Aikido Sangenkai Blog http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog Honolulu, Hawaii - Oahu Sat, 19 Nov 2016 22:33:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7 Interview with Aikido Shihan Kenji Shimizu – Part 2 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-kenji-shimizu-part-2/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-kenji-shimizu-part-2/#respond Sat, 19 Nov 2016 22:33:57 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2695 Kenji Shimizu Sensei with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba “You should think of ukemi as being the secret to aikido”. This is my personal experience. During my uchideshi time the founder made me fall without questioning, on top of this I was scolded mercilessly when my ukemi was bad. I had so many painful experiences, that I continuously worried about whether there would be ever any … Continue reading Interview with Aikido Shihan Kenji Shimizu – Part 2 »

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Kenji Shimizu Sensei with Aikido Founder Morihei UeshibaKenji Shimizu Sensei with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba

“You should think of ukemi as being the secret to aikido”. This is my personal experience. During my uchideshi time the founder made me fall without questioning, on top of this I was scolded mercilessly when my ukemi was bad. I had so many painful experiences, that I continuously worried about whether there would be ever any progress, if I would do things like this. Having made it in Judo to the fourth dan grade and thinking I did good ukemi, I doubted that I had to be scolded like this.

But that was a mistake. I had forgotten to put Judo aside and start from zero. I only took my ukemi as I pleased. Yet I was made to become aware of the fact, that my body didn’t move as one with o-sensei’s body. When I think about it now I feel ashamed, that I thought it would be good just to take a showy ukemi.

Ukemi means reading your partner’s breath, and if one will not respond towards the nage (the person who throws) you cannot speak of true ukemi. Mastering ukemi means noticing the signs of your environment, which enables you to deal promptly with the circumstances. The bamboo for examples moves according to the relative strength of the wind, and when the wind stops, the bamboo returns to its original state. That is completely natural and it is alive. In aikido we don’t fight for victory or defeat. It is a way where we improve ourselves through training by repeating the techniques. It is important that you always can correspond with shite (the person, who is executing the technique) whom you are facing. This however is very difficult.

Though it is hard to learn a natural ukemi, an ukemi without force, you have made a huge progress in your technique whenever your body understands a little bit more about it. That may be, because you have learnt to utilize the executing person’s breath power in your own technique. And in my case, I was uke of osensei…

It is important to experience naturally strong techniques. If you cannot do ukemi soft and flexible, it is most likely, that you cannot execute a technique soft and flexible. The natural ukemi in aikido also makes you understand life.

“The Ukemi in Aikido” by Kenji Shimizu

Already an accomplished Judo-ka, Kenji Shimizu (清水健二) Sensei became one of the last uchi-deshi (“live-in student”) of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba in 1963.

After the passing of the Founder he established his own style of Aikido – Tendo-ryu Aikido (天道流合気道), “School of the Way of Heaven”. In 1991 Shimizu Sensei received his eighth dan from the Nihon Kokusai Budoin, and in 2002 was honored by the Japanese foreign minister for spreading knowledge of Aikido as a part of Japanese culture. He travels and teaches extensively in Europe.

He is the author of “Zen and Aikido” (with Shigeo Kamata) and “Aikido: The Heavenly Road“.

This is the second part of a two part interview with Shimizu Sensei that originally appeared in the July and August 2006 issues of Gekkan Hiden (月刊秘伝 / “Secret Teachings Monthly”), a well known martial arts magazine in Japan. You may wish to read Part 1 of the interview before reading this section.

This interview was also published in a collection of interviews with students of the Founder published in Japanese as 開祖の横顔 (“Profiles of the Founder”) in 2009. There was a short introduction to this work in the article “Morihei Ueshiba – Profiles of the Founder“. A number of English translations of interviews from that collection appeared have appeared previously – Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Hiroshi Isoyama Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Shigenobu Okumura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Nobuyuki Watanabe Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Masatake Fujita Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) , Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Hiroshi Kato Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) and Morito Suganuma (Part 1 | Part 2).

 

Kenji Shimizu - KatatedoriKenji Shimizu takes ukemi for Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba

Interview with Aikido Shihan Kenji Shimizu – Part 2

Concerning Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda

Q: Was there anything else about the Founder than left an impression on you?

A: While doing muna-dori during one demonstration I grabbed O-Sensei’s beard along with his keiko-gi. “Oh no!”, I thought, but he just applied the technique to me calmly. It felt as if he had mastered every applied variation in his skin. Then, O-Sensei had an interest in calligraphy, and at that time it was usually my job to prepare the ink. I would prepare a large quantity of ink, and O-Sensei would apply it to a thick brush and write on a large piece of calligraphy paper – at that time the ink from the brush would often drip down onto the calligraphy paper. But even then O-Sensei would just say “Huh”, gather himself and use it as one part of the character that he was drawing. When he did that the shape of the characters would become unique. Later on a calligraphy specialist saw that and said “That O-Sensei drew it this way must have some kind of meaning…”. As you might expect, I had some mixed feelings when I heard that. I certainly couldn’t say that it was the result of dribbled ink.

yoshio-sugino-minoru-mochizukiYoshio Sugino and Minoru Mochizuki training in Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu

I heard this from Minoru Mochizuki Sensei (望月稔) of the Yoseikan (養成館). Long before I became a student there were many high ranking Judo and Kendo practitioners who would come to train, and O-Sensei would criticize Judo and Kendo without compunction. He would even turn towards Kendo students and say “Kendo today is just hitting with a sword”. The former Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe (近衛文麿) came to train for a time, and one day he finished training and prepared to go home. At the time O-Sensei was with a guest in the reception room and one of the students came to say “His excellency Konoe is leaving”, but O-Sensei just said “Is that so? Well, give him my regards.” and didn’t even stand up from his seat. The guest, surprised, asked “Is it OK if you don’t see him out?”, but O-Sensei said “You are a guest, Konoe-san is a student.”. He certainly had that kind of fiber. There are those today who never actually met O-Sensei who just repeat hearsay, but I bathed with him and we broke bread together. (laughing) According to Mochizuki Sensei, in the beginning of the Showa era (1926-1989) the Kodokan’s Jigoro Kano Sensei gave O-Sensei a look or two. Truthfully, it seems as if he wanted to pull him into the Kodokan, but O-Sensei had already created his own school. So then he directed his own senior students to study under him. Yoshio Sugino Sensei of the Katori Shinto-ryu was also one of those people.

Q: Did you have some interaction with Mochizuki Sensei while he was alive?

A: Yes. During the time that Mochizuki Sensei was the Director (塾頭) of Hombu Dojo he met Sokaku Takeda, and he would often talk about that. Sokaku Sensei came to visit while Mochizuki Sensei was watching the dojo. He seemed like one of those ancient warriors that appear in period novels. He would always carry a sword cane with him when he went out, and he would conceal a knife under the front of his clothing, so his abdomen was covered with cuts. Then, when he went to go home in a taxi after visiting the dojo a wild dog started barking at Sokaku Sensei insistently, and when he hit it with the butt of his sword cane it fell over right there. When Mochizuki Sensei checked he found that it had died instantly. Sugino Sensei also met Sokaku Sensei, and according to him Sokaku Sensei would always check the room before entering – there were times when he made Sugino Sensei open the door for him. It was also difficult when he drank tea, he would always carry tea leaves and a tea cup with him and would just ask for hot water when he was out. When Sugino Sensei prepared the hot water for him he would say “You take a sip”. The point being that he must have been afraid of being drugged or poisoned.

Q: Those must have been normal precautions for ancient warriors.

A: Even in O-Sensei’s case, he wouldn’t stay in the bath long, and wouldn’t display openings carelessly. In any case, he was an extremely cautious person. Perhaps that is something that he learned from Sokaku Sensei.

Kenji Shimizu taking ukemiKenji Shimizu taking ukemi

Memories of Hombu Dojo

Q: Did the Founder do sword and staff in his later years?

A: No. He almost never did. Most of the time the O-Sensei used a sword or a staff it was for explaining the Riai (理合 – “unified principles”) of Aikido. Because Aikido is not Kendo. We were often taught the Riai of Aiki-ken and Aiki-jo. The demonstrations left an impression on me. There was a demonstration that was given at one place in which O-Sensei carried a folding fan. He gave me a bokken and said “I’ll go easy on you, so come and cut me as strongly as you can!”. In the instant that I tried to strike him as hard as I could I took an atemi to the jaw and flew backwards. It wasn’t anything like “going easy”! (laughing) O-Sensei would often use a folding fan to express yokemen-uchi and tsuki movements. If I had thought that was going to happen then things would have gone differently. At the time, there were many people who came to learn who were from the class of company presidents and politicians. For example, one who was very kind to me was Sunao Sonoda (園田直), who was employed as the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Also, Takeo Kimura (木村武雄), who was the right hand man for former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka (田中角栄), Tomisaburo Hashimoto (橋本登美三郎) and Toshiki Kaifu (海部俊樹), who would later become Prime Minister, were there. Among those Mr. Sonoda was the first head of the Kokkai Aikikai (国会合気会 – National Diet Aikikai), where I taught for about three years as the first shihan.

Toshiki KaifuToshiki Kaifu speaking at the 80th Anniversary of Hombu Dojo,
the 70th Anniversary of the Aikikai

Also, there was Mr. Shigeru Sahashi (佐橋滋), who was the Administrative Vice‐Minister of International Trade and Industry (通産省事務次官). When Mr. Sahashi was the Administrative Vice‐Minister the Minister of International Trade and Industry (通産大臣) was Mr. Takeo Miki (三木武夫), who would later become Prime Minister (*Translator’s note: Takeo Miki also ran for election as Prime Minister in 1942, against Hideki Tojo), and in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry the Administrative Vice‐Minister was at the top of the career ladder. One time, a bill was passed by Minister Miki’s office, but failed to pass through Vice‐Minister Sahashi’s office. From that time they were called “Minister Sahashi and Vice-Minister Miki” in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. That Mr. Sahashi wrote just a little bit about his time training with me in the Showa year 44 (1969) issue of Bungeishunju (文芸春秋). Mr. Watanabe, who was a Bureau Chief in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and the Giant’s coach Mr. Hiroshi Arakawa would also come to practice often.

Sadaharu Oh and Hiroshi ArakawaCoach Hiroshi Arakawa watches Sadaharu Oh practice cutting – 1964

Q: Who were the uchi-deshi at the time that you enrolled?

A: I don’t have much chance to meet them these days because most of them are now overseas, or for other reasons, but the uchi-deshi at the time were Tamura (Nobuyoshi) Sensei, Saotome (Mitsugi) Sensei, Sasaki (Masando) Sensei, Chiba (Kazuo) Sensei, Imaizumi (Shizuo) Sensei who was was the captain of the Waseda University Aikido club, also Sugano (Seiichi) Sensei, Kurita (Minoru) Sensei and Kanai (Mitsunari) Sensei. There were always about ten uchi-deshi there. In any case, the life of an uchi-deshi is difficult. One is always hungry. Of course, the compensation is small, so in the end one had to hang on to their parent’s legs. My parents wanted me to find another job quickly, and we used to fight about that a lot. When my parents came to Tokyo we took them to some of the better places that we would sometimes go to eat, but my mother said “You eat in places like this?” and broke out in tears. However, it’s said that those who come from hunger build spirit, and we certainly had that. It is said that in the past only those with enough money were be able to become uchi-deshi, so these were really very fine people.

Kenji Shimizu and Morihei Ueshiba around 1965-1966Kenji Shimizu and Morihei Ueshiba around 1965-1966

Tendo-ryu is “Shimizu Aikido”

Q: Was it from Showa year 45 (1970) that you became independent as Tendo-ryu?

A: Yes, that’s right. That was after O-Sensei passed away. I first I used the name Shimizu Dojo, I rented space from a Judo dojo called Sato Dojo (*Translator’s note: 佐藤道場 – now continued by the children of the original instructor as an osteopathic clinic) in Setagaya Ward. After that I moved to our current location and took the name Tendo-ryu.

Q: Did you have a plan of your own when you became independent?

A: Even if you use the one word “Aikido” there are a lot of variations, aren’t there? Yoshinkan, Tomiki-ryu, even at Aikikai Hombu Dojo the techniques could be quite different depending upon who is instructing. We use he word Aikido as a general term for all of them, but since the content of each of them is different I decided to call my Aikido – “Shimizu Aikido”. In the Bujutsu (Kenjutsu) of the past, it is said that there were more than fifty ryu-ha (schools). The ryu-ha would polish each other, and there there was great progress in Bujutsu. Morihei Ueshiba Sensei was certainly my instructor, but if I have a dojo and teach then it’s my Aikido, isn’t it? That was the reason that I called it Shimizu Dojo when I became independent. After that, it wasn’t that I hid my individual name in order to expand, I thought that a solid ryu-ha should have a name, so I named it “Tendo-ryu”. For that reason, I never consciously changed the techniques. What I was doing were O-Sensei’s techniques, and the foundation was constructed strictly by O-Sensei, but my movements are not the same as O-Sensei’s. My thoughts and physique are different, at any rate it becomes Shimizu’s Aikido. Accordingly, although it is called Tendo-ryu, it has not been altered greatly.

Q: Is there something that you are particular about when it comes to instruction?

A: What I am particular about when it comes to instruction concerns ukemi, as we discussed earlier. For the uke to match their kokyu to the nage is something that is extremely difficult. In Aikido there is kokyu-ho and kokyu-nage, and depending upon the person large individual differences emerge. Well, it can’t be helped that there are skillful people and then those who are not so skillful, those who have the feeling but whose bodies can’t keep up and so forth. For that reason, there are issues that of skillful/unskillful in casual training that can’t be helped. There are those who develop quickly but end up stagnating, and there are those who develop slowly, a little bit at a time. One more thing, I believe that fighting for victory and defeat in training is not good. Since this is Budo, one might think that it looks like fighting to outward appearances, but the reality is different. In the repetition of kata the shite acts as the blade, and the uke must act as the sharpening stone. I believe that it is through that repetition that one becomes tempered. It is my belief that Aikido today is too conscious of strength, it seems as if the techniques are being destroyed. Perhaps one could say that people are “pursuing the strength that can be seen with the eyes”.

Kenji Shimizu and Morihei Ueshiba around 1965-1966Kenji Shimizu and Morihei Ueshiba around 1965-1966

The relationship of Shite as the blade, Uke as the sharpening stone

Q: Do you mean that the relationship between the blade and the sharpening stone has been destroyed?

A: Yes, that’s right. If the sharpening stone is uneven then the blade will be uneven as well. When one turns an old bolt, if the bolt is rusty then they apply some oil and turn it a little bit at a time, if one just tries to force it without any oil then it will break. I am fearful of becoming that kind of Aikido. In other words, I am fearful of falling into the delusion that one cannot become strong without applying a technique strongly, of pursuing external strength.

In the case of Aikido, one does not apply technique suddenly, even though one applies it slowly it is effective. I have often experienced attempts of people struggling with each other to apply techniques that will injure the partner. However repetitive kata practice is, I do not think that it is acceptable to injure someone unnecessarily, and if one side resists needlessly the one being resisted will just respond by resisting in turn.

Q: As you said before, the role of the Shite is to act as the blade, and the role of the Uke is to act as the sharpening stone, so will the Uke be able to bring their role as the sharpening stone to fruition if they are not of a higher level than the Shite?

A: There is an important meaning there. For example, during demonstrations Uke becomes able to read the kokyu of the Shite. If that’s not the case then the Shite is simply throwing around someone who is of a lower level then they are, and one is just being thrown around. There are also those who say “The truth is that in Aikido technique one cannot take ukemi”, but it is easy to make it impossible to take ukemi. One just has to apply a technique halfway – but that is a mistake. Controlling the opponent without damaging them is the best. Conversely, when one thinks that it is acceptable to damage the opponent they will not be able to apply their technique on powerful opponents. The reason for this is that once they encounter resistance partway through the technique it’s all over. If one actually tries this then they will understand – if one attempts to use force “I’ll hold you down!” during training then one could say with confidence that the opponent will always sense that and instinctively resist. However, if one applies the technique slowly so that the opponent cannot tell when they will be immobilized, they will be strangely unable to resist. In other words, when there are corners left in one’s movement it won’t be effective on someone who’s a little bit strong. One ought to use a form that protects them against unexpected surprises. In other words, a posture in which one is prepared to destroy the opponent at any time, although controlling them without damage is best. I would like to faithfully preserve these kind of important points that have been passed down to us through the ages.

When training in Budo, what must really become strong is one’s mind. External strength can not be relied upon. In other words, strength that relies on youth is like steel heated in fire – as time passes it becomes cold. However, internal strength is without limit. Strength is limited, the mind is without limit. For that reason, in the past it was through mental training such as zazen that one created “resolve”. Especially when one stood in a position above others, without mental strength nobody would follow them. O-Sensei also said “Real Aikido begins after one is 60 years old. Until one passes 60 the real strength of their spirit does not emerge.”, and now I really understand the meaning of he was saying.

Q: In society, if one says sixty years old they are talking about retirement age, aren’t they?

A: That’s right. But that’s completely backwards. Also, it’s true that there are no competitions in Aikido, but there are certainly diferences in levels. The reason for that is that one can usually learn the basics of Aikido technique in about three years. However, that is still just the entranceway. The problem is from that point forward. While there are those who progress from that point, there are those who just draw a horizontal line, and those who go into a downward curve.

For that reason, it’s not really a problem of how many years one was with some person. What is needed is intensity of training and a willingness to take things in. If one takes things seriously, anyone can progress with certainty.

Q: I see. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us today. I will pray for the ever-increasing growth of Tendo-ryu.

Gekkan Hiden 2006, July-August


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

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Interview with Aikido Shihan Kenji Shimizu – Part 1 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-kenji-shimizu-part-1/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-kenji-shimizu-part-1/#comments Mon, 07 Nov 2016 18:06:33 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2671 Kenji Shimizu (清水健二) in 2007 Was O-Sensei irregular about coming to the dojo? Yes, he was. When I was actively practicing there he often came and went. When he showed up everyone immediately sat down. At first, I thought that people were being courteous toward him. However, it wasn’t only that. It was also that the practices we were doing were different from what O-Sensei … Continue reading Interview with Aikido Shihan Kenji Shimizu – Part 1 »

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Kenji Shimizu - 2007Kenji Shimizu (清水健二) in 2007

Was O-Sensei irregular about coming to the dojo?

Yes, he was. When I was actively practicing there he often came and went. When he showed up everyone immediately sat down. At first, I thought that people were being courteous toward him. However, it wasn’t only that. It was also that the practices we were doing were different from what O-Sensei expected us to do. Once he lost his temper at us. No one realized that he had come and he shouted: “What you people are doing is not aikido.” His shout was so powerful it felt like the earth was trembling. He was then in his seventies but his voice nearly pierced our ear drums. Everybody just became quiet and looked gloomy.

Interview with Kenji Shimizu,” by Stanley Pranin

Kenji Shimizu (清水健二) was born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1940. After starting out with ten years of Judo an acquaintance persuaded him to meet with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba – impressed with the Founder, he immediately enrolled as one of the last of O-Sensei’s uchi-deshi, in 1963. After the passing of the Founder in 1969 he went on to found his own style of Aikido – Tendo-ryu Aikido (天道流合気道), “School of the Way of Heaven”.

Tendokan Shomen“Tendo” calligraphy

He is the author of “Zen and Aikido” (with Shigeo Kamata) and “Aikido: The Heavenly Road“.

This is the first part of a two part interview with Shimizu Sensei that originally appeared in the July and August 2006 issues of Gekkan Hiden (月刊秘伝 / “Secret Teachings Monthly”), a well known martial arts magazine in Japan.

This interview was also published in a collection of interviews with students of the Founder published in Japanese as 開祖の横顔 (“Profiles of the Founder”) in 2009. There was a short introduction to this work in the article “Morihei Ueshiba – Profiles of the Founder“. A number of English translations of interviews from that collection appeared have appeared previously – Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Hiroshi Isoyama Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Shigenobu Okumura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Nobuyuki Watanabe Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Masatake Fujita Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) , Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Hiroshi Kato Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) and Morito Suganuma (Part 1 | Part 2).

Kenji Shimizu and Morihei UeshibaKenji Shimizu takes ukemi for Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba

Interview with Aikido Shihan Kenji Shimizu – Part 1

Even when one pushed on him O-Sensei would not move, not even an inch.

Q: Thank you for coming today. I’ve heard that you turned to Aikido from Judo, how did that happen?

A: I started Judo when I was thirteen years old. From then I trained for about ten years. I liked Judo, so when I entered the university I had the idea that I would like to specialize in Judo as an instructor. It was then that someone advised me “Judo is certainly spreading around the world, but it’s a sport rather than Budo.”. That person had some connection to O-Sensei, and he recommended that I visit him “Now there is a person who is the last Budoka in Japan. At the present time there is no Budoka greater than him! Would you like to meet him?”. At the time I was under the impression that Judo was the best in Japanese Budo, so I wasn’t very enthusiastic, but I became more and more convinced as we spoke. So it was that I was introduced to Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei.

Q: What was your first impression when meeting the Founder?

A: In any case, he was completely different from the instructors that I had met previously. I remember the feeling of having met one of the ancient warriors that appear in stories. O-Sensei said “Do you want to try it?”. So right there I enrolled as an uchi-deshi. As a matter of fact, I was the last uchi-deshi, you know. That was in Showa year 38 (1963).

Aikikai Hombu ground breaking ceremonyAikikai Hombu ground breaking ceremony – 1966
Morihei Ueshiba and Kisshomaru Ueshiba – center
Kenji Shimizu – back left

Q: And the Founder was around eighty years old at the time?

A: That’s right. But O-Sensei would never tell anybody his age. He would always say “After I passed seventy I forgot how old I was”.

Q: You enrolled as an uchi-deshi from the very beginning?

A: That’s right. Actually, at that time the Aikikai no longer had an uchi-deshi system. O-Sensei also had a policy of taking no more uchi-deshi. In my case it was really a special exception. For that reason I was serious from the moment of enrollment. There was the fact that I had switched from Judo, and that I was in “active service”, but I became a good practice platform for the students. They would try out their Aikido techniques on me. So my wrists really hurt! There were also many times when I applied techniques that there was a kind of strange resistance, my Judo habits would always come to the fore, and I would reflexively throw them. I don’t know who he heard it from, but Osawa Sensei (大澤喜三郎 – Kisaburo Osawa) gave me a scolding – “This isn’t a Judo dojo!”.

Q: How many years were you an uchi-deshi?

A: I was enrolled at the Aikikai for six and a half years. During that period the time that I spent close to O-Sensei receiving his instruction was three years. That is, and it was the same for all of the uchi-deshi, I was was sent here and there to teach. At Hombu I was often asked by Osawa Sensei to teach in his place, and when I was asked I would accept, saying “Yes, Yes…”. When I think about it now, I was really presumptuous, wasn’t I? The other person was an eighth dan instructor, and I was an untalented uchi-deshi, so normally one would say something like “I’m sorry, but it would be impossible for someone such as me to take your place as an instructor”, but I would always just accept lightly. (laughing)

Q: Was there anything special about your teaching at the time?

A: No, there was nothing like that. However, it may have been that O-Sensei liked my instruction. At the time Aikido was in a transitional period. When I enrolled, if one was asked “What do you do? What’s your job?” there was no way that I could reply “Aikido”. Because nobody had heard of it. If I answered “Aikido” then I would always be asked “What’s that?” next. Making that explanation was really tiresome. That was the kind of era that it was.

Q: Was there some about the Founder that especially left you with an impression?

A: Well…there were so many things that left an impression on me…I don’t know where to start. One day he said “Shimizu, are you free?”, and when I answered “Yes” he sat down in a backless chair and said “My back is tight, could you massage it a little?”. At the beginning, when I pushed on his back lightly, he said “What’s this? You don’t have any strength – push harder!”, so I put more strength into it and pushed on his back strongly but O-Sensei didn’t move at all. He just said “Push harder!” so I added even more strength and pushed on his back, but he didn’t move, not an inch. He was the same during training – O-Sensei would hold up his te-gatana (手刀) in kamae and say “OK, try pushing me!”. In any case, no matter how much of a master one is, he was of such an advanced age that one would think that he would fall over if pushed strongly. However, since he would become angry if we pushed lightly we would push with all of our strength. Even so, he wouldn’t move, not an inch. Thinking about it now, I interpret that to mean that he matched the power of his mind and body to the power of nature, and mobility transformed through the unified body resulted in tremendous power.

Kenji Shimizu and Morihei Ueshiba demonstrationTaking ukemi for Morihei Ueshiba around 1965-1966

Taking ukemi for O-Sensei felt good.

Q: What did it feel like to be touched by the Founder?

A: At the time he was already of an advanced age, so his body wasn’t all that strongly muscled. But his basic physique was firm. I thought that he must have been incredible when he was young. Outside of Aikido training he almost never displayed his strength in normal circumstances. In terms of energy (気力), he was strong enough to dislocate your back. For example, when he met young people with no sense of manners he would scold them – ”Rude!” – unapologetically. One day he gave a scolding to a taxi driver and the driver, hearing that voice, leaped out of the car without thinking about it. He turned towards me and asked “Who’s that old man?”.

Q: What was your impression of taking ukemi for the Founder during training and demonstrations?

A: It was extremely easy to take ukemi for him. There aren’t many times that one takes ukemi and it feels good, but O-Sensei’s techniques were like that. The techniques didn’t hold one down stiffly, it felt like you would flow right into an immobilization. Well, how one speaks about this depends upon when they became a student or took ukemi, and there are those who say that the were slammed down hard onto the tatami. My personal impression was that O-Sensei’s techniques were soft and beautiful. I remember this even now, a time when O-Sensei was teaching a single individual (Hidehiko Hyoki – 日能英彦). I was taking ukemi, and as soon as Mr. Hyoki took a break I would spot the opening and impolitely start asking questions. One day I asked “Muna-dori Nikyo is very difficult, isn’t it? When the opponent grasps my lapel firmly I can’t get their hand turned back.”, whereupon O-Sensei’s face seemed to say “What!?” and he said “Well then, grasp my lapel as strongly as you can!”. I grasped his lapel, rolling it in my hand, and O-Sensei turned my hand and the lapel back together in a circle and applied Nikyo to me in an instant. I was really surprised. It’s not the Egg of Columbus, but I guess that when one is shown something like this they think “Indeed!”. But we would always be thrown simply with those methods that wouldn’t normally come to mind. Applied variations. They must have been the results of his long training. My feeling about him was like the saying “Bushido scoffs at knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Knowledge is not the primary goal, it is just a step towards gaining wisdom.”.

Aikikai Hombu groundbreaking demonstration - 1966Aikikai Hombu groundbreaking demonstration – 1966
Kisaburo Osawa and Kisshomaru Ueshiba, back left

Q: As an uchi-deshi, did you often accompany O-Sensei as an otomo when he went out?

A: Yes, but to be honest, there were many difficult tasks involved. In any case, O-Sensei would always leave earlier than the schedule called for when he went out. From an hour before he would start saying “Not yet?”. I would try to manipulate the numbers a little and say “About thirty more minutes”, but a short time later he’d start saying “Not yet?” again. This would continue four or five times. For example, when we went to Iwama we’d be on the train platform waiting at least an hour early. Then…he’d start with the repetitions of “Not yet?”. To put it simply, he didn’t like to leave himself without some margin for error. But he left himself with a little too much margin. (laughing) On the other hand, I assisted him many times in the bath while we were traveling, and he would never stay in the bath for long. Just as I thought that he had entered the bath he’d be hurrying out. So there was no time to wash his back! I’ve often been told that the bath is a place that leaves vulnerable openings, so perhaps that is a feeling that he shared.

Q: Since the Founder was a pre-war Budoka I think that he must have also had some violent techniques, were you taught any of those?

A: O-Sensei put those aside and we were not taught them. Perhaps it could be said that he kept them for himself. During training O-Sensei would become angry if tried to watch the outer surface of his movements. “Move more! You’re not moving!”, he would say. In any case, he would absolutely not forgive training that did not fit his design. When he became angry he could be extremely threatening. For that reason, I think that Aikido from that time must have been very strong.

Group photo with Kisshomaru Ueshiba“Training was centered around Ni-Dai Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba”
Kenji Shimizu – second row left

Uke studies the nage’s kokyu

Q: You studied Judo for ten years before beginning Aikido, were there times that your Judo experience was useful?

A: Yes, there were. Of course, the need for strength in the legs and hips is the same. Judo and Aikido were both originally jujutsu, so they have many points in common. Even when my Judo training could not be useful, it was never wasted. However, in Judo one always pairs with an opponent and then grabs and destabilizes them in order to throw or hold them down. Aikido starts from a greater distance and first separates from the opponent’s attack through tai-sabaki. Even understanding these differences intellectually, at first my body didn’t really follow along. And one more thing. I took a lot of ukemi for O-Sensei, and was made to teach a lot of beginners – I believe that it was because of these two things that I was able to improve. In Judo if one is thrown then they have lost, so there is extremely high resistance to being thrown. In the case of Aikido, if one cannot take ukemi for techniques then they will not improve. That is to say, in Aikido kokyu is important, so learning the kokyu of the uke is also connected to the kokyu of the nage. In ukemi, moving after the technique has become fully effective is too slow. If one practiced Aikido in a competitive format..first you would destroy your body. For that reason, one takes ukemi in order to protect their body in the instant that the technique becomes effective. I had some resistance to that kind of ukemi in the beginning. But as the training continued I think that it gradually sunk in. Ukemi is for protecting oneself, not for just falling on one’s own – if the ukemi does not match the opponent’s kokyu then it has no meaning. For that reason, we are very picky about ukemi in my dojo these days.

Q: What does it mean to do ukemi that matches the opponent’s kokyu?

A: For example, if the wind blows then the branches of a tree will bend, right? When the wind passes they return to their former state. But the branches won’t bend on their own if there isn’t any wind. Ukemi in Aikido is the same, it is cooperative, but you can’t just fall down on your own. I came to understand that from teaching large beginners, and from taking a lot of ukemi for O-Sensei, Ni-Dai Doshu and many other instructors in the beginning. No matter how experienced a shihan might be, if they had poor ukemi then O-Sensei was strict with them. After all, he attached great importance to matching kokyu. I was a new participant, so I certainly had some resistance to instigating the falls myself, but I became used to following the movement of the opponent’s throws. For that reason, when O-Sensei applied techniques he must have felt some of that feedback. When I taught O-Sensei almost never gave me direction, and I think that this may have been the reason for that.

Q: In Judo and Aikido the ukemi is different, did you have to relearn things?

A: It got better naturally. I took a lot of ukemi for O-Sensei, and although he sometimes said “Yes, like that” with regards to my ukemi, he never said “That’s no good”.

To be continued in Part 2…


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

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Takuma Hisa – Kannagara no Budo, Daito-ryu Aiki Budo Hiden 1940 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/takuma-hisa-kannagara-no-budo-daito-ryu-aiki-budo-hiden-1940/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/takuma-hisa-kannagara-no-budo-daito-ryu-aiki-budo-hiden-1940/#comments Sat, 08 Oct 2016 18:41:27 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2715 “Kannagara no Budo, Daito-ryu Aiki Budo Hiden” – 1940 (惟神の武道・大東流合気武道秘伝 – 昭和15年) “In the spring of 1933, the bureau chief of the Asahi News sales office, Mr. Mitsujiro Ishii, who is presently the Minister of Justice, introduced us to Morihei Ueshiba Sensei, vouching for him as an expert on a par with the founder of judo [a reference to Jigoro Kano]. He recommended to the … Continue reading Takuma Hisa – Kannagara no Budo, Daito-ryu Aiki Budo Hiden 1940 »

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Kannagara no Budo cover“Kannagara no Budo, Daito-ryu Aiki Budo Hiden” – 1940
(惟神の武道・大東流合気武道秘伝 – 昭和15年)

“In the spring of 1933, the bureau chief of the Asahi News sales office, Mr. Mitsujiro Ishii, who is presently the Minister of Justice, introduced us to Morihei Ueshiba Sensei, vouching for him as an expert on a par with the founder of judo [a reference to Jigoro Kano]. He recommended to the person in charge of security that we learn aikijujutsu from Ueshiba Sensei. Mr. Ishii was a leading figure at the Asahi News and had tremendous influence, so while it was supposedly a “recommendation,” it was really more like a supreme command. Since those of us in the General Affairs section were responsible for security, we very much welcomed Ueshiba Sensei, and we began learning at the Asahi Budo Dojo.”

“Meeting Morihei Ueshiba” – from “Remembering Takuma Hisa
by Stanley Pranin, Aikido Journal

Takuma Hisa occupies a unique place in the history of pre-war Aikido. One of the major students of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba in Osaka, he also went on to became one of the major students of Daito-ryu Chuku-no-so Sokaku Takeda, Morihei Ueshiba’s instructor,

Born in Kochi Prefecture in 1895, he made a name for himself as a sumo wrestler during his time as a student before going on to become the Director of General Affairs of the Asahi News corporation in Osaka.

Yoshimura, Tonedate and Takeda in Osaka

Front row: Yoshiteru Yoshimura, Sokaku Takeda, Masao Tonedate

Here is the classic (and oft-repeated) story of how Takuma HIsa met Sokaku Takeda, in his own words:

On June 21st 1936, when we were training in Aikido under Ueshiba Sensei, a man came to the headquarters reception desk thrusting an iron staff suddenly with his right hand and holding a fine sword in his left “I am the Founder of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, Soke Sokaku Takeda. I have heard that you lads are learning from my student Morihei Ueshiba, but he is still inexperienced. If you have the will to learn true Aiki-jujutsu then become my students now and learn from me!”. Before anybody could say a word he took the security guards into the dojo. Keeping the fact that I was the division head a secret, I snuck in after the security staff and was astonished to see the reality of Takeda Sensei’s secret techniques. I went to Ueshiba Sensei right away and informed him of the appearance of the Soke, Takeda Sensei. I thought that Ueshiba Sensei would immediately go to beg his teacher’s pardon, but contrary to my expectations he became extremely dismayed and ended up withdrawing! So it came about that Ueshiba Sensei’s students would receive instruction in the early morning as before at the Umeda dojo, and then in the afternoon we would train with Sokaku Takeda Sensei in the night duty room of the headquarters building. At some point he left for Tokyo without any farewell to Asahi whatsoever, but Sokaku Takeda Sensei became increasingly committed and started to appear with Mr. Tokimune Takeda. According to the records:

  • First Time: June 21st 1936 to July 25th, 36 days
  • Second Time: November 1st 1936 to November 30th, 30 days
  • Third Time: August 17th 1937 to September 30th, 44 days
  • Fourth Time: October 22nd 1938 to November 14th, 22 days
  • Fifth Time: March 26th 1939
    Takuma Hisa – Menkyo Kaiden and eighth dan
    Yoshiteru Yoshimura (吉村義照) – eighth dan.
    Masao Tonedate (刀祢館正雄)

He gave us the certificates and left for Hokkaido. As I look back now, it is almost fifty years since I began to learn Aikido. During that time, beginning with both Takeda Sensei and Ueshiba Sensei, then Director Tonedate and Security Chief Yoshimura, everybody has passed away. I am the only one left alive. I am eight-four this year, and have been stricken with paralysis, but I would like to use what strength I have left to transmit these techniques to future generations and somehow repay my debt to my Sempai.

“The Appearance of Takeda Sensei”
Menkyo Kaiden Takuma Hisa, 1982 – Takumakai Kaiho issue #50

Takuma Hisa and Sokaku TakedaTakuma Hisa receives Menkyo Kaiden (“Certificate of Complete Transmission”)
pictured with Daito-ryu Chuku-no-so Sokaku Takeda, 1939

Takuma Hisa was one of two people to receive Menkyo Kaiden in Daito-ryu directly from Sokaku Takeda, the other person being Masao Tonedate (presumably an honorary certification due to his position at the Asahi News company). Kodokai Founder Kodo Horikawa would receive Menkyo Kaiden from Tokimune Takeda after his father’s death (but at Sokaku Takeda’s request).

After the war he would go on to establish the Takumakai, but before that, one year after receiving Menkyo Kaiden from Sokaku Takeda, he published a book on Daito-ryu – “Kannagara no Budo, Daito-ryu Aiki Budo Hiden” (惟神の武道・大東流合気武道秘伝). Representing what may have been the most comprehensive manual on Daito-ryu published until that time, the title page specifies that the volume is not to be distributed to non-students.

Interestingly, Takuma Hisa excerpted large portions of the technical explanations directly from Moritaka (Morihei) Ueshiba’s 1933 technical manual “Budo Renshu” (see “Aikijujutsu Densho – AKA Budo Renshu, by Moritaka Ueshiba“). Further, although Hisa’s volume consists of photographs rather than drawings, it’s clear that many of the techniques themselves are identical.

This ought not to be surprising, since what Morihei Ueshiba was teaching at the time was, without question, Daito-ryu. This was clearly stated by Yoshio Sugino, who was a student at the time and a contemporary of Takuma Hisa – “Of course Aikido was with Ueshiba Shihan – when I was studying it was still called Daito-ryu Aiki-jutsu” (“Interview with Yoshio Sugino of Katori Shinto-ryu, 1961“).

Takuma HIsa had an extraordinary opportunity to compare the teachings of his two instructors – Daito-ryu Chuku-no-so Sokaku Takeda and Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba:

Takeda’s instruction gave Hisa the chance to compare the techniques that he had been taught for the previous three years (1933-1936) by Ueshiba with those taught by Takeda. His conclusion was that they were the same—meaning that Ueshiba had not by that time significantly modified or evolved what he had been taught by Takeda. In later years, Hisa was adamant about Ueshiba’s and Takeda’s techniques being identical. He stated this clearly at a round table talk, “When Tomiki came to Osaka to teach aiki-bujutsu to the Asahi people, the techniques that both master Ueshiba and Takeda taught were the same. Definitely the same. Master Ueshiba should say that he was taught them by master Takeda. He should say that it was Daitoryu. But he never said that. Mr. Tomiki (who also traveled from Tokyo to Osaka to teach Ueshiba’s system at the Asahi dojo) knows this, doesn’t he. But Ueshiba never said it.” And Tomiki answered, “Definitely not. ‘I [Ueshiba] established everything…[smiling mysteriously]’. However old martial artists would often do that way.” [Shishida (Ed.), 1982, p.1]

“The Process of Forming Aikido and Japanese Imperial Navy Admiral Isamu Takeshita: Through the analysis of Takeshita’s diary from 1925 to 1931”
 – Fumiaki Shishida (Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan)

Thus, it should not be surprising that the explanations of principle and technique that Takuma Hisa learned from Morihei Ueshiba in 1933 should be repeated in his volume documenting the teachings of Sokaku Takeda published in 1940.

But there’s more…

In 1954 (five years after he told Morihiro Saito in Iwama that he had “completed” Aikido) Morihei Ueshiba published a book that he distributed privately to his students. This book was mentioned by Aikido 10th Dan Michio Hikitsuchi during the course of this interview:

Is our current style of practice different from that when you started?

Yes, the waza were done differently. You know, the other day I pulled out a book, Maki-no-Uchi. That was O-Sensei’s first book. We practised along the lines described in Maki-no-Uchi. ‘

Did O-Sensei distribute that book?

No. To have it, you had to have O-Sensei’s permission. For me, that was when I reached what would now be called shodan.

Was it a secret book, something that was never shown around?

Well, I don’t know whether I would call it “secret”. It was, after aIl, a book, and there probably are people who can learn just by reading. But it would have been very hard for someone to read the book end understand what it was about unless that person were practicing Aikido. Unless you were shodan or higher, you wouldn’t know what to make of it. I think that is still true today. It’s not as if you can tell someone, “Here, do it as the book shows.” Aikido is something that becomes a part of you – something that comes through the spiritual training [shugyo] of physical practice [keiko].

Comparing the three volumes – Moritaka (Morihei) Ueshiba’s 1933 “Budo Renshu“, Takuma Hisa’s 1940 “Kannagara no Budo, Daito-ryu Aiki Budo Hiden” and Morihei Ueshiba’s 1954 manual “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi” reveals some interesting similarities.

First, it’s important to note that the techniques pictured in the two volumes by Morihei Ueshiba are virtually identical, and are duplicated in many cases by the photographs in Takuma HIsa’s volume:

Kubi Shime 1933Kubi-shime, “Budo Renshu” by Moritaka Ueshiba – 1933

Kubi Shime 1940Kubi-shime, “Kannagara no Budo” by Takuma Hisa – 1940

Kubi Shime 1953Kubi-shime, “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi” by Morihei Ueshiba – 1953

Next, and perhaps more telling, is that the technical explanations given by Moritaka (Morihei) Ueshiba in 1933 in “Budo Renshu” are duplicated verbatim in Takuma Hisa’s volume – but they are also duplicated verbatim in Morihei Ueshiba’s 1954 volume “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi“. That is, there was virtually no change in either the technical depictions or explanations over a 21 year period, and there was no variation even when the volume in question was discussing Daito-ryu and not Aikido (although, for what it’s worth, Takuma Hisa often referred to his art as simply “Aikido”).

What does that mean?

Well, as I previously argued in “Budo – Moritaka Ueshiba’s 1938 Technical Manual“, all of this lends support to the argument that the radical phase change to the technical core of Aikido that is so commonly accepted to have occurred after the war…never happened. Or perhaps, it happened, but not at the behest of Morihei Ueshiba.

This is further affirmed by Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei’s testimony as to the content of his training with Morihei Ueshiba when he entered Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1954:

Moderator: There were two books published before the war, “Budo” and “Budo Renshu”, was it only those techniques?

Kobayashi: Yes, that’s right. Of course, we did not do staff (jo) or sword (ken).

There is a discussion of this issue in “The Ueshiba Legacy, by Mark Murray” which you may like to read if you find this topic interesting.

Here is a good visual comparison of the pre-war and post-war technique of Morihei Ueshiba that illustrates this point quite clearly:

Also of interest is this very interesting study by John Driscoll, originally published on AikiWeb, showing the almost exact correlation between the techniques taught by Morihei Ueshiba and the techniques of the Daito-ryu Hiden Mokuroku – 82% according to this study, although that percentage would undoubtedly be much higher if the comparison were carried out against Morihei Ueshiba’s 1954 volume “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi” rather than the modern Aikido curriculum spread by the Aikikai in the post-war years.

…and here comes the download – this freely available PDF formatted version of “Kannagara no Budo, Daito-ryu Aiki Budo HIden” is available through the efforts of Scott Burke, who lives in Fukuoka, but often comes to Hawaii to join the Sangenkai workshops with Dan Harden.Many thanks to Scott, and kudos for his continuing series of “Aikileaks”.

I hope that you enjoy it!


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

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Interview with Aikido Shihan Morito Suganuma – Part 2 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-morito-suganuma-part-2/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-morito-suganuma-part-2/#comments Sat, 01 Oct 2016 19:10:09 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2640 Morito Suganuma and Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba “I show everybody the secrets everyday” What I try to keep in mind is to follow O-Sensei’s teachings and philosophy, at least my understanding and interpretation of his teachings. I want to convey what O-Sensei himself taught to Aikido students. The most important thing, as O-Sensei used to say, is don’t get injured, don’t do wrong things, and … Continue reading Interview with Aikido Shihan Morito Suganuma – Part 2 »

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Morito Suganuma and Morihei UeshibaMorito Suganuma and Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba
“I show everybody the secrets everyday”

What I try to keep in mind is to follow O-Sensei’s teachings and philosophy, at least my understanding and interpretation of his teachings. I want to convey what O-Sensei himself taught to Aikido students. The most important thing, as O-Sensei used to say, is don’t get injured, don’t do wrong things, and don’t force techniques. Rather than show how strong you are, cultivate each other, and work together to show Aikido’s good techniques. This is how we become good Aikidoists. This is what O-Sensei said.

O-Sensei also used to say something like all the people in the world should work, hand in hand, to create or develop a peaceful world. This is how we help society to work to achieve the idea of this kind of world. I try to do this through Aikido. When I have a chance, I always tell this to Aikido students.

Interview with Morito Suganuma Shihan
USAF Eastern Region Summer Camp – August 2003

Living and training in Japan we would often say “Kobayashi in the east and Suganuma in the west” – referring to the large networks of Aikido schools established by Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei in eastern Japan and Morito Suganuma Sensei in western Japan.

In 1970, shortly after Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba passed away, Suganuma Sensei was dispatched to Fukuoka by Ni-Dai Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba as the Aikikai’s representative for the Kyushu area of Japan. Today the network of schools that he established boasts some 70 dojo and more than 4,000 students.

This is the second part of a two part interview with Suganuma Sensei that originally appeared in the January 2005 issue of Gekkan Hiden (月刊秘伝 / “Secret Teachings Monthly”), a well known martial arts magazine in Japan. You may wish to read Part 1 before reading this section.

This interview was also published in a collection of interviews with students of the Founder published in Japanese as 開祖の横顔 (“Profiles of the Founder”) in 2009. There was a short introduction to this work in the article “Morihei Ueshiba – Profiles of the Founder“. A number of English translations of interviews from that collection appeared have appeared previously – Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Hiroshi Isoyama Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Shigenobu Okumura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Nobuyuki Watanabe Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Masatake Fujita Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) , Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Hiroshi Kato Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) and Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2).

Morito Suganuma SenseiMorito Suganuma (菅沼守人) Sensei

Interview with Aikido Shihan Morito Suganuma – Part 2

“Shiai” (試合 – “competition) is “shiai” (死合 – ”joining in death”) – an exchange of lives.

Q: Were there many young people among the students at that time?

A: Yes, there were. The Giants coach Hiroshi Arakawa (*Translator’s note – 荒川博, mentioned here), Hiroshi Hiraoka (*Translator’s note: 平岡煕 – the “father of Japanese baseball”, mentioned here), and Sunao Sonoda (園田直), who would later become the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, also received instruction from O-Sensei. Coach Arakawa was extremely enthusiastic about his training and would run to training in the morning (laughing), we would train together. Arakawa-san published a book called “Can you become Sadaharu Oh?” (君は王貞治になれるか), and most of what he wrote there are things from Aikido. It must have had a great influence on the way that he thought about baseball.
Sadaharu Oh and Hiroshi ArakawaCoach Hiroshi Arakawa watches Sadaharu Oh practice cutting – 1964

Can You Become Sadaharu Oh?“Can you become Sadaharu Oh?” (君は王貞治になれるか)

Q: Is there something in particular that you remember from your days as an uchi-deshi?

A: Sensei would speak very quickly in a typical Wakayama accent. The long time students were used to it, but it was difficult for me to understand. One day in the midst of a discussion at the dojo he directed me to do something, but he spoke so quickly that I couldn’t really understand what he meant. I could only understand that he said “go get something“. (laughing) But O-Sensei didn’t like to be asked to repeat himself, so when I cocked my head in puzzlement he shouted at me “read the situation!” (気を読め!). So I said “yes”, but when I brought the usual scroll with the symbolic portrait that I talked about earlier he yelled “Not that!” angrily. (laughing) But after that his mood shifted suddenly and he said “I used to have a body like this…”. When O-Sensei became angry he would become really angry, but he would cool down swiftly and he never held a grudge. His mood changes were sudden.

Q: “Read the situation” seems to be something that the Founder would teach…

A: That’s right. In any case, one really couldn’t ask “what was that?” while he was speaking. I was told, “When you’re told to do something you must react immediately, if you can’t do that then you’ll never be a fully qualified Budoka!”. One can’t just ask carelessly “Sensei, what did you mean?”. That was really a major blunder.

Also, and I remember this clearly even now, he was very strict about time. At demonstrations, even from quite a bit of time before, he would start asking “Are we still OK? Will we make it?”. Also when we would go out someplace he’d say “Always leave with the intention of riding on the previous train”. If there was a train that left at exactly nine o’clock then we’d have to be on the platform in time for the train that left just before that one. My sempai would say “Ichi Kisha Mae” (一汽車前 – “One Train Ahead”). Since one never knew what might happen on the way there we would always make sure that there was extra time – even now I still teach this lesson.

Morito Suganuma and Morihei Ueshiba on a train platformMorito Suganuma and Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba wait for a train

Q: Now that you mention it, I remember seeing a photograph of you holding O-Sensei’s bag on a train platform…

A: Yes, I often accompanied O-Sensei as an “otomo” (“attendant”) when he went out. As I recall now, there was one year that we went to Iwama near the Obon season. Since the steam train was crowded I boarded first and went to look for an open seat, but somehow I lost sight of O-Sensei. (laughing) At the time I hadn’t been an uchi-deshi for very long, and I thought “Oh no, what a disaster!” – though I looked left and right, back and forth, I couldn’t find him anywhere. After a while, at a loss as to what to do, there was nothing else left but to call Hombu Dojo – “Idiot! O-Sensei’s already come back!”. (laughing) I got a vigorous scolding later on.

Q: (laughing) I there something that the Founder said that was especially memorable?

A: One day during morning training one of the beginners said “O-Sensei, instead of always doing the same things, could you teach us some of the secrets every once in a while?”. As I was thinking “he’s going to get angry now…”, O-Sensei just laughed and smiled “I show everybody the secrets everyday”, he said. In other words, the secrets are not any special kind of thing, he meant “the secrets are in the day-to-day repetition”. When I heard that I thought “that’s right!”. Every day’s training was certainly a repetition of basics, but it is because they are important that we repeat them. “When you are lost, return to the basics”, some people say, and even today I keep those two things in mind when I train.

Q: Was there some times that the Founder became particularly angry?

A: Rather than “angry”, I would say that his tone of voice became strongly remonstrative, and that was with regards to competitive contests that tested techniques against one another. “Shiai (“competition”) is “shiai” (“joining in death”), it means an exchange of lives, so it’s not something to participate in lightly for the comparison of strength.”, he would always say. O−Sensei himself lived through the scenes of many battles, so it may be that he was unable to approve of contests for the comparison of strength in this peaceful era.

Morito Suganuma group photoAikido’s youth power – from right:
Norihiko Ishihashi Shihan, Nobuyuki Watanabe Shihan, Morito Suganuma Shihan
Hiroshi Arakawa, Kenji Shimizu Shihan, Minoru Kurita Shihan

‘Serious’ means to tighten the gaps

Q: I have heard that you also practice Zen?

A: Our family originally belonged to the Soto Zen Buddhist sect, so I had that connection, and by chance I had a connection to the Zen Master Shinryu Umeda (梅田信隆 – former director of Soto Zen Buddhism), so I became a student in Showa year 56 (1981).

Mushin nareba daido ni kisu.Calligraphy by Shinryu Umeda
「無心なれば大道に帰す」 – “Mushin nareba daido ni kisu”
“Having no mind you return to the Great Way”
Meaning that a mind free of desire and attachments
is the mind of enlightenment.

Q: How is your training going?

A: I have learned many things from both Zen and Umeda Zenji. When I first began I was told “value the present”. “There is no yesterday or tomorrow, what is important is right now. The continuation of the present becomes your life, so make the present the most important.” – I remember those words even now.

Q: What is important for you in the transmission of Aikido as Budo?

A: The technical is important, of course, but first what is important is one’s mental attitude. One’s everyday speech and conduct, their attitude – the importance of “one strike with the hand, one throw with the legs” (一拳手一投足). Also, in the old dojo one day O-Sensei suddenly asked me “Suganuma, do you understand what ‘serious’ is”?” (真面目 – “majime”) – “‘Serious’ means to tighten the gaps – because idiots leave them open.”, I was told. At the time I didn’t really get it, but now I think that it is to correct oneself, regulate oneself, and that from this stems mastery of the etiquette of Budo – that the carriage of one’s body becomes without openings.

Q: In the later years of the Founder the words “softness” and “harmony” were often used, were those also used to make one think of Aikido in terms of Budo?

A: I think that for O-Sensei Aikido was always Budo. Sometimes when he looked in on training he would see the students throwing in Kokyu-nage and say “People don’t fall over that easily!”. (laughing) Of course, forced struggling, or throwing with needless violence is just dangerous. Osawa Sensei (大澤喜三郎 – Kisaburo Osawa) would say “Strong and stupid are different. One’s sensitivity cannot be stupid.”. For that reason, just falling even though the technique is not working is not training. I think that we must sense each other’s power precisely when training so that we can develop together and knead our bodies.

Morito Suganuma - Daruma calligraphyDaruma and calligraphy by Morito Suganuma
「ころがせ、転がせ、まだ角がる」
“I roll and I roll, but I still have corners”

Q: The word “knead” (練る) is also used in arts like Chinese Kempo (*Translator’s note: often in the sense of “temper” or “harden”), how do you understand the meaning here?

A: For example, something that you would want to knead, like a rice cake. We take the individual grains of rice, knead them and knead them, and make them into a sticky rice cake. Human beings bodies are the same way, one takes the disparate pieces and kneads them through Aikido practice until a soft, strong, unified body is made, that is the image. For that reason, one ought not to think about controlling some joint in training – I think that it is important that both the uke and the tori use their entire bodies, sense each other’s power, and knead each other.

Q: That’s a very easy to understand example.

A: That was one of O-Sensei’s teachings, to respect the principles of nature – in other words, not to struggle in one’s movements. When one struggles during their movements it becomes what I mentioned before, we injure each other. Also, not to make unnecessary movements. Not to make one’s training uneven. In other words, not to suddenly stop by training recklessly. I call these the “three nothings” (三無) – no struggling (無理), no unevenness (むら), as much as possible using no waste (無駄).

Q: The “three nothings”? You certainly seem very relaxed, to be speaking like this.

A: Out in society when one says that they are a Budoka it has a strict or frightening image, but I don’t like that very much. In the dojo, and during every day life, I just want to act normally. Because it’s less exhausting that way. (laughing)

O-Sensei often quote Kiichi Hogen (*Translator’s note: see “Kiichi Hogen and the Secret of Aikido“), and this is one of the things that he would say:

「来たるを迎え、去るは送る、対すれば相和す。五・五の十、一・九の十、二・八の十。大は方処を絶し、細は微塵に入る。活殺自在」

If it comes meet it, if it leaves, send it on its way, if it opposes then unify it. 5 and 5 are 10, 1 and 9 are 10, 2 and 8 are 10. The large suppresses all, the small enters the microscopic. The power of life and death.

I believe that I would like to create that kind of feeling and that kind of a body.

 

Gekkan Hiden, January 2005


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

 

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Interview with Aikido Shihan Morito Suganuma – Part 1 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-morito-suganuma-part-1/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/interview-aikido-shihan-morito-suganuma-part-1/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 19:13:30 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2637 Morito Suganuma Sensei faces dueling jugglers in Hilo Hawaii – 2013 Morito Suganuma (菅沼守人) was born in Fukushima, Japan in 1942. A regional pole vaulting champion in high school, he moved on to studying Aikido with Nobuyoshi Tamura in 1963 and then entered Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1967 as one of the last uchi-deshi to train there under Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. He is the head … Continue reading Interview with Aikido Shihan Morito Suganuma – Part 1 »

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Morito Suganuma Jugglers Hilo

Morito Suganuma Sensei faces dueling jugglers in Hilo Hawaii – 2013

Morito Suganuma (菅沼守人) was born in Fukushima, Japan in 1942. A regional pole vaulting champion in high school, he moved on to studying Aikido with Nobuyoshi Tamura in 1963 and then entered Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1967 as one of the last uchi-deshi to train there under Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

He is the head of Aikido Shoheijuku, which has a large number of Aikido dojo centered around the Fukuoka area of Kyushu, Japan, and was promoted to 8th Dan by the Aikikai in January 2001.

This is the first part of a two part interview with Suganuma Sensei that originally appeared in the January 2005 issue of Gekkan Hiden (月刊秘伝 / “Secret Teachings Monthly”), a well known martial arts magazine in Japan.

This interview was also published in a collection of interviews with students of the Founder published in Japanese as 開祖の横顔 (“Profiles of the Founder”) in 2009. There was a short introduction to this work in the article “Morihei Ueshiba – Profiles of the Founder“. A number of English translations of interviews from that collection appeared have appeared previously – Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Hiroshi Isoyama Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Shigenobu Okumura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Nobuyuki Watanabe Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Masatake Fujita Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) , Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Hiroshi Kato Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) and Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2).

Morito Suganuma SenseiMorito Suganuma (菅沼守人) Sensei

Interview with Aikido Shihan Morito Suganuma – Part 1

The Founder’s body was extremely soft.

Q: First, I would like to ask what first inspired you to learn Aikido.

A: At first it was because I read an article about O-Sensei in a magazine when I was in my sixth year of elementary school. After that, I enrolled at the physical education department (*Suganuma Sensei was a pole vaulter) at Juntendo University (順天堂大学 ), but I got injured and ended up enrolling at Asia University (亜細亜大学). There I was able to see the training of the Aikido club with my own eyes, and that was how I began Aikido. That was in Showa year 38 (1963).

Q: What was the instruction like at the university?

A: It was Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei. Now he is teaching in France.

Q: When did you enroll at Hombu Dojo?

A: I enrolled as an uchi-deshi when I graduated in Showa year 42 (1967). Those who were there around the same time were Seishiro Endo Sensei (遠藤征四郎) and Masatake Fujita (藤田昌武). O-Sensei was 84 years old at the time, I learned from O-Sensei for the next two years, until he passed away.

Q: You were living in the dojo, not commuting from outside?

A: That was just at the time when they were rebuilding the dojo, so we rented rooms nearby. When they rebuilt the dojo they first began with O-Sensei’s living quarters, so O-Sensei would go back and forth between Iwama and Hombu Dojo, and would stay in the office of the old dojo. At those times we would massage O-Sensei’s fingers and shoulders until he went to sleep. So we would be with him the entire time from when he arose in the early morning until he retired in the evenings. We would wash his back in the bath.

Q: What was O-Sensei’s body like at the time?

A: When I saw him in the bath the muscles of his upper body were drooping down, and O-Sensei would joke “Look, wings!”. (laughing) In the past that had all been solid and firm, so I think that he must have had really thick arms and an extremely good physique.

Eiji Tamura's drawing of Morihei UeshibaEiji Tamura’s drawing of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba

Q: Now that you mention it, there is a scroll with a drawing of O-Sensei’s body, isn’t there?

A: That was drawn by a famous artist, but that wasn’t a direct sketch, it was based on the artist’s image of O-Sensei with power in his body, a kind of symbolic image. When I touched his body in the bath his muscles were extremely soft, and when we did flexibility exercises before practice O-Sensei would stretch his body with the students for about thirty minutes. He was so soft that one could hardly believe that he was an old man of more than eighty years. When we did what is now called “Funakogi Undo” (船漕ぎ運動 – “rowing exercise”), but was previously called “Ame-no-torifune” (天之鳥船 – “Heavenly Bird Boat”), his movements were extremely soft.

Q: Funakogi Undo is an exercise unique to Aikido, isn’t it. What is its actual meaning?

A: One rows a boat in order to move forward, keeping their eyes turned towards their goal. O-Sensei often called this goal “A world of harmony and unity” (和と統一の世界), in other words, a world without conflict. Then as now, violence and war continue, but I believe that the meaning was for “everybody to row together” with the goal of asking for assistance through Aikido training that a world would come where all of the world’s people could join hands with each other.

Morito Suganuma - warm-upsMorito Suganuma demonstrating warm-up exercises

Q: Is that also the reason that we do warm-up exercises together?

A: Yes, it is. I think that this is an excellent method of creating the unified body that we seek in Aikido, in other words, a body in which the hands, waist and legs are made to operate together.

Q: Did you get concrete explanations from the Founder?

A: From a state in which the hands are open, close them firmly and pull them backwards. Conversely, there are exercises in which one thrusts the hands forward while closing and then opens them while pulling backwards. Also, we always practiced what was called “Furitama” (振魂 – “spirit shaking”), in which we clasped our hands in front of our abdomen and shook them. At this time the right hand was on the bottom and the left hand was on the top – in Kototama (言霊) the right represents the body and the left hand represents the mind. We were told “Place your mind on the foundation (the body)” (土台「身体」の上に霊を載せる).

Q: Are Funakogi Undo and Furitama practiced together as a set?

A: Yes, that’s right. O-Sensei would always do three sets, with each set consisting of three repititions of Funakogi Undo and one repitition of Furitama as a set.

Hombu Dojo BonenkaiA Hombu Dojo Bonenkai (Year-end Party). From right to left:
Masando Sasaki Shihan, Minoru Kurita Shihan, Shizuo Imaizumi Shihan
Yoshio Kuroiwa Shihan, Seishiro Endo Shihan, Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan
Morito Suganuma Shihan, Akira Tohei Shihan, Nobuyuki Watanabe Shihan
Nobuyoshi Tamura Shihan, Seijuro Masuda Shihan, Koretoshi Maruyama Shihan

Drawn into effortless technique.

Q: What was the Founder’s daily life and training like at the time?

A: When the current dojo was completed there was a simple Kamidana in O-Sensei’s room, so before each practice he would would always chant the Norito (Shinto prayers). Then he would go to the dojo. O-Sensei was someone who possessed a unique presence, and just by entering the dojo everything would stop – one sensed some kind of aura emitting from his entire body. The training was extremely severe, but there was kindness in that severity. For example, he was extremely skilled at letting you know where you ought to be, he was very careful about that kind of thing.

Q: What were your impressions of actually taking ukemi for the Founder?

A: O-Sensei’s techniques were completely effortless. Even when one was thrown the ukemi had a good feeling. It felt as if one were being absorbed. Even when it is the same technique, when one receives it from someone who has not mastered it there are odd times when there is pain and one has to endure certain things, but there was none of that. His movements were truly effortless. I was fortunate to have been able to receive O-Sensei’s techniques.

Q: I have heard that the Founder’s techniques were extremely fast…

A: Yes, they were fast. There are probably not very many people who can move that quickly at that age. During tai-sabaki his entire body would move in an instant – it was the same when he was using a staff or a sword.

Q: Did he use many weapons?

A: During practice, in addition to staff and sword, he would also use a folding fan. This may have also been used in place of a tessen (鉄扇 – “iron ribbed fan”), but O-Sensei always carried a folding fan and would often use it to instantly control opponents coming to strike with a sword.

Morito Suganuma - Atemi in Irimi-nageSuganuma Sensei demonstrates Atemi in Irimi-nage

Q: I have certainly seen many photos of demonstration in which a folding fan was used to control a sword.

A: That’s right, those are movements that can also be used with a tessen or with a short sword. Also, he often demonstrated atemi with the folding fan. At the same time as he controlled his opponent’s attack in an instant, he would thrust with the folding fan, saying “Look – you enter here!”. For example, within the flowing movement of Irimi-nage there are a number of places where atemi can be inserted, but it’s so fast that they are difficult to understand, so he would explain them with the folding fan.

Morihei Ueshiba at McKinley High School 1961Demonstrating with a folding fan
Nobuyoshi Tamura taking ukemi for Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei
McKinley High School Aikido demonstration in 1961, Honolulu Hawaii

Q: I see. In your case, since you came in with the viewpoint of a competitor in the pole vault, didn’t you feel that there was some “vagueness” in Aikido?

A: I did feel that way sometimes. (laughing) However, during training in Kokyu-ho when O-Sensei grabbed both my wrists I was instantly unable to move. At the time O-Sensei was 158 centimers tall (5’2″) and he weighed less than sixty kilos (132 lbs), but just by holding me lightly I was completely unable to move. While actually touching hands with that O-Sensei and my sempai I began to feel “there’s a magnitude of difference”. For that reason I thought “I want to be like that someday” and that yearning grew stronger.

Q: There was some power other than just weight, wasn’t there?

A: It wasn’t a matter of my wrist hurting, or something like that. It felt as if he used his entire body so efficiently that my center was controlled. Things like Nikyo are certainly techniques that are effective against the wrists, but I think that is a technique that takes one part of your opponent and controls their entire body. So, by just applying a small amount of pain they become unable to move.

Q: One often hears that the technique of the Founder Ueshiba in his later years was extremely soft…

A: I wasn’t just being soft. It felt as if in each instant he would be able to move his body freely, and while there were times in which one felt as if they were being absorbed while being thrown, there were also times when one was held down firmly in place.

Q: So that is “complete freedom” (自由自在)? When one watches films of the Founder in his younger days one can see him holding down people firmly…

A: There are also some where he appears to run around in a rampage. (laughing) But I believe that O-Sensei’s techniques did not depart from the principles of nature. He moved as his mind directed and that became technique.

Q: I think that it must also be different depending upon the era during which one learned the Aikido transmitted by the Founder.

A: I think that is also an issue, but in the end I think that what is important is how each of the Shihan following him took in what they were given. Even Shihan who trained during the same era have different kinds of movement, and I don’t think that one can say which is correct and which is mistaken. If you have ten people none of them will be the same, I think it is the same as that.

Continued in Part 2…


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

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Mamoru Okada – Training with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/mamoru-okada-training-with-aikido-founder-morihei-ueshiba/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/mamoru-okada-training-with-aikido-founder-morihei-ueshiba/#comments Sat, 13 Aug 2016 21:28:36 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2602 Mamoru Okada Sensei (岡田主), 1921-2014 This is another of a type of essay that I really enjoy reading – memories of meeting and training with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba from the perspective of ordinary students. In this essay Mamoru Okada recounts his memories of meeting Morihei Ueshiba in Osaka in 1949, after seeing him at a public demonstration held for members of the Nishi Health System. Interestingly, it … Continue reading Mamoru Okada – Training with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba »

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Mamoru Okada SenseiMamoru Okada Sensei (岡田主), 1921-2014

This is another of a type of essay that I really enjoy reading – memories of meeting and training with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba from the perspective of ordinary students. In this essay Mamoru Okada recounts his memories of meeting Morihei Ueshiba in Osaka in 1949, after seeing him at a public demonstration held for members of the Nishi Health System. Interestingly, it appears that the Founder was already making regular trips to the Kansai area at that time.

Okada Sensei would go on to establish the Aikido Nobi Dojo (合気道野比道場) in Yokosuka in August 1980, and passed away in 2014 – a seventh dan in the Aikikai.

If you enjoy this type of essay you may also enjoy “Mr. Kimura’s Aikido Memories” (Part 1 |Part 2) – which presents memories of training with Morihei Ueshiba at the pre-war Kobukan Dojo in 1942, and “Aikido and Me – Training with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba” – which presents memories of training with Morihei Ueshiba in Osaka in the 1960’s.

Osaka Central Public HallOsaka Central Public Hall, 1951

Mamoru Okada – Me and Aikido

– Translated by Christopher Li

The first time that I saw a demonstration by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba Sensei was in March of Showa year 24 (1949), at a lecture held by the Nishi Health System (西式健康法) at the Osaka Central Public Hall (大阪中之島中央公会堂).

Koichi ToheiKoichi Tohei on his way to Hawaii in 1953

Translator’s Note: Katsuzo Nishi created a series of exercises in 1927 that he named the “Nishi Health System”. He was also a student of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, who adopted some of those exercises into his warm-up exercise routines. The Nishikai (the organization formed around the Nishi Health System) was instrumental in inviting Koichi Tohei to Hawaii in 1953.

Kingyo Undo and Hifuku UndoTwo of the Nishi Health System exercises
Kingyo Undo (“goldfish exercise”) and Hifuku Undo (“dorsal-ventral exercise”)

That day, after the regular lecture by Katsuzo Nishi Sensei (the founder of the Nishi Health System), there was a special demonstration by Morihei Ueshiba Sensei, so that the members of the Nishikai would be able to see his exquisite skills in Aikido for themselves.

Katsuzo NishiKatsuzo Nishi demonstrates the “Hifuku Undo” (背腹運動) exercise

Nishi Sensei had a long friendship with the Founder, and was even on the board of directors for the Aikikai. I was twenty-seven years old and employed by Harima Dock Co., Ltd. (later to merge with Tokyo’s Ishikawa Heavy Industries and become the IHI Corporation) in Aioi City in Hyogo Prefecture. Influenced by my parents, I had admired Nishi Sensei since the time that I was a child, and that day we took about three and a half hours to come all the way from Aioi City to attend the lecture. During his lectures Nishi Sensei would often say “Aikido is surely true Budo, the movements of Morihei Ueshiba Sensei’s techniques can be likened to a tetrahedron composed of equilateral triangles, and the Nishi Health System has also incorporated the theoretical system of that structure, it is used on our association emblem. Compared to other structures, a tetrahedron composed of equilateral triangles provide the greatest level of strength for the smallest volume, and can be said to be the most efficient. I think that everybody should certainly experience Aikido at least once.” – and on that day he gave all of the members that chance.

Nishi Health System EmblemThe Nishi Health System emblem and an explanation of
the four primary elements – nutrition, skin, mind (in the center) and limbs

I attended together with my parents, and I remember being deeply impressed to see the exquisite flow of the Founder’s techniques for the first time. At the demonstration it was announced that there would be a special training workshop held beginning the next day at the Sonezaki Police Station in Umeda in Osaka, so the three of us decided to participate. There were many participants at the workshop, which was held over the period of a week, and the Founder instructed even us beginners with kindness.

Running Water Never Spoils“Running water never spoils”
Calligraphy by Nishi Health System Founder Katsuzo Nishi

We immediately applied to become students, and our names were entered into the student register that the Founder carried with him. He did this publicly as soon as we were accepted as students. At the time we also had a house in Rokko, in Kyoto City, and we traveled to training from there. When we returned home we practiced the shiho-nage technique that we had been taught that day with each other, repeating our training through trial and error.

My father came from a farming family and had a business selling seeds and seedlings. My mother was the daughter of a fishmonger and had graduated from a women’s teaching college, she was working as a teacher at an elementary school. I was an older child with no idea what it would be like to have siblings. From my childhood my mother would tell me tales of great heroes instead of fairy tales.

For example, Yamato Takeru (日本武尊), Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源 義経), Kusunoki Masashige (楠木 正成), Kimura Shigenari (木村重成), Sanada Yukimura (真田 幸村), Araki Mataemon (荒木又衛門), Toju Nakae (中江藤樹), Yoshida Shoin (吉田松陰), Sakamoto Ryoma (坂本龍馬), Saigo Takamori (西郷隆盛), and others. It might be thought that this is what germinated my yearning for the sword. Wanting to learn Kendo even one day sooner, when I was a fifth year student in elementary school I asked my mother to take me to ask advice from someone who worked at the same school where she was employed and excelled at Kendo. That teacher advised me “Your body hasn’t developed yet, and you still have to deal with your middle school entrance examinations, so it would be better for you to learn Kendo after you enter middle school.”. I felt deflated, but I waited impatiently until the day that I would become a middle school student.

Happily, in April of Showa year 9 (1934) I was able to enter Hyogo Prefectural Kobe Middle School #1. I was a fresh first year student, unused to the khaki colored uniforms and the white furoshiki that we used at the school, but I immediately went to visit the after-school Kendo dojo inside the school and applied to join. There were a number of sempai lined up around the entrance to the dojo, but I was permitted to join and became a member of the Kendo club. I was filled with happiness, and from then on I would train every day, plunging myself in a life dedicated to the sword.

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Chris

In Showa year 14 (1939) I went to school at Kobe Kotoku Kogyo’s mechanical engineering department (now Kobe University’s engineering department), and at the end of Showa year 16 (1941) I received an accelerated graduation due to the outbreak of the war in the Pacific. In October of Showa year 17 (1942) I enlisted in the army, and until August of Showa year 20 (1945) I worked on the front line of domestic defense as an aviation mechanic.

After the war I entered Harima Dock Co., Ltd. of Aioi City in Hyogo Prefecture and returned to my life as a member of society.

When I was in middle school and vocational school I would sometimes travel for Kendo tournaments – the joy of victory and the teeth-grinding agony of defeat were both repeated uncounted times. After I entered the Harima Dock Co., Ltd. I joined the Kendo club, and traveled to tournaments and participated in company competitions. In November of Showa year 16 (1941), before graduating from Kobe Kotoku Kogyo, I received a san-dan certificate from the Dai Nippon Butokukai (大日本武徳会), and after the war I received go-dan in April of Showa year 31 (1956) and then a Renshi certificate in December of Showa year (1959) from the All Japan Kendo Federation (大日本剣道連盟). So, I felt that I was able to realize a little bit of the dreams of the sword from my childhood.

The Founding of the All Japan Kendo FederationThe Founding of the All Japan Kendo Federation, 1952
Morihei Ueshiba’s close friend Nakayama Hakudo, center-right

However, I cannot doubt that being able to meet Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba was a turning point in my path of the sword, and along with my contact with Katsuzo Nishi Sensei was the biggest turning point in my life.

At the time the Founder was living in the dojo in Iwama, in Ibaraki, or at the Hombu Dojo in Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. Every month, or every other month he would come to Kansai (Western Japan) for one or two weeks, and instruct workshops for the students there. I still hadn’t found a good place to train, so I trained intermittently by grasping those opportunities. There was a workshop held at the Nagata Police Station. I believe that the majority of the participants were teachers of the Nishi Health System or were Nishi Health System members. It was at this time that I met Aritomo Murashige Sensei (村重有利) and received instruction from him.

Translator’s Note: Aritomo Murashige (1895-1964) was a student of Morihei Ueshiba from around 1931, and also studied Judo with Jigoro Kano and Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu along with Minoru Mochizuki. He was the first person to bring Aikido to Burma (Myanmar), in 1953, as part of the Japanese government’s program of compensation for their WWII occupation. Murashige Sensei was active during WWII – one person is known to have said “When one came near him it felt as if there was a rain of blood”.

Seigo Yamaguchi and Aritomo MurashigeSeigo Yamaguchi (left) with Aritomo Murashige (right) in Myanmar

In between training sessions the Founder would speak about Omoto-kyo – before the war he went to China with Onisaburo Degushi Seishi (the Founder of Omoto-kyo), fought with mounted bandits and was arrested together. They were rescued miraculously at the last instant, just as they were ready to give up their lives – he made a great presentation to Murashige Sensei and the other students.

Onisaburo Deguchi and Morihei UeshibaUnder arrest in Mongolia
Onisaburo Deguchi (second from left) with Morihei Ueshiba (third from left)

Soon after that Murashige Sensei was sent to teach in Burma, and then I heard that he passed away in a traffic accident. It’s a sad thing. There was also training at the house of Mr. Ishimi in Osaka (the older brother of the current mayor of Himeji City), I think that there were about fifteen tatami mats, and I also participated in that training.

Also, I followed the Founder to Isaburo Tanaka (田中伊三郎 / also called 万川 / Bansen Tanaka) Sensei’s dojo in Suita City and was able to train a little there.

I’m sorry for talking about personal matters, but while my mother was a woman she was also extremely decisive, and she was overflowing with a desire to seek the truth. Throughout her entire life she followed that path, it wouldn’t be too much to say that she would learn from great personages whenever she encountered them, from the very beginning to the very end. In my mother’s later years she gave me five photographic portraits and told me to hang them up in the tatami room of my home. They were the Founder Ueshiba Sensei, Katsuzo Nishi Sensei, Hideo Sonobe (園部 秀雄) – the Soke of Jikishinkage-ryu Naginata (a woman) , Masataro Sawayanagi (澤柳政太郎 – the former president of Kyoto University), and one more person – the Jodo Shinshu follower Shiro Tsuyama (津山四郎). Since then, in our home every morning and evening our entire family sits in front of the altar and, after praying to the Buddhas, pays their respects to the photographs of those five great personages.

奥村、富木、植芝・満州国

In front of the Shinbuden Dojo
at Kenkoku Daigaku in Manchukuo (occupied Manchuria)

Kenji Tomiki and Morihei Ueshiba center,
Hideo Ohba in back row – second from left

Shigenobu Okumura in back row – second from right

Translator’s Note: It was Hideo Sonobe who commented on Morihei Ueshiba’s famous demonstration in 1939 with Hideo Ohba in Manchuria. Here is the story as told by Fumiaki Shishida (a student of Kenji Tomiki and a professor at Waseda University) in Ohba’s biography 

It was Hideo Ohba who took ukemi for Ueshiba for the demonstration. He later talked about this event as follows: “Since the Emperor of Manchuria was in an exalted position at that time like the Emperor of Japan, I thought I should not take ukemi for Ueshiba in the way I usually did. If Ueshiba Sensei were a true master, he could freely handle a true punch, thrust or grab. Therefore, I decided to attack him seriously. When we stood on the platform, I saw many martial arts masters present in the large dojo of the Shimbuden. When I glanced at Ueshiba Sensei, his beard was sticking out towards me, his hair was standing on end and his eyes were glittering. I thought to myself that he was indeed a true master. Then I concentrated on taking ukemi for him, thinking how different it was to face a master. After the demonstration, we bowed and sat in the corner of the dojo and were supposed to walk over to the seats where the masters were sitting. However, I heard someone thunder, ‘You idiot!’ Ueshiba Sensei was short-tempered. He couldn’t wait until we returned to our seats. He shouted at me in that way in front of everyone. Until then, I thought he was a wonderful and truly great master, but his shout made my spirit pop like a bubble. We sat down. Ueshiba Sensei didn’t even smile. He was in a bad mood. So I felt tiny. Who do you think showed up then? It was Hideo Sonobe who was said to be without peer in Japan or anywhere in the use of the Naginata. She came all the way up to where the masters were sitting while Iai and Naginata kata were being demonstrated one after another. She said, ‘Mr. Ueshiba I have never seen more wonderful techniques than what you showed today. They were fantastic!’ Ueshiba Sensei, who had been in a bad mood, asked her what part she liked. He asked me to find a place where they could talk and we all went down to the basement of the Shimbuden and they discussed the theory of martial arts for two hours. While I was listening to their discussion Ueshiba Sensei asked her what she liked and she replied that she liked the ‘connections’ (tsunagari) between techniques. However, I didn’t understand these connections. I understood that the Dai Nihon Butokukai [Kyoto-based organization which governed Japanese martial arts] then was having a hard time trying to decide who they should choose as the best swordsman of that year and had asked Sonobe Sensei for her opinion. When I heard Sonobe Sensei tell Ueshiba Sensei that she had never seen such wonderful techniques even though she had seen him demonstrate often, I decided to learn Naginata in order to search for these ‘connections.'”

Hideo would always recount this story to his students when he was in a good mood. One time I asked him the following question, “Sensei, when you attacked Ueshiba Sensei seriously, could he execute techniques like he usually did in his regular demonstrations?” Judging from the fact that he was scolded on that occasion, the answer was obvious. I asked this question because I wanted to confirm it. He answered, “Ueshiba sensei seemed to have a hard time executing techniques smoothly.”

I think that Tomiki sensei was critical of the fact that Ueshiba’s demonstrations became gradually softer. Tomiki’s belief was that such softness was a way of making the person throwing look good, and was different from how martial arts should be. This demonstration of Ueshiba and Ohba received the highest praise from a top martial artist because of Ohba’s serious attacks, and the fact that he refused to participate in a prearranged performance the way he normally would have. I think that behind this fact lies an important hint as to what aikido should be. There seem to be some people within the Japan Aikido Association who see that their kata demonstrations are different from the flowing demonstrations of other schools, and try to change them in that direction. However, things should be the opposite. I think what is important is that we should master each technique perfectly as did Ueshiba Sensei, and then try to achieve a connection or flow between techniques. Hideo’s experience taught us not only the limitation of Ueshiba’s techniques (one cannot throw someone in a dance-like manner), as well as his incredible mastery, but also how a demonstration should be.

Sonobe HideoHideo Sonobe (sixth from right) at the Kobukan (光武館) Dojo around 1954

When she had the chance during a workshop at the Sonezaki Police Station my mother invited the Founder to visit us in Aioi City. This wasn’t something that any of us could have thought of, much less have been able to do. But the Founder consented and it came to pass. I think that it was around October of Showa year 24 (1949). We used the banquet hall of the Aioi Credit Union (相生信用組合) to gather Judo students and other people who were interested to view a demonstration by the Founder. As otomo (“attendants”) the Founder brought with him Tadashi Abe Sensei (阿部 正), who would later go to France as an instructor, Nariaki Hirano Sensei (平野成秋) from Tanabe City, and Mr. Oyama, who came from boxing (Translator’s Note: This may be Kunio Oyama, from Iwama.). Abe Sensei took ukemi for the demonstration. Thus it was that the light of Aiki shone even in the shipbuilding city of Aioi. We were especially grateful that the Founder stayed with us in our home while he was in Aioi.

When I think of all of our carelessness back then I feel ashamed. We served him a humble meal, which he ate cheerfully, and then after a short chat he introduced our family to the basics of suwari-waza shomenuchi ikkyo. He stayed with us for the night and the next day, after taking the time to watch us clear the fields and cultivate the land of our mountain farmland, he returned to Tokyo in the afternoon.

Later on around Showa year 33 (1958), during a trip to Kansai, the Founder stopped by my home. His otomo at the time were Nobuyoshi Tamura Shihan (田村信喜), who would spend many years teaching in France, and Seiichi Sugano Shihan (菅野誠一) who teaches in New York.

On that occurance he was only able to stay for a short time, so I believe that we served him lunch. I think that this was the time that the Founder said “Let me write something for you.”, and wrote “Masakatsu, Agatsu, Katsuhayahi, Takemusu Aiki, Tsunemori” (正勝、吾勝、勝速日、武産合気、常盛) for me on a piece of calligraphy paper. Aside from the name “Morihei”, the Founder would also use the name “Tsunemori” (常盛).

Takemusu Calligraphy“Takemusu” calligraphy by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba
signed “Tsunemori”

I framed that calligraphy paper, and now it hangs in my Aikido Nobi Dojo. I hope that I can impress on my children that this is a family treasure of our household. We were honored that he would come to stay twice at the home of rank beginners. I often reflect deeply on the warm feelings of the Founder and I must continue to impress this on my children.

I, who had begun to burn with a passion for Aikido, somehow managed to get by until that one day in the summer of Showa year 24 (1949) when I went to visit the Founder in Iwama for the first time.

The Founder came to greet me cheerfully. It was also the first time that I had met his wife. I visited the Aiki Shrine and was able to hear the voice of the Founder as he prayed. After that he permitted me to join the training.

At that time Morihiro Saito Sensei (斉藤守弘) was serving as an uchi-deshi, and I also asked Saito Sensei for instruction. I was still a beginner, so I was completely absorbed. I believe that the dojo had a wooden floor. After being kindly entertained in the evening I stayed there for the night.

Early the next morning, after the Founder greeted the sun respectfully, we visited the Aiki Shrine, where we heard the Norito (“shinto prayers”) rising resonantly – it was an extremely refreshing feeling. If you could excuse me, many years have passed and some of the details have become fuzzy, so some of the details might be mistaken. I am trying to give you an outline of what it was really like, so please be forgiving.

So, that day the Founder was scheduled to go to Aikikai Hombu Dojo, so I accompanied him as his otomo. It was still not long after the war and Hombu Dojo was an old fashioned wooden building. The dojo was divided into a number of small rooms, and it appeared that there were a number of families living there. It was the first time that I met Ni-Dai Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and his wife. I left Hombu Dojo that day after receiving much generous hospitality.

After that my mother also became enthusiastic about visiting the Iwama Dojo, so she took off for Iwama Village in Ibaragi Prefecture on her own from Aioi City in Hyogo Prefecture. When she transferred to the Joban Line at Ueno Station she saw a young person in a car and asked them the way to Iwama. Miraculously, that young person was training Aikido in Iwama at that time – his name was Mr. Yoshitomo Machida (町田良友), and he lived in Iwama at the time. Mr. Machida told my mother that he was training in Aikido, and took her to the Aikido dojo in Iwama so that my mother was able to meet the Founder and his wife there.

The meeting of Mr. Machida and my mother was certainly unexpected. My mother completed her journey to Iwama and returned home without incident. After telling us about her trip she told us something that the Founder had said – “It seems that you son is pursuing the path of Aiki with enthusiasm, if you leave him with me I can develop him into a professional.”, was the gist of it, I believe. My spirit was moved, but I had already followed the path of a mechanical technician and I had a responsibility to protect the livelihood of my family, so I couldn’t make such a bold decision and was unable to take advantage of the Founder’s kindness.

Mr. Machida was a university student at the time, and my mother asked him to help with some projects related the the Nishi Health System. As a result, he came to Kansai just for that and I was able to meet him face to face for the first time. Mr. Machida gave us a great deal of assistance during that time and we have remained friendly to this day.

Published in the Kobe University Technical Club (KTC) newsletter issue 72, March 1st 2011


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

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Budo – Moritaka Ueshiba’s 1938 Technical Manual http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/budo-moritaka-ueshiba-1938-technical-manual/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/budo-moritaka-ueshiba-1938-technical-manual/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:08:14 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2557 Ushiro technique – Gozo Shioda and Morihei Ueshiba in “Budo”, 1938 First there was “Budo Renshu” (武道練習) in 1933 (published in English under the name “Budo Training in Aikido“), which was given to select students at Moritaka Ueshiba’s pre-war Kobukan Dojo as a teaching license. This work includes pictures of techniques hand drawn by Takako Kunigoshi and explanatory text assembled and edited primarily by Kenji Tomiki. … Continue reading Budo – Moritaka Ueshiba’s 1938 Technical Manual »

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Gozo Shioda and Morihei UeshibaUshiro technique – Gozo Shioda and Morihei Ueshiba in “Budo”, 1938

First there was “Budo Renshu” (武道練習) in 1933 (published in English under the name “Budo Training in Aikido“), which was given to select students at Moritaka Ueshiba’s pre-war Kobukan Dojo as a teaching license. This work includes pictures of techniques hand drawn by Takako Kunigoshi and explanatory text assembled and edited primarily by Kenji Tomiki.

Budo Renshu - 1933Ushiro technique – “Budo Renshu”, 1933

At the time of its publication and through the end of World War II Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba used the name “Moritaka” – a name he received through his relationship with Onisaburo Deguchi (出口王仁三郎), from the word “shukou” (“Moritaka” can also be read “shukou”) that appeared in Deguchi Seishi’s Norito (祝詞, “Shinto prayers”).

Don’t worry if you don’t have a copy, the PDF formatted version is freely downloadable from “Aikijujutsu Densho – AKA Budo Renshu, by Moritaka Ueshiba

Aikido Maki-no-Ichi - UshiroUshiro technique – “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi”, 1954

In 1954 Morihei Ueshiba published “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi”, edited by Ni-Dai Doshu Kisshomaru (Koetsu) Ueshiba. This book duplicated many of the pictures and most of the text of the earlier 1933 manual “Budo Renshu”.

Again, don’t worry if you don’t have a copy, the PDF formatted version is freely downloadable from “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi – O-Sensei’s First Book on Aikido“.

Thank you for visiting the Aikido Sangenkai blog. You can show your appreciation and support the distribution of more free content by donating today!

Thanks,
Chris

In between the above two works, in 1938, Morihei Ueshiba privately published another book, a technical manual called “Budo”, for Prince Kaya Tsunenori, who was one of his students at the time. This manual was (re) discovered entirely by accident in 1981 when Aikido Journal editor Stanley Pranin was shown a copy by Zenzaburo Akazawa during the course of conducting an interview.

Zenzaburo AkazawaZenzaburo Akazawa with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, 1938
Morihei Ueshiba’s wife Hatsu, center
Morihei Ueshiba’s daughter Matsuko, kneeling
Matsuko was once married to Morihei Ueshiba’s 
one-time successor Kiyoshi Nakakura

A loose translation of “Budo” was published in English under the name “Budo: Teachings of the Founder of Aikido” by John Stevens. There is also a commentary by Morihiro Saito published under the name “Budo: Commentary on the 1938 Training Manual of Morihei Ueshiba“.

I’ve discussed parts of this book before, in articles such as “Morihei Ueshiba, Budo and Kamae” (if you’re interested, the injunctions about “six directions” in “Budo” are repeated in “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi”) and the following parts two and three.

Strangely enough, “Budo” has never been published in Japanese (wthe Morihiro Saito commentary contains both Japanese and English, but omits much of the original text).

Do I have to say “don’t worry if you don’t have a copy”? Well don’t, because the PDF formatted version of the 1938 technical manual will be freely downloadable below. This is the Japanese version, of course, so you may want to refer to the two editions above with regards to the English translation and commentary. This copy was originally posted by Eric Grousilliat on his French language Budo Shugyosha blog.

Like “Budo Renshu”, “Budo” was often distributed to students as a licensing document.

Ogi no Koto - BudoThe Last Page of “Budo”

On the last page of “Budo”, displayed above, we can see that this copy was issued by Moritaka Ueshiba in 1938 as a licensing document. The text on the right confirms that this document certifies the transmission of “Ogi no Koto” (奥義之事 / “Inner Mysteries”). This may likely be in imitation of the Daito-ryu “Hiden Ogi no Koto” scrolls that Morihei Ueshiba both received from his instructor Sokaku Takeda and distributed to students such as Kenji Tomiki and Minoru Mochizuki.

In comparing the three volumes, you will see that the techniques from “Budo Renshu” carry through to “Budo” and then carry through to “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi“.

Aikijujutsu Densho - Ikkyo“Budo Renshu” – 1933


Budo, 1938 - Ikkyo“Budo” – 1938

Aikido Maki-no-Ichi, 1954 - Ikkyo“Aikido Maki-no-Ichi” – 1954

If you chance to examine and compare the text of the three volumes, which give very detailed and complete explanations of Morihei Ueshiba’s technical principles, you will find something similar – the textual explanations are consistent and continuous across all three volumes.

This is significant because it shows that what Morihei Ueshiba was teaching in 1954 was the same as what he was teaching in 1933 and in 1938. It shows that five years after he told Morihiro Saito in Iwama (in 1949) that he had “completed” Aikido…he was still distributing the same material, containing the same explanations and the same techniques that had given his students in 1933 – when they were firmly students of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu.

Further, we have Morihiro Saito’s repeated testimony that what the Founder taught him in Iwama in the 1960’s most closely resembled what appears in the publication “Budo”, from 1938.

Morihiro Saito BudoMorihiro Saito references the 1938 teaching manual “Budo”

“I once doubted that Saito Sensei’s methods were closely rooted in O-Sensei’s teachings because of the apparent differences in their execution of techniques. I based myself on the Founder’s demonstrations in the films from his final years where he performed very few techniques, many of them involving little contact with his uke. On the other hand, Saito Sensei’s aikido was precise, martial and technically diverse. However, I was forced to reevaluate my opinion on this key point following the discovery of O-Sensei’s 1938 technical manual “Budo” where photos of several key basic techniques are virtually identical to the aikido forms taught by Saito Sensei in Iwama. My later exposure to the more than 1,000 photos from the Noma Dojo series of 1935 reinforced this change in my thinking.”
– Stanley Pranin, Aikido Journal editor
The Iwama Aikido Conundrum

There is another important person, Takuma HIsa, who had a chance to compare the teachings of his two instructors – Daito-ryu Chuku-no-so Sokaku Takeda and Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba:

Takeda’s instruction gave Hisa the chance to compare the techniques that he had been taught for the previous three years (1933-1936) by Ueshiba with those taught by Takeda. His conclusion was that they were the same—meaning that Ueshiba had not by that time significantly modified or evolved what he had been taught by Takeda. In later years, Hisa was adamant about Ueshiba’s and Takeda’s techniques being identical. He stated this clearly at a round table talk, “When Tomiki came to Osaka to teach aiki-bujutsu to the Asahi people, the techniques that both master Ueshiba and Takeda taught were the same. Definitely the same. Master Ueshiba should say that he was taught them by master Takeda. He should say that it was Daitoryu. But he never said that. Mr. Tomiki (who also traveled from Tokyo to Osaka to teach Ueshiba’s system at the Asahi dojo) knows this, doesn’t he. But Ueshiba never said it.” And Tomiki answered, “Definitely not. ‘I [Ueshiba] established everything…[smiling mysteriously]’. However old martial artists would often do that way.” [Shishida (Ed.), 1982, p.1]

“The Process of Forming Aikido and Japanese Imperial Navy Admiral Isamu Takeshita: Through the analysis of Takeshita’s diary from 1925 to 1931”
 – Fumiaki Shishida (Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan)

The explanations of principle and technique showing what Takuma HIsa learned in 1933 (“Budo Renshu”) are repeated in 1938 (“Budo”), which Morihiro Saito testified was what Morihei Ueshiba was teaching in Iwama in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This is supported by the fact that the identical explanations and techniques appear in 1954 (“Aikido Maki-no-ichi”), in a volume distributed by Morihei Ueshiba long after the war.

All of this lends further support to the argument that the radical phase change to the technical core of Aikido that is so commonly accepted to have occurred after the war…never happened. Or perhaps, it happened, but not at the behest of Morihei Ueshiba.

There is a discussion of this issue in “The Ueshiba Legacy, by Mark Murray” which you may like to read if you find this interesting.

One last tidbit before we proceed to the download…

Kannagara no Budo“Kannagara no Budo – Daito-ryu Aiki Budo Hiden”, 1942

Here we have the same technique appearing in Takuma HIsa’s “Kannagara no Budo – Daito-ryu Aiki Budo Hiden”, published in 1942. Takuma Hisa received Menkyo Kaiden in Daito-ryu from Sokaku Takeda in 1939. Interestingly, he gives there the same exact explanation (word for word) about Shomenuchi in this book about Daito-ryu that Morihei Ueshiba gave in “Budo Renshu” in 1933…which is also the same exact word for word explanation that appears in “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi” in 1954.

“Strike while exercising the technique of the unity of opposites (陰陽合致) in the hand-sword.”

The “opposites” above are, translated more literally, “In” and “Yo”, “Yin” and “Yang”, the core principles that suffuse so much of Morihei Ueshiba’s explanations, and form the basis for Chinese martial arts and cosmology. Interesting in and of itself, but it is also interesting that the bulk of the explanation of principle and technique through this entire book about Daito-ryu…duplicates the text in Morihei Ueshiba’s 1933 and 1938 manuals, and that the same explanations that appear in Morihei Ueshiba’s 1954 manual.

And now, the full scanned PDF version of the 1938 technical manual “Budo”, by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba:

Enjoy!


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

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Aikijujutsu Densho – AKA Budo Renshu, by Moritaka Ueshiba http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikijujutsu-densho-budo-renshu-moritaka-ueshiba/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikijujutsu-densho-budo-renshu-moritaka-ueshiba/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 03:14:39 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2525 Aikido Founder Morihei (Moritaka) Ueshiba “Aikijujutsu Densho” AKA “Budo Renshu”, 1934 From the early 1920’s through the end of World War II Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba used the name “Moritaka” – a name he received through his relationship with Onisaburo Deguchi (出口王仁三郎), from the word “shukou” (“Moritaka” can also be read “shukou”) that appeared in Deguchi Seishi’s Norito (祝詞, “Shinto prayers”). The actual voice of Onisaburo Deguchi chanting Shinto … Continue reading Aikijujutsu Densho – AKA Budo Renshu, by Moritaka Ueshiba »

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Aikido Founder Morihei UeshibaAikido Founder Morihei (Moritaka) Ueshiba
“Aikijujutsu Densho” AKA “Budo Renshu”, 1934

From the early 1920’s through the end of World War II Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba used the name “Moritaka” – a name he received through his relationship with Onisaburo Deguchi (出口王仁三郎), from the word “shukou” (“Moritaka” can also be read “shukou”) that appeared in Deguchi Seishi’s Norito (祝詞, “Shinto prayers”).

The actual voice of Onisaburo Deguchi chanting Shinto prayers

It was during this time period that he published the books “Budo” (1938) and “Budo Renshu” (1933), which both appeared under the name “Moritaka Ueshiba” (植芝守高).

Aikijujutsu Densho - Mokuroku pageThe last page of “Aikijujutsu Densho” (“Budo Renshu”) showing its
status as a licensing document, issued in Showa year 9 (1934).
Signed “Ueshiba Moritaka” and stamped (top right) “Aikijujutsu”.

“Budo” was originally created for Prince Kaya Tsunenori, a member of a collateral branch of the imperial family. Kayanomiya would eventually become Superintendant of the Army Toyama School – where Morihei Ueshiba would act as an instructor before the war. An English edition (“Budo: Teachings of the Founder of Aikido“), translated by John Stevens, was published in 1991, and a separate edition -“Budo: Commentary on the 1938 Training Manual of Morihei Ueshiba“, translated by Sonoko Tanaka and Stanley Pranin, was published in 1999.

“Budo Renshu” (published in English under the name “Budo Training in Aikido“), published in 1933, was given to select students as a teaching license. Unlike “Budo”, which is composed of still photographs of Morihei Ueshiba demonstrating technique, “Budo Renshu” is composed of pictures hand drawn by Takako Kunigoshi, a student at Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo who began training shortly before her graduation from Japan Women’s Fine Arts University. This was also discussed in the article “Three Doka and the Aiki O-Kami“.

“Budo Renshu” also contains detailed written explanations of the forms and principles of Morihei Ueshiba’s art that were largely complied and edited by Kenji Tomiki, one of Morihei Ueshiba’s senior students who began training at the Kobukan Dojo in Tokyo around 1926.

More information about Tomiki Sensei is available in the articles “Kenji Tomiki: Judo Taiso – a method of training Aiki no Jutsu through Judo principles” and “Aikido Shihan Kenji Tomiki’s Goshinjutsu“.

In 1954 Morihei Ueshiba published “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi”, edited by Ni-Dai Doshu Kisshomaru (Koetsu) Ueshiba. This book, which was not publicly distributed (but is available here), duplicates most of the text and many of the drawings that first appeared in the 1933 publication “Budo Renshu”. That is to say – this book demonstrates that the technical explanations, both written and graphical, and the descriptions of principles that Morihei Ueshiba taught were the same in 1954 as they were in 1933, when the art was called “Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu”.

The document that will be available for download below, as well as the rest of the content on this site, is provided free of charge as a service to the community, and will continue to remain free of charge. You can help support this project by contributing a little bit to help support our efforts. Every donation (even $1) is greatly appreciated and helps to cover our server and bandwidth costs, and the time involved. The more support that we get the more interesting new content we can get out there!

By donating you also help support our efforts at Aikido Hawaii, which has provided a state-wide resource for all Aikido in Hawaii, regardless of style or affiliation, for almost twenty years.

Thanks,
Chris

The edition of “Budo Renshu” that will be available for download below is presented courtesy of Scott Burke, who lives in Fukuoka, but often comes to Hawaii to join the local Sangenkai workshops. He was also generous enough to provide scanned copies of “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi” and “Kenji Tomiki: Judo Taiso – a method of training Aiki no Jutsu through Judo principles“. It was issued by Morihei (Moritaka) Ueshiba in Showa year 9 – 1934.

The cover of Aikijujutsu DenshoThe cover of “Aikijujutsu Densho”

As you may have noted above, the actual title on the cover of the book is not “Budo Renshu” (武道練習), but rather “Aikijujutsu Densho” (合気柔術伝書).

The book opens with a formal portrait of the founder (above) and includes photos of Morihei Ueshiba demonstrating Happo Bunshin (八方分身) at the Kobukan Dojo in Ushigome (Wakamatsu-vho) that opened in 1931. The technique he was showing was included in the Daito-ryu scrolls issued in that same year.

If you look closely, the person the second from the right in both photographs is none other than Aikido 9th Dan Rinjiro Shirata, who was known as the “Kobukan Prodigy”.

Rinjiro Shirata in Aikijujutsu Densho

Happo bunshin – second from right in both photos:
Rinjiro Shirata Sensei (白田林次郎)

Shirata Sensei was one of the few post-war Aikido instructors to have received copies of both “Budo Renshu” and “Budo” directly from Morihei Ueshiba before the war.

Here’s a little interlude about Ichiro Shibata’s experiences when he encountered Rinjiro Shirata in 1977 (from “It Had To Be Felt #21: Shibata Ichiro: A Lean and Hungry Look“, by Ellis Amdur: ):

Another day that I vividly recall was during the first International Aikido Federation consolidation in, I believe, 1977. That morning, instead of Doshu, Shirata Rinjiro sensei taught class. There were easily one hundred and fifty people on the mat. Shirata sensei was allotted one and one-half hours. The majority of the students were foreign, with a particularly numerous French contingent, many of whom had high dan rankings. Shirata sensei had a very quiet demeanor, very gentle, very humble. The manners of French students were particularly appalling. Shirata sensei bowed in and started warm-ups. Many of these high-ranking Europeans started engaging in conversations, ignoring the warm-ups (these were not the dojo regulars — these were representatives of national organizations, many of whom ranked each other, who behaved with all the uncouth gaucherie of a United Nations bureaucrat with diplomatic immunity). After fifteen minutes (this was one of those “hidden in plain sight” moments — he did some solo exercises that, as poorly as I remember, I’d never seen before), Shirata sensei took a bokken. He started speaking about shihonage, underscoring what an important technique it was, and demonstrated shihogiri with the bokken. With surely a chuckle — well aware that the majority of those in the class were dismissing him merely because he was unknown to them – he said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know much about the sword. Osensei developed a lot of things after I studied with him.” The French kept talking, something that Shirata sensei ignored. I made a small mark at this point, because two of these six dans were standing, conversing in front of me, in the front row of the serried ranks of students <yes, standing!> while he was teaching, and enraged, I grabbed both of them by the koshiita of their hakama and slammed them into seiza, like cracking a whip. They whirled around and I said, “Shut the f**k up.” Cross-cultural communication — they understood my English! — and they turned around, bustling like a couple of broody hens on their knees. I suddenly felt a hard poke in my back. I turned around, ready for some kind of Gallic expostulations, and there was Waka-sensei (Moriteru), giggling with a big grin on his face.

Then Shirata sensei called Shibata-san out for ukemi. It didn’t start out well. The class was over one-half hour old, the old man had just done warm-ups and a “simple” set of sword swings, and he hadn’t exerted any authority over the class. Shibata-san, perhaps, can be forgiven, in that he reached out, in bored fashion, to take what he apparently assumed was a nice, apparently ineffectual old guy’s arm. I should mention that Shirata sensei’s hands were huge, like rhododendron bushes hanging from massive wrists. Imagine Shibata-san sticking out an arm towards the west. Shirata-sensei went further west. And further. I believe he covered one 1/3 the width of the Aikikai’s mat. Shibata-san’s face was like that of Wiley Coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons when he realizes that the rope he took hold of was attached to an anvil that had just been dropped off a cliff. The final cut of Shirata sensei’s shihonage was like Itto-ryu’s primordial cut: perfectly centered, from sky to ground, except he was cutting with a human being in his hands instead of a sword. Shibata-san made one of the most magnificent recoveries I’ve ever seen. I truly thought his arm was going to be ripped off his body, but he managed, with two huge strides and a dive to get around in time to take a thunderous breakfall. Shirata sensei threw him three more times, Shibata-san taking impeccable ukemi now, and he got up, a man in love. Others of us felt the same, both for the deserved come-uppance of our well-liked, but feared sempai, and also for this unknown-to-us, titanically powerful old man. Unbelievably, though, many of the French were still talking, casually strolling off the mat, even as Shirata sensei demonstrated another technique. Shibata-san, who, I’m sure, had been fuming at their behavior already, launched himself like an out-of-orbit comet managing a multiple attack of the entire Western world. Well, actually, he attacked the entire Western world. He was sweeping around the mat, jumping in to a pair of practicing foreigners, and grabbing one after another, launching them through the air, off the mat onto the wooden runway, or literally splattering them against the walls, then moving on to another pale-skinned pair and doing the same. It was like watching a fin-nipper in an aquarium, with all the guppies swirling away every time he drew near, one after another caught and mangled. Then, all of a sudden, he grabbed me, and spinning, wound up to throw me right into a wall. I managed to step inside him and turn, an inward tai-no-henko, spun him another half turn, and with our momentum, his back slammed against the wall. His eyes were blank and he raised a fist, but before he knocked me out, I grabbed his shoulders and yelled, “Shibata-san, Ore da! Ore da!” (It’s me! It’s me!). He shook himself like a wolf throwing off water, patted me on the shoulder and in English, said in a merry tone, “Oh, I’m sorry!” and spun away, grabbed another Frenchman and sent him flying.

The last half-hour of the class was much better behaved, I must say. Shirata sensei simply continued, unperturbed throughout the entire time, as if to say, “I’m simply here doing what I’m doing. If you want to pay attention, you are welcome.”

Just one more interesting note before we get to the download…..it is immediately apparent from comparing the post-war versions of “Budo Renshu” that were published by the Aikikai and Ni-Dai Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba (published in English under the name “Budo Training in Aikido“) to the original edition that in the post-war version many of the drawings have been re-traced. This is most-likely because they were working from photocopies or other low quality copies of the original work. What is interesting, is that many of the people in the post-war drawings appear to be….happier!

Budo Renshu - pre-war versionOriginal version – stern and focused Kobukan practitioners
Note the downturned eyebrows

Budo Renshu - post-war versionPost-war version – happy Aikikai practitioners

And now, the full scanned PDF version of the 1934 “Aikijujutsu Densho” AKA “Budo Renshu”:

Enjoy!


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

The post Aikijujutsu Densho – AKA Budo Renshu, by Moritaka Ueshiba appeared first on Aikido Sangenkai Blog.

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Aikido Shihan Kenji Tomiki’s Goshinjutsu http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-shihan-kenji-tomiki-goshinjutsu/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/aikido-shihan-kenji-tomiki-goshinjutsu/#comments Sat, 25 Jun 2016 22:35:37 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2478 Around 1926 – the year Kenji Tomiki started Aikido Morihei Ueshiba next to Admiral Isamu Takeshita, Center rear: the son of Gonnohyoe Yamamoto* Lt. Colonel Kiyoshi Yamamoto Kenji Tomiki standing next to Kiyoshi Yamamoto Right: nephew of Gonnohyoe Yamamoto* Vice Admiral Eisuke Yamamoto *Admiral Gonnohyoe Yamamoto was the 16th and 22nd Prime Minister of Japan Kenji Tomiki (富木謙治) began training under Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba in Daito-ryu … Continue reading Aikido Shihan Kenji Tomiki’s Goshinjutsu »

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Kenji Tomiki with Morihei Ueshiba in 1926

Around 1926 – the year Kenji Tomiki started Aikido
Morihei Ueshiba next to Admiral Isamu Takeshita,
Center rear: the son of Gonnohyoe Yamamoto*
Lt. Colonel Kiyoshi Yamamoto
Kenji Tomiki standing next to Kiyoshi Yamamoto

Right: nephew of Gonnohyoe Yamamoto*
Vice Admiral Eisuke Yamamoto

*Admiral Gonnohyoe Yamamoto was
the 16th and 22nd Prime Minister of Japan

Kenji Tomiki (富木謙治) began training under Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba in Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu in 1926.  He was largely responsible for the compilation and editing of the text in Morihei Ueshiba’s 1933 training manual “Budo Renshu”  (published in English under the name “Budo Training in Aikido“), and was later appointed to be Morihei Ueshiba’s representative at Kenkoku University in Japanese occupied Manchuria.

At the time that he started training with Morihei Ueshiba he was already a student of Judo – an uchi-deshi (“live-in student”) to Judo Founder Jigoro Kano. He was encouraged to visit Ueshiba by a fellow Judo student at Waseda, Hidetaro Kubota (who later changed his name to Nishimura), who had trained with Morihei Ueshiba in Ayabe during the 1920’s.

Daido GakuinDaido Gakuin (大同学院) in Manchuria prior to 1945

In 1936 Tomiki left Tokyo to become a part time instructor at Daido Gakuin in Japanese occupied Manchuria. Before he left he went to pay his respects to Jigoro Kano, and was told:

「富木君、講道館には植芝さんのところで君が学んできたような技が必要なんだ。昔の柔術というのは、みな植芝さんと同じようなことをするのだ。しかし、あれをどうやって練習させるかが難しいんだよ」

“Tomiki-kun, the Kodokan needs the kinds of techniques that you learned at Ueshiba-san’s place. Because the jujutsu of the past, they all do the same kinds of things that Ueshiba-san does. But it’s how to practice those things that is difficult!”

This was Kenji Tomiki’s conundrum after the war, just as it was a conundrum for JIgoro Kano, and even Kisshomaru Ueshiba – namely, how the older arts could and should be modified for popularization among the general public (there’s a little about the changes in post-war modern Aikikai Aikido in “The Ueshiba Legacy, by Mark Murray“) .

Judo TaisoA page from “Judo Taiso” by Kenji Tomiki, 1954

In 1954 Tomiki published a book called “Judo Taiso” (“Judo Exercises” – the book is available for free download from the article “Kenji Tomiki: Judo Taiso – a method of training Aiki no Jutsu through Judo principles“). This book represents some of Tomiki’s earlier work at integrating the work of his two teachers and then presenting the results to the general public.

“Judo Taiso” (mentioned above), the texts that will be available for download below, and the rest of the content on this site are provided free of charge as a service to the community. You can help support this project by contributing a little bit to help support our efforts. Every donation (even $1) is greatly appreciated and helps to cover our server and bandwidth costs, and the time involved. The more support that we get the more interesting new content we can get out there!

By donating you also help support our efforts at Aikido Hawaii, which has provided a state-wide resource for all Aikido in Hawaii, regardless of style or affiliation, for almost twenty years.

Thanks,
Chris

When Keizou Yamamoto (山本敬三) went to train with Kenji Tomiki at Waseda University in 1957 he encountered that book:

Although I had gone to Waseda University with the intention of learning Aikido, we were given a booklet called “Judo Taiso”, and we did the Judo exercises that Sensei had invented. I understood at last, years later, that Sensei had deeply respected the late Jigoro Kano Sensei – “The way that I see Aikido is through Judo”, he said. In the forward to that book that Tomiki Sensei wrote was the following:

“I was introduced to Kodokan Judo some forty-five years ago, when I was in elementary school. Leading to the present day I have received instruction beginning with the late Jigoro Kano Sensei, and then through many Sempai. From around thirty years ago I was taught Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba Sensei. “Judo Taiso” was born through the comprehensive study of both of these people, with the structure based on Aikido technique. The movement of the body has been transformed to modern gymnastics and with this the unification of power developed through the “Principles of Judo” and the management of the body can be practiced.”

Tomiki further discussed some of the issues surrounding this problem in this interview with Aikido Journal, in which he was asked about some of the spectacular feats that Morihei Ueshiba was able to perform with his internal skills:

This problem is one of modern physical education’s muscle training. It’s called isometrics. That is to say, by pushing or pulling you train either the outer muscles or the inner muscles. When you get perfect at this form of training you can hardly see any muscle movement at all during the exercise. When you can’t see any movement you are using the muscle very skillfully. But, in the educational field if you demand a similar level of perfection then you are making a big mistake. If anyone trains sufficiently it is possible to do it to some degree, but, of course, there are limits what a human being can do. Perfection is a problem of belief. Can we call it religious faith? If we have to disrupt our partner’s psychological state through some hypnotic technique it would not be a matter of religion as we usually think of the word. I for one, take the normal point of view that education appropriate for the general public is correct and I think aikido should be something usual, or normal, as well.

Tomiki wasn’t alone in these sentiments, his teacher Jigoro Kano also wrestled with the problem of balancing his desire to preserve the traditional arts of Japan with the his desire to create an art that would be suitable for the modern educational system and the general public:

The pioneer who modernized the feudal era schools of bujutsu and brought them to into the context of modern physical education was Master Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. When I say that he modernized ancient bujutsu, what I mean is that, first of all, he categorized and arranged the techniques so that they transcended schools. The main feature of this rearrangement was organizing and categorizing the major techniques according to the form of combat, so as to make tournaments (shiai) possible. 
– “On Jujutsu and its Modernization” by Kenji Tomiki

And Kano dealt with similar issues as well – according to Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu (新道楊心流)  Menkyo Kaiden Toby Threadgill, there was a point in time when the entire Internal Power (内力の業) training syllabus of Shindo Yoshin-ryu was included in Kodokan Judo textbooks – a chapter that was removed from later editions. Here he speaks a little bit about that section of the training:

They are solo exercises that inculcate the proper balance, movement and muscular application utilized in our greater curriculum. These types of exercises are actually quite ubiquitous in Japanese jujutsu schools of the Edo Period, although they are rather unfamiliar to those outside the membership of specific Nihon koryu. According to Yoshin ryu lore, this form of body training was introduced to Japan from China in the mid-Edo Period. In the case of Yoshin ryu, the Nairiki no Gyo were specifically created adaptations of Chinese practices intended to augment the study and application of specific body skills required in Yoshin ryu’s greater curriculum.
– From “An Interview With: Toby Threadgill, Menkyo Kaiden, Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu

In the end, Tomiki opted to follow Jigoro Kano’s thinking and introduce a form of competitive Aikido:

I introduced Randori Aikido so that students could make their techniques more effective by ‘free play’. These techniques originate from Kata and can develop through Randori to competition. In order to teach the spirit of Budo in a modern educational system, it is necessary to introduce it as a sport. The reason I developed Randori Aikido from Kata Aikido is because I wished to follow the method and thinking of Dr. Jigaro Kano in which he evolved Judo from old style Jujutsu

That would lead to his eventual break with the Aikikai and the Ueshiba family over the issue of competition in Aikido. Morehei Ueshiba’s granson Moriteru Ueshiba even went so far as to say that Aikido with competition can no longer be considered “Aikido”:

For example, those that have instituted competitive matches have obviously forgotten the true nature of Aikido, and cannot be called Aikido.
– From “Aikido ™ – Can it really be trademarked?

Nonetheless, Tomiki was still in Morihei Ueshiba’s thoughts in his last moments, as we see here in this recollection from Yoshinkan Aikido Founder Gozo Shioda:

Four of the younger deshi were staying with Sensei. He was asleep when I went there, but he suddenly woke up and said, “It’s you, thanks for coming. I’m riding on a winged horse around the heavens. I can see the earth. Shioda, what is [Kenji] Tomiki doing now? I’m watching.”

At that time Kisshomaru had changed his name and was called Koetsu. He was waiting at the foot of the bed and Ueshiba Sensei said the following, “Shioda, I want you to support Koetsu on the technical side. I want you always to cooperate with him. I’m counting on you.” Kisshomaru stood there and listened.
– From Aiki News issue 93 (now Aikido Journal)

So…now we have a couple of downloadable documents in PDF format (provided from scans originating with Eddy Wolput and the Study Group Tomiki Aikido).

Kenji Tomiki - Goshin Jutsu no KataKenji Tomiki shows a technique from the Goshinjutsu no Kata

The first is “Kodokan Goshinjutsu” (講道館護身術), by Kenji Tomiki. This is Kenji Tomiki’s commentary on the Kodokan Goshinjutsu no Kata (講道館護身術の形 / Kodokan Self Defense Kata), first published in 1958.

The Kodokan Goshinjutsu no Kata is a set of pre-arranged forms, set techniques, intended to focus on self-defense applications. Created by a Kodokan committee over a period of some three years, Kenji Tomiki had a huge influence on the final form of the Kata.

In the introduction to the Kodokan book “Goshinjutsu”, Risei Kano (嘉納 履正), Jigoro Kano’s son and the second president of the International Judo Federation, wrote:

The writer of this Book, Professor Kenji Tomiki, has deep understanding of Judo as Professor of Waseda University and also is an authority on the research of Aiki-Jutsu in the light of Judo principles. In formulating the Goshin Jutsu no Kata, he played a leading role in the panel.

Kenji Tomiki and Tadao Otaki gave the first public demonstration of the Goshin Jutsu no Kata at the Kagami Biraki in 1956 at the Nippon Budokan.

Kenji Tomiki - Introduction to Goshinjutsu“Introduction to Goshinjutsu” by Kenji Tomiki, 1974

Next is Kenji Tomiki’s “Introduction to Goshinjutsu” (護身術入門), published in 1974. This book is an interesting follow-up to the “Kenji Tomiki: Judo Taiso – a method of training Aiki no Jutsu through Judo principles” publication mentioned above.

It is also clearly aimed at the general public, although there are also some interesting sections.

Teko no Genri - Kenji Tomiki, Introduction to Goshinjutsu

For example, here is one about the “Principle of the Lever”. Here Tomiki talks about Yin/Yang (In/Yo) opposing forces with a central non-moving pivot in the text, but in terms of modern mechanics as a force couple. According to Wikipedia this is defined:

A couple is a pair of forces, equal in magnitude, oppositely directed, and displaced by perpendicular distance or moment.

Further:

Its effect is to create rotation without translation, or more generally without any acceleration of the centre of mass.

The above ought to be familiar material to those folks training in the Sangenkai method.

Also, here is one demonstration using a spinning top to illustrate the stability and power of spiral force:

Koma no GenriThe principle of the spinning  top

Gendai AikiThe “Gendai Aiki” correspondence course

As a final bonus, the six volume “Gendai Aiki” series of books below is a 1970’s correspondence course in Aikido – the type of course one often sees advertised in the back of Manga and other popular magazines. The series was not authored by Kenji Tomiki, but was clearly written by someone who had experience with the Tomiki system of Aikido. I hope that you find these interesting as well.

Enjoy!


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

The post Aikido Shihan Kenji Tomiki’s Goshinjutsu appeared first on Aikido Sangenkai Blog.

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Kenji Tomiki: Judo Taiso – a method of training Aiki no Jutsu through Judo principles http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/judo-taiso-aiki-no-jutsu-kenji-tomiki/ http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/judo-taiso-aiki-no-jutsu-kenji-tomiki/#comments Sun, 12 Jun 2016 16:40:54 +0000 http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/?p=2460 “Secret Teachings of Budo (Poems)” – from “Budo Renshu”, 1933 also see “Three Doka and the Aiki O-Kami“ The first known book published by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba (“Moritaka Ueshiba” at the time of publishing) was the 1933 training manual “Budo Renshu”  (published in English under the name “Budo Training in Aikido“). This manual was initially given to his students as a kind of a teaching license. … Continue reading Kenji Tomiki: Judo Taiso – a method of training Aiki no Jutsu through Judo principles »

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Budo Renshu - Secret Teaching Poems

“Secret Teachings of Budo (Poems)” – from “Budo Renshu”, 1933
also see “Three Doka and the Aiki O-Kami

The first known book published by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba (“Moritaka Ueshiba” at the time of publishing) was the 1933 training manual “Budo Renshu”  (published in English under the name “Budo Training in Aikido“). This manual was initially given to his students as a kind of a teaching license.

It was filled with illustrations depicting techniques taught at the Kobukan Dojo which were drawn by Takako Kunigoshi, a student at the Kobukan who began training shortly before her graduation from Japan Women’s Fine Arts University.

The text portions of this work were largely complied and edited by Kenji Tomiki, one of Morihei Ueshiba’s senior students. Kenji Tomiki began training at the Kobukan Dojo in Tokyo around 1926 after being encouraged to meet Morihei Ueshiba by Hidetaro Kubota (who later changed his name to Nishimura), a fellow Judo student at Waseda.

Kobukan Gasshuku in 1934Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, back row center
Kenji Tomiki, back row right (red box)
1934 summer gasshuku, from the Kobukan Dojo newsletter “Kobu” (皇武)

Hidetaro Kubota had trained with Morihei Ueshiba in Ayabe, on the Omoto-kyo compound. One of Kuboto’s fellow students, Yutaka Otsuki(大槻豊), would later go on to found his own school of “Otsuki-ryu Aiki-jujutsu”.

Otsuki-ryu Aiki-jujutsu HIden Ogi“Hiden Ogi” scroll issued in “Otsuki-ryu Aiki-jujutsu” by Yutaka Otsuki (大槻豊), 1940

Kenji Tomiki, also a senior student of Judo Founder Jigoro Kano, would go on to become Morihei Ueshiba’s designated representative at Kenkoku University in Japanese occupied Manchuria.

Kenji Tomiki and Morihei Ueshiba in 1942Kenji Tomiki and Morihei Ueshiba in Manchuria, 1942

When the Dan ranking system became required by the consolidation of Japanese martial arts by the Japanese government prior to World War II under the Dai Nippon Butokukai he would receive the very first 8th Dan ever to be issued by Morihei Ueshiba.

Tomiki was an instructor at Aikikai Hombu Dojo after the war, but a division gradually developed over the issue of competition in Aikido and the division grew into a split between Tomiki and the Aikikai organization when Tomiki established his Shodokan Dojo in 1967 to refine his teaching methods and then held public tournaments beginning in 1970.

The cover of Aikido Maki-no-Ichi, 1954

“Aikido Maki-no-Ichi”, published by the Aikikai in 1954

In 1954 Morihei Ueshiba published “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi”, edited by Ni-Dai Doshu Kisshomaru (Koetsu) Ueshiba. This book, which was not publicly distributed (but is available here), duplicates much of the text and many of the drawings that first appeared in the 1933 publication “Budo Renshu” – text that was originally compiled and edited primarily by Kenji Tomiki.

Also in 1954, Kenji Tomiki published a book demonstrating his own efforts at combining the scientific methodology and educational pedagogy that he had absorbed from Jigoro Kano with the teachings that he had received from Morihei Ueshiba.

Judo Taiso, by Kenji Tomiki Sensei

“Judo Taiso – a method of training Aiki no Jutsu through Judo principles”
by Kenji Tomiki, 1954

Like “Aikido Maki-no-Ichi” mentioned above, this manuscript (which includes a forward written by Jigoro Kano’s son Risei Kano – 嘉納 履正) was recovered through the efforts of Scott Burke, who lives in Fukuoka, but often comes to Hawaii to join the local Sangenkai workshops.

About half of the work itself is text – but the pictorial content in the remaining sections should be understandable even to non-Japanese speakers.

Enjoy!


Published by: Christopher Li – Honolulu, HI

The post Kenji Tomiki: Judo Taiso – a method of training Aiki no Jutsu through Judo principles appeared first on Aikido Sangenkai Blog.

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