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Thread: Let us remember him today especially

  1. #16
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    Carina --

    I was not referring to you.

    A hagiography is literally a book about a saint. In sportswriting, Paul Gallico described the practice as "godding up the ballplayers."

    The shelves of the bookstore marked "Martial Arts" are filled with such books.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Svinth View Post

    Peter --

    I know there are lots of women in aikido (far more than in, say, Kyokushin Kai karate), but there aren't that many *senior* practitioners. Kendo, naginata-do, on the other hand, have quite a few. Judo and taekwondo are getting there, too. There is much one can dislike about Olympic sport, but one cannot deny that it has done a lot for women's sport. For those who don't know, for a sport to remain in or be considered for the Olympics, there must be both men's and women's divisions. This is significant because at a national level, it's much cheaper and easier to develop a serious candidate for a women's medal in Olympic archery, judo, boxing, or taekwondo than it is to develop an equally serious candidate for a women's medal in gymnastics or a men's medal in basketball. To give just one example, without the Olympic incentive, I'm certain that we wouldn't have seen women's boxing in places such as Jordan for a while yet. http://www.thenational.ae/news/world...he-boxing-ring
    Joe,

    I followed the judo competitions at the Tokyo Olympics and later met a few who were involved in the fracas concerning the women judoka -- which pretty well speaks a few volumes about some of the martial arts in Japan. I agree that there are no many 'senior' practitioners and by 'senior' I would think of practitioners in the two highest dan ranks in the Aikikai. There are zero female 8th dan holders and very few 7th dan holders. The majority of the latter are non-Japanese and reside outside Japan.
    Peter Goldsbury,
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    Hiroshima, Japan

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Svinth View Post
    Carina --

    Lots of people publish their imaginary histories of martial arts. Hagiographies are everywhere. And, as a rule, hagiographies sell pretty well.
    don't understand it Joe, if you don't were reffering to me, has it anything to do with this thread?
    thanks

  4. #19
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    Hello Carina,

    I am not Joe, but I do think there is a connection between hagiography and this thread.

    When I started aikido, I did not know anything about Morihei Ueshiba and we did not have his picture in the dojo when we practiced. The instructor was Japanese and had received his dan ranks from Ueshiba himself. He clearly knew him, but still, we did not bow to his picture. We bowed to each other. However, we practiced quite hard and our method of training was, also, quite hard.

    My second teacher did talk about Morihei Ueshiba quite a lot. He was proud to have been one of his immediate students. But, as I stated earlier, what he told me and what my first teacher told me were quite different.

    Then I moved to the USA and practiced with yet a third teacher, who also had been one of Morihei Ueshiba's direct students. He never discussed Ueshiba, but at the time I found a book about aikido. It was entitled Aikido and was written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. It contained some biography, but not much.

    When I returned to the UK I met more teachers who had been direct students of Morihei Ueshiba. In response to my questions, they told me to learn Japanese, so I could read what he stated for myself. I was surprised by this rather rough answer.

    I came to Japan eventually, learned Japanese, and have read everything I can find that has been written by and about Morihei Ueshiba. My conclusion is that there is much written and stated about him that is hagiography. He is regarded as a kind of saint, but this approach is very selective. You use only the 'good' bits, in order to show what a wonderful man he was. You ignore the 'bad' bits, or sweep them under the carpet.

    Morihei Ueshiba had at least two teachers. One was Takeda Sokaku and the other was Deguchi Onisaburo. Both have had biographies written about them and there is a similar mix between hagiography and -- shall we say -- more 'dispassionate' history. The lives of both Takeda and Deguchi were more turbulent than Ueshiba's, but I think it is harder to write hagiography about Takeda -- and the 'spiritual' aspects of his life are not emphasized so much. Deguchi was the propagator of a new religion, so his ‘spirituality’ has been emphasized very much. However, his life has been written by his grandson, but what struck me were the differences between the Japanese original and the English translation, with some parts left untranslated.

    So, indeed we should remember Morihei Ueshiba, as you stated in your opening post, but your reason for remembering him might well be quite different from mine.

    Here in Hiroshima, people do not really remember him. They do not know anything about him to begin with and their education has not equipped them to know anything about the Omoto religion. They study aikido quite hard, but do not really have much time for the person who created it and regard my preoccupation with the minutiae of his life as, well, unusual.

    Best wishes,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by P Goldsbury View Post
    Here in Hiroshima, people do not really remember him. They do not know anything about him to begin with and their education has not equipped them to know anything about the Omoto religion. They study aikido quite hard, but do not really have much time for the person who created it and regard my preoccupation with the minutiae of his life as, well, unusual.
    I remember studying aikido in the U.S., and everyone referred to Ueshiba Morihei as "Osensei". And since we called whoever was teaching "Sensei", there seemed to be a kind of personal connection. Like, Sensei is our teacher, but Osensei is the teacher of all of us in aikido. And of course we had the requisite photo up on the shomen, with Ueshiba looking the very picture of the venerable Asian sage.

    When I studied aikido here in Japan, we practiced in a municipal judo dojo. No picture of Ueshiba. And people didn't call him "Osensei". They called him, when they referred to him, "Kaiso", the Founder. It definitely felt more distant. In the U.S., Ueshiba was the common goal, the man we all strove together to emulate (in a very ad-hoc fashion). In Japan, for my dojo at least, it was more like Kano's position in judo. Respected founder, everyone knows the broad strokes, maybe some of the philosophy, but really not nearly so relevant to one's practice as one's immediate context, (i.e., one's teacher and one's teacher's teacher, be that Ueshiba or not).

    Mileage may vary, though.
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, žonne he ęt guše gengan ženceš longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearaš. - The Beowulf Poet

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  7. #21
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    Hello Josh,

    My experience in the US was very similar to yours. In Hiroshima, we have the picture, but it could just as well be a picture of any other 'venerable Asian sage.' Apart from making sure it is there, people do not pay much attention to it.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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  9. #22
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    Thank you Prof Goldsbury and Josh, I had problems with my account and password, now suddenly they got solved.

    Just wanted to clarify that even though we bow in front of the photo of the Founder, we don't think he was a Saint, and you all know that Spain is a very catholic country in which there are a lot of saints. The founder was an extraordinary man, very ahead of his time who left as a beautiful martial art to develop and study, that is what I think.

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