Aikido [Kisshomaru Ueshiba] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Aikido (Illustrated Japanese Classics) [Kisshomaru Ueshiba] on * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. authoritative, profusely illustrated. This interview, conducted by two unnamed newspapermen, appeared in the Japanese-language book “Aikido” by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Tokyo.
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The typical aikido practitioner — this also includes many instructors — has only kisehomaru vaguest of notions how the art planted roots in Japan and abroad following World War II.
Interview with Morihei Ueshiba and Kisshomaru Ueshiba
This is not due to a lack of availability of information on the subject. It is possible to study about the events of this period, but the necessary information is scattered among multiple sources, which require a reading ability in Japanese, English, and other European languages.
Certainly, the Internet has facilitated this task, but it is still difficult to gain a basic perspective of how aikido reemerged, first in Japan, and then abroad, after the cataclysmic events of the Great Pacific War. There is little incentive for scholars to do the necessary research because only a relatively small number of people are interested in such historical matters pertaining to aikido.
Here is my list: These names will be immediately recognizable to most experienced aikido practitioners. There are others who played roles of varying importance, but these four figures stand out as the key figures that shaped postwar aikido.
Among the four, Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei were far and away the most influential during the s through the early s. Yet neither of the two had an extensive background in martial arts prior to stepping into their leadership roles within the Aikikai.
Because it is critical to my thesis here, let me touch upon the martial arts antecedents of each of these four individuals in turn:. Of frail constitution as a child, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, son of Founder Morihei Ueshiba, studied kendo as a boy. He began practicing Aiki Budo regularly with his father following the departure of his brother-in-law Kiyoshi Nakakura from the Ueshiba family around By this time, the core of talented uchideshi of the prewar period had left the Kobukan Dojo mainly related to the mobilization of Japan.
Kisshomaru was one of the few young men remaining at the Kobukan Dojo. Others were Gozo Shioda and Zenzaburo Akazawa. He was employed during the day at a securities company in Tokyo and trained and taught part time in aikido as his schedule allowed. For the first few years, he lived in Iwama and commuted to Tokyo, but later moved back to the Ueshiba home in Shinjuku attached to the old Aikikai dojo to oversee dojo affairs and shorten the commute to work.
During this time, several bombed-out families were living in the dojo. Insince the Aikikai Hombu Dojo was reviving, Kisshomaru quit his job and began devoting full-time to instruction and management of the dojo. His total combined time of training under his father in the prewar and postwar eras can be estimated at years. Tohei began judo as a boy and continued training up to his university days having attained a dan grade level.
Starting in while a student at Keio University, Tohei entered the Ueshiba Dojo and learned from Morihei for a period of about 18 months before entering the Imperial Japanese Army. After his repatriation at the end of the war, Tohei returned to his family home in Tochigi Preference and launched a business venture that proved unsuccessful.
He found time to travel periodically to Iwama for additional training under Ueshiba during the late s. Tohei would eventually begin spending more time in Tokyo starting in the early s prior to his departure for Hawaii in We can estimate his time of study under Ueshiba as three to four years including his wartime studies and training in Iwama and Tokyo. Tohei himself stated that he learned under the Founder for only about two years. He continued his training at the Kobukan Dojo during the height of its activity continuing for about eight years, part of which he spent as a live-in student.
His training partners included many of the most famous students of Morihei Ueshiba from the prewar period. Although Shioda did not enter the military, he served during the war in a civilian capacity on various assignments in China and Southeast Asia.
Following the war, Shioda spent one month of intensive practice in Iwama with Morihei in As Shioda lived in Tokyo, he had sporadic contact with Ueshiba thereafter during visits to Iwama, a train ride of about two hours from Tokyo station. Shioda was among the first to begin actively teaching aikido after the war in Tokyo, and would soon establish his own school called Yoshinkan Aikido.
Tomiki learned judo as a boy continuing his practice while a student at Waseda University, save for an interrupting of four years due to illness. A large man by Japanese standards, he was a top-level competitor of 5th dan level during the late s and even competed before the Emperor in the Tenranjiai tournament. Tomiki was heavily influenced by the views of Judo Founder Jigoro Kano with whom he enjoyed a close relationship.
Tomiki started learning Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu under Morihei Ueshiba in He trained under Ueshiba in Tokyo on and off while he worked as a school teacher in Akita prefecture. InTomiki relocated to Japanese-controlled Manchuria where he was employed as a martial arts instructor thanks to his connections with Morihei Ueshiba. Tomiki was awarded an 8th dan from Ueshiba in The Aikikai was still struggling with low class attendance and the continued presence of the war-displaced families living in the dojo.
Inthe first Yoshinkan Aikido dojo was inaugurated and served as the base for the propagation of this style of aikido in companies and police departments.
An interesting side note is that a handful of American servicemen were among the early adopters of Yoshinkan Aikido and brought the art back to the USA starting in the mids. Shioda remained on good terms with the Aikikai, but saw Morihei infrequently. By the following year, he had become a professor at his alma mater, Waseda University, and director of the judo club in the physical education department.
His activities were centered at the university although he taught at the Aikikai occasionally during the early s. From that moment forward, Tomiki became unwelcome at the Aikikai.
In terms of martial ability, he was inexperienced and his temperament such that he rejected a rigorous training model in favor of gentler forms of practice that more closely resembled a cardiovascular exercise system. Simlarly, he refrained from using esoteric language in expressing his vision of the art. Kisshomaru regarded these actions as a reform and improvement of aikido making the art more suitable for postwar Japanese society, and thus easier to spread aikido internationally.
Koichi Tohei was blunt in his criticism of Morihei Ueshiba. He created what was actually a hybrid system combining basic aikido techniques absent a martial emphasis with additional practices culled from his outside studies. However, except for Tohei, all were careful to couch their criticisms of Morihei in diplomatic terms while displaying outward respect.
At this point, I would like to focus attention on the actions of Kisshomaru and Tohei in the s and s. Abundant historical evidence exists to support this view.
For many years, Kisshomaru and Tohei acted as a team. Married to sisters and thus sharing a blood bond, both had their followings within the Aikikai and exerted controlling influence on the key decisions taken by the headquarters.
Kisshomaru, starting in the late s, and Tohei in the early s, began publishing a continuous stream of books on aikido, mostly of a technical nature. These early publications set the de facto standard for aikido pedagogy on which the Aikikai curriculum was based. The young instructors dispatched from the Aikikai to numerous parts of the world spread these same techniques and teaching methods abroad.
Other senior instructors within the Aikikai of course had some influence, but none of them could rival Kisshomaru and Tohei in importance or visibility. Both styles of training had warmups, some of which overlapped, that included exercises inherited from Morihei. There was a core of some 50 empty-handed aikido techniques that were most commonly practiced and that were used for testing purposes.
Most of the techniques kisshonaru practiced in a flowing manner, and nage would seldom perform techniques from a static grab. Although sometimes mentioned in passing, practices commonly used in martial arts such as atemi and kiai fell out of favor in the Aikikai system, and were discouraged in training.
The fact of the matter was that any practitioners who attempted to employ strong atemi or kiai would be scolded, or even asked to leave the dojo. I practiced in both systems from forward and have first-hand knowledge of the training conditions that prevailed in those days. Attacks tended to be slow, sloppy and lacking in commitment. Seniors would sometimes resist juniors, which was easy to do because of uncommitted attacks. The success of the application of some techniques depended entirely on this sort of careless interaction between uke and nage.
Sudden, strong attacks perceived as challenges would evoke an angry reaction in nage who would usually resort to physical strength in an attempt to force a technique to work.
The use of weapons — tanto, ken and jo — was minimal. Various weapons defenses were sometimes taught in preparation for dan testing. Since few people had training in the use of weapons, attacks were slow and weak and poorly executed. One might be led to believe that training was not vigorous.
However, the severity of training in such situations was due to the cardiovascular demands placed on kisshomqru body due to the non-stop movement, and endless falling and standing up during practice. I found it particularly difficult to train this way in hot and humid practice conditions. For the most part, dojo training did not stress martial integrity in technique.
The use of the parallel training methods of Kisshomaru and Tohei within the Aikikai and affiliated schools came to an abrupt end in May when Tohei resigned from the headquarters school. ,isshomaru have written extensively about this pivotal event elsewhere for those wishing to learn about this important episode in aikido history.
This, in a nutshell, kisshomaaru a description of the beginnings of aikido in postwar Japan. Many have faulted Kisshomaru, Tohei, and other teachers of this era for propagating subpar technical standards that have made aikido into a caricature of a martial art.
Such comments are common among critics of aikido from other martial arts, and can be heard even within the aikido community. Of course, the whole debate is subjective in nature, and opinions can be found across a broad spectrum. In fairness, one must remember the circumstances in which aikido took its first, tentative steps in Japan and began to be exported to foreign lands.
Japanese society rejected the militaristic spirit and radical nationalism that propelled the nation into a suicidal war. Therefore, anything associated with prewar nationalism and militarism, which of course included martial arts, was met with broad societal disapproval. This was true of all martial iisshomaru. One of the ways some arts attempted to overcome these limiting circumstances was to emphasize or introduce kishomaru competitive component.
It could ailido be claimed that these arts had become sports, and were therefore not destined to be used for war propaganda as was the case prior to and during the war.
Interview with Morihei Ueshiba and Kisshomaru Ueshiba – Aikido Journal
Saito assisted Morihei in his daily life and received a great deal of private instruction from the Founder for more than 20 years. The Iwama Aikido system taught by Saito Sensei offered an alternative to the Aikikai syllabus and steadily gained acceptance, particularly abroad, from that time forward. A very enlightening article. I iksshomaru thought for years it was the influence of the hippies in Aikido that had softened it up.
This shows me that Kisshomaru was the main cause that has us continually apologizing that the main line is often ineffective. I am so glad that I lucked into the Iwama and Nishio Styles. I went to the Hombu dojo one day. I stood in the outer foyer and thought about the people from the Hombu Dojo that I had practiced with around the Tokyo and Yokohama areas.