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Yukiyoshi Sagawa’s Aiki, a true portrait of Transparent Power – Interview with Tatsuo Kimura Part 1

Tatsuo Kimura - Aiki-age

Tatsuo Kimura demonstrates Aiki-age

Stretching his right hand upward, Morihei Sensei said, “Those who practice Aiki should understand the heart of faraway America.”

I immediately thought to myself, “Please come and throw me,” expecting that Morihei Sensei would read my thoughts. Of course, this was merely something I thought in my own mind. However, at that instant, Morihei Sensei, who was looking out the window, turned to me. To my surprise, he started to walk in my direction. He was small, about 150 cm tall, but at that time I felt he was very big. It seemed to me that there was a big wall in back of Morihei Sensei and it was approaching me powerfully. Since I had never taken a fall for Morihei Sensei up until that time, I became very tense. I thought to myself, “Oh no! What shall I do?” as he approached very close to me. He raised his right hand up as if to execute an iriminage throw and shouted, “Eii!” I fell backward. Then, turning to me, Morihei Sensei said, “That was good!” Then, I bowed down with both hands touching the tatami mumbling, “Ha-ha.”

I was really surprised by this. I felt that he read my thoughts at that instant. He had a powerful aura about him and an amazing kiai.

Morihei Sensei often appeared in the Hombu Dojo during Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei’s practice. One day, Morihei Sensei started to explain the kotegaeshi technique while holding Yamaguchi Sensei’s right hand with his left hand. Then Morihei Sensei applied a pressure on Yamaguchi Sensei’s right hand with his right hand. Yamaguchi Sensei hesitated an instant and then took the fall by himself. Suddenly, Morihei Sensei, who was smiling until then, shouted at us, “Do not practice so that if someone moves a certain way, the other person falls in a certain way!” Morihei Sensei’s voice had a metallic sound that could be heard far away.

His eyes flashed and I suddenly felt thunder coming down from the fine blue sky. I was really surprised. In this sense, Morihei Sensei was not a normal person. His spirit and kiai were really extraordinary I had never seen such a person up until that time.

The atmosphere was completely different when Morihei Sensei was performing techniques compared to the other instructors. When I look at the videos of Morihei Sensei I cannot feel his “ki” and more than half of the information is lost. It seems that the camera cannot capture the atmosphere or the feeling of the dojo. Actually, there was a certain tension in the air when Morihei Sensei was present.
…..

Frankly speaking, when Morihei Ueshiba died, I felt Aikido was finished. It disappeared from the world because the Aikido of Morihei Ueshiba and that of his students are completely different.

Tatsuo Kimura
from “Discovering Aiki My 20 Years with Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei

Tatsuo Kimura (木村達雄), born in Tokyo Japan in 1947, is a well known mathematician and professor at Tsukuba University. He was also a long-time student of the famous Daito-ryu instructor Yukiyoshi Sagawa (佐川幸義). He published two books about Sagawa Sohan (宗範) that have been translated into English (the latter one only partially) – “Transparent Power (透明な力)” and “Discovering Aiki My 20 Years with Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei (合気修得への道―佐川幸義先生に就いた二十年)”. He also holds a third-dan in kendo and a fifth-dan in Aikido, which he studied under Seigo Yamaguchi (山口清吾).

This is the first part of a two part interview that appeared in Japanese in the book “Daito-ryu Aiki Bujutsu Sagawa Yukiyoshi, Divine Techniques of Aiki – Signposts to ‘Aiki’, a miraculous technical method that surpasses strength” (大東流合気武術 佐川幸義 神業の合気 力を超える奇跡の技法“合気”への道標), which was published in March 2015 by BAB Japan publishing company (BABジャパン出版局), which also publishes the popular martial arts magazine Gekkan Hiden (月刊秘伝 / “Secret Teachings Monthly”).

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Aikido and Judo – Interview with Gozo Shioda and Masahiko Kimura

 Full Contact Karate, December 1987Full Contact Karate Magazine – December 1987

More Full Contact Karate at the Aikido Sangenkai! Previously we presented a translation of the article “Secret Technique: The Secret of Aiki” (秘技・合気の秘密) from the  January 1996 issue of the Japanese magazine “Full Contact Karate” (フル・コンタクト・カラテ). This time we’re happy to present the English translation of an interview with Yoshinkan Aikido Founder Gozo Shioda (塩田剛三) and legendary Judo champion Masahiko Kimura (木村政彦) that appeared in the December 1987 issue of Full Contact Karate.

Gozo Shioda was born in Shinjuku, Tokyo in 1915. He began training with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei in 1932 and trained under him for eight years before the war. After World War II he established Yoshinkan Aikido and became one of the major figures in the post-war Aikido world.

Masahiko Kimura was born in Kumamoto in 1917. At the age of 18 he became the youngest Judo 5th Dan in history, after defeating eight opponents in a row at Jigoro Kano’s Kodokan Dojo. It is said that he was defeated only four times in his professional career, one of those losses to Aikido student Kenshiro Abbe (although Abbe would not begin studying Aikido until some years later). He is most well known in the Western world for the famous match in 1949 in which he defeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Founder Hélio Gracie.

Gozo Shioda and Masahiko Kimura were classmates at Takushoku University, which also counts such famous Karate instructors as Masatoshi Nakayama and Mas Oyama among its alumni.

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Aiki Budo is de Weg van Menselijke Ontwikkeling [Dutch Version]

Sagawa Scroll

Aiki Budo is de Weg van Menselijke Ontwikkeling

*This is a Dutch translation of the article “Aiki Budo is the Way of Human Development – The philosophy of Aikido…maybe?“, courtesy of Ernesto Lemke of Seikokan Aikido.

De filosofie van Aikido….wellicht?

Ik was door Kisshomaru Ueshiba’s boeken aan het spitten, ‘The Spirit of Aikido’ en ‘De Kunst van Aikido’ en het viel me op dat er in beide boeken nagenoeg geen vermelding stond van Daito-ryu. Uiteraard zijn beide geen historische werken maar ik vond het opvallend vreemd dat er geen melding werd gemaakt van de kunst die Morihei Ueshiba langer dan 20 jaar bestudeerde; de enige kunst waarin hij licentie had om les in te geven; de enige kunst waar hij (naast zijn eigen kunst) ooit certificaten van bekwaamheid in uitgaf.

Ok, laten we doorgaan naar ‘Best Aikido, geschreven door Kisshomaru Ueshiba en Moriteru Ueshiba. Hierin wordt Daito-ryu kort vermeld als een van de vele kunsten die Morihei Ueshiba bestudeerde maar er wordt niets verteld over de diepgang van de studie van die andere kunsten. De tweede editie meld het feit dat, met uitzondering van Daito-ryu, al die kunsten uitermate kort bestudeerd werden al helemaal niet meer.

De tweede editie eindigt met te impliceren dat Morihei zelf ook maar enige wezenlijk verband met Daito-ryu ontkende. Dit is een veel voorkomend thema. Bekijk dit artikel maar eens voor een ander voorbeeld van het verdoezelen van de geschiedenis van Aikido.

Ik weet het, dit is een oud verhaal. De meeste mensen zijn tegenwoordig op de hoogte van de grote technische erfenis die Aikido Daito-ryu schuldig is, hoofdzakelijk door de inspanningen van Stan Pranin van Aikido Journal.

Ter aanvulling, in twee voorgaande Blogs, ‘Kiichi Hogen en het Geheim van Aikido’ en ‘Morihei Ueshiba, Budo en Kamae’ heb ik de mogelijkheden van een verband tussen de kern trainingsmethodes van Morihei Ueshiba en traditionele Chinese krijgskunst paradigma’s verkend.

Maar hoe zit het met de andere helft van de kunst? De grote filosofische en spirituele herbestemming van de krijgskunsten die zogenaamd door Morihei Ueshiba werd geïmplementeerd?  Continue reading »

Aiki Budo is the Way of Human Development

Sagawa Scroll

Aiki Budo is the Way of Human Development

The philosophy of Aikido…maybe?

I was looking through Kisshomaru Ueshiba’s books “The Spirit of Aikido” and “The Art of Aikido” and I happened to notice that there is virtually no mention of Daito-ryu in either one. Of course, neither of them are historical works, but I thought it odd that there was no mention of the art that Morihei Ueshiba has studied for over 20 years, the only art that he was ever licensed to teach, the only art (outside of his own) in which he ever issued certificates of rank.

OK, moving along to “Best Aikido“, written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Moriteru Ueshiba. In this one there is a short mention of Daito-ryu as one of the many arts that Morihei Ueshiba studied, but no mention is made of the relative depth of study of those arts – the section entirely fails to note the fact that, with the exception of Daito-ryu, all of those arts were studied for very brief periods of time.  Continue reading »