Chris Li translating for Mitsuteru Ueshiba Waka-senseiWaikiki Yacht Club, Honolulu Hawaii – February 2010 Mitsuteru Ueshiba (Waka-Sensei), the great-grandson of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, made his first visit to Hawaii in February 2010. Personally, I have been able to train under three generations of the Ueshiba family – some people at that seminar, and many of my instructors, have trained with all four, starting with O-Sensei to Kisshomaru Doshu to Moriteru Doshu to Mitsuteru Waka-Sensei. Waka-Sensei himself is the first generation of the Ueshiba family teaching Aikido that did not have a chance to meet the Founder. Among those practicing Aikido worldwide there are many people holding Dan ranks today who hadn’t even begun Aikido when Kisshomaru Doshu passed away. This means that we are finally getting far enough away from the origin to see what has (and hasn’t) worked organizationally, and for the traditional ties that have bound Aikido together to this time to come to a pivotal transition point.
"Takemusu Aiki" by Morihei Ueshiba, edited by Hideo Takahashi *This is a Dutch translation of the article "Aikido and the Unknown – What don’t we know and why don’t we know it…", courtesy of Ernesto Lemke of Seikokan Aikido. Toen Sam Chin vorig jaar Hawaii bezocht vertelde hij ons (samengevat) dat het niet zo slecht is om niet te weten – zolang je maar weet dat je niet weet. Dat sloeg bij mij echt de juiste snaar– is dit niet waar het probleem daadwerkelijk begint? Toen ik met Aikido begon was er erg weinig informatie beschikbaar (in het Engels). Wat er wel voor handen was – zo weten we inmiddels- was een gekuiste versie. Hier is een goed voorbeeld van de Aikido Journal website en hier een ander van Meik Skoss op de Koryu.com website. Vergeleken met nu waren er veel minder buitenlanders die Japans spraken, laat staan dat zij de originele Japanse bronnen konden lezen. Daar kwam bij dat de meeste Japanners een min of meer uniforme versie van de geschiedenis en bijzonderheden van Aikido presenteerden. Tegenwoordig zijn er echter honderden boeken over Aikido beschikbaar in het Engels – en andere talen – dus wat is het probleem?
Hiroshi Tada Sensei with Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu as Yoji Fujimoto receives promotion to 8th DanAikikai Hombu Dojo, Kagami Biraki 2010Fujimoto moved to Italy in 1970 to assist Tada in developing Aikido in Italy This is part 6 of the English translation of an interview in Japanese with Hiroshi Tada. You may want to read the previous sections first:Part 1: explore Tada Sensei’s samurai ancestry and his encounters with Shotokan Karate Founder Gichin Funakoshi.Part 2: find out how Hiroshi Tada met Shin-Shin Toitsu-Do Founder Tempu Nakamura.Part 3: discover Tada Sensei’s thoughts on "telepathy" training.Part 4: read Tada Sensei’s thoughts on Japanese Budo and Kata training.Part 5: learn about the most influential person in the history of Japan, and their relationship to Japanese Budo.You may also be interested in "The Day I Entered Ueshiba Dojo", in which Hiroshi Tada recounts his first encounter with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei.You may notice that the tone of the interview is quite conversational. This is the way that it appears in the original Japanese – the original was not heavily edited, with the result being that the natural conversational tone was preserved. However, this also means that the discussion is sometimes less focused then a more heavily edited interview would be.
Yoshimitsu Yamada in Kauai Hawaii, 1966 The other day I was reading an interview with Yoshimitsu Yamada on the Aikido Sansuikai website. This passage happened to catch my attention: Well, the ranking system in aikido is another headache. I personally disagree with this system. A teaching certificate is okay, a black belt is okay. But after that, no numbers, no shodan, no nidan, etc. People know who is good and who is bad. The dan ranking system creates a competitive mind, because people judge others – "oh, he is sixth dan, but he is not good, this guy is much better…" Yamada has made similar statements before, I know, but it’s always interesting when the person responsible for handing out rank to a large number of people in several countries states publicly that he is himself opposed to the ranking system.
Nobuyoshi Tamura with Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei and Koichi Toheimeeting Hawaii Governor William F. Quinn in 1961 This article is Part 2 of the translation of an interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura which originally appeared in "Profiles of the Founder" (開祖の横顔), published in Japanese in 2009. See "Profiles of the Founder of Aikido: Nobuyoshi Tamura, Part 1" for Part 1 of the interview. When Tamura arrived in Hawaii as Morihei Ueshiba’s Otomo in 1961 he was immediatly nicknamed "the Stone Wall" because of his ability to remain immovable before the efforts of the local Hawaiian Aikido students.