into Shinto terms.
6) One remarkable fact was that there were actually quite large "Chinatowns" in Japanese cities in mid-Edo, and Japanese who wanted to learn Chinese before journeys to China (which were NOT forbidden, merely controlled - as opposed to journey's elsewhere in the world) would go to these Chinatowns to learn.
7) The idea that large parts of jujutsu were derived from Chinese martial arts was fairly common up to Meiji period. Kano Jigoro vigorously opposed this, which rather squelched the theory, due to his influence. (My opinion - the oldest arts are likely native Japanese - they are extensions of ordinary Japanese warfare - grappling with small weapons and armor. The transition to what came to be called jujutsu - counters, empty handed grappling very possibly has this strong Chinese base).
8) There is, to date, no documents or oral tradition that Japanese warriors went to Chinatowns to learn. There are several accounts of members of some ryu who went to China and learned things (Ogasawara Genshin is a famous example, as is the founder of Yoshin-ryu, a jujutsu style with a very definite emphasis on aiki-like technique). But it is known that Japanese went to these Chinatowns to learn to speak Chinese, it is known that Chinese martial manuals were avidly read, studied and passed around. It seems quite plausible that Japanese also studied directly.

In short, Mike Sigman's posts on this subject seem to me to be, in most respects, right on the money.
Unfortunately, and as usual it seems, the way I turn out being occasionally a little bit right is to be very wrong for too long. The long and short of it is that I totally misjudged the amount of Chinese material in Japan, mainly based on my preconception that the Chinese were very sparing of sharing military/martial information with foreigners. Of course, the extreme amount of borrowing from China in all other respects indicated the impossibility of *no* martial transmission, but while I guessed the general answer correctly, I was far off on the amounts... so I can't really claim to be "right on the money". My excuse is that I've been occupied with Chinese martial arts and didn't devote the time to the Japanese stuff... but that's just an excuse for the real problem of letting preconceptions mislead me.

Coincidentally, in some other discussions I am in (on other forums/mail-lists), it appears that some fairly well-known experts in Chinese martial arts may not be happy with my showing and discussion of how some of these things are done. As one person in Europe commented, he's pretty sure that the skills he and others now have in jin/kokyu, etc., are causing the emplacement of a "glass ceiling"... i.e., there are levels of knowledge and skill that are OK for only a few people to know. Because I was generally aware of a glass-ceiling, I took it as a given that such a thing was in place in Japan, as well, and I'm much more sure of that fact, given this posting (by Ellis).

The immediate question, in my mind, is not who's right or wrong, but rather how bad is the damage? Looking finally (duh... it was in the AikiWeb archives) at the structure statements for ki-development in Ki-Aikido, I see that my general guess that they're being deliberately slowed down is almost certainly correct. What is see for up to "black belt" level in ki development should at best take about 4-6 months to develop, IMO.

Another side conversation I've been having with an old friend of mine (with about 30 years in Aikido) involves his conviction, based on some extensive interviews, that the knowledgeable Japanese instructors do not really teach westerners. When he first stated this opinion some months ago, I let it pass, thinking that it was just an offhand personal opinion. However, looking at the level of knowledge in the Aikido community (based on reading forums, etc.) on some fairly basic subjects, I suddenly realize that he may be telling the truth. Certainly most of the Japanese instructors have been encountering areas of misunderstanding, ignorance, etc., over their tenures in the West. It's the number of things they don't openly correct, educate, etc., on that is troubling. If they really wanted to spread the word, they could do it. So it's a traditional thing that is stopping progress. And no one should misunderstand me on this.... the same problem is endemic in the Chinese martial arts, as well.

Some students are their own worst enemies, too. I hear this "learn through practice and it will come to you" stuff all the time.... generally the people who say it are pretty ignorant of some basic material. The idea is that a given teacher has your best interests in mind and he's showing you "through example" the things you need to know. In reality, it's just traditional to pick and choose who you show things to. If you've encountered, as I have, the sons of well-known masters and compared their progress with even in-door disciples of that same teacher, you know full-well that a lot more is being shown to the heirs than to anyone else. Yes, a lot is learned through example and thinking, but a huge amount depends on what is directly told to you, as well.

Another killing factor in the spread of knowledge is the hierarchy problem... and western Aikido has almost guaranteed its own mediocrity by allowing a hierarchy of yudanshakai to develop that has strong roots in the New Age distractions. The current hierarchy in Aikido (as in most martial arts, disciplines, etc., that have not controlled themselves) will vigorously defend their positions and will attempt to stop any development that includes the idea that they're not rightfully in a strong hierarchical position. It's human nature... no matter how "nice" or "cool" or "loved by all his students" or "caring for all his students" a particular person is.

Anyway, the question I look at is... what do you do to help correct a problem that is endemic in Asian martial arts when the Asian teachers (I'm thinking mainly Japan and China, but it's regional) resist letting out certain knowledge and when the current hierarchy will vigorously defend against any change or information that might make their own positions untenable? It's not a question of who's right or wrong, in my view (because *none* of us knows everything and can be right all the time)... it's a question of what do you do to get the most useable and valuable information out to the greatest number of people? Particularly when it's that very information that will functionally help the most people and actually grow the arts and the level of practice within the current arts.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:06 AM   #6
Stefan Stenudd
 
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From India to China to Japan

Interesting thread.
History is never easy to decipher.
Generally speaking, there is a documented travel of religious and philosophical thought from India to China to Japan. Some Martial arts components have probably traveled the same way.

Still, the sloppy historian paradigm of an idea only being possible to have been born once in mankind, is surely misleading. People have ideas, the world over, and relate to similar ideas from other people, when coming across them.
That doesn't mean they keep the idea intact, or don't incorporate their own tradition into it. In religion, the case is more often that a foreign influence is mixed with the domestic tradition, into something that deviates from both the foreign and the domestic original. I would guess that the same is true for much in the MA.

Anyway, some concepts in Japanese budo are evidently of Chinese origin - such as , and tanden. I would bet, though, that is influenced by prana in Indian tradition, and dantian/tanden is influenced by Indian chakra theory.

That leaves out . Anyone knows of an Indian counterpart of the dao/do concept?

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:09 AM   #7
Mike Sigman
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote:
It was my perception that although many ryuha exhibit movements similar to those propagated by various wushu disciplines, the Japanese never seemed to be very interested in the straight punches which constitute the bread and butter of most other east Asian martial systems, including very influential systems developed only one island away. It occurred to me that this was because Budo men were always heavily armed, and seemingly looked down on fisticuffs as low class warfare.
The story, as I understand it, is that the Japanese were shown things related to the "ju" arts and that was a no-no of sorts. It was enough of a no-no that almost all the Chinese experts are aware that Chen Yuan Yun showed the Japanese some parts of Shuai Jiao that normally would not be shown to foreigners. The point is that Shuai Jiao is a grappling art and only has limited kicks and punches... Japanese "ju"-ryu reflect that style nicely.

In the case of karate, etc., from Okinawa (this is also true of Indonesia, BTW), it was a well-known sailing stop in the trade routes of China, particularly southern China. Okinawan karate (and some of it, it must be understood, is actually only recently developed) reflects southern Shaolin fighting styles like White Crane, Southern Mantis, etc.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:14 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Ellis,
I eves dropped a lot at the Expo and am amazed by your wealth of knowledge.
Thank you for sharing it.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:22 AM   #9
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Karatedo

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
In the case of karate, etc., from Okinawa (this is also true of Indonesia, BTW), it was a well-known sailing stop in the trade routes of China, particularly southern China. Okinawan karate (and some of it, it must be understood, is actually only recently developed) reflects southern Shaolin fighting styles like White Crane, Southern Mantis, etc.
It is an undisputed fact about karatedo, that its name was originally written with a kanji for kara meaning Chinese. Later on, it was by Funakoshi switched to the kanji for empty.
The Chinese influence on Okinawa-te is tremendous, no doubt.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:29 AM   #10
Mike Sigman
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Re: Karatedo

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote:
It is an undisputed fact about karatedo, that its name was originally written with a kanji for kara meaning Chinese. Later on, it was by Funakoshi switched to the kanji for empty.
The Chinese influence on Okinawa-te is tremendous, no doubt.
It's worse that you think. I was horrified to go back and watch a video of one of the style-founders' sons and see him do obvious ki-breathing exercises... at the time I studied that style, none of us had a clue. Looking at the current western popular internet forum on that same style, I see they still don't have a clue, despite all the posturing, "expert" analyses, etc., etc. Worse yet, I saw a document discussing some of the breathing techniques (obviously Chinese-derived) from someone trying to be helpful and it was glossed over as not being too important.... and I'm sure the reason it was considered "not too important" was because none of the "experts" had any idea what it really meant or how to do it!!!!

Mike
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Old 06-20-2005, 07:48 PM   #11
Mike Sigman
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
7) The idea that large parts of jujutsu were derived from Chinese martial arts was fairly common up to Meiji period. Kano Jigoro vigorously opposed this, which rather squelched the theory, due to his influence. (My opinion - the oldest arts are likely native Japanese - they are extensions of ordinary Japanese warfare - grappling with small weapons and armor. The transition to what came to be called jujutsu - counters, empty handed grappling very possibly has this strong Chinese base).

8) There is, to date, no documents or oral tradition that Japanese warriors went to Chinatowns to learn. There are several accounts of members of some ryu who went to China and learned things (Ogasawara Genshin is a famous example, as is the founder of Yoshin-ryu, a jujutsu style with a very definite emphasis on aiki-like technique). But it is known that Japanese went to these Chinatowns to learn to speak Chinese, it is known that Chinese martial manuals were avidly read, studied and passed around. It seems quite plausible that Japanese also studied directly.
One of the interesting parts of Ellis's post was this one. If you go to various books and websites which discuss the history of Judo and the Jiujitsu Ryu, you'll see the almost universal dismissal of Chinese influence on Japanese ju arts. I was looking at a couple of websites, etc., which give "histories" of judo and other "ju" arts... most of them dismissing the Chinese role in these arts... most of these "histories" are simply wrong or badly distorted. It's not a matter of Japanophile versus Sinophiles (I personally couldn't care less about anything but the real facts, to whoever's supposed "benefit" they are)... it's a matter of where the truth actually lies. If something as basic as the history of someone's art is so glaringly wrong and/or misunderstood, then how much error is there also within the understanding of the art itself? What's interesting is that Ellis's post didn't seem to raise any comments or discussions in relation to this major alteration of the history preceeding Aikido and its roots! I wonder how many people will simply ignore Ellis's post and continue on and continue teaching (worse yet) what they have comfortably believed for years?

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-21-2005, 08:59 AM   #12
rob_liberti
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

We are just at the raised awareness and suspicion level, not at the "fact level" yet. According the Gleason sensei, there are ancient shinto records which have been kept in that family for generations that seem to contradict much of what has been written here. Ellis also respects Gleason sensei as a credible scholar. If it turns out that we can actually find the facts about where our understanding of these things developed originally in either country or Atlantis for that matter, I trust that Gleason sensei and others will research what that means and adjust their teaching accordingly.

Rob
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Old 06-21-2005, 10:02 AM   #13
Mike Sigman
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
We are just at the raised awareness and suspicion level, not at the "fact level" yet. According the Gleason sensei, there are ancient shinto records which have been kept in that family for generations that seem to contradict much of what has been written here.
Why do these conversations always devolve to unsupported assertion? The Japan-China connection, even in the martial arts, is not a "suspicion", it's an established fact, except for at the level where people are defending their "styles", "teacher", etc. If you want to assert that Gleason is privy to and can read "ancient Shinto records", give us some examples and sources. If nothing else, "Shinto" didn't devise the classical Chinese references used in O-Sensei's writings, so you need to address that point before anything else.
Quote:
Ellis also respects Gleason sensei as a credible scholar.
I'm not sure that Ellis is going to want to be dragged into the conversation with an assertion by you about whom Ellis "respects" as a credible scholar.

I don't know Gleason, although I've heard some positive and some negative comments about him. If my understanding is correct, Gleason lived in Japan for about ten years and picked up a certain number of skills in varying degrees. However, a "credible scholar", in the way we would need it for this instance, is someone who knows the culture inside and out, can read and understand the old-characters and the martial idioms associated with what is being written, and so on through a number of factors. Are you maintaining that Gleason has that level of skills?

I'm not dismissing Gleason, but I'm trying to bring the perspective up to a realistic level that clarifies what a "credible scholar" means when it is discussed among reasonably knowledgeable people. To put it in perspective, think how many Japanese we know who grew up in Japan, know the culture from the inside, know certain amounts of history, etc., and yet who humbly won't mention, unless pushed, their hobby-level knowledge of Zen, Shinto, martial-arts, etc. They are far more accomplished than some westerner who spent ten years or so in Japan.... and they don't make claims about being a "credible scholar" because they know it won't stand up to scrutiny.

Over the years I have known a large number of people who have spent *more* than 10 years in places like Japan, China, Indonesia, etc. They speak the language and often write it. There are varying degrees of accomplishment, of course, but NO honestly "credible scholar" among them pretends to really be knowledgeable about the culture, particularly in the vague and nuanced portions of history, historical writings, knowledge of ki-related studies, etc., as would need be in this case at hand. Obviously, there's something to this whole idea of "credible scholar" that bothers me, so let me see if I can express it a little more clearly.

I've spent a reasonable amount of my life traveling and studying and looking for information. At no time have I thought that I had "all the answers" or was an "expert" (note that I do not teach any martial art simply because I don't think I know enough yet... however, regardless of what I know, I'm well aware there are many "teachers" who know even less than I do!). Here's the scenario that bothers me:

If I went to Japan or China for 10 years and picked up some basic knowledge of the culture, history, religions, etc., I have enough sense to know that my knowledge is superficial, at best. I also know from experience that it is totally ridiculous to picture some Asian expert watching some foreigner and thinking to himself, "At last he is here... I can reveal the secrets!". It doesn't happen.

If, in this imaginary scenario, I then came back to the United States and posed as knowledgeable in all these areas, I personally would be aware that I was doing a bit of deliberate fiction. I.e., "dishonest". As I was discussing recently with a friend of mine, it's that choice of deliberate fiction that is bothersome in too many of the returnee's that we've met over the years. Some are fairly knowledgeable about some things.... others would have been better off staying in the States and avoiding the time developing a veneer.

There's usually an ego and some level of dishonesty involved in the "expert-enough-to-teach" pose, simply because no one with any real intelligence or humility would attempt such a pose if they honestly evaluate what they know. Most "teachers" in *many* arts overstep their knowledge... sometimes it's a start to something good; often it's the start of the mediocrity that ensnares so many beginning students. The bothersome part of it is that same old sad song that I've sung before.... it affects what is taught to beginning students who pin their hopes on learning the real facts and skills. That's ultimately what's wrong with so many of the "experts" who teach... they mislead students and take them down that same wrong road that they themselves are often on.

Again, note that I'm saying I don't know Gleason and I'm not saying this applies to him. But I will say that the Japan-China connection, while being a dispute among amateurs on some martial-arts boards, is not a dispute among real "credible scholars". Take a look at some of the things written by William C.C. Hu and others. If you want to make the claim that "ki", and its attendant body-mind conditioning components, isn't derived from "qi" and that the body technology actually comes from Shinto, how about let's see a bit more logic and support and less simple assertion? Frankly, I wonder if it's worth the time and effort to engage in this level of argument... it seems to be motivated by some loyalty to already-held beliefs and teachers rather than an active desire to find out all you can. That puts us in two different worlds entirely. So rather than contend with a simple assertion about Shinto, how about let's see the support or at least the logic? Why not get Gleason Sensei to post ... I'd be interested to see what he knows about ki development, since you've offered him as an expert. And I say that with an open mind.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-21-2005, 10:02 AM   #14
Tom54
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

One of the interesting parts of Ellis's post was this one. If you go to various books and websites which discuss the history of Judo and the Jiujitsu Ryu, you'll see the almost universal dismissal of Chinese influence on Japanese ju arts.

Mr. Sigman , with all the respect about your knowledge of chinese martial art, I think when your are discussing Japanese martial art, you need to think and discuss about it in their context.

Reading some of your posts, I really think that your opinions are too
much "cinocentric".
What Mr.Amdur has confirmed, is quite a well known fact in Japan I think. Your guess that it is for nationalisitic motivations that Japanese are denying the influences of china is not correct.

The denial is because you don't have enough evidence.To understant this,or grasp the backround, you must understand or have some knowlege about Japanese history and the Japanese martial art history and also about the east asian history in general.
Above all, traditionaly, all east asian in the premodern times were "diffusionist" in historic view(including Japanese). And of course everything must have the origin, or should have the origin, in the "Middle of the flower(middle of the civilization)", China.

Especially in the Beginning of the Edo era(1600~), "China connections"(not only in martial art but virtually in everything) was highly valued in Japan (Korean connection as they had more intimate links to chinese civilizations, had also a high value).It has historical and political reasons for that.
Because of this reason, most of the Japanese martial arts historian are sceptical of the chinese influence unless there are concrete evidence.

Well, it's been a too long post. I am sorry for that.

PS:I've read in other threads that you have interest when Shioda Gozo sensei's technique changed from "hard" to more "soft" or more "subtle".I've recommend a book which was published last year by Inoue Kyoichi sensei, the present Kancho of Yoshinkan, he is one of the oldest student of Shioda Sensei.He described this in detail. Also this book would clear up some of the rumors that Shioda sensei has trained with Horikawa Kodo(I had a one year experience in trainig at a Daito ryu school from the Horikawa Kodo line between 1990 to 1991.I've never heard rumors about the training of Shioda sensei with Horikawa sensei outside this school in Japan.So I was really surprised that this rumor was wide spread on english language based internet boards. The reason for that must be that this school and the sensei gained international fame during this years.Anyway our globe is really becoming small these days).But of course the problem is that it is written in Japanese.

The title of the book is "Shioda Gozo jikiden: Aikido Kokyuryoku no tanren ho"(Direct teachings of Shioda Gozo:training methods in Kokyuryoku of Aikido).
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Old 06-21-2005, 10:22 AM   #15
Mike Sigman
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Tom Yawata wrote:
One of the interesting parts of Ellis's post was this one. If you go to various books and websites which discuss the history of Judo and the Jiujitsu Ryu, you'll see the almost universal dismissal of Chinese influence on Japanese ju arts.

Mr. Sigman , with all the respect about your knowledge of chinese martial art, I think when your are discussing Japanese martial art, you need to think and discuss about it in their context.
Hi Tom:

It's not clear to me what you are saying. Both Ellis and I are saying, more or less, that *despite* the denials of Kano and others in recent times, the Chinese influence on Japanese martial arts and the "ju" arts was apparently very strong. The "histories" that I have read (translated to English or by English speakers) are usually not written by historians but by judo enthusiasts, etc. For instance, you'll see most judo-enthusiasts mention "Gempin" (Chen Yuan Yun) as a potential contributor to the roots of the ju arts, but then they almost all go on to say that it didn't happen. Yet there is that temple on the outskirts of Tokyo in his honor for giving basic information on the "ju" arts and there is also the mention in the "Conversations with the Ancestors", Vol. 2. So who is correct... the current and nationalistic "historians" that dismiss Gempin? Common sense would say that at the very least, some revisionism must be considered.
Quote:
Reading some of your posts, I really think that your opinions are too
much "cinocentric".
What Mr.Amdur has confirmed, is quite a well known fact in Japan I think. Your guess that it is for nationalisitic motivations that Japanese are denying the influences of china is not correct.
Actually, I think Ellis supports that idea of revisionism, if you'll read his post. And because I'm not a Nipponophile, don't get the idea that I'm a Sinophile. I'm neither. If anything, I have to quash my Japanophile leanings because I did Japanese martial arts for about 25 years. If anything, I tend to assume the best about Japanese arts and history too often and it obscures my ability to see what probably really happened.

In terms of "diffusionism", I agree with that concept and I've never said otherwise. I'm simply saying pretty much exactly what you said... most of these things originated in China. The tricky part comes with the "diffusionism" as it applies to ki development skills... the basic principles and powers of ki skills are fixed and immutable, so it is not a matter of doing a different form of ki things, it is a matter of which approach (and they are limited) you choose to take.
Quote:
PS:I've read in other threads that you have interest when Shioda Gozo sensei's technique changed from "hard" to more "soft" or more "subtle".I've recommend a book which was published last year by Inoue Kyoichi sensei, the present Kancho of Yoshinkan, he is one of the oldest student of Shioda Sensei.He described this in detail. Also this book would clear up some of the rumors that Shioda sensei has trained with Horikawa Kodo(I had a one year experience in trainig at a Daito ryu school from the Horikawa Kodo line between 1990 to 1991.I've never heard rumors about the training of Shioda sensei with Horikawa sensei outside this school in Japan.So I was really surprised that this rumor was wide spread on english language based internet boards. The reason for that must be that this school and the sensei gained international fame during this years.Anyway our globe is really becoming small these days).But of course the problem is that it is written in Japanese.

The title of the book is "Shioda Gozo jikiden: Aikido Kokyuryoku no tanren ho"(Direct teachings of Shioda Gozo:training methods in Kokyuryoku of Aikido).
Thanks. If the book is translated, I will be sure to buy it. If you read some part of the book that is very interesting, I would appreciate it if you could share that with us/me.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-21-2005, 10:29 AM   #16
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Yawata-san,

Would you be able to speak to some of the training methods of kokyuryoku described in that book? I would be very interested to hear some of the methods described. Specifically, I believe that Shioda Sensei mentions in 'Aikido Shugyo' that the training methods in the yoshinkan (the repitions in the basic movements) are an aid in developing kokyuryoku.

Part 2
I have been guilty of refering to Shioda Sensei spending time in the Yoshinkan Hombu with Horikawa Sensei...I believe Chida Sensei confirmed that to me here in Phila. He was not in the dojo while they spent time together...so I have no clue what happened during those times. Can you shed any light on this directly?

Best,
Ron

PS I should be able to see Inoue Sensei in September here in Phila. I'll be sure to ask if a translation might be in the works.

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-21-2005 at 10:33 AM.

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Old 06-21-2005, 10:48 AM   #17
Tom54
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Thanks Mr Sigman for your reply.

Maybe there are misunderstandings because of my english ability,but I still think there are a lot of things to discuss.

Especially genpin.
He is too often referd to everything to everybody(Basically, he was recognised as a confucian scholar, but also known as a chinese medicin expert. It is alleged that he also built several bridges and made a school of porcelain. He is known to transfered the deep knowledges of chinese bakery.There are several poems and writings from him. And additionaly he was an martial artist who created most of the jiujutsu school in japan).

Only his writings and his high regards as a confucian scholar (and to have some knowlegde about chinese medicin I believe) is confirmed in historical evidences, other parts are just oral history.

Best regards
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Old 06-21-2005, 11:06 AM   #18
Mike Sigman
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Tom Yawata wrote:
(About Gempin)
He is too often referd to everything to everybody(Basically, he was recognised as a confucian scholar, but also known as a chinese medicin expert. It is alleged that he also built several bridges and made a school of porcelain. He is known to transfered the deep knowledges of chinese bakery.There are several poems and writings from him. And additionaly he was an martial artist who created most of the jiujutsu school in japan).

Only his writings and his high regards as a confucian scholar (and to have some knowlegde about chinese medicin I believe) is confirmed in historical evidences, other parts are just oral history.
Hi Tom: Actually, I have not heard all the other claims for Gempin, but apparently he was famous indeed. In the Collection of Ancestor's Conversations, Volume 2, Biography of Chen, Yuan Yun there is more than just oral history. His apparent years of life were 1587-1671. It says in that book (i.e., this is not oral history) that he was the person who brought the "ju" techniques to Japan. There are several fairly detailed biographies of Gempin (Chen Yuan Yun), despite some of the current "historians" not having much information.

Bear in mind that there are a number of western "historians" who cannot read any of the old language characters and yet who put out "histories" that many westerners refer to religiously. As you said, the China connection is obvious and "diffusion" has certainly played a role. But the ideas that whole groups of the same techniques developed independently in Japan and China (while only single or double indepedent developments occurred anywhere else in the world) is a bit illogical.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 06-21-2005, 11:18 AM   #19
Tom54
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Hi Tisdale san

The training in Kokyuryoku are basically the same as in "Aikido Shugyo". But there are additonal discussions about the soft "Kokyuroku" which is somewhat identical in my opinion with what the Daitoryu people would call "Aiki". As in "Aikido Shugyo",there is a clear statement that Shioda Sensei learned it from Ueshiba Morihei Sensei.

Inoue Sensei defined it as "Nuki no Kokyuryoku".That term is too difficult to me to translate, but somewhat as "Kokyuryoku to absorb the opponent's power" or "Zerofy the opponent's power"(Please help someone who can speak Japanese).

Inoue sensei states from his own experiences that Shioda sensei's skills changed when he was in his middle forties(around 1960, Shioda sensei was born in 1915).

It is too late here in Japan and I must go to "Bed", sorry.
I will post about the experience with Daitoryu and other things tomorrow.

But last one word. I've heard from both sides( Yoshinkan and Daitoryu Horikawa Kodo line) that the meeting occured only once,in 1978,as Yoshinkan invited Horikawa Sensei to a demonstration.

Shioda sensei had only an experience to witness a demonstration of Horikawa sensei at Yoshinkan and never trained really with Horikawa sensei. That was what my Daitoryu Sensei told me.

That was also what one shihan of Yoshinkan told me(Chida Sensei not included). But there are reasons on the side of the Daitoryu why they want to believe that Shioda sensei was not an Aikidoka but a Daitoryu master, I think.

Interesting that Chida sensei was stating something like that. Was not there any translation problems?

best regards
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Old 06-21-2005, 11:38 AM   #20
rob_liberti
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

All,

I made a big mistake here. I'm sorry. I only meant to comment above on one aspect of the many points made here; number 5 from the original post:

Quote:
5) Deguchi Onisaburo took the intuitive, channeled writing of his mother-in-law, Deguchi Nao and EXPLICTY added Taoist five element theory, yin-yang dynamism to his doctrines. Deguchi claimed a universalist religion - sometimes he'd use the Taoist or Buddhist terms, and sometimes they'd be blurred, as above into Shinto terms.
Sorry, everyone. My mistake.

Mike,

I forgot about most of the other stuff and I was careless in not re-reading. Sorry to get your blood boiling over something I didn't mean to argue. As far as that specific point, I only remembered this thread was about the 5 elements getting injected into the kotodama. That is what I meant to comment on.

Quote:
how about let's see the support or at least the logic?
Okay, well, obviously you are talking about the entire thing here and I only meant to be discussing one of the points. I'll do my best to clarify as I address some of your comments. I understand that you were obviously upset because you thought you had to argue an absurdity, and that's understandable.

Quote:
Why do these conversations always devolve to unsupported assertion?
Okay, well, the first words of the thread were:
Quote:
I recently had a conversation with a noted scholar of Japanese history and religion, who is also an authority on older martial arts. I shan't use his name because I'm paraphrasing our conversation, and I believe this person would prefer nothing be attributed to him that he didn't write himself, backing up with appropriate citations.
I'd say the content of this thread started out unsupported by anything other than the source was credible to someone who is credible to us - as opposed to devolving. (Ellis is my sempai from the dojo in CT that my dojo evolved from - and still has some common students from when he was there). Since he posted this thread, I have corresponded with him about what I know of Gleason sensei's continuing research (which I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess has been a bit longer than the 10 years he was in Japan) and my impression from Ellis is that he also considers Gleason sensei a credible scholar. I agree with your comments about the level of credible scholars in this arena. (I'm not qualified to judge him based on anything other than the results of his findings that I have felt and I suppose the approval of other experts in the field like Saotome sensei of his findings with respect to kotodama and aikido. But...) Ellis is the person who considers both sources of different findings credible - he doesn't (or didn't at the time) have access to the sources of either of the findings, and so that makes it a push as far as I'm concerned. Regarding point 5 (which is the only item I had meant to discuss), the logic is simple. Two scholars - apparently credible to the same poster - differing conclusions - most likely different sources of information - no citations available either way at present - therefore the case is not open and shut. When the citations are there then there can be some futher debate.

Quote:
Why not get Gleason Sensei to post ... I'd be interested to see what he knows about ki development, since you've offered him as an expert. And I say that with an open mind.
Okay, again I understand why you would want that - given that I overstepped the scope of what I intended to comment about. Obviously, I wouldn't make a great intermediary but I didn't "offer him" in the sense where I can simply get him to do anything. He's not my employee. If he wanted to post on aikiweb I'm sure he'd be doing that. Maybe his next book will have something about the 5 elements and kotodama.

(Anyway, that's what I get for posting while distracted. Poor excuse, but that's what happened.)

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 06-21-2005 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 06-21-2005, 11:59 AM   #21
Mike Sigman
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
As far as that specific point, I only remembered this thread was about the 5 elements getting injected into the kotodama. That is what I meant to comment on.
OK, no sweat. Ellis was giving a source he thought credible and I've named a few over time (this Chinese-Japanese thing is such a given at some levels of scholarship that I really dislike getting into it).... however, the precise point about the five-elements in the Kotodama I'd need to look at before I'd offer a comment. Based on what I've read of O-Sensei's writings, though, it's obvious that they contain an admixture of Chinese thought with some form of Shinto animism.

The original idea of "order from chaos" is prevalent in both Chinese and Japanese religiosity (with the exception of Mahayana Buddhism, but that's a late-comer, historically), the basic point that Ellis was making is sound. Shinto, an animistic religion, adopted a lot of Chinese concepts and O-Sensei's writings obviously reflect that. The ki-stuff is purely Chinese with a thin veneer of the "gods" stuck on it. If the five-elements idea is in there, I wouldn't bat an eye (can someone point me to a source quotation if they've got one... it'll save me looking). However, insofar as "citations", the number of exact references to Chinese phrases, poems, sayings, etc., leaves no doubt that O-Sensei was drawing from Chinese thought, along with the Shintoism... there can be no serious consideration of O-Sensei only using Shinto beliefs if one has even an inkling about Chinese traditional commentaries.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-21-2005, 12:01 PM   #22
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Interesting that Chida sensei was stating something like that. Was not there any translation problems?
Quite likely...Utada Sensei would have translated my question, and Chida Sensei's answer. I'll bet what happened is a generic question about Horikawa Sensei visiting the Yoshinkan, and the answer was yes...thank you for the clarification. I'll bear it in mind when refering to those past threads.

And thank you for the info on kokyuryoku! And the clarification of who it was learned from.

Best and good night

Ron

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Old 06-21-2005, 12:40 PM   #23
Mike Sigman
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Tom Yawata wrote:
The training in Kokyuryoku are basically the same as in "Aikido Shugyo". But there are additonal discussions about the soft "Kokyuroku" which is somewhat identical in my opinion with what the Daitoryu people would call "Aiki". As in "Aikido Shugyo",there is a clear statement that Shioda Sensei learned it from Ueshiba Morihei Sensei.
Hi Tom:

If the statements about the soft kokyuroku are not more than a few sentences, could you translate them, please? If they are too long, of course, don't bother. But I would be interested in hearing what he says about that usage of kokyu power, since it will give me an insight into exactly what his terminology means. Thanks.

Mike
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Old 06-21-2005, 02:26 PM   #24
Quanping
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
"Coincidentally, in some other discussions I am in (on other forums/mail-lists),"
Hi Mike,

Where would I go to read these? Or are they private?

Thanks,
Bryan
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Old 06-21-2005, 04:39 PM   #25
Chris Li
 
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Re: Chinese Influences on Jujutsu/Aikido

Quote:
Tom Yawata wrote:
The training in Kokyuryoku are basically the same as in "Aikido Shugyo". But there are additonal discussions about the soft "Kokyuroku" which is somewhat identical in my opinion with what the Daitoryu people would call "Aiki". As in "Aikido Shugyo",there is a clear statement that Shioda Sensei learned it from Ueshiba Morihei Sensei.
I enjoyed "Kokyuryoku no tanren ho" quite a bit, he discusses the topics covered briefly in "Aikido Shugyo" in much more depth, but the similarities to Daito-ryu concepts of "Aiki" come through much more clearly.

Anyway, to throw more unsupported fat onto the fire, I've heard the rumors of Shioda studying with Horikawa from sources inside the Kodokai that were fairly senior. Still, I got the impression that they had no direct first hand knowledge.

Best,

Chris

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