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Thread: Aiki ken / jo origin

  1. #31
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    You're right to a point Dan, I agree, but even Stan Pranin has said his early (pre-1930) years are still not fully accounted for.

    cheers,
    Jason

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden
    Jason

    When this man decided to actually teach some thing to some one just what was it that he decided to teach and give rank and mokuroku in?...............Daito ryu. Why?
    It was the only thing he "actually" ever knew enough about to teach.

    Cheers
    Dan
    Occams razor
    "One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything."
    ....All things being equal-a simple explanation is usually correct.
    Dan,

    The editor in me suggests that your last sentence might be impeccable if it were changed to: "It was the only thing he was ever licensed to teach."

    Best,

    FL

  3. #33
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    Hi Fred

    I agree. Cleaner and more to the point. But it also leaves wiggle room for more fantasy and myth-making to creep in.
    How goes it? I didn't make it down for the KB though I would have liked too. I didn't make ours either, I was sick as a dog. Say Hi to everyone.

    Jason.
    I don't really have a passion about it or Daito ryu -though it appears that way. He could have been training in anything; I really don't care what it was. It just happens that it was a single art called Daito ryu. If you talk to Stan or read carefully, there really isn't much left to say. The rest of my argument stands on it own. What did he decide to teach? And why? If he had had this epiphany or this amalgam of Japanese Budo..why did he, after training with Takeda, appear in formal attire to his Nephew all spiffy and smiles and state. “ I am going to become a Jujutsu teacher?
    Then……..start teaching…Daito ryu.

    The whole myth about multiple arts is a crock. All but the most die hard fantasy believing hangers-on see it for what it is; morphed Daito Ryu. The only thing he ever studied at length. Not that theres anything wrong with that! There are Aiki-bunnies in both and serious hard workers as well.


    I have my own opinions and theories about how and where and why it changed.
    Cheers
    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Harden; 31st January 2006 at 20:28.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harden
    Hi Fred

    I agree. Cleaner and more to the point. But it also leaves wiggle room for more fantasy and myth-making to creep in.
    How goes it? I didn't make it down for the KB though I would have liked too. I didn't make ours either, I was sick as a dog. Say Hi to everyone.
    Hey Dan:

    Scholastic caution does tend to leave wiggle room. How else to explain a good fifty to seventy percent of the shelves on eastern religion in any Barnes & Noble? On the other hand, while I don't want to leave enough space for great honking truckloads of fantasy and mythmaking, I've got a Cooper Mini of a hypothesis of my own and some video evidence to back it up, beyond which I'm not prepared to say more just yet.

    All goes well, we should move into the new dojo space soon and maybe that will give you an excuse to, as Monty Hall used to say: Come On Down!

    In the meantime, I trust you're feeling better.

    Best,

    FL

  5. #35
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    It seems there is still great interest in this subject, given the thread here, and the more than 17,000 views the similar thread on Aikido Journal has received in the last 2 years. So where do we stand so far?

    As far as I can see, there are 5 remaining avenues of investigation that need to be followed, if not for finding a conclusive answer, then at least in clearing up some speculation.

    1. As mentioned above, one side of the opinion seems to be that O-Sensei studied nothing of any real value other than Daito Ryu, apart from watching some Kashima Shinryu instructors for a couple of years. Ellis Amdur has stated that he finds little similarity between Aiki-Jo and Kashima Shinryu Bo jutsu, so this opinion implies then that O-Sensei must have learned jo/bo jutsu from Takeda. So, here is a good lead to check up on. Is there a comparable jo/bo jutsu repertoire in Daito Ryu that could be identified as an origin for O-Sensei's Aiki-Jo.? Can we set up a means of comparing the two? We need someone familiar with Iwama weapons, and someone familiar with Daito Ryu weapons to collaborate. In this I offer my services...

    2. Despite point 1., it is mentioned in several places that O-Sensei studied in the early days, Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan Ryu, and actually got a certificate or scroll in the art. Ellis Amdur has also stated that he finds little similarity between YSR bo jutsu, but has noted an apparent similarity between YSR HANBO waza, after seeing some pics of the katas in a book by then headmaster Shimazu Sensei. I gather this book is the 1978 "Yagyu Shingan Ryu Heijutsu", with about 255 pp., out of print, and not available anywhere at the moment, unfortunately. As Ellis suggested to me, what is needed is an Iwama person to study the pics from this book with the partner practices and make a comparison. We need someone either familiar with YSR hanbo, or in possession of Shimazu's book, and someone familiar with Iwama weapons to collaborate. In this too I offer my services...

    3. As everyone is no doubt aware, I am also supporting the possibility that O-Sensei had not inconsiderable exposure to Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu, for the many reasons I have outlined in the thread on http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/...er=asc&start=0 . We need someone familiar with Kukishin Ryu bojutsu and someone familiar with Iwama weapons to collaborate. In this too I offer my services...

    4. Examining O-Sensei's personal book collection. I do not know what the situation is now with this collection, but for many, many years in a storeroom that was next to the Iwama dojo, were shelves and shelves of books that were O-Sensei's personal collection. In late 2003 I attempted to have an uchi deshi gain permission to access the book collection. My request was relayed to Hitohiro Sensei, and I was asked to write a formal letter stating my reasons etc. for doing so. Before I had the chance to complete this letter, Hitohiro Sensei announced that he had quit the Aikikai and therefore no longer was able to control access of the Iwama dojo. What has happened to that book collection is something I would like to know, as I can imagine that many things about O-Sensei's personal life and thoughts etc. would have been revealed by undertaking an examination of the collection. Alas, it is an opportunity perhaps gone forever... In this, it is beyond my ability to assist.

    5. John Stevens in his biography of O-Sensei mentions that O-Sensei was possibly exposed to weapon arts of some "yamabushi", or mountian ascetics who according to various reports, frequent the Kurama Mtns. O-Sensei was known to visit these mountains in retreat himself, indeed there is a photo of him standing before Nachi Falls at the mountains, before embarking on such a retreat, during the 1920's. Stevens, states that one of the favoured weapons of these mountain ascetics is jo, and their jo art is typically Kukishin Ryu. A study of the "yamabushi" phenomenon, and O-Sensei visits to this mountian range might reveal some details that would help us resolve the issue. In this I would like to help, but neither know where to start or have the resources...

    I do not support the view that Saito Sensei "made up" the jo techniques. While he did make some changes and create some forms, the techniques that make up these forms were passed on from O-Sensei. Photo and film footage shows O-Sensei used and taught the jo on many occasions, and I see no reason at all to think that Saito Sensei would lie about being taught jo by O-Sensei. Saito himself stated that O-Sensei's Aiki-jo was a collection of arts that O-Sensei studied over the years, including spear, juken, etc. so either Saito Sensei was lying about this, perpetuating a myth, or was telling the truth.

    So given the 5 points above, I think we cannot yet close the book on the origins of Aiki Jo until these 5 possibilities have been thoroughly explored.

    <also posted on Aikidojournal>

    cheers,
    Jason Wotherspoon
    Ipswich Aikido Club - Iwama style
    Last edited by JasonW; 1st February 2006 at 05:41.

  6. #36
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    Found this in an interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura sensei on Aikido Journal:


    We would like to ask you a few questions on the aiki ken and jo and iai. Although some aikido teachers say that the ken and jo are very important in aikido, I believe there are only a few dojos where these weapons are actually taught. What, Sensei, do you think the importance of ken and jo is in aikido?

    I think that O-Sensei's jo was not what we would call jodo but rather the spear (yari). In the old dojo there was a practice spear with a 5.4 meter shaft on a horizontal piece of timber. I understand that O-Sensei practiced with this spear in the old days. They say that Count Gombei Yamamoto saw O-Sensei demonstrate his spear and praised him as the best spearsman since the Meiji Restoration. When he was in a particularly good mood, he personally told us stories about such things as the time he lanced a straw rice bag and sent it flying. In his later years he used a jo or a jo with a halberd-like point. When using the ken one adopts a right hanmi while with the spear the left hanmi is assumed. Probably, if you combine these two they become one. The ken and spear are considered to have been the characteristic weapons of the warrior (bushi) class. I learned that in aikido we should consider the ken and yari as an extension of our own bodies and were told to practice until we felt as if they became like our own hands. I don't think anyone is conscious of using chopsticks when they eat or feels that they are a hindrance. In a similar manner, it's good if you reach the point where you forget that you are even holding a ken during practice. In Kendo expressions such as "the ken and body become one" or "you become the ken itself by entering inside it" are often used. But I think the result is the same. I think it is only the way of thinking that is different. Aikido is called a weaponless martial art but since warriors always carried a sword or spear with them, it was natural for them to use these weapons in emergencies. Aikido techniques were conceived in such a way that there are sword versus sword techniques, sword versus empty-hand techniques and empty-hand versus empty-hand techniques. I practice sword techniques empty-handed and use a sword for empty-hand techniques to test whether or not the techniques I am executing are correct.
    http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=364
    Yours friendly,

    K. Sandven


    Blog: My Life In Budo

  7. #37
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    Without wishing to add fuel to the fire,during tonight's keiko I recalled some things I read years ago. Remember, these are from various sources, none of which I can remember exactly, so take them with a grain of salt:
    1) The 31 jo is actually part of a longer exercise, the current 31 counts being only what Saito Sensei was able to remember.

    2) O Sensei was studying the use of the spear in depth around 1925. As to what "studying" implies in this context is unknown to me.

    3) O Sensei taught a bo (not jo) system to Hikitsuchi Sensei.

    Points 2) and 3) might be worth researching, in regards to the jo techniques found in Aikido. Has anyone else heard these claims, and can you varify them?
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

  8. #38
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    I thought it was the 13 jo not the 31 that Saito Sensei said he could only remember a section of. As far as I'm aware, O-Sensei taught the 31 as a completed form.

    cheers,
    Jason Wotherspoon
    Ipswich Aikido Club - Iwama style

  9. #39
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    Question: Is there a comparable jo/bo jutsu repertoire in Daito Ryu that could be identified as an origin for O-Sensei's Aiki-Jo.?

    Hell, the answer is either yes, or no.




    Jason Wotherspoon
    Ipswich Aikido Club - Iwama style

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonW
    Question: Is there a comparable jo/bo jutsu repertoire in Daito Ryu that could be identified as an origin for O-Sensei's Aiki-Jo.?

    Hell, the answer is either yes, or no.




    Jason Wotherspoon
    Ipswich Aikido Club - Iwama style

    There is certainly jo-dori (and even video of Takumakai members showing spear disarming techniques in one of the videos available at Aikido Journal), but you probably already knew that. Also, I recall someone cryptically mentioning jo and bo training (in connection with Sagawa Yukiyoshi and Horikawa Kodo) in one of the Aikido Journal blogs. Unfortunately, all of those posts are now gone, so I am unable to provide any quotations. Given the context, though, it seems the author was talking about something more like the typical (and sometimes counter-intuitive) demonstrations of equilibrium conditions some teachers attribute to "ki/kokyu."

    Does anyone here know if weapon vs. weapon techniques are illustrated in the Takumakai's Souden?
    Richard Garrelts

  11. #41
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    Another interesting side question is "Why are we left with three solo weapon exercises?"
    Of course jusan no jo can be used as an awase exercise with minimal deviation from the solo pattern, and I've seen nijuni no jo awase in both jo and ken, and done sanjuichi no jo awase; but were these part of the original teaching or something that has been added since?
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

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